Category: UK News

EXPOSE: Fashion Before Welfare – Angora Agony

Last year PETA released a horrifying video of angora rabbits being tortured en mass for the sake of fashion. The video is too upsetting for me to post but you can see it here.

Angora Agony

Angora Agony

It is estimated there are around 50 million rabbits farmed in China for angora fur and the country accounted for 90 per cent of the 4,700 tons produced in 2012.

Angora ‘wool’ cannot be harvested humanely in the vast quantities needed for designer or high street fashion. Both plucking and shaving of live rabbits is stressful, scary and painful and ultimately unnecessary. Add to this, the awful living conditions these poor creatures have to endure and it culminates in a hideous existence just for the sake of fashion.

I contacted a wide range of high street and designer fashion stores last year asking them a few questions about how and where they source their angora. I also asked them to stop using it and to pledge to NEVER sell it again. Im pleased to say I had a good uptake and the following retailers pledged to never / no longer stock angora:

  • ASOS
  • Boden
  • Borgeois Boheme
  • Calvin Klein
  • Dunelm
  • Elizabetta Italian Scarves, Shawls & Wraps
  • Freemans
  • Feelgood Handbags
  • Gap
  • H&M
  • Mango
  • New Look
  • Polarn O. Pyret
  • Stella McCartney
  • The Range
  • Ted Baker
  • Timberland
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • The North Face
  • QVC

Im pleased to say that ALL of the above companies have stayed true to their word! And many other large retainers have done the same. Please support these retailers and contact them with messages of praise 🙂

However – not everyone is willing to play nice and too many retailers are preferring to put fashion before welfare.

Many companies have tried to be clever and disable the word ‘angora’ in their search bar on their website. Meaning that it would appear that they do not stock angora clothes but if you dig deeper and look at individual items, then angora products are actually still being sold. Others have decided to change the materials listed to ‘wool mix’ in order to disguise the use of angora.

Who Sells Angora?
These are some of the retailers who are currently happy to sell angora products:

Marks & Spencers and Topshop may still be selling angora – PETA says they have pledged to stop but the companies social media responses say they have an ‘ethical sourcing policy’ – so they wont confirm that that do or don’t sell angora.

 

The worst companies so far…

French Connection clearly dont give a FCUK about rabbits – quite hypocritical really considering they decided to use a cute bunny in their recent store posters! They will not enter into any dialogue with me or many of the others that have contacted them.

FCUK Angora via Twitter

FCUK Angora via Twitter

Monsoon are happy to respond to questions via social media…however they just cut and paste the same answer over and over. They state they use ‘humane’ farms but refuse to give any further details.

Jules are another company that happily use the rabbit / hare image for promotion – yet continue to stock angora products and refuse to answer my questions about their suppliers and sourcing methods.

There are of course, other companies out there providing angora products but these 3 have been the worst with regards to replying to my questions over the past year.

If you feel that the agony of angora for fashion should be stopped then please consider doing one or all of the following:

Social media.
Contact retailers via Facebook (links above), Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. Leave a polite comment (or review if that option is available) and ask them:

1) Do they source their angora from China?

2) Is this plucked or shaved from live rabbits?

3) Will they consider stopping the use of angora?

Email.
You can contact the companies directly via a head office email to ask the same questions.

In Store.
Ask to speak to a manager to ask the same questions. They may not know the answers but should be able to tell you which of their stock (if any) contains angora and give you contact details of head office.

Boycott!
Obviously – don’t shop in stores that sell angora products and check the labels before making any purchases.

Spread the word!
Lastly – help make a difference by spreading the word that angora clothes = torture not fashion. You can join the Facebook group ‘Against Angora Cruelty’ to keep up to date with the campaign.

Please let me know of any responses you receive.

 

 

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EXPOSE: More Horror Hutches

After the Poundstretchers Prison campaign, that successfully saw the removal of the 2ft rabbit ‘deluxe’ hutch…I decided to check out some other retailers that feel 3ft hutches are suitable for rabbits.

A quick internet search showed that unfortunately, there are still far too many retailers that are happy to sell items that actively promote animal suffering. Here are just a few:

 

1) This example from EasiPet is especially bad as its just a single story:
(and their Facebook page)

2) This particular company, Pet Market Online,  seem extremely proud of their horror hutch! They even state ” Each and every one of our high quality bunny hutches is purposely built with a large amount of space to allow your rabbit to feel safe and have privacy when they need it the most.”Really??? (and their Facebook page)

3) Double hutch as sold by The Sports HQ, but still well under the recommend size: (and their Facebook page)

4) This next offering, for sale by World Stores, is extraordinarily special – as it is neither a run or a hutch but some scary hybrid. Clearly ‘ALF’ doesn’t stand for Animal Liberation Front here! (and their Facebook page)

In fact – World Stores seem to offer a whole host of horrible hutches!

