Take action for Ireland’s farm animals

Eat Less and Better!

The first thing you can do to help farm animals is not support factory farms by buying the produce. Find out where your food comes from and how it was produced. We need better labelling to inform consumers what systems animals are raised in but as a general guide opt for organic where possible – welfare standards are stricter, flock and herd sizes are smaller, and slower growing breeds are used. Or look for free range. Pigs and poultry are the most intensively farmed animals in the world and any produce in supermarkets is likely to be from a factory farm. If the label doesn’t say outdoor reared, free range or organic the animal will have been reared intensively. It’s very difficult to find high welfare pork products in supermarkets – try your local farmers market, independent butcher, or look online as some farms have a delivery service or there may be a free range farm local to you that sells directly from the farm. Avoid farmed fish altogether. Ask questions about dairy – are the male calves exported, do the cows spend most of the year outside or are they indoors? Some dairy farms keep the cows indooors all year round. It’s worth doing a bit of research to ensure you aren’t inadvertently supporting the live export industry.

The most important thing you can do, and the easiest thing, is to cut down on the consumption of meat, dairy and fish altogether. It is better for our health, for our environment and for the animals of course if we eat less animal produce. Have a few plant based days during the week, mix up dairy with non dairy alternatives. This website is great for easy to follow recipes https://theflexitarian.co.uk/2013/06/the-flexitarian-pantry/ Remember eat less and better!

Live Export – What can I do to help?

Write to your local TDs and MEPs

If you would like to take action against live export please contact your local TDs, Irish MEPs, Minister for Agriculture, junior ministers Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon, and taoiseach Michael Martin: 

You can find your local TDs by visiting the Oireachtas website, and for an up-to-date list of MEPs visit the European Parliament website. 

Here are some important points about transporting animals that you might want to include in your letter:  

  1. Sea journeys have a detrimental impact on animal health and welfare, and it’s common for the animals to become sick, injured or die from respiratory illness or broken limbs. They can get sea sick in the same way we can.
  2. Countries outside the EU like Turkey, Libya, Algeria and Lebanon have little in the way of animal welfare legislation and are known to practice inhumane slaughter practices that cause immense suffering.
  3. Libya is in a state of increasing conflict with rumours of chemical weapons being used and the majority of missile activity is around the ports where the vessels dock. Irish citizens are strongly advised against going there as it is too dangerous.
  4. Unweaned calves do not have fully developed immune systems and they cannot regulate their body temperature making them prone to illnesses like pneumonia. Sending them on journeys where they have to go up to 30 hours with no feed is not only inhumane it is in breach of EU Regulation 1/2005. Furthermore, investigations by Eyes on Animals and L214 have uncovered violent and abusive behaviour toward the calves at both control posts in Cherbourg, where the calves are supposed to be fed and rested.
  5. Once animals leave Ireland the Department has no control over what happens to them. They may be vet checked and healthy when they leave but the Department does not monitor or report on illness, injury or mortality and has no idea what state the animals are in by the time they reach their destination. Animals exported outside the EU are no longer protected by any legislation.
  6. Live export does not stimulate price or competition – there is no correlation between live export volumes and beef prices. The value of live export is a fraction of the value of the whole agri-food export industry. The only people who benefit are the exporters and the handful of farmers who supply them. 

Get involved in the next annual Live Export International Awareness Day 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Live Export International Awareness Day on 14 June 2020. The videos had hundreds of shares on Facebook and Twitter.  You can view the videos here:

Keep in touch with EFI to find out what we’ll be doing to mark Live Export International Awareness Day 2021!

End the Cage Age

Sows are confined to cramped farrowing crates for weeks at a time

Over 300 million farmed animals suffer in cages across Europe. The End the Cage campaign involved an EU Citizens Initiative started by Compassion in World Farming and numerous groups from the EU joined in.

It is basically a huge petition calling for a total ban on all cages in farming and if one million validated signatures are collected the petition will be heard in European Parliament. 1.5 million signatures were collected which is fantastic but it doesn’t end there. There will be a hearing later in the year.

You can help by visiting the End the Cage Age website. Click on Ireland’s summary to send a tweet to the Minister of Agriculture and ask him to support the End the Cage Age initiative. You could also email Charlie McConalogue if you are not on Twitter – minister@agriculture.gov.ie

EU funding of meat industry promotions

With everything that we know about animal agriculture and the role it is playing in climate change, it is shocking that the EU is still funding adverts to promote meat consumption.

This huge amount of money could go to funding more biodiverse farming systems, not intensive pork and veal production, and whatever else they are promoting. Please sign and share.

Common Agricultural Policy 2020

This year the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) has been under much needed review and was meant to bring positive changes that would take funding from large, intensive farming systems that are not only inhumane but are environmentally destructive.

It was meant to be tied in with the EU Farm to Fork strategy and EU Green Deal that would make food systems fairer, healthier and more environmentally-friendly with more support for organic and plant-based farming.

However, at the last minute the powerful farming lobby groups got their way and there is little in the way of reform at all. Many MEPs voted the new CAP down but unfortunately there were not enough forward thinking MEPs to stop it. You can read more about it here Will the CAP Post 2020 be Fairer

Call on EU Leaders to withdraw the CAP and renegotiate a fairer deal by adding your name to this letter Withdraw the CAP.

Exported Irish animals covered in faeces

Sign and share petitions

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