The State Of Animal Welfare In The UK 2005
The report provides a detailed review of issues by primary animal sectors based on 25 animal indicators that can be measured and tracked to evaluate progress.
By tracking animal welfare on a yearly basis, the RSPCA believes that this research will be a guide as to where legislation, government resources, education, economics and social attitudes will need to be adjusted to improve the state of animal welfare in the UK. In this study, 25 indicators are tracked for the various animal sectors.
Generic Animal Welfare Indicators
- Proportion of FTSE 1000 companies with animal welfare improvements in their Corporate Social Responsibilities policies – 16 companies have some form of policy that concerns animal welfare; there is currently little sign that business or government consider animal welfare to be an important CSR issue.
- Number of relevant white papers published by the UK government that include a positive animal welfare component – 21 were published and 9 had the potential to incorporate animal welfare elements.
- Number of relevant government advisory non-departmental public bodies on which an animal welfare specialist is represented – The UK government sees animal welfare issues to be related to one department, Defra. There is little acknowledgement that animal issues are related to other departments.
- Proportion of people interested in improving animal welfare –
- “In order for society to be truly civilized, animal welfare must be a key priority” (53% agree, 24% disagree, 22% neutral);
- “It is important to buy products that contain free-range or barn eggs.” (72% agree, 6% disagree, 22% neutral)
- “Animal welfare is an important consideration when I buy chicken.” (72% agree, 17% disagree, 11% neutral)
- Three fifths of respondents felt that items produced in an environmentally friendly manner, and in a manner that does not violate human rights in a developing country are important ethical factors in buying an item.
- The number of investigations and convictions taken by the RSPCA under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 – There is little change in the number of defendants. The increase in convictions reflects the changes demanded by the High Court in laying charges.
Research Animal Indicators
- The number of non-human primates used in scientific procedures in the UK – The number of procedures carried out on non-human primates has fluctuated since 2001, but there has been no downward trend, showing no negligible change over the five year period.
- The amount of laboratory animal suffering – Insufficient data is available to measure this factor.
- The proportion of non-animal methods in OECD test guidelines – Safety tests using animals should be replaced with humane methods, however there has been no change over the last year.
- The number of animals used in quality control tests for release of veterinary vaccines in the UK – During 2003, QC tests for vaccines involved the use of more than 31,000 animals; insufficient data for additional determination.
- The percentage of scientific journals with ethical policies and guidelines relating to the use of animals in research and testing – Insufficient data to assess; to date there has been no detailed examination of publication policies with respect to ethical responsibility.
- Number of cetaceans by-caught around the UK – Over the past 12 years, the number of cetaceans by-caught has changed each year, however, the proportion of stranded cetacean deaths that are identified as by-caught has been about 20%.
- The proportion and number of wild-taken reptiles and birds of the total trade into the UK and the EU, classified by wild-caught, captive-bred, and ranched or captive-related:
- Live CITES-listed reptiles imported into the EU:
- Increase in the proportion of total trade reptiles taken from the wild since 2000.
- Increase in the proportion of imported reptiles taken from the wild since 2000.
- Low increase in the proportion of total trade in reptiles taken from the wild since 2000.
- Increase in the total number of reptiles imported that are taken from the wild since 2000.
- Live CITES-listed birds imported into the EU:
- Increase in the proportion of total trade birds taken from the wild since 2000.
- Low decrease in the proportion of imported birds taken from the wild since 2000.
- Increase in the proportion of total trade in birds taken from the wild since 2000.
- Decrease in the total number of birds imported that are taken from the wild since 2000.
- Provision of quality written information for the sale of non-domestic companion animals in a sample of outlets – It is important that the long term needs of any companion animal be understood, however there are insufficent data available.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of zoos in meeting conservation and education objectives – No data are available.
Farm Animal Indicators
- Number of animals transported live from the UK for slaughter or further fattening – Transport provides unnecessary risk to animals, however there has been a positive change over the last 6 years with a decrease in the number of animals transported for slaughter of further fattening.
- Production of UK non-caged eggs as a proportion of total eggs produced – There has been a positive change with more eggs produced in alternative systems in 2005 than in 2001.
- Number of chickens reared under standard and higher welfare conditions – There is a significant increase in the number of chickens reared under higher welfare conditions.
- Piglet mortality levels between birth and weaning – It is assumed that the death of piglets at this stage was preceeded by suffering; there has been negligible change over the last five years.
- The number, nature and outcomes of State Veterinary Service inspections of farms and livestock markets – More government resources are needed for inspection services; there has been no change over the last three years.
Companion Animal Indicators
- Number of unwanted healthy animals taken into care of the RSPCA – There has been positive change over the last five years with the number reduced by 23.2% from 2001 to 2005.
- The number of non-microchipped dogs and cats taken into RSPCA care – There has been negligible change over the last two years.
- Number of animals seen by the RSPCA inspectors where a welfare concern is raised – There has been an increase in the number of animals seen as a welfare concern.
- Number of healthy dogs euthanized by the RSPCA due to irresponsible dog ownership – There has been positive change by a 42.3% reduction in the number of dogs euthanized from 2001 to 2005.
- Number of organized animal fights in the UK – Insufficient data are available to determine the extent of dog fighting, cock fighting and badger digging/baiting in the UK.