‘It’s just boiled donkey skin’: Chinese health officials rubbish ‘inhumane’ product

by as published on Horse & Hound

A popular product made from the skins of donkeys has been deemed “not worth buying” by Chinese health officials.

Demand for ejiao, derived from donkey hides, has led to the slaughter of millions of donkeys in recent years.

However, China’s national health and family planning commission recently told consumers the remedy was ,“not worth buying” and despite its many health claims is “just boiled donkey skin.”

On Sunday (18 February), the commission posted on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that ejiao, is “..not a good source of protein” and that its health claims were at best overstated.

The news was welcomed by international welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

The Donkey Sanctuary has been campaigning for a halt to the global trade in donkey skins, which utilises around four million donkey skins every year.

It is estimated that as many as 2.2 million skins are imported to China from Africa, South America and parts of Asia every year. Over the past two years, an escalating demand for skins to make the product has also resulted in poaching and theft of donkeys from individuals and communities that depend on them, with national donkey populations being halved in some countries.

“Many social media users in China shared the commission’s original posts […] but within a few hours the Weibo feeds for all of the commission’s tweets had gone offline and remains offline now,” said a spokesman for The Donkey Sanctuary.

Alex Mayers is the head of programmes at the charity and has been working at ground-level with partners around the globe to expose the donkey skin trade to protect donkeys and the communities that rely on them.

“A huge number of medical claims are made for ejiao, and despite its high price, it’s an extremely sought-after and popular product,” he said.

“This advice from the commission has resulted in a lot of discussion on social media in China, both about the claims and benefits of the product and also about it having seemingly been deleted.

“Whether there are any benefits from taking ejiao or not, our primary concern remains that the trade in skins is both inhumane and unsustainable. However if a product is not worth buying then it can’t be worth the price of destroying someone’s livelihood, and the trade is responsible for that every single time a donkey is stolen and slaughtered which itself is every single day.”

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/chinas-national-health-and-family-planning-commission-ejiao-donkey-skin-not-worth-buying-the-donkey-sanctuary-644825#Iofpq33vlqJXVeF1.99

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Doesn’t Want Plant-Based or Clean Meat to be Called ‘Beef’ … Because We’re Winning

by as posted on OneGreenPlanet

Awwww, are these guys Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) buddies, too?”

Major eye roll! The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) recently filed a 15-page petition (you can view it in its entirety here) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the silliest of reasons. USCA is asking the USDA to make a distinction between conventional meat and lab-grown meat (also known as “clean meat“) and plant-based meat by having a formal definition. In other words, the USCA doesn’t believe lab-grown or plant-based meat should be called “beef.” Yeah, um, good luck with that.

“[The government] should require that any product labeled as ‘beef’ come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner, rather than coming from alternative sources such as a synthetic product from plant, insects, or other non-animal components and any product grown in labs from animal cells,” reads the petition.

The USCA went on to ask the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to make the definition of “meat” to include the flesh of animals that have been “harvested in the traditional way.” We’re assuming “traditional” here means animals that have been cruelly slaughtered and filled with nasty antibiotics and hormones.

Hey … come to think of it, if the USCA wants to change the definition of beef because they feel threatened by plant-based proteins, perhaps the lab-grown meat industry should ask that “traditional” beef be labeled as “filled with gross antibiotics of a once tortured living, breathing animal.” Seems only fair, right?

USCA also said that not only are they petitioning to limit the definition of “beef,” but the group also announced that keeping consumers away from “fake meat and misleading labels on products that do not contain real beef” would be a major part of their 2018 policy agenda. Sounds like this outdated industry is desperate to win a losing battle…

The days of factory farming are numbered and you know it, USCA, otherwise, you wouldn’t pull such a meaningless stunt. If you don’t get with the times quickly, you might be left out of the cool kids’ table. After all, a lot of major meat corporations are hedging their bets and investing more into plant-based as well as clean meat companies.

Cargill, the world’s largest privately held food and agriculture company in the world, has made many moves into the plant-based industry. The company recently teamed up with plant-based company PURIS to help build a second pea protein plant in the U.S. Not only that, but food giant Nestlé recently bought plant-based company Sweet Earth Foods, and Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor, just invested in the world’s first lab-grown meat company, Memphis Foods. Oh, and then there is the immense popularity of plant-based burgers, the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger, which have both been met with eager demand.

