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Animal Aid concerned by silence on animal flood victims
Posted 10 February 2014
Whilst the flooding across the UK has dominated headlines for the past few weeks, the focus has been on the impact on humans and the financial cost of property damage. However, little is being said about the farmed animals affected by this crisis.
In the spring of 2013, it was reported that more than 100,000 sheep and lambs died in the heavy snow that covered much of the UK. Given the number of animals kept in enclosed fields on the Somerset Levels and other affected parts of the country, it is likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of animals have perished in the flooding, yet even the farming press seems strangely silent on this issue. The only reports of such incidents that we have seen in recent weeks include a single captioned photo of drowned sheep in Wales described as ‘lost stock’ in Farmers Weekly on 10th January, and an online article about ‘dozens’ of sheep drowned in flooding in Scotland, which did not feature in the printed version of the publication. However, many pages of farming magazines over the past few weeks have been dedicated to lost acreage, damaged property and finger-pointing over who is responsible. It is unclear whether this is down to a lack of regard for the affected animals, or a deliberate attempt to hide the suffering caused by animal farming. But what is clear is that, once again, farmed animals are being left to suffer and die in extreme weather conditions and that this is part of the cost of meat and dairy production.
With the farming industry seemingly unwilling to address this issue, Animal Aid has written to Defra urging them to work with the National Farmers Union and other relevant farming bodies to produce a substantial account of the level of animal suffering and loss of life caused by the flooding, as well as an assessment of measures that must be taken to prevent future tragedies from occurring.