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 MARCH 2021 to MAY 2021
Natural England and HS2
Having read many reports about the various instances of environmental destruction caused by the construction of the HS2 train line, we wrote to Secretary of State Grant Shapps at the Department of Transport, with copy to Tony Juniper at Natural England. We contend that this body, set up to advise on environmental matters, is merely a vassal of DEFRA – please see statement below by their Director of Wildlife Licensing.
This is an excerpt from our letter:
“Despite the Climate and Ecological Emergency declared by Parliament, the breeding season being well underway, and the presence of an endangered species in Jones’ Hill Wood, Natural England has approved licences which allow HS2 to destroy the area – and it is said that felling could begin any day, if it has not already done so. We see in a recent photo that the site is brilliantly lit up at night, creating undesirable light pollution…
… We read that Natural England’s Director of Wildlife Licensing said:
“We don’t have powers to stop projects that have been approved, or to delay them unnecessarily, nor do we have powers to prevent the felling of ancient woodland if it has been approved by the planning system.”
What is the point of their existence, if they have no power to refuse any licences which might have disastrous effects on the environment they have a mission to protect? Your department seems unwilling to allow them to exercise independence of government. They are considered to be experts in the sphere of the natural environment and should be protecting it, not facilitating your decisions.”
We received a full reply from The Department of Transport, explaining what mitigation they are providing for loss of trees and potential disturbance to bat roosts. They seem completely unconcerned by objections to the project and reminded us that all they are doing is consistent with advice from Natural England! – we now know how little NE can actually do.
You might have seen photos in March of an Irish trainer and an English jockey sitting on recently dead horses. We wrote to the Chief Executives of the British Horseracing Authority and of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board to protest at this crass and disrespectful behaviour and requested Gordon Elliott and Rob James be permanently banned from the Irish and British racing industries.
Plans for a Shooting Range near a Monastery
At Eskdalemuir, Dumfries, there is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. In the vicinity of this peaceful place which welcomes people of all faiths, plans had been submitted for a shooting range. Citing our spiritual, cultural and environmental concerns, we made a representation to the Planning Department and, thanks to widespread opposition, the plan was withdrawn. For your interest: http://www.samyeling.org
Wild Macaques in Experimentation
We wrote again to the French Ambassadors in Mauritius and Vietnam about the cruel capture of wild macaques for experimentation in Europe.
Exhibitions of Animals
Outside Paris Town Hall, there was a demonstration in March against exhibitions of animals on sites belonging to, or managed by, the city.
This was supported by three Councillors. However, C. Najdovski, the Councillor responsible for animal welfare, did not see fit to attend. We wrote to them all and had a pleasant reply from Mme. Douchka Markovic, one of the supportive Councillors.
The Mayor of Valaire in Loir-et-Cher tried to ban the unearthing and killing of badgers in her small commune. As this compassionate act was overturned by the Prefecture, nine Députés and one Senator, a vet, wrote to the government to support her. We wrote to all these legislators to thank them for their encouragement.
Ukraine & Moldova
Animal Welfare Training
You will be aware that the excellent organisation Naturewatch does much good work, and we refer now to that in Ukraine. Part of this work involves the training of police patrols aimed at raising awareness among the public, and deterring and prosecuting instances of animal cruelty, which is proving successful – and they are planning to run similar exercises in Moldova.
In response to an appeal by Naturewatch to thank the Ukraine police, we wrote a message of appreciation and reminded them that our President Dr Richard Ryder spoke there some years ago about animal welfare. Our letter will be translated and passed on with others received.
Romanian live exports: in the traffic held up by the accident in the Suez Canal in March were twenty live animal transporters. The animals being shipped from Romania were said to be in a particularly bad situation. We wrote to the Romanian Prime Minister to make the point, once again, that this trade has, over many years, in many countries, proven that it cannot be made humane. Romania is, you might remember from our last correspondence, the main exporter of live animals in the EU, and in 2019 one of their ships capsized off the coast.
In South Africa, Barbara Creecy, the Environment Minister, recently produced a detailed report on several wildlife issues. Wayne Pacelle of Animal Wellness Action reports her as saying: “We don’t want captive breeding, captive hunting, captive (cub) petting, captive use of lions,” (and) calling for the end of commercial exploitation conducted at 350 lion farms. In all, there were 60 recommendations from a 25-member panel to examine key wildlife protection policies that she intends to adopt. Also, importantly, South Africa will no longer promote the trade in ivory and rhino horn.
We had a prompt reply from the Minister, in which she pointed out that authentic (sic) hunting brings in money for conservation. So this form of killing continues.
Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act
Amendments to the Indian Animal Welfare Act of 1960 are on the cards. In company with Indian campaigners, we made suggestions to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying covering a wide range of issues, including malpractice involved in the removal of street dogs and their destruction, and poor surgery under the guise of the humane animal birth control programme.
Very many street animals endure injury and death on the roads and these accidents should not be exempted.
Appalling episodes of cruelty involve animals being beaten, butchered, raped, under the clause allowing ‘killing of an animal in defence of self or property.’ Offenders will escape with impunity, as they can claim the animal was a threat to them or their property.
