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Factory farming encourages global poverty
A new report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says that far from benefiting those suffering from poverty and hunger - as once promoted by Governments and Development Agencies - factory farming is actually part and parcel of the poverty problem. The report “Industrial Animal Agriculture-Part of the Poverty Problem” demonstrates that the cruel and hidden costs of factory farming results in lost livelihoods for people living in developing countries who depend on local farming for their survival. The WSPA believes the majority of industrial animal farming practices not only cause immense pain and suffering to the animals involved but are one of the causes of poverty and hunger in developing countries.

Victory for Cows in the UK!
After a year of campaigning against Nocton Dairies’ plans for a factory dairy farm in Lincolnshire, England, WSPA is thrilled to announce that the plans have been withdrawn. “While the Environment Agency's objections were the final nail in the coffin for the Nocton plans, our own research made it clear that there were numerous reasons why Nocton should not be given the go-ahead. WSPA hopes that the small dairy farmers and NFU members who spoke out against these plans will continue to gather support from the wider industry for conventional, pasture-based systems – not large-scale, intensive ones.

The violent treatment of sheep in Egypt
Harrowing new footage revealing the violent treatment of Australian sheep exported to Egypt has the World Society for the Protection of Animals calling for an end to Australian live exports to the country. The footage shows Australian sheep tied to car roof racks; thrown off vehicles and trying to escape through busy traffic; with their legs bound and having their throats roughly cut with blunt knives – practices which contravene a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Egypt signed with Australia in October 2006 for the handling and slaughter of Australian animals on foreign soil. “This footage should be the catalyst for the Federal Government to implement a ban, effectively saying to the international community that it values the welfare of Australian animals and will no longer tolerate the intolerable cruelty inflicted on its animals overseas.

Cattle die in severe floods
The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has officially declared a national disaster after flooding and torrential rain severely affected humans and animals. Stranded livestock are being tended to and fed where possible, but it is proving difficult to reach all the affected animals in time. Farmers who have managed to transport their cattle to Trinidad Port by boat are finding that there is a lack of feed and nowhere to house their animals. A WSPA team is also heading to Santa Ana and Santa Cruz, areas also severely affected by the floods, to assess what animal welfare assistance is required. As a Member Society the RSPCA is kept up-to-date with all of WSPA’s work and is generously supporting this disaster management intervention.

Twelve thousand cattle at risk in Argentina
Heavy rains since October 2006 have caused flooding of the lowlands and islands of the Paraná River in the Santa Fe Province of Argentina, with 500,000 cattle at immediate risk and 100,000 already evacuated. The situation worsened recently with severe rains leading to a surge in the river level. Between 30,000 and 50,000 cattle have died due to the flooding and a further 12,000, evacuated to roadsides by small scale cattle farmers, are at risk of starvation and need immediate help. In support of the provincial government relief efforts, WSPA will provide enough feed for adult cattle and calves to last for the next few weeks.

Experts turn out for farm animal welfare in China
In April, world-renowned animal welfare experts traveled to China to take part in a landmark conference on farm animal welfare. WSPA, along with three other leading animal welfare organizations - Compassion in World Farming, the Humane Society International and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – joined forces to host the two-day conference. “There is a real desire to improve farm animal welfare in China and WSPA will do all that we can to assist with this,” she added. More than 150 Chinese specialists attended the conference, including scientists, government officials and national media. This landmark conference, which brought together leading experts from across China, as well as international speakers from six countries, will advance the move towards more humane and sustainable farm animal welfare in China.

Act now: Situation remains critical for Egypt’s pigs
Information from Cairo suggests that more than half the country’s pig population has now been culled, despite there being no proven link between pigs and swine flu transmission. But the OIE lacks the mandate to intervene, and the remaining pigs are expected to be killed within two weeks – a decision challenged by thousands of WSPA supporters internationally. WSPA continues to question both the need for the cull and the methods used – before swine flu was publicized authorities had planned to re-home overcrowded city pigs outside Cairo. With no link between pigs and swine flu transmission, no acceptable reason has been given as to why pigs from the city could not be moved to the new farms.

Plans to resume New Zealand’s cruel live sheep trade
Negotiations to resume New Zealand’s live sheep trade with Saudi Arabia are underway following a ban on live exports for more than five years. The draft Arrangement follows the same terms as the agreement between Australia and Saudi Arabia which has paved the way for the resumption of live sheep exports from Australia. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of sheep for slaughter and exported more than four million sheep to the Middle East in 2006. The long distance transport of animals falls well short of providing animals with the level of protection now demanded by most countries and runs counter to New Zealand’s pioneering animal welfare legislation.

WSPA urges support for Massachusetts bill to protect farm animals
The extreme confinement of farm animals causes unimaginable suffering and is perhaps one of the worst abuses associated with industrialized – or “factory” – farming. In Massachusetts alone, 17,000 egg-laying hens are crammed into tiny, overcrowded cages that render the animals virtually immobile for their entire lives. Female breeding pigs spend nearly 80% of their lives confined to stalls so small that they cannot move. It’s time for Massachusetts to join the national movement and end the cruel confinement of farm animals. Remember, you have to be a resident of Massachusetts in order to contact your state legislators about this bill.

WSPA endorses historic Ohio initiative for farm animals
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has endorsed a citizen-backed ballot initiative being promoted by Ohioans for Humane Farms - a coalition of animal protection organizations, veterinarians, family farmers, food safety and environmental advocates - to help end some of the cruelest factory farming practices in the state of Ohio. The measure on Ohio’s November 2010 ballot, if passed, will require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to implement certain minimum humane care standards that will prevent animal cruelty, improve health and food safety, support family farms and safeguard the environment throughout the state of Ohio. Cows too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own should be humanely euthanized, not inhumanely dragged or pushed onto the kill floor to be used for human consumption.

Emily is testing this
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New livestock teaching farm opens in Indonesia
A new livestock teaching farm has opened in Banda Aceh, Indonesia to replace the previous facility destroyed by 2004’s tsunami. The opening of the new farm on May 3rd marks a step towards the full recovery of animal welfare facilities in the devastated region. Livestock veterinary skills are greatly needed in a region where people rely on their animals for their livelihoods. Not only will the new farm be an effective teaching unit, it will also provide good animal welfare for the animal inhabitants. WSPA, HSI and Giant Steps have co-funded the member society-led construction project, plus support to introduce and implement the veterinary teaching syllabus for animal welfare: Concepts in Animal Welfare.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia