British Court Rejects Latest Fox Hunting Appeal

In July, the UK’s High Court rejected a second appeal by fox hunting supporters to overturn the 2004 Hunting Act. That act banned fox hunting with dogs.

In their appeal, the Countryside Alliance argued that the Hunting Act violated the European Convention on Human Rights because it was a “sectarian measure.” Essentially, they argued that the hunting ban was an irrational, ideologically-motivated law akin to, say, a ban on a specific religious practice just because it was practiced by a minority of citizens.

Countryside Alliance’s lawyer, Richard Gordon, had argued that,

What emerges strongly, however the argument is put, is, we suggest, the very divisive nature of the legislation.

Many members of the House of Commons voting on the issue obviously objected strongly to hunting on doctrinal grounds – that is clear.

But we say strong feelings cannot be, and are not in law, a substitute for the exercise that has to be undertaken before Convention rights can be legitimately interfered with.

. . .

We say, if one takes away the strength of feeling from the furor over hunting, very little is left in terms of law, and a total ban of this kind is not justified.

The High Court soundly rejected that line of reasoning. Justices May and Moses said that there was varying opinion about whether or not foxes suffer more when hunted by dogs vs. when they are shot, but that the legislature had a legitimate reason to address this issue. They said,

We consider that there was sufficient material available to the House of Commons for them to conclude that hunting with dogs is cruel.

. . .

[It was] reasonably open to the majority of the democratically-elected House of Commons to conclude that this measure was necessary in the democratic society which had elected them.

The Countryside Alliance bemoaned the verdict, with its chairman John Jackson telling the BBC,

The judges have accepted that there is interference with some of the claimants’ rights, and that the Hunting Act will have a substantial general adverse effect on the lives of many in the rural community.

However, the court, ignoring events in the Commons and the Lords, appears to have proceeded on the assumption that Parliament had a legitimate aim and has itself then speculated on what that may have been.

Whether the court is right to have proceeded in this way is plainly a controversial question./p>

Animal rights advocates, on the other hand, were very pleased. John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, told The Guardian,

We welcome this recognition that there is no human right to be cruel. The Hunting Act is a popular act, the ban is being enforced and, most importantly, animals are no longer able to be abused in the name of this barbaric bloodsport. This is a resounding defeat for the hunters, who need to move forward and accept the democratic will of parliament and the majority of the general public, and learn to take non for an answer.

The Countryside Alliance is still waiting for the Law Lords in the House of Lords to rule on its appeal of the High Court’s February rejection of its argument that the Hunting Act is in violation of Great Britain’s Parliament Act.

There are likely to be further appeals, but at the moment, the odds of the fox hunting advocates actually prevailing seems pretty slim.

Source:

High court rejects hunting ban challenge. Press Association, July 29, 2005.

Hunt campaign loses court battle. The BBC, July 29, 2005.

Hunting ban ‘a sectarian measure’. Liverpool Daily Post, July 5, 2005.

Activists Target Red Lobster Over Canadian Seal Hunt

Animal rights activists upset over the return of seal hunting in Canada are targeting Red Lobster for protests.

Red Lobster’s crime is that it buys a lot of seafood from Canada, and the activists want Red Lobster to observe their boycott of Canadian seafood until that country agrees to stop the seal hunt.

A letter posted by Harpseals.Org volunteer Sue Hirsch to AR-NEWS in July read,

As you may know, HSUS had a protest at almost all the Red Lobster
restaurants across the US and Canada last month on June 25th, 2005.
This Saturday (and for every month now on) Harpseals.org along with
Seashepherd.org will be having the same kind of protests at as many Red
Lobsters as we can until the massacres stop.

Please go to www.harpseals.org <http://www.harpseals.org> for more
information and updates.

