Cattle and other farm animals in transit to Mauritius suffer enormously both during the interminable journey across oceans and as they are unloaded from ships to be taken to slaughterhouses or sold elsewhere. Cattle are imported to Mauritius mostly from Australia and South Africa.
Damning investigations and evidence by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in South Africaand Animals Australia have shown how these farm animals are transported in abject conditions, and are subjected to horrendous brutality, during and after the sea voyage. In a recent scandal, pregnant cattle were shipped to Mauritius from Australia in contravention of regulations. Many died during the voyage, and those who gave birth to calves had the calves taken from them and killed. Some of those which survived were subjected to roping and hoisting prior to having their throats cut in slaughterhouses. Farm animals are gentle, sentient creatures that feel intense fear, stress and pain, and ought not to be subjected to such atrocious cruelty.
There was once a time when slaves—hounded and captured from their native lands—were shepherded in overcrowded ships, labelled and treated as cargo. The immeasurable suffering of these human beings was once unrecognized and widely accepted as normal. Today, too, the slavery of animals—and such inacceptable cruelty towards them—is widespread and rarely questioned.
We, humans, ought to open our eyes and accept to see the truth of our actions: the inflicting of untold suffering upon millions of animals, when such suffering can be readily ended by stopping this cruel live import and export.
Hereby follows extracts of the eyewitness account of Reverend Walsh regarding the conditions involved in the importation of slaves; see for yourself if you can truly make a distinction between the suffering involved in importation of humans back in the days of slave trade and the suffering of animals in this day and age. The account below describes the suffering of slaves; but how true it rings today itself where the importation of live farm animals is concerned!
“As soon as the poor creatures saw us looking down at them, their dark and melancholy visages brightened up. They perceived some- thing of sympathy and kindness in our looks which they had not been accustomed to, and, feeling instinctively that we were friends, they immediately began to shout and clap their hands. One or two had picked up a few Portuguese words, and cried out, "Viva! Viva!" The women were particularly excited. They all held up their arms, and when we bent down and shook hands with them, they could not contain their delight; they endeavored to scramble up on their knees, stretching up to kiss our hands, and we understood that they knew we were come to liberate them. Some, however, hung down their heads in apparently hopeless dejection; some were greatly emaciated, and some, particularly children, seemed dying.
The heat of these horrid places was so great and the odor so offensive that it was quite impossible to enter them, even had there been room. They were measured as above when the slaves had left them. The officers insisted that the poor suffering creatures should be admitted on deck to get air and water. This was opposed by the mate of the slaver, who, from a feeling that they deserved it, declared they would murder them all. The officers, however, persisted, and the poor beings were all turned up together. It is impossible to conceive the effect of this eruption - 517 fellow creatures of all ages and sexes, some children, some adults, some old men and women, all in a state of total nudity, scrambling out together to taste the luxury of a little fresh air and water. They came swarming up like bees from the aperture of a hive till the whole deck was crowded to suffocation front stem to stern, so that it was impossible to imagine where they could all have come from or how they could have been stowed away. On looking into the places where they had been crammed, there were found some children next the sides of the ship, in the places most remote from light and air; they were lying nearly in a torpid state after the rest had turned out. The little creatures seemed indifferent as to life or death, and when they were carried on deck, many of them could not stand.
After enjoying for a short time the unusual luxury of air, some water was brought; it was then that the extent of their sufferings was exposed in a fearful manner. They all rushed like maniacs towards it. No entreaties or threats or blows could restrain them; they shrieked and struggled and fought with one another for a drop of this precious liquid, as if they grew rabid at the sight of it.”
Are we going to take longer to put a stop once and for all to the suffering of all these creatures? Are we not going to help ‘liberate’ them? Can not the compassionate step of putting an end to this live trade of cattle and other farm animals be embraced?
We strongly voice out against this inhumane live trade and reiterate our sincerest appeal to the Government of Mauritius to put end to the live importation of cattle and other animals labelled as ‘livestock’.
