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Crabs and lobsters unite the parties and move one step closer to being included in UK law

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It’s rare to hear about cross-party consensus in UK politics, but yesterday [Monday 06 December] this happened in the House of Lords at Westminster and for a most unusual reason – crabs and lobsters.

The ten-legged crustaceans were debated late into the night, with Lords agreeing to support a government amendment declaring that animals like crabs, lobsters and prawns experience feelings such as pain and should be included in the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.

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The amendment was laid on behalf of the government by Conservative peer Lord Benyon, and sponsored by opposition Labour peer Baroness Hayman of Ullock and Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville. It is believed to be only the second time this has happened in recent history.

Following Brexit, the UK government launched an Action Plan for Animal Welfare, including the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill which is currently making its way through UK Parliament. After the debate in the House of Lords it will now include decapod crustaceans (animals like crabs, lobsters and prawns) and cephalopod molluscs (animals like octopus and squid). If passed into law their welfare would have to be considered in any future policy decision-making. It would also pave the way for their inclusion into other UK animal welfare legislation such as the Animal Welfare Act.

“It’s rare to hear about cross-party consensus in UK politics, but yesterday this happened in Westminster”

The UK will be joining countries who already have protections for these animals in law, including Norway, Austria, Switzerland, New Zealand and various Australian territories and cities in Germany, Netherlands and Italy. The issue is particularly relevant for the UK, where approximately 420 million crabs, lobsters and langoustines are landed in UK ports by UK vessels each year.

On the 19th November 2021 an independent report was released that reviewed the evidence for sentience in decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs. The report was commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The review, led by Dr Jonathan Birch of the London School of Economics (LSE), analysed over 300 scientific studies over several months. The team concluded that there is strong scientific evidence of sentience in decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs, and recommends that they should be included in animal protection legislation. The government amendment that was supported by the House of Lords, was drafted directly in response to the findings and recommendations of this report.

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Crustacean Compassion, the leading group campaigning for the humane treatment of animals like crabs and lobsters, has welcomed the news. They have shown this issue to be of public concern and to have significant expert support. Their petition calling for decapod crustaceans to be protected in law has been signed by almost 60,000 people to date, and their open letter was signed by scientists, veterinary organisations and public figures, including the British Veterinary Association, RSCPA and wildlife broadcaster Michaela Strachan.

Claire Howard of Crustacean Compassion said: “There is no longer debate about whether or not animals like crabs, lobsters and prawns can feel pain. The scientific review published by London School of Economics has shown the evidence is clear and compelling. In the UK this has now led to government recognition of their sentience for the first time. It would be great to see this inspire legal protection for these animals in countries around the world.”

Juliette Booker of Crustacean Compassion said: “It is fantastic to see this cross-party support resulting in crabs, lobsters and prawns being included in the UK Sentience Bill. The peers have reviewed the extensive scientific evidence in the LSE report and taken the findings seriously. Knowing that these animals can feel pain, we now need to ensure that inhumane practices such as boiling them alive are stopped.”

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Food & Drink

Winner winner, weekday dinners: Morrisons introduces midweek dinners for under a fiver in its cafés

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Amidst the cost of living crisis, supermarket giant Morrisons is introducing a ‘meal of the day’ for under a fiver to its cafés nationwide.

Every weekday from 3pm, a ‘Daily Special’ will be discounted, offering a saving of up to £3.89 on the individual product price.

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The meal on offer will rotate each day and customers can choose from British roast chicken served with chips and coleslaw, a hearty chicken tikka masala, a 9-piece breakfast brunch, a succulent British cheeseburger served with chips and coleslaw and the ultimate beer-battered fish and chips.

The offer includes a drink and vegetarian alternatives are also available.

Each meal will be priced at £4.99, which the supermarket chain says makes them cheaper than the same evening meals at Wetherspoons, Harvester and Beefeater.

Morrisons also say that kids can also eat free all day with the purchase of any adult meal, meaning a family of four can enjoy a meal out together for just £9.98.

Ali Lyons, Head of Morrisons Cafés, says: “We know how hard it is for our customers at the moment and we want to make sure they are still able to enjoy a meal out, even on a budget. We’ve handpicked these favourites so that no matter what day it is, our customers can enjoy a saving.”

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Morrisons £4.99 offer will be available in its 406 cafés nationwide after 3pm every weekday. The ‘Daily Specials’ on offer are:

MondayRoast Chicken served with Chips & Coleslaw or Cheese & Onion Quiche served with Chips & Coleslaw 
TuesdayChicken Tikka Masala or Mac ‘n’ Cheese 
WednesdayBreakfast Brunch or Full Vegetarian Breakfast 
ThursdayCheeseburger served with Chips & Coleslaw  or Vegetarian burger served with Chips & Coleslaw 
FridayUltimate Fish & Chips

(Lead image: Morrisons)

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Proposal to ban tea and coffee for under 16s in Wales branded ‘illiberal’

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photo of person s hand pouring liquid to cup

Proposals to consider banning the sale of tea and coffee to under-16s in Wales have been labelled ‘outrageously illiberal’ by the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh Labour Government reportedly confirmed that it is considering the move as part of plans to make young people healthier and stop rising obesity rates.

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The move comes as the Welsh Government raise concerns of the rising consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among young people is also causing concern about the effects on their education.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “It is beggars’ belief that this is even under consideration.

“We are all aware obesity is a serious problem in Wales and it is important that we take action to reduce the levels across Wales.

“However, it doesn’t take an expert consultation to realise that tea and coffee are not responsible for high obesity levels.

“It would be outrageously illiberal to ban the sale of coffee and tea to under 16-year-olds, something which they regularly drink themselves at home.”

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(Lead image: Elina Fairytale / Pexels.com)

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Tesco makes it even easier for Swansea shoppers to help local food banks and charities

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Tesco is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in Swansea this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

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The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round. Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco’s Pre-filled donation bags

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

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“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Danni Malone, Director of Network Programmes and Innovation at the Trussell Trust added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection.

“We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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