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 APRIL 2020 TO NOVEMBER 2020


UNITED KINGDOM

Agriculture Bill

This has been signed, but many are not convinced that trade with the US will not lead to our having to accept meat products raised to a much lower welfare standard than we have in the UK.  Here is the government text:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-agriculture-bill-becomes-law

and here is some comment by Sustain:

https://www.sustainweb.org/blogs/nov20-new-agriculture-act2020/

Conservative MP Neil Hudson is the only vet in the House of Commons and, true to his vocation, was one of the small group of only 22 Conservative MPs who had voted in favour of amendments to the Bill as it originally was. We wrote to thank him.

The Sentience Bill

Formal acknowledgment of the sentience of our fellow beings is still lacking. Hopefully, there will be news on this vital issue before the end of the transition period.

Badgers

We wrote to the British Veterinary Association, which has not opposed the government-instigated slaughter, confining themselves to objecting to free-shooting. Our patron and scientific advisor, Dr. André Menache, gave invaluable help in writing our letter; he is one of the group of veterinarians and conservationists who have written to the government against the slaughter.

Driven Grouse Shooting & Heather Burning

We wrote to Minister George Eustice to ask him to stop the burning of heather on the peat lands, done to help the proponents of Driven Grouse Shooting to shoot more birds. As well as damaging rare and vital peat bogs, this makes rivers flow swifter down from the hills and cause floods below, and of course it kills animals, ground nesting birds, reptiles and plants. It is a complete disaster.


SCOTLAND

Badgers and Beavers

There was no further protection for badgers and their setts, or for beavers, who, bizarrely, soon after they received legal protection, are now being killed under licence by land owners who do not appreciate their engineering work. 87 were killed in 2019, and the season re-opened on August 17.

Otters

The Otter Champion in the Scots government is Finance Minister Kate Forbes, whom we thanked for her support for this species. She replied with a full explanation of her work for the animals.

Seals

Other good legislation agreed includes a ban on the killing of seals who take salmon from the aquaculture farms, against which we have previously lobbied.

Mountain Hares

The Green MSP Alison Johnstone had tabled a bill to have the mass killing of mountain hares stopped – she is the Hare Champion in the Scottish Parliament. We thanked her and the minister for their work to get this through Parliament – though hares will still be killed under licence.

Shooters made it clear they were intending to step up the killing before protection came into force. The open season begins annually on August 1. We asked Minister Mairi Gougeon not to delay legislation, but Alison Johnstone MSP stated on August 1:

(Achieving protection for the hare) “was an important victory in its own right and also because it’s the first time that decisive action has been taken against wildlife persecution on Scotland’s grouse moors.

Sadly, however, the Scottish Government has yet to deliver this protection.  The open season is due to start again and killing mountain hares without licence can commence once more from today.”

We wrote again to the Minister to ask for this protection to be given urgently before more hares are killed. We received a reply stating: “The Scottish Government is giving careful thought to how the licensing arrangements for mountain hares will work and when the new protected species status will come into force…”

As for pre-emptive culling: “… we expect all landowners to act responsibly and with restraint during the period following 1 August 2020… the Scottish Government will be following the situation carefully for any indications of attempts to carry out excessive culls and we will consider taking action to curtail this activity at any point if it is believed that it is necessary to do so.”

We wonder whether Voluntary Restraint, a favourite device of governments, has ever worked.

The Scottish Wild Cat

This is the rarest feline in the world. Despite that, the government does not appear to be taking seriously the risk of the species’ functional extinction as logging is being permitted in one of their main habitats in Clashindarroch forest, Aberdeenshire. We wrote in response to the organisation Wildcat Haven’s campaign to save the cats, which included lodging a complaint with the Bern Convention.

“The Bern Convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, covering most of the natural heritage of the European continent and extending to some States of Africa.

It is the only regional Convention of its kind worldwide, and aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats, as well as to promote European co-operation in this field. The treaty also takes account of the impact that other policies may have on natural heritage and recognises the intrinsic value of wild flora and fauna, which needs to be preserved and passed to future generations.

