30th March 2004; immediate use
M&S cruelty to ducks provokes local protests
Local campaigners expose shocking conditions discovered on duck farms which supply Marks & Spencer
Campaigners carrying banners saying 'M&S Easter Duck Horror!' and 'No Water, No Life' will be protesting and distributing leaflets outside a local branch of Marks & Spencer this Saturday April 3rd. The protesters will be urging customers not to buy duck meat.
As part of a national Day of Action organised by animal campaign group Viva!, M&S customers will be shown how one of Britain's favourite birds is now reared. On the Day of the Ducks! animal campaign group, Viva!, will reveal the squalid, cramped and filthy factory-farm conditions in which ducks are kept by Manor Farm Ducklings, one of Marks & Spencer's main suppliers.
Sir Paul McCartney, Kate Ford (Coronation Street's Tracy Barlow), Amanda Holden, Joanna Lumley and Martin Shaw have all joined our campaign to urge consumers to boycott duck meat.
Undercover filming by Viva! at Manor Farm sites shows distressing scenes of neglect and suffering. Investigators found: ducks crammed into dirty, stinking sheds in their thousands; ducks incapable of walking, dragging themselves along by their wings; countless birds thrashing around on their backs in distress, unable to right themselves; filthy feathers, infections and sores; and dying and dejected birds surrounded by corpses. These aquatic birds have no water to bathe or preen - against Council of Europe recommendations. All this despite Marks & Spencer claiming to insist on the "highest standards of animal welfare" from all its suppliers.
20 million ducks are slaughtered in the UK each year - almost all reared in factory farms. That these aquatic animals are provided with no water for swimming or cleaning prevents them from fulfilling their most fundamental needs. As a result, they can suffer from dirty feathers that fail to keep the birds warm, eye infections and even blindness.
Viva! campaigner, Justin Kerswell , says: "Most consumers have absolutely no idea that duck meat comes from birds reared in stinking, overcrowded factory farms. These beautiful creatures spend their miserable, seven-week existence in filthy, cramped conditions and never have the opportunity to swim or splash around in water. It is barbaric.People will be horrified to learn that M&S admits that all its ducks are intensively farmed. They don't say that many are supplied by a company with abysmally low animal welfare standards. Our investigation uncovered terrible scenes of animal suffering and neglect."
We will be urging Easter shoppers to boycott duck meat and opt for a veggie Easter dinner instead. And we will be urging M&S to end the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat."
Sir Paul McCartney agrees, saying: "Once again Viva! exposes a new horror. I defy anyone with the smallest amount of compassion to look at the facts and not be upset by them."
Joanna Lumley makes an appeal to consumers: "The cruelty of modern farming has to end - and you have the power to do it. Don't buy meat from these diseased and dejected creatures".
Martin Shaw adds: "One of the most moving things I've ever seen was rescued factory-farmed ducks being allowed to swim. They were ecstatic. Please support Viva!'s duck campaign".
Kate Ford says: "Millions of ducks are imprisoned on factory farms. They need Viva! and Viva! needs you. Please help stop the cruelty!"
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