AR-News: Viva! Campaigns Update
rumsiki at netvision.net.il
Sat Mar 6 06:27:05 EST 2004
From: Viva! Email
email at Viva.org.uk
Subject: Viva! Campaigns Update
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)117 944 1000 Email: info at viva.org.uk
Web: www.viva.org.uk www.savethekangaroo.com
Please do not reply to this email. Contact us at: info at viva.org.uk
CAMPAIGNS UPDATE: MARCH 2004
This month's Update is about just one subject and reports on a major victory
in the USA and an urgent campaign in the UK. After chickens and turkeys, the
animal which is factory-farmed in the greatest number in the UK is one that
many people don't realise is factory farmed at all: duck. 20 million ducks
went to slaughter in the UK last year, virtually every single one a product
of intensive systems. This Easter, while cards showing fluffy Easter ducks
are sold and sent throughout the country, millions of these essentially
wild, aquatic birds will spend their entire, short lives in squalid,
overcrowded and filthy sheds - their webbed feet treading nothing but
ammonia-soaked litter and the only water they see being in their drinkers.
In the UK just a few years ago and in the USA very recently (see below),
Viva!'s campaigns against duck factory farming have led to real and
significant change. Our new campaign aims to achieve even more.
Marks & Spencer Duck Horror Exposed by Viva!
Join our Day of the Ducks: April 3rd 2004
Almost everyone enjoys watching ducks flying in formation across the sky or
dabbling and up-tailing on the local pond. This is how they should live -
the epitome of freedom. Sadly, factory farmers are increasingly turning to
ducks in order to boost profits. Behind the trade lies a sad story of
dejection, stress and misery.
Viva! has recently investigated several duck units. Twice we visited Manor
Farm Ducklings, who supply Marks & Spencer. On our first visit, we saw
thousands of fluffy, yellow ducklings in stinking, windowless sheds. Some
could barely walk and dragged themselves along on their wings. Others had
fallen on their backs and were unable to right themselves and this is how
they would die - a horrible, stressful death. Many had already lost the
battle to live and their little corpses were scattered amongst the straw.
One duckling had fallen behind machinery and was hopelessly trapped -
calling desperately for a mother who would never come.
In these sheds, birds that have evolved to eat, swim, dive, clean and play
in water never even see it, except in their drinkers. One reason why it is
so severely restricted is because ducks naturally like to splash water over
their bodies. In factory farms, it causes choking ammonia to be released
from the faeces-covered floor. Yet it is vital to ducks' health to immerse
themselves in water: the outcome is entirely predictable - dirty, bedraggled
feathers that can make it difficult to keep warm, eye problems and even
On our second visit to Manor Farm six weeks later, the ducklings were
already at slaughter weight. Again, we found more corpses, including, some
that appeared to have been there for a very long time, and more injured and
dejected birds, some in obvious pain and emotional distress.
On another Manor Farm site, we found water even more pitifully restricted.
Nipple drinkers, which were designed for chickens, meant that these poor
birds had to battle for every drop of water. No wonder corpses were piled
high amongst the straw and slurry. Sadly, it isn't just one company
perpetrating this misery as we have witnessed scenes like these in almost
every factory farm we have visited, including brand leaders Green Label and
Most farmed ducks are bred from the Mallard and some from the Muscovy but
all have retained many of their wild instincts. Bred to be heavy, they may
be unable to fly, have difficulty in walking and are prone to leg disorders.
None will ever swim. All this in a seven-week life life span when they
should live for about 10 years.
It is telling indeed that we should have found such scenes at a supplier of
Marks & Spencer, a retailer that publicises its commitment to animal welfare
and has even won the Compassionate Supermarket Award. For this reason, we
believe that M&S will be very sensitive to the exposure of conditions on
their suppliers' farms and are targeting them for high profile protests on
our Day of the Ducks, Saturday April 3rd. We have produced
specially-designed Marks & Spencer materials and expect protests to take
place on high streets throughout the country.
The last time Viva! campaigned on duck welfare we managed to put an end to
the sale of meat from cruelly de-beaked ducks. Very recently, Viva!USA
persuaded a major retailer to transform its policies on duck welfare (see
below). With your help, we have the opportunity to make a real difference.
If you'd like more information about how to get involved in your area, get
in touch with us by clicking here
Viva! Duck Victory: Whole Foods Demands Highest-Ever Standards
Proof that dedicated campaigning achieves results and that businesses can
change has come recently from the USA. The gauntlet has been thrown down by
quality US supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market, with its recent purchase
of the UK Fresh & Wild health food chain. Thanks largely to the
determination and persuasive powers of Viva!USA campaigns director, lauren
Ornelas, Whole Foods Market has made animal welfare one of their top
priorities and its high standards expose the 'animal friendly' claims of
other British supermarkets as being little more than marketing hype.
With 145 stores in the US and a turnover approaching $4 billion, Whole Foods
recently transformed its attitude to animals after a two-year long campaign
by Viva!USA. Late last year, Whole Foods' CEO, John Mackey, conceded that
Viva! was correct that the company's standards needed to be higher in order
to achieve good animal welfare. Following discussions with Viva!, Mackey
researched the issues on his own and ultimately took the step of becoming
vegan once he became convinced of the inherent animal cruelty involved in
modern livestock production and slaughter.
In a press statement issued by Viva!USA, Mackey stated that Whole Foods
Market would seek animal welfare improvements from its duck meat supplier
along with an end to that supplier's involvement in the foie gras market.
Since then, Whole Foods Market has been working with their suppliers and
animal welfare organisations, including Viva!USA to draw up new and vastly
improved 'animal compassionate' standards, beginning with ducks. Access to
fresh air, water for swimming and the ability to roost and to forage are
amongst the requirements, all of which are entirely denied most UK ducks.
These are the standards which Viva! expects Marks & Spencer - and all other
British retailers - to now attain.
"Whole Foods is helping to create a paradigm shift in the way farm animals
are treated", says John Mackey. "We don't want incremental change that
leaves the industrial farming model still operable. We are committing to a
revolution. We are starting with ducks and are going to go on to all other
Viva!, of course, opposes all use of animals for meat but while working
towards a vegetarian world, we believe it is vital to do what we can to
improve farmed animal welfare: Whole Foods' change in policy will make a
real and significant difference to the lives of many animals and we welcome
it on that basis.
We recently received the following email from the Pigeon Control Advisory
We have been asked, by a pest control company in London, for assistance with
removing baby pigeons from several railway bridges in Redhill and Herne
Hill. The company is going to net these bridges, sometime this month, on
behalf of Network Rail.
This company does not kill pigeons, hence the request for assistance. They
have previously demonstrated that they are prepared to treat pigeons
humanely and will ensure a) that all baby pigeons are removed before the
netting is erected and b) that no adult pigeons are trapped behind the
netting once erected.
These jobs must be completed before the end of March so we haven't been
given a great deal of notice.
We only need one or two people at each bridge to assist as it will simply be
a case of being there with cat carriers/boxes to take any baby pigeons
handed down by the workers - these pigeons will then need to be taken to
Pigeon Recovery in Sutton.
If anyone can assist with this operation will they please either ring PICAS
on one of the following numbers or email
PICAS at the following address:
PICAS: 01353 667230 or 07903 011715
enquiries at picas.org.uk
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