QCA was represented yesterday at the badger march in London by some six members, including Thom Bonneville who took the photos, and our patron André Menache.
Above, are members Sonia Waddell and Malcolm Winch, holding our banner.
Heidi Stephenson, of Totnes Meeting in Devon, reports that it was a peaceful and very moving event.
‘The press initially reported that “hundreds” had marched – but in fact, there were probably 5000 + of us, which police reports have now confirmed – and we only represented a tiny fraction of the national anti-cull support.
We were deliberately steered on a path that took us as far away from the general public as possible – through quiet streets lined with empty office buildings.
Please write to your MPs again and insist that they represent your views in Wednesday’s important parliamentary debate. Please make sure you have signed Brian May’s petition to the government. To sign the e-petition please click here
Please circulate this to others – Facebook, Tweet and spread the call…The badgers are completely voiceless without us and the killing could start any time now.
Humane Society International, among others, has reported that the suffering will be immense – with terrible damage to vital organs, horrific injuries that leave animals immobilized so that they starve to death, and abandoned cubs. Already there are reports of sett-gassing and ‘cullers’ pouring slurry into setts. And all this for perfectly healthy animals, for the large part – and in the face of a viable vaccination option.
Please do all you can to stop this atrocity towards our wildlife – which will only set the precedent for more killing – of red deer – now deemed ‘vermin’ – , buzzards, foxes, rabbits and any other poor being who is not ‘commercially viable’.
Below is Bella:
Please watch this footage of the march, in which the QCA banner can be seen half way through. Sent by Heidi. It contains some poignant pictures:
~ Virginia McKenna addresses the march. On the left, Kate from Animal Aid and on the right, Brian May, who also spoke.
Ways to continue to help:
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Chairman of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Allan Bantick, said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust want people to show their opposition to the culling of badgers in England.
“The Scottish Wildlife Trust urges everyone to sign the e-petition – the second largest of its kind – and make it the largest collection of signatures ever, to show the public outrage at this cull.
“Science has shown that culling will not prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis, in fact such a cull could actually make things worse by spreading the disease to an even wider badger and cattle population.
“The Scottish Wildlife Trust instead advocates more research into developing a badger and cattle vaccination programme – a solution that has science and compassion on its side.”
For more – including a petition to sign against the shooting of buzzards in Scotland, please visit:
Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Associate Fellow the Revd Feargus O’Connor led the way in securing a declaration for animals at the Annual Meetings of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches at the University of Nottingham in April. The original motion had been unanimously agreed on Sunday 3 February 2013 at Golders Green Unitarians and went forward for debate at the General Assembly Annual Meetings.
Some amendments were made, but the final text is this:
GOLDERS GREEN UNITARIANS REVISED MOTION TO 2013 GA ANNUAL MEETINGS
This General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches urges fellow Unitarians and all people of goodwill to promote a greater awareness and understanding of the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part and, recognising the dignity and worth of all living creatures, to cultivate an ethic of compassion and mercy to the billions of sentient beings who share this planet with us and to act in ways that promote our common welfare.
Passed nem con on 12 April at the Unitarian General Assembly Annual Meetings in Nottingham.
SUPPLEMENTARY BACKGROUND PAPER: AMENDED MOTION FROM GOLDERS GREEN UNITARIANS
The purpose of this amended background paper is to give additional information on the religious rationale for this motion and to explain why the original text has been revised.
This intention of this revised motion is to encourage our Unitarian and Free Christian communities across the United Kingdom and Ireland and the individuals who belong to them to reflect, as members of a caring and diverse religious movement, on our dependence upon each other and the animals with whom we share this planet.
It encourages Unitarians to do two things: firstly, to promote through whatever educational and worship opportunities are available, a deeper awareness and understanding of how far human beings rely on and interact with animals and the eco-system that sustains us and, secondly, to work together to act, in however small a way, to improve the welfare of animals.
In a world where our human sensitivities to the sufferings of our fellow sentient beings can sometimes be blunted, the proposers of this motion believe that Unitarians have an important role in sharing information about our interdependence and working in positive and life affirming ways to promote it.
What is different about the amended motion?
