Animal Advocacy – August 2016 to November 2016

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 August 2016 to November 2016.

UNITED KINGDOM

England:

Buzzards

We have written to DEFRA and Natural England after the announcement they were issuing 4 licences to kill buzzards on shooting estates to protect ‘game’ birds. This is the thin edge of the wedge and could encourage more illegal killing.

Bristol Zoo’s Big Night Out

Bristol Zoo runs a Big Night Out programme, during which visitors can visit after hours, causing, not surprisingly, stress to the animals, especially the lions, who were seen to be pacing about. We wrote to the Director asking him to stop this, but received no reply.

The Zoo says on their web site:

Special events held within the grounds of Bristol Zoo are always popular with our guests and we have been holding events here for many years – from open-air film nights and live music events, to Halloween festivals and Christmas carols…

For more, please see:

http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/event-qa

If you wish to contact Bristol Zoo, details are:

guestservices@bristolzoo.org.uk,information@bristolzoo.org.uk

Animals Are Not Freight campaign

AIA directors attended the Compassion demonstration in London on October 29, culmination of the international Animals Are Not Freight campaign, and we wrote in support of this appeal to ban live exports to Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and, at DEFRA, Lord Gardiner, Andrea Leadsom, George Eustice and Thérèse Coffey.

They are replying with the standard response, and have not committed to banning live exports after Brexit.

We also wrote to the French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, asking him to take action on this subject. Many French animals had been exported in appalling conditions to Turkey.

Bullhooks used on elephants in zoos

Born Free reported that the ankus, or bull hook, “is still used to manage elephants under systems that permit keepers and elephants to share the same space: [at] ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Colchester Zoo, Woburn Safari Park and West Midlands Safari Park.

This management system, generally known as Free Contact, places keepers at risk and traditionally relies on the use of an ankus to control elephants. Free Contact handling is acknowledged to be associated with keeper injury and death.

Furthermore, at least one of these zoos, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, permits elephants to share space with the visiting public while elephants are walked around the zoo grounds: something that is, in the opinion of the animal protection organisations, wholly unsafe.”

We wrote to the Zoo Branch of DEFRA asking them to ban this cruel and unnecessary tool.

If you too wish to protest, please contact:

Zoos Branch

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Zone 1/14b Temple Quay House

2 The Square

Temple Quay Bristol BS1 6EB.

Badger Killing

The badger killing zones were extended earlier this year to parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. We joined with the RSPCA, the Wildlife Trusts, the Badger Trust, the League Against Cruel Sports, Animal Aid et al to protest against this.

Driven Grouse Shooting

The petition asking for a ban on Driven Grouse Shooting gained the requisite number of signatures for a debate in Parliament on October 31 (no vote was planned) and the week before that the petitioner, Dr. Mark Avery, together with a RSPB official, answered questions on the issue from MPs.

Both events revealed a disgraceful biais towards the shooting side (represented in the evidence session by the Countryside Alliance and the Moorland Association). We wrote to thank MPs Kerry McCarthy, Rachael Maskell and Angela Smith, who all spoke up well in support of a ban. Kerry McCarthy has replied to say she is writing to the Speaker about the conduct of the debate and will continue to work with campaigners like the League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPB, Dr. Mark Avery and Chris Packham. 

This campaign continues.


Scotland:

Mountain hares

Mountain hares in Scotland. In response to wide publication in March of, and outcry about, the photo showing shooters with a truck piled with dead hares, a board member of the Cairngorms National Park Authority recently advised game keepers to cover their vehicles in future.

We have raised the issue with this board member, mentioning others relating to driven grouse shooting as they are all connected matters. If people did not pay exorbitant fees to shoot grouse, raptors and other creatures who get in the way of this futile activity would not disappear and/or be killed in various ways – and mountain hares, who can carry a tick which may infect grouse, would not be killed in their thousands.

The Scottish animal group OneKind is working hard and in innovative ways to defend their wonderful native hare and organised a lobby of the Scottish Parliament on Nov. 17.  The Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, spoke at this protest and we have asked her to use her powers to introduce a Nature Conservation Order to prohibit the hare culls within the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park.

Among others, the Green MSP, Alison Johnstone, also attended the OneKind lobby and we thanked her for becoming a Species Champion of the brown and mountain hare in the Scottish Government.


EUROPE

France:

Abuse in slaughter houses

As a response to appalling scenes videoed in the Le Vigan slaughterhouse in France, we wrote to Stéphane Le Foll, Agriculture Minister, asking him to take strong action against this.

We had a detailed reply by post, outlining his intentions. Briefly, he ordered a complete audit of all 259 slaughterhouses and made a number of requirements. His 2016-2020 Plan of Action for animal welfare presented on April 5 2016 comprises 20 concrete actions around research and innovation, making all staff responsible, development of stock-raising practices, prevention of ill treatment of animals, and the Plan also requires assurances about the protection of animals at time of slaughter.

The Minister said he deemed it necessary to set up a judicial review in order to determine if the positioning of cameras at killing posts was possible, and there is already a private initiative studying this in order to decide on the compatibility of these video recordings with official inspection services on site.

The Plan is accessible at:

http://agriculture.gouv.fr/une-nouvelle-strategie-globale-pour-le-bien-etre-des-animaux

This reply seemed very positive, but we shall wait and see.


Germany:

Long distance transport

Thanks to help from a German-speaking colleague, we sent a letter to Dr. Angela Merkel, asking her to support the proposed 8 hour limit on transport of live animals throughout Europe. This was promptly acknowledged and passed on to another department.


Italy:

We made our annual complaint to the Mayor of the town of Algemesí in the Valencian Community, about the event in which young bulls are cruelly tormented in the streets, including by children.

We reminded her that the UN has asked France, Portugal, Mexico, Peru and Colombia to protect children against the violence of the corrida.

In Medinaceli, Castilla y León, the Toro de Júbilo, this year named Mancheguito, was subjected to a terrible ordeal by fire, after which he was slaughtered in the abattoir.

As well as writing to the Mayor, on the advice of a Spanish campaigning group we also wrote to the President of Castilla y León in protest. We received a detailed standard reply explaining that this traditional event complies with all current legislation.

The Zoo de Castellar de la Frontera, Cádiz, as well as being a deplorable environment for sentient creatures, also allows visitors to feed, touch and have their photos taken with the animals, including big cat cubs. We wrote to ask for radical improvements to be made to this wholly inadequate establishment.


AFRICA

Morocco:

In Morocco, Born Free reports that Barbary macaques are now the subject of a National Conservation Action Plan, but implementation of legislation is not happening in Marrakesh, in the Jemaa el Fna square. Here, tourists are pestered to have their photos taken with the animals, whose welfare is not assured.

Born Free reports: ‘At the recent CITES Conference in Johannesburg in September, Morocco and the EU successfully proposed the up-listing of the Barbary Macaque to Appendix I to help tackle this cruel trade, and Born Free was among the organisations strongly supporting the proposal, along with the Species Survival Network.’

Morocco hosted the UN Climate Talks (UNFCCC CoP22) in November, so we took the opportunity of writing to UNESCO, as this ancient square was inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity under the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

We received a reply, saying they were passing our letter to the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Morocco to UNESCO and the

Morocco National Commission for UNESCO.

We have heard nothing further, but matters might improve and Born Free will no doubt keep us updated.

Please see: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/primates/primates-under-threat/monkey-madness-in-marrakech/


NORTH AMERICA

Canada:

Marineland in Ontario has been the subject of complaints that date back to 2012. Sea lions suffer from abuse, neglect and contaminated water and the establishment has a long history of obtaining wild-caught orcas, dolphins and beluga whales to be kept captive.

We appealed to the Prime Minister of Ontario to introduce adequate captive animal protection laws.

Also in Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium has received criticism on the recent deaths of beluga whales Aurora and her daughter Qila. We wrote to the management asking that they take the ethical perspective and if possible, release to sanctuaries the cetaceans they currently hold. We also protested against their lending of belugas to other facilities for captive-breeding. We maintain that breeding for a life of captivity is unethical and cruel.

