Intimate with Nature Society Bulgaria & Animal Friends Croatia
Young People in Eastern Europe and Animal Protection (Workshop, 29-31 January, 2004, Zagreb)
With the Financial Assistance of Allavida, YouthExchange.SEE
How do Young People from Bulgaria Understand “Animal Protection”,
Based on the Essay Competition “How do I understand animal protection” released in Bulgaria between 1st October – 1st December 2003.
This report aims at providing a secondary assessment on the results of the essay competition How do I understand animal protection released among young people in Bulgaria aged between 12 and 29 years old in 2003. This report is an inseparable part from the project “How do I understand animal protection”. The project includes an essay competition on the same topic and a workshop on the topic “How do young people from South Eastern Europe understand animal protection” 29-31 January 2004 in Zagreb, Croatia funded by the program YouthExchange, Allavida.
The main question this report takes into account is about the understanding of animal protection by young people in Bulgaria as depicted from the essays received during the essay competition in October-December 2003. The report tries to clarify the differences between the understanding of animal protection of the Bulgarian youth and the understanding of animal protection as a main and central concept of work of Intimate with Nature Society (IWNS). The main task of this report is to build up new solutions and ideas how to enlarge the effectiveness of organizations working for promoting humane treatment to animals in South Eastern Europe.
The problem this report is facing has a more large scale than the essay competition itself. The problem is based on the relation between non-governmental organizations such as IWNS working for promoting an attitude of humane treatment towards non-human animals and the young people of South Eastern European countries where it is expected to be found a completely different understanding of the notion of animal protection. The statement here is that even though members of non-governmental organizations for animal protection are peoples from the non-western countries as well, the professionalization of their work is highly dominated by a western notion of animal protection. This statement is built upon the fact that the animal protection as an ethical and philosophical argumentation that was followed by the creation of laws and regulations, different movements and actions for humane treatment to animals is developed as a policy in the western countries.
Although the very philosophy of the attitude of humane treatment to animals is expressed in East Asian regions such as India, China, others, there is a specific western style of activism that is typical for the West and is developed by NGOs in Bulgaria and Croatia as well. Examples of this statement: it is in the 1911 that the first law for animal protection appeared in the UK followed by most of the Western European countries’ legislation. Than philosophers and scientists came up with broadening the notion of animal protection and created policies such as vegetarianism, animal rights movements, animal welfare, feminists for animals, anti-vivisectionists, movements against the usage of animals in experiments, others (IWNS: 2002). The proliferation of these styles creates to a certain extent the differences between the NGOs themselves.
The question that arises from the work of NGOs in South Eastern Europe on animal protection is that their effectiveness depends on a different understanding of animal protection by the people towards which our work is oriented. That is the reason why NGOs are sometimes misunderstood or simply marginalized. The usefulness of this inner assessment report is to clarify those differences between the understanding of animal protection by young people in Bulgaria and the understanding of animal protection by the organizations of animal protection. To put into brackets all the differences between the attitude towards animal protection by the NGOs themselves, we will use one simple definition here. It is wildly accepted by most of the organizations working for animal protection that humane treatment towards animals is needed because animals are sentient beings. So animal protection is understood as activism towards giving possibility of non-cruel, non-harmful existence of sentient beings like us, the people.
Information dissemination campaign for the essay competition: between 25th September and 10th October / some leaflets were disseminated later towards the end of November/
• 2000 leaflets /only in Sofia/ - covering schools and universities
• 100 posters /only in Sofia/ - covering schools and universities
• 1 radio talk-show
• internet website (www.iwns.org)
• Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (three times)
• Faxes to media
• Internet bulletins
Participants in the essay competition How do I understand animal protection, October-December 2003, Bulgaria: 78
• 63 essay compositions
• 2 poems
• 13 paintings
30% from Sofia, 30% male, 30% aged over 18 years old
30% of the essays were received by e-mail.
From the upper statistical information it can be deducted that the information dissemination campaign had not good results considering the participation from the part of the students in universities and the overall participation from Sofia and Sofia region. One of the reasons for the results in Sofia might be the small quantity of leaflets and posters. Usually the posters were on the walls no more than two days and afterwards were covered by other notes or simply cut into pieces. 2000 leaflets were spread into 30 to 100 depending on the amount of students in each school or university. Thus 2000 leaflets covered less than 60 schools and 10 universities - 25 leaflets approximately per school. It seems that the participants from the cities out of Sofia were informed through Internet or local mass media.
For this report it is important to take into account that the predominant opinion expressed in the essays would be that of young people under 18 years old, usually schoolboys and schoolgirls. Thus it is expected that the animal protection attitude would depend highly on the notion expressed in their classes at school in biology or zoology. A certain enlargement of this standpoint might be depicted in young people that have special interest in animal protection, participation in organizations for animal protection or simply having such a hobby. It is highly believable that such might be the case as animals are taking greater part in social and human life of young people today.
Three people that have devoted their professional time to animal protection represented the commission for evaluation of the essay competition. One of them was member of the State Office for Animal Welfare at the Ministry of Agriculture, the second one is a member of the United States Agency for Bioethics and a professor in Environmental law and the third one was a writer and journalist with special interests in animal protection.
Thus it is expected that the essays of the winners have to have much in common with the notion of animal protection as protection of sentient beings. The commission decided to give additional prizes to four more participants.
What is common for the top three essays is their large informative content in the different spheres of the animal protection issues, analyzing of laws or philosophical context. Very rich into content the main statement of the three of them is that humans are reasoning beings and as long as people are enforced to take seriously into account the problem with animals like living creatures there are ways these problems to be surpassed.
The other four are representative much more for the group of essays with good literature style and not so much for their informativeness. Three of them are giving a picture of animal protection as acceptance of the existence of different realities: the reality of the human being and the reality of the animal, their different perceptions towards life and thus their same value.
We can divide from the whole essays into three groups. The first one is that is highly informative with a lots of facts and arguments and usually ends up with the argument for the human being as the only one creature that has reason and should work for the wellbeing of the whole planet – earth and animal kingdom. The second group is less factological but usually more philosophical. This group considers the human being, the technological progress that was created by people as the cause of the collapse of the human world. The third group is the one of representing the vision of animal protection as accepting the perspective of animal’s reality. This group might be looked as closer to the idea of animal protection of sentient beings.
Most of the participants expressed on different occasions a criticism that the topic of the competition is too broad: “it might include everything”. In fact this was done on purpose in order to see what is the first association with animal protection for most of the people.
• Animal protection as animal preservation of animals from extinction
The greatest part of the essays’ ideas mix two notions into one for most of them link animal protection to the preservation of animals’ habitat /ecological environment/ and preservation from extinction of wild animals. It is accepted that human beings have essential needs for the living linked to animals such as the meat, the fur cloths, etc. The human and the animal are exposed as being part of one organism on the Earth, which is depended to one another. The Earth is explained as an organism into which there should be a balance and this balance (harmony) depends on the attitude of humans towards animals. The link between humans and animals is represented as a stare with shelves. On the upper shelf is the human being with its reason. Animals are on the lower shelves and than come the plants. That entire schema is named as the organism. Animal protection is interpreted as self-protection of the human being. If animals are not protected there is going to be a disbalancement in the organism and the humans would destruct themselves.
Usually in according these essays animal protection activities should be dedicated to fight for measures against the hunting especially of wild animals protected by the laws and the illegal traffic of animals. The essays mention the need for creation of preservation zones and habitats for birds, wild animals. The essays underlie the importance of the zoos (the case of Djerald Darul) for reproducing the frightened from extinction animals.
• Animal protection as contemplation
Another larger group (we put into it those that “look through the eyes of the animal” as a hidden assumption) represent the relation between the human being and the animal dismantled because of the technological progress and the hostility in the human mind. Those essays criticize any kind of activism made by people. “Whatever is done is totally fake, it is created by the human corrupted mind” – to put animals into shelters for dogs or bears, to sterilize them…(Num.: 24). “I want to say to all the world – the damn actions and organizations doesn’t work! All we are just protesting moralizers! (Num.: 60). Those types of essays do not give alternatives because the alternative does not exist. In those essays there is usually a play with antagonistic ideas: it is much more about esthetics and beauty of life than cruelty. Cruelty comes to be questioned in the animal welfare and animal rights essays.
• Animal protection as welfare
There are several essays that bring into question the problem of responsibilities of humans. Those essays are sometimes optimistic and usually speak about having respect towards animals because animals means anima (In Bulgarian means life) and we should have respect to life! Usually the lack of responsibility is explained as coming from the technological progress again but in the perspective of the human being that has lost itself into the progress and his mind has to be enlightened in order to find it. That is the reason why animal protection should speak loud about responsibilities and limitation of the usage of animals, especially speaking of cruelty and intensive technologies. The technological progress is connected to consumption as well. It is expected that the awakening of the humans would bring the restriction of the consumerism to some acceptable limits. The question of experiments of animals and the fur cloths is problematized as if there are possibilities to diminish the usage of animals but not to stop this production (the argument is looked in the human past – “humans have always been using animals for this”).
• Animal protection as animal rights
There are two essays that speak radically about animal protection. The first of them (Num. 1) is talking about the protection of the “personality” of the animals especially in cases of cruelty /the abandoning of an animal/. The theme of animal rights is concretely developed in one essay (Num.: 61) animal protection is said to be the saving of animals’ life everyday being a vegetarian. This essay is against the exploitation of animals by people in any forms. The essay is exposing the problems rising from the fur industry, the killing of animals for cosmetics and the medical experiments, the daily cruelty in killing farm animals for food.
The animal protection as welfare and rights cover concrete themes of protection of animals in the farm industry, during transports the experiments and in circuses. We have to say that such essays represent less than 1/3 of all the essays.
Larger exploitation in the essays has the theme of the abandonment of animals – the stray dogs, which was expected, as the stray dogs are the major animal protection problem and largely discussed by the whole society.
