Outcry after loss of measures to protect animals is revealed

A A A

Campaigners pledged to step up the fight for animal welfare yesterday after The Independent highlighted the way in which the Coalition has scrapped or stalled a series of initiatives since taking power.

In an outpouring of public anger, thousands of readers recommended and Tweeted our front-page article, "The great animal rights betrayal". It disclosed how the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has overturned bans on caging game birds and beak-trimming, halted prosecutions of abattoirs, proposed badger-culling to eradicate bovine TB, and made no decision on Labour's proposed ban on wild animals in circuses.

Defra said the story was unfair.

In one of the 400 comments left on Independent.co.uk, Wende Anne Maunder wrote: "I am too upset to comment properly: we knew the Tories would not care about animal welfare but where are the Liberal Democrats? I feel horribly betrayed by this news."

Another wrote: "This is so sickening, I don't know where to begin." Some had specific suggestions, such as labelling eggs with their "beak status", so shoppers could back fully beaked birds. Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, which insists the abattoir prosecutions could have been successful, said he was delighted by the "hard-hitting and deeply relevant article".

He promised: "There will be no let-up. As we observe the dismal trajectory that this Government seems to be headed in, chipping away at measures to protect animals, we remain more determined than ever to carry on revealing the levels of abuse and exploitation animals are subjected to, and to press for positive change."

The RSPCA said: "We're not surprised there was such a massive response to The Independent's article on vital animal welfare issues," adding the public was "increasingly concerned". Its director of communications, David, Bowles, said the organisation feared animals would be a "soft target" as Defra's budget was cut by 29 per cent. Ministers could "easily" ban wild animals in circuses, he added.

However, Jim Paice, Animal Welfare Minister, said: "I was astonished to see Saturday's front-page story. It was not based on knowledge of the facts and what surprised me was the accusation that I am taking away protection for animals. Nothing is further from the truth. It was claimed that my decision on beak-trimming is one of the most disappointing changes. This is just not true. The Farm Animal Welfare Council, an independent group, recommended that an outright ban should not be put in place until there are alternatives to stop pecking and cannibalism... On the gamebirds code, FAWC advised there is insufficient science to justify a ban on cages for breeding birds."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders