New Report Ducks the Issue | Viva!

New Report Ducks the Issue

Defra sponsored investigation wastes taxpayers' money

Release date: 
Friday, October 24, 2008

GOVERNMENT body Defra have been accused by a leading animal group of wasting "300,000 of tax payers' money on a limited investigation into the factory farming of ducks and their access to water.

Viva! have condemned the Oxford University report, published this week, as not going far enough and supporting cruel factory farming methods.

The four year study aimed to ascertain the importance of bathing water to ducks by quantifying their motivation to gain access to water in which they can bathe. The study shows the high mortality rate amongst factory farmed ducks " with 23,296 dying during the research before they even reached seven weeks old. It also showed the negative welfare impacts of nipple drinkers which restrict access to water but are allowed under UK law: showing that almost 65,000 ducks had dirty eyes and over 143,000 had dirty feathers through lack of adequate bathing water. Viva! are writing to Defra to demand that nipple drinkers are banned in the UK immediately.

The report concludes that open water is important to ducks. However, Viva! have criticised it for not going far enough when it suggested that there was little swimming behaviour as the open water studied was not much bigger than a human bath.

Justin Kerswell, Viva! campaigns manager says: "Anyone who has visited their local pond will know it's a no-brainer that ducks need access to open water " it is incredible that the government are spending tax payers' money to find this out. Open the doors of a factory farm and show ducks the freedom of a flowing river or a lake and then you'll see exactly how much they value water for swimming.

'Each year in the UK, 17 million ducks are crammed into stinking sheds in their thousands. Most have no access to the outside or water for swimming. It is a national disgrace, and now Britain's favourite bird has been failed by a report that is trying its hardest to justify these cruel and unnatural farming practices.

'Consumers can do their bit by boycotting all duck meat and help end all animal suffering by going vegetarian.'

For more information about Viva!'s campaign against the factory farming of ducks, please call 0117 944 1000 or visit


For more information about this media release, please contact Viva! press officer Helen Rossiter (

On duck farming: Justin Kerswell Viva! campaigns manager (

Notes to editors

The Defra sponsored study can be read at'Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=No....

View Viva!'s 2006 report into the factory farming of ducks can be read at (updates on request).