Chicken training

Chickens are highly intelligent. This video might look like chickens that I have trained to jump for cheese but actually it is chickens training me how to feed them cheese faster. They love cheese, organic cheese of course! check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh6t98PRNFc

All of the girls that live here learn very quickly that there is cheese in the fridge and any chance they get, they are straight in via the back door and queuing up at the fridge. They also know how to tap on the door to get our attention. They know when guests arrive and are straight out to check their supplies.

Why I am sharing this silly video? The concept of caging these birds is inconceivable and unnecessary, which is why caged hen eggs is our focus for January. Are you the checking labels on any food products that may contain eggs – if they don’t say free range, they are from caged hens. Eating out, ask if their eggs are free range.

Cluck cluck!

The photo is two chicks are were given from a school hatching project. They decided the washing machine was a great place to roost.

The ethical omnivore

 

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Calcium and the dairy debate

Whether you are interested in health, animal welfare or both the topic of milk and dairy is well worth exploring. With lots of information about zero grazing dairies, the use of drugs in diary and the health implications of consuming dairy it is good to know your options.

Do we need to consume dairy for calcium? The simply answer is no, despite having been raised on the idea that we do. Ask people where calcium comes from and the majority will say milk or dairy. This is correct but our perception that it is an essential source or the only source of calcium is incorrect. There are lots of other quality non-dairy sources of calcium available to us.

It is also incorrect that calcium intake is a way to ensure strong bones. It is also important to build and maintain bones through exercise https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-bones/Pages/exercises-for-strong-bones.aspx . We also need vitamin D to regulate calcium and milk is a poor source of vitamin D. (it is fortified in other countries but not in the UK) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d

There are also a lot of studies that show calcium via milk isn’t good for bones or general health for example https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-good-for-our-bones

Getting a clear answer is challenging, there is lots of conflicting information with people defending or criticising dairy. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics loaded with facts about bone health without not biased towards either dairy or a vegan diet. The global dairy industry is worth around £7.5 / $443 Billion, so their power, influence and budget for marketing it quite large!

What is clear is that calcium is essential for our overall health. Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way, our nervous system, muscles, heart and bone. Our bones store calcium in addition to providing support for our bodies. Surprisingly few people question calcium intake relating to a diet that contains dairy, however mention cutting out or reducing dairy and the sirens go off. The reality is whatever your diet choice you should consider your calcium intake. Having the knowledge gives you the choice, did you know spring greens contain the same amount of calcium as milk.

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Support UK reared Rose veal

*Please read this carefully. The distinction is ROSE veal raised in the UK only.

‘Veal’ is a dirty work in the UK and so it should be if it were ‘white’ or ‘milk-fed’ veal. The 80’s campaigns against the cruel practice of keeping calves in tiny crates and feeding them low iron diets (causing them huge digestive issues) all for the purpose of keeping their meat pale were so successful that the UK as a nation doesn’t generally eat veal. Veal is defined as meat under 12 mths.

Why is that a problem? The diary industry creates a byproduct of unwanted bull (male) calves. The majority are either shot shortly after birth or exported to Europe and raised for white veal in intensive farmed system with very poor welfare standards. The rest of the EU seems quite happy to nosh into white veal. In fact it is very popular in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Poland etc.

UK reared Rose veal is however a totally different product, calves don’t travel long distances to EU destinations, they are fed a normal diet and kept on straw bed in small groups. In isolation rose veal might not be high on your listgvffdxsz of meat choices, but in comparison to the fate of the calf and if you are a consumer of dairy it is more ethical to eat UK reared rose veal than not. Sainsbury’s, M&S and I am sure others stock rose veal and it is supported by RSPCA and CIWF.

Note ** UK exports of calves to the Netherlands is currently on hold due to threats of TB. This could change in the near future and calves are still being exported via Northern Ireland.

Want to learn more see https://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm-animals/cows/veal-calves 

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EGGS – caged hen eggs

Regardless of the images on a box, always read the smaller print. Clever marketing and branding, bright colourful packaging has misled many shoppers into believing that ‘Big and fresh’ is a good choice. Beware the eggs are from caged hens, read the small print. It is a brand from Noble foods (in total process 4 million eggs a day). The brand is sold at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and One Stop.

Unsurprisingly there is nothing about hen welfare on the website http://www.bigandfresh.co.uk when there is nothing good to say… the link Supersize fun is ironic, it is no fun for the hens.

Noble also owns the luxury brand ‘Gu deserts‘ who confirm they don’t use free range eggs. 

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Food industry – new Netflix series

Well work a watch, (even just this trailer). It is USA centric but the issues are global, we have and continue to adopt a lot of their practices so this is a view into our future (not too distant).