So, if like me…you are still hot under the collar about horror hutches, please consider contacting the retailers and manufacturers that are touting these prisons. As always, be polite but firm. We have seen how powerful social media is so lets continue to use it to help change lives.

All is not lost!!! Check out The Rabbit Welfare Associations ‘Retail Charter’ which highlights some fabulous manufacturers and retailers who have pledged to only sell items that promote animal welfare 🙂 All part of the ‘A Hutch Is Not Enough’ campaign.

As a good friend of mine said… “Together we can make a difference”.

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Poundstretcher Prison Withdrawn!

Great news!

Poundstretcher have just publicly announced that they will be removing all of the horrid rabbit prison hutches from sale with immediate effect.

“Dear Customers,

The Pet Hut, a subsidiary of Poundstretcher, has taken the decision to remove The Rabbit Hutch from all of its stores across the UK with immediate effect. As a supplier of pet products and accessories, we take the welfare of all animals extremely seriously and will not be purchasing this product again in the future.

For all PR enquiries please contact:
Rebecca Williams
Rewired PR
0121 236 2132 or [email protected]

This is a fabulous example of people working together to make a change. Social media is a powerful tool – one that companies often underestimate.

However, for me….the battle may be won but the war still continues. Poundstretcher have still not responded to ANY of my communications and I still have outstanding questions (see previous post).

I also want to find out if The Pet Hut and Poundstretchers will consider working with the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund to ensure this type of product is never sold in their stores again.

A BIG thank you to everyone that has helped share this message so far – please continue! You can contact Poundstretchers to thank them for removing the Prison Hutch from sale and also politely urge them sign up to the RWAF Retail Charter to ensure they only provide quality items in the future.

And of course….keep checking the stores to ensure they are sticking to their word 🙂

 

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EXPOSE: Pound Stretcher’s Rabbit Prison.

Pound Stretchers Rabbit Prison

Pound Stretchers Rabbit Prison

For just £129.99 you too could be the proud owner of a ‘Deluxe’ rabbit prison :/ Oh wait….why would you want to be…

This awful enclosure was spotted in a Pound Stretcher branch a few days ago. They have a specific part of the store called The Pet Hut which stocks all sorts of bits and bobs for your companion animals. Every penny counts…but apparently rabbit welfare does not.

Smaller than a laboratory rabbits enclosure – this horrible prison is being marketed as a top end treat for your cherished pet. Personally – I don’t even think this is a suitable size to house rats in let alone rabbits. It does not allow a rabbit to participate in its 5 Freedoms (breaking points 2, 4 and 5).

Not only is it TINY! (approx 2ft square) the ramps are so steep and it looks like it has a wire bottom floor. Not good. Most average rabbits couldn’t sit in this comfortably let alone live in it with their friend (as rabbits should live in bonded, neutered pairs).

Many complaints have been made to Pound Stretchers facebook page but unfortunately, rather than replying, they are deleting the majority of the comments. Others are e-mailing the head office and a lucky few have received this reply:

“The Rabbit Hutch has been sourced for our stores from a UK supplier. The legal size requirement for this product has been met by the manufacturer as well as the organizations who set the guidelines.

We have made a decision to not purchase this product in the future for our stores.

Thank you for your time.

Poundstretcher

Sounds like a cop out to me. Interestingly enough, they have not responded to my questions:

1) Will this item be removed from stock immediately or will it be discounted and placed on sale?

2) What resource did you use for the ‘legal size requirement’ and which organisations did you contact?

3) Do you currently stock any other hutches that are 4ft or smaller?

The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund are the UK’s leading source of rabbit advice. Funnily enough, they were not contacted by Pound Stretchers with regards to minimum housing guidelines. They run the ‘A Hutch Is Not Enough‘ campaign which strives to educate manufacturers, retailers and the general public as to what enclosures rabbits need to live a happy and healthy life.

Their current MINIMUM guidelines clearly state that the hutch / cage should be at least 6ft x 2ft x 2ft with full time access to an attached run that should be at least 8ft x 4ft.

If you feel, like I do, that Pound Stretchers are promoting animal cruelty by selling this horrendous rabbit prison then please consider doing one or all of the following:

1) Leave a complaint on their Facebook page
www.facebook.com/Poundstretcher

2) Leave a 1 star review on their Facebook page

3) Email your complaint to Pound Stretchers
[email protected]

4) Email your complaint to The Pet Hut
http://www.thepet-hut.co.uk/contact

5) Boycott your local store

Please do let me know (by using the comments section) if you get any replies.

 

 

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UK NEWS: New Rabbit Clinic

Roll out the red carpet and put out the bunting – a fabulous rabbit clinic has opened in Scotland!

