Animal welfare - the bad and the good

What do you think is the third most farmed animal in the UK?
I was quite surprised to learn that the answer is ducks.

Over the weekend I read on Tales of simple days. about a campaign that the RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is running to persuade the supermarkets to buy duck meat from suppliers who give ducks full body access to water, so that they can fully bathe in water. See this link for The sad tale of Jennifer the duck

Our neighbouring village has a duck pond and it is so lovely to see the wild ducks swimming in this beautiful setting.

The ducks here aren't always popular though, an incident happened earlier in the year when the annual scarecrow's competition was held. The theme unsurprisingly was "The Olympics".

Unfortunately the synchronised swimmers had to be removed after a few days as the ducks had eaten the straw that had been used for their heads!

We don't eat very much meat, and we  always try where possible, to buy local good quality free range meat . This quote comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall :-

Think about the meat that you eat. Is it good enough? Good enough to bring you pleasure every time you eat it? Could it, should it be better? Are you among the millions of consumers putting pressure on farmers to produce mountains of cheap meat of dubious quality, by dubious means? Perhaps it would make sense to spend a little more on it, a little less often. Or to buy cheaper cuts of better meat.”

Occasionally during the year we visit local producers and learn how they run their businesses of rearing their animals - this year we have been to a smallholding rearing pigs, and a water buffalo farm. We are always heartened to see the care and devotion that the owners give to their animals. These are such good examples and show the huge difference in the way our meat is produced and the how the animals are cared for.

Thank you everyone so much for commenting of my last post. I was quite over whelmed with the response and the  wonderful company It was just as well  it was a virtual walk or the beach would have been very crowded! Welcome  and hello to my new followers Joy (if you have a blog please let me know), and thank you Janice for your link.
Sarah x


  1. Oh that is such a sad tale and a happy one all rolled into one. I'm a veggie, but I am very careful when buying meat for the family and it is always from our local butcher - never a supermarket...I just don't trust (or support) the mass produced values.

    Nina x

  2. Sweet Sarah!

    I must follow that link to read about Jennifer the Duck! I love animals and if we must eat meat, then I agree that we must take great care in selecting the best companies/farms that treat their animals with dignity, i.e, allowing them to live to the fullest to provide US with the best meat. I understand that the mass production HERE in the USA for beef depends on the corn that the cows are fed but cows were not meant to eat corn. It is all based on MONEY and how much and how BIG we can produce in order for the money. So sad.
    I so enjoy your blog; that serene country scene with the pond is one of the many reasons why I would love to visit your beautiful country! Anita

  3. I haven't eaten meat since I was 16, read an article on what went in burgers! I don't actually believe we shouldn't eat meat though but do believe animals should be kept in conditions as close to nature as possible! Ada :)

  4. Oooo, that was a very well-done ad for a very important need. Many people fail to realize that if our environment is not properly cared for, then WE WILL EVENTUALLY suffer the consequences of letting our world die off. THANK YOU FOR THIS SARAH! Anita

  5. Hello Sarah:
    This is a very thought provoking post. It is, of course, not a simple matter to produce sufficient food for a growing world population at prices that everyone can afford, but those of us fortunate to be able to make choices in these matters do, we believe, have a responsibility to think about how food is produced and the welfare of animals reared for food.

    And, it is true, one can taste the difference!

  6. I do eat meat, not a lot of it but nevertheless some. I always try to find out where it comes from and if I am not sure the farm allows animals to live naturally I will not buy from them. Turkeys and ducks often are kept in conditions which are not kind, as, of course are battery chickens. And so called. barn' chickens too. Minerva x

  7. Ooh Sarah, close to my heart this one is....
    I have never eaten or would eat Ducks, as I feed them on our local pond!!
    I simply love animals and agree with Hugh whole heartedly, have his book too!
    We must and should be responsible for what we put on our plates.
    Great post Sarah and I am getting off my soap box now! hehe..
    Have a lovely rest of week, we have the most lovely autumnal days, just lovely for walks!!
    Love Mariax

  8. This is such an important issue. I'm a vegetarian, I have been since I was 10 years old, so I don't buy meat but Dave isn't a veggie and never will be. He doesn't eat a lot of meat as we can't afford it but I always insist he buys organic or the better stuff if he has to have some. If he shops alone, he'll buy the cheapest and it really annoys me as I don't think it's as good for him and the thought of what conditions the animal was raised in really bother me.

  9. Aniaml welfare is an important issue. Too many people cut corners just to make more profit. Very few people seem to care. We eat meat but not a lot - I always try to source organic.

  10. I didn't follow the link in case it was upsetting! I don't eat duck and have never bought any. We used to keep Mallards (names Aqua duck and Via duck) and for this reason I couldn't eat it.

