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England: Takeaway The Meat.

Dear Mark,

Takeaway the Meat is Viva!’s ground-breaking new vegan TV ad campaign and we are crowdfunding to reach 16 million people in the UK.

We want to show people the correlation between animal cruelty and what is on their plate.

Over 450 people have donated to the campaign so far helping us smash our first target of £10K – and the list is growing fast!

We need your help to reach our next target of £15K.

A very generous donor has offered to match all donations up to the total value of £40k, and we have also secured a grant from Channel 4 which will double the total again.

Please give a donation if you can to get this ad onto UK national tv.

Regards Mark

This Vegan Chicken Factory Has Glass Walls For A Reason.

This Vegan Chicken Factory Has Glass Walls For A Reason
Planted recreates the textures, tastes, appearances, and nutritional value of chicken, pork, and beef. Credit: Planted Foods

This Vegan Chicken Factory Has Glass Walls For A Reason

Seeking to revolutionize how meat is perceived and consumed globally, Planted aims to trigger a fundamental rethink about the food we eat

by Leigh Venus26th November 2021

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

In 2010, Sir. Paul McCartney lent his face and this famous quote to a PETA film that took viewers behind the opaque walls of slaughterhouses and factory farms.

Although one of the most well-known quotes in the animal rights movement, it took the team behind Planted Foods—a Swiss food tech company dedicated to ending animal suffering through tasty plant-based alternatives to meat—to run with the idea.

Convinced the food industry needed to be more transparent about ingredients and processes, Planted made this literal by building an enormous glasshouse around their production in the heart of their Switzerland-based factory.

Slaughterhouses are often miles away from urban centers, guarded by impenetrable walls and perplexing laws. To date, the primary means of drawing attention to the non-transparency1 of the industry has been through activists sneaking out footage of terrible conditions and practices. 

“We built our production under a greenhouse with glass walls and glass ceiling because we want to be transparent in the way we make meat today,” said Planted’s Co-Founder Pascal Bieri. “Unlike the animal meat industry, we have nothing to hide.”

Open, airy, and entirely transparent, the factory and ethos is a sharp contrast to the efforts of meat manufacturers to hide the horrors of their production processes from consumers. 

As Planted goes from strength to strength, the team invites everyone to visit their glass-walled factory to take a closer look at what they do. 

Beginnings and success

While working in the USA in 2017, Bieri became excited by the potential of plant-based meat replacement products coming to market and ​​saw an opportunity to challenge the status quo of the animal meat industry.

Initially collaborating with his cousin Lukas Böni who was completing a doctorate in food process engineering, financial specialist Christoph Jenny and Lukas’ fellow Ph.D. student Eric Stirnemann later rounded off the founding team of Planted Foods. 

United by a love of food, environment, and science, the co-founders spent 2018 deep in research and development at Lukas’ research university, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Their goal was clear from the beginning: create plant-based options that could win over carnivores and vegans alike with clean, 100 percent natural ingredients and transparent processes.

In 2019, Planted received a Pioneer Fellowship, awarding access to infrastructure to fast-track small-scale production and create an early prototype of their first product, planted.chicken.  

Fuelled by new technology and a drive to provide ecologically friendly alternatives that could satisfy the cultural desire for meat, the team was thrilled by how close their plant-based product came to replicating the taste and texture of chicken.

Off the back of their initial success, Bieri and the team founded Planted in July 2019. The same year, dozens of restaurants across Zurich, Lucerne, and Geneva put Planted’s chicken on their menus. 

An injection of seven million Swiss francs powered construction of a production plant and offices in Kemptthal, Switzerland, and in 2020 Planted launched at one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies.

Bieri believes the rise of Planted Foods is thanks to strict adherence to four core principles—natural ingredients, animal welfare, taste, and sustainability—nurtured by a team with complementary skill sets and a drive to change the world for the better.

Recently winning the top prize at the TOP 100 Swiss Startup annual awards2, Planted employs over 140 people and welcomes scores of consumers, schools, and groups to their production facility every month. 

Planted is now available at restaurants and retailers across Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland. 

In the UK, products are available from the Planted webshop, and the company is rolling out its products at a range of venues, including the Elite family of pubs in Kent and Sussex. 

In October, Planted received the Best Artificial Chicken Product award at the Plant-Based World Europe Expo in London. 