Fifty countries and the European Union have already signed up to the Convention…” 

The Mammal Society completed a ‘red list’ of all mammals in the UK. They have confirmed that the Scottish wildcat is now classed as Critically Endangered, meaning that it is at imminent risk of extinction. It is estimated there are only 35 left.

The following organisation campaigns to make neutering and microchipping of domestic cats mandatory in Scotland. Not only will this reduce numbers and potential neglect causing suffering, but it will help the wild cats, as they can breed with domestic cats and the ‘pure’ strain will die out. Please see:

https://catsliberation.wordpress.com

Also: www.wildcathaven.com

Update from Wildcat Haven on 26 Aug: ”Our legal team have been in regular correspondence with the relevant people at the Bern Convention and yesterday, we were informed that a hearing about the complaints we made is scheduled for the 15-16th September. The Bureau of the Standing Committee will consider the complaint and the response of the authorities in Strasbourg.”

We wrote again to the First Minister, asking her to list the Clashindarroch Forest Aberdeenshire as protected, thus preserving the cats’ main habitat.

Traps and Snares

The Scottish Parliament voted to extend vicarious liability to offences involving traps and snares – the campaign for a full ban continues.

Choke Collars on Dogs

There will be a review of the use of choke collars on dogs.

Live Exports

The Scottish government had been unwilling to take action to ban the export of live animals post-Brexit, though the UK government has promised a ban on exports for slaughter and – we hope – further fattening.

We wrote to Minister Fergus Ewing to point out that the UK proposal (if it happens) would not affect the ability of farmers on the islands to sell their livestock within the UK, nor would it prevent businesses selling meat products outside of the UK, which we understand is the chief concern in Scotland.

Positive Update: in September, CIWF reported: “after a gruelling legal battle, the Scottish Government has finally stopped live calf exports. Having spent six months defending the inhumane export of unweaned calves to Europe, they have conceded that this trade was being conducted in breach of the legislation on the protection of animals during transport.”

Empathy Training

An amendment asking the courts to consider a restorative justice process or rehabilitation programme was not passed, as the Minister prefers a non-legislative route, but she announced that the Government is going to commission research into empathy training and related approaches.

Protection for Decapod Crustaceans and Cephalopods

We appealed for this to be added to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections & Powers) (Scotland) Bill and an amendment was tabled.

White-tailed Sea Eagle

Finally for Scottish affairs, a furore arose in late July when a juvenile satellite-tagged White-tailed Sea Eagle was found poisoned on a grouse moor – we joined very many organisations and individuals in complaining to the First Minister.


WALES

We wrote to the Pembroke Coast Park Authority about an individual’s long term trapping and killing of foxes for fur. They explained in their reply that the Authority is not able to take action as the vast majority of the Park is privately owned; on the 2% which is their responsibility, the laying of snares is strictly prohibited. The police were informed of this man’s activities.

British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus

In 2017, we had written to thank the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus for their effective action against the illegal killing of birds on their land – including many prosecutions with fines imposed, major net clearance and seizures of mist nets and limesticks. Non-native acacia, on which the poachers hung their nets, was also removed from the Special Area of Conservation at Cape Pyla.

Now, the SBA are considering allowing some development on their land in the Akrotiri Peninsula (a Photovoltaic Park for clean energy) which could pose a risk to the environment, so we have asked the SBA to ensure that the final Policy Statement is in keeping with the area’s protection status, by rejecting proposals with negative environmental impacts and which would lead to loss of valuable habitat. We had a very detailed reply from the SBA stressing, inter alia:

“More than 50% of the SBA territory is designated as a Special Protection Area and /or Special Area of Conservation. We are strongly committed to protecting these areas and we will ensure that any development approved within or near these sites will not compromise in any way their conservation status. … we are striving to improve enforcement strategies with a view to minimising environmental crime and this has yielded tangible results over the last two years….”



EUROPE

Fur Producing European Countries create mutant form of Covid-19 – millions of mink culled.

