Home | Animal Writes | PETA.org.uk - Part 4

Animal Writes

  • 16
  • Jun

Petition: Let’s Get CCTV Into Slaughterhouses

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

– Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s famous words ring true for anyone who’s glimpsed the terrible things that happen to animals in abattoirs. But in the UK, far from having “glass walls”, most abattoirs are not even properly monitored, allowing shocking abuse to happen behind closed doors.

Animal Aid investigated nine randomly chosen UK abattoirs and found breaches of welfare laws in eight of them. Animals were kicked, slapped, stamped on, beaten, punched, burned with cigarettes and picked up by their fleece and ears and thrown into pens. The footage showed inadequate, botched and multiple stunning and the sadistic use of stunning equipment to “punish” animals.

Neither the government-appointed, on-site veterinarians nor the abattoir operators had detected a single illegal act that was filmed.

That’s why we’re getting behind an online petition to make closed-circuit television (CCTV) mandatory in all abattoirs – the first step towards creating transparency and stopping workers from getting away with abusing animals.

Animal Aid Slaughter FBCCTV would act as a deterrent to those who would otherwise abuse animals and would also provide evidence for prosecutions when staff did harm them. Although it won’t end animal suffering in abattoirs, it is an invaluable tool that would help veterinarians and animal welfare officers protect animals from gratuitous abuse, incompetence and negligence.

We need to reach 100,000 signatures on the petition to make sure it is debated in Parliament and to ensure that politicians take this issue seriously. Please sign the petition today and help build the momentum by sharing it as widely as possible.

Sign the petition


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  • 15
  • Jun

Father’s Day Tributes for Two Compassionate Dads

Our fathers play a vital role in shaping our lives and the way we see the world. In honour of Father’s Day, we’re paying tribute to two very special dads who have gone out of their way to protect and defend animals in need and taught their kids that kindness truly is a virtue. 


University of Leicester professor John Benyon, 63, was nominated by his daughter Danielle, who said of her parents, “It was their influence that helped me become the animal lover I am”. When John learned of an impending badger cull in the area, he refused to just sit around and moan about it – he knew he had to take action. He made weekly donations to groups on the ground, wrote to his MP and organised a boycott of his local Morrisons after he learned that it was supporting the cull. John and his wife adopted a vegetarian diet during the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis after being appalled that animals were being treated as disposable commodities, and they haven’t touched meat since. 

Burks 1

Chris Burkes, 54, is a painter, decorator and father of seven from King’s Lynn. He was nominated by his daughter Lina, who wrote us a moving letter describing how important it was to her father that he raise his family vegetarian, later transitioning them all to a vegan diet, and how they were taught to respect animals. Lina recalls, “Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever seen my dad cry about is animals who he has loved and lost or the exploitation of animals in general”. Over the years, Chris has offered shelter and relief to many animals in need, including countless birds, baby hedgehogs, rescued cats and all manner of other waifs and strays. He also started a petition for the release of Marius the giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo. 

We sent both John and Chris a huge box of vegan chocolates to thank them for being the definition of good dads! If someone in your family is notable for his or her compassion, let us know in the comments.

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  • 13
  • Jun

The World Cup in 32 Vegan Recipes

To mark the clash of the nations in this year’s World Cup football championship in Brazil, we threw an international vegan feast, celebrating the best in plant-based cuisine from the competing countries.

World Cup potluck

So whoever you’re rooting for in this year’s World Cup, why not munch along to the matches as they happen with these delicious “veganised” national dishes!

