Animal 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 August 2019 to March 2020.

UNITED KINGDOM

England:

Banning live exports

Our main focus over the past few months has been trying to get a clear picture of whether the much-repeated promise to ban live exports will materialise. We wrote five times to Theresa Villiers, Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, seeking assurances that there will be a ban, not that live exports will be ‘managed’ or ‘controlled’, and that it will include animals for further fattening, not just for slaughter. We always receive replies from UK ministers, but they do not always clarify adequately, and, irritatingly, always remind us how we are a nation of animal lovers and we have gold standard animal welfare policies. Apparently, they will be even better post-Brexit.

Banning primates as pets

We have also written in support of campaigns for a ban on keeping primates as ‘pets’, and, on two occasions, on the import/export of hunting ‘trophies’, to Johnson and also to George Eustice, new Secretary of State at DEFRA.


Wales:

CCTV in abattoirs

We asked the Environment Minister to implement the installation of CCTV in all abattoirs, and received an encouraging reply.

Borth zoo

The organisation Freedom for Animals sent out an open letter asking for Borth Zoo to be closed after repeated breaches of security and we signed up to that.


Scotland:

Glue traps

We asked the First Minister to outlaw glue traps and to ban the use of snares and traps. Their reply on the latter was not encouraging.

Legal protection for invertebrates

Invertebrates such as cephalopods and crustaceans have no legal protection (nor do they in the UK) so we asked Minister Mairi Gougeon to extend protection to these vulnerable creatures.

Salmon farming

We mentioned in an earlier issue our objecting to aquaculture in Scotland. As a much larger salmon farm is applying for permission to open in the Isle of Arran, we protested to Minister Fergus Ewing against it. Reasons why such ‘farming’ is undesirable are legion – poor treatment of salmon forced to live in crowded sea-pens, lice on the fish, inter-breeding of escapees with wild fishes, destruction of predators such as seals, and pollution of the seas.

Alison Johnstone MSP

Once again, we wrote to thank Alison Johnstone MSP for frequently keeping animal issues such as hunting in the spotlight in the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish wildcat

A very important issue is the parlous state of the Scottish Wildcat, the rarest wildcat in the world. Over the past five years, 400 individuals have shockingly diminished such that they are now described as ‘functionally extinct’. To support the campaign of Wildcat Haven we used their extremely detailed arguments against this dereliction of duty on the part of the Government and Scottish Wildcat Action, which received some £2 million to protect the species. Logging is now being allowed in Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire, an important site for the cats, in the breeding season.

We wrote to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, copy to animal advocate MSPs Alison Johnstone and Mark Ruskell.

Please see www.wildcathaven.com for all about these wonderful cats, the many problems they face and how we can help.


EUROPE

Ireland:

Hare coursing

In the Republic of Ireland, hare coursing had been suspended for reasons of disease affecting hares. We wrote to the licensing minister, Josepha Madigan, copy to the Taoiseach (PM), asking for this suspension not to be lifted – but we have to say that it has.

Irish elections

We wished the excellent group Irish Council Against Blood Sports good fortune for the General Election on February 8. Two excellent TDs (MPs), animal advocates Maureen O’Sullivan and Tommy Broughan, were standing down and we hoped that new TDs with a desire to help the animals might be elected.

Post Elections: Sinn Féin had indicated they will support a ban on fox hunting, so, once a new government has been formed, and after great success in the polls for Sinn Féin, we look forward to hearing that this comes to pass.

Very good news is that the Irish Greens gained 7.1% of first preference votes and now have 12 seats in the Dáil.

We wrote to all the Irish parties asking them to include a ban on both hare coursing and fox hunting in the new programme for government.


France:

Animals in captivity

Mischa who died in French circus.

We have written to Elisabeth Borne, the French Minister for the Environment, on two issues, one concerning the captive bears Boney and Glacha, whose companion Mischa recently died. We requested that the two survivors, also in very poor health, be sent to a reputable sanctuary.

Secondly, there is hippo Jumbo, kept alone in a circus, and we asked that he be transferred to a reputable sanctuary.

Another hippo, Boulie, a female, is also kept alone in another circus and we wrote to the Prefect of Le Var, who should be in a position to take action to save her.

Felines are exploited in a circus in Loiret – we wrote to the local Tourist Board asking them not to promote this facility as an attraction.

On the same subject, we also formally added our signature to an open letter to the Minister asking for a country-wide ban on the exploiting of wild animals in circuses. Increasing numbers of French cities do already have such a ban.

Animals in research

We wrote to French Députés (MPs) who have not responded positively to appeals for a public enquiry and debate in the Assemblée Nationale on the validity of the animal model in experimentation. As we are fortunate enough to have Dr André Menache, veterinarian and expert on Toxicology as our Scientific Advisor, we asked if he would append his name to this. He agreed and kindly let us offer his contact details to the Députés. Of the funds consigned to medical experimentation, only 2% goes to researching alternative methods.

Bullfights

We thanked Yvelines députée Aurore Berge for her open opposition to allowing minors into bullfights and for her advocacy on other animal welfare issues.

Stag killing

There were plans to kill a stag in Double Forest. We asked the Prefect of Dordogne not to permit this. We heard that it was postponed, but are unaware if it was cancelled.


Spain:

Piglets

We appealed to the Mayor of Castrillón not to have killed five orphaned wild piglets, on account of perceived nuisance. They were saved and released in a safe non-hunting area.

Kestrels

In Carmona, Andalucía, we asked the Mayor for help with the unblocking of holes in a church which are used by a colony of kestrels. The unblocking was begun, but campaigners say it is not a wholly successful action.

International Network for the Abolition of Bullfighting

We have been in contact with International Network for the Abolition of Bullfighting for some time now. We are one of two British groups listed as supporters – the other is League Against Cruel Sports. The Director Marius Kolff has expressed interest in our organisation and has agreed to our using their logo to indicate our support of their work.


Romania:

Live animal exports and shipping disaster

Many readers will remember the appalling accident off the Romanian coast in December last year, when a live export ship capsized and the majority of the 14,000 sheep on board were drowned. A few were saved, but attempts to help them were belated.

We wrote to the Romanian Minister and three EC Commissioners to protest. Romania has a huge export trade to the Middle East and the EC had already complained earlier in the year about their sending sheep in seasons of high temperatures. The Romanian government took no notice, and the EC has now ordered an audit of their practices.

We also wrote to the Romanian Veterinary Medical College to ask if the requisite vets were on board and if so, if they were satisfied with conditions pertaining.

We have had no replies.


Denmark:

Good news is that there is a ban to come on the exploitation of wild animals in circuses, and four elephants kept captive in two zoos have been bought by the government, to retire them.


Germany:

Animal abuse in Hamburg laboratory

Shocking conditions and cruelty were exposed last year in the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology GmbH & Co. KG in Hamburg.

Dr. Jane Goodall made a statement against this cruelty and we wrote in support of this to the company Director. A former federal agriculture minister, Renate Künast, a current Bundestag member, told the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung: “The expertise of those who carry out animal experiments is currently not sufficiently regulated.”

In February, the authority for health and consumer protection (BGV) reported:

“. . .  has withdrawn with immediate effect the permission of LPT … to keep animals in Hamburg. After careful examination, the BGV is of the opinion that the operator in Mienenbüttel (Lower Saxony) and Hamburg-Neugraben, is no longer reliable in terms of animal welfare law due to serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act and other violations of documentation and licensing requirements.… All experimental animals (at the Neugraben site primarily mice and rats) are to be transferred to suitable third parties within three weeks…”

Bullhooks used in zoos

We asked BIAZA – British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and EAZA – European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to impose a ban on the use of bullhooks on elephants in their member zoos. In the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums voted last year to phase out the bullhook, except in emergencies and non-routine medical procedures, and it is hoped to abolish the tool entirely by 2023.  

We asked BIAZA – British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and EAZA – European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to impose a ban on the use of bullhooks on elephants in their member zoos. In the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums voted last year to phase out the bullhook, except in emergencies and non-routine medical procedures, and it is hoped to abolish the tool entirely by 2023.  


AFRICA

South Africa:

Canned hunting

The canned hunting of lions continues there unabated. We appealed to their High Commissioner in London to speak up against it and to convey our grave concern to his government.


NORTH AMERICA

United States:

Nonhuman Rights Project – elephants

Minnie at Commerford Zoo – client of the NonHuman Rights Project.

In support of The NonHuman Rights Project in the US, whose client elephants Beulah and Karen died in captivity at Commerford  Zoo in, we wrote to the State  Commissioner asking her to investigate many abuses there and confiscate the third client Minnie, and all the other animals.

