Pigs to Ewe!

If mankind disappeared today

What would all the animals say?

Birds, koalas and even bees,

Would sing with joy – they’d now have trees!

Tigers, elephants, all kinds of bear,

Could now roam free- without a care.

Their rivers would run unpolluted

Man and Earth are so unsuited!

That poem is my catchcry. I want to hear something cheerful but it’s not often that you get to read some really good news about the treatment of farm animals is it?

So it is with great joy I read that in July, Jan Cameron, the founder of the clothing store Kathmandu, pledged $5 million to establish the Animal Justice Fund. The fund will pay up to $30,000 for successful prosecutions of cruelty relating to farm animals. The fund will also finance legal action.

It is also cheering to hear that a body called the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel exists.  This comprises a group of more than 100 Victorian and New South Wales barristers who offer their services gratis.  In 1997 Tracy-Lynne Geysen started BLEATS, Autralia’s first animal law practice. BLEATS can call on more than 150 lawyers providing pro bono services for animal welfare cases.

A lot of consumers are disgusted by hens being held in tiny, permanently lit cages till their claws become twisted and their feathers fall out. It worries us that most hens for eating live for only forty days and yet they weigh over one kilo when slaughtered.We are disturbed by sows being kept in stalls (https://roslynmotter.com/2010/05/04/happy-mothers-day-but-not-for-pigs/). We abhore the thought of live sheep being transported to foreign lands where they have been known (if they actually arrive alive) to have been purchased and then promptly deposited in the boot of a car. And so it goes on…animals in zoos and circuses, animals used in research… there is no joy in being a captive animal unless it is as a fluffy cat or doggy held by a doting owner.

When we read about research such as  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727201515.htm which recounts a recent experiment which proved that pigs are capable of complex emotions, it is even harder to bear the thought of their suffering at our hands.

A hen's dream!

 It’s also not much fun being an animal in the wild as there seems to be either endless hunters trying to take a pot shot at them for fun or profit; or no end of farmers, developers and other greedy parties chopping away at their forests and jungles.

However, things are slowly changing.

Following a vigorous campaign by the RSPCA and other animals groups against sows in stalls, Coles said it would not buy pork from producers using sow stalls from 2014. And Tasmania has announced that from 2014 sows would not be able to spend more than six weeks in a stall at any one time. Furthermore, the stalls would be banned from 2017. I don’t know why these dates are so far in the future but at least there’s hope.

Furthermore, now Section 52 of the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act can be used against food producers who falsely claim that their animals are being well looked after. With this section of the Act and the monies provided by Jan Cameron, there is a much greater chance of obtaining successful prosecutions than previously. This is because powerful and well funded industry groups (and it seems the government),  have supported the primary producers and helped them to fight against meddling do gooders. In the past no one except the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League has been able to initiate action under the NSW’s Prevention for Cruelty to Animals Act unless they had permission from the minister or director-general of the Department of Primary Industries. 

Another inspiration in the field of animal rights are Ondine and Brian Sherman, the founders of Voiceless.  In the space of 5 years, Voiceless has become renowned as one of Australia’s leading, influential and cutting-edge animal protection groups.

Photo of the Shermans and Hugo Weaving from Voiceless

Voiceless is a non-profit organisation which aims to promote respect and compassion for animals.

According to http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200507/s1415933.htm Voiceless says its approach is “mainstream”: they use a grants program to support the work of existing animal protection organisations, they have a legal arm which works on public policy and law and they have an educational arm which promotes compassion for animals to school-aged children.

“At Voiceless we don’t do raids, we don’t support any illegal activities,” Ondine said. “We are taking a very mainstream and inclusive approach.

“[We need to be] able to put out a very professional image so we can talk to the corporate sector, we can talk to the industry, we can attract people that perhaps aren’t as comfortable being associated with the more protesting style.”

Now these actions are occurring in Australia but don’t forget the great work done by Sir Roger Moore in the UK who managed to get Selfridges to agree to stop selling pate foie gras.

So animals still have a way to go before they can jump for joy but they can feel heartened that many people do really care about their rights. I suppose animals won’t feel totally comforted until they hear that everyone is going vegetarian.

PETS IN CRISIS IN GULF OIL CRISIS!

It seems that the BP oil disaster is a disaster in more ways than one. If it isn’t bad enough that native animals are losing their lives after ingesting gallons of oil, the pets in the region are also suffering.

Since most people in the region make their income in one way or another from the Gulf, the economic impact has meant that as locals lose their jobs they can’t afford to feed themselves, neverlone a pet. So record numbers of pets have been given in to animal shelters.

So if you can, please donate to the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St Bernard who are looking after many of these animals – http://sbpanimal.homestead.com/

Just this Wednesday 100 dogs were loaded up in a truck headed to a shelter in Madison, N.J. The Louisiana SPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and American Humane Association have teamed up for this big transport. The animals are from various shelters around the area including St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society. So you might also like to donate to these charities.

For more information on this disaster for animals see –

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/pawprintpost/post/2010/08/dogs-from-gulf-oil-spill-up-for-adoption/1

http://goodgriefpetloss.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/pets-are-victims-of-the-gulf-oil-spill-too/

http://www.ecosalon.com/the-forgotten-gulf-oil-spill-victims/

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One response to “Pigs to Ewe!

  1. Pingback: The Curious Story of the Food we Eat – Part 2 | Roslyn Motter – Children's Author

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