Of the 23 Million Lambs Conceived Each
Year 4 Million Will Die, Mainly Due to Poor Husbandry.
VEGA ACTION PLAN
For the Politicians
Direct subsidies and grants away from offensive methods of
food production to systems ensuring uncompromised produce
affordable to everyone. Divert subventions into improvements
to the environment and quality in rural living and animal
Raise farming and veterinary standards by mandatory training
and licensing of all owners and handlers of animals.
Require farmers and food producers to indemnify themselves
against losses and costs due to outbreaks of disease, and
professional veterinary surveillance and claims from the public
in respect of food-borne diseases and environmental harm.
Choose foods less tainted with cruelty than lamb, mutton
and kebabs, with or without fancy assurances, kosher or halal.
Pull out of complicity in relentless bad shepherding.
There is just one golden rule
There is a substitute for wool.
Lanolin (woolwax), is a balm easily replaced by unsullied
soothing agents. Lanolin is not cruelty free.
For Pet Owners
Choose foods for your animals likewise. Tell the manufacturers
your wishes and call for informative labelling.
Enjoy the countryside with your dog; keep it on the lead
in the vicinity of livestock.
Worm the dog regularly, especially if it shares its space
with farm animals.
The following statistics were taken from VEGAs report
on sheep farming, issued in February 2000 (VEGA NEWS no 9).
See also the associated press release - "SHEEP FARMING
NEW REPORT EXPOSES THE SUBSIDY-SUCKING FOOD-PRODUCTION
THAT DESECRATES THE COUNTRYSIDE." To get a copy of the
full report contact VEGA.
Losses due to abortion and mortality of newborn lambs may
be between 5% and 100%, according to systems, scale of operation,
climate, weather, shelter, housing and all.phpects of husbandry,
stocking density, stress, and losses to predators. It is deemed
too costly to mount thoroughgoing surveys, but
experienced commentators put the national average at between
12% and 20%; the MLCs estimates reckon on annual losses
of 4 million lambs of which up to 20% are due to abortion
and 3.5 million perish shortly after birth. The MLC reckons
deaths in lambing ewes of 6% or 7% (i.e. nearly 1 million).
Lambing occurs once a year.
Household consumption of lamb and mutton by the average Briton
is about 60g per week, down from 80g a week a decade earlier.
Present consumption amounts to a lifetimes slaughter
of 21 sheep, for which a further 4 lambs have been conceived
but succumbed before they could survive to the age of slaughter.
The aim that the stockperson should survey all the animals
in his care at least once a day is seldom met in sheep farming.
Instead the labor is employed in occasional drifts and roundups,
on quad-bikes and with dogs, to bring in the massed flock
for a battery of operations, such as spraying, dipping, footcare,
mating, vaccination, medication (by drenching or injection),
dagging, tail-docking, castration, and drawing for the market
and culling. These cumulative stresses represent insults to
welfare. Some of the multi-vaccines combine 6 or more agents
and are hefty assaults on the animals immune systems;
other infections may supervene.
About 18 million lambs and sheep are slaughtered annually
in the UK, to provide for home consumption and exports. Between
1 and 1.5 million lambs are sent live for slaughter abroad.
This trade may entail journeys from farms and markets in northern
areas of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland for slaughter
in southern Europe (e.g. Italy and Greece). Journeys within
the UK alone may exceed the distances covered by lambs shipped
from markets and farms in the lowland areas of southern England
for slaughter in France. The live exports provide about a
sixth of the total meat sent overseas.
Since the publication of this report many of the evils of
sheep farming have been exposed in the media coverage of the
Foot and Mouth crisis. The marketing and transportation of
sheep has been blamed for much of the spread of foot and mouth
disease. For the moment live export of lambs has been banned
due to FMD, so many of the animals destined to travel from
Wales to southern Europe have been saved from that fate. Farmers
are now facing problems of disposal of these lambs as there
is no market for them in the UK.
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