Archive for the ‘News’ Category

4 days until voting starts in my home country Ireland.

The number of Irish candidates who have signed the Animal Welfare pledge is now at 5. All four candidates are from the Dublin constituency so my followers from that area are now spoiled for choice 😉

Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party):

Paul was the first Irish candidate to sign the Animal Welfare Pledge back in February. He is also strongly against the cruel “sport” of hare coursing and has been a strong voice for animal welfare throughout his time in the European Parliament.

Visit his Facebook and Webpage for more information.

Paul Murphy with the Animal Welfare Pledge

Paul Murphy with the Animal Welfare Pledge

 

Nessa Childers (Independent):

Nessa shortly followed Paul in signing the Animal Welfare pledge. I didn’t deal directly with Nessa but her office was very quick to respond and she signed as promised within days of my request. She is also strongly opposed to Hare Coursing.

Visit her Facebook and Webpage for more information.

Nessa signing the pledge.

Nessa signing the pledge.

 

Mary Fitzpatrick (Alliance of Liberals & Democrats in Europe/Fianna Fail):

Mary Fitzpatrick showed her support for the Animal Welfare pledge earlier this week. If elected this will be her first time in European Parliament and I hope she will stay true to the pledge and give animals a voice 🙂

Visit her Facebook and Webpage for more information.

Eamon Ryan (Green Party)

Eamon is the latest to sign the pledge from Ireland and given he is the current leader of the Irish Green Party , his signing came as no surprise. Eamon is strongly opposed to Fox Hunting and Hare coursing in Ireland and in 2012 he attended an anti-coursing protest outside Dublin Castle.

Visit his Facebook and Webpage for more information.

 Damon Matthew Wise (Fís Nua)

Damon is no stranger to the Animal Welfare scene having volunteered for Second chance Animal Rescue and was a member of Brighton Animal Rights campaign in England when at college. As soon as I had informed him of the pledge he replied promptly, with interest and has now signed and showed his support.

 

You can find more information about the pledge on the Vote for Animals webpage. Eurogroup have released a new feature which now makes it very easy to check out the Animal Welfare Friendly candidates in your country. Simply click on on the drop down box, choose your country and a list of candidates from that country who support Animal Welfare will appear. Check it frequently to stay up to date 🙂

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Give animals a voice 🙂

PS: Don’t forget to “like” my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pawsforamo

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It has been over 2 weeks since I started my individual campaign to get as many Irish candidates on board the “Animal Welfare pledge” laid out by the Eurogroup for animals. The response (or lack thereof) is worrying …

Still struggling on making a decision? Love animals? Want to see a Europe wide change in attitudes to Animal Welfare? Well then keep an eye on this:

http://www.voteforanimals.eu/site/

So far only 2 Irish candidates have signed: Paul Murphy and Nessa Childers. Existing MEPS who are looking to get re-elected have no excuses. The Eurogroup campaign has been ongoing for several weeks now and there has been ample opportunity to sign the pledge and it has been well advertised.

I am only beginning to directly contact candidates outside my own constituency as I wanted to put the focus on my area first so I could make an informed voting decision. I have been disappointed so far. Here is a table outlining who I have contacted in the Midlands-North-West:

The Candidate: Date of first contact: Their response so far (up to 2nd May): Signed:
Jim Higgins 22/04 “Thank you for contacting the office . . . . . . . We will pass on your message”. No
Mairead McGuinness 17/04 No reply. No
Lorraine Higgins 22/04 No reply. No
Pat The Cope Gallagher 14/04 “Will pass on the message” No
Thomas Byrne 22/04 No reply. No
Mark Dearey 22/04 Apologised for the oversight, is opposed to Bloodsports, will take a look ASAP. No
Matt Carthy 30/04 No reply. No
Marian Harkin 17/04 No reply. No
Rónán Mullen 29/04 No reply. No
Mark Fitzsimmons 02/05 No reply. No
Luke “Ming” Flanaghan 22/04 & 27/04 No reply. No

 

In addition to the pledge, on a local level I have been keeping an eye on the the Ban Bloodsports. facebook page. They post candidate views on Bloodsports as they receive them and a list of politicians and information with regards to Animal Welfare and Bloodsports can be found here: Views

I will update the table in this post as and when I get responses, or when someone signs !

Photo by Milca Gabb

Photo by Milca Gabb

The Burmese Python, native to South-East Asia, has established a healthy breeding population where they are not welcome, in Florida. This is thanks to the exotic pet trade which led to several of these giant constrictors escaping or being released into the wild over the course of the 20th century. It is now estimated that between 30,000 and 150,000 Burmese Pythons call the Everglades National Park their home meaning all sorts of trouble for the native inhabitants.

