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 -February 2023 – April 2023
We wrote to Scots ministers Lorna Slater and Màiri McAllan and Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon, to thank them for being in favour of limiting, by licensing, muirburn, the burning of the moorlands, which is often precious peat. We also asked that being involved in grouse shooting should not constitute a valid reason for the issuing of such a licence.
The Scottish government had maintained they were not given enough time to consider the Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, sponsored by our colleague Duncan McNair at Save the Asian Elephants (STAE). We wrote to the Cabinet Secretary, the 3 candidates for post of First Minister, with copies to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone and Green MSP Mark Ruskell. The Presiding Officer, who relinquished her Green Party affiliation on accepting the role, is a firm animal advocate, as is Mark Ruskell.
The Bill throws a lifeline to many endangered species by steering this market towards safe and ethical tourism. Public support is overwhelming, including 85% on average in every parliamentary constituency in Scotland, with just 2% opposed.
We were therefore very disappointed that the devolved government at Holyrood refused to permit this legislation’s extending into Scotland, though it supports the aims of the Bill.
The consequence of Scotland’s Government refusal to allow its Parliament to consider adopting these measures will be to undermine their efficacy in the rest of the UK and cause Scotland to become a magnet and haven for the marketing of unethical overseas venues formerly promoted in England.
In the Republic of Ireland, we were informed that there would be a vote in South Dublin Council to ban hare coursing. We received four positive replies, including from the Mayor. In the event, this was not debated, but could come up at a later date. We need to remember, if the vote were successful, it would have no legal force. It would only mean that a letter to this effect would be sent to the Minister.
France: In Saint-Mesmin, in the department of Lot, pigeons were to be gassed. The authorities had not replied to PETA, from whom we received the news. We wrote to the Mayor, asking her to end this cruelty. We highlighted the role of pigeons in war and how so many lives were saved thanks to their amazing ability to fly home, even under gunfire, even in darkness. We cited the example of Cher Ami, who was donated by the pigeon fanciers of Britain for use by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. He delivered 12 vital messages to Verdun and was awarded both the British Dicken Medal and the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry. For all reasons, pigeons need to be respected.
Polar bear Frost and her cub were killed by Svalbard authorities on April 6. We asked the governor, the Sysselmester Lars Fause, why this was done and whether he would ensure it would not happen again. We reminded him that polar bears are under threat wherever they live and are classed Vulnerable in Norway. We received a response saying that an investigation was underway, so – of course! – no comment could be made. We have written again to ask for an update.
We continue our support of animal and environmental campaigns in the Hawaiian Islands.
Kanaloa Octopus Farm on the Big Island of Hawai’i captures wild Hawaiian day octopuses, entrapping them in tiny, isolated tanks and subjecting them to breeding experiments under the guise of “conservation.” We read that the Hawai’i Division of Aquatic Resources (HDAR) issued a cease and desist letter to Kanaloa for operating without required permits, which we supported in a letter to them.
It also appears that, funding itself through petting zoo-like tours and state support, the facility has attempted to breed hundreds of these octopuses: as of 2022, babies had only survived up to 13 days.
We are informed that Government records show plans for supplying octopus and squid to the restaurant industry.
We appealed to the HDAR to ensure that the U.S. never has an octopus factory farming industry and, to that end, to permanently shut down Kanaloa Octopus Farm.
We made further submissions to the Hawai’i Legislature – supporting a spay/neuter fund and putting a limit on the use of fireworks. We were asked to re-send letters about the spay/neuter fund to the chairs of Ways & Means and Finance committees, as the principle of TNR – used widely and with success in many countries – seems to be not wholly accepted in Hawai’i currently. Council land should be allocated to create more sanctuaries which could help free-roaming cats, and would move them away from sensitive wildlife areas. We’ve not yet received news of outcomes.
In support of Humane Long Island we wrote to the Supervisor of Islip, Suffolk County, New York, about the illegal exhibition of sloths in an event called Sloth Encounters. We urged her to take Sloth Encounters back to court for contempt, as this illegal exotic animal petting zoo was ordered to close back in September by the Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge.
The owner is now advertising for sale to the general public: sloths, red kangaroos, porcupines, bearcats, fennec foxes, wallabies, armadillos (who carry leprosy), pythons, tarantulas, iguanas, and other animals illegal to possess and sell in Islip.
We also wrote to Suffolk County Legislature, urging them to pass Intro 1777 to restrict travelling exotic animal acts, both to protect public safety and animal welfare.
We received a reply from the Supervisor saying there was a court case pending.
1000 long-tailed macaques, illegally captured, were to be returned to Cambodia from the US and could be trapped and used again for experimentation. We asked the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Charles River Lab to send them to sanctuary at Born Free, which PETA had agreed to fund.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently announced that this species of monkey is now endangered, in large part because of their removal from the wild for use in primate experimentation.
The transportation was suspended.
A more hopeful update from PETA on April 26:
“The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has called on an international body to review exports of long-tailed macaques to ensure that monkeys abducted from their forest homes aren’t passed off as captive-bred.
FWS made the appeal to the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a global agreement among governments to preserve and protect plant and animal species from extinction.
This additional layer of scrutiny would occur before monkeys reach the cargo hold of a plane—stemming the flow of animals into the primate-importation pipeline at the source and likely preventing thousands of endangered monkeys from being abducted from their homes and families in nature. Long-tailed macaques are the most commonly imported species to the U.S. for experimentation.”
Loggerhead turtles, nesting in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, are adversely affected by light pollution. The council had promised to change the lighting 3 years ago, but no action was taken. We wrote to the Mayor asking for this to be done.
We read on the town’s website:
“Florida is the second-largest Loggerhead Sea Turtle nesting area in the world. It is important that we do our best to ensure a safe nesting season for the sea turtles. Avoid unnecessary light, noise, and movement on the beach at night. Remove all litter from the beach.”
We thanked them for this and hope that everyone complies with this sensible request – but the council needs to get the lighting fixed as well.
There is a cruel and futile event involving the roping of chickens organised as entertainment in the town of Moorcroft, Wyoming. This is not even legal under state law. We protested to the Police Chief and the State Veterinarian and asked them to ban it. Apart from the cruelty perpetrated on the birds, it is unedifying for young spectators.
After appalling revelations from a recent investigation by Animal Justice, we supported their letter to Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau asking for CCTV to be installed in all Canadian abattoirs.
For many years, horses have been exported from Canada to Japan for slaughter. We wrote again to complain to the Minister via an Animal Justice form.
Native ducks continue to be shot in Victoria, the only Australian state which still permits it. We asked the Premier and Minister of Agriculture to impose a ban.
Update: Ellen Sandell, Greens State MP for Melbourne, reports:
“ On Tuesday, (May 2) I joined duck rescuers outside the Premier’s office to present 100 dead ducks collected from wetlands over the first few days of the shooting season. Many of these ducks were endangered species, and all were shot and abandoned, left – illegally – for dead in the wetland.
But 2023 could be the last year of this cruelty. Due to pressure from the community and the Greens, Victoria is about to have a Parliamentary Inquiry into the future of duck shooting.”
The inquiry closes on May 19. The first term of reference is “community values and expectations”. Public opinion is strongly against recreational duck shooting, so we hope to hear positive news on this longstanding matter of concern.
In Aotearoa/New Zealand some universities have stopped the forced swim test – we thanked them via a card provided by the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society.
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