Veganism is a call to renounce the core practice of our culture—reducing beings to mere harvestable and abuseable commodities—and to practice, in every aspect of our lives, its opposite: mindfulness, inclusiveness, equality, and respect. – Dr. Will Tuttle
Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:
Firstly; thank you Jack for your kind comments about the site and posts. Appreciated.
Pig farming across Europe could look a lot different with high animal welfare standards in place
To protect the health and happiness of farmed animals, as well as reach the EU’s sustainable food and farming goals, it’s critical that much fewer animals are farmed, and those that are enjoy the highest possible animal welfare standards.
We spoke to farmer Maciej, who works for the Pstra Wybiegana group in Poland, about his experiences of raising pigs whose welfare is made a priority each day.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In their revision to the animal welfare legislation, the European Commission must include strict, specific rules for pigs to ensure they can live satisfying and engaging lives. These assurances are the least any sentient being deserves – and there are a range of case studies across Europe that show exactly what kind of measures work to ensure pig welfare.
One such example comes from a pig farm in the heart of Poland, Pstra Wybiegana – a collaborative effort by two farms to raise pigs following extremely high animal welfare standards. We asked farmer Maciej to tell us more about their efforts to ensure their pigs lead good quality lives under their care.
Why have you chosen to farm following high animal welfare standards?
We just feel like this is the only way humans should work with animals – we should of course all be following the highest possible animal welfare standards we can! They deserve the very best of what we can offer them.
By only selling small amounts locally of high quality animal products, we encourage our consumers to eat much fewer animal-derived products in general: which is better for public health and the environment. By operating on this scale, we’re also supporting the local economy, while at the same time putting a lot of effort into making our farm truly nature friendly. By only working with a small number of pigs we’re able to give each of them a lot of attention too, which is really gratifying.
Tell us a bit about your farm. What do you feed your pigs?
Our pigs have a diverse diet, which includes steamed potatoes, greens, grain middlings and whey.
Potatoes give our pigs energy, greens give them fibre and vitamins, and grain middlings and whey supply proteins, vitamins and water. All of these different ingredients have real nutritional value – and what’s more, they taste great. Our pigs love their food – but we don’t overindulge them, because it’s important to their welfare that they have opportunities to forage for their own snacks in the wild, as this is one of their deeply-ingrained natural instincts. Fortunately, our variety of outdoor areas provides plenty of opportunities to do that.
What kind of habitats can your farmed pigs access?
Our pigs are able to experience a range of different habitats and terrains, and we let them out all year round.
We think that this diversity in their environment is important, as they’re able to get a lot of benefits from being exposed to a variety of areas. As a few examples, we provide them with:
Large, grassy grounds – so our farmed pigs can enjoy digging and rooting in search of food, as well as playing in water
Runs – which have been specifically designed to help them interact with each other and enjoy themselves
Showers – where they can cool down in the summer
Small rock areas – to stimulate their brains and give them something to bite on, which is good for their dental hygiene
Cosy indoor areas – to which they can retreat and relax in comfortable hay when they want a moment alone, or shelter from adverse weather.
How do your farmed pigs socialise?
Along with using our runs and enjoying our showers together, you’ll often see our farmed pigs moving in groups. It’s impossible for them to be lonely. From what we’ve seen, they prefer to be in herds with no more than 40 – 50 pigs, wherein they can build their own hierarchy and establish a leader. Of course, these groups are successful as well because we have such a mixture of environments for them to live in. It’s not hard for them to get some space when they need to, so they all feel relaxed and secure here.
What would you say to a farmer who’s nervous about transitioning to a higher animal welfare farming model?
I would say that the more people care about their animals’ lives, the better. Following high animal welfare standards is the only humane way to work with animals, and it’s critical we respect them. You can make a profit, too, by farming at a smaller scale – on our farm, we use the power of local connections to exist very comfortably next to the global market.
We love higher animal welfare principles, and they work. We can see it in our pigs who are healthy, happy, and thriving, which also makes it a pleasure for us to work with them. We think an important step in the road ahead is consumer transparency. People increasingly care about animals and want to ensure their animal-derived products come from sources where high animal welfare standards are set.
In Poland, we’re trying to implement such a standard for pork called ‘Pstra Wybiegana’. It’s based on a system of digital transparency, which shows consumers that we take the best care of our pigs at every step of the production chain. Farmers and clients can both use the system to record and find out more about the origins of their pork. We believe this will be some kind of revolution in Poland, and will encourage consumers even more to think of animal welfare when they shop.
It’s critical the European Commission considers all farmed species in their revision to the animal welfare legislation, making sure to leave no animal behind.
Below – The current EU system for many – WRONG, WRONG, WRONG !
Animal Equality secure a happy result from the PETI Committee on outlawing fast-growing broiler breeds
29 May 2023
On May 24, the European Parliament’s PETI Committee discussed the petition submitted by Animal Equality Italy to outlaw fast-growing broiler breeds on the basis of incompatibility with EU law. MEPs and the European Commission, represented by Kirsten Vornhagen, exchanged views on this vital issue affecting the lives of billions of birds farmed in the EU.
The Petitions Committee’s opinion marks a major step toward ending the suffering of billions of chickens throughout the European Union. Indeed, the breeding of these animals, genetically selected to suffer for the benefit of the meat industry, is an aberration contrary to any animal welfare standards. It is now necessary for the European Commission to act to prevent the unjustified exploitation of these animals from continuing any further.
– Animal Equality’s Vice President for Europe, Matteo Cupi
The animal welfare provisions are there, but they need to be respected, and it is up to the EU Commission to make sure that happens. I am really glad that there is this petition and I think it is necessary to ask the Commission whether the law or the reported practice should be changed.
– MEP Margrete Auken
It was decided the petition will be kept open, and it was further confirmed the European Commission was aware of the issues it raised. Kirsten Vornhagen from the Commission’s Animal Welfare Unit mentioned that one of the options the Commission is looking at in their impact assessment of the upcoming animal welfare legislation is a legal requirement for the use of slow-growing breeds, as recommended by EFSA. We welcome this initiative as one that has the potential to bring about immense positive change to the billions of broilers farmed in the EU. We will be closely following the developments in this space.
It’s critical that the Commission factors in all kept animals in their ongoing revision to the EU’s animal welfare laws! Learn more here.
Djurens Rätt exposes troublesome links between mink farms and factory farming
29 May 2023
In a new report, Djurens Rätt has revealed that the mink farms in Sweden directly contribute to the death of a minimum of 30 million fish per year, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of minks killed for their fur. Through feed production, with links to depleted seas and chicken factory farming, the report shows economic incentives between mink farms and other factory farms.
Public opinion has already turned against mink farming for fur in Sweden due to the poor living conditions for animals and cruel killing methods, as proven by the European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe which calls for an EU-wide ban on fur farming and the sale of farmed fur products.
The new report reveals a lesser known problem; that Swedish mink farms also contribute to extensive suffering in other species and the loss of at least 30 million individual lives per year. Mink farming was also found to contribute to funding chicken factory farming, which has created economical motivation for farmers to protect the existence of fur farms. Djurens Rätt wants to see a ban on mink farms to combat the problem.
Animal welfare is evidently a part of sustainability, and it is not sustainable to breed carnivores in small wire cages in a system that also contributes to suffering in other industries. The report Djurens Rätt published is more proof that mink farms are unsustainable and need to be phased out immediately
Camilla Bergvall – President, Djurens Rätt
There would be positive effects for sustainability and Sweden’s biodiversity if mink farms closed.
There are intimate economic links between mink farms and other factory farms, especially within the chicken industry and in fisheries.
Slaughterhouse waste in Sweden is increasing with rising animal production. It is currently not used in a sustainable way.
Y’ know, ever since I was a little boy, I had something inside of me in which wanted to help animals and their welfare.
When I was 8 years old I was out on my bike one Sunday and saw a 3 tier livestock transporter loaded to the max with sheep, heading down to the Kent ports and a Channel cross where they would be slaughtered in Europe (something I did not know at the time).
It was raining, it was cold, and I could see all the sheep were suffering a lot; there was little space for them and they were unable to move around.
There and then that day; I made a pledge with myself that when I grew up; if I could, I would do something to try and stop the suffering of those innocent, sentient beings.
Decades and decades later I am still fighting the fight against live animal transport. I became very involved when I was around 17 to follow up that pledge I had set myself earlier to do something – over the years I worked as a volunteer with several animal organisations; doing legal work, investigation work, and becoming the EU rep associated with live transport for one organisation. It became an obsession really, crazy busy; and only after 35 + years of campaigning have we now stopped all live animal shipments to Europe for either slaughter or further fattening. The little kid made the pledge when he was 8 and only now has the dream become fruition and worked for better for hundreds of thousands of farm animals.
My (proper) work took me to many places – as I say
“I had a bloody good time doing military fast jets for 24 years; ‘down and dirty’ with the best – ‘RAF Tornado’.
.. but to be honest, the animal rights / welfare person in me has always been just as strong as the ‘proper’ day job Marky ever since I was 15 or 16 years old, and the creation of SAV and WAV is a kind of ultimate destination for me really; there is nothing quite like the satisfaction to be gained by anyone, anywhere, helping to save the lives of, and improving the welfare of animals in need; no matter how big or small their dedication, contribution or effort; everyone simply does what they can to make things better – and slowly they win !
– I am delighted to be an animals voice; one of many, in this crazy, cruel, (and unfortunately) money-driven world”
Today, nothing has changed – the animal rights / welfare person in me has never drifted. I say that because I know the bloke quite well !
In 2005 I set up ‘Serbian Animals Voice’ to try and fight for the stray animals against the government of Serbia; and the rest of the Balkans. You can visit the site here to see what was taken on:
The biggest win was for Serbian animals in the fur trade rather than strays which we fought for. Working with buddy Mark Glover at ‘Respect for Animals’ here in England, we finally achieved the aim of getting Serbia to impose a fur ban which commenced on 1st January 2019 – check it out: serbia | Search Results | Respect for Animals
Victory: Historic New Law Passes to Protect Wild Horses in Colorado!
In a stunning bi-partisan victory for wild horses, the Colorado General Assembly passed unprecedented and groundbreaking legislation known as the Colorado Wild Horse Project that was signed into law by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis during a special ceremony on May 20, 2023. The bill was created when legislators, advocates, and other stakeholders came together to provide protections from brutal roundups and removals for Colorado’s wild horses. LEARN MORE
The bill’s primary sponsors were Sens. Joann Ginal (D) and Perry Will (R), House Majority Leader Rep. Monica Duran (D), and House Minority Leader Rep. Mike Lynch (R). These sponsors secured bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly, where the bill was passed by an overwhelming majority after expert testimonies by advocates, including In Defense of Animals’ Senior Campaigner for Wild Horses and Burros, Ginger Fedak.
This new state law is necessary because nationally, the US Congress has struggled to pass laws favorable to America’s wild horses and burros for years. No wild horse and burro-friendly progress has been made on the national front since the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed!
Gov. Polis and First Gentleman Marlon Reis have been staunch supporters of America’s wild horses and burros and have spoken out to halt the roundups in the state. However, the national government is solely responsible for “managing” wild equids, so there was little that could be done at the state level. The new law is the culmination of several years of work to allow the state to be part of the stewardship process.
The bill signing ceremony occurred in the Little Book Cliffs Herd Management Area (HMA) in the western part of the state near Grand Junction. Gov. Polis said they could see nine wild horses from where they stood. Before signing, Gov. Polis delivered some encouraging remarks. With the new law, he said, “We can ensure that our wild horse herds have a humane and sustainable future in western Colorado. We also want to highlight that this will set a national example. It’s a first-of-its-kind partnership for how the state, ranchers, advocates, local communities, conservationists, and federal land managers can come together to achieve the best outcome to successfully manage these majestic animals that are synonymous with the American West.”
State Senator Perry Will, one of the bill’s four original bipartisan sponsors, was also at the signing ceremony. He said, “I’m real excited about this bill. It’s a collaborative effort, and I think it’s really going to set the stage for management of our wild horses into the future. I see this as a win/win for everyone involved, and the big win is for the wild horses because that’s the whole purpose.”
SB23-275 prioritizes retaining healthy wild horse herds in Colorado’s four HMAs, thereby reducing costly and destructive roundups that have proven ineffective in the national plan. Thank you, Colorado!
For more on how to get involved in supporting efforts like this, visit our Wild Horses campaign.
Animal rights group says chickens were abused, but Tyson Foods cut ties with the farm on its own
An animal rights group said Wednesday that a Virginia farm that raised chickens for Tyson Foods mistreated the animals, allowing some of them to go without feed and water at times.
But Tyson says it cut ties with the farm in January after it uncovered animal welfare issues there on its own.
The group, Animal Outlook, said it had an investigator working undercover at Jannat Farm from August to November of last year observing as 150,000 birds were raised from chicks until they were ready for slaughter. In addition to seeing chickens go without feed for up to 52 hours, the group said it documented instances of physical abuse and filthy conditions at the farm.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate a contact at the farm itself. A spokesman for Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson, which processes 20% of U.S. beef, chicken and pork, denounced the conditions Animal Outlook documented in video and pictures shot at the farm and said the company ended its contract with the farm because it wasn’t meeting Tyson’s animal welfare standards.
“Since January 2023, no Tyson Foods birds have been placed on this farm and the farmer no longer has a contract to grow for Tyson Foods,” spokesman Derek Burleson said. “We have a longstanding commitment to the welfare, proper handling, and humane treatment and care of animals in our supply chain.”
Animal Outlook’s Executive Director Cheryl Leahy said Tyson should have known about the abuse sooner because the farm had been raising chickens for the meat producer for at least seven years, and the company had a manager overseeing operations there. Plus, Tyson was responsible for delivering the feed chickens went without for more than two days. Video shot by the group’s investigator also shows chickens being thrown and kicked by farm workers and in at least one case a worker ripped off the head of a chicken.
“There is absolutely no excuse,” Leahy said. “The day-to-day suffering of these birds is palpable in each of the videos. Still, Tyson delivered birds, year after year.”
