Month: October 2022

EU: Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski visits a horse shelter to discuss the protection of equines in the horse meat trade.

Photo – Act 4 Equines.

On 26 October 2022, Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski visited the animal rescue centre Animaux en Péril to discuss the issues surrounding horse meat imported and consumed in the EU.

In 2020, Eurogroup for Animals published the report “From Stable to Fork” which highlights the traceability problems of the horse meat trade and reveals that the challenges of the 2013 horse meat scandal have not yet been addressed. In 2022, an updated version of this report provides a better overview of the current state of horse meat imports and trade in the EU, pointing out the current regulatory gaps.

From stable to fork: EU Horse Meat Imports (updated version) | Eurogroup for Animals

Numerous investigations and audits conducted by the EU, local authorities and NGOs have highlighted the poor conditions under which horses destined for the EU market are raised, bred, transported and slaughtered in Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and Australia. They also showed the lack of traceability, with no documentation to prove the origin or health status of the horses. This is of particular concern as the horse meat trade involves very long supply chains with animals not even intended for meat production, such as mares used for eCG hormone production.

Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski accepted Eurogroup for Animals’ invitation to discuss these issues at the animal rescue centre Animaux en Péril. As representatives of Eurogroup for Animals and Animaux en Péril presented the animal welfare and traceability issues raised by the horse meat trade, Commissioner Wojciechowski acknowledged the terrible conditions faced by these animals and the need to act to ensure their protection.

Horses have accompanied humanity for centuries, putting their faith, health and welfare into our hands regardless of their roles. They served in the field, at war, on an estate, in sports, in a village, and in a city, they served poor and rich, always with the same dedication, silence and docility. It is high time to ensure their best protection.”

Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski

We call on the EU to ensure that animal welfare requirements applicable in the EU also apply to imported horse meat. It is also essential that EU consumers can make informed decisions through the introduction of country of origin labelling requirements for horse meat. Almost 10 years after the horse meat scandal, it is high time that the EU finally acts to ensure the protection of horses and consumers.

Regards Mark

EU: About Time – Better Late Than Never – The EU Commission To Propose the End Of Male Chick Culling.

28 October 2022

Written by Maya Cygańska

At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) this month, Commissioner Stella Kyriakides announced that the European Commission will put forward a proposal to end the ‘disturbing’ systematic practice of killing male chicks across the EU.

For years, the fate of male chicks has been a key concern at Eurogroup for Animals

As male chicks do not contribute to food production, they have been viewed commercially as both a burden and without value to the food and farming industries. Tragically, the ‘solution’ has therefore been to kill them when they are around one day old: often by grinding or gassing, the focus of the Stop Grinding and Gassing campaign orchestrated by L214. 

As the response to their campaign suggests, this issue has been one that many animal advocacy groups have lobbied passionately for, resulting in some powerful isolated actions across the EU. Deutscher Tierschutzbund helped to ensure that chick culling will be banned by the end of 2022 in Germany. Elsewhere, thanks to the tireless efforts of Animal Equality, this routine killing will stop in Italy from 2026, which will curb the death and suffering of an estimated 35 million male chicks per year. Austria, Luxembourg and France have also all outlawed the practice, and are actively looking for alternative – humane – solutions for what to do with male chicks.  

Despite these fantastic achievements, however, there has not been an EU legislative ban on their systematic slaughter… yet. That’s why, earlier this year, we at Eurogroup for Animals – along with 17 amazing NGOs – wrote an open letter to the Council of the EU, asking for this to be included in the upcoming revisions to the animal welfare legislation. Judging by the response at AGRIFISH last week, our words have resonated.

Putting male chicks on the EU’s radar

In a public consultation at AGRIFISH on October 17, agriculture ministers from across the EU discussed the nuances of a law to end the killing of male chicks, highlighting the ethical and practical issues of the brutal action and the alternatives that could be pursued. 

In the Annex presented to the ministers, it was acknowledged that the culling runs contrary to what EU consumers expect regarding ‘better animal welfare’, though it was agreed at the same time that ending the practice would be ‘a major challenge for the sector’. 

