Breaking: Scotland publish Bill to ban wild animal circuses

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society, along with campaign partners, have welcomed publication of the Scottish Government Bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland, along with proposals to review performing animal regulations.

The Bill covers all non-domesticated animals travelling and performing in circuses, and any form of display or exhibition in static premises such as winter quarters.

A Scottish Government consultation in 2014 produced an overwhelming response in favour of banning wild animal circuses in Scotland.  Out of 2,043 responses, 98% thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned; and 96.4% thought the use of wild animals for exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned. Both aspects are covered in the Bill.

The most recent Scottish poll, carried out for the More for Scotland’s Animals coalition in March 2016, found that 75% of those polled supported an end to the use of wild animals in circuses, rising to 78% in the 18-24 age group.

The ban will be made on ethical grounds reflecting respect for animals and their natural behaviours.  The same approach was taken when the Scottish Parliament banned fur farming in 2002.


Nicola O’Brien, Campaigns Director with the Captive Animals’ Protection Society commented:

“With 98% of consultation respondents stating wild animals in circuses should be banned, we applaud the Scottish Government for listening to the public by making this historic decision. Scotland has not only taken action to protect animals within its borders but also paved the way for the rest of the UK to follow. A joined-up approach across the union is needed to ensure wild animals are truly free from exploitation in circuses.”

The Scottish Government seeks to achieve early passage of the Bill in order to establish that wild animal circuses are not welcome or permitted in Scotland.  Until the legislation is in place there is a risk travelling circuses could bring wild animals to Scotland.

The call to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland gained overwhelming public support following an outcry as Thomas Chipperfield brought two lions and three tigers to overwinter at a farm near Fraserburgh in 2014.

Animal Defenders International, Born Free Foundation, Captive Animals’ Protection Society and OneKind are urging Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to support the Bill when it comes before them.  A ban on wild animal circuses featured in the manifestos of the SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Green parties for the 2016 election and the issue is widely regarded as unfinished business.

Once passed, the legislation will be the first outright ban on wild animal circuses anywhere in the UK, joining 18 European countries, and 35 around the world, with restrictions in place – and more in the pipeline.

The animal protection groups have concerns about other forms of entertainment using animals, such as reindeer displays, bird of prey exhibitions in shopping centres, and mobile zoos and animal handling parties. The organisations have welcomed a commitment from the Scottish Government today to address these activities and are calling for this review to progress in parallel with the circus bill.

Take Action!

  • Contact your local MSP and ask them to support the Bill, using the points below – https://www.writetothem.com/
    • 98% of respondents to a Scottish consultation said they thought wild animals in circuses should be banned
    • 18 European countries and 35 around the world have bans or restrictions on animals in circuses
    • Scotland can lead the way on banning animal circuses in the UK
  • Ahead of the General Election, contact your local MPs for all political parties and ask them to include a ban in their manifesto! https://www.writetothem.com/

Article taken from: https://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2017/05/


Petition: Ask Defra for independently-monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses

Animal Aid filmed covertly at the Malik Food Group slaughterhouse near Burnley in Lancashire. This is the 12th slaughterhouse that Animal Aid has filmed, and the 11th found to be breaking animal welfare laws.

What they found there is absolutely shocking.

  • Malik is a non-stun slaughterhouse which must by law keep knives surgically sharp. But knives were so blunt that sheep had their throats hacked at multiple times.
  • Others were moved before they had been given time to lose consciousness – another breach of welfare laws.
  • On three occasions, a worker picked up sheep by their fleeces and threw them, while many other animals endured rough handling. Some were taunted whilst being abused.
  • Of deep concern is that a worker warned the others when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) vet was approaching.

The FSA is thought to have taken steps to remove one man’s slaughter licence and launched an investigation. It has confirmed that there are ‘serious non-compliances with animal welfare legislation’ and we expect criminal proceedings to follow. One of the company’s directors already has a conviction for animal cruelty.

Please send a message to Defra Minister George Eustice to tell him we urgently need independently-monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses. If you can personalise the message, it will have a greater impact.

