Saturday, August 29, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
"We are not the same but equal!" Here its just us but also check out the new film 'Unity' of the same theme
Over this summer of B&B guests I had a realization that people come to love animals that they know. The guests that stay here absolutely love Cupid, Don Juan, Magic and all. Often the young ones are crying when they leave. I suddenly realized that I need to have a pig, a cow or two, a sheep and a chicken as friends around Harmony Hall too so that this can be a place where everyone can meet as equals and bond. So I drove around again, looking for the house and I was glad that I did. I found her in complete disgrace having dug up a bit of new hedging and she had been confined ever since.
I just left the little slalom course in the patch for her to show her sharp wits. She went for it but I was amazed by her next move. I had sacrificed the strawberry patch as there had not been many and said to myself that if I had time I would move the plants. When I went out with evening food, she had dug up every one and left them intact with roots and a little soil for replanting. What a great little gardener she is! I must admit I did only come in now having harvested my own potatoes in complete darkness, in case she got there first! I could hear her outside the dome, rustling around and backing into her wheelie bin with hay for her lie down! What a beauty and all the other animals love her too thank goodness.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
This is my favourite picture of Rebecca so far. She shows how friendly, bonny and alert she is and then, of course, my Mum is in the picture, always open to making new friends, whatever nationality or species. They are both peace workers, in a way. Recently people have been connecting civil rights and animal rights and court cases have been determining the 'personhood' of the most intelligent animals - chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins (although ALL animal senses and values are clearer than the warp of senses and values most people undergo through life). The outcome of the case, one would have thought, would be obvious: The chimpanzee gets to live out the rest of its life at a sanctuary or rehabilitated to the wild and the perpetuators of his captivity must give a formal apology for the twenty year solitary confinement he endured and contemplate the surgery and experiments done on him and his kind as wrong and unnecessary.
Instead the judge looked at the bigger picture - Big corporate interest picture to be precise! She said (and yes I am shocked by how many women in powerful roles are devoid of compassion too) that she 1. wanted to hear the case (cost both sides lots of money to return to court with junior and senior counsels) but 2. she was not considering or going to consider, at any point, the chimpanzee's personhood (this was said in a public statement making the return to court costly and futile). I guess the thing is that if rights to life, freedom from cruelty and exploitation are granted in one instance, there would be a precedent for arguing for the personhood of any animal. We have all met dogs, horses, cats and farm animals with great characters and sentience. The pharmaceutical, food industry and farmers do not want anyone to consider animals as individual beings who love their lives and express themselves as much as we do.
That doesn't mean the rest of us have no choice. We make our choices via what we buy. We can buy organically sourced remedies and medicines developed by organizations that do not test on animals. We can eat vegan food and bring an end to factory farming, by refusing what they produce. We can investigate and get conscious of our impact on others. Don't leave the tap running; preserve what is good! Always speak up when you see unkindness to a person or animal; inhibit what is bad! As the Manic Street Preachers said "If we tolerate this, then our children will be next" Don't be turned into a 'gutless wonder'
The Manics are friends of mine from my studio days and I apologize for having karaoke'd this song at the 'Stop the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme' fundraiser night! I like to think I carried it off but they might not agree!
So I was in the farm shop asking for pig food. The guy asked 'Do you mean 'pig finisher'? I said I didn't want to finish her off, God knows I've only just got her! He showed me what he had and the ingredients read 'Genetically modified soya, genetically modified maize etc'. (In case you don't know, crops are modified with pesticides. Insects explode if they nibble on a GM stalk. But these crops are all being eaten by the pigs as well. Fatal for an insect means toxic at very least for the pigs and the people that eat them. Glysophates and neonicotinoids are all just there in cancer scans, everyone knows this so why are they still eating meat? Its so gormless and destructive on so many levels. I asked for an organic feed and he replied 'the only thing we have is layers pellets'. It took me a few attempts to establish what he was talking about. Maybe layers pellets are obviously hen food to others but how can you take the hen out of the laying? Its not a production line, there are living beings plopping those eggs out, the majority of which will have never clucked or seen daylight and only consider for the briefest of moments what happens to the male chicks.
All I ask is that you start to recognize the personhood of every other living being. This recognition and acknowledgment is as well, handily, the path to joy.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Please get a note off to Minister Heather Humphreys (email@example.com) to refuse hare coursing a license.
Heather Humphreys is the politician who has the final say on the Hare Coursing License. In most countries this 'sport' has been banned for years. It occurred to me she might not know what is involved and she might assume that the traditional longevity of it meant it was somehow legitimate. Please everyone find her on face book or email and ask her to refuse the license. Short message or long but lets communicate while we can have a say. I wrote the following in case anyone is looking for inspiration.
