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Holocaust comparison 

March 10, 2017 Leave a comment

The Toronto Pig Save trial is on the front page of Canada’s National Post today, Friday March 10, surely due to the bold tack taken by Anita Krajnc’s defense lawyer, Gary Grill.The headline of the article, by Adrian Humphreys, reads, “Pig activist like Gandhi or Mandela, says lawyer.”

The story opens with: 

“A trial for a woman charged with giving water to a pig on its way to slaughter took on grand proportions Thursday with the treatment of pigs equated to the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany and the accused being compared to some of history’s greatest human rights champions: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Susan B. Anthony.

“In making closing submissions in the case against Anita Krajnc, who is charged with mischief after giving a roadside drink to a pig packed in a truck outside a Burlington slaughterhouse in 2015, her lawyer Gary Grill evoked the Holocaust.”

We learn that outside the court Grill commented on the Holocaust comparison:

“There are many important parallels that we can draw from the two things. One is our inability to have emotional contagion, somehow. Why don’t we feel the suffering of others? How do we close ourselves out to that, whether it be Jews being herded into a train or whether it be pigs?” 

We read:

“In his no-holds-barred defence, Grill summarized testimony from the five days of evidence that factory farming damages the environment and that ‘bacon is potentially lethal’ and that feeding bacon to a child is child abuse.”

And we learn:

“Instead of merely asking the judge to acquit Krajnc on a paucity of evidence brought by the Crown of any harm stemming from her actions, Grill encouraged the judge to strike a legal precedent – to accept her actions were justified for the public good.”

You’ll find the full, fascinating, National Post front page story (which apparently, oddly, is on the front page in all but the Toronto edition) online at http://tinyurl.com/zkumwps 

I would be surprised if the article doesn’t get some heavy pushback, so I urge you, today when it is so needed, to lend animals your voice in a letter to the National Post. The paper takes letters to the editor at letter@nationalpost.com . Always include your full name, address, and telephone number when sending a letter to the editor. 

Scotland’s mountain hare

March 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Since last Thursday, our petition to protect mountain hares in the Cairngorms National Park has collected over 3500 signatures, and we’ve only just started. We would love to get to 5000 today, so please take action and sign now.Last week, the mountain hare killing paused for the closed season. Shockingly, in the last few hours of the open season, a nature photographer snapped a disturbing image. An ATV packed with the dead bodies of mountain hares – scroll to the end of this email if you want to see it. A chilling reminder of what we’re up against. 

At least mountain hares are safe for the next five months. They can leap and bound across the hills, mate and breed, and graze the heather freely. Until August, when the killing can start again. Unless we come together and show we care for the mountain hare!

Here’s how one OneKind supporter, Cartoon Ralph, summarises the situation.

Mountain Hare by cartoon ralph

We believe our National Parks should be at the forefront of stopping the culls, so we’re sending a giant postcard to the Cairngorms National Park calling for an end to mountain hare culls within the Park. If you haven’t added your name to our postcard yet, then there’s still time to do it! 

Mountain hares are killed in huge numbers across Scotland by hunting parties who view it as a legitimate sport, by gamekeepers to manage land for red grouse shooting, and, to a lesser extent, to protect forestry. As it’s a free-for-all it’s hard to say how many are killed. The only official estimate is that 24,529 mountain hares were killed in one year back in 2006/07.That’s ten times more than the number of badgers killed in England’s badger culls in 2015. 

We believe that decisive leadership by the Park would not only protect mountain hare in the Cairngorms, but would be the first step towards greater protection of this iconic species across Scotland. 

TAKE ACTION NOW

The postcard will be handed in with your name on it alongside everyone else’s, sending a powerful message that we won’t stand for mass culls in our National Parks. Click here to sign the postcard now.

Please feel free to share this email with your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to support our campaign too. 

Let the lobsters live

March 10, 2017 1 comment

I was delighted to see that Australia’s animal cruelty conviction, for cruelty to a lobster, had made the Washington Post and Canada’s National Post, even before I read the Post article right through to the utterly perfect ending. Titled, “A seafood company killed a lobster – and was convicted of animal cruelty,” Arin Greenwood’s article appears in the Thursday March 9 edition of the Washington Post on page A14. A truncated version of the same article appears on page B3 of Canada’s National Post, titled, “Claw and order; New South Wales Firm Convicted For Cruelty To Lobster.”

Greenwood relays a story, as reported in The Guardian, which says that the Nicholas Seafood Company workers were convicted, having been seen, “butchering and dismembering lobsters with a band saw, without adequately stunning or killing them.”

She writes, 

“Depending on your perspective, this might both churn the stomach and raise confusing questions. Are you behaving monstrously if you boil a live lobster – a fairly common cooking method? Could you be found guilty of animal cruelty if so?

“The answer to the second question is pretty straightforward: As things stand now, you are highly unlikely to be convicted of animal cruelty for behaving badly, even very badly, toward a lobster.”

But this case, and this article, are big steps in the right direction! 

The article tells us, “In the United States, neither fish nor crustaceans are covered under the federal Animal Welfare Act, and they are mostly exempt from state animal-cruelty laws as well.” And we learn, “Laws regarding slaughter do not cover fish – or chickens.”
Then Greenwood writes:

“Why aren’t fish, crustaceans and chickens given these legal protections? It’s not because these creatures aren’t smart or don’t experience pain. There’s good evidence that they are and that they do. Jonathan Balcombe, author of the book ‘What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins,’ said he believes fish are sentient creatures with highly complex lives and societies.

“‘Their lives matter to them,’ he said. ‘I’ve become firmly convinced they deserve equal moral consideration to all other vertebrates.’

“Balcombe said the situation with crustaceans, as opposed to vertebrate fish, is ‘less clear.’ But research has shown that crustaceans do ‘remember and learn from apparently painful events,’ and that should bring them into our moral universe, he said.

“‘Sentience is the bedrock of ethics,’ he said.”

While the truncated Canada National Post version ends on that important note, the original Washington Post version continues with quotes from Hal Herzog, the author of “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat,” and from Steve Colman of Australia’s RSPCA, who says:

“We hope this conviction will expand the circle of empathy and welfare to crustaceans and more animals that often do not evoke the same level of compassion as others. With the scientific community proving lobsters feel pain and the New South Wales legislation backing that up, we’re excited to see such progress in the space of animal welfare, and we hope that this case can be a guiding light for others.”

And then, after letting us know where we can find out how “to dine on lobster but minimize its suffering,” Greenwood ends with,

“Or you could avoid all these questions and let the lobsters live.”

On line, there is an extra phrase, so the ending reads, “Or — just a friendly suggestion here — you could avoid all these questions and let the lobsters live.”

Friendly indeed!

You’ll find that Washington Post article on line at http://tinyurl.com/z27f6r4 

You’ll find the truncated but still superb version that appeared in today’s National Post (Canada) at http://tinyurl.com/j4u2t7k 

Canadians can respond to the latter, making the suggestion that got left out of the shortened piece, though please don’t use Greenwood’s exact words. Letters species — fish and chickens, for example, are specifically mentioned in the article. 

The Washington Post takes letters at letters@WashPost.com and Canada’s National Post takes them at letters@nationalpost.com   

Always include your full name, address, and telephone number when sending a letter to the editor.