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What did Swindon Animal Concern do in 2003?

Simon | 15.02.2004 19:20 | Animal Liberation

Swindon Animal Concern raised over £3500 for various animal welfare organisations during the course of 2003, and more importantly, helped to raise the general public's awareness of the impact on animal welfare of the way they conduct their day-to-day lives.

Swindon Animal Concern were set up in 1997 by members of some vegetarian social groups who wanted to hold regular street stalls to campaign on all animal welfare issues. They currently count around 25 volunteers amongst their number.

You might have seen them in the town centre during the odd Saturday, staffing a public information point with leaflets, petitions and literature on subjects relating to animal welfare, or holding street collections for animal welfare organisations. The modern world with its dominant species, Homo Sapiens, holds many perils for the rest of the animal kingdom. In response to this, there is a bewildering array of charities and organisations at both national and international level, which seek to improve the lot of our fellow animals. Swindon Animal Concern aim to bring all these causes to the attention of the person in the street, and provide a means for people to register their objection to some of the horrific deeds which are carried out in the name of food, sport or science. From anti-hunt campaigns to the World Trade Organisation, from vivisection to useful information for aspiring veggies and vegans, it's all there.

They also raised £1026.23 at the annual Walk for Whales and Dolphins at Barbury Castle, one of over 50 sponsored walks around the UK in aid of the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society -

Peititions and postcards to government ministers, companies and others in powerful positions, which were signed by members of the public at Swindon Animal Concern stalls and actions during the year, include:

*** Food, farming and animal welfare ***

If slaughterhouses were made of glass, we'd all be vegetarians.

Having evolved its way to the very top of the food chain, the animal known as Homo Sapiens has since distorted the food chain to its own ends in a very short-sighted manner. An excessive demand for meat is supplied by keeping and transporting large numbers of animals in cramped and insanitary conditions, and subjecting them to some of the most inhumane practices imaginable.

World Trade Organisation
The WTO stands for the World Trade Organisation and it is an international organisation that enforces the trade rules between member nations. The WTO rules are making it increasingly difficult for the EU to introduce good new animal welfare measures. It is true that the WTO allows the EU to ban a cruel rearing system within its own territory. However, the inability under the WTO to ban the import of meat or eggs derived from animals reared in that cruel system, acts in practice as a powerful disincentive to the EU banning the system within its own jurisdiction. Thus, for example, the EU may be deterred from banning sow stalls by its inability to prohibit the import of pigmeat from countries with lower pig welfare standards.
77 postcards, 158 petition signatures

Live Exports
Transport and slaughter standards in some European countries are extremely low. Many of the animals exported from the UK are destined for appallingly long journeys. Compassion in World Farming Investigators have collected evidence of the suffering of the animals and the often illegal transport and slaughter conditions in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece. For example, in August 1999, UK and French sheep were left at the Italian port of Bari for 48 hours waiting for a ship to take them to Greece (despite intervention from our investigators). Throughout this time they were kept locked in lorries without water in blistering heat. By the time our investigators had convinced the authorities to unload the sheep, around 115 UK lambs and 45 French sheep had died.
64 postcards, 167 petition signatures

Religious slaughter
In Britain today, millions of farmed animals face having their throats cut while fully conscious and it’s perfectly legal. The law states that animals must be stunned before they are killed in the abattoir but animals which are killed by Jewish and Moslem religious slaughter are exempt from that rule. Scientific evidence shows that these animals face severe pain and distress. The Government’s own advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, has recently called for the banning of religious slaughter. Viva! has opposed ritual slaughter for many years.!%20Campaigns/ritual_slaughter/index.htm
39 postcards

Horses exported from Poland for meat
Every year, 30,000 'meat' horses leave Poland for the slaughterhouses of Italy. There is no rest, no water and no food for many on the road to misery - a five day journey across six countries. Viva!'s campaign has helped to save some 70,000 horses a year. With your help we can save the rest.!%20Campaigns/Horses/horses.htm
255 petitions