Denmark

Denmark is the biggest producer of mink fur in the world. As 207 of the 1,139 farms showed infection by a mutating form of Covid 19, 17 million animals are being killed by carbon monoxide. As this will have wiped out the industry, we asked the PM not to restart it, for ethical and indeed rational health issues.

Sweden

We decided also to write to the Swedish minister, asking her, in view of the appalling prospect of the same happening in her country, and as fur farming is inherently cruel everywhere, to ban the industry.

Norway

We complained to Norwegian Fisheries on the killing of seals for the fur trade. To make matters even worse, because of Covid there was no animal welfare officer (so-named) on board.

Poland

On this subject, good news from Poland: there is a huge fur farm in the country, where the usual horrific cruelty to the animals is allowed to happen. We wrote to the Polish Ambassador in London.

Even as we wrote, the news came that their lower House, the Sejm, had voted 77% in favour of the proposed Bill Five for Animals, which includes a ban on fur farming. It will now go the Senate and hopefully to the President for signing.

We received a full and positive reply from the Embassy to this effect.


Greece

In Greece, the airport in Elliniko-Argyroupoli was to be demolished: we appealed to two developers to allow feral cats to be rescued and other creatures such as hedgehogs to escape.

On a positive note, we thanked the Greek Minister of Agriculture for the decision taken to treat cruelty to animals as a crime and greatly increase the penalties available to the law when prosecuting malefactors. This will surely have some deterrent effect and ensure that the public is aware that animals and their welfare are fully valued by the government, so, where necessary, public attitudes will also evolve.

However our gratitude is tempered with reservations, as the minister has offered a €3,000,000 subsidy to the fur trades. 


Ireland

Hare Coursing

Our main concern was not surprisingly hare coursing. The deadly RHD2 virus killing rabbits and hares, which has resurfaced, seemed to be ignored by government. We wrote yet again to the Irish political parties to ask for a ban on coursing.

We also wrote to all TDs (Irish MPs) asking for a ban on hunting to be included in negotiations for the new government. We had positive replies from the Greens, the Social Democrats, Solidarity, Independents 4 Change and one Fianna Fáil TD. The Labour Party will ‘consider a ban’, but one Fine Gael minister replied showing no interest.

In July, a new government was formed and the Green TD Michael Noonan was made Minister of State for Heritage, which has responsibility for such issues as hare coursing. We asked him not to renew the licence. He replied by explaining the functions and responsibilities of his role and saying that there was no all-party appetite to ban coursing. This is the reality of government – what one says out of office can be unlike what one can do in office.

We wrote to all the Green TDs complaining about this potential volte face on an important aspect of Green Party policy and repeated our request for a refusal of the licence, citing the Bern Convention (see above, Scotland) as a body with which wiping out the hare population would surely be in non-compliance.

TD Paul Murphy presented a bill in the Dáil to ban coursing. We wrote to all TDs in support. Once again, because of strong support of coursing by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs, that failed.

Darragh O’Brien issued the licence. However, events overtook the coursers and coursing was suspended due to Covid. This would have been a small cause for celebration, but the hares who had been netted for the events were still in captivity. We asked the minister to release them under supervision where they had been caught.

Update November: the hares have been released.

Unlicensed hare coursing was also carried out with impunity on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay. We wrote to the National Parks and Wildlife Service – copy to Ministers – to ask them to stop this, which, as it is completely unmonitored, is even crueller than the legal version. Terriers as well as greyhounds are used and they are also treated callously.

Ashton Dog Pound

The Ashton Dog Pound in Dublin was reported for instances of mistreatment, no veterinary care, improper destruction of dogs, and poor staff training. We received a reply to our request to Dublin County Council to investigate and close the place down if needed, saying that their enquiry is not yet ready to be made public, but some unspecified recommendations in the review have been made.

Programme for Government in Ireland

Readers will notice the omission of a ban on blood sports, which the Greens, now in government, tried very hard to achieve, but these are the animal welfare elements of the Programme.