Representatives from Member States such as Spain and Sweden stressed that the use of technology will be vital in forging a new future for male chicks, while ministers from Hungary, Ireland and Croatia voiced the need for robust impact assessments to help navigate an EU-wide ban. It was also recognised that countries like France and Germany are paving the way in this field, having already committed to the ban and being in the process of finding alternatives to managing male chicks – potentially providing good models that other EU countries can follow. 

Ultimately, our takeaway from the consultation was positive, with attendees broadly agreeing on one major point: that the killing of male chicks is unethical and should be banned. More than being immoral, it is also unsustainable, and does not complement the kind of food systems the EU is working towards. There is no place for the practice in our future.

Change is on the horizon

“It is real progress to hear Commissioner Kyriakides say that this unethical practice is going to be banned at EU level and that, although economic factors should be part of the decision, the ethical arguments are the most important ones,” our Farm Animal Programme Leader, Inês Ajuda, commented. “These declarations clearly demonstrate how the new animal welfare legislation needs to be based on ethical grounds, and built on the consideration that kept animals are sentient beings.”

Creating a law to end the senseless slaughter of male chicks would be a major win for animals across the EU, and we’re dedicated to doing our part to make sure it happens. Watch this space!

Regards Mark

UK: New UK Prime Minister ‘Cops Out’ Of Attending COP27 Summit On Global Climate Issues, But He Is Alleged To Be ‘Absolutely Committed’; Although Not Enough To Attend ! Summary – Cop Out Rishi.

WAV Comment – I am ‘absolutely committed’ to getting a new government which IS concerned about animal welfare and global environmental issues – and acts rather than talk yukspeak. Rishi the COP out !

Rishi Sunak accused of ‘massive failure of leadership’ as he rules out attending Cop27

Rishi Sunak accused of ‘massive failure of leadership’ as he rules out attending Cop27 (

Rishi Sunak will not attend next month’s Cop27 summit, No 10 has said.

Green Bx ?? – Rishi you are a COP Out – get a brown one !

Downing Street announced that the Prime Minister will not be heading to the global gathering in Egypt, which Liz Truss had intended to be present at.

A spokesman said he remains “absolutely committed” to tackling climate change, but will stay at home because he needs to tackle “pressing domestic commitments”.

Alok Sharma, who was the minister responsible for overseeing Cop26 last year in Glasgow, will negotiate on behalf of the UK at the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Mr Sunak will be working on plans for the Autumn Budget statement, which has been delayed from its initial Halloween publication date until November 17.

But his decision not to attend the gathering was criticised by political opponents, who said it demonstrated a “massive failure of leadership” on the world stage.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, accused the Prime Minister of not “even bothering to turn up” to the landmark conference.

“What Rishi Sunak obviously fails to understand is that tackling the climate crisis isn’t just about our reputation and standing abroad, but the opportunities for lower bills, jobs, and energy security it can deliver at home,” he said.

The annual presidency of Cop, which has been held by Britain for the last year, will be formally handed over to Egypt at the summit. 

Caroline Lucas, a Green MP, said the fact the Prime Minister will not be there was “a shameful way” to end the UK’s tenure in charge of the global green drive.

The new Prime Minister’s decision not to attend Cop27 makes a mockery of any Government claims on continued climate leadership,” she said.

Her criticism was echoed by the campaign group Greenpeace, which said the decision suggested Mr Sunak does not take the environment “seriously enough”.

“The UK Government is supposed to hand over the Cop presidency to their Egyptian counterparts at next month’s summit,” said Rebecca Newsom, its head of politics.

“For Rishi Sunak not to show up is like a runner failing to turn up with the baton at a crucial stage of the relay.”

Downing Street defended the decision not to attend and said senior ministers would go to the summit, which will run from November 6 to 18.

A spokeswoman said: “We remain committed to net zero and to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change. The UK is forging ahead of many other countries on net zero.

“We will obviously continue to work closely with Egypt as the hosts of Cop27 and to make sure that all countries are making progress on the historic commitments they made at the Glasgow climate pact.”

It is not uncommon for world leaders to skip the annual Cop summits, which have been running since 1995, and to send large teams of officials in their place.

It came after No 10 also confirmed that Mr Sunak had reversed the decision of his predecessor to upgrade the role of environment minister to a Cabinet position.