“We’re super-excited about our launch into the UK market; consumer feedback has been fantastic,” Bieri enthused, “and winning the Award at the Expo makes our whole team proud too. We know that we’re on the right track and developing great-tasting products.” 

Continued on next page

Australia: NSW laws criminalising secret recordings of animal cruelty ‘too great a burden on speech’, high court hears.

Source – Guardian, London.

NSW laws criminalising secret recordings of animal cruelty ‘too great a burden on speech’, high court hears | Animal welfare | The Guardian

NSW laws criminalising secret recordings of animal cruelty ‘too great a burden on speech’, high court hears

Animal rights group in legal fight against laws which provide no public-interest exemption for use of footage

Laws criminalising the use of secretly recorded vision of animal cruelty and abuse are posing “too great a burden on speech”, animal rights activists have told the high court.

The Farm Transparency Project, an Australian animal advocacy group, launched a case earlier this year arguing New South Wales laws restricting the use of covert footage were an unfair burden on freedom of political communication.

The state’s Surveillance Devices Act criminalises the use of footage or audio that was obtained using a listening device or hidden camera, but, unlike other states, gives no public-interest exemption.

The laws have been used to pursue activists on criminal charges and have prevented media outlets from using footage depicting cruelty or abuse in abattoirs and knackeries across the state.

Guardian Australia was recently prevented from showing secretly recorded footage of ex-racehorses being sent for slaughter at NSW pet food factories, a clear breach of industry rules.

In its written submissions to the high court, the Farm Transparency Project said the case was not about how activists were perceived by the general public.

“It is about the law that is challenged,” it said.

“Whether the plaintiffs are viewed as admirable activists, or vulgar vigilantes, or something in between, is irrelevant. If anything, the case is about the publishers whose freedom to publish is curtailed.”

The submissions point to similar laws in Victoria, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, which contain carve-outs allowing the use of such footage that accommodates the implied right to freedom of political communication.

“That is essentially because the blanket prohibition is too great a burden on speech, having regard to the legitimate social interests in the publication of surveillance device material, especially to ‘blow the whistle’,” the transparency project argues.

“It is not to be overlooked that vigilantism cannot be condoned. But this is to highlight the importance of careful balancing – in each case – of where the public interest lies, which in turn, highlights the importance of a ‘public interest’ exemption.”

The submissions point to the greyhound live baiting scandal as an example of a public interest served by the publication of such footage. That video helped spark a public inquiry and a finding that the NSW industry had lost its social licence, prompting a proposed ban that was not implemented after a backlash.

‘Horrific scene’: more than 35 horses shot dead on outback Queensland property

Read more

The Farm Transparency Project executive director, Chris Delforce, has said previously the case has broader implications for so-called “ag-gag” laws across the country.

Delforce said challenging the validity of the law would help prevent other jurisdictions from enacting similar blanket bans.

“We’ve had enough – these industries need more transparency, not less,” he said. “The animals suffering in our nation’s farms, slaughterhouses and knackeries deserve to have their stories told, and the Australian public deserves the opportunity to hear them.”

Not all animal rights groups support the use of hidden cameras. The RSPCA is opposed to using unlawful means to fight for animal welfare.

The high court is expected to receive submissions from the NSW government this week, and Farm Transparency Project will be given a chance to reply next month.

Regards Mark

UK: Less Than 24 Hours To Call For Better Food Labelling. Please Sign NOW

The UK Government is currently collecting evidence on mandatory method of production labelling. As part of our response, we will be submitting the signatures of everyone who has signed our petition. Please stand up for farmed animals by adding your name now.

Time to change food labelling


Meat and dairy labels are confusing and can be misleading. They can hide animal cruelty. Join me in calling for all products to be honestly labelled by farming system:

Join 142,000 others demanding change:

Little time left – please sign immediately;

Thank you;

Regards Mark

EU: Member States – Insects Authorised for Human Food and Animal Feed.

House Crickets

Insects authorised for food and feed

25 November 2021

If the legal framework is still in development, why are authorisation procedures moving forward?

The European Commission (EC) will ask Member States to authorise two new insect species for human consumption on 30 November (Comitology). Previously the EC had told Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a written answer that “the Commission will continue to develop the legal framework for insects”.

