Tag Archives: RSPCA

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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Baby Seals and Joeys – a head splitting issue

Let’s get something straight.

When baby seals are bludgeoned to death it’s barbaric, bloodthirsty and cruel. We all agree on that!

But when Australians clobber millions of joeys to death every year it’s … kind and humane.

There’s a big difference anyway. Firstly, those cute fluffy seals have mothers who love them, but those joeys don’t have a mother anymore – she just had her brains blown out.

The world thinks kangaroos are adorable. In fact, so much so, that Tourism Australia stuck one in a cage in a busy Los Angeles street in January.

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains of Sydney

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains, Sydney

But to be truthful, kangaroos are not so popular in Australia. There are heaps of them and they eat too much. For starters, they eat all the grass that ‘rightfully’ belongs to cows and sheep. They eat crops.  Farmers whose mantra is ‘there are too many kangaroos and they are a pest ‘– hate them!

Secondly, insurance companies hate them. They’re sick to death of paying claims for smashed car windscreens and bent fenders. Every morning Australian highways are littered with hundreds of dead kangaroos. A particularly popular site for corpses is on any highway leading into Canberra.

Hence, kangaroo shooting is a favourite sport for anyone with a gun and a desire to kill something. You see them all the time – 4 wheel drives with a string of lights across the roof. They’re great for lighting up the bush so shooters can blast dozens of roos without too much effort. Kangaroos are nocturnal animals and hence night is the best time to kill them.

Roo shooting is a great national pastime. Bored office workers love to spend their long weekends in the bush blasting them to smithereens. We do however draw the line when some yahoo shoots them with a bow and arrow through the face. See http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/roo-killer-justin-stavropoulos-loses-appeal-against-jail-sentence/story-e6frf7l6-1225840266509 . Now that’s downright barbaric and the killer, Justin Stavropoulos got a whole year in jail.

Still, we have heaps of kangaroos left over and we do have a monopoly on them. So what to do? Until recently the only use for a kangaroo was as pet meat.

These days China makes everything but they can’t breed kangaroos (at least not that I’ve heard). Why don’t we encourage everyone overseas to eat kangaroo meat?  Delegations of government officials regularly trawl overseas searching for an interested country to purchase our dead kangaroos.

In the meantime, radio announcers on talk back radio breathlessly extol the virtues of roo meat. Woolworths and Coles now stock kangaroo steaks. The message is out there – it’s very healthy to eat roo meat. It’s Australian to eat roo meat. Furthermore, the more I discuss this matter with people, the more I get the impression that it’s ‘un-Australian not to eat roo meat’ and complaining against it makes one an enemy of Australia.

But maybe not so healthy for the joeys. As we blast the kangaroo into eventual extinction, we are left with a messy problem. Every female kangaroo seems to have a joey in the pouch. It seems unlikely that the shooters only kill male kangaroos. Until they work out a way to promote joey burgers they have to work out what to do with them. Anyway, the government has told kangaroo shooters what to do. They have to yank them out of their mothers’ pouches and clobber them on the head.

According to the RSPCA on http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-happens-to-joeys-when-female-kangaroos-are-shot_76.html the National Codes of Practice (Commercial and Non-commercial) for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies requires that if a shooter kills a female with pouch young, then they must kill the joey. This is usually done by decapitation or a blow to the head (usually on the bumper bars of their 4W drives).

According to the website  http://candobetter.org/node/1842  –     I quote 

In the field this equates to smashing their head against an object such as a towbar or just simply stomping on their skull. It is not only in-pouch joeys that are dependent on their mothers. For about a third of the time you can call a kangaroo a “joey” they have permanently exited the pouch, however they still require milk, protection and guidance from their mother. These little guys are the joeys-at-foot or ex-pouch joeys, they are the ones that stick their heads in their mother’s pouch to obtain milk. This a key stage in the development of a kangaroo that usually lasts 120 – 220 days. The code directs shooters to kill these joeys by a single shot to the head, however these joeys tend to flee in terror when their mothers are shot. As kangaroos do not “adopt” other joeys in the wild their prospects for survival are very poor, most will likely starve to death or be taken by predators. How this can be classified as humane by Samantha Vine, Peter Ampt and Sarah Doornpos is to say the least, puzzling. I shudder to think what would come under the inhumane category, perhaps death by iron maiden?

According to this website, in 2007, 30,000 joeys-at-foot were orphaned by kangaroo shooters.

What a charming business! So when you pick up a roo streak in the supermarket or order it in a restaurant, you might like to remember these statistics.

Some people have a very cynical view on the government’s interest in getting rid of kangaroos. See http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:oDkY1hSjcUgJ:www.kangaroolives.com/condemned.htm+farmers+wage+war+on+kangaroos&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au . The website says – I quote –

Unfortunately the bad behaviour of governments, state and local, regarding kangaroos, is increasing. A campaign continues by those with vested interests to declare kangaroos pests – and commodities. Despite global warming, drought and bushfires, they are all working hard to turn even more kangaroos into pet food, hides, scrotum purses, and so on – even as the Australia-wide numbers plummet. From ABC news May 5, 2008: “John Kelly, from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, says (new culling in Victoria) ‘would be good for regional employment and crops.” In direct income to the state, it’s worth about $5.5 million,” he said. “In indirect benefits, such as improved agricultural productivity, decreased levels of road accidents, and other such benefits – you add them all up, and you start talking about something approaching $15 million per year.”

kangaroo from above website

We’ve done our darndest to get rid of koalas by chopping down most of their trees to make way for housing settlements, so it’s probably difficult to rustle up enough koalas to turn into koala steaks. But farmers hate wombats and flying foxes too so maybe they could consider selling them in the supermarket next! Of course, shooters would have to whack wombat babies on the heads too, as wombats are marsupials and carry their young in pouches.

One thing’s for sure – when I hear Australians bleating about how cruel the Canadians are for culling all those baby seals, I’ll mention the hundreds of joeys who had their skulls crunched last night.

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