Our work for Animal welfare

Our work with Compassion In World Farming

The Dispensary shop only stocks vegan and vegetarian products. We are committed to working for the ethical and humane treatment of animals and several years ago we started a local support group for Compassion In World Farming, Whitby Compassionate Food, find us here.

Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today, Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, they have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa.

We have worked to support the principles of the humane and respectful treatment of all sentient creatures and in our work with Compassion In World Farming our campaigns have been focused on Compassion’s mission which they outline below:

We believe every farm animal deserves a life worth living, free from cages, confinement, and suffering: free to roam and express their natural behaviours. The welfare and wellbeing of these intelligent, sensitive creatures is at the heart of all we do. 

In addition to causing immense animal suffering, factory farming is also extremely harmful to human and environmental health. So by campaigning to end it, we’re helping to shape a better future for animals, people and the planet.

Compassion in World Farming, 2021

Each year on June 14th we have taken action for Global Ban Live Transport Day, from petitions on the street, to awareness days in our shop, to displaying Martin the calf in our shop window with his message to Ban Live Exports.

Martin the calf

This year we sent this message to our members.

Worldwide, every year, millions of farm animals are forced to endure journeys of hundreds, or even thousands of miles, from countries with animal protection laws to those that have none, where they face terrible abuse.

14 June 2015 marks a live export tragedy where 13,000 sheep lost their lives. These sheep had been loaded onto the Trust1 cargo ship in Romania, initially they were taken to Jordan where it was reported that over 5,000 sheep had died from dehydration, starvation and exhaustion.

The Trust1 eventually set sail again – attempting, unsuccessfully, to dock at numerous ports over the next two weeks. By the 14 June the Trust1 finally docked in Somalia, by this point all 13,000 of the sheep had lost their lives.

Since this tragic event, similar live-exports-related disasters have occurred on almost a yearly basis all over the world. This year we’re also saying “never again” on behalf of the over 2,500 calves killed following the Karim Allah & Elbeik ships’ disaster, after over 2 months trapped at sea, as well as the hundreds of thousands of animals that suffered during the Suez Canal blockage. Both incidents took place in the first few months of 2021. Every year animal activists from around the world come together on 14 June to call for an end to this abhorrent trade. And there’s hope for a better future – just weeks ago New Zealand banned all live exports by sea. Now we need other countries to do the same. Enough is enough – It is time to #BanLiveExports

Years of campaigning have paid off as now the UK will become the first European country to end live exports.

The second Animal Welfare Bill was launched on 8th June as part of the government’s ambition to ‘protect pets, livestock and wild animals’.

On live exports, DEFRA said the practice caused farm animals to experience ‘distress and injury’ due to ‘excessively long journeys during export’.

“We will become the first European country to end this practice,” Defra explained.

“EU rules prevented any changes to these journeys, but the UK government is now free to pursue plans which would see a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening.”

The announcement was the second piece of legislation introduced recently aimed at boosting animal welfare.

It followed the government’s decision to formally recognise animals as sentient in law through the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.

Though this has been hugely encouraging, we still have much work to do to ensure that no farm animal suffers here or abroad. It is a big task but if we work together, we can make a big difference.

We are privileged to work with such a dedicated team at Compassion In World Farming. Their many campaigns include:

Banning the caging of farm animals, banning the export of live animals, rethinking fish as sentient creatures, capable of suffering and feeling pain, campaign for honest food labelling, campaign to highlight the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming and more.

Please visit www.ciwf.org.uk for more info on how to help create a better world for farm animals  and if you would like to join us in our local group please contact us at info@thedispensary.org.uk we would love to hear from you.

Our work with Crustacean Compassion

Having grown up and lived in the Whitby area for most of my life, and as someone concerned with animal welfare, the fate of crabs and lobsters has been something that troubled me greatly. One particular evening early in a winter lockdown last year I saw an open – backed van containing crates of live crabs on the street near our shop. I went to get our car hoping to catch the driver and negotiate their release somehow, but on my return the van had gone. It left me with a deep sense of responsibility – that I needed to do something to help these vulnerable creatures who are routinely exposed to cruelty and inhumane slaughtering on a scale that would cause an outcry if it was meted out to a vertebrate. There is overwhelming evidence, supported by the British Veterinary Association that these animals feel pain.  I searched the internet and came across Crustacean Compassion, an award-winning organisation dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans, (which include crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish).

Since then we have been working with Crustacean Compassion to bring about a change in the law which would mean crustaceans are protected by Animal Welfare legislation and cannot be, for instance boiled whilst alive and fully conscious.

We had a letter published in our local newspaper The Whitby Gazette early in 2021 and then very recently an article in the same paper, the text of which is below:

It’s time to protect some of our most vulnerable animals

On the 11 May 2021, the government announced a raft of animal welfare reforms, including the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which will ensure animals are recognised as sentient beings that experience feelings. This important piece of legislation could protect animals throughout the UK, post Brexit. 

However, many people are concerned that some of our most vulnerable animals might be omitted from the Bill – decapod crustaceans.  As a coastal town, these animals have a special significance for Whitby.

Decapods, including crabs and lobsters, are now widely regarded in the scientific community as sentient animals, capable of feeling pain. They are protected in the animal welfare legislation of several other countries, but not yet in the UK.

Crustacean Compassion is an award-winning organisation, dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans. Many leading experts, professional bodies and animal welfare organisations, including the British Veterinary Association, supported Crustacean Compassion’s campaign to protect decapod crustaceans.

As a result, Defra commissioned an investigation into whether decapods (and cephalopods) are sentient animals, capable of feeling pain. This was completed last year, yet the findings have not yet been publicly released, resulting in a danger that these animals may be excluded from animal welfare legislation, including the Sentience Bill and Animal Welfare Act.

The Sentience Bill could provide the first ever reprieve for the millions of decapods who are boiled alive, or are otherwise killed in brutal ways without any pre-slaughter stunning. An edible crab, boiled alive, may remain conscious for at least three minutes.

Maisie Tomlinson, co-founder and co-Director of Crustacean Compassion said:

“We know that many people in coastal communities such as Whitby now feel that cramming animals into brightly lit and overcrowded tanks, leaving them for hours out in the sun, and sending them to processors who will boil them alive is no longer acceptable, now that their ability to feel pain and suffer is so widely accepted. We urge Defra to release the report into decapod sentience, and encourage the fishing and food industry to work with us to find solutions that put high welfare British shellfish on the map” 

Please write to your MP, requesting that s/he contacts Defra Minister Zac Goldsmith urging him to ensure decapod crustaceans are included in the definition of ‘animal’ in the Sentience Bill and any other relevant legislation.

You can use this link to send an email to your MP.

We have been privileged to support and help Crustacean Compassion which is run by a team of wonderfully dedicated people for whom we have so much respect. In their own words, they explain who they are and what they do:

Crustacean Compassion is an award-winning animal welfare organisation dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans. We are a group of animal welfare professionals who are shocked by the inhumane treatment of crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish, particularly in the food industry, given what is now known about their sentience. We founded the organisation when we heard that crabs were being sold alive fully immobilised in shrinkwrap in a UK supermarket; and that the RSPCA were powerless to act as the animals were not covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Now we engage with legislators and policy makers to strengthen and enforce animal welfare law and policy; we work to persuade and enable companies to sell higher welfare products across their shellfish product ranges; and we seek to educate both the public and policy makers on the science of decapod crustacean sentience and on their humane treatment and care.

Our work is grounded in scientific evidence. Furthermore, we do not campaign against the use of decapod crustaceans as food. We welcome good practice in the food industry and merely believe that all sentient creatures deserve humane treatment, determined by the needs of their species. The sentience of any animal can never be 100% conclusively proven, but where doubt still exists alongside strong positive evidence, we believe that the benefit of the doubt should apply and simple measures should be taken to ensure that no animal suffers needlessly for our plates.

Crustacean Compassion, 2021

If you would like to find out more and support the work of Crustacean Compassion please visit crustaceancompassion.org.uk

There are many actions you can take which could have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the lives of millions of crustaceans.

Our other support for animal welfare work

In addition to our work with Compassion In World Farming and Crustacean Compassion we collect money for several animal welfare charities such as

  • Our local Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary, which does a brilliant job of caring for wildlife in need. In their own words –
    Providing a rescue, rehabilitation and release service for wild animals in Yorkshire and County Durham. We regularly take injured wild animals we find to Alex and her team at the sanctuary. It’s really wonderful to have such a dedicated charity so close to us.
  • SPANA – in their own words – Established in 1923, SPANA’s goal is simple: to improve the welfare of working animals in the world’s poorest communities. Through three key areas – treatingtraining and teaching – we’re inspiring others to act in the best interests of working animals while also providing practical, professional and sustainable solutions today. We recognise that the fortunes of working animals and people go hand in hand: in the developing world, just one working animal can support an extended family of up to 30 people. SPANA’s work improves the lives of working animals while supporting the communities that depend on them. We rely entirely on our loyal supporters to help us in our huge but vital task.
  • NAVS – National Anti-Vivisection Society – in their own words: The National Anti-Vivisection Society, founded in 1875, is the world’s first body to challenge the use of animals in research and continues to lead the campaign today. NAVS has spearheaded the adoption of advanced, non-animal methods; exposed laboratory animal suffering and breaches of regulations with our undercover investigations; funded non-animal scientific and medical research; educated public and media about the flaws of animal research and provided legislators detailed briefings to support the replacement of animals in research with advanced methods.

We would like to thank all of you who support our work to improve the welfare of animals. There is so much suffering and so much still to change, but together, step by step we can make a huge difference.

We can be a light in the world for all sentient creatures.

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”

The Dalai Lama

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