While discussing the criteria of the essay evaluation the team was expecting to provoke a much more research even scientific work on the texts than simple criticizing of facts. That was the reason for building criteria such as logic of argumentation, informativeness of the text and originality. But the results were quite different from what we expected. Most of the works were full of information such as facts and citations but there was a very narrow attempt for in-depth research. We as a team reached a sort of an explanation for these results in the fact that the criteria for evaluation, which are always sort of abstract, produced greater problems because the topic of the essay was too broad. Thus it is very difficult to decide whether the information is enough and thoroughly discussed because the topic itself is changing. In addition to this problem comes the idea of the literature style – the essay.
Apart from this question the information in the essays was predominantly coming from the “Red book”, encyclopaedias and manuals in biology and zoology. The questions of welfare and rights were rare and were usually very close to the information on our website.
It is important to underline that an essay competition on animal protection is released for the first time in Bulgaria and the theme is completely different and unexpected in comparison with the regular topics for writing of essays that were launched for the past 10 years. Even though released for the first time the competition provoked the imagination of lots of people, especially among the youngest and we received 78th different works, even paintings!
The first and the most important of the conclusions we made after analyzing the results is that animal protection according to young people in Bulgaria in the majority of the cases is linked to environmental problems and the preservation of animals. This means that animal protection, as humane treatment to animals is not discussed and not accentuated attitude among young people in Bulgaria. This means that we have not reached people and they do not consider important the essential ethos for humane treatment to animals. Thus any kind of activity for animal protection – such as establishment of laws for animal protection or groups for checking animal transport would be judged as an exoticism and not as a question of responsibility for everyone of us.
One second conclusion of the inner assessment analysis is that one big majority of the people is against activism towards animals at all. The contemplation of nature and animals is the passive position that might be kind of typical for Bulgarian, just as a hypothesis. And if it is like that, there is an important need for articulation of the reasons for such an activism if we do want to work as NGOs and involve more people in our activities.
And here comes the question of the policies of these activities. If we have to stick to the essays, the majority of them are much more oriented towards animal welfare and non-radicalism than animal rights. Although the non-radicalism might be close to the passiveness it is very important to be discussed whether a radical or non-radical policy would be more effective in order to achieve the aims of popularization and involvement of more people in animal protection.
After 60 days of duration of competition and intensive preparation of its promotion through numerous media, we are pleased to say that competition ended successfully and three prizewinners are selected. Considering that we received only 10 essays, besides the short works made by children with special needs, which were awarded out of competition, we must say that we are not too pleased because, to be honest, we expected much greater number of essays.
Why do we say only 10 essays? Considering that our activists did absolutely everything in their power to announce this competition (thousands of leaflets were handed out, hundreds of posters distributed in forty high schools and colleges over Zagreb, posters were put in city center, announcements made during documentary movies projections, leaflets were handed out on our information stands, press releases were sent to over thirty media which announced the competition in daily newspapers, informative TV and radio programs, Internet portals, announcement of the competition was made on the home page of our web site, and inquiries of interested people about the competition were made via e-mail and phone), the final number of essays we received is surprisingly low. Seems that not even financial awards weren't good enough ‘'bait'’ for our young intellectuals to write a few words about their statements on animal protection.
The fact that we received more essays from surrounding places than Zagreb itself which was our primary target and goal, and more than a third essays came from secondary school students, shows the Zagreb citizens' interest in animal protection is very low. Low interest for the best essay competition ''How do I understand animal protection'' reflects the everyday situation of our city (and generally in Croatia) Animal Friends Croatia struggle with through educational campaigns organized to develop an awareness of animal rights and welfare. Surprisingly strong support of media we have is diametrically opposite to interest of individuals in animal welfare, what is proved once again in this case.
There's a long way of education about animal welfare, rights and protection ahead of us, and this competition is one small but important step on the way to our final goal – total animal liberation. When we look at it from that point of view, the competition fully succeeded. Those who failed are ones who had a chance to take part in this competition and raise their voice for animals, but decided not to. We'll give them time to think will they ever help to make a difference, whilst we are moving on. There's no time to lose. Animals are still suffering, hurting and dying, so all we can say is – the show must go on.
The movement for the protection and liberation of animals is growing all the time. Many people work, interact and cooperate daily in order to protect animal rights. However, while humans have the ability to protect rights by writing laws and then follow them by means of reading, animals do not have that ability. They can not comprehend the concept of breaking a law or the sanctions, which derive from a law. That fact has encouraged many people to claim that animals should not be subject to law, and, subsequently, they should be denied any rights. Do they truly have the arguments to support their case?
To say that one should not acknowledge certain rights to beings which can not comprehend laws is contradictory to current practice. Positive laws apply to many people who do not have the mental capacities to read, write or understand laws. These categories include mentally challenged or brain damaged people, or people who had difficulties in their development. But no matter how impossible it is for them to act in accordance with the law, they still have certain rights such as the right to life, physical integrity, freedom and expression of their free will. Human race decided long time ago that mental capacity of a person should have no influence on their content of rights. So should it have any influence when it comes to animals?
Those who think that it should are a special sort of people, the kind that believes in a superior race. They also share something with the nazi phylosophy which said that all beings considered 'unworthy, less capable' should be exterminated, or ,at the very least, exploited. When we apply this sort of thinking to animals, we get specism. Just because animals can not speak our language or dance our dances, they can be killed freely. Judging by criteria which are based on human culture and human achievements is wrong. Animals themselves are capable of certain things that humans can only dream about- they are capable of flight, infra-red vision, ultrasound, extrasensory perception, and many things that man has not even begun to understand. That does not mean that animals are less worthy, they are simply different.
The battle for animal rights does not start from animals. It starts from people. Humans are the most powerful race on the planet, and they can destroy every species, including their own. Therefore, animals are not strong enough to fight the battle themselves. They need people to fight for them. They need people who acknowledge that all beings are equal. Different, but equal. Such people work together and make an effort to pass laws which protect the ones that can not speak nor write.
The human race has evolved through centuries from a species which applied cruel laws of nature- such as the right to kill or enslave people or nations which were weaker- into a race which realized that physical inferiority does not indicate inferiority in a cultural or social development. On the contrary, physical inferiority can create moral and social characteristics that a physically superior person may never develop. And to preserve such achievements, humans have developed a legal and judiciary system to protect them. That is why today it is illegal to kill, torture or sterylize physically or mentally challenged people, a practice well known during the nazi regime. In fact, there are documents on the international level, such as the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantee the protection of basic human rights on a global level. This charter does not differentiate between the weak and the strong, but declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This sort of legal protection is crucial to the protection of rights.
All of the above mentioned applies to animals, too. Without the rule of law, animal protection is impossible. To begin with, there should be a general document on a global level, which would declare certain 'self-evident, unalienable' rights of animals. Rights which would acknowledge that animals have values, abilities and inner worth which ought to be respected and cherished. These values and abilities should be looked upon by humans and serve as a learning treasure to be preserved. Exploitation and torture of other living beings may only stand as an enduring obstacle toward progress of the human race.
Many of today's animals do not have any rights. In rare cases, certain species, such as dogs and cats, are given legal protection. This only proves severe discrimination when it comes to animal rights. Species are not considered to have equal values. Humans cherish only the abilities which can help or suit people in certain ways. Cats are gentle, dogs are loyal, dolphins are friendly. A relationship which is based on this understanding can only be degrading towards animals, and recognizes animals only as therapeutes, guards or companions. Again, inner worth is ignored. That is why, when there is no need for the kind of values these animals provide us with, they become suitable to be only our food. The practice of eating cats and dogs in China or dolphins in Japan has been well documented.
The battle for animal rights has just begun. It will finish once the human race realizes the true values of all animals. And these values should not be modeled upon man and his view of the world. Man should stop protecting only animals which hold value for man and start protecting all living beings, no matter how scary, ugly or mysterious they might seem. Because, in the end, it is our fears we have to face, and the most dominant among them is fear of what we might achieve and how we might evolve once we grant animals certain basic rights. How many times have we wondered what would we eat if it were not for animals, what would warm our skin and how we would test our cosmetics? Without granting animals their rights, we will never find out. But to say that the world without the exploitation of animals is impossible only means that we underestimate our powers and strengths and still do not realize what man is capable of. Granting certain rights to animals would ask of man to use his creative and inventive powers to resolve living conditions free of animal exploitation. This could lead toward another revolution, more comprehensive and more fundamental than any industrial or political revolution in history. Complete liberation of animals is the only means of liberation of man.
There's little doubt anymore that vegetarianism/veganism is going mainstream. Many people eliminate animal foods from their diet because of health concerns. Other people become vegetarians/vegans out of concern for animal welfare. On today's factory farms, animals often spend their entire lives confined to cages or stalls barely larger than their own bodies. Death for these animals doesn't always come quickly-or painlessly. Reducing health risks and eliminating animal suffering are just two reasons to go vegetarian/vegan; adopting a plant-based diet can also help protect the environment and feed the hungry.
Animal suffering in meat industry is one of the biggest animal rights and protection issues worldwide today. Here is where animals suffer most. Here is where each animal rights advocate shall point his finger and say, “Let’s start from here!” Numbers are just overwhelming. Numbers are too big even to comprehend. Therefore, let’s listen together to the voices of reason from the people who have risen in defense of the most abused animals on our planet.
Ruth Gelhert: "Killing animals hardens humans hearts! Eating animals hardens humans arteries!" (The Humane Crusade)
Dick Gregory (Long time peace activist): "If you can justify killing to eat meat, you can justify the conditions of the ghetto. I can't justify either one!"
Mahatma Gandhi: "I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species. To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being."
Rousseau: "The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger for the sweet and gentle creatures who harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service."
Robert Louis Stevenson: "We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions, and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of fear and pain."
Henry David Thoreau: "I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race in its gradual development to leave off the eating of animals as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with civilization."
Dick Gregory (Long Time Peace Activist): "Animals and humans suffer and die alike. If you had to kill your own calf before you ate it, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the calf scream, to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from its momma, and to see the look of death in the animal's eye would turn your stomach. So you get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you." (The Shadow that Scares Me)
Diogenes: "We might as well eat the flesh of men as the flesh of other animals."
