Sunday, October 30, 2016

Let's Put the Humane Party in Power next week and let's have one for Ireland too!


From The Ugly Truth website

 I could give a big long update on the horror of exporting animals to their certain death in countries where there are no welfare laws, like the ex racing greyhounds and how the government plans to prop up that failing and cruel industry with 63 million euro (with none of that going to retired dog rescues and in the face of all the other desperate areas of society that need that money).

We could talk about the fate of stray dogs, cats and horses that end up in our pounds. Or the suffering on Puppy Farms (dogs kept in boxes with hamster water systems and no light or movement. I quote from our very own puppy farmer in Carlow: ‘Dogs don’t need eyes to pump out puppies’. But I really want to talk about the vegan and rescue groups and the epic work that is already being done to protect animals.

This is the same system as the one exposed in Cavan last week, where bitches are kept in these boxes permanently. It was inspected 8 times this year by Dept vets who each time said it was perfectly satisfactory.

There is a UK-organized protest outside our Department of Agriculture on the 9th November that we should all get to as they have been the ones rescuing Irish Greyhounds literally off the runways in Manchester and other places they have been able to intercept on their way. 

Even with the huge increase in animal abuse and reporting of it, ARAN have discovered that there have only been 2 convictions of animal cruelty this year, 14 less than last year and twenty two less than the year before. On the successes front, Seaworld will no longer keep orcas and circuses are now advertising that their shows will no longer use animals!

Thankfully nearly everyone I know now is already rescuing animals, vegetarian or fully vegan and dedicating additional time to improving the bigger picture. However, the energy is hard. Everyone is upset and that is not the best way to effect social change. It is the way to despondency, an element of powerlessness and financial problems. This is because, with increased awareness, it becomes so obvious how the very opposite of what should be happening is happening. It comes to your attention that positive, compassionate or sustainable enterprises are thwarted on purpose and that large scale exploitation and violence are protected and facilitated.    

So I looked in my little book, Magic by Ronda Byrne and the first word that jumped out was ‘gratitude'!

How on earth can we think of anything to be grateful for when 200 elephants have their faces cut off every day, for their tusks, dolphins are rounded up and slaughtered by the hundreds and on our own shores people nail dogs’ paws to the ground and kick the crap out of them until they’re dead (and a multitude of other versions of that story) and our government is so corrupt it invests public money in the carcass collection, for food or removal.

But we have to come up with something! 

It is important to represent farm animals as well as all the others in trouble.
God knows, there were more than three and a half million chickens killed last year in Ireland. That is an awful lot of violent death, right there. Plus over a million pigs killed and more than 99% of pigs in Ireland are kept in crates, where they can move neither forwards nor back, for their whole lives and are mainly still tethered, even though it is illegal. This is stuff that many of us already know so I won't go on about it!

Suffice to say, I hardly think in terms of animal rights any more. I think in terms of human responsibility because we, as people, hold all the cards, the animals hold none. There is nothing the animals can do.

There are these truisms like ‘what you resist, persists’ and ‘ what you think about, comes about’ so it is really important to keep one’s focus on what is positive, so it is that that can be multiplied, by our attention to it! I know, deep down, that it is only through ‘gratitude’ that real change can be made, that is where the real magic happens, so I dug really deep and have thought of 5 things to be grateful for!

1. I am grateful for Ireland’s climate that is not too harsh and slightly protects the animals who are neglected in terms of housing and nutrition.
2. I am grateful for ARAN, the other animal rights, liberation, advocacy and awareness organizations and individuals.
3. I am grateful for all the shelters and charities and staff who respond to and care for the animals in crisis and who intervene on their behalf, in Ireland and abroad.
4. I am grateful for all the food producers who make vegan food and harmless products, that focus on making sure that there is no exploitation, no use of animal products or testing in their supply chain.
5. I am grateful for all the farmers that bother to grow organic crops and those people who make plant-based, but also totally balanced pet food.

This is my vision for Ireland, that it will be the first completely vegan, organic country. Everyone has a cow or two, a pig or two, a hen or two, a dog or two, a cat or two, a sheep or two and no one has to rescue five or ten or sixty and carry the burden of all the vet bills and the rehabilitation. A lot of people are stuck under a mountain of vet debt and too many animals in their care. The Carlow/Kilkenny Dog Pound are constantly full and have approximately 11 newcomers every day, one of the staff told me. PAWS have 75 kennels and provide care for more than 100. The Donegal Pound have handled 500 dogs and only 6 have been rehomed. The system is certainly not working.

 At the moment, all the animals are in the wrong hands. They are merely inventory for farmers, a production line in abbatoirs, or caged and bred or tested on, all for profit.

A lot of people have been trying to help animals in many different ways. For me, I was involved in a situation last year for the dog shelters. I put in a public tender to run the council dog pound and exposed by chance that, nation-wide, these massive amounts of public money to run shelters are going to animal collection services (as in they dispose of fallen animals, carcasses and were formally known as knackers lorries).  Literally, I received a letter from the Kilkenny County Council saying that the Animal Care Society from Cork had won the tender and we hadn’t. I wrote to the care society and said well done, that is brilliant and I can see you do Trojan work in rehoming and raising awareness of animal cruelty and neglect. Nonetheless, I live on the same road as the dog pound and I have a list of volunteers who would love to help too, if we can be of any help…Their response? We never even heard of the contract! The council had lied in writing and were going to give the 240,000 public contract to the carcass collection firm. Then it came to light that the Animal Collection Services were being given the contracts for shelters all around the country. They have had the horse pounds for several years and they get paid to collect the horses – 980 per horse, paid again to dispose of the carcasses. 

