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Petition: Ask Defra for independently-monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses

Animal Aid filmed covertly at the Malik Food Group slaughterhouse near Burnley in Lancashire. This is the 12th slaughterhouse that Animal Aid has filmed, and the 11th found to be breaking animal welfare laws.

What they found there is absolutely shocking.

  • Malik is a non-stun slaughterhouse which must by law keep knives surgically sharp. But knives were so blunt that sheep had their throats hacked at multiple times.
  • Others were moved before they had been given time to lose consciousness – another breach of welfare laws.
  • On three occasions, a worker picked up sheep by their fleeces and threw them, while many other animals endured rough handling. Some were taunted whilst being abused.
  • Of deep concern is that a worker warned the others when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) vet was approaching.

The FSA is thought to have taken steps to remove one man’s slaughter licence and launched an investigation. It has confirmed that there are ‘serious non-compliances with animal welfare legislation’ and we expect criminal proceedings to follow. One of the company’s directors already has a conviction for animal cruelty.

Please send a message to Defra Minister George Eustice to tell him we urgently need independently-monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses. If you can personalise the message, it will have a greater impact.

To send this important message, click here: http://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1825&ea.campaign.id=67792

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Fish are sentient animals who form friendships and experience ‘positive emotions’, landmark study suggests

zebrafish.jpg

Fish are sentient animals who form friendships, experience “positive emotions” and have individual personalities.

That, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), is the implication of a landmark new study which found zebrafish are social animals in a similar way to humans and other mammals.

And people who refuse to eat meat on moral grounds but do eat fish – as well as people who keep fish as pets – should bear that in mind, Dr Penny Hawkins, head of the RSPCA’s research animals department, told The Independent.

The researchers discovered that being in a group gives zebrafish a kind of “social buffering” so they are less afraid when confronted by danger.

And this effect was associated with a distinct pattern of brain activation known to be involved in social buffering in mammals, they added.

Because of this similar mechanism, the scientists hope zebrafish can now be used as a model to study social effects on human health with suggestions that isolation can have a significant impact on conditions such as depression.

But Dr Hawkins said the study also added to the growing body of evidence that fish should not be viewed as lesser animals.

“I think if you are going to think it’s okay to eat any animal, then you have to realise what you are doing,” she said.

“You are causing the death of an animal who is sentient, who has experiences, interests.”

She said the RSPCA did not advocate vegetarianism but operated a “welfare friendly” labelling scheme for meat and fish.

“If you do choose to eat meat and fish do just be aware of what you are buying into and make sure you go for higher welfare labels and not just the cheapest,” she said.

Asked if she thought fish could form friendships, Dr Hawkins said: “It depends how you define friendship. It’s not going to be analogous to human friendship.

“But if you think of friendship in terms of being with another individual who you are familiar with and whose company you seek and who makes you feel positive emotions, then these are fish friendships.

“It would be a good thing if these kinds of results were used, not only to improve the lives of laboratory fish, but also for people who keep fish in fish tanks to think about what they are doing when they mix unfamiliar fish together or when they split groups of fish up.

“They are not just ornaments or play things for people, they are individuals, they are sentient.

“There’s quite a lot of research going on into fish personalities. Some fish are bold, some are shy, there’s a whole lot more going on in the fish tank than people than people thought previously.”

However she also criticised the study, saying the anaesthetic used on the fish before they were killed had been “shown to be very irritating for them”.

“They will work quite hard to get out of it. There are other anaesthetics that don’t have this effect,” Dr Hawkins said.

She said it was a “a bit of a tragic conflict” that the evidence “to make people sit up and think” about fish had come from a study that involved animal suffering.

“The price these individuals paid in order to find this out was pretty high,” Dr Hawkins said.

The zebrafish were kept in a laboratory tank and exposed to their own ‘alarm substance’, a secretion from their skin that signals danger, the researchers said in the journal Scientific Reports.

If they were alone, they displayed signs of greater fear, but when they were with other zebrafish they responded more calmly. They were then killed to allow their brains to be examined.

Professor Rui Oliveira, of the ISPA university in Lisbon, who led the study, said what made it significant was the discovery that zebrafish shared a similar social buffering process in the brain with humans and mammals.

Asked about whether it should change people perceptions of fish, he said: “What this study shows is certainly they change the way they perceive their environment when others are present, which suggests they might be cognitively more complex than we originally thought.

“Maybe because of that people will become more aware of their needs and welfare issues. I think if it helps, it’s great.