Group A


Vegan Brazilian Feijoada (Black-Bean Stew)

Feijoada (Black-Bean Stew) and Brown Rice

Croatia: Vegan Makovnjaca (Poppy-Seed Strudel)



Spicy Vegan Chilli

Cameroon: Banana and Pineapple Salad

Group B



Vegetable Paella With Mock Duck

Netherlands: Summer Hutspot

Chile: Chilean Corn Humitas

Australia: ANZAC Biscuits

Group C



Vegan Cheese Empanadas



Classic Greek Salad

Côte d’Ivoire: Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Mafe



Vegan Sushi

Group D

Uruguay: Fainá (Baked Chickpea Flatbread)

Costa Rica: Gallitos de Papa



Vegan Cream Tea



Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta

Group E

Switzerland: Bircher Muesli With Almond Milk

Ecuador: Quinoa Soup



Tarte Aux Fruits Frais



Mango Avocado Salsa

Group F

Argentina: Rose Sangrias

Bosnia: Walnut Baklava

Iran: Faludeh (Rice Noodle and Rose Water Sorbet)



Roasted Plantain” by Sandister Tei / CC BY 2.0

Roasted Sweet Plantains

Group G



Traditional Sauerkraut Salad

Portugal: Caldo Verde (Kale Soup)

Ghana: Sweet Peanut Balls



Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Group H


Vegan Chicon Au Gratin

Chicon Au Gratin



Couscous and Aromatic Vegetables



Creamy Russian Salad

Korea: Vegetable Pancakes


If this round-the-world culinary tour has left you hungry for even more vegan recipes, order our free vegan starter kit!


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  • 13
  • Jun

Neil Robinson: It’s Time for Football to Go Vegan

The vegan revolution is spreading far and wide – including in the world of sports, where athletes ranging from boxer David Haye to ultra-marathon runner Rich Roll have been getting on board.

Neil Robinson_Grimsby Town_Action Pic Ahead of the World Cup, we caught up with someone who paved the way for the latest wave of vegan stars – Neil Robinson, a former Everton player who was the world’s first-ever professional vegan footballer. Neil gave up eating animal products in 1980, at the height of his athletic career, and has been so impressed by the benefits to his fitness and health that he’s now urging the entire England squad to go vegan, too, in order to boost their performance!

Here, he tells us why plant power is the way forward:

What inspired you to go vegan?

My inspiration for becoming vegan was my older brother John. I became a vegetarian in 1970 when I was 13 years old, solely for ethical reasons – John had become a vegetarian a few months earlier. I’d never heard of veganism at this time, but as I got older, veganism appeared on my “radar” but I never researched it, ignorantly believing that there was nothing wrong at all with the cows “happily” giving up their milk for us to consume. Early in 1980, after John again took the lead and became a vegan, I contacted the Vegan Society for more information. On reading the literature, it became so apparent to me that the dairy and egg farming industries were just as cruel to the animals as the meat industry – if not worse because the poor animals’ lives are prolonged in such terribly cramped farm conditions until they are no longer able to provide humans with “food” – and then they’re slaughtered.

Did you notice any benefits to your athletic abilities after going vegan?

It’s difficult to think back that far now (over 34 years ago!) and I was very fit anyway, but I do remember feeling a lot “sharper” in my first vegan pre-season. From then on, my fitness was sustained to the same levels for the remaining 10 years of my professional football career. I think testimony to this is the fact that not ONE manager, coach, or player I played for, or with, ever questioned my fitness or my ability to perform at that level – in fact, I was always one of the top three fittest players at every club I played for. Plant-powered fitness rules!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHow has veganism changed in the nearly 30 years since you first switched to a plant-based diet?

Clearly vegan food choices are huge now compared to 1980. Back then there wasn’t even any vegan chocolate, or none that tasted any good – and I was a bit of a chocoholic in those days! Of course, we have such a plethora of raw chocolate bars and treat foods now, which are delicious (although I tend not eat much chocolate nowadays because I follow a low-fat vegan diet). With regard to other foods, it’s so much easier now for people to transition from an animal-based diet to a plant-exclusive diet, with a fantastic array of “fake” meats and cheeses available.

What are your favourite sources of protein?

I try not to stress out too much about my protein intake nowadays –I know it’s a vitally important nutrient, but I also think too much can be harmful to the kidneys in the long term. Having said that, I try to get plenty of greens down me, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, also tofu, some hemp now, and quinoa, and I now use Sunwarrior Raw Rice Protein or Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein as a supplement to my training.

Many top athletes including boxer David Haye, Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and squash champion James Willstrop are going vegetarian or vegan. Do you think we’re likely to see more “meat-free athletes” in the future?

