Letter: Improving the lives of those bred to die

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The Independent Online
Sir: Joanna Bythman's article 'Still being sold a pig in a poke?' (27 August) misses the point of the RSPCA's Freedom Food initiative. By adopting the stance of those who criticise the enormous improvements in animal welfare that Freedom Food will bring to the millions of British farm animals, she has joined the ranks of those who have been identified by Professor John Webster of Bristol University as 'impossibilists', that is, those who 'ask for everything and end up with nothing'.

Though the evils of factory farming were brought to the public's notice 30 years ago, few real improvements have been achieved.

Freedom Food sets the highest standards which are achievable with today's knowledge. These are designed to be ratcheted upwards as new scientific evidence becomes available. All the RSPCA's proceeds from Freedom Food will be spent on farm animal welfare research.

Those who criticise the Freedom Food standards identify perceived weaknesses but offer no practical solutions. At the very least the RSPCA is moving forward and at the best, and of this I am confident, the lives of millions of animals will eventually be significantly improved.

Yours faithfully,


Director General


Horsham, West Sussex

27 August