Graham Stuart was reappointed to the role on Thursday, but was stripped of his entitlement to attend meetings of the Prime Minister’s top team.

In his reshuffle, Mr Sunak effectively replaced him in the Cabinet by promoting the status of immigration minister, held by his close ally Robert Jenrick.

Regards Mark

England: Christmas Card ‘Pin Up’ – In My Garden 27/10.

Photo – Mark (WAV)

Robin tops poll to find UK’s ‘national bird’

Ornithologist David Lindo – who launched the campaign – said the robin was “entwined into our national psyche” as a “Christmas card pin-up”.

He now plans to ask the government to officially recognise the robin as the national bird.

Check our some of my other breakfast buddy photos by going here:

Regards Mark

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Should Make Better Use of Established Best Practices – Public Consultation Link.

Photo – Act 4Fish

26 October 2022

Until the end of October the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is inviting public participation in a consultation on the development of new fish welfare indicators. The indicators will become requirements in the ASC certification scheme, applied in the production of 10+ fish species in aquaculture all across the globe.

Knowledge and best practices on fish welfare have been developing at an exponential rate for twenty plus years. Major certifiers, including the ASC, taking up the topic offers a turning point for fish welfare in aquaculture. It should be a turning point in terms of improving the quality of life of fish, and a turning point in terms of tackling health and product quality challenges in a sector that is continually innovating on the intensive production of undomesticated animals.

The indicators that the ASC has out for consultation now aim at the widespread implementation of the immediate stunning of fish at slaughter. This would be a step change in the sector, pushing technologies that have become standard in the salmon sector from occasional use with other species to implementation widely across aquaculture. With most farmed fish currently killed either by asphyxiation or by simply processing them alive, the introduction of immediate stunning would go a long way towards ending the terrible suffering of fish slaughter.

Farmed fish live long lives on farms. A salmon is probably 3 years old before it is slaughtered, and many other species are reared for 1 to 2 years. It’s a very different scenario from chickens that are raised for a little over a month, or pigs for four to seven months. Unfortunately, the ASC has held back from introducing welfare standards during farming. Instead they propose a framework of monitoring and documentation around many aspects of welfare, but without the measurable specifics that would, a) guarantee consumers something about the standard of life experienced by the fish, b) give aquaculture workers tangible procedures that raise their attention on fish welfare while improving the lives of the fish, and c) provide the basis for the equal application of standards across certified farms.

Fish and their immune systems are especially vulnerable to stress, and will take several days to recover from an instance of routine handling. Aquaculture producers commonly have mortality rates around 20% and for the sake of the fish, and the feed and resources lost when farmed fish die, minimising stress during farming should be a priority for everybody. The RSPCA has been evolving its standards for salmon and trout for over 20 years, the Council of Europe published widely applicable guidelines in 2005, the World Organisation for Animal Health published standards in 2009, the EU Platform on Animal Welfare published guidelines in 2020, and other expert groups and producer organisations have developed many species-specific and regional guidelines. By leaving aside the best practices developed across so many projects, the ASC is passing up the chance to implement the knowledge meaningfully for the benefit of fish and fish farmers.

Aquaculture experts and scientists are now uncovering how to create variety and mental stimulation in fish’s lives. Certification schemes, including the ASC, should have moved further on the basics of avoiding suffering and be better positioned today to provide a good life for farmed fish.

Take part in the public consultation before 31 October 2022

Regards Mark

EU Parliament Committee on Petitions Calls for an EU-Wide Positive List to Regulate Exotic Pet Trade,

25 October 2022

Today the PETI Committee voted to call on the European Commission to regulate the exotic pet trade through an EU-wide Positive List of animals that can be kept as pets. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour, with 20 MEPs voting in favour of the motion, only one voting against or abstaining.

The issue

An enormous number of animals are traded in the EU for the purpose of being kept as companions in people’s households, but many of these species are not and cannot ever be suitable for life in captivity. The motion adopted today highlights the impact of the exotic pet trade on animal welfare, the potential of zoonotic disease risk, and the risk to biodiversity from animals being taken from the wild in their country of origin and also of being released or escaping and becoming invasive species.

