‘A movement catches my eye, and I realize with horror that a clubbed baby seal is still conscious. She is writhing around on the ice in pain, moving her flippers. She lies next to another seal who has been killed, vacant eyes staring up, blood already frozen in the ice under her mouth. It is a macabre scene – the dead and the dying huddled together here in the rain. I kneel beside her and find myself whispering softly, telling her to go to sleep. I am begging her to die quickly. Because the sealers will come back soon….’ – 29 March 2005, an excerpt from Rebecca Aldworth’s from the Humane Society of the United States Journal
Massacre of the Innocent in Canada
15 March, when five continents, 27 countries and 55 cities raised their voices in defense of seals in Canada, fades in comparison to the blood of killed baby seals, mostly younger than 14 days, which paints the ice of the Gulf of St. Lawrence blood red. Animal Friends Croatia and Voice of the Animals also joined the rallies with their protest in Zagreb; the complete list of rallies can be seen at www.hsus.org/Home.html (search for ‘rallies’).
More than 60 loud citizens gathered in front of the Canadian Embassy and appealed with posters, a megaphone, video footage on the Body Screen TV, a letter of protest and the petition for the salvation of the seals. No name representative of the Canadian Embassy tried to deny in front of the media the involvement of the Canadian government in this year’s slaughter of 325,000 baby seals, claiming that IFAW’s (International Fund for Animal Welfare) video footage is fixed, that it is ten years old and not a recording from the last year’s seal hunt – the biggest slaughter of marine mammals in history. Luckily, the video showing the cold-hearted sealers smashing the heads of baby seals with clubs and hakapicks spoke lauder than any of his ‘arguments’, and already the same evening it was shown on all prime time news in Croatia.
29 March dawned as the first day of slaughter of the innocent in Canada. The call for the world boycott of Canadian seafood shook and concerned Canadian authorities, but not enough so as to make them stop the slaughter. More than 70 sealing boats dotted the Gulf of St. Lawrence horizon with the mission to slaughter 90,000 baby seals in only three days! In the battle between those who came to protect the seals and profiteers without scruple which takes place in impossible, stormy weather conditions, on 31 March seven of the international volunteers crew members were cut of from their ship and attacked whilst being on the ice by the sealers. They were punched and hit with clubs and hakapicks whilst taking pictures. Altogether, 11 crewmembers have been arrested (and in the meantime released) by the Mounted Police for taking pictures of the sealers for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society http://shepherd.textamerica.com.
While the bloody battles for the salvation of the seals continue, we appeal on you to boycott all Canadian products, sign the petition at www.protectseals.org and send e-mails, faxes and make phone calls to Canadian Embassies to stop the massacre of the innocent.
On 20 March 2005, the whole world as well as Croatia observed the 20th Anniversary of Meatout! Nine cities altogether participated in Meatout Croatia 2005 by information tables, leafleting, tasting of vegan delicacies and the birthday cake, whilst in the net club Mama in Zagreb, a premiere of the video Devour the Earth narrated by Paul McCartney took place on 22 March, World Waters Day, also as part of Meatout.
More than 20 countries from all over the world joined the observance of the 20th Anniversary of Meatout by placing a number of pro-vegetarian billboards, organizing Metaout Walks, lectures, vegetarian festivals and the like. Celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, James Cromwell and Mary Tyler-Moore also supported Meatout 2005. Twentieth Anniversary Report along with photographs of the most colorful events can be seen at www.meatout.org.
Though Meatout has come and gone, it is still not too late for you to change your eating habits. Try to kick the cruelty out of your life and go vegetarian – for the animals, for our planet, and for your own health!
A Day in a Cage
One day in a cage, that is several hours, was enough frustrating and painful for the three of our activists dressed in red overalls and wearing hens’ masks. Therefore it is not so hard to imagine how it is for the egg-laying hens who spend their whole miserable lives in such cages before being slaughtered!
On 26 March in the center of Zagreb dawned an info stand of Animal Friends Croatia together with three of our activists locked without food or water in a small cage sized one square meter, who called passers-by during the action to join them in the cage at least for a short while. With this action, where we also showed a shocking video footage Kentucky Fried Cruelty, we wanted to reveal the horrid truth of breeding and treatment of egg-laying hens and slaughtering of chickens, and also invite the citizens of Zagreb to stop eating eggs for their own health and for the sake of animals.
Passers-by were shocked to see those poor birds who spend their whole lives de-beaked and confined in small cages, suffer the stench of their own excrement, whilst the wire cuts into their legs and make them suffer from deformation of their feet.
Month of Boycott of Benetton
It would be interesting to see if one of the biggest retail chains with more than 5,000 stores in the world which sells garments made with Australian wool will also in the future speak in favor of the cruel practice called ‘mulesing’ and ‘be blind’ to sheep suffering after March, which was marked as ‘Month of Boycott of Benetton’ with 32 protests!
