Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Shame

London is buzzing.  

I have heard that phrase so many times over the last few weeks but now I can actually feel it, the sun is finally out, the Olympic volunteers are out in force with their bright pink and purple uniforms, Union Jacks are strung high looking extra patriotic against the beautiful blue sky and tonight is the night.  Unfortunately, all of this wonderful, exciting atmosphere has been tainted with the knowledge that over 100 live animals will be used in tonight's opening ceremony which means that they will be exposed to large crowds, loud noise and flashing lights.

When the plans were announced by creator Danny Boyle back in June, animal lovers around the UK were dismayed.  Captive Animals' Protection Society immediately set up a petition opposing the use of live animals in the opening ceremony and this gained a huge amount of support (over 63,000 signatures, which is more people than will be attending the opening ceremony).  

Leading animal welfare charities wrote to the London 2012 organisers asking them to rethink their plans and highlighted the unnecessary stress that would be caused to the animals (not to mention the  unrealistic and misleading portrayal of the British farming industry).  

After the petition was delivered to the head of London 2012 committee, Bill Morris, Boyle reassured the concerned parties that genuine care would be taken of the animals and they would be re-homed in sanctuaries after the performance.

Morris has chosen to ignore the plea of over 63,000 people and keep the animals in the opening ceremony.  CAPS has branded Morris's response as "shockingly dismissive".  To add insult to injury, Morris stated in a letter to Animal Defenders International that the animals will remain in entertainment after being used in the ceremony, which completely refutes Boyle's previous promise.

Boyle has said that he would "vigorously" look into retiring the animals to sanctuaries after the ceremony, please click here in order to contact him reminding him to do everything he can to keep his word and spare the animals used in the ceremony from a life of working within entertainment before eventually ending up in a slaughterhouse.

Tonight the use of animals in the Olympic opening ceremony will go ahead as planned and the world will be watching.  CAPS have stated that they will be following the ceremony closely throughout and monitoring the movement of the animals afterwards whilst continuing to raise awareness about the use of animals in entertainment in the future.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Horrific Kitten Experiments at Cardiff University

It has been discovered by the BUAV that horrific experiments are being carried out on kittens at Cardiff University.  Details of the experiments have been revealed by BUAV who have reported that some kittens were raised in complete darkness and others were deprived of sight in one eye by actually having their eyelids sewn shut.  As if this wasn't cruel enough the horror continued when the kittens were anaesthetised, artificially ventilated and paralysed with a drug to prevent eye movements.  You can discover more details about the experiment at the petition link below but I must warn you that it makes very difficult reading.

The experiment was inhumane and completely unnecessary for human health.

Animal loving actor Ricky Gervais has called for an end to these experiments saying I am appalled that kittens are being deprived of sight in one eye by having their eyelids sewn shut. I thought sickening experiments like these were a thing of the past. I support the BUAV in calling for this research to be stopped.

Please join Ricky and the BUAV in calling for an immediate halt to these sickening and needless experiments on innocent animals by signing this petition.

Needless experiments like this happen frequently to all sorts of animals, please check out BUAV's website for ways you can help end the suffering of animals with no voice of their own.

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Dangerous Dogs Legislation

Dogs who have irresponsible owners can be victims of cruelty and neglect, in some cases dogs may suffer violence at the hands of their owners in attempts to try and encourage aggression.  Owners must be held accountable for their actions and take responsibility for their dogs training and behaviour.

Although I am pleased to hear that the Welsh government are serious about tackling the owners of dangerous dogs, I am alarmed that, like the British government, they are considering introducing just compulsory micro-chipping of dogs in order to do this next Spring.  

Although compulsory micro-chipping is better than nothing, it will not be any real benefit to dogs unless some other important elements are included in new regulations, for example, the abolition of Breed Specific Legislation (which is the legislation Belfast County Council hid behind when seizing and murdering Lennox) a registration scheme and education and engagement.

Current legislation is failing to tackle the problem of irresponsible dog ownership and since the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991 the situation has increasingly worsened.

If you live in Wales you can tell the Welsh government what you think by taking action and contributing to their consultation which closes on Wednesday 8th August.