The motion states that the current regulations in Member States and provision in the EU do not go far enough, are inefficient in ensuring the welfare of animals traded as pets in inappropriate conditions, and fail to account for the vast majority of species. The lack of sufficient data on the pet trade is mentioned, and Positive Lists already adopted in some countries were highlighted to solve these problems at Member State level, from which lessons can be learnt.

The solution

The motion highlights that an EU-wide positive list is the solution to the plethora of problems caused by the exotic pet trade. A Positive List is a list of animals that are allowed to be traded, meaning that any animals not on the list are illegal to trade. This system is succinct, precautionary, and provides clarity on what species are allowed to be traded in the EU. The motion provides flexibility on the criteria on which the Positive List would be built to ensure the most effective and feasible criteria are used. Importantly, it calls for the strict and timely implementation of the revised EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, set to be released at the end of this week. Following the success of the motion, the Parliament are calling on the European Commission to carry out an impact assessment of the added-value and feasibility of establishing such a list.

Eurogroup for Animals are thrilled that this strong motion has been adopted by the PETI Committee and calls on all MEPs to vote to adopt this important resolution in the Plenary.

Regards Mark

Australia: Australian Government hides behind kill industry as EU considers kangaroo product ban.

24 October 2022

The Federal and New South Wales governments are being accused of turning a blind eye to the commercial killing of kangaroos, while Europe considers a ban on kangaroo meat and skin imports.

A New South Wales parliamentary report into the Health and Wellbeing of Kangaroos and other macropods examined the way the NSW government manages the commercial kangaroo industry, with the inquiry recommending there be greater transparency of kangaroo management plans, programs and practices.

“There was unanimous agreement from the inquiry that there was an appalling inability from both the NSW government and representatives from the commercial kangaroo industry to answer basic questions about their methods,” Kangaroos Alive co-founder Mick McIntyre said.

“Despite the inquiry handing down 23 recommendations to the New South Wales government, only two were accepted in full,” he added.

McIntyre said the inquiry proves Australia has dropped the ball when it comes to monitoring the commercial killing of kangaroos, missing an opportunity to get on the front foot to try to fix issues raised by this New South Wales parliamentary inquiry.

“The government will be left red faced over its dismissive response to the inquiry into kangaroos which found evidence of an unsustainable animal welfare crisis in the commercial kangaroo industry.”

Both the NSW and Federal Government were forced to admit that no one is monitoring this commercial killing at the point of kill and that no records are kept on the number of baby joeys killed each year.

“It is Australia’s shame that we cannot tell our colleagues in Europe how many baby joeys are killed each year in Australia within the commercial kangaroo industry. Nor can we have any faith in the so-called ‘codes of practice’ on kangaroo killing if no-one is monitoring how the animals are actually killed in the field.”

New evidence presented to the parliamentary inquiry shows that up to 40% of kangaroos killed in the commercial kangaroo industry are mis-shot and forced to die slow deaths from secondary trauma.

“The fact is, Europe will act first by banning the import of products, which will in turn cripple this industry,” he said.

A European Parliamentary committee will hold a parliamentary debate in Brussels this month to discuss petitions submitted by three European animal welfare organisations: LAV, World Animal Protection and Eurogroup for Animals. The petitions highlight the numerous issues raised by the kangaroo trade for animal welfare, consumer protection and the environment and call for a ban on imports.  

The NSW parliamentary inquiry heard new evidence shining a light on the number of areas in Australia that have declining kangaroo populations. Again the NSW government was unable to answer basic questions on why there were such big discrepancies in the kangaroo population numbers from one year to the next.

“Kangaroos are shot for their meat and the skins then exported, but it happens with little monitoring and now with new evidence that points to a massive loss of kangaroo bio-diversity, that’s going to be a problem for the European Union,” McIntyre said.

“Kangaroo body parts are sold across Europe and the US for pet food, sausages and soccer boots, but we are seeing push back against the inherently cruel slaughter.”

McIntyre says it is compelling that the European Parliament debate on the import of kangaroo products will coincide with World Kangaroo Day on October 24th.

