Readers’ letters - July 27

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Make higher animal welfare a priority

The demand for humanely raised pork is rising steadily as people become aware of and disgusted by the appalling cruelty, the reckless over-use of antibiotics in factory pig farms and the intolerable toxic stench suffered by people unfortunate enough to live near one of the 800 mega farms in the UK.

As awareness grows, 40 per cent of sows in the UK live permanently outdoors – a fact conveniently ignored by industrial farming lobbyist Zoe Davis, from the National Pig Association, when she stated: “There aren’t many producers that farm pigs outdoors because there’s not a huge demand”.

The reader can help bring an end to this onslaught of cruelty and blight on local villagers’ lives by not buying the meat from these factory livestock farms.

They can look for a high animal welfare label on the meat. For pigs, that is RSPCA Assured, Outdoor Bred, Free Range and, best of all, Organic. To help understand why this meat tastes better, look no further than FarmsNotFactories website where famous chefs and foodies explain why they would only ever serve or recommend meat from high animal welfare farms.

Yes, it is more expensive at the till but not if the true cost is internalised into a true cost analysis that looks at the antibiotics that have to be given to factory farm animals to stave off disease found in the barren concrete pens that the animals are crammed into.

Antibiotic-resistant diseases, that spread in the overcrowded sheds, reaches the neighbouring community and beyond via the meat. It brings us all ever closer to the day when antibiotics won’t work to cure basic human diseases. A recent survey found antibiotic-resistant E.coli on 63 per cent of factory farmed pork in UK supermarkets.

To spread the cost of buying high welfare, eat less but better quality meat and avoid diseases related to over eating meat like obesity, heart disease and colon cancer.

Tracy Worcester

via email

military

Good film but lacks accuracy

The letter from Mr Briscoe is quite correct: the film Dunkirk is certainly well worth seeing (LP Letters, July 25).

Where I would disagree with him, however, is his apparent belief that it represents an accurate portrayal of the actual historical facts surrounding Operation Dynamo.

Sadly, it does not, and anyone viewing it as such will be sadly misled.

The truth can be found in numerous books on the subject (including the relevant chapter in my own work examining the events of 1940, Hitler’s Armada) which will make plain that, far from “keeping the Luftwaffe from attacking the many boats”, for much of the time the RAF was unable to protect the evacuation fleet at all.

Despite recent attempts to dispute this fact, the unit of Fighter Command tasked with providing air protection – 11 Group – only had a maximum of 16 squadrons (around 200 fighters) available at any one time.

Although these aircraft (most of which were actually Hurricanes, by the way, a fact which the film ignores) and their pilots undoubtedly performed bravely, they found that, on those occasions when they were present, they were too busy engaging the fighter escorts (of which there were a total of 500 available) to be able to interfere with the activities of the German bombers.

Indeed, for much of the time, RAF fighter cover was simply not there at all.

The evacuation succeeded as a result of a variety of factors, these being adverse weather grounding aircraft, the inability of the Luftwaffe’s bombers to drop their bombs accurately enough, the skilful ship-handling which enabled ships underway to avoid being hit, the fact that much of the evacuation took place at night, and the valour of the largely French rearguard in holding the perimeter.

So, in conclusion, the film is worth seeing as entertainment, and as, apparently, a Spitfire ‘lovefest’ but please do not think for a moment that it represents good history, because it simply does not.

Geoff Hewitt

Penwortham

transport

Where’s the common sense?

At a time when our national deficit is still rising – last month borrowing an eye-watering £6.9bn – the Government has committed to increased spending on healthcare, defence and overseas aid.

Yet it beggars belief that the Government has also committed to building HS2, the high-speed railway that is set to link London with the northern cities.

The costs so far amount to £2.3bn, without a single piece of track being laid.

It was first estimated it would cost just over £37bn but that has since risen to £55.7bn, and knowing how Government projects run, that sum is set to rise dramatically.

A report commissioned by the Department of Transport puts the cost for the whole track at a massive £104bn, which equates to £400m for

every mile, making it the world’s most expensive railway.

Furthermore, apart from the disruption that it will cause to people’s lives, business and the countryside, it will never recoup its costs.

Apart from being outdated (there is a suggestion that frictionless trains will take 29 minutes to travel from Washington to New York), the stations will be moved to new locations, which will add to journey times rather than save

time.

Yet, ignoring protests and any form of common sense, the Government will keep wasting vast amounts of taxpayers’ money on this white-elephant project instead of upgrading the existing rail network which would benefit the passengers without spending an obscene amount of money.

Philip Griffiths

North West President

UKIP

(UK Independence Party)

literature

Kate’s book a joy to read

Kate Adie (pictured inset) was a very good TV reporter from troubled areas.

I have just read a very good book by Kate called Fighting on the Home Front.

It is about the legacy of women during the First World War. It is an eye-opener, well written and well-researched. A joy to read!

Kate Adie takes on risk and danger. She is driven to do so.

I will make a gesture in her direction by walking under ladders in future.

Max Nottingham

Address supplied

gratitude

Thanks to great Booths staff

I recently collapsed and fell in Booths, Fulwood.

I would just like to show my gratitude to all of the great staff and management of this great Preston family business, including Edwin Booth, but especially the store manager Simon Fenwick for his choice in a fantastic staffing policy – Chris Copping (specialist manager) and Amy Redford (trading manager) whom I am for ever indebted too.

Niell Henson

Fulwood