go to viva.org.uk

F

farm assurance schemes – there are a number of these so-called quality farm/food assurance schemes that are supposed to indicate that the food product meets a set of agreed standards of agricultural practice eg minimum farm animal welfare standards. Most are more concerned with creating an image of animal welfare rather than actually offering real welfare advantages to farmed animals. The best known schemes are *British Farm Standard and the associated *Little Red Tractor logo, *Freedom Foods, *Soil Association Approved. The Soil Association scheme is considered to be the most trustworthy of all the schemes. The others approve by-standard factory farming. 
feathers - bird plumage. Principally chicken, duck and geese but also decorative feathers from ostriches, peacocks and birds killed by hunters. Wide variety of uses especially in hats, feather dusters, darts, arrows and fishing lures, mattresses, pillows and quilts. Feathers (and *down) are by-products of food production, helping to keep poultry meat prices low. Chicken and duck feathers normally come from slaughtered, factory farmed birds. 
felt – cloth made from *wool or wool and *fur or wool and animal hair. 
fish - studies show that fish do feel pain. Most fish eaten now comes from fish farms as wild fish stocks have been decimated around the world. There are enormous welfare problems for the fish and health concerns for humans eating fish - farmed or otherwise. (See also VVF Fishing for Facts report.) 
fish oils – oils made from fish or marine mammals used in soaps, nutritional food supplements, cosmetics. Plant-derived oils from seeds, nuts and vegetables are alternatives to fish oils eg linseed (flax), walnuts and rapeseed oil. 
flavourings - term often stated on food labels. May or may not be animal-derived. 
Freedom Foods – An RSPCA assurance scheme aiming to give (but not actually giving!) farmed animals five basic freedoms (but does NOT mean ‘free-range’): freedom from fear and distress; from pain, injury and disease; from discomfort and freedom to behave naturally. To join the scheme farmers, animal hauliers and abattoir owners have to agree to certain conditions. In order to fully comply with this no animal could be raised for meat so Freedom Foods is a contradiction in terms. The written standards vary little from the government’s low standards. Viva! has video evidence that some farms licensed by the RSPCA under this scheme are little better than intensive farms. 
free-range eggs - although hens laying these eggs must have access to outdoors the reality is that most systems keep huge flocks of birds (up to 16,000) in one shed. (Usually it’s only on the few small scale units that hens are genuinely free range.) Outside access is usually through a few small holes and this, coupled with hen’s well-developed ‘pecking order’, means that up to half the birds in large scale units never actually get to go outside. Once hens’ egg-laying rate declines they are sent for slaughter. As in all egg systems, males can’t lay eggs, so they are gassed or macerated at one day old. 
free-range meats – meat from animals kept in the open as opposed to inside factory farms (though even these would be kept inside for some parts of the year). Many so-called free-range meats fail good animal welfare needs – eg free-range pigs are often kept in barren muddy fields instead of their natural home of woodland. The animals from these systems are still sent for slaughter young – they are not simply left to die naturally of old age. 
fur - clothing material from slaughtered animals. Millions of caged (especially mink and fox) and wild-caught animals are killed every year for their fur. Whilst the UK market for coats made from fur has declined, the fur industry is incorporating real fur into fur trims on eg coat/jacket hoods and cuffs.