Critter Web Smiles: Dog gets best happy birthday ever

I can’t remember the last time I saw a dog so happy. Look at his tail! He’s practically airborne!!



Tayside farmers shooting German beavers

At least 21 invading German beavers have been killed in Scotland after they built dozens of dams on farmers’ land.


The animals, a species that originates in Bavaria, have been thriving since escaping captivity and around 150 are living in the wild in Tayside.

Now it has emerged that the bodies of 21 beavers have been discovered with gunshot wounds since the end of 2012. Farmers and other landowners are suspected of being responsible for the killings and have been urged by conservationists to adopt non-lethal methods to control the species.

Farmers are angry over damage caused on their land, with one landowner claiming 35 beaver dams have been removed from his property.

Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland around 500 years ago. The Scottish Government is conducting a beaver reintroduction trial, costing £2 million, in Knapdale, Argyll.

But while the Norwegian beavers have struggled to thrive in Argyll, the Bavarian beavers have taken off in Tayside.

The cost of removing dams, fixing pipe blockages and repairing flood defences is described by the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) as “significant”.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has examined the bodies of 23 beavers in the Tayside area and concluded that while two died in road accidents, the rest were shot dead.

At present, a licence is not needed to shoot beavers as they have no legal protection in the UK. However, possessing and moving a dead beaver is illegal without a licence.

David Bale, Scottish Natural Heritage Tayside & Grampian unit manager and former Tayside Beaver Study Group chairman, said: “We don’t encourage lethal control. Instead, we advocate other solutions, such as protecting trees and discouraging dam building. Removing a beaver simply leaves the territory open for another beaver to move in, so shooting tends to be a short-term solution.”

NFUS said that farmers fear the animals’ impact on productive farmland reliant on complex drainage systems.

A spokesman said: “We have a number of members who are affected by the illegal reintroduction, with one member whose flood bank collapsed due to burrowing of beavers, and another who has had to remove 35 dams from his farm.”

An official scientific trial saw 16 beavers introduced into Knapdale Forest between 2009-2011.

Article taken from: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/tayside-farmers-shooting-german-beavers-1-3958204#ixzz3sc7ZUael


Take Action: Join the Race to Help Greyhounds

Racing greyhounds face isolation, cruelty, injury and often an early death – but now is a crucial time as you have the chance to help them.


The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently conducting a five year review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations which were introduced in 2010. The League Against Cruel Sports believes these regulations fail to safeguard greyhound welfare and as a result racing dogs continue to suffer needlessly.

The League are calling on the government to strengthen the regulations. Dogs are kept in horrific conditions, treated appallingly, and when their ‘career’ is over they’re either killed, or sent to Ireland to take part in barbaric hare coursing.

Please take a moment to download and read the results of their investigations into the greyhound racing industry, then take part in the government consultation by following this link.

It won’t take more than ten minutes of your time, but you must respond before 31st December 2015.


Thank you for your support.


Take action: Four months left to save the National Wildlife Crime Unit

World Animal Protection are asking people to urgently step up and take action for wildlife in the UK.


As highlighted on What the Cat Dragged In (via IFAW) last month, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is at risk. Despite it being one of the world’s leading wildlife crime units, its funding is due to run out in March.

World Animal Protection is now asking people to email their MP and urge them to save the NWCU. We need them to demand that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office continue to fund this vital unit.

Wildlife crime is abundant across the UK with animals being harmed and persecuted. Animals are hunted, smuggled, butchered for their body parts or kept alive in order to be sold on. The NWCU is absolutely critical in the fight against wildlife criminals. Without them, wild animals will be at a much greater risk of suffering cruelty.

The NWCU is a world-leading police unit dedicated to supporting wildlife crime investigations and fundamental to providing and analysing national wildlife crime intelligence across the UK. Without them, a huge number of wildlife crime cases would not be successfully investigated or prosecuted. Right now, the NWCU’s future is in doubt as their funding comes to an end in March 2016. In 2014 they were granted 2 years funding; but previous to that they had to fight to stay open every single year. This endless cycle of uncertainty has been a huge drain on their resources.

Chief Inspector Martin Sims, Head of the NWCU, has recently commented that “if we don’t secure funding, the unit will fold”. Defra and the Home Office are currently considering the future of the NWCU and will decide soon if they will be given long term funding. We have to make sure this happens. World Animal Protection is calling on the UK Government to fully-fund this vital unit for at least 5 years. This is the same amount of time that Governments have in their terms, and would give the NWCU the stability and vote of confidence that they so urgently need.

Please call on your MP today and help protect the NWCU and UK wildlife now!


