Day: September 16, 2021

UK Wrongdoing: Challenge to badger cull due as Bern Convention Bureau considers alleged breach case.

WAV Comment – No final news yet, but we will report as soon as we know.

Regards Mark

Challenge to badger cull due as Bern Convention Bureau considers alleged breach case

13 September 2021

Press Release

Complaint alleges UK Govt in breach of international wildlife treaty obligations after failing to consider cull impact on badger population

A coalition of animal protection groups will have their complaint against the UK Government, alleging a breach of an international wildlife treaty, considered by the Bern Convention as its Bureau meets this week (15 and 16 September). 

The Bern Convention, to which the UK has been a signatory since 1982, aims to ensure the conservation and protection of Europe’s wildlife, and regulates the exploitation of species listed in Appendix III, which includes badgers.

Badger Trust, Born Free Foundation, and Eurogroup for Animals allege that the UK Government’s ongoing badger culling policy places it in clear contravention of its commitments under the Convention. Their complaint challenges whether the UK Government has adequately considered the impact of mass culling of badgers on the badger population and wider biodiversity, and whether there has been any significant disease control benefits to justify the culls. 

The consideration comes just a week after the UK Government announced that badger culling will be ramped up in 2021, with seven new licences issued expanding the cull area and setting maximum kill quotas that could see the highest numbers of badgers killed in a single year since culling began. There are now 61 areas with active cull licences, covering counties from Cornwall to Cumbria, and up to 75,930 badgers could be killed in 2021 – taking the total since the cull began to well over 200,000.

Britain is home to more than 25% of the European badger population. However, with more than 140,000 badgers killed under licence since the cull policy started in 2013, and with culling set to continue until 2025 under recently confirmed UK Government plans, that population is coming under severe pressure. The case was put on “standby” by the Bern Convention in 2020, with a request for further information, the first time a complaint made against the UK Government’s badger culling policy had not been dismissed at the initial stage. 

That the UK government continues to hand out new cull licences not only lays bare claims made by British ministers to be champions for animal welfare, but only serves to showcase a bewildering level of cognitive dissonance. No evidence whatsoever supports the ongoing culls in England, which is why, I suspect, no such evidence demonstrating a disease control benefit has been produced by the British government. We now rely on the other parties to the Convention to hold the UK government to account. England’s badgers — Europe’s badgers — cannot continue to be sacrificed for domestic political expediency.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals

Whilst we are grateful that our complaint is at last being reviewed, it has been two years since we initially submitted our complaint in 2019. In that time another over 76,000 badgers have been killed under this failed approach to controlling bovine Tuberculosis – a respiratory disease in cattle that starts and ends with cattle. The latest licences for 2021 alone could take the same amount again, and the cull is set to run to 2025 – so we have years and years of further culling ahead. The impact on the badger population is unknown, and seemingly inconsequential to the UK Government who claim it is coming to an end, but in reality this senseless slaughter continues. We hope for a positive outcome from the Bern Bureau, and a brighter future for Britain’s badgers.

Adam Laidlaw, Executive Director of Badger Trust

The UK Government has hailed its badger culling policy a success. However, after eight years of culling which has seen the destruction of more than 140,000 badgers, representing perhaps a quarter of the UK badger population, evidence for significant disease control benefits among cattle herds in cull areas is lacking, and the Government’s woeful efforts to estimate and monitor targeted badger populations are failing to guarantee their eventual recovery. In spite of this, the Government has issued licences for 2021 which could see a further 75,930 badgers killed. We urge the Bern Convention to take action that will help to bring this inhumane, ineffective, unscientific and unnecessary slaughter of a native, protected wild animal to a permanent end.

Dr Mark Jones, veterinarian and Head of Policy at the Born Free Foundation


A briefing on the complaint can be viewed here.

Final information relating to the complaint was submitted by Badger Trust, Born Free, and Eurogroup for Animals, in July in advance of the meeting this week. 

The original complaint lodged with the Bern Convention in 2019 can be found here.  

Time Out – Enjoy !

Regards Mark

EU: Farm to Fork Strategy own initiative report: vote in committees moving closer to systemic change and higher animal welfare.

Farm to Fork Strategy own initiative report: vote in committees moving closer to systemic change and higher animal welfare

10 September 2021


On Friday 10th September the AGRI and ENVI committees adopted with a large majority (94 in favour, 20 against and 10 abstensions) the draft report on a Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.

Thanks to the 48 compromise amendments passed, the Farm to Fork own initiative report is now closer to leading a systemic change and higher EU animal welfare production.

Nevertheless, parts of some compromise amendments would have needed to be altered, such as the one stating that the support of affordable food should not lead to cheap animal products that prompt intensive farming.

The committees also supported theconsumption of algae for a dietary shift, which is welcomed, but at the same time the one of insects. Eurogroup for Animals believes that insect farming should not be promoted as an alternative protein source for animal feed or direct consumption due to serious animal welfare and sustainability concerns. Moreover, insects are not a sustainable solution for the EU’s food system transformation. On the contrary, insect farming is a false solution, given its potential to prompt more intensive farming instead of promoting the much needed systemic change.

Besides the compromise amendments, the AGRI and ENVI committees also adopted favourable amendments concerning trade, animal experiments and PMSG production, specifically: 

On trade, a very clear amendment calling for EU animal welfare standards to be imposed on imported products. With the ongoing review of animal welfare standards and the growing calls by countries like France to see more production standards applied to imports (a concept they call “mirror measures”), there has never been such an opportunity to extend the scope of EU measures, and by doing so, to use the leverage that access to the EU market represent to incentivise foreign producers to improve animal welfare standards. 

