Iles-de-la-Madeleine harp seals spared after worldwide outcry

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One of two seals at the Aquarium des Iles who were set to be killed because they could not be released into the wild. They have been given a reprieve, but petitioners will need to raise $73,000 by next week.

The fate of two harp seals at an aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine has raised an international outcry, with more than 124,000 people from around the world signing an 11th hour petition to save them.

Originally slated to be killed Saturday, the strength of the opposition has led the Aquarium to spare six-month-old pups Zak and Mika – for now.

But it is still not clear who will take care of the seals, and at whose expense.

Every spring for the last 25 years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans catches two whitecoat harp seals to put on display at the aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, to be released back into the wild when the aquarium closes in the fall.

But with new directives from the DFO this year barring their release because of concerns they may transmit disease to wild populations of seals and other animals, the aquarium planned to kill the two seals Saturday as it closed its doors for the fall and winter.

One of the workers at the aquarium alerted a wildlife rehabilitation centre on Saltspring Island, B.C., however, and the petition was born, drawing thousands of signatures a day for the past week.

In response, the Aquarium des Iles issued a statement Friday suggesting it could send the animals to Oceanopolis, a facility in Brest, Franceif those who signed the petition come up with the $73,000 needed to care for them in the meantime, by Sept. 21.

Wildlife organizations were not impressed.

“It feels a little like they’re taking the seals hostage – like a ransom note: “Now that you’re upset, give us some money or we’ll kill them,” said Michelle Cliffe, a spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is helping to organize the effort. “We think it’s the responsibility of an aquarium to have a plan and the finances to care for animals prior to taking on those animals.”

Cliffe said the sheer number of people that have signed on, from as far away as Russia and Greece and across the U.S., show that people do care about the animals, and so should the aquarium.

“The mandate of the aquarium is to educate the public about these animals, and create a bond with them,” Cliffe said. “It seems very strange and very sad that they would then destroy the very animals they are trying to educate people about – what is the message and what is the learning there?”

Aquarium directors could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a caretaker said it’s been “hell” for the last three days, as the fate of the seals is all anyone is talking about.

Cliffe said her organization is in contact with the DFO and is looking into whether there is a way to mitigate the medical risks of releasing the seals to the wild — the best, and cheapest solution.

Barring that the IFAW is also examining the conditions in which the seals would be cared for, both en route and at Oceanopolis. In terms of minimizing suffering, euthanasia may be preferable to putting the seals in a cage on an airplane for eight hours, she said.

But the situation raises bigger questions about why the DFO is capturing marine mammals to begin with — at taxpayers’ expense — and about the lack of legislation protecting marine mammals both in the wild and in captivity.

Based on the testimony of three workers at Marineland, the Toronto Star has published a series of stories highlighting the poor living conditions at that aquarium in Niagara Falls, and more than 76,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to enact laws and regulations to protect animals in zoos and aquaria.

The DFO stopped the capture of whales for the benefit of aquaria following recommendations made in 1999, Cliffe said. It should now stop capturing all marine mammals

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Egypt slaughters over 30,000 baby cows stranded at port

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CAIRO: Egypt’s ministry of agriculture reported on Thursday that they had slaughtered over 30,000 baby cows who had been stranded for weeks at a Red Sea port. The ministry said that it had discovered what it described as “hormonal capsules” in the animals, local newspapers reported.

The stranded cows had made international headlines after first reportedtheir situation on September 1, including a petition that was signed by over 25,000 people globally urging the Egyptian government to free the baby cows from their horrific conditions.

The ministry chose to slaughter the animals instead.

Egypt slaughtered over 30,000 baby cows, but the anti-live export protests are growing.

The baby cows had remained on board the ships for over 6 weeks at Port Sokhna in what animal rights groups told are “horrendous and inhumane” conditions.

It is yet another incident that revealed the horrors of the live export trade.

Background on Live Export

Live export from Brazil and Australia to the Islamic world is a controversial practice that sees thousands of animals crammed into small crates and transported by sea to their destination to be slaughtered for food.

According to the ministry, tests had been conducted to learn more about the potential carcinogen that had been given to the animals before they would be unloaded. Tests had reportedly been ongoing for the past month at a private lab in Egypt, but no results had been conclusive.

According to a al-Shorouk newspaper report, the animals are likely to remain in their confinement for a number of weeks more in order for further tests to take place.

