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McDonald's backs animal welfare for UK pork menu

A poll for McDonald's found 73% of customers preferred to buy food produced from farms with high welfare standards. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

All sausage and bacon served in McDonald's meals will now be sourced from farms that meet strict animal welfare criteria set down by the RSPCA, the restaurant has announced.

From the end of April, meat in McMuffins to premium salads will only use 100% Freedom Food pork, currently delivered by less than a third of British pig farmers.

The Freedom Food scheme goes beyond industry standards and legislation with farmers required to provide bright, airy environments, bedded pens and plenty of space for pigs to move around in.

McDonald's said it hoped its support for the scheme would encourage more pork producers to adopt the criteria on their farms, while allowing customers to make "affordable, ethical choices on the high street".

EU ban on animal testing comes into effect

Beauty retailer The Body Shop and non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International celebrated a milestone in 20 years of animal rights campaigning, as an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics came into effect today.

Anita Roddick of the Bodyshop and comedian Alexei Sayle campaigning in 1996. Credit: PA

From today onwards, anyone wishing to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world.

Singer Leona Lewis, who is also part of the campaign, urged governments around the world to introduce a ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

Lewis said: "Together we can send a message to governments worldwide that cruelty free is the humane future.”


Food Standards Agency comment on calls to end non-stun slaughter procedures

The FSA conducted a survey on animal welfare in slaughterhouses over the course of a week in September last year.

Full details will be in the paper when it is published next week, ahead of a discussion at the FSA board meeting on May 22.

The results indicate that the number of animals not stunned prior to slaughter is relatively low, accounting for 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats, and 4% of poultry.

They also show that the majority of animals destined for the halal trade in both the red and white meat sectors are stunned before slaughter.

– Spokesman for the Food Standards Agency

Calls for end to non-stun abattoir slaughter practises

Judaism and Islam believe that animals are creatures of God; science tells us that they are sentient beings, who can suffer.

If you hold either view, or both, then your principle concern must be to ensure the least possible suffering for the animal concerned.

Therefore animals should be handled with care and stunned effectively before their throats are cut in order to minimise their distress and pain.

Consumers should be able to tell how the animals they eat are reared, transported and slaughtered.

– Joyce D'Silva, from the charity Compassion in World Farming

Leading vet: non-stun slaughtering of livestock is too commonplace

Writing in the Veterinary Record Professor Reilly has called for action to curb, if not halt, the slaughter of animals for meat consumption without prior stunning.

Although legislation permits Jewish and Muslim "non-stun" slaughter, it states that this must not cause "unnecessary suffering".

He said an estimated two million animals were killed in the UK each year without stunning for the orthodox Jewish community.

Halal meat now accounted for a quarter of the entire UK meat market, Prof Reilly added yet the Muslim community represented only some 3% to 4% of the UK population.

Leading vet: rise of 'non-stun' abattoirs is 'unacceptable'

A leading vet has spoken out against the "unacceptable" rise in the number of farm animals slaughtered by having their throats cut while fully conscious.

The practice is allowed under UK and EU law to satisfy the dietary requirements of Jews and Muslims.

However, according to Professor Bill Reilly, a past-president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), there is evidence that far more animals are being killed this way than is necessary for religious reasons alone.

In my view, the current situation is not acceptable and, if we cannot eliminate non-stunning, we need to keep it to the minimum.

This means restricting the use of Halal and Kosher meat to those communities that require it for their religious beliefs and, where possible, convincing them of the acceptability of the stunned alternatives.

– Professor Bill Reilly, former president of the BVA