We also wrote to two State Representatives asking them to use their good offices to have Minnie released from Commerford and sent to one of two sanctuaries in the US which offered to have her.

The Deputy Commissioner replied twice to us, before the death of Beulah, saying: “We are presently evaluating the Commerford facility’s exhibitor status in Connecticut and coordinating with other state and federal agencies, not just in regard to Beulah, but as to all of the wild animals in the facility’s possession and care.”

We have heard no more, so assume Minnie has not been confiscated.

You might want to send a short email to the Commerford Zoo at commerfordzoo@yahoo.com –  urging them to release Minnie to a sanctuary.

For more information on all this excellent work, please see: www.nonhumanrights.org

Killing wildlife with cyanide bombs

We asked the US Environment Protection Agency to ban the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs”, which the Trump administration has re-authorised to kill wildlife.

Various

We asked the Speaker of New York City Council to end the carriage horse trade, and thanked the following legislators: California Governor Newsom for signing a protection of migratory birds order, and for a fur ban and ban on bobcat trophy-killing – Washington State Governor Inslee for ending the killing of wolves – Pennsylvania Governor for rescuing captive bear Dillan and having him transferred to sanctuary. Two tigers have also been sent to sanctuary.

Hawai’i:

The State of Hawai’i –   we have an excellent contact there in the Hawai’ian Humane Society, the Public Policy Advocate, who keeps us well informed of new animal welfare Bills proposed. We have made formal submissions to the following four propositions:

~Updating of companion/stray animals’ welfare regulations by shortening the hold period which will save lives by allowing Hawai’ian Humane Society staff to meet the needs of abandoned animals more quickly – and it was passed. We thanked Councillor Ann Kobayashi for her advocacy.

~The humane tethering of dogs

~Protecting of vets against civil liability claims for rendering emergency aid and – very importantly – requiring them to report suspected animal cruelty to the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health. The committee also passed another Bill which protects animals by restricting surgical procedures on pets to licensed veterinarians, prohibiting backyard c-sections, ear docking and other amateur operations.

~ Hawai’i is one of four US states which does not yet have legislation to criminalise zoophilia. We asked a Representative and a Senator to hear the proposition, which is the first step on the way. Once the Bill had had its first hearing, we made our submission and thanked Rep. Takayama and Sen. Gabbard for their support.

So the above proposed Bills now have momentum and are moving through the legislative process.

Aquatic Resources

We once again appealed to the body responsible not to allow wild reef fishes to be caught for the pet trade.

Animal shelter euthanasia

In New Mexico, we thanked Democratic Sponsors and Co-Sponsors, and their Republican colleagues, who were extremely supportive, for ensuring SB 57 passed the Legislature, which will aid struggling families and reduce needless shelter animal euthanasia. We now hope that Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham will sign the Bill into law.


Canada:

Ontario spring black bear hunt

The spring black bear hunt might be returning to Ontario. We wrote to object to John Yakabuski, Natural Resources and Forestry Minister. As he is reported to have said that the hunt brings much revenue to the province, we made the point that visitors could well do just that if they were able to see wild bears alive and in their natural habitat, under a sensitively managed wildlife tourism scheme.

The Minister acknowledged our letter and said he would update us on the result of consultation.

Update on Whale Sanctuary project

The Whale Sanctuary Project will open a whale sanctuary in Nova Scotia

We covered The Whale Sanctuary Project in a previous issue of our magazine, and on Feb. 26, we received the following good news.

The Whale Sanctuary Project will work with Sherbrooke and the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia to create a seaside sanctuary in Port Hilford for whales being retired from entertainment parks.

Charles Vinick, executive director said: “Of the hundreds of locations that we’ve researched in British Columbia, Washington State and Nova Scotia, Port Hilford stands out as the premier location for a whale sanctuary.

Port Hilford offers an expansive area that can be netted off for the whales in a bay that’s open to the ocean but is sheltered from storms. It has access to necessary infrastructure and plenty of room along the shore for the facilities that will be needed to care for the animals, as well as for an onsite education and interpretive centre. You couldn’t ask for a more welcoming and eager community than the people of the Sherbrooke area.”


ASIA

Nepal:

Gadhimai festival

Gadhimai Festival 2019

Once again, in late 2019, we had to contact Nepal in protest at the egregious cruelty of the five-yearly Gadhimai ritual sacrifice. Many thousands of animals –buffalos, goats, pigs, chickens and rats – are killed.

