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Happy World Spay Day

Nine of the UK’s animal welfare charities have joined forces to promote World Spay Day, aimed at encouraging cat owners to have their cats spayed. Spaying protects cats from getting pregnant – this is also known as neutering, fixing or being done.

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Around 85 per cent of litters of kittens are unplanned, with many cat owners getting caught out because they did not realise their cats could get pregnant at less than six months of age – while still kittens themselves. In addition, many cat owners believe that female cats should be allowed to have a litter of kittens before they are spayed, but this isn’t true – it’s just an old wives’ tale.

The advice is simple – have your cat spayed at four months to protect her from getting pregnant.

Male cats should be neutered too, to protect them catching diseases, such as FIV and getting nasty injuries from fighting – a male cat which hasn’t been neutered is much more likely to fight over a female mate. Neutering can also help to stop male cats from spraying indoors – which can be really smelly. He’s also more likely to stay close to home as a neutered male cat is less likely to stray.

You may be able to get help with the cost of having your cat neutered. For more information, check out: http://www.cats.org.uk/worldspayday

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World Spay Day is supported by:

  • The Blue Cross
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
  • Cats Protection
  • Celia Hammond Animal Trust
  • International Cat Care
  • Mayhew Animal Home
  • PDSA
  • RSPCA
  • Wood Green Animal Charity

For a full list of global animal events taking place throughout the year please visit our Calendar

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Labour pledges to tackle animal cruelty, including foxhunting

Labour will pledge to crack down on animal cruelty with promises of action to tackle abuse in circuses, puppy farms and shooting estates and end the culling of badgers.

Unveiling the pledges on the 10th anniversary of the ban on hunting with dogs, shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle said that a Conservative victory on 7 May could lead to the repeal of the ban, while Labour would ensure it was defended.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) cub, 7 weeks old

Meanwhile, anti-bloodsports campaigners called for new measures to tighten the ban to stop hunters flouting the law to kill foxes.

The Conservative election manifesto is widely expected to repeat the 2010 promise of a free vote on hunting in the House of Commons and pro-hunting campaigners are hopeful that a move to “English votes for English laws” would make overturning the ban easier south of the border.

Defending the hunting act against the threat of repeal by Tories was top of the list of six animal welfare pledges launched by Eagle in a document entitled Labour Protecting Animals at a London wildlife centre.

She said Labour was committed in the next parliament to banning wild animals in circuses, ending the “ineffective and inhumane” programme of badger culls, reviewing regulations on dog and cat breeding and sales, reducing animal cruelty on shooting estates and leading the fight against global animal cruelty.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Our Labour values tell us that we have a moral duty to treat the animals we share our planet with in a humane and compassionate way. No other major political party has such a proven track record of decisive action for animals at home, on farms and in the wild. This is a legacy that we are proud of – one which we believe shows that Labour is the only party to trust on animal welfare.”

Eagle added: “The last Labour government achieved much to end the cruel and unnecessary suffering of animals: the banning of hunting with dogs, securing an end to cosmetic testing on animals, banning fur farming and introducing the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The next Labour government will continue to lead the way on animal welfare, starting with six key commitments that build on our previous achievements at home and abroad.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK, said: “On 7 May, the votes of many millions of British people will be influenced by a desire to see greater protection for animals. A party’s policies for animals – who are voiceless and so vulnerable to exploitation and suffering – tell you something very fundamental about its core ethics. We urge all parties to make acting for animals a priority, and encourage voters to ask their candidates for their views on animal welfare. Whether it’s ending suffering in circuses, laboratories, zoos, farms, or in the wild, animal welfare is a vote-winner, and badgers will matter at the ballot box.”

The League Against Cruel Sports called for three reforms to the hunting act: to prohibit the use of dogs below ground, to introduce provisions to ensure the killing of wild mammals during a trail hunt cannot be passed off as an accident and to increase the punishments available to the courts.