Joe O’Brien, TD for Dublin Fingal and Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, informed us: “While it is not possible to transpose all our policies into a programme for government here are some of the commitments we got in this programme:

We will:

• Ensure the continued robust enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and review the sentencing regime underpinning the legislation.

• Immediately prioritise the drafting of legislation for the phasing out of fur-farming, publishing legislation in this area as soon as possible.

• Ensure robust and consistent enforcement of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act.

• Support a doubling of the ex-gratia funding for animal welfare organisations within two years.

• Promote responsible pet ownership.

• Extend the badger vaccination programme nationwide and end badger culling as soon as possible, consistent with the best scientific and veterinary advice.

• Regulate the breeding, ownership, sale, or supply of exotic species.

• Prioritise equine welfare, based on a robust traceability system, building on existing inspectorate supports across the country and ensuring a consistent approach to dealing with horse-welfare issues across local authorities.

• Develop additional urban horse-welfare programmes, working with local authorities, charities, and community stakeholders to provide stabling facilities and educational programmes.”

• Promote responsible pet ownership.

• Extend the badger vaccination programme nationwide and end badger culling as soon as possible, consistent with the best scientific and veterinary advice.

• Regulate the breeding, ownership, sale, or supply of exotic species.

• Prioritise equine welfare, based on a robust traceability system, building on existing inspectorate supports across the country and ensuring a consistent approach to dealing with horse-welfare issues across local authorities.

• Develop additional urban horse-welfare programmes, working with local authorities, charities, and community stakeholders to provide stabling facilities and educational programmes.”

Greyhound Racing

In terms of the Greyhound industry this is the commitment, which was not all we wanted, but better than it would have been had we not been at the table:

Future funding of the greyhound sector from the Horse and Greyhound Fund is contingent on a guarantee of welfare standards being upheld on an annual basis. We will ensure that strict monitoring takes place of this sector, to guarantee that the animal welfare commitments made to date are fully implemented. We will insist that funds committed to investment in greyhound welfare and that rehoming programmes are delivered. We will fully implement the Greyhound Racing Act 2019, strengthening integrity in the industry and providing for a new system of traceability.


France

Fur Farm

The fur farm in Eure-et-Loir is so appalling that it has been criticised even by the Fur Federation. We asked the Prefect why the facility has not been closed.

Equines Cruelty           

There were complaints made of ill treatment of equines at the Foire des Chevaux, in Cantal. We asked for closer invigilation of the fair and hoped that police would be involved if this was repeated. We received a prompt reply from the Mayor, saying the matter was under review, and behaviour at the fair would be monitored.

Bullfighting

Bullfighting in Vergèze, Gard: the corrida was brought to an end in that town after an accident last year. We thanked the mayor.

Brigade for Animal Protection

A hopeful sign is that a Brigade for Animal Protection, capable of acting rapidly in cases of ill treatment of animals, was proposed by Corinne Vignon, the animal-friendly deputy for Haute Garonne. She tabled a bill which, if accepted and implemented in her department, could be a model for other parts of France. A police captain in Toulouse already leads a group which is responding almost daily to cruelty reports.

Glue Sticks for Bird Hunting

In September came the good news that the extremely cruel hunting practice of catching birds with glue sticks would be suspended for a year – we join One Voice in hoping this will become permanent – and also that the very rare turtledoves will not be hunted in future.

Coypus

Coypus were under threat in Sucy-en-Brie. The mayor was open to the non-lethal response, so we wrote to encourage him.

Street Cats

Finally for France, and particularly important as it pertains to all parts of the country – the treatment of street cats.

We discovered via the excellent organisation One Voice (OV) that mayors of communes in France have a duty of care for such cats.  This dates back to 2015.

OV provided us with their document Fiche Errance on this legal obligation with which all mayors do not, of course, comply.

We wrote to the mayor of Bourg-en-Bresse who was not allowing the feeding and care of street cats in his commune.

