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 MAY 2022 to JULY 2022
Animal Welfare Bills – concerning live exports, ban on fur and foie gras sales in UK, plus the Animals Abroad legislation – were absent from the Queen’s Speech. We asked the PM, DEFRA Minister George Eustice and Lord Zac Goldsmith why? In an open letter on our web site, we asked them to re-introduce the bills and confirm that the much-promised live exports ban, puppy farms and primate licences would go ahead.
Update: on July 27, this news was reported in the press: “Plans to ban imports of fur and foie gras have been put on hold, environment minister Zac Goldsmith has admitted. In a letter to Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, Kerry McCarthy, Mr. Goldsmith said that the Government was now “considering any further steps.”
Badger Crime, Greater Manchester. On hearing of some instances of appalling cruelty to badgers, we wrote to Chief Inspector David Henthorne, lead on Wildlife Crime for this force, commending them for the work they do in a very large geographical area and expressing our concern that the penalty of 5 years imprisonment for serious abuse was not available for wildlife, merely companion animals. The Chief Inspector replied in a useful message, informing us that he is setting up enhanced training for call handlers who receive reports of wildlife cruelty, and that this will make police response more effective.
You will remember that we wrote to Minister George Eustice (no friend of badgers!) in February, asking DEFRA to bring penalties for cruelty to badgers into line with those for companion animals. We received no reply, so we repeated our request this month. We reminded him that crimes perpetrated on badgers – and other wildlife – are not recordable under Home Office National Crime Recording, so it is difficult to get hold of the statistics for detection rates. This is something the Greater Manchester Chief Inspector also mentioned as making everything more difficult. We contend that this is deplorable.
Some readers may know about Betty Badger and her alter ego Mary. You can read about her regular protest at the DEFRA building to help persecuted badgers, but written in a light style, here: https://bettybadger.blogspot.com
7 Ethical Principles of Wildlife Control
We contacted Minister Mairi McAllan who is considering grouse moor reform and asked her to ensure that the 7 Ethical Principles of wild life control inform this work. A motion had been tabled by Colin Smyth MSP, asking that these Ethical Principles should be adopted for all wildlife ‘management’ across Scotland. This led to a parliamentary debate in which several MSPs spoke in favour. According to OneKind, the organisation promoting this, the Minister said “she is interested to see how the principles could be incorporated into Scottish Government and NatureScot policies and is willing to work with animal welfare organisations, including OneKind, to that end”.
The 7 Ethical Principles of Wildlife Control can be read about in the following detailed article: https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.12896
This is just a quick extract about the Principles: modify human practices when possible, justify the need for control, have clear and achievable outcome-based objectives, cause the least harm to animals, consider community values and scientific information, include long-term systematic management, and base control on specifics of the situation.
Slightly off-topic, referring again to badgers in England, this is a very significant extract from the above:“Because badgers are hosts for bovine tuberculosis (TB), many farmers advocate culling badgers to protect cattle (NFU Batters 2015). However, a large-scale field experiment showed that badger culling would not reduce TB in cattle and could exacerbate the situation (ISG 2007). Nonetheless, the British Government later approved 2 pilot badger culls to test the effectiveness, humaneness, and safety of controlled shooting of badgers. Although monitoring confirmed that the pilot culls failed to meet both the effectiveness and humaneness objectives (IEP 2014), no lessons appear to have been learned because the culls have continued and may be expanded (Natural England 2016).”
Republic of Ireland:
Calves are being exported from Ireland to Netherlands in the usual callous conditions. We wrote to complain to the Dutch minister Carola Schouten, to the Irish minister, and copied in Anja Hazekamp, MEP of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands to thank her for her involvement. We also thanked Lesley Moffet of Eyes on Animals who had undertaken the investigation.
Hare Coursing – once again, we involved ourselves in this disturbing matter. Here is a fairly recent instance of aggravated cruelty: ‘According to a report filed by a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger, a vet attending the coursing fixture in Loughrea, Co. Galway on 15 October 2021, told him (the ranger) that he would check four injured hares in a box AFTER his own greyhound had competed. The creatures had been left in the box for “approximately 50 minutes to one hour”, without veterinary attention, the report states’.
We wrote to the Veterinary Council of Ireland and Veterinary Ireland. The former informed us that they cannot stop vets doing what is legal and said we could make a formal complaint about this one (we cannot undertake such matters as we are not on the spot and do not have enough knowledge), and the latter currently has no position for or against coursing. We also wrote to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asking for comments, but have not as yet received a reply. They have in the past described hare coursing as ‘cruelty’.
