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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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Charity

Tesco brings £300k New Year cheer for South Wales community groups

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Tesco is bringing a positive start to the year for communities in South Wales by launching a campaign to give good causes part of a £300,000 boost.

From 17 January to 6 February, listeners to Heart and Smooth radio stations in South Wales who work with charities or not-for-profit organisations will be encouraged to apply for a £5,000 cash grant.

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Presenters including Jamie Theakston and Jenni Falconer will be telling listeners how to nominate their favourite groups on air, and priority will be given to projects that provide food and support to young people, such as school breakfast clubs, food banks, or charities supporting young people to manage mental health.

The campaign is running in addition to Tesco Community Grants, the in-store scheme where customers vote with blue tokens for community projects and groups, which has been helping local people since 2016.

Among the groups in South Wales to receive funding for recent projects was Twyn Community Hub in Twynyrodyn, Merthyr Tydfil, which was given £1,000 towards its Yum Yum This Is Scrum campaign which sought to aid food exploration and educate on making healthy choices.

Another was Theatr Iolo in Cardiff, which received £1,000 towards the creation of free creative play packs for families in need in order to spread a little kindness and joy.

Claire de Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We know the start of the year can be tough for many families financially, so we wanted to find a way to give something extra to the communities our stores support across the nation.

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“We hope that Heart and Smooth listeners will help us celebrate all the community groups who make such a difference to young people and families, not just in January but year round too. We’re really proud to be launching this new campaign, which is an extra boost to our Tesco Community Grants scheme that already helps thousands of people every year.”

Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive at Groundwork, the charity that works with Tesco on community initiatives, said: “For many people the combination of money worries and the ongoing impact of the pandemic is making the start of 2022 a challenging time.  

“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to support the local charities and community groups who work tirelessly to provide essential services and bring people together in neighbourhoods across the nation. Money is tight for many of these groups too, so we’re delighted to be working with Tesco to make extra funds available so that they can expand their activities and help more people.”

To nominate your chosen charity or community group and to find out more about Tesco Community Grants go to www.tescocommunitygrants.org.uk 

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Ammanford

£500,000 for the love of Franks’ Gelateria

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It was in 1922 that Francesco Dallavalle first started selling his ice cream around the Amman Valley on a horse and cart.

The Italian art of making ice cream has since been passed through the generations with grandsons Renaldo and Giulio Dallavalle, Directors of award-winning Frank’s Ice Cream, having now opened a new gelateria and innovation centre alongside the company’s existing manufacturing site in Capel Hendre.

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Funded by a £500,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales, the new purpose-built facility houses the latest in ice cream making machinery and technology. Built by lead contractors Malpross Services of Cross Hands, the 4,300 square foot building features a product development centre and an ice cream parlour specialising in artisan gelato and semifreddo deserts that will be open to the public along with an open viewing and tasting area. Interactive classes will be available in a bespoke visitor room that will also host school visits.

Up to 12 new jobs are expected to be created in the new facility, which includes a short-run manufacturing unit that will improve efficiency by enabling the creation of specific one-off flavours and occasion ice creams.

Having been awarded their first major supermarket contract in 1990, Franks Ice Cream opened their first manufacturing site in Capel Hendre in 1993. The company went on to launch a diabetic range of ice cream with Morrisons before investing £1.5 million to increase production capacity and then beginning to export to the Middle East in 2019. They now supply dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream and ice cream for diabetics to a range of UK supermarkets and global brands.

Director Giulio Dallavalle said: “Our story is almost 100 years old. Since the early 20th century, my family has worked hard to grow our business with the same passion and integrity we use to create our award-winning ice cream.

“Our love of great-tasting, high quality, ice cream desserts is now shared by customers throughout the world. Our new innovation centre will allow us to stay ahead of the competition with rapid product developments as well as giving our loyal customers a place to enjoy our ice cream here in the community.

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“The funding from the Development Bank has helped us to begin the next chapter of our story; creating jobs and further enhancing our offering in this highly competitive market. We couldn’t have asked for better support which is why we now very much consider them as part of our Frank’s family.”

Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales

Alun Thomas of the Development Bank of Wales said: “Franks’ is a long-established manufacturing business. This latest development enables the family to go back to their roots and sell ice cream direct to the public while also showcasing the very best innovation in the Welsh food sector. They’re a lovely family with a great business making the very best Italian ice cream. We wish them every success with their latest venture.”

Funding for Frank’s Ice Cream came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund. Financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales, the fund offers loans, mezzanine finance and equity investments from £50,000 to £2 million for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales. Terms range from one to seven years with finance prioritised for businesses in economically deprived areas of Wales.

Lead image: Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales 

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Farming

Welsh farming union slams ASDA for withdrawing 100% support for British Beef

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The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has written to ASDA regarding the supermarket’s decision to step away from its pledge to source 100% fresh British beef just weeks after implementing the pledge.

The letter comes after farmers from across Wales contacted the union to express their anger and disappointment.

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The FUW has met with representatives from ASDA on a number of occasions throughout the pandemic to discuss the importance of supporting Welsh and UK producers at a time when global food supply chains were most volatile. 

Therefore, the commitment to source 100% British dairy, potatoes and fresh beef following the sale of a majority stake of the retailer had been welcomed.

In a letter to ASDA, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Nevertheless, the recent decision to withdraw the pledge to source 100% fresh British beef after only two months of doing so has come as a shock for FUW members, particularly given the fact that other major retailers have committed to maintain such promises despite current market conditions.”

While the UK red meat sector has experienced buoyant prices over the past twelve months, Mr Roberts wrote, this must be considered in the context of cuts having already been made to farm support payments in England, increased input costs, supply chain issues which ASDA will also have experienced and uncertainties surrounding further red tape, future agricultural support and the impact of trade deals.

“For example, during the week ending 1st January 2022 the GB deadweight price for all cattle was on average 10% higher year on year whilst GB fertiliser prices in November 2021 were on average 153% higher than 2020 levels.

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“In light of the great deal of uncertainty and volatility facing the UK agricultural industry, the FUW would urge ASDA to reconsider its commitment to sourcing 100% fresh British beef in order to provide certainty to UK producers that they won’t simply be replaced in future,” wrote the Union President.

ASDA meanwhile blamed an increase in prices for its move away from British Beef.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said: “We know that it is important to our customers that the beef on our shelves has been produced to high welfare standards and is affordable,” ASDA said.

“Unfortunately, the price of British beef has risen and whilst we continue to work hard to keep prices as low as possible for our customers, these increases are significant.

“All fresh beef in our premium Extra Special tier is and will remain 100% British and all of our fresh beef will be sourced from farms in the UK and Republic of Ireland. This allows us to provide quality products which caters to all customer budgets.’’

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(Lead image: FUW)

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