Earlier this year, some 3,000 of the cows died on a ship destined for Egypt after the Egyptian government refused to allow the ship to dock at a Red Sea port.

They were slaughtered as a “precaution,” the ministry said, outraging a number of Egyptians.

Animals Australia, the leading organization reporting on the controversial live export trade to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, said the incident was among the worst the industry had witnessed in years.

Animals Australia’s Campaign Director, Lyn White, said in a statement to that the ship was anchored at sea after being refused port in a number of countries, including Egypt, where the cattle were supposed to be offloaded.

It’s understood that ventilation problems on the converted livestock vessel, the MV Gracia Del Mar, had caused the deaths of more than half of the animals on board since the ship left South America for Egypt a few weeks ago. The ship was anchored in the Red Sea for weeks and saw more animals perish as a result.

This is nothing short of an animal welfare disaster. If remaining cattle are not offloaded more of these animals will suffer appalling deaths at sea. We are appealing to authorities in Egypt to offload the remaining cattle at al-Sohkna, as was originally intended.

“This disaster is just another example of the inherent risks of transporting animals by sea. It was only nine years ago that 5,000 Australian sheep perished on board the MV Cormo Express after country after country refused to allow it to berth.

“And this isn’t the first time that mechanical issues have caused mass deaths on live export ships. We only need to look to the breakdown of the Al Messilah in Adelaide last year. Had that vessel broken down on the open ocean it would have caused a similar welfare catastrophe — as thousands of animals would have died.

“Australia also exports cattle to Al Sohkna Livestock company in Egypt. Whilst we have an MoU with Egypt which should ensure the offloading of our animals, it has never been put to the test. The Egyptians thus far have flatly refused to allow the MV Gracia Del Mar to dock despite the mass suffering of the animals on board.

“If they continue to refuse to allow the surviving animals to be unloaded it would provide little confidence that the non-binding agreement with Australia would be honoured if a similar incident were to occur on an Australian livestock ship.

“It should not matter if these cattle aren’t Australian and if Brazil doesn’t have a similar piece of paper, they should not be abandoned to suffer and die at sea. We are appealing to Egyptian authorities to offload these cattle as a matter of urgency.”

Australia’s live sheep exports have fallen significantly over the past decade.

In 2010, three million sheep were exported compared with 6.3 million in 2001.

Australia’s government last year was to see a bill that would have banned live export to the world, but industry lobbyists fought back and forced the legislation off the table in a move that angered animal activists in the country and across the world, notably the Islamic world, which receives the lion’s share of live cattle and sheep from both Australia and Brazil.

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Review Needed for Livestock Transport

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UK – Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has called on the European Commission to look at the rules surrounding transport of livestock, especially journey times, and to ensure existing rules are in line with the available scientific evidence.

The UK government would like to see livestock slaughtered as close as possible to where they are farmed, but if animals are to be transported, the rules surrounding transportation must be based on existing and emerging scientific evidence so as to reduce the stress that long journeys may cause animals.

At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg Jim Paice said: “The UK agrees with the EU Commission that the number one priority is better enforcement of the existing legislation on welfare during transport, across the EU. However, in addition, it would like to see a review of long journey rules to take account of existing and emerging scientific evidence, including that highlighted by the recent EFSA report, particularly in relation to revising the journey time down to a maximum of 12 hours for horses going to slaughter.

“We also wish to see discussion on greater protection for infant livestock, particularly calves, taking into account the Commission’s own written guidance on the treatment of unweaned calves on long journeys and considering the very long distances some unweaned calves have to travel, which can involve multiple cycles of 19 hour journeys.

“We believe it is important that the rules should be updated where there is sufficient evidence to support such change. We note that the recent EFSA report does not include any recommendation suggesting that all major species of livestock going to slaughter should face the same maximum journey length in all cases.”

The statement came after the agreement of a set of EU Council conclusions on the new EU animal welfare strategy and the EU Commission’s report on its review of welfare during transport rules, which while positive, fell short of suggesting that in the immediate future the Commission should review the existing rules on long journeys. The Government thinks the rules should be looked at in the light of the scientific evidence since the legislation was introduced in 2007, and which has been reviewed by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) (click here).

via Review Needed for Livestock Transport.

Pet goat stolen and butchered

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Published on Friday 8 June 2012 16:35

Ann Wileman was devastated when she discovered the body of her seven-year-old Angoran goat Lottie hours after she went missing last Friday. Sick thugs have left a Conisbrough animal lover heartbroken after killing her pet goat and dumping its dismembered body in a river.