During the last meeting of the Standing Committee on Plant, Animals, Feed and Food (PAFF), an Implementing Act authorised the sale of Locusta Migratoria, commonly known as grasshoppers, as a novel food. On 30 November, the Commission will present a draft implementing act to authorise Tenebrio Molitor, mealworms, and Acheta Domesticus, house crickets as a novel food.


These authorisations follow an amendment to the “Feed Ban” which allowed the use of processed insects in poultry and pig feed. Although authorisations for feed and food products may differ from a toxicological point of view, in terms of the market for the insect producing industry, both are connected and share similar areas of concern. 

The time is now to have a broader political discussion on how to develop an appropriate framework for this growing industry. There is still a significant lack of knowledge surrounding insects and how best to rear them industrially. Taking hasty authorisation decisions today may prove costly further down the line.

Specifically, Eurogroup for Animals suggest considering carefully the following points:

  • Industrial insect farming’s ecosystem impacts: Large scale insect farming may have consequences for local ecosystems, threaten food security and biodiversity. In addition to the destruction of crops or forests, high insect concentrations pose a health hazard as they can spread pathogens, can be parasitic and create extra competition for resources for other species. 
  • The changing climate increases the capacity of invasive alien species to establish: An increased risk of insect-borne pathogens would pose an additional threat to already struggling wild-living insects that are essential for the ecosystem, such as pollinators. Beyond the economic impact, the impact on local ecosystems would compromise both biodiversity and food security. Accidental releases from insect farms can, therefore, lead to inordinate concentrations of a species in a given area or the introduction of invasive alien species into European ecosystems. The economic consequences could be significant, considering that invasive species are the cause of a 14% reduction in global food production.
  • Industrial insect farming is energy intensive and has potential high climate and environmental impacts: While insect protein is touted as an alternative feed that requires less land use, this case can only be made if the insects are fed on by-products. In practice, most producers do not rely on food waste to feed their insects. Life Cycle Analyses (LCA) show that insect farming is energy intensive and uses more land than generally assumed. The EU’s goal “to reduce the environmental and climate footprint of the EU food system” by ensuring that the food chain has a neutral or positive environmental impact may be incompatible with the generalisation and intensification of insect farming. In fact, the EFSA notes that the environmental impact of insect farming will be comparable to other forms of animal production.
  • Placing industrial insect production into the EU’s broader goals: promoting a sustainable food system instead of boosting factory farming: Insect-derived protein is presented as a solution to diminish the use of imported soy and other feed crops linked to deforestation, as well as replacing the use of fishmeal from depleted oceans. Promoting industrial insect production will, ultimately, sustain intensive animal production models instead of facilitating the transition to a sustainable food system as envisaged by the European Green Deal.  A sustainable food system should focus on reducing the amount of animal products and supplying them from systems with higher welfare standards. Animal consumption patterns, therefore, should shift primarily to plant-based diets. Boosting industrial insect production for animal feed will sustain factory farming with its serious animal welfare and environmental concerns. Indeed, the European Commission’s Agricultural Outlook forecasts that the increased supply of insect meal and lower prices could support conventional intensive animal production if the practice is fully commercialised and existing restrictions lifted. 

Read the position paper:


Position Paper – Insect farming: a false solution for the EU’s food system – October 202148


Or you can go Vegan !

Regards Mark





India: A Message Of Thought From Erika At Animal Aid Unlimited (India).

See all the fantastic work of Animal Aid Unlimited by viewing our past posts at:

I communicate regularly with Erika, joint founder of the superb AAU; and she sent this very sentimental message tonight. Use the above link if you wish to make a donation to this superb rescue organisation.

Regards Mark


Dear Mark,

Even if, when you give to help the animals here, you are not consciously thinking “this gift is in memory of xyz,” it possibly is, in a sense, given in their memory—a tribute to the way they have shown us, given us profound, unforgettable, sparkling new love. And then they left us one day. If ever that sense of “he had to go;” “she needed to continue her journey” “they are angels called home,”—whatever phrasing comes to you, your heart pleaded for things to be otherwise, but in the end you said goodbye. Yet they stay in your heart.

