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Farmers throughout the country have 90 days to put a toy in every pigsty or face up to three months in jail.

The new ruling from Brussels, which is to become law in Britain next week, is to keep pigs happy and prevent them chewing each other.

Official instructions to farmers are to give pigs environmental enrichment by providing manipulable material, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last night defined as balls.

A spokesman said: We mean footballs and basketballs. Farmers may also need to change the balls so the pigs dont get tired with the same one. Different colour ones will do. These rules are based on good welfare. We dont want to come across as the nanny state, but the important thing is to see pigs happy in their environment and they like to forage with their noses.

He added that hanging chains were also good, since pigs could brush their noses against them. The Government is not ready to recommend specific toys, however, because they know of no firm manufacturing playthings for pigs.

But farmers should be careful about scoffing at the idea: they could be fined up to £1,000 or jailed for three months if they fail to amuse their stock. And Neville Meeker, who farms near Warminster in Wiltshire, was told by a farm standards official last week that he will lose the right to use the red tractor farm logo to market his pork if he does not buy a toy for each of 64 sties.

Mr Meeker, who has 1,200 pigs, said: I have a note here which says toys must be placed in the sties. I havent a clue what it means. Yesterday he tried out a plastic aeroplane and a grey furry teddy bear. They seemed to please a small group of piglets, but he was less enthusiastic: These toys wont last two minutes. Weve got to give them something that is hard-wearing. It has to be durable enough to withstand chewing for at least six months and we cant use wood because that will cause splinter injuries and pieces could get caught in pigs throats.

He is also worried about the safety aspect of having toys scattered on pen floors.

He said: I cant have chains because the roof of the unit is not strong enough. Pigs would just pull it down. Sadly I dont have an old beam. I suppose I will just have to buy some balls.

In a letter to Farmers Weekly he complains: Yes, the day of the toy inspector has arrived, and it is not a TV spoof. It is the dictators of Europe who have thought this up. Good job the January sales are on. Hamleys here we come.

He was worried, too, that he needed just one toy for every sty with 20 pigs. Will this cause fighting? I remember how children react.

Mark White, past president of the Pig Veterinary Society, said: Pigs have a habit of chewing each other and they do it in all environments and especially go for pigs tails and ears. Animal welfarists have been arguing that we should not dock tails of pigs. Some believe it is unnecessary mutilation for aesthetic and not for medical reasons. They think if we provide pigs with things to relieve their boredom then they will not chew each other.

He suggested softwood logs, ships buoys and plastic piping.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...558903,00.html
 

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"This is an important step in the right direction."

?????

OK. I'm gonna eat you. I'm keeping you in a bare cell with a concrete floor and iron bars on 3 sides. There is nothing in the cell, except 4 other guys, who are also gonna have their throats slit in exactly 3 months. Oh, but I am a mean mean jailer -- I did not give put a foot-length of pvc pipe in your cell. But after I put a foot-length of pvc pipe in your cell -- you are a little happier now. This is a step in the right direction. Now you have hope? Duh. No you don't.
 

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Originally posted by soilman

"This is an important step in the right direction."

?????

OK. I'm gonna eat you. I'm keeping you in a bare cell with a concrete floor and iron bars on 3 sides. There is nothing in the cell, except 4 other guys, who are also gonna have their throats slit in exactly 3 months. Oh, but I am a mean mean jailer -- I did not give put a foot-length of pvc pipe in your cell. But after I put a foot-length of pvc pipe in your cell -- you are a little happier now. This is a step in the right direction. Now you have hope? Duh. No you don't.
I didn't say they have hope, I said it's an important step in the right direction. Would you rather nothing be done? This acknowledges that farm animals have emotions and should be taken better care of.

The world will not turn vegan overnight. It will happen in steps. This is one of those steps, and it's an important step. Is it all I ever dreamed of? Of course not.

But to condemn steps like these because they don't do enough is sorta like shooting yourself in the foot cuz it won't run fast enough.
 

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Originally posted by soilman

I see it as a step to help justify maintaining the status quo: killing and eating pigs. It is a step in the wrong direction.
That's certainly one way to see it.

Me personally, I would prefer everyone ate humanely raised meat if they're going to eat it at all. I would prefer people would hunt for 100% of their meat and have to face the death their meals provide, and be eating an animal that lived a good life, rather than eating factory farm animals.

I would also rather that no one ate flesh at all.

But until that last goal happens - I'll take what I can get. And if Europe is taking steps, albeit it small steps, to improve the welfare of animals raised for food - that can't be anything but a good thing.

Is it really more important to hold the torture of animals over a meat-eaters' conscience than it is to try and see improvements in that animal's life before slaughter?
 

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i totally agree with the comment above. i believe that if you are going to eat meat then YOU should have to kill it yourself. instead of haveing it all nice and pretty on a plate with fries all ready to go!.

anyway about the reall topic of this thread, i think that they are just so worried that if the pigs arent "happy" that once they are slaughtered then the pigs will produce bad meat and make people sick...(which is such a funny irony to me!!)

i personally dont know what to think because the pigs are still being killed so i look at it as just another lame attempt to make it seem "not so bad" to slaughter and kill the animals.

 

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I think I know what you're saying and I completely agree. It's often said "If people had to kill their own meat they wouldn't do be able to do it" and that's simply not true. People have done it for thousands of years and they could certainly adjust to doing it again. I don't think I could have done it, even before I went veg, but who knows.
 

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yeah, that is what i was trying to get at. i've heard a number of veg*n's say "well, everyone should just have to go out and kill their own animal if they want to eat meat" because i think that they don't personally know anyone who would actually go out and kill an animal to eat it, so they just don't think anyone really would. i know a lot of people who would kill their own animals for food. and if you think this is ok, how are you for animal rights, since animals will still die and will still be raised on farms?

and that is why i don't think the world will ever be vegan. some people will always kill animals for food and will always raise animals for food on farms.

farmers work with their animals. sometimes they name them. they care for them. they watch them give birth. and then they kill them and eat them. some veg*ns can't imagine that there are people out in the world like that. well, there are. and you can say they are "disgusting" or "pathetic" or whatever, but it doesn't change anything.

i think it would do the "you can eat animals as long as you kill them yourself" type of people to get out and experience how the other "half" lives.
 

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Well I don't think I know many people would kill their own meat - right off. But I think they'd adjust, some quicker than others. And who knows, some would never be able to do it but we'd go right back to where they're just having others do it for them. I don't think it would result in a significant number of people going veg.

If you don't mind me asking, what are your thoughts on the article?
 

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I know plenty of people who would kill their own meat. I still think they should have to do it over buying factory farmed animals.

The issue isn't just whether or not people would actually go out and do it.

A lot of people wouldn't kill their own meat - this would be a good thing.

A lot of people would. Of those who did, most would learn to use most of the animal, rather than wasting, since hunting took up so much more time than stopping at the grocery store. This would reduce the number of animals killed dramatically.

Furthermore, as much as it pains me to reduce myself to utilitarian thinking on this, because I've seen the violence of taking an innocent, wild animal's life from 150 yds like a coward, an animal killed in this fashion has not suffered nearly as much as a factory farmed animal.

Therefore, all in all, everyone having to hunt for their meat would be drastically better.
 

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my thoughts on the article....

overall, i think swine need some sort of environmental enrichment to improve their welfare. however, from what i've read, pigs tire with the same toy or types of toys. hanging a chain is great at first, but they get bored with chains after a while. for this type of thing to work, i think they to a) educate producers and b) encourage the use of different types of toys on a rotational basis. i also think that by just improving housing conditions to a point where attention to social structure and feeding behaviours is taken into consideration, would be a more productive method to improving welfare. i also don't agree with just dropping something like this in a producer's lap- that will only lead to a resentful producer who is therefore less likely to comply.
 
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