‘Scandalous’: EU ‘turns a blind eye to illegal death trucks in Turkey

 

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A COW licks at the metal bars of the lorry, desperate for any precious drops of water; behind her, another sits helpless with painful skin sores, too sick and helpless to even stand. Some animals are foaming at the mouth from dehydration and hunger. A heifer shakes from heat exhaustion.

They are among the hundreds of thousands of animals exported each year from Europe and abandoned for days on end in sordid, illegal conditions just inside Turkey.

While the world’s attention is on migrants using Turkey to get into Europe, a five-year investigation has revealed how bureaucracy and neglect at the country’s border leave large numbers of live sheep, cattle and goats suffering in overcrowded lorries parked in soaring heatwave temperatures for a week or more.

European Union chiefs are being accused of turning a blind eye – and British campaigners on both sides of the EU debate claimed the crisis proved their case. Read more

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Brexit is chance to ban agony of live exports, say protesters in #Animalsarenotfreight drive

Live exports 1

TWENTY years ago this week, nearly 70,000 sheep perished when a ship carrying them caught fire in the Indian Ocean, in the world’s worst live exports disaster.

Since then, little has changed for the millions of animals worldwide sent on grim journeys overseas – prompting thousands of people in at least 70 countries to lobby their governments, demanding a ban on the trade.

In the first ever global drive against long-distance live transport, campaigners from Canada to Kazakhstan, Israel to Argentina and Sierra Leone to Australia, called on their governments to halt animal exports and instead ship out carcasses.

In London, hundreds of people marched on Westminster to tell MPs the vote for Brexit means the UK can and must introduce a ban… Read more

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Battle as Yorkshire chicken farm accused of ‘illegal cruelty’ aims to expand

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A typical densely stocked chicken shed

FARMERS running two poultry businesses where evidence was found of widespread suffering and risks to human health are bidding to open a third – giant – chicken farm, prompting angry objections.

Undercover investigators at one unit found birds showing signs of serious welfare problems.

At both businesses, the investigators also saw dead chickens piled up, exposed to the open air, which they said was illegal and posed a hazard to human and wildlife health. Birds were also seen collapsing under their own body weight.

But the bosses of the firm now want to build a third centre, which would rear more than a million-and-a-half birds each year. More…

 

 

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The one word doing the greatest harm of all to animal welfare

Woman with leather jacket and bag

Leather jackets and bags aren’t necessary but nobody’s perfect

I HAVE a friend who recently gave up all animal products, including consuming dairy and eggs and wearing leather, after watching the Cowspiracy film and reading about how these products support the entrenched cruelty of modern factory farming.

She had long before that been vegetarian, but had shied away from making the leap to being vegan because she had an enormous fondness of and nostalgia about a much-loved “cool” leather jacket and a favourite pair of well broken-in leather shoes. Given that my friend wasn’t going to ditch these possessions, surely, she reasoned, adopting a vegan diet would make her a huge hypocrite.

Well, possibly. But in reality, her logic meant one thing: she was still helping prop up an industry that crushes unwanted baby chicks to death (or sometimes gasses them instead), and that uses cows as baby-making machines; deprives them of exercise (and often daylight) and causes their udders to swell abnormally, often leading to painful lameness and mastitis. It also puts them through a mother’s greatest possible anguish – having their babies stolen from them when they just want to nurture them.

Elevated principles

So my friend’s money had not only gone towards cow slaughter several years ago when she bought her leather goods, but she was also helping to support cruelty towards a new generation of animals.

Many sensible people might, for good reason, want to consider cutting down or cutting out meat or fish or dairy or eggs or leather or wool from their lifestyles but feel they cannot because they aren’t eliminating all animal products, and to reduce consumption of just one would make them a hypocrite because they still use another.

So they do nothing. Meanwhile, the cruelty industries thrive on the back of their custom.

The world is full of people carrying around elevated, consistent moral principles, but who are, like it or not, are delivering a message to factory farming – that its products are acceptable, that this is what consumers want.