Thankfully, consumers are becoming more and more aware of what’s in their food and are actively seeking out plant-based options. With increasing concern for animal welfare, health, and environmental reasons, clean meat and plant-based meats have taken center stage in the fight to save our planet. As the rising trends toward plant-based proteins show, lab-grown meat will easily replace factory farming within the next decade, with the plant-based meat market projected to rise to $6.43 billion by 2023. In other words, give it up, USCA!

To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/u-s-cattlemens-association-doesnt-want-plant-based-clean-meat-called-beef/

CCTV to be compulsory in English slaughterhouses

Source:  Horse & Hound

CCTV to be compulsory for slaughterhouses

by Lucy Elder

CCTV will be compulsory in all English slaughterhouses under plans revealed by environment secretary Michael Gove today (11 August).

Mr Gove said the measures he is setting out “will reinforce our status as a global leader” in animal welfare.

Under the new plans, footage would be available to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) official vets, who monitor and enforce animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses.

A six-week consultation on the proposals has started and the plans are likely to go before parliament early next year.

British Veterinary Association president Gudrun Ravetz welcomed the plans, in particular the commitment to official FSA vets having unrestricted access to footage.

The government has also confirmed it is updating the welfare codes for chickens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

BREAKING: Dog Meat Sales Banned at China’s Yulin Festival in Milestone Victory to End Brutal Mass Slaughter of Dogs

Source: Humane Society International, Duo Duo Project

“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade..”

Dogs on their way to slaughter. HSI

Just weeks ahead of China’s annual dog meat festival in Yulin, at which thousands of dogs and cats are brutally bludgeoned to death and sold for their meat, animal campaigners Duo Duo Project and Humane Society International have received reports from Chinese activist and confirmed by three traders at Yulin’s biggest dog meat market Dongkou, that the Yulin government is set to prohibit restaurants, street vendors and market traders from selling dog meat at the event. The ban will come into effect on 15th June one week prior to the festival that begins on the summer solstice of 21st June. It will be strictly enforced with fines of up to 100,000 yuan and risk of arrest for violations.

The news is warmly if cautiously welcomed by Duo Duo Project, HSI and their respective Chinese animal group partners on the ground, all of whom have campaigned for years for an end to the brutality of Yulin and China’s year-round dog meat trade. While campaigners recognise that the ban is temporary and does not yet signal an end to the Yulin event in advance of which dogs are still likely to be killed, it is nonetheless a milestone victory in the ongoing campaign to end mass dog and cat slaughter at Yulin, and is evidence of growing political will from inside China to clamp down on the trade.

Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Project, says: “Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade. I have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better. I am very impressed that the younger generation in Yulin and in China is as compassionate as their counterparts in the rest of world. Duo Duo Project also wants to congratulate Mr. Mo Gong Ming, Yulin’s new Party Secretary, for his progressive and visionary leadership. I hope this will turn out to be the beginning of the end of the dog eating habit in China.”

Peter Li, China Policy specialist at Humane Society International, says: “The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet, but if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolise China’s crime-fuelled dog meat trade. Millions of dogs and cats are stolen each year, including pets, and driven thousands of miles across China to be bludgeoned to death in front of each other. As opposition to this trade has grown within China and across the world, much focus has been placed on the Yulin festival and so it is significant politically that the authorities are taking the outrage to curb this cruelty seriously. At last year’s Yulin festival there were roadblocks set up to deter dog trucks coming in, and now this ban signals further progress. Regrettably, many dogs and cats will still be killed for the Yulin festival in advance of the ban, so their suffering is not over yet, but this is certainly a milestone victory and we commend the Yulin authorities for taking this action.”

Duo Duo and HSI are urging Yulin authorities to make the ban permanent; make public service announcements warning against transporting dogs for the dog meat trade that highlight the new associated penalties; enforce food safety laws and regulations; and build a government facility to house dogs confiscated from the dog meat trade.