We wrote to the PM KP Sharma Oli, other Ministers – and, with the helpful input of Hindu American Foundation (HAF) – to the elders of the local community.

This is one of the quotations HAF gave us to use:

“Deer, camel, donkey, monkey, rats, creeping animals, birds and flies – one should consider them like one’s own children, and not differentiate between one’s children and these creatures.” (Bhagavata Purana 7.14.9)

The Temple elders could not be persuaded this time to end the sacrifices and do homage to the Goddess with foods like fruit, grains and clarified butter, and through austerity measures such as fasting.  

The excellent Nepali animal welfare organisations are working to end the sacrifice, by education of the young, general awareness-raising and tenacious campaigning.

The government does not condone the sacrifice, but does not ban it. The Temple agreed to encourage pilgrims to give monetary donations instead of animals and to support awareness programmes led by animal welfare groups – but the sacrifices went ahead.

On February 21 we learned via a Mexican campaigning group that sacrifice continued at the temple until January 15 – at which, despite the slight ameliorations agreed last year, such as the ban on killing animals under two years of age, and on killing pigeons, this went ahead too.


Indonesia:

Travelling dolphin circuses

We were pleased to thank the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry for ceasing to license the travelling aspect of a dolphin circus, Wersut Seguni Indonesia. The dolphins were trucked from town to town in coffin-like crates, undergoing terrible suffering both in transport and ‘performing’. Excellent animal welfare groups have worked over some ten years to achieve this result.

We asked the Minister to finish the job and bring to an end the captivity of cetaceans in her country.


AUSTRALASIA

Australia:

Feral cat eradication

In an attempt to conserve native species, feral cat eradication is still practised in Australia. We wrote to the Environment Minister Sussan Ley asking her to put an end to a cruel policy which is also not effective.

Environmental protections

We thanked New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejklian for giving protection to Radiata Plateau Blue Mountains by making it a national park- and we appealed for more environmental protections.

East Antarctic Marine Park

We wrote to Minister Ley about the proposed establishment of the East Antarctic Marine Park. 25 countries which have an interest in and responsibility for the Antarctic met at the end of 2019 to discuss this project.

Thirty years ago Australia and France led the world in banning mining in the Antarctic. Australia was taking the next step by promoting a protected area, the largest part of Antarctica: the East Antarctic, a haven for Adelie penguins and one of the most untouched places on Earth.

We regret to say that there was no agreement reached at this meeting.

Australian bushfires

The main issue which has traumatised Australians and us overseas alike has been the terrifying bushfires. Individually and as an association, we donated to rescue organisations which worked tirelessly and in terrible difficulties to save and care for injured koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and all animals in need.

We thanked the Victoria Premier and Minister for agreeing to make food drops to all wildlife, not just endangered species.

However, despite the destruction, Australia is still killing its native animals by logging vitally important areas where koalas are still hanging on with difficulty, sometimes, in the case of Toowoomba in Queensland, for more housing.  We wrote to the NSW Premier and Scott Morrison, the federal Premier, in opposition to destruction of habitat per se, but that it is even more deplorable given that koalas could well become extinct in eastern states in the not too distant future.

Stop Press: this planning application has been withdrawn as it stands, but might be re-presented.

Animal poisoning

Finally in Australia, to add insult to injury, 1080 poison is being dropped to kill unwanted animals.

Please see:  https://ban1080.org.au for information on how to help. In brief:

1080 poison is an extremely potent chemical used to kill unwanted or unwelcome wildlife. It has been used in Australia since the 1950s.

It is in the same restricted regulatory schedule as other toxins like arsenic and cyanide and has been banned in most countries. It is considered a chemical of national security concern by the Federal Australian government. There is no known antidote.


New Zealand:

Rodeos

Once again, calves are being tormented in New Zealand rodeos. We wrote to Premier Jacinda Ardern, asking her to ban, as per the Labour pledge, this futile and callous activity.

Animal testing

Finally, we responded to an appeal from the NZ Anti-Vivisection Society and wrote to the PM asking her to have the Forced Swim Test banned.


OVERALL RESULTS FOR THE PERIOD

We wrote 69 letters or messages, sometimes on repeated matters, and apart from acknowledgments, received 18 replies.

~ Marian Hussenbux. March 1 2020  

       


AIA’s Campaigning Activities continued:

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