To send this important message, click here: http://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1825&ea.campaign.id=67792


What does Brexit mean for animal welfare?

The following article has been taken from the RSPCA website, published on 7 July 2016 : https://blogs.rspca.org.uk/insights/2016/07/07/brexit-animal-welfare/#.V5nb2fkrK7t

As you all are aware, the UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union in June.

The RSPCA remained neutral during the EU referendum, but we can now campaign to ensure that animal welfare is not compromised as part of the process to leave the EU, and ensure opportunities are taken to improve existing policies and standards.

There are many unknowns to be sorted out before the UK can leave the EU; what will be our negotiating position, how long will this take, and when will we know what animal welfare laws are being kept and what ones consigned to the dustbin?

One thing that is certain is that the RSPCA will be there fighting for the protection of all present European legislation on animals, and using every opportunity to get laws passed that are even better than the ones we have now.

We will produce detailed briefings in due course, but want to reassure you that we are paying very close attention to this issue and will summarise what we know at present.

Firstly the good news

Veterinary Nurse Tammy Jarvis holding 12-week-old Staffie pup. All the laws that are set at the national level, by the Governments and Parliaments in the UK, will not be touched.

These include our Animal Welfare Act which is the framework law for animal cruelty in England and Wales.  We spend the majority of our time and money enforcing this legislation, through our 340 inspectors.

Our aim; protecting and rescuinganimals from suffering, rehabilitatingthem through our 50 centres and clinics and then finding them forever homes, will not change.  Specific laws on companion animal welfare  (by this we mean domesticated animals and pets) under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 will continue.

This includes:

  • Restrictions on the tail docking of dogs
  • The ban on the use of shock collars in Wales
  • Licensing of horse riding establishments
  • The raft of legislation the UK Government is now considering on the breeding, boarding and selling of dogs
  • The selling of all animals in England

Sentencing is also not part of the EU so will not be impacted.  Other areas not affected include the hunting of wild animals with dogs (the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales), the welfare of wild animals in travelling circuses, and the ban on fur farming.

How many animal welfare laws come from the EU?

SIngle juvenile foxAround 80% of UK animal welfare legislation originates from the EU with some 44 different laws agreed over the past 42 years.

The largest number cover farm animalswith 17 EU laws setting standards on the way farm animals are reared and produced, transported and slaughtered.  There is also legislation covering consumer information such as labelling the origin of eggs and meat products.

The eleven laws covering wildlife fall into two areas – those that are part of international treaties and those that are not.  The former are likely to be better protected as we are members already of those treaties.  The latter include laws prohibiting the import of wild caught birds and seal skins and the keeping of animals in zoos. These laws could be more vulnerable.

The use of animals in research is regulated by nine different laws covering the breeding, care and use of animals for scientific purposes; the transport of animals; the use of animals to test chemicals, biocides or plant protection products; the prohibition of the testing, marketing and import of cosmetics products testing on animals; and the cloning of animals eg. for food.

Companion animals are the least regulated.  Four laws provide rules allowing free commercial and non-commercial movement of dogs and cats provided they have been identified and vaccinated. There is also an import ban on products made from dog and cat fur.

So how many laws are covered?

Pig on grass

Thirteen of these EU laws are in the form of ‘directives’, which have already been implemented into existing UK legislation and so would need to be overturned if they are no longer required.  31 are ‘regulations and decisions’, which are applicable to the UK without national implementation.  This means that depending on how the UK exits the EU, they may be automatically deleted on UK withdrawal unless Parliament legislates for them to remain.  Alternatively, all pre-existing laws will simply be carried over for amendment on a piecemeal basis.

However, there are real opportunities to improve animal welfare.  Last year British farmers received nearly €3.5 billion in subsidies from Europe.  We can now decide how these subsidies will be spent and if they should be used to fund, for instance, animal welfare assurance schemes or farming at higher standards. There is an opportunity for the devolved administrations of the UK to do this.