The words “hypocrite” and “hypocritical” and the fear of being labelled as such have done immense, immeasurable damage to efforts to reduce animal suffering in the Western world.

A world where doing something isn’t always appreciated as better than doing nothing – although it should be. As I’ve written before, hypocrisy is considered the great evil of our time, but really, where are the victims?

As it happens, I’m vegan so consume no animal produce. However, to those of you who are not vegan but would like to cut down on animal consumption and yet dare not because of that leather shoes you can’t live without or because of that occasional cheese sandwich you can’t resist, remember this: if you’re trying to do the right thing and taking a step in the right direction, nobody in the animal-welfare world will say: “Your jacket is leather – you must keep eating meat”.

Nobody who understands will criticise you for reducing how much cruelty you subsidise; nobody in their right mind will label you a hypocrite.

The only conscience you have to answer to is your own. If the price of your private consistency is paid in pain and suffering by innocent, sentient beings, perhaps it’s time to then think about what your conscience really tells you.

And by the way, if you do like the leather look, animal-free lookalikes are available.

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Luna Lovegood gets mad: Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch acts against live export trade

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Evanna Lynch stands up for farm animals

WHAT would Luna Lovegood make of it? Her Hogwarts classmates would most certainly have raised an eyebrow, being more familiar with dragons, hippogriffs and unicorns than farm animals.

But Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch took a stand for tens of thousands of Europe’s calves, as she launched a campaign against their export to “shocking and brutal” fates.

Miss Lynch – famous for playing the blonde Ravenclaw pupil with “a permanently surprised look” in the wizard-school films – was acting on behalf of the real-life animals sent beyond EU borders and subjected to “horrendously cruel” handling and slaughter.

Together with her Order of the Phoenix co-star Robbie Jarvis and animal-welfare protesters, she took the fight against the trade to the European Commission in London. Read more

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The day the world united in defence of superior species (and humanity)

Elephant protester

Nearly 100 people were in costume, representing the number of African elephants slaughtered each day

EVERY now and then, the world has a unifying moment. A moment of a mass, shared sense of joy and inspiration, of determination and hope. The fall of the Berlin Wall was one; the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was one. This, a weekend in 2015, might just have been another.

In cities around the globe, tens of thousands of people took to the streets with one shared aim – to save two of the planet’s largest and most awe-inspiring species from extinction.

Many had travelled long distances to be there, had booked hotel rooms and cancelled social events for a march that they said it was a privilege to attend.

In London, an estimated 1,000 people walked to Downing Street to demonstrate to the Government the depth of their anguish at the annihilation of elephants and rhinos.

It was just one of more than 130 such events staged around the world, prompted by sheer outrage at the crisis in Africa, and counting that mass public opinion should force nations’ leaders to act, putting pressure on China to speed up a promised ban on the ivory trade.

Many people in the Far East are unaware that the trinkets they buy are directly causing elephants to be wiped out; the Chinese word for “tusk” also translates as “tooth” and they misguidedly believe tusks grow back. Read more

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Annual dolphin hunt at Taiji: open letter to the prime minister of Japan

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Dolphins belong in the oceans. Image: Gavin Harrison

THOUSANDS of people worldwide joined mass protests outside Japanese embassies at the beginning of September to object to the start of the “killing season” for dolphins off the country’s coast. As they did so, one of the world’s leading activists against the annual dolphin “drives”, Ric O’Barry, was arrested, causing uproar among supporters.

It was the latest symptom of repeated clashes between Japanese authorities and demonstrators trying to disrupt the hunting at Taiji cove, now infamous for its annual killings.

Each year, up to 2,000 dolphins and pilot whales are rounded up and killed or captured between September 1 and the end of March.

Most are stabbed with a metal spike hammered into their backs, just below the blowhole, to sever their spinal cord; they take minutes of agony to die, before being cut up. Others, those deemed “pretty” – youngsters without wounds – are sold to marine parks around the world to spend the rest of their lives in captivity.

