Animal rights activists protest against dog cruelty, hold rally at Jantar Mantar
In the wake of recent incidents of cruelty against canines, over 40 animal rights organisations participated in a protest rally at Jantar Mantar on Saturday. The human-canine conflict has been an ongoing debate in the country, with frequent reports of cruelty against dogs and also of dogs attacking people. In Kottayam district of Kerala recently, a canine accused of attacking people, was beaten to death and then publicly strung up. Many stray dogs were killed in the state in a random culling.
“Animal welfare needs to become a strong, confident community. I am happy that so many have come here today to show the power of compassion,” People for Animals (PFA) founder and MP Maneka Gandhi said in a message, adding, “Arm yourselves with courage, knowledge, compassion and common sense. The law protects animals.”
Ambika Shukla, trustee, PFA, told us, “There has been an alarming rise in atrocities against dogs and a campaign of hate is being spread against them. Such acts lead to fear-mongering. This event is a way to demonstrate that there are people who will not shy away from taking a stand for these harmless creatures.” The rally also highlighted that hate cannot be the solution to the issue. “Hate and fear only aggravate the problem. People who have dogs feel stressed because they are often being attacked. This might lead them to abandoning their dogs. This, in turn, will add to the stray dog crisis in the country,” she pointed out.
Feeding stray dogs is also often a bone of contention in residential societies. Stressing on the importance of feeding street dogs and drawing attention to their illegal relocation, Shukla added, “Under the law, nobody can relocate strays. Generally, three causes lead to incidents of dog bites: territorial fights, heat season, which is their mating season, when male canines become excitable, and when female canines become protective about their litters after birth. The Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme addresses these issues. In view of this, WHO recommends dogs be sterilised, vaccinated and retained in their territories under the ABC programme. Feeding street dogs makes them friendly and identifiable for revaccination.”
Divya Seth and Sonam Kapoor sent messages of support to the gathering as well.
Prime minister’s senior farm adviser an ex-campaigner for GetUp who called for end to ‘cruel’ live animal exports
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s chief adviser on agriculture policy previously condemned mainstream animal farming as “inherently cruel” and campaigned to end live exports.
Skye Laris, a senior policy adviser to the prime minister, is a former GetUp campaigner who worked with Animals Australia and the RSPCA calling for a ban to live exports.
According to Ms Laris’s LinkedIn, she has been a senior environment, agriculture, industry, and employment policy adviser in parliament since June 2019, working in the prime minister’s office as a senior adviser since May.
“Animal cruelty is a day-to-day part of farming practices,” she wrote for website Mamma Mia in 2016.
“The uncomfortable truth is that whether it’s live exports or long-haul domestic transportation on trucks without food and water, or the killing of calves in the dairy industry, or factory farming pigs, or chooks living in space the size of an A4 piece of paper … it’s improved over the years, but mainstream animal farming is inherently cruel.
“From paddock to plate, there is almost always a part of an animal’s journey that wouldn’t stack up if we as consumers were prepared to know what had really happened.”
Ms Laris previously worked in the office of then-agriculture minister Tony Burke, whom she later married.
Ms Laris used the Mamma Mia piece to criticise conventional farming practices across the livestock, egg, dairy and pork industries, after vision released by Animals Australia showed what appeared to be Australian cattle being mistreated at a Vietnamese meatworks.
“I don’t think addressing animal welfare it’s as simple as banning live exports [sic],” Ms Laris wrote.
“If we’re upset by live exports we really ought to be looking at what happens here at home too.”
The prime minister’s office would not comment on Ms Laris’s appointment, or whether she still holds these opinions.
Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said any decision relating to live animal exports was the responsibility of ministers, not advisers.
“I’ve only just heard about these reports myself,” Senator Watt told the ABC when asked about Ms Laris’s opinion piece.
“But the important thing here is that the people who make these decisions ultimately around live exports or anything else are the elected ministers like myself. I generally don’t get into issues about what different staff do, staff generally are pretty off limits in politics, and it’s more about ministers.
“I’ve certainly never expressed any views like that one way or another on the issue and I’ll be certainly taking what I think will be a responsible approach on matters involving live exports.
“I’ve had some very productive conversations with all players, whether it be members of the industry [or] activist groups, the approach that we’re taking to all issues as a government is that everyone gets a say, but then we make the decisions as the elected government.”
In 2020, a senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade bureaucrat, Julie Delforce, who is also the mother of a well-known animal rights activist, resigned following an investigation into her links to the animal activist website Aussie Farms.
Ms Laris did not respond to the ABC’s written request for comment.
Under Boris Johnson’s leadership, the government made some important strides in animal welfare that enjoyed enormous popular support. It committed to introducing the Action Plan for Animal Welfare (APAW) which included ground-breaking measures to protect wild and farmed animals; it also promised to protect animal welfare standards in farming post-Brexit and its environmental plan put a focus on redirecting subsidies to pay for public goods including animal welfare.
The Truss government is likely to be less sympathetic to animal welfare issues. As environment secretary, the Prime Minister planned to repeal official guidance on animal welfare standards that would deregulate the farming industry. As Secretary of State for International Trade she prioritised trade deals over animal welfare that will allow imports of meat, produced using farming practices that are illegal in the UK, to be sold to the British consumer.
However, we were pleased that the Prime Minister has committed to pass the long-awaited Kept Animals Bill. The Bill will put an end to the cruel export of live animals for fattening and slaughter and the keeping of primates as pets, among other measures. The new Prime Minister must honour the government’s animal welfare commitments and introduce the Action Plan for Animal Welfare in full. The plan includes several key protections for animals. These are:
A ban on the domestic sale and advertising of unacceptable wildlife practices abroad, such as elephant rides, where elephants are often subjected to repeated beatings with hooks or sticks to learn to submit.
A ban on the importation of hunting trophies into the UK.
A ban on the import and sale of fur and foie gras that would prevent millions of animals being exposed to barbaric ‘production methods.’
Meaningful change for animals must start with honouring the commitments already made by Boris Johnson’s government. 72% of the British publicwant the Government to pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, so our current crises should not be used as an excuse to halt this agenda.
The charity warns that the natural environment is under threat
“NOWHERE will be safe” if the Government goes ahead with plans for investment zones across the UK, a leading charity has warned.
RSPB England, which represents the views of the UK-wide bird charity, issued a scathing response to the proposals – warning that they could “tear up the most fundamental protections our remaining wildlife has”.
As part of his mini-budget, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans for the creation of dozens of low-tax, low-regulation investment zones.
Some Conservative MPs have already submitted letters of no confidence in Liz Truss over fears the new prime minister will ‘crash the economy’, a former cabinet member has said.
The anonymous ex-minister reportedly told Sky News Ms Truss was ‘f*****’ following her disastrous handling of last week’s mini-budget, and suggested a number of Tory MPs were already plotting to bring her down.
WAV Comment – I am sticking a bit with the issue of the new UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss, as although it is a matter of weeks since she was elected (by Conservative Party members only rather than the national majority) into the position of PM, we (the animal rights movement) are already at war with her for her attitude to changing policy in both animal rights and with environmental issues; much of which was originally promised as positive / progressive law changes in the last Conservative manifesto !
If she wants war, she is going to get it. Simple.
I think in the last few days alone we have seen the RSPB (for example) come out and declare that they are not happy.
With more time, I will try and check some other animal rights groups and publish here what they are saying.
The following ‘voices’ article by Jane sums up the situation and feeling of many in the AR movement.
Lets face it, Boris Johnson (despite other faults) was attempting to move forward with animal welfare improvements – putting them formally into national legislation (law). The Conservatives currently have a fairly large majority of MP’s in Parliament, (that is why they are in government) over other parties. It should be relatively easy for them to push through legislative actions relating to animal welfare and a host of other important issues – planning, disabled people legislation etc.
But it all kind of came tumbling down during the Covid crisis, and the failures of Johnson to act in stopping the Downing St ‘Partygate’ issues where Conservatives seemed to think they were different to ‘the ordinary people’ and could still get together for drinks whilst the law abiding citizens had to stay at home and could not even say goodbye to relatives dying of Covid in hospital.
Well, probably they are different to most normal people, and the removal of Boris by his own MP’s; and the subsequent election of Truss to the position of MP simply shows how ineffective Boris and the others in his cabinet had / were. Boris did not address the issue from the very start; now he is out as a result and we are all blighted with a Truss led government.
By now taking on the animal rights movement, let alone pushing aside all the other issue in her in tray, she has already annoyed so many of the voting public.
WAV is not affiliated to any political party; we don’t ever want to be; we just attempt to tell what we know and hear, and then let you, our loyal supporters, take it further.
