Lebanon – end point of bird migration: Around 500,000 hunters are officially registered in Lebanon, they are allowed to shoot 12 species of birds.
But the hunting law in the “cedar state” is mostly only on paper. In reality, many hunters target anything that comes within range of the rifle.
Now, during the peak of the bird migration, we receive photos every day, which the perpetrators themselves post on social media.
Almost all of them show strictly protected species in Lebanon – from bee-eaters and blue-nails to ortolans and orioles to barn owls and short-toed eagles.
Fortunately, there are many nature lovers in Lebanon who do not just watch the hunters go by.
They search social media for such posts, report the perpetrators’ profiles to us and the authorities, and thus ensure prosecution.
Together with its Lebanese partner associations SPNL and MESHC, the Committee against Bird Murder will again be on site with an international bird protection team from next week.
The economic crisis in the country and the political unrest make the operation a risk – wish us luck!
The pictures are all up-to-date – they show protected migratory birds illegally shot.
The animals with which the heart is laid are ortolans, which are highly endangered almost everywhere in Europe!
And I mean…The birds are eaten – as a “second use”, so to speak.
But the motivation is the pleasure of hunting! whoever hunts, kills for sheer pleasure.
And that applies to hunters all over the world.
What state of mind can we expect in someone who cowardly shoots an animal while it is eating or breeding, although he does not need its flesh and skin to live and then call it as a “hobby”, “nature conservation”, “protection of species”, “epidemic protection” “or” tradition “?
“Hunting is just a cowardly paraphrase for particularly cowardly murder of chanchenless fellow creatures. Hunting is a side form of human mental illness” (Theodor Heuss, former Federal President)
Over 1 billion fish are being raised on fish farms in the EU at any one time. These are undomesticated species quite new to being captive in production systems, which are often highly intensive and are themselves new technologies undergoing development.
EU aquaculture and animal welfare policies are pursuing fish welfare objectives, while a new regime governing EU financial support to fisheries and aquaculture has weakened the links between EU investment and EU policy objectives.
National aquaculture strategies and the implementation of EU financial support mechanisms need a smooth and coordinated implementation by Member States for subsidies to operate in support of policy initiatives and realise improvements in fish welfare.
When compared to terrestrial farm animals, scientists, producers, policy makers and animal advocates alike were late to understanding fishes’ needs and applying animal welfare approaches to fish in aquaculture. Some milestones were:
2005 the Council of Europe adopted guidelines for fish welfare during farming
2008 EFSA scientific opinion on fish sentience
2009 EFSA scientific opinion on welfare during husbandry and slaughter
2009 The OIE adopted standards for fish welfare during transport and at slaughter
2020 EU Platform on Animal Welfare adopts fish welfare guidelines
With the many EU and external research projects in the intervening years, we now have a wealth of knowledge for practical implementation. Initiatives from sectororganisations, thirdpartycertifiers, and policymakers seek to apply knowledge to provide a better life and death for farmed fish, improve product quality and resource efficiency, and better meet consumers’ expectations.
In May 2021 the European Commission published its newaquaculture strategy until 2030 which includes fish welfare priorities including developing best practice codes and guidelines, setting validated indicators, providing training, and supporting a transition to lower-trophic species.
The Farm to Fork Strategy previously committed the EU’s aquaculture policy to being a part of its animal welfare initiatives, and in August 2021 the inception impact assessment of the revision of all EU farm animal welfare legislation included specific options for fish welfare.
The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) 2021 – 2027 regulation seeks to simplify Member States’ administration and programming. One approach to simplification is to only reference high level Union priorities such as sustainable economies and communities, and to maintain weaker links between national and EU aquaculture policies.Opening up the fund for investments to meet legal obligations has also weakened the incentive to invest it now in policy areas marked as important next priorities.This is where the link between the spending of EU funds and the delivery of EU policy is weakened.
Maintained from the previous regulation is the requirement that financial support is consistent with Member States’ own multiannual national strategic plans, and those plans must themselves use the EU’s aquaculture strategy as their basis. However there is no real requirement that national priorities contribute to specific EU objectives, or even that Member States update their national plans now. Then the EU’s aquaculture strategy is referenced as a more complete set of policy priorities, but there is less impetus for Member States to direct financial support for the delivery of EU policy priorities.
Aquaculture is not an area of exclusive EU competence and Member States operate national policies and licensing regimes specific to their varied geographical and market contexts. Member States should take the fish welfare objectives from the EU’s aquaculture strategy as priorities in their national strategies in support of the moves to advance animal welfare in aquaculture.
