UK: EU Referendum Food For Thought.

1944: A boy doing his school lessons watched by his pet squirrel. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1944: A boy doing his school lessons watched by his pet squirrel. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Voting in? You have the blood of Spanish bulls on your hands

The fact is that we care more about animal welfare. And if we left the EU, we could act on that.


Camilla Swift

4 June 2016

We British have always had a strange relationship with animals.

We spend £5 billion a year on our pets and it is often said that we love our dogs more than our children (perfectly understandable, in my book). It makes sense, then, that we have some of the world’s highest animal welfare standards. Our European neighbours don’t always have quite the same attitude. If we could ask our four-legged friends how they’d vote in the EU referendum, I’m pretty sure they’d woof, miaow or moo for ‘out’.

Take the Maltese, for example, who enjoy shooting turtle doves as they migrate every spring (a banned sport for which Malta has been given special dispensation). The French prize gastronomy far above animal husbandry, so force-feed their geese to make foie gras. Bullfighting, meanwhile, is still a popular pastime for many Spaniards.

The fact is that Britain is better at animal welfare, with or without the EU. And in many ways, being in the EU holds British farmers back. Why? Because, as with all the other legislation handed down to us from Brussels, we stick to the rules, while many other countries treat them as no more than vague suggestions.

Take sow stalls — narrow metal cages in which female pigs are kept while breeding. The UK banned them in 1999; the EU finally followed suit in 2013. The trouble is, many countries simply ignore the EU ruling. More than two years after the legislation was put in place, six countries had still failed to officially comply, and the National Pig Association believes that other countries which claim to stick to the rules are also flouting them.

The continued use of sow stalls isn’t just an animal welfare concern. They cut costs — that’s why they were invented — so EU countries that tacitly allow them can produce cheaper pork and still sell it into the British market. Our farmers struggle to compete: they’re being punished for obeying the law.

Similar cases are not hard to find. In 2013 Italy ran into trouble with the European Court. The Italians had known for 13 years that a ban on battery cages for egg-laying hens would apply from 2012 — but claimed they hadn’t had enough time to ensure all farms complied. They lost that argument, but all they had to pay as a result was the legal costs of the case — no fine was levied.

Furthermore, as a member of the EU, the UK cannot prevent the transportation of live animals, which are subjected to needlessly long, stressful and cramped journeys to be slaughtered on the Continent. Banning the practice might hinder inter-EU trade, so tens of thousands of British lambs are exported live and bleating to be killed in abattoirs which wouldn’t meet our welfare standards.

EU rules also allow for the free movement of pets thanks to pet passports. Animal charities believe the system is being abused, with hundreds if not thousands of puppies brought here each year on fake papers. Bred in terrible conditions, they are crammed into lorries (or sometimes suitcases) and shipped across the Continent for up to 40 hours — at less than eight weeks old. Our own Defra should of course do more to stop this, but the sad fact is the EU doesn’t care about the breeding of dogs half as much as we do.

Another welfare issue is Boris Johnson’s favourite hobby horse: the funding of bullfighting. In 2013 it emerged that payments were being made under the Common Agricultural Policy to Spanish farmers rearing bulls for bullfights — more ‘oh no’ than ‘olé’. The practice might well be part of Spanish culture, but it’s hard to see how it doesn’t break all kinds of animal welfare codes. MEPs voted last year to stop EU money going to breeders of fighting bulls — but under CAP rules the vote was ‘not executable’. Unless those rules are changed, it will continue to fund bullfighting. One has to ask: why would animal lovers choose to stay in a union where we have no control over where our money goes — and it’s virtually impossible to change things?

If we left the EU, then we would of course have to comply with the regulations of any country to which we exported. But we would have the option of refusing to trade with countries that didn’t meet our welfare standards, thus encouraging a better standard of welfare everywhere, not just at home.

Leaving the EU would let us make the most of our reputation as animal lovers.

Rather than compromising our standards, we could brand ourselves as a beacon of higher-welfare farming — and set an example not just to Europe but to the world.

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England: CIWF Exposes Intensive Quail Farming In Some Parts Of Europe.



watch the video

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Photo – CIWF.

In the winter of 2015/16, Compassion in World Farming visited farms, cage-makers and slaughterhouses in France, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Our target: European quail farming.

In this groundbreaking investigation – a ‘first of its kind’ international exposé – we’ve lifted the lid on an industry that cages millions of animals every year, creating enormous suffering, yet markets its products as ‘luxury’. Please take a moment to watch our short film, and call on the European Commission to End the Cage Age for quail.

Each year in Europe, over 140 million quail are farmed for meat, confined to factory farm floors or densely packed in cages. They often try to leap in these cages and invariably hit their heads on the cage roof.

Of the 400,000 quail farmed every year for their eggs, over 90% are also kept in crowded, barren cages where they are unable to express even the most basic of natural behaviours.

These birds have no earth or undergrowth to explore, nowhere to dustbathe, nowhere to hide, and barely space to move. The space allowance per factory farmed quail can be no bigger than a beer mat.

Quail are the third most caged farm animal in Europe, and there is no species-specific legislation to protect them. They desperately need your help. But the good news is that there is hope.

Compassion staff have visited an alternative system; an egg farm where the quail are raised in naturally lit barns with the space and freedom to explore, dustbathe, hide and peck at straw bales. This is no hobby farm, but a large commercial operation.

Higher welfare quail farming is possible. Please take action now to give ALL quail a life worth living.

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Take action

Quail are the smallest animals to be intensively farmed, but this comes at a big price. Will you help to end this factory farming in miniature?

We need your help

For more information about the investigation including eyewitness reports, click here

end the cage quail

Cupcake Disaster !

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palm oil greenpeace uk


Hi Mark,

Earlier this year, nearly 500,000 of us told big name brands they needed to do more to stop the destruction of Indonesia’s forests at the hands of palm oil companies. And they listened.

When a huge palm oil company – IOI – recently had their sustainable palm oil certificates pulled for repeatedly destroying forests and peatlands, all the big brands like Nestle, Unilever and Mars have said they will stop buying from them. All, that is, except one. General Mills – makers of Betty Crocker cake mixes and Jus-Rol pastry – think it’s still ok to buy palm oil from IOI and have refused to stop doing business with them.

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Tell General Mills to stop buying palm oil from this forest-trashing company.

palm oil fire

IOI has been draining peat swamps and tearing down forests – creating the perfect conditions for the fires which swept across Indonesia last year. These forests are also prime orangutan habitat, and this magnificent ape is already threatened with extinction. And yet General Mills is still doing business with them. Even the industry’s own sustainable palm oil group – the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – thinks IOI is bad news and pulled IOI’s sustainable palm oil certificates.

The RSPO almost never takes action against its members, which shows just how poor IOI’s track record is. The bosses at General Mills have a half-baked idea that if they keep buying palm oil from IOI, they can persuade the forest destroyer to change. But time and again, IOI have left a trail of devastation and the only way they will change is if their customers take a stand and stop buying their palm oil.

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Enough is enough. Tell General Mills that if they’re serious about protecting Indonesia’s forests, they need to stop buying from IOI, right now.

Let’s make it happen. Jamie Greenpeace PS The only way IOI will end the destruction is if their customers walk away. Other big brands have dropped them, but General Mills is still using their palm oil.

Email General Mills now and tell them to stop.

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