Tesco reported to watchdog over ‘grossly misleading’ claim that buying milk helps cows

Thousands object to supermarket giant’s slogan, saying taking calves from mothers is cruel

The Tesco signs that caused upset

SHOPPERS concerned about animal welfare are fighting Tesco over advertising that claims every pint of milk bought helps care for dairy cows.

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on Britain’s biggest supermarket to drop the in-store signs, saying they are misleading because the chain does nothing out of the ordinary to aid cow welfare.

And campaigners have reported Tesco to the Advertising Standards Authority, saying the slogan “seeks to create an image of Tesco dairy products that simply doesn’t reflect reality”. Continue reading

‘Scandalous’: EU ‘turns a blind eye to illegal death trucks in Turkey

Mass suffering and neglect in heatwave exposed by major investigation into live-export trade – and crisis is due to worsen after Ireland signs new deal

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A COW licks at the metal bars of the lorry, desperate for any precious drops of water; behind her, another sits helpless with painful skin sores, too sick and helpless to even stand. Some animals are foaming at the mouth from dehydration and hunger. A heifer shakes from heat exhaustion.

They are among the hundreds of thousands of animals exported each year from Europe and abandoned for days on end in sordid, illegal conditions just inside Turkey.

While the world’s attention is on migrants using Turkey to get into Europe, a five-year investigation has revealed how bureaucracy and neglect at the country’s border leave large numbers of live sheep, cattle and goats suffering in overcrowded lorries parked in soaring heatwave temperatures for a week or more.

European Union chiefs are being accused of turning a blind eye – and British campaigners on both sides of the EU debate claimed the crisis proved their case. Continue reading

The one word doing the greatest harm of all to animal welfare

Woman with leather jacket and bag

Leather jackets and bags aren’t necessary but nobody’s perfect

I HAVE a friend who recently gave up all animal products, including consuming dairy and eggs and wearing leather, after watching the Cowspiracy film and reading about how these products support the entrenched cruelty of modern factory farming.

She had long before that been vegetarian, but had shied away from making the leap to being vegan because she had an enormous fondness of and nostalgia about a much-loved “cool” leather jacket and a favourite pair of well broken-in leather shoes. Given that my friend wasn’t going to ditch these possessions, surely, she reasoned, adopting a vegan diet would make her a huge hypocrite. Continue reading

Luna Lovegood gets mad: Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch acts against live export trade

Evy Lynch

Evanna Lynch stands up for farm animals

WHAT would Luna Lovegood make of it? Her Hogwarts classmates would most certainly have raised an eyebrow, being more familiar with dragons, hippogriffs and unicorns than farm animals.

But Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch took a stand for tens of thousands of Europe’s calves, as she launched a campaign against their export to “shocking and brutal” fates.

Miss Lynch – famous for playing the blonde Ravenclaw pupil with “a permanently surprised look” in the wizard-school films – was acting on behalf of the real-life animals sent beyond EU borders and subjected to “horrendously cruel” handling and slaughter. Continue reading

The day the world united in defence of superior species (and humanity)

Elephant protester

Protesters in London spoke passionately of the need to prevent elephants’ extinction

EVERY now and then, the world has a unifying moment. A moment of a mass, shared sense of joy and inspiration, of determination and hope. The fall of the Berlin Wall was one; the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was one. This, a weekend in 2015, might just have been another.

In cities around the globe, tens of thousands of people took to the streets with one shared aim – to save two of the planet’s largest and most awe-inspiring species from extinction.

Many had travelled long distances to be there, had booked hotel rooms and cancelled social events for a march that they said it was a privilege to attend. Continue reading

Badger cull useless against TB in cattle, new study shows

Badger licks woman

Badgers can feel love and pain too. Image: piX dust / Flickr

TUBERCULOSIS in cattle could be eliminated within 20 to 25 years in Britain if England adopted the tactics used in Scotland and Wales – which don’t involve badger culling, new research shows.

Reducing badger numbers in Somerset, Gloucestershire and now Dorset is “making very little difference” to the spread of the disease, whereas methods used by the Scottish and Welsh authorities are successfully reducing it, scientists found.

The key to eradicating bovine tuberculosis is more frequent testing of cattle, according to the experts from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers, who compared approaches used in England with those north and west of the borders, found that infections were falling and more herds were free of TB in Scotland and Wales than in England. This could mean those countries were likely to eradicate the disease, the scientists concluded.