Leahy said she believes Tyson’s decision to end its contract with this farm may have been related more to its decision to shut down a processing plant in the area this spring — not animal welfare concerns.
“It’s very clear that Tyson is an important part of the puzzle here, and the cruelty that we see in this investigation is systemic,” said Leahy, who cited two previous investigations her group has done at farms affiliated with Tyson.
The group filed a complaint with the local district attorney asking for a criminal investigation into the way the chickens were treated that was forwarded on to the state attorney general’s office.
In addition to the abuse Animal Outlook found, the group said this farm failed to follow good biosecurity practices to limit the spread of disease despite the ongoing bird flu outbreak that has prompted officials to slaughter nearly 59 million chickens and turkeys to limit the spread of that virus.
Animal Outlook said workers failed to sanitize their boots in bleach before they entered barns, and some of the buildings had openings that could allow wild animals to get inside. Experts believe bird flu is primarily spread by the droppings of wild birds as they migrate past farms.
The animal rights group said its investigator also found instances of bugs in some of the chicken feed and rats in the barns where the chickens were housed.
Animal rights activists in Madrid protest against plans for a large-scale octopus farm
The Spanish activists said there are no regulations to guarantee the welfare of the captivated octopuses
Animal rights activists gathered Sunday in Madrid to protest plans for the construction of an octopus farm in Spain, saying there are no respective laws in the country and the European Union to guarantee the welfare of the animals in captivity.
The proposed farm, which aims to breed octopuses on a large scale in captivity, is scheduled to be built next year in the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean.
A few dozen people showed up to express their concerns regarding a project that plans to confine 3 million octopuses in pools, despite these creatures being solitary predators in their natural habitat.
“It is similar to imprisoning tigers together. They will prey on one another and will also attempt to escape due to their high intelligence and adeptness,” said Jaime Posada, a spokesperson for the protest called by various animal welfare organizations.
Octopuses grown in captivity will behave differently from those in the wild, said Nova Pescanova, the seafood company promoting this farm. Since 2018, the company has run a pilot project in a research facility in northern Spain, where they have succeeded in breeding five captivity-born generations of the cephalopod.
“It is not possible to grow any (animal) species in the European Union without respecting their welfare conditions. It is the standard, and our group does nothing but comply with guidelines and legislations,” said Roberto Romero, the multinational’s aquaculture director.
Since the demand for octopus consumption has been on the rise, farming octopuses is being regarded as a first step towards ensuring sustainable food production.
Octopus is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, particularly popular in Spain and Italy, although both of them import most of the octopus they consume. Recently, the global demand for this delicacy has expanded, with countries like the United States witnessing a 23% increase in imports and China experiencing a 73% surge between 2016 and 2018, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
New EFSA Scientific Opinions: first glimpse of scientific basis for improved welfare of dairy cows, ducks, geese, and quail
24 May 2023
Eurogroup welcome EFSA’s new Scientific Opinions and recommendations on dairy cows, quail, duck and geese welfare, all of whom lack species-specific protection despite millions of these animals being farmed in the EU.
The new EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Scientific Opinions on dairy cows and ducks, geese and quail will form the basis of species-specific provisions in the EU’s upcoming revised animal welfare legislation, providing much needed protection for these overlooked species.
Welfare of ducks, geese and quail on farm
Best practices for the farming of these species are not widely disseminated yet and a common understanding of high welfare standards is lacking, hence the importance of outlining the current practices, available science and drawing recommendations for improved animal welfare outcomes. The opinion is composed of 3 parts: (1) description of husbandry systems currently used in the EU, (2) analysis of the main animal welfare consequences (restriction of movement, injuries, group stress and inability to perform comfort behaviour related to these husbandry systems) and (3) recommendations to prevent the negative welfare consequences listed in point (2).
EFSA is clear on the need to step away from cages for all farmed species, including both individual and group systems. The mandate didn’t cover force-feeding for foie gras, but EFSA still highlighted that all husbandry systems used in foie gras production should be avoided due to their severe impact on animal welfare. Space allowance should be increased and there must be possibilities for water bathing, a need all waterfowl have strongly pronounced. Outdoor access is strongly advised and if not possible, birds should have at least a covered veranda. A range of additional enrichment measures are also recommended, including enough nesting material to build nests and perches when relevant according to the needs of the species.
EFSA recognises there is still a large knowledge gap in the available scientific literature for these species. We regret that a clear recommendation on the need to have access to outdoor areas is not present in the opinion, however, we still consider the document a positive development in the journey towards better protection for ducks, geese and quail – species that have so far received insufficient attention. We are looking forward to progressive legislation that takes into account the needs of ducks, geese and quails and prioritises their welfare.
This Scientific Opinion is composed of 3 parts: (1) mapping and assessment of dairy farm housing systems in the EU, (2) analysis of the main animal welfare consequences (lameness, mastitis, restriction of movement, resting and comfort behaviours and metabolic diseases) and (3) assessment of possible indicators to identify potentially risky farms in term of animal welfare level.
Through the opinion the severe animal welfare consequences of tethered systems are exposed. From restriction of movement to restriction of the performance of comfort and social behaviours, this type of housing is deemed unsuitable and the necessity to end it is stated.
Pasture access is featured as having a positive impact on movement and expression of natural behaviours as well as improving hoof health. Nevertheless, the report shows these systems have severely declined in number across the EU in the last years. We regret that there isn’t a clear statement in the report highlighting pasture based systems as the best for animal welfare (when comparing well managed systems).
We also welcome the recommendation for 9 or more m2/ per cow in indoor systems, and the need to further assess and use animal based indicators to detect potential risk farms in terms of animal welfare.
It is time for the European Commission to take a stance for dairy cows and provide them with a good quality of life, through the revision of the animal welfare legislation.
We here in Europe have all seen the terrible floods recently in some parts of Italy; here is the animal news:
Floods in Emilia-Romagna: new photos expose dead and abandoned animals on farms
28 May 2023
Essere Animali documented the situation in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region as flooding continues to impact the lives of people and animals. They discovered thousands of animals trapped and waiting for rescue.
On 19, 20 and 21 May, the Essere Animali investigation team visited farms affected by the floods in the provinces of Ravenna and Forlì-Cesena, in order to document the conditions of the animals confined in factory farms of the region.
Emilia-Romagna is – together with Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont – one of the regions of Italy with the largest number of reared animals and intensive structures, with more than 20 million poultry and over 1 million pigs reared per month.
The situation was dramatic and the most striking case was that of Bertinoro, where a farm with thousands of pigs was still partially flooded, with no operation underway to feed and rescue the animals.
Piles of dead pigs – in particular one with more than 100 animals – and operations to move the dead animals outside the farm were documented.
In San Lorenzo, three sheds were found to be flooded and more than 60,000 hens had died.
Essere Animali expresses solidarity with all the people affected by this tragedy, and highlights how Italy is once again fragile and unprepared for the emergency, which affects people and animals such as those bred and confined inside factory farms, where very often there is no evacuation plan for emergencies.
Are better broiler standards around the corner? Animal Equality’s petition to be discussed at the PETI Committee
23 May 2023
Animal Equality has succeeded in submitting a petition in the PETI Committee of the European Parliament to outlaw fast-growing broiler breeds on the basis of incompatibility with EU law. The committee meeting will take place on May 24, and it’s critical that MEPs attend to vouch for the welfare of these innocent birds.
Across the EU, billions of broiler chickens (chickens bred for meat) are suffering. To support high levels of production on factory farms, they’re bred to grow extremely quickly, which leads to a range of severe health problems, including lameness and heart diseases.
Breeding these birds to grow this quickly is a direct threat to their welfare – and is an issue the EU must address. Fortunately, a great opportunity has been presented to do just that through the efforts of our member, Animal Equality, who has managed to get a petition in the PETI Committee of the European Parliament to ban the farming of fast-growing broilers across Europe. This could be a critical turning point for their future, so it’s vital that policymakers attend the meeting on May 24 to speak up for their welfare.
We’ve signed an open letter asking MEPs to show up for broiler chickens
For the petition to be taken seriously, MEPs must attend the committee meeting and support its goals. That’s why we – along with many NGOs including LAV, GAIA and AnimaNaturalis – have signed an open letter calling on them to take heed of this critical animal welfare issue.
India’s top court defends bull-fighting as part of nation’s ‘cultural heritage’
India’s Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of state laws allowing traditional bull taming sports of Jallikattu and Kambala, and bullock-cart racing.
On Thursday, a five-judge bench of the court, including justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar upheld the amendments made to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, by the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra where these sports are traditionally held.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the amendments.
The court held that the amendments did not violate its 2014 order banning Jallikattu.
The centuries-old sport of Jallikattu is extremely popular in Tamil Nadu during the four-day Pongal harvest festival in January in which hundreds of bull vaulters compete in a carnival-like atmosphere.
On Thursday, the top court said that these laws remedy the defects pointed out by the judgment in 2014 and the effect of the laws is to minimise the pain and suffering caused to animals, reported legal news portal LiveLaw.
“In A Nagaraja [2014 judgment] the sport was held to attract the restrictions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, because of the manner in which it was practiced. The amendment Act and rules substantially minimises pain and suffering to animals…”, Justice Aniruddha Bose was quoted as saying by the outlet.
The bench added: “We are satisfied on materials that Jallikattu is going on in Tamil Nadu for last one century.
“Whether this is integral part of Tamil culture requires greater detail, which exercise judiciary cannot undertake… When the legislature has declared that Jallikattu is part of the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu state, the judiciary cannot take a different view. Legislature is best suited to decide that.”
The court added that its judgment would also apply to laws on Kambala and bull-cart racing in Maharashtra and Karnataka and directed that these laws be followed strictly.
The court order, however, has been criticised by animal rights activists.
“Since 2017, at least 104 men and children and 33 bulls have died. More deaths will occur,” Poorvi Joshipura, a spokesperson for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) India was quoted as saying to the Associated Press.
The global animal rights organisation was a complainant in the case in the country’s apex court.
Two years after the top court held that Jallikattu violated the rights of the animals and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the federal government carved out an exception for Jallikattu and bullock cart races from the scope of the law.
The move was challenged by animal rights organisations in the Supreme Court.
While the matter was pending, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2017, was passed. Similar amendments were passed by Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The apex court’s order has upheld the constitutionality of the federal government’s action as well as the amendments passed by the states.
Leading animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has praised politicians in Wales following a crucial vote on snaring.
A vote in the Senedd tonight [TUESDAY] has paved the way for a complete ban in Wales on cruel traps known as snares, the first country in the UK to take this big step forward for animal welfare.
The vote to ban snares was part of the stage three debate on the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, during which amendments designed to water down the snares ban were defeated.
The legislative process now moves on to the fourth and final stage in which the Senedd is expected to ratify the bill as early as next week, subject to King’s consent.
It follows over five years of campaigning by animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports.
Will Morton, head of public affairs at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Wales is leading the way in animal welfare by being the first country to ban these cruel and indiscriminate traps.
“We thank the thousands of campaigners who are backing the ban in Wales and the MSs who gave cross party support to make it become a reality.”
The debate tonight saw the defeat of amendments to allow so-called humane cable restraints, a term used by the shooting industry lobby to try and mask the cruelty of these devices.
Snares are cruel wire traps – nearly quarter of a million lie hidden in the British countryside at any one time – and are used by shooting industry gamekeepers on ‘game’ bird shoots to trap wildlife.
They tighten around the neck, torso or legs of the animal and cause immense pain and suffering to their trapped victims for hours or days before the animal is either shot or faces a lingering death.
They trap indiscriminately and government figures from Defra show nearly three quarters of the animals caught are not the intended target species.
Polling carried out by YouGov in January 2021 showed 78 per cent of the Welsh public wanted snares to be made illegal.
Once the Agriculture (Wales) Bill is passed – something that is all but inevitable – it will then come into force two months after receiving royal assent.
Will added: “The ban on the use of snares will protect wild, farmed and domestic animals from falling victim to these brutal devices, a move that will be welcomed by the vast majority of the Welsh people.
“The next step is to lobby the UK and Scottish governments to follow the precedence set in Wales and to ban these barbaric devices.”
Animal Welfare Ambition Needed in EU-Australia Agreement
18 May 2023
As negotiations for a trade agreement between the EU and Australia enter the final stage, Eurogroup For Animals urges both sides to seek ambitious measures on animal welfare.
The EU and Australia are nearing the end of negotiations for a free trade agreement, with both sides expecting talks to conclude this summer. It is therefore critical that the partners take the opportunity of these final stages to achieve ambitious provisions on animal welfare in the agreement, including the recommendations outlined in our EU-Australia fact-sheets.
In Europe, animal welfare is a great ethical concern. The consultation on the Future of Europe found one out of seven EU citizens consider animal welfare a priority issue, 89% of EU citizens want the EU to do more to promote animal welfare at a global level, and 93% consider that imports of animal products should comply with the same animal welfare standards as those applied in the EU.
While animal welfare is linked to sustainable food systems, unconditional trade policies fuel the negative impacts of intensive livestock farming by prioritising profits above all. Notably, 96% of Australian beef exports to the EU are finished in feedlots, which are detrimental to animal welfare, particularly in terms of health and nutrition.
According to the EU’s own impact assessment, a Free Trade Agreement with Australia granting further market access to Australian beef without any animal welfare condition would fuel beef production on feedlots, increasing water, soil and air pollution in Australia. Eurogroup for Animals calls on the EU and Australia to condition the beef quota to meat derived from animals fed with grass, hence explicitly excluding feedlots.
It is also critical that animal welfare be prioritised in the negotiations in relation to the handling (in particular introducing pain relief for all painful procedures and mutilations, including mulesing), transport and slaughter of bovines and sheep.
Other topics less relevant to current trade flows must also be discussed, such as conditioning the lowering of tariffs on broiler-related products to the respect of the coming revised EU rules on broilers, which should to be aligned with the “Better Chicken Commitment” – already endorsed by Australian companies such as HelloFresh, My Food Bag, Marley Spoon and Domino’s – and laying hens with a conditionality on cage-free which would support the Australian government’s pledge to phase out battery cages by 2036.