“We are pleased this is happening on World Kangaroo Day, an international day of celebration. It’s sending a strong message that the EU cares about the future of our national icon.”

“EU countries are the largest importers of kangaroo products – for pet food, handbags and soccer boots.”

Australian export data shows the EU remains the first destination of Australian exports of kangaroo meat, with Belgium accounting for 775 tonnes or about a third of the total export.

“Supermarket giant Carrefour has already banned kangaroo meat from its stores, while luxury brands like Gucci, Prada and Versace have also stopped using kangaroo skins in their bags, belts and shoes because of the way the animals are killed.”

“English soccer icon David Beckham even stopped wearing Adidas shoes made from kangaroo skins after watching a video of a young joey and a mother being killed.”

McIntyre and other advocates from Kangaroos Alive and a coalition of 78 other animal welfare groups and NGOs from Europe will be observers at this important debate at the EU.

KA will also meet representatives of the Netherlands Government, as they are a country considering a national ban of kangaroo products.

The US could also follow suit. A bill presented to Congress has already proposed a ban on the sale of kangaroo products. It would mean major manufacturers of football boots, who are believed to buy hundreds of thousands of kangaroo skins a year, would need to find another way of making them.

Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in the world, with 54 native animals becoming extinct and an additional 400 listed as threatened.

“Many Australians are appalled by Japan’s slaughter of whales and dolphins or Canada’s killing of fur seals, but what we are doing to our kangaroos is far worse than that,” McIntyre said.

“We need to learn to value these international icons and acknowledge that they are worth much more to Australia alive. Our tourist industry relies on them and World Kangaroo Day highlights this.

“It invites us all to stop and celebrate this magnificent icon alive.”

About World Kangaroo Day

Monday, 24 October 2022 is World Kangaroo Day. A day to celebrate one of the world’s great icons and recognise the importance of kangaroos to our nation. Despite the kangaroo being such an integral part of Australian culture they are also victims of the largest terrestrial wildlife slaughter in the world. Kangaroos Alive, the not-for-profit organisation behind World Kangaroo Day aims to rally support from around the world for a moratorium on the commercial killing of kangaroos.

Legendary Australian Test Cricketer Jason “Dizzy” Gillespie is lending his support as an ambassador.

The World Kangaroo Day Photo Competition has attracted hundreds entries. Professional and amateur photographers from across Australia have sent in photographs. Wildlife photographers Robert Irwin and Steve Parrish will judge the competition. The winner will be announced on WKD.

World Kangaroo Day is supported by Animals Australia, World Animal Protection, Australia Zoo, Animal Welfare Institute, IFAW, Eurogroup for Animals,  among other wildlife warriors.

 About Kangaroos Alive

Kangaroos Alive is a global movement for the ethical treatment of kangaroos. It is the brainchild of the producers of the award-winning film Kangaroo: A love hate story.

They joined forces with Diane Smith and Greg Keightley to create Kangaroos Alive, who provides funds for; emergency response and ongoing care for kangaroos injured from commercial shooters, fires, road and fence accidents. They have launched World Kangaroo Day to lobby for a moratorium on commercial kangaroo killing.

Read more at source

Kangaroos Alive

Regards Mark

Against all instincts: how living on fur farms affects the daily lives of wild animals.

20 October 2022

World Animal Day was celebrated on 4 October, a day to reflect on the incredible animal kingdom and all of the unique species we share our planet with. Mink, foxes and chinchillas, species typically found on fur farms in Europe, are inherently wild animals that have fascinating lives in their natural habitats.

This month, we are delving deeper into how these species live in the wild, and how their natural instincts are stifled on fur farms.

A dog’s life for foxes

Red foxes mainly live in pairs or in family groups of up to ten adults and pups, digging dens with many tunnels. Their Arctic cousins roam for dozens of kilometres. But on fur farms, both species are condemned to solitary confinement in wire-mesh battery cages measuring 0.8-1.2m2.

Mink are restricted to even smaller cages, whereas in the wild they climb and jump between trees across a territory of up to 3km2 a day – that is when they’re not diving to depths of up to six metres and swimming underwater for over thirty.  

Even the humble chinchilla can jump up to four times the 50cm height of the cages where they are imprisoned on farms. Used to living in colonies of over 100 yet forming breeding pairs, they find themselves constrained to small groups.

