Beauty in the Battery Hen

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Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labelled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labeling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labeling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging him to bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.
Andrew Howard, IFAW

Today whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change. On top of these comes another increasing threat, as insidious and pervasive as it is invisible – ocean noise pollution.

In the dark marine environment sound is king. Sound travels nearly fives times faster in water than in air and at low frequencies can invade thousands of square kilometres in seconds.

Marine animals, particularly cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – rely on sound to navigate, communicate, detect mates and predators, maintain group cohesion and find food.

Ocean noise is a chronic form of pollution involving the disturbance of the marine environment through human activity. The main sources of ocean noise pollution are commercial shipping, military sonar, seismic surveys for oil and gas prospecting, off-shore construction (e.g. drilling, dredging and explosions) and recreational activities (e.g. boating).

The broad range of frequencies used by marine animals intersects with many of the sounds produced by these man-made sources. By interfering with and drowning out the crucial sound-based systems of marine animals, ocean noise pollution can adversely affect the ability of these animals to behave normally and survive.

On top of blocking cetacean communication channels, ocean noise pollution has been linked to behavioral changes in cetaceans, such as the abandonment of preferred habitat and of vital activities such as feeding.

In the most extreme cases, noises at certain frequencies can cause cetaceans to surface too quickly, strand and die. Since the 1960s there has been a growing body of evidence directly linking military sonar exercises to the mass strandings and deaths of cetaceans, particularly beaked whales.

Given the adverse effects ocean noise can have on cetaceans and other marine animals and the vast number of noise sources in UK waters, IFAW is concerned that such noise is not designated as a form of pollution that is regulated in UK legislation. This lack of legislative recognition of such a potent source of marine pollution means that marine animals are currently not afforded the protection they deserve.

IFAW is therefore urging LAWS members and Conference delegates to write to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP and Marine Minister Jonathan Shaw MP (Defra, Customer Contact Unit, Eastbury House, 30 – 34 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TL) to urge that they ensure the forthcoming Marine Bill protects whales, dolphins and other marine animals from ocean noise by recognising it as a pollutant and introducing regulations to prevent or mitigate its harmful effects.
Andy Ottway, Campaign Whale

In May of this year two decapitated bodies were found on a beach on the Isle of Skye. They were common seals, one a pregnant female, the other a juvenile animal, both had been shot.

Marine Harvest, a Norwegian owned company, that operates a nearby salmon farm, admitted to the shootings which are perfectly legal under existing laws for the supposed ‘conservation’ of seals.

In 1988, Labour lifted a ban on the shooting of common seals despite the objections of conservation and animal welfare groups. Now, scientific evidence has shown a massive decline in their numbers off Scotland, involving the loss of thousands of animals. Worryingly, the cause of this decline is unknown, but the shooting of seals must certainly have played its part.

This year a coalition of seventeen UK- based animal protection and welfare groups, led by the Seal Preservation Action Group, are calling on UK retailers to insist that their suppliers of Scottish salmon do not shoot seals and other wildlife. We are also calling for the urgent revision or replacement of the Conservation of Seals Act (1970) in order to gain greater protection for the UK’s globally important populations of gray and common seals. Current legislation is little more than a licence to shoot seals, and an estimated 3-5,000 seals are shot each year by fishermen, fish farmers and salmon angling interests.

Last Conference, the coalition asked Party members to write to both the UK and Scottish Ministers responsible for Environment and Animal Welfare calling for a new Seal Protection Act to replace this outdated legislation. We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option.

The campaign to ban the import of seal products into Europe in protest over Canada’s abhorrent seal cull has attracted huge support, and rightly so. It would be tragically hypocritical of this Labour Government and the Scottish Executive if they did not take this opportunity to stop the routine slaughter of our own seal population.

If you would like to help our campaign please write to the relevant Ministers calling for the protection of our seals. They are:

Lord Rooker
Minister for Animal Welfare
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Richard Lochhead MSP
Environment and Rural Affairs
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

For further information please visit Seal Action.
The aim of the Bill is to create a framework to manage growing and competing demands for the use of marine resources in the seas around Scotland, balancing environmental and socio-economic considerations to maximise economic growth within sustainable environmental limits” the Bill will:

* Create a statutory marine planning framework with distinct national and regional structures;
* Facilitate streamlining of marine licensing and marine consents and therefore a reduction in regulatory burden;
* Contain provisions for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas and the introduction of Marine Conservation Orders as appropriate for the management of the Areas;
* Repeal the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 and introduce a license regime appropriate for the management of seals in Scottish waters;
* Provide for a range of common enforcement powers applicable to both the enforcement of licensing and conservation; and
* Contain provisions to allow the Scottish Ministers to make orders or regulations under the Act.

Rural Affairs and Environment Committee has issued a call for views, inviting individuals and interested parties to submit views on the Bill in writing. The Committee is interested to hear the views of all organisations, bodies and individuals on the proposals contained within the Bill and their likely impact. Comments do not have to cover all aspects of the Bill, only those proposals which are of interest or concern. The closing date for written submissions is Thursday 11 June 2009. Ideally submissions should not exceed four sides of A4. paper. The Committee expects to take oral evidence during May, June and September 2009.

We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option. It is important that members and organisations submit view which is opposed to the shooting of seals in Scotland .

For further information contact Andy Ottaway, The Seal Protection Action Group. Address: PO Box 2673, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5BZ, UK Tel: 01273 471403. The Seal Protection Action Group is a Scottish registered charity (SC017447) dedicated to protecting seals and their environment worldwide.
(You can bet this will be in the Tory Education Plans)

Article from The Daily Telegraph (15 May 2009) reported that the Countryside Alliance calls for children to be taught about blood sports.

It said that Hunting, shooting and fishing should be included in the national curriculum as part of a drive to educate children about the countryside, according to campaigners.

The Countryside Alliance believes children should be taught about every aspect of rural life, from food production to pest control, as well as being offered outdoor pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, horse-riding and fishing. The lobby group is calling on the government to create a new subject area of outdoor education that children could be assessed on throughout school, including at GCSE level .Alternatively, schools could incorporate outdoor activities into other subjects, for example farm visits in geography, beekeeping in biology or even falconry to learn about weights in a maths class. It is part of a rural manifesto calling for affordable housing and improved services in rural areas, a repeal of the Hunting Act, more support for farmers and improved outdoor education in schools. Rob Gray, Campaigns Director of the Countryside Alliance, said children should be taught about traditional country sports like clay pigeon shooting and fishing and given the opportunity to take part. He also said they should be educated about hunting with dogs, even though it has been made illegal, by visiting kennels and finding out about the sport within the law.

“Whatever your view of it, hunting, shooting and fishing and country pursuits are part of the living working countryside in which hundreds of thousands of people take part and are employed,” he said. “We should not cherry pick just the cuddly bunny bits [of rural life], teachers and children should be able to get an insight into the what goes on in the countryside – from country pursuits to food production – and then make up their own minds.” However Christine Blower, General Secretary National Union of Teachers, said efforts to get more children enjoying the outdoors should be led by the teaching establishment rather than a pressure group. “The decision should be taken at school level with heads and teachers deciding the appropriateness of it,” she said.

Louise Robertson of the League Against Cruel Sports, said children should not be taught about blood sports. “We would not support encouraging young children to go out and shoot animals for fun,” she said. “I would much rather the school curriculum focuses on areas like maths and English.”

