Advocacy

AIA’s International Campaigns Secretary, Marian Hussenbux is responsible for AIA’s global animal advocacy work. This involves writing to people of influence about animal suffering and cruelty around the world, sometimes in support of the campaigns run by other organisations and sometimes in support of AIA’s own campaigns.


AIA’S CAMPAIGNING ACTIVITY – FROM JUNE 2021 to AUGUST 2021


My campaign report for this period is rather shorter than usual, but I am also appending an Update on several of these issues as they are positive and we probably all need that just now!

United Kingdom 

The last two weeks in August were dominated by our concern for Nowzad animals and people and Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR). Many of you, as I was, were kindly kept up to date by ASWA who did a sterling job, and when matters became clearer and Pen Farthing and his animals were safely in Britain, we wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to take an active interest in the Nowzad staff who had been unable to leave. We reminded him that apart from the fact they are at risk, having loyally worked for a British organisation, and we have a responsibility for them, these are qualified and experienced veterinary professionals and that we are currently short of them in the UK. As you know, they have now safely left Afghanistan.

Appalling revelations were made by Animal Equality of cruel treatment of animals in a Cheshire abattoir. This, despite there being CCTV installed, according to legal requirements, and despite also the presence of an official vet.  We made strong representations to the Minister George Eustice, asking him to take appropriate action against all who were proven to be involved – an allegation had also been made against the manager of the abattoir.  We received a reply from DEFRA, not responding to any of our points but reminding us of all that we already knew, basically that this is a country with excellent animal welfare legislation. The Food Standards Agency is investigating the incidents, so, luckily for DEFRA, they are unable to say more about the case.  We wrote again to complain about their complacent and patronising response, which was also addressed to me personally and not to AIA as a body.  We decided to pass our letters to Zac Goldsmith, asking for his comments.  Not surprisingly, he more or less repeated what DEFRA had said, but at least addressed his letter to AIA.  All we can do now is await the FSA investigation.

Manx Mountain Hares, as is true of all hares in this country and Ireland, are very threatened.  A petition was set up by the Manx Wildlife Trust as the Isle of Man government set up a Consultation on many aspects of animal welfare and this included the possible reclassification of the Mountain Hare from ‘vermin’ (a disrespectful term we greatly oppose for all living creatures) to ‘game’ – which can mean only one thing. We offered to address the appropriate people in the government, whose names we did not have, but am sorry to say the WT did not reply to two messages.

Good news from Wales is that there will be no cull of badgers there. We thanked the First Minister Mark Drakeford for his firm repudiation of this cruel English policy. However, birds are being prevented, by spikes, from landing on Welsh roofs, so we contacted the Minister responsible to ask for these deadly devices to be removed.

In the Republic of Ireland, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced Government agreement to the drafting of the Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2021. This Bill will provide for the legislative framework to implement a prohibition on the keeping of animals primarily for their fur or skin. The proposed Bill currently applies to cats, chinchillas, dogs, foxes, mink and weasels (including stoats).  We received a reply from the Minister to say that the inclusion of rabbits was being considered. We subsequently found information on compensation for the fur farmers but nothing about the rabbits, so have contacted the Minister again for clarification.

In France, the Prefect of Oise is prepared to allow the killing of 3,000 foxes.  We wrote to ask her to change her mind and stop this.

In the Gard, 400 places are being subsidised for those under 25 to attend corridas and novilladas – the latter are bullfights using bulls under 4 years old.  We wrote to ask the local councillors to ban this.

The United States

You might remember that, in the last legislative session, we made formal testimony to the State of Hawai’i in support of several important animal welfare Bills.  We wrote to thank Senator Gabbard and Representatives Nishimoto and Nakashima for supporting the five Bills. Senator Gabbard thanked us for our concern and complimented AIA. He has done this before. UPDATE 1.

We asked the Hawai’i Governor, David Ige, to sign a Bill to protect sharks and there is a report on this in UPDATE 2.

You will remember that we are frequently in touch with the Commerford Zoo which keeps elephant Minnie alone, her two companions having died.  Four fairs had invited them to attend with Minnie, so we asked them to take back the invitation.

Wolves are almost always in peril in several states – Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, for instance. However, we were informed that Colorado now hosts the first wild-born pups in over 80 years. In common with the excellent Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, we hope that these wolves will join with others soon to be translocated to Colorado as part their reintroduction programme.  We thanked Governor Jared Polis for this positive step to advance the cause of a very beleaguered species.