Ann, 40, who runs Mucky Paws dog grooming and training salon on Sheffield Road, adopted Lottie, along with her brother and sister, when they where just three months old.

Dave the Angoran Goat now living safely at Shepherd’s place, Haxey

She told the Times: “I am just disgusted that anyone could stoop so low to harm my beautiful pet.

On Friday afternoon, Ann said she patted Lottie, and left her in her pen, “happily eating everything in sight”.

When she went to check on her on Saturday morning, she was gone.

Despite a thorough search her pet was no where to be found.

Neighbour Paul Buckley, of Manor Farm, found Lottie, slaughtered in Kearsley Brook and went to tell he owner the appalling news.

Ann, along with her mum Margaret, who had nursed the goats from babies, were heartbroken.

“It is the second goat I have had who has gone missing.

“Last year Lottie’s sister was stolen from the field where they lived and I never found out what happened to her,” she said.

Following the attack on Lottie, Ann decided she didn’t want to risk another attack and decided to take her pet’s brother Dave to a safer home.

She said; “I just couldn’t keep Dave her brother either – that was also heartbreaking.

“What a world, when I can’t keep pets. Animals are my life.

“I just hope if anyone knows anything about this, they contact the police. I don’t want to see any one else going through this heartbreak.”

Ann, who also keeps horses and is a keen equestrian, added: “ Who ever did this to my lovely little pal knew what they where doing.

She had been butchered and skinned when she was found in the river, it was a very disturbing sight.

“The scum who did this to this poor defenceless animal need not return for her brother.

“I want to thank the owners of Shepherd’s Place at Haxey, who have allowed Dave to live his days out in peace, away from the pitiless thugs who caused his sister so much unnecessary suffering.”

Anyone with information contact the police or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.

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Tick Canyon ‘rancher’ charged in animal abuse case

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A 26-year-old Canyon Country man is accused of unlawfully slaughtering animals for sale over a six-month period in connection with the recent rescue of 29 emaciated farm animals.

Roberto Celedon, who lives on Tick Canyon Road, was arrested March 26 on 13 criminal charges in relation to the slaughter of farm animals and the sale of their meat, law-enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The next day, Celedon appeared in San Fernando Superior Court for an arraignment on the charges. He entered a plea of not guilty and posted $65,000 bail on April 2.

On Monday, the district attorney’s office mistakenly reported that no formal complaint had been filed, a spokeswoman said.

As it turns out, a seven-page felony complaint against Celedon signed by Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer had been filed with Los Angeles Superior Court on March 22.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, acting on a second warrant issued in the case by the district attorney, took control of the animals found on Celedon’s property April 3.

The large animals identified in the complaint – a horse, five cattle, 14 goats and nine sheep – were put in the care of the Gentle Barn animal rescue nonprofit on Sierra Highway, said District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison.

Smaller animals rescued, including pigeons and chickens, were turned over to the Castaic Animal Shelter.

News of Gentle Barn workers treating the emaciated animals emerged April 5.

The animals most seriously injured, one horse and one goat, are responding to medicine and nutrition, Gentle Barn President Jay Weiner said Tuesday.

“We’re going to get them all up to speed,” Weiner said.
“With the horse, antibiotics are key because the infection is down to the bone,” he said, referring to a gash in one of the horse’s legs.

According to prosecutors, Celedon ran an unlawful slaughterhouse described as dirty and unsanitary that operated without a licence and without inspection.
Structures on his property were described as unsafe and unsanitary for the animals housed in them.

In one of the counts against him, Celedon is accused of inhumanely slaughtering a goat on Aug. 26, a violation of the California Food and Agriculture Code.

Prosecutors allege Celedon “did willfully and unlawfully slaughter a goat without rendering the animal insensible to pain.”

Other charges include allegations he slaughtered animals at a facility “not in compliance” with state code and that he sold meat from that slaughter that had not been inspected.

With respect to the care of the animals cited in the complaint, Celedon is accused of having subjected a bull and a baby goat to needless suffering by failing to provide proper food, drink and shelter for them during the first week of January.

Most of the crimes occurred between Aug. 19 and Jan. 11, the district attorney said.

Celedon was ordered to appear back in court next week to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

If convicted on the 13 charges in the complaint, he faces a possible four years and four months in custody.

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