We can’t quite believe that we’re coming to the end of 2019! With a feature on Channel 4 news, demonstrations, a BBC article quoting our response to Scottish Parliament’s fireworks plans, and the proposal of stronger penalties for animal cruelty to name just a few, it has been a busy year for OneKind! Here’s a selection of our 2019 highlights that we’d like to share with you.
1. We created a campaign against cruel traps and snares
Following OneKind Director, Bob Elliot’s, appearance on Channel 4 News’ feature on driven grouse moors, we launched our campaign to end the wildlife killings on driven grouse moors and elsewhere in Scotland.
Bob and our Campaigner, Eve, followed up reports of snares on a driven grouse moor and we produced a video highlighting the high numbers of cruel snares and a stink pit that we discovered on our last investigation. You can watch the video here.
For our campaign, we produced a joint report, ‘Untold Suffering’, with Revive and League Against Cruel Sports, that details the suffering of thousands of untold animals on Scotland’s driven grouse moors; submitted a Parliamentary petition to end the killings; and asked our supporters to write to their MSP asking for them to support a ban on these cruel traps and snares. On the back of our petition, the Parliamentary Petitions Committee has written to the Scottish Government to ask what they intend to do ensure greater protection for Scotland’s wild animals.
Chris Packham raised awareness of our campaign to end the wildlife killings and urged the audience to sign our petition during his ‘Talk on the Wild Side’ in Edinburgh. Our ‘Untold Suffering’ report was featured on BBC Countryfile!
2. We spoke about animal welfare at Revive’s first conference
It’s been a busy, and encouraging, year for the Revive Coalition!
In August, OneKind came together with other like-minded individuals and organisations to explore how radical reform of grouse moors can change the face of Scotland at the first Revive conference.
OneKind Director, Bob, spoke about animal welfare on driven grouse moors. He explained to the audience that thousands of animals are killed to increase the number of grouse available for commercial shooting, commenting that ‘activities that rely on the routine killing of our species need to stop’ and that ‘you can’t regulate for cruelty like this.’
On the last day of grouse shooting season, 10th December, Chris Packham addressed Scottish Parliament on grouse moor reform and applauded the Revive Coalition for presenting a rational, sensible and calm argument against driven grouse shooting. In Chris’ words, Revive is ‘absolutely awesome’.
3. We produced a video highlighting exploitative live reindeer Christmas displays
Reindeers continue to be used as Christmas props in live reindeer displays throughout Scotland and so earlier this month we produced a video to raise awareness of this cruelty. We shared the video across our social channels multiple times and received a really good response. It will also be a good resource going forward for us to share with local authorities and shopping/garden centres that continue to use live reindeer.
We were delighted to learn that Aberdeen Trinity Centre, that used to confine reindeer to a pen in its shopping centre for three hours at a time, did not secure funding from Aberdeen City Council to continue its live reindeer displays this year.
Captive reindeer in the UK may also have their welfare compromised throughout the year and so we also undertook investigative work into the organisations that offer live reindeer for Christmas displays.
4. We campaigned for lives worth living for farmed animals
We’ve been working hard to ensure farmed animals are given a life worth living, with an increasing number to be afforded good lives.
We held a #BanTheCages demonstration in Edinburgh city centre, raising awareness of the suffering of Scotland’s caged farmed animals. More than 30 volunteers joined us to hand out flyers, collect petition signatures, engage in conversation with the public and get into dog cages to highlight the cruelties of being confined to a cage for your whole life, or significant portion, of your life.
End the Cage Age
We campaigned for a ban on farmed cages in the EU as part of the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative, which collected more than 1.5 million signatures! The initiative was the largest political movement for farmed animals in European history.
Good Food Nation
Food is not good if it is produced at the expense of animal suffering. This is why we have been campaigning throughout the year for the Scottish Government to make the overall aim of the Good Food Nation to promote and ensure the well-being of farmed animals in Scotland, and as far as possible, those imported to Scotland in the form of food. Not only should the Good Food Nation aim to minimise negative experiences of farmed animals, but should also provide animals with opportunities to have positive experiences.
5. OneKind Director, Bob Elliot, was quoted by the BBC
We welcomed the Scottish Government’s Action Plan to promote the safe use of fireworks and the establishment of a Fireworks Review Group to consider tighter legislation. OneKind Director, Bob Elliot, was quoted in a BBC article on the Government’s fireworks action, stating:
‘’Our supporters have shared stories of their animals’ panting, shaking and pacing and being too terrified to go outside even after the fireworks have stopped.
“One supporter even has to find isolated accommodation for Bonfire Night each year as her 11-year-old dog is so terrified of the noises.
”We appreciate that the sale of fireworks is not a devolved issue, and so look forward to Westminster’s response to the possibility of making this a devolved matter and the potential of tighter restrictions on sales, something overwhelmingly supported by the Scottish public and could be a real benefit for Scotland’s animals.’’
We have long-campaigned for greater regulation of fireworks and responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on fireworks in Scotland with OneKind supporters’ experiences of their animals suffering at the hands of fireworks.
6. We supported Alison Johnstone’s ‘Fox and Hare’ Bill
Alison Johnstone MSP proposed a Bill that would introduce a real ban on fox hunting in Scotland. The Protection and Conservation of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, the ‘Fox and Hare Bill’ would close the loopholes in the current legislation that allow hunts to continue under the guise of ‘pest’ control.
We submitted a detailed policy response to this proposal as well as ensuring that supporters responded in their thousands to the consultation. The Fox and Hare Bill attracted 10,000 consultation responses- one of the largest responses in Scottish Parliament’s history. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, also confirmed that Scottish Parliament plans to bring forward fox hunting legislation that reflects the consultation responses to Alison Johnstone’s ‘Fox and Hare Bill’.
7. We supported stronger animal welfare penalties
We supported the Animal Welfare (Penalties, Powers and Protections) Scotland Bill, which would significantly improve current animal welfare and wildlife legislation. We responded to both the review of the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) Act 2006– our response can be found here– and then the subsequent Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) Act Amendment consultation- our response can be found here. This month, our Policy Advisor, Libby, also gave evidence on the Bill to the ECCLR Committee.
As well as supporting the proposed increased penalties for animal cruelty offences and greater powers afforded to those representing the animals, we also promote visionary proposals for amendments that will promote justice for animals, as well as helping to prevent cruelty by rehabilitating offenders.