OUR GROUP WILL BE AT THE RED LOBSTER RESTAURANT OFF ROSE AVENUE IN
OXNARD AND WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS TO HELP US! WE JUST STAND WITH SIGNS
(NON-VIOLENT) FROM HSUS,etc., AND TELL PEOPLE (who want to listen) THAT
RED LOBSTER IS THE LARGEST PURCHASER OF CANADIAN SEAFOOD AND IF THEY
WOULD STOP PURCHASING THE SEAFOOD, WE COULD END THESE BARBARIC SLAUGHTERS).

Please come out to support us.

I haven’t eaten at Red Lobster in a long time, but the activist’s protest — not to mention Red Lobster’s Create Your Own Summer Seafood Feast special — might be just enough to send me there this weekend.

Source:

Canadian Baby Harp Seal Protest Oxnard July 30th, 2005. Sue Hirsch, Harpseals.Org.

Why Activist Alfredo Kubra Gets Butterflies

Knight Ridder recently reported on a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Action for Animals, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States against California Rodeo Salinas.

The story included only one quote from an activist at the event, one Alfredo Kuba who had this to say of participating in an animal rights protest,

I always get butterflies before I do something like this. Any time you express opinions that are different from the status quo, you have a little bit of fear. You can’t help but be concerned how people might react.

Kuba’s “nervous little activist” routine seems a bit thin given the things he’s said over the years. Kuba has been active in the California animal rights scene for more than a decade, and shows up in dozens of articles on Google and Lexis-Nexis.

What sort of things does Kuba believe that are different from the status quo? In a December 31, 2004 letter to the editor of the Mountain View (California) Voice, Kuba offered his views of hunting,

. . . Hunters are animal terrorists. Hunters make absurd claims of why murdering other beings is their “right” as if animals have no right to exist.

Hunting is a human wrong, just like slavery or the concentration camps. In the slavery era, whites felt they had the right to have slaves and slaves had no rights. In Nazi Germany, white supremacists believed they were the superior race under “God” thus rationalizing the extermination of Jews and other races “inferior” to them.

Hunters likewise rationalize to persecute, stalk, terrorize, maim and murder other living beings under the guise of superiority and difference of species. Hunters invade other species’ homes with the sole purpose of ending their existence.

Hunting is cold-blooded murder. Who made hunters God and gave them the power to decide who lives and who dies? The sickening aspect of hunters is that they find pleasure in the destruction of “God’s creation.”

Kuba despises hunting enough that he forces a vegan diet on his feline companion — and Kuba’s own dietary choices might hint at another explanation for those “butterflies.” In a 2004 AlterNet story on vegan pet diets, Kuba was quoted as saying (emphasis added),

You’re saving animals by not feeding your cat meat. It makes you feel good to feed your kitty something this good. Sometimes I even try some myself when I’m cooking.

Kuba’s not so concerned about the possibility of other cats having meat-oriented snacks. In May 2004, a mountain lion was spotted near Palo Alto, California. The lion was sleeping in a tree about 20 feet above a police car. Police initially planned to tranquilize the animal, but it woke up first, and the decision was made to kill the animal. Police said that since the timing of the incident made killing the animal necessary,

Because of the environment that it was in, school is about to be let out, the only safe thing to do to protect the community was to dispatch the animal. One shot was fired, the animal was felled.

Kuba disagreed, telling CBS5,

I think it’s absolutely atrocious the way the police behaved. Obviously the animal was not posing a threat to anyone. It was in a tree.

Kuba is also an expert on circuses. At a 2003 protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Kuba told the San Mateo Daily Journal that,

Daily beatings are a part of everyday life for animals in circuses.

Kuba recently started petition to ask KPFA 94.1FM to add an animal rights-themed show to its lineup. The petition reads,

Please sign petition asking KPFA 94.1FM to include an animal rights program on a regular basis. Animal rights is a topic of interest, often demoniced [sic] by the corporate propagandist media and not given a voice. Animals are voiceless and KPFA can provide that much desperately needed voice.

Surely purely by coincidence Kuba would host this new animal rights show on KPFA.

Those must be some strange butterflies.

