New Lockdown Measures For England

Lockdown for most of England was eased on Saturday July 4th with the exception of Leicester which has to stick with the previous restriction levels for a further two weeks. This is due to a rise of cases in the city. Under the new guidance pubs, salons/barbers and cinema’s can now reopen so long as they follow strict social distancing guidelines. Gyms, leisure centres and theatres are still closed though. This does not make much sense to me as you do not need to be a genius to know that a drunk person will be less likely to observe social distancing rules then a sober person exercising in a gym. It is true that people will need to book a table at a pub in advanced and that pubs will need to keep a record of every person who has been in the pub for three weeks to help track and trace any outbreaks, however gyms and leisure centres are not just good for physical health but mental health as well. The two-meter rule has also been changed to one meter plus. Two households can also meet indoors as part of a, “Social Bubble” to help people living alone avoid loneliness. The definition of a support bubble according to the BBC can be found below:

What is a support bubble?

  • A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. The idea was first introduced in New Zealand.
  • In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, single adults living alone – or single parents whose children are under 18 – can now form a support bubble with one other household.
  • The second household can be of any size.
  • Currently, nobody who is shielding should join a bubble, but this restriction will be lifted from 6 July in England.
  • The independent advisory group Sage has been asked to examine if, when and how people might safely be allowed to expand their bubbles.
  • Announcing the latest easing of rules in Wales on 19 June. First Minister Mark Drakeford said he expected to make a decision about whether to introduce social bubbles in the next few weeks.

What are the support bubble rules?

  • Support bubbles must be “exclusive”. Once in one, you can’t switch and start another with a different household.
  • People in each bubble can visit each other’s homes and go inside.
  • They won’t have to do social distancing and can even stay overnight.
  • Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England’s test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

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Post EU Trade

british farming

Recently I have had lots of emails from campaign groups wanting me to sign and share petitions against trade deals with Donald Trumps led USA government once the United Kingdom has ended its transition period with the European Union, (EU) over fears that our food standards would be lowered. While the UK was part of the European Union trade deals with other countries were negotiated by the EU on behalf of all members, meaning it was harder for countries like the USA to dictate the terms, and animal welfare standards along with agriculture was placed high on the agenda.

The majority of the petitions I have received revolve around chlorinated chicken from America and fears that it will soon be on our supermarket shelves without being labelled as chlorinated chicken. What these petitions failed to explain to me is what exactly are the reasons that American farmers wash their chickens in chlorine to begin with. What is it about American farming practices that makes it necessary?

The EU banned chlorinated chicken in all member states 1997 over fears of food safety. This includes concerns over reduced hygiene practices. People who advocate for the practice of washing chicken in chlorine is that it kills bacteria and reduces the risk of salmonella. Political advocates of chlorinated chicken argue that it is financially beneficial as it can reduce price by 20%, meaning people on lower incomes can still afford to buy chicken. People who argue against allowing chlorinated chicken to be sold in the UK argue that the practice leads to lower hygiene standards in abattoirs and food production factories as producers rely on the chlorine solution to rinse harmful substances from the animal. It should be added that chlorination is not believed to be harmful for consumption with both the USDA and EU food safety regulator EFSA saying it is safe when the chicken is eaten in moderation. Despite this I am personally more persuaded by the arguments against the sale of chlorinated chicken. It may be 20% cheaper however I would prefer to pay a higher price to ensure that the food I am eating has been produced to the highest standards possible with the least chemical treatment.

Below you will find an extract from the RSPCA Assured website for why they are concerned about chlorinated chicken:

Why is American chicken chlorinated?

“The reason US farmers [use chlorine washing] is because their animals are raised in such cramped conditions that the only way to stop them becoming diseased is to dunk them in chlorine,” he said. “It’s really an animal welfare issue here. If UK farmers want to compete against American imports, they’ll have to lower standards or go out of business.” – Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now warning on the implications of the UK doing a trade deal with the US.


RSPCA Assured believes in maintaining the higher animal welfare standards we’ve established in the UK. We agree with the EU that the surest way to fight salmonella and other bacteria in foods is through higher welfare standards maintained from farm to fork. While we don’t have any chlorinated chicken in the UK at the moment, the best way to support British farmers, now and in the future, and to be sure you are buying higher welfare meat, fish and dairy is to look for the RSPCA Assured logo when you shop.

If American farmers are doing this to their chickens what else could they be doing to the other animals they farm?


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The Power of Animals


Friendship comes in many forms. One form that is not always understood is the friendship between people and animals. The 2016 film, “A Street Cat Named Bob” tells the true story of how a homeless recovering drug addict and busker is befriended by a stray cat when he enters supported accommodation. Spurred on by Bob’s devotion James Bowen not only overcomes his drug addiction, he reconnects with his father who had appeared to have given up on him and James also writes his story which became a best seller. In the film James Bowen makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film as an extra and Bob plays himself throughout the movie as no other cat would have been appropriate. Sadly, Bob died on June 16th, 2020 at the age of 14. Since the release of, “A Street Cat Named Bob” was released James Bowen has gone on to write two more books The World According to Bob and A Gift from Bob, which became international best sellers and dedicates his time to helping numerous charities that involve homelessness, literacy, and animal welfare.
I have had many pets throughout my life and am always amazed at how they have always been able to tell when I have needed cheering up, as well as their ability to know exactly what I need at the time. As people we do not always deserve animals.
It is often said that dogs are a man’s best friend. For James Bowen, his best friend was A Street Cat Named Bob.

Frustrating Times

Frustrated Woman PullingOutHairB

After nearly three months of lockdown many of us will be feeling frustrated with the situation. Many like me will be frustrated to learn that the governments Chief Advisor broke lockdown rules at the beginning of lockdown and is still in his position, refusing to apologise for what he did and only seemingly having a press conference because he was sorry that he got caught. Lockdown rules have begun to ease however there is still a long way to go until the world returns to some form of normality, especially with different countries taking different approaches.
The Black Lives Matter movement has also gained more support following yet another death of an unarmed black man caused by a white Police Officer in the United States of America. This has led to worldwide mostly peaceful protests. I say mostly peaceful as sadly some protests have been infiltrated by thugs who are using them to start riots. Again, we are seeing different countries taking different responses. The President of the United States has said he would send in the military to end the protests if the State Governors and Police do not stop the protest, while the Mayor of Bristol has praised the way the Police in Bristol have dealt calmly with protesters. I have also seen social media videos of people trying to belittle people who say All Lives Matter. All lives do matter, however sadly there is still an ongoing issue in some countries where black and other minority ethnic groups are still facing discrimination that can only be understood by people who have gone through it. Sticking with USA the country currently has its 45th President. Out of 45 Presidents 44 have been white men. For a country that claims all men are created equal the fact that all but one of their Presidents has White European decent should give people reading this reason to think.
I do not want to turn this into a political rant, like many people I am missing my family and hope that lockdown ends soon so that I can not only visit my family and friends but get back to lifting weights and return to some form of normality.