Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freedom Food Egg Saga continues

Alice Clark, senior farm animal scientist with the RSPCA, said she was working with the egg industry to gather the evidence necessary for the RSPCA to be able to support the change. She said the RSPCA had asked scientists at Bristol University to look into the issue, but Tom Vesey said, "We don’t have that much time. The suspicion is that the RSPCA is prevaricating. I get the feeling the RSPCA finds it best to say nothing. It says it is looking for evidence, but that is like proving a negative. This could drag on for 12 months or more and there could well be a shortage of eggs. The shortage could be filled with imports, many of them of questionable welfare standard. That would do nothing for animal welfare."

Alice Clark told the Ranger that she was just as keen as the egg industry to press on with an evaluation of the potential impact on welfare. "It’s not something that we have closed the door on; we are keen to look at it," said Alice. She said the evidence about the potential effect on animal welfare did not exist at the moment, but she had been holding meetings on possible trials.

She said the RSPCA was asking scientists at Bristol University to look into the issue as part of an existing study under way at the university. The study was set up to look into range enhancement. Scientists are one year into a three-year project. "Bristol are very keen to do that, so that should be under way."

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