Labour Animal Welfare Society is opposed to the introduction of these proposals in Schools. However, it would not be surprising if the Tories win the next General Election that they would support this. They have already indicated that if they get into power they will repeal the Hunting with Dogs Act, and also Cull Badgers.

Chris Gale NEC member Labour Animal Welfare Society
Oliver Edwards

Many will be familiar with the phasing out of battery cages for hens; a culmination of much hard work by animal welfare charities. Moving away from the appalling ‘factory line’ conditions can only be a positive step. What fewer may be aware of is that over the next few years this welcome change will result in thousands of ex battery hens being released. The majority will sadly end up being killed but thanks to the efforts of the Devon based charity Battery Hen Welfare Trust, others will be given a new lease of life.

Having kept chickens in our garden over a number of years, they are surprisingly easy to look after and low maintenance. Our former brood of hens gradually died off one by one with age until only one elderly hen was left-Queen of her roost. We had read about the ex battery hens being released from a farm near Guildford and so this seemed like an ideal time to give them a home and some company for our elderly hen. Having gone through several checks, we went to the farm and collected three hens-all fairly scruffy and scrawny, with bad feathers. The first few days were filled with new experiences; being able to roam outdoors, soil, nest boxes and a perch, and the intrigue/fascination was incontainable. During this learning process, they discovered that laying eggs in a nest box is more comfortable than on a hard floor or wherever you happen to be standing, that those insects or ‘bits’ in the grass could be tasty and that sometimes food moves. Slowly they started copying ‘mother hen’ and as their leg muscles started to strengthen, they made it up on to the perch to join her at night. The improving weather has allowed them to discover the joys of a dust bath together, the intrigue that lies behind the gate to the garden should it be left open, or the taste of seaweed and shrimps on the nearby beach.

Each day continues to bring new experiences but watching them enjoy freedom and expanding their limitless curiosity is an endlessly worthwhile, even if they may only be three hens out of thousands. On a practical note, we have an endless supply of free range eggs which continue to improve from the sterile, artificial battery eggs they were intended before to produce for life. So if you have ever considered having chickens, there has never been a better time with the surplus numbers around at the moment and the thousands of hens currently being destroyed. They are not as difficult to look after as you might imagine and any extra space they have is an improvement upon the miserable conditions they have learned to take for granted. There has never been a better chance to watch the transformation from egg producing machines into the curious, lively, affectionate birds they can be.

To find out more, check out the website www.bhwt.org.uk or call 01362 822904.

Stop Press: 10,000 hens need re-homing from battery farm in Norfolk which is closing-down. If you would like a hen or two or know someone who would please contact littlehenrescue@googemail.com

Any not re-homed by 28 June will be slaughtered.

Tory Alert – Hunting Act Repeal and Badger Slaughter Now

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Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labeled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labelling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labelling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging himto bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.
Andrew Howard, IFAW

Today whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change. On top of these comes another increasing threat, as insidious and pervasive as it is invisible – ocean noise pollution.

In the dark marine environment sound is king. Sound travels nearly fives times faster in water than in air and at low frequencies can invade thousands of square kilometres in seconds.

Marine animals, particularly cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – rely on sound to navigate, communicate, detect mates and predators, maintain group cohesion and find food.

Ocean noise is a chronic form of pollution involving the disturbance of the marine environment through human activity. The main sources of ocean noise pollution are commercial shipping, military sonar, seismic surveys for oil and gas prospecting, off-shore construction (e.g. drilling, dredging and explosions) and recreational activities (e.g. boating).

The broad range of frequencies used by marine animals intersects with many of the sounds produced by these man-made sources. By interfering with and drowning out the crucial sound-based systems of marine animals, ocean noise pollution can adversely affect the ability of these animals to behave normally and survive.

On top of blocking cetacean communication channels, ocean noise pollution has been linked to behavioural changes in cetaceans, such as the abandonment of preferred habitat and of vital activities such as feeding.

In the most extreme cases, noises at certain frequencies can cause cetaceans to surface too quickly, strand and die. Since the 1960s there has been a growing body of evidence directly linking military sonar exercises to the mass strandings and deaths of cetaceans, particularly beaked whales.

Given the adverse effects ocean noise can have on cetaceans and other marine animals and the vast number of noise sources in UK waters, IFAW is concerned that such noise is not designated as a form of pollution that is regulated in UK legislation. This lack of legislative recognition of such a potent source of marine pollution means that marine animals are currently not afforded the protection they deserve.

IFAW is therefore urging LAWS members and Conference delegates to write to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP and Marine Minister Jonathan Shaw MP (Defra, Customer Contact Unit, Eastbury House, 30 – 34 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TL) to urge that they ensure the forthcoming Marine Bill protects whales, dolphins and other marine animals from ocean noise by recognising it as a pollutant and introducing regulations to prevent or mitigate its harmful effects.
Andy Ottway, Campaign Whale

In May of this year two decapitated bodies were found on a beach on the Isle of Skye. They were common seals, one a pregnant female, the other a juvenile animal, both had been shot.

Marine Harvest, a Norwegian owned company, that operates a nearby salmon farm, admitted to the shootings which are perfectly legal under existing laws for the supposed ‘conservation’ of seals.

In 1988, Labour lifted a ban on the shooting of common seals despite the objections of conservation and animal welfare groups. Now, scientific evidence has shown a massive decline in their numbers off Scotland, involving the loss of thousands of animals. Worryingly, the cause of this decline is unknown, but the shooting of seals must certainly have played its part.

This year a coalition of seventeen UK- based animal protection and welfare groups, led by the Seal Preservation Action Group, are calling on UK retailers to insist that their suppliers of Scottish salmon do not shoot seals and other wildlife. We are also calling for the urgent revision or replacement of the Conservation of Seals Act (1970) in order to gain greater protection for the UK’s globally important populations of gray and common seals. Current legislation is little more than a licence to shoot seals, and an estimated 3-5,000 seals are shot each year by fishermen, fish farmers and salmon angling interests.

Last Conference, the coalition asked Party members to write to both the UK and Scottish Ministers responsible for Environment and Animal Welfare calling for a new Seal Protection Act to replace this outdated legislation. We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option.

The campaign to ban the import of seal products into Europe in protest over Canada’s abhorrent seal cull has attracted huge support, and rightly so. It would be tragically hypocritical of this Labour Government and the Scottish Executive if they did not take this opportunity to stop the routine slaughter of our own seal population.

If you would like to help our campaign please write to the relevant Ministers calling for the protection of our seals. They are:

Lord Rooker
Minister for Animal Welfare
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Richard Lochhead MSP
Environment and Rural Affairs
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

For further information please visit Seal Action.
The aim of the Bill is to create a framework to manage growing and competing demands for the use of marine resources in the seas around Scotland, balancing environmental and socio-economic considerations to maximise economic growth within sustainable environmental limits” the Bill will:

* Create a statutory marine planning framework with distinct national and regional structures;
* Facilitate streamlining of marine licensing and marine consents and therefore a reduction in regulatory burden;
* Contain provisions for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas and the introduction of Marine Conservation Orders as appropriate for the management of the Areas;
* Repeal the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 and introduce a license regime appropriate for the management of seals in Scottish waters;
* Provide for a range of common enforcement powers applicable to both the enforcement of licensing and conservation; and
* Contain provisions to allow the Scottish Ministers to make orders or regulations under the Act.