The English government consultation is now closed but ,if you live in England, you can still help take action against irresponsible dog ownership by signing The Sun newspapers petition calling for compulsory micro-chipping AND registration of dogs as the first step to ensure owners are made accountable for their actions.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lunch Time Links #24

I apologise for the lack of blog posts of late, it has been a busy summer and once again change is afoot!  Things remain the same as usual with this weeks Lunch Time Links so kick back, relax and click...

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Lennox: Channel 4 investigates?

Image taken from Facebook.
Feelings are understandably running high since the devastating news on Wednesday about Lennox.  

In the name of Lennox we continue to fight his cause against Breed Standard Legislation and the Dangerous Dog Act and also seek to investigate the shocking conduct of Belfast County Council.

There is a chance that Channel 4 will conduct an investigation into Belfast County Council's treatment of Lennox and his family for their Dispatches TV show, this would be fantastic exposure and could be a positive step on the way forward to ending Breed Standard Legislation once and for all.

To encourage Channel 4 to consider the investigation please copy and paste the text below into an e-mail addresses to

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has been suggested that you will consider conducting an investigation and running a story on Dispatches about Lennox the dog.  As you are probably aware, Lennox was seized by Belfast County Council in May 2010, kept in captivity for over two years and murdered on Wednesday 11th June 2012.  I am writing as one of the many supporters of Lennox and his family and feel that they were treated appallingly by Belfast County Council and I don't think they should be allowed to get away with it.  I feel that if you were to conduct an investigation it could expose the way BCC have conducted themselves and help stop this from ever happening again.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Please let me know if you receive a response!

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

RIP Lennox

Image from Dogs Today Magazine.
...I really wanted to avoid having to write these words.  At 7am GMT Lennox was put to sleep, actually let's not sugar coat it - let's say how it really is, Lennox was murdered by Belfast County Council.  After two years in captivity and a lengthy legal battle by his ever loving and loyal family Lennox's life and tragic journey has ended.

The Barnes family are in my thoughts and prayers and I will never forget or cease admiring the courage, persistence and hard work that has been tirelessly carried out on Lennox's behalf, by the Save Lennox team and high profile supporters like behaviourist Victoria Stilwell.  The very sad thing is that Lennox will never know just how loved and supported he was.

He is now free from Belfast City Council's prison cell and in a better place, may he rest in peace.  I sincerely hope that all those involved in the decision to end Lennox's life are brought to justice, I have a feeling they will.

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Save the Whale

Japan continues to hunt whales every year despite it almost being 30 years since the ban on commercial whaling came into effect.  They say that they hunt whales for "scientific research" but in reality it is nothing to do with science.

Whales are already struggling to survive against pollution, climate change, ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear as well as Japan's harpoons.  As I type this post (July 3rd) HSI are in Panama attending the 64th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission, where they will fight for the whales.

We can help by clicking here and telling the Japanese prime minister that whaling is a inhumane, a dying industry and now is the right time to stop.

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Friday, 6 July 2012

Fluffy Friday #65

Continuing with a watery theme in the midst of all this rain, this weeks Fluffy Friday is focusing on the penguins in London Zoo that have recently been given a diving board in preparation for the Olympics, which begin in a matter of weeks.  

They really seem to be enjoying themselves!


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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Stop the cruel practice of branding Exmoor ponies

I was shocked to hear that Exmoor ponies as young as five months old are being branded with red hot irons, not just once but a number of times .  As well being branded with a four point star, as many as seven numbers are seared on to the horses shoulders.  One brand is bad enough but up to seven is nothing but torture.

Miriam Geraghty, a vet and breeder of Exmoor ponies, has stared a petition calling on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Exmoor Pony Society to ban this barbaric practice.  Branding has been banned on horses and ponies in Scotland and Northern Ireland but it continues in England and Wales.

The RSPCA have condemned the 19th century practice as "unnecessary and cruel" but despite this the Exmoor Pony Society claim that the practice is still needed as a visual identification for wild ponies living on the moor.

Please add your signature to Miriam's petition calling for the outdated and cruel branding of Exmoor ponies to be banned.  Please be aware that this link leads to website containing an image of a freshly branded pony which may cause distress to sensitive readers.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lunch Time Links #23

We're officially mid-week!  As I type it is pouring with rain with seemingly no hope of it ever brightening up, as someone said on Twitter "any young children who watch the film Waterworld may think it is a documentary!"  

Let's hope that things look up for the remainder of the week!  As you are more than likely staying in this lunch time here are a few clicks for you to be getting on with...

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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Lennox: Official Statement

I was saddened to read this official statement from Lennox's family today, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to write.  My thoughts and prayers are with them and their beloved Lennox.

We apologise for the silence as we know our many friends and supporters around the world have been desperate for news but until we had further talks with our legal team we had nothing new to share. We needed to explore all possible options before we issued another statement as we did not wish to give those that have campaigned so tirelessly any false hope or for anything to be taken out of context as has happened in the past.

Whilst there may well be errors in the Judge’s ruling from a point of law this has little bearing on whether we can or should progress by taking the case to a higher court. The ruling is based on the Judge’s decision that he deems Lennox to be unsafe despite evidence given by those qualified to assess and understand dog behaviour that contradicts the testimony of the Prosecution that was presented in court. This has given us little room for manoeuvre.

Our concern and priority has always been the welfare of our beloved boy. We have fought to have Len returned to our family from the moment he was seized but we have been advised that the legal fight is at an end. We are obviously distraught but have to consider the impact that any future lengthy legal battle would have on Len if we chose to go against the advice that we have been given. We cannot subject him to any more as there are no grounds for a further appeal and we do not wish to prolong his suffering any longer by engaging in a battle that we simply cannot win.

We have attempted to write this statement many, many times but have struggled to put in writing that the fight to spare Lennox’s life may well be over. It has been almost impossible for us to accept that we have to admit defeat. We always believed that there was some hope and that justice would prevail. We were wrong. There have been many dark days for us since Len was taken and we want you all to know that it is your support and kindness that kept us going through the blackest times.

This is all we can share with you at the moment and we are finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing more that we can do from a legal point of view and that Lennox may well be killed. We have one last hope that Belfast City Council will allow Lennox to be rehomed in the USA. The offer is there but we have no say in whether this offer will be accepted. We have never refused to rehome Lennox. That decision was taken out of our hands from the moment Len took his final walk with us from our house to the Dog Wardens van.

If the offer is turned down we will fight for our right to say goodbye. We cannot bear the thought that Lennox will die without being reminded of the hearts and hands that love him.

Please visit the official website for ways to help as well as their Twitter and Facebook pages, let's not give up hope just yet.

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Don't visit SeaWorld (or places like it) this summer

Are you going on holiday this year?

This is the most frequently asked question of late (except for "What's the weather going to be like today?") and it has lead me to think about some of the holidays I have been on in the past.  If you go on a package holiday abroad that offers excursions to places of interest, you may notice that there is likely to be an aquarium/aqua park/sea world type of place housing marine animals.  There may be an opportunity to swim alongside these magnificent creatures, as well as watching them perform numerous tricks in return for a treat.  

It all seems innocent enough but in reality the animals are kept captive in tanks, or pools a lot smaller than their natural habitat (imagine being trapped in a bath tub) a million miles away from the vast ocean they belong in.  In the wild, whales and dolphins live in large social groups and are free to swim to their hearts content in the open ocean, using echolocation to navigate.  Keeping these intelligent creatures in a tank for entertainment purposes means that reverberations from their sonar bounce of the walls.  

Renowned oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau compared keeping Orcas in tanks to "a person being blind folded in a jail cell."

It is also reported that marine animals are often violently captured and if they refuse to perform common training methods include withholding food and isolation.

"Marine parks such as SeaWorld teach children the wrong lessons: that it is somehow acceptable to imprison animals, forbid them from experiencing the joy of establishing their natural territory and exploring their world, separate them from loved ones, and force them to perform confusing and unnatural tricks to bring in tourist dollars. Visitors to SeaWorld see mere shadows of what these graceful and awe-inspiring animals are like in nature. Captive dolphins are defeated and depressed beings who cannot engage in natural behavior and cannot live as nature intended."
- Peta

Peta states that the SeaWorld parks have a terrible record of animal deaths from causes relating to living in captivity.  Blackstone, the company that owns SeaWorld, completely ignore the cruelty and unsafe conditions that have caused tragedy for both humans and animals which is unacceptable.

Please sign this petition to help animals imprisoned at Sea World.  You can also help animals at similar marine parks all over the world by refusing to visit and contribute to the industry.  Also it is an idea to spread the word to other tourists who may think it is okay to make ocean dwellers live in small tanks and perform tricks all for the sake of entertainment.

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