League chief executive Joe Duckworth said: “Introduced 10 years ago on animal welfare grounds, this important and popular legislation has both the highest number of convictions and highest conviction rate above all other wild mammal legislation. Many more people have been deterred from chasing and killing animals for pleasure – something worth celebrating. On average, one person every week is prosecuted under the Hunting act’s provisions. Of these, over two-thirds are found guilty, rending any argument that the ban is not enforceable redundant. The problem is not with the law. It’s with those that flout it. It is now time to build on the successes of the first 10 years and strengthen the law to ensure the spirit of the act is fulfilled.”

Article taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/18/labour-tackle-animal-cruelty-hunt-circus-puppy-farm-badger-cull-election

For more information on the major political parties’ stances on animal welfare issues, visit this page: http://www.onekind.org/resources/party_policies/

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Non-stun slaughter to be debated in parliament

A petition started in early 2014 calling on the government to end non stun slaughter for livestock has reached over 100,000 signatures – meaning the issue will now be debated in parliament. The topic has gained increasing media attention lately with growing numbers of people opposed to the horrific, cruel and terrifying methods used to ‘bleed out’ animals whose throats have been cut – all supposedly in the name of God.

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RSPCA are encouraging supporters to email their local MPs and make sure they attend this momentous debate. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to do so and tell the UK government enough is enough. It’s time this barbaric practice was sent back to the dark ages where it belongs.

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Born Free Foundation and Care for the Wild in historic merger

The Born Free Foundation have today announced the exciting news that it is growing bigger – and better – and it’s all for the animals. In an historic merger, they’re joining forces with the well-known UK wildlife charity, Care for the Wild.

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This exciting new alliance unites two of the leading names in wildlife protection, and together they are forging a powerful union dedicated to compassionate conservation and wild animal welfare.  Born Free and Care for the Wild have been friends since the beginning. They each started in 1984 and have, for three decades, focussed on rescuing, protecting and defending wild animals in need. Now Care for the Wild is becoming part of Born Free. They have incorporated their staff and projects to help wild elephants, tigers, rhinos and other species into the Born Free family, while maintaining their unfailing commitment to existing projects.

Born Free Founder Virginia McKenna OBE is delighted by the news. “Born Free has been a close
companion of Care for the Wild since both our charities began. Back in 1984 their Founder, Dr Bill Jordan OBE, was a good friend of my husband Bill Travers and myself. In his capacity as a wildlife vet and animal welfare expert he was one of our key advisors and mentors in those early days. Over the years our two charities have frequently worked together on a wide range of projects to help wild animals. Now I’m sure that, like me, you will wish to extend the warmest of welcomes to all Care for the Wild’s supporters and staff. How wonderful to have them as part of our outstanding team. I hope they will soon feel part of the Born Free family.”

There are strong parallels between these two great organisations, which have evolved along similar paths, with a like-minded and shared vision of a kinder world. The combined entity, operating under the Born Free Foundation name, will be able to more effectively tackle a host of animal protection and wildlife conservation issues of critical concern to the British people. This will include protection for badgers, hares and other native wild animals, as well as endangered species the world over.

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Police and RSPB appeal for help to identify wildlife criminals

In May 2014, a video camera deployed by RSPB Scotland staff to monitor a goshawk nest at Glenochty, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire on land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland, and within the Cairngorms National Park, captured footage revealing a group of men repeatedly visiting the area in what appears to be an attempt to kill the birds and destroy the nest.

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The goshawk is a specially protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence for anybody to visit active nests without a licence issued by Scottish Natural Heritage, or to recklessly kill, take or destroy these birds or their eggs and dependent young. The Scottish goshawk population has only 150 breeding pairs and it is one of our scarcest breeding raptor species, now recovering its populations after years of human persecution.

Police Scotland’s Aberdeenshire and Moray Divisional Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer, Mike Whyte, said “Police, RSPB and other organisations continuously work together in response to the illegal activities of a handful of individuals who operate outwith accepted practices. In this case it is in direct conflict with one of the UK Wildlife Crime priorities, Raptor Persecution, an offence which by its rural geographic location is one that is historically difficult to detect”.

Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: “This video footage captured by our camera shows what appears to be an illegal incident involving the deliberate targeting of one of our rarest and specially protected birds of prey. We are appealing to anybody with information about this incident to contact the police on 101 or on Crimestoppers as a matter of urgency. On account of serious concerns about the impacts of illegal activity on the Scottish goshawk population, RSPB Scotland is now offering a reward of £1000 for any information that subsequently leads to a successful conviction in this case.”

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RSPCA calls for review of greyhound racing laws after live baiting revelations

The RSPCA has called on state and territory governments to launch independent reviews of the laws in their greyhound industries after footage of animal cruelty during training was revealed on the ABC’s Four Corners.

The report on Monday night showed covert footage of some of Australia’s most prominent greyhound trainers using live pigs, rabbits and possums as bait to train greyhounds.

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“What we’ve seen on that footage last night is nothing short of disgraceful,” RSPCA NSW chief executive Steve Colman told ABC radio.

The RSPCA said criminal charges were imminent in some states, and trainers found guilty of live baiting could be jailed.

The Victorian government has announced an investigation into animal welfare and allegations of animal cruelty in the industry, while the NSW government said it would extend the time for submissions into a review of the Greyhound Racing Act in the light of the footage. The NSW government is overseeing a scheduled five-year statutory review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2009.

The new Queensland racing minister, Labor’s Bill Byrne, said he had sought urgent advice about what powers were open to him to eradicate the practice.

Byrne said he was appalled by what he saw and hoped “the mongrels involved in this would be facing the full consequence of their actions”.

He said Queensland laws were “more than adequate to deal with these acts of barbarism”.

“What’s needed is a clear understanding of how such things could happen given the regulatory framework that we have.”

Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive Brent Hogan said his organisation needed greater powers to stamp out animal cruelty.

“What we need to look at is the powers around surveillance and inspections –and we need to make sure those powers are sufficient to allow us to weed out activities of the type we saw last night,” he told ABC radio.

He hoped the trainers featured in the Four Corners report would be punished to the full extent of the law.

“There is no place whatsoever for animal cruelty of any kind in our sport. Animal cruelty is totally unacceptable and anyone found guilty of a cruelty offence is not welcome in the sport,” Hogan said in a statement.

The NSW minister for hospitality, gaming and racing, Troy Grant, said he was shocked and appalled by “absolutely abhorrent and distressing footage” revealed on Four Corners.

“Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and any person concerned about a breach should contact one of the enforcement agencies – RSPCA NSW, the Animal Welfare League NSW or NSW police,” Grant said in a statement on Tuesday.

The NSW opposition leader, Luke Foley, said he was “alarmed” by the revelations, but still wanted to give the greyhound industry a tax cut.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Foley called for an urgent, independent investigation to root out the “bad apples” in the industry, and urged life bans.

“It is offensive, it is inhumane, it is grotesque,” he said.

But he stood by his proposal to cut the tax payable by the NSW racing industry by 60% if elected on 28 March. Labor has pledged to cut the tax applied to every $100 wagered on racing from $3.22 to $1.28, bringing NSW into line with Victoria.

NSW Greens MP John Kaye said Greyhound Racing NSW should be broken up.

“Throughout last year’s NSW parliamentary inquiry, members of both the major parties bowed to political pressure from the dog racing industry and played down the animal welfare crisis. The time for cosying up to the Greyhound Racing NSW is now over,” he said in a statement.

Racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) will also investigate.

GRV chief executive Adam Wallish said the allegations were devastating for the industry and had already resulted in the suspension of 10 trainers on Friday.

He said anyone caught live baiting would face prosecution. “It’s abhorrent. We will move heaven and earth to make sure they are convicted,” he said on Fairfax Radio.

“We will be working very hard to ensure these people will no longer play a part in this sport,” he said.

The RSPCA has accused the industry of doing a poor job in regulating itself and has called for comprehensive, independent industry regulation and accountability.

Article taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/feb/17/live-baiting-greyhouse-training-abhorrent-nsw-racing-minister