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 November 2022 to January 2023
In response to Freedom for Animals appeals, we wrote to the Scottish companies organising Christmas events with reindeer. Exposure to loud noise, bright lights, music and unnatural environments must be very stressful for them, although, as prey animals, they can hide this stress. In nature they would never be exposed to such inappropriate conditions.
We received very full replies from two of these companies, justifying the use of these formerly wild animals. Apparently, they are very well treated, not employed for long periods and live the rest of the year in peace in good conditions.
We argue that the message that spectators, especially children, take away from these spectacles is that gawping at animals unsuited for display is acceptable.
Many councils – including Edinburgh and Glasgow – have taken the compassionate decision to not feature reindeer in their Christmas celebrations.
Scots Government Consultation
To support the excellent organisation OneKind, we made a response to the Scots Government consultation on licensing of grouse moors, muirburn (burning of the moors), use of snares and glue traps. If these recommendations are accepted, it will mean excellent advances made in the field of animal welfare in Scotland.
Legal Protection for Dogs
We wrote again to PSOE members of the Spanish government – the ruling party – on the amendment to the animal welfare legislation which would exclude working dogs from legal protection – especially vulnerable are the galgos used for hunting. These dogs are widely advertised on social media, with no control, registration or breeders’ licences.
Treatment of the dogs is usually extremely poor and their working lives last only some 20-30 months. Then they may be abandoned, or killed cruelly.
In October 2022, hundreds of campaigners demonstrated all over Spain against this amendment under the banner Mismo Perro, Misma Ley (Same dog, same law).
In company with Igualdad Animal, we appealed to the PSOE to bear all this in mind when they vote on the amendments. We received a standard response directing us to other on-line addresses, but they seemed to be unavailable.
We wrote to the Ocean Isle Beach Board of Commissioners in North Carolina about the cruel treatment of foxes caught and penned in Ocean Isle Beach. Members of the Board of Commissioners had voted to hire a trapper to remove foxes in a misguided attempt to protect sea turtle nests.
The foxes trapped during this initiative were to be transported to fox pens. We were previously unaware of this practice, but now know that fox penning is a blood sport, in which trapped foxes are dumped into fenced enclosures where packs of dogs are then released.
The Commissioners even admitted that they had no idea how many foxes reside on the island, which areas the foxes frequent, or even how many sea turtle nests are disturbed by foxes each year.
We understand that board members complained about the foxes’ purportedly emboldened behaviour, while also mentioning that residents have been feeding the animals, which we assume was largely responsible for their being so bold.
PETA report they contacted board members, urging them to reconsider, but this communication was ignored.
Update: We are happy now to report that the plan has been suspended, but no doubt campaigners will be keeping an eye on it.
Poisoning Wild Animals
Alberta is the last province in Canada to use Compound 1080/strychnine to kill bears, wolves and coyotes. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is consulting the public on continuing to register this poison. Via Animal Justice we submitted an appeal to de-list this terrible poison.
Animals in Captivity
Senator Dr. Mary Jane McCallum supports the Jane Goodall Act. Background to this is: “On March 22, 2022, Senator Marty Klyne reintroduced the Jane Goodall Act to the Canadian Senate. Originally introduced by Senator Murray Sinclair in 2020, the proposed bill contains new legal protections for captive big cats, bears, wolves, seals, sea lions, walruses, certain monkeys, and dangerous reptiles, such as crocodiles and giant pythons. The bill would also phase out elephant captivity in Canada.
For more information, please see: https://janegoodall.ca/take-action/the-jane-goodall-act/
In a recent speech to the Canadian Senate Dr. Mary Jane McCallum spoke about captivity in general and the confinement of our fellow creatures in particular. We thanked her for her important message on this aberrant behaviour, which, over the centuries, has been to the shame of humankind.
As a citizen of Barren Lands First Nation of Manitoba, the Senator has some personal experience, which informs her understanding, as historical government actions were aimed at controlling the First Nations of Canada. Dr. McCallum described the harm captivity does to the physical and mental health of both human and non-human creatures. (Kisko in Marineland Canada is a prime example of this inflicted misery).
With the Senator, we hope significant action to transfer those cetaceans in captivity to sanctuary will be taken. If provincial governments were to extend legal status to cetaceans this would be more possible to implement.
Animal Justice states:“Canadians strongly support outlawing animal testing, with polling showing that 88% of Canadians want a national ban on cosmetic tests on animals.
Animal advocates and many politicians have been campaigning for years to outlaw cosmetic testing on animals. In 2019, a federal bill to ban cosmetic testing sadly failed to become law before the end of the parliamentary session, after working its way through the legislative process for four long years. We can’t let this happen again.”
To support their campaign, we added our details to a petition to the Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, asking for a bill to end testing on animals for cosmetics.
We wrote to Victoria Ministers of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Lily d’Ambrosio and Agriculture, the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Gayle Tierney, about their policy of trapping dingoes, expressing our deep concern over the Victorian government’s lethal control programme, which we learn is targeting threatened native dingoes, and posing a serious risk to the survival of the species.
Dingoes play a vital role in the health of Victorian ecosystems, ensuring populations of other animals are regulated and kept in balance. The removal of these animals will have far- reaching ecological impacts for the community.
We would expect that the ministers would accept their own sheep industry’s research which shows that some 80% of sheep and lamb deaths are a result of established and defective farm management practices, whilst predation by all animals, including dingoes, accounts for fewer than 7% of sheep losses.
So dingo predations of livestock are minimal.
We appealed to the state government to cease all management activities that are killing dingoes – including the removal of the 3km agricultural buffer zone, which even allows their slaughter in national parks.
We hope that they will accept and implement recommendation 28 from Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into declining ecosystems and revoke the Order in Council made under the Wildlife Act 1975 (Vic) which declared dingoes as ‘unprotected wildlife’.
Landholders should be encouraged and supported to use non-lethal, humane, means to manage dingoes and wild dogs in relation to any potential impacts on livestock, which appear to be minimal.
Wild Horses (Brumbies) in Victoria.
We wrote to the Victorian authorities in opposition to their plans to killing these horses by shooting, including by air. There seems to be so much against such plans: apart from the cruelty involved, the brumbies are generally loved by the public and are considered native species. Also, the plans included leaving the dead horses where they fall, with the possibility of their contaminating watercourses.
We received a full reply from Parks Victoria explaining their rationale. They claim – as was also claimed three years ago in Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales – that the brumbies are not unique to the habitats they live in, but their grazing and trampling adversely affects highly threatened species not found elsewhere. They maintain they are seeking the most humane solutions by employing accredited ground shooters, but would use aerial shooting as a last resort. They would use exclusion by fencing in small areas and would allow horses to be adopted if suitable recipients came forward.
As for carcasses being left where they lie – they claim this is what would happen in the wild anyway.
Minister for Animals
We wrote to congratulate the new PM Chris Hipkins on his role and to repeat our request that Labour – having promised animal welfare initiatives which they failed to deliver – should appoint a Minister for Animals independent of Primary Production, which means Agriculture.
This is obviously a serious conflict of interest.
~ Marian Hussenbux. February 2023
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