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Spot the odd one out

In an impactful Animal Equality newsletter, Diane Morgan advocates for farmed animals highlighting the lack of regulatory oversight on farms and outlines her wishes for 2024

Minicab-driver, scaffolder, tattooist, street trader, wine merchant, kennel owner, busker, animal farmer… can you spot the odd one out?

It’s the farmer… because keeping, rearing and selling most farmed animals – unlike the other jobs listed – apparently requires no mandatory licence or qualifications. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?!

It seems that you’d undergo more rigorous vetting to play a tambourine in the street than you would to oversee the actual lives of a herd of cows or flock of sheep!

Under current English laws, basically any have-a-go-Harry can go out, buy farmed animals, and register an agricultural holding. The only legal requirement is that the person is not currently disqualified from keeping animals… otherwise, there’s nothing specifically needed in terms of training, qualifications, or vetting.

But here’s the thing – farmed animals are not just things to buy and sell. They’re alive, with feelings and needs, much like us.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to meet a cow, you only need one look into their eyes and you’ll feel the depth of emotion there. They experience joy and sadness, just as we do.

I’ve come to learn from Animal Equality that, while the Government does release legally recognised Codes of Practice for the welfare of animals like pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens, there’s a notable gap in how these Codes on paper are followed in practice.

There are few check-ins on the farms once they’re up and running, with fewer than 3% inspected on average by an official Government body each year.

It’s sort of like publishing the Highway Code, hoping it will be read, and then simply letting everybody drive freely and unsupervised! No need to sit their driving theory test, take so much as a single driving lesson or obtain their licence first… then only putting speed cameras on just 3% of roads.

It would be carnage… and as Animal Equality’s footage clearly shows, the current system for animals is just that!

In 2024, this MUST change.

I’m Diane Morgan – a British actor, comedian and animal lover. You might know me from my roles in Motherland, Cunk on Earth, Mandy or Netflix’s Death to 2020 and Death to 2021.

You might also know me from when I proudly joined Abi and her team earlier this year to deliver over 120,000 of your petition signatures to the Prime Minister.

So, as we reach the end of the year, I want to tell you what’s on my wishlist for the New Year. No, it’s not new pyjamas or a fancy TV, it’s so much more important than that: my wishlist is all about how we can make this world kinder for animals.

I wish for a licensing system for all UK farms. We need to change this ridiculous framework that let’s unqualified people be in charge of farmed animals.

I wish for routine unannounced welfare inspections of all animal facilities, including fish farms, by an official government body. Booking a date in the diary with a farmer in advance totally defeats the point!

I wish for CCTV in ALL slaughterhouses and for the footage to be reviewed far more often by enforcement agencies, with the key findings made publicly available. CCTV is so important for the animals, because these animals sadly can’t report the crimes committed against them.

I wish for real action to be taken when illegality is found. Laws must mean something, otherwise why have them in the first place?! The police and other enforcement agencies need to start treating animal crime for what it is: serious and unacceptable.

And, maybe most importantly of all, I wish for farmers to be supported to completely transition away from animal agriculture and towards plant-based farming systems. I dream of the same world as you… where other living, feeling animals are treated with true compassion and respect, not kept in captivity or exploited.

That is why I support Animal Equality – because this is all they wish for too… and they’re making it happen!

One way or another, this will be a year of change: as political parties put together their manifestos for the next general election, now is the time for campaigners to enshrine their demands in political promises.

Who do you want out there speaking to politicians and leading the conversation? Will it be passionate and committed campaigners like the Animal Equality team? Or industry lobbyists out to cut corners, slash standards and bulldoze animal protections?

Animal Equality’s work in this area is truly pioneering. When they succeed in achieving these aims, which I know they will, it will meaningfully impact millions of animals every year. But to make sure these critical commitments find a place in next year’s manifestos, they need the support of people like you.

So please, eat plant-based alternatives, keep sharing their crucial messages, and continuing to sign Animal Equality’s petitions. And, if you haven’t already and are in a position to, please consider setting up a monthly donation to support their life-saving work for animals.

Together we can make 2024 the start of a new era of animal protection.

Best wishes,

Diane Morgan

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