Rural Affairs and Environment Committee has issued a call for views, inviting individuals and interested parties to submit views on the Bill in writing. The Committee is interested to hear the views of all organisations, bodies and individuals on the proposals contained within the Bill and their likely impact. Comments do not have to cover all aspects of the Bill, only those proposals which are of interest or concern. The closing date for written submissions is Thursday 11 June 2009. Ideally submissions should not exceed four sides of A4. paper. The Committee expects to take oral evidence during May, June and September 2009.

We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option. It is important that members and organisations submit view which is opposed to the shooting of seals in Scotland .

For further information contact Andy Ottaway, The Seal Protection Action Group. Address: PO Box 2673, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5BZ, UK Tel: 01273 471403. The Seal Protection Action Group is a Scottish registered charity (SC017447) dedicated to protecting seals and their environment worldwide.
(You can bet this will be in the Tory Education Plans)

Article from The Daily Telegraph (15 May 2009) reported that the Countryside Alliance calls for children to be taught about blood sports.

It said that Hunting, shooting and fishing should be included in the national curriculum as part of a drive to educate children about the countryside, according to campaigners.

The Countryside Alliance believes children should be taught about every aspect of rural life, from food production to pest control, as well as being offered outdoor pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, horse-riding and fishing. The lobby group is calling on the government to create a new subject area of outdoor education that children could be assessed on throughout school, including at GCSE level .Alternatively, schools could incorporate outdoor activities into other subjects, for example farm visits in geography, beekeeping in biology or even falconry to learn about weights in a maths class. It is part of a rural manifesto calling for affordable housing and improved services in rural areas, a repeal of the Hunting Act, more support for farmers and improved outdoor education in schools. Rob Gray, Campaigns Director of the Countryside Alliance, said children should be taught about traditional country sports like clay pigeon shooting and fishing and given the opportunity to take part. He also said they should be educated about hunting with dogs, even though it has been made illegal, by visiting kennels and finding out about the sport within the law.

“Whatever your view of it, hunting, shooting and fishing and country pursuits are part of the living working countryside in which hundreds of thousands of people take part and are employed,” he said. “We should not cherry pick just the cuddly bunny bits [of rural life], teachers and children should be able to get an insight into the what goes on in the countryside – from country pursuits to food production – and then make up their own minds.” However Christine Blower, General Secretary National Union of Teachers, said efforts to get more children enjoying the outdoors should be led by the teaching establishment rather than a pressure group. “The decision should be taken at school level with heads and teachers deciding the appropriateness of it,” she said.

Louise Robertson of the League Against Cruel Sports, said children should not be taught about blood sports. “We would not support encouraging young children to go out and shoot animals for fun,” she said. “I would much rather the school curriculum focuses on areas like maths and English.”

Labour Animal Welfare Society is opposed to the introduction of these proposals in Schools. However, it would not be surprising if the Tories win the next General Election that they would support this. They have already indicated that if they get into power they will repeal the Hunting with Dogs Act, and also Cull Badgers.

Chris Gale NEC member Labour Animal Welfare Society

Marine ( Scotland ) Bill, Scottish Parliament

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labelled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labelling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labelling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging himto bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.
Andrew Howard, IFAW

Today whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change. On top of these comes another increasing threat, as insidious and pervasive as it is invisible – ocean noise pollution.

In the dark marine environment sound is king. Sound travels nearly fives times faster in water than in air and at low frequencies can invade thousands of square kilometres in seconds.

Marine animals, particularly cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – rely on sound to navigate, communicate, detect mates and predators, maintain group cohesion and find food.

Ocean noise is a chronic form of pollution involving the disturbance of the marine environment through human activity. The main sources of ocean noise pollution are commercial shipping, military sonar, seismic surveys for oil and gas prospecting, off-shore construction (e.g. drilling, dredging and explosions) and recreational activities (e.g. boating).

The broad range of frequencies used by marine animals intersects with many of the sounds produced by these man-made sources. By interfering with and drowning out the crucial sound-based systems of marine animals, ocean noise pollution can adversely affect the ability of these animals to behave normally and survive.

On top of blocking cetacean communication channels, ocean noise pollution has been linked to behavioural changes in cetaceans, such as the abandonment of preferred habitat and of vital activities such as feeding.

In the most extreme cases, noises at certain frequencies can cause cetaceans to surface too quickly, strand and die. Since the 1960s there has been a growing body of evidence directly linking military sonar exercises to the mass strandings and deaths of cetaceans, particularly beaked whales.

Given the adverse effects ocean noise can have on cetaceans and other marine animals and the vast number of noise sources in UK waters, IFAW is concerned that such noise is not designated as a form of pollution that is regulated in UK legislation. This lack of legislative recognition of such a potent source of marine pollution means that marine animals are currently not afforded the protection they deserve.

IFAW is therefore urging LAWS members and Conference delegates to write to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP and Marine Minister Jonathan Shaw MP (Defra, Customer Contact Unit, Eastbury House, 30 – 34 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TL) to urge that they ensure the forthcoming Marine Bill protects whales, dolphins and other marine animals from ocean noise by recognising it as a pollutant and introducing regulations to prevent or mitigate its harmful effects.
Andy Ottway, Campaign Whale

In May of this year two decapitated bodies were found on a beach on the Isle of Skye. They were common seals, one a pregnant female, the other a juvenile animal, both had been shot.

Marine Harvest, a Norwegian owned company, that operates a nearby salmon farm, admitted to the shootings which are perfectly legal under existing laws for the supposed ‘conservation’ of seals.

In 1988, Labour lifted a ban on the shooting of common seals despite the objections of conservation and animal welfare groups. Now, scientific evidence has shown a massive decline in their numbers off Scotland, involving the loss of thousands of animals. Worryingly, the cause of this decline is unknown, but the shooting of seals must certainly have played its part.

This year a coalition of seventeen UK- based animal protection and welfare groups, led by the Seal Preservation Action Group, are calling on UK retailers to insist that their suppliers of Scottish salmon do not shoot seals and other wildlife. We are also calling for the urgent revision or replacement of the Conservation of Seals Act (1970) in order to gain greater protection for the UK’s globally important populations of gray and common seals. Current legislation is little more than a licence to shoot seals, and an estimated 3-5,000 seals are shot each year by fishermen, fish farmers and salmon angling interests.

Last Conference, the coalition asked Party members to write to both the UK and Scottish Ministers responsible for Environment and Animal Welfare calling for a new Seal Protection Act to replace this outdated legislation. We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option.

The campaign to ban the import of seal products into Europe in protest over Canada’s abhorrent seal cull has attracted huge support, and rightly so. It would be tragically hypocritical of this Labour Government and the Scottish Executive if they did not take this opportunity to stop the routine slaughter of our own seal population.

If you would like to help our campaign please write to the relevant Ministers calling for the protection of our seals. They are:

Lord Rooker
Minister for Animal Welfare
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Richard Lochhead MSP
Environment and Rural Affairs
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

For further information please visit Seal Action.
The aim of the Bill is to create a framework to manage growing and competing demands for the use of marine resources in the seas around Scotland, balancing environmental and socio-economic considerations to maximise economic growth within sustainable environmental limits” the Bill will:

* Create a statutory marine planning framework with distinct national and regional structures;
* Facilitate streamlining of marine licensing and marine consents and therefore a reduction in regulatory burden;
* Contain provisions for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas and the introduction of Marine Conservation Orders as appropriate for the management of the Areas;
* Repeal the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 and introduce a license regime appropriate for the management of seals in Scottish waters;
* Provide for a range of common enforcement powers applicable to both the enforcement of licensing and conservation; and
* Contain provisions to allow the Scottish Ministers to make orders or regulations under the Act.