More than 10 million dogs and around four million cats are killed every year across China for their meat. Contrary to popular belief, the Yulin festival is not a traditional event but one invented in 2010 by dog meat traders to boost flagging sales. At its height an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 dogs were killed at Yulin, reduced to 2,000 to 3,000 in recent years. Most of the dogs are stolen pets and strays grabbed from the streets still wearing their collars when they reach the slaughterhouse where they are typically beaten to death. Most people in China don’t eat dogs, and pet owners and dog thieves have had numerous violent clashes. The dog meat trade also poses a threat to public health, with the World Health Organisation warning that the trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.

Last year, a petition with 11 million signatures was handed in to the Yulin government in Beijing on behalf of Humane Society International, Duo Duo Project, RaiseUrPaw, Care2 and Avaaz. The late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary gathered with the campaigners outside the Chinese Embassy in London to send the petition on its way. Speaking at the event, Fisher said “There is so much animal suffering in the world, and much of it you feel helpless to end. But stopping the Yulin dog meat festival and ending all that suffering is easy. All the Chinese authorities need to do is declare it shut down, and the killing stops. These poor dogs need us to fight for them. Every single one of them is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend.”

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., introduced a congressional resolution last year condemning the Yulin dog meat festival and urging China to end its dog meat trade. He reintroduced it this year, and H. Res. 30 already has the bipartisan support of 153 cosponsors.

http://www.hsi.org/news/press_releases/2017/05/yulin-dog-meat-ban-051717.html

Stop The Slaughterhouse on CSU’s Campus

by Becca Bleil

Colorado State University may want to consider changing their name to “Cruelty State University.”

As a freshman at Colorado State University and a member of the Rams Organizing For Animals Rights student club, I was outraged to learn that our school has accepted money from a meatpacking company to build a slaughterhouse in the middle of campus. Construction could begin as early as this summer. CSU needs to cancel plans to build the slaughterhouse now.

It’s already hard enough to concentrate on our studies. Now we’ll be facing the stench and screams of innocent animals in agony every time we walk to class. An on-campus slaughterhouse will mean that living, breathing animals come into the heart of campus and never make it out alive. It will mean that the animals’ organs, hides, and hooves will be transported off campus in trucks, potentially spilling blood, guts and fecal matter onto campus grounds.

Slaughterhouses are not only cruel to animals, but to humans, too. Workers are subject to intense psychological trauma and severe physical injuries such as amputations.

One of the main reasons that I chose to attend CSU is because of the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Animal agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases — opening a slaughterhouse on campus is a blatant violation of the university’s core commitment to work towards carbon neutrality.

If this slaughterhouse is built, I along with hundreds of students, have pledged to transfer to another school.  Many incoming students are changing their decision to attend Cruelty State U, too. There is no room for cruelty on CSU’s campus  — in fact, no college campus anywhere should allow an industry that is so violent to animals, harmful to the environment, and dangerous to humans.

If you care about the students of CSU and want this harmful construction to stop, please sign this petition and encourage Colorado State University’s President, Tony Frank, to immediately cancel all plans for building a slaughterhouse of horrors on campus.

*for any inquiries (business/news/personal), please do not hesitate to contact me at becca.bleil@gmail.com*

This petition will be delivered to:

  • President of CSU
    Tony Frank
  • Colorado State University
  • Media Relations, JBS
    Cameron Bruett

https://www.change.org/p/tell-csutonyfrank-nocsuslaughterhouse-on-coloradostateu-campus

US Activist’s Efforts to Rescue Dogs from Asia’s Meat Trade Draw Both Praise and Censure

by Susan Pi as published on Earth Island Journal

“Here at SFTHH and WHFF we are all about the safety and future well being of wild horses and burros but of course that concern extends to domestic equine and all wildlife in general.  You will see articles appear hear that speak to the uncalled for slaughter and/or abuse of bison, wolves, bears, coyotes, mountain lion and the case of today’s article, domestic dogs.

I spent the past six years rotating in and of China on a monthly basis and unfortunately my eyes have witnessed acts of cruelty that I would prefer to forget versus regurgitating.  But everyday is a bad day for any sort of domestic animal who lives in rural China and I have witnessed the worst.  Although I might have been able to influence the educated young nationals who worked with me it was beyond my ability to influence the actions of rural farmers; all I could do was to divert my gaze and pray for an end to the suffering of the affected animal.  It is a cultural thing as there is little respect for human life so how can one expect the culture to respect animal pain and suffering, the mind set just is not there.