The failure to satisfy the most essential needs for the animals’ physical and mental wellbeing leads to distressed behaviour, such as pacing and circling, fur-chewing and tail-biting. Self-inflicted injuries, infected wounds, missing limbs and even cannibalism are recurrent on fur farms, as are high levels of reproductive failure and infant mortality.

Being wild animals, they are naturally fearful of humans. When heavy gloves do not provide adequate protection, handlers resort to metal neck or body tongs, and even traps placed in the cage. 

No animal fares well on fur farms 

The WelFur programme claims to assess animal welfare on fur farms in Europe. But as its protocols were developed to apply to housing in cages, this means the results of their studies only tell us that all fur farms are basically the same, not that the animals live in adequate conditions.

Animal welfare can only be looked at properly through the prism of the Five Domains, which assesses the balance between positive and negative experiences and feelings – a paradigm shift from the previous Five Freedoms model focused on the elimination of negative experiences. Using this animal-centric approach, fur farming is clearly an utterly unacceptable cruelty. It needs to be stopped. 

If you agree that no animals should be punished for having fur, but that instead keeping animals on farms to be killed for their fur should be illegal, don’t hesitate before signing our Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative to ban fur farms and farmed fur products on the European market. 

“Fur Free Europe”, our latest report, goes into more detail about the ethological needs of species farmed for their fur, and how the conditions these wild animals are subjected to make it impossible for their behavioural needs to be met.

Regards Mark

China: 370 dogs and cats died in a Chinese ‘death truck’ heading to a meat market, animal rights group says.

Rescuers found 1,400 dogs and cats on board a truck in Hubei province.Yidu Center/CAWA

370 dogs and cats died in a Chinese ‘death truck’ heading to a meat market, animals rights group says (

Animal rights groups in China found more than 1,400 dogs and cats on a “death truck.”

Around 370 of the dogs and cats had died by the time they were discovered, said activists.

The animals were being transported to Yulin county, where the dog and cat meat trade is prevalent.

More than 1,400 dead or dying dogs and cats were discovered on a truck headed for slaughterhouses in Yulin, south China, said animal rights activists who intercepted the vehicle last week.

Out of the 1,408 animals found, 378 dogs and cats were already dead by the time the truck was stopped, Humane Society International, or HSI, said on October 10.

The rescuers, comprising local animal groups and anti-dog meat trade campaigners, said they saved the remaining 1,000 or so dogs and cats from what they called the “death truck.”

Some of these animals had to be given emergency treatment on the roadside, and many suffered open wounds, broken bones, respiratory disease, and severe dehydration, HSI said.

They’re now being treated and cared for by staff at local shelters, the organization added.

“The smell of death, diarrhea and vomit was overwhelming,” said Hao Dayue, an activist with the Capital Animal Welfare Association, speaking to HSI.

“I saw a number of dogs and cats die on the roadside despite desperate attempts to help them, there was nothing that could be done but hold them as they passed away,” Hao said.

Hao estimated that most of the 718 dogs on the truck were stolen pets, and that the 690 cats were likely strays.

Police stopped the “death truck” on a highway in Hubei province, about halfway along the transport’s 745-mile journey from Fucheng county to Yulin county, HSI said.

The truck’s two drivers were detained by police and reported to officials at Xiantao, a city in Hubei province, per HSI.

The trader who hired them and acquired the dogs and cats also faces investigation by China’s Agriculture Bureau on charges of transporting sick animals across provinces without the proper documentation, the organization said.

The Ministry of Agriculture did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

China does not have nationwide animal protection laws that prohibit cruel treatment of animals. Beijing banned the trade and consumption of wildlife in February 2020, following speculation that COVID-19 may have spread to humans from live animals at Chinese wet markets.

However, only two cities in mainland China, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, have banned the dog and cat meat trade.

The eating of dogs and cats is typically only found in a select few places in China, but the practice can be prevalent in those limited locations.

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is one of China’s best-known events that involves the consumption of dog meat, and it often faces opposition from animal rights groups in the region.

HSI estimated that 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for human consumption each year in China.

Regards Mark