It is so important that we investigate what is going on within our own counties, under our noses, with our money and agreed by our public representatives. When I was able to get a national newspaper involved, they investigated the ACS further and discovered that the business is registered in Riga, Latvia, home of the biggest animal body parts factory in Europe.

So yes they get paid one more time when they sell our stray animals on to become fertilizer and dog meat…at which point we can then buy them back.

And yet I believe that most people are kind and most people are not oblivious to the needs of other creatures. Even it is basic like the five freedoms – food, water, shelter, freedom to display behaviour normal to their species and freedom from harm. I love, respect and encourage anyone who is finding a way forwards to look after people, animals or the environment better. Surely we have established that what is good for one is good for the other. 

I was inspired, as always, by ARAN’s John Carmody on the radio last year, talking about the gay marriage referendum. Nobody knew that so many people would go out to vote in favour of equality. The seed was planted in my mind that we need an animal referendum for Ireland. Actually ask every person where they stand on animal issues. 

So I set about formulating an animal referendum. I feel that if every person in Ireland was asked if they want Ireland to be the animal laboratory testing capital of Europe, they would say NO. If asked if they want an intensification of animal farming, they would say NO. Do we want to be the biggest puppy farmers, tolerate the captivity and cruelty to animals in entertainment and in sport, we would say NO and get a real change. 

There was an interesting survey done on where candidates stood on animal issues before the election which was very telling too. However, a further difficulty we have in Ireland and even at county level, is that the elected representatives do not have any decision making influence. As you can imagine, this creates difficulty for all public tenders - eg care homes, disability services and all social offerings. The qualified choice will not win a tender over a cheaper offer. This is how public services are ending up in the hands of private firms.

ARAN group finished their march on the steps of the courthouse in Cork. Symbolically, it is hoped that our presence might bring more justice around for those that need it.

Even then, legislation isn’t everything either. I recently heard that European companies were given 12 years to implement changes to their Chicken keep systems. They had to increase their cage size by 50 squ. cm. This is hardly anything and even at the end of the 12 years, 9 of the countries wrote and said sorry they weren’t going to manage it. Things are not happening fast enough.

I know that everyone is doing as much as they can, to move the situation forwards for animals. Spreading awareness and raising compassion is important but what I also have in mind is the occupation of every slaughterhouse, fur or puppy farm, laboratory, circus, racing stadium, government building, sea shore. This could be just a few people there every day, with banners, to bear witness to the suffering and raise awareness of what’s going on inside. Until they all CLOSE DOWN. If at all possible, think about what you see on social media and take just one action that reports something to someone who can change it.

I gather that the current Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed respects animals even less than Simon Coveney his predecessor does, although I can't imagine how that is even possible. Nonetheless, keep writing to him, his office and copying your messages to Clare Daly TD and Maureen O'Sullivan TD and any others up there who can use the information to ask for change at that level. There is a next generation of animal advocates but, as adults, we have the power to sort things out and not leave such a quagmire for the young.

By 2020, it is suspected that two thirds of wildlife will have been destroyed. 
This has all been done in the last 40 years. The year 2020 has given me the heebiejeebies for a few years now, since I heard that Ireland plans to double its herd and meat and dairy production and export by then. They called it the '2020 Harvest' but it is really a 2020 carnage. 

You might have thought that farmers would have spotted that dairy prices would go down, once the quota was lifted… but not from 39 to 18 cent per litre. I have had several farmers come to me and they have still not been able to pay for the feed for their animals, from last winter and some not even the year before. We are talking about every strata of society being exploited by a few; business, farm, social enterprise, sustainable industries, family, individual and animals on a gruesome scale. 

We can say that it has been like that for years, that we will never change it. However we can and must stand up to our corrupt, ignorant and greed driven government by letting them know we fully understand what they are doing and ask them to represent and implement what society wants and needs, instead, in their governance and budgets. This has been done many times in history and I think we are again being asked to step up.

Please everyone come to the Department of Agriculture, Kildare Street in Dublin from 11.30-16.30 on the 9th November 2016. Bring posters for whatever concerns you most but the event is to protect Irish Greyhounds from live export to places like China where they race them again. If they are not successful in every race and always eventually they enter the dog meat trade. Slim pickings you might say and you would be right but animals are boiled alive over there and some animals they wedge, while still alive, between their dining tables and eat the brains out of their heads. This is what we are dealing with. Raving psychopaths world wide, lets get kindness taught in schools and humane representation in government. And don't buy anything that was mean-spiritedly made.

Brilliantly, I was in touch with the Humane Party in the US this week. In fact, I friend requested Clifton Roberts the presidential candidate from the Humane Party just to get ideas of how they might structure a vegan economy. What a conscious offering for all life forms, the environment and human industry and endeavour!! Unbelievably he voice messaged me straight back thanking me for my inspiring message and talking away as if we were long-time friends. He said the Humane Party are particularly keen to help translate the political components of governance for other people, companies and parties. They would help in any way they could if we formed a Humane Party over here in Ireland and make it as relevant to the specific issues people and animals are facing here.

This is Clifton Roberts' acceptance speech for the nomination...let it relieve your weary souls with renewed hope! I also gather that those of you in America can vote for him. There is a convincing short video that showed that people are being told it is only worth voting for Clinton or Trump but actually there is good argument for voting for an independent. 

 Each penny represents a million people.

This has only just occurred to me now but: Being vegan - ie a lifestyle of intentional harmlessness to others and the environment and holding a vision and reasoning capacity beyond self-interest - should be a pre-requisite of anyone in any public office.  Surely!

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