‘Mulesing’ is a crude and pointless mutilation whereby Australian farmers carve flesh from lambs’ backsides with a pair of garden shears and without painkillers as a cheap way to try to reduce flystrike. When their wool is no longer the best, millions of sheep are shipped to the Middle East through all weather extremes just to be ritualy slaughtered once they arrive to their destination.
After the demo ‘Benetton: Blind to Animal Suffering’ which last December took place in front of Benetton shop in Zagreb, Animal Friends Croatia decided to give support to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaigns during March too, and with their actions called for the boycott of Benetton. Thus, in a tour that lasted for three weeks we visited five countries and seven cities in which, with collaboration with PETA, we gave support to local groups and individuals who joined protests.
The tour started on 10 March in Pula, and continued in Rijeka (11 March), Sarajevo (16 March), Budapest (21 March), Belgrade (25 March), Ljubljana (29 March), and Maribor (30 March). 6,500 leaflets were handed out during the tour, in actions of support to local activists 22 Animal Friends Croatia activists took part, whilst seven demos in front of nine Benetton shops in five countries attracted 55 media!
Truly, it would be hard to tell which demo was the most successful and got the most positive reactions: the one in Budapest which attracted 15 media and the rivers of tourists who stopped in front of the Body Screen TV and watched in disbelief a shocking video Australia’s Secret Shame; the one in Sarajevo during which the journalists from 12 various media almost crawled over us whilst passers-by asked and reached for a copy of their leaflet; the one in Slovenia which was specific for the activists in Maribor who – together with the two blindfolded activists (!) – for one hour walked in front of two Benetton shops; the one in Belgrade which was held on two different locations and activists attracting the attention of passers-by when they were walking from one location to another; or the two demos in Istria which hit the jackpot when in one day the video footage of mutilation and killing of Australian sheep was shown four times on the Croatian National Television!
We can say with satisfaction that this tour completely justified all expectations and, hopefully, will give its contribution to the better treatment of Australian sheep. However, until mutilation called ‘mulesing’ and inhumane live export of sheep that ends up with ritual slaughter end, we invite you to join us in the boycott of Benetton and everyone else who makes gains on the suffering of sheep. Aware of the alternatives to wool today, we appeal to you to at least boycott Australian wool, thus forcing Benetton to follow the example of retailers Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, New Look and George which already said NO to Australian sheep abuse!
– On 10 March in the town library in Umag the first Croatian promotion of the book Eternal Treblinka by Charles Patterson took place. During the promotion, a projection of the 13-minutes video Meet Your Meat was held, and after the book promotion and the promotion of our organization, the new AFC branch-office in Umag was founded, which already a week later organized its first action!
– Let us stay a little bit longer in Istria and mention the visit of ever more detested first Croatian national circus Gärtner to Pula and Labin in which they were also welcomed by demonstrators! Our hat is off to Snoopy animal protection group activists who gave Gärtner a clear message that they are not welcome neither here nor in the rest of Croatia!
– On the World Health Day, 7 April, an interesting lecture about the connection between vegetarian diet and health will be held in the net club Mama in Zagreb.
– Our correspondent Susan Cava from New York is back on track with her latest report! Who knew the Terminator would wind up a duck’s best friend? Governor Arnold Schwazzanegger signed a Californian bill into law that prohibits the force feeding of birds for the purpose of enlarging a bird’s liver and thus producing foie gras, the French term for ‘fatty liver’. This monumental law in California is a major step forward in the fight against animal cruelty. Similar legislation has been introduced in New York, the only other state that has foie gras production operations; please support this important legislature by visiting www.nofoiegras.com.
– What are our Romanian colleagues from Pro Animals doing about neuter and return program, the shelter in Tg-Jiu, Wetnose Animal Aid visit to their organization and volunteer program please check out on their web page www.proanimals.ro.
– And how were 58 rescued dogs from Crete on 28 February illegally detained and in the meantime freed and returned to the animal rescue group Arche Noah Kreta find out at www.looking-glass.co.uk/news/library2004/2005-march-arche-noah-crete-incident.htm.
– Again we would like to point out that this intensity of our activities, with which we intend to continually fight for animals and be as loud as possible for those who cannot speak for themselves, simply wouldn’t be possible without your help. Therefore, monthly donations that would help us continue with our work are this time also much appreciated. Thank you.
At the end of this ‘international edition’ of our AnimaList we invite you once more not to turn the blind eye to the suffering of animals – either in your own backyard or at the other side of the world. Animals are not like humans and they know nothing about the borders, their suffering can be seen everywhere. Do as much as you can already today – help the sick animal, feed the hungry one, write a letter of protest. Go out on the street and hand out leaflets, kick the meat out of your diet, join your local group of activists. By taking part minimize the suffering wherever you can, until the images like these become things of the past.
Thank you. Your Animal Friends
‘I return to the first seal. She is trying to crawl, and making anguished sounds. I cannot stop crying. She is trying so hard to live, and I know there is no hope for her. She has her eyes tightly shut, as if to keep out the sight of the dead seals around her. My heart is breaking… Today, the hunters shattered that world. And everything that was perfect has been ruined.’ – 29 March 2005, an excerpt from Rebecca Aldworth’s Journal