Sources:

Rodeo draws animal rights protesters. Dennis Taylor, Knight Ridder, July 26, 2005.

Hunters destroy ‘God’s creation’. Alfredo Kuba, Letter to the Editor, Mountain Valley Voice, December 31, 2004.

Mountain lion killed in Palo Alto. Len Ramirez, CBS 5, May 17, 2004.

Circus defends animal treatment. San Mateo Daily Journal, August 28, 2003.

Animal Rights Radio. Petition, 2005.

The Cat That Ate Tofu. Michael Rosen-Molina, Alternet, May 23, 2004.

Whaling Shock — Japan Paid Solomon Islands for IWC Vote

Former Solomon Islands whaling officials revealed the biggest non-secret about the annual International Whaling Commission meetings — Japan is paying some countries to vote to overturn the moratorium on commercial whaling.

Former Solomon Islands IWC Commissioner Albert Wata told ABC’s Four Corners,

Yes, the Japanese pay the government subscriptions. They support the delegations tot the meetings in terms of meeting air fares and per diem.

Solomon Islands Fisheries Minister Nelson Kile told the program that Japan paid the Solomons membership fees in the IWC,

Yes they do (pay the fees). I’m not really sure but probably for 10 years I think.

So far, though, Japan’s efforts have yet to pay off. Its efforts to overturn the moratorium again failed earlier this year at the 2005 meeting of the IWC.

Source:

Japan ‘brought Solomons whaling votes’. Associated Press, July 18, 2005.

California Lawmakers Wants to Amend Kangaroo Leather Ban

California is the only state that has a ban on importing kangaroos or products made from kangaroos, and California Assemblywoman Nicole Parra wants to amend the law so it only includes endangered kangaroos — nonendangered kangaroos would be legal to import and sell.

The ban is felt largely in high end soccer cleats which are frequently made from kangaroo hide. The sale of such cleat sin California is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

Shoe company Adidas has been trying to have the ban overturned for several years without any success.

Parra’s bill would amend the kangaroo ban statute to read,

(b) For purposes of this section, “kangaroo”
means those species of kangaroo that are included under any of the
following:

(1) The federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Sec.
1531 et. seq.).
(2) The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora.

According to the Associated Press,

[Animal rights group] Viva! International Voice for Animals opposes the bill, saying that Australian hunters cannot differentiate between the types of kangaroos they are killing because they hunt at night.

The full text of the California Assembly Bill 734 can be read here.

Source:

Lawmaker wants to end ban on kangaroo imports. Associated Press, April 17, 2005.

Japan Reportedly Set to Expand Number of Whales Species It Hunts for ‘Scientific’ Purposes

In April, the Japanese press claimed that along with plans to increase the number of minke whales it kills annually, it plans to begin taking humpback and fin whales, species which it has not hunted since the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whale hunting went into effect in 1986.

Along with minke whales, Japan currently hunts sei whales, sperm whales and Bryde’s whales as part of a limited scientific research hunting it is allowed to cull without being in violation of the commercial hunting moratorium.

According to Kyodo news agency, Japan will submit a whaling plan to the IWC ahead of its meeting this summer in which it outlines plans to almost double its current take of 440 minke whales, as well as add around 10 humpback and 10 fin whales.

An unidentified Japan Fisheries Agency official would not comment on the veracity of the report, but did tell Reuters,

However, it has been recorded that the populations of the humpback and fin whales in Antarctica are increasing. Nobody disputes this.

. . .

We always maintain that we will discuss these things scientifically, but with whales, it quickly grows emotional.

This is clearly a ploy on the part of Japan to ratchet up the rhetoric in favor of eliminating the commercial moratorium on whaling ahead of the IWC’s next meeting. Currently the moratorium is hanging on by a thread, barely surviving recent efforts by Japan and Norway to return to regulated commercial hunting of whales.

Source:

Reports: Japan to Expand Whale Hunt to New Species. Elaine Lies, Reuters, April 12, 2005.