Animal Equality is an international animal advocacy organisation that is dedicated to defending animals through public education, campaigns and investigations. Animal Equality works to achieve long-term social change, where all animals are treated with compassion and respect.
Today we have released our latest investigation which reveals scenes of severe animal suffering on a Dorset farm supplying ‘Big & Fresh’ eggs stocked by major UK retailers. Hidden camera footage reveals the caged hens were only checked-on once in four days by farm staff, a clear violation of welfare laws.
Animal Equality investigators visited Walston Poultry Farm (East Down site), near Blandford Forum in Dorset, four times between January and March 2018 and found:
· 80,000 hens in each giant shed, all locked in ‘colony cages’ stacked seven tiers high
· Many birds suffering from severe feather loss - some nearly bald - with red, raw skin
· Dead birds left in cages with the living, some being cannibalised
· Birds with visible wounds from being pecked by cage mates
· Dead birds left lying on walkways next to cages with the living
· Tubs holding dozens of dead birds left in the sheds overnight
· Failure to inspect all birds daily, in violation of welfare regulations
Caged hens suffering for Big & Fresh eggs - YouTube
Around half a million birds are housed in eight windowless sheds on this site, laying around 140 million eggs a year for the UK's largest egg producer – Noble Foods – which operates multiple brands including Big & Fresh (eggs from caged hens) and the free-range Happy Egg Company. Noble Foods is the subject of an ongoing campaign by The Humane League UK because it claims to put the welfare of its ‘girls’ first for Happy Eggs while simultaneously forcing 4.3m hens to suffer and die in cages for its Big & Fresh brand.
The best way to end the suffering of these hens is to leave eggs off your plate. Discover delicious egg-free foods and recipes at www.loveveg.uk
You can also help end the use of these cruel cages by signing the petition demanding that Noble Foods goes cage-free across all of its brands.
Send an even stronger message to Noble Foods’ senior management team by .
We have passed all of our footage, photographs and written evidence to Dorset Trading Standards which is charged with investigating on-farm welfare, as well as to the British Egg Industry Council which runs the Lion Code. Both have said they are investigating the farm.
Last autumn, Animal Equality’s investigators uncovered severe animal suffering and public health violations on Poplar pig farm – a Red Tractor certified farm in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Our findings made national headlines and more than 10,000 people have signed our petition calling on the Government to fully enforce UK welfare laws that prohibit many of the practices we documented on this farm (and several others).
Just one month after we released our investigation, Poplar pig farm applied for a permit to expand their facilities and raise a further 2,500 pigs every year. We sent our findings to the Environment Agency (EA) and urged them to deny the permit as Poplar farm had been shown repeatedly violating animal welfare and public health regulations. You also took action, with more than 1500 people writing to the EA to object to this permit.
Stop Poplar Farm expansion! - YouTube
Last week the Environment Agency announced their decision. Poplar Farm was given the green light to expand, causing even more animals to suffer. The Environment Agency permit specifically allows them to erect two new sheds, both with fully-slatted floors (FSF) throughout, to house an additional 2,506 pigs.
All of these additional pigs will be housed on fully-slatted floors, meaning that they will receive no manipulable enrichment such as straw or other suitable material, leading to boredom and aggression- which was evident in the bitten and scarred pigs we saw on Poplar farm. This type of pig housing system gets around providing enrichment (required by law) as the gaps allow the pigs waste to fall through. Enrichment would clog up the gaps and prevent drainage.
In Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, fully-slatted floors have been banned for several years because it is not possible to comply with the EU requirement to provide permanent access to straw in this housing system. It is therefore extremely disappointing to see new pig sheds continue to be erected in Britain with fully-slatted floors, let alone on farms where welfare violations have recently been documented.
Unfortunately there is no right of appeal with the Environment Agency; however, several MPs will be raising questions with Defra on this issue – specifically, why permits are still being issued to build pig sheds with fully-slatted floors when it is not possible to provide the legally-required enrichment in this system.
You can take action to help pigs today!
We are calling for the UK Government to properly enforce pig welfare laws and protect the millions of pigs languishing on British farms from enduring the type of unnecessary suffering we have documented at Poplar, and other farms. Join us and give pigs your voice!
The best way to help pigs is of course leaving them, and all animal products, off your plate. Sign up for delicious cruelty-free recipes and advice at www.loveveg.uk
Over the past three weeks, thousands of Animal Equality supporters have contacted UK supermarket chain Morrisons urging the retailer to drop all El Pozo sausages due to the severe animal suffering we uncovered on a Spanish pig farm. Three other supermarket chains - Rewe in Germany and Belgium’s Delhaize and Colruyt – withdrew all El Pozo products immediately while they carry out their own investigations. Yet Morrisons has still not acted.
From the first day that the harrowing images from our investigation went public, Morrisons has claimed that international sausage brand El Pozo ‘stopped taking animals from this farm last year.’ Yet the company at the heart of the scandal – El Pozo – never made this claim. It wasn’t until 10 days after our investigation was released that El Pozo announced it was cutting ties with the farm we exposed. This is a direct contradiction to Morrisons claim – which they are still repeating – that El Pozo dropped this farm last year.
The Secret of El Pozo - YouTube
Morrisons has refused to reply to our repeated emails challenging them with this new evidence, and has still refused to remove El Pozo products. The fact that El Pozo has now dropped this farm does not change things, it is an untrustworthy company that has shown complete disregard for animal welfare on multiple occasions. Back in 2012 we filmed workers on another El Pozo farm stabbing pregnant pigs with swords. Both men were convicted of animal cruelty thanks to our evidence – yet Morrisons stood by this company.
How many more pigs must suffer from extreme abuse before Morrisons takes action? Please sign and share our petition urging the retailer to remove all El Pozo products without delay!
In the past few years, animal protection organizations have repeatedly released undercover investigations that reveal the terrible suffering of farmed animals. Usually, there are only little to no consequences at all for the operators of the investigated facilities – even in cases of extreme animal cruelty and serious animal welfare violations. Instead, those who work to shed a light on these horrific conditions are often accused.
Today, however, for the first time, a Higher Regional Court in Germany confirmed the legality of an undercover investigation.
What Had Happened
In 2013 the German animal rights organization Animal Rights Watch (ARIWA) released a shocking undercover investigation from one of the largest pig breeding farms in Germany, the "van Gennip Tierzuchtanlagen GmbH" in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The footage revealed extreme animal cruelty and serious animal welfare violations. While the criminal prosecution of the operators of the farm had been abandoned by the end of 2015, three undercover investigators were charged with trespassing in September 2016.
They had been found not guilty in both the original trial and during the appeal. And today, in the revision hearing, the verdict has been announced: The Higher Regional Court of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) acquitted the three defendants, thus confirming the two previous verdicts of the district court and the regional court.
Why Investigations Are So Important
So-called farmed animals endure unbearable agony in fattening farms and slaughterhouses. Without the exposure of animal welfare violations by undercover investigators, their suffering would never be known to the public. At Animal Equality we celebrate this verdict and hope it sends a clear message: Compassion is not a crime. Animal cruelty must continue to be revealed.
When we created Love Veg, we aimed to make it your go-to community for all things plant-based. Your support and feedback has been so wonderful and has pushed us to keep improving your experience!
AND NOW WE’VE DONE IT!
We are SOOOOO excited to introduce a new feature to our site: the meal planner!
This meal planner will transform your life by helping you to create quicker, smarter, and healthier meals. Over 2,000 recipes that can be catered to your needs, your palate, and even your appetite!
So whether you’re a vegan looking to spice things up, curious about exploring plant-based options, or want to blow your family and friends away with healthy and delicious vegan dishes, this meal planner is for you!
Animal Equality is thrilled with the Labour Party’s announcement that it will ban foie gras imports as part of its Animal Welfare Plan. Our campaign and petition calling for a foie gras import ban launched last June has gained over 50,000 signatures and support from celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Steven Berkoff. The initiative has also had cross-party support from MPs from the start.
Foie gras is a ‘delicacy’ made from the diseased livers of ducks or geese who have been repeatedly force-fed. It is illegal to produce foie gras in Britain because of the extreme suffering caused by this brutal process - known as ‘gavage’. However, we still import nearly 200 tonnes of foie gras from mainland Europe every year for sale in shops such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason and the menus of high-end restaurants.
Help make Britain foie gras-free! - YouTube
A YouGov poll conducted in June 2017 showed that only a tiny minority of Brits consumed foie gras in the previous 12 months – less than 1 in 10 (7%) - and an overwhelming majority support an import ban - 77% of those who expressed an opinion.
These views are shared by some of Britain’s best known animal advocates including actors Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Steven Berkoff and MPs such as Conservative Henry Smith, Labour Chris Williamson and Green MP Caroline Lucas, who have already lent their support to Animal Equality’s campaign.
Leaving the EU in 2019 gives us a unique opportunity to rid Britain of this extraordinarily cruel product. Our national laws rightly declare foie gras production too inhumane to take place on our shores, yet we still allow it to be imported and sold. Animal Equality has filmed inside more than a dozen foie gras farms in France and Spain and found extreme suffering and death in every single one. We are calling for a complete import ban to come into effect on 29th March 2019, upon our exit of the EU and are delighted to see the Labour party including a ban in their Animal Welfare Plan.
