Thursday, February 2, 2017

What do you want Changed in the Animal Welfare Act Rewrite

I have only got as far as point 1.2 that seems to let them off the hook for everything. I promise I will try and make progress into the heart of the matter and look forward to other people's input - what do we want changed in the Animal Welfare Act rewrite this month??!!

1.2  The date coming in to effect on different dates for different purposes and provisions is not satisfactory.

It was the direct cause of 28 horses and ponies being seized, pregnant mares traveled with stallions and others in one trailor, overseen by department vets, executed by ACS (Animal Collection Services), the animals legitimately being where they were, the animals turning out to be passported and microchipped. The owners tried to get them back, was granted a court order to get in to the pound to check their condition. Were refused entry and it turned out that all the animals had been put down on the day of the seizure. When it went to court again, amendments to this Act were cited as justification and the minister said that the clause had come into affect 24 hours before the seizure, while it wasn’t actually in the public domain until after the seizure.

Horses in Kilvarra where their sales stickers had not even been taken off, not boding well for the care to come
The Act is being used to protect the department and the behavior of the businesses that exploit animals. This time the Act needs to be enforceable in a court of law.

There has been an increase in cruelty and yet only 2 prosecutions in the last twelve months. This piece of legislation needs to offer solid guidelines that offer both protection and offer lawyers clear guidelines to demonstrate when the law has been broken.

Leadership in the rewriting of this Act, should move from Institutional to System Leadership. Institutional governance protects competition and economy (in terms of meat production and racing industries). System governance would protect the welfare of the animal. For example, in the pig welfare legislation, pigs are not allowed to be kept on slats unless it is an important economic consideration for the farmer. 

Who are inspecting the welfare on farms?

Therefore, the economic consideration is sufficient to override this and any of the five freedoms without repercussions. Another example is the dog and horse pounds. Public contracts are delivered to economic operators who commit to not keeping the animals but can prove that they can make the shelters work economically. The result is pounds in the hands of firms who
1.     Get paid a second time for disposing of the carcasses.
2.     Who are based in other countries and export the dogs and horses, sometimes alive, to become dog food and fertilizer.
3.     Who sell the animals on to research facilities with no welfare compliance record or intention
4.     Have no rehoming policy or structure for finding original owners.
5.     No policy, or incentive, to improve the influx of animals to pounds going forwards.
6.      Closed pounds, where the public are not encouraged to rehome.
7.     Wardens that involved in dog fighting themselves and have no ethos
8.     Inappropriate people in charge of inspection of dog breeding establishments
9.     Pounds where farmers can surrender dogs and insist they are put to sleep, so as to avoid them winning a race for someone else in future. 
10. Abbatoirs and vets where they can get animals destroyed without sedation or any welfare consideration.

There are obvious problems with the Welfare Act being written by the Agriculture Department and the Dog Control Act being written by the Environment Department. Firstly, any actual cruelty or non compliance cases can be justified by one or the other. Secondly, the Agricultural Department literally exists to monetize all animal orientated activities. For example, farm animals being kept specifically to eat as meat, or their young and milk exploited. The conflict of interests can only be overcome via a meaningful Animal Welfare Act. 

The department this time must systematically co-ordinate all the animal-keeping parties and legislate to support their differing priorities. This ranges from farmers, to rescues, to responsible animal ownership educators, to laboratories, to universities, to entertainment, to breeders. The argument ‘I can make more money this way’ cannot remain a good enough argument for bad practice. 

Chance rescue, John Carmody of ARAN and I outside Carlow Courthouse, hoping beyond hope that Kavanagh didn't get his puppy farm license back - dogs eating fallen horses for food, several hundred more breeding bitches than he had a license for and dead dogs strewn around, all with bite marks. No conviction so far, still the same wardens in place who repeatedly approved the farm in inspections.

To follow will be specific responses to parts of the legislation - including the dog breeding establishment guidelines - please let me know what parts of the existing legislation are not working for you or your organization or business. It will save me wading through every word and make it possible to get a report in that is highly relevant and applicable to the re-write process. Thanks a million Fx

No comments:

Post a Comment