We think this document will prove to be very useful for us when this problem arises in future. By the way, our scientific advisor and patron, Dr André Menache, is also a scientific consultant to One Voice.



AFRICA

Tunisia

A British-run rescue in Djerba was raided in July and many dogs and pups cruelly killed. The local people were frightened to go to the beach as the dogs were numerous, and the owner did not appear to have a neutering policy. So anger had built up and when the perpetrators were arrested, the locals forced the police to release them.

We have a good contact who helps to run a German rescue in Djerba and had tried to give advice to the other rescue, to no avail. She advised us to write to the British Ambassador in Tunis and we also contacted the Tunisian Ambassador in London, asking for a Trap-Neuter-Release programme to be implemented widely in Tunisia and also humane education to be taught in schools.


South Africa

A shark conservation panel in South Africa was convened to review poor legislation and we wrote to support tighter measures to protect the species.


Mauritius

Wild monkeys were being captured to ship to vivisection labs in Florida. We wrote to the Prime Minister and air companies to protest against this cruelty.



MIDDLE EAST

Israel

News came that a ban on the sale of fur would come, excepting where fur was needed for religious clothing. We thanked Gila Gamaliel and Miki Haimovich, members of the Knesset, who had tabled the Bill.


Dubai

Terrible neglect and cruel treatment of street animals on the part of the authorities was revealed in Dubai – care givers were prevented from feeding, caring for the animals, and no veterinary vouchers for subsidised treatment were available. We wrote to the UAE Ambassador in London and to Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to UAE.



ASIA

India

Elephants killed by fireworks

A female and pregnant elephant was killed by fireworks in Kerala. This practice does not appear to be isolated. We wrote to the Kerala Governor to thank him for showing concern about this horrific act, but have no more information on any action taken.

Animal Rescuers attacked

Two women animal rescuers, legally walking a dog, were attacked by a mob in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, and did not receive proper police attention. We wrote to ask the Police Superintendent, who had tried to encourage the women not to take out a complaint against one of the attackers as he judged their injury slight, to take appropriate action, reminding him of Indian Law in this matter, which should completely protect them and their work for street dogs.

Update: The good news is that, after five days, the police finally filed the complete FIR (First Information Report) for Pratibha and Veronica, and started their investigation of the case. 


Nepal

Dashain, one of the main festivals to honour the goddess Durja, took place in the third week of October. On one of the days, dogs, including street dogs, are honoured and garlanded with flowers. Unfortunately, on Oct 24, huge numbers of other animals, goats seem to be the majority, are sacrificed, in the same way as in the Gadhimai rite we have featured before.

We wrote to the Nepali Home Minister and Minister for Tourism. We cannot think such bloodletting is conducive to an expansion in tourism in the country, but subsequently found that many tourist and trekking companies actually advertise the festival as though it were something of great interest to visitors.


Thailand

The Fodor and LiveKind tourism companies were promoting elephant interactions to visitors. LiveKind, a vegan company, was even condoning the use of the bull hook.



NORTH AMERICA

United States

Minnie the elephant

We wrote for the third time to Commerford Zoo where Minnie is now alone. We appealed to the zoo to send her either to the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary or PAWS, the sanctuary for rescued performing animals.  NONHUMAN Rights Project leads on this matter: www.nonhumanrights.org

Non-native bullfrogs

These are imported into Los Angeles.  With the help of Dr. Clifford Warwick, herpetologist and animal rights campaigner, we appealed to the city to ban the cruel and environmentally damaging trade. This is also an example of the ‘wet’ markets which are so hazardous to human health.

Mountain Lions

We asked California Fish & Game to list Mountain Lions as Endangered Species.

Project Coyote

Also in September, Project Coyote announced that Washington has become the seventh U.S. state to outlaw cruel and unsporting wildlife killing contests.

The new rule, put forth by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, prohibits the killing of unprotected species including coyotes, bobcats, crows, foxes and raccoons as part of a contest. 

Update on reef fishes in Hawai’i

AIA wrote twice in 2017, appealing to the Governor to end the catching of reef fishes to supply the aquarium trade.

