RSPCA’s Think Pig Campaign

I have received an email on behalf of RSPCA about their new campaign, Think Pig.

The RSPCA are raising awareness of pig welfare issues and trying to educate people about the different labels on pork products and what they mean for pigs.

If you are on facebook they have made a Facebook word game which incorporates facts about pigs and pig welfare, and encourages people to show their support by joining the RSPCA Think Pig campaign Facebook Page.

RSPCA Think Pig Logo

RSPCA Think Pig Logo

“The RSPCA’s THINK PIG campaign aims to encourage UK’s shoppers to use their consumer power to help improve pig welfare.

Many of the 160 million pigs bred for meat across Europe live in conditions that the Society believes are unacceptable. Pigs face a range of welfare issues that most people are just not aware of.

Consumers have the power to make a difference for pigs and that’s why the RSPCA is urging consumers to ‘Think Pig’ when out shopping and make sure what they put in their shopping basket is a vote for better pig welfare.

The campaign needs to reach a broad consumer audience and the Facebook game,

Think Pig Game Screen

Think Pig Game Screen

with its social elements, is one of the ways that the Society hopes to achieve this.

RSPCA and Farm Animals

The RSPCA is working harder than ever before to try to improve the welfare of as many farm animals as possible, at every stage of their lives.

More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK. Unfortunately the law alone is not always strong or detailed enough to ensure that they all have a good quality of life, and are transported and slaughtered humanely.

It is a huge challenge to try to improve the welfare of such a large number of animals, ranging from those kept as pets to those kept on large-scale farms. The RSPCA works in a number of different ways to encourage improvements, and always uses all available scientific information and practical evidence to support our arguments.”

This is an important campaign for me as I have kept pigs and would like to know that all pigs are kept in good conditions and are well looked after, so if you are on facebook then head over to the Think Pig page and lend your support.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case or the The Virgin Pig Keeper by David Brown.

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If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.

If you would like to receive regular information about pigs then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

Enter your email address to receive regular emails of the posts on the farmingfriends website:

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Freedom Food Chicken Sales On The Up

I received an email yesterday on behalf of the RSPCA to thank me for writing about the Quash the Squash campaign last year (and BBQ Source, and People’s Choice!).

They wanted to let me know that thanks to coverage like mine, and despite the recession, people are choosing to buy more RSPCA Freedom Food labelled indoor chicken than ever before, while sales of ‘standard’ chicken have dropped

Freedom Food chicken sales are on the up as ‘standard’ takes a downturn, new research reveals.

New research reveals people are choosing to buy more Freedom Food labelled indoor chicken than ever before, whilst lower welfare ‘standard’ chicken is taking a downturn.

This news comes despite growing unemployment over the past year, showing that people are not prepared to cut corners when it comes to animal welfare.

The research – carried out by Kantar Worldpanel for RSPCA Freedom Food – reveals growth and spend on Freedom Food indoor reared chicken is far outstripping ‘standard’, with a staggering 55.2 million pound increase in consumer spending on Freedom Food labelled chicken (from 16.4 million to 71.6 million) since March last year.

This compares to a drop of more than 26 million pounds spent on ‘standard’ chicken – proof that animal welfare is still on the shopping list of even the most budget-conscious consumers.

This news comes more than two years after chicken welfare hit the headlines with high profile campaigns by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Leigh Grant, Freedom Food’s chief executive, said:

“We expected to see an increase in sales of Freedom Food chicken after Jamie and Hugh highlighted the benefits of buying higher welfare back in 2008 – but these latest results far exceed anything we could have predicted. They are absolute proof that chicken welfare is of paramount importance to more people than ever before. And the fact shoppers have stood firm by animal welfare through some of the most difficult economic times only reinforces that it is an issue that is here to stay.”

The research shows that Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Freedom Food chicken, followed by Tesco and then Morrisons.

The RSPCA want to let everybody know that they are really having an impact on animal welfare when they choose higher welfare chicken, and they want to make it clear that people really do care.  So, they are running a poll asking how you would feel if your supermarket removed your higher welfare chicken option, and what would you do?
You can read more about it and answer the poll here on the RSPCA website.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

This Summer the RSPCA launched the BBQ Source campaign, which focused on making people aware of issues surrounding animal welfare, especially when shopping for meat for the barbecue. The campaign offers help and advice to welfare-conscious consumers who don’t want to forget the ‘source’ of their meat when cooking on the BBQ.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

As part of the campaign, a survey was conducted and found that 72% of respondent’s buying decisions were price dependent. Many consumers’ view higher welfare meat to be expensive, but the RSPCA’s shopping guide also includes tips on how to shop on a budget. To help show the importance of buying higher welfare meat the RSPCA has developed a shopping guide which provides useful reference guides to food labelling, recipes as well as addressing the key issues surrounding animal welfare, such as growth rates and living conditions of the animals.

“With around 93%  of the population eating meat, we know that people’s buying habits can have a very direct influence on how farm animals reared for meat are raised. That is why we feel it is so important that as many people as possible are informed about and encouraged to choose meat raised to higher welfare standards,” said Mel Andrews, campaign manager for the RSPCA.

“If more people go out of their way to choose or ask for welfare-friendly food such as RSPCA Freedom Food labelled products, more of the 900 plus million animals reared for food each year in the UK will be raised under higher welfare standards,” she added.

“Price can sometimes be seen as a barrier when buying higher welfare meat, and this is where the RSPCA’s online shopping guide can come in handy,” adds Andrews. ” You can still save money when buying higher welfare meat by preparing the food yourself, getting the portions right and using up leftovers for another meal the next day.”

According to the government funded ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign which sets out to encourage shoppers to make the most of the food they buy, and waste less of it, in the UK we throw away the equivalent of 33 million chickens and 3 million pigs per year. This is a waste of money and animals’ lives.

The  ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website provides:

  • lots of barbecue-related hints and tips,
  • a shopping guide with information on what labels to look out for when choosing higher welfare,
  • price comparisons,
  • ideas on how to use leftovers,
  • a portion calendar to help cut down on food waste,
  • information on the key welfare issues affecting farm animals.

Next time you are planning a BBQ, checkout the ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website.

RSPCA Campaign – Quash The Squash

I received an email on behalf of the RSPCA about raising awareness of an urgent campaign to protect the welfare of UK meat chickens.

Quash The Squash RSPCA Chicken Campaign 2009

Quash The Squash RSPCA Chicken Campaign 2009

Right now, the government is considering new EU legislation that may increase the number of chickens allowed in rearing sheds. Even at current minimum standards, each bird is given less space than a sheet of A4. It’s hard to walk or even flap their wings. But this legislation would allow yet more birds to be squashed in, cutting that space by almost a quarter.

The RSPCA desperately need your help to urge Jim Fitzpatrick, Minister for Animal Welfare, to make the right choice for UK chickens and quash the squash, by sending an email via the RSPCA campaign website. Mr Fitzpatrick’s decision is imminent and the RSPCA want 15,000 letters to be sent before he makes his decision.

For this campaign the RSPCA have also created a short film called Irritating Chicken to highlight the plight of broiler (meat) chickens if EU legislation on living conditions is brought into force in the UK. The purpose of the stunt was to invade people’s personal space and make them feel what is like being squashed into a chicken shed.

Show your support for broiler chickens today.