In addition to AIA’s proactive advocacy work, outlined in its five year strategy 2022-2026, we also react to current situations of animal cruelty .
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, often in support of campaigns run by other organisations.
AIA’S CAMPAIGNING ACTIVITY – FROM August 2022 to October 2022
Having read an interesting article in the press, we thanked Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel for speaking out against the promotion of zoos by travel companies, and for advocating true conservation – something which zoos always maintain they do, but is not always the case.
We congratulated Alison Johnstone MSP, who is now Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. As this means she must remain strictly impartial in her statements, we clarified with her that, while she fulfilled this role, she would be unable to promote and vote on animal welfare bills. She has been one, if not the, main advocate of animals in their Parliament – speaking up against hunting, snaring, the killing of mountain hares. She replied fully, confirming that she cannot campaign now, but gave us links to the animal-friendly MSPs whom we can contact when appropriate.
Continuing this theme, we wrote to thank and support Ariane Burgess, MSP, Rural Affairs Spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, who had reported that the Scottish Parliament is consulting on a new Hunting With Dogs Bill. She is acting to strengthen the Bill and set up a petition.
As she said:
“A lot of people think fox-hunting is already banned in Scotland, but the reality is that there are far too many loopholes in the existing law. This has allowed fox hunting to continue throughout the last 20 years…
“I will be moving amendments to end the loopholes to the ban, including the Scottish Government’s proposed licensing of hunting with packs of dogs in some circumstances, and loopholes that allow the use of dogs for sport and for terrier work. This is the cruel practice of sending dogs underground to flush out foxes, and can lead to orphan cubs being killed by dogs.”
Here is a petition you might wish to sign:
We wrote to the French PM, Elisabeth Borne, to Jean-Rene Cazeneuve and Aurore Berge, deputies in the National Assembly, to protest against an amendment which would remove the benefit of tax reductions to animal welfare organisations which whistleblow when they enter and find cruel practices in private agricultural properties and industrial establishments. As the government puts it, this covers acts of intrusion or acts of violence to the employees.
Apart from the lack of supervision which will allow animals to be mistreated with impunity, this is a control imposed on the freedom of speech.
There is much opposition in Spain to an exemption tabled by the Socialist Party (PSOE) to their animal welfare legislation which would exclude working dogs, including those used for hunting, from the protection accorded to companion animals.
This very active campaign is called “Same Dogs Same Law”.
We wrote to the Spanish PM, who belongs to this party, and to PSOE, asking for this amendment to be removed.
We received a full reply from the Presidencia, which were nice words in support of animal welfare, but said no more about the amendments except that “… (they) will all be debated in Congress, when hopefully consensus will emerge.”
Messages to the PSOE bounced back.
Readers might remember that Dr. Mark Avery of Wild Justice interviewed the Icelandic Prime Minister a couple of years ago and brought back the news that Iceland might stop the hunting of whales.
We wrote to Minister Svavarsdottir and to Fisheries when we read that they were reconsidering the future of whaling in Iceland when current quotas expire in 2023, noting that whaling is not socially or economically viable for Iceland’s future.
We asked them not to renew the licence. Recent polls in Iceland reveal that there is little demand for whaling or whale meat and whales are worth more to the nation alive than dead.
As new welfare regulations in Iceland have been introduced, it is possible that the Iceland government accepts that there is no humane way to kill a whale.
We received news from the Eurogroup for Animals that there was to be held a Conference on October 20th. entitled ‘Freedom of religion with regard to religious slaughter’, organised by Ms Katharina von Schnurbein, Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism & Fostering Jewish Life.
Animal welfare organisations were not invited to attend.
We wrote to the organisers to the effect that the manner in which animals, defenceless sentient beings always subject to human control, are raised and subsequently slaughtered is of supreme ethical importance and we, representatives of all the main faiths, including Judaism, had our part to play in such a discussion.
We made the point that Judaism has led the way in how we relate to our fellow creatures. The Judaic precept of Tsa’ar Ba-alei Chayim, the pain of living things, is a compassionate and very early reminder of our responsibility to animals.
‘Animals suffer tsa’ar, pain, sorrow, and Jews are therefore prohibited from inflicting pain on them’.
However, though we received a reply, we were not invited to attend, and other animal welfare groups, including European veterinarians, were also excluded.
Ms Schnurbein stated: “The Conference is not related to the overhaul of Council Regulation (EC)1099/2009 on the protection of animal welfare at the time of killing.”
We thanked the Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg for her announcement in September of a new marine protection zone in the Mediterranean Sea. Palmahim is a unique reserve of its kind within the exclusive economic zone [EEZ]. This doubles the marine protected areas in Israel and hosts species unique to the Mediterranean Sea.
We contacted Green Party Senator Mehreen Faruqi on the occasion of an important Live Exports demonstration in Parliament in August, thanking her for her strong support, as ever, or animal welfare, and stating that we would be with them in spirit.
Labor had promised, if elected, to ban live exports. Their new Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, had stated that exports of sheep would be stopped, but in their second term.
We introduced ourselves as seasoned campaigners against this cruel trade and asked him not to wait until then– a second term may never come.
We also made the point that cattle suffer just as much as sheep and on at least two occasions of shipping them to Indonesia, they were treated in egregiously appalling ways; we told him that in fact we had protested to Indonesia on the first occasion and had our letter, kindly translated into Bahasa by BAWA Bali, printed in their press.
We wrote to the Federal Minister Tanya Plibesek about the protection of sharks and shark finning.
In July this year, the Queensland Government implemented a ‘fins naturally attached’ (FNA) rule in itsGulf of Carpentaria Fisheries, applying it only to scalloped and great hammerheads.
We read, in information received from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, that this determination is four years too late, and was prompted only by the threat of scalloped hammerheads being listed by the federal government as Endangered.
We were encouraged to read that the Minister is seeking further scientific adviceas to whether Queensland Government’s rule change will affect the extinction risk of the scalloped hammerhead shark and that a decision regarding the fate of scalloped hammerhead protection under national environment laws must be made by December 1st.
Finally, Aotearoa New Zealand:
Dairy cows suffer greatly in NZ. A consultation has been set up to investigate conditions and we submitted our thinking on the subject.
We also wrote, for the third time on this matter, to Minister Damien O’Connor.
Since the 1990s, their dairy industry has squeezed cows more closely together for higher production. They are exposed to the harsh weather because shelterbelts were removed to fit in more cows. Intensive winter grazing can see cows crammed in at two per metre and forced to sleep and give birth in mud.
This in fact contravenes their requirements to give cows and calves adequate shelter. If they are serious about welfare, they should reduce herd numbers to provide space in decent surroundings in order to make the lives of cows and calves more bearable.
~ Marian Hussenbux – 2 November 2022
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