     A ban on catching the fishes does not seem achievable, though many attempts by Hawai’ian Humane Society have been made to get one. However, in October, a Bill was debated which would make some improvements to the catching and treatment of the fishes obligatory. This was bitterly resisted by the aquarium trade and might have something to do with the fact that having to comply with such requirements would make the trade less profitable – and in fact, on the island of Maui, it has had that effect and the companies have stopped catching fishes there.

The Bill has been delayed to debate some amendments. We sent thanks to the chair and sponsor of the Bill, who both worked very hard to defend the fishes, and the chair replied to thank us for our support, copying in other members of the legislature.

Bobcat

In New Mexico, a bobcat was killed by Fish & Game officers by strangulation, though there were officials in the state accredited and available to perform humane euthanasia. There was a furore about this horrific act and, as from the end of July, a rapid change of policy was declared, with euthanasia to be performed in line with American Veterinary Medicine Association regulations. We thanked NM Fish & Game Director for this advance, which is not before time.

Wolves

In Washington State, Governor Inslee had declared his opposition to the killing of wolves to protect farmers’ stock – but in July it was allowed to go ahead. The packs there are very small and such depredations are likely to make them unviable. In August, the two remaining wolves of the Wedge pack, an adult female and an adult male, were killed by the state.

However – in September, the Governor introduced new rulemaking relating to wolf management, listing the following management outcomes:

Standardized definition and requirements for the use of range riders;

Requirements for use of non-lethal deterrents most appropriate for specified situations (wolf population and range, size and location of livestock operation, terrain and habitat, history of depredation);

Action plans in areas of chronic depredation to end the need for annual lethal removal; and, 

Compliance measures where livestock operators do not implement the required non-lethal measures.


Canada

Cetaceans

The passing of Bill S-203 means that Canada has made the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity illegal.

We thanked Minister Bernadette Jordan for bringing in the ban and asked her to tighten up policies on the issue. One of the most important of these is to require that Canada enter into a comity agreement with any country to which a cetacean is exported to ensure enforcement of prohibitions against captive breeding and the use of the animal in performances for human entertainment.
These ambitious and compassionate objectives should protect the 60+ whales and dolphins already held in captivity in Canada.

Dakota Bear Sanctuary

The Dakota Bear Sanctuary, again in BC, is at risk of suffering from logging in the near vicinity. We asked the authorities not to allow this. They are old growth forests, which house rare spotted owl habitats and bear dens. They also have a rich cultural and spiritual history within the Indigenous community, and some are as old as 3,000 years.

Hog Farm

In British Columbia, cruel practices at a hog farm were not being stopped. The BC Attorney General replied to say that it was not within his province to act.



HISPANIC AMERICA

Several animal welfare advances are being made in the region.

Colombia

Bullfight Progress

Bogotá Animal Party councillor Andrea Padilla, together with colleague Juan Baena, made a successful proposal de-incentivising the bullfight and banning the use of weapons in the ring. Andrea let us have the official Acuerdo 267 (Agreement) which is very significant. We also thanked the new Mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, for her part in this advance.

ACUERDO 767 – July 2 2020

Article 1: Object – to de-incentivise bullfighting practices authorised in the capital, to contribute to making up for the animal protection deficit which is the norm there, and to strengthen animal rights culture.

2: Permitted Practices – in the capital, only bullfights and novilladas (involving young bulls and novice fighters) are allowed, and only in the permanent city bullring.

3: Animal Protection – all instruments which lacerate, cut, mutilate, wound, burn or harm animals in any way, or kill them, are banned.

4: Citizen Culture – the District Administration will oversee the promotion of collective action aimed at rejecting, in a non-violent manner, bullfighting practices.

5: Bullfight Advertisements – the organisers of bullfights will have to set aside, and use, 30% of bullfight advertising to inform the public about the animal suffering which is involved in bullfights and novilladas. This includes advertising on billboards, at bus stops, in press announcements, radio, TV and all mass media. The full costs of this will be the responsibility of the bullfight organisers.

