Largest Modern Pig Farm In The World – Million Dollar Pork Processing Technology & Cutting Line
Is ‘happy music’ supposed to dress this up as being ok ?
Largest Modern Pig Farm In The World – Million Dollar Pork Processing Technology & Cutting Line
Is ‘happy music’ supposed to dress this up as being ok ?
New EFSA scientific opinion on pigs
26 August 2022
Written by Dr Elena Nalon
Severe animal welfare problems persist, but solutions are at hand, now it’s the time for action, starting with the abolition of sow stalls
The new EFSA scientific opinion on the welfare of pigs on farm analyses the latest scientific and practical evidence on the welfare challenges caused by the most common rearing systems in the EU and gives detailed recommendations on how to prevent or manage them.
The opinion presents 16 highly relevant welfare consequences along with their possible preventive and remedial measures. Additionally, the panel selected several animal based measures (ABMs) – e.g. the presence of certain lesions or behaviours – that can be reliably used for monitoring or enforcement purposes.
Measuring animal welfare has traditionally been considered a challenge but this new report makes it clear that there are tools available that can help the legislator go in the right direction.
The most frequent welfare challenges identified by EFSA across pig rearing systems and categories of pigs were:
Inability to perform exploratory or foraging behaviour
Soft tissue and integument damage
Prolonged hunger (affecting dry sows and gilts, piglets, and boars)
Of these, the EFSA considered that inability to perform exploratory or foraging behaviour was the most relevant for all the pig categories under consideration, including for sows during lactation and suckling piglets. This point warrants a reflection because current EU legislation on pig welfare mandates that all pigs should have access to appropriate enrichment materials to keep them meaningfully occupied with rooting, foraging, and exploring, all activities for which pigs are highly motivated. Unfortunately, this norm has been systematically flouted by the vast majority of the pig industry, with the effect that pigs continue to be kept in predominantly barren conditions and tail docked to manage tail biting.
In this updated opinion, the EFSA reinstates in no uncertain terms that pigs have an intrinsic need to explore and to forage and that bad welfare follows if they are denied this opportunity. Thus, pen floor design should allow for the provision of appropriate enrichment materials in sufficient quantities. Alternatively, rubber mats should be placed in pens with fully slatted flooring. The substrates most suitable as enrichment materials are straw, hay and silage. Other materials are suboptimal, as already clearly stated in the European Commission’s (EC) Recommendation on measures to reduce tail docking. The EFSA also concludes that during a tail biting outbreak pigs should be immediately given novel and attractive organic enrichment materials.
Another conclusion of the report, an aspect that animal advocates have been stressing for decades, is that intensive indoor rearing is the practice that causes the most welfare issues. This means that, to be impactful in improving the welfare of the 146 millions of EU pigs, revised legislation will have to introduce profound changes as alternative, higher welfare systems currently represent less than 1% of the total number of pig farms. In particular, the EFSA recommends giving growing pigs more space compared to the current minimum legal requirements as this will have a positive impact on animal welfare and even on growth rates. Part of the flooring should be solid to allow the animals to rest by lying down and to facilitate the provision of bedding and enrichment materials.
In response to the successful “End the Cage Age” ECI, the EC specifically required EFSA to assess the advantages, the welfare challenges and the mitigation measures associated with eliminating the use of individual stalls for gilts and sows and the report provides guidance on how this transition could occur. The EFSA concludes that gilts and sows should be permanently kept in groups. Hence, gestation stalls and conventional farrowing crates should no longer be used. As for farrowing and lactation, the EFSA concludes that, with the necessary adaptations in management and training of stockpersons, free-farrowing pens are as effective as conventional farrowing crates in terms of pre-weaning piglet mortality (14.2% for “fully crated” sows). Importantly, the EFSA highlights that temporary crating systems for farrowing and lactation should not be adopted unless their size is the same as free-farrowing pens and unless they can be easily converted into free-farrowing pens. This is a very important recommendation for the legislator to avoid the “enriched cage” escape route, an unscientific half measure that would cost sows and piglets yet more decades of unnecessary suffering.
The opinion also stresses the importance of providing sows with nest-building materials, the most effective being those with longer structures provided in a deep layer, such as long-stemmed or long-cut straw or hay. Selection for large litters has several negative welfare consequences for sows and piglets alike and should be reconsidered. The EFSA recommends that selection for litter size should be limited to an average number of 12–14 piglets born alive.
The current minimum weaning age of 28 days for piglets should remain (and possibly increased based on further research). Additionally, the derogation allowing weaning at 21 days, which is largely used to maximise productivity, should be reconsidered. Piglets weaned at 28 days or later have better immunity and gut health and they may be less predisposed to tail biting later in life.
The opinion states that immunocastration and keeping entire pigs are preferable to surgical castration in terms of animal welfare and that in any case surgical piglet castration without anaesthesia and analgesia should no longer be performed. Additionally, tail docking should not be performed. The EFSA does acknowledge that these procedures can and should be avoided, stressing that effective pain relief protocols are mostly unavailable or impractical on farm. However, the report still offers recommendations on how to carry out these painful procedures when they are considered unavoidable.
By contrast, we believe that – with the exception of individual animals or litters requiring veterinary care and if the procedures are carried out by a licensed veterinarian with adequate pain relief – revised pig welfare legislation should no longer include derogations to a full ban on pig mutilations, as there is a high risk that such derogations will become the rule (as is currently the case for tail docking).
On the specific request of the Commission, the EFSA also reached a consensus on seven ABMs that can be scored at the slaughterhouse to assess on-farm pig and cull sow welfare. At the moment, some indicators are already routinely collected for food hygiene and animal health purposes but they can also be very useful to monitor animal welfare on farm. Reliable classification systems and their harmonisation will be necessary in some cases to standardise the use of these AMBs in the future across Member States.
The widespread presence of chronic hunger, lameness and other injuries in some categories of pigs are also worrying and should be taken seriously in the upcoming revision of pig welfare legislation. In particular, chronic hunger in pregnant gilts and sows and the welfare of suckling piglets and breeding boars need to be urgently addressed, and in the case of boars also better studied.
This new EFSA opinion provides many useful indications on how to at least partially mitigate the serious animal welfare challenges in intensive pig farming. Of course, considering the opportunities ahead, it could have been even more ambitious. For instance, the mandate was limited to negative aspects of animal welfare. This is a missed opportunity as animal welfare science now recognises that kept animals should not only be spared suffering but should also experience positive mental states, which is the closest we can probably get to giving them “lives worth living”. The new legislation should definitely include this fundamental aspect, which lies at the core of our recent white paper on the revision of the EU animal welfare acquis.
Major airlines apparent illegal monkey shipment prompts complaint from animal rights activists Image: WICHAI WONGJONGJAIHAN/Shutterstock.com
AN alleged illegal transportation of monkeys by China’s Hainan Airlines has prompted a complaint from animal rights activists, PETA.
The American non-profit animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement after Hainan Airlines reportedly shipped 720 endangered long-tailed macaques in the month of August from Cambodia to Chicago.
The USDA confirmed that it had cancelled Hainan Airline’s registration in May, making this shipment an apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the organisation said on Thursday, August 25.
“Based on a whistleblower report, the monkeys were sent to a facility operated by Envigo Global Services Inc. in Alice,” PETA said in a statement.
It added: “Envigo has repeatedly shown that it values profits over animal welfare.
“Following PETA’s undercover investigation into Envigo’s beagle-breeding facility in Virginia last year, the USDA cited the company for 48 violations of the AWA and a US Department of Justice civil case led Envigo to announce that it will shut down the facility.
“In 2019, the USDA also cited the company’s monkey facility in Texas with a critical violation of the AWA for failing to provide 25 monkeys with food for six days. Envigo had to euthanise two of these animals because they were so severely starved.”
PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr Lisa Jones-Engel said: “Whether you’re talking about beagles or monkeys, Envigo cannot be trusted to take care of animals or safeguard public health.
“Monkeys brought in from squalid farms in Asia endure terrifying, gruelling journeys and can harbour everything from Ebola to malaria. If Hainan can’t be bothered to do the minimum of registering itself as required and Envigo doesn’t ensure that its carrier is legitimate, we have to ask whether they’re following any of the protocols required for public safety.”
Long-tailed macaques are now recognised as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the company noted.
“[This is in] large part due to their exploitation as part of the international wildlife trade to U.S. laboratories, where they’re mutilated, poisoned, deprived of food and water, forcibly immobilised in restraint devices, infected with painful and deadly diseases, psychologically tormented, and killed.”
Hainan appears to be one of the last airlines still shipping monkeys to laboratories.
In January, Kenya Airways ended the practice just 24 hours after discussions with PETA US, Air France followed suit in June after a decade-long campaign by PETA entities, and EGYPTAIR stopped shipping monkeys earlier this month following PETA entities’ global protests.
More bite, please: Hong Kong animal rights groups say new anti-cruelty bill with stiffer penalties not tough enough
Amendment to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance will require owners to ensure welfare of pets
Rights activists want law to protect animals at abattoirs, markets, and rules on feeding strays
Hong Kong animal rights groups have welcomed the government’s move to tighten anti-cruelty laws, but some say the proposed changes do not go far enough to deter abusers.
A bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance will go before the Legislative Council later this year, increasing penalties, introducing a new indictable offence and strengthening enforcement powers to prevent pets from suffering physically and mentally.
The proposals include imposing a “duty of care” on those responsible for animals, requiring owners to safeguard their welfare.
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Owners may be penalised if they fail to take care of their animals, including keeping them in good shape and health, letting them exercise and play regularly, and providing them clean water and a balanced diet. They must also take sick pets to the vet, and vaccinate them.
The bill proposes increasing the maximum penalty for offenders to seven years’ jail and a fine of up to HK$1,000,000 (US$127,000).
It also recommends extending the time bar for prosecution – currently six months – to allow more time to initiate action in more complex cases.
Adding a duty of care to the law would help by making owners responsible for their pets’ welfare, some groups said.
“Currently anti-cruelty legislation in Hong Kong cannot protect animals at risk of abuse and suffering, as authorities cannot step in to help a neglected animal until it has actually been harmed,” said a spokesman for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
But others wanted the bill widened to cover more types of animals and provide for heavier punishments.
Amanda Whitfort, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said it was wrong not to extend the duty of care to food animals meant for human consumption, including those in farms, slaughterhouses and markets.
“It’s not just about pets,” said Whitfort, an expert on animal-welfare legislation. “Go down to a wet market, have a look at the way animals are tied up or kept, or fish being flipped from one container to another to show off how fresh they are by the stallholders.”
She said food animals were protected in other jurisdictions as the duty of care principle was rooted in concern about the way all animals were treated when alive.
“Leaving food animals out is extraordinary for Hong Kong to do,” she said.
However, in a reply to the Post, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said methods of rearing, transporting and selling food animals were “currently accepted by society”.
Whitfort also urged the authorities to impose a complete ban on “mercy release”, when people set animals free into the wild, including turtles released into waterways.
The bill only specifies an act of cruelty if releasing an animal leads to its “unnecessary suffering”.
Linda Tse Hiu-mui, founder of the Hong Kong Saving Cat and Dog Association, called for more protection for strays, and urged the authorities to do more to regulate the feeding of such animals.
Feeding wild birds or animals is not illegal, but people who feed strays risk being slapped with a HK$1,500 fixed penalty for contaminating public areas by leaving food.
“Many animal lovers are afraid of being prosecuted for feeding stray animals and can only feed them sneakily. It would be helpful if the government could collect data on strays and set up designated feeding stations,” she said.
All those interviewed were concerned by the relatively low proportion of cases prosecuted successfully, and wondered if this situation would persist even after the law was tightened.
In a study of cases between January 2013 and December 2019, the SPCA and HKU found that fewer than half the 143 people convicted for serious animal cruelty went to jail, and for an average of only 2.4 months.
Police said they received 70 cruelty complaints in 2020, with 39 cases detected and 50 people arrested.
Whitfort, who conducted the joint study, said many cases were not prosecuted because the offender could not be found.
Alex Wong Hoi-ming, founder of Hong Kong Bunny Rescue, called for “animal police” to step up action against abuse.