On animal experiments, an amendment reminding that structural animal experiments that are not indispensable should have no place in the food chain, as the Animal Experimentation Directive (2010/63/EU) prescribes the replacement and reduction of the use of animals in procedures. 

The amendment also calls on the Commission and Member States to stop the import and domestic production of Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), which is extracted from the blood of pregnant horses that are systematically impregnated and exposed to blood collections, involving health- and welfare issues

The amendment calling on the EC to suspend import of horse meat from “countries where applicable EU requirements relating to traceability and animal welfare are not complied with” was also adopted.

The adoption of amendment 2294 is an important and timely statement from MEPs, proving that the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy remain clear and encompass all species. The call underlines the Parliament’s commitment to extend EU animal welfare standards to third countries, similarly to other amendments adopted in this report. Furthermore, it serves as a poignant reminder that the implementation of the Animal Experimentation Directive is far from perfect, a call that reverberates repeatedly from MEPs offices.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals

Unfortunately other key amendments for the protection of animals were rejected such as the call for a ban on fur production, and the amendment calling on Member States to ban mink farming.

Besides the serious ethical issues disconsidered in those decisions, they also don’t take into account the recently adopted Report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, where the EP acknowledged that fur farming can significantly compromise animal welfare and increase the susceptibility to infectious diseases including zoonoses.

The plenary vote on this report is scheduled for the beginning of October.  Eurogroup for Animals and its members urged MEPs to vote for an initiative report that leads to real systemic change and steps up the game for animal protection in Europe. 

Regards Mark

EU: Breaking – EU Votes to Stop Lab Animal Experiments.


Breaking – EU Votes to Stop Lab Animal Experiments

The EU just voted to phase out lab animal experiments.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution vote calling for the European Commission to develop a definitive action plan to bring an end to lab animal testing. This should clearly identify key milestones and targets in order to ensure and incentivize meaningful progress.

Cross-party members of the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority (667-4) in favor of a transition from animal testing to ethical and effective alternatives.

In a press release, animal advocacy NGO Human Society International (HSI) welcomed the vote, calling it a “historic opportunity” to protect the almost 10 million animals used by EU laboratories every year in invasive experiments.

The vote is not legally binding, but it does place political pressure on the European Commission to respond to the results and take action. (Earlier this year, a similar process began to ban cruel caged animal farming in the EU, which the commission is now moving forward on.)

“This vote signals the need for systemic change in the EU’s approach to safety science and health research,” says Troy Seidle, vice president for research and toxicology at HSI.

Seventy-two percent of European citizens agree that the EU should set binding targets and deadlines to phase out animal testing, while 70 percent of adults believe full replacement of all forms of animal testing should be prioritized. Sixty-six percent say that all animal testing should be ended immediately.

“We need to let go of the unfounded belief that these animals are miniature people and get serious about understanding and predicting human biology in the real world,” says Seidle.Nearly ¾ of adults in Europe believe the #EU should set targets to phase out experiments on animals. We want to see humane, human-relevant, animal-free science properly funded and fully utilised in Europe. If you AGREE sign here ➡️ ➡️

Pharmaceutical testing, in particular, receives criticism for its relative lack of reliability. Small animals are not humans, and “successful” initial tests can lead to dangerous clinical trials. A 2015 study titled the Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation explored this.

“The unreliability of animal experimentation across a wide range of areas undermines scientific arguments in favor of the practice,” wrote the study author. “Animal experimentation often significantly harms humans through misleading safety studies, potential abandonment of effective therapeutics, and direction of resources away from more effective testing methods.”

Seidle lists human organ chips, stem cell models, and next-generation computer modeling among the most successful modern alternatives. Some companies are even developing cultured human skin for the cruelty-free testing of both pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Cosmetic animal testing is even less necessary, reputable, and popular than pharmaceuticals. Mexico recently became the first North American country to completely ban cosmetic animal testing, while Hawaii became the fifth U.S. state to implement a ban earlier this year.

The UK, however, could be about to pivot back towards animal testing after more than 100 years of slow progress and over 20 years after a national ban. This news also comes in the midst of ongoing protests over a beagle factory farm located near the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences. According to activists, the site breeds up to 2000 puppies every year specifically to sell them for animal experiments.

To learn more about the history of animal testing in the UK, read on here.

See also: this is copyright protected.

Regards Mark

“Downer”cows- like dreck disposed

Fortunately, today and thanks to undercover investigations by animal rights activists, it is already widely known how the dairy industry operates its animal cruelty system worldwide

Cows, goats or even sheep are exploited, tortured and ultimately killed.

Calves are stolen from their mothers so that they can produce milk, udders are simply scorched, animals are tortured while being tethered – all this is unfortunately nothing new and is well known to many.

“Downer cows”, however, represent a previously unknown peculiarity of human ignorance and greed for profit.
In the dairy industry, “downer cows” are female cattle that are too weak to stand up on their own.

Often a calf was born shortly before, the mother is already severely weakened by the birth, but then there is also an acute calcium deficiency due to the unnaturally high milk production that has been bred.

Another reason can be an injury caused by the often terrible housing conditions in the industry.
And now comes the actual, criminal cruelty to animals: These massively weakened animals are often simply brought outside by the farmers in front of the barn.

These cows are called “downers”.
And why not leave them in the stable?
There is only one answer to this: For the farmer, this cow has been written off and its corpse can be removed from the outside more easily and cost-effectively after it has perished miserably.
It couldn’t be more cruel.

So the animals are somehow dragged with their last strength outside to their intended “death bed”.
The farmers often do not care what pain and stress this means for the poor creatures.
In their eyes they are “only farm animals”

Continue reading ““Downer”cows- like dreck disposed”