6: Dates Permitted – events will only be allowed on dates fixed by the District Department of Culture, Recreation and Sport, which in all cases can include no more than three Sundays.

And 9: Operational Costs – all costs of running bullfight events are the responsibility of the organizers and this obligation can be included in the contract signed.

     It is very heartening to note that on June 10, Claudia López, in one of her first declarations as Mayor of Bogotá, said:  “Not one penny of public money will go to the bullfight” .

     Councillor Andrea Padilla is aware that these important modifications will not eliminate completely ill treatment, just limit it. She said: “On the way to the bull ring, a bull can lose up to 30 kilos of weight through stress and just appearing in the ring is very debilitating.

  So one cannot talk of ‘cruelty-free’ bullfights, as they have been traditionally described, but ‘bloodless’ ones”.

AIA thanks Andrea, the Mayor and Bogotá City Councillors for taking this significant step forward in the field of animal welfare. We look forward to hearing of more compassionate work to advance the cause of animals in the city.


Mexico

Animal Protection Progress

We thanked the Municipal President of Zapopan, Jalisco, for protection afforded for farmed animals, guard dogs, animals used in shows, and action against ‘wet’ markets.

Illegal Slaughterhouses

We asked a justice minister in Mexico City to bring an end to illegal slaughterhouses, a measure which is in fact in process of being voted on. In these informal establishments, violence is normalised and procedures for health and safety in contravention of Mexican law.

Animal Advocate

We have made an excellent new contact in Mexico City: Councillor Leticia Varela is an animal advocate who raises many relevant issues in the Council. When we wrote to thank her, she replied fully, with the official text of her legislative proposals covering many aspects of animal welfare. She promised to stay in touch and update us on this.


Brazil

Disciplinary proceedings for pony abuse

A dressage pony was abused with impunity in Brazil. This happened because of a technicality – a judge had to let the perpetrator off as his abuse did not take place in the course of a competition. We appealed for action by the Fédération Equestre Internationale and received a full reply saying they would be opening disciplinary proceedings, and they also stated this on their web site.



AUSTRALASIA

Australia

Live Exports

The horrors of live exports continue. A ban on sending animals into the northern summer heat after previous video footage revealed appalling unmitigated cruelty to sheep was implemented – after which an exporter, who had sheep already waiting at a port, asked for an exemption. This was at first rejected – then allowed.

In common with many others, we made a strong complaint to David Hazlehurst of the Live Exports Department, a thank you to Tina Hutchison, his deputy, who had supported the ban, and copy to the Federal Minister responsible.

David Hazlehurst explained his reasons for allowing the exemption in a detailed statement, but it amounted to his judgment that the damage done to this trade outweighed any risk to the sheep.  So much for Australia not tolerating cruelty, as we have been told by a succession of ministers over the years.

This exemption will be challenged in court by the excellent organisation Animals Australia.

Important update as of August 14: New revelations were made public by Animals Australia about the export of sheep and cows for Eid to Jordan and Indonesia, including extreme cruelty at the destination. In Indonesia, some of the slaughterhouses are in fact Australian government-approved and industry-audited.

Campaigners are now asking the government to revoke the licences to operate of repeat offenders among the exporting industry. This would be desirable, but the trade appears impossible to ameliorate, so we always ask for a complete ban to be implemented.

The Australian government seems perfectly content to oversee repeated neglect and cruelty inflicted on the most vulnerable of animals. AIA and Quaker Concern for Animals have over ten years of experience responding to a succession of ministers there and we wrote to Minister David Littleproud on the day of the report protesting in strong terms about this, and copying in the official who actually agreed to exempt the shipment – please see above.

We have also supported Animals Australia in asking for independently-monitored CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses dealing with Australian animals.

