Animal Welfare

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  • Jul.30.2018: 7 Companies Launch Global Coalition for Animal Welfare. Seven global food firms —Nestlé, Unilever, Ikea Food Services, Aramark, Compass Group, Elior Group, and Sodexo — have joined forces to create the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW). More than 70 billion animals are farmed for food annually, according to GCAW, and more than 70% of these animals often experience poor welfare standards. To improve animal welfare, the coalition will implement 3 strategies: provide a platform for food companies to work more closely with farm animal welfare experts; prioritize welfare issues and develop roadmaps for industry change; and advance knowledge through industry insights, research, and partnerships for action. These goals build on the pledge that Nestlé made last year, which states the company will only source cage-free eggs as ingredients for all of its food products globally by 2025. Nestlé also pledged to improve conditions for chickens raised to provide meat ingredients for their businesses throughout the United States and Europe. The new coalition intends to publish a collective agenda in early 2019. Veterianarian's Money Digest.
  • Mar.12.2016: And they call this free range? What's more disturbing? These images of 16,000 'free range' hens crammed into a shed...or the fact their conditions have been approved by the RSPCA? Chickens pictured packed tightly inside shed on farm in north Norfolk. There are 16,000 birds kept in narrow building 'covered in mites and sores'. Part of 35,000-strong farm run by UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew. But RSPCA inspectors found no breaches of any free-range regulations. Eggs from the chickens are supplied to supermarket brand Noble Foods. Olga Craig, The Mail Online.
Earthlings (2005)
Earthlings is a documentary film about humanity's use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research.
Unity (2015)
Unity is the sequel to Earthlings.


Govt Policy

  • Apr.07.2016: Ministers abandon plan to scrap farm animal welfare codes. Defra confirms U-turn after outcry over move to repeal legislation and put industry in charge of guidance on chicken farming. Ministers have backed down on plans to repeal farm animal welfare codes, abandoning their move to put the poultry industry in charge of the guidance on chickens that was scheduled to come into force this month. The change in favour of an “industry-led” guidance, which was to be written and supervised by the British Poultry Council, was part of the deregulatory agenda being led by Liz Truss, the environment secretary. Animal Aid said “Suffering and exploitation are already integral to animal farming. To deregulate and dilute what slender protection currently exists would have been monstrous.” Rowena Mason, The Guardian.
  • Mar.25.2016: Government planning to repeal animal welfare codes. Poultry industry to oversee chicken-farming standards as ministers move to create industry-led deregulation. Liz Truss, the environment secretary, is overseeing moves to scrap the statutory codes on farm animal welfare and move to an “industry-led” guidance as part of her department’s deregulatory agenda. The govt has already quietly tabled a draft order to scrap the official code on farming chickens for meat and breeding. It is planning to revoke the code on Apr.27 – the day that new guidelines will be made public by the British Poultry Council, which will in future be in charge of writing and keeping the new regulatory code. DEFRA confirmed it will now begin working with other livestock sectors in a staged timetable of reform. Other sectors that could get control of their own guidance include the cattle, sheep and pig farming industries. Compassion in World Farming said "The job of a government department is to hold the balance between competing interests. It is not to come down on one side and say animal welfare, dietary health and the environment have to be subservient to the needs of industry." The move to deregulate animal welfare comes after the Guardian exposed poor hygiene standards in some of the poultry industry last year. Rowena Mason, The Guardian.


Animal Testing

Chickens

Beak Trimming

  • Beak Trimming – the Facts! This article explains and explores why birds currently have their beaks trimmed in order that you can make up your own minds on this emotive issue. British Hen Welfare Trust. Accessed Apr.10.2018.

Pigs

  • Mar.08.2018: ‘Pay farmers for not cutting off pig tails’. Routine docking of pig tails is banned under the 2003 Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations, but 7m pigs a year — 70% of the total reared in the UK — undergo the painful procedure because of a loophole in the law: it can be carried out if there is evidence of tail biting or injuries to sows' teats. Many farms do it to stop bored and frustrated pigs from mutilating each other's tails, although other farms reduce the risk of biting by giving pigs more stimulation and material to root around in to keep them happy. George Eustice, Farming minister, is exploring the benefits of paying farmers a fee for every pig that arrives at a slaughterhouse with an intact tail, believing them to be a simple, effective way of improving pig welfare. Compassion in World Farming said: "Rewarding farmers for intact tails at slaughter is a good way of using post-Brexit subsidies because to achieve it those farmers would be getting almost everything right, such as nutrition, air quality, space, bedding and enrichment". The National Pig Association, which represents the industry, said they supported tail payments because they would encourage best practice at all types of pig farm, including those in which pigs spent their whole lives in sheds. The Times, Ben Webster

Factory Farming

Chickens

  • May.26.2018: Chicken safety fear as chlorine washing fails bacteria tests. The chlorine washing of food, the controversial “cleaning” technique used by many US poultry producers who want access to the British market post-Brexit, does not remove contaminants, a new study has found. The investigation, by a team of microbiologists from Southampton University and published in the US journal mBio, found that bacilli such as listeria and salmonella remain completely active after chlorine washing. The process merely makes it impossible to culture them in the lab, giving the false impression that the chlorine washing has been effective. Apart from a few voluntary codes, the American poultry industry is unregulated compared with that in the EU, allowing for flocks to be kept in far greater densities and leading to a much higher incidence of infection. While chicken farmers in the EU manage contamination through higher welfare standards, smaller flock densities and inoculation, chlorine washing is routinely used in the US right at the end of the process, after slaughter, to clean carcasses. This latest study indicates it simply doesn’t work. more Jay Rayner, The Guardian.
  • Jan.22.2018: Dead on arrival: More than a million chickens die before reaching the slaughterhouse. Britain produces nearly a billion chickens for meat every year. Official figures show that 1.35m birds arrived for slaughter dead or perished while awaiting slaughter during a 15-month period between 2016–2017. The iNews, Alice Milliken, Andrew Wasley, Cahal Milmo