There are also opportunities for the UK to agree higher standards such as mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses or prohibiting the slaughter of farm animals without stunning.

Much still remains to be agreed.  But we have already started the process of giving our recommendations to the UK government and we hope that you will join us so that, together, we can ensure nothing gets left behind and we can improve the standards we already have.


Dog walkers warned of ‘devastating’ impact of livestock worrying

Sheep and lambThe campaign coincides with lambing season when sheep are at greatest risk of attack

Police Scotland has launched a campaign to raise awareness among dog owners of the “devastating” effects of livestock worrying.

The three-month campaign coincides with the spring lambing period when sheep are at greatest risk from dog attacks.

Last month, a farmer shot two dogs that escaped from a yard in Clackmannanshire and attacked his sheep, which were later destroyed.

The campaign aims to ensure that owners keep their dogs under close control.

Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, which includes Police Scotland, the National Farmers Union of Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates, are behind the campaign.

‘Significant damage’

Insp Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland rural crime co-ordinator, said: “Livestock worrying can occur when a dog attacks, chases or, in the case of sheep, is at large in a field where livestock is kept.

“The devastating effects of a dog attack are evident and cannot be overstated but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field.

“Pregnant ewes can abort their lambs or lambs can be separated from their mothers, causing distress and in some cases malnutrition.”

Insp Donaldson said the campaign would encourage farmers and landowners to put up signs on gateways and paths alerting dog walkers to the presence of sheep in their fields.

She said: “The advice to anyone walking and exercising their dogs in the countryside is to ensure that they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing.

“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says that dogs shouldn’t be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals.”

‘Natural instinct’

Theresa Kewell, from Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “We may not think our family pet is capable of causing injury.

“But it is a dog’s natural instinct to chase, so think ahead when you’re out for your walk, about what might tempt your dog to run off, and ensure you keep them under proper control”.

Six sheep were badly injured in the dog attack near Kennet village in Clackmannanshire last month.

A Forth Valley Police spokesperson said the farmer was legally allowed to shoot the dogs in order to stop them attacking his livestock.

A 54-year-old man was reported to the procurator fiscal following the incident.

Article taken from:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-35695843


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.



Bullfighting victory in European Parliament

Article below relates to EU level issue, but vote was undertaken by UK MPs, many of whom have spoken out against this ridiculous scheme and are now celebrating this victory:

Animal lovers and agriculture stakeholders today gained a victory in the European Parliament as MEPs voted to end indirect subsidies for bullfighting.


Currently, subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) allow Spanish (and some Portuguese and French) farmers to use Single Farm Payment on hectares used to rear bulls used in the fights. An amendment passed today that means the European Parliament has voted against this use, and was followed by an astonishing victory of 438 votes to 199 on the non-binding resolution that says ‘CAP appropriations or any other appropriations from the budget should not be used for the financing of lethal bullfighting activities’.

Alyn Smith, Scotland’s voice on the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said:

“Parliament now calls for the eradication of public money boosting the coffers of farmers who raise animals that are destined for a slow, painful and bloody end.

“According to the 2013 report “Toros & Taxes”, compiled by Spanish MEPs, without these subsidies, bullfighting ‘would probably be on the brink of financial collapse’.

“Ordinarily, I would say that the internal matters of another country are the business of that country and its people, but it is unacceptable for Scottish taxpayers to subsidise activities which are in flagrant contradiction of our common animal welfare goals.

“Now it’s over to the Member States to back the Parliament, and I call upon DEFRA Minister George Eustice to back us so we can stamp out subsidies for this cruel bloodsport once and for all.”

Alyn ran a petition in 2013 to end bullfighting subsidies, which was submitted to the European Commission after gathering 12,000 signatures.