Eye Witness to History.com,Aboard a Slave Ship, 1829: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/slaveship.htm
The Government in Mauritius is thinking of implementing a pre-clinical research bill which would legalise animal experiments in Mauritius. Please say NO! to such cruelty and sign and share the following petition widely:
This page has been created with the aims of urging the Government to consider implementing humane dog population control programme, to stop using the Huelec Chamber for the electrocution of dogs (the animals are terrified when they are dragged to be killed; please recognise that any being encountering its death should not be additionally forced to undergo such terror), and to promote animal welfare awareness.
As they currently stand, animal control standards are unacceptable, thoroughly inhumane, and do not operate using the highest standards of animal welfare
In the view of the language used in the general media about stray dogs and even in sensitisation campaigns, these poor beings have been depicted as being a nuisance, a pest instead of a being deserving something much better than wandering on the streets, looking for food, and some meagre signs of affection from the people who are kind enough to smile at them.
Most of these dogs are first caught in a serious-injuring inflicting manner, with no consideration whatsoever about the enormous stress and pain the dogs undergo. Countless members of the public (and even tourists!) have been shocked to see dogs fighting for their lives being beaten on their heads if they prove challenging to capture. These hapless dogs are then put to death.The Rs13.5 million could have instead focused on the vaccination and mass sterilisation of dogs - these are the only humane, long-term, and effective ways to reduce the population of strays! This page is for all those who are against such measures. Laws in Mauritius are grossly antiquated and have little to no measures concerning animal welfare. Join this page and pledge to speak out/report animal cruelty. These poor souls don't have a voice. Be their voice.
Quoting from the said report, which accurately depicts how misleading the name " Mauritius Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" is: "In our view the MSPCA have a fine infrastructure however they seem to have lost their way. The inflexible nature of the management system is symptomatic of the current policies being followed by the Society.These policies seem to be based on a militaristic view of animal control rather than a compassionate animal welfare policy that would normally be employed."
"We found the views of Dr S on compulsory sterilization of the dog population to be somewhat confused. On many occasions he agreed that this was the only way to control the dog population and the next minute he would tell us that the program would never work."
"We were taken by Dr S to visit the Dog pound in Port Louis and witnessed the “control of dogs” within the compound. We also went on a dog catching expedition with Dr S.We witnessed the netting of two dogs. Both of these dogs were netted in a very rough way and were hurled into the back of the van with no thought about whether the dog would be injured. We witnessed the hostility of the public towards the MSPCA dog catchers and in fact were under severe threat of attack after Dr.S decided to call them all of the names under the sun! One of the dogs caught was taken from the forecourt of a small shop and the family that owned it immediately came running out of the shop to try and ask for the animal’s return. The young daughter was crying for the release of her dog and the family were ignored.The dog was taken! IAR returned to the shop on our own to discuss the retrieval of their dog from the dog compound. They told us that they would have to hire a car to go to Port Louis to pick the dog up and told us it would cost about 1000 Rupees * which is a weeks wages for most Mauritians!"
"We returned to the shop a day later to see if they had managed to claim their dog back. We were told that they went to the dog pound and identified their dog.They had to pay 1700 Rupees (nearly 50% of an average months wages ) .After paying the money they were told that they could not have their dog then but would need to go to the Rose Hill HQ to pick the dog up at 5.00pm. This involved the family in four separate journeys in one day at considerable expense in time and money to reclaim their dog. This attitude has totally alienated the general public against the MSPCA."
"It is our view that the MSPCA currently run an efficient dog killing service** with little or no compassion shown to the animals.The simple gentle handling of the dogs and reassurance was totally absent. From the minute the dogs are caught to the time they are electrocuted the dogs display all of the classic signs of being terrified.The system used for euthanasia is a “Huelec” chamber made by M.D.Components of Luton in the UK. This method of euthanasia is not used in the UK anymore .It is classed as being old fashioned by many animal welfare circles and all RSPCA centers now use the “lethal injection” method of euthanasia. Even if the Heulec chamber is painless for the animal the trauma it experiences by being dragged from it’s pen into the chamber needs to be addressed."
