This year was a monumental year for animal welfare and we are delighted to have played our part in securing stronger protection for animals in Scotland, the UK and worldwide. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all of our supporters who helped us create change in 2021.
These are our top 10 highlights from 2021!
1. UK Governments committed to ban live exports
The UK Governments (UK, Scottish & Welsh) committed to a live exports ban! While the UK Government expressed an interest in banning live exports following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government was resisting such a commitment. We continued to pressure it into supporting such a ban and aligning itself with the UK Government’s stance. And then, in June of this year, the UK Government introduced the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill to parliament, which includes a ban on the live export of farmed animals for fattening or slaughter, from or through Great Britain!
The live exports trade has been a major campaign for animal advocates since the 1980s and a cause we have campaigned on for many years. Once the legislation is introduced, farmed animals will no longer be forced to endure long journeys with few breaks and inadequate food, water & controlled temperatures.
2. We launched our #FinishFur campaign
In response to the UK Government consulting on the future of the fur trade, we launched our #FinishFur campaign to call for a ban on the sale and import of fur in the UK.
We produced a short and simple consultation guide, that supported a full ban, for our supporters to utilise when responding to the consultation. More than 22,000 people responded to the consultation, which is an incredible number! We also secured the support of Dragon Den’s Deborah Meaden and TV personality Gail Porter.
In a huge win for the animals, and after many years of campaigns and protests from animal advocates against the international retailer of fur ‘products’, Canada Goose also committed to stop selling fur by the end of 2022!
3. UK Government recognised decapod crustaceans and cephalopods as sentient
Last month, the UK Government recognised decapod crustaceans (such as crabs, lobsters and prawns) and cephalopods (such as octopus, squid and cuttlefish) as sentient!
A report commissioned by UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2020 to investigate whether these animals were sentient was published just last month and concluded, as expected, that they are, and do indeed feel pain. As a result, the UK Government amended the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is currently working its way through parliament, to include decapod crustaceans and cephalopods.
OneKind was gave written evidence and took part in a stakeholder workshop to help inform the report and have worked, alongside other organisations, to influence the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
This is a huge success for animals who were previously not protected by animal welfare legislation, and we will utilise the report to accompany our Sea Their Suffering campaign to urge the Scottish Government to follow suit and protect these animals in law.
4. Scottish Government consulted on strengthening Scotland’s fox hunting ban
Last month, the Scottish Government opened a consultation on proposed changes to the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 (the fox hunting ‘ban’.) This was our chance to close the loopholes in Scotland’s legislation that allows fox hunting to continue much as it did before the ban.
We created a simple guide to aid our supporters in responding to the consultation and our supporters came out in droves! There was such an encouraging uptake to our consultation guide and both Chris Packham & Peter Egan shared our guide on their Twitter accounts.
Meanwhile, in October, a leading huntsman was found guilty of encouraging and assisting others to evade England & Wales fox hunting ban. This was a groundbreaking verdict, proving that fox hunting had continued after the ban under the guise of trail hunting.
5. We marched for the animals at COP26
In November, Glasgow hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). More than 200 countries came together to work together to ‘increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.’
And yet, animal agriculture, which is responsible for between 14.5.-16.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, was glaringly absent from the agenda. And so we launched our COPOUT26 campaign and marched with our supporters to amplify the voice of the animals at the COP26 coalition parade. We spread the message that animal welfare must be central to climate change discussions and that governments globally must encourage a vegan diet.
We had such a great turn out, with an estimated 50 OneKind supporters joining us for the parade (despite the terrible weather!). It felt excellent to be back on the streets protesting with other like-minded individuals and organisations!
6. Our expose revealed fox hunting foot packs were permitted on Scotland’s public lands
We published an exposé that revealed that Forestry and Land Scotland have continued to allow fox hunting foot packs on Scotland’s public lands since our previous exposé last spring. The documents released under our Freedom of Information request also revealed that the Scottish Government agency had also been also unable to stop suspected gamekeeper-led wildlife crime taking place since 2016.
7. We launched our #TargetZero coalition campaign
Alongside Cruelty Free International and Animal Free Research UK, we launched our #TargetZero campaign calling on the UK Government to phase out of animal testing.
Celebrities Evanna Lynch, Lucy Watson, and Lesley Nicol teamed up with the campaign coalition in support of our calls to end animal experimentation. They replicated a photograph of three women protesting animal testing in Parliament Square in 1919, to highlight how millions of animals are still subjected to the same cruel experimentation that they were 100 years ago. The stunt and the accompanying #TargetZero parliamentary petition were covered by Daily Mail and shared by Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Matt Haig to name a few.
Our petition was debated in the UK Parliament in October and all 8 MPs in the debate supported a ban on animal testing. The UK Government agreed that the UK must move away from animal experimentation, but stated that the UK was not yet at that point. We will hand in our petition formally to Downing Street, alongside Cruelty Free International and Animal Free Research UK, in the new year.
8. Co-ordinated the More for Scotland’s animals campaign coalition
In the run up to the Scottish Parliamentary elections, we led the More for Scotland’s Animals coalition, which included 11 of the UK’s leading animal welfare organisations. Our goal was to call on candidates for the elections to pledge their support for animal welfare improvements if elected.
The coalition commissioned a YouGov poll, which revealed that 84% of Scots were in favour of stronger animal welfare regulations in the pet trade, amongst strong support for other animal welfare protections. The results from our YouGov poll were also widely covered by the media, including STV News, The Herald and the Evening Express.
We also co-ordinated and hosted the More for Scotland’s Animals virtual hustings. MSP candidates from the five main political parties were questioned on the position on various animal welfare issues, including snares, caged farming and the breeding of animals with exaggerated features. Our hustings was also covered by The Herald.
9. We spoke about the welfare issues of captive giraffes on Reporting Scotland
Our Campaigner and Press Officer, Eve, was featured on BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland, discussing the welfare implications of the return of giraffes to Edinburgh Zoo.
In May, two giraffes, Ronnie and Arrow, arrived at Edinburgh Zoo following an overnight journey from Woburn Safari Park. It marked the first time giraffes had been kept captive at the zoo in 15 years.
The zoo commented that it planned to ‘raise awareness’ of the species, but admitted during the segment that the giraffes would bring in money to pay back the zoo’s loans. Eve argued that wild animals can not have their welfare needs met in captivity and that in the case of zoos ‘conservation’ often means ‘preservation’.
We were also quoted in the BBC News article on the topic.
10. We released our joint salmon farming report with Compassion in World Farming
At the beginning of the year, we launched our joint salmon farming report with Compassion in World Farming, Underwater Cages, Parasites and Dead Fish. The report revealed the true welfare and environmental cost of Scotland’s salmon farming industry and why a moratorium on the expansion of the industry was crucial. The report also concluded challenging readers whether salmon farming actually belonged in a compassionate and sustainable food system.
Ariane Burgess MSP made reference to the report during a Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee meeting when taking evidence from the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.