Rural Affairs and Environment Committee has issued a call for views, inviting individuals and interested parties to submit views on the Bill in writing. The Committee is interested to hear the views of all organisations, bodies and individuals on the proposals contained within the Bill and their likely impact. Comments do not have to cover all aspects of the Bill, only those proposals which are of interest or concern. The closing date for written submissions is Thursday 11 June 2009. Ideally submissions should not exceed four sides of A4. paper. The Committee expects to take oral evidence during May, June and September 2009.

We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option. It is important that members and organisations submit view which is opposed to the shooting of seals in Scotland .

For further information contact Andy Ottaway, The Seal Protection Action Group. Address: PO Box 2673, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5BZ, UK Tel: 01273 471403. The Seal Protection Action Group is a Scottish registered charity (SC017447) dedicated to protecting seals and their environment worldwide.

Seals Culled to Protect Salmon

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labelled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labelling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labelling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging himto bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.
Andrew Howard, IFAW

Today whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change. On top of these comes another increasing threat, as insidious and pervasive as it is invisible – ocean noise pollution.

In the dark marine environment sound is king. Sound travels nearly fives times faster in water than in air and at low frequencies can invade thousands of square kilometres in seconds.

Marine animals, particularly cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – rely on sound to navigate, communicate, detect mates and predators, maintain group cohesion and find food.

Ocean noise is a chronic form of pollution involving the disturbance of the marine environment through human activity. The main sources of ocean noise pollution are commercial shipping, military sonar, seismic surveys for oil and gas prospecting, off-shore construction (e.g. drilling, dredging and explosions) and recreational activities (e.g. boating).

The broad range of frequencies used by marine animals intersects with many of the sounds produced by these man-made sources. By interfering with and drowning out the crucial sound-based systems of marine animals, ocean noise pollution can adversely affect the ability of these animals to behave normally and survive.

On top of blocking cetacean communication channels, ocean noise pollution has been linked to behavioural changes in cetaceans, such as the abandonment of preferred habitat and of vital activities such as feeding.

In the most extreme cases, noises at certain frequencies can cause cetaceans to surface too quickly, strand and die. Since the 1960s there has been a growing body of evidence directly linking military sonar exercises to the mass strandings and deaths of cetaceans, particularly beaked whales.

Given the adverse effects ocean noise can have on cetaceans and other marine animals and the vast number of noise sources in UK waters, IFAW is concerned that such noise is not designated as a form of pollution that is regulated in UK legislation. This lack of legislative recognition of such a potent source of marine pollution means that marine animals are currently not afforded the protection they deserve.

IFAW is therefore urging LAWS members and Conference delegates to write to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP and Marine Minister Jonathan Shaw MP (Defra, Customer Contact Unit, Eastbury House, 30 – 34 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TL) to urge that they ensure the forthcoming Marine Bill protects whales, dolphins and other marine animals from ocean noise by recognising it as a pollutant and introducing regulations to prevent or mitigate its harmful effects.
Andy Ottway, Campaign Whale

In May of this year two decapitated bodies were found on a beach on the Isle of Skye. They were common seals, one a pregnant female, the other a juvenile animal, both had been shot.

Marine Harvest, a Norwegian owned company, that operates a nearby salmon farm, admitted to the shootings which are perfectly legal under existing laws for the supposed ‘conservation’ of seals.

In 1988, Labour lifted a ban on the shooting of common seals despite the objections of conservation and animal welfare groups. Now, scientific evidence has shown a massive decline in their numbers off Scotland, involving the loss of thousands of animals. Worryingly, the cause of this decline is unknown, but the shooting of seals must certainly have played its part.

This year a coalition of seventeen UK- based animal protection and welfare groups, led by the Seal Preservation Action Group, are calling on UK retailers to insist that their suppliers of Scottish salmon do not shoot seals and other wildlife. We are also calling for the urgent revision or replacement of the Conservation of Seals Act (1970) in order to gain greater protection for the UK’s globally important populations of gray and common seals. Current legislation is little more than a licence to shoot seals, and an estimated 3-5,000 seals are shot each year by fishermen, fish farmers and salmon angling interests.

Last Conference, the coalition asked Party members to write to both the UK and Scottish Ministers responsible for Environment and Animal Welfare calling for a new Seal Protection Act to replace this outdated legislation. We believe it is perfectly possible to protect farmed fish, without killing wildlife, including seals. Unfortunately, all too often a bullet is preferred as the cheaper option.

The campaign to ban the import of seal products into Europe in protest over Canada’s abhorrent seal cull has attracted huge support, and rightly so. It would be tragically hypocritical of this Labour Government and the Scottish Executive if they did not take this opportunity to stop the routine slaughter of our own seal population.

If you would like to help our campaign please write to the relevant Ministers calling for the protection of our seals. They are:

Lord Rooker
Minister for Animal Welfare
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Richard Lochhead MSP
Environment and Rural Affairs
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

For further information please visit Seal Action.

Ocean Noise, Invisible Pollution

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labelled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labelling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labelling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging himto bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.
Andrew Howard, IFAW

Today whales, dolphins and other marine animals face a variety of man-made threats including hunting, ship strikes, chemical pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and issues arising from climate change. On top of these comes another increasing threat, as insidious and pervasive as it is invisible – ocean noise pollution.

In the dark marine environment sound is king. Sound travels nearly fives times faster in water than in air and at low frequencies can invade thousands of square kilometres in seconds.

Marine animals, particularly cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – rely on sound to navigate, communicate, detect mates and predators, maintain group cohesion and find food.

Ocean noise is a chronic form of pollution involving the disturbance of the marine environment through human activity. The main sources of ocean noise pollution are commercial shipping, military sonar, seismic surveys for oil and gas prospecting, off-shore construction (e.g. drilling, dredging and explosions) and recreational activities (e.g. boating).

The broad range of frequencies used by marine animals intersects with many of the sounds produced by these man-made sources. By interfering with and drowning out the crucial sound-based systems of marine animals, ocean noise pollution can adversely affect the ability of these animals to behave normally and survive.

On top of blocking cetacean communication channels, ocean noise pollution has been linked to behavioural changes in cetaceans, such as the abandonment of preferred habitat and of vital activities such as feeding.

In the most extreme cases, noises at certain frequencies can cause cetaceans to surface too quickly, strand and die. Since the 1960s there has been a growing body of evidence directly linking military sonar exercises to the mass strandings and deaths of cetaceans, particularly beaked whales.

Given the adverse effects ocean noise can have on cetaceans and other marine animals and the vast number of noise sources in UK waters, IFAW is concerned that such noise is not designated as a form of pollution that is regulated in UK legislation. This lack of legislative recognition of such a potent source of marine pollution means that marine animals are currently not afforded the protection they deserve.

IFAW is therefore urging LAWS members and Conference delegates to write to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP and Marine Minister Jonathan Shaw MP (Defra, Customer Contact Unit, Eastbury House, 30 – 34 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TL) to urge that they ensure the forthcoming Marine Bill protects whales, dolphins and other marine animals from ocean noise by recognising it as a pollutant and introducing regulations to prevent or mitigate its harmful effects.