Male chick and female duckling culling must be banned, argue several MEPs
16 May 2023
Last Thursday, MEPs gathered at a plenary session at the European Parliament to share their views on banning male chick and female duckling culling. We were pleased to see most of those involved in the debate were against the brutal practice – but now, it’s vital the appropriate steps are taken to phase it out effectively in Europe.
Male chick and female duckling culling is inherently inhumane – where young birds are sent to slaughter at just one day old to be gassed or macerated, as they serve no ‘use’ to European food production. It’s a barbaric way to treat any sentient being – the European Commission must ban the practice in their ongoing revision to the animal welfare legislation.
Fortunately, this is a perspective many MEPs seemed to share at the plenary session held on May 11, where an end to the practice and alternative methods for managing day-old poultry populations was discussed. Some speakers referenced the fact that many Member States have already banned the practice (showing the EU that such a ban can be enacted effectively on a large scale), and that in addition, there has been progress made towards the use of in-ovo sexing technologies, which would determine the sex of these young birds before they hatch and therefore eliminate the need for such cruel slaughter.
Several MEPs showed particularly strong interest in a ban, calling male chick and female duckling culling “cruel”, “brutal” and “devastating”. Among the most passionate speakers were Niels Fulsgang and Clare Daly, who represented Denmark and Ireland respectively. Many MEPs referred to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as well, which acknowledges that animals are “sentient beings”. The clear message was that there is a strong dissonance between this acknowledgement and this barbaric practice, which is still allowed under European law – a dissonance that must urgently be addressed for the welfare of millions of animals each year.
Based on the responses to this open question and the reaction from policymakers to L214’s event on male chick and female duckling culling in January this year, we’re optimistic that European policymakers will continue to work towards an EU-wide ban with no derogations, ensuring a strong and effective legislation that leaves no male chick or female duckling behind, no matter their ‘use’ assigned by the industry.
The European Commission can draw inspiration from the Member States who have already made progress in this area, and have at their disposal the latest science that shows much more humane alternatives to the practice are available and viable.
Debate about the Industrial Emissions Directive puts the intensification of animal farming in the spotlight
17 May 2023
Next week the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) votes on the proposal for the revised Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU), commonly called ‘IED’. The debate around the revision shows that EU animal farms have intensified during the past decade to bigger farms and more intensive rearing of animals.
The IED controls emissions from the largest industrial installations in the EU, including large pig and poultry farms. Any installation controlled by the IED is forced to reduce emissions and needs a permit to operate. The EU agricultural sector is responsible for half of the methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas, and for ⅔ of the pollution from ammonia emissions. The EU is currently not on track with reducing its emissions and it is necessary to address more of the large livestock farms.
The European Commission’s proposal for a revision of the Directive seeks to bring the IED in line with EU’s climate targets, the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Global Methane Pledge (pledging to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030). In addition to large pig and poultry farms, the Commission proposes that the IED should also cover cattle and lower the threshold to cover farms with 150 or more Livestock units (LSU). 150 LSU corresponds to, for example, a large farm with 500 pigs, or 150 dairy cows, or 10,700 laying hens or 21,400 broiler chickens.
A threshold of 150 LSU would cover the largest commercial cattle farms in the EU, and increase the coverage of intensive pig and poultry farms. The new proposal will increase the IED’s coverage from 18% to 60% of emissions of ammonia from cattle, pigs and poultry, and extend the coverage from 3% to 43% of methane emissions. This would help the EU achieve its climate commitments and help improve air and water quality.
The proposal has been criticised for affecting a larger proportion of farms than initially foreseen.
The debate surrounding the proposal is illustrative of another important issue affecting the EU: the intensification of animal farming. In fact, even though the proposal will affect significantly fewer farms than originally planned, the relative number of farms (i.e. the percentage) is higher, as farms have become larger with more intensive breeding and the smaller farms have declined.
The debate also reflects how the animal industry does not bear the true costs of its production. For example, the new threshold of 150 LSU would cover 135.000 farms (according to data from 2020). The cost for the farms is estimated to be around 2.400 euro on average per farm per year while the emissions reduction will come with human health benefits of 5.5 billion euros per year, according to Commission figures. Given the large ‘hidden’ costs that intensive animal agriculture has for the environment, public health and animal welfare, the sector should not be exempted from the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
The Commission’s proposal runs the risk of being watered down by the European Parliament and the Council by increasing the threshold or removing cattle from the scope. As the Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety votes on the proposal next week, Eurogroup for Animals calls on the Members of the European Parliament to honour the EU’s commitments to the climate targets, the Zero Pollution Plan and the Global Methane Pledge and uphold the proposed threshold of 150 LSU for cattle, pig and poultry.
Swedish Public Procurement Agency sets criteria for healthier chicken breeds
11 May 2023
As a first in Europe, new criteria developed by the Swedish National Agency for Public Procurement includes standards for higher welfare chicken breeds, in line with European Chicken Commitment. Djurens Rätt welcomes the development and its potential to reduce the suffering in chicken factory farms.
Public sector food procurement represents a significant lever to drive improvements for animal welfare standards, sustainability and support for local food producers. Since 2022, Sweden’s Public Procurement Agency has been working to update the criteria for chicken and turkey meat with input from an advisory group, which included Djurens Rätt.
Several of Djurens Rätt’s suggestions were included in the final criteria, such as the opportunity to procure meat from higher welfare chicken breeds, thereby excluding meat from fast-growing chickens. This is in line with the European Chicken Commitment (ECC) or Better Chicken Commitment, a policy that outlines the minimum standards required for chickens to live healthier, happier lives. It includes maximum stocking densities, improved environmental standards and more.
Djurens Rätt is of course very happy that our participation in the advisory group has led to positive outcomes for chickens. Facilitating municipalities and regions to reject the use of fast growing chickens will reduce suffering at large. It is important to simultaneously reduce consumption of chicken meat in order to strengthen the protection of animals in the long term.
No Animal Left Behind: why do farmed pigs need specific laws to protect their welfare?
15 May 2023
Did you know over 240 million pigs are farmed in Europe? Trapped in bleak and unhygienic factory farms, they are forced to face a number of awful scenarios. Where sows often spend a large portion of their lives in a tiny cage with not even enough room to turn around, piglets are mutilated, and pigs bred for meat are lowered into gas chambers before being slaughtered. The European Commission has the power to help pigs immensely by creating specific rules for their welfare in the ongoing revision to the animal welfare legislation.
Learn about the issues piglets, sows and grower pigs face on pages 31 – 54 of our No Animal Left Behind report. All sources cited below have come from this report.
Able to understand words, solve problems and play games, pigs are incredibly clever – in fact, they rank within the seven most intelligent animals worldwide. Mother pigs are especially nurturing, and go to great lengths to take care of their young piglets, from building nests to ‘singing’ to them when it’s time for their dinner. These expressive and caring creatures love to be touched, too, and will often cuddle and sleep nose to nose.
Yet pigs are living horrible lives in the EU’s factory farms – even when they are only piglets
From the moment they are born, factory farmed pigs are in line to suffer. Male piglets are castrated to avoid developing ‘boar taint’, a largely cosmetic issue that only affects 0 – 3% of piglets on factory farms – yet despite these small numbers, a 2016 survey found that 18 out of 24 countries castrated over 80% of their pigs. This is completely needless, and causes acute pain to these babies – as does ‘tail docking’, another procedure to which they are subjected, in which their tails are cut off. Though legislation banning the routine use of this procedure has been in force since 1994, audits between 2016 – 2019 found that 95 – 100% of pigs had docked tails in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Denmark, proving that the legislation is vastly ignored and unenforced.
Their bodies mutilated, these poor piglets can’t even turn to their mothers for comfort.
Millions of sows are wasting away in tiny crates
Sows on factory farms are confined for many weeks at a time to miniscule crates, where even doing the most simple movements, like standing up and sitting down, can result in injuries sustained from banging into the bars they are trapped behind.
Forced to produce up to two litters of 10 – 12 piglets a year, these poor mother pigs do nothing but suffer, with their bodies used as machines – they are not even fed properly, as pregnant sows are given a reduced portion of food to ensure high productivity. The stress together with being starved and confined leads to frustration and aggression. Being kept in such a state causes numerous health issues like mouth sores, reduced muscle and bone strength, and urinary tract infections.
Where a mother pig in the wild would create a comfortable space for her babies and travel far to find nest materials, caged sows on factory farms can do little more than lie on their side. It’s a boring and painful existence.
After struggling their whole lives, grower pigs face a terrifying slaughter
Most of the EU’s grower pigs are raised indoors in dirty, barren pens. Fighting is common as they are crammed so closely together, as well as illnesses – especially respiratory disorders, as a result of the poor air quality and high stress in these unnatural habitats. Fed poor and unhealthy diets aimed to maximize production and not welfare, they frequently suffer from gastrointestinal problems like gastric ulcers, which can affect up to 60% of pigs in intensive farming systems.
These poor sentient beings are not even slaughtered humanely, with many of them stunned using CO2, a gas that’s extremely painful for pigs. From the moment they are exposed to it – while being lowered into a gas-filled chamber in a crate or gondola – they hurt. High concentrations of CO2 can severely irritate their eyes, noses, throat, and lungs. It can also directly stimulate their brain’s ‘fear response’, meaning in the moments before their death, these pigs are often terrified. Tragically, CO2 stunning is not even always effective in rendering these pigs unconscious, so they are slaughtered awake. It’s an unendurable end.
The horrors pigs are exposed to across the EU are completely needless and must be stopped. Higher welfare conditions for farmed animals are what European citizens have come to expect, and it’s what the animals themselves deserve.
In their ongoing revision to the animal welfare legislation, the European Commission must include specific rules for pigs that protect them from unnecessary suffering, ensure they can go outside, support them in creating strong and healthy relationships with their piglets and each other, and allow them to exercise their natural behaviours.
Ending the confinement of sows would be a powerful place for policymakers to start – and we’ve already put together a new report to help make it happen, filled with case studies, scientific evidence, and data from all over Europe.
It’s time to ensure farmed pigs can lead lives worth living, full of enjoyment, satisfaction and comfort – it’s their right as sentient beings. Who’s with us?
1600 mink culled due to COVID outbreak on Italian fur farm, despite ban
13 May 2023
Following a delay in implementing the Italian ban on fur farms, 1600 mink have been culled due a new SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. The farming of animals for the production of fur has been prohibited since 1 January 2022 in Italy, however there are still thousands of mink housed on five farms.
In April, after confirming the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on a mink farm in Calvagese della Riviera, the culling of all 1600 minks began. This was the fourth COVID-19 outbreak in an Italian farm.
The mink housed on this farm had been awaiting transfer to shelter facilities since the implementation of the fur farming ban.
LAV launched a new appeal to Minister Lollobrigida denouncing the enormous delay in defining the procedures for the transfer.
Continuing to keep thousands of mink housed in intensive systems poses serious risk to the health not only of the animals, but also of humans, given that they can transmit, mutate and serve as intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2.
At the same time as the WHO announced that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the outbreak in Calvagese della Riviera was detected, acting as a reminder that swift action should be taken in order to avoid future pandemics.
In addition to the animal welfare problems inherent to fur farming, several questions regarding the public health risks have been tabled to the European Commission, whose answer has been that a EU-wide ban on fur farming would be a disproportionate and unjustifiable measure.
The European Citizens’ Initiative Fur Free Europe gathered 1,701,892 signatures from across the European Union, and continues to call on the European Commission to ban fur farming on ethical, public health and environmental grounds.
Recently, the MEPs Working Group for the European Citizens’ Initiative tabled another question on the threat to public health posed by fur farms. In its reply, the Commission stated that “in terms of both SARS-CoV-2 and HPAI in mink farms, Member States assess local health risks and take measures according to the epidemiological circumstances and in line with the SARS CoV-2 risk assessments carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as the EFSA/ECDC/EU Reference Laboratories joint assessment on the HPAI situation that is regularly published”.
I am starting off with a different gripe tonight. Wednesday, I think it was, I sat through the second round of Eurovision song contest qualifiers. After 4 songs, I went out to take some painkillers for my back; only then did I realise that actually they also helped me get through the rest of the qualifying songs:
Actress Dame Joanna Lumley today urges Rishi Sunak to keep Tory pledges on boosting animal welfare.
The Absolutely Fabulous star is among celebrities to sign a letter calling on the Prime Minister to deliver on Conservative promises made in 2021 – including to drive through new legislation to tackle abuse of animals and bolster protections.
Dame Joanna, 77, told the Mirror: “Animals are being utterly let down by the Government’s dismaying failure to deliver the plans it promised two years ago.
“I urge the Prime Minister to progress vital animal protection measures, including the Kept Animals Bill and a ban on the import of cruel fur, as a matter of the utmost importance.”
The letter, which was also signed by Pop Idol singer Will Young, TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher and Countdown’s Susie Dent, tells the Tory leader: “Britain prides itself on being a nation of animal lovers and in May 2021 the Government pledged to reinforce our country’s position ‘as a global champion of animal rights’ with the publication of its Action Plan for Animal Welfare.
“The plan promised the animal-loving British public it would deliver improvements in the lives and wellbeing of millions of animals.
“But two years on, we and the animals we care so deeply about have been badly let down.”
The current version of the legislation, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, is stuck in the Commons.
If passed, it aims to tackle cruel puppy smuggling, live exports, banning keeping monkeys as pets and improving zoo regulations.
But a separate letter from 25 animal charities and campaign groups tells the PM the legislation has “been left languishing as the Government’s Kept Animals Bill has not been given parliamentary time for over 17 months”.
It adds: “Our patience, and our trust, has now been exhausted.
“The Kept Animals Bill, and the majority of the Action Plan, now appears to be little more than an inconvenience to a government that believes it can quietly abandon its promises.
“Animal issues matter to voters.”
Humane Society International’s senior campaigns director Claire Bass said: “The Government’s apparent disinterest and unwillingness to deliver its own Action Plan for animals is frankly baffling.
