Posts Tagged ‘cull’

Magpie and Crow Cull 2011

I think it’s fairly safe to assume that if you’re a vegan or are reading this blog then you probably have some interest in the rights of animals. The UK is currently putting the final touches to a proposed plan of  a mass culling of avian predators. This is an attempt to rectify the issues with dwindling songbird numbers around the UK.

However, the plans are currently sketchy. With the proposals targetting magpies and crows first, the number of songbirds will be reevaluated after a few months of the action being in place. If it is found that songbird numbers are increasing again, then the cull will be expanded to target all avian predators, including kestrels, sparrowhawks and buzzards.

The method of culling the birds will be this: “The predators will be trapped using a cage that contains a live bird. Other magpies and crows will flock to the cage to see off the rival, only to become stuck inside. They will then be humanely destroyed.” (as read here) I question what ‘humanely destroyed’ entails for a start. Caging rival birds together does not exactly seem entirely humane either, and how long are the birds to remain caged before they are ‘destroyed’? Hours? Days? Longer still?

Perhaps the most dubious part of this operation is that no one is even clear if avian predators are having a damaging effect on songbird numbers. There is far more substantial evidence to show that it is actually due to changes in farming practices and habitat alterations (such as the destruction of hedgerows) which is killing off songbird numbers. Yet in what is essentially a trial run of a program that may not have any effect, thousands upon thousands of birds will be killed.

This cull has had significant opposition from various wildlife charities already. An RSPB spokesperson has said “The fall (in songbird numbers) is driven by changes in the countryside. Principally, a lack of nesting areas, a lack of food for chicks and a lack of food in winter.”

Meanwhile the head of the Wildlife Aid Foundation, Simon Cowell (not the Simon Cowell you’re probably thinking of though) has stated that “Killing predators in order to preserve songbirds is utterly illogical. It is man’s interference that has unbalanced the various bird populations to start with, and further interference will do much more harm than good. There is also a bigger animal welfare issue here as culling adult birds means leaving potentially tens of thousands of baby birds orphaned and in many cases unable to fend for themselves.”

Brian May’s organisation, Save Me (who we highly recommend you check out), has also shown opposition. Brian has said “Let’s help Simon Cowell fight this awful new barbarity. When will the human race learn to stop interfering?”

There is still time to fight this cull, even just by spreading the word. Simon Cowell wrote “We are calling on everyone who cares about Britain’s wild animals and birds to protest to Defra and the GWCT and to plead with them not to go ahead with this cruel and pointless cull. We must do our utmost to protect all wild bird species, not just the songbirds.”

For more information please click here to view the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s Press Release on the issue.

Otherwise please take five minutes out of your day to contact DEFRA and let them know what you think about the cull. You can contact them at

Thank you.

Korean Pig Slaughter

For those unaware (as I was up until a few days ago), South Korea has recently faced an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. This disease is responsible for decimating animal populations in a variety of countries over the last century, and the number of animals which have suffered the fate of being culled in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease is well into the tens of millions. During the UK’s outbreak alone in 2001 the alleged death total was over 10 million.

The important thing to note is that foot-and-mouth disease is not the killer here though. Roughly 2.5% of cases of foot-and-mouth turn out to be fatal, although many animals who recover are left with permanent damage in the way of being more susceptible to future infections, heart trouble, fertility, and more. The main issue for humans is that it effects production of dairy. After cattle have suffered from foot-and-mouth disease, their dairy production rate may be significantly lower. Now, obviously this shouldn’t be a problem, but due to the multi-billion dollar animal-based food industry, it is. This leads me to say then that foot-and-mouth disease is a man-made disease due to the fact that its outbreaks are the result of farming animals in close quarters, and that of the incredibly large number of animals that have been killed due to foot-and-mouth disease, about 97.5% of them would not have lost their lives without man’s interference. Thus, without the meat and dairy industries, the cases of foot-and-mouth would be far fewer and have a far lower mortality rate.

So, I feel that if you are not vegan then you are supporting the industry that results in this disease and the holocaustic reaction which humans take in order to ensure that milk production continues to run smoothly once the outbreak has died down. Despite various containment methods, such as usual sterilisation of equipment, quarantines, and attempts at vaccination, the only real method of preventing the spread of foot-and-mouth disease is through mass culling – millions and millions of animals have lost their lives just to prevent a disease from spreading which is largely non-fatal, but may affect milk production. Does this not seem ludicrous?

I am aware that the disease is painful, and in some cases can result in disability (but this is mainly due to secondary infections which are a result of poor aftercare), but it usually lasts only 2-3 weeks. If these animals were pets then they would be cared for intensively, given effective aftercare, and would undoubtedly be fit and healthy in under a couple of months.

Which brings me onto the tragedy and inhumanity of the Korean pig slaughter over the last few months. Firstly, the degree of ignorance surrounding this disease has been astounding. There have been reports of people killing their dogs in fear that it could be spread via them. Key health experts have also feared that the disease could be transmittable to humans – something which is so incredibly rare that it is almost impossible.

The real problem with the recent South Korean cull though is the cruelty involved in it. Usual culling methods for food-and-mouth crises involve killing the animals before burning their carcasses. In South Korea, this was deemed too ineffective and expensive, thus, despite some efforts to vaccinate animals, others suffered horrifically being buried alive.

Live piglets being thrown into a pit, ready for burial

It was Gandhi who said that “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” and from this shocking exposé into Korean culling methods, we can safely say that South Korea is not so great. At least 3 million pigs have suffered this shocking fate so far, and over 100,000 cows have also been killed (although I’m not sure if they’ve been buried alive).

The disease continues to hamper North Korea’s meat industry, as laws have not been strict enough to prevent the sales of infected meat. To me the simple answer is to abolish the meat industry altogether. Whilst this may be a drastic option, it is surely the most harmless. I defy even the most hardened meat eater to watch the following video, filmed by Korean animal activists Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) and not be disturbed. But the important thing to remember is that this would not be happening were it not for the meat and dairy industry. It is time to end this, and it is time to go vegan.

People regularly give out their condolences to others when they face tragedy and anguish, yet even animal activists treat animal deaths as a statistic most of the time. So let me dedicate this post to the pigs who have died in Korea this year, and I hope they are never forgotten. It’s time we progressed though, as I find it hard to see humanity heading further backwards than this, although inevitably we probably will.

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