In 2018, the force set up animal crime teams in 22 police districts to investigate cruelty cases, with officers trained to spot abuse. But team members also dealt with other crimes.
Calling for a dedicated team, Wong said: “No matter how strict the penalties are, if there are insufficient police officers to investigate, the amended law will not deter abusers.”
Avis Fung Suk-kwan, chief executive officer of Paws Hero, an NGO focused on animal protection education, agreed there was a need to step up investigation and prosecution.
“The current failure in addressing animal cruelty lies with passive law enforcement,” she said.
With thanks to Stacey at Our Compass:
On this and all other days
We honour those who
Those who we miss so much
Those by whom our
Lives were touched.
Your presence near
Though we can neither see nor
Our souls and spirit
Rajasthan has received more rain this year than in the last 70 years! This meant the need for even more shelter around the hospital and sanctuary. We put up new roofing, did repairs, elevated and leveled earth and removed unstable trees.
As the saying goes, “when it rains it pours.” And indeed, not only is it the dreaded maggot season that comes every year during monsoon, but Rajasthan has been hit with an outbreak of a viral disease amongst cattle called Lumpy Skin Disease. Many of our hospital and sanctuary cows have already been affected and are under treatment. Sadly, we haven’t been able to save them all but most are recovering with supportive care. We are currently vaccinating and doing our best to treat those affected.
Just two tiny holes were left for air to enter. A traumatic face wound had injured her nose so badly that the entire tip was missing. In a state of shock, however, she surrendered any resistance she might have had to being caught and brought to the hospital. She simply seemed to give us permission to try to save her life.
But saving her was not going to be easy. She was in a great deal of pain and refused to eat for several days which made us worry if the injuries were deeper and affecting her ability to eat.
On day 4, something changed! And the rest of her sweet story is–ahead of her! Meet Lovebug now!
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Children gathered around the struggling puppy, whose little hind legs flopped behind him after he was hit by a car. It was heartbreaking to see. Our rescue team scooped him up and found, to our relief, that he seemed to have no spinal injury, no open wounds, and no fractures. But still, he couldn’t bear weight on his hind legs.
We treated him for spinal injury, though he was completely unwilling to obey the “rules” of bed-rest and kept on playing. Within a few weeks, his balance was starting to catch up with his determination to have fun. His legs aren’t perfect, but they take him wherever he needs to go. And Neemo wants to go everywhere!
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This beautiful boy had a massive wound on his chest. He had a family who stroked and loved him and seemed to somehow let him know he needed to go with our rescue team without any resistance. But he was terrified of the wound cleaning process, and it broke our hearts to see the fear leaping from his eyes.
Suturing the wound closed was not an option because of the place and size of the wound, so it would need to heal by daily bandaging. When the first treatment was finished his entire face changed to reveal trust and comfort as he began the beautiful process of bonding with his new hospital caregivers.
How wonderful it was to be able to return Kalu to his neighborhood and the people he simply loves!
Love means diligence, because serious wounds need weeks of treatment.
Piyush, at just 21-years-old, is already an experienced animal rescuer in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, who has formed a small team of volunteers to respond to emergencies in his locality. He came to volunteer at Animal Aid for a month to observe how a busy animal shelter works.
His bright and eager mind combined with a tremendous compassion gave us all a big dose of optimism. He and his team are helping as many animals in Jamshedpur as they can, focusing on street treatments, preventing small problems from becoming large ones, and they have managed to temporarily house recovering dogs who need immobilization into foster care.
We wish to Piyush and his team an amazing future!
We are delighted that our beloved Mangibai is back with us and all the animals who dearly missed her.
In mid-July, Mangibai and her husband were bitten by the most poisonous snake in India–a krait–in the middle of the night, and remained in critical condition for many days. We all were beyond worried, and the ICU ward she was recovering in was flooded with Animal Aid staff in and out at every time of the day. Miraculously, they both made it through the first critical days, and they were able to return home a week later. They would still need weeks of rest to completely regain their strength.
A staff member for over 10 years, Mangibai is one of our most experienced care-givers, and a beautiful person. We celebrated her return with garlands, hugs and tears of joy – so incredibly lucky and grateful to have her back with us.
