Animal Welfare Legislation (Autoehnography research: Animal Welfare in Asia)

After researching The Cove and the Chinese fur trade I was left feeling emotionally distraught and failed to understand why these animal plights were not illegal. State Secrets Protection Law may indicate why the Japanese people were obvious to the dolphin slaughter but what about China?

I was extremely fascinated to learn that in 2009 Sohu.com, which is a major Chinese search engine, polled Chinese citizens and 80% (Whitfort 2012 p.349) were in favour of introducing legislation to protect animals within their nation. A shocking statistic, because I could not understand why these slaughters were still widely occurring with a large percentage of the population supporting legislation against it? This is when I discovered that legislation is a large issue.

China does not have an animal protection law though legislation has been proposed and consistently changing. In 2009 China’s first animal protection law was drafted (Whitfort 2012 p. 347) proposing the protection of wild, farm, pet, laboratory and entertainment animals. Under the definition of cruelty being defined as;

deliberate use of brutal means and/or methods to cause unnecessary suffering/harm to the animal or the brutal means/or methods to kill it’

(Whitfort 2012 p.351). Currently the only legislation in place is the Protection of Wildlife 1988 which only protects endangered species or those that are vulnerable to economic or scientific research.  Thus resulting in the barbaric fur trade and other trades such as the bear bile trade within China.

Setting my bias aside, Whitford (2012 p.353) stated a fact that brought me to a realisation. Through the discussion of zoo’s which are non-government agencies they rely on money from ticket sales and Whitford (2012 9p.353) discovered that if zoos cease animal performances that visitor numbers drop and that if 10 000 tickets are sold half of that revenue is used to feed   a single lion. Place this in perspective it is clear that these zoos would ignore a ban on animal performances if legislation was to occur due to a lack of funding.

Though through my horror I have had an epiphany, Asia has multiple levels of animal welfare plights due to their lack of legislation and financial reliance. When I started to research animal rights within Asia I could not understand how the dolphin slaughter and fur trade’s practices were legal. However, I now understand that these practices are simply part of Chinese culture due to a lack of laws prohibiting the act. So why don’t aren’t humane practices automatically implemented?  Simply due to monetary restrictions.

Though would legislation really help? I believe perhaps slightly but it seems that the major issue in China is their bottom line, the inhumane practices are all based on a system that is attempting to gain a product without an economic burden. It also seems apparent that Chinese citizens are aware that their county has a significant animal welfare problem. I now better understand why these in humane practices are occurring due to economic benefits but this does not result in me condoning the issue.

I feel as though I have been criticizing the industry as though I would assume China and Japan would have international standards implemented. However, a country should develop its own standards to match their own individual priorities (Rahaman, Walker, Rickets 2005 p.599).

References:

Rahamn, S, Walker, L and Ricketts, W 2005, ‘Global perspectives on animal welfare: Asia, the far East and Oceania’, Rev.Sci.Tech.Off.In.Epiz, vol. 24, no.2, pp.597-610.

Whitfort, A 2012, ‘China’s Draft Animal Protection Law’, Sydney Law Review, vol.34, no. 347, pp. 347-370.

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Furry Chinese Fashion Trade (Autoehnography research: Animal Welfare in Asia)

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In my previous post I touched on the idea raised in the Cove of Dolphins being denoted as pests of the sea by Japanese authorities. This led me to think what other species are classed as pests in Asian cultures this lead me to discovering the Chinese fur trade.

The Chinese fur trade is a hard plight to research due to the graphic images of senseless killings. China skin raccoon dogs, dogs and cats for their fur trade. These animals are mostly not killed humanely and are often skinned alive. My research indicated that some of these animals will be alive for 5-10minutes after they have been skinned (PETA 2015), why aren’t they killed first? Often to protect their fur.

China has a large contingent of street animals and often these street animals find themselves within the fur trade, with some cats and dogs still wearing collars. Around two million dogs and cats are bred or taken from streets in China and killed for the Chinese fur industry (Animals Australia 2015) each year.  This lead me back to a point raised in my previous post, Dolphin and Whale meat is common within Japan so does this also extend to cats and dogs being pests that needs to be exterminated just being a normal part of Asian culture?

I feel that Asian cultures have little respect for animal welfare, especially since they skin an animal that still has an ownership collar on them. China exports fur to multiple Western countries though what intrigues me is the question whether fur is a popular fashion icon within China?

Hong Kong holds a fashion fair specifically for fur, The Hong Kong International Fur and Fashion Fair which has been held since the 1930’s (China Exhibition 2015). In 2014 the festival generated $150 US Million in product sales, with Russia being the largest buyer though not far behind was China, Japan and Korea.  Thus it is evident that fur is a part of Asian culture, further evident through the Hong Kong Fur Federation striving to become the worlds ‘hub’ for fur products.

The Cove discussed that the Japanese people did not know that the Dolphin slaughter was occurring, I believe this is also the case within the fur trade. Obviously China has strict censorship but Japan’s Government implemented the State Secrets Protection law in December 2014 (Aota 2015). The State Secrets Protect legislation states that any public servants or others whom leak state secrets or journalist that encourage such leaks could be imprisoned for five to ten years (Lies 2014). This further explains the states tough stance on activism, the Cove being a prime example. Within the Cove it is often discussed that the Government employ the fishermen for the Dolphin slaughter, however; whenever an activist protests against the this slaughter as shown within the film they are arrested and not allowed back.  Hayden Panettiere is famous for not being able to return to Japan due to an arrest warrant for her protesting of the Dolphin slaughter within the Cove itself.