I feel like whatever I do for animals, whether very modest and small (like fundraising for their food) or very spectacular and grand (like cleaning a LOT of poop and pee over the years) – some aspect of my service is done in the memory of someone(s) I have loved and had to say goodbye to. Or maybe it is not really right to say “in their memory”—it’s more like, they gave me the fuel I need now. They poured themselves into me and their sweetness somehow multiplies, grows, never fades, never leaves us, and then somehow merges and blends with other love we have for other animals, and for one another.

So I want to share with you right now that I fostered a dog—Bebe—for the first time in ages, inside the house in the beginning of October. I’d had sort of a moratorium on foster dogs because I have so many animals just outside the gate in Animal Aid, and they always triggered a trauma in the cats. But for some reason I decided to foster an abandoned little French bulldog-y type of about, I guess 2 years. She had one eye, severe anemia, seizures, rolling fevers and she wasn’t house trained at all. I don’t know if she’d ever spent time outdoors. She trembled if a voice was raised. She would pee inside and then try to hide. You could guess the history. We thought, at first, that maybe she had an infection somewhere, causing fever that triggered seizures. We treated her with antibiotics and anti-seizure medication. For a happy week she seemed to be on a recovery trail. Her fever went down, she got a bit of energy and even chased balls and trotted around the house and always ate like a trooper. But suddenly, she fell apart. This time her fever raged and she couldn’t hold down a drop of food. There was blood in her stool. We gave her drips that increased the production of blood plasma, liver tonic, antacid, anti-seizure medication, anti-nausea medicine, multi vitamins, –but after 2 weeks she was almost comatose and we had to say goodbye.

It astonishes me how much I miss her.  I live in the midst of 400, 500 dogs, and dozens of them are absolutely my darlings, but Bebe I fell in love with like an explosion. Now, sitting here writing this, my arms are oddly empty. My fingers feel pointlessly efficient, no longer having to contort myself to reach the keyboard without her pug nose and bulging eye and velvety fur interfering with me on my lap. Without glancing down to see her ears that so innocently, so humbly flattened backwards like a blush. And best of all, her complete melting on my lap, to sleep, to dream, pliant in her total trust.

She came and left my life in less than a month, but time has no meaning in love. Habits, yes; we may miss some of our habits and they intensify with time, but I’m not talking about habits. I’m talking about the miracle of love that overtook me somewhere, somehow during these few days of cleaning her pee at 4.30 in the morning, her effort to be just a good girl, just the best girl, shining so brightly through her one protruding over-bred eye.

Well, now I have shared this episode with you and I feel a little better because I know, even if you can’t find time to write me back, I know you know. I know you’ve been here in your own version of this feeling of emptiness.

And I know, too, you’ve gone on to love again, (and again,) even more familiar with love, even more, ever more. We have these Beings to thank for that gift of love which is at the heart of all the animals you’ve helped save with your donations. How beautiful they were, how beautiful they have made you.


England: Regular Visitor Back.

This is a regular visitor to the garden, but we were concerned as we had not seen him for a while.

Anyway, back now and looking beautiful – colours are amazing !

Had a good feed with all the other birds; I took these through the window, hence bad quality.

Welcome back my friend !¬

Regards Mark

Across the Northern hemisphere, we are heading into Winter now.  Things have been pretty mild here in the UK until the last few days, when it is noticeably colder.

But the weather has been cold and clear, so a good time for photos.  I ventured into the garden a few days back to see the amazing colours.  Here are a few shots;

Regards Mark

England: The Fight To Get Better For Feral Pigeons. By Mark (WAV).

The press took up the issue and covered it well. I spoke in defence of the birds as always !

Personal experience has shown me that, although many ‘officials’; the top people who work in regional authorities, regardless of their position and title; do not really have much a clue when it comes to pigeon management in their area.  This includes reproduction, feeding and general issues which affect them and the birds welfare.

Venus travels several miles each day to her local town to give feed to pigeons in need.  With so many clampdowns at the moment; her actions are literally a matter of life or death to many of these birds.

Some people call them ‘vermin’ or ‘flying rats’; but at the end of the day, they have a reason to exist as part of ‘the system’; are sentient creatures, and thus should be treated as such.

Feral pigeons are like stray dogs and cats; people in authority often (very wrongly) have the mindset, and undertake the principle that, if you kill of all (or as many as possible) of the birds in ‘your’ town or region, then they have largely resolved your pigeon ‘problem’ and will become a bird free town or region.

WRONG – just like the issue of stray dogs, culling pigeons often only largely eradicates the older and generally sicker, non breeding birds.  But, by undertaking a cull, it lets the younger, healthier, and very reproductive birds remain in the area, or move into the area which will be new to them; in their search for more / better food; thus; just like killing stray dogs and cats, the ‘problem’ of bird numbers actually increases populations in an area rather than decreasing it.

I am not a pigeon specialist, but I have worked with, and know a man that is.  His name is Guy and he is the founder of PICAS, set up in here in Southern England many years ago.  I learned a lot about pigeon management from Guy.

I had the pleasure of getting to know (and respect) Guy when we worked together to fight for the pigeons in my (then) local town.  His advice and expertise on the subject has always remained with me; just like the pigeon numbers that have remained or increased in the town as the local authority did not take his / our advice on pigeon management and control techniques; which I outline below.

PICAS stands for the Pigeon Control and Advisory Service, and their web site can be found at:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control (

Why lethal control fails:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Why Lethal Bird Control Fails (

“Pigeons control their own numbers very effectively according to the volume of food available to them. An adult pair of pigeons will usually breed 4-6 times a year but can breed more frequently in optimum conditions, producing 2 young each time. If, however, the food supply reduces and there is only sufficient food available to support the existing flock, adult birds may only breed once or twice a year or possibly not at all. Pigeons will not breed if there is insufficient food to service the needs of their young.

If the food supply increases for any reason (following a cull for example), pigeons will breed continuously until the flock reaches the point where it is fully exploiting the food available to it. In other words, there is a minor population explosion each time a cull takes place.

The end result is an estimated 15% -30% increment in flock size over and above the pre-cull figure.

Commercial values have now overtaken good working practice in the pest control sector with pest control contractors recommending culling at every opportunity; as a direct result of this stance pigeon numbers throughout the UK continue to rise year on year. This is clearly not in the interest of those experiencing problems with pigeons (and other species of wild bird) and it is yet another example of the pest control industry putting profit before client’s needs”.

After a full visit and review of the local town site, Guy, with my own support, decided to present a non lethal approach to controlling and reducing pigeon numbers in the town.

A simple cote (with pigeon) used for population control.

A series of dovecotes (easily constructed – we supplied lists of materials and construction info) and feeding areas (located directly below them) were suggested as a primary means of control.  This feeding area would allow people to continue feeding the birds if they wished, (as many do), but by having the cotes; a facility will be provided which will not only provide pigeons with a daytime perch, but also with an overnight roosting and breeding facility where flock size can be controlled by birth control (important). This is achieved by removing eggs say once every day or other day, as laid, from the dovecote and replacing them with dummy eggs. This simple but very effective method of numbers control will dramatically reduce pigeon flock size and is very cheap and simple to maintain. Although the infrastructure required to implement this type of system is straightforward, the overall programme is complex and should not be considered unless it is being provided in conjunction with advice from PiCAS.

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Artificial Breeding Facilities (

Part of our dovecote presentation – Materials and construction method.

To cut to the chase; in the end, after a detailed presentation to the local council to outline our proposal; which included suggested sites around the town; construction materials lists; and cote construction sizes); allegedly due costs, council officials decided to ignore the control advice given and go instead with simply putting up a few ‘warning’ signs around the town asking people not to feed the birds. 

This method of sticking up a few signs around the town is about as useful as a chocolate fireman !

Lots of people love to feed (and watch) birds.  A few signs mean nothing.  People will always feed regardless of signage.

Nothing in the way of costing for the signage and ‘alternatives’ were given as a comparison against our proposal.

The council letter to myself outlining reasons for not taking up our suggestions.

Also, in their letter to myself (see above), the council suggested that they had been in touch with other councils and had no proof that the system proposed actually worked.  As part of our presentation; we did supply information on several councils that had adopted the PIUCAS method of bird numbers management.  The PICAS site now reflects some more recent issues:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Further Reading (

Hey ho; some you win, some you lose.

As said, I learned a lot knowing Guy and the relationship with PICAS.  This was quite a while ago and I have not returned for years now to see the current situation re bird control in the town.

We tried, we failed; but in the end you have to ask yourself who has been the real loser in this issue.  I was glad to be part of it regardless; PICAS continues and the council ?; do they all live in a pigeon free zone now, one has to ask ? – I very much doubt.

Regards Mark