The Commission funds aquaculture research and facilitates Member States’ coordination of aquaculture policies, and it needs to do more to provide substance and cohesion for its aquaculture priorities. It needs to look beyond the small portion of the EMFAF that it controls directly and to activate mechanisms in other policy areas including animal welfare.
Animal welfare policy could consolidate knowledge into implementable indicators and guidelines through a dedicated Animal Welfare Reference Centre. The Commission could mandate EFSA to provide the necessary knowledge, since its last opinion on fish welfare was more than ten years ago.
The alternative path is that intensive aquaculture systems continue to evolve without accounting for the needs of the animals. Aquaculture takes the production and reputational losses that are seen with intensive terrestrial agriculture systems, and the fish continue to suffer unnecessarily.
The EU has identified the right fish welfare policy priorities, and they are aligned with voluntary measures being taken widely in the market. The new EU financial support regime (EMFAF) has weakened the explicit links between EU financial support and specific EU aquaculture policy objectives, but Member States can take up the common EU priorities and the Commission should use other mechanisms to provide the necessary resources and cohesion.
Op-ed by Douglas Waley, Fish Welfare Programme Leader at Eurogroup for Animals
Even locals outraged as 1400 dolphins die in Faroese hunt
There has been widespread condemnation after over 1400 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed in the Faroe Islands last weekend, believed to be the largest number of dolphins ever killed in the country.
Much of the criticism has come from within the country where usually there is a strong defence of the hunts, which are portrayed by locals as a long-standing tradition providing a necessary supplement to their diet.
The dolphins were herded into a bay on the island of Eysturoy on Sunday after being encountered far out to sea. Even though the hunt was sanctioned by local authorities, it appears there was confusion over the number of dolphins being driven to shore with first estimates putting the number at around 200.
As a result, local reports suggest there were not enough people on the beach to kill the dolphins when it became apparent how many there actually were. The process took several hours as dolphins were left in a distressed state while their fellow pod members were killed with knives.
The meat from the hunt is traditionally distributed to local people but with so many dolphins killed, there are concerns that much of it may have to be discarded.
On September 12th, a huge school of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins was hunted and driven to their deaths for hours.
The driven hunt, the so-called grind, took place on the Faroe Islands, which belong to Denmark. The animals were driven over a distance of approx. 45 km with speedboats and jet skis into the shallow waters near Skálabotnur, where every single animal was cruelly killed.
According to locals who shared videos and photos with Sea Shepherd, this hunt violated several Faroese laws regulating grind:
First of all, the grind supervisor responsible for this area was not informed and therefore never authorized the hunt.
Instead, the decision was made by another grind chief who was not authorized to do so.
Second, many of the participants did not have permission to participate. This permit is required in the Faroe Islands because it includes special training to ensure the rapid killing of pilot whales and dolphins. The footage also shows that many of the dolphins were still alive and moving when they were dragged ashore with the rest of their dead school.
Thirdly, photos show that many of the dolphins were run over by motorboats and torn apart by the screws, resulting in a slow and painful death.
According to local residents, the grid was illegal and was reported to the Faroese police for these violations.
The Danish newspaper“Ekstra Bladet” published interviews with locals, whose full names were changed to protect their families, stating that many Faroe Islands are angry about the incident.
“I suspect that most of the dolphins will end up in the garbage or in some digging hole,” said a local. “We should have quotas per district and not kill dolphins,” said another.
A local asked the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksento investigate the incident:
“If she expresses herself critically in public, it will also be easier for the locals who want to end this barbaric tradition.”
Others fear that the international press will show the pictures of the slaughtered dolphins and that this will endanger their exports (e.g. the Faroe Islands export salmon to Germany, Great Britain, the USA and Russia).
And I mean…Sea Shepherd considers this to be “the largest single hunt for dolphins or pilot whales in Faroe history” (followed by the hunt for 1,200 pilot whales in 1940) and “it is believed to be the largest single whale hunt ever documented worldwide”!
We call it mass murder. Driven in any place that is a very wealthy European island group that has no need for meat to survive, based on secret licenses and documents, practically an illegal process, carried out by anonymous sadists and corrupt officials,who settled the crime among themselves.
An illegal massacre with no basis, no legal evidence.
Here borders were crossed and a new dimension of brutality and barbarism reached.
What the residents of the Faroe Islands can never be ashamed of