Monday, 29 November 2010

CCTV in Abattoirs ~ Supermarket Responses (so far).

Further to this post about the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses, I am happy to say that I have heard back from the following supermarkets; Sainsburys, Asda and Waitrose.  Here is what they had to say...


"Thanks for contacting us about animal welfare in slaughterhouses.  I can certainly appreciate your concerns, given the footage filmed by Animal Aid.

I’d like to assure you that animal welfare is of paramount importance to us and we have a longstanding commitment to ensure all animals used in our products are treated humanely and with the utmost respect.   We have been recognised by Compassion in World Farming who recently awarded us Best Volume Retailer, providing the best animal welfare amongst the major UK supermarkets.

We work very closely with our suppliers to ensure they meet our high standards and use existing and new technology to support our commitments.

A number of our abattoirs already have CCTV cameras in place to enable us to monitor the standards at slaughter.  We are working with the remaining abattoirs to get CCTV installed as soon as possible.

I hope that my email assures you of our commitment to animal welfare and that you’ll be able to shop with us in confidence.

Kind regards

Lorna Clarkson
Customer Manager"

I'm happy with this response and will check early next year to see how things are going with fitting the CCTV in remaining abattoirs.

"Thank you for your e-mail.

Outstanding animal welfare is a priority for Waitrose.  All of our slaughter facilities are managed to the very highest standards and are approved and regularly audited by the Humane Slaughter Association.  We also work to recommendations laid down by both the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming (CiWF).

I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are leaders in this field and have consistently been recognised for our approach having recently been named as ‘Most Compassionate Supermarket’ by CiWF.

I hope that this information is of assistance.


Susan Sharman
Waitrose Customer Sales and Support"

Not so happy with this response as it completely avoids the questions and fails to mention CCTV at all, I will respond to this asking again about CCTV.

"Thanks for contacting us with your enquiry.

At the moment we do not require our suppliers to have CCTV in their abattoirs.

However, we are reviewing our position on this and a new policy is being drawn up to request that our abattoirs do have CCTV monitoring them. This policy will come in to effect in 2011.

The footage from the CCTV's will be used as a management tool to assist in the training of colleagues and to ensure that animal welfare practices are followed as required.

We believe that we do have very good animal welfare practices and monitor there implementation when we audit our suppliers.

Every member of our meat, poultry and fish technical team are animal, poultry or fish welfare officers who have been trained by the vets at Bristol University.

I hope this helps and if I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards

Claire Brant
ASDA Service Team"  

I am pleased with this response from Asda but do worry WHEN in 2011 the policy will come into affect so will contact them again along with Sainsburys to check on how things stand early next year.

Marks and Spencer

"Thank you for your email about the UK slaughterhouses and the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter.

We are committed to ensuring all our livestock suppliers maintain very high standards of animal welfare. Our codes of practice cover the welfare of animals at every stage - on the farm, during transport, and at the time of slaughter.

We liaise closely with the RSPCA about animal welfare. Following their call for action earlier this year, we are re-issuing our codes of practice for livestock production to ensure they reflect best animal welfare practice.

We will require all our slaughterhouses to install CCTV. We will also stipulate that footage is independently monitored to ensure our welfare requirements are met and maintained at the time of slaughter. This will be in line with the requirements of the RSPCA Welfare Standards.

I hope this explains our position and demonstrates our commitment to high standards of animal welfare.

Kind Regards

Mike Thompson"

Another good response, so will be adding Marks and Spencer to the list to contact early next year.

Now to let RSPCA know what the Supermarkets said here.  Noteably absent from responses so far is Tesco, Lidl and Aldi.

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Suki's Serene Sunday #2

Last Sunday's lovely walk resulted in us discovering Suki's phobia of horses!
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Friday, 26 November 2010

Fluffy Friday #12 Special Fur Free Friday Edition

Today is Fur Free Friday so I thought Fluffy Friday should be a tribute to all the beautiful animals cruelly killed for their lovely fur.

Fur Free Friday means that people all around the world will be working hard to educate holiday shoppers about the fur industry.

How to get involved in Fur Free Friday:

Peta are running a petition where you can pledge to be fur free, sign up here.

Peta are also asking people to share their fur expose on your Facebook page by clicking here.