Most definitely! Veganism isn’t ever going away –it’s onwards and upwards now! In fact, one of the reasons that I’m doing talks now is to try and reach out to the sporting world to inform them that an animal-based diet for fitness is just based on ignorance and Stone Age thinking. Yes, animal foods are sources of protein, but they’re also a very significant source of things that cause ill health in humans –and athletes certainly aren’t precluded from this! If an athlete doesn’t care to become vegan for ethical reasons, then they need to do it at least for their own health –and a vegan diet can provide all the nutrition an athlete requires to compete at the top level.

What advice would you give to anyone who is curious about going vegan but doesn’t know where to start?

Not to be daunted by it at all because it’s so much easier than people think, providing they do some research –and there’s such great information resources out there now with the advent of the Internet and social media that you shouldn’t go wrong.

Veganism isn’t just a diet –it’s an ethical lifestyle based on eating plant-exclusive foods. Most restaurants can provide vegan alternatives from the menu, or if you contact them beforehand, they should be only too willing to offer a vegan alternative of your choice. One website came up with this great slogan:”Go Vegan and Nobody Gets Hurt!” –absolutely perfect! If you’re thinking of going vegan, just keep this slogan fresh in your mind.


Neil has been proactively spreading the vegan message far and wide.Tolearn more, visit his website: ThePeacefulPlanet.org.

And if you feel inspired to give vegan eating a go, why not sign the pledge to try it out for 30 days?

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  • 12
  • Jun

We Are Thousands Strong Against Cruel Chicken Farm Proposal

We recently asked our supporters to join us in opposing plans to build an intensive broiler chicken production facility in Upton Snodsbury, Worcestershire.

We were overwhelmed by the response.

More than 26,000 people signed our letter to the Wychavon District Council urging planning officers to reject the proposal, which would condemn up to 160,000 chickens at a time to a life of unabated misery. On broiler farms – where chickens are raised for meat – birds are crammed into dark filthy sheds. They usually have the ends of their sensitive beaks cut off without any painkillers in order to prevent them from pecking one another in the stressful, crowded environment.

WE Chickens transport copy

Jo-Anne McArthur / weanimals.org

Chickens on this type of farm are also often dosed with large amounts of antibiotics, and they have been bred to grow so large so fast that they often become crippled under their own weight and have trouble walking. Broiler chickens are usually killed when they are just 41 days old – meeting a terrifying endin the abattoir whilestillconscious.

It’s hardly surprising that so many of you were moved to speak out against this cruelty.

Last year, encouraged by PETA and many compassionate members of the public, the Wychavon District Council refused to grant permission for similar plans, submitted by Edward Davies, to be implemented. Shockingly, its decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate at the 11th hour. Davies’ new application, which is for four new units, would condemn twice as many animals to the living nightmare that is an intensive farming facility.

It would also be a blight on the local landscape, creating traffic, noise, pollution and unpleasant smells, as well as contributing to the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change.

We’ll do everything that we can to make sure it is never built. Thank you to everyone who signed our letter – we’ll let you know as soon as there are new developments.

In the meantime, everyone can help chickens right now – by refusing to eat them. Our 30-day vegan pledge is a great place to start!


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  • 11
  • Jun

How Ditching Dairy Helped My Family, an Interview With Gillian Loughran, Editor of ‘Autism Eye’

We recently spoke to Gillian Loughran, who has an autistic son, Finn, and is the editor of Autism Eye, a magazine aimed at providing parents with practical information about raising children with an autism spectrum disorder.Gillian & Finn

Following some recent comments in the media about a connection between the symptoms of autism and dairy consumption, Gillian felt it was important to let other parents know about the potential benefits of dropping dairy products, based on her own family’s experience. She had this to say:

From a very young age, my child has been on a gluten-free, casein-free diet. It’s very common within the autism community – there are numerous parents doing the same thing. All of us seem to be saying the same thing: that a no-wheat and no-dairy diet improves sleep, behaviour and concentration in our children. Parents other than myself report that it makes children more focussed, they find it is easier to learn in school, they report fewer issues with the gut – issues such as constipation and other digestive issues.

In a letter to the media, she wrote:

My son, now 14, is a strapping lad who is taller than his father. He is growing, maturing and learning quite well. But when he consumes dairy products, his symptoms come back. He can’t concentrate, focus or sleep well.

The magazine I edit, Autism Eye, published by award-winning journalists, who are also parents of children with autism, reports on different interventions and diets that can have a positive impact on our children’s lives. And we have covered the link between consuming dairy products and the symptoms of autism. We don’t give our readers medical advice because we are not doctors, but we certainly give parents information about what is reported to be working for other people and then let them and their doctors determine whether it helps their child.

In the past, we’ve heard from many other parents who relate similar stories. The value of parents’ experience should not be underestimated. As Harvard-trained physician Raphael Campo explains, “Whether we choose to admit it or not, the anecdote continues to be an important engine of novel ideas in medicine. … When we fail to listen to our patients’ stories, we lose the opportunity to discover what truly ails them”.

To hear more, please visit Autism Eye‘s website, and for info on some great alternatives to dairy and other animal products, please order our free vegan starter kit: PETA.org.uk/vsk.

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  • 06
  • Jun

Why REACH Is Letting Animals Down

Animals are suffering in laboratoriesThis week, we learned that the European law Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH), which is meant to ensure that chemicals are tested on animals only as a last resort has failed miserably to protect thousands of animals from suffering and death.

According to a report published this week by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the legislation failed to stop the following atrocities:

  1. Approximately 2,300 animals have had chemicals applied to their sensitive eyes or skin in new experiments, despite the fact that non-animal methods are available.
  2. One hundred sixty-seven experiments on animals were completed without prior approval from the ECHA with no justification, meaning that potentially thousands of animals could have been spared.

REACH is the largest animal testing programme in the world, with upwards of 50 million animals estimated to suffer and die in experiments. But the legislation is clear: testing on animals must be avoided whenever possible and conducted only when all other relevant avenues have been exhausted. The ECHA and the European Commission need to take action to protect animals in line with the law.

As Dr Gilly Stoddart, PETA’s science adviser, says:

It is scandalous that the ECHA has not compelled all companies to avoid animal tests wherever possible and that some continue to test on animals when it can be avoided. It is unconscionable that animals are dying as a result of bureaucratic indifference.

PETA has already submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman about the ECHA’s failure to ensure that tests on animals are kept to a minimum, and we’re awaiting the results. We won’t stop fighting to keep animal out of laboratories – and you can help, too!

If you agree that rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and other animals shouldn’t have poisons dripped into their eyes, smeared onto their skin or forced down their throats, please take action by asking the Home Office to ban animal testing for household products and their ingredients:

Take Action Now


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  • 05
  • Jun

Rescued Bull Features in Celebrity Wedding


Meet Davison-Quirke – a bull from Maharashtra, India, who spent years of his life being worked to the bone, forced to pull a cart overloaded with sugarcane in the hot sun. He was rescued from this hardship by Animal Rahat, a rescue organisation in India which is partially funded by PETA. There’s an interesting story behind his unusual name – it was given to him as a wedding gift from PETA to Irish beauty Rosanna Davison!

When we heard that PETA supporter, former Miss World, vegan nutritionist and all-round role model Rosanna was getting married to Wesley Quirke, we knew we had to give her a gift that would reflect her inspiring compassion. So what could be more fitting than renaming a rescued animal in the happy couple’s honour? Davison-Quirke will now live out the rest of his days relaxing in peace at a sanctuary, alongside other animals who have been saved from back-breaking work, neglect and mistreatment in India.

Animal Rahat is run by animal caretakers, veterinarians and assistants and offers vital care and assistance to animals who desperately need it in Maharashtra. Its work also includes educating people in local communities about the importance of animal welfare and teaching them the fundamental rules of proper animal care and nutrition. These areas are often very poor, and the animal owners welcome a helping hand with veterinary costs and feeding. Many sick animals can simply be abandoned because their owners cannot afford to treat them.

Working animals commonly kept across India include cattle, ponies and donkeys. They are required to spend long hours in the baking sun, pulling heavy carts laden with sugarcane while receiving little food or water. Animal Rahat has also worked hard to install water tanks in several areas around Miraj and Sangli in order to replenish tired, dehydrated animals.