Personally though, I think with the current situation, the Tories have as much chance of winning the next General Election as a chocolate fireman becoming the firefighter of the year – rather remote I would say.
As Jane;s article below portrays, the Conservatives are in a perfect position to improve welfare and most importantly, do big moves to help improve the environment. But they are not; Truss is ensuring that; with support from Foie Gras Rees Mogg and the rest of the anti environmental cabinet.
They want a war ? – they are gonna get it. It almost makes you feel like standing at the next general election as an animal rights / environmental rights campaigner. I think we are going to witness this feeling rising up all over the country. Brits are big time animal welfare supporters, they are big environmental campaigners; and they detest what this government is now doing to put them down. Lets see what the next few months brings.
Voices: Tin-eared Truss is about to embark on the greatest betrayal of animal rights imaginable
By Jane Dalton
The new prime minister, Liz Truss, has a funny relationship with animals. She says she’s a cat lover, but she has previously called for the return of foxhunting.
As a former environment secretary, she should be aware of animal sentience – the capacity non-humans have to feel emotion, pain and suffering. But as a Tory leadership candidate, Truss held up a vision of a neoliberal administration that she was convinced would appeal to the party faithful.
Now, as part of that single-minded deregulation mission, she looks set to embark on the greatest betrayal of people and animals anyone could ever have imagined. At a stroke, the new prime minister is reportedly set to arrogantly ditch reforms that would have eradicated the suffering of thousands of animals in the UK and abroad.
Party insiders believe she will axe the Kept Animals Bill, which bans primates as pets, tackles puppy smuggling and gives livestock greater protection from dangerous dogs. It also bans live exports.
Years ago, I joined protesters at Dover docks who were horrified by how sheep were crammed into lorries in the most appalling conditions, for hours on end, without water, only to be shipped abroad for slaughter. In 2019, at least 6,000 animals were exported this way – a monstrous toll of misery.
As outrage snowballed, even Boris Johnson spoke out against live exports. The ban was pretty much the only benefit of Brexit. Now it looks set to be sacrificed on the great altar of Truss free-market capitalism.
But it’s not just animals that will suffer. Some people have spent literally decades working to achieve the reforms in the bill, and to have that thrown back in their faces is more than frustrating – it’s offensive.
To make matters worse, the Kept Animals Bill was probably only days or weeks away from becoming law. The day it was due to be debated in parliament became that of the Queen’s funeral, and the chances of Truss reviving the bill seem remote.
Given that a live export ban was promised in both the Tory manifesto and the party’s grand animal welfare action plan, scrapping it is an enormous, symbolic breach of trust – and a disaster for progress.
Truss showed her colours in 2016 when she tried to dump statutory farm animal welfare codes. Her idea fizzled out, but now she has rewarded Mark Spencer, one of the MPs who this year blocked measures to halt elephant torture abroad, with a job in Defra. You couldn’t get much more farcical.
Then there are the foreign deals she negotiated as trade secretary that fund cruelty that would be illegal here. Instead of helping the UK to become more self-sufficient in food, she signed up to financing systems that use 48-hour transport, barren battery cages and sow stalls among other things.
A lot remained to be done – especially after Jacob Rees-Mogg sabotaged bans on fur and foie gras – but credit at least where it’s due. It’s clear that sacking Lord Goldsmith, who was perhaps just too effective for the new PM’s liking, is a taste of what’s to come.
After all, even George Eustice, a former environment secretary not especially beloved of animal rights supporters, admitted he had difficulty in getting Truss “to recognise the importance of animal welfare in particular” in trade talks.
Hard-right Tories are ideologically opposed to banning things, but they fail to understand that often things are banned for good reasons. After all, we no longer send children up chimneys or let people carry guns in the UK.
In the current climate, however, the future for all sorts of animals looks bleak in Truss’s Britain. Campaigners for their welfare are counting the days until the general election in the hope of ousting this tin-eared leader. Three quarters of respondents in one survey wanted more laws to improve animal welfare and prevent cruelty, not fewer.
As Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK, puts it: “Animals are so important to the electorate, and will matter at the ballot box; [it is] mystifying if Downing Street fails to see that.”
It’s hard to believe Truss actually wants animals to suffer, but unless she pulls some surprises out of her hat, she’s doing an extremely good impression of it.
Reproduced from ‘Voices’, The Independent newspaper, England.