Image courtesy of Rabbits Require Rights Scotland

Image courtesy of Rabbits Require Rights Scotland

Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital, at Glasgow University Vet School, has opened a Rabbit Wellness Clinic set up by Veterinarian Livia Benato. She aims to raise awareness of rabbit welfare both before and after a pet has been purchased. She will also be working with student Vets in their final year – educating them on the real needs of rabbits and how to examine, house and treat them.

This is a great leap forward for rabbit healthcare. The clinic will be offering plenty of up to date advice including husbandry, diet and training as well as running regular appointments for preventative healthcare and other veterinary needs.

Unfortunately, not all vets are rabbit savvy. The ‘exotics’ training they receive can differ greatly depending on which university they attend. Often, many vets get taught a very brief and basic overview of the rabbit and have to undertake extra learning after graduation if they choose to learn more about lagomorphs – but this is not mandatory. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund hold a list of vets which have answered a questionnaire about their rabbit services and experience. This is available to the public at no cost. Just contact the RWAF for more info.

I sincerely hope this model of rabbit clinics will spread throughout the whole of the UK.

To read the full Evening Times article, click here: Whats up Doc?

Oh and if you like the above picture…check out Rabbits Require Rights!

 

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NEW Slim Size Microchip

Bayer Slim Microchip

Bayer Slim Microchip

Bayer have announced the release of a NEW Tracer microchip that is smaller than the existing one. The implanter needle has also been reduced in diameter.

Personally, in my job as a Veterinary Nurse, I have never had a problem placing a normal sized microchip into any cat / dog / rabbit / guinea pig or tortoise – however, I have experienced a lot of anxiety and resistance from the owners of the animals. They think that the procedure to place the microchip (just an injection) will really hurt the animal. If the injection is carried out correctly this is not usually the case. Occasionally the injection site can bleed a little (always seems to be the white coloured animals as it looks worse!) but most animals have an area of skin that is quite loose and baggy with minimal nerve endings – meaning its quick and easy to place the microchip with minimum discomfort.

As micro chipping is such an important thing to do, then I’m happy to see any new products and initiatives that can help keep animals safe, identifiable and more easily reunited with their loved ones.

There are also other good reasons for micro chipping that can make your life easier as a pet owner! Sureflap are makers of a cat flap that will only open for a specific pet. The cat flap scans the cats microchip and only opens when a pre programmed match is found. This can stop other cats entering your property and causing havoc with your current pets.

The same company are also developing a feeding bowl (Surefeed) that works on the same principle. This means that it would be easier to feed your pets a prescription diet / medication etc in a multi pet house hold as the bowl will only allow access to the ‘chosen’ pet. This should be available from Summer 2014.

Read the full  Vetsonline article here:
Slim Bayer Tracer Microchip

 

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UK News: Secrecy over animal testing to be ended

BUAV logo

BUAV logo

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is today quoted in the Independent in an article which reports that Home Office Minister Norman Baker will today announce a review of Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the so-called secrecy clause, with a view to ending the blanket ban on the Government releasing information about animal experiments into the public domain.

The Liberal Democrat minister added: “It will enable more scrutiny of what’s going on in the name of science.

See the Independent article here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-secrecy-over-animal-testing-ended-with-public-right-to-know-9307954.html

 

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Expose: Freeads Easter Bunny Special

Freeads Easter Promotion

Freeads Easter Promotion

Where do we start…

Internet sales and ‘free’ advertising has boomed over the past few years. Unfortunately its not just old furniture and games that are on offer. Many of these sites will happily let the general public sell all sorts of animals including rabbits. Hundreds and thousands of rabbits.

Some sellers are more genuine and truly need to re home their pet. However,  many ads are actually rabbit breeders that are purely making money in theonline trade of livestock. There are even ads that state they are happy to swap a puppy for a mobile phone! Many of these animals are in bred, ill and often die before their 1st birthday.

This has been a rising problem and luckily, there is now a group of individuals (with representatives from many different animal charities) who are monitoring these sites and sales. The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) has set up a list of 18 minimum standards that are endorsed by DEFRA. These standards aim to reduce the amount of unsuitable animal adverts and weed out the ‘bad’ sellers. This does, of course, rely on the selling websites signing up to the minimum standards, monitoring and removing unsuitable posts.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel and changes are slowly being made. However, when Freeads decide to run this kind of Easter Promotion, a lot of good work is undone. The above photo shows the worst kind of message. Cheap to advertise, cheap to buy, single rabbits and very unsuitable hutch accommodation – all perfect for your kids at Easter 🙁

If you agree that pets should not be sold online without the websites and the sellers having to adhere to strict welfare guidelines, then please consider contacting DEFRA, your local council and the individual selling sites to politely point this out.

And of course…boycott the sites that will not comply!

 

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