Spain: 2 Actions to Take for the ‘Fire Bulls’ – see links below.

Just over a week ago, in the town of Medinaceli in the Castilla y León region of Spain, a bull had flaming torches attached to his horns as part of El Toro Jubilo festival, a “fire bull” fiesta.

Late in the evening, the bull was roped to a post in the town square. He was held down whilst flammable materials were attached to his horns and lit.

Then, with flames leaping above his head, the bull dashed about the square tossing his head again and again, turning in one direction then the next, trying to escape the flames above his head. As the fire burned loud firecrackers exploded above the square.

It is simply not acceptable to torment an animal in this way. Please help us put an end to this terrible spectacle.

Animal suffering is never acceptable as a form of entertainment. Join us, and compassionate people from across Spain, in calling for an end to the torment of animals at these fiestas.

Please join us — sign our letter to Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, at the Ministry of Interior and Justice in Castilla y León, asking him to stop the use of animals at El Toro Jubilo and at other fiestas.

Thanks for all you do to help animals.


Andrew Rowan
President & CEO
Humane Society International

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Hola: hace unos días hemos solicitado tu ayuda en la nueva campaña para pedir que, si Córdoba es elegida como Capital Cultural Europea, que en los actos culturales no se incluyan espectáculos taurinos. Pero la participación aúnes escasa. Si aún no has participado, entra y firma en el siguiente link, es sólo un minuto. Gracias: Asanda


Hi: few days ago we requested your help in this new campaign to ask if Cordoba was chosen as European Cultural Capital, in cultural events not included bullfighting. But participation is still low. If you have not participated in and signed on the following link, just a minute. Thanks: Asanda


Salut: il ya quelques jours, nous avons demandé votre aide pour cette nouvelle campagne pour demander si Cordoba a été choisie comme capitale culturelle européenne, en événements culturels non compris la tauromachie. Mais la participation est encore faible. Si vous n’avez pas participé et signé sur le lien suivant, juste une minute. Merci: Asanda


Hallo paar Tagen haben wir die angeforderte Ihre Hilfe in dieser neuen Kampagne zu fragen, ob Cordoba war als Kulturhauptstadt Europas im kulturellen Veranstaltungen gewählt nicht inbegriffen Stierkampf. Die Teilnahme ist jedoch noch gering. Wenn Sie noch nicht teilgenommen und signiert auf den folgenden Link, nur eine Minute. Dank: Asanda





EU: Some Member States Asked to Act for Animals, or be Taken to the Courts !

The European Commission has asked Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Finland and the United Kingdom to notify national transposition measures as required by the Animal Welfare Directive 2007/43/EC. The request takes the form of a “reasoned opinion” under EU infringement procedures. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer these Member States to the European Court of Justice.

Cyprus. Greece, Hungary, Finland and the UK have not communicated the measures transposing Directive 2007/43/EC.

The Commission initiated the infringement procedure, described in Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), earlier this year by sending a letter of formal notice to the five Member States. By the sending of a “Reasoned Opinion,” the Commission formally requests those Member States to take action to comply with EU law within a period of two months. Subsequently, the Commission may decide to refer the Member States to the European Court of Justice if action to ensure compliance is not taken.


 Directive 2007/43/EC establishes rules at EU level for the protection of chickens kept for meat production. It aims to avoid distortions of competition that may interfere with the smooth running of the common market organisation in that sector and also to ensure the uniform development of the sector.

Member States’ competent authorities are required to conduct inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of the Directive and put in place appropriate procedures to determine stocking density. Member States are also encouraged to develop guides to good management practice including guidance on compliance with the requirements of the Directive.

Member States are also required to lay down rules on penalties for non-compliance with national provisions adopted to apply this Directive. Penalties have to be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Member States were supposed to implement Directive 2007/43/EC by June 30, 2010, but Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Finland and the United Kingdom have failed to do so.

For more information on the infringement procedure, please see:

For more information on animal welfare on the farm, please visit:




Uk: The Religious Excuse for Barbarity

The Independent. 19 November 2010.
Johann Hari:

The religious excuse for barbarity.

Why are we sitting silently while our treatment of many of our animals regresses to the standard of the sixth century?If you are engaged in an act of cruelty, there is an easy, effective way to silence your critics and snatch some space to carry on. Tell us all that your religion requires you to do it, and you are “offended” by any critical response. Erect an electric wire fence around your nastiest actions and call it “respect”.

There’s a good example of this religious modus operandi playing out on a dinner table near you ? and this week, we found out it is becoming more and more common. In Britain, it is a crime to kill a conscious cow or sheep or chicken for meat by slashing its throat without numbing it first. The reasons are obvious. If you don’t numb an animal, it screams as you hack through its skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and major nerve trunks, and then it remains conscious as it slowly drowns in its own blood ? a process that can take up to six minutes. So we insist that an animal is stunned before its throat is slashed, to ensure it is deeply unconscious. There isn’t much humanity in our
factory farming system, but this is ? at least ? a tiny sliver of it, at the end.

But there is a loophole in the law. You are allowed to skip all this and slash the throats of un-numbed, screaming animals if you say God told you to. If you are Muslim, you call it “halal”, and if you are Jewish you call it “kosher”. Back in the Bronze Age, or the deserts of sixth-century Arabia, it was sensible to act this way. You needed to know your meat was fresh and the animal was not sick, so you made sure it was alive and alert when you killed it. As Woody Allen once said, it wasn’t so much a commandment as “advice on how to eat out safely in Jerusalem”. But we have much better ways of making sure meat is fresh and healthy now. Yet for many religious people it has hardened into a dogma, to be followed simply because it was laid down in their “holy” texts long ago by “God”.

Of course, they claim that this practice isn’t cruel at all.  Henry Grunwald, chairman of the main body overseeing the certification of kosher meat, Shechita UK, says that when you slash an animal’s throat “there is an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain. The animal is dead.” Similarly, Raghib Ali, of the Oxford Islam and Muslim Awareness Project, says:  “It’s not cruel, it is better for the animal.”

This has been proven by science to be false. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) is the Government’s senior panel of independent scientific experts on this area, and their investigation found that “the prevailing scientific consensus that slaughter without pre-stunning causes very significant pain and distress”. The FAWC chairwoman, Dr Judy MacArthur Clark, explains: “To say [the animal] doesn’t suffer is quite ridiculous.”

To give just one example: after you cut a calf’s throat, in 62 per cent of cases, large clots form at the back of its carotid arteries, which means blood pressure to the brain massively slows and the animal doesn’t black out at all. It stays conscious as it bleeds to death from its throat in agony.  Kosher butchers never numb their animals. Most halal butchers now use some stunning, but the RSPCA warns that it is at a much lower dosage to guarantee the animal is still alive when it is killed ? so it doesn’t properly protect them from pain.  The attempts by religious people to explain this away and claim it is in fact a kindness to the animal are a pseudo-science: the intelligent design of animal welfare.  That’s why making meat like this is a crime in countries from Spain to New Zealand, where an ethnically Jewish Prime Minister banned it this year.  Yet in Britain this kind of animal cruelty is becoming standard. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic abandonment of the numbing of animals before killing them, in the name of “respect” for a religious minority. The BBC’s You And Yours programme says that halal meat now “accounts for around a quarter of the UK’s meat trade”. It is served unlabelled and as standard meat in Wembley Stadium, Twickenham, on all British Airways flights, at Nando’s, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and even swanky Ascot racecourse. There has been a huge expansion, then, in the suffering of living creatures ? and we are supposed to applaud it as an advance for tolerance.

The halal and kosher meat industries are fighting even tepid proposals by the European Union to ensure that all meat made from unstunned animals must be clearly labelled. They claim this will render their businesses “economically unviable”.  Isn’t that an extraordinary confession ? that if people knew what they were buying, the companies would go bust?  Atheists who criticise religion are constantly being told we have missed the point and religion is really about compassion and kindness. It is only a handful of extremists and fundamentalists who “misunderstand” faith and use it for cruel ends, we are told with a wagging finger.

But here’s an example where most members of a religion choose to do something pointlessly cruel, and even the moderates demand “respect” for their “views”. Their faith makes them prioritise pleasing an invisible supernatural being over the screaming of actual living creatures. Doesn’t this suggest that faith itself ? the choice to believe something in the total absence of evidence ? is a danger that can lead you up needlessly nasty paths?  Britain is famously a nation of animal lovers who turn doe-eyed and gooey at the sight of any furry creature. So why are we sitting silently while our treatment of many of our animals regresses to the standards of the sixth century?  It is true that, at the moment, there is a frightening rise in real bigotry against Muslims and, to a lesser but still significant extent, Jews. Some people who object to the rise of halal meat try to fit it into a preposterous narrative where Britain is somehow being “taken over” by the 4 per cent of its population who are Muslim, presumably via the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. I have written many articles against this resurgent bigotry, and I can see why some people would be shy about anything that would look like piling on.

But the only consistent position is to oppose viciousness against these minorities, and to oppose viciousness by these minorities. The proponents of halal and kosher meat are choosing to inflict terrible and unnecessary pain on living creatures every day. It would be condescending to treat them as victim-children who are exempt from moral debate ? and it would be a betrayal of the real victims here: the sentient creatures having their throats cut.  We need to be much more self-confident in criticising religious claims. Your ideas do not deserve any special status because you say they came from an invisible, supernatural being.  No, we don’t respect your desire to needlessly torment animals because some hallucinating desert nomads did it centuries ago.  We don’t respect it at all. You can cry that we are “persecuting” you if we stop you committing acts of cruelty if you want.

It’s what the religious ? Christian, Jew and Muslim alike ? did when we stopped you tormenting women and gays and anybody else you could get your hands on. One of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God.

Serbia: Farm Animal Conditions – Update 26/11/10. Formal Statement on Conditions Now Provided by CIWF (Uk).

Since the publication of our post on the terrible conditions in which cattle were being kept on a Serbian farm:

SAV had been in regular contact with our colleagues at London based International farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion In World Farming (CIWF), in order to obtain their specialist views on these conditions.

CIWF have kindly provided us with a formal statement which can be seen below. It is clear that conditions at this farm do not comply with existing EU legislation regarding the keeping of farm animals. We wish to inform the Serbian authorities that provided with the photographs and information we have, a formal complaint would immediately have been made to the EU Legal Affairs dept should Serbia have been an existing EU member state.  As they are not, we are currently considering whether the information we have should still be provided regardless.

The following is the statement from CIWF, complete with links to existing EU COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes. 

CIWF Statement:

It is clear from the photographs that these cattle are being kept in squalid, filthy, unhealthy and completely unacceptable conditions. The cattle in the pictures shown are standing in water contaminated with excrement. The matted nature of their coats shows that they are unable to keep clean and have clearly been in these conditions for some time.

Cattle need a comfortable, clean and well-drained area to lie down, receive adequate rest and remain healthy. The squalid conditions these cattle are being kept in plainly fail to meet basic welfare or hygiene standards as laid down by Council of Europe Convention and EU Directive which require that animals are prevented avoidable suffering and kept in conditions which avoid risks to their health.

It is clear beyond doubt that what is shown in these photographs does not comply with existing EU legislation, and consequently would impact Serbian accession to the EU. In the event of Serbia’s accession, these photographs could form the basis of a formal complaint to be made to the Legal Affairs Dept of the EU associated with animal welfare.

Phil Brooke

Welfare Development Manager – Compassion in World Farming

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes

Article 3

Member States shall make provision to ensure that the owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care and to ensure that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.

From the Annex:

Animals not kept in buildings

12. Animals not kept in buildings shall where necessary and possible be given protection from adverse weather conditions, predators and risks to their health.


Council of Europe Convention covering the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes state, amongst other things:

Article 9

1. Animals should be maintained in a clean condition.

2. Those parts of the accommodation with which the animals come into contact should be thoroughly cleansed, and where appropriate, disinfected, everytime the accommodation has been emptied and before new animals are brought in. While the accommodation is occupied by the animals, the interior surfaces and all equipment therein shall be kept satisfactorily clean.



Further information can be found via the following links to the CIWF website: