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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.

WSPA announces new Director General
Peter’s retirement marks the end of a very successful chapter for the organization, during which WSPA saw massive growth and development – not just in size, but in capacity and ability to influence policy and legislation worldwide. Peter Davies said, “When I reflect on my time here, there is much WSPA has to be proud of – not least our creation of this truly global animal welfare movement. Today, WSPA has a presence in over 150 countries around the world and the commitment displayed by every member of this alliance has allowed for some truly impressive achievements – the sound of so many voices speaking on individual issues has been a powerful tool for advancing global animal welfare.” Through partnership with hundreds of member societies we strive to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

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.

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.

Cruel pig competition loses support
Thanks to lobbying by WSPA supporters and member society EAST, several Taiwanese government departments have withdrawn their funding from a cruel weight-based competition which involves the severe confinement, force-feeding and public, inhumane slaughter of several hundred pigs every year. Nearly 23,000 supporters around the world, appalled by the plight of these animals have signed a petition calling for the competition – known as Pigs of God – to be replaced with a contest using artificial pigs made out of flowers. But until recently the Taiwanese government had been unwilling to intervene in the competitions due to fear of a backlash from the religious groups which see live Pigs of God as a vital part of their tradition.

WSPA Board and Advisory Council announced
Mark Watts, Cecilia Vega Leon and Chinny Krishna WSPA welcomed three new Board members at the 2008 annual general meeting, held on June 3. Cecilia Vega Leon (Mexico), Chinny Krishna (India) and Mark Watts (UK) will also serve on the Advisory Council. The new Board members join some experienced colleagues. Following the meeting, the Board elected new WSPA Officers for the coming year: Dominique Bellemare (Canada) as President, Professor Ranald Munro (UK), as Senior Vice President Hanja Maji-Weggen (Netherlands) as Junior Vice President, Andrew Rowan (USA) as Treasurer and Peter Mason (New Zealand) as Secretary. Read more about WSPA, who we are and what we do >>

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.

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.

Protecting pigs: major live importer to end shipments
Recent campaign activity has taken the Handle with Care coalition – which seeks to end the cruelty of long distance transport for slaughter – a step closer to stopping live pig imports from the US mainland to Hawaii. After a targeted advertising campaign and a legal petition – questioning the labelling of meat from transported animals as ‘Island-produced pork’ – the largest importer has now indicated it will stop importing live pigs to Hawaii. Handle with Care’s legal petition, filed with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, asks for an investigation into the labelling of meat from imported animals as ‘island produced’. The print ad included a clip-out coupon to send to the three Hawaiian grocery store chains that sell pork from imported pigs with ‘island produced’ labels, and online petitions targeting the stores were produced by coalition members in the USA.

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.

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.

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