Tuesday, 24 September 2013

West Midlands MEP meets with TV Star Joanna Lumley to discuss Pig Welfare

We Demand a Referendum Now MEP Nikki Sinclaire has today met with Animal Rights campaigner and actress, Joanna Lumley, to discuss pig welfare.

The TV star and animal rights campaigner was in Brussels today to discuss the results of an investigation into widespread breaches of the EU Pig Directive

Just under 1 billion animals in the world today are pigs. Over 500 million of these pigs live in industrialised systems, known as factory farms. Being kept in such intensive conditions has severe health and welfare implications for the animals involved.

Compassion in World Farming has campaigned for many years to ensure higher welfare standards for pigs. During this time we have seen vital steps forward, including the recognition of animals as sentient beings within the EU (Lisbon Treaty, 2009), and the passage of legislation such as Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs.

However, although UK farmers adhere to EU regulations surrounding Pig Welfare, many farmers across the EU choose to ignore rules.

This makes our own UK farmers uncompetitive and undermines our own industry here in the UK, which leaves us open to the threat of cheaper pork imports from around the EU. More importantly, animals are suffering because EU legislation is unenforceable.

Nikki Sinclaire said,

“Animal welfare is incredibly important to the people of the UK, and here in the West Midlands, as we are a nation of animal lovers.

I am totally in agreement with Joanne Lumley in her views on the standards of pig welfare across the EU. While the EU creates legislation about minimum standards for animals, it fails to enforce them, which leads to suffering of such a brilliant animal.

It is important that animal welfare legislation is enforced. The UK imports around 30,000 tonnes of Pork per month. We want to know that pigs across the EU are treated in an ethical manner.

Our own farmers are being penalised and their costs increase for doing the right thing in introducing new regulation, while farmers across Europe do not, gaining an unfair competitive advantage, as well as being cruel to these animals

Once again, an example of the EU not doing what it says on the tin".
Ms Lumley also spoke about tail docking of pigs. A 2007 EFSA report found that over 90 per cent of EU piglets are tail docked despite the fact that routine tail docking has been illegal in the EU since 2003.EU law requires pigs to be given straw or some similar materials to enable them to engage in their natural behaviours of rooting, foraging and investigating. However, most EU farmers ignore this law. Compassion in World farming urges the European Commission and the Member States to enforce the legislation that requires pigs to be given materials such as straw and prohibits routine tail docking.

Ms Sinclaire has previously worked to raise the standards for laying hens across the EU after she tabled a written declaration on the marketing of eggs from hens housed in outlawed cages. 

Joanna Lumley reading my booklet :-)