Koalas in New South Wales

There is more logging going on. Koalas cannot be saved if their habitat is destroyed. This is part of the reply from the minister to our objections:

     Thank you for your interest in the preservation of koala habitat on public land and the proposed Great Koala National Park. The NSW Government is prioritising the conservation of koala habitat under the NSW Koala Strategy. This includes establishing new koala reserves and purchasing land with prime koala habitat to be added to the national park system. Areas of land that make up the proposed Great Koala National Park will be considered as part of these processes.

  More than 3,600 hectares of priority koala habitat has already been purchased to add to the national park estate. In addition to this, more than 24,000 hectares of state forest is being set aside for koala conservation. This includes over 4,000 hectares of state forest that was added to our national parks in 2018.

  You may be interested to know Minister Kean has set a goal to double koalas in NSW by 2050…

Similarly, Greater Gliders – we appealed to Sussan Ley, Federal Environment Minister, to call in the Manyana Beach development planning application, which will threaten their habitat.

     Positive Update: “On August 17, Federal Minister for Environment Sussan Ley decided that the Ozy Homes development of Manyana Beach Estate is to be ”called in” under the EPBC act. That means the project will have to go through a more thorough assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Minister Ley believes that the proposed development/action is likely to have a significant impact on threatened species such as the Grey Headed Flying Fox, Greater Glider and Swift Parrot, amongst others.”

Koalas were being threatened by Brandy Hill Quarry. We wrote to Minister Sussan Ley and heard that she was allowing a time extension to take more evidence.

Koalas were described as ‘tree rats ‘ by John Barilaro, Deputy PM of New South Wales. We reminded him that if logging and subsequent destruction of the environment, especially after the terrible bush fires, does not get stopped, koalas will go extinct in NSW.

Wild Horses

Brumbies are once again threatened with being shot in Victoria. We appealed to the Prime Minister and other ministers to stop this slaughter, done, as it is in the US, to protect grazing for domestic animals. A cattleman in the state however took out an injunction to try to stop this.

Tests on Monkeys

Very distressing maternal deprivation myopia tests are being carried out on monkeys at Brien Holden Institute in Australia and also the USA and we wrote in protest.  

Flying Fox Relocations

We read that flying foxes in a roost at the Cairns library in Queensland were being dispersed in the breeding season, which is illegal. Despite efforts by caregivers, it was said that several babies were lost. We wrote to Minister Sussan Ley to ask her to get this cruel practice stopped.  A full reply arrived, explaining that there are some 40 possible roost sites in the vicinity, in places less exposed and safer than the library, and that all efforts are being made to ensure the flying foxes are not harmed.

East Antarctic Marine Park

Some good news to hearten us: we previously wrote to the Federal Government about protection for the Antarctic. The organisation Save Our Marine Life has updated on the issue. They say:

“The urgently-needed East Antarctic Marine Park is getting closer to becoming a reality. Thanks to thousands of you taking action, the Australian Government is making the Antarctic a priority and working to ensure this marine park stays firmly on the agenda when the Antarctic nations meet later this year.”

www.saveourmarinelife.org.au

Whales

Migrating whales are being caught in shark nets off the Queensland coast. We asked the ministers, failing the counsel of perfection which would be not to catch the sharks at all, to at least remove the nets for whale migration time, as New South Wales has.


New Zealand

Sinking of Live Export Ship

We wrote to PM Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister O’Connor protesting about the live export ship which went down with animals all lost, including humans. The ship was already known to have faults too.

Greens’ Animal Welfare programme

The Aotearoa/NZ Greens were likely to be part of the PM’s new government team. We asked them, if this were so, to add the terrible Forced Swim Test to their animal welfare programme, which aims to phase out farrowing crates, rodeos, greyhound racing and live exports.

Animal Welfare Minister

The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society reported that there was no longer a Minister for Animal Welfare.  We sent our congratulations to Jacinda and NZ Labour, with a copy to the Greens, on her convincing success and asked for an Animal Welfare Minister to be appointed.

Meka Whaitiri was appointed Associate Minister, under the auspices of Agriculture. This is not the best result, as there will inevitably be conflicts, but better that than no seat at the table.


AIA’s Campaigning Activities continued:

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