Take Action: Penguins to be exploited in Christmas high street celebrations

Captive Animals’ Protection Society are asking people across the UK to take action for penguins this Christmas.

As we move towards the festive season we see decorations, bright lights and hear Christmas songs when out and about in our busy shopping centres and high streets. Sadly, what we are also seeing is the exploitation of live animals.


On the 12th of December on Sidcup High Street, live penguins will be used in a ‘meet the penguins’ event as part of the ‘Sidcup Sparkles’ Christmas event.

Wild animals like penguins need very specific care, habitats and space to be able to live life to the fullest. Penguins used in events like this are exposed to large crowds and noise which are both major stressors for animals.

As well as welfare concerns, using wild animals as a form of ‘entertainment’ sends out the wrong educational messages to the public, in particular children. Animals like penguins do not belong on a high street in the UK and this event does nothing to teach about conservation or respect for species and habitats.

Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) are asking people to contact the organisers today and ask them to cancel this part of their Christmas event!
• Email the organisers party@lollipopevents.co.uk (feel free to use/amend the template provided)
• Tweet them
• Post on their facebook page
• Share Captive Animals’ Protection Society’s campaign page (http://www.captiveanimals.org/rudolph) on facebook and twitter
• Make a donation to CAPS so they can tackle more events using penguins, reindeer and other animals this Christmas

This year, CAPS have received more complaints from concerned members of the public on the use of wild animals in Christmas events than ever before. You can view their interactive ‘Rudolph map’ here to see the events that are happening near you, which is being added to daily.



The truth about animal charities, cats and dogs

Article by William MacAskill and Amanda MacAskill for The Guardian UK:

As we approach December – the month when almost a third of all charitable giving for the year takes place – many of us might be wondering where we should be sending our charitable donations. Some of us will choose to give to charities such as Against Malaria Foundation, which helps to protect people in the developing world from a disease that kills almost 3,000 children every day. And yet, despite the great needs of humans around the world, many people will choose to donate to charities that help animals. In fact, it has recently been reported by the Mirror that “bequests to animal charities beat donations to human causes”, and that donations bequeathed to animals “dwarfed” those going to vulnerable and abused children.

kitten in hand

Is it true that donations to animal charities outstrip donations to human charities in the UK? The simple answer is no. The Charities Aid Foundation, which surveys people about the donations that they have made in the last 12 months, found that in 2014 only 7% of the total amount that people donated went to animal charities. This is much lower than donations to human-focused charities such as medical charities, children’s charities, and hospitals, overseas charities, and religious charities. These five causes collectively received 62% of total donations, and every one of these causes individually received more than animal charities did.

But what about bequests to charities that people make in their wills: do animal charities sweep up the biggest share of these types of donations? Again, the answer is no. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations reports that in 2009-2010, environmental charities, which includes animal charities, received only 22% of all legacy donations, while social services, research, and health charities jointly received 62% of legacy donations. The animal charity that received by far the most legacy donations was the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (£74.9m), which received less than either Cancer Research UK (£157.4m) or the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (£93.8m).

Of course, some individual animal charities do receive more than some individual human charities, as the Mirror article highlights. But this is pretty uninformative if what we want to know is whether animal or human charities received more money. When we look at the numbers, it’s clear that donations to human charities dwarf donations to animal charities, and not the other way around.

Although animal charities receive less money than charities that help humans, animal causes are clearly important to many people. So if you want to help animals, what should you do? As the Charities Aid Foundation survey shows, most people find it difficult to know which charities to give to when there are so many charities out there, and they also want to know that their money is actually helping. This is where effective giving comes in. When we give effectively, we give to those charities that we have the best evidence are making the biggest difference in a given cause area.

If we want to donate to charities that make the biggest difference to animals, it’s important for us to realise that animal suffering and death don’t just affect domestic animals such as dogs and cats. In fact, Animal Charity Evaluators – an organisation that researches the effectiveness of different animal charities – points out that for every individual dog or cat euthanised in shelters in the US, about 360 farm animals were killed. In the UK alone, about 90 million chickens are slaughtered every month. And 94% of these are raised intensively in sheds that contain about 17 chickens per square metre. Farm animals such as pigs, cows and chickens are capable of sadness and joy, just as cats and dogs are. But they are suffering and dying at much greater rates, and are receiving a tiny proportion of current donations to animal charities.

The good news is that more research is being done into how we can most effectively help animals, and our donations may be able to go a long way.

Just as with human-focused charities, there are huge differences between how much good different animal charities do. And even if we are not likely to give the majority of our money to animal charities this giving season or in our wills, we can do a lot of good by giving the money that we do choose to donate more effectively.

Article taken from: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/19/charity-animals-cats-dog