Real Fur Should Be Labelled

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.
Mark Glover, Respect for Animals

Although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur (Marks & Spencer, TopShop, John Lewis, Zara, Sainsburys, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and others) real fur is still sold in the UK. Often it is not labelled as such as there is no legal requirement for fur to be labelled as real. This means consumers can be mislead into buying real fur believing to be fake.

Focus group work shows that most people believe that the fur they see on sale in the High Street is fake when it may not be. Many shop staff also make that assumption.

Some fake fur is now of such high quality that it is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Labels on garments trimmed with fur may well only refer to the main body of a garment and not the fur trim on it. Often shop staff have no more to go on than garment labels. Price is no guide either: many people believe that real fur is unaffordable but it can be found on items costing the same as those trimmed with or containing fake fur.

The only way for consumers to be able to make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to fur is if there is a legal requirement to label fur as real.

Please write to your MP asking him to support forthcoming legislation on this issue and to sign Early Day Motion 927 that calls for real fur labelling. If you are buying clothing made of or trimmed with fake fur but are unable to determine if it is fake or real, please:

1. Give the animals the benefit of the doubt and don’t buy it complain to the retailer explaining that they have lost a sale because of poor labelling/customer service.
2. Write to Gareth Thomas MP, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET urging himto bring in legislation as soon as possible to protect your rights as a consumer.

A significant number of voters look at animal welfare policies when deciding how to vote.

The Labour Party has a good record of achievement in this area but it is important that it remains committed to animal welfare issues.

In July of this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of animal welfare policies including commitments to end all whaling, enforcement of the hunting act and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories.

In addition to this the Forum voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will form become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election.

Save the Whale

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.
Andy Ottaway, Campaign Whale

When Japan announced last year that they intended to expand their spurious Antarctic ‘scientific’ whale hunt to include 50 humpback and 50 fin whales, in addition to the 935 minke whales already targeted, it provoked a political storm. It would represent the single biggest whale slaughter since commercial whaling was banned some 22 years ago.

Recently the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has remained deadlocked over the development of a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), essentially a set of rules that will govern any future resumption of commercial whaling. Many governments believe that the RMS must be as robust as many other contemporary fisheries management regimes, with tough monitoring and enforcement provisions to ensure the strictest adherence to quotas, and with tough penalties for non-compliance.

The whalers, on the other hand, make no concessions to the anti-whaling lobby, content perhaps to continue to exploit the loopholes in the Whaling Convention, such as killing whales for ‘research’, that have allowed them to conduct virtually unrestricted ‘business as usual’ during the whaling ban. Clearly, they see little reason to agree to any RMS that would seriously restrict their activities, and profits.

Over the years, the deadlock over the RMS has provoked several attempts to broker some kind of compromise deal that would lift the whaling ban, justified by the argument that the IWC must regain control over whaling. As the whalers have never respected IWC decisions, including the existing moratorium on commercial whaling, there is no justification for a compromise that is more about saving the IWC, than the whales.

The Japanese have made it perfectly clear that their decision to hold fire on the humpbacks depends on ‘satisfactory’ progress being made in these talks.

Having failed to agree a RMS, essential to any agreement on a resumption of commercial whaling, the Commission has found itself in crisis. The whaling nations: Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing escalating numbers of whales each year by exploiting legal loopholes in the Convention, despite the ongoing moratorium on commercial hunting.

In what appears to be a desperate attempt to regain some credibility the IWC invited a team of expert international negotiators to try and establish a process through which the Commission might resolve its seemingly intractable problems. With little progress made in London much, not least the fate of 50 humpback whales, was resting on the outcome of the IWC’s 60th annual meeting held in Santiago in June.

As it turned out, this meeting was carefully orchestrated by the US Chair of the Commission to try and avoid any controversy and so smooth the path to a peace deal. Indeed, the meeting passed off as one of the quietest in years and, apart from refusing to sanction a completely unjustified quota of 10 humpbacks each year for Greenlandic hunters, much to Denmark’s anger, no contentious votes were taken, or resolutions passed.

What is becoming clear is that many countries want to see an end to Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling because it is this loophole that would prevent any future management plan from working, simply because countries could ‘top up’ smaller quotas with whales killed for so-called ‘research’. A potential deal is emerging which would not even achieve that. It is based on the idea of giving Japan a coastal whaling quota in return for some agreed limit placed on so-called ‘scientific’ whaling catches. Another proposed trade-off would make the entire southern hemisphere a whale sanctuary.

However, this would expose some of the most threatened whale populations in the northern hemisphere to renewed whaling. It would not address the inherent cruelty of whaling either, and perhaps worst of all it would effectively reward the whaling nations for defying the Commission for all these years.

What is deeply worrying about all this is the amount of political support there seems to be for a compromise deal on whaling in the first place. With the delegates in Chile identifying no less than 33 issues that they consider an integral part of any final agreement, ranging from animal welfare issues to whale-watching, it seems that both sides of the whaling dispute are as far apart as ever.
In Santiago, a coalition of campaign groups called on the IWC to refocus its efforts away from the mass slaughter of whales to a future devoted to the protection of all whales and their environment.

It is vital that governments work together if we are to stem the tide of extinction. Sadly, while IWC Members argue over the rights and wrongs of killing these magnificent animals, hundreds of thousands of the world’s smallest whales, dolphins and porpoises are being ruthlessly hunted, or trapped in fishing nets, with many populations, even entire species, being driven to extinction. These so-called ‘small’ cetaceans receive no protection at all. Tragically last year the first whale species, the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin, was declared functionally extinct. The vaquita, a tiny porpoise only found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered, but is still dying in fishermen’s nets and may soon follow the baiji into oblivion. Yet IWC Member States have become so embittered and divided over whaling that they cannot even agree to work together to save some of the most endangered species of whales from extinction.

Shockingly, the Japanese Government is so desperate to expand the whale meat market throughout the country, that even though the meat from the dolphin and porpoise hunts is heavily contaminated with toxic pollutants, it is being promoted to be regularly included in school lunches.

A further 16,875 Dall’s porpoises have been targeted by Japanese fishermen for slaughter this year.

Our Government must do more to help persuade Japan to stop this appalling slaughter, and potential public health disaster, before it is too late.

Let’s save the whales and not whaling!

For further information and campaign donations please visit Campaign Whale.

Vote Labour or the Fox Gets It

http://www.labouranimalwelfaresociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/laws-header-banner21.png
Impact September 2008 Editorial

The Tory leader David Cameron is committed to have a vote in Parliament to bring back “Hunting with Dogs”. It is therefore important that we publicise this as widely as possible.

We are launching a petition to bring to the attention of the British Public the Tory stance on bringing back “Hunting with Dogs”.

I have enclosed a petition form with this copy of Impact and I urge you to help us collect as many signatures as possible. If you require more forms then please get in touch.

An Ipsos MORI poll, released earlier this year by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, showed that 73% do not want fox hunting to be made legal again. Eight in ten, 81%, were opposed to bringing back deer hunting, and 82% were opposed to changing the law to allow hare hunting or coursing.

It is good news that the European Commission has at last introduced a draft proposal to ban the import of and trade in seal products throughout the European Union. The seal campaign has been a priority for both LAWS and Respect for Animals and so this was welcome news. We must ensure that the ban will become watertight.

In July this year, the Labour Party National Policy Forum made commitments to a range of new animal welfare policies. This included a commitment to end all whaling; enforcement of the hunting act; and continuing the search for alternatives to the use of animals in laboratories. In addition to this, the NPF voted to label all real fur garments. If these policies are endorsed by the Labour Party at national conference in September they will become part of the party’s manifesto for the next election. It is important that your Constituency Delegate to Labour Party Conference supports these proposals.