“MPs tell us they receive more constituent correspondence calling for better animal protection than any other issue, so passing legislation like the Kept Animals Bill and a ban on fur imports should be an easy and obvious choice in terms of popular policy.
“But instead, we and animals are enduring endless delays, seemingly deprioritised by this Government despite huge public concern.
“We urge Mr Sunak to remember his party’s promises and start delivering the action that animals deserve and voters expect.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vice-president Elisa Allen said: “Animals are in peril and the Government has seemingly abandoned them as time is running out for it to make good on its word.”
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood claimed that “animals have been left in limbo by continued inaction on key animal welfare issues”.
UK General Election in about 12 months – oh, and animal welfare people vote – so lets get moving !
Update 12/5/23 – I have been contacted directly by Steve at Cruelty Free International regarding the issue of UK animal testing for cosmetics. I show his full response below which covers how the UK government “Home Office disclosed that it had been secretly granting licences to test for cosmetics since February 2019”.
I have also included additional info from the CFI site and also a link to the site. They have actions which you can take, so I suggest that a visit there is a good starter. Obviously, people can write to their own MP’s about this all based on the info provided.
Cruelty Free International issued the following statement yesterday:
“Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is misinformed about the Government’s position on animal testing for cosmetics. A policy banning such tests was first introduced in 1998. However, in a letter to Cruelty Free International in August 2021, the Home Office admitted that the policy had ‘changed’ (i.e. been abandoned), to bring the UK into line with an EU ruling in a case called Symrise.
“When Cruelty Free International challenged the new approach in a recent judicial review, the Home Office disclosed that it had been secretly granting licences to test for cosmetics since February 2019. A High Court judge ruled that legally it was entitled to, based on his interpretation of EU general chemicals legislation known as REACH and its relationship with the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
“Importantly, however, the judge also said that there was nothing to prevent the Government from reinstating the policy ban. This is what the Government said in 2015 in the context of another judicial review:
‘… For the avoidance of any doubt, we are advising you that the current UK ban on testing cosmetics in animals is an absolute ban… No licence authorising the testing of cosmetics (finished products or ingredients) has been issued since 1998 … The UK’s policy ban remains in place even where EU legislation would appear to require or permit such testing’.
“The Government also said separately that the policy applied to worker safety testing. The Prime Minister’s statement refers to tests ‘for the consumer’. Whether labelled as consumer or worker safety, the animal tests are identical. The Government is now unquestionably once more allowing cosmetics testing on animals for the benefit of consumers.
“The 2015 statements constitute the policy the Government abandoned in 2019, paving the way for cosmetics testing on animals once again.
All the PM needs to do is to reinstate the policy. The Government does not have to slavishly follow legislation coming from the EU. It should do what the overwhelming majority of British people want.”
Please let me know if you need any further information.
The UK government has admitted that it secretly abandoned the UK’s ban on animal testing for cosmetics in 2019 – but as part of the ruling in our Judicial Review of the policy, a High Court judge has told the Home Office that it can reinstate the ban.
Click on the above link to continue reading more from CFI.
Check out our very recent post relating to the possible re introduction of animal testing:
With the general election maybe a year or so away; the government needs to listen and act to the wishes of the people. ? The live animal export ban – will this also become law in the very near future ? – animals have friends, and those friends have votes !
Rishi Sunak on Thursday categorically ruled out watering down Britain’s ban on animal testing for cosmetic products for consumers.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s important that the public are reassured here.
“The ban on using animals to test cosmetic products or ingredients for the consumer remains completely in force.
“There are absolutely no plans to change that.
“It also remains the case that it is unlawful for any business to sell cosmetic products or their ingredients that have been tested for the consumer on animals. “So to be crystal clear this is never going to happen.
“Any changes in EU law on this will not impact our position.
Related video: Animal Testing For Makeup In The UK Continues After 25-Year Ban (unbranded – Newsworthy)
“We will take the necessary steps to ensure this is the case.
“There will be no weakening on our position on animal testing and indeed we have some of the highest animal welfare standards and are exploring ways to enhance our position as a leader on animal welfare.”
It came after the High Court last week ruled ministers were acting lawfully when they changed a policy on animal testing to align with EU chemical rules.
In 2020 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an EU agency which oversees chemical regulation, ruled that companies needed to test some ingredients used in cosmetics on animals to ensure they were safe for workers manufacturing the ingredients.
Manufacturers still cannot undertake any animal testing to check the safety of the makeup for consumers. This should be done using other methods.
The move led to criticism from campaigners “dismayed”at the government’ apparently allowing animal testing for makeup ingredients.
Animal rights groups feared this would lead to the resumption of testing in the UK.
But today a spokesperson for Mr Sunak said this was not the case.
Mandatory training of police officers in animal rights begins in Greece on Wednesday
Hellenic Police officers across the country will begin mandatory training in animal rights issues as of Wednesday, it was announced on Tuesday, ANA reports.
At least one police officer per police station will acquire the knowledge and skills to deal with cases related to animal abuse, be they strays, home pets, working or game animals, exotic species, and others, noted the police.
The task of training the officers has been undertaken by the instructors of Zero Stray Academy and the Zero Stray Pawject organization at no cost to the Greek state, in collaboration with the Hellenic Police’s education and continuing education directorates.
Regarding the number of violations of animal protection legislation in the first four months of 2023, 705 cases were drawn up, 138 people were arrested, and 659 fines totaling 3,317,800 euros were imposed.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has ruled on the complaint logged in by Eurogroup for Animals and other animal protection organisations regarding blood farming in Iceland, and it is crystal clear: Iceland is in breach of EU rules on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
It is important to note that, as a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Iceland has to comply with the rules of the European Economic Area (EEA), most of which are aligned with those of the EU.
Following the findings of an investigation into Icelandic blood farms led by Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich (AWF|TSB), Eurogroup for Animals, together with 16 animal protection organisations, decided to file an official complaint with the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), arguing that Iceland did not properly apply its legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which is derived from the EU Directive on the same topic.
On Icelandic blood farms the blood of mares is collected to extract a hormone called Equine Chorionic Gonadotropin (eCG), or Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), which is used in industrial animal breeding to increase the reproductive performance of farmed animals. The semi-wild horses are subjected to violence, risk numerous injuries and repeated trauma. The amount of blood collected – five litres per week – exceeds any international guidelines existing on the topic. A more recent investigation by AWF|TSB demonstrated that nothing has changed since 2019.
The argument brought up in the complaint was that blood collection for the production of eCG should not be approved by the Icelandic authorities as it does not respect the 3 Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) on which the relevant EU Directive is based, and thus the Icelandic law on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
Indeed, according to this principle, animal experiments must, whenever possible, be replaced by alternative methods that do not involve live animals. In the case of PMSG, these alternatives exist: producers can rely on a number of hormone-free methods, authorised synthetic medicinal products, as well as on informed management techniques. The decision paves the way to further contest this cruel practice in the EU, where the relevant EU Directive is not properly enforced by all Member States.
ESA’s decision clarifies that we don’t need to discuss further what to do about blood farming, it is illegal under EU rules.
Blood farming is a double pain: mares suffer through violent and excessive blood collection so that animal farming can further intensify, with all the animal suffering that goes with it. We hope that after this, Iceland will put an end to this cruel practice. The upcoming revision of the EU animal welfare legislation also provides an opportunity for the EU to act: we call on the European Commission to use this opportunity to propose a ban on the production, the import and the use of PMSG in the EU.”
170+ civil society organisations demand just alternative to toxic EU-Mercosur deal
10 May 2023
A broad coalition of civil society organisations both from South America and Europe reiterates its call to stop the EU-Mercosur deal and rejects efforts to “greenwash” it. They call on the EU and Mercosur to engage in a new relationship based on cooperation, solidarity, equality, democracy and sustainability.
The EU-Mercosur agreement is an outdated trade agreement that exemplifies the shortcomings of the EU’s trade policy agenda, say the signing organisations: t will increase deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, human rights violations, job losses, and animal suffering.
We need a strong and reliable relationship with Mercosur. Cooperation instead of competition and solidarity instead of exploitation should be the guiding principle for EU-Mercosur relations. Instead of our relationships being shaped by the interests of transnational corporations, we need to have a model of economic and political cooperation that builds around the needs of people, public services, care work, food sovereignty and sustainability.
Theresa Kofler, Anders Handeln Austria
The EU-Mercosur agreement is unbalanced: people of Mercosur countries will foot the bill, to the sole benefit of the transnational companies that will profit in particular from the opening of public markets. Our common future should not be based on importing more natural resources from Mercosur and to export thermic cars and pesticides, including pesticides banned in the EU, but on guaranteeing a “good life for all” as the call stands for.
A proposed additional protocol to the deal, circulated between EU and Mercosur governments and leaked earlier this year, only offers cosmetic, aspirational and unenforceable adjustments.
And the risks presented by the EU-Mercosur agreement cannot be restrained by the recent EU legislation on imported deforestation, explained Stephanie Ghislain, Political Affairs Manager at Eurogroup for Animals. “This is because the unconditional trade liberalisation foreseen in the EU-Mercosur agreement will further fuel intensification of animal farming, and the legislation ignores many products that contribute to deforestation, as well as other biomes that, just like the Amazon rainforest, are also destroyed by intensive agriculture”.
For these reasons, over 170 civil society organisations from South America and Europe reject this deal and consider the attempts to save it as mere greenwashing.
The EU-Mercosur deal is in direct opposition to climate action, food sovereignty and upholding human rights and animal well-being. Therefore, we need a u-turn for EU trade policy: leaving climate destruction, human and animal rights violations behind and moving towards a sustainable and social relationship based on solidarity for all.
Leah Sullivan, European Trade Justice Coalition
Seattle to Brussels Network is a network of development, environment, human rights, women’s and farmers’ organisations, trade unions, social movements and research institutes. The network was formed in the aftermath of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 1999 Seattle Ministerial to challenge the corporate-driven trade agenda of the European Union and European governments. It has also developed as a response to the increasing need for European co-ordination among civil society organisations.
‘Planty’ (ex Led Zepp) does his bit at the Freddie tribute concert, London.
European Parliament report misses opportunity to offer plant-based milk alternatives to EU school children
9 May 2023
Today, the European Parliament adopted its own initiative report on the school scheme for fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products (2021/2205(INI)), but missed the opportunity to explicitly include plant-based alternatives to dairy milk.
Together with more than 30 NGO and industry representatives, Eurogroup for Animals and its members called on the Parliament to include plant-based milk alternatives. Authorising Member States to procure plant-based dairy alternatives in EU schools would align the scheme with the Farm to Fork strategy’s ambitions and recognise the needs of children who cannot, or do not want to, consume dairy milk due to allergies or for ethical or environmental reasons.
The EU School Scheme supports the distribution of fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products and benefits around 20 million children throughout Europe. Given that 70% of the EU’s agricultural emissions are attributed to livestock farming, the School Scheme can be a low-hanging fruit for the EU to reduce methane emissions from the food system without compromising with the health aspect of the scheme.
It’s a disappointing outcome for what should have been a logical step to make plant-based, sustainable options more accessible in schools across the EU. Now we look to the European Commission to align their policies meaningfully to ensure a smooth transition to sustainable food systems.
Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals
In spite of the missed opportunity to include plant-based drinks, the European Parliament’s report does support higher animal welfare as it encourages the uptake of organic products within the scheme, mentioning that at least 25% of the products should be organic. The report also calls on the Commission to ensure that the products comply with objective criteria for animal welfare.
The EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy has stressed the need for a transition towards sustainable consumption patterns and the fact that a shift to a more plant-based diet will benefit public health and the environment. In addition to the environmental and health credentials of plant-based dairy alternatives, the crops used for most EU plant-based drinks are grown in the EU and their inclusion will support European farmers. The European Commission will review the School Scheme as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy and put forward a proposal towards the second half of the year.
Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations therefore call on the European Commission to:
Include unsweetened, fortified plant-based dairy alternatives in its proposal and;
Ensure that all dairy milk that is distributed should follow higher animal welfare standards, i.e be organic, and contribute towards the Organic Action Plan. Dairy products from intensive, non-organic farming systems should not be subject to public funding through the school scheme.
Live animal exports might be banned in Brazil – setting the scene for the kind of change we want to see in Europe
9 May 2023
A trial court in Brazil recently ruled to ban live exports, following a number of NGOs filing lawsuits against the practice based on the harm it causes to farm animals. While the decision is not yet final, this is the kind of bold move we need to see European policymakers make against live animal transport in the EU – a system within which millions of poor sentient beings suffer physically, mentally and emotionally each year.
Animals are not things. They are sentient living beings, that is, individuals who feel hunger, thirst, pain, cold, anguish, fear.
On April 25, a potentially historic ruling was made by a trial court in Brazil to end live animal exports. This decision was made following the tireless efforts of several NGOs who, since 2017, have been campaigning to end all live animal exports from Brazil after NADA, the largest live cargo transport ship in the country, came under scrutiny for its extremely poor animal welfare conditions.
Brazil’s call for a ban should inspire the EU to look at its own Transport Regulation more closely
While this ruling will not be final until it is reviewed by a higher court (Brazil’s Third Regional Federal Court) – a process which could take years – it’s an extremely promising first step towards changing the country’s live animal export industry in a truly effective way, mirroring a recent move by New Zealand to ban live exports by sea.
Both bans also send a strong message to the rest of the world, that we hope European policymakers take note of: that the live animal export sector is filled with serious affronts to animal welfare, and needs to be addressed at a dramatic scale. Farm animals often suffer hugely on long journeys, whether travelling via land or sea, including by being:
Starved and dehydrated – as they often travel for several hours without being given food or water
Exhausted – due to the strain these journeys put on them, and the impossibility to relax. A WELFARM investigation found animals being transported from Poland to the Franco-German border were kept in their trucks for 20 hours with no breaks
Subjected to overheating – especially when they are being transported in the summer, when temperatures soar
Crammed together – which can cause injuries and further stress to these animals as they are transported, a process which is already entirely unnatural to them.