Photo by Milca Gabb

Photo by Milca Gabb

While Burmese Python populations continue to grow in Florida, declines have been recorded in potential prey species such as racoons, rabbits and opossums, a clear indication that this invasive species means trouble. They also eat birds, fish, amphibians, other reptiles and the older and larger Burms have been known to feast on deer. In response to identifying the Burmese Python as an invasive species it is now illegal to release exotic animals into the wild in the State of Florida and special hunting permits can be obtained to hunt listed invasive species and sell them for their skin and meat.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have recently initiated a new “plan” to control the number of Burmese Pythons: The Python Challenge. After registering, paying a $25 entrance fee and completing a 30 minute online training session anyone over the age of 18 can participate. Over 1000 people have signed up and are now equipped with a special hunting permit which allows them to hunt Burmese Pythons between the 12th January and the 12th February and submit their catch to be measured as part of the competition. The FWC figured this would make a great dent in Python numbers and increase awareness of the problem. So how are they doing so far?

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Photo by Milca Gabb

One week in and so far 21 Burmese Pythons have been killed. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problem, never mind the probability that the majority of people doing the killing are just “regular Joes” out for a bit of fun. It is not hard to imagine that most of the Pythons killed will not go, for lack of a better word, “peacefully”. While I am all for species control and conservation, and recognise the seriousness of the problem in Florida, in my opinion, this was a terrible idea. As well as raising awareness to the problem of invasive species in Florida, this campaign is also increasing the popularity for hunting. Will all 1,000 + of these participants adhere to the rules and only kill Burmese Pythons in the requested way? I doubt it. The Python Challenge provides a lovely disguise for avid hunters to bag themselves some additional animals in the strict “no hunting zone” that is the Everglades.

The FWC need to sit down and come up with some better ideas, as it would appear that this one is already proving itself as a failure.

Ps: Don’t forget to like the Pawsforamoment Facebook Page for quick and up to date Animal related news 🙂

(Nearly 2 months since my last post SORRY , I am going to blame it on Christmas 😉 )

Authors Own : Arnhem Zoo

Authors Own : Arnhem Zoo

South Africa is very well known for its Rhinoceros populations and it is no wonder given it is home to over ¾ of the worlds Rhinoceros. The five main species alive today are the White, Black, Javan, Sumatran and Indian Rhinoceros, with 3 of these 5 on the critically endangered list. As if the outlook wasn’t bad enough, poaching in South Africa is on a scary rise, putting the pressure on the already fragile White and Black species of rhinoceros.

2008: 83
2009: 112
2010: 333
2011: 448
2012: 668

The figures above represent the number of Rhino’s killed in South Africa over the last 5 years. In the short space of time between 2010 and 2012 the number of killings doubled. Frightening to think what 2013 could bring if poaching is not dealt with once and for all.

Authors Own : Blijdorp Zoo

Authors Own : Blijdorp Zoo

So why are so many Rhinos being killed every year? These strong and beautiful animals are being killed simply for their horns, which are in high demand in Asia (mainly China and Vietnam) for use in “medicine”. They believe they have great healing powers and most recently has become a popular hangover remedy in Vietnam. A Rhino horn consists mainly of keratin which has no medicinal value and is found in human hair, skin and nails. In other words, there is no reason for so much killing, you could eat some hair and it would be much the same effect as a Rhino horn.

 

Unfortunately it is difficult to educate when people are so bent on cultural traditions and the demand will be there for Rhino horns for some time, so the problem of poaching will ever increase alongside demand. How can we stop this? ? Provide better education for people living along side Rhinos and areas with a demand for Rhino horns, better security against poachers in high risk areas, stricter laws on the trading of Rhino horns and other body parts. These are all areas which need to be looked at, however for all this money will always be an issue.

2013s figure could easily hit 1000 if killing continue to increase like they have over the last couple of years , scary when you put it like that isn’t it ?

Authors Own: Chester Zoo

Authors Own: Chester Zoo

Ps: Don’t forget to like the Pawsforamoment Facebook Page for quick and up to date Animal related news 🙂

…. Just not for the Turkey.

Did you know that every year in America up to 40 million Turkeys are slaughtered for the celebrations? Never mind the huge influx in poultry deaths, but what about all the cruelty surrounds the mass production of Turkeys. The same cruelty, unfortunately is common in any type of mass animal breeding production however given the time of year, my focus is currently on Turkeys. Right from the day they are born Turkeys bred for meat in battery farms are exposed to a world of stress and pain, for what short, rushed lives they have. Some of the following content will be a little disturbing to some, especially the video, so viewer discretion is advised.

Turkeys as you might imagine them

In order to prevent aggressive behaviour between the groups of Turkeys in intensive farming utilities, the tops of their beaks and toes are often cut off (without anesthetic) in order to prevent major injuries. This practice can cause infection in the beaks and discomfort thus leading to the Turkeys refusing to eat. They can also refuse food due to the stress of close living and general factory life. In this case the Turkeys are often force fed using a pipe, in a similar fashion to the Fois gras Geese highlighted in a previous article. This all seems pretty “Dark Ages” but unfortunately it is very 2012.

The Turkey you see on wildlife documentaries or on Thanksgiving posters are nowhere near the Turkey on your plate, due to genetic engineering. Turkeys have been bred out to grow twice as fast, twice as fat and have huge breasts in order to satisfy customer needs and demands. This abnormal growth can be very harmful and lead to a number of health issues including heart trouble, lung collapse and deformed legs due to the carrying of extra weight.