Plutarch: "Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? I, for my part, marvel at what sort of feeling, mind, or reason that man was possessed who was the first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his lips to touch the flesh of the murdered beings; who spread his table with the mangled forms of dead bodies, and claimed as his daily food what were but now beings endowed with movement, with perception, and with voice. How could his eyes endure the spectacle of the flayed and dismembered limbs? How was his taste not sickened by contact with festering wounds, with the pollution of corrupted blood and juices? Man makes use of flesh not out of want and necessity, seeing that he has the liberty to make his choice of herbs and fruits the plenty of which is inexhaustible; but out of luxury, and being cloyed with necessaries, he seeks after impure and inconvenient diet, purchased by the slaughter of living beings; by showing himself more cruel than the most savage of wild beasts." (Essay on Flesh Eating)
George Bernard Shaw: "Why should you call me to account for eating decently? If I battered on the scorched corpses of animals, you might well ask me why I did that. While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered animals, how can we expect any ideal conditions on the earth??? ... We are the living graves of murdered beasts, Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites. We never pause to wonder at our feasts, If animals, like men, can possibly have rights. We pray on Sundays that we may have light, To guide our footsteps on the path we tread. We're sick of war, we do not want to fight - The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread, And yet -- we gorge ourselves upon the dead! Like carrion crows, we live and feed on meat, Regardless of the suffering and pain We cause by doing so. If thus we treat Defenseless animals for sport or gain, How can we hope in this world to attain The PEACE we say we are so anxious for. We pray for it, o'er hecatombs of slain, to God, while outraging the moral law, This cruelty begets its offspring -- WAR!"
Farm Sanctuary: "Humane slaughter??? People have been led to believe that animals are now slaughtered 'humanely' thus removing any humanitarian objection to eating flesh. Unfortunately, the entire life of a captive 'food animal' is unnatural: artificial breeding /vicious castration/ hormone stimulation/abnormal fattening diet (including own excrement and cement!)/ long rides to slaughter while in intense pain... Then, the holding pens/electric prods/tail-twisting/the terror/the fright/the accidental misses of the 'humane' slaughter stunning device are still a part of the most 'modern' animal raising/shipping/slaughtering. To accept all this and oppose only the callous brutality of the last minutes of the animal's life is to debase/corrupt the very word 'humane'! All these cruelties in the animal's life remain the same. You can't tell how your meat was raised/shipped/murdered..."
Farm Sanctuary: "Downers: After years of brutal treatment at the factory dairy farm, worn out/debilitated dairy cows are trucked to slaughter but they're so sick/injured they can't even stand. The industry calls them 'downed animals' or 'downers', yet, they prod them with painful instruments/they still can't get up so they drag them with chains/ pull them with forklifts causing bruises/abrasions/ fractures/ torn ligaments... They lie for days without getting their most basic needs. Many die slowly... Survivors become ground beef!"
Ralph Waldo Trine: "The only consistent humanitarian is the one who is not a flesh eater."
Isaac Bashevis Singer (Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature): "For some time now he had been thinking of becoming a vegetarian. At every opportunity, he pointed out that what the Nazis had done to the Jews, humans were doing to the animals." (Enemies, A Love Story)
PETANEWS: "A 'milk-fed' veal calf is torn from his mother (a dairy cow) at birth/dragged to auction/to a dark barn on a veal farm/chained by the neck, in a tiny wooden crate, in a bare slatted floor, unable to turn around, stretch, groom himself, forced to lie on his own excrements... he will never feel sunlight or chew on sweet grass, kick up in playfulness, stretch out quietly on the grass... He's force-fed a diet to make him anemic to keep his flesh tender/ white (but fattening)/laced with excessive antibiotics to make him survive despite these abominable conditions! For 16 weeks he suffers loneliness, maternal deprivation, fear, despair, inability to move, physical and mental pain, anemia, respiratory disorders, diarrhea, until dragged from his dungeon to his slaughter, sick with pneumonia/'scours'/ barely able to hold up his fattened body on wobbly/unused legs. YET, he's poked/prodded with painful instruments... to his death!!!"
Isaac Bashevis Singer (Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature): "I became a vegetarian not just for my own health... but for the health of the chickens."
Ancient Chinese Verse: "For hundreds of thousands of years the stew in the pot has brewed hatred and resentment that is difficult to stop. If you wish to know why there are disasters of armies in the world, listen to the cries from the slaughterhouse at midnight."
Factsheet No. 10 (PETA): "Honey producers, among other horrors, cut off the queen bee's wings so she can't leave the colony and artificially inseminate her in a bee-sized version of the factory farm 'rape rack.' They take all the honey instead of leaving the 60 pounds or so that bees need to get through the winter. They replace their rich honey with a cheap sugar substitute that's neither nutritious nor tasty. In colder areas, they consider it too costly to keep the bees alive through the winter so they burn the hives but are also often killed by tearing off their wings and legs or by haphazard handling. To produce one pound of honey, bees must get pollen from 2 million flowers and must fly more than 55,000 miles! Since early 20th century, humans turned bees into factory-farm animals. HEALTHIER/ BETTER REPLACEMENTS INCLUDE rice syrup/molasses/sorghum/ barley malt/maple syrup/dried fruit/ fruit concentrates."
Isaac Bashevis Singer (Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature): "The suffering of animals makes me very sad, that's why I'm a vegetarian. When I see how little attention people pay to animals, and how easily they make peace with man being allowed to do with animals whatever he wants because he keeps a knife or a gun, it gives me a feeling of misery and sometimes anger with the Almighty! I say, 'Do you need your glory to be connected with so much suffering of just innocent creatures who would like to pass a few years in peace???'"
The Internet Magazine (Animal Place Sanctuary): "WHAT EATING FLESH DOES TO YOUR WORLD: Wildlife: When 'farm' animals graze on public lands, ranchers (especially sheep ranchers), indiscriminately practice predator control: trapping/ poisoning wildlife to protect their livestock feeding grounds. Coyotes/wolves/other wouldn't be poisoned/shot if people didn't eat steak/lamb/other. Environment: slaughterhouses/feedlots major polluters of rivers/streams filling them with poisonous residues/ animal waste/greatest producers of sewage wastes in the U.S. A hen factory housing 60,000 birds produces 82 tons of manure per week; 'farm animals', 2 billion tons of manure per year, 10 times the human population! It goes into ground water/streams/rivers/ lakes. Water: Millions of gallons of water used every day in just ONE plant to process chickens (which among other things are fed cement to boost their weight!) which could service instead a community of 25,000 people. It takes 25 times more water to produce ONE pound of meat than ONE pound of vegetables! Rainforests: Meat industry destroys them at the rate of 35 acres per MINUTE! The rainforests are the lungs of the earth because of its oxygen-producing function. Bulldozers clear huge tracts of rainforest to plant grazing grasses for the cattle. The fast food outlets graze cattle there and sell the cheap meat to America to create the unhealthy American burger. Rainforests CANNOT be replanted and millions of birds/ monkeys/snakes/other species lose their homes and die! Heart Disease: Leading cause of death in the U.S. Risk of death from a heart attack for the average American man is 50% - for the average American man who is a vegan (total vegetarian) is only 4%!!! Cancer: Risk of many forms of cancer is reduced when one stops eating animal products. There's direct correlation between meat consumption and cervical/prostate/ colon/breast cancer."
CONTACT Magazine: "Every second in the United States, 240 animals are raised in misery, transported in pain, and brutally killed for human consumption!"
Clementine Homilies (2nd Century): "The unnatural eating of flesh-meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its unpure feasts, through participation in which a man becomes a fellow-eater with devils."
Steve Lustgarden: "Shrimp fishing is particularly indiscriminate. For every pound of shrimp sold, upwards of 20 pounds of other sea creatures are caught and returned to the sea dead or dying. Catching tuna is now more dolphin-friendly, but they still ensnare/kill thousands of sharks/turtles/ billfish. (They also kill tuna, majestic creatures that reach 1000 pounds and speeds of 55 mph). For every king crab that reaches the fish case, 5 or 6 others (mostly juveniles) are caught/tossed overboard! As disturbing as these figures are, the magnitude of the waste is significantly more since much 'bykill' is never reported." (EarthSave Long Island)
The Internet Magazine: "All factory farm animals are crammed together/raised in close confinement so problems occur! To 'correct' them they give them lots of drugs plus antibiotics for everything! And/or, they mutilate the animals' bodies, lopping off parts causing the problems, with no anesthesia ever!"
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize Winner (Author The Color Purple): "As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought as I took the first bite... and spit it out!"
Dr. Steven Margolin: "It takes one bee's entire lifetime to produce a single tablespoon of honey from flower nectar!" (Midtown Resident Newspaper)
Isaac Bashevis Singer (Nobel Laureate): "People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this were a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times."
Upton Sinclair: "The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing, for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back. One by one the men hooked up the hogs and slit their throats. There was a line of hogs with squeals and lifeblood ebbing away… until at last each vanished into a huge vat of boiling water (some still alive). The hogs were so innocent. They came so very trustingly. They were so very human in their protests. They had done nothing to deserve it."
Howard Lyman (Ex cattle rancher-turned vegetarian advocate): "Only about 10% of wild animals eat other animals."
George Cheyne (1671-1743): "To see the convulsions, agonies and tortures of a poor fellow-creature, whom they cannot restore nor recompense, dying to gratify luxury and tickle callous and rank organs, must require a rocky heart, and a great degree of cruelty and ferocity. I cannot find any great difference, on the foot of natural reason and equity only, between feeding on human flesh and feeding on (other) animal flesh, except custom and example." (Essay on Regimen)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948): "... the basis of my vegetarianism is not physical, but moral. If anybody said that I should die if I did not take beef-tea or mutton, even under medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism. I would love to think that all of us who called ourselves vegetarians should have that basis. There were thousands of meat-eaters who did not stay meat-eaters. There must be a definite reason for our making that change in our lives, for our adopting habits and customs different from society, even though sometimes that change may offend those nearest and dearest to us. Not for the world should you sacrifice a moral principle. Therefore the only basis for having a vegetarian society and proclaiming a vegetarian principle is, and must be, a moral one." (Address to London Vegetarian Society, 20 November 1931)
Ernest Bell (1851-1933): "Vegetarianism is not a fad. It is a great and essential part of the religion of humanity. It is a step into a higher, because a less selfish, plane of life. It makes progress possible, and both individual and social development is at present seriously blocked by the meat habit and all that it implies and involves. As long as we treat other living, sensitive creatures with like feelings as ours only as carcases for the market, and meat to be consumed, we must shut our eyes to the real kinship of all living things, and thus loose an essential factor in learning to understand, even in some degree, this mysterious world in which we find ourselves. Social progress is blocked no less than individual development. In a dozen ways this barbarous habit, inherited from savage ancestors, stands in the way of practical reforms which are much needed."
