ANIMAL WELFARE NOTICEBOARD - JUNE 2008
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From: Chris Gale
Date: 15 June 2008

FROM: NEWS/LETTERS 12-14 JUNE 08

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IT'S WRONG TO KILL WILD ANIMALS
13 June 2008
Western Daily Press

When this world was created, the beauty of the countryside was made for everyone, rich or poor.

The intention was for animals and birds to live beside the human race, wild animals mainly living in the countryside - not for man to seek them out and kill them. It wasn't meant for man to buy most of the land to shoot birds and go on to make a business out of such cruelty, also hunting down wild animals for pleasure in the most primitive way.

It is wrong to kill, especially to make money or just to gain some sort of barbaric enjoyment.

Norah Pound
Wroughton
Wiltshire

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BADGER IS A TB VICTIM, NOT VILLAIN
Gloucester Citizen
14-June-2008

THE great badgers and bovine TB debate has rumbled on for 37 years and has now come to a head with the current cattle TB crisis. Farmers and vets are certain badgers are the main reservoir of TB so insist a cull is essential. But everyone has forgotten how TB works in cows and why badgers got the blame in the first place.

TB spreads within and between herds if unchecked. So the whole point of annual testing is that it removes cases before they can pass TB on, and herds under restriction are not exporting TB carriers. So TB shrank to tiny south west hotspot pockets by the early 1970s, without any badger culls. Alas, the second impact of intensive testing is that cases are found so early that they are unconfirmed being without lesions or M.bovis on culture … but at least 80 per cent of such cases do have TB. In addition tests completely miss early and late TB cases so there is a huge 'undisclosed' reservoir of cattle TB. And that is why Old Brock got the blame by default.

With intensive annual testing in hotspots since the war, it seemed as if cattle were not the main infectious source of TB. Hence the lack of testing due to Foot and Mouth in 2001 was a one-off disastrous 'experiment'. TB exploded out of control with 30,000 reactors in 2005: twice the level as at the start of the area eradication scheme in 1961. Local movement of cattle expanded the former hotspots into one big hotspot in Devon/Cornwall. And worst of all, many big dairy herds now have non-reactor or anergic active spreader cases so have been under restriction since FMD or longer. Zero tolerance on overdue herd tests and more testing has begun to reduce the crisis without any need for badger culls.

Professor Bourne and the ISG's report last year claimed that proactive culls reduced cattle TB by 23 per cent, but due to perturbed badgers increased it by 20 per cent (reactive) to 25 per cent outside proactive areas. But this is complete and utter nonsense, since out of 11,000 badgers culled only 1515 had TB; in nearly half the 51 proactive culls there were 15 or fewer with TB out of 100sq km, and in total only 166 with advanced lesions which might have been a risk to cows (though it is still unclear how badgers are supposed to give cows a respiratory lung infection). The rises in TB happened before the reactive cull inside and outside no cull areas and was part of the national upsurge.

Innocent bystander, victim not villain
M Hancox
via email

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COMMENTARY: NO MORE YEN FOR WHALES
Caribbean Net News
Saturday, June 14, 2008
By Sir Ronald Sanders

Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, and his cabinet have taken a decision that will not endear them to the Japan Whaling Association or to some of the governments in nearby Caribbean states. But, it may help to stop the wanton slaughter of hundreds of whales every year and, at the same time, contribute to a growing tourist attraction in the Caribbean – whale watching.

Skerrit has announced, in advance of the 60th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on June 23rd, that the country’s representative will abstain on a vote for “the sustainable use of marine resources”. Read “sustainable use of marine resources” to mean “killing whales”.

Every year the Japanese hunt and kill 1,200 whales and it defends its position at the IWC. With an increasing number of countries, including many in Latin America, Asia and Africa, opposing the unjustified killing of whales, Japan is outnumbered. So, it set out to recruit small countries to join the IWC as supporters in exchange for giving them fisheries facilities.