On the advice of the Steering Committee we have developed a simpler motion, which distils the essence of what it is intended to achieve. We have therefore dispensed with the sub-clauses in the original motion distributed with previous GA papers and replaced it with a motion comprising one sentence.
Ideas that inspired the motion
The motion itself recognises the wisdom of promoting our care for the eco-system of our home planet which sustains all life and it reaffirms that belief in the worth and dignity not only of our own species but all sentient beings which enlightened religious teachers through the ages proclaim and celebrate.
Many across all faith traditions as well as committed Humanists have promoted the noble cause of animal welfare and protection. Unitarians have a long history of radical engagement and working to make life better for the weak and vulnerable: giving a voice to the voiceless and taking a more compassionate and all-embracing view of the natural world and our place in it. This motion is intended to demonstrate how our radical, inclusive and compassionate approach to engaging in the world extends beyond our own species to our fellow sentient beings and to the Earth itself.
The work of religious societies and secular animal welfare charities
Some Unitarians have co-operated with people of other faiths and worked together to cultivate an ethic of compassion for our fellow creatures, so often at our mercy. Two inspirational Unitarians from our past who devoted their lives to this work of mercy were Henry Bergh, the founder of the American equivalent of our RSPCA, and Frances Power Cobb. Both were passionately concerned, it should be noted, not only with animal welfare but also human welfare, especially the plight of the defenceless and vulnerable, such as children. Just as William Wilberforce was a founding member of the RSPCA (its founding secretary was an Anglican vicar and its second an observant Jew) so the collaborator of Frances Power Cobbe in her pioneering work for laboratory animals was that other great humanitarian of the 19th Century, Lord Shaftesbury. All believed that compassion and mercy for suffering creatures were indivisible: a Universalist religious ethic inspiring people of diverse faith traditions.
One practical way Unitarians and Quakers in particular have expressed that compassion for human beings and non-human animals alike has been through support of the Universal Kinship Fund of the Dr Hadwen Trust, which since its foundation at the World Congress of Faiths Interfaith Celebration of Animals in September 2006 has raised £12,515.72 for vital medical research into breast cancer cardiovascular and other diseases without the use of experiments on living animals.
This revised motion does not ask Unitarians to support the objectives or work of any particular organisation working in the broad field of animal protection and animal welfare. The organisations referred to in sub-clause 2(1) of the original motion are just representative examples of those that work in the field. Those charities referenced, however, provide a sense of the range of charitable organisations and their vital life saving work.
By voting for this motion delegates will be affirming an important religious and ethical principle of universal compassion and showing to all the humane values we wish to promote in our communities and the world at large.
Golders Green Unitarians
More information about Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry can be found here.
QCA note: we congratulate our committee member Feargus O’Connor on the success of this important initiative and would like to thank him and friends at his Golders Green congregation for the excellent work they have done.
I’ve recently embarked on a long-term project to draw and paint the rescue parrots who live permanently at the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare, near Lewes, East Sussex.
The Centre boasts modern facilities for all kinds of rescue animals and these temporary homes for small mammals who will be re-homed, are particularly imaginative, ensuring their stay is as enjoyable as possible. So many small creatures are kept in tiny cages, largely bereft of objects with which the animals can engage. But here, as you can see, the staff have used great creativity in using recycled objects to create comfort and interest and encourage activity for rats, hamsters, mice and gerbils, helping keep them busy and happy.
These photographs demonstrate the staff’s imaginative use of everyday objects. All manner of household bits and pieces, including egg and sweets boxes, shredded newspaper and components of non-dangerous domestic appliances objects etc… are made into hammocks, platforms, tubes to run along, ladders, and materials with which to shred and build.
Raystede offers a whole range of activities for adults and children, as well, including educational events on animal care for local schools.
Ann will continue to report on her time at Raystede over the coming months.
Un-cooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken
Our member in the Republic of Ireland, Sandra Higgins, Director of Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary tells us thatthree of their residents will feature in the forthcoming online portrait exhibition at the National Museum of Animals & Society, entitled Un-cooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken.
