News from around the world
Calls are growing for an EU ban on the live export of farm animals after a botched shipment of calves from France to Algeria. The young bulls were destined for slaughter but unloading was refused because of incorrect health certificates. The bureaucratic spat lasted three weeks, leaving the bulls stuck on the vessel before being “emergency killed” back in France.
New Zealand will ban live animal exports from next April, two years after storms sank a livestock ship, killing 41 crew members and 6,000 cattle. The death of two New Zealanders among the crew of the Gulf Livestock 1, which sank in a typhoon in September 2020, helped galvanise the movement to ban exports of live sheep and cattle.
Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to ban factory farming in a referendum. The government’s VoteInfo app showed a provisional result of 62.86% of votes against the proposal to make protecting the dignity of farm animals, such as cattle, chickens and pigs, a constitutional requirement.
The introduction of basic welfare standards for farmed fish has been welcomed as “an important step forward” by campaigners. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has announced new welfare standards, including humane slaughter standards for fish, with a ban on the use of ice slurry.
A Turkish farmer is reportedly using virtual reality (VR) headsets on his cows to “transport” them to virtual evergreen pastures in an attempt to boost milk production. After initially playing classical music for the animals to provide a calm atmosphere, he has now turned his attention to VR instead.
A poultry farm worker in Spain is reported to have tested positive for avian flu. It is the first case in Spain and the second in Europe after a UK case in December 2021. It comes as new figures reveal the “unprecedented” number of cases of avian flu this summer across the UK and Europe. Almost 50 million farm birds have been culled, with cases reported from Norway’s Svalbard islands to southern Portugal.
Photographs from an Animals Farmed story from 2019 about the brutality of Thailand’s pig abattoirs, taken by Jo-Anne McArthur, have been recognised by this year’s international photography awards.
An animal welfare charity has been granted a court hearing to challenge the government over the legality in England of fast-growing broiler chickens. The UK’s first animal law firm, Advocates for Animals, has brought the case regarding so-called “Frankenchickens”, which can suffer from a wide range of health and welfare problems.
Marks & Spencer announced it was to become the first British retailer to sell “100% slower-reared chicken”. The company said in a press release that it has “committed to deliver trusted value for customers” and referenced a recent poll that found 81% of UK adults think it is important that retailers focus on better treatment of farm animals.
A major Guardian investigation has revealed that the global megacompanies supplying some of Britain’s most popular meat brands, including KFC, Nando’s chicken and Sainsbury’s organic range, appear to have been using offshore companies, allowing them to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax in the UK.
Campaigners have revealed the results of farmland testing that provides new evidence of the potential link between intensive poultry units and the decline of the River Wye. It comes after a previous Guardian investigation found that bird numbers – and their waste – surged in the year after a major supermarket signed a deal with a local processor.
From the Animals Farmed series
Catastrophic declines in the number of birds and other wildlife are likely if countries do not act urgently to change the way animals are farmed, wildlife health scientists have warned. The unprecedented die-off of seabirds from highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI) being witnessed in breeding colonies across Europe, North America and Africa has been traced back to a commercial goose farm in southern China in 1996.
An investigation into industrial poultry farming in Brazil claims that chicken fed with corn and soya beans grown on deforested land or with unclear origins is ending up on British dinner plates and supermarket shelves. It highlights how global food chains are linked to mounting deforestation in a country that is home to some of the world’s most important biomes and food producers.
Some of the world’s biggest central banks are unwittingly helping to finance agribusiness giants engaged in the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon. The Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are among the institutions that have reportedly bought millions of dollars in bonds issued by companies linked to deforestation and land-grabbing.
An investigation has revealed that cattle raised on Mỹky territory in Brazil, ended up in a global supply chain including the food giant Nestlé. The cattle ended up at an abattoir linked to a supply chain that included the food and drink company, which uses beef in baby food, pet food and seasoning.
Share your stories and feedback
Thank you to everyone who continues to get in touch to share their thoughts on the series.
Neo Tarski said:
The Dutch agricultural system is in great difficulty, they are finally realising that all that intense farming is unsustainable and the government is – under pressure from environmental groups – finally acting, or drawing up plans. The farmers are in uproar, of course, since their livelihood is threatened, but with a bit of luck something will happen now. It would be good if the true costs of food production would be clear to the customer, with prices in the supermarket reflecting that.
Gayle Borst said:
I am sickened by story after story in Animals Farmed about atrocities inflicted upon animals and the Earth due to the typical industrial meat-based diet. Adopting a plant-based diet is the single most impactful thing a person can do to help lessen the climate crisis. As an active 69-year-old who has been vegan or vegetarian for more than 40 years, let me tell you that my colourful, fresh-food plate is far tastier and healthful than the brown chunks of dead animal on most people’s plates. And knowing that I didn’t cause the taking of another sentient being’s life to nurture mine is priceless. Change isn’t that difficult, friends. Get out of your rut!
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