Wild horses are also terribly persecuted in most of the states where they try to survive. As this is an iconic American animal, we asked the Interior Minister Deb Haaland, who is Native American, to protect them. We have had no reply.

The Red Road is the name of an epic journey which in August conveyed a totem pole from Washington State to Washington DC, organised and supported en route by several First Nations. The procession set off from Lummi tribal country, the People of the Sea who had carved the totem pole, highlighting the damaging effects of the salmon dams on the Snake River.  As well as being an animal important for the Lummi, the Southern Resident orcas are starving as they cannot access the salmon either. We repeated our request to Washington Governor Jay Inslee to have these four dams breached – they are out of use anyway.

In Canada, trophy hunting of polar bears is allowed. Given the parlous status of the species due to warmer weather and less ice, one would have thought they needed protecting, not shooting. We wrote to ask PM Justin Trudeau to have the hunt banned.

Though, in a very enlightened advance, Canada had banned the capture of cetaceans to be kept in aquaria, the animals they have are still in situ. Some belugas were quietly transferred in May from Canada to the Mystic Aquarium in the United States. We had written in a complimentary manner to the Minister Bernadette Jordan, so had to write again to protest that, not only was this ill-advised, as it meant animals protected in Canada were now facing an uncertain future in a country where there was no such legislation, but several of the belugas were also known to be in poor health. One died soon after transfer and another is very ill.

Australia

We received a report from the Cultural Custodians for Wangan and Jagalingou Country, saying that the firm Adani was desecrating Doongmabulla Springs with impunity. We wrote to the Queensland Government, reminding them that this is a place of profound cultural heritage to the Traditional Owners.  We emphasised the interconnected web of life, and that, unlike commercial companies, the Traditional Owners are stewards of the environment and all who live in it.

Live exports, yet again. Though Minister David Littleproud had previously said that the observer programme is vital, the government admitted that it is nearly a year since a live export ship carried a single independent observer. We wrote to object. Nobody official seems to care about Australian animals exploited in this appalling trade. A further example – an abattoir in Jordan is accredited by the Australian government. This has not prevented appalling abuse of animals there and it appears to be happening with impunity. We protested again to Minister Littleproud, copy to the excellent Animals Australia.  We understand that the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has pledged to stop live exports if elected in next year’s election. We wrote to ask him to remember his important promise if he is in a position to take such action next year.

We wrote again to the Queensland Premier, as the shark nets they place in their waters are still entangling whales.  Recently, one was released alive, but unfortunately not completely freed from the netting. UPDATE 3.

UPDATES ON CAMPAIGN WORK JUNE TO END AUGUST 2021

1. Hawaii

By June this year, Governor David Ige had already signed SB343 Sexual Assault of an Animal, which amends the Penal Code to establish the crime of sexual assault of an animal.

These other four measures became law on July 6:

  • HB1086 Veterinary Good Samaritan/Mandatory Reporting, which protects veterinarians from civil liability for rendering emergency aid to an animal and requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty.
  • HB416 Dog Tethering, which prohibits unsafe tethering practices and the unsupervised tethering of puppies.
  • SB345 Relating to Cosmetics, which bans the import of cosmetics developed using animal testing.
  • HB1021 Relating to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which strengthens the enforcement of wildlife-related regulations in our state.

The Hawai’ian Humane Society Public Policy Advocate, Stephanie Kendrick, with whom we are in regular contact, created flyers to build awareness that there are new reporting requirements and opportunities concerning animal cruelty, covering the Bills on Sexual Assault of an Animal, Veterinary Good Samaritan/Mandatory Reporting, and Dog Tethering, as these rely on public reporting of violations for enforcement.

And:

2. The following bill was signed into law: RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF SHARKS. ACT 051 (21)

“The legislature finds that sharks, known as mano in the Hawaiian language, are extremely important to ocean ecosystems. As ocean predators near the top of the food chain, sharks keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs. The legislature further finds that there have been numerous incidents reported where young sharks, such as hammerhead shark pups, are killed by being entangled in gill nets set in shark nursery habitats. The legislature also finds that prohibiting the placement of gill nets in areas determined to be shark nursery habitats would be an effective tool to protect shark populations. The purpose of this Act is to protect sharks for their ecological value while not criminalizing the accidental capture and release of sharks that may be captured while fishing for other species as allowed by statute or rule.”…

The penalties for infringement of this legislation are significant – for a first offence, $500. For a 3rd and subsequent, $10,000 – and seizure and forfeiture of captured sharks/parts, marine licence, vessel and equipment, plus administrative costs.