Please reject the hare coursing license. The dogs are muzzled but the hares still get caught, tossed up in the air and damaged. There is also the rounding up of the wild hares beforehand and keeping them around for this day of sport. It is really not good sport. It is a violent terrifying chase that pandas to gamblers and unconscious people. In your position as a decision maker - which I really admire and am sure was hard won, I ask you to only support compassionate culture change and have the courage to stop the things that must be stopped. Lots of love and gratitude, Frances
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Dear Minister Coveney,
Thank you for your letter saying that you couldn’t influence the local authorities’ choice of contractor to manage the control of horses or control of dogs. I remember you elaborated that the local authorities pay the contractors and then they pass the bill to your department.
I hope you will make an exception in this instance and intervene, making sure that the ACS – Animal Collection Services are stopped in their tracks and all dog and horse pounds and wardenship are re-tendered, going to animal welfare organizations. Not even ‘Agricultural’ Services as some pounds have gone to. Only animal welfare organizations can provide safely the collection, pound and warden services required by law.
You may have read that ACS has recently been exposed as being owned by a Latvian called Dace Inda, based in Riga, Latvia, where the largest rendering plant in Europe is located. This is obviously a huge problem for Ireland as it looks like all our lost and seized animals are being sold rather than rehomed or disposed of when necessary. When animal body parts are made into meat and bone meal, they are used as ingredients in fertilizers but also in animal feeds.
I know they are banned in our food chain and also in the animal food chain for the last 25 years due to the BSE risk. With ACS’ close connections to farmers, councils and such opportunity to access a limitless amount of animals, I ask you to investigate them before another BSE crisis. These local authority contracts are the perfect opportunity for someone to be paid several times over for animals and capitalize on the cheap ingredients (ref: Irish Field: 3 adverts for ponies and horses. 087 3671185, Carlow 087 9075897 Limerick and 086 6041575 This last one is Emerald Isle Foods, formerly B&F Meats in Kilkenny, one of the main culprits in the horse meat crisis and still trading with the same premises, management and only a new company name).
You need to establish if animal feeds and or other products are finding their way back in to this country.
The collection services collect animals, indiscriminate of their species, condition or what medication they’ve received during their lifetime. They will not tell you what they plan to do with the animal, if it is a sick cow, a pony who has never seen a vet or a race horse who has had Bute, sedatives and yearly vaccinations. Your legislation states they can’t be buried or remain on a farm but does not require a straight answer as to how they are disposed of by these private companies.
BSE is transmitted via meat and bonemeal made up from the ground up remains of cows and pets, when it is fed to cows as a protein supplement.
I am requesting that you establish the origin of that BSE Positive that your vets found in Louth, 3 months ago. The rendering plant – Biovast – actually works within Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus. In any risk assessment process, for the purpose of identifying the potential source of this positive find, your department should at least investigate this possible source. It is likely that it will reveal a massive, gruesome and profitable industry in the hands of people who are not responsible for what happens to the animals or whether we end up eating them.
I ask you to stop the temptation for this level of malpractice and ill treatment of animals and ultimately the food chain. In the absence of control, transparency and penalization, you have a grave situation on your hands. You will have to stop this industry as a whole and make it law that animal services are run by responsible organizations with a background of welfare. This really is your problem as it seems to span Agriculture; sale and disposing of animals, providing of animal feeds and managing food risks. I understand that you have a conflict of interests with this need to facilitate making a profit from animals and your responsibility for Animal Welfare Legislation but none the less you have to do it.
Puppy farms are now coming into Agriculture territory too. It is no coincidence that James Kavanagh, who was recently arrested for his obscene puppy farm in Carlow (where horses were left to die and become food for the sick bitches) also applied for the Carlow Kilkenny Dog Pound. These tenders are so open to abuse.
The horses are somewhat protected in Co. Clare as the dog warden and various shelters are called to stray horses first. In Kilkenny no such filter applies. The guards call the ACS immediately and that is even if the horses are just in the wrong field, let alone out on the road by mistake. It is obvious that everyone involved is profiting to a certain extent. The ACS in Kilkenny City alone, in the first five months of this year, collected 59 horses and killed them all. I believe it is within your capacity to correct this situation and see where their large burial ground or incinerators are or if they are just mincing them up and selling them on.
In summary, I ask you to
1. Stop the temptation to this industry by outlawing the awarding of local authority contracts to private companies, to provide public services (this could apply to all services for all vulnerable groups in society)
2. To investigate the rendering plant in Latvia as the possible source of the BSE Positive find in Louth this year.
3. Establish if there is a connection between our animal collection services and animal by product rendering plants.
4. Enforce the legislation that protects the food chain.
5. Enforce the legislation that says that animal cruelty is a crime. Not allow the sentences and fines to be disputed and minimized after the court decisions.
