21st June 2005
Paul McCartney Urges the Co-op to Set Factory-Farmed Ducks Free
Sir Paul McCartney has written to Martin Beaumont, the Co-op?s Chief Executive, urging him to give the store?s ethical claims meaning by immediately ending the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat. For his letter please see the end of this media release.
His letter follows a covert investigation by campaigning animal welfare group Viva!, which revealed the squalid, cramped and filthy factory-farm conditions in which ducks are kept by Kerry Foods (AE Button & Sons), and MFD Foods, the current and former duck meat suppliers to the Co-op.
Paul says, ?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.?
The ex-Beatle joins celebrities Kate Ford (Coronation Street?s Tracy Barlow), Amanda Holden, Joanna Lumley, Martin Shaw, Jenny Seagrove and Benjamin Zephaniah who have all added their support in defence of ducks.
Undercover filming by Viva! at Kerry Foods and MFD Foods revealed distressing scenes of neglect and suffering. Investigators found: ducks crammed into dirty, stinking sheds in their thousands; many 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 in which to swim, which is against Council of Europe recommendations. All this despite the Co-op claiming to be an ?ethical? retailer.
18 million ducks are slaughtered in the UK each year ? almost all reared in factory farms. Lack of waterprevents them from fulfilling their most fundamental needs, and as a result, they can suffer from dirty, dishevelled feathers, eye infections and even blindness.
In May this year, Viva! held peaceful demonstrations outside more than 200 Co-op stores across Britain, calling for the store to end the sale of factory-farmed duck meat.
Viva! campaigner Justin Kerswell says: ?Most consumers have no idea that duck meat comes from birds reared in overcrowded factory farms. These beautiful creatures spend their miserable, seven-week existence in filthy conditions and never have the opportunity to swim or splash around in water. People are shocked to learn that the Co-op - a supposedly ethical supermarket - sells ducks from these prison-like conditions. Our investigation uncovered terrible scenes of suffering and neglect.
?Sadly, most ducks are reared like this so we are urging people to boycott duck meat entirely and opt for a healthy veggie meal instead. And we are urging the Co-op to set Britain?s favourite bird free by ending the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat.?
Letter from Paul McCartney to the Co-op
Martin Beaumont, Chief Executive
PO Box 53
New Century House
Manchester M60 4ES
Dear Mr Beaumont
I am writing to register my profound concern at the results of Viva!?s investigation into the Co-op?s duck meat suppliers. Your company markets itself as an ethical trader but there is nothing ethical about the conditions Viva! has exposed.
They discovered dead and dying ducklings littered throughout the sheds, birds suffering from eye infections and in considerable distress, filthy ducks unable to clean themselves because their water supply was so restricted and others who could not walk, dragging themselves along by their wings. I understand that similar conditions exist everywhere these essentially wild birds are intensively farmed. In light of this, I call on you to give your ethical claims meaning by immediately ending the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat.
I look forward to your reply
Sir Paul McCartney
Notes for editors
For more information about Viva!?s investigations and still images of duck factory-farming contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email email@example.com