Wally Burley, Editor & Chair
Labour Animal Welfare Society

PS The headline comes from a leaflet used by the Labour Party in 1999 Eddisbury By-election.

Get involved and let’s do all we can to stop the Tories getting power.

Having been a Member of the National Assembly for Wales since 1999 and Chair of the Assembly All Party Animal Welfare Group since it’s inception in 2000, I have taken a lead on issues of animal welfare in the Assembly. This year, I am working on two particular issues – “puppy farms” and “badgers”.

Turning firstly to puppy farms, at the outset I would like to say that there are obviously reputable licensed dog breeders across Wales who take their responsibilities seriously and care for their dogs. It is important that we make the distinction between responsible breeders and those who seek only financial gain. Good breeders will take into consideration breed-specific health problems, genetic screening, the dog’s age as well as temperament before breeding. In contrast, dogs bred in these “puppy farms” are bred purely for profit, with little regard to animal welfare.

A puppy farmer is an intensive volume breeder who has little regard for the basic needs and care of the dogs concerned, and who seeks to make a profit from the sale of puppies. The topic of puppy farms has been in the news for many years and the programme Rogue Traders, showed dogs locked in cramped cages, with no bedding and were constantly crying and whimpering.

The RSPCA last year went undercover to a puppy farm to investigate conditions there. They purchased six puppies, two of which they later found out had potentially life threatening illnesses. One of these, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross was diagnosed with pneumonia and, despite constant care, died. There have also been cases documented in which families have bought dogs from puppy farms only to find out that they carried diseases which were passed on to other family pets, who in some cases also died.

The purpose of these farms is to make money and as such, many breeders will cut as many costs as possible. Despite it being illegal for a bitch to give birth to more than six litters in a lifetime and only once a year, puppy farmers will keep a number of female dogs who are used solely for breeding and their lives are a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. Puppies are taken from them far too early and the mother dogs will be made pregnant again almost immediately. This puts a vast physical strain on them and when they are worn out and no longer able to breed they are usually killed.

When puppies are sold, they are often sent by van to ‘dealers’ in towns and cities, many are severely traumatised by the journeys and some do not make it alive. The dealers then place adverts in newspapers and magazines, often masquerading as breeders. Some breeders will sell their puppies from the back of a van or at a motorway service station. The public is unaware that this is how some puppy farmers operate and will not ask to see the puppy with its mother or the relevant certificates.

Many puppies from puppy farms are put on sale in pet shops and we should do all we can to urge people to stay away from pet shops when buying a puppy, as it is likely to have originated from a puppy farm. Good breeders would never sell their puppies via a pet shop.

If all breeders were to adhere to the law, disreputable puppy farms would not exist and dogs would be properly cared for. However, as we have seen, dogs continue to be mistreated at the hands of so-called breeders looking to make a quick buck. If some puppy farm owners are happy to ignore the current reasonable regulations, it is unlikely that new legislation would suffice in closing them down as illegal breeders are obviously adept at passing under the radar of detection.

There are therefore two ways in which we can improve the situation. The first is to find the puppy farms, examine the conditions the dogs are held in and close them down if necessary; the other is to ensure that the public is informed of the methods of puppy farms so that the demand is cut off at source. The simple message to those buying a puppy is to demand to see the puppy with its mother in its home environment and never to buy a puppy from the back of a van in the service stations.

By taking these practical steps and encouraging people to find out exactly where their dog comes from, it would become difficult for disreputable puppy farms to make a profit and they would be forced out of business. I believe this is the most effective means of preventing the cruelty to puppies and rewarding good breeders who take their responsibility seriously. We need to act now to bring an end this unnecessary suffering.

The second issue is the decision made by Elin Jones, the Plaid Cymru Minister for Rural Affairs in the Labour-Plaid coalition, to go ahead with a badger cull in Wales. Over the next four years, if she has her way, countless badgers will be killed in the name of eradicating bovine TB. This decision has been reached despite the lack of any convincing evidence that a badger cull will have any meaningful effect on the number of cattle who contract bovine TB.

Badgers are a protected species in Wales and this cull will decimate badger numbers across the country. Wales stands alone on this and, as the Minister admitted when announcing her decision to the chamber, there is no consensus amongst experts as to the effectiveness of a cull, but she’s planning to go ahead with it anyway.

The badger cull which was carried out in Ireland between 1997 and 2002 proved ineffective and cost the lives of thousands of healthy badgers and injured thousands more. It is apparent that the Minister has ignored the disastrous cull on the other side of the Irish Sea and instead is following advice based on mixed opinions. This simply cannot be justified and I just find the whole situation very distressing.

Countless animals will be killed and injured as a result of the two issues outlined above. I will continue to try and stop this cull, working within the law, alongside the Badger Trust, the RSPCA and a group of back-bench Assembly Members.
TB consultation starts in Wales

A THREE-month consultation on the proposed Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 under the Animal Health Act 1It says TB in cattle is an infectious and debilitating disease which has increased dramatically since 1999 and last year more than 12,000 cattle in Wales were slaughtered because of the disease.

It also forecasts that by 2014 taxpayers could be paying more than £80 million to farmers in compensation if the disease continues to escalate at the current rate. The Welsh Assembly Government says it has set up a comprehensive programme to eradicate bovine TB and that since the programme was established new initiatives had been introduced, including more stringent measures aimed at tackling the spread of the disease by cattle. Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, had announced last month that, in her view and on the basis of evidence available, a cull of badgers in an Intensive Action Pilot Area was necessary to begin to address the reservoir of TB that exists in wildlife. It would take place in one area, alongside additional measures to tackle the disease in cattle She had also announced that the Welsh Assembly Government would assume responsibility for managing a badger cull. Although it would be possible to licence farmers or other individuals to undertake this work under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, the Assembly Government wanted to co-ordinate it, and so deliver a cull.

But in order to allow WAG to manage a cull it needed the powers to do so – and why secondary legislation under the Animal Health Act 1981 is needed.

The 12-week public consultation on the draft order runs from April 24 to July17. Copies of are available from the Welsh Assembly Government TB team or from the Assembly Government’s website.

Members are urged to take part in the consultation to oppose the Badger Cull.
The Red Fox is a native of Britain and is basically a small wild dog. It is at the top of its food chain and its population has never been subject to control by the predation of other species. The fox population is controlled by availability of food in a defended territory. The territory can be occupied by a fox family or a pair. A family usually consists of one dog fox and 1-3 vixens of which only the dominant vixen will produce a litter. Foxes generally mate in January and produce their cubs in March. An average litter is 4-5 cubs. During the summer the family will stay together living mainly above ground, but in the autumn and through the winter the young males will leave to find their own territories and mates. The young vixens may stay on to assist with the care of the following year’s litter produced by the dominant vixen. This is a natural method of population suppression.

Foxes are highly adaptable and live on a diet of earthworms, beetles, rodents, rabbits and carrion. Foxes do not deserve their reputation as pests of agriculture. Losses of lambs, piglets and poultry to foxes are insignificant compared to poor husbandry. Local problems with fox predation on livestock can be prevented by electric fencing and secure housing. Foxes do no damage to crops and are very beneficial to farmers by consuming rabbits, voles and other pests of agricultural crops.