The issue got full coverage in the Irish Examiner, with some focus on the appalling behaviour of the vet: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40926257.html
The Irish Coursing Club has applied for a 2022-2023 licence (it has 70 member clubs) and we once again appealed to Minister Darragh O’Brien not to renew it. Unfortunately, yet again, the Minister has approved the licence. More details and action alert from our friends at ICABS at: https://banbloodsports.wordpress.com/2022/07/19/minister-shamefully-issues-licences-for-cruel-coursing/
Citizens’ Assembly in Ireland – the Assembly is considering threats to Ireland’s biodiversity. We lodged a request that this should include the damaging practice of hare coursing, as the conservation status of the Irish hare is parlous.
We sent our best wishes and moral support to our friends in One Voice on the occasion of the Anti-Corrida demonstrations in over 30 French cities on June 10-11. www.one-voice.fr (version in English available)
Many campaigning organisations have opposed the establishment of an octopus farm in the Canaries. This is an appalling prospect. We wrote to the Spanish/Canaries ministers to ask them to stop the development. In case this petition is new.
Circuses – FAADA in Barcelona reports:
80% of Spaniards now live in areas free of circuses which exploit wild animals. The Basque Parliament recently approved a new Law of Animal Protection, which includes a ban on animal circuses in the Basque Region. Twelve Autonomous Regions now have this ban. The Bill went forward with the support of the Greens, the Socialist Party of Euskadi (the Basque Country) et al., with some parties abstaining.
The InfoCircos Coalition (the organisations ANDA, FAADA, AnimaNaturalis and AAP Primadomus) has been working on this with the Basque Government since 2016. The FVE (European Veterinary Federation) and the General Council of Spanish Veterinary Colleges support this and recommend to the competent authorities a ban on circus shows with wild animals.
The five remaining Autonomous Regions are asked to speed up the process of ending shows Spain-wide, which are a constant risk to public safety, health and the wellbeing of wild animals. www.faada.org/en
Feral cats in Spain are being blamed for killing birds, thus causing a loss of biodiversity. We contacted the relevant Ministers, setting out the more likely reasons for this loss, such as changes in land use and pollution. We appealed for the establishment of an effective TNR programme, which would limit the number of street cats. We received the following prompt reply from the Presidency:
“First of all, we value the interest you show in the care of cat colonies. The Government identifies the need to rely on basic regulations for the whole country on the matter of animal welfare. We are therefore promoting guidelines aimed at guaranteeing a respectful relationship towards all living beings. Specifically, on February 18 we passed the Draft Bill for the Protection, Rights and Welfare of Animals, which is continuing its passage.
This text specifically takes into account that the so-called feral cat is a companion animal living freely, whose population control must be carried out in an ethical fashion. The intention is to progressively reduce their population, maintaining their protection as a companion animal. This ethical control will be included in the national programmes of animal protection and will be financed by the Fund for Animal Protection.
We are at your disposition etc.” (translated).
Whales – we wrote again, this time to the new PM, Jonas Gahr StՓre, against the proposed experiments on minke whales at Vestfjord, Lofoten. Noise created by oil and gas exploration and military sonar obviously scares whales and can cause them to strand and even cause internal bleeding, organ failure and brain damage.
Also, the data gathered from similar studies on dolphins and other toothed whale species has failed to translate into practical conservation and management measures.
Our letter was acknowledged, but no reply was forthcoming.
In May, the research team headed by Petter Kvadsheim of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) proudly boasted that they’d just set ‘the world’s largest animal trap’. A young minke whale found his way into this ‘trap’ – a two-kilometre-long net strung across the strait at Stamsund, Lofoten, northern Norway. He was then herded into the ‘testing zone’ – in reality, a modified salmon cage. However, as we predicted, this whale became so stressed that he had to be released before they could test his hearing via electrodes implanted in his skin, the whole point of their venture.”
Readers will remember the outcry against the mass killing of white-sided dolphins and pilot whales in the Faroes on which we reported in our last update.
The government response was a review – please see:
Update July 29 last: 100 bottle-nosed dolphins were killed in the Faroes.
Elephants – via Nonhuman Rights Project, we requested that Amahle, Nolwazi and Vusmusi, the 3 elephants in Fresno Chaffee Zoo, described as one of the worst in the US, be released to sanctuary – which could be the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary or the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Please see:
for more detail and more of their excellent legal work.
For the latest updates and ways to support the case and campaign to #FreeTheFresnoElephants, please go to: freethefresnoelephants.com
Live exports – in support of our friends in the Hawai’i Humane Society, we asked the Hawai’i Board of Agriculture to support amendments to regulations for inter-island transport of animals – provision of food, more space, temperature control, minimal stress – and to add pigs and horses to the list of animals affected.
Once again, very concerned about the fate of the small pod of Southern Resident orcas in the Pacific North West, we appealed to President Biden and the Salmon Department of federal government for the breeching of the lower four dams on the Snake River to allow the free movement of Chinook salmon which are the main food of the orcas. A decision is due to be taken soon.
Update, July 26: report from Endangered Species Coalition:
They’ve slipped closer to extinction together while we’ve waited for action from decision makers–orcas starving and salmon blocked by four dams on their migration path.
That may all be about to change. This month, the White House released two reports studying the years-long efforts to save these salmon and orcas and considering where to go from here. For the first time, the Administration found that removing these four dams on the lower Snake River would likely be a necessary step to save these species–and the communities that have relied on them for decades.”
In support of the oldest animal welfare organisation in Canada, founded in Montréal in 1869, the Société pour la Prévention de la Cruauté envers les Animaux, we contacted Mme. Christine Barthe, Québec Deputy Minister, thanking her for proposed new legislation. Please see Update 1
Apex predators are being poisoned in Canada. We wrote to PM Justin Trudeau and the Alberta Ministers asking them to put an end to this cruelty.
The excellent organisation Animal Justice, with whom we have worked on several occasions, informed us about the following abusive event, “Mutton Bustin” at the Manitoba Stampede, which we opposed. This is what Animal Justice reports: “A child, usually between the ages of 4 and 7, is placed on the back of a terrified sheep who is restrained in a chute. Once released, the sheep immediately tries to get the child off by bucking, shaking or rolling. It typically is only a matter of seconds before the child is thrown to the dirt.
The event is not a helpful learning opportunity for children and exposes them to what the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association calls “sanctioned animal abuse.” It is even banned in jurisdictions such as New York City and Alameda County, California. In addition to risks of physical injury associated with being ridden and grasped by their ears, tails, and other body parts, the event also poses risks of psychological harm and stress to sheep due to the yelling in the stands, and the likelihood that the animals will perceive the children on their backs as attackers, which can cause them to run in order to free themselves.”
For more campaigns in Canada, please see: www.animaljustice.ca
We wrote to thank the Governor of Nuevo León, Mexico, for having banned corridas and dog fights. Update 2 Mexico and Colombia
We congratulated the new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and asked him to keep the promise he had made pre-election to ban live exports. We also asked him to appoint an Animal Welfare Commissioner. We have not yet heard back.
We asked the Queensland Minister Mark Furner to stop putting out shark netting, which, as we reported in a previous update, is a danger to migrating whales as they get entangled in it.
A report in June said that the whale migration season only began in May and already there are five confirmed whales who have been become entangled in shark nets. Being ensnared in shark nets is traumatic for these migrating whales, who are already exhausted from their journey, and three struggled for hours before finally being freed.
We made a submission to their draft code on dairy cow welfare. Local campaigners reported that the following are some points which need adding to the draft: Calves should not be routinely removed from mothers, nor transported over the Cook Strait at under 10 days of age, cows must have adequate shelter, and should not be transported if old, sick or pregnant.
In June 2022, we received news from SPCA of new regulations to improve the welfare of Quebec’s companion animals and equines. In particular:
1. The prohibition of several unacceptable practices, such as:
– The use of gas chambers for euthanasia
– Non-therapeutic surgeries, such as declawing in cats and tail docking, ear cropping and devocalization in dogs
– The use of prong collars for dogs
2. Enhanced oversight of breeding, which, it is hoped, will make it possible to eradicate large-scale intensive cat and dog breeding operations in Quebec, including:
– A limit of 50 cats or dogs kept on the same premises or by the same person
– A minimum age for breeding
– A maximum number of litters per year
– A mandatory veterinary consultation prior to breeding
3. New, more stringent requirements to ensure psychological welfare, including detailed, species-specific standards for exercise, socialization and enrichment.