In the beginning I would like remind to our young audience the difference between The Council of Europe and The European Union, with a short comparison between these two organizations.
The EU is:
a supranational organization with legislative power
and it is also an economic organization
an Intergovernmental organization
It is based on International co-operation on a voluntary basis.
EU has 15 member States *
CoE has 45 Member States: the 15 EU members + other European countries including Bulgaria and Croatia.
The CoE was set up in 1949. It’s areas of concern are human rights, health, education, culture, youth, sport, the environment, local democracy, heritage, legal co-operation, bioethics, animal welfare, local planning, etc.
Respect for animals is part of the ideals and principles which are the common heritage of the CoE member states as one of the obligations upon which human dignity is based. According the CoE “for his own well-being, man may, and sometimes must, make use of animals, but he has a moral obligation to ensure, within reasonable limits, that the animal’s health and welfare is in each case not unnecessarily put at risk”.
The Conventions of CoE concerning AW are the following:
• Protection of animals during international transport (ETS 65)
• Protection of animals kept for farming purposes (ETS 87)
• Protection of animals for slaughter (ETS 102)
• Protection of pet animals (ETS 125)
• Protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (ETS 123)
The EUROPEAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS USED FOR EXPERIMENTAL AND OTHER SCIENTIFIC PURPOSES was open for signature in 1986 and it was entry into force in the beginning of 1991.
The Convention is implemented in fifteen countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the European Community.
* The protection of animals used for experimental purposes in EU is set out in the Directive 86/609/EEC Protection of Laboratory Animals and in the Council Resolution 86/C 331/02.
Bulgaria had signed the Convention, but the Convention is not iplemented, because it has not been ratified by the Parliament yet. Signatory states are also: Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey.
The Croatia is from the Observer states. The other observers-Member States are: Austria, Hungary, Italy and Malta.
Observers – Non-Member States are: Australia, Canada, Holy See, Japan, New Zealand, USA
The provisions of the conventions are
- housing and care
- conduct of experiments
- authorization procedures
- humane killing
- acquisition of animals
- breeding, supplying and user establishments
- education and training
- statistical information
The basis for several provisions of the Convention are the so called “3 Rs”. These are the alternative methods.
The Alternative Methods are:
1. REPLACE – non animal methods
2. REFINE – less painful procedures, humane endpoints
3. REDUCE – less animals/group, better experimental design
Replacement Alternatives permit a given purpose to be achieved without using animals.
Refinement Alternatives minimize pain, suffering and distress, mostly by using anaesthesia, analgesia & appropriate tools (for example needles).
Reduction Alternatives obtain a comparable level of information from the use of fewer animals, or more information from the same number of animals.
(1) The Convention applies to any animal used or intended for use in any experimental or other scientific procedure where that procedure may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. It does not apply to any non-experimental agricultural or clinical veterinary practice.
(2) A procedure may be performed for one or more of the following purposes only and subject to the restrictions laid down in this Convention:
- avoidance or prevention of disease, ill-health or other abnormality, or their effects, in man, vertebrate or invertebrate animals or plants, including the production and the quality, efficacy and safety testing of drugs, substances or products;
- diagnosis or treatment of disease, ill-health or other abnormality, or their effects, in man, vertebrate or invertebrate animals or plants;
b detection, assessment, regulation or modification of physiological conditions in man, vertebrate and invertebrate animals or plants;
c protection of the environment;
d scientific research;
e education and training;
f forensic inquiries.
(6) The Convention prohibits a procedure to be performed for any of the mentioned purposes referred to in Article 2, if another scientifically satisfactory method, not entailing the use of an animal, is reasonably and practicably available.
Each Party should encourage scientific research into the development of methods which could provide the same information as that obtained in procedures.
(4) No provision in this Convention shall affect the liberty of the Parties to adopt stricter measures for the protection of animals used in procedures or for the control and restriction of the use of animals in procedures.
(7) In a choice between procedures, those should be selected which use the minimum number of animals, cause the least pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and which are most likely to provide satisfactory results.
(8) A procedure shall be performed under general or local anaesthesia or analgesia or by other methods designed to eliminate as far as practicable pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm applied throughout the procedure unless:
a the pain caused by the procedure is less than the impairment of the animal's well-being caused by the use of anaesthesia or analgesia, or
b the use of anaesthesia or analgesia is incompatible with the aim of the procedure. In such cases, appropriate legislative and/or administrative measures shall be taken to ensure that no such procedure is carried out unnecessarily.
(9) Where it is planned to subject an animal to a procedure in which it will or may experience severe pain which is likely to endure, that procedure must be specifically declared and justified to, or specifically authorised by, the responsible authority.
Appropriate legislative and/or administrative measures shall be taken to ensure that no such procedure is carried out unnecessarily. Such measures shall include:
• either specific authorisation by the responsible authority;
• or specific declaration of such procedure to the responsible authority and judicial or administrative action by that authority if it is not satisfied that the procedure is of sufficient importance for meeting the essential needs of man or animal, including the solution of scientific problems.
(13) A procedure for the purposes referred to in the Convention may be carried out by persons authorised, or under the direct responsibility of a person authorised, or if the experimental or other scientific project concerned is authorised in accordance with the provisions of national legislation. Authorisation shall be granted only to persons deemed to be competent by the responsible authority.
(5)There are provisions about the general care and accommodation. Any animal used or intended for use in a procedure shall be provided with accommodation, an environment, at least a minimum degree of freedom of movement, food, water and care, appropriate to its health and well-being.
The well-being and state of health of animals shall be observed sufficiently closely and frequently to prevent pain or avoidable suffering, distress or lasting harm.
(14, 18) Both types of establishments- Breeding or supplying establishments and User establishments must provide the living conditions mentioned above. For these establishments a registration is required.
(21) Animals of the species listed below which are for use in procedures shall be acquired directly from or originate from registered breeding establishments, unless a general or special exemption has been obtained under arrangements to be determined by the Party:
Mouse Mus musculus
Rat Rattus norvegicus
Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus
Golden hamster Mesocricetus auratus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Dog Canis familiaris
Cat Felis catus
Quail Coturnix coturnix
Each Party undertakes to extend the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article to other species, in particular of the order of primates, as soon as there is a reasonable prospect of a sufficient supply of purpose-bred animals of the species concerned.
Straying animals of a domesticated species shall not be used in procedures. A general exemption made under the conditions of paragraph 1 of this article may not extend to stray dogs and cats.
(22) In user establishments, only animals supplied from registered breeding or supplying establishments shall be used, unless a general or special exemption has been obtained under arrangements to be determined by the Party.
(25) Procedures carried out for the purpose of education, training or further training for professions or other occupations, including the care of animals being used or intended for use in procedures, must be notified to the responsible authority and shall be carried out by or under the supervision of a competent person, who will be resposible for ensuring that the procedures comply with national legislation under the terms of this Convention.
Procedures within the scope of education, training, or further training for purposes other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above shall not be permitted.
Procedures referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be restricted to those absolutely necessary for the purpose of the education or training concerned and be permitted only if their objective cannot be achieved by comparably effective audio-visual or any other suitable methods.
(27) Each Party shall collect statistical information on the use of animals in procedures and this information shall where lawful be made available to the public.
(29) In order to avoid unnecessary repetition of procedures required by law on health and safety, each Party shall, where practicable, recognise the results of procedures carried out in the territory of another Party.
The Convention is supplemented by two Appendixes with Guidelines for accomodation and care of animals and Statistical tables and Explanatory notes.
Vivisection, the practice of experimenting on animals, began because of religious prohibitions against the dissection of human corpses. When religious leaders finally lifted these prohibitions, it was too late - vivisection was already entrenched in medical and educational institutions.
Estimates of the number of animals tortured and killed annually in U.S. laboratories diverge widely - from 17 to 70 million animals. The Animal Welfare Act requires laboratories to report the number of animals used in experiments, but the Act does not cover mice, rats, and birds (used in some 80 to 90 percent of all experiments). Because these animals are not covered by the Act, they remain uncounted and we can only guess at how many actually sufferE and die each year. Dogs and cats are also used in experiments. They come from various breeders, some animal shelters and pounds, and organised "bunchers" who pick up strays, purchase litters from unsuspecting people, or trap and steal the animals. Birds, frogs, pigs, sheep, cattle, and many naturally free-roaming animals (e.g., prairie dogs and owls) are also common victims of experimentation. Unfortunately, vivisectors are using more and more animals whom they consider less "cute," because, although they know these animals suffer just as much, they believe people won't object as strenuously to the torture of a pig or a rat as they will to that of a dog or a rabbit.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States is the world's largest funder of animal experiment (it is estimated that around $5 billion annually goes toward studies involving animals). As we know military facilities include also animal experiments (like wound experiments, radiation experiments, studies on the effects of chemical warfare, and other deadly and maiming procedures). As well many household product and cosmetics companies still pump their products into animals' stomachs, rub them onto their shaved, abraded skin, squirt them into their eyes, and force them to inhale aerosol products. Animal experiments are also popular in psychological researches.
There are many reasons to oppose vivisection. For example, enormous physiological variations exist among rats, rabbits, dogs, pigs, and human beings. A 1989 study to determine the carcinogenicity of fluoride illustrated this fact. Approximately 520 rats and 520 mice were given daily doses of the mineral for two years. The fluoride adversely affected not one mouse, but the rats experienced health problems including cancer of the mouth and bone. As test data cannot accurately be extrapolated from a mouse to a rat, it can't be argued that data can accurately be extrapolated from either species to a human.
Healing Without Hurting
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that sophisticated non-animal research methods are more accurate, less expensive, and less time-consuming than traditional animal-based research methods. Patients waiting for helpful drugs and treatments could be spared years of suffering if companies and government agencies would implement the efficient alternatives to animal studies.
Most killer diseases (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) can be prevented by eating a low-fat, vegetarian diet, refraining from smoking and alcohol abuse, and exercising regularly. These simple lifestyle changes can also help prevent a long list of other illnesses.
Alternatives to animal experiments
At the start of the 21st Century, non-animal techniques have become the cutting edge of medical research. A range of alternative methods that frequently prove cheaper, quicker and more effective - as well as saving lives is replacing animal experiments. I will just mention a couple of alternatives that are at a moment developing around the world.
Cell Culture - It is possible to obtain human cells and tissues from biopsies, post-mortems, placentas, or as waste from surgery, and grow them in the laboratory. Cell cultures are used in many medical fields, and have contributed enormously to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of cancer, Parkinson's disease, and AIDS. Cell cultures are routinely used in vaccine production, toxicity testing, drug development and to diagnose disease.
Molecular Methods - Research at the molecular level is being used to understand the biochemistry and genetics underlying various illnesses, and leading to better treatments. A Trust researcher is using newly devised technology to rapidly analyse DNA from patients all over Europe and identify genes that predispose individuals to fibrosing lung disease. This approach is an alternative to modelling the illness in animals such as genetically modified mice.
Micro-Organisms - Tests with simple microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, are being used as early indicators of chemicals likely to be harmful, and are frequently faster, cheaper and more humane than animal tests. The Trust's research into diabetes successfully used a microscopic organism called Hydra, as an alternative to diabetic animals.
Computer Models - Computers are increasingly being used to model the structure and actions of new drugs, and to predict their safety. Computer models of whole biological systems are now being developed on which experiments can be conducted, as alternatives to experiments on animals.
Population Research - Studying the diseases in human populations, and the effects of lifestyle, diet and occupation, has already revealed a great deal about cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and birth defects.
Skin sensitisation - At Amsterdam University Medical Centre, Dr Das is using human tissue to develop a non-animal test for skin sensitisation.
Human Tissue Bank - The Trust helped to fund the very first centralised HTB to store and distribute human tissues for research to scientists throughout the UK.
Drug Testing -The Trust is supporting the development of a computer model at the University of Sheffield to predict how drugs will behave in humans.
Although these have been just a brief report on animal experiments I hope it lightened at least a bit the possibilities of stopping unnecessary suffering of animals. It is not needful to state what an individual can do in order to avoid a cruel practice of animal experiments. Each and every one of us chooses to buy every day cruelty free products or vice versa. Even some drugs can be purchased as cruelty free products (in Croatia for instance Dietpharm drug company). It is upon future generations and technical advancement of human kind that will put an end to animal suffering worldwide. Don’t wait for tomorrow, you can start these changes today!
Transport is the most controversial area of animal welfare. The first directive on the protection of animals during transport was adopted in 1977. Today Council Directive 91/628/EEC 1 amended by Directive 95/29/EC 2 constitutes the current Community legislative framework. In December 2000 the Commission adopted a report 3 to the Council and the European Parliament on the experience acquired by Member States since the implementation of Directive 95/29/EC. The report was presented at the Agriculture Council that in June 2001 supported the outcome in the form of a specific resolution 4 . In November 2001 the European Parliament adopted a resolution 5 on this report. In autumn 2002 the Commission conducted a wide consultation process including a meeting with the major stakeholders and a web public consultation that both supported the main lines of actions contained in this proposal. The Commission report recommended actions to be taken some of which have already been initiated. However most of the recommendations can only be addressed through amendments of the current legislation. Furthermore, it should also be kept in mind that the road transport industry is subject to a set of Community regulations 6 harmonising certain aspects of the social legislation and in particular driving and resting sequences for drivers. Meanwhile the foot and mouth disease outbreaks in the Community in 2001 indicated that the transport of animals played a role in the spreading of the disease.
The welfare of animals, including their health can be substantially affected in the course of and as a result of transport. Every year millions of pigs, sheep and cattle are transported across Europe, for many, those destined for slaughter, it is their last journey. Many animals have to endure long journeys, some for 3 to 5 days, often in overloaded, badly ventilated trucks with no food and water. The suffering of animals in transit is well reported by animal welfare groups and by the European Commission’s own inspectorate, the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).
Welfare problems during transport were:
• long distance transportation- a significant percentage of journey are longer than 24 hours;
• Use of “special” vehicles- under the present Directive animals can be transported for longer than eight hours provided a “special” vehicle is used. The criteria which apply to such vehicles are inadequate and imprecise, particularly in respect of ventilation;
• food, water and rest- where animals are being transported for longer than eight hours then there will be an increasing requirement for food, water and rest;
• the transportation of slaughter horses;
• space allowances;
• driving standards;
• roll-on roll-off ferries.
As a consequence the Commission took temporary measures and proposed a number of amendments to the relevant Council legislation 10 to reinforce animal health requirements for the use of staging points. These amendments have been adopted in June 2003 11 . Moreover it should be taken into account that the expansion of the internal market to Central and Eastern European States will create new prospects for the transport of animals.
The European Commission adopted a proposed Regulation on animal transport, which will radically overhaul the animal transport rules in Europe. To improve enforcement, the Regulation identifies the chain of all those involved in animal transport and who is responsible for what as well as introducing efficient enforcement tools, such as checks via the tachograph. It also introduces much stricter rules for journeys of more than 9 hours, including domestic transport which mirror other EU legislation governing the time that drivers can spend on the road. The proposed Regulation recognises that most of the stress on the animals occurs around loading and unloading and therefore introduces rules to deal with situations before and after transport, for example at slaughterhouses or at harbours. It encourages Member States to develop guides of good practice. Currently only about 10% (17,5 Mio) of animal transport in Europe consists of long distance transport.
The Regulation will have to be approved by the Council of Ministers after consultation of the European Parliament. It is expected to be in force by the end of 2005.
What will change with the new Regulation?
I. Travelling times reducing stress for animals on the road
Very young animals (still drinking milk): 9 hours + 1 hour rest (watering) + 9 hours
Pigs: 24 hours (permanent access to water)
Horses: 24 hours with watering every 8 hours
Cattle, sheep and goats: 14 hours +1 hour rest (watering) + 14 hours.
The above sequences may be repeated if animals are unloaded, fed, watered and rested for at least 24 hours in an approved staging point.
In future - long distance:
All species: maximum 9 hours travelling + minimum 12 hours rest. The sequence may be repeated. No staging point is required. Animals rest within the vehicle.
II. Youngest and pregnant animals shall not travel
Prohibition for newborn animals in which the navel has not completely healed. No specifications for the different species.
Ban of travelling above 100 km with young animals (pigs less than 4 weeks / lambs less than one week / calves less than 2 weeks / horses less than 4 months (for long-distance only)).
Ban on females travelling one week after birth and before giving birth (10% of the estimated time of the gestation)
III. Improved equipment for improved conditions
Today - long-distance:
Partition of the compartment, access to animals, but no additional space for long distance journeys.
In future - long-distance:
Specific temperature according to species (with temperature monitoring system, recording data, driver cabin with alert system)
Permanent access to drinking water
More space according to species and length of journey e.g. 40% more for pigs, 16% more for cattle, 32% more for sheep-
Prohibition on tying animals (animals can move around or lay down, precise space definitions allows better enforcement)
Better conditions on sea vessels (e.g. inclination of ramps, drinking equipment, approval system).
IV. Conditions for horses improved
Minimum space allowances.
Larger space allowances for short distance journeys
Individual stalls/boxes for long distance journeys
Permanent access to hay.
V. Regulation instead of Directive better enforcement tool
Directive (some national interpretation possible).
Regulation (ensuring harmonisation in all Member States).
VI. What is long distance transport?
Longer than 8h with upgraded trucks.
9 hours (based on drivers' social legislation, therefore easily enforceable). Driver has to stop for 12 hours after 9 hours driving. Length of journey defined as the entire transport operation from start to final destination, including intermediate points.
VII. Who is responsible?
Transport operator and transporters (companies).
As above, but also traders (organisers) and drivers, as well as “keepers” (staff at assembly centres, markets and slaughterhouses as well as farmers).
VIII. Ensuring better enforcement
Enforcement via Route Plan (but Route Plans are only mandatory if a border is crossed and the journey is longer than 8 hours).
Enforcement via Journey Log when above 9 hours; not only when border crossed. Signatures of all involved, report at end of transport
Via tachograph efficient tool; not possible to alter data
A person has to be made responsible for entire transport.
IX. More personal responsibility in case of infringements
Suspend/withdraw approval of transporter, etc
Additional checks in case of infringements
Also suspension / withdrawal of driver training certificate and the authorisation of the means of transport
Prohibited transit onto the territory of a Member State
Training requirements are demanded for the people responsible for the welfare of the animals.
X. Authorisation: improved standards to facilitate enforcement
Authorisation via registration of transporter.
Reinforced registration rules, harmonised registration format (European database)
Requirements on traceability and emergency plans for transporter
Obligation for transporters to carry a copy of the authorisation
5 year time limit on approval of vehicles for long distance journeys (9 hours); also for sea vessels (sea vessels also require specific equipment)
Compulsory approved training for drivers and animal handlers at livestock markets.
XI. New responsibilities at interim stops (assembly centres, markets, etc)
No responsibilities for market places / assembly centres / harbours.
Clear responsibility to check and implement animal welfare rules by the “keeper” (a newly introduced term). Operators of assembly centres have to ensure personnel is trained.
XII. Post-journey follow-up: an important part of enforcement
Route plan is checked (only if + 8 hours and crossing border)
Comprehensive journey log for long-distance/9 hours (e.g. place of destination has to perform checks and report status of animals, including number of animals arriving dead or unfit).
Not diminishing the value of other aspects of animal protection/welfare, the good legislation is probably the most important step towards animal liberation.
If not for animal welfare laws, all other efforts and activities, no matter how noble they might be, may turn futile and insufficient. Of course, education is the starting point that cannot be omitted or neglected. The promotion of animal protection through street protests, media, projections of documentaries about animal protection/welfare/rights issues, and ‘high-touch’ is also crucial in striving to make this world a better place for everyone with whom we share this unique planet. But more than a few (if not the majority, for that matter) of animal rights activists realize the importance of good animal welfare/rights legislation. And not only animal rights activists. Many governments today are becoming aware of the necessity of incorporating animal welfare in their constitution.