Foxes have a potential lifespan comparable to a small dog – up to 14 years in captivity. However in the wild only a minority of foxes survive their first year, and most (about 95 per cent) die before their first birthday. This heavy death rate is generally due to man.

Urban foxes pose no significant threat to the health of humans or domestic animals. Reports of foxes killing cats are rare and generally unsubstantiated. Other pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be protected by secure housing – foxes do not carry keys.

In general, most urban fox ‘problems’ are more imaginary than real. Most real problems are isolated cases and are more likely to cure themselves (often when a litter of cubs grows up and moves away) than they are to be cured by outside interference.
“If a Conservative Government gets elected not only will they bring back “Hunting with Dogs” but also there will be a mass slaughter of badgers”

“We now face a General Election and a Tory commitment to repeal the hunting ban “early” in the next parliament. We must therefore keep up the fight for a decent society. It was this Labour Government that made the moral choice to protect animals in this country. A Tory Government will not, It’s our choice and every vote will matter.

We shall have to work hard but we can succeed. Extra efforts in those seats that matter can make a difference and we urge you to work in the seats that we must win.

If you wish further information then contact the Labour Party Regional Offices in England and the Scottish and Welsh Offices who will be able to direct you to the seats that matter or contact us.

Eastern Region 01279 625860

Greater London 0845 850 0588

North 0191 246 5276

North West 01925 574913

Scotland 0141 572 6900

South East 0118 923 9400

South West 0117 972 9440

Wales 02920 877700

West Midlands 0121 569 1900

Yorkshire and the Humber 01924 291221

Labour Animal Welfare Society 01922 724189 or 07833664032.

www.labour.org.uk/back the ban

ANIMAL WELFARE AND THE LABOUR PARTY

MORI polling in 2005 showed that 14% of respondents said that animal welfare was an issue that

would be ‘very important’ in helping to decide which party they would vote for – up 3% from 2001.

The Labour Party was clearly identified as the party with the best policies on animal welfare (24% thought so compared to 9% for the Tories and 8% for the LibDems).

Animal welfare is an area where the Party is clearly ahead of the other main parties.

Hunting with hounds could be one of the defining issues in the forthcoming election. Labour banned it but, incredibly, the Tories seem determined to bring it back and hunts have been active all the while in the hope of a Tory return.

The pro-hunt Vote-OK website claims that during the last election its supporters helped to deliver 3.4 million leaflets, address 2.1 million envelopes and erect 55,000 posters – all aimed at undermining Labour candidates. This year we can expect the same and more.

Nick Herbert, the Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was one of the leading lights behind the formation of the Countryside Alliance.

A quick look at the Conservative Party website with a search for ‘animal welfare’ is revealing. The first two results refer to the European parliament. The fourth is an article by Herbert arguing there is a ‘compelling case to get the hunting ban off the statute book’.

While in office, Labour has a good track record:

* Banned fox hunting, hare coursing, hare hunting and stag hunting.
* Banned fur farming and worked in Europe to ban imports of cat and dog fur into the EU.
* Banned driftnet fishing which helps protect dolphins,turtles, sea birds and other animals.
* Banned testing cosmetics, toiletries, alcohol and tobacco on animals.
* Since 1997 we have refused to license any testing on great apes (such as chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas).
* Established the National Centre for the Replacement,
* Reduction and Refinement of Animals in Research which
* provides research into alternatives to animal testing.
* Secured better welfare standards at a European level for battery hens and meat chickens
* Tightened up rules on the transport of live animals across Europe.
* Secured an EU-wide ban on the trade in Seal, Walrus, and Sea Lion skins.
* Increased prison sentences for wildlife crime.
* Halted the decline in farmland birds, while increasing rare and woodland bird populations.
* Introduced a new duty of care on those who keep animals to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible are met; while creating a new criminal offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal.
* Introduced pet passports allowing you to take your pet abroad in the EU without the need for quarantine.

David Cameron has been wooing the animal welfare organisations, even appearing at a seminar attended by many of them. But his credibility is zero due to the hunting issue.

The current set of Early Day Motions provides further evidence for the commitment of the parties to animal welfare. 219 MPs have signed one in support of fur labelling – hardly radical. Of those only 12 are conservative and, of those, at least two known animal welfare stalwarts will not be standing again.

Defra’s new policy for food (Food 2030) missed an ideal opportunity to contribute to both climate change targets and animal welfare. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the livestock industry, globally, generates 18% of all human-caused greenhouse gases (GHG) – more than the entire transport sector. Even this may be a serious underestimate, ignoring, as it does, the respiration of the animals themselves, the full effect of de-forestation to provide grassland and the real impact of animals burping (methane). An analysis from Worldwatch shows that livestock and meat-eating may be responsible for as much as 51% of GHGs.

Prior to last year’s Copenhagen climate change conference, European Parliament Sir Paul McCartney and Parliament President Jerzy Buzek MEP launched a “meat free Monday” initiative. Buzek urged everyone “to act globally to face global challenges, but not to ignore what we do at home,” when opening the “Less meat=less heat” hearing on 3 December. The idea of one meat-free day a week was highlighted as a way for an individual to make a difference to global warming. “It is very doable,” said Sir Paul and so it is. Eating less meat has an immediate impact. Unlike energy conservation schemes and investment in clean energy which involve long lead times and rely on others, people can play a part straight away.

In the Manifesto the Animal Welfare section reads:

“ We Have banned foxhunting and animal testing for cosmetics and tobacco, and will bring forward further animal welfare measures. We will campaign internationally to end illegal trading in ivory and to protect species such as polar bears, seals and bluefin tuna, as well as for a EU wide ban on illegally logged timber, banning it domestically if this does not succeed.”

A future Labour government should bring forward further animal welfare measures and pledge to:

· Clearly label real fur products – consumers are buying real fur items without even realising it.

· Bring in an effective strategy to enforce the ban on hunting with hounds – the current ban is being treated with contempt by many. Breaching the Act should be a notifiable offence.

· Bring in a ban on wild animals in circuses – This they have promised to do.

· End the factory farming of game birds for shooting – more than 45 million pheasants and partridges are mass produced each year in the UK in hatcheries and rearing sheds. The young birds are fattened and released as moving targets for shooters.

· Ban the use of snares

· Bring in a strategy to encourage less meat consumption.

· Extend the ban on testing cosmetic products on animals to household products and increase the investment in finding alternatives to animal testing – its time for more relevant, effective science.

· Review dog breeding, ban the use of electric shock collars and bring the Dangerous Dogs Act up to date.

· Work with relevant agencies to provide ‘safe houses’ for pets – many women, in particular, remain in dangerous, abusive situations facing domestic violence as they will not leave the family pet behind. Providing temporary, secure homes for the animals would help victims to escape.

· Bring an end to ‘pet fairs’. Exotic animals are not good pets and the trade in wildlife is a threat to some species. Pet fairs are opposed by the British veterinary association due to their poor welfare.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. The same thought can be applied to political parties.

No election will ever be won just on animal welfare policy – but by extending social justice to animals, the Labour Party would distinguish itself from others and would secure the vote of those who associate it with kindness to animals. It would also be doing something because – quite simply – it is the right thing to do, not such a bad thing.

Wally Burley Chair Labour Animal Welfare Society and Mark Glover, Labour Animal Welfare Society Executive Member and Member of NPF, East Midlands.

Fox Facts

Having been a Member of the National Assembly for Wales since 1999 and Chair of the Assembly All Party Animal Welfare Group since it’s inception in 2000, I have taken a lead on issues of animal welfare in the Assembly. This year, I am working on two particular issues – “puppy farms” and “badgers”.