But the same was not true in areas where the Westminster Government is relying on culling badgers to try to minimise infection.

Secrets of Scotland and Wales

The findings were released days after a fresh cull began in Dorset, which follows culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Farmers blame badgers for spreading bovine tuberculosis, forcing them to have infected cattle put down and, therefore, harming their business.

One of the researchers, Professor Matthew Evans, who specialises in ecological forecasting, said: “Killing badgers makes very little difference to the spread of the disease.

“The most important thing is to test the cattle more often, because then you detect infected animals in herds.”

Cattle going undetected in herds, infecting others, are by far the most common reason why herds suffer repeated TB breakdowns, not badgers

— Professor Alastair Macmillan

In Wales, where farmers have been testing their cattle every six months for signs of the disease, the incidence is lower, Prof Evans said. In cattle housed together, disease can spread more rapidly than those permanently outdoors, evidence suggests.

Scotland has long had very low levels of bovine TB, and there is believed to be no evidence of it being spread among badgers. The Scottish Government’s measures to control infection include tissue sampling of cows at farm visits, risk assessment and stricter tracing of cattle.

“All our evidence suggests testing cattle more often is the way forward,” the professor added. “We think that eliminating TB from the cattle herd is potentially possible within 20 to 25 years.”

Protesters against the cull plan to launch legal action to try to halt it. Brian May, the Queen guitarist and most high-profile campaigner against the cull, said he hopes a judicial review will be lodged within days.

Dr Aristides Moustakas, another researcher at Queen Mary University of London, said: “It is clear that the Welsh policy of frequent testing up to every six months and the Scottish policy of risk-based surveillance are producing reductions in the both the incidence and prevalence of TB in cattle.”

Badgers: 2,450 killed

Professor Evans added: “Testing cattle frequently is the most effective way of reducing bovine TB. Farmers and policymakers should not ignore this evidence, which is based on the Government’s data.”

Professor Alastair Macmillan, of Humane Society UK, said frequent cattle testing was particularly important as the sensitivity of diagnostic tests is not very high, so cattle incubating TB are not detected and can remain in the herd to infect others. “These cattle are by far the most common reason why cattle herds suffer repeated TB breakdowns, not badgers,” he said.

Professor Macmillan, a former government adviser on animal health, added: “The Government must heed this evidence, and stop wasting time and resources on killing badgers to no effect. All efforts must instead be focused on far more frequent cattle testing and strict cattle movement control. How much more research and scientific evidence does this Government need before it listens to the rational facts?”

Analysis of government spending on the cull and pilot culls since 2012 shows that each badger killed has cost between £6,775 and £6,850.

At least 2,450 animals have been killed in the past two years. A further £12 million is expected to be spend targeting badgers this year in the three counties involved.

Brian May, the Queen guitarist and most high-profile campaigner against culling, led a protest in Westminster yesterday with a hearse and floral tributes to the animals killed.

Main image: Gwydion M Williams/Flickr

Why I will always weep for my precious boy

Malevich, King of our household

Malevich, King of our household

MALEVICH chose us as much as we chose him. There was a knowing, pleading look to his innocent eyes as he gazed up at us on our first meeting. He seemed to sense that we would make decent new parents.

If you’ve ever been to a rescue centre, you’ll know how sad it is that you can’t take them all home, and give them all a new life. My husband and I had walked up and down the pens at 20743663671_19c40e0762_k (1)Cats Protection, peering in, reading the name tags and notes, our hearts twisting at the thought of picking one because it meant effectively rejecting the others. Many were asleep. Some were docile, others were young and lively but had to be homed with a sibling. And then, in the very last pen, was a sole black beauty.

Alert and desperate to be let out, but without the mischievousness of a kitten, Marley struck the perfect balance between curiosity, tolerating humans and a cat’s natural superior indifference to people.

Some rescue animals would have used the opportunity of freedom from the pen to shoot off, but Malevich (his given name was Marley, but I wanted a unique formal name for him; though we still used Marley for short) was mature enough to stick around, without demeaning himself by reciprocating any affection.

Evidently, in his six years, he had not learnt to receive love from any owners – but we weren’t about to let that situation continue. Continue reading