Not only do these sentient beings suffer immensely on these journeys, but the rules that are already in place to protect them through the EU’s Transport Regulation are not even being adequately enforced. Over Easter this year, our member Essere Animali together with the Italian police stopped seven trucks transporting lambs arriving from Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Six of these were violating the EU’s transport rules, including by overcrowding the trucks, overlooking injuries to the animals and more.
Much firmer rules and restrictions: how should Europe’s live animal transport sector be addressed?
In 2019, over 1.6 billion farmed animals were transported alive across the EU and to non-European countries. It’s clear the European Commission’s Transport Regulation needs a serious overhaul if it is to effectively improve the lives of farm animals across Europe, as our extensive white paper on the subject explores in more detail.
Beyond creating much stricter rules for animals transported between EU countries, however, it’s important that policymakers also consider taking similar steps to Brazil and New Zealand by enacting a full ban on live animal exports to countries outside of Europe’s borders. When animals are transported to third countries, it’s much easier for the EU’s transport rules to go unfollowed. Banning live exports to non-European countries entirely would be the only way to ensure the EU’s high animal welfare standards are not being undermined elsewhere in the world.
Ideally, international instruments for animal welfare will also be developed in future to ensure that animals are protected globally, by strong and enforced regulations that have their welfare at their heart. But Europe can already inspire great change in this area – and improve the lives of billions of European farm animals – by making powerful revisions to animal legislation that prioritise their essential needs and comfort. More insights into animal welfare during transport can be obtained in our 2022 position paper.
We have our fingers crossed that change is ahead
The live animal transport sector has always been notoriously difficult to monitor, as well as one in which the welfare of animals has been easily cast aside. We’re impressed with Brazil’s recent ruling, and hope it inspires policymakers both in Europe and the rest of the world to give the sector the kind of attention it deserves. If it does, the future will look a lot brighter for billions of farm animals.
Wow ! – we are so happy to read that AAU has reached an incredible 2.5 BILLION views on YouTube; so very much deserved by all the crew there who make endless sacrifices for the welfare of animals. We congratulate them on such a fantastic milestone.
For starters, watch a blast from the past, showing a mother dog guiding AAU rescuers to recover her puppies from a collapsed building:
We’re proud to share that we have reached nearly 2.5 billion views on our YouTube channel, making our videos the most watched animal rescues in the world.
We document our rescue stories to inspire people around the world to get involved in helping animals. Whether the viewer becomes a donor, or even just shares the video with a friend, it helps animals in the long run.
We’re thrilled that billions of people over the years have wanted to watch and be a part of helping so many animals. Thank you, because we sure couldn’t do this without you.
Healing Andy’s burn took months, and wow, we’ve bonded big-time.
This loveable boy was so traumatized by a massive burn wound that we found him in a state of complete despair. Sadly, bulls can be victims of abuse, and often have boiling hot water or even oil thrown on them to scare them away.
His eyes were wide as he innocently tried to bear his terrible pain. We brought him back to our hospital and began what would be a months-long journey of healing for this brave young bull.
Burn wounds can be very difficult to heal because of the damage to the layers of skin. During the course of his stay with us, while he indulged our routine wound dressings and bandage changes, his trust grew, his appetite soared, and he seemed to agree that love and affection feel beautiful!
Find out how this circling, brain-injured puppyearned the confident name “Breezy!”
Something was very very wrong. Even from a distance we could see that this puppy’s neck was twisted in a terrible way, thrusting his head almost backwards. He had suffered a head trauma, probably hit by a car in a hit-and-run.
Thankfully, a passerby noticed that he was alive and called us for help. We gave him supportive care and treatment for several days while he remained semi-comatose, but on the third day, we were delighted that he wanted to eat on his own. With a little help to stabilize his neck, this little gem seemed to tell us “I’m ready to live!” It took 2 months of baby-steps for Breezy to re-learn some basic motor skills, but wow, he has ’em nailed down now! Meet loving, loveable Breezy today.
On April 22nd we caught the first group of dogs that we brought back to our recently renovated Sterilization Center.After so much planning and organizing, to finally have the first dogs at the center (all such sweethearts) and give them their first bowls of food and water, and prepare them for their surgeries, felt like the real ribbon-cutting. We have already had several animal lovers bring their community dogs for spay and neuter which is heart-warming to see.
Thank you for your incredibly generous support that makes saving so many lives each month possible.
A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC: “We are pleased that the High Court has agreed with the Government’s position in this case. The government is committed to the protection of animals in science”.
Animal testing for makeup or its ingredients had been completely banned in the UK since 1998. Animal testing had only been allowed if the benefits gained from the research outweighed any animal suffering, for example for medicines.
But in 2020 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an EU agency which oversees chemical regulation, ruled that companies needed to test some ingredients used in cosmetics on animals to ensure they were safe for workers manufacturing the ingredients.
During the case it was revealed that since 2019 the government had been issuing licences for animal testing of cosmetic ingredients in line with EU chemical rules, which it retained despite leaving the EU in 2020.
It is not known how many such licenses were issued or to whom.
Cruelty Free International (CFI), which brought the case, argued this was illegal and in breach of the animal testing ban for makeup and its ingredients, which has stood since 1998.
Mr Justice Linden ruled in favour of the government, saying that the change in policy still met existing laws, although he said it was “regrettable” the public had not been informed.
The change in the government’s position has been heavily criticised by major beauty and cosmetic brands, including Unilever, Body Shop and Boots. Most major brands have long campaigned to end animal testing.
Cruelty Free International said it was “outrageous” that the government had effectively lifted the ban.
Christopher Davis, director of activism and sustainability at the Body Shop said they would “campaign vigorously” against the changes.
“Allowing animal testing for cosmetics would be a devastating blow to the millions of people who have supported campaigns to end this appalling practice,” he told the BBC after the ruling.
The ingredients that may be tested on animals include homosalate – a common sunscreen ingredient used already in many foundations and skincare products.
Manufacturers can now apply for licenses to undertake animal testing before production begins, to ensure the safety of workers. But they still cannot undertake any animal testing to check the safety of the makeup for consumers. This should be done using other methods.
Mr Justice Linden said that nothing was stopping the government from introducing an absolute ban on animal testing of makeup products if it desired.
Cruelty Free International CEO Michelle Thew said: “The case shows clearly that [the government] was prioritising the interests of contract-testing companies over those of animals and the wishes of the vast majority of British people who are strongly opposed to cosmetics testing.”
CFI said it would appeal the decision made by the court and ask the government to reinstate the complete ban in the UK.Dr Julia Fentem, head of the safety and environmental assurance centre at Unilever – one of the world’s largest cosmetic companies – said tests potentially required under the new policy were “unnecessary”, and that safety tests could be carried out without animal involvement.
A new chemicals strategy is expected to be published this year outlining the government’s position on the use and testing of chemicals in the UK – which may include further guidance to cosmetic companies.
New images from GAIA: millions of piglets castrated in Flanders without anaesthesia
4 May 2023
A new investigation from GAIA reveals how painful piglet castration really is. Every year millions of piglets are castrated in Flanders (Belgium) without anaesthesia, and GAIA is launching a petition to stop this practice.
In Belgium, 5 to 6 million male pigs are bred every year and 80% of them are castrated (annually 4 to 4.8 million piglets). The piglet is castrated surgically at three to seven days of age to prevent it from developing the sexual hormones that can affect the meat’s odour in 3-5% of the carcasses, called ‘boar taint’. Alternatives to painful surgical castration exist, namely in the form of a vaccine or raising entire boars.
A new survey by Ipsos shows that 3 out of 4 Belgians (86%) are in favour of a legal ban on the surgical castration of piglets. In The road to end piglet castration report published today, GAIA is calling for a ban on this gruesome practice.
97 to 100% of Belgian piglets (3.9 to 4.8 million) are castrated without anaesthesia and only 85% receive meloxicam, an anti-inflammatory agent, as prescribed by BePork, the Belgian quality label for pork. Although analgesics and anaesthetics, used individually or in combination, can reduce pain or induce unconsciousness during castration, the way in which these substances are used in the field is insufficient to prevent severe suffering.
The only way to ensure a painless procedure would be to apply the same protocol used for cats and dogs (namely a combination of sedation and gas anaesthesia with pre-and post-operative pain relief). Only a trained veterinarian has the necessary competences to properly follow that type of procedure thus requiring time and costs that the farmers are virtually unable or unwilling to carry.
Both the vaccine against boar taint (15% of Belgian male pigs are vaccinated) and the rearing of intact boars with detection of boar taint at the slaughterhouse (8% of Belgian male pigs are kept as intact boars) are two good solutions and therefore alternatives to castration that pig farmers can use to manage the risk of boar taint, without surgically castrating the piglet.
International Conference on Human-Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence
2 May 2023
Written by Nick Clark
Wandering through the ancient streets of Oxford on the morning of a long awaited conference, I was enamoured by the beauty that human settlements and cities can create. Upon entering the conference, which brought together over 600 experts from all over the world in the iconic halls of Oxford University, my expectations hosted a chance to learn from examples of successful good practices, where humans had learned to adapt to the challenges of living along wild animals.
On my way out of the conference, my optimism had fractured, and was replaced by a deeper understanding of the challenges we face to work towards coexistence, but with newly established relationships which showed a tumultuous, but possible path to improve the outcomes of conflicts for wild animals.
To sum up an extremely well organised, well run, welcoming and highly enjoyable three day conference, filled to the brim with knowledge and expertise; human-wildlife conflict is hard to manage. In essence, and for the record, I agree completely: coexistence will not be achieved without making sure that all stakeholders involved feel their voice has been heard, and that decisions are not made on people’s behalf without their participation. Compromise is key, on all sides. Of course, each situation is different and the challenge of this conference was to mix high level discussions with cases from all over the world, involving humans with their own cultures, beliefs and problems, and animal species with their own unique life history, behaviour and ecology.
The forgotten stakeholder in much of the discussion were the wild animals themselves; voiceless, vulnerable, magnificent, and impressively miss-understood. There was a distinct human-centric approach throughout. I missed recognition of the sentience of the animals being discussed; instead conversations focussed on the benefits generated by animals for people, and how benefits can be shared with different human stakeholders, rather than the intrinsic value of animals, alive, in nature. Alas, few voices raised that it is humans that unsustainably encroach on the habitats of wild creatures, leaving fragmented landscapes with unavoidable boundaries where people and animals compete for the same resources. Lamentably, local communities often suffer the biggest losses from wild animals that have the least to do with the underlying causes of conflict. Yet we expect these people to change their behaviour to accommodate animals? That is a tough one!
In my opinion, clear and honest communication about wild animals is the first step that is often lacking. Imagine the continued misguided and sometimes manipulative messaging of the “big bad wolf” that permeates our society and much discourse in rural places. Wouldn’t attitudes change if there were more honest brokers in the media?
So let’s briefly touch on the sessions. I felt the need to be in two or three places at once, as the topics of discussions were tantalising. However, I was dismayed to find that the first high level panel “What future for large carnivores in Europe? Chasing the elusive state of coexistence” included representation of a Hunting Association, without the voice of groups who do not take the lives of animals for entertainment. In general the discussion was nuanced and recognised the growth of wolf populations due to important and successful policies, but called for flexibility in management in areas where populations are rising very quickly. I hoped to raise the point that the Habitats Directive and other conservation tools include built-in flexibility, so long as all other preventative means have been tried and failed. Listening to arguments to use lethal control as a first resort, rather than the last one, without the chance to respond left a jadedness going into the rest of the conference.
My spirits were lifted in the “Bridging the gap between science and stakeholders” session. In fact, it was stated that there is limited evidence for the effectiveness of both lethal, and non-lethal methods, deepening my conviction that more research into alternatives and their effectiveness is paramount as a first step, before resorting to any lethal decisions. The encouraging projects from the Wolf Fencing Team Belgium sees hundreds of volunteers helping to increase wolf acceptance among farmers by facilitating their shift to wolf-proof fences, reducing the chance for conflict. The session heard, for the first time in the conference, a description of how human society can change to reduce conflict, via reducing our overall consumption habits and our need to alter landscapes. We were also graced with the wisdom of Susan Stone, Founder/Director of the International Wildlife Coexistence Network and Co-Founder at Wood River Wolf Project. She provided compelling evidence that non-lethal methods can cost less money and result in fewer lost sheep than lethal ones, with the importance of using varied methods, temporally mixing them, and understanding when to use guarding dogs effectively. This panel greatly sparked my interest.
Friday saw a flurry of activity, where large carnivores and elephants were once again top of the agenda. I would have appreciated a larger overall range of animal taxa discussed, such as rodents, ungulates, birds or badgers, but this day did see the discussion turn to new conceptual frameworks and fertility control, broadening the scope of the conference. A fantastic session from Adam Grogan of the RSPCA saw the presentation of the International Consensus Principle of Ethical Wildlife Control. These principles are at the core value of how Eurogroup for Animals believes wild animals should be humanely managed, and were all the more pertinent given the strong lack of evidence that lethal management of animals is any better than non-lethal alternatives. In support of this, we published a position paper on seeking alternatives to lethal management.
A highly informative session on the new IUCN SSC Guidelines on human wildlife conflict provided compelling animal welfare reasons why translocation of animals is not always the best option in conflict scenarios, since animals need to re-learn their landscape, and in many cases suffer and die in their new location; or they attempt to travel home to their original habitat, or cause conflict in their relocated territory. Further chapters on livelihoods, poverty and wellbeing were discussed; planning across landscapes; and the importance of designing social research thoroughly. We were treated to a refreshing reminder for scientists to ‘KISS’ (Keep It Simple Stupid), while talking to journalists, though I was left with the question. If we keep it simple, how can we get across nuanced information, as it is often because information is so simplified in the media that can lead to negative, emotional and sometimes incorrect. Just take the idea that at least if you kill a wolf, that wolf can no longer take any more sheep; which ignores the social disruption for the wolf pack and what that might mean for wolf behaviour, or that if the conditions that caused the wolf to venture into that area remain the same, then other wolves are likely to fill the void.
