As an animal lover it is naturally unpleasant to hear of cruelty or neglect of pets or livestock. As well as an animal lover, your esteemed writer is also a meat eater. I won’t bore you with the reminder that human beings are omnivores, although I sort of have now. I’ve also long been skeptical of Halal preparation, which seems to fly in the face of our excellent animal welfare legislation. This is something else we don’t have room for right now.

Many charities in Britain and around the world do great work rehoming and caring for abandoned and injured animals, and if I were wearing a hat I would take it off to them.  However, it is the fetishisation of abuse footage and the wildly unfeasible ‘solutions’ touted by the more bullish institutions that sadly cause more harm than good.

Two hens standing outdoors on the grass © RSPCA photolibrary

Unfortunately, it appears that the larger the organisation is, the more naive their crusade to change the world becomes. 100% of the pages I visited this morning on (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) upheld very bad animal abuse, and instead of managing a solution to protect the animals, they are trying to get animal lovers to change what we eat and what we wear.

The article on sheep welfare cajoles the viewer to sign a petition against all wool production, needlessly naming Ralf Lauren as if to suggest that a leading retailer and designer that uses wool has blood on their hands. How about focusing our efforts on prosecuting the handful of scumbags who abuse animals, rather than trying to change the clothing industry?

As much as I admire the music and wit of Paul McCartney (I’m actually a big fan), and even respect his decision to omit significant food groups from his diet; I must differ with his assertion that veganism is good for animals.

Narrating a video of chickens and other livestock being actively abused as an accompaniment to the preparation of meat and dairy products, he suggests that we all become vegans. If thousands of us were to exclude meat and eggs from our diets, it would not stop the production of battery hens. By advising against meat and dairy consumption like this, we are effectively tarring honest and decent farmers with the same brush.

Have these people not heard of free range meat and dairy? We are much more likely to switch to a higher welfare grade (which Britain is moving ever closer to anyway) than vow never to enjoy a boiled egg again. British food safety and animal welfare standards are the best in the world, so please don’t feel guilty next time you buy that woolly scarf or free range chicken.

Posted in Never Mind the Politics, The Customer is Always Right and tagged , , .

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