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Independent Green Voice


Beef cattle roaming freely and healthily

We are Animal Welfare advocates.

We make a distinction between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights.

"Animal Rights" is a theory, and lifestyle, which claims that animals have the same "rights" as humans, and therefore should not be "exploited". This leads to the comparison that livestock farming -- of any kind -- is equivalent to human slavery and genocide. Consequently, all Animal Rightists are vegans (not just vegetarians).

Animal Welfare, however, is a different concept and Animal Welfarists include omnivores and vegetarians.

We want:

  • An end to Live Exports which are widely known to be cruel. We argue for new markets based on Localism and Food Sovereignty, and for financial compensation and subsidies to enable farming to move this way.
  • An end to "Factory Farming". The main areas for advocacy in Britain today are the ending of battery cages -- including the so-called "enriched cages" scheduled to replace smaller cages -- intensive meat production of chickens, turkeys and ducks, and intensive pig farming. We want research and development and subsidies to be directed to help agriculture move towards more natural and organic methods of production.
  • Slaughter methods should be improved, where necessary, to minimise animal trauma.
  • Rigid application of quality control to keep out food imports which do not conform to our animal welfare standards. These cheap imports are directly responsible for putting our British farmers out of business, as well as being morally indefensible by our own standards.
  • An end to Vivisection. There is no animal testing for cosmetics allowed in Britain. However, we advocate a ban on imported cosmetics which have been animal-tested. While we recognise that, in some cases, there may still be a need to use animal testing in medical or military (self-defence) research, we aim to phase this out and encourage alternative research methods.


The Dutch and the Danes are the UK's main rivals in pork production. However, stalls and tethers, which confine pregnant sows to a limited space and prevent them turning around, are still used on the Continent, while the practice was banned in the UK in 1999.

Although the Dutch and the Danes do have some producers who can match British farmers for animal welfare quality, the majority of imported pig meat from these countries cannot match British welfare standards. Indeed, of the 50% of pigmeat imported into the UK from abroad, two-thirds comes from farms operating practices illegal in the UK.

Instituting these higher animal welfare standards costs the British pig farmers money and puts them at a competitive disadvantage with the more cheaply produced, welfare-deficient meat from the Continent. This has been a reason for the massive import penetration of the British market in recent years -- the shelves are filling up with cheap imports which would be illegal to produce in this country.

Always check the label. To support higher welfare standards, and jobs, always buy British pigmeat. You may also want to consider buying British free-range or organic, which have even higher welfare standards, or doing so occasionally when the purse allows.

The guideline is, if it's not British, it's not best.

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