The highlight for me came from the final keynote speech from Gabriela Lichtenstein, IUCN SSC Regional Vice Chair for Latin and MesoAmerica. The spuriously named presentation “A sustainable use perspective” turned my frown upside down, when a story of the vicuna (a previously endangered, and smallest camelid species in the world) was recognised as far more valuable alive, than dead, in a project where locals would benefit from protecting the species, and using the wool in an animal welfare conscious and sustainable way. This talk brought together all the elements that the conference was about: participation, local voices and decisions, management plans and benefits sharing. The welfare of the animals was mentioned multiple times, and it even gave me a chance to ask a question and highlight this as a great example of the International consensus Principles of Ethical Wildlife Control in action! Tragically, lobbyists promoting the killing of animals fought hard enough to actually change the policy in the area to actually include the killing again of these lovely animals. It hit me then, that our work is only just beginning, and that animal protection organisations need, and deserve, a seat at this table, and at this conference.
All in all, this conference was an eye opening, learning experience, which lived up to expectations, and to the grand location which hosted it. I truly believe that placing the welfare of individual animals at the heart of decision making, while allowing the participation of everyone affected, can lead to better decision making, human attitude and behaviour change, and more successful coexistence strategies. Thank you to the organisers!
Videos from this important conference will be made available here.
No Animal Left Behind: why do farmed fish need specific laws to protect their welfare?
2 May 2023
Fish are farmed in their billions in Europe, yet sadly, they currently receive little to no welfare protection, and many of their needs are still unknown. Countless fish are farmed in the EU every year in awful conditions where they experience overcrowding, high mortality rates, inhumane slaughter methods, and stress and injuries from routine handling and transport. The European Commission has the power to address these issues when revising the animal welfare legislation this year, by including species-specific laws for fish in farming, transport and slaughter.
Fish are sentient animals with individual personalities, who experience diverse emotions and live complex lives. Importantly, each species of fish is unique and varies greatly from another, which also means that their needs are not ‘one size fits all’. Fish in aquaculture are not domesticated animals – most are carnivorous predators and many of them are solitary animals by nature.
Just like other animals, their environment impacts their wellbeing, whether its available space, water quality, water temperature, etc., there are a lot of factors to take into account for each fish species.
Packed in overcrowded conditions where diseases can spread quickly
Being routinely handled, which is extremely stressful for farmed fish and can cause scale loss, skin, fin and eye injuries, muscle bruising, reduced appetite and impaired development
Struggling psychologically, as the farm environment is devoid of stimulation, particularly when compared to the dynamic, ever-changing sea and river environments in which fish evolved to live.
If they manage to survive the farming environment, the journey to slaughter is yet another tribulation, where fish typically undergo:
Starving for days or even weeks, which can increase aggression, competition and stress amongst farmed fish
Crushing as they are lifted out of the water in a large group net
Inadequate transport methods where water quality, water movement, noises and vibrations are severe stressors
A slow death from asphyxiation as the fish are put on ice or into an ice slurry bath which can last for minutes or hours.
Learn more about these issues on pages 7-9 of our new exposé report.
It’s time for the European Commission to protect farmed fish
The European Commission has the power to dramatically improve the lives of farmed fish when they revise the animal welfare legislation later this year. They must factor in strong, precise, and targeted rules for fish welfare that take into account their sentient status and the best welfare practices that we know of.
They should be handled with care, offered enriching lives and slaughtered in a way that doesn’t inflict intense suffering. There is no substitute for these basic needs.
All over Europe, laying hens are living stifled and limited lives behind bars. Recent investigations by Essere Animali, Equalia and Humánny Pokrok highlight what life in a cage really looks like for these poor sentient beings, emphasising why a truly cage-free future isn’t just desirable, but critical for their welfare.
No space to move. No access to natural light. Their bodies mutilated. These are just some of the circumstances laying hens in cages tragically experience in their short lives, in which they’re forced to lay huge quantities of eggs while suppressing their own natural behaviours and needs.
It’s an unbearable existence – and it’s one that the European Commission has the power to change, by effectively phasing out cages across Europe while also making specific rules for laying hens in their upcoming revision of the animal welfare legislation. Both are key opportunities for policymakers to put the wellbeing of these innocent birds first, and change millions of lives.
The time is now. Captured and shared by our members across the continent, these undercover investigations prove the issues laying hens in cages face span several Member States. Their problems are an EU concern, which only EU laws can address sufficiently. Read on.
Equalia: laying hens in cages in Spain
In 2021, Equalia published a shocking expose video on the experiences of caged laying hens on a Spanish factory farm. Not only did their footage show laying hens in great physical, emotional and mental distress, it also proved that these kinds of housing conditions can become incredibly unhygienic – posing a great risk to public health.
You can see:
Dead laying hens decomposing next to the living
Plucked and injured birds struggling to cope, and immersed in near-total darkness
Mites growing in eggs intended for human consumption, and pests like rats running among the birds
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has already concluded cages are unsafe, as there’s a clear connection between the amount of birds in cages and prevalence of diseases such as salmonella.
While Equalia acknowledges progress has been made towards transitioning to cage-free systems in Spain, it’s clear more needs to be done to ensure they’re truly banned from Europe’s farming systems. No shortcuts are to be taken if we want to be confident that the health and happiness of these birds – and that of Europe’s citizens – has been addressed as seriously as it deserves.
Essere Animali: laying hens in cages in Italy
In Italy, what Essere Animali recently uncovered about an egg-producing hens farm is nothing short of sickening. Their hard-hitting footage and investigative work shows a range of immoral and even illegal actions taking place, such as:
Hens being illegally slaughtered without being stunned first
Animals being violently treated, including by being thrown to the ground, grabbed by the legs and crushed into cages by workers’ feet
Eggs falsely and illegally being marketed as ‘free range’
Since the launch of Essere Animali’s investigation, the farm has fortunately been sentenced on several charges – but it’s worrying that these abuses and illegalities were able to slip through the cracks in the first place, especially as this investigation was preceded by another in 2019 detailing similar problems. Sign Essere Animali’s petition here for better animal welfare laws.
Humánny Pokrok: laying hens in cages in Slovakia
This year, our member Humánny Pokrok published the first investigation exploring the lives of caged laying hens in Slovakia. Filmed across three locations, what they found was far from pretty.
Their footage shows laying hens:
Suffering from severe feather loss and untreated injuries
Shoved together in tiny, suffocating and lightless spaces
Dying in obscene ways – one laying hen was even recorded being thrown into a garbage can and buried alive
The footage spread quickly throughout Slovakia. In the first 48 hours after it was published, it had reached one in five people, and inspired further political discussion about a ban on cages. Slovakian residents can sign Humánny Pokrok’s ongoing petition for such a ban here.
Laying hens deserve comfortable and satisfying lives! Do you agree?
Citizens across Europe have already called for the cage age to end – now it’s time for the European Commission to deliver, as well as to create specific rules for laying hens to ensure they live happier, freer, and healthier lives. It’s completely in the power of policymakers to bring about this positive change.
It’s time for the suffering of laying hens to end, and begin a new era that puts their welfare first.
World Day for Animals in Laboratories: EU citizens want to move towards non-animal science
24 April 2023
On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories (WDAIL), Eurogroup for Animals and its members join EU citizens in calling on the European Commission to step up its efforts to move towards more human-relevant and innovative non-animal science.
EU legislation on animals in science sets the ultimate goal of replacing all animals used for scientific and educational purposes with non-animal approaches. Yet, millions of animals continue to be used every year in research, testing, and education. In the EU and Norway alone, over 7.9 million animals were used for scientific purposes in 2020.
In this context, EU citizens continue to express their dissatisfaction with what they see as insufficient action to move towards non-animal science. After the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Stop Vivisection in 2015, the recently closed ECI Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing, has again collected over one million signatures. It calls on the European Commission to end the harmful use of animals in cosmetics and other chemical tests, and to put forward a concrete plan to transition to non-animal science.
EU-wide support for ending animal testing is also clearly demonstrated by a recent opinion poll conducted in the EU Member States with the highest number of animals used for scientific purposes. In particular, the survey showed that 77% of EU citizens agree that the European Commission and its Member States should develop a coordinated strategy to transition to scientific research, testing, and education without the use of animals.
Today, we also highlight recent successes of several of our member organisations in advancing human-based science:
Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) recently won the Lush Prize 2022 in the Education and Training category for their Non Animal Technologies (NAT)-database, and launched the “AFA-net”, a network of researchers working in the field of non-animal-derived antibodies. Last year, they also exposed the severe suffering of non-human primates used in brain research in Germany, and they will continue to campaign to end this practice. On WDAIL, for example, DAAE are planning actions in 14 different German cities focusing on brain research using non-human primates.
LAV funded an in silico research project at the University of Parma focused on predicting mutations of the Covid-19 spike protein. They also persuaded the Italian Ministry of Health to financially support 16 public institutes to develop research projects using alternatives to animal testing. This year, LAV will continue to campaign for increased public funding for non-animal methods, and to take legal action against specific research projects involving non-human primates.
La Fondation Droit Animal, Ethique et Sciences (LFDA) has started to chair the Advisory board of the recently created French 3R centre (FC3R). They also recently participated in a conference on alternative methods to animal testing to explain their actions in this field. For instance, this year, the LFDA will award their 14th Prize of Biology Alfred Kastler for the development of a replacement method to animal testing.
The RSPCA commissioned a poll which showed that 77% of UK citizens agree that ‘the UK Government should commit to ‘phasing out’ the use of animals in scientific research and testing’. They also raised awareness among political parties and Members of Parliament to commit to a strategy for phasing out animal experiments. Last year, the RSPCA also organised several events on ending severe suffering in animals used in science, as well as training, workshops, and presentations on how to create a ‘Culture of Care’ within establishments that use animals for scientific research and testing. This year, the RSPCA will continue to advance their two priorities: ending severe suffering for lab animals, and achieving a global commitment to phasing out animal experiments. On WDAIL, for example, they are planning a press release to promote their explainatory video on the latter.
Draft Impact Assessment – a good start for an ambitious legislation
20 April 2023
The draft Impact Assessment report on the revision of the EU’s animal welfare legislation, leaked today, reaffirms the European Commission’s aim of making the EU the global leader in animal protection.
In the Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission (EC) committed to revise all animal welfare legislation, to align it with the latest scientific evidence, broaden its scope and make it easier to enforce. The proposed measures are based on scientific recommendations provided by EFSA, the European Food Safety Agency, anchoring them in a strong evidence-base.
The proposals are expected by late September, however, the details of the Impact Assessment (IA) working document, as revealed by Agra Facts, are promising for the billions of animals involved.
The EC recognises that “Societal demands are not met – As identified in the Fitness Check, the trend is clear: many EU citizens pay increasing attention to animal welfare. A clear reflection of this is the ECI ‘End the Cage Age’ …. Ethical concerns are also raised against e.g. the systematic killing of male one-day old chicks and against long-distance animal transports and fur farming…..In addition, most EU citizens expect a more sustainable food production, i.e. less intensive farming and breeding systems.”
The impact assessment looks at 18 measures to improve the welfare of kept animals. Eurogroup for Animals particularly welcomes measures to:
Phase out of cages for all species
Increase space allowance for all species
Ban the systematic culling of male chicks
Introduce welfare requirements for the stunning of farmed fish
Ban cruel slaughter practices like water baths and CO2 for poultry and pigs
Ban mutilations, like beak trimming, tail docking, dehorning or surgical castration of pigs
Limited journey times for the transport of animals destined to slaughter
Apply the EU’s standards to imported animal products in a way that is compatible with WTO rules
We are also pleased to see that on fur farming the EC is acknowledging the serious welfare issues that a cage system causes to wild animals and is taking into consideration the 1.7 million voices calling for a Fur Free Europe.
The final Impact Assessment still has a long road to go before the actual proposals will be adopted, and we call on the Regulatory Scrutiny Board and Interservice Consultation to improve the proposals mainly with regards to shortening transition times to phase out cages and tightening the rules on live animal transport.
This is a very good start and reflects the decades of citizens campaigning and scientific evidence produced in the EU. In light of the results of the Impact Assessment, the EC must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and come forward with strong legislation that effectively improves the welfare of animals in Europe and globally. Ambitious legislation will benefit animals, citizens and farmers alike.
Adidas called on to drop kangaroo leather after Nike and Puma announce phase-out
21 April 2023
Eurogroup for Animals and 6 animal welfare and conservation organisations sent a letter to the CEO of Adidas, asking the company to stop the production of shoes using kangaroo leather.
This initiative follows the encouraging announcements by Nike and Puma to end the use of “k-leather” in their lines.
In Australia 1.6 million kangaroos are killed each year, raising serious animal welfare concerns. In addition, kangaroo populations are already suffering from the consequences of climate change such as droughts, floods and bushfires while the methods to estimate populations are questionable.
Kangaroo derived products, including leather, are exported to various regions including the European Union. The EU represents an important market for athletic shoes, and several brands continue to produce football shoes made of kangaroo leather, also called k-leather. Athletic shoes made from synthetic materials have proven high performance, making the use of kangaroo leather totally dispensable.
In March, Puma and Nike announced they will end the production of athletic shoes using kangaroo leather. We welcome this crucial shift for the protection and conservation of this iconic Australian species. However, Adidas continues to produce and sell k-leather shoes, despite the serious concerns raised by animal welfare organisations over cruel methods used to kill kangaroos, and despite EU consumers’ demands for cruelty-free products.
Eurogroup for Animals and our members LAV, GAIA, Voiceless and World Animal Protection, as well as Kangaroos Alive and Pro Wildlife, are therefore calling on the CEO of Adidas to discontinue the use of kangaroo leather in the brands products.
Please sign petition HERE to Ban Fur Farms in Canada
Related, please sign petition demanding department store Dillard’s be fur-free HERE
You can also send Dillard’s a message via their Contact Us page or via their floating Feedback button on the right-hand side of their site
Please visit HERE to reserve your free ticket for the private screening of Real Fur: “A documentary uncovering the true cost of fur in the fashion industry.”
Fur farms are not only cruel to animals but also pollute the planet and cause zoonotic diseases.Contrary to the belief that real fur is “natural” and better for the environment, fur production actually destroys the environment in various ways.
