In what's being called The great animal rights betrayal the coalition government in the UK has scrapped or stalled Labour initiatives to improve animal welfare before they were to come into force. According to an article in today's The Independent on Sunday, "The Agriculture minister James Paice, who part-owns a farm in Cambridgeshire, has been behind most of the moves – which have infuriated welfare groups. In the latest of a series of controversial decisions, Mr Paice this week delayed by five years a ban on beak mutilations of laying hens due to come into force in January."
And this is only the beginning. "In an additional move, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) halted a series of prosecutions of abattoir operators based on secret footage which caught slaughterhouse workers kicking cattle, pigs and sheep. Tim Smith, head of the Food Standards Agency, which enforces slaughterhouse standards, said of the images: 'The cruelty on show is the worst I have seen.' Defra said the prosecutions would have failed because the footage had been obtained by trespass. Animal Aid, which shot the film, described the decision as 'political'".