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National newspaper backs our market campaign
Posted 1 December 2004
On Sunday August 15, The People newspaper published an expose of livestock markets, based on revelations, undercover photos and witness statements taken from Animal Aid's two most recent market reports, A Dirty Business and Bartered Lives.
One of our photographs used by The People, showed a market worker hurling a sheep over the top of her pen - the kind of abuse we have shown to be routine.
Animals sent to markets often spend hours standing on stone floors covered with excrement and urine; and they endure brutal slaps, kicks and violent stick-work from poorly trained and usually unsympathetic drovers. At the end of the traumatic ordeal, they are loaded onto lorries to be taken to farms or slaughterhouses.
Massive reader response
Accompanying The People exposé was a coupon for readers to fill in and register their protest against market conditions. These were sent on to us. Two thousand have already been received and they continue to arrive at the office as we go to press, several weeks later. We sent further information to everybody who registered a protest and their forms have now been posted to Ben Bradshaw MP, the Minister for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibility for livestock markets.
Although he has written to us welcoming A Dirty Business and stating that 'it will raise the profile and awareness of the issues', he seems reluctant to sanction the financial investment that might improve both biosecurity and welfare conditions. Issues we wish him to address include training of animal handlers, the provision of water, stocking densities, loading and unloading conditions and the handling of sick and injured animals.
While Animal Aid encourages an animal-free diet, we believe that as long as animals are reared and slaughtered for food, they should be spared the wholly unnecessary hardships of a day at market. But while markets continue to exist, we also have a responsibility to ensure that stress and cruelty is minimised as far as it is possible to do so.
Please write to DEFRA Minister Ben Bradshaw MP at The House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA asking him to address the issue of physical violence and abuse of animals at markets.