Factory farmed Turkeys [Image 1: Vegans peace home]

Butterball is a name which is pretty familiar to Americans around this time of year. They are one of America’s largest producers of Turkeys, and repeatedly being uncovered as one of the cruelest producers of turkey. Animal welfare organisations time and time again have exposed cases of abuse towards the animals kept on intense Turkey farms and a video was this year released by Mercy for Animals outlining some of the disgusting practices happening on Butterball farms today. The video shows keepers, kicking and injuring the already stressed out animals and one farmer even admits that the wounds these Turkeys carry are often infested with maggots. Imagine, a live animal being feasted on by maggots?

I would rather not, but it is happening every day , and I cannot highlight enough how important it is for you to be careful in choosing where you get your meat from, or better still, try a veggie option.

Image rights : Image One was taken from http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/turkey.htm , no copyright infringements intended.

Don’t forget to like the Pawsforamoment Facebook Page for quick and up to date Animal related news 🙂

(Sorry for the MASSIVE delay between posts, got a new job, big changes, no time :p )

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So the badgers are safe for another year. With the lack of research and evidence to support such an operation it is a relief to see they are going to give it a bit more thought. Fingers crossed they see sense by 2013!

If only the good news could continue, but this time, it is the Grey Seals in Canada that are taking the hit. In October, the Senate Committee in Fisheries announced they would endorse a four year plan for the culling of thousands (if not over a 100,000) Grey Seals in the Golf of St Lawrence in a bid to increase Cod stock. The fishing industry wants something done about the depletion in cod stocks and under the pressure, the seal cull, is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, “bright idea”. Getting to be a bit of a running theme this year, numbers in one species fall or money is threatened, cull down the unfortunate species that is being blamed.

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There is off course, as with the proposed badger cull in the UK, little evidence to support that a cut in seal numbers will lead to an increase in Cod numbers so how they can merit spending millions of dollars in the murder of the shy and un-deserving Grey seal, is a subject which angers me deeply. Am I alone on this? I would hardly think so. In fact better fishery management and sustainable fishing measurements in the first place would have prevented this and evidence would sway more towards over fishing then the seals being the main cause of a fall in Cod stocks.

As well as over fishing, the changes in the climates and the pollution of the earth’s waters would also play a big part in the drop in Cod numbers. With the use of common sense one cannot simply say that to cull a large number of the seal population in the Golf would boost the Cod stock and make for happy fishing once again. The Fisheries department and politicians need to take a serious look into the situation and carry out appropriate research before taking any action. In the UK, farmers called for answers to the TB situation and under pressure the badger cull solution was thrown out. This is turning out to be a very similar case and hopefully things will be researched properly in order to prevent the outrage and confusion that occurred in the summer with the badger cull proposal.

Early days on this, but hopefully there will be more information soon ( positive information). I will try and do a better job of keeping you all updated this time 😉

Don’t forget to like the Pawsforamoment Facebook Page for quick and up to date Animal related news 🙂

The resent death of a male surfer, off the coast of Western Australia after being attacked by a Great White Shark has spurred a debate as to whether or not this, the biggest of the shark species, should remain protected. This is the fifth fatal attack in this area since the start of 2012, recorded as the highest fatality rate in a given area due to Great White attacks. This has caused a bit of friction between the local fisheries/politicians and conservationists.

The question is: Who has the right to freedom in the waters surrounding Western Australia? The fatalities are no doubt tragic and I sympathise with the families of the deceased however my vote in this instant goes to the shark. They have been around much longer than humans have and while its behaviour is surrounded with a lot more mystery then a lot of its shark relatives, study suggests that humans are not considered a food source by the Great Whites. Why should Great white Sharks be culled for safer human recreation when there are much bigger threats to people out there which are not natural? Sharks just do what sharks do best, swim around, and occasionally chomp down on anything that looks like a potential food source.

Biologists have researched shark attacks for years and have come up with a theory for why sharks attack humans. They are a curious animal and may simply be “test biting” objects that intrigue them. It does not lessen the risk to people in shark inhabited areas but at least shows they are not simply “out to get us” as the film Jaws has suggested to people for years. Politicians are also suggesting that the Great White Shark population is increasing and that the ban, that was introduced in 1999 to protect them, should now be lifted in order to reduce the number of attacks. Sharks are difficult to survey but there is no evidence as of yet to support this. Plus the 5 fatalities could simply be a once off in statistics and it is too soon to launch out an attack on the Great White Shark based on a bad year.

At the end of the day, the surfers know the risks, and if wise will take as many precautions one can against a Shark attack. Potential Shark attack zones should be clearly marked and then people can make up their own minds about the risks before entering the water. Let the Great White sharks be, seeing as they are still listed by ICUN as “endangered” and let’s try to not get another species extinct due to human greed.

Don’t forget to like the Pawsforamoment Facebook Page for quick and up to date Animal related news 🙂