17th October 2006
Viva! Claims Victory as Waitrose Promises to Let its Ducks Swim
Waitrose has announced that it is planning to allow the ducks it sells for meat to have access to ponds for swimming ? the first supermarket to do so. Bizarrely, despite being an aquatic animal, none of the 19 million ducks sold in the UK ever gets to paddle its feet in water, let alone swim. Animal group Viva! has conducted a long term campaign against the factory farming of ducks and has been urging all supermarkets to improve the bird?s welfare. It claims the Waitrose decision as a partial victory.
Almost all the ducks sold for meat in UK supermarkets and restaurants are reared in windowless factory farms and the only water to which they have access is for drinking. A single shed frequently houses up to 15,000 birds and Viva! maintains that Waitrose?s intention to reduce flock size to 5,000 and give them access to outside ponds is at least an improvement on the woefully inadequate industry standard. Lack of water prevents ducks from fulfilling their most fundamental needs and as a result they can suffer from filthy, dishevelled feathers, eye infections and even blindness.
Waitrose says: ?We are currently trialling flocks that have access to water for swimming and it is our expectation that all our ducks will be able to do this in 2007.?
Says Viva! campaigner, Justin Kerswell: ?We congratulate Waitrose on their decision to provide what are essentially wild water birds access to water for swimming ? something which should be fundamental to their lives. We are now calling on the other supermarkets to follow suit as we are profoundly concerned about the overcrowding, lack of natural light, lack of water for swimming and widespread disease and injury?.
Viva! words are to be followed by action when, on November 11, 2006, Viva! supporters will be outside major supermarkets across the UK distributing leaflets encouraging consumers to boycott all duck meat and to go vegetarian.
This latest victory follows previous campaign successes. Sainsbury?s, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Somerfield and Asda had already withdrawn all duck meat from birds who had been painfully de-beaked and Harrods ended the sale of all factory-farmed duck meat.
Notes for Editors
For more information on Viva!?s Day of Action or undercover investigations, contact Justin Kerswell or Toni Vernelli on 0117 944 1000 or 07862 173377, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.viva.org.uk/ducks