So today, stroke the head of your bird, cat, dog, horse or donkey and remind yourself how lucky they are to have you in their lives and how special a ingredient they are to your daily diet of goodness and how they enhance your spiritual well being.

We are all connected and we are all fellow passengers on this spaceship Earth.  A little courtesy to others goes a long, long way.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,”

Photo courtesy of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Ching is aware that there are many who disagree with what he’s doing, but he believes his foundation can make a difference in the lives of thousands of dogs.

When a family in Korea discovered their beloved dog, Cheom Hwa, had been stolen, they were inconsolable. The German Shepherd had been with them since she was a puppy. “She is like my family,” the daughter says to Marc Ching, founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. “I am the only child so she was like my sister.”

It’s a nightmare no dog owner wants to have to go through. In Korea, where Cheom Hwa’s family lives, millions of dogs are stolen every year for their meat, and many are suspected to be stolen pets.

“The dog meat trade is big business,” Ching tells Earth Island Journal. “China exports meat to Korea. Cambodia exports to Vietnam.”

Ching, an American animal nutritionist who runs an organic pet food company in California, first heard about the Yulin dog meat festival that’s held every year in southern China only two years ago. The stories sounded so horrific that he had a hard time believing they were true. When he flew to China to see for himself what was going on, the atrocities turned out to be even worse. “What they’re doing is beyond inhumane,” Ching says. “It’s pure evil. They’ll boil dogs alive, hang and skin them alive.”

Today, Ching is most known for going undercover into slaughterhouses. By posing as a meat buyer, Ching often manages to get access to the kill floor where cages of whimpering animals are stacked on top of one another. The owner, hoping to make a sale, proudly talks up the facility, explaining their slaughtering process and how many dogs they go through on any given day. All the while, an iPhone in Ching’s pocket remains on video mode, surreptitiously recording everything.

If he’s caught, best-case scenario: He loses his phone. A previous trip to Vietnam ended with him beaten and nearly killed.

For Ching, the risk is worth it, even if too many of the dogs end up dying on the way to the veterinary hospital. Most are already close to death by the time he gets to them. In an interview with LA Weekly, he talks about coming across a dog with all four of her legs cut off. She died in his arms.

“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,” Ching says.

In the years since his first trip to China, he’s witnessed more than his share of unimaginable cruelty. The horror doesn’t deter him; it’s more like gasoline poured onto a smoldering flame urging him to save as many as he can. But while many activists are fueled into action by anger, Ching fervently believes that compassion is the key to lasting change.

“Even the people killing animals who, to me, aren’t good people,” Ching says, “I still try to be compassionate toward them. I think compassion wins in most cases and that’s what we do out in these countries. It’s all about compassion.”

Ching’s philosophy is evident with every trip back to Asia. He often works with locals, building his trip around the information they tell him. Before he steps onto a plane, he already knows who to talk to and where to go. For instance, in early 2017, locals in Korea helped to arrange a meeting with the owner of a slaughterhouse. This isn’t an undercover mission. The man knows that Ching wants to shut down his business.

Photo courtesy of Animals Asia. A dog meat market in Yulin, China. Several China-based animal welfare groups have asking international animal rights activists to stop buying dogs bound for the meat market saying that purchasing dogs only encourages the black market dog meat trade.

With the help of a local translator, Ching makes his appeal. “There’s a push against what you’re doing,” he tells him. “Whether it happens today, next year, or five years, you’ll be out of business soon. I’d like to work with you to stop what you’re doing and give you a chance at a decent living that doesn’t involve harming animals.”

The conversation is one Ching has had before with other slaughterhouse owners. His foundation’s economic development program is an attempt to build a viable model to affect far-reaching change. With enough successful cases, he hopes the Chinese government will someday take it over.

When asked about the people who slaughter dogs for a living, Ching recalls a man in Cambodia running a smaller operation that slaughters 50 to 100 dogs a day. “This guy sold his two daughters into prostitution. One of his daughters was four years old. I think he’s a terrible guy but he told me he didn’t choose to do this. He had to feed his family somehow and he became a dog slaughterer.”

It isn’t easy for Ching to sit across men who commit such horrific acts. Those who get into the business for money tend to be receptive, but there are always exceptions.

