Letter: Ostriches follow pigs and poulty

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was appalled that your coverage of ostrich farming in Britain made no mention of looming welfare problems ('Ostrich farmers line up behind RSPCA welfare standards for humane care', 13 October). Your photograph and caption gave the impression that ostrich farming is acceptable now that welfare guidelines have been published. However, we fear that these guidelines will do little to hold off the onset of intensive farming for ostriches.

Guidelines alone are not legally enforceable, and if this nucleus industry is allowed to take off, commercial pressures might result in animal welfare being subverted in the quest for increased production. After all, domesticated animals, such as pigs and chickens, are suffering in their millions in our factory farms and slaughterhouses in spite of long-established welfare codes.

There is speculation within the industry that ostriches can be reared intensively, and some are being fed special diets to make then grow faster. In Australia, ostriches have had their feathers removed before being slaughtered in a commercial abattoir.

The farming of ostriches is developing rapidly in Britain. We are calling for a ban on ostrich farming before these dignified birds of Africa's open plains follow pigs and poultry into the nightmare world of factory farms.

Yours sincerely,

PHILIP LYMBERY

Campaigns Director

Compassion in World Farming

Petersfield,

Hampshire

14 October

(Photograph omitted)

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