Spread the word to your friends and family and tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter too, wish them a "Happy Fur Free Friday!"

If you know anyone who does wear fur ask them to donate their fur to Peta for them to use in their campaign.

Now for our Friday treat... don't all these animals look beautiful with their fur on?

Raccoon with it's famous striped bushy tail.

Mink and baby Mink.

Harp Seal are killed in their thousands for their fur.

Canadian Black Bear skin is used for the British Foot Guard caps.

Chinchilla, his coat looks better on him.

Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

More news on Back Off Badgers!

You may remember my post some time ago on the RSPCA's Back Off Badgers campaign, the RSPCA are now asking urgently for our help in convincing the government that the badger cull is the wrong course of action and in their words "vaccination, increased levels of testing, improved biosecurity and stricter controls on the movement of cattle are more sustainable and effective ways of reducing the incidence of bovine TB in cattle".  The deadline for telling the government that the British public are firmly against the cull by responding to Defra's (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) public consultation is Wednesday 8th December.

How you do this...

This will be quite time consuming so if you don't have time to complete your own full response then you can still help by contacting Defra with your view on the proposed badger cull.  To help make this easier for everyone the RSPCA have created this document, a Consultation Guidance advising how to go about responding to the consultation and including some of their key concerns.  Read this through this document before contacting Defra by post, email or fax (information to follow) with your views but please make sure they are your own words rather than simply echoing RSPCA's statement.

Contact Defra via post here:
TBBC mailbox, 
c/o Nobel House, 
17 Smith Square, 
London SW1P 3JR

or via email e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

So far over 16,000 members of the public have registered their opposition to the cull via the RSPCA but we need to do more to encourage the government to listen to us.

More ways to help...

1.  Tell your friends!
2.  Follow the Back Off Badgers campaign on Twitter
3.  Keep checking back on the RSPCA's website for updates

Bad news in Wales

Unfortunately, the government in Wales have re-committed to the badger cull, if you are from Wales have a look here for advice on how to help.
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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Suki's Serene Sunday #1

This was taken during our Thursday morning walk in Suki's beloved park.

I love Sundays and so does Suki (a day where she is guaranteed a long walk and lots of attention).  To accompany Fluffy Friday I hereby introduce Suki's Serene Sunday where I post a moment from one of Suki's walks during the week.  This is slightly self indulgent of me as I LOVE taking photographs and take my phone or camera everywhere with me to capture anything that catches my eye and record memories.  I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed capturing them... Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Last chance!

Have you signed the petition yet for the Tiger Summit?  Please do. Best Blogger Tips

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fluffy Friday #11 ~ Save the Tiger Special

As the deadline for WWF's Save the Tiger petition is fast approaching I thought today's Fluffy Friday should be tiger themed, I have chosen some pictures from the web that show us just why we cannot lose this beautiful animal.

We are losing tigers at an extremely rapid rate, please help by showing the Russian Government you support WWF's campaign.
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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Can you imagine a world without tigers?

Quick! I've left it quite late to update you on this as there is a deadline of 21st November so please act NOW!

There are around 3,200 tigers left in the wild which is an astonishingly small number, this number is falling rapidly as poaching has surged over recent months and the tigers habitat is being lost at a very fast rate.  We can still take action to save the tiger population if we can offer them protection, space and enough food the population can increase as rapidly as they are declining.

From 21st to 24th November the Russian Prime Minister, Putin is hosting the first Heads of Government Tiger Summit hosting the leaders of 13 countries where tigers live and the WWF wish to show the Summit that there is a huge level of public support for political action.  A petition is currently running here with a target of 150,000 signatures and at the moment there are 123,408 so we need to urgently push for more signatures before the weekend.

Please sign the petition and then tell your friends by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace....

This really is important so please spare a minute to quickly add your name to support the future of tigers.
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Urgent Action Required! Intensive Dairy Farming Application Re-Issued

Earlier this year the planning application filed by Nocton Dairies Limited to Lincoln Council for the intensive dairy farm was withdrawn due to public pressure as well as one of the three companies behind the idea pulling out.  Yesterday a press conference was held in London and the remaining supporting companies announced their intention to press ahead with the UK's first "mega-dairy".  The new planning application states that plans will be scaled back by 50% offering cows a bit extra outside space, however, they still wish to keep up to 4,000 cows in grass free conditions, which according to 38 Degrees as well as this being bad for cows it is also bad for climate change and other farmers.

38 Degrees are asking for as many people as possible to sign their petition to block the intensive dairy farm going ahead.  Don't just sign it, forward to your friends to sign and ask them to pass it on as well.  This is very important as the businesses backing this planning application are doing everything in their power to make it happen so we need to do the same to STOP it.

Useful Links
Article in The Guardian

I will be updating you more on this regulary and let you know what else we can do to help.
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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Good news for the Goldfish!

I've finally had a response from my local council regarding my letter about the fair giving away goldfish as prizes and here is what they said:

"Good Morning Helen,
I have just received your email regarding goldfish being given as prizes at Woodhouse moor bonfire. I am very disappointed to hear this as the terms and conditions of the license that is issued the them clearly states, that “no living thing is to be given as prizes”.
This matter will be addressed with the Showmans guild, and I can ensure this will not slip through the net again.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention."

I couldn't have asked for a better response!  Let's hope the goldfish that were given away found good homes and that this does not happen again.
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Improving Animal Welfare in Slaughterhouses

Animal Aid released images showing cruelty in some abattoirs earlier this year which has prompted the RSPCA to shout louder for mandatory CCTV in all British abattoirs in the hope of improving animal welfare as well as the monitoring and enforcement of legalisation.  Slaughterhouses currently approved by the RSPCA's Freedom Food label have CCTV installed already and the RSPCA think that the biggest buyers of meat from abattoirs - Supermarkets - changed their policty to only source from abattoirs with CCTV it would really make a difference and prompt slaughterhouses to make the decision to install CCTV. 
Read more about the RSPCA's involvement with slaughterhouses.

How to help
(Aside from becoming vegetarian or vegan and not eating meat) Ask shops and supermarkets if they have a policy of only sourcing meat from CCTV regulated abattoirs (contact details below and template e-mail to follow)  Let the RSPCA know what your response is here

Contacting Supermarkets:

If you don't receive a response look for the supermarkets Facebook or Twitter pages and ask there as well, chances are they will respond.

UPDATE! (23/11/2010)

I have removed Morrisons from the list of supermarkets as they have now agreed to install CCTV in all it's abattoirs!  Read about it here.

Template e-mail as promised...

Dear Sir/Madam,
As a customer of your Supermarket I am interested in what your views are about the possibility of mandatory CCTV being fitted in all British abattoirs to improve animal welfare and monitor and enforce legalisation?  Earlier this year images were released showing cruelty to animals in some abattoirs and this has greatly disturbed me therefore it is important to me to hear your views on this subject and to find out whether you would support mandatory CCTV being fitted in abattoirs where you source your meat?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully,

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Friday, 12 November 2010

Fluffy Friday #10

This fluffy friday not only is a glorious fluffy animal to celebrate the weekend, it is also a way to help animals for you craft lovers out there.

These anti-firework balaclavas do just what they say on the tin, keep your doggie warm as well as muffling the sounds of fireworks with the ear muff facility, don't they look adorable?  (Yes, I know we're past Bonfire Night but there is always New Year!'s Eve) Bath Cats and Dogs Home are asking for people to knit these, as well as some other items to help them out.  More knitting patterns here.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Sad Animal News

A disturbing article in todays Daily Mail, are some of our dog breeds on the verge of extinction?
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Do you have a few spare seconds?

I've received an alert from the WDCS informing me that in a few weeks the Australian Government will be making a big decision to create the largest network of marine protected areas in the world, this is critical habitat for over 50% of the worlds whales and dolphins.  

Australia has one of the largest marine territories in the world accommodating a large variety of fish, sharks, whales and seals who live in the continent’s submerged mountain ranges, deep sea canyons and reefs. These waters provide refuge for the blue, humpback, and southern right whales, as well as bottlenose, spotted and striped dolphins.  At the moment they are unprotected and the oil and fishing industries are attempting to undermine moves to increase protection.

The Government's decision will set the standard of protection that will then be applied to the rest of Australia’s waters for the next 10 to 20 years.

Australia is asking for International help to ensure the decision goes the right way.  Please take a few seconds to click here and send a readily prepared e-mail to The Hon Tony Burke, MP and Minister for the Environment.

Thank you! Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Goldfish Update!

CAPS got back to me in response to my e-mail the other day regarding the sale of goldfish at fairs, they advised me to contact both my local council and the local newspaper, I've just e-mailed the council and intend on writing to the newspaper too, hopefully they will publish the letter and get people thinking.

I'll keep you posted...
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Response from Costa Coffee & More About the Primate Pet Trade

Further to my post on 29th October regarding the latest advert from Costa Coffee, I have received a response from the Marketing Director Jim Slater...

"Thank you for your email.
I want to assure you that we are concerned about animal welfare and insist that no compromise is made regarding animal welfare standards. 
By way of background, the idea for our advert focuses on the comparatively well known "infinite monkey theorem", which contends that because monkeys are highly intelligent, if you give a roomful of monkeys a typewriter each, they will eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare. This is why monkeys are central to the film.
Although our advert looks like there were many monkeys in a room at the same time, in fact only a small number of monkeys were filmed - and never at the same time. The monkeys were filmed sensitively and individually and a veterinary surgeon was present on the set at all times. To be very clear, no monkeys were harmed during the filming of our advert. Special effects were used in the post-production process to create the impression of lots of monkeys together in one place. 
The monkeys were provided by a specialist organisation called Amazing Animals and have appeared in movies and on TV many times before, so are used to being around people. They were accompanied at all times by their own highly experienced and loving handlers, and left to do what came naturally to them. 
For your further assurance, I attach a copy of the letter from J Stephen Ware, BVM&S MRCVS the on-set supervisory veterinary surgeon.  Stephen Ware states he is happy with the way the animals were treated during the creation of the advert. 
I hope that this information goes some way to assure you of our high standards.

Yours sincerely
Jim Slater
Marketing Director"

Mr Slater enclosed a letter from Stephen Ware as mentioned but I am unable to insert a copy to this post at the moment, it basically agreed with what was written above.  This response has reassured me that the animals used were well looked after but the fact still remains that it using animals in this manner is simply encouraging people to see them as figures of fun and even as pets, instead of wild animals.  I am going to write back and tell Mr Slater this as it seems they have no intention of withdrawing the advert and this means no more Costa Coffee for me...

I have found out about a campaign currently run by Wild Futures asking for support in banning the UK Primate Pet Trade, read about it here and please take a minute to sign their petition here and consider writing to your MP with the template letter provided.
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Trouble at the Fair

On Bonfire Night there was a firework display and fair just a stones throw away from where we live so we decided to combine Suki's evening walk with a mooch around.  It was crowded and noisy in the park so we didn't stay long and after watching most of the fireworks we headed over to the fair for a toffee apple (Suki was having a lovely time and seemed completely oblivious to the fireworks and more interested in what delights people had dropped on the floor!)  Unfortunately we didn't stay long at the fair either after seeing at least two of the stalls giving away goldfish.  

One of the stalls was selling goldfish along with "Starter Kits" which consisted of small square plastic aquariums, the other stall was giving away bags containing 2 or 3 goldfish as a prize.  We spoke to the people manning the stalls and they seemed perfectly happy to continue with what they were doing.  Giving away goldfish at the fair is not only a very old fashioned practice, it is also cruel and completely unnecessary - what is wrong with cuddly toys?  It was very loud at the fair with bright flashing lights and lots of people, many under the influence of alcohol and who would not be responsible should they have won/purchased the goldfish.  Although it may seem easy to look after a goldfish, they are living creatures with feelings and need proper care and attention.

Under the Animal Welfare Act it is illegal to give a prize fish to an unaccompanied child under 16, but some councils have banned it altogether on their land.  I have written to the Captive Animals Protection Society for some advice of what action to take next so will update you when they respond.

What do you think?
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Friday, 5 November 2010

Fluffy Friday #9

It has been about three months since the last Fluffy Friday, I'm so sorry for depriving you of pictures of adorable animals and will try my hardest not to do it again :-)

This week I have a real treat for you, lots of lovely baby sloths!  They are all orphans who live at Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica and cared for by volunteers.  Read the entire article here and then sit back, relax  and feast your eyes on these gorgeous pictures...