Farrowing Crates - Viva!
The farrowing crate is one of the very worst of factory farming’s hidden horrors. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant sows are shut into these tiny cages a week before they give birth - and remain imprisoned until their piglets are three to four weeks old. The crate is just inches wider and longer than the sow’s own body: for up to thirty-five days, every four or five months, she can do nothing but stand up, lie down, suckle her piglets and stare at a blank wall. This terrible frustration can turn into aggression: more than one-in-eight piglets are savaged to death by their own mothers. Limbs aching from inactivity, skin rubbed raw by the bars and their maternal instincts utterly frustrated, mother pigs suffer from stress, pain and psychological torture in the crate.!%20Campaigns/Pig/farrowing/farrowing.htm
75 petitions

*** Vivisection ***

Diaries of despair
Confidential documents leaked from a biotech company show the government has conspired to help bypass the laws on animal experiments. Pressure for an independent inquiry is mounting.
A dedicated group of campaigners has scored an an astonishing legal success by winning the right to publish thousands of pages of secret documents. The reports, correspondence and experimental results give a unique insight into the disturbing world of vivisection.
The historic victory came after a two-and-a-half year legal battle. Uncaged Campaigns argued that it was in the public interest for the truth to emerge about the scandalous experiments. The research was conducted by Novartis subsidiary Imutran, at Huntingdon Life Sciences, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.
143 postcards, 198 petition signatures,

Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble are one of the largest manufacturers of household cleaning and personal hygiene products in the world. They produce more than 300 brands in over 140 countries, with a global turnover of over $35 billion. An estimated 50,000 animals die at the hands of Procter & Gamble every year.
Their products include Always, Ariel, Bold, Daz, Eukanuba, Fairy, Head & Shoulders, Old Spice, Pringles, Sunny Delight, Tampax and Wash & Go.
79 petitions

Warfare Experiments
Animals are being poisoned, gassed, wounded, blasted, infected and killed in warfare experiments. Most experiments take place at the Ministry of Defence Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment (CBDE) at Porton Down in Wiltshire. The number of animal warfare experiments performed in Britain increased by 51 per cent between 1992 and 1993. Many animal tests carried out at the CBDE appear to be a repetition of experiments undertaken in previous decades.
105 petitions

Animal-free research - Dr Hawden Trust
The Dr Hadwen Trust is funding non-animal research into major health problems such as cancer, heart disease, meningitis and Alzheimer's disease. None of the Trust's research uses animals or animal tissues, and all of it contributes to the replacement of animals whilst furthering research into human medical problems. Through the development and promotion of new humane techniques, our research projects could save many thousands of animals from future suffering in the laboratory, as well as making a vital contribution to the battle against these dreadful diseases.
25 postcards

Animal experiments - St Francis Foundation
The St Francis Foundation opposes all forms of animal experimentation. It is our philosophy that every creature has a right to its life - a life free from malevolent interference from mankind, a life free from infliction of pain and suffering.
239 petitions

EU Toxicity Testing -
On 29th October 2003, the animal protection community’s worst fears were realised with the publication of the EU’s final draft legislation for a new EU Chemicals Policy. This massive plan amounts to nothing more than a futile data gathering exercise, as thousands of chemicals that are already in use will be put through a battery of outdated, cruel and inaccurate animal tests. Instead, new non-animal tests are needed to gather information on chemicals. Non-animal tests are faster, cheaper and, above all, an ethically acceptable, modern way forward for chemical assessment.
75 petitions

*** Cruel sports ***

Ban the Grand National
An exceptionally large number of horses run in the race - 40. This prompts a cavalry charge at the start and a very fast pace. Bunching and bumping also occurs. Fallen horses regularly bring down others who then land on top of them.
The Grand National race is almost two circuits, covering a distance of four miles 856 yards - an extreme distance for a horse race. Most steeplechase races are under three miles, two furlongs. There are 16 unique fences, 14 of which are jumped twice. The Chair and the Water Jump are jumped only once, making a total of 30 jumps. Usually distance races at other courses contain no more than twenty smaller fences.
42 postcards

Ban Hunting
Having reached our target of one million signatures, we handed banners and boxes full of signed faces into Downing Street on Report Stage day of the Hunting Bill, the 30th of June. Tony Banks MP, Sir Teddy Taylor MP and Sandra Gidley MP and anti hunt celebrities Lisa B, Wendy Turner and Jakki Degg accompanied CPHA staff at Downing Street and showed their support for the campaign.
52 postcards, 240 petition signatures

Greyhound racing
Greyhound Action petition calling for a total ban on Greyhound racing.
(web site)
467 petitions

*** Clothing and animal welfare ***

Save the Kangaroo
Australia exports approximately 3 million kangaroo skins, worth more than £12 million, to Europe and the USA every year. The vast majority of these skins are used to make football boots, some are used for golf gloves, baseball mitts and other sports goods. Products are often labelled "K leather" or "RKT" (rubberised kangaroo technology) to disguise the fact that they are made from the skins of butchered kangaroos.
Each year, the Australian government sets a quota for the number of kangaroos the industry can kill. For 2003, the quota is 6.5million. They use euphemisms such as ‘humanely harvesting’ a ‘renewable resource’ in an attempt to cloud the fact that they are authorising the slaughter of their country’s wildlife for profit.
50 postcards each, to Adidas, shop managers and the Australian Prime Minister, and 114 petition signatures

Fur Trade
A travelling market arrived in Swindon one weekend, and one of its stalls was selling cuddly toy animals made of real animal fur, as well as other fur and animal products. When alerted to the presence of real fur in the products on sale, a few shoppers continued to buy them, however most were utterly horrified and were only too pleased to sign petitions against the fur trade. A few were even incensed to the point of having some sharp words with the stallholders about their goods. Needless to say, business was not very good at that stall when compared to the kitchenware stall next door, and the stallholders might decide to leave the fur products at home next time.
115 petitions on the fur trade, 67 on cat & dog fur

*** Wildlife ***

Exotic Birds
There is no straightforward way of ascertaining whether a bird in a pet shop has been bred in captivity or taken from the wild. By asking the manager, you are not guaranteed correct information - it may be that he/she does not know the full history.
Imported wild-caught birds are typically cheaper to purchase than their captive-bred counterparts, which is why they are still traded in such large numbers. 88% of parrots, parakeets, lovebirds and related species - some 23,920 individuals - imported into the UK between 1995 and 2000 were wild-caught. According to a recent WWF report, the UK imports a greater proportion for the pet trade than Europe as a whole.
90 petitions

Ruddy Duck Cull
Having just slaughtered thousands more ruddy ducks in a so-called trial cull, DEFRA, the environment ministry, is poised to attempt to wipe out virtually the entire UK population of these beautiful birds. Why? Because the duck is flying to Spain to mate with endangered white-headed ducks who had been hunted to near extinction. The result is an 'impure' hybrid, which won't be tolerated by top table conservation groups and DEFRA.
80 petitions

Ivory Trade
Combined with the many other threats elephants face, such as habitat loss, increased poaching could spell extinction for some populations. Fewer than 660,000 elephants remain in the wild, including a maximum of only 50,000 in all of Asia. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) believes there is only one way to prevent the needless deaths of more of these highly intelligent and socially complex creatures. That is to make sure the ivory sales do not take place, or that at the very least they do so under the strictest conditions possible.
56 petitions

National Federation of Badger Groups
Since the early 1970s, badgers have been blamed for infecting cattle with bovine TB (bTB) and over 30,000 badgers have been killed by the Government. But there is no conclusive proof of a link and most badgers are not even infected with bTB. Killing badgers has failed and bTB is increasing in cattle.
The use of snares in Britain is inflicting needless suffering and death upon badgers and other wildlife. The NFBG is at the forefront of the campaign to ban the use of these cruel and indiscriminate killers.
110 petitions on snaring, 106 on the badger cull

