Day: April 17, 2022

USA: Animal rights activist chains herself to basket to protest Timberwolves owner.

The Timberwolves aren’t done with protesters delaying their games.

An animal rights activist chained herself to the basket stanchion Saturday during Game 1 of the Timberolves-Grizzlies playoff series in Memphis, Tenn.

The woman, wearing a T-shirt that read: “Glen Taylor Roasts Animals Alive” — appeared during a stoppage of play in the second quarter with yellow chains and attempted to secure herself to the stanchion after throwing flyers on the floor.

The protester, who appears to be another member of the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), was unchained by security before five people carried her out of the main area to the cheers of fans inside FedExForum.

The protest seemed to be related to the one carried out by a woman who tried to glue her hand to the court before the Timberwolves’ play-in game against the Clippers in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.

The animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere — which tweeted that the person who chained her self to the basket was Zoe Rosenburg — has accused Taylor, the Timberwolves’ majority owner, of the inhumane killing of 5.3 million chickens in a recent mass killing following an outbreak of bird flu in Taylor’s Iowa egg factory.

Taylor is in his last season as the team’s owner. The NBA approved a $1.5 billion deal that will net Alex Rodriguez and partner Marc Lore, the Walmart CEO, a 20 percent minority share of the Timberwolves with chances to buy more stakes in the team in 2022 and beyond to make them the majority owners.. The deal also includes an ownership stake in the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

Taylor did get some good news in the end as his seventh-seeded Timberwolves stunned the No. 2 seed Grizzlies, 130-117, to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference first-round best-of-seven series. Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 36 points in his first playoff game of his career.

Protestor chains herself to basket during Timberwolves-Grizzlies (

Regards Mark

UK: ‘Frankenchicken’ at the centre of fight for animal welfare.

Cost of living crisis could stall campaign to phase out the modern genetically selected fast-growing broiler

The Ross 308 is one of the most successful products in consumer history, with many tens of billions sold around the world over the last decade.

With its own 15-page performance manual, low production costs and a bargain price for shoppers, it is marketed as the world’s most popular meat chicken.

Owned by the global breeding firm Aviagen, the Ross 308 has been bred to reach its kill weight in just 35 days, growing more than three times faster than the conventional breeds of the 1950s.

While families across the country gather this weekend, the Ross 308 will be an affordable option for the Easter Sunday roast. A whole chicken can be bought for as little as £2.46.

Animal welfare campaigners claim the cost of such low-priced meat is being paid for by the chickens, which grow so fast their hearts and bone structures can struggle to cope. They want retailers to stop selling the Ross 308 and the Cobb 500, the Uk’s other main fast-growing breed, citing research showing these chickens had higher mortality, lameness and muscle disease than slower-growing breeds.

But the poultry industry warned this weekend that adopting slower-growing breeds could increase the price of a standard chicken by more than 30% at a time when consumers face a cost of living crisis. This puts meat chickens – known in the industry as broilers – at the centre of one of the biggest animal welfare battles since the 2012 ban on barren battery cages for hens.

There are now 325 retailers and firms in the UK and Europe, including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, KFC and Premier Foods, that have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the international initiative to phase out the use of fast-growing breeds, which campaigners call “Frankenchickens”.

The commitment requires companies to adopt slower-growing breeds by 2026, including some produced by Aviagen, with higher welfare outcomes and reduced stocking density.

All the major food supermarkets in France have signed up to the commitment. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in February that one of its welfare priorities was to implement the commitment.

However, most of the major supermarkets in the UK, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, are yet to sign up to the pledge and there is concern among campaigners that the cost of living crisis may be used to stall the campaign.

The environment secretary, George Eustice, warned last month that the price of chicken could rise significantly because of higher energy costs and feed prices affected by war in Ukraine.

Campaigners say poultry has been produced too cheaply and farmers need to be paid more to ensure better conditions for the meat chickens.

On the modern food plate, the chicken can be cheaper than chips. A 1.4kg Willow Farm whole chicken in Tesco costs just £2.89 (£2.07 per kg), compared to a 1.6kg bag of McCain home chips costing £3.50 (£2.19 per kg).

Connor Jackson, chief executive of the animal welfare group Open Cages, which has conducted covert investigations into broiler farms, said: “It’s very sad that these animals’ lives have become worth so little. We call them Frankenchickens. The science is clear that fast-growing chickens like the Ross 308 are doomed by their genetics. These have been engineered to grow so incredibly fast, and their bodies just cannot handle it.”

Jackson said secret filming at broiler farms supplying big supermarkets has shown birds struggling to walk or collapsing under their own weight, or dying from heart failure, and dead birds were filmed lying among the flocks. Chicken producers say they are committed to animal welfare and the overwhelming majority of birds are clean and healthy.