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Bunny Business!

The RSPCA are undertaking a Great Big Rabbit Survey and want rabbit owners to help by telling them why you love your bunny and what makes them happy.  This is all part of their campaign to improve rabbit welfare.

Rabbits are beautiful, social and intelligent creatures and unfortunately people aren't aware of how much care and stimulation a rabbit needs when they adopt them as a pet, this has lead to over 33,000 rabbits being handed to the RSPCA since early 2007 - a huge number.

As another incentive to helping the RSPCA with their survey (as if helping rabbits isn't enough!) you will be able to download an exclusive RSPCA screensaver and entered into a draw to win rabbit goodies!

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Monday, 1 November 2010

Frightening Festivities ~ Part II

I hope you and your pets had a frightenly fabulous and safe Halloween. Although Bonfire Night doesn't fall until 5th November you will no doubt have been hearing fireworks for some time now.  Around where I live they have been going off in the day as well as in the night (which seems pointless as surely you can't see the actual firework in the daylight?)  Luckily Suki doesn't seem at all bothered, her ears just twitch a little, your pets may not feel the same way so check out the following tips for how to keep your pets (and local wildlife) happy and safe on Bonfire Night...

1. This is a pretty obvious one but, keep all animals indoors on Bonfire Night and a few days prior and afterwards.  This includes rabbits, chickens and any other outdoor pets.  If you can't bring your pets indoors (an aviary for example) then soundproof their home as much as possible using blankets (making sure they have enough air) and add extra bedding.

2. Although fireworks do go off in the day it is better to make sure your dog has plenty of exercise during the day, this will wear him/her out so when night falls your dog may just want to cuddle up and sleep.  I suggest keeping cats indoors as much as possible as it isn't safe for them to wander round when bonfires are being built and fireworks are being set off.

3. It is nice to visit firework displays but really think about whether your pet is going to be okay at home alone with all the lights and loud noises.  If not then I suggest someone volunteering to stay home.  If you do leave your pet home alone, keep the curtains closed and the radio on to muffle the sound of the fireworks. 

4. If your pet is distressed try not to add to the agitation by comforting him/her in a way that could cause further agitation (talking in a high pitched voice, becoming agitated yourself) keep calm and show your pet that there is nothing to be afraid of.  Don't punish your pet for barking or growling as this will lead them to associate fireworks with punishment making things worse, not better. 

5. Creating a cosy den for your pet where they can be quiet and comfortable, distract them with toys and treats.  Cats may prefer to stay in a wardrobe, somewhere dark where they feel safe.  If you have cats, don't try to cuddle them as this will cause further stress

6. If things get really hair-raising then I suggest having a chat with your vet and looking into investing in products such as a pheromone diffuser which can help to relax your pet.

7. If you are having a Bonfire Night celebration at your home including a bonfire in the garden please thoroughly check before you set it alight that their are no wild animals hiding in the pile of tinder.  Make sure the fire is out of the way of hedges and trees where animals could be living.  Keep your own pets indoors and well out of the way.

I wish you and your pets an enjoyable Bonfire Night, keep safe!
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Lush Links!

Rabbits!  Happy November! 
(Talking of Rabbits, I have a Rabbit related article coming up later in the week)

I've just had chance to check out the latest Lush Newsletter and I'm so glad I did, as well as gorgeous, cruelty free, hand made products there is a wealth of information which I have been inspired to share with you...

Beautiful Bats (Quite fitting for Halloween) Bats are absolutely fascinating creatures and I will be looking at them a bit more in depth at some point, my boyfriend is studying Biology at University and one of his lecturers is an expert on Bats so I should be able to come up with an interesting article.

Today is World Vegan Day, to celebrate I am going to be vegan for the day.  Well, technically I only realised just before 10am so I will be vegan until 10am tomorrow morning just to make it fair.  I am aiming to become permenantly vegan in the future, once things are more settled and life is a bit less hectic so it's easier to plan meals in advance.  I am vegetarian and carefully consider where my dairy products come from but I do hope to make the switch eventually.   

Why not consider becoming vegan for 24 hours too?  Challenge yourself!

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