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Let Us All Work Together for Animal Welfare and the Environment - 11/06/2014
 
Vegan Principles in Food Production: Exercising them Immediately and Effectively
 
We are concerned at the approach of the general election in May 2015. We are particularly concerned that animal welfare issues and environmental matters will occupy politicians (and they are in fact already doing this). We must not miss tricks to put the animal and environmental case as strongly as we can until the election and we must be prepared for some surprises and meet them urgently. They must inform the qualities of life, decency and honesty that we have to rescue and develop in the broadest aspects of welfare and the environment, just as much as prudence, sympathy, economics and thrift.
 
We are anticipating ploys from the meat industry towards emphasis on poultry and probably pigs in the provision of meat and meat products in the next 5 years or so. Other products will be furnished for the expensive trade, especially when subsidies are withdrawn, but the changes that the industrialised meat producers can offer will develop as convenience in other commodities, threatening the industry.
 
So far so good and we must put the alternatives ahead with preparations for their use for the young, including in school meals which are expected to be announced this autumn and will depend heavily on price considerations. This can be represented by comparison with other commodities and Which? magazine is lamentably slow in taking up this burden for its readers; for instance, parents are left to ponder their children’s food, with little guidance on nutrition and production, or its value compared with the cameras, toys, cars and holidays abroad which the advertisers use to lure us away from the real essentials.
 
At last the British Veterinary Association (BVA), aided by the RSPCA, has now challenged the government on specific issues and they appear now to be steadfast in opposing the government on two matters concerning animals to which we would draw your attention and if possible, your participation.
 
We are concerned, in the first instance, with David Cameron’s recent statements, without consulting any skilled expert opinion, on delicate problems in the position of ritual slaughter – ‘stunning before killing’. So they are now involved in religious matters concerned with Muslims and Jews.
 
So the BVA will have to accept responsibility in this matter with the RSPCA reinforcing it, though it has some responsibility as a producer of so-called Freedom Foods, with which it will have some embarrassment. The details of the intended ban on Shechita is yet to be discussed as to what it involves and it will involve several other animal welfare organisations like the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) and the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) and other nations, some of whom have already made up their mind on the ban, for example, Scandinavian countries. 
 
So David Cameron’s brusque dismissal of these many issues and involvement of them in the election is deplorable. It is likely to face similar waywardness in thinking on environmental matters attributable to a newcomer like UKIP, with short experience in dealing with tricky subjects.
 
This involves these long-established organisations, steeped in the history of the subject, in charges of hypocrisy. The campaign against Shechita is prominent and will need all the strength that the BVA can bring to it. We hope it will be further implemented in vigorous examinations of miss-stunnings in present practice.
 
The rituals in Jewish slaughter (Shechita) are not carried out in slaughter of pigs because these animals are not eaten by the few Jews who observe them; many are regarding them as irrelevant because vegetarian procedures exist and they are welcome to use them. Exactly why Jews adopted this proscription against pig meat cannot be understood logically and it will be dependent on discovery of various physiological factors, for example, pigs are particularly difficult to handle and transport in compassionate ways in farming; or the discovery of parasitic worms in the meat may have appeared to the early scribes of the scriptures – eg Trichinella and other forms of life such as invisible viral and bacterial diseases, before even modern methods were disclosed, until recent days with microscopy and methods of examining meat; or they may have noticed that pig meat is associated with pheromones and other substances, such as boar taint. Slaughter involves terror and fear among animals of all sorts and has been recognised as the source of this boar taint (Pale Soft Exudative (PSE) vs Dark Firm Dry (DFD)). Other methods, as used by Muslims, will have similar effects and be condemned likewise.
 
Now, however, pigs (boars, barrows and hogs) have been developed by stimulated growth and fecundity and by resort to specialised feed. Such methods could be used in intensified methods of the type intended for animals to be produced constantly, suitable for modern methods of production and indoor housing which are offensive. 
 
The RSPCA in its latest magazine ‘Time for Action’ illustrates this duplicity in accepting whole pages illustrating litters of piglets with no clear acceptance or otherwise of castration, intensive growth and many of these questionable farming practices. Although the animal welfare movement is waking up to some of the abuses farm animals are subjected to, those animals were the subject of the vets infringements of the Five Freedoms, which is their own policies. 
 
So we must prepare for thoroughly researched invention for uncompromised attention to all farm animals and principles of freedom and release from the thraldom that meat, milk and dairy products imply.
 
All animals are killed for food: meat, milk, dairy products and other commodities in a process of bloody massacre that has been allowed to persist for too long. It affronts our dignity and simple methods of kindness. Simple recitations of cruelty in such foul methods no longer to serve their business but positive means must be taken.
 
The rating of slaughterhouses could be judged on a scale of 1 to 5, based on terms of terror and horror to these animals for our lust for food and no premises should be permitted with scores of over 2, to restore a mite of compassion and sympathy for animals, long avoidably tortured to satisfy the greed and indifference to this crime against noble, worthy animals.
 
Dr Alan Long
 
 
 

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