If you love animals and support a #FoieGrasFreeGB too, add your name to our petition calling for an import ban today!
Animal Equality, in collaboration with the Spanish TV programme Salvados, has revealed devastating scenes of extreme animal suffering on a Spanish pig farm which supplies El Pozo - a sausage brand stocked by Morrisons, Amazon UK and some British butcher shops.
The investigation, which was broadcast on national Spanish TV on Sunday night, revealed pigs in grotesquely cruel conditions, in violation of the law, suffering for days and weeks on end.
The Secret of El Pozo - YouTube
Numerous animals had infected abscesses and giant hernias, severe deformities, and ulcers covered with flies and larvae - all of them without receiving adequate veterinary care.
Investigators found animals living in pens with corpses in an advanced state of putrefaction and containers overflowing with animal corpses covered in larvae. Many animals were unable to stand and being trampled and cannibalised by other pigs, who had been without food for several days.
Tiny piglets were found slowly dying without veterinary care and all the animals were living in pens full of festering slurry.
These are some of the most sickening scenes of animal suffering Animal Equality has ever documented. This level of negligence and cruelty on any farm, let alone one in the EU, is an absolute scandal.
This farm supplies Spanish meat giant El Pozo whose sausages are sold by Morrisons, Amazon UK and some British butchers. We are calling on these UK retailers to remove all El Pozo products from their shelves and websites immediately and replace them with any of the many plant-based alternatives.
Animal Equality has submitted its evidence to the Spanish authorities and is demanding that those responsible for this extreme cruelty are prosecuted and jailed.
Together, we can create a world in which everyone is respected and protected.
All at Animal Equality are troubled and saddened by allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the animal protection movement — it is unconscionable those working tirelessly for a world in which animals are respected and protected should themselves be victimized or silenced.
Animal Equality is committed to maintaining a work environment that promotes equality and is free of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. In addition to operating a zero-tolerance policy, staff regularly undertake mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training and our directors, managers, and supervisors are required to complete a more comprehensive annual training on preventing, identifying, and resolving instances of harassment and discrimination. This policy applies equally to staff at all levels, whether a junior officer or president of the organization.
We also realize that training alone is not enough: enforcement of policies is equally important. To this end, Animal Equality fosters a culture of safety and open communication and provides official avenues for confidential reporting.
In addition to being a female-led international farmed animal protection organization, nine of our 14 directors are female, empowered to lead and make decisions for the organization. Animal Equality is also committed to a diverse working environment, illustrated by the fact that its directors are from nine different countries around the world.
Creating a safer, more just and compassionate world is impossible while tolerating abuse and inequality of any kind. Without a safe space from which to fight the oppression of farmed animals, innocent people suffer and it takes exponentially longer to achieve our shared mission.
Our thoughts are with those who have been silenced or bravely spoken out in all sectors of society to ensure a safer world for all. We are grateful for and stand with you.
Today, a joint letter has been submitted to Michael Gove demanding that decapod crustaceans; crabs, lobsters, shrimp and crayfish, be included under the definition of “animal” in the forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill and the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. There is now much compelling evidence that decapods, just like dogs, pigs, chickens and myriad other vertebrate animals are sentient beings, able to feel pain and suffer.
Animal Equality is a signatory of this letter as we believe that decapod crustaceans are just as deserving of protection from harm as are any other animals. Further, decapod welfare is currently completely disregarded during farming, processing, storage at restaurants and supermarkets and during killing. Death is often preceded by breaking off legs or tails while the animals are fully conscious, before they are often boiled alive. This method of killing means they suffer for at least 3 minutes before losing consciousness.
The Animal Welfare Act does however state that the act can be changed to include any invertebrate if the body charged with determining animal sentience is satisfied that this has been proven. In the case of decapod crustaceans, we believe there is overwhelming evidence showing sentience, and as such these animals must no longer be allowed to suffer with no protection for their welfare.
The UK must join countries such as Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand in providing these animals the protection they deserve. Inclusion in the imminent Animal Welfare Bill (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) and existing Anima Welfare Act would be a timely and appropriate step for the Government to take.
If you agree, you can help Crustacean Compassion achieve its goal of having decapod crustaceans reclassified as animals and provided the protection they deserve under UK law. Sign the petition today, and be a voice for these vulnerable animals!