Circus Animals
Touring circuses may cover thousands of miles a year, carrying animals from site to site in transporters and cages on the backs of lorries known as beast wagons. Moving location each week means they spend most of the year in temporary accommodation.
The animals may be confined for hours, even days, in their travelling cages, with their only respite being either limited time in an exercise cage, being rehearsed, or performing. It is impossible for a travelling menagerie to provide circus animals with the facilities they need.
Yet travelling circuses in the UK have recently included such diverse animals as lions, tigers, dogs, domestic cats, reptiles such as alligators and snakes, camels, llamas, parrots, ducks, budgerigars, horses and elephants. In Europe, you can find polar bears, rhinos and hippos.
91 petitions

Keeping Monkeys as Pets
Primates are wild animals with complex social needs and do not make suitable pets. All monkeys suffer mentally and physically from being kept in captivity and as pets they are often kept in small barren enclosures, isolated from others of their own kind.
There are an estimated 1,500 pet monkeys in the UK. We have been able to rescue a few individuals but there are not enough sanctuaries for all the monkeys in need. We want to tackle the problem at the source and stop the breeding and selling of primates as pets.
64 petitions

*** Money raised ***

The £3539.36 raised by Swindon Animal Concern during 2003 was sent to the following organisations:

£1026.23 : Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (sponsored walk)
£818.29 : Cotswold Swan & Wild Bird Rescue
£171.64 : Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals)
£150.75 : Earthkind
£133.11 : CIWF (Compassion in World Farming)
£121.84 : Animal Aid
£116.25 : Hillside Animal Sanctuary
£100.00 : Safe Haven for Donkeys
£100.00 : Animals Asia
£100.00 : Greyhound Action
£96.75 : NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society)
£85.00 : SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty)
£85.00 : Uncaged
£82.50 : Respect for Animals
£80.00 : Pewsey Hunt Sabs
£40.00 : Naturewatch
£30.00 : Farmed Animal Action
£32.00 : Vegetarian Society
£30.00 : Monkey Sanctuary
£30.00 : Federation of Badger Groups
£30.00 : Vegan Society
£20.00 : LACS (League Against Cruel Sports)
£20.00 : NAHC (National Anti-Hunt Campaign) - are listed at
£15.00 : SNGP (Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs)
£10.00 : Anglican Society for Animals
£10.00 : Dr. Hadwen Trust
£15.00 : PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
£10.00 : Europeans for Medical Advancement

*** Go veggie! ***

One of the biggest differences you can make to the welfare of millions of animals (and to the environment) is to stop eating them.

*** Notes for Editors ***

For more information about Swindon Animal Concern, contact:

Marilyn Harrison
denisvegan01 at tiscali dot co dot uk
(01793) 644796



Hide the following 3 comments


15.02.2004 19:33

When I mentioned numbers of petitions, I actually meant numbers of signatures on petitions. Sorry about any confusion.


and the McLibel film show was good as well

15.02.2004 20:53

As a spokesperson for Swindon Socialist Alliance, I would like to say we were very pleased with the film show we organised jointly with Animal Concern, showing the short documentary about the McLibel two.

About 40 people came, it was advertised by word of mouth, in the Evening Advertiser and through the Swindon Friends of the Earth list.

What was encouraging about the meeting is that despite the fact that many socialists (me included) are not veggies, or even opposed to animal experiments and many animal concern activists are not socialists, we were able to find common ground, and have a productive joint meeting. Indeed quite a few people came along who were neither socialists or animial activists, but were interested in discussing how to oppose agri-business, GM, etc.

We all learned from the discussion, and have increawdthe netweork of good activists that we know. There is common ground to campaign against agri-busioness and the burger culture that is not only helping to destroy the environment, but is also repsonsible for the disastrous rise in obesity, diabetes, you name it.

Hope we can build on these friendships in the future

Andy newman
Secretary - Swindon Socialist Alliance.

Andy Newman

Congratulations to all involved

04.03.2004 05:13

Excellent work by SAC, has inspired me to to do more and get involved wherever i can

Well done all!


Chris Gale

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