“In a slaughterhouse in Indonesia,” Ching says, “they hang dogs off these hooks and torture them. This guy is very popular for what he does because people come there believing the meat has healing powers. He’ll say, ‘I help people live better. I cure diseases like cancer.’ This guy will never close because he really believes in what he’s doing.”…(CONTINUED)

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/us_activists_efforts_to_rescue_dogs_from_asias_meat_trade_draw_both_praise_/

‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter

as published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“The most recent update from Yellowstone National Park said that 179 bison had been sent to slaughter….”

photo by Rachel Leathe

photo by Rachel Leathe

Drivers heading south from Four Corners on Highway 191 will now zip past a billboard with a gory scene and a simple message: dead bison, lying in a pool of blood underneath block letters asking people to call Montana’s governor and tell him to “Stop the Yellowstone Massacre.”

The billboard is one of two that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies bought, the other being in Helena. Steve Kelly, a board member for Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the artist who painted the picture, said they hope people will see the signs and pressure Montana Gov. Steve Bullock into blocking the annual shipping of Yellowstone bison to slaughter for the year.

“It’s a horrendous thing,” Kelly said. “He’s the one who has the power to stop it.”

The signs went up this week, arriving after hundreds of bison have already been sent to slaughterhouses and while another few hundred wait their turn. Alliance for the Wild Rockies is one of several environmental groups that oppose shipping bison to slaughter, a practice government officials consider necessary to meet population reduction goals each year.

“The National Park Service needs to address bison overpopulation in Yellowstone National Park,” said Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel in an emailed statement.

The culling of Yellowstone’s bison herd happens because of a 17-year-old management plan rooted in fears of the disease brucellosis. Brucellosis can cause animals to abort their calves, and the livestock industry worries that if bison are allowed to roam farther outside of the park that the disease might be spread to cattle herds, though no case of bison transmitting the disease to cattle has been documented in the wild.…(CONTINUED)

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/stop-the-yellowstone-massacre-group-puts-up-billboards-urging-end/article_1015b71c-c816-542f-835f-b7b4c933c5bb.html

People Are Killing Millions Of Donkeys Just For Their Skins

Story by as published on The Dodo

Warning: Graphic Content – What they’re used for is such a waste

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro affairs at WHFF, and her good friend Miss Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch

For centuries, in rural cultures across the globe, one animal has been an important part of the family, helping to keep farms and villages running.

Not only do millions of people depend on donkeys for practical purposes — many donkeys are seen more and more as smart and loyal pets.

But this friendship between people and donkeys is increasingly threatened by a growing trade in something you’ve probably never even heard of: “ejiao,” (also known as “colla corii asini” or “donkey hide glue”) a kind of gelatin made from donkey skin — and demand for ejiao is killing literally millions of donkeys per year.

A new report from The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K. shows just how massive this emerging global trade really is. At least 1.8 million donkey skins are being traded each year — but it could be between 4 million and 10 million. The trade is difficult to track and until now hasn’t been studied at such a large scale.

“Our report reveals the shocking scale of this global trade and how it’s causing a chain of welfare issues for the donkeys at every step, from sourcing to transport and finally to slaughter,” Mike Baker, chief executive of The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo in a statement.

“Ejiao is a medicine with ancient roots and has been promoted as a product worthy of emperors,” the report says, explaining that traditional herbalists in China claim that ejiao can increase libido, slow aging and prevent disease. But ejiao has not been recognized as having medicinal properties by western medicine.

dead-donkeysThis belief means that donkeys are becoming more valuable for their skins, and therefore harder for rural families to afford. Even the loyal donkeys families already have are at risk. It is becoming more common for donkeys to be stolen right out of a family’s yard and slaughtered for their skins.

While exports of donkey skins come from South America and Asia, the largest source is in Africa, where donkeys (many of them stolen) are rounded up in “donkey markets,” where they are often packed together and left without shelter from the hot sun and without food or water, while they await slaughter.

Often, after the skins are removed, the bodies of the donkeys are burned.

“The market is far worse than I expected,” said Alex Mayers, program manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, from a donkey market in Tanzania last week. “There are about 700 donkeys basically coming here to wait to die. There’s no food or water. The donkeys are very stressed. There are lots of signs of dehydration and hunger.”

But there is hope.

Some countries have already taken action and banned exports of donkey skins, making their donkeys much safer. This includes the African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, and Pakistan, in Asia.