We’re excited to announce our partnership with FreeWill, an online tool that helps you write a will in about 20 minutes. This service is completely free to use and allows you to support animals in need by including Animal Aid Unlimited in your estate plan. Your planned gift costs nothing today and secures the future of our compassionate service to all animals we know you care for deeply.
Non-U.S. residents: FreeWill’s self-help estate planning solutions are valid for the disposition of property located in the fifty states and DC. Will-makers residing outside of the United States should consult with a local lawyer before using FreeWill’s tools.
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A group of 22 environmentalists, public health, and animal-rights aficionados led by the Stand Up For Factory Farms coalition is petitioning Oregon to adopt new air quality rules — specifically targeting dairy.
Filed on August 17, the petition was submitted to the Environmental Quality Commission seeking to create an emissions program that applies to “large” dairy farms — those the federal EPA defines by housing 700 or more mature cows.
Oregon is home to over 200 dairy farms — most which have been family owned and operated for multiple generations. The state is known for producing high-quality milk and consistently ranking amongst the top five states nationwide for milk quality. Although the petition purportedly is aimed at “mega dairy,” a 700 mature cow operation hardly qualifies as a large farm. In fact, 700 mature cows doesn’t place a dairy into the top ten largest dairies in the state … or the top 50.
The introduction to the petition reads, “Air pollution from the State’s growing number of exceedingly large mega-dairies threatens the public health and safety of Oregonians, as well as the environment. Yet the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality neither monitors nor regulates this air pollution through its current Air Contaminant Discharge Permit program. It is past time for Oregon to address air pollution from large dairy concentrated animal feeding operations.”
The coalition’s petition calls for a requirement that proposed and existing dairies obtain an air quality permit to “curb” harmful emissions. The permit would likely apply to 39 percent of Grade A dairies in the state, which house 84 percent of cattle. The commission has 90 days to respond by denying the request or by beginning rule-making proceedings.
The groups support their claims with a “fact sheet” by Food and Water Watch, which reads, “Mega-dairies have wreaked havoc on communities in eastern Oregon for years. Nitrate from fertilizers and animal waste infiltrates groundwater and threatens the health of those who drink it.” In their conclusion, they state, “The numerous problems that mega-dairies create and the incalculable damage that they inflict on Oregon are not going away without strong action from the state’s leaders. Touting factory farm gas as a solution is only entrenching pollution among frontline communities. Oregon’s legislature must take strong action to protect our air, water and health, beginning with a moratorium on new and expanding mega-dairies.”
The removal of dairy cows from the U.S. agricultural industry wouldn’t do much to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, data from Virginia Tech suggests that emissions would only drop about 0.7 percent, with far worse implications for human health if dairy was removed.
Dairies are already under regulation by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality. Since 1993, all Oregon dairies have maintained a Confined Animal Feeding Operation Permit, which provides a checks and balances system that ensures protection of the state’s waters.
Should vets be vegan? Nurse argues it is contradictory to treat and save the lives of some animals; and then go off to eat others.
Britain’s top veterinary organisation has published an article suggesting that vets should go vegan.
Saving the lives of pets, then eating other animals, could be seen as ‘contradictory’, according to the article in the flagship journal of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
The article, written by veterinary nurse Leanne Dalton, is given the headline: ‘Do we have a moral obligation to be vegan?’
The text states: ‘We are expected to treat all our patients equally, but equality should extend to animals beyond those in our care. Is it not contradictory to perform life-saving surgery on one animal and then eat a chicken sandwich straight after?’
It comes as fashionable veganism sweeps across public bodies, from Oxfordshire County Council banning meat at County Hall events to universities banning beef.
There is even a movement encouraging people to feed their dogs and cats vegan food.
The BVA does not have an official stance on whether vets should eat meat. But Mrs Dalton, who works at Vets4Pets in Loughborough, Leicestershire, writes: ‘Studies in farm animals, decapods and cephalopods have shown that they are able to demonstrate a wide range of cognitive abilities equal to, and in some cases superior than, the small animals that many of us see in practice.’
Decapods include crabs and lobsters, and cephalopods include the octopus and squid.