Over time, these mostly refrigerated storage units, have become white elephants. They sit on the shores underutilised, and not serving the fishing community which lacks the capacity to catch the amount of fish necessary to fill them. They may have served a purpose at the time of their establishment when the governments of these small states pointed to them as indicators of investment in their small and less well-off fishing communities. Today, it is clear the fishing communities would have done better if investment had been made in improving their capacity to fish with bigger boats and more modern technology by giving grants or very low interest loans.

Many of the countries that Japan recruited to bolster its position in the IWC cannot afford to join other international organisations that are of importance to them or send delegations to meetings. Yet, they have somehow managed both to meet the cost of membership of the IWC and to send vociferous delegations to its meetings.

Observers point out that many of these small countries have no provision in their budgets for membership of the IWC. And reports by the media, including the BBC, suggest that the Japanese Whaling Association pays the costs, and calls the tune. It is also pointed out that, apart from St Vincent & the Grenadines, there is no history of whale hunting among the small Caribbean islands and no “national interest” reason for supporting the Japanese position.

Indeed, the reverse may be true since there is a vibrant and growing “whale watching” sector to the tourism industry in the Caribbean, including Dominica. The value of “whale watching’ to Caribbean tourism is estimated by some at US$22 million. Others argue that this figure is conservative, and if capacity were strengthened it could earn much more.

Many international organisations - and knowledgeable persons within Caribbean countries – have accused the Japanese of “buying” the votes of six small Caribbean countries of which Dominica is one. Indeed, when Skerrit made his announcement, Andrew Armour, President of Carib Whale, a group advocating for the protection of marine resources, is reported by the Caribbean Media Corporation as saying that Japan is no longer interested in “buying votes”.

Those who support the Japanese position in the Caribbean – now only representatives of five countries – claim that they do so for two reasons. The first is that “whales eat fish” and therefore deprive Caribbean fishermen and Caribbean people of the food they need. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that whales are depleting the fish stocks available to man in the region – the claim is a red herring. The second is that “the denial of sustainable use of whales today, can lead to the denial of the use of other marine sources tomorrow”. This is a fear-mongering argument that has no evidentiary basis, but is promoted by the Japanese and echoed by their few vocal Caribbean clients.

Japan has long opposed the prohibition of whale hunting by the IWC and has ignored international treaties, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. When Japanese fishermen kill up to 1,200 whales a year, Japan defends this action as being in conformity with the IWC scientific whaling criteria. But, a distinguished panel of lawyers in 2006 found that Japanese scientific whaling is unlawful and contravenes several international conventions including the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Among the panel of legal experts is the internationally-recognised British lawyer, Philppe Sands, the author of “Lawless World: America and the making and breaking of global rules”, an account of the US disregarding international law and rules.

Prime Minister Skerrit and his government deserve congratulations for taking the decision to abstain on the vote. In doing so, Dominica is “breaking a trend that (Dominica has) maintained for a number of years”, as Skerrit himself said. He has done so in recognition not of Japan’s ambitions, but of Dominica’s national interest. The other Caribbean countries should do the same.

In a highly competitive world in which small island states are at the far margins of international concern, Dominica’s economy has already been ripped to shreds by the loss of its preferential access for its bananas into the market of the European Union. Its financial services sector has also been destroyed by the actions of big countries, including Japan which was a hawk in crushing off shore financial centres in 2000 when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) imposed its so-called ‘harmful tax competition initiative’.

Dominica is now clinging to its attraction as the ‘nature island of the Caribbean’; its pristine rainforests; and its wonderful Caribbean charm to develop a tourism industry to bolster its economy. As Skerrit himself alluded in announcing his decision not to support the Japanese anymore: the pursuit of the goal of promoting the natural environment is inconsistent with killing one of its most magnificent species.

It is time that the yen for whale killing be rejected by all.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a business
executive and former Caribbean
diplomat who publishes widely
on small states in the global
community. Reponses to:
ronaldsanders29@hotmail.com