Let us take a look at just a few examples:
1) The EU directive on pigs requires, as of January 2003, the provision of manipulable materials such as straw for pigs. Tail docking is also not permitted to be undertaken routinely.
2) The EU is banning veal crates come 2007.
3) Maximum journey times should be no more than 8 hours at the very most for mammals, and 4 hours for birds (EU).
4) Solipeds to be transported in individual compartments (EU).
5) Improved vehicle standards including forced ventilation and a ban on the use of steep loading ramps (steeper than 20°) (EU).
6) A ban on the use of electric goads (EU).
7) Three deck vehicles for adult sows and boars should be prohibited (EU).
8) Since November 4, 1999 prohibiting the use of leghold traps in EU.
9) Battery cages banned in Switzerland by the end of 1991.
10) Narrow veal crates for calves (1990) and sow stalls and tethers for pregnant pigs (1999) have both been banned in the UK.
11) The battery system is so cruel that EU has decided to prohibit it by 2012.
12) The EU has agreed to ban the prolonged use of sow stalls from 2013, whilst tethering will be illegal from 2006.
13) Animal experiments for cosmetics is banned in the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
14) In 2002 German Bundestag incorporates animal rights in their constitution.
15) January 2004, Belgium Bans Seal, Dog, and Cat Fur.
16) December 2003, USDA bans the slaughter of downed cattle.
These are just examples that vividly depict the whole range of animal cruelty that is happening worldwide. Animal cruelty is not an isolated occurrence; it is a widespread disease, and the examples of above-mentioned countries show that unless the proper legislation is enforced, little can be done to change things for the better for animals. Animal welfare laws, with proper enforcement and adequate penalties along with education and campaigning is the best way towards total animal liberation.
Animal Friends Croatia’s proposal for the new Animal Welfare Act of Croatia will show best the difference of the current Animal Welfare Act and the one our organization believes it should look like. It is not perfect, though, because a few compromises had to be made, but it is certainly a good example of a bill with the purpose to protect those who should be protected by it.
Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995, superseding the regime created by the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), there has been controversy about the impact of international trade rules on domestic policies with non-trade objectives These include the protection of people, animals and the environment. General exceptions to the free trade rules are provided for in Article XX of the GATT 1994, but they have been interpreted narrowly by WTO dispute panels. This has meant that although theoretically acceptable, such trade related measures typically conflict with WTO rules in practice, even though this may not have been intended by the contracting parties to the GATT.
Nearly all animal welfare concerns arise from production methods that are not detectable in the final product, known as non-product related Process and Production Methods (PPMs). It is generally presumed that product distinctions based on such PPMs conflict with Article III of GATT 1994. There is less agreement on the extend of their conflict with the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
It is therefore doubtful that a WTO member can block imports of goods produced by methods contrary to its own laws, unless they also pose a health risk that can be justified scientifically. If WTO members are prevented from making any PPM distinctions, all animal welfare measures, even labelling schemes, will have to rely on Article XX exceptions.
As a multilateral institution, the WTO prefers multilateral solutions. However, differences in culture and economic development may make these solutions unrealistic, particularly in areas such as animal welfare. Fairly accommodating such differences in national policy is a crucial challenge for the WTO if trade liberalization is not to undermine legitimate domestic social, environmental and ethical policy concerns.
Animal welfare has been adversely affected by the way WTO rules. Increasingly, WTO consideration and the potential impact of liberalisation are influencing the development of new policy measures, including animal welfare. This is particularly apparent in agriculture.
To date, WTO discussions about animal welfare have dealt mainly with generalities but this is expected to change during negotiations on agriculture, beginning in 2000. Practical animal welfare concerns are likely to be raised – EU agriculture ministers have already stated that ‘international acknowledgement of animal welfare rules must be one of the key points in the [WTO’s] negotiating brief’.
Before considering measures to improve animal welfare, an understanding of the concept of cruelty needs to be reached. In all societies, to varying degrees, individual acts of cruelty to animals are deemed ethically unacceptable and may be punished under the law. Nevertheless, to varying degrees, societies also allow animals to e lawfully used and killed for human benefit, including food production.
Over the last 50 years, the debate on farm animal welfare standards has taken on greater significance with the intensification of livestock production. When setting welfare standards for production methods, both individual and systemic cruelty are now taken into account, and countries have banned certain systems because of cruelty concerns. Agricultural trade-related animal welfare measures relate more often to intensive production than extensive forms of livestock farming.
The post-war period has seen both the creation of the GATT and the industrialization of agriculture. To overcome food scarcity, new systems of production were developed that could offer higher yields lower prices. Agricultural production underwent an economical, technical and social revolution, which fundamentally changed the relationship among farmers, consumers, livestock and the environment. There were also significant consequences for farm workers, the rural economy, landscape and animal welfare.
This process has seen the gradual removal of many animals, in particular poultry, pigs, calves and some dairy cattle, into intensive indoor production systems. Animals are confined in large numbers, often with no room to move, exercise or behave naturally.
Animals that are still routinely reared outdoors have not escaped the consequences of intensification. The use of antibiotics, drugs and breeding techniques has put an extra burden on them, resulting in welfare problems. This may reach a new level with genetic engineering. Intensive outdoor rearing is also practiced, particularly for fattening beef, which also has animal welfare implications.
Animals also suffer arduous journeys in unsuitable vehicles and without adequate care or attention en route to slaughter or further fattening.
In the past two decades scientific information has underlined the welfare problems associated with certain production methods. This, together with growing public concerns about animal welfare, health, environment, rural policy and food quality, has prompted a reappraisal of intensive agricultural methods. This is leading to policy initiatives that seek to reverse some of the effects of intensification, despite the fact that this may also increase costs for producers, taxpayers and consumers.
This reappraisal is occurring mainly in the most developed nations where food is no longer scarce and represents a diminishing proportion of total household expenditure.
Elsewhere there is a move towards intensification to increase food production. If the intensive agricultural production already experienced in Europe and North America is replicated across the globe, it will raise significant concerns for both animal welfare and sustainable development. The extend to which trade liberalisation, facilitated by WTO rules, encourages this form of intensive farming methods, needs to be carefully considered.
Conclusions and recommendations
Global intensification of agriculture could have profound implications for sustainable development and animal welfare. The extent to which trade liberalization encourages the intensification of agriculture, particularly in developing countries, needs to be seriously addressed and requires an ongoing, independent programme of sustainable impact assessment.
Agricultural production is the largest sector of trade affecting animal welfare, and animal welfare is a genuine concern in agriculture to many sectors. It is therefore appropriate that animal welfare should be discussed as a legitimate non-trade concern in the context of future WTO negotiations on agriculture.
Although of particular concern to the EU, animal welfare is also important in other countries and it is fully expected that international public interest will increase in future.
International agreements on animal welfare are yet to emerge, although there are already some regional and bilateral agreements. Economic and cultural differences may limit the scope of any agreements that might be adopted in future. It is therefore important to ensure that there are other ways for nations to maintain and develop high welfare standards, and that imports respect their ethical concerns.
Improving animal welfare and increasing trade are not incompatible. There are many possible solutions, including measures, which could benefit developing country producers. Some of these will depend on being able to front-load agricultural liberalization in favour of less-intensive, high-welfare products. Export subsidies, which currently encourage intensification of agriculture, could also be converted into support for non-trade objectives such as animal welfare.
The de-intensification of agriculture and promotion of animal welfare could also be facilitated by exempting relevant domestic support measures from future reduction commitments. An appropriate start would be to accept the inclusion of animal welfare measures in the blue or green boxes system.
Animal welfare organizations will oppose any attempt to misuse their concerns for trade protectionist purposes. They support the development of an international trading system that will allow consumers and policy makers to make product choices on the basis of animal welfare concerns, while also ensuring that nations can maintain and raise their welfare standards without suffering a competitive disadvantage compared to low-welfare producers.
Although some children dream of running away to join the circus, it is likely that most animals forced to perform in circuses dream of running away from them. Colorful pageantry disguises the fact that animals used in circuses are mere captives forced to perform unnatural and often painful acts. Circuses would quickly lose their appeal if the details of the animals' treatment, confinement, training, and "retirement" became widely known.
Many circus operations don't have much money, and, as a result, the animals they use often suffer from inadequate care. The animals, most of whom are quite large and naturally active, are forced to spend most of their lives in the small cages used to transport them, and they are allowed out of their cages only for the short periods when they must perform.
The circuses are often unable to provide adequate water for the animals. Such entourages may visit 150 towns a year, and a clean water supply is not readily available in every location. As a result, drinking water is limited, and cleaning the animals and their cages may take low priority, causing a real hardship for animals like elephants, who normally bathe frequently. Food is often equally limited.
Climatically, the circus environment is quite different from the animals' natural habitats. The hot summer months can be especially hard on animals like bears, while others, like lions, suffer most from the cold. Veterinarians qualified to treat exotic animals aren't always present or available, and animals have suffered and died due to a lack of proper medical attention.
During the winter off-season, animals used in circuses may be kept in traveling crates or in barn stalls; some are even kept in trucks. Few circuses have the funds or the desire to put much money into comfortable winter shelters, since off-season housing is used for only a few months per year. Such unrelieved physical confinement has very harmful physical and psychological effects on animals.
Physical punishment has long been the standard training method for animals in circuses. Some species are less able to adapt to training techniques than others, and as a result suffer great stress during training sessions. Some animals are drugged to make them "manageable," and some have their teeth removed.
The tricks that animals are forced to perform--bears balancing on balls, apes riding motorcycles, elephants standing on two legs--are physically uncomfortable and behaviorally unnatural. The whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, billhooks, and other tools used during circus acts are reminders that the animals are being forced to perform. These superficial "performances" teach audiences nothing about how animals behave under natural circumstances.