Will the State Secrets Protection legislation also criminalise whistle-blowers of animal plights? These plights seem to be hidden from the public. I plan to further investigate the animal welfare legislations within Asia.

References:

Animals Australia 2015, ‘Dog and Cat Fur’, FurAnimals Australia, viewed 16th September, url: < http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/fur.php>

Aota, H 2015, ‘Report: Japan’s Press Freedom Deteriorates under state secrets law’, The Asahi Shimbun, 13th Feburary, viewed 16th September, url: < https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201502130073>

ChinaExhibition 2015, ‘2015 Hong Kong International Fur & Fashion Fair’, ChinaExhibition, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.chinaexhibition.com/trade_events/6654-2015_Hong_Kong_International_Fur_and_Fashion_Fair.html >

Lies, E 2014, ‘Strict new Japan Secrets law take effect amid protest’, Reuters, 9th December, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/10/us-japan-secrets-idUSKBN0JN15920141210 >

PETA 2015, ‘The Chinese Fur Industry’, Animals Used for Fur- People for the Ethical Treament of Animals, viewed 16th September, url: <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/fur/chinese-fur-industry/ >

Autoethnography research; Animal Welfare in Asia: Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

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Over the next few weeks I am going to be undertaking autoethnography research into the animal plights and the animal rights movement within Asia. To gain a better understanding of the plights and social/ legal reactions and beliefs to these issues. I want to start this research topic by firstly stating I will often hold a biased view due to my strong interest in animal welfare though I will attempt to document my findings in an unbiased manner.

I am starting off by looking at a popular topic; the dolphin slaughter in Taiji Japan. I sat down with my boyfriend and we watched the documentary, The Cove and it left an impression.

The point of autoenthongraphy research is to immerse yourself within the experience, with this film it was not hard to do.  My initial thought was I knew about the slaughter just not the extent that it actually occurs. The Cove produced numerous emotions each resulting in different cultural questions.

I felt fear for these dolphins whom are naturally free within the ocean being herded into the Taiji cove this emotion turns to anger when you see the fishermen harpoon the dolphins similar to their whaling ventures. When the water turned red and you see babies jumping, at one point you see a baby jump at the rocks trying to escape the bloody water of her parents and peers, you feel a hatred for the culture. Then the film contrasts these images with free dolphins jumping and enjoying the ocean, this is was the point I was led to tears for these mammals.

Through all the evidence I cannot understand how these fishermen desiccate these mammals, mammals who are highly intelligent with the possibility of surpassing our own intelligence. These images presented are those of mass murder there was even recordings of the screams. Yet the Japanese Government are hiding it through censorship. This leaves me questioning the legislation in Asian countries regarding animal rights whistle blowers with past activist being sent to prison from petty charges.

What is the real view in Japanese society in regards to the dolphin slaughter? International Whaling Commission representative for Japan in this film stated he could not see what was so special about this species and that it was solving a pest issue; the dolphins are apparently over eating the world’s fish population.  Though what is a massive concern is testing of fish meat within Asian nations, especially dolphin meat which is notorious for high levels of Mercury, what testing is done as currently I am under the impression that there is no national standard.

I am also currently under the assumption that dolphin and whale meat are as common in Japan as cow and pig meat are elsewhere. But what is the social views of these meats and the way they are sourced? Clearly through this film Japanese population are unaware of the source of their food and in some cases it seems they are unsure what they are even eating.

I currently feel enraged at the nation allowing this slaughter to take place, I am feeling further sadden and enraged as this slaughter starts every September, feeling that as I sit here researching that dolphins may be about to face a similar fate in Taiji.

Perhaps when I have a greater grasp on the social norms in society I may understand Asian cultures acceptance of a dolphin slaughter. Though I am intrigued to research their laws and regulations for individuals whom undertake animal activism.

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Puppy Factories one of Australia’s Shames

Oscar’s Law, ok so you are all reading this thinking what is oscar’s law  sounds like some man crusading for a cause or it is about a crime he committed.

Please say hello to Oscar:

Oscar was rescued from a Puppy Farm, his skin was paper THIN and as you can see from this image he was not in the best of shape.

The truth about dogs in pet shops is a lot of them come from a Puppy Factory. These factories use many female dogs as breeding machines.
These female dogs will be kept pregnant their entire lives every time they go on heat, sometimes leading to their uterus falling out. Once these females turn 6years old they will we destroyed and replaced.  Everyone knows that dogs will live well past 6years of age from non accidental deaths.

Now please observe these photos, this is the Truth of how these puppies and their parents are kept. They are kept on concrete floors or suspended from wire cages. Left to sleep and live in their own faeces with many factories hardly cleaning any of the pens. These dogs are left in the dark with no human contact and are left scared and alone. Many suffer from multiple diseases and lose eyes due to infections from the conditions they are living in, and the fact they have little or no veterinary care.

These are the facts, this is the truth. The puppy you stared at today in the pet store could very well have been born in a place like this there is a very high percentage that it was. This little puppy that you were staring at parents, mainly their mother, will most likely still be in this factory unless  rescued or killed she will be pregnant once again.

HELP STOP THIS TRADE.

Support Oscars law!

For more information please view these sites:

Oscars Law

RSPCA

Thank you and that is all folks

Until next time

-Amy