|experience:||Farming Research Advisor|
"I have witnessed at livestock markets culled dairy cows being auctioned and bought to be slaughtered for McDonald's burgers. Such cows (also called cast or barren cows or barreners) are prematurely worn out by the abuses arising from "production diseases" (to use the description in the trade), these being reproductive disorders, mastitis, lameness, "damaged" or dropped udder, and fatty liver). Most of these cows haven't even entered their 4th lactation and are therefore "burgered" at about 6 years old. Cows kept without such stress have a life span of 25 to 35 years."
I am a research adviser to VEGA (Vegetarian and Green Agriculture) on matters of farming, food, health and the land. I wrote the Green Plan in 1976 for the Vegetarian Society on these matters and acted as adviser, initiating many projects, hospitals and universities until 1991.
Most of its committee have continued research in all these topics as VEGA. We also continue investigations and research and submissions of evidence to government and other official bodies and consumer organizations for which my background as a biochemist and nutritionist, in association with doctors and physiologists, suits me; further, I have spent many hours inspecting farms, markets, and slaughterhouses and animals in transit (not always easy, because enquiry in such areas may be obstructed).
Human wit and resource have failed to oust the ugliness and cruelty inflicted on the animals in these conditions (and the degradation of workers toiling in the premises that need so many euphemistic disguises. RSI - repetitive strain injury - connotes more than a strain in the wrist).
Full cv: Available for this witness
Litanies of recommendations and efforts at reform continue to give the lie to "humane killing" as an honest description. Failures are numerous and no attempt at stunning may be made before the animals' throats are cut. The MAFF continues to bestow exiguous funds to improve processes declared "humane" and practised on billions of animals. Fish escape even the fitful protection afforded to 4-footed animals and birds.
Intensive production and slaughter of poultry (even so-called "free range" and in laying systems) are attended by all the signs of cruelty: broken bones, osteoporosis, leg disorders, congestive heart failure and ascites, smothering, cannibalism, and the constant need for medication against viral and bacterial threats. Pig-rearing in the EC and N America has, likewise, become farming-by-needle, dependent on "farmerceuticals".
The dairy/ beef job entails similar offences: abrupt removal of frail calves from their dams, mutilations (e.g. castration, debudding and dehorning), the associated veal trade, and the wear and tear on the cow constantly susceptible to "production diseases", such as mastitis, dropped udder, lameness, fatty liver, reproductive disease, milk fever, and staggers and other metabolic diseases like the sow, the cow succumbs early to the pressure. Translated to a woman, it would entail lactation at the rate of 2 gallons a day while she is still pregnant.
Such cows are literally burgered. They are known in the trade as Birds Eyes. The market in manufacturing beef is an evil by-product of the dairy industry: 1 lb of "vegetarian" cheese is as objectionable - or more so - than 1lb of this beef. Carcass beef and joints from true suckler herds of beef (rather than dual-purpose) breeds cattle are still objectionable, but less offensive. Recent efforts at "beefing up" dairy breeds (e.g. with Belgian Blue crossing) invite calving difficulties and are reprehensible.
Of the residues of the farmerceuticals sulfadimidine regularly exceeds the MRLs. Its use is allowed in the UK, under threat of a ban in the USA, and completely banned for pigs in Denmark. We are at the moment busy with research on growth-boosters, especially of the beta-agonist type (e.g. clenbuterol, "angel dust").
Livestock production causes much pollution (e.g. from silage effluents and slurries), especially in the dairy, poultry, and pig sectors. These hi-input, lo-labor enterprises harm rural life. The units and slaughterhouses have high NIMBY ratings. They are extravagant in resources such as water and voracious in consumption, wastefully, of feed crops. Grow food, not feed is the Green Planner's imperative. The market ridiculously distorted with subsidies and policies favoring output while the equivalent of 3.5 million cattle languish in intervention, with more support, as carcase beef. This trade disadvantages poorer countries and engenders undue resort to cash crops.
I won the Caroline Walker award for services to British food outright in 1990, beating the then president of the NFU, the research director of Tesco, and Mr "Real Meat", Richard Guy.
I apologize for the rush over this report, which - owing to the short notice - I've had to dash off between journeys.
|date signed:||November 11 1993|
|date signed:||23 July 1993|
|status:||Appeared in court|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available
transcripts of court appearances: