24 October 2001
Celebs sign up for animal welfare

By Isabel Davies

CELEBRITIES and MPs descended on Westminster to sign a life-size cardboard cut-out of a cow and support better farm-animal welfare.

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe and broadcaster Sarah Kennedy were among 150 people trying to promote high-welfare food products.

The event, organised by the RSPCA on Wednesday (24 October), aims to encourage people to actually buy more welfare-friendly products.

It came as a group of 14 leading academics accused the public of failing to support the welfare efforts of British farmers.

Consumer apathy is leading to problems in the British livestock sector which is already reeling from foot-and-mouth, they claimed.

But a new survey by Gallup suggests that animal welfare is more important to 60% of shoppers now than before the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

Over 2000 adults were questioned over the telephone between the end of September and the first week of October.

RSPCA Freedom Food spokesperson Mike Sharpe said consumers could help improve welfare conditions with their purchasing power.

But too many left their ethics at the supermarket door, he added.

“Farmers cant be expected to continue to invest in improving conditions if the public wont support them at point of purchase.

“We need to make sure there is a robust marketplace for those producers who are farming to higher welfare standards.”

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