You can leave messages for the management staff at:

reception@vanaqua.org


United States:

We have many times protested against the constant killing of coyotes in several US states. In August, Kane County in Utah proposed allowing night shooting with spotlights of coyotes, red foxes, striped skunks and jack rabbits. It was immediately apparent how undesirable this would be for so many reasons – and it is particularly wrong as the state of Utah has banned spotlighting.

We protested to the Kane County Commissioners against this, and, from a Utah contact, have received this update:

The measure that would allow night time spotlight hunting of coyotes has for the time being been put on hold. At the hearing there were overwhelming numbers of people in support of the coyotes and only a tiny group supporting the night time hunting of coyotes. The Kane County Commissioners had also received a large number of emails opposing the spotlight hunting. The Commissioners declined to vote on the measure, so it did not pass. Without all that support, it would, we believe certainly have passed. It is possible that it may come up again in the future.  But, at least for now, we are taking this as a victory for the coyotes.

There are now fewer than 45 red wolves in the wild, all in North Carolina. Anti-wolf sentiments are persuading the US Fish & Wildlife Service to shut down recovery plans for this highly endangered species.

We appealed to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, not to allow this tiny population to diminish further.

A National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommendation, made in September, urged the Bureau of Land Management to use euthanasia to reduce the number of “unadoptable” wild horses and burros in BLM’s long-term holding facilities. We wrote in support of appeals to the Bureau of Land Management to develop a preservation programme for wild horses and burros. It has already cost Americans millions in tax to protect the wild equines captured off the range.

The current crisis has been created by the agency’s refusal to manage populations on the range over the past 20 years with proven, safe and humane fertility control.

In November, we wrote to David Chanda, Director of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, who had given permits for the killing of the native black bear, both by rifle and by bow and arrow.  It is also permitted to kill females and cubs, something no other state but Alaska allows.

This is somewhat surprising, as New Jersey generally has a more positive record on animal protection and could become the first US state to ban the de-clawing of cats.

We also wrote to thank the New Jersey Senator, Raymond Lesniak, who is an animal advocate and had written to David Chanda, asking for the extended bear hunt in December to be stopped.


AUSTRALASIA

Australia:

Premier Baird’s land clearing laws are decimating the New South Wales bushland, threatening the habitat of native species such as koalas.

Only 9% of NSW native forests that remain are protected in national parks or conservation areas. Many of the remaining forests are slated for logging as state forests. These state forests represent incredibly important wildlife habitats.

Almost 1000 wildlife and plant species in NSW are formally listed as being threatened with extinction. At the current rate, even the iconic koala may be gone from NSW by 2055.

We asked Premier Baird to stop the destruction of these precious environments by ending subsidised logging of public state forests and have received a reply defending these actions.

It begins: The current Native Vegetation Act does not work – the quality of biodiversity in NSW has declined and our farmers are tied up in unnecessary red tape. The Act has not delivered for the environment, yet it also impedes our farmers’ productivity.

The NSW Government is committed to reforming the state’s native vegetation and threatened species laws. We want to ensure that the new laws are fair and balanced, allow primary producers to get on with the business of farming, and provide support with unprecedented funding for landowners who choose to protect and improve biodiversity on their land…

The Premier’s Secretary promises updates to this.


New Zealand:

Earlier this year, in response to scenes of cruelty at New Zealand rodeos, we joined campaigners in asking for a ban on them.

Although one town did in fact ban the rodeo planned this year, the Prime Minister John Key has failed to take action against them, despite a petition and much distressing footage of animals in distress over the past few seasons. We have written again to complain.

You might want to take action here:

http://safe.org.nz/ecards/tell-john-key-ban-rodeo

One final update, which is positive:

In our last report, we mentioned the unique Seneca White Deer living in a former military depot in New York State where the land was up for sale and the future of the animals dubious.

We are very happy to report that the new owner of the site is keen to help the deer survive and ‘has planted soybeans on the northern portion of the former Depot and announced plans to plant other crops, such as clover, grasses and turnips to help rebuild the white deer population. He has stated that he would like to open the property to the public to see the white deer next spring.’

Marian Hussenbux. November 28 2016.

Animal advocacy continued – March 2016 to July 2016