As the seas turn red with blood, other dolphins, trapped by hunters in the shallow water of the cove, witness their family members – with whom they have strong and complex bonds – being slaughtered.

Dolphin killing

Dolphin killing

The sights and sounds of pods of these intelligent, innocent, awesome creatures panicking and in extreme distress is enough to signal to us how wrong the hunt is.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its Cove Guardian volunteers say that in some areas of Japan, dolphins have been hunted to extinction, and this hunt threatens the very existence of migratory dolphin and whale populations.

I have looked at the scientific evidence surrounding the hunt, and at the arguments used by those in favour – including the charge of hypocrisy by the West – and I used my conclusions to write to the Japanese prime minster.

Please copy and also send or use it as a template. Read on and see the letter…

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Badger cull useless against TB in cattle, new study shows

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Badgers can feel love and pain too. Image: piX dust / Flickr

TUBERCULOSIS in cattle could be eliminated within 20 to 25 years in Britain if England adopted the tactics used in Scotland and Wales – which don’t involve badger culling, new research shows.

Reducing badger numbers in Somerset, Gloucestershire and now Dorset is “making very little difference” to the spread of the disease, whereas methods used by the Scottish and Welsh authorities are successfully reducing it, scientists found.

The key to eradicating bovine tuberculosis is more frequent testing of cattle, according to the experts from Queen Mary University of London.

The researchers, who compared approaches used in England with those north and west of the borders, found that infections were falling and more herds were free of TB in Scotland and Wales than in England. This could mean those countries were likely to eradicate the disease, the scientists concluded.

But the same was not true in areas where the Westminster Government is relying on culling badgers to try to minimise infection. Read more…

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Why I will always weep for my precious boy

Malevich, King of our household

Malevich, King of our household

MALEVICH chose us as much as we chose him. There was a knowing, pleading look to his innocent eyes as he gazed up at us on our first meeting. He seemed to sense that we would make decent new parents.

If you’ve ever been to a rescue centre, you’ll know how sad it is that you can’t take them all home, and give them all a new life. My husband and I had walked up and down the pens at 20743663671_19c40e0762_k (1)Cats Protection, peering in, reading the name tags and notes, our hearts twisting at the thought of picking one because it meant effectively rejecting the others. Many were asleep. Some were docile, others were young and lively but had to be homed with a sibling. And then, in the very last pen, was a sole black beauty.

Alert and desperate to be let out, but without the mischievousness of a kitten, Marley struck the perfect balance between curiosity, tolerating humans and a cat’s natural superior indifference to people.

Some rescue animals would have used the opportunity of freedom from the pen to shoot off, but Malevich (his given name was Marley, but I wanted a unique formal name for him; though we still used Marley for short) was mature enough to stick around, without demeaning himself by reciprocating any affection.

Evidently, in his six years, he had not learnt to receive love from any owners – but we weren’t about to let that situation continue. Continue reading

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EU accused of endorsing “barbaric, illegal” no-stun slaughter of its own animals

Cow and calf

Sentient and sensitive cattle are being exported across Europe

ANIMALS born and reared in Europe are being exported to Gaza for slaughter in ways so horrific it would be illegal at home, a major investigation has shown.

Tens of thousands of cattle are having their throats slit – as though they were sacks of flour – while fully conscious, according to investigators. The animals, in agony and fighting to remain conscious, then slowly bleed to death.

Observers from British charity Compassion in World Farming tracked cattle from Hungary, Romania and other Eastern European countries that were transported across the continent, only to be killed by “barbaric, inhumane and agonising” no-stun deaths.

The shocking discoveries were at Gazan slaughterhouses, where the killings happened “in utter chaos”, using no-stun methods, often with blunt knives, and in conditions that would be illegal in Europe.

EU officials, who are aware of the practices, are accused of effectively endorsing them, through knowing about it yet failing to intervene. Read full story

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