After the animals have outlived their performing "usefulness," they are either permanently relegated to winter quarters (often cages) or are sold to other circuses, zoos, private menageries, game farms (to be shot for "recreation" or for "exotic" meat), or even research laboratories. They often end their lives no more peacefully or comfortably than they lived them: in confinement, coercion, and misery.
Touring circuses may cover thousands of miles a year, carrying animals from site to site in transporters and cages on the backs of lorries known as beast wagons. Moving location each week means they spend most of the year in temporary accommodation. The animals may be confined for hours, even days, in their travelling cages, with their only respite being either limited time in an exercise cage, being rehearsed, or performing. It is impossible for a travelling menagerie to provide circus animals with the facilities they need.
Often, animals are kept together in inappropriate groups - for example territorial lions and tigers share the same cages. Zebras and llamas, will form groups or herds in the wild, but will often be solitary, or just in pairs in the circus. Again, they tend to be penned or tethered, rather than given exercise enclosures.
The animals in circuses are there purely for entertainment, and the routines have changed little since the nineteenth century. In circuses, the audience can still see beautiful majestic animals like elephants ridiculed by their trainers, or big cats reduced to cowardly looking creatures by the cracking whip of the 'powerful' lion tamer.
As more people become aware of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform, circuses that use animals are finding fewer places to set up their big tops. The use of animals in entertainment already has been restricted or banned in several countries, including Sweden, India, Finland, Switzerland, and Denmark. In England, circuses with animal acts are often denied public space. Coquitlam and Langley in British Columbia passed bans after a flaming hoop fell on a tiger during a circus performance. In the United States, several local governments have banned exotic animal acts.
Circuses claim to be involved in conservation, yet no animals from circuses have ever been released to the wild. The circus often says that they have saved them, giving the impression that their workers ran around dodging bullets to rescue them, when in fact they have merely paid a dealer. This buying of cull orphans often makes money for those involved in this slaughter.
Some circuses also claim to be educational but there is no educational value in seeing such magnificent animals reduced to performing tricks. The idea of publicly humiliating an animal to prove that 'Man' is capable of this kind of dominance is not fun. Children should be taught to respect animals - circuses teach the opposite.
" Circus animals NEVER get a rest! They're used like batteries in a flashlight/when no longer productive they're replaced/many times abandoned! They are kept in conditions which most people associate with fiction! The customers learn NOTHING about these animals. All they get for their money is a dim view of an unhappy primate or other animal looking back at them with sad eyes."
Phil Steward, HSUS
Zoos: Pitiful Prisons
Despite their professed concern for animals, zoos remain more "collections" of interesting "items" than actual havens or simulated habitats. Zoos teach people that it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity, bored, cramped, lonely, and far from their natural homes.
Zoos range in size and quality from cageless parks to small roadside menageries with concrete slabs and iron bars. The larger the zoo and the greater the number and variety of the animals it contains, the more it costs to provide quality care for the animals. Zoo officials often consider profits ahead of the animals' well-being.
Zoos claim to educate people and preserve species, but they frequently fall short on both counts. Most zoo enclosures are quite small, and labels provide little more information than the species' name, diet, and natural range. The animals' normal behavior is seldom discussed, much less observed, because their natural needs are seldom met. Natural hunting and mating behaviors are virtually eliminated by regulated feeding and breeding regimens. The animals are closely confined, lack privacy, and have little opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise, resulting in abnormal and self-destructive behavior, called zoochosis.
The purpose of most zoos' research is to find ways to breed and maintain more animals in captivity. If zoos ceased to exist, so would the need for most of their research. Protecting species from extinction sounds like a noble goal, but zoo officials usually favor exotic or popular animals who draw crowds and publicity, and neglect less popular species. Most animals housed in zoos are not endangered, nor are they being prepared for release into natural habitats. It is nearly impossible to release captive-bred animals into the wild.
Zoos often sell or kill animals who no longer attract visitors. Deer, tigers, lions, and other animals who breed often are sometimes sold to "game" farms where hunters pay for the "privilege" of killing them; some are killed for their meat and/or hides. Other "surplus" animals may be sold to smaller, more poorly run zoos or to laboratories for experiments.
Even if zoos were working as hard for conservation as their publicity material would have you believe, the very nature of most would doom their efforts to failure. Captive breeding projects need to be as close as possible to the ultimate release site, certainly in terms of climate, habitat and fauna. The animals need space appropriate to their needs and populations large enough to provide a suitable gene pool and a natural social balance of the species, with minimal human contact.
Unfortunately, zoos and safari parks consistently fail to achieve any of the criteria necessary to succeed at their self-appointed task of maintaining viable groups of animals, ready to repopulate the wild. Instead they keep solitary, or unnaturally small groups of misplaced animals in substandard artificial habitats, permanently on show, thousands of miles from where the animals belong.
In the wild, species build an immunity to naturally occurring disease, but in a zoo animals might not develop resistance to the most commonplace of ailments. On the other hand they may be challenged by viruses from a species that they would never otherwise meet. Viruses can mutate, or be transferred across the globe, to devastate wildlife.
The zoo world is one where the primates hide their faces, the predators never hunt and mothers eat their young rather than let them survive. Lonely, solitary beasts shuffle around concrete enclosures, their eyes sad and empty.
Zoos claim that they afford people the opportunity to see something that many will never see in the wild. This is true; we will have to make do with books, magazines and television. But could a few minutes of entertainment ever justify the tragedy of the disturbed behaviours and suffering we have outlined?
" They say that exhibiting (dolphins) has educational value, but the only thing it teaches is the fine art of human cruelty."
Ric O'Barry, former dolphin trainer for the RV show Flipper
Whales and dolphins are extremely intelligent animals. They live in social groups. Animal welfare groups agree that whales suffer physically and psychologically in captivity. Their small artificial pools with its chemically altered water could never replicate the sea.
Captive whales are often deprived of the family unit that they would live within in the wild. These factors have an effect and as a result the life span of orca in captivity is much shorter than that of wild orca. Captive orcas are taught to perform on cue and are forced to endure a life of public scrutiny. Studying whales in this environment teaches nothing about wild orca as their lifestyles are so dramatically controlled and altered by man.
Since 1965, 56 orcas have been captured from the waters around BC and Washington State, including one whole family. 54 are now dead, living on average 5.2 years once captured. The impact on the wild populations is only now being recognised. The entertainment industry has ignored the devastation it has left behind.
The public can help by boycotting dolphinariums wherever they are and asking family and friends to do otherwise. Captive whales and dolphins should be released to the wild, after long term rehabilitation and retraining has been carried out. We would like to see an end to the breeding of cetacea (whales and dolphins) in captivity. There is absolutely no need for this. We wish to see an end to the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild.
The theme itself is, it can be said, representative for the animal protection organizations in Bulgaria. It reflects the fact that the Bulgarian context imposes the need animal protectors to constantly address social issues like overcoming the present social attitudes towards stray dogs and forming new ones, a focus that consummes most of their energy, leaving too little of it for the “big topics” such as protection of wild animals, protection of animals used for experimental or scientific purposes, animal welfare on the farm, during transport and at slaughter, regulated by the European Directives. Our organization has invested deliberate efforts to go astray from this tendency characteristic of most Bulgarian animal protection organizations, which has given us some distance, allowing to reflect on that problem.
In the same time, social and psycho-social issues are the underlying ones in the process of grouping of animal protectors everywhere, so bringing them in the focus of attention might be a needed going back to the basis of animal protectors’ activities.
Dogs have a specific integration in the human context, which by itself poses different issues in comparison to other animals. One example that illustrates this especially clearly: in Bulgarian the term for stray dogs is “homeless dogs”, thus, the adjective for dogs and people who live in the streets being one and the same.
It can be said that the street is the shadow of a city, the shadow of a society – in the Jungian sense of the word. The place where all the non-voiced, outside of the light of awareness parts of the social mind can be met.
The two groups of people who “fight” over the stray dogs issue, the dog protectors and those who want the dogs eliminated, have something in common: the high intensity of the emotion they invest in the topic. They have a big difference not only in their attitude to outside nature, but also in their attitude towards their inner nature. The pro-elimination of dogs people, it can be hypothesized, supress strongly parts of themselves that are vulnerable, dependent, and/or “wild”, dirty, angry, primitive: parts that they don’t give “home” to within themselves, that they do not “own” (as is the psychological term, well fitting here in its literal sense) parts that the “without owner”, stray dogs are a good symbol for.
Those people often share that they fear dogs, not really making difference between a dog’s attack and a dog that’s just barking. In many cultures the barking of a dog at you is connected with you being exposed as “bad”, unknown, unpredictable, different, outsider, alien. This is exactly a feeling about oneself, that those people need to deny.
Another, more social level on which the problem of stray dogs has the function of a reflector of nonrelated to it attitudes, is connected with the view that the essence of civic society can be expressed as: Civic society starts when people start to be concerned with what happens out of their homes. So, it’s only natural that in the countries where creation of civic society is the topical focus, the problem of stray dogs is deeply interwoven with the problem of homeless people, even with the problems of the treatment of minorities, of socially-weak people, of children, of women, of mentally ill people – as part of the broader problem of what are the social attitudes towards marginalized and vulnerable groups.
Having awareness about this function that the problem of stray dogs has for the broader social mind, can have implications for our everyday activities. It can be utilized to beat the tendency of the protectors of human rights to compete and have antagonistic relations with the animal protectors. Animal protectors will strongly empower their cause if some research is conducted to make evident that the same type of people who are pro-excessive measures towards stray dogs, are prone to hostility towards mental patients, gypsies, black people, disabled people, projecting onto them, in a similar manner the parts of themselves, they strive to reject.
The link between ecologists (protectors of nature) and animals protectors is at present much more tangible than the link between them all and human-rights protectors. There is some existing awareness (even if not much) about the isomorphy of the suppressive attitudes towards inner and outer nature (see Al Gore, who concludes that the cause of protecting nature is doomed if it doesn’t include specific practices aiming to change the attitude towards inner nature, bringing more acceptance and tolerance to all human emotions). There is next to no awareness, however about the isomorphy of the suppressive attitudes towards inner and outer nature with the non-tolerant attitudes towards “the alien” people.