In 2015, Animal Equality pioneered the use of virtual reality as a tool for educational outreach. The iAnimal project, which now includes three films inside pig, chicken and dairy farms, uses cutting-edge virtual reality technology to give viewers an immersive look at the life cycle of factory farmed animals from birth to death. Animal Equality has been taking iAnimal to prestigious college and university campuses throughout the world, as well as major festivals and conferences. The responses have been overwhelming.
As an effective altruist organization, Animal Equality wants to make sure we are using our resources to be the most effective for animals. So with help from Faunalytics and additional support from Statistics Without Borders, Animal Equality conducted a research study to determine two things:
Which of two video media (360-degree virtual reality or a 2D experience) results in greater change in self-reported pork consumption and, secondarily, attitudes toward pork and pigs?
Do these video media result in greater change in self-reported diet and, secondarily, attitudes toward pork and pigs than a control condition?
Animal Equality hired four staff members to run our Spring 2017 US university iAnimal tours that were essential to our research study. These four staff managed the outreach booths and over 65 volunteers, as well as engaged with research study participants at distinguished university campuses including USC, UCLA, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia. Initial data was obtained from 3,068 participants, with follow-up responses of people participating a month later from 1,782 people that were used in the final analysis. Both the 360 and 2D groups watched the same video on factory farmed pigs and completed a survey. The control group completed the survey only. All groups took an additional survey one month after intervention.
Relative to the control condition (students who received no intervention), both the 360 and 2D videos improved participants’ pork-related attitudes immediately after watching and, most importantly, one month later - meaning they felt it was important to reduce their consumption of pork and/or that eating pork directly contributes to pig suffering immediately after, and a month after the intervention.
Most crucially, watching a video (in either medium) reduced participants’ pork consumption relative to the control condition. For example, the probability that a participant in the control condition will have eaten pork one to three times a month or less was 59%, whereas the probability that a participant who watched a video will have eaten pork one to three times a month or less was 65%. That said, while the 360 condition showed a very slight advantage in changing people’s pork consumption, the differences between 360 and 2D were not statistically significant.
It’s important to take the limitations of this study into account. This includes the possibility of bias resulting from some people being more likely than others to complete the follow-up survey. Specifically, people with lower baseline pork consumption were more likely to complete the follow-up survey, as were people in either video condition (vs. control). Another possibility is secondary effects of the intervention, such as the chance that participants compensated with other meats or animal products. Other limitations include an overrepresentation of vegans and vegetarians in the sample and the possibility of inaccurate self-reporting.
It’s also important to take into account the novelty of the 360 video, which draws in more people than the 2D video, giving it more potential effectiveness. In our outreach programs we have identified, that more people are intrigued by the virtual reality headsets and are more likely to watch a video about factory farming versus a conventional 2D video on a tablet. There is also a higher chance that people who are immersed in a 360 video will see more of the video than those who turn away or get distracted during a 2D video, causing them to miss significant content that could potentially lead to a change in their attitudes and behavior.
Animal Equality recognizes that 360 video is a more expensive tool than 2D video. For that reason, we have used it selectively, to reach some of the most influential people possible. We have targeted reputable university campuses such as Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Harvard and others, internationally acclaimed film and musical festivals such as Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and others, and political conferences. These people and venues might not be persuaded to watch a 2D video. Thanks to the novelty of the 360 medium, however, Animal Equality has been successful in getting reporters, politicians, celebrities, and many more influencers to watch and share iAnimal videos.
Animal Equality has also used the novelty of the 360-degree video format to reach more media. In 2017 alone, Animal Equality’s iAnimal videos had a reach of more than 312 million people through the media, including an article in The New York Times. This kind of media impact would not have been possible with traditional 2D videos alone.
Overall, the results of this study support the usefulness of Animal Equality videos—in either medium—as an outreach tool. The results demonstrate their ability to improve attitudes and reduce pork consumption behavior, thereby potentially reducing the number of pigs raised and killed for food. While the current study and video focused on pigs, it seems plausible that a similar approach could also be effective to reduce the consumption of other animal species.
Conclusions for Animal Equality:
Animal Equality considers that this initial study may indicate that 2D videos and 360 videos are as effective. However, taking into account the possibility of impact and reaching influencers with 360 videos, the organization plans to continue bringing iAnimal to important universities, music and film festivals and political conferences. As a way of reducing the costs of the program. Animal Equality is launching in 2018 the iAnimal Student Outreach Program where student groups at colleges and universities across the U.S. will be provided with iAnimal virtual reality headsets and the training needed to do outreach on their campuses. This will enable Animal Equality to expand their reach at a lower cost. This along with the over 100 organizations and individuals making use of iAnimal around the globe will ensure we are able to educate thousands of people in the hopes that they will begin to make more compassionate food choices.
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.