Over 75 percent of zoonotic diseases (according to the WHO)are caused because of close proximity to animals kept on farms.
In November 2021, the Animal Save Movement joined a global movement to ban fur farms. We took part in the #MakeFurFarmsHistory campaign which included protests in over 10 countries and a letter-writing campaign to ban fur farms in Canada.
Thanks to these actions and the support of the community, a bill was introduced into Canada’s parliament that calls for a federal ban on fur farms.
Curious to learn more about fur in the fashion industry? Want to find out how you can take action to help animals on fur farms? Join us and our friends at Arise Productions for the private screening of Real Fur – a documentary uncovering the true cost of fur in the fashion industry.
See the award-winning documentary film, meet director Taimoor Choudhry, and hear from prominent animal rights leaders: Camille Labchuk, Lesley Fox, Ashley Byrne, and Jenny McQueen, who are part of a discussion panel.
When: April 25 at 4:30PM PDT/ 7:30PM EDT Where: Online on Eventive How: Reserve your free ticket HERE
And FYI: for those people who are so superficial and need to demonstrate to the world their healthy portfolios, do what other people do and buy a sports team or have a school named after you, there is ZERO legitimacy to fur. ZERO.
And for others with lesser incomes who buy “fur-lined” products, remember that animals suffer just as much for a “little” fur, they aren’t just a “little” dead. And for those who opt for faux fur, it’s important to note that many times, real fur is actually disguised as fake fur when real fur costs less (do remember that the life of the animal is priceless), please see The Guardian’sHow To Tell If Faux Fur Is Actually Real Furthermore, some items are not required to include labels that designate fur as real or faux. Just leave it out altogether.
I became vegan after watching a documentary on fur, it was after seeing a dog tortured for his fur that I became aware that ALL animal exploitation is related, the cows who are forcibly impregnated overandoverandoverandover until their abused bodies no longer produce milk at a profitable level and who are then violently killed, suffer as mink do, who are forced to endure squalor, neglect, and disease, and then who are agonizingly gassed for their fur.
… In other words, don’t feign shock about fur if you’re still eating animals, the foundation of animal exploitation fuels and includes ALL animal exploitation, if you eat “bacon”, you’re deliberately supporting animals being anally electrocuted so their fur isn’t damaged during the “killing phase” of “fur farming”. And the US fur industry (used to if no longer) reprehensibly promotes that, since they kill animals onsite, they’re more “humane” than “food farming” slaughterhouses where animals are forced to endure further trauma via transport. Imagine using the death industry as a benchmark of ethics for your death industry.
Why do people conveniently neglect the THIRD option, which is to NOT SUPPORT ANY?
Because it’s really sad that I have to say this: stealing another’s fur is depraved, nothing but selfish, privileged, greedy, and barbarically cruel.
There is a special corner of hell reserved for those humans. Enjoy the bonfire. SL
Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:
No one is more vulnerable than a baby, and even more so orphaned babies. Without a mom, keeping babies growing healthy and strong needs the right nutrition–usually multiple times in a day– many hands and loving hearts. To the team members here, including volunteers and donors from afar, we thank you for being the arms rocking, the voices soothing with lullabies, and the milk bar attendants whose “customers” are waiting for their morning bottles!
Dilli’s smile was so worth the wait!
Incoordination and constant paddling was the result of a head trauma for this innocent little road accident victim. Neighbors knew to call Animal Aid for her rescue. After a few days of treatment she had regained some awareness and was able to eat with help, but she couldn’t orient or focus herself and circled helplessly. We hoped her circling would not be permanent, and that time would heal.
We were overjoyed to find that within a couple of weeks, all the play that had been locked inside her began to emerge. Her ability to coordinate improved, and so did her ability to interact and play. “Dil” means heart in Hindi, and we’ve called her Dilli, watching with delight as her normal abilities have gradually returned. Dilli is all heart, and she has captured our hearts too. Sometimes waiting is the very best thing you can do.
Sweet Snowpea’s skin infection made her become shy and inward from pain. Her skin was so itchy that she had scratched until she bled, causing sores that, if left untreated, could have become fatal.
Saving this gracious, poised, seemingly reserved girl, with open sores from her throat to her toes, was no less dramatic than closing a bleeding wound. We hurried to give her medicine and to start her series of medicated baths over several weeks.
As the wounds healed and velvety new fur began to emerge, we found that all her quiet and stillness had been evidence of her pain, not her nature. Take a look at this little hurricane of fun today! Snowpea will melt your heart!
For five years, Susan, a retired public defender, has used her skills in lapidary and metal work to help animals by managing the Animal Aid shop as a volunteer, donating hundreds of semi-precious stone pendants and crafting masterpieces in copper, silver and other metals. And she does it all in the midst of caring for her 11 animals and regular fosters.
The words “thank you” really don’t fully express our gratitude.
Here’s how you helped us in March!
Thank you for helping so many animals heal last month. Every animal we rescue, admit into our hospital for treatment, or treat directly on the street is a special someone who needed help from a friend, and thanks to you, they got it.
We thank you deeply for all you do, are, and inspire for animals.
No Animal Left Behind: why do laying hens need specific laws to protect their welfare?
17 April 2023
Did you know millions of laying hens in Europe never get to see daylight? Trapped in so-called ‘enriched’ cages, these innocent birds spend their days confined, depressed, injured and sick. They’re often deliberately mutilated, too, as their beaks are trimmed – a cruel practice that causes them chronic pain. The European Commission has the power to change their lives completely when revising the animal welfare legislation, by including specific laws for laying hens that protect them from harm and honour their unique natures.
Laying hens are extremely intelligent animals. Not only can they dream and remember people, places and things, they also understand geometry and can solve puzzles!
Able to feel everything from joy and curiosity to pain, laying hens are sentient beings with striking personalities, who deserve to feel safe in the world – just as every other animal does.
Sadly, laying hens are far from being taken care of in Europe’s farming systems. Trapped in uncomfortable cages with wire floors – without access to daylight and enduring injuries, frustration and boredom – their one constant is suffering.
What do laying hens experience on EU factory farms?
Among other things, laying hens are forced to endure:
A stifling lack of room: In the ‘enriched cages’ millions of laying hens are trapped within, they have only 600cm² of usable space – when evidence shows they need around 2,500cm² to behave naturally. Due to these extreme limitations on their movement, these poor birds can get no respite from each other, flap their wings or turn comfortably.
Beak trimming: In their confinement, laying hens often get stressed and aggressive with one another. To stop them from pecking their peers and causing them injury, their beaks are often trimmed, putting them in a state of constant pain. Of course, this ‘injurious pecking’ would not even be an issue if these innocent beings were not housed in such horrible conditions to begin with. It’s brutally unfair that they are mutilated as a result of their poor housing conditions.
The inability to be themselves: In nature, hens will spend about 50% of their time foraging and scratching at the ground, and are also highly motivated to dustbathe. Enriched cages completely fail to satisfy these needs, as birds are fed from a feeder, and any litter that is provided is quickly depleted (so the benefits are short-lived).
Uncomfortable and harmful habitats: Caged hens have reduced bone strength, more fractures and bone deformities due to their suffocating lives behind bars. The wire floors on which they exist not only cause them pain, but are often filthy too, as they are not sanitised sufficiently.
Europe’s laying hens could – and should – have much better lives
Many of the problems laying hens encounter exist due to shortfalls in the European Union’s animal welfare legislation – which policymakers are now due to revise. They must not miss this opportunity to include strong, precise, and targeted rules for the welfare of laying hens based on our Hens’ Asks, which include:
A smaller number of hens being housed in the same spaces – to decrease aggression, stress, and injurious pecking among birds, as well as make them more comfortable in general
Access to the outdoors and natural light – as well as an uninterrupted period of darkness for at least eight hours a day (to facilitate comfortable sleeping patterns).
Along with addressing these needs, the Commission must honour their commitment to properly eliminate cages in Europe as soon as possible. The recommendations in our new report, ‘Phasing out cages in the EU: the road to a smooth transition’ explains how to achieve this crucial change in a sustainable, pragmatic way.
It’s time we turn the page for Europe’s laying hens – beginning a new chapter that puts their welfare first. Are you with us?
New review on live animal transport echoes our call for change in the industry
18 April 2023
We were pleased with the conclusions drawn in the “Transport of live animals in the EU: challenges and opportunities’’ review produced by the European Court of Auditors. Published on April 17, it re-emphasises the need for a serious revision of the Live Animals Transport Regulation – a bold move for animal welfare that we have been campaigning for for years.
It highlights that reducing the number and length of journeys, improving the conditions for live animals during transport, and finding alternatives to transporting them could mitigate the negative impacts of this practice – of which there are many.
What is more, the report recognises that the Regulation is not implemented in the same way by all Member States, resulting in some industry players being able to exploit the different systems enabled by national sanctions.
In addition, the report acknowledges that the quality of animal welfare during transport is not considered in the cost of transport/price of meat – and neither is the environment. The review points out that there is a contradiction between the Green Deal’s call for a transition to a more sustainable food system and the increased amount of live animals that are transported, and further cites studies that show that transporting meat and carcasses is more sustainable than transporting live animals.
Horrible for animal welfare and economically and environmentally worse than the alternatives on offer, it’s clear that live animal transport does not belong in the future of farming in the EU.
Another critical aspect the report addresses is the need for more reliable data on live animal transport. The tracking systems that are currently available do not provide an accurate read on the number and condition of animals transported into, and especially outside of, the EU. In 2018, the Commission estimated that TRACES recordedonly 31.6% of cattle and 3.5% of sheep exported by livestock vesselsfrom Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, France, Ireland, Portugal, and Romania combined. With no insight into what’s happening on these long journeys across Europe, who knows what these poor sentient beings are going through?
So far, decisions in the live animal transport industry have mostly been made based on consumer preferences and economic factors. Based on the review’s findings, and with the European Commission soon to revise its animal welfare and transport rules, the European Court of Auditors urges that they instead focus on:
Promoting the transport of meat rather than live animals, as well as the use of local and mobile slaughterhouses – to reduce the suffering of animals and their time spent travelling
Increasing transparency and harmonisation in meat labelling – for example, through an EU animal welfare labelling system, so consumers can make more considered buying choices and are aware of where their animal products have come from
Harnessing the latest technologies to track all animal journeys – so the EU really knows what’s happening while animals are on the move, and can take clearer steps to protect them.
The report adds to the pile of evidence and conclusions shared in the last couple of years from the ANIT Committee, EFSA, the fitness check of the European Commission and several investigations by animal NGOs that demonstrate live animal transport is causing tremendous suffering to animals. It should give the final push to the Commission to propose a revised Transport Regulation that doesn’t allow for animals to be transported beyond eight hours (or four hours for poultry and rabbits), prohibits the transport of vulnerable animals (like unweaned calves) and bans live exports. We believe no more evidence should be needed for the Commission to make these decisions once and for all.
Stacey Apr 12 How come the people who need to attempt to challenge veganism with “plant suffering” never admit to or watch actual, factual, documented animal suffering? We know that animals, human and non-human, are sentient and have the capacity to experience emotion, pain, and suffering, but antivegans will double-down on idiocy by suggesting that vegans cannot legitimately be opposed to animal suffering because radishes are oppressed. If you’re honestly traumatized by the thought that terrified celery cannot run from danger because evolution has a cruel sense of humor, just remember that nonvegans eat both animal suffering AND “plant suffering” in copious amounts, more than vegans ever could, based on the massive quantities of plants that the animals, who humans consume, consume. My plant-based food requires ZERO disingenuous, fake, fraudulent, deceptive “humanely processed” labels. This is just, yet again, another example of “human intellectual superiority” from the “intellectually superior species” that also believes in “humane slaughter” and “ethical vivisection”, as well as being unable to understand the difference between cow’s milk and oat milk. (The death industry is taking advantage of humans’ willful ignorance by establishing that humans are really just ignorant, ie., not intelligent.) And I gotta add, I saw many comments praising the interviewer for admitting he’s a hypocrite. Excuse me, what??? Admitting you’re flawed but not changing the flaw, is no different from the people who know animals suffer but don’t care that animals suffer. To the animal victims, both “points of view” cause animal suffering. Vegans have to stop accepting crumbs. I know we are often bombarded with horrible, hateful, cruel rhetoric, so much so that “not being wished dead” seems equivalent to “decent nonvegans”, but the animals would not agree. One more point: to the nonvegans who praise vegans for not being “preachy/righteous/loud/etc”: vegan attitudes aren’t the problem, the problem is your conscience; when you don’t want to hear the fact of animal suffering you effortlessly cause and excuse, rather than admit the “wrongness” of nonveganism, you project that onto the “messenger”. It’s like being awakened by a loud, brash noise that you respond to with anger or denial: it’s not that the alarm is agonizingly loud or painfully irritating, it’s that you don’t want to hear the alarm, and despite being the cause of the alarm. So yes, typical non/antiveganism: anything to desperately deflect from the animal suffering people effortlessly cause but, once again, could easily NOT. SL I’m going to link a couple previous articles that establish the suffering animals are required to endure, in each “phase” of “animal agriculture” as documented via exposes and predominately industry data from the USDA. I suspect that the people who need to read/watch/be educated, won’t, it might disturb their fantasy of “humaneness”, and then what would you do? Do remember that dairy farmers reproductively exploit cows and then deny the maternal bond they facilitated, and then boast that cows love to be milked (versus habit, fear of punishment, desire for relief) but then experience ZERO emotion when being violently killed. Tell me more… One of These Things Is Not Like the OtherIf your god demands unrelenting suffering and death, maybe you should invent another god NOT offended by nonviolence and least harm… Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE Order a FREE vegan kit HERE Dairy-Free Info HERE Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE Click HERE for more Dairy-Free Fish alternatives can be found HERE Learn about eggs HERE Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more? Click HERE to search. Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend: PETA HERE Vegan Outreach HERE Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE
So today we’re going to talk about the differences between a SANCTUARY and a SLAUGHTERHOUSE because I’ve come across people (in denial) who want ONE to apply to the OTHER and seem reallyreally confused and say something that only applies to a SANCTUARY but not to a SLAUGHTERHOUSE contradicting their “beliefs” (ie., spreading misinformation or propagandized disinformation because NOT abusing animals is “extreme”).
