Day: August 19, 2020


Lets finish the day with some very positive news.

Our past posts associated with this amazing storythanks, but NO tanks !

beluga jet full livery


Two beluga whales who spent a lifetime in captivity and endured years of exploitation at the hands of the Sea Life aquarium company, have now finally made their first plunge back into the sea. 

These two whales, named Little White and Little Grey are now being cared for at a sanctuary in Iceland. They arrived at the sanctuary last Spring after a long journey from an aquarium in China, owned by UK company Sea Life. The pair were due to be released into their specially designed sea pen at the sanctuary after a short quarantine, but this was delayed reportedly due to poor weather. Now that day has finally come. 

After a short period in a medical pool inside the bay, the whales will live in their large sea pen in the natural waters in Iceland, where they will be as close to wild as is possible for these individuals, who have spent far too long in captivity. This is a fantastic outcome for these two special whales, especially after the traumatic life they have lived. 

We at Freedom for Animals share our dearest thanks to our supporters who backed our years long campaign calling on Sea Life and parent company, Merlin Entertainments to release these whales to a sanctuary. 

At the aquarium in China, these two whales along with one other individual named JunJun (who sadly died at the aquarium in 2017, after 10 years) were made to perform shows to noisy crowds up to 3 times a day. Undercover footage obtained by Freedom for Animals in 2014 showed the whales being made to perform tricks such as jumping for food, being made to ‘sing’ on command and pushing a human through the water using their heads. 

This investigation exposed the hypocritical stance of Sea Life and Merlin who claimed to have a position against the captivity of whales and dolphins (cetaceans). This pressured the company into taking action and after many years of campaigning by animal advocates, they finally moved the whales to a sanctuary. 

A note on the sanctuary and the Sea Life Trust. 

It is important to understand that this sanctuary is being run by the Sea Life Trust – a charity set up by Sea Life and Merlin, supported by a charity called WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation). As outlined last year by our then Campaigns Director Nicola O’Brien, we believe that this sanctuary should be run completely independently from Sea Life to ensure that these whales are left to live in peace. It is also utterly disappointing to see that an aquarium has been set up on site at the sanctuary which means hundreds of other individuals will be held captive. This is no sanctuary for those animals who are now facing a life of exploitation. 

This is true of the entire Sea Life brand, who exist as a business to provide animals for humans to look at. Animals who are taken from the wild to provide entertainment, and who endure a lifetime of deprivation. This company is not in any way ‘anti-captivity’ and we have shown that animals suffer greatly at their hands.

But we cannot deny that this sanctuary will make a difference. Not just for these two whales or the other whales the sanctuary says it could possibly take in in future, but also because of the incredibly clear message it sends to the world: that cetaceans should not be held captive, those who do this will be forced to stop and there is a future for those animals currently being exploited. 

Regards Mark

England: ‘No evidence was found of breaches to legal requirements or Red Tractor standards’. Watch The Video and Judge for Yourself.

17/8 and 19/8 – we have attempted to make Ocado send us a formal response to the investigations by Animal Equality – see  and until this afternoon (19/8) they claimed they had the wrong e mail address to send info to us.  Hmm, ok, benefit of doubt gives.

We attempted contact by phone with McDonalds, but they only allow e mail questions – so we asked the question as to what they were doing re Moy Park.  We will publish the Mc response if we ever get one; but assume it will be very much in the same context of Ocado below.

Here below is the formal update on Moy Park by Ocado.   As you can see in their statement a Red Tractor spokesman says :

No evidence was found of breaches to legal requirements or Red Tractor standards.

We have also just spoken (a great conversation) with Animal Equality (AE) who are based here in London.  Like us, they view this as typical very good ‘all is well’ yukspeak when actually you can see from the video footage that all is not well.

In consultation with AE, we are publishing e mail and telephone numbers should anyone wish to take this further.  This info is available to anyone who has web access – and as such the info is available to all the public.