Throwing more light on that existing link might be of utmost significance for the cause of animal protectors, especially so in societies of transition, where otherwise our cause might be doomed, or put in the corner for a long time by the multitude of problems that compete for social attention. Awareness about this link can disqualify the not rare claims on the part of human-rights protectors that animal protectors consume social energy, which the society should use for the benefit of people, of “more important” issues than dogs’ issues.
It turns out that protection of animals has to do with protection of people, with social and psycho-social practices that protect people from themselves. From their own intolerance towards their inner parts considered as alien, towards their inner “dogs”.
Top bulgarian and croatian essays
“How Do I Understand Animal Protection” Essay Competition
October – December 2003
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Dunja and my favorite color is green. I don’t wear fur, because fur hurts; I don’t eat meat, because animals are my friends; I don’t wear ivory or coral jewelry, because there is no need to kill for beauty; I don’t visit circuses that use animals, because cruelty isn’t entertainment; I don’t use products tested on the animals, because there is alternative; I don’t visit zoos, because everybody has a right to be free…
Let me introduce some of my friends. Some of them for years visit poor countries and help those who need their help the most, and occasionally they join protests against the war. Others spend weeks on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean cleaning the oil stains off the beaches, birds and other sea animals. And some of them encourage us and give us strength with their prayers and positive energy.
Many people support our work, but there is even more of those who criticize us. We’ve learned by experience that those who object the most are the ones who help the least to others, humans and nonhumans. That special kind of people (we’ll reveal you their name later) have a special philosophy of life ‘’Eat, wear and destroy’’ They often tell us that our ‘’obsession with saving the world’’ is just one of the phases of growing up. Did they learn that from experience? Is it possible that youth and dreams can get a man so disappointed, so he forgets all about them, he looses the shine out off his eyes, his face becomes wrinkled, and he becomes the ‘’gray man’’? If that’s the truth, we never want to grow up!!!! One day, when ‘’gray man’’ becomes a parent, what kind of bedtime stories will he tell to his child? Will he tell him about blue oceans and amazing creatures that sleep there? Will he tell him about great mountains and blue skies? Will he know to tell him the most beautiful fairytale about stars and the moon? Will he have the courage and admit that the young make the world go on…
Don’t forget that man hasn’t always been ‘’gray’’. We are all born ‘’green’’, but the ‘’gray’’ ones, using inappropriate education and wrong beliefs, teach their children not to ask questions that require hard answers. They teach their children to take everything for granted and not to worry about others as much as for their own prosperity… because ‘’you can’t trust anyone these days’’…
THAT’S WHY WE PROTEST!!!!
We protest, because children are sincere and don’t like hearing lies!
We protest, because children have the right to know: that the sky hasn’t always been gray; that animals haven’t always been cloned; that Mediterranean monk seals used to live in our sea; that without love and understanding world can’t become a better place!
We protest, because they don’t tell children that there are people who daily work, protest, fight, hope and help trying to prevent one more species (either animals or plants) from becoming just one more legend…
It’s selfish to just sit and watch, while life and opportunities go by. The ‘’gray man’’ will stay blind until he himself decides to watch and to see. Only when we realize that our right for freedom doesn’t give us the right to deprive others of it, we’ll be able to change ourselves and the way we treat all others. There’s a thin line between cruelty of a man towards man and cruelty of a man towards nature, and there’s a huge possibility that this line will soon disappear.
What do ‘’green people’’ want in these gray times? LIFE AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!
I wake up in the morning and get ready for school: school bag, jeans, make-up matched with my clothes and my mood (I believe in high-quality cosmetics, but how to achieve it – I hope that my lipstick was tested on a mouse, or rat, or some other disgusting rodent!). I put on some dead animal's ''clothes'' in two ways (one down, on my feet, and the other (coat) on my body). Okay, I admit, I don't have enough money to by a real fur coat yet, but as soon as I become rich and famous, I'll sure get myself a ''tiger'' or ''Dalmatian'' fur coat, because my slogan is: Fur is fur, no matter what others may say. On my way to school, I kick a few stinky cats (they were asking for it, they shouldn't get in my way when I'm in the bad mood) and step across the colony of ants. I can't wait for the break time, when I rush to the nearest fast-food restaurant and order king size burger. I enjoy the moments of my great victory over hunger. As for mad cow disease, nothing could be further from my mind.
After these words, animal lovers are probably chilled and appalled by my words as they read on, but don't worry, this caricatured ''me'' is just an example of the way people take animals for granted. They don't change or question their beliefs, because animals don't have a voice to raise it against such mistreatment.
Now, let's see the other side of a story: my name is Red, my mom is a cow, and my dad is a vet. I spend my entire life in artificially illuminated building, with no sun and no grass. I yearn for the blue sky as I see it through the high stable window while I chew un-tasty food that is said to be made out of my ancestors’ bones. My days are all alike, nothing ever happens. But one day, everything changed forever: they took us out for the first time- my first look at the sky, my first breath of fresh air… It was wonderful! But, something was wrong: they lead us into muddy backyard, and then they took us through a door, one by one. Silenced shots were heard out of that room, and none of the cows came back…
Now, try to imagine a story that a lab rat could tell, or chimpanzee on which a lipstick was tested, or a rabbit to which the deodorant was sprayed in the eyes.
In Croatia, the laws concerning crimes against the environment are still in diapers, so for these issues we can't rely on our legal system. A concept that the environment should be an equal element of the legal system is quite new in the Western countries as well. Even though there are laws that protect endangered species and abused animals, there are also people who often mistreat delicate fauna of our beautiful Earth. You will recognize them by their statements such as:'' Oh, come on! Endangered species? The only animals we need are the ones we eat, the others don't effect on our survival at all!'' or ''The only reason that domestic animals are bred is food production, who cares about vegetarianism!'' These people also claim that it is better to test potentially harmful substances on the animals rather than people. Each of these statements is easily discredited in accordance with common beliefs: animals are our ancestors on this planet, and this only should be good enough reason to obtain them, if not privileged, then at least equal right as people. Animals are useful in many other ways, not just as food (for example: they ensure harmony in ecosystems). And concerning animal testing, if something is potentially harmful to people, it is harmful to the animals too, and until we find better ways of testing safety of such products, maybe we should simply stop using them at all.
One lay preacher, as written in daily newspapers Jutarnji list on October 24th, gave her students a list of cosmetics producers they should boycott because, according to her sources, they finance a satanic sect. What we should do is to simultaneously look at the contents of our kitchens and bathrooms and at lists of animal friendly firms. We should also question ourselves and see do we really feel compassion for every ling thing. Are we really the kind of people we like to think we are?
I'm looking in my Nina's eyes. (Nina is my dog). The most beautiful eyes in the world! In them I can see both joy and sadness, both melancholy and playfulness… I see all emotions that many people think are possessed only by the human kind. Oh, how wrong are they!
I'm looking in my Nina's eyes. I look and remember the time she came to me. She was small and wild, scared, outcast by man. However, little by little I gained her trust. She let me put my hands on her, touch her cold snout. And when she, for the first time, ran and jumped on my knees, I was endlessly happy!
I'm looking in my Nina's eyes. Looking and thinking: «What if she hadn't found me? What if they picked her up and took in the name of science?? What if those eyes of her's had served for testing of cremes and detergents just so we, humans, would be more beautiful, cleaner and smelling pleasantly?» I remember a picture that I saw on TV – a little puppy, cuddly just like my Nina, peeking through the bars of a cage in which he was enprisoned. His eyes are watery, crying. He's all shaking. They pour detergent into his eyes, to see it's effects. There's a white rabbit in a cage next to him. Half of his body has been shaved. He's lying lifelessly,,, though he is still breathing. Detergent was poured into his body to check the effects.
That could have been Nina. That could have been her pretty eyes. And because they aren't doesn't make me feel any better. I have compassion. I feel guilty. Because I might be washing my dishes using a detergent that's been tested on a rabbit or a dog. You might be using that detergent, too. We all want to be beautiful and smell pleasantly. We all slowly kill a rabbit or a dog, and hundreds like them. We kill them when we put things into our baskets while shopping without checking the name of the producer, what was used in the production process and how it was tested. We kill them with our ignorance. Yes, we kill them. All of us.
I'm looking in my Nina's eyes. Looking and thinking how many eyes like those suffered, how many were tortured and then closed forever in pain and torment. I remember all the pictures I have seen, all the articles I have read, and which remain written inside me forever. I remember that big, white, stray dog which was put to sleep in front of cameras. Why? Just because he was stray, because people called him stray, without saying that they made him what he was. He shook painfully, closed his eyes in a spasm, his black little snout leaked a droplet, and then he fell like he was mowed down.
I remember a story from a slaughterhouse. Seven workers drowned in a pool which contained blood of slaughtered cattle.
I remember homestead slaughter every fall. Thousands of pigs being dragged by their ears from their narrow pig-houses. She painfully squeaks; five people hold her and stretch her while one of them stabs a knife in her throat. And later, they deliciously chew sausages and warm cracklings.
I remember millions of dogs, which spend their entire life on a chain one or two meters long.
I remember farms in which chicks lay tightly packed in the dark, being force fed day after day after day just so they could gain weight quickly and then end on our table as a frankfurter, patty or a roast.
I remember the smelly sea on a large tuna breeding facility.
I remember the trucks packed with calves. Being taken who knows where, most probably in a slaughterhouse. I can still see their warm, big eyes full of fear.
I remember many things. The blood, the screams and the flesh get all mixed up. And I feel sick. Sick with people, with the world, with myself. But I want to have faith. I want to change at least a bit of the world, at least the bit in which I live. To begin with, I tossed red meat from my diet. I remember the little pig from G'lamour Caffe, his gentle, pink skin, his cute snout and I know: «They are all like that. I don't want to eat them!» It's hard for me because many don't understand me. They think I am faking, acting out, affecting. «Man eats everything. That is normal!», they say. But I remember the little pig… and my Nina's eyes.
I found out which companies use animals in production and in testing. I avoid in big circles their products on shelves in stores. I don't eat gums because a cow has to be killed to make them.
It looks modest to you? Maybe it is. But I keep on trying; there are still many things I want to change in this world. Many things I want to discover and learn. Because of my Nina's eyes… and all the eyes hidden in her look.