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Good news for North American pigs
Smithfield Foods, Inc., the nation's largest pork producer with 1.2 million sows, has announced plans to phase out the cruel practice of confining sows to “gestation crates” that don't allow them to move around during their lifetime of repeated pregnancies. It is happening in response to pressure from the company's customers who know that U.S. consumers are more aware and concerned than ever before about the suffering animals experience to put food on their tables. Sadly, the phasing in of larger group pens will take far too long—10 years at company owned farms and 20 years at farms that are sub-contractors.

Bearing witness to seal slaughter
Up to 91,000 seals will be killed during the hunt off the coast of Prince Edward Island (PEI) this year, and a total of 325,000 will be hunted nationwide in the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals. “Under Canadian law, the pups are fair game as soon as they molt their first white hairs at 12 days old. The weakened ice pans also forced sealers to hunt from their boats, shooting at the seals unfortunate enough to poke their heads out of the water or stuck on tiny melting ice floes. Protect Seals is a coalition of animal welfare organizations that represents tens of millions of individuals worldwide.

Humane slaughter agreement signed In China
The WSPA and the APSRI will work in partnership to provide training and support on the humane transport, handling, stunning and slaughter of farm animals. The organizations will also work with relevant Chinese government agencies to establish humane slaughter legislation and codes of practice. Jia Zili, Director of the APSRI, said: “We are very glad to cooperate with the WSPA, the world’s largest animal welfare organization, to put the humane slaughter training program into practice. The WSPA and the APSRI have been working together to improve animal welfare since 2005. The MoU will mark a significant step forward in developing and improving humane slaughter programs in China, thereby also improving the quality of meat.

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.

Join WSPA’s Global Humane Chain to end live animal exports in Australia
Tell the Australian government that people all around the world want a permanent ban on live cattle exports. WSPA has launched a worldwide campaign, calling on supporters to tell the Australian government to end live animal exports for good. By adding your photo to our virtual Global Humane Chain, you can show them that the world is watching and urging them to do the right thing. It’s time to tell the Australian government that the world is watching and we will not put up with its excuses any longer. Add your photo today to be part of this global petition calling on the Australian government to end live exports once and for all.

Egyptian pig cull: update and next steps
The fantastic response to WSPA’s online action did not achieve an immediate end to the cull. Egypt’s government did begin to show a willingness to engage in animal welfare even as they continued the cull – WSPA’s offer of expert animal welfare advice on the handling and transportation of animals was accepted by the Egyptian Minister of Agriculture. After the recent events WSPA is unable to actively advise the Egyptian authorities on practical animal welfare considerations for development of new pig farms until a firmer commitment to animal welfare has been made. This breakthrough was down to our supporters: the response to the online action made those responsible for animal welfare in Egypt realize that the issue of animal welfare is not going away.

Farm animal victory in the USA
WSPA congratulates member societies the Humane Society of the United States and the Farm Sanctuary for their work, along with other US-based animal welfare groups, in improving the lives of thousands of farm animals. In many of these countries the practice of cruel, intensive factory farming is exploding. The project will act as a flagship example of alternative farming systems for chickens, pigs and cows that adhere to improved welfare standards. The project also aims to raise awareness of inhumane farming practices and encourages Brazilian and Chinese consumers to purchase meats, milks and eggs that have been reared on farms that take the animal’s welfare into consideration.

Swine flu: WSPA disputes need for pig cull
Egypt is still culling pigs despite there being no known link between the recent outbreak of swine flu and pigs. News on the spread of swine flu continues to develop, but there have been no significant discoveries that directly concern pigs, pig farming or pork products. It was initially reported that the pig cull in Egypt was intended as a precaution against spread of infection from pigs to humans. WSPA objects strongly to the inhumane handling and slaughter methods of pigs shown in recent news coverage, and insists that handling and slaughter should follow the relevant OIE guidelines agreed by Egypt and all other member countries of the OIE.

Whales an open target for suffering
Whales are left to suffer cruel deaths for the commercial supply of meat in Norway while regulations protect farm animals from pain at slaughter, according to a new report from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). In a poll released this week by WSPA and the Norwegian Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge), two thirds of Norwegians agreed that all mammals killed for commercial purposes in Norway should be afforded the same level of legislative protection to prevent pain and prolonged suffering. Some of those that survive the initial explosive harpoon are dragged towards the vessel and struck with another harpoon or shot with a rifle.

Namibian seals wanted: alive, not dead
A comprehensive study on ‘The economics of seal hunting and seal watching in Namibia’ commissioned by international animal welfare organizations, including WSPA, demonstrates that seals are worth far more alive than dead. Comparing the most recent figures available for both industries, the report concludes that even though the Namibian seal watching tourism industry is increasing in popularity and bringing in large profits, it is being threatened by the annual Namibian seal slaughter, which nets Namibia far less in real profit. When analyzing seal slaughter, the economists considered the monetary benefits attached to each part of the trade. Seal watching also allows a far wider range of Namibian society to benefit from the trade, as the growth of seal watching helps boost tourism support services such as hotels and restaurants.

Brutal pig slaughter in Egypt
Egyptian authorities are undertaking an unacceptably cruel assault on the pig population in Cairo. Pigs being hit with iron bars, scooped up into bulldozers and flung into pits to be burned alive with chemicals; these are the truly distressing visuals that appeared as the Egyptian media started to report on the cruel methods being used in the cull. Initial reports suggested that the pig cull in Egypt was intended as a precaution against the spread of the ‘swine flu’ infection from pigs to humans. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has explicitly stated that culling is an inappropriate reaction to the outbreak of swine flu, as there is no known link between the flu and pigs.

No to damaging whaling deals
WSPA will be fighting next week to save the ban on commercial whaling and to prevent the cruel slaughter of ten humpback whales at a make or break meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Florida. The meeting (2nd-5th March) has been called for two reasons: firstly to discuss the future of the IWC, including a deal which would spell disaster for whales, and secondly to vote on Greenland’s request to increase its quota of whales. The most recent attempts to resolve the deadlock have led to a potentially disastrous deal which would legitimize commercial whaling and destroy the whaling ban. Greenland is allowed to hunt whales for subsistence purposes and already has an annual quota of 233 whales, but claims to need even more whale meat.

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