We think Rosanna and her new hubby should be pleased as punch to be part of such outstanding work. Davison-Quirke is certainly looking chuffed to bits as well. If you’d like to contribute to Animal Rahat’s lifesaving mission and help animals such as this bullock, please visit the group’s website and consider making an urgently needed donation today.

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  • 05
  • Jun

Bon Voyage, Sunder!

We are overjoyed to report that Sunder is FINALLY on his way to safety!

Sunder freedomSunder freedom copy

Thousands of concerned people have been following this young elephant’s story with bated breath. Sunder endured years of abuse at the Indian temple where he was kept prisoner, and the epic campaign to rescue him has spanned more than two years.

Now, thanks to the determined efforts of PETA India, supported by PETA UK and actions from compassionate supporters around the world, Sunder has at last left his captors behind and is on the truck that will take him to freedom!

Here’s how this epic story has unfolded over the past few months.

       7 April: The Bombay High Court ruled in favour of PETA India and upheld the order to move Sunder to a sanctuary.

       20 May: Shocking photos and video footage of injuries to Sunder’s leg were released following a veterinary inspection, showing how the elephant is still being mistreated by his captors and needs to be rescued from their clutches as a matter of urgency.

       29 May: Sunder’s case was heard in the Supreme Court of India, which passed a judgment in favour of PETA India by ordering that Sunder should be released to an elephant-care centre in Bangalore by no later than 15 June.

       4 June: Efforts began to move Sunder. His abusers tried to hinder the transfer, and a large crowd gathered, shouting and blowing whistles to frighten the elephant. The tyres of the truck brought to transport him were punctured with nails, and PETA India representatives were barred from the site.


       5 June: Kindness prevails! A team of experts was able to place Sunder on a truck, and begin to drive him slowly and carefully to his new home in Bangalore. Even now, a motorcycle gang is following the truck, despite police protection.

Sunder truck 2

     6 June: After a 24 hour journey, Sunder arrived at his new home – a 49.5-hectare forested elephant-care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park. As you can see, he seems delighted with his new surroundings!

Sunder in new home

After he has adjusted to his new situation and his serious leg wounds, caused by long-term painfully tight chaining, have healed, he will be able to roam the grounds freely, bathe in ponds, play and socialise with the 13 other elephants in the park.

     26 June: Sunder has started to settle into his new home, exploring and making friends with other elephants for the first time. The massive wound on his leg is starting to heal, and he’s showing other positive signs of recovery.

Thank you to everyone who helped bring about Sunder’s rescue. Watch this space for further updates on how he’s getting on.

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  • 02
  • Jun

Plant-Powered Athlete Dean Howell Wants You to Go Vegan

Going vegan has given footballer Dean Howell a phenomenal body and the stamina that he needs as a professional athlete. With his new ad for PETA, shot by celebrity photographer Trevor Leighton, Dean is encouraging other professional athletes and anyone else who wants to get fit and save animals to try vegan.

Footballer poses topless for PETA ad

“After adopting a vegetarian diet at the age of 20 and then a vegan diet at 24, I maintained the same weight but slimmed down and saw my stamina go through the roof”, he told the Burton Mail.

Dean previously played for Bury Football Club and attributes making it as a professional athlete to his diet. “I believe my diet has spared me serious injury, and on the very rare occasions when I have taken a knock I have bounced back to full health in a fraction of the time.”

And he’s not the only meat-free footballer out of Bury. Bury-born football legend Phil Neville also recently advocated ditching meat.

Dean’s diet is free from meat, eggs and dairy products, and he encourages other professional athletes to adopt plant-based diets. More and more professional athletes are recognising that a healthy plant-based diet supplies the protein and other nutrients that they need to build muscle and strengthen their immune systems, without clogging arteries with saturated fat.

And of course, each vegan saves animals from extreme suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats.

If you’ve ever considered changing your diet for the better and want to get fit like Dean, order PETA’s free vegan starter kit for tips, recipes and more.

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