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Animal Welfare Update

Friday, October 22, 2010

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with animal welfare compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.


Labour’s record

The Labour Party has a great record when it comes to animal welfare. Whilst in government we introduced laws which banned cruel and unethical practices. These included drift net fishing and fur farming, set minimum standards for animal welfare and banned the testing of cosmetics alcohol and tobacco on animals. Furthermore we set tougher penalties for crimes of cruelty against animals, including increased prison sentences for wildlife crime, as well as giving the House of Commons a vote on fox hunting, which resulted in the practice being banned.


The lives of racing dogs have been transformed through the work done between a Labour government and the greyhound racing industry. Barren cages for chickens have been banned as a result of Labour’s work with those in the farming industry and our European partners, as well as halting the decline in farmland birds, while increasing the woodland bird population.


In 2006, the government passed the Animal Welfare Act, which put into law the most fundamental piece of animal welfare legislation for nearly a century. This Act created a new ‘duty of care’ on people, while creating a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal in their care. The new laws place more emphasis on owners and keepers who now need to understand their responsibilities and take all reasonable steps to provide for their animals.

Among the cruel practices we banned are:

         Fox hunting, hare coursing and stag hunting,

         Fur farming,

         Driftnet fishing,

         The testing of cosmetics, toiletries, alcohol and tobacco on animals, and

         Seal fur trade across the European Union.

Freedom Foods

The first major retailer to support the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare standards was The Co-operative. When choosing Freedom Food labelled products, you can be confident that the farms animals have been treated to the highest possible standards.


Freedom Food is the RSPCA’s farm assurance and food labelling scheme. It is the only UK farm assurance scheme to focus solely on improving the welfare of farm animals reared for food.


The RSPCA believe that animals reared for food deserve a happy and healthy life. This scheme covers all aspects of a farm animal’s life and each stage is strictly reviewed by RSPCA welfare standards. So this means that the farms are inspected; as well as the handling, transporting and slaughter of the animals to make sure they are up to the RSPCA standards.


The RSPCA works in close association with vets, industry specialists, welfare scientists and producers to continually develop welfare standards that exceed EU and UK legislation in many areas. For more information visit: www.freedomfoods.co.uk


Homes for Wildlife

The RSPB’s ‘Homes for Wildlife’ is a new project encouraging people to make a difference to the wildlife that live closest to them - in their gardens. The aim of the activity is to help a range of wildlife, including normally familiar birds that in recent years have steadily gone into decline.


You can do as much or as little as you like, but the RSPB hope that by encouraging people across the UK to make their homes and gardens richer in wildlife, we can hopefully reverse the declines.


If you’re interesting in getting involved visit the RSPB website and going to the ‘Homes for Wildlife Section’ and registering for a free advice fact sheet. http://www.rspb.org.uk/hfw/


Stop the Baby Trade

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) campaigns to end animal experiments and its latest campaign, ‘Stop the Baby Trade’, highlights the cruelty and suffering involved in the trade in primates for research. The source of primates used in research raises important ethical questions.


Many of the primates used in the UK and European laboratories are imported from countries outside the EU. The primate species most widely imported and used in research is the long-tailed macaque. The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species).


Overseas suppliers of primates to UK laboratories require prior approval from the Home Office. This is supposed to be given only if the conditions at the supply and breeding facilities, where the animals originate, are considered acceptable to them. Between 2008 and 2009, 4,873 primates were imported into the UK, the majority of these being long tailed macaques from Mauritius and Vietnam.


The BUAV has undertaken numerous field investigations into the international trade in primates for research. Evidence obtained reveals immense suffering inflicted on primates during their capture, caging, holding and transportation for the research industry. Unacceptable conditions were found at primate holding and breeding farms, often breaching international animal welfare guidelines.


The most recent of the BUAV’s field investigations highlight the cruelty involved in the trapping of wild long-tailed macaques and their factory farming in Mauritius, Vietnam and Cambodia. Companies in all three countries are approved and accepted by the Home Office to supply primates to the UK research industry.


Animal Aid Bulletin 

The recent bulletin from Animal Aid makes the ‘scientific case for non-animal research’. Andrew Tyler, Director, explains that ‘the search for non-animal methods of biomedical research is, in part, driven by an ethical concern for the animal surrogates but the principle motivating factor for business and agencies concerned - not least in these stringent economic times - is the quality of the end result and how much it costs to get there.’


Visit their website www.animalaid.org.uk and see what you think. 


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