Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Against bullfighting Spain

Barcelona is against bullfighting

Barcelona City Council took a historic vote when, on April 6 2004, it officially declared Barcelona, the capital of the region of Catalonia in Spain, an anti-bullfight city by 21 votes to 15, with two abstentions.

Two weeks before that resolution was passed, the city's Deputy Mayor, Jordi Portabella, had declared his opposition to bullfighting in front of hundreds of protesters, saying: 'Barcelona must act like a capital and be a pioneer in the abolition of bullfighting.'

Although the resolution does not ban bullfighting in Barcelona, it is nevertheless a landmark precedent, because Barcelona had historically been one of bullfighting's capitals, with 100 bulls being tortured and slaughtered every year in the city's bullrings in the bad old days, watched mainly by curious tourists.

However, a city council spokesman told the BBC that there has not been a large bullfighting following in the region since the 1960s.

Before the vote, nearly 250,000 people had signed a petition to ban bullfighting in the Catalonia region, of which Barcelona is the capital. In 2005 a law to ban bullfighting was proposed to the Catalan Parliament for the first time in Spanish history.

The majority of people in Barcelona are opposed to bullfighting and agree with Barcelona City Council's decision to declare the city an anti-bullfighting city, according to surveys.

The majority of those surveyed in Barcelona (63%) do not want bullfights to continue in their city, with more than half (55%) agreeing that Barcelona should declare itself an anti-bullfighting city.

Bullfights are viewed as cruel and non-educational by more than three quarters (76%) of those surveyed in Barcelona. In addition, the majority of the people in the city have never been to a bullfight (59%) and, of those that have, only 12.6% have been to one in the last 3 years. Overall, just 7% of all those surveyed see bullfights as being positive for Barcelona's reputation.

Of those surveyed in Barcelona, 98% agreed that animals suffer when mistreated and an overwhelming 96% thought that the suffering of animals for entertainment should be banned. These attitudes are similar to those revealed in previous surveys of people in Catalonia, the region of Barcelona.

Spain towns and cities against bullfighting

It's not just Barcelona. A 2007 Gallup opinion poll showed that over 72% of people all over Spain have no interest in bullfighting.

Since Barcelona declared itself an anti-bullfight city in April 2004, councils in other 44 towns and cities in Catalonia have declared themselves opposed to bullfighting. Other Spanish towns, including Torello, Calldetenes, and Olot, which has the second oldest bullring in Spain, have done the same.

Some cities in Spain, among which Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum, and La Vajol, have outlawed all bullfighting and bull runs. In Mexico, bullfights have been banned in Jalopa.

La Monumental, once Barcelona's main bullring, now houses a bullfighting museum, and Las Arenas de Barcelona, another bullfighting venue, is being redeveloped as a leisure and shopping centre.

Help the organizations that campaign against bullfighting in Spain

These successes are due to the work of some associations, both Spanish and international.

One of the most active organisations in campaigning against bullfighting in Spain and Latin America is the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

If Catalonia is at the forefront of the abolition of bullfighting in Spain, it's also thanks to them.

You can help the fight against bullfighting by giving donations to WSPA, and in this way you can support WSPA

Friday, May 16, 2008

World Society for the Protection of Animals help with Burma cyclone

WSPA emergency team gives primary care to a horse
When disasters strike, it is not just humans that suffer. Other animals suffer and die too.

Recent tragedies like the China earthquake and the Burma cyclone have affected huge numbers of animals.

What happens is that, in poor countries with extremely limited resources, the idea of giving priority to human victims means that other animals are left without any help, even when the human survivors depend on them for their livelihoods.

A leading international animal welfare charity’s work: WSPA

There are, luckily, organizations that are dedicated to helping animals internationally and are particularly needed in the case of calamities, as well as in campaigns to stop several forms of animal abuse on a daily basis.

Perhaps the most active association in this field of aiding animals in natural catastrophes is the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

Disaster management is one of the categories of WSPA’s activity, and one of the reasons is that they say that animal welfare is a vital part of rebuilding of communities after a disaster.

In the event of the cyclone in Burma, an emergency veterinary team from the World Society for the Protection of Animals was in Thailand awaiting entry authority to cyclone-struck Myanmar to ascertain and then relieve the suffering of a large number of animals.

“No-one else, Governments, humanitarian NGOs or owners have the resources to care for these animals, most of which are owned by poor impoverished families” is the grim diagnosis of Philip Russell MBE (Member of the British Empire, an honour given by the Queen), Director of Disaster Management of the WSPA.

The association’s emergency response team is involved not only in first aid and veterinary assistance but in trying to stop the spread of diseases, by separating animals into temporary holding pens. Humid conditions, endemic diseases like Foot and Mouth, animals’ weakened immune systems, and overcrowded camps all contribute to a contagious environment where disease develops and spreads quickly. WSPA is there to help with veterinary checks and to introduce preventative measures, in particular vaccinations, antibiotics and de-worming.

Emergency food is also necessary, as it is improbable that there will be food for surviving animals.

“WSPA works to align animal welfare and humanitarian agendas to reduce poverty, hunger and disease in humans. Equally, by complementing humanitarian efforts in this way we increase the number of animals we protect,” explained Russell.

If you wish to help, you can give donations to WSPA, and in this way you can support WSPA

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Animals Count party for animals

Supermodel Twiggy is among Animals Count supportersA much-needed animals political party called Animals Count (supermodel Twiggy, pictured right, is among its supporters) has run in the recent London local election on 1st May, with a candidate for the Greater London Assembly, Jasmijn de Boo, and received 1,828 votes.

Considering that Animals Count contested only two London boroughs in the south of the city, Lambeth and Southwark, the fact that it was a new party and the limited budget available to it, 1.12% of the total votes was not a bad result.

“In a sense we are comparable to independent candidates in other constituencies, which typically received around 700 votes.” Jasmijn says. “Under the first-past-the-post-system people tend to vote more strategically rather than intuitively. Our result demonstrates that nearly 2,000 people in this constituency alone care so much about animal issues that they overcame their wish to vote strategically. I am confident we will grow and that the European Parliament elections in 2009 offer a real opportunity for Animals Count.”

There was fear that Animals Count, which is active in England, Wales and Scotland, would split the Green Party vote, although, given that party policies on animals, I cannot see how that can be a bad thing. However, the Green Party candidate for Lambeth and Southwark in fact gained 0.64% more votes than in the last election.

European political parties and elections

What is also interesting about this relatively new party is its Europe-wide scope. Its founder and chair, who was the candidate in the London elections, Jasmijn de Boo, is Dutch and was an active member of the highly successful Dutch Political Party for the Animals, which gained two seats in the General Elections in November 2006, nine seats in the Provincial Elections in March 2007 and one seat in the Senate in June 2007: a world first!

A similar party in Spain, Partido Antitaurino Contra el Maltrato Animal (party against bullfighting and maltreatment of animals - PACMA), won over 41,000 votes in the elections on last 9th March. Just over 61,000 votes would have been enough for a seat.

Similar political parties for animals also now exist in Germany, France and Canada.
"Animals Count aims to be part of the next big development in European politics," says Jasmijn. "We want to make London the world's leading city for animal protection."

Animals Count now has its eyes on the European Parliament elections, to be held in June 2009, and has already started preparing for them. This is a clever move, since early preparations are key to success.

The Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD) was truly successful in the 2006 national parliament elections, and Animals Count wishes to use similar tactics and methods in the upcoming European polls.

In particular, it wants to imitate the PvdD’s use of state-of-the-art methods, like promotional video clips aired on TV and on its website, and use of celebrities who endorsed the PvdD and were the list-pushers (at the bottom of the list). The animations and clips were forwarded to members all over the country resulting in over 180,000 votes for the Party for the Animals.

Animals Count already has the support of several celebrities, including supermodel Twiggy (pictured above), legendary Queen’s guitarist Brian May who is also a scientist, actor Nicholas Ball, writer Jeffrey Masson, poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Prof. Robert Garner of Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester, and psychologist Dr. Richard Ryder.

In the run-up to the European Parliament (EP) elections Animal Counts intends to develop similar interesting, innovative campaign ideas. It is aware of competing with multimillion pound budgets of larger parties and the only way to get noticed is through media and email campaigns.

“The European Parliament is THE place to be represented as a political party for the animals” claims Jasmijn, “the Common Agricultural Practice (CAP) dominates the agenda (80%) and 50% of the European budget is spent on farming. This has huge repercussions on farmed animals in Britain (and obviously other Member States). Other important Directives include the Zoo Directive, the 86/609/EC Directive on the Use of animals in experimentation (currently under revision), the Transport Directive, etc. Many domestic laws are based on European guidelines; hence the importance of having a voice in the EP.”