Sheep and Lambs

  • Mar.16.2018: {{{title}}} The Bowood Yorkshire Lamb abattoir. Activists from Animal Aid installed hidden cameras that captured footage of the mistreatment of sheep, including animals being kicked in the face, smashed into solid objects, and picked up and hurled by their legs, fleeces, throats and ears. One worker was filmed repeatedly hacking at the throats of conscious sheep, and others were said to have laughed as a sheep bled to death with spectacles painted around its eyes. The law requires abattoirs to stun animals before slaughter to prevent unnecessary suffering but there are exemptions for meat supplied to Jewish and Muslim communities. However, staff at the abattoir broke rules that require sheep to be held in position for 20 seconds after having had their throats cut to minimise their suffering. Fariha Karim, The Times.

Cattle

Dolphins

Fur

  • Jan.24.2018: How to tell if faux fur is actually real. It can be tricky to know if fur is genuinely fake – and several stores with no-fur policies have been found to be selling the animal product. Here's how to tell the difference. The Guardian, Emine Saner

Whales

  • Apr.18.2018: Iceland sets target of 191 kills as country resumes whaling. Authorities grant whalers a quota to hunt the endangered fin whale this summer after a two-year pause. An apparent loosening of Japanese regulations on Icelandic exports had made the resumption of the hunting commercially viable again. The Icelandic branch of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), said: “I’m very disappointed. This decision is not based on real market needs and is not in line with public opinion polls on whaling, which doesn’t belong in modern times.” Iceland and Norway are the only countries in the world to authorise whaling in defiance of the 1986 International Whaling Commission’s moratorium. Iceland resumed whaling in 2006 on economic grounds and has defied threats of US sanctions to continue to do so. The US did not invite Iceland, one of the largest fishing nations in the north Atlantic, to the Our Ocean conference in 2014. Japan hunts whales, but claims it does so for scientific research purposes, although a large share of the whale meat ends up being consumed. Iceland has only one other whaling company, IP-Utgerd Ltd, which specialises in hunting minke whales. The meat from the whales is served in Icelandic restaurants, but largely to cater to intrigued tourists. A poll commissioned in October 2017 by IFAW suggested that 35.4% of Icelanders supported the fin whale hunt, compared to 42% in 2016. Daniel Boffey, The Guardian.
  • Feb.03.2018: New reserves to give whales a sanctuary. Campaigners welcomed an announcement by the Scottish govt that it would be consulting the public on the creation of the new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect whales and dolphins in their Scottish breeding and nursery areas. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation society said it had proposed 3 of the sites in 2011. It provided 36,000 signatures and scientific evidence to Richard Lochhead, then cabinet secretary for the Environment in Scotland. The charity congratulated Roseanna Cunningham, the present cabinet secretary, for bringing the MPAs to consultation, and Scottish Natural Heritage and Marine Scotland for helping to get them to this stage. The Times.

Lobsters

Kitten and Puppy Farms

  • Aug.22.2018: Government to ban unethical puppy and kitten farms in England. The government is to ban unethical puppy and kitten farms in England, pledging to end the trade of unscrupulous breeders who keep animals in filthy and cramped conditions and force some to be pregnant many times over. environment secretary, Michael Gove, announced on Wednesday that a ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales in England would be introduced. The regulation will mean anyone wanting to buy or home a puppy or kitten will have to deal directly with the breeder or rehoming centre. The proposed rule would also effectively prevent the sale of puppies and kittens in traditional pet shops. Breeders will only be able to sell puppies they have personally bred; and online sellers will have to publish their licence number and the pet’s country of origin and country of residence. The government is also bringing in harsher sentences of up to five years imprisonment for anyone convicted of animal abuse. Breeders will need a licence to sell three or more litters a year and anyone selling online will have to display a licence number. Marc Abraham, of PupAid, said irresponsible breeders in the UK and abroad used third parties to hide from buyers, who often bought dogs in good faith, having no idea of the conditions of the puppy’s birth. David Bowles, assistant director of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “We believe it’s vital to crackdown on this underground trade to provide much needed protection to dogs and people, and welcome an end to the third-party sales of puppies. Some called on the government to go further. Animal sanctuaries are not included in the new regulations, and currently sanctuaries, rescue and rehoming centres can be set up without oversight. Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, said: “To be effective, a ban needs to be supported by some key additional measures, such as regulating rehoming organisations, which there is still time to introduce. This would close off other loopholes.” Jo Platt, a Labour MP who has campaigned on the issue, pointed to her own research showing that only 18% of rescue centres were regulated through existing voluntary guidelines. “Figures released to me under the Freedom of Information Act clearly show an extremely worrying picture across the country with the vast majority of animal rescue homes facing no regulation at all." Jessica Elgot, Fiona Harvey, The Guardian.