The Donkey Sanctuary is calling for a stop to the trade of donkey skins worldwide, so that the damage already done to donkey populations and the people who depend on them can be assessed.

overview-mapIn particular, we urge other countries affected by this trade to follow the lead taken by Burkina Faso and Niger and ban the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins,” Suzi Cretney, public relations manager for The Donkey Sanctuary, told The Dodo.

Cretney said that raising public awareness about where ejiao really comes from could help consumers make better choices.

“We are asking countries to follow the lead by Burkina Faso and Niger to end the slaughter and export of donkeys for their skins because it could help thousands, if not millions of donkeys — their welfare, and their real value supporting people’s livelihoods is at risk,” Baker said.

“This has to stop,” Mayers said, standing by a pen packed with donkeys awaiting their fate. “This absolutely just has to stop.”

To get action alerts about how you can help save these donkeys, join the campaign.

Click (HERE) for video and graphic photos!

https://www.thedodo.com/donkey-skin-trade-2230693220.html

Under the Skin – Donkeys at Risk

Source: The Donkey Sanctuary

donkeys-at-risk

Right now, millions of donkeys from Asia, Africa and South America are at risk of being stolen and slaughtered for their skins – the gelatin in the hide being a key ingredient in the prized traditional Chinese medicine called ejiao (e-gee-yow).

A new report by The Donkey Sanctuary reveals the shocking scale of this global demand for donkey skins – a demand that is unsustainable, whilst simultaneously causing mass-scale suffering to donkeys and risking the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

Read here about the serious issues being faced and act now to add your voice to our campaign and help us curb this trade.

To learn more: https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/under-the-skin

Breaking! France Passes Historic Bill Ordering Cameras In All Slaughterhouses

By Carole R. Davis as published on World Animal News

“The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations…”

image-2The French national assembly passed a bill for mandatory cameras in slaughterhouses today. The controversial measure, to be implemented in 2018, follows a remarkable intensification of public outcry after a series of shocking undercover investigations were released to the French media by local animal rights organization L214. The vote to monitor slaughterhouse practices and workers for animal cruelty, safety and hygiene violations passed 28 to 4 (opponents of the bill were from the right and center political parties).

Before it is brought to the senate in March to be passed into law, the measure will be implemented first (by July 2017) through “experimentation,” in 263 slaughterhouses, placing cameras in all areas where animals are “moved, held, immobilized, stunned and killed.”

Stakeholders, including animal protection professionals, slaughterhouse management and government officials will have access to the footage to determine how to craft the final legislation.

The French government, subtly bending to pressure from powerful animal agriculture lobby groups, wants the “initial opportunity to evaluate the current conditions” ahead of passing a final legislation brought forth by socialist Olivier Falorni, titled “respect for the animal in slaughterhouses law.” During the session earlier today, Minister of Agriculture Stephane LeFoll, invoked the “farmers’ crisis” and “respect for slaughterhouse workers” in order to assuage the growing anger of agricultural workers — men who have indulged in media-hungry stunts by dumping truckloads of manure in front of ministries, blocking traffic with trucks, burning tires and hanging pigs from highway overpasses. The agriculture unions are pushing for further government relief for “Made in France” meat and dairy products while they battle waning meat sales, low milk and meat prices and push for higher wages, higher prices and an end to “unfair” competition with other countries. Animal rights, environmental and progressive healthcare advocates want an end to meat and dairy government subsidies and want public money to be spent promoting the production of sustainable, healthy, plant based food.

The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations — 6 to 12 months of prison and fines from 7500 to 20,000 Euros ($8000 to $21,000).

L214 has gained legitimacy in France by conducting risky undercover investigations to expose just how wide-spread and routine shocking incidents of cruelty to animals are. The organization has exposed footage of animals being tormented, brutalized and butchered by callous workers while still alive.

Several weeks ago, a dozen activists from 269Life Liberation Animale were arrested after breaking into a slaughterhouse to “witness the killing” and to stop the production line. They stood their ground on the killing floor for several hours, cameras rolling, before they were removed by police.

Animal rights protests are attracting increasingly large crowds in Paris, Nice and Lyon, helping make France one of the leading countries where animal protection is considered an important social justice cause linked to environmental efforts to limit climate change.