Please phone or e mail about this issue if you wish – it is important for the ‘welfare’ of animals in the UK – to show up those who are trying to supress cruelty.

Note:  WE have underlined part of the statement below.

Regards Mark

Ocado – contact Us:



 August 12, 2020 

At Ocado we carry out regular audits of all our suppliers to ensure the welfare of livestock is managed to the highest standards. Following the allegations raised in March, we worked closely with Moy Park to fully investigate the matter. Independent investigations were also carried out at the time by Red Tractor, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Trading Standards.

A Red Tractor spokesperson said: “We take animal welfare very seriously. All the farms in the footage were investigated by us and stakeholder partners including their vet, the APHA and trading standards to ensure there was a comprehensive account of farm practices. No evidence was found of breaches to legal requirements or Red Tractor standards.

At Ocado we are committed to the highest levels of animal welfare and are satisfied that this footage is not reflective of the practices at Moy Park which is supported by evidence from veterinary experts. 

All our meat and dairy products meet the Red Tractor farm assurance standards (or the international equivalent) as a minimum. And we know the subject of animal welfare matters significantly to all our customers so we continue to monitor this situation closely.

Australia: How Can This Failed System Be Allowed To Continue ?

See video footage via this link:

How can this failed system be allowed to continue?

Mark, you don’t need to read this news article — it contains distressing content. But I wanted to make sure you were aware of it and to seek your help once again, to apply strategic pressure where animals need it most right now (details below).

We secured this major media story in the Sydney Morning Herald today — exposing brutal treatment to cattle that should have been wiped out of the live export industry nine years ago.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this image was from our 2011 live export investigation in Indonesia. The sad reality is that it was captured just two weeks ago in Aceh, on the island of Sumatra.

Having witnessed first-hand the distress caused by these awful slaughter boxes — installed by Australian industry officials — it’s been deeply disturbing to see them still being used — and in complete defiance of Australian live export laws.

Perhaps most alarming is that the cattle being brutalised in this footage are going through Australian approved and audited slaughterhouses — exposing an auditing and monitoring system that is failing.

And once again, had this appalling situation not been reported by Animals Australia, it would still be continuing.

One of the great flaws of the regulatory system put in place after our investigations in Indonesia is that ‘approved’ slaughterhouses can still allow brutal methods of slaughter — such as sledgehammering or the use of cruel restraint boxes — as long as Australian animals are killed via other means.

Putting aside that no animal — be they Australian or otherwise — should be subjected to such brutality, it’s absurd to expect that these rules be followed night after night or for anyone to trust that they will be when there is no independent oversight inside these facilities.

And we’ve just seen again in Indonesia, the most graphic example of what happens when Australia’s live export industry is left to its own devices.

Animals Australia has lodged a legal complaint and we believe the offending exporter should be stripped of their licence. But in addition, we are calling for CCTV cameras to be introduced into all facilities that handle and kill Australian animals overseas — and importantly, for the live export regulator to have access to live feeds.

Animals are at greatest risk in this trade when exporters think nobody is watching.

Mark, I know that like us, you just want this trade to end. But while it remains legal, we need to push for every possible additional protection we can get. And independently monitored CCTV cameras would add a layer of scrutiny that animals desperately need right now.

The best chance we have of the Minister and the regulator taking notice of this very reasonable request is if they’re feeling pressure from Federal MPs — the very politicians who exist to represent you — many of whom by all accounts, are just as fed up with this industry as we are. So please take a few minutes to contact your MP now — you can find their details here.

[You’ll note that ordinarily we provide a template letter to make it as efficient as possible for you to take action for animals. And thousands of people did that last week — if you were one, thank you! But in this case, your message will carry the greatest weight if you write it yourself. It doesn’t need to be long — just note this latest case of live export cruelty and demand independently monitored CCTV cameras to be installed in all places that import Australian animals, and for licence cancellations for exporters who break the rules].


In gratitude,
Lyn White AM
Investigations Director