A notably important distinction is that only ONE benefits animals and only ONE consistently practices a least-harm principal.
If, after the facts, you’re still confused, you let me know and I can see about getting you some helpful flash cards or maybe I can make a colorful flow chart.
“Animals are cared for!”
Question: In which environment will you find dying and dead animals who were/are mass bred and who exist in a state of exploitation for HUMANS’ benefit, versus their OWN benefit, whose “journey” ends in premature and violent death for HUMANS’ benefit and who are often condemned due to illness, disease, and squalor inherent in numbers confined and killed?
USDA: Millions of animals are “condemned” each year in just the USA because of the diseases and squalor they’re forced to exist with and in. The below link demonstrates ONLY 2 months for just chickens, page 6 includes reasons for condemnation, including leukosis, septicaemia, tumors, contamination, and overscalding (which includes being boiled alive), none of which suggest “care” but rather human apathy and cruelty for cheap flesh requiring incalculable animal suffering:
Question: In which environment will you find animals who are ALIVE, nonexploitatively, for THEIR benefit, who are not abused and not eaten, who receive necessary treatment with the goal of EXTENDING their lives versus destroying them.
“Animals get a humane death, quick and painless!”
Question: In which environment will you find animals in fear, where they can see, smell, and hear other animals dying, where stunning is often required to protect employees who are killing animals, employees who aren’t required to have any formal education or experience in killing, but where stunning often fails and animals experience excruciating and terrifying death? And in which environment, the footage of which will not be watched by fragile people who cause the footage, but of which the industry never has, nor will ever, release due to its inherent violent nature, but still calls it “humane”?
Question: In which environment will you see some animals who may be suffering from old age or disease, many rescued from “humane” farms and slaughterhouses, who are in an as-comfortable position and area as possible, with people who genuinely care about them, and who are euthanized by a licensed individual using injectable medications specifically for the purpose of least-pain, efficacy, and quickness?
“I don’t pay for cruelty!”
Question: In which environment will you see cats and dogs who are being unwillingly, violently killed, using torturous methods, for people who buy their flesh and body parts?
Question: In which environment will you see other animals, not cats and dogs, who are being unwillingly, violently killed, using torturous methods, for people who buy their flesh and body parts?
Let me explain the different format I’ve used in case it was vague: People get unhinged when cats and dogs or other “worthy” animals are violently killed, but they don’t exercise that condemnation when other “unworthy” animals are killed, animals who also all have the capacity for fear, pain, and suffering. Furthermore, when you claim to NOT pay for cruelty, it’s as if you’re saying you’re paying for KINDNESS and CARE, but you really ARE NOT. It’s a SLAUGHTERHOUSE where nothing good happens, do you understand that? It’s not a nice, happy, warm-and-fuzzy place. It’s terror, blood, screams, violence, and pain.
Conversely, when people volunteer for or donate to a SANCTUARY, they’re NOT paying for the animals to violently die, be dismembered, eviscerated, and eaten.
Please tell me if you don’t understand, I know the concept of least-harm can be difficult to grasp by some.
Question: In which environment will you see many animals who are not violently killed for human profit and where money, including donations, is used for animals’ benefit, to feed, shelter, and provide medical care for THEM (and NOT as part of an exploitative scheme where animals are “artificially” bred and rapidly grown using the cheapest ingredients?)
“Get animals from small farms where they are treated well!”
Question: In which environment will you find dead animals, violently killed and at a fraction of their lifespans, following brief existences of reproductive exploitation, separation of infant and mother, mutilation, squalor, confinement, and lack of choice, who come from all-sized operations?
USDA: It is legally required that animals used for “commercial purposes” in the US are killed in an inspection- regulated slaughterhouse. (Regardless of being from one of the four “small farms” in the US. SL)
Question: In which environment will you find alive animals not required to perform bodily duties for human benefit, who don’t violently die at a fraction of their lifespans, where the goal is their comfort, happiness, longevity, and peace after being rescued from predominantly exploitatively abusive (“farms”, slaughterhouses, zoos, labs, etc.) conditions?
“It’s illegal to abuse animals!”
Question: In which environment will you find dead animals, violently killed and at a fraction of their lifespans, following brief existences of reproductive exploitation, separation of infant and mother, mutilation, squalor, confinement, and lack of choice, where all animals are expressly exempt from the (meager) Animal Welfare Act and where ZERO LAWS “protect” them from violent death, including animals from “farms” where historically, people protest anti-bestiality laws because “cheese tho”?
Question: In which environment will you find alive animals not required to perform any bodily “duties” for HUMANS’ benefit, who don’t violently die at a fraction of their lifespans, who have ZERO REQUIREMENTS for “protection”?
“So you’re pro-life?”
Question: In which environment will you find dead animals, violently killed as infants, including calves both in utero and as young as three weeks; chicks if they’re male; fetal pigs sold for “science”; males and females reproductively exploited for AI, and mothers following brief existences of THEIR reproductive exploitation, forcibly separated from their infants?
Question: In which environment will you find alive animals, including infants rescued from the “political pro-lifers”, “political pro-lifers” who think it’s ok to abuse animals including babies because some humans have abortions?
“Animals have good lives and one bad day!”
Question: In which environment will you take your kids to see the finality of your dystopian drama “Good Lives and One Bad Day!”
Yeah, I thought so.
Trillions of animals are butchered yearly on Earth, none of whom come from “good lives” that is concluded with unmitigated fear and violence whose realistic nightmare include existences primarily on wretched places of disease, filth, and darkness. Animals are bred to be dead, nobody cares how they “live”; animals are considered disposable objects, I’ve demonstrated the delusion of “care is necessary for them to be profitable” via the fact of condemned and trashed animals.
Animals suffer for human deception.
So, folks, allow ME to tell YOU before the end of this song …
Question: Which is the ONLY option for being humane and causing least harm?
Visit, or donate to, rescued animals on sanctuaries:
The USDA recently released 1000s of pages of slaughter “violations” that proves that animals are relentlessly subjected to torture. Notably, the USDA had to be sued to release these records. Why? Since nobody hesitates to share “humane” information, the USDA acknowledges the utter failure of “humane” slaughter. Even the “quick” – and rare and unproveable – death doesn’t nullify the inherent unethical quality of killing including required animal suffering.
Globally pigs are routinely stunned using CO2, a process that is unarguably torturous; the UK acknowledged more than 2 decades ago the suffering involved but still uses CO2. It’s important to recognize that undercover and whistleblower footage is meaningful because the industry will never release its own footage based on the terror and violence required of animal victims.
As part of Eurogroup for Animals’ ‘No Animal Left Behind’ campaign, posters can be found in Brussels’ EU district this week targeting the European Commission in light of the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to change history for farmed animals with its imminent revision of animal welfare legislation.
EU animal welfare rules remain limited, poorly enforced, and plagued by loopholes, leading to widespread suffering in the farming sector. From the cruel handling of broiler chickens to chaining the back legs of dairy cows, our recent exposé reveals how the EU’s farmed animals are being callously treated by those who are meant to care for them.
At the end of March, Eurogroup for Animals launched the second phase of the ‘No Animals Left Behind’ campaign together with its over 80 member organisations around Europe and beyond. The campaign aims to expose existing animal welfare shortcomings in EU legislation and offer feasible solutions to the unnecessary suffering of the EU’s farmed animals that could be incorporated in the revised legislation due by the end of the year.
Posters were strategically placed around Brussels’ EU district to raise awareness about the upcoming revision of the EU’s animal welfare legislation and remind policy makers about EU citizens’ expectations in light of the mass public response to End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative, Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative and the first No Animal Left Behind campaign.
You know; fighting for the welfare of calves has always had a special ‘box’ within me.
In my 35+ years of live animal transport investigation work, the suffering of these babies on the road really used to get my goat more than just about anything.
“As British calves were being exported to the NL at the time; we took some time out of our schedule to ‘sniff around’ and find out a little more about places they were being sent to.
We shared many hours on the road; laughing, talking and generally trying to have a good time in work that we both knew the live animal export business caused immense suffering to – innocent, sentient beings. Calves“.
With calves, you often hear them long before you actually see the truck – they are babies, and they bellow immensely for the milk produced from the mothers that they have been torn away from at what ?, often ages of just 1 day old. Cow milk is for baby cows, NOT humans; yet the systems today try to make people think that humans are in need of cow milk, not the cow babies.
I took this picture above decades ago of British calves being exported to the veal systems of France and the Netherlands, you can just make out the calves suckling the bars of the transporter; desperate for milk held within their mothers. This is the reality of live animal transport; and just one reason of thousands why it needs to stop now.
In the past calves were held in individual ‘crates’ until they reached slaughter age of around 4 to 6 months. During their short lives in the crates; they were deprived of any iron in their food; to make them anemic and thus make their flesh ‘white’ as required by the gastronauts of Europe. What humans do to animals in the name of ‘food’ just really bums me off.
Anemia is defined as a low number of red blood cells. In a routine blood test, anemia is reported as a low hemoglobin or hematocrit. Hemoglobin is the main protein in red blood cells. It carries oxygen, and delivers it throughout the body. If you have anemia, your hemoglobin level will be low too.
We fought hard for the calves – (above) here I am (with Barb, a hunt sab) at Dover port (where calves were exported from) after we had put the British Prime Minister (at the time John Major) into the crate to get a feel for what he was approving. You can see the liberated calf standing alongside.
Here are some pictures of real calves suffering in the crate systems. Every one a valid reason why I fight tooth and nail for the calves;
Above – an investigation showed British calves were being exported to Hungary and that they were still being crated individually years after the EU ban came into place !
Above – with our tour truck in Holland teaching the Dutch about live veal systems.
Above – great campaigning days in the Netherlands for the calves.
Here – photographs from a PMAF investigation which I used in the compilation of an EU Parliament investigations report on calves being transported to France.
Above – Dover demo with animal buddies fighting live calf exports.
Often it feels like you are running up that hill – but a positive end makes it all worth it:
EFSA opinions on the welfare of calves
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published today their scientific opinion on calf welfare. The EFSA was mandated to describe the most used systems, their welfare consequences and measures to prevent and mitigate those consequences.
Welfare of calves reared for white veal (including requirements for space, group housing and iron intake),
Risk of limited contact between mother and calf
What type indicators can be measured in slaughterhouses to monitor the welfare on farm.
A species-specific Directive already exists to protect calves in the EU (Council Directive 2008/11/EC), yet it is extremely outdated, and fails to take into account new science published since it was adopted in 2008. Proof of this is that EFSA identified several hazards connected to these systems ranging from respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases to inability to perform natural behaviours or even calves experiencing group stress.
They have advised several solutions that Eurogroup for Animals welcomes:
Group housing from the first week of life (between 2 to 7 calves) and keeping them in stable groups.
Increased space allowance – 20 m² is recommended so calves can express their full behaviour and 3 m³ is the minimum recommended per calf (all in group housing)
In regards to feeding: Good colostrum intake, increased amount of milk provided, and good quality roughage availability from 2 weeks of age.
Several welfare indicators can be collected in the slaughterhouse, but they should be complemented with behavioural ones collected on farm
Regrettably, although the available science already points towards a need for a longer period of cow-calf contact and bonding, EFSA took a conservative approach, only recommending a minimum 24 hours of cow-calf contact. We strongly oppose this conclusion. Cow and calf contact can reduce stress of both adult females and calves, it increases the vitality and resilience of the calves and leads to an increase in body weight gain of the calves. Furthermore, it provides a better social behaviour for the calves in the long run that is prolonged until adult age. It also leads to an increased expression of positive behaviours for both. Eurogroup for Animals recommends that contact between the calf and the mother should be allowed for at least the first eight weeks of age. During this period, calves and cows shall be kept in a half-day contact system – at least – with suckling permitted.
Furthermore, Eurogroup for Animals would like to see a more science-driven, animal welfare approach when it comes to iron levels in the calves’ blood. For acceptable blood levels of iron, we recommend a blood haemoglobin concentration of at least 6,0 mmol/L throughout the life of the calf, as already required by the German Directive 2008/119 (EFSA is recommending 5.3 mmol/L).
The science demonstrates that business as usual for calves is not going to work anymore. We urge the Commission to listen to the science and seriously improve the species-specific legislation to protect calves in the EU and beyond.
Welfare of calves kept for white and rosé veal production
In 2022, the European Commission published its proposal for an EU Nature Restoration Law.
This is landmark legislation for the conservation of wild animals habitats in the EU and the time to act is now!
Add your voice to the thousands of citizens calling on the EU to adopt an ambitious EU Nature Restoration Law.
The proposed EU Nature Restoration Law sets an overall target of restoring 20% of the EU’s land and sea area by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. This is an ambitious and appropriate target, essential for the EU’s wild animals which are suffering from a decline in the quality of their habitats.
Indeed, rich and undisturbed habitats are key for the well-being of wild animals. In a world where all animals and species, including humans, are interdependent and rely on healthy ecosystems, nature restoration and conservation is a priority.
Eurogroup for Animals therefore calls for the EU Nature Restoration Law to fulfil three objectives:
It must effectively protect and restore all natural habitats to safeguard the well being of millions of wild animals and humans;
It must recognise and take into account the interdependence of living beings in line with the One Health and One Welfare approaches;
It must fully integrate the welfare of wild animals as an indicator and objective of conservation and restoration activities.
In this context, the well-being of wild animals must be addressed in the definitions of “sufficient quality of habitat” and “sufficient quantity of habitat”. Similarly, the legislation should ensure that a “favourable reference area” for the given habitats is defined as more than the minimum required, so that wild animals can thrive rather than simply survive. The proposal should also ensure connectivity between habitats so that wild animals do not encounter obstacles to their movement on land or water. The ethological requirements of species must also be adequately taken into account in restoration activities.
If you agree with these statements, tell your decision-makers to keep high ambitions and fully integrate animal welfare considerations in the EU Nature Restoration law to protect the habitats and ecosystems on which humans and wildlife depend.