All farm animals can experience pain, fear, hunger and thirst.
Hundreds of “Pork Not Porkies” posters plastered across the UK claim that pork stamped with a Red Tractor logo, is high welfare pork. Having considered the Red Tractor standards, Compassion feels the adverts to be untrue and misleading.
It is estimated that around 80% of British pigs are reared within the Red Tractor scheme (Rural Voice, 2011). Some of these will be reared in higher welfare outdoor, free range systems - systems and farms that Compassion supports.
However many will inevitably be:
- Kept in crowded barren pens possibly without straw or other enrichment material
- Unable to carry out key natural behaviours
- Many will have their tails trimmed, or docked
- The majority of sows will be confined in restrictive farrowing crates when giving birth and suckling their piglets.
Red Tractor pork cannot therefore be described as being “high welfare”
Many billions of animals are farmed every year. Most of the in intensive factory conditions.
There are several things you can do to make a difference:
- Buy free range eggs. This sounds simple but many people buy packs of free range eggs but don’t pay any attention to other products they buy which include eggs. Make sure you check labels so you are not accidently supporting intensive battery hens.
- Buy free range meat. Again be aware of the content of meat products you buy. Check the origin of the meat. The animals may have been transported for many hours in stressful conditions in the live meat trade or farmed in other countries with lower animal welfare standards. The closer the animal was farmed and slaughtered, the better.
- Organic Dairy Products. The main reason for this, is that on organic dairy farms the male calves aren’t sold into the veal trade.
- Buy fish from sustainable sources. Look for line and hook caught fish. Nets damage the sea bed, catch other endangered species, wipe out whole schools which prevents them from reproducing to keep numbers up… Also the fish are in the overcrowded nets for hours putting them under extreme stress. This causes them to release lactic acid into their muscle putting them in extreme pain on top of the wounds from the net and other fish.
An easy way to buy products which have come from places of high animal welfare standard is to shop at local farm shops and markets. You will also be supporting your local economy.
I need to promote this blog and hopefully get more support for animal welfare of farm animals…
Not a good home for a hen
In a barren battery cage, a hen is unable to carry out many of her most basic natural behaviours. This causes her extreme physical and psychological stress.
In Europe, a battery cage typically holds four or five hens with a legal floor space allowance per bird of less than an A4 sheet of paper. The height of the cage is only just enough to allow the hens to stand upright.
The cages usually have a sloping wire mesh floor and are stacked in rows several tiers high. Each unit holds thousands of hens this way. Hens in these cages are typically kept in closed sheds that are artificially lit and ventilated.
A hen in a battery cage is unable to forage for food, lay her eggs in a nest, roost, stretch her wings or dust-bathe.
Frustrated and unable to perform their natural behaviour, hens start pecking each other’s feathers. To prevent feather-pecking, producers subject day-old chicks to ‘beak-trimming’. This serious mutilation involves cutting off around a third of a chicken’s beak with an infra-red beam, without anaesthetic.
Modern commercial hens have been bred to produce very high numbers of eggs. This depletes their store of calcium and can result in high levels of osteoporosis (brittle bones) and fractures. Their restricted movement in battery cages can also contribute to osteoporosis.
Several tiers of crowded cages make inspection difficult and in large cage systems injured birds may be left to die unnoticed.
Cages and Salmonella
Even though it is often claimed that confined animals are better protected from infection, a recent UK survey found that the prevalence of Salmonella infection was more than three times higher in cage systems than in free-range systems.
Show your support!
Poland want to delay the battery cage ban for laying hens which is to be introduced in 2012. Welfare officers in Belgium want an extension and in France it is expected that many farmers will not have changed from these methods in time for the new year.
The deadline is not looking definite and the ban is underthreat. Click the link to help with compassion in world farming.
BARREN BATTERY CAGES: BANNED IN EUROPE
In 1999, against all the odds, the EU agreed to ban barren battery cages for laying hens from 2012.
Hailed by many as the single biggest victory for animal welfare in recent history, Compassion is now working tirelessly to ensure the ban comes into force as agreed. In 2007, the UK government stated the ban would be enforced in the UK despite continued opposition from many in the egg industry and many EU member states.
The purpose of our Strategic Plan is to help us deliver the further reforms that are so urgently needed for farm animals worldwide.
This will see us move from being a UK charity with branches in other countries to being a truly international force for change. To strengthen our influence in the EU and with those intergovernmental agencies that shape agricultural policy on the world stage to drive new and progressive regulatory reforms.
We know only too well the scale of our task: our mission is to end factory farming in our life time. To bring about a vision of a world where all farm animals are treated with compassion and respect.