6. Make Animal Welfare legislation consistent by stopping live animal exports. It is cruelty in itself and there is no way to monitor what happens to animals once they arrive in another country, with different laws. Also the people who are doing the transporting are entirely removed from the well-being or safety of the animals. I know you did not want to look at this issue at the Animal Welfare Conference but now is the time, as it may stop another major food crisis.
7. Check that meat and bonemeal are not being brought in to Ireland, in any form including animal feeds.
8. Be sure that dogs, cats, horses and ill cows are not already in our food chain via products with these ingredients.
9. Insist on total transparency as to how each animal is disposed of.
10. Do not allow Department Approved slaughterhouses but refuse shelters a permit to rescue animals. This is a problem that is wide spread too and causing difficulties for welfare organizations.
11. Make puppy farms illegal. No breeding should be allowed until all the shelters are empty.
12. Expose the corruption and relationships if necessary between gardai, Animal Collection Services, local councils and whatever other reasons for their monopoly on big contracts.
13. Establish in government that money is not an appropriate deciding factor when it comes to offering public services.
14. Do not allow Agricultural Services or vets to be awarded pound contracts either. Where there is profit, there is exploitation and legislation must spell out a not-for-profit service to manage the stray animals.
15. If you are too busy to prioritize this issue, either of BSE or of the animal warden and pound services, please delegate them to someone appropriate.
I myself am willing to help structure a better policy for all animals, be they pets, dogs and horses used for sport , farm animals and wildlife. There are many like me who are knowledgeable and experienced in care, ethics and management who are motivated to make genuine improvements in the culture and management of Ireland’s animals.
The BSE will always be a risk when animals move into the hands of those that do not care about any expressions of life, only profit.
I look forward to hearing your findings and if you would like further information about the various contracts and companies involved.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
I objected to the EPA sharing personal details of those that objected to Shell…and they sent the letter back and the envelope!
Dear Environmental Protection Agency
Please let me know what is the meaning of sending all the objections you received to Shell, to all the other objectors. I dearly hope you noticed that one or two of the objections were from Shell itself. If you have sent my details to Shell, I will be extremely angry and take you to court myself. Its hugely abusive to deliver information to a Company who has a track record of killing off people who oppose their plans.
They’ve already sunk one man’s boat in Mayo and further afield:
“Shell was involved in the development of the strategy that resulted in the unlawful execution of the Ogoni Nine (the local people who had resisted oppression and exploitation by Shell) ...One month after the executions of the Ogoni Nine, Shell signed an agreement to invest $4 billion in a liquefied natural gas project there.”
Shell have already managed to paint the picture of objector’s being ‘thugs’ and somehow deserving of jail-sentences in Mayo and further afield:
“Shell and the Nigerian government coordinated a public relations campaign to discredit the movement, falsely attributing airplane hijackings, kidnapping and other acts of violence to those who objected” Shell financed the policing and logistics of the increased security they requested.
Please also confirm that you did not send the petition of over one 1000 names of people who objected? You must have spotted that Shell just put in an objection so as to be included in this cheap information-gathering exercise. I have objected to other licenses in other authorities and never been sent a huge parcel of papers, wasting paper and with no cover letter explaining what on earth was the reasoning behind it. It implies that there is a second step to objecting but does not explain the process. In the meantime, you have put people in mortal danger. Our objections were to bring information to bear on your research and decision. It seems madness to expose individuals to the company itself. Vindictive even. Well, if they harm a hair on my head, or anyone else’s, you will answer for it.
Maybe you thought we’d club together and provide an Environmental Impact Assessment….oh but hang on that’s your job. I gather from the other objections that they haven’t been done even though various organizations are sharing the load of assessing the company’s works.
“Ten conservation organizations — Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands, and Sierra Club — filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for allowing Shell to drill for oil without a prior assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act. This lack of thorough Environmental Impact Assessments of all the changes Shell have made through the last decade and, I believe, lack of any full and proper application even being lodged by Shell, are things that I wish the EPA would apply themselves to, rather than heaps of photocopying.
Then maybe you thought, all the objectors might club together and prove that Shell are a heinous organization and have no right to drill here? Yes, there are plenty of arguments and plenty of evidence provided in the objections but no one should have to take Shell to court. The EPA yourselves have a key opportunity to refuse the license.
While I’m here, I will just ask the straight question, why was it €126 for an individual to object and only €63 for a fully funded organization to object? Like a county council. Coincidentally, I didn’t see an objection from Mayo County Council. Could it be that being government-funded would have restrained the arm of such organizations sufficiently?