“There are all the myths about fish have a memory of five seconds, like in [the film Finding] Nemo, that’s obviously not the case.”

On Dr Hawkins’ complaint about the way the zebrafish were killed, he said the anaesthetic used was part of the official protocol and he was unaware of a better alternative.

His colleague, Dr Ana Faustino, stressed the zebrafish’s social support process “does not have the complexity of the social support verified in humans”.

But she added: “Research in zebrafish will allow us to explore in depth the neural mechanisms involved in this social behaviour, which is paramount to the well-being and mental health of the human species, particularly due to its relevance to certain psychological diseases such as depression.”

Article taken from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/fish-sentient-animals-friends-positive-emotions-study-study-source-ethics-eating-pescaterians-vegans-a7660756.html

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Take Action: Campaign to end live animal exports

Each year tens of thousands of live farm animals are shipped overseas from UK shores to the continent. Loaded onto crowded trucks, their gruelling journeys can take days as they travel as far as Spain and Greece only to be slaughtered at their destination. Many animals, such as calves and sheep, suffer stress and exhaustion, hunger, thirst and rough handling – some even die in transit.

These poor animals can’t speak out, but we can. RSPCA are asking people to help end their suffering and lend our voices in calling on the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to stop live exports of farmed animals from the UK.

To sign the petition and demand change from DEFRA, click here.

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Take Action: Campaign to end non-stun slaughter

Millions of animals suffer as a result of slaughter without pre-stunning. Animal welfare organisation Slaughterhouse Reform has launched a new campaign calling for an end to this cruel practice, as well as clearer labelling so consumers can make more informed choices about any meat they buy.

Yorkshire Pig on Grass

Chickens, sheep, cows, pigs and ducks are just some of the hundreds of millions of animals farmed for food in the UK each year. Every animal is an individual and they have the capacity to suffer. Slaughterhouse Reform believe all farm animals should be reared to high welfare standards and killed under the most humane conditions possible.

As long as intensive farming practices, long distance transport and non-stun slaughter is permitted, the group calls for clear and compulsory labelling on all meat products (fresh, frozen and processed) that allows concerned consumers to be able to find out:

– how an animal was farmed

– their country of origin

– how they were killed (stunned or non-stunned).

The campaign is supported by RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming.

To demand better conditions for animals bred for slaughter, click here to sign the petition to DEFRA.

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Tearful five-year-old girl reveals why she’s gone vegetarian in heartbreaking video

This gorgeous and incredibly moving video is currently doing the rounds, and it affected me so much I just had to post it. Here we see five year old Indie-Rose from Dublin explaining to her mum’s partner why she doesn’t want to eat ‘animal people’ any more. She tearfully tries to rationalise the farmers ‘chopping up’ all the animals and actually in doing so makes more sense than many militant meat consumers do.

I’d definitely encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this gorgeous, intelligent little girl explain her thoughts. If only everyone could see the world as beautifully as she does.

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Urgent action needed against plans for UK’s biggest animal factory

A pig factory is set to be built Northern Ireland with over 30,000 pigs.

If given the go ahead, this pig factory will set a dangerous precedent for the increased intensification of pig farming in the UK. Help the local people stop Newtownabbey pig factory by objecting now.

More info:

Hall’s Pig Farms have submitted a planning application for a 30,000-pig animal factory.

The plans include a ‘weaner house’ for 11,760 newly-weaned young piglets, and three ‘fattener houses’, each holding 6,160 pigs. Also on site would be an anaerobic digester for treating slurry and a lagoon for holding processed waste. Hall’s currently supplies Sainsbury’s and is part of its Pork Development Group.

Local residents are concerned about the impacts of the proposed development on human health and the environment.

Campaign spokesperson Norman Kerr says: “We are seriously concerned about the impact the proposed farm will have on the area. That many pigs will need a lot of feeding and produce a lot of waste, not to mention all the other risks associated with mass production farming. There’s also the very real risk of waste leaking into local waterways and polluting the environment, and the extra traffic this farm will bring to a quiet, rural area. The size and scale of this proposal is way beyond farming!”

Concerns about environmental issues with the proposed pig factory are not unfounded. In June 2012, Derek Hall of Hall’s Pig Farms (the site developer) was fined £500 at Belfast Magistrates Court “for making a polluting discharge to a waterway and…for contravention of a Pollution Prevention and Control permit condition”.

*** Sign petition here ***

More information: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=62434df9a66146b4fb4f8b14e&id=69c39b08db&e=326a0ba657