Here are – on the left, Matilda, and on the right, Joy, soon after rescue:
The exhibition will also feature a synopsis of Enriched Cages and Embodied Prisons (in press), a report produced by Matilda’s Promise Animal Rights & Vegan Education Centre on the exploitation of egg laying hens by the humans who consume their eggs, detailing how the 2012 EU Ban on Battery Cages has resulted in an increase in the exploitation and rights violations of hens, which is characteristic of a welfare approach to non-human exploitation in non-vegan society.
From the catalogue notes: Homo sapiens and Gallus gallus domesticus share a long and complex history, from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the cockfighting pits of ancient Rome, from the Victorian show ring to the modern day factory farm. Human attitudes toward chickens are likewise vast, ranging from creation myths that revere chickens and the egg in the formulation of the world, to dismissals of chickens as dull and foolish.
Enriched Cages & Embodied Prisons
‘Enriched Cages & Embodied Prisons’ examines the effect of the ban on barren battery cages on the hens who are exploited by the egg industry, exploring the similarity between barren cages and the new ‘enriched’ or ‘furnished’ battery cage system of confinement. It explores how the ban has coincided with an increase in the consumption of eggs which is highly likely to be due to appeasement of what used to be the leading cause of public awareness of animal rights violations, a fact that will not have been lost on the animal agricultural industry that supported the ‘ban’…
‘The potbellied pig Holly’s body lies in the cemetery at Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Her story is all that remains of her life.
Be mindful of it in your interactions with the non-human companions we bring into our world.’
Holly’s life and death were tragic and we reproduce this report here as a tribute to her, and to our member Sandra Higgins, who tried to save her and whose work for farmed and other animals is nothing short of admirable.
On Saturday 9th March, the Save the Harlan Beagles campaign hosted a silent, peaceful procession in Brighton.
This is a report from Julie Hinman, an Attender at Worthing Meeting and QCA member, who attended:
At the national procession in Brighton organised by Save the Harlan Beagles on 9th March, the first thing I noticed was the dogs– quite a few – not just beagles but also terriers, staffies, german shepherds. Lots of happy, excited sniffing around, but surprisingly little barking – it made me think how different their fate could have been.
We were joined by coachloads of anti – Harlan Groups from Italy, France and Belgium and their different flags added colour to the procession, mainly clothed in black .
The procession walked along the seafront in silence behind a white coffin shouldered by 4 bearers, and a van playing music. In a square three speakers gave brief talks – Andre Menache, QCA patron, then a speaker who read out support from Caroline Lucas, Green MP, and lastly one of the organisers who read her own moving poem about a beagle in Harlan- a good mix of science, politics and compassion in support of the closure.
Andre Menache, with representatives of the Save the Harlan Beagles group, is going to Parliament on Wednesday to discuss the issues.
We walked back still in silence through the crowded town centre so were able to do lots of leafleting – this time with a commentary telling the public about Harlan. Walking to the rail station, I saw only one discarded leaflet, which is a good sign.
Simultaneous events calling for the closure of Europe-wide Harlan facilities were also to take place in France, Italy, Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Representatives from ARAN recently held an interesting and educational debate at Trinity College in Dublin regarding the use of animals in experiments. Trinity continues to use animals in experiments and we urge them to consider using modern non-animal methods that will advance medical research.
Number of animals experimented on in Ireland in 2011:
* 242,890 mice.
* 15,378 fish.
* 14,437 rats.
* 2,672 cows.
* 932 rabbits.
* 831 dogs.
* 755 pigs.
* 669 other mammals.
* 441 guinea pigs.
* 180 cats.
* 62 horses/ donkeys.
* 11 sheep.
* 5 goats.
* 279,263 animals.
A huge thank you goes to Andre Menache of Antidote-Europe – and Quaker Concern for Animals patron – who put up one great argument against the use of animals in experiments. Mr. Menache is an advisor to ARAN on animal testing issues and also assists groups in the UK and elsewhere.
Here is an interesting news link from the Irish Independent to a previous article on Trinity’s use of animals.
Thanks to a kind donation of scientific books on the problems of animal testing from Antidote-Europe, we will be mailing these books to universities and colleges across Ireland, so that students studying life and biosciences can learn more about animal experiments and why this type of “research” is leading medical and scientific progress down a wrong road.
Together we will bring about an end to animal experiments.