Today “The heatwave and floods came as protests against the fossil fuel companies largely responsible for climate change faced protests across the United States. On Sunday in Santa Barbara, California, residents protested a major oil spill which has killed wildlife and soiled beaches. In Bellingham, Washington, two protesters suspended themselves from the anchor chain of a ship to oppose Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Chiara D’Angelo hung from the anchor of the Arctic Challenger from Friday until Monday morning, while fellow protester Matt Fuller joined her for 22 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii has voted to divest its $66 million endowment from fossil fuels, becoming the largest university to heed the growing divestment movement to date.
The University of Hawaii has DIVESTED endowment from fossil fuel companies as a result. What are you going to do?
Please sort out this disgrace and don’t be intimidated into letting the Irish people and land be exploited and threatened by Shell. They will have to answer to their maker like everyone else, but by then it will be too late. Intervene now and put protection measures in place for those who have contributed to the process, like myself, to support a strong decision to refuse Shell this license.
This was my objection to Shell back in May and abusive, as it is, all objections were sent to Shell themselves
Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use
PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
7th May 2015
Objection to Industrial Emissions Licence Review Application on Register of Licenses PO738-03 Shell
Postal Order for €126 enclosed.
To the EPA,
Millions of litres and euros-worth of fresh water must be used to pump out gas from the sea bed.
Fresh water again must be used to 'scrub' the gas of traces of salt water.
Will Shell pay for this water? - This week when the Irish people have been told that they can have the cost of their water use taken out of their benefits.
Fracked mainly methane gas from the sea bed produces 20% more emissions than carbon dioxide.
Contamination is definite, earthquakes are possible.
Shell is connected to Nepal's earthquake, due to fracking in West China.
Shell's own emissions went up 10% per barrel in 2012.
They are not accountable, not taking responsibility for what they're doing and the EPA know it.
I hold the EPA responsible if they don't stop this license as they know that Shell will destroy the land and sea.
The drilling will upset sea life, thousands of sea mammals and birds are disorientated and/or dying already. Can you imagine being subjected to that massive vibration and toxicity under water, permanently. You might come back in a next life as a fish and you’ll regret having trashed the place.
30 to 70% of the chemicals used in fracking re-surface.
Ireland and its ocean currents that hold its climate in balance are already threatened.
Shell have shown no remorse for damage done to people already. They are connected to Newmont who are the other violent miners in Peru.
Shell are connected to China's CNBC, where there is some of the greatest pollution in the world, that goes on unchecked by their Environmental Agency.
This week, the people of the city of Seattle are stopping Shell drilling in the Arctic. They will not let Shell’s boats use their bay.
Ireland's EPA should have at least this regard for Ireland and use
1. The authority bestowed on them as licenser and
2. This eleventh hour opportunity to stop Shell and
3. Insist they return the bay to its natural state.
If the EPA want they can find out plenty more of the valid environmental concerns about fracking, drilling into the sea, bringing the toxic unrefined gas ashore, the use of water, the waste, the contamination, the lack of fair recompense.
The EPA can establish that its a false economy to jeopardize and destroy so much of a country for 3 year's only supply of gas.
Please don’t let the ‘American driller’ in either who wants to expand on Ireland’s gas fields. These companies only want to use us up and spit us out.
Of all the fracked-up countries in all the world, the only country that stands to benefit less than Ireland is the Cameroon. Ireland doesn’t even get profits, they get a ‘service agreement’.
There will be 150 jobs max created and at least that many have been lost in the area.
The ruination will be completely on the EPA’s head if they don’t stop it. The EPA can find many other claims against Shell and well founded evidence to justify refusing them this license.
They can see that Shell being given 123 million euro last week to pay for insurance is a blatant admission of danger and a blatant decision to be covered by insurance rather than mitigate the risks.
I am enclosing the required fee of €126 to make this objection. Shame on the EPA for setting a price so high, for people to defend their country from a multi national.
I am sending this letter to the paper as well so that everyone knows Shell’s license is up and the EPA can and should refuse a license to shop Shell fracking this summer or ever.
A much better idea, if the EPA are looking for one, is to protect Ireland’s fresh water and export that instead of cleaned gas. Water is the natural resource that is really needed in every other country. Shell must not be allowed to use it up.
The people shouldn't need to have the www.shelltosea.com petition. Even senior An Bord Pleanala are quoted as saying that Shell are wrong.
The repercussions of Shell are no less than Ecocide. That is what the EPA are sanctioning if this license is granted.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
I had a dream last night that I was running a horse pound. I was the manager but the old style pushing, shoving and violence kept kicking off in a stable, between workers and a horse got beaten to death. Killing is so routine now that it is considered normal and licensed by the Department of Agriculture. In the Irish Field I read that the same department oversee B&F Meats who were the main slaughterhouse that managed to get horse meat into the food chain here. They have got their license back and now they are called Emerald Isle Foods…no improvement in practice, no change in premises or management just a renewed license and a much more appealing name.