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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.

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.

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.

Peaceful protest calls for end to cruel contest
Pigs are confined and force fed for up to two years, reaching six times their normal weight. Most cannot walk or stand up and have to be hauled to slaughter by up to twenty men. The coalition believes that in doing so the Temple is encouraging and endorsing this cruelty. We are calling on them to abolish the Pigs of God contest and instead celebrate their festival compassionately by making offerings of flower, candy and fruit. The coalition hopes their peaceful protest will also generate support for their petition website, which has already gathered over 15,000 signatures internationally. The website has been designed to mirror this appeal by encouraging people to place a virtual flower on a virtual pig.

Supermarkets pledge to help WSPA end long-distance transport of live animals
Hawaii-based stores will no longer purchase pork from pigs shipped live from mainland U.S. Two supermarket chains in Hawaii – Foodland Super Market Ltd and Times Supermarkets – have agreed to no longer purchase pork products from pigs transported live from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii for slaughter, citing animal welfare reasons for their change. The supermarket chains decided to adjust their pork purchasing policies in light of WSPA’s recent “No Paradise for Pigs” investigation, which focuses on the transport of thousands of pigs from mainland U.S. to Hawaii every year. WSPA encourages Hawaii-based retailers to consider safer and more humane approaches – such as supplementing local production with imported, USDA-certified chilled and frozen meat from animals raised and killed humanely in mainland U.S.

Help WSPA end cruel contest in Taiwan
The largest ever recorded pig has weighed in at 900kilos – weighing more than a SMART Car* – at this year’s Pigs of God contest in Taiwan. Over feeding and force feeding has caused extreme suffering for this pig; at six times the weight of a normal pig, it cannot walk or move anymore and has several sores on its body. A representative for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is currently in Taiwan observing the contest, they said: “This pig has broken all records so far there and there is significant interest from the media in Taiwan and possibly China as well.

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.

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.

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.

Asia Pacific Disaster Update: WSPA responds to animal emergency
The World Society for the Protection of Animals’ (WSPA) disaster response team has been able to relieve the suffering of hundreds of animals caught up in the natural disasters in Asia Pacific through the provision of much needed food and medical care. The team distributed hundreds of cans of cat and dog food to the six worst hit villages, provided by WSPA member society, the Animal Protection Society of Samoa. Through coordinated efforts with our member societies Profauna and Yudhistira and government livestock department vets, hundreds of animals were provided with emergency and basic treatment and pet owners were given dog and cat food.

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.

Ecuador volcano - WSPA distributes food to animals
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has distributed emergency food relief to around a thousand animals at risk of starvation following the eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador. Mark Yates, WSPA’s Director of Disaster Relief, said: Animals were left without food and farmers without a source of income as a result of the burnt fruit and their starving livestock. WSPA’s intervention was delivered by its Member Society Fundación de Protección Animal Ecuador (FPA) who distributed food to cattle and pigs, as well as dogs in a newly created shelter which was set up as a result of an influx of displaced dogs into the town of Cotaló.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia