Day: September 24, 2021

Horror laboratory “Vivotecnia” in Spain: a crime in which all the workers were involved.

Do you remember the scandal in the Vivotecnia Experiments Laboratory in Madrid? We reported about it:

The protected witness in the Vivotecnia case accuses the laboratory of manipulating animal tests.
The veterinary technician who recorded the alleged animal abuse that was made public five months ago testifies before the judge about the evidence she collected between 2018 and 2020

Hidden until now in the shadows, the woman who recorded the images that showed the alleged animal abuse in the Vivotecnia laboratory came to light this Wednesday, September 22nd five months later, to answer the questions of the judge as a protected witness.

She answered a myriad of questions about exactly when and what she saw, who was directly involved, and whom she contacted before she began gathering evidence.

She was the only one who could clarify the most relevant details of an investigation that is being carried out in the Colmenar Viejo Court, under summary secrecy since April, when the scandal broke out thanks to an eight-minute video recorded by her between 2018 and 2020 and edited and published by the NGO Cruelty Free International (CFI).

It showed how different workers allegedly mistreat the animals they experimented with.

She arrived nervous, but she did it in a big way, unveiling one more bomb: in the laboratory, she assured, not only was there “repeated abuse” of the animals, but the results of the tests were also manipulated to approve studies that later went on to a second phase of experimentation with human beings.

All the lights pointed towards Carlota Saorsa, the pseudonym by which the person who signs the video with which she began her particular battle of David against Goliath is known, that of an anonymous person against a company whose main business is commissions of studies of the pharmaceutical industry.

Continue reading “Horror laboratory “Vivotecnia” in Spain: a crime in which all the workers were involved.”

USA: ‘Smoke cows’: Could more US wildfires mean less milk from Oregon’s huge dairy herd?

Photo – WAV Archives

‘Smoke cows’: Could more US wildfires mean less milk from Oregon’s huge dairy herd?

A team at the Oregon State University has begun a three-year study looking at the effects of poor air quality on cattle

Juliana Ranches drove to work in eastern Oregon in early September through wildfire smoke so thick that, for a moment, she thought it was just a grey, foggy day and it would soon start to rain.

Ranches is a livestock researcher relatively new to living in the area, and the conditions were unlike anything she had experienced before, leading her to ask questions about the animals that spend their summers in the smoke. Eastern Oregon has this year experienced regular wildfires since early July.

“We know there is a negative effect,” Ranches said, referring to the cows grazing outside in some of the most polluted air in the US. The area registered 160 on the air quality index (AQI) in early September after reports of a large number of wildfires, a level that can put human health at risk.

“There is a little bit of work out of California with [dairy and beef] producers and indirect impacts, reporting lower conception rates and birthrates, but we cannot say for sure because there are no studies in a controlled environment looking into that.”

Research into the impact on livestock bred for human consumption is limited, although it is known that particulate matter from the smoke is a significant health threat, especially when exposure is long-term.

According to new preliminary research from the University of Idaho, a sample of dairy cattle exposed to poor air quality and heat stress produced less milk – about 1.3 litres less than normal (just over two UK pints) – a day than average. Some cows had not fully recovered two weeks after the air quality improved. But because this observation was based on just one herd, the data does not yet translate into solid recommendations for ranchers and farmers. The work must be scaled up to explore larger patterns.

It is why Ranches, along with her colleague Jenifer Cruickshank, who specialises in dairy management, has begun a three-year study to collect more data on cows and the effects of wildfire and smoke, as part of which they have put nearly 30 cows out to pasture.

“I call them my smoke cows,” said Cruickshank. During a wildfire event that results in an AQI measure over 50, she takes daily milk samples and blood tests, which will be analysed as stress markers. The cows’ respiratory rate and body temperatures are also documented.

Continued on next page.

EU Organic Day: what it could mean for animal welfare.

EU Organic Day: what it could mean for animal welfare

23 September 2021


Today, Eurogroup for Animals joined the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament at the launch of the first EU Organic Day

This launch is part of the European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027, released last March, which follows the objectives set out in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies of “at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming and a significant increase in organic aquaculture by 2030.”

Eurogroup for Animals particularly welcomes the contribution of the Action Plan to better align animal welfare with the societal demands on higher animal welfare and to further improve animal welfare in organic production. The recognition of the link between aquaculture and animal welfare, as well as the promotion of organic aquaculture are also welcomed. 

The Commission states that organic farming already plays an important role in improving the welfare of animals and that animal welfare is an integral part of sustainable food systems. However, there are still animal welfare issues in organic farming that urgently need to be addressed

Today at the launch of EU Organic Day, we used the opportunity to alert the institutions to the need for a comprehensive animal welfare labelling system as well as a need for animal welfare standards to aim higher: the need for stricter criteria to define adapted breeds, a truly compulsory access to pasture for livestock, a ban on mutilations, availability of immunocastration, transport time limitations, and proper enforcement for the existing organic rules for animal welfare. 

Eurogroup for Animals recommends the European Commission to:

  • Quantify the target for organic aquaculture by aligning it with the target for terrestrial farming, i.e. 25% of aquaculture sites by 2030.
  • Implement concrete animal welfare improvements such as slow-growing breeds in broilers, a ban on surgical castration of pigs and transport time limitations.
  • Adopt Methods of Production (MoP+) labelling with one of the top levels integrating organic production.
  • Ensure proper enforcement of the existing organic rules for animal welfare, e.g effective stunning of fish at slaughter, before granting the organic logo. 
  • In identifying the obstacles for more organic agriculture and aquaculture, the reduction and replacement of animal products and a shift to more plant-based diets, as well as the need to shift to low-trophic aquatic species, should be seen as solutions. 

Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the new Organic Action plan and sees the potential of organic production to be classified as the top tier method of production as well as an EU-wide labelling system for animal welfare. However, organic farming should lead the way towards the EU’s sustainable and humane food production model, reflecting the ambitions of the Farm to Fork strategy. While the language in the Organic Action Plan is still vague, we welcome the commitment to improving animal welfare, including farmed fish. We are looking forward to working with the Commission and other stakeholders to ensure organic farming will embrace the highest possible animal welfare standards.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals

Animal welfare and food labeling: initiating the transition through high quality consumer information


Report – Animal Welfare and food labeling1.84 MB

Regards Mark