Mrs Dalton concludes: ‘If we are against cruelty to animals, we should stop contributing to harming them and collectively adopt veganism.’
Responding to the article, published in the journal Vet Record, Professor Victor Kumar, a moral philosopher at Boston University, said: ‘The problem with articles telling people that they should be vegan is that they can backfire, since people who eat meat feel they are disapproved of, or perceive that vegans are claiming to have moral superiority.
‘It might be better to encourage people to reduce the amount of meat they eat, or to look for ethically sourced meat, as most people do not like the cruelty involved in factory farming. We need to remember that meat is a big part of many people’s lives, from summer barbecues to Christmas dinners.’
Mrs Dalton could not be reached for comment.
Sean Wensley, former president of the BVA and author of Through a Vet’s Eyes, said: ‘Some people take an animal rights-based view, which promotes an end to the use of animals by humans, while others have an animal welfare-based view, which accepts animal use, so long as the animals have a good life and a humane death.
‘The veterinary profession largely adheres to an animal welfare-based view. But veterinary professionals who adopt veganism have a legitimate philosophical view and must be respected.’
Justine Shotton, president of the BVA, said that the journal Vet Record is editorially independent and does not represent the views of the BVA.
She said: ‘Diet is a personal matter and vets are well-placed to make educated decisions about the best way that they can consider sustainability and animal welfare in their choices as consumers.
‘At the British Veterinary Assocation, we encourage everyone to consider the environmental impact of their dietary choices and have long campaigned for a ‘less and better’ approach to consuming meat.’
Animal rights activists celebrate as controversial rabbit farm firm ceases trading
A rabbit farm in Rutland has closed after facing sustained pressure from animal rights activists – including alleged cases of vandalism. T&S Nurseries, ran by Phil Kerry, set up a rabbit farming site at Lyndon Top Farm, close to Rutland Water, and previously submitted plans to expand the farm to breed 10,000 rabbits a year for slaughter.
However, the company, which also had farms in Nottingham and Buckinghamshire, faced significant opposition and scrutiny from residents and animal rights campaigners, including PETA, as it attempted to expand the business.
PETA gathered more than 21,000 signatures on a petition to block Mr Kerry’s plans during a campaign which also won the support of comedian, TV, and film star Ricky Gervais.
Now, Mr Kerry has confirmed he has decided to cease trading because of that pressure and the repeated rejection of his applications to expand the business.
(Friday, August 19), that he was pulling out of the trade. He said: “We’re passing over the last of the rabbits from the farm over to the activists tomorrow and winding down the rabbit farm business.
“I was looking to retire next year anyway, so pushing it forward a few months doesn’t matter to me. But we’re diversifying into other things such as vineyards, orchards, as well as going into the ‘glamping’ business, so nobody is going to lose their jobs from the closure.
“The legal activism outside the businesses through the day was one thing, but we had a lot of activists at night that caused us a lot more issues, especially graffiti and vandalism. One staff member’s car was even covered with paint stripper.
“We were very much a small base of operations for rabbit farming compared to what gets shipped in from Europe. So maybe the focus should be on that now instead.”
In a statement regarding the business ceasing trade, PETA’s vice president of programmes Elisa Allen said: “Animal advocates are jumping for joy over news that T&S Nurseries has read the writing on the wall and will soon be closing up shop – meaning no more rabbits will be bred and killed at its facilities.
“On these farms, sensitive animals spend much of their lives confined to barren hutches, unable to socialise or explore. Then, after enduring a miserable life, they’re hung upside down and their throats are slit so their dismembered body parts can be used for pâté, pies, and other “products”.
“Business owner Phil Kerry revealed the decision to cease trading was made, in part, because local councils repeatedly blocked his applications for new butchering and breeding sites – applications which tens of thousands of compassionate PETA supporters spoke out against.
“In a true sign of the times, the public has once again reminded animal-exploiting businesses that the only viable industries are those which don’t harm other living, feeling beings.”
The animal rights charity also said that it intends to send Mr Kerry a “box of vegan chocolate bunnies to wish him a happy retirement.”
Vegan chocolates – wonderful and the very best !