In addition, penalties are trifling and should be increased to between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh (roughly £250 and £1000) and up to five years of imprisonment for a cognisable offence or a second non-cognisable offence.
The perpetrator’s animal should also be confiscated and s/he should be banned from owning or working with any other animal. A Register of Animal Abusers by which perpetrators are tracked would also help vulnerable people, as many who abuse humans began with animals. We reminded the Ministry that compassion for all living beings is enshrined in the Constitution of India. This is an admirable and rare inclusion, worthy of a nation which seeks to follow the precept of ahimsa.
Seal hunting in Canada – this activity has, over the years, been scaled back, but remains as inhumane as ever. According to Respect for Animals, the harp seal pups might not even have had their first solid meal or swum in the sea before the hunters arrive. With climate change, there is more ice loss and the ice floes that remain will melt before the pups can survive in the water. We wrote to Premier Trudeau and the Environment Minister, as we do yearly, to ask them to have pity and end this shameful business.
So-called ‘Ag-Gag’ laws criminalise compassionate behaviour. In Manitoba, Bill 62 will make it illegal to “interact” with farmed animals in transport. We understand from Animal Justice, an excellent organisation which we strongly support, that “this could mean that people will face huge fines and even jail time for standing on public property outside of slaughterhouses, showing compassion to animals in gruelling transport conditions, and documenting their suffering.”
We asked the Premier and the Ministers of Justice and Agriculture to review conditions in general – which are said to be some of the worst in the western world – and not penalise those who show pity for the animals.
In the USA, we wrote to the Nevada Wildlife Commission, which has allowed hunters to hunt black bears with dogs; only 2 Commissioners out of 9 voted to ban this terrible practice.
Idaho – yet again, this state is proving itself one of the main enemies of the wolf. We had written to the authorities at least twice on this matter. The latest outrage is that 90% of wolves are slated to be killed by all means available – shooting, trapping, by dogs, potentially by poison.
More information here:
However, on the positive side, the Ladder Ranch Reserve 2021 Wolf Translocation Plan for the Negrito Pack (a pair and their young pups) in New Mexico is excellent news and we wrote to thank the authorities.
The release of bonded family groups will aid in the genetic rescue of endangered Mexican grey wolves and the Ladder Ranch offers excellent habitat for wolves, ensuring that this young family can thrive in the wild away from human activities and livestock grazing.
Chimps Leo and Hercules
We complimented Humane Society of the USA on several improvements made for the wellbeing of chimps Leo and Hercules in Project Chimp and asked them now to create outdoor habitat for them. This is one of Nonhuman Rights Project campaigns – two more of them are below.
Elephant Minnie at Commerford – this is an ongoing NHRP campaign we have supported for some time. We appealed to Tom Vilsack, Secretary for Agriculture, to order an emergency check on her well being – and have her sent to sanctuary.
At the suggestion of NHRP, we also submitted a letter to the Washington Post in support of Nonhuman Rights Project. The newspaper had printed an article describing the video made of the head of the National Rifle Association cruelly and with difficulty slaughtering a wild elephant.
We wrote that our fellow sentient beings deserve and need basic legal rights, as, briefly, their lives matter to them equally as much as ours do to us.
In Springfield Ohio, the Goldfish Swim is to be organised, in which some 1,000 goldfish will be poured into a community swimming pool, where children aged 12 and under must catch them with their bare hands in the hope of taking them home. Apart from terrifying the fishes and exposing them to chlorine which causes them respiratory distress, they can also carry E.coli which is dangerous to humans. We appealed to them to cancel this.
Lobsters and Octopuses
At the Sik Daek restaurant in New York City, lobsters and octopus are served live. We checked on their web site and the reason stated is that they can boast of the freshness of their meals. We asked them not to do this – and they are served live even in front of children, an extremely unedifying sight.
Animal Welfare Bills
Hawai’i – with the help of the Public Policy Advocate of the Hawai’ian Humane Society, as we reported before, we submitted testimony to several important animal welfare Bills and these all passed their many committees and now await Governor Ige’s signature. They concern the sexual abuse of animals, veterinary responsibility and civil immunity, tethering of dogs, and a ban on the import and sale of cosmetics tested on animals.
Duck and Quail Shooting
There is concern in Victoria about duck and quail shooting in the state, which, to make matters worse, involves lead ammunition.
We wrote to the Minister, making the point that quail numbers have not been officially established but appear to be in serious decline, and that Victoria is the only state to allow the practice. We received a reply, stating that there would be an independent survey carried out (by the Game Management Authority!) but no reply to our concern about lead. As Animals Australia is running advertisements against quail killing just now, and given that it was in 2016 that we first wrote to the Victoria Premier on this very subject, we wrote again, mentioning concerns about the independence of the planned survey, and about the toxicity of lead, copying the Premier in to our letter to the Agriculture Minister.
Banned Live Exports
We were delighted to be informed in April that the export of all live exports by sea for cattle, sheep, deer and goats for slaughter, fattening and breeding will be banned in a two year phase out.
More information here:
AIA’s Campaigning Activities continued: