Past Campaigns and News
Keynote speaker at Steve Biko Memorial Lecture calls for an end to our ‘assault’ on the animals we transform into ‘food for profit’.
Johannesburg, 09 September 2016 - Professor Angela Davis was guest speaker. at the 17th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at Unisa on Friday night.
In delivering the 17th Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at Unisa in Pretoria on 9th September 2016, civil rights icon Professor Angela Davis called for the purging of our societies “of racisms including Islamophobia and settler colonialism, as well as anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, assaults against immigrants and refugees, and the unremitting capitalist assault on our environment and on our food sources and on the sentient beings who endure pain and torture as they are transformed into food for profit, food that generates disease in humans whose poverty compels them to rely on McDonald’s and KFC for nourishment.
Even though there are never guarantees that we will reach the futures we dream, we cannot stop dreaming. We cannot stop dreaming and we cannot stop struggle.”
A Humane Revolution
The New York Times -
Nicholas Kristof MAY 14, 2016
Is it a moral compromise to work for animal welfare in farming instead of sticking exclusively to the promotion of outright Veganism? This weekend’s New York Times features the debate!
In his column “A Humane Revolution”, Nicholas Kristof notes that Walmart "has responded to concerns for animal welfare by saying it would shift toward cage-free eggs, following similar announcements by Costco, Denny’s, Wendy’s, Safeway, Starbucks and McDonald’s in the U.S. and Canada."
Then he makes this important point:
"These corporate changes have vast impact: Walmart or McDonald’s shapes the living conditions of more animals in a day than an animal shelter does in a decade."
He discusses HSUS president Wayne Pacelle's new book, "The Humane Economy," and comments on Pacelle's willingness to work with corporations to get them to change behaviour: "Critics sometimes see this as moral compromise, negotiating with evil rather than defeating it; I see it as pragmatism. Likewise, Pacelle has been a vegan for 31 years but cooperates with fast-food companies to improve conditions in which animals are raised for meat."
American activist and author, Karen Dawn submitted this comment: "I agree that we cannot wait for the world to go vegan before doing something about the unconscionable cruelty of forcing animals to live in crates for their entire lives -- which is why I support welfare work, and think that anybody inclined to speak out against welfare reforms should first try sitting in a crate for two full days.” However, she says, let’s give veganism all the support of which we are capable
Chickens Weren’t Always Dinner for Humans
By JAMES GORMANJAN. 18, 2016
Chickens get no respect. Ask any chicken researcher.
When the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain decided to give about $3 million to a number of academic figures, including Greger Larson, to study the “Cultural & Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions,” the grant caught the eye of someone at The Daily Mail, in England.
“A Birdbrained Idea?”, read the headline over an article that contrasted cuts in entirely unrelated social services with what was portrayed as a silly windfall of chicken money.
Dr. Larson, a professor at Oxford, who is also overseeing a major project on dog evolution, did not laugh.
As he noted recently, the staggering number of chickens in the world — 20 billion or so — is reason enough to study them. And although it may be hard to believe, it seems that neither potpie nor chicken Parmesan was the reason humans domesticated them. “It looks like from all the evidence that chickens existed for a very long time in association with people and they were not food,” he said.
Israeli animal activists score a victory against shipping animals thousands of miles to slaughter in foreign countries
January 8, 2016
An Australian shipment of 13000 sheep and cattle headed for slaughter in Israel was cancelled in early January 2016 following protests by Israeli animal activists.
According to Jspace News, the animals were due to leave the Australian port of Freemantle on board the MV Ocean Outback on 29 December last year. However, engine failure resulted in the ship being unable to leave port.
Fearing for the welfare of 13000 animals stuck on board ship in sweltering heat, Israeli activists called on their Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel to cancel the shipment and to request that the animals be disembarked from the vessel. The cancellation took effect on 6th January.
“It’s something that sounds like a fictional horror movie,” said Yael Gabay who led the campaign for Israel Against Live Transport.
In April, Israel Against Live Transport held a Passover protest in Eilat, announcing: “There is no logic in transporting animals across continents and oceans, in the squalor of their secretions in the underbelly of a crowded ship, only in order to slaughter them in Israel. The key to ending this abuse is in our hands – at every meal we can choose between bondage and freedom, and between life and death.”
Some of the 13,000 sheep and cattle have already died and it is feared that the remainder will now be sent to Asia for slaughter.
Making Animal Protection a Political Issue
Posted: December 16, 2015
In July, an American trophy hunter lured a black-maned lion named Cecil out of a national park in Zimbabwe and killed him. Cecil, who was being studied by conservationists, struck a chord with the public. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds exploded with outrage. Speaking to millions of Americans on his nightly show, Jimmy Kimmel epitomized public sentiment as he said:
“The big question is, ‘Why are you shooting a lion in the first place?’ I am honestly curious to know why a human being would be compelled to do that. How is that fun?”
Kimmel said he understood hunting for food, “But if it’s some a-hole dentist who wants a lion’s head over the fireplace in his man cave, so his douche-bag buddies can gather around it and drink scotch and tell him how awesome he is, that’s just vomitous.”
It seems that a lot of people agreed. Uploaded to YouTube and Facebook the next day, the segment was forwarded so widely it received nearly sixteen million views.
Yet The New York Times reported that trophy hunters kill approximately 600 lions per year. MSNBC recently aired the documentary Blood Lions, about lions being bred in South Africa for the purpose of being shot by people, mostly Americans, who don’t want to bother with a chase. One hunter interviewed said he prefers shooting captive lions, who have been hand-fed by humans all of their lives, because their hides are not scarred by brush and battles. Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists African lions as endangered, our government grants import licenses for the macabre trophies.
New UN Report reveals massive cost of industrial agriculture
Industrialised farming practices cost the environment some $3.33 trillion per year — more than the UK’s annual GDP — according to new research for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
The research identifies a range of more sustainable farming practices that could greatly reduce the cost of environmental impacts and help countries cope with the challenge of increasing food production to meet the needs of a growing population.
“Unveiling the hidden costs of mainstream agriculture is necessary” said Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, FAO Senior Natural Resources Officer “to convince decision-makers that investing in conversion to sustainable food and agriculture systems is a much cheaper option than current expenditures for environmental mitigation and public health.”
“True food prices entail reflecting producers’ efforts to meet their needs for the time required to reproduce the value, while the cost of environmental damage should not be paid by society through higher food prices but by those who irresponsibly abuse common goods offered by our natural environment.”
Coordinated vigilance provides evidence for direct reciprocity in coral reef fishes
Simon J. Brand & David R. Bellwood
Reciprocity is frequently assumed to require complex cognitive abilities. Therefore, it has been argued that reciprocity may be restricted to animals that can meet these demands. Here, we provide evidence for the potential presence of direct reciprocity in teleost fishes. We demonstrate that in pairs of coral reef rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae), one fish frequently assumes an upright vigilance position in the water column, while the partner forages in small crevices in the reef substratum.
Both behaviours are strongly coordinated and partners regularly alternate their positions, resulting in a balanced distribution of foraging activity. Compared to solitary individuals, fishes in pairs exhibit longer vigilance bouts, suggesting that the help provided to the partner is costly.
When will factory farming’s Volkswagen moment arrive?
PhilipLymbery - Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming
Will we get a moment when the whole factory farming enterprise is revealed as fundamentally rotten? Or will it be more of a slow burn – rather like the banks that repeatedly receive huge fines as the latest mis-selling scandal is exposed? These are the questions I discussed over the weekend with
Compassion’s chief policy advisor and veteran campaigner, Peter Stevenson.
Industrial farming is in a shaky place. It devours its own foundations. “Man’s continued existence is completely dependent upon six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains”: attributed to Confucius. But today’s intensive agriculture is undermining soil quality and overusing water.
Factory farming’s need for huge quantities of grain to feed animals has driven the intensification of crop production. With crop monocultures and agro-chemicals, it has degraded agricultural soils, eroding their fertility. Pollinators like bees and other farmland wildlife are in sharp decline.
Judge overturns Idaho's 'ag gag' law in victory for animal rights campaigners
Ban on undercover surveillance inside factory farms – introduced after a 2012 secret video exposed cruelty and neglect – has been ruled unconstitutional
Rebecca Frye, director of education at Mercy for Animals, shows and undercover video of the conditions at Idaho’s Bettencourt Dairies in October 2012. Photograph: Brian Jackson/AP
A federal judge has lifted a controversial ban on undercover surveillance inside Idaho’s factory farms, delivering a significant victory to animal rights’ activists.
Judge B Lynn Winmill ruled on Monday that the state’s so-called “ag gag” law violated the constitutional right to free speech.
“An agricultural facility’s operations that affect food and worker safety are not exclusively a private matter,” said the judge. “Food and worker safety are matters of public concern.”
The agriculture industry’s political allies passed the law last year after an undercover investigator with the advocacy group Mercy for Animals used a hidden camera to expose cruelty and neglect at Bettencourt Dairies, Idaho’s largest dairy factory farm.
The 2012 exposé documented workers beating, kicking and shocking cows, twisting their tails and dragging them with chains attached to their necks.
It led to charges of criminal animal cruelty against multiple workers, including a manager, and prompted policy reform pledges by major food suppliers.
Hunting trophies: Delta, United and American ban transport
Delta, United and American Airlines have banned the shipment of big-game trophies on flights after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
The airlines announced that they would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains.
They have not, however, given official reasons for their announcements.
Delta flies direct to a number of African cities and was subjected to an online petition to ban such shipments.
American Airlines and United fly to fewer sub-Saharan cities than Delta, but Unitedsaid in a tweet its decision to stop carrying trophies was "effective immediately".
United spokesman Charles Hobart said: "We felt it made sense to do so."
Cecil was shot illegally in July by US dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota. Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition and that of a doctor from Pennsylvania, named as Jan Casimir Seski, who is suspected of killing a lion in April. ......
Sport hunters ‘not welcome’ in Botswana
The Government of Botswana made it clear on Friday that sports hunters would not be welcome in its country as it lamented the killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion by American dentist Walter James Palmer.
Government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay said sports hunting had been banned in Botswana and last year the government had also moved to ensure that Botswana’s lions and other large carnivores were not exported to South Africa or any other country for so-called “canned hunting”. Ramsay said his government had learnt with deep concern about the killing of the collared and protected lion which it understood had been lured from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
“We commend the concerned authorities for acting swiftly and arresting the culprits,” Ramsay said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that they will all be prosecuted for carrying out this unjustified act.
“It is our stern belief that safari hunting of threatened species such as lions has the potential to undermine our regional anti-poaching efforts as it encourages illegal trade which in turn promotes poaching. “To this end, individuals partaking in such sport hunting expeditions will not be welcome in Botswana.” See More
Cecil the celebrity lion felled by hunters in Zimbabwe
For 13 years, the lion tread the protected grounds of the largest national park in Zimbabwe. He was a familiar sight on the road for those on safaris; the king of the jungle — or, at least, the savannah — who could reliably be seen walking down the road with his family. Like SeaWorld’s original Shamu or the National Zoo’s Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, Cecil was a animal who needed no last name — a great beast known not just for his majesty, but for his attitude.
But now, lured off the grounds of the park and killed by hunters, Cecil is gone. And the death of one of Zimbabwe’s most famous lions has set off a scandal in a nation still reeling under the corrupt government of Robert Mugabe. See More
Botswana bans sports hunters after Cecil killing
AFRICA Saturday 1 August 2015 - 10:18am
JOHANNESBURG – The Government of Botswana made it clear on Friday that sports hunters would not be welcome in its country as it lamented the killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion by American dentist Walter James Palmer.
Government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay said sports hunting had been banned in Botswana and last year the government had also moved to ensure that
Botswana’s lions and other large carnivores were not exported to South Africa or any other country for so-called “canned hunting”.
Ramsay said his government had learnt with deep concern about the killing of the collared and protected lion which it understood had been lured from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. See More
Victory! Animal Sacrifice Banned at Nepal's Gadhimai Festival, Half a Million Animals Saved
Gadhimai Temple Trust agrees to cancel all future animal sacrifice, urges devotees not to bring animals to the festival
Humane Society International, Animal Welfare Network Nepal
New Delhi—In a move that will spare the lives of millions of animals over coming years, animal sacrifice has been cancelled indefinitely at Nepal's Gadhimai festival, the world's biggest animal sacrifice event held every five years for around 265 years. The decision announced by the Gadhimai Temple Trust follows rigorous negotiations and campaigning by Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Humane Society International/India.
Gauri Maulekhi, HSI/India consultant & Trustee, People for Animals, who petitioned India’s Supreme Court against the movement of animals from India to the Gadhimai festival, said, “This is a tremendous victory for compassion that will save the lives of countless animals. HSI/India was heartbroken to witness the bloodshed at Gadhimai, and we've worked hard to help secure this ban on future sacrifice.
We commend the temple committee but acknowledge that a huge task lies ahead of us in educating the public so that they are fully aware. HSI/India & People for Animals will now spend the next three and a half years until the next Gadhimai educating devotees in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal on the Temple Trusts’ decision not to sacrifice animals. Animal sacrifice is a highly regressive practice and no nation in the modern world should entertain it.”
Ground Breaking resolution - The DA
The DA’s Federal Council accepted a ground-breaking resolution in Durban on 26 July 2015 acknowledging that non-human animals are sentient beings, able to feel the same pain and emotions as humans. This giant step forward – accepted by one of its highest federal political structures - makes the DA the first political party in South Africa and in Africa to accept a resolution of this nature. The resolution was supported by Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille.
The resolution is as follows:
Acknowledge that non-human animals are sentient beings
Dr Thomas Ferreira proposes the following resolution on behalf of Ward 23 branch in Mangaung, seconded by Maryke Davies:
Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively and the recognition of an emotional dimension. The concept is central to the philosophy of animal freedoms, because sentience is necessary for the ability to suffer; and
Noting that animal sentience is mostly ignored by our modern, capitalist and consumerist society,
resolves the following:
1. The acceptance of non-human animals as sentient beings, which are able to feel the same pain and emotions as humans.
2. The recognition of the basic universal freedoms for non-human animals namely:
a. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
b. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
c. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
d. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
e. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Martin Luther King, Jr said: “One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”
Why Animal Protection Advocates Are Lauding Pope Francis’s Encyclical, Laudato Si’
Lately, much attention has been riveted on Laudato Si ' (Praised Be), the latest papal encyclical on the protection of "our common home," issued by Pope Francis. An encyclical is one of the highest forms of official teachings issued by a pope. While encyclicals have historically been written with a Roman Catholic audience in mind, what makes this one unique is that it is addressed to every person on the planet.
Animals are hardly a footnote in the encyclical. Indeed, the word "animal" or "animals" appears nearly as much as the word "climate." This observation doesn't tell the whole story, however. For instance, "creature" is also mentioned nearly 80 times. While human beings, too, are acknowledged as creatures, the use of this term to include both human and non-human creatures, is very likely purposeful. Integral ecology, or the interrelatedness between the Earth and its inhabitants is a major theme of the encyclical.
It is also in the spirit of St. Francis's (patron saint of ecology and Pope Francis's namesake) respect for the universal kinship of all beings. Indeed, the entire document illustrates how certain systems and mindsets threaten all creation, whether or not animals are referenced by name specifically.
Photo reference - animalsaustralia.org
1. All animals matter.
Pope Francis emphasizes that each creature has value in its own right, independent of any value that may be derived for mankind's use. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this proposition challenges the popular notion that animals exist solely for our use and enjoyment. Special attention is given to endangered species, explaining:
It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential 'resources' to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species, which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity.
2. Our treatment of animals matter—to them and to us.
As Pope Francis warns, "our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people." Treating animals with the respect they are due clearly benefits the animals. However, the encyclical also points out that doing so yields many positive results for people, too—not the least of which is the building of human dignity, itself.
3. All creatures are interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent.
In one instance, Pope Francis explores a story from Saint Bonaventure, a disciple of St. Francis, that "from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small by the name of 'brother' or 'sister.'" From this we learn that no creature, no matter how small is an accident. When we respect and care for all parts of creation as things that are not separate from us, but related to us, we are respecting and caring for ourselves.
4. It is not enough to say we care about animals. We must also take personal accountability for our role in the systems that harm them.
Few people would say that it is appropriate to mistreat animals. Yet we all benefit to some extent from animal suffering that happens behind closed doors in industries and systems that exist to serve our needs and desires. Pope Francis resolutely reaffirms what Catholic social teaching already states. Namely, that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly." But he goes on further to state that each act of cruelty is contrary to human dignity, tackling unnecessary experiments on animals, specifically. Elsewhere, he criticizes practices such as destructive fishing and destroying important animal habitats.
5. We all have a role to play in ending animal suffering.
When it comes to acting on behalf of the Earth and all of its inhabitants, Pope Francis lets no one off the hook. Terms used in the document that have once been reserved for small circles of interdisciplinary academics and animal protection advocates, such as "anthropocentrism" may become part of an expanded vocabulary for a whole new group of people. Whether we are just learning about the issues facing animals, or whether we've been advocating for them for decades, the encyclical offers encouragement that we can rise to a new challenge. SEE FULL ARTICLE
NYT Now: In the Footsteps of Popes Seeking Worldly Change
Industrialists, politicians and critics are fuming, contending that the pope should stick to religion and stop meddling in matters
in which he has no competence.
When an elderly Pope Leo XIII released a document in 1891 on the rights of workers to unionize and of owners to hold private property, European capitalists and socialists alike cried foul. Why should we listen, they fumed, to a pope’s pronouncements on economics and politics?
Now, 124 years later, Pope Francis has set off an uproar over his document on the environment and the threat of climate change, an encyclical released Thursday called “Laudato Si’ ,” or “Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home.”
Once again industrialists, politicians and critics are fuming, contending that the pope should stick to religion and stop meddling in matters in which he has no competence.
“Pope Francis’ message on global warming was a confusing distraction that dilutes his great moral authority and leadership at a time when it is desperately needed to combat real — and present — crises in the Church and in Western culture,” said Richard A.
Viguerie, who pioneered the use of direct-mail fund-raising to help build the political and religious right.
But Francis is following in the footsteps of popes and bishops who, for generations, have written documents on pressing social problems by applying religious teaching to events so contemporary that they seem ripped from their eras’ headlines.
Pope Leo’s encyclical “On the Condition of Labor” — or “Rerum Novarum” in Latin — became the seminal document in what is now recognized as modern Catholic social teaching.
Yet there have been many since then. Pope John XXIII warned of nuclear annihilation in “Pacem in Terris,” in 1963. Paul VI challenged wealthy nations to help develop poor nations in “Populorum Progressio,” in 1967. Benedict XVI noted economic inequality from globalization in “Caritas in Veritate,” in 2009.
Still, Francis’ encyclical, contends Austen Ivereigh, a papal biographer in England, “is the most significant Catholic social encyclical since the very first, ‘Rerum Novarum,’ in 1891, and it’s very much within that tradition.” .... SEE FULL ARTICLE
Eskom’s load-shedding has hideous consequences in SA’s chicken abattoirs as stunned birds regain consciousness as they hang on the production line...
The article "Producers to ask state for power guarantees as blackouts harm chickens" appeared first on Business Day Live, on Publish Date July 1, 2015
South African chicken producers will ask the government to help them guarantee electricity supply to the nation’s biggest abattoirs as almost-daily power cuts are harming the birds’ welfare and creating health risks.
The slaughterhouses, some of which can process as many as 13,000 chickens hourly, can’t rely on generators as they aren’t able to create sufficient power for their needs, South African Poultry Association Chief Executive Officer Kevin Lovell said. The birds are typically stunned unconscious by electrocution before they are decapitated while hanging upside down, he said.
When power cuts interrupt the process, the birds “have been stunned but they haven’t been killed; they’re hanging upside down and they’re coming back alive,” he said at Bloomberg’s offices in Johannesburg June 26. “It’s a real problem. And it’s a huge waste problem because everything that stops in the process, sometimes hundreds of tons, has to be cleared.
You have to clean and sterilize everything and then you have to dump at a medical waste site.”
Eskom, the state-owned company that supplies about 95% of power used in the continent’s most- industrialized economy, has cut supply almost every other day this year as it struggles to meet demand amid regular breakdowns of plants and delays starting up new units. While rolling blackouts follow schedules, they are sometimes imposed at a few minutes’ notice.
Abattoirs belonging to producers including RCL Foods and Astral Foods slaughtered about 958 million chickens last year, Lovell said.
SAPA, as the poultry lobby is known, will approach the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries about asking Eskom and municipalities to directly control power supply to 20 of the largest slaughterhouses, which process about 80% of the country’s production, and provide about eight hours’ notice before cuts are introduced, Lovell said.
Eskom will attempt to accommodate the needs of the poultry industry once producers have made an approach, Khulu Phasiwe, a spokesman for Eskom, said by phone Tuesday.
A company operating in the Western Cape province has arranged that it gets forewarned about planned disruptions and switches off supply to its feed mill during the day in exchange for not having electricity to its abbatoir cut, Lovell said.
“Maybe that’s the sort of solution we can come up with,” he said.
Sufficient warning will limit losses and help processors and farmers plan transportation of the birds more efficiently, he said.
“Farms need to be no more than two hours away from abattoirs as that’s the sort of time period that the chickens can safely be contained in those crates” on trucks, he said. “If it starts to take longer than that, you start to get mortalities.”
About 58% of Eskom’s electricity sales are to direct customers such as mines and factories, with the rest is sold to municipalities who then distribute to residents and businesses, according to the company’s 2014 annual report.
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