Day: January 27, 2023

EU: Male Chick and Female Duckling Culling to be Banned? – Recent Euro Parliament Event Wins Interest From EU Policymakers.

18 January 2023

Eurogroup News

On January 10 2023, an event at the European Parliament was held by the European Institute for Animal Law & Policy and L214 to discuss the future of male chick and female duckling culling. Positive feedback from the policymakers in attendance – as well as general support for and interest in alternatives to the practice – suggest an EU-wide ban could be within our grasp.

The fate of male chicks and female ducklings in Europe is, generally speaking, a very dark one. As they are deemed ‘useless’ by the industry for their inability to produce eggs or big livers, a huge number of them are routinely culled at just one day old by gassing or maceration.

It’s a senseless practice that must be stopped. That’s why we at Eurogroup for Animals, along with several NGOs including L214 – the creators of the ‘Stop Grinding and Gassing’ campaign – have been battling to get the issue recognised and banned at EU level.

Nationally, there have been a lot of victories so far for male chicks in particular. Germany, France and Austria already banned their systematic killing last year – in some instances, following the tireless work of our members and several other NGOs to put the issue in the political spotlight. However, millions of male chicks and female ducklings across Europe are still vulnerable, and EU-wide legislation is therefore required to end the cruelty of this type of culling once and for all.

To explore the potential of a ban further, L214 together with the European Institute for Animal Law & Policy organised an EP event to discuss alternatives to male chick and female duckling culling, and what steps we could take to phase it out across Europe over the coming years.

Envisioning the end of male chick and female duckling culling

Over 100 people attended the EP event both in-person and online, including representatives from COPA COGECA, researchers, and MEPs like Tilly Metz, Caroline Roose and Sirpa Pietikäinen.

Our own Farm Animals Programme Leader, Inês Grenho Ajuda, delivered a talk to highlight the NGO’s asks, as well as the unique opportunity presented by the upcoming revision of the EU’s animal welfare legislation to obtain an EU-wide ban on male chick and female duckling culling. Alternatives to the practice were also discussed like in-ovo sexing: a type of technology that can determine the sex of eggs before they hatch (thus eliminating the ‘need’ for culling). Further alternatives such as the use of dual-purpose breeds and sourcing more plant-based egg options, along with ample evidence to show a ban could be successfully carried out in the EU, has additionally been explored in a brilliant report by Animal Society published recently.

Feedback on the event and the topics discussed was positive. Pietikäinen, who represented the conservative European People’s Party, said she would like to see whether the European Parliament would support a ban on chick culling in the coming months. Independent Portuguese MEP Francisco Guerreiro emphasised that animal welfare will be important in next year’s elections, too, suggesting a ban would be timely.

While she was not present, European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has implied she is on a similar wavelength, having already expressed being in favour of a ban on male chick culling at an AGRIFISH meeting last year.

With the animal welfare legislation to be revised in the coming years and the elections around the corner, now is a critical opportunity to end this horrible process, and implement new and innovative solutions that are devoid of needless pain and suffering. 

After an excellent event and promising words from policymakers and the other parties in attendance, we at Eurogroup for Animals are now working on making that happen. Stay posted for updates. 

Regards Mark

Scotland (UK): Scottish Farmed Salmon Dying in Droves Before Slaughter.

Scottish farmed salmon dying in droves before slaughter

23 January 2023

Animal Equality

Animal Equality UK are raising the alarm as salmon mortality rates on Scottish salmon farms are rocketing.

Every year in the UK, up to 77 million fish are farmed and slaughtered, but many more don’t even make it to slaughter.

According to a report from industry membership body Salmon Scotland, 2.8 million farmed salmon died on-farm in Scotland in September 2022 alone. 

Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) data shows that nearly 15 million salmon mortalities were reported by farms in Scotland from January to November 2022, compared with 8.58 million in 2021 and 5.81 million in 2020.

Farmed salmon suffer from overcrowding inside cages. Others are bitten by sea lice which eat their skin while they’re alive. Animal Equality reports that instead of fixing the root cause of the issue, fish farmers use chemical treatments and other rough treatments which cause the salmon even more suffering.

Drone footage collected by Animal Equality UK shows workers using a “mort sock” to dredge dead fish from the bottom of pens.

The data doesn’t lie. It’s undeniable that early fish mortality is a rapidly worsening issue. Over recent years deaths in fish pens have reached record levels for a number of reasons, including a sharp rise in infectious diseases among the fish who are packed into unnaturally overcrowded cages, as well as poor gill health and rough treatments to remove lice from the infested waters.

As the industry grows, so do these issues. We must take back the power and boycott farmed fish, it’s the only way that we can begin to curb this ever-worsening problem.

Abigail Penny, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK

Don Staniford, of the Scamon Scotland campaign said the FHI figures on salmon deaths were likely to be an underestimate because not all mortalities need to be recorded.

About 25% of the salmon in sea cages are dying, so that’s about one in four. If ramblers saw one in four cows or sheep dead in a field they’d be horrified, but because it’s underwater it’s out of sight, out of mind.

Don Staniford, Scamon Scotland campaign

Regards Mark

UK: UK RESIDENTS ONLY – This weekend (27 to 29 /1/23) is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for 2023.

This weekend (27 to 29 /1/23) is the RSPB big garden birdwatch for 2023.

This is only open FOR UK RESIDENTS.

Give just 1 hour of your time this weekend to take part.

The Big Garden Birdwatch is free to anyone and everyone but the information sent in by people all over the UK helps the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) build up a very accurate register of how the national bird population is doing; what species are flourishing, what are in decline, stable etc.

This birdwatch makes it an ideal family activity at the end of January.  Best of all taking part is easy. All you need to do is sign up online to take part and get a free guide.

You don’t even need a garden. You can count birds from a balcony or even your local park.

Which common garden birds will you see?

Participants are asked to spend an hour counting the birds they see and then submit their results online. Also, it’s good idea is to add a bird feeder to your garden. Watch how a wide variety of different types of birds will pop in your garden for a snack!

As you know, we have many wild bird visitors to our garden; and thus have just signed up for this years watch.  Looking forward to counting the visitors to the garden, submitting the data to the RSPB and helping to get a good overall view of the status of birds in the UK.

I hope you can sign up and take part also.

Regards Mark

Go here for more and to sign up:

Big Garden Birdwatch | The RSPB

Below – Breakfast Buddy.

Below – Reed Bunting photo from Pauline.

BelowStarlings enjoy their morning bath in my garden.