    1. The link is in a story book version copying Beatrix Potter's Jemima Puddleduck. There is also on on line petition. Having read it I just felt I wanted to do a post and make others aware.
      Sarah x

  11. a very good cause! pretty ducks and beautiful countryside.

  12. Very very thought-provoking! I don't eat loads of meat but I've been recently thinking about it a lot and about whether I should eat meat much! Following your advice would be a good start!x

  13. Hi Sarah..thanks so much for coming by my blog and leaving a comment. I'm glad my silly scarecrow made you smile! I'm loving looking thru your beautiful Blog. The pictures are so awesome and I the landscapes LOVELY! Have a great Fall and I'll be back to visit soon.


  14. A great, thought provoking post Sarah and I agree wholeheartedly with all the comments to date. Unfortunately we're in an over-crowded world and a society where money always rules first. It would be interesting to know how much of this mass produced produce gets wasted. If we all become more selective about what we buy and don't buy as much then maybe we can reverse the situation and get back to a more sustainable lifestyle. I take my hat off to Hugh, he's working so hard to change peoples attitudes, he should be knighted!

  15. I never buy, order or eat duck meat for the simple fact that where I live (Arizona) we have such little water and the only place I have seen ducks swimming is in the sewer/water treatment plant. It makes me wonder where the butchers get the meat from!

  16. I don`t eat meat but I buy it for my family, so I`m very aware of welfare issues. I have avoided duck for years since hearing the tales of my cousin who once did a holiday job in one of the big duck producing units in Lincolnshire. She did not stay doing that job for long!

  17. Oh, spotty pigs! And little quiffs of white tail feathers!

  18. I was a veggie for many years but now eat occasional meat - providing it is local, out door reared and has a letter from its mum saying it had a happy life! I guess ducks are widely farmed as they feature in a lot of Chinese dishes. Its so sad to think of them being reared without access to water.

  19. Hi Sarah,
    thanks so much for your kind words - I totally agree with you, it is very important to put the right value on keeping the animals, and to reduce the consumption of cheap produced meat, it is not quite easy but I think it is really worth.
    Take care, warm greetings

  20. We love good meat and like to pay just a little more for it. I don't think I ever ate duck, don.t like the idea. My husband once ate it and he got really sick. I love your photo,s those pigs are so cute. Have a nice weekend.

  21. Hi Sarah, I think we would be shocked if we saw how, many of the animals, are being raised. My husband and I are meat eaters, but most of what we eat . . . we know the farmers (and their care of the animals) and buy large amounts to put into our freezer.
    My daughter and her family are vegetarians . . . and I can understand their reasoning.
    This was a very inspirational and interesting read. Thanks for sharing.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

  22. We can't eat duck any more, since rescuing Flora. I used to enjoy those tortilla duck wraps as an occasional treat - but never again! Now we enjoy Flora's free-range eggs that she lays during part of the year - hiding her lovely white eggs in secret nests around the garden!

  23. Both me and my better half are veggies and the children brought up with mainly vegetarian but I left it to them to choose for themselves. I always encourage them to buy good organic meat if they buy any at all. I would always want any animal to have the best life possible even if they were destined for someones table at the end! Ducks are so cute. x

  24. Hi Sarah,

    Great post and thanks for sharing this. We always try to buy organic meat as it is always so much better.
    We also enjoy watching Hugh's show on TV also

    Have a lovely weekend

  25. i always try to buy meat which is free range, i thoink thats why local farm shops are so popular. i was vegetarian when i was 16 till i was in my early 20's but now i'm just a bit fussy about the meat i have. Never had duck though, dosent appeal to me.
    And. Those were swimmers in that water????? hahaha!!

  26. I think we live in exciting times where more small producers are popping up and sharing their passion and devotion to their work. We just have to support them as much as we can so that they stay. Thank you for the wedding anniversary love! x

  27. What lovely photos. I especially like the little spotted piglets!

    Greetings from Minneapolis,


  28. I can't literally claim to be a veggie, but I eat very, very little meat - I do like offal and game but eat it a handful of times in the year. I am very careful about the ethics of everything we eat though, as far as is possible, and I couldn't agree more with Hugh!

    I would never have guessed that so many ducks were farmed ... great post Sarah, and fabulous piggy pics :D

  29. Ducks!! I would never have guessed that. I don't think that it would be ducks in Ireland..... A lovely post and I am loving your photography, you do justice to the beautiful surroundings:~)

  30. I love Ducks! That is an interesting fact. Your photos are great and those pigs are just adorable. I enjoyed watching them at the Fair. They were like little puppies running around. Too cute.

  31. Many thanks for letting me know... I am passionate about animal or human rights... I have signed up and complained to Waitrose personally to say how disappointed I am... thanks again!
    Great blog!


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