3. Canada

Camille Labchuck, Executive Director of Animal Justice in Canada writes:

“… we are turning the tide against “ag gag” laws—dangerous agriculture gag laws aimed at making it illegal to expose animal cruelty in the meat industry.

“While several ag gag laws have already passed in provinces across Canada, together, we just helped land a game-changing amendment to federal ag gag law, Bill C-205, that’s currently being studied in Parliament.

“Originally, this bill singled out animal advocates for punishment, claiming they could create disease risks on farms, while letting farmers completely off the hook despite a long-time pattern of allowing diseases to spread. The bill was introduced to “improve biosecurity”—but the double standard made it clear the true goal is to punish people who speak up against suffering at farms and slaughterhouses.

“But after Animal Justice lawyers and other groups expressed concerns to the committee studying the Bill, members amended the bill so that farmers will also be held accountable if they create disease risks on farms…”

Animal Justice’s ground-breaking new report analysing government data, showed that every reported disease outbreak on a Canadian farm had been caused by farmers ­ and not once by animal advocates.

4. Ireland

Accusations of multiple incidences of neglect, abuse and incorrect procedures were made about the Ashton Dog Pound in the Republic of Ireland.  AIA wrote once to Dublin City Council and again to them and to the Mayor of South Dublin in August and November 2020 asking for appropriate action to be taken in this very serious matter. In August, a positive outcome was reported:

“The owner of a Dublin dog pound, three shelter staff, and a veterinarian have been charged with animal cruelty, following an investigation into the deaths of two dogs at the pound last July by the Irish National Police…”

Full details here: https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2021/0806/1239428-animal-cruelty/

5. Puebla, Mexico

The Congress of the State of Puebla approved a Bill almost unanimously which will ban unregulated slaughterhouses and the slaughter of animals without stunning. Thanks to this resolution, which comes after a series of meetings Igualdad Animal/Animal Equality had with government authorities, more than 100 million animals will no longer be killed in illegal facilities without stunning. Also, all unregulated slaughtering will be banned and violators of this new law will face criminal charges with a prison sentence of one to four years.

In 2019, as a result of the investigations made inside several Mexican slaughterhouses by Animal Equality, the state of Jalisco had approved a historic reform of its criminal code and passed new laws to protect more than 200 million animals raised for food in the area. These two states raise and kill the greatest number of animals in the country. This means that, in only three years, the work of Igualdad Animal in Mexico has impacted more than 300 million lives.

6. Australia

We have written more than once to Australian federal and state ministers about the perilous plight of whales, sharks and rays in their waters and earlier this year asked the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to take action to protect the latter two species. Commercial fishing is having a terrible impact on these unique, endemic Australian animals.

The following update, from August, concerns Queensland. The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) reports: “We’ve saved up to 20,000 sharks per year from being caught and killed in Queensland’s largest fishery, the East Coast Inshore Fishery. 1 September 2021 marked the day the total allowable commercial catch of sharks was reduced from 500t to 400t per year. That’s a 20% reduction —a huge win for Queensland’s east coast waters including the Great Barrier Reef…”

This is the culmination of three years’ work for the organisation and last year they secured ‘fins naturally attached’ on Queensland’s east coast too. [My comment: – this was attributable to Sussan Ley’s work]

Continues:

“Unfortunately, endangered scalloped hammerheads can still be killed for meat and fins in Queensland waters. Following AMCS’ scientific nomination they’re currently being assessed for an ‘Endangered’ listing under our national environmental laws with a decision due in April next year. This would see the endangered scalloped hammerhead fully protected from targeted fishing.”

Finally: We received a second reply to our message about duck/quail shooting in Victoria. Mary-Anne Thomas, Minister of Agriculture, referred to our request to extend the ban on lead ammunition to shoot duck to stubble quail hunting in Victoria, and said that this will be discussed in the current review and remake of the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012 and that there will be a public consultation on the remake later this year.

Marian Hussenbux

12 September 2021

AIA’s Campaigning Activities continued:

March 2021 – May 2021
November 2020 – March 2021
April 2020 – October 2020
August 2019 – March 2020
April 2019 – July 2019
August 2018 – March 2019
April 2018 – July 2018
August 2017 – March 2018
December 2016 – July 2017
August 2016 – Nov 2016
March 2016 – July 2016
October 2015 – February 2016
April 2015 – September 2015