In 2014, Alyn’s group proposed a budget amendment that would stop farmers from using CAP subsidies for rearing bulls but, despite a majority of MEPs voting in favour, they failed to reach the qualified majority of 376 (50% of all MEPs + 1)

Article taken from: http://www.alynsmith.eu/bullfighting_victory_in_european_parliament


Ban cruel and deadly trade in dogs reared in puppy farms, demand vets

Animal rights campaigners are calling for a change in the law to stop the sale of dogs from puppy farms.Tricolour Border Collie pup

Vets in London say they are treat dozens of young dogs every year that have come from irresponsible breeders. The animals suffer illnesses associated with unhygienic conditions and genetic disorders linked to inbreeding.

Farms typically house up to 200 bitches which are used to breed puppies as quickly as possible. The litters are often transported at too young an age, from as far as eastern Europe as well as from sites in the UK and Ireland.

They are exploiting demand for breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, teacup Yorkshire terriers and West Highland white terriers.

Jerry Dunne, a vet at Medivets in Hendon, said: “There is poor hygiene in puppy farms. Sixty per cent of puppies brought to us die or are put down because of poor husbandry, inbreeding and because they are malnourished. They often have genetic illnesses.”

TV vet Marc Abrahams has been lobbying ministers to ban pet shops from selling puppies supplied by farms and set up an e-petition that received 100,000 signatures and led to the issue being debated in parliament.

He said: “Puppy farms will house up to 200 breeding bitches in an agricultural shed, not socialised, well fed, or vaccinated. They rarely go outside. They’re kept on shavings in the dark. They are bred on every heat and the puppies are removed about every four weeks because there’s an urgency to sell them while they’re cute.”

How to buy a healthy puppy

  • Never buy a puppy that is under eight weeks old.
  • Don’t buy from someone who offers to deliver or meet you with the puppy.
  • Visit it more than once with its mother in the place where it was born.
  • Check for signs the adult dog has recently given birth such as enlarged mammary glands and for items to suggest the puppy was born there, like a whelping pen, food bowls and bedding.
  • Choose a puppy that’s alert and happy interacting with you and its litter-mates.
  • Check for symptoms of illness such as runny eyes or nose, weakness or hunching.
  • Examine vaccination records carefully.

Stefano Skert, 45, who works out of hours at South London Emergency Veterinary Centre, said he suspected about one in 10 puppies he treats comes from a farm, and the figure soars in the daytime: “There are trucks coming from east Europe with hundreds of puppies. They are eight or 10 weeks of age. They cannot even walk. You cannot breed puppies like growing potatoes.”

To open a puppy farm, a breeder must apply to the council for a licence under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act 1999.

The site must be inspected by a vet and council officer. Breeders must ensure dogs do not give birth to more than one litter a year. But campaigners claim these rules are regularly breached.

Mr Abrahams said: “Official advice is to always see the puppy with its mum; never buy under eight weeks old; and always see the conditions in which it was bred. But the Government’s own legislation is preventing that from happening. We need to ban third-party sales.”

Puppies are often younger than eight weeks old when they are sold, which is legal but not recommended.

The TV vet, who has appeared on The Paul O’ Grady Show, This Morning and BBC Breakfast, added: “A lot are crossbreeds posing as pedigrees and they have to sell them while they’re young enough so the owner doesn’t realise.”

One of the most common illnesses is Parvo virus, a digestive condition. Many dogs were given medication to ensure they do not show symptoms until new owners have taken them home.

“When the puppy is found in a pool of bloody diarrhoea and taken to vet often it’s too late unless you spend £3,000 or £4,000 to put it on a drip.”

Mr Abrahams — who runs the annual PupAid charity event in Primrose Hill — advised that if a dog is being sold as a pure breed for £600 or less, it is likely to have come from a puppy farm.

Joan Kennedy, 57, of Stoke Newington told how she paid £600 last month for a teacup Yorkshire terrier for her granddaughter. The puppy, named Bo, was bought from a seller in London and died within 10 days after falling ill.

Ms Kennedy found the animal came from a puppy farm in Wales. She complained to the local council and an investigation is under way. “My granddaughter is distraught,” she said.

Article taken from: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/ban-cruel-and-deadly-trade-in-dogs-reared-in-puppy-farms-demand-vets-a3099176.html