4. The addition of new species (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and companion pigs) who will benefit from specific housing and care standards.
However, certain other aspects of the proposed regulations need attention. These include:
1. Continuing to permit dogs to be chained outside their entire life
2. A decrease in the protection afforded to cats and dogs used for scientific research; they are better protected under the current regime compared to what is proposed in the draft regulations
3. Failure to correct several flaws in the licensing system, including:
– No mandatory inspections before licenses are issued or renewed
– No licensing requirement for persons using animals for commercial purposes, as long as the number of animals does not exceed 14.
SPCA de Montréal. www.spca.com
Animal Equality has introduced a bill in Mexico to recognize all animals with a complex nervous system as sentient beings with welfare protections under the law. Salvador Caro Cabrera, a member of the Citizen Movement Parliamentary Group, presented this initiative, with the support of Animal Equality, to amend article four of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States to recognize sentience and ensure animal welfare. It proposes to add the following paragraph:
Every non-human animal with a complex nervous system is recognized as a sentient being; the State will promote, protect, respect, and guarantee their welfare.“
This initiative was developed by taking into account 15 years of abuse documented by Animal Equality’s undercover investigations.
“Animals are here with us and we have the responsibility to create the conditions to respect their lives and their welfare. We must broaden our framework of outrage over animal abuse and extend it to all animals.
Dulce Ramírez, Vice President for Latin America, Animal Equality
On April 19 this year, Law 410/2020C was approved in a second debate in the House of Representatives in Colombia, which seeks to ban corridas, novilladas (with young bulls and novice bullfighters), becerradas (with baby bulls) and tientas (trials) in the whole country.
This initiative, which had been in some difficulties several times over the years, lays stress on the condition of non-human animals as subjects deserving of special protection, via the acknowledgment of their most basic right: the right to live and not be subjected to cruel treatment. Bogotá Representative and co-author of the project, Juan Carlos Losada, said:
“There is no living being in creation who does not want to live, or who wishes to suffer unjustified suffering, let alone when that suffering is intended to amuse some human beings”.
Now the bill must go through the process of two more debates, one in Commission 1 and the other in a Plenary Session of the Senate and these must be before the end of the Congress sessions of June 20 – if this does not happen, it will run the risk of being laid aside.*
AnimalNaturalis is grateful to the legislators for their vote in favour of life and for engaging with this cause for the animals.
Colombia continues along the way to being a more respectful and just society for all creatures.
Update from AnimaNaturalis:* “Those debates didn’t happen and sadly, they won’t happen soon. Since there were recent elections and the government changed, the whole process went back to zero. So all the discussions must be started once again, as if the project had just been presented for the first time. The good news is that President Petro is staunchly anti-bullfighting and there is a majority in the Senate that is in favour of ending bullfighting. So it is very likely that the entire process will be repeated in an expedited manner… but that has not happened yet, due to other scheduling problems.”
~ Thanks to Francisco Vásquez Neira of Animanaturalis for updating us.
www.animanaturalis.org (in Spanish)
Dogs and cats, Yulin
We are pleased to inform readers that Andrea Gung, Director of DuoDuo Project in China has provided a hopeful update to campaigning there. She says: “Some positive things happened in Yulin after this year’s dog meat festival. We like to tell you about the following 2 incidents which really reinforce why we feel so hopeful that this brutal “festival” and trade will end for certain – it’s just a matter of time.
No Dog Meat on Campus: For the first time ever in Yulin, a school published a notice on its campus bulletin board forbidding students to bring any dog meat to campus. This is the only college in Yulin and it has approximately 10,000 students. Notice posted on the yulin school bulletin board:
It says “In order to maintain a high standard of our school and cultivate students’ good sense of animal welfare, dog meat is strictly forbidden on campus during the Summer Solstice. Any violation will be dealt with seriously and immediately.”
Up Close and Personal: “There was an “Up Close and Personal” event that was held just 3 days before the “festival”. It was such a success with kids and adults alike enjoying meeting and playing with dogs and cats.
These are just two examples of the positive influence Duo Duo Project and its many local volunteers have brought to Yulin. These recent events show we are on the good righteous path. Slowly but surely we putting an end to this festival’s backwards practices. For you reading this we are making a big difference, and we will continue to fight for what is right. With your continued support and donations we will end this nightmare in Yulin.”
Thank you, Andrea and the team! https://www.duoduoproject.org
~ Marian Hussenbux. August 2022
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