Turning firstly to puppy farms, at the outset I would like to say that there are obviously reputable licensed dog breeders across Wales who take their responsibilities seriously and care for their dogs. It is important that we make the distinction between responsible breeders and those who seek only financial gain. Good breeders will take into consideration breed-specific health problems, genetic screening, the dog’s age as well as temperament before breeding. In contrast, dogs bred in these “puppy farms” are bred purely for profit, with little regard to animal welfare.

A puppy farmer is an intensive volume breeder who has little regard for the basic needs and care of the dogs concerned, and who seeks to make a profit from the sale of puppies. The topic of puppy farms has been in the news for many years and the programme Rogue Traders, showed dogs locked in cramped cages, with no bedding and were constantly crying and whimpering.

The RSPCA last year went undercover to a puppy farm to investigate conditions there. They purchased six puppies, two of which they later found out had potentially life threatening illnesses. One of these, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross was diagnosed with pneumonia and, despite constant care, died. There have also been cases documented in which families have bought dogs from puppy farms only to find out that they carried diseases which were passed on to other family pets, who in some cases also died.

The purpose of these farms is to make money and as such, many breeders will cut as many costs as possible. Despite it being illegal for a bitch to give birth to more than six litters in a lifetime and only once a year, puppy farmers will keep a number of female dogs who are used solely for breeding and their lives are a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. Puppies are taken from them far too early and the mother dogs will be made pregnant again almost immediately. This puts a vast physical strain on them and when they are worn out and no longer able to breed they are usually killed.

When puppies are sold, they are often sent by van to ‘dealers’ in towns and cities, many are severely traumatised by the journeys and some do not make it alive. The dealers then place adverts in newspapers and magazines, often masquerading as breeders. Some breeders will sell their puppies from the back of a van or at a motorway service station. The public is unaware that this is how some puppy farmers operate and will not ask to see the puppy with its mother or the relevant certificates.

Many puppies from puppy farms are put on sale in pet shops and we should do all we can to urge people to stay away from pet shops when buying a puppy, as it is likely to have originated from a puppy farm. Good breeders would never sell their puppies via a pet shop.

If all breeders were to adhere to the law, disreputable puppy farms would not exist and dogs would be properly cared for. However, as we have seen, dogs continue to be mistreated at the hands of so-called breeders looking to make a quick buck. If some puppy farm owners are happy to ignore the current reasonable regulations, it is unlikely that new legislation would suffice in closing them down as illegal breeders are obviously adept at passing under the radar of detection.

There are therefore two ways in which we can improve the situation. The first is to find the puppy farms, examine the conditions the dogs are held in and close them down if necessary; the other is to ensure that the public is informed of the methods of puppy farms so that the demand is cut off at source. The simple message to those buying a puppy is to demand to see the puppy with its mother in its home environment and never to buy a puppy from the back of a van in the service stations.

By taking these practical steps and encouraging people to find out exactly where their dog comes from, it would become difficult for disreputable puppy farms to make a profit and they would be forced out of business. I believe this is the most effective means of preventing the cruelty to puppies and rewarding good breeders who take their responsibility seriously. We need to act now to bring an end this unnecessary suffering.

The second issue is the decision made by Elin Jones, the Plaid Cymru Minister for Rural Affairs in the Labour-Plaid coalition, to go ahead with a badger cull in Wales. Over the next four years, if she has her way, countless badgers will be killed in the name of eradicating bovine TB. This decision has been reached despite the lack of any convincing evidence that a badger cull will have any meaningful effect on the number of cattle who contract bovine TB.

Badgers are a protected species in Wales and this cull will decimate badger numbers across the country. Wales stands alone on this and, as the Minister admitted when announcing her decision to the chamber, there is no consensus amongst experts as to the effectiveness of a cull, but she’s planning to go ahead with it anyway.

The badger cull which was carried out in Ireland between 1997 and 2002 proved ineffective and cost the lives of thousands of healthy badgers and injured thousands more. It is apparent that the Minister has ignored the disastrous cull on the other side of the Irish Sea and instead is following advice based on mixed opinions. This simply cannot be justified and I just find the whole situation very distressing.

Countless animals will be killed and injured as a result of the two issues outlined above. I will continue to try and stop this cull, working within the law, alongside the Badger Trust, the RSPCA and a group of back-bench Assembly Members.
TB consultation starts in Wales

A THREE-month consultation on the proposed Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 under the Animal Health Act 1It says TB in cattle is an infectious and debilitating disease which has increased dramatically since 1999 and last year more than 12,000 cattle in Wales were slaughtered because of the disease.

It also forecasts that by 2014 taxpayers could be paying more than £80 million to farmers in compensation if the disease continues to escalate at the current rate. The Welsh Assembly Government says it has set up a comprehensive programme to eradicate bovine TB and that since the programme was established new initiatives had been introduced, including more stringent measures aimed at tackling the spread of the disease by cattle. Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, had announced last month that, in her view and on the basis of evidence available, a cull of badgers in an Intensive Action Pilot Area was necessary to begin to address the reservoir of TB that exists in wildlife. It would take place in one area, alongside additional measures to tackle the disease in cattle She had also announced that the Welsh Assembly Government would assume responsibility for managing a badger cull. Although it would be possible to licence farmers or other individuals to undertake this work under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, the Assembly Government wanted to co-ordinate it, and so deliver a cull.

But in order to allow WAG to manage a cull it needed the powers to do so – and why secondary legislation under the Animal Health Act 1981 is needed.

The 12-week public consultation on the draft order runs from April 24 to July17. Copies of are available from the Welsh Assembly Government TB team or from the Assembly Government’s website.

Members are urged to take part in the consultation to oppose the Badger Cull.
The Red Fox is a native of Britain and is basically a small wild dog. It is at the top of its food chain and its population has never been subject to control by the predation of other species. The fox population is controlled by availability of food in a defended territory. The territory can be occupied by a fox family or a pair. A family usually consists of one dog fox and 1-3 vixens of which only the dominant vixen will produce a litter. Foxes generally mate in January and produce their cubs in March. An average litter is 4-5 cubs. During the summer the family will stay together living mainly above ground, but in the autumn and through the winter the young males will leave to find their own territories and mates. The young vixens may stay on to assist with the care of the following year’s litter produced by the dominant vixen. This is a natural method of population suppression.

Foxes are highly adaptable and live on a diet of earthworms, beetles, rodents, rabbits and carrion. Foxes do not deserve their reputation as pests of agriculture. Losses of lambs, piglets and poultry to foxes are insignificant compared to poor husbandry. Local problems with fox predation on livestock can be prevented by electric fencing and secure housing. Foxes do no damage to crops and are very beneficial to farmers by consuming rabbits, voles and other pests of agricultural crops.

Foxes have a potential lifespan comparable to a small dog – up to 14 years in captivity. However in the wild only a minority of foxes survive their first year, and most (about 95 per cent) die before their first birthday. This heavy death rate is generally due to man.

Urban foxes pose no significant threat to the health of humans or domestic animals. Reports of foxes killing cats are rare and generally unsubstantiated. Other pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be protected by secure housing – foxes do not carry keys.

In general, most urban fox ‘problems’ are more imaginary than real. Most real problems are isolated cases and are more likely to cure themselves (often when a litter of cubs grows up and moves away) than they are to be cured by outside interference.

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