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Archive for December, 2014

Happy New Year to you all

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Old Macdonald, his staff and of course your farmyard friends all want to wish you a very happy new year for 2015 and we look forward to seeing you in February.


2015 is the Chinese Year of the Sheep but don’t tell the goats as they will be jealous! See you all soon.

Is there Palm Oil in your Christmas Pud?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Old Macdonald is joining with his friends in other Zoos to encourage Shoppers to read the label when buying their Christmas pudding this year in a bid to save species, like the orangutan, from extinction.

From tomorrow (December 13), new labelling laws will mean food products must state the source of any oil or fat ingredient including palm oil, the production of which had led to the destruction of habitats of orangutans and many other endangered species.

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In light of these changes, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is working with The Jane Goodall Institute, The Orangutan Foundation and its 108 members to raise awareness of the importance of carefully considering ingredients in a product before purchase.

Nicky Needham, Programmes and Policy Coordinator at BIAZA, said: “It is great to see the UK Food Information Regulations 2014 come into force as this will help the public make more informed choices on what they buy. This is a really positive step in the right direction, but we still need clearer information on the options of using sustainably-sourced palm oil.”

Orangutan numbers are declining rapidly with fewer than 54, 000 of the Bornean orang-utan and fewer than 7,300 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild. The UN declared the plight of these animals a conservation emergency and understanding the debate is a first step to addressing it.

Shoppers now need to decide whether to boycott food products with palm oil completely or choose products only containing certified sustainable palm oil.

By boycotting completely we risk shifting oil consumption to less productive oils such as soya which would use seven times more land space per tonne; however with sustainable palm oil there are doubts over robustness and full traceability. Credible certification is essential and it would be a significant achievement if the UK can ensure that only 100% sustainable palm oil is imported by 2015.

To help shoppers over the Christmas period, BIAZA scoured the web for the best and most sustainable Christmas puddings and came up with our Top 5. We have included the most highly rated puddings, while looking at the procurement guidelines for each store. All these puddings contain palm oil; however Co-op, Waitrose and M&S are leading the way for supermarkets in terms of sustainability.

BIAZA’s Top Five Christmas Puddings

1. The Co-operative Truly Irresistible
2. Heston from Waitrose Hidden Clementine
3. Duchy Originals Organic Christmas Pudding from Waitrose
4. Waitrose Richly Fruited Christmas Pudding
5. M&S Cranberry and Clementine The Christmas Pudding

BIAZA’s Palm Oil subgroup has also produced palm oil procurement guidelines and its member zoos and aquariums are reviewing their policies to see how we can be more sustainable. As well as raising awareness amongst visitors, some have even produced new palm oil free recipes for their own Christmas puddings.

For more information visit

To find out more about the new labelling laws visit:

Also, Old Macdonald wants shoppers to know that if they want to buy him a present he is not too proud to accept it! Well, he can only ask.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for this fascinating article, 1st December 2014

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Old Macdonald is a very well read man (OK, well red when upset actually) but found this in the Daily Mail whilst studying Arsenal’s latest triumph.23862C6800000578-2855416-image-54_1417394410565

They’re bears all right, and they come from darkest Peru — but they’re very seldom found on Paddington Station wearing a luggage label that says: ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’
Spectacled bears seem to be specially equipped for hard stares of the kind that Aunt Lucy taught Paddington — the children’s favourite, based on them, who’s now a movie superstar. Their eyes tend to be surrounded by pale or gingerish markings that exaggerate the facial expression.
These marks vary — you can tell one individual bear from another once you get to know them — and they often take the appearance of lavish spectacles, so they look like a bearish Elton John or Edna Everage.
They’re the only species of bear in South America, and they’re found all over the Andes wherever wild places have been allowed to remain: a range that goes from Peru to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and (just) into Argentina.
The corner that links Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is where the best habitat remains. And the best bears.
When Michael Bond wrote the first Paddington stories, he had Paddington stowing away from darkest Africa. On learning there are no bears in Africa, he shifted the action to darkest Peru and put Paddington’s Aunt Lucy — his only known relative other than an uncle who gave him his hat — in a Home for Retired Bears in Lima, from where she shipped Paddington to England.
What Bond would not have known is that, today, Peru’s real-life Paddingtons are in danger. Spectacled bears have been classified as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Hunters, poachers and habitat destruction mean their population has fallen to 3,000 from 20,000 or so just a few decades ago.
Which is a sad thing, for they are bears as eccentric as Paddington himself. They’re much more Teddy-like in appearance than the great bears from the north of our planet.