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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee