EFOE News December 2010
No meeting in December – instead it’s a
At La Siesta Tapas Bar,
Wednesday 15 December from 8.00 pm onwards
If you haven’t been to this restaurant before, you can see menus/prices at
are welcome. It would be useful (though not essential) to let
We’ll probably be meeting for a pre-dinner drink at one of the nearby pubs, to be decided after a little market research (tough job but someone has to do it) – will confirm later
The Sustainable Livestock Bill
The Bill had its Second Reading in earlier this month, and was debated for five hours. Unfortunately it fell short of the 100 yes votes that were needed for it to proceed to Committee stage.
Campaigning had persuaded more than enough MPs to support the Bill. However, as the debate wore on, and hostile MPs made it impossible to start the voting, some supportive MPs were obliged to leave for other commitments. (Ealing North MP Steve Pound was there and voted in favour. The other two Ealing MPs did not vote.)
The Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill received neither debating time nor a vote.
Both Bills will be allocated new Second Reading dates in the New Year, but neither will be guaranteed debating time.
While this is disappointing, it isn’t all bad news: the Government has conceded that action is needed to tackle the environmental aspects of factory farming, although they did not want to be pinned down to a legal commitment. They agree that the destruction caused to South American habitat by growing soy for animal feed is a problem.
In the coming months they plan to bring forward some of the policy changes that FoE wants – new rules for buying the food served in schools, and hospitals, and new labelling to make it clear when food is British.
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has proposed that the issue of sustainable farming should be discussed further at a conference in the New Year.
It’s a start, anyway. Now the task is to build on the
support of those MPs who were in favour of the Bill and to work with the many
organisations who joined in with the call for a new
Law. These include the RSPB, War on Want, Compassion in World Farming, the
National Heart Forum, Sustain and numerous others. Even the National Farmers’
October Meeting (AGM)
No change of officers: Jules Tennick continues at Co-ordinator, Catharine Browne as Treasurer, and Virginia Fassnidge as Chair.
We reviewed our activities since the previous AGM.
Ealing’s local website www.ealingtoday.co.uk now lists recent planning applications in the Ealing and Hanwell areas (can be found under the Property section on the home page). Would anyone be prepared to scan this regularly and report on anything that looks as though it might raise environmental concerns?
Mega Dairies? No Thanks!
It is also encouraging to know that
a number of MPs across all parties have expressed concern at the plans by
Nocton Dairies to build a vast factory complex housing up to 8000 cows. The
cows would be kept indoors for most of their lives: “zero grazing”. This “farm”
would be the first of its kind in
This reduces cows to the level of machines, and deprives them of opportunity for any kind of normal behaviour. Cows bred for very high milk yields (more than 10,000 litres per annum compared with around 7,000 in conventional dairy farms) are at risk from mastitis, lameness, and bacterial infections. They are exhausted after three or four lactations and are slaughtered when they are about 5 years old.
Quite apart from the animal welfare issue, such mega-dairies are likely to drive small farmers out of business by driving down dairy prices to a level that they aren’t able to compete with. Many are already struggling. As Compassion in World Farming points out, a litre of orange juice costs £2.20, and a litre of milk 74p; a pint of beer is £3.50 while a pint of milk is 45p. The appeal of cheap milk seems obvious, and yet a recent (June 2010) survey conducted by MORI for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) found that three in five adults questioned said they would not buy milk produced in huge dairy sheds.
To date 74 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 942 (Not in My Cuppa and Cows Belong in Fields campaigns).
For more information on Nocton’s proposal, and on welfare of farm animals in general, see:
Compassion in World Farming’s website www.ciwf.org.uk
WSPA’s website http://notinmycuppa.com
Friends of the Earth have produced a briefing, Factory farming’s hidden impacts, which you can download:
Helping people change the way they think and act on energy
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has produced a series of advice leaflets telling people how they can cut their fuel bills and keep their homes warm.
They are aimed at helping the general public and are written in easily understandable, non-technical language.
There are 10 leaflets in the range – loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid-wall insulation, the new feed-in tariff, damp and condensation, using your storage heater, using Economy 7, reading your gas or electricity meter, understanding your gas bill, and understanding your electricity bill – and more are planned.
The leaflets also include a list of 15 simple, handy household tips to help cut household fuel bills and improve people’s quality of living.
They are available to download free from http://www.cse.org.uk/pages/skills/advice/energy-advice-leaflets
Over half the
For instance, fat from cooking is bad for birds, because the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing which is not good for birds’ feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria and so it potentially bad for birds’ health. Lard and beef suet on their own are fine, though, since they re-solidify after warming, and as they are pure fat they are not so suitable for bacteria to breed on.
This advice comes from the RSPB website, where you can find more advice on what food to give the birds in your garden. Don’t forget to provide water for them in freezing conditions.
To the Woods!
The Woodland Trust has launched an interactive website to encourage people to go out and explore the woods in their area. The site will include searchable maps, inspiring ideas, free activities and space to upload your photos and tips.
Just go to http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/visit-woods/Pages/visitwoods.aspx and enter your postcode to get information on woodlands within a radius of 20 miles.
Send an e-card
If you want to save on paper and postage this Christmas, consider sending a Friends of the Earth e-card. They have some excellent designs, including one of the Aurora Borealis.
You’ll find them here: http://www.foe.co.uk/living/cards.html
Friends of the Earth has
launched an affiliate scheme with the
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!