The modern broiler industry expanded in the US and Britain after the second world war. Large-scale breeding firms used genetic selection to produce birds with faster growth rates, efficient conversion of feed to muscle growth and a higher yield of breast meat.

More than 1.1 billion broilers are produced each year in the UK, with the Ross 308 the most popular brand. Millions are reared on farms which can house more than 200,000 birds.

A 2019 study by Aarhus University in Denmark and Wageningen University in the Netherlands found a Ross 308 took 32 days to reach 1.8kg compared to a broiler developed from 1957 commercial meat chicken, which took more than 100 days to reach the same weight.

The fast-growing breeds are helping to provide a cheap and plentiful supply of meat, but in recent years research has highlighted animal welfare concerns. A report by the RSPCA in March 2020 found the fast-growing broilers had significantly higher mortality (including culls), a greater risk of being lame and were more affected by the breast muscle diseases wooden breast and white striping.

The report said: “Although current genetic selection programmes may be justified by some on the basis they result in an animal that provides a cheap, efficient source of meat and protein, there is no acceptable justification when such programmes have serious inherent flaws and are associated with poor health and welfare.”

Andrew Knight, a professor of animal welfare and ethics at the University of Winchester, said: “With these really rapid growth rates, it can be difficult for the heart and circulatory system to keep up with the expanding body mass. A proportion of these animals suffer from heart failure. It’s also difficult for the bones, ligaments and tendons to keep up with the rapidly increasing body mass, meaning that a proportion of these birds become severely lame.”

The animal welfare charity the Humane League UK unsuccessfully sought a judicial review against the government over the production of fast-growing chickens, which it considers is in breach of the 2007 welfare of farmed animals regulations, which state animals can only be farmed if they can be kept “without any detrimental effect on their health or welfare”. The charity said last week it intends to appeal.

Richard Griffiths, chief executive at the British Poultry Council, said farmers needed healthy chicken, but considered fast-growing breeds like the Ross 308 could be reared with good animal welfare. He said there were concerns about the pace of growth, but improved farming technology and breeding were making a difference and the adoption by the industry of slower growing breeds and reduced stocking density would have a significant environmental impact, because this woud require more feed and more space. But it could also increase the price of fresh chicken by more than 30%.

“We are a dynamic industry and we respond to consumer demand, but there are several factors involved including a cost of living crisis.”

Rob Morton, 49, of Morton’s Family Farm in Norfolk, rears the slower-growing Hubbard JA787 chicken for the Christmas market and hopes to expand production year round. “It makes a better-tasting bird because they have time to mature.”

A British Retail Consortium spokesperson said supermarkets offered customers affordable choices at high standards, including those in the Better Chicken Commitment: “All major UK supermarkets take their responsibilities to animal welfare very seriously.”

A spokesperson for Aviagen, which has its headquarters in Alabama, in the US, said: “Our first priority is and has always been the welfare of our birds. Welfare characteristics are a major part of modern broiler breeding, and are among the absolutely top selection priorities for all of our breeds we supply.” The spokesperson said the company bred a range of birds to suit different requirements including the Better Chicken Commitment.

Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming, said last week it was possible to implement the Better Chicken Commitment despite rising food prices. “It is going to be difficult, but we need to be eating less meat. We could then perhaps afford to pay for better-quality chicken.”

‘Frankenchicken’ at the centre of fight for animal welfare | Animal welfare | The Guardian

Further info:

Regards Mark


USA: Man facing animal cruelty charges after stuffing 183 animals in freezer, some still alive.

An Arizona man is facing animal cruelty charges after police found he had shoved 183 animals into a freezer, including some that reportedly were still alive.

Michael Patrick Turland, 43, allegedly filled the cooler with dead dogs, rabbits, birds, lizards, turtles, mice and other animals, according to The Associated Press.

Mohave County deputies found the animals on 3 April during an animal welfare check. A woman called the sheriff’s office and complained that she had lent Mr Turland her snakes so that he could breed them, and that he never gave them back. She told them the man then disappeared, and several months later that she received a call from the owner of the property where Mr Turland had been renting. The owner found the freezer full of animals and alerted the original snake owner.

The woman who owned the snake then called the deputies to make the animal welfare check.

The sheriff’s office said the animals were kept in a “large-sized chest freezer” and noted that the positioning of the creatures suggested that some were likely alive when they entered the freezer.

Mr Turland was arrested on Wednesday after deputies returned to the property. The sheriff’s office has not released a motive for the alleged crimes, but noted that its investigation is ongoing. Deputies are currently on the hunt for his wife, Brooklyn Beck, to question her further.

“When interviewed, Turland eventually admitted to placing some of the animals in the freezer when they were still alive,” the deputies said in a statement.

Ultimately, Mr Turland was charged with 94 counts of animal cruelty. He is currently being held at the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility in Kingman.

Arizona man allegedly stuffed 183 animals into a freezer, while some were still alive (

Regards Mark