* Please note that this Rs1000 in 2004 has now become an unfair, and cruelly expensive Rs10000 or more in 2011. People who love their dogs and might have unintentionally let them free for a short while are subjected to this grossly unacceptable demand. One wonders whether this could amount to a deprivation of property under Section 8 of the Constitution. However interesting it would be to debate in the Supreme Court, this is a very serious matter and the amount of this fine must be drastically cut. Only people who care about their dogs would come in search of them, wouldn't they? Why in the world punish them for loving that innocent being, who many times is no less than a family member? Why can't the families be given the benefit of the doubt, instead of tried at the outset of being guilty of letting their pets loose!?
**The MSPCA does run an effective dog killing service, but this does nothing to help reduce the population of strays. Stray animals suffer on the streets - that is a form of cruelty and it is with this approach in mind that the dogs must be humanely handled, not because these living beings are a so-called "nuisance"! See the following report by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health): http://www.icfaw.org/Documents/Supporting%20the%20implementation.pdf
When it comes to Mauritius, the report says the country needs:
"1) Support for the introduction of humane stray-animal control programme 2) Better capture and handling techniques"
The Oie recommends the "reduction of the use 'catch and kill' as only population management tool.
Moreover, as if the cruelty is not enough in the morning. Starting in mid-January, the dog-catchers will even work at night (till about 22:00); there is something sinister in this way of working into the night - animal lovers are heartbroken to hear the helpless cries of dogs as they are being violently bundled off into the dog-catchers' vehicle in the morning, now they will be compelled to witness and hear this heartbreakingly cruel scene even at night. This is why it is urgent to implement humane, internationally standards of handling these animals immediately.
1) A good start will be made by changing the way we talk of animals and street dogs in particular. These are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, fear, happiness, and sadness. It is recommended that a pro-animal welfare tone is used in legislations drafted with animals in mind. The government is urged to provide humane animal-handling methods to the officers of the MSPCA who are involved with dog-catching (methods recommended internationally). Organisations such as the World Society for the Protection of animals (WSPA)/ Humane Society International (HSI)/PAWS could be asked for guidance. Why should it be that many members of the public should look upon the famed "camion lichiens" (dog-catchers) with dread and tension (I know I do)? This doesn't have to be the case. With the appropriate resources diverted towards training the officers for humane dog-catching techniques, maybe a general member of the public might even come to their help to calm the animals, to help them suffer less fear and stress. The stray dogs need then be sterilised and put up for adoption to responsible, caring families.
2) Families who come to request their dogs back should not be punished/ condemned to pay an excessive amount of money. Even those who commit road contraventions do not pay this amount! Those found guilty of cruelty to animals usually end up paying less than Rs2000!
3) Compulsory sterilisation of every and each new pet acquired in the household is another option. An effective control of breeders should be maintained. The cruelty behind pet shops and puppy mills are well-known. Only licensed people should be able to sell pets across the island, and these should respect international animal welfare standards. (They should also be very few in number; people wanting pets should consider adopting a sterilised stray dog or puppy - these hunger for love and affection that has been deprived to them since birth).
4) The Huelec chamber (electrocution of dogs) is antiquated and does not meet animal welfare standards. This is what Humane Society International's US branch has to say:
"The Humane Society of the United States (HSU recommends the injection of sodium pentobarbital, prepared specifically for use as a euthanasia product, as the preferred agent for animal euthanasia. This method, properly performed, has been deemed the most humane, least stressful, safest, and most professional choice by The HSUS, the American Veterinary Medical Association, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Humane Association, and the National Animal Control Association.
The HSUS strongly believes that there should be two people involved in the euthanasia process: one to hold and calm the animal and one to inject the drug. Intravenous (IV) injection (into the vein) is the most rapid and reliable method of performing euthanasia by injection when it can be administered without causing fear or distress in the animal. Sodium pentobarbital may be administered by intraperitoneal (IP) injection (into the peritoneal cavity) to cats, kittens, and puppies if IV injection is deemed to be impractical or stressful for the animal. The use of pre-euthanasia drugs is not always necessary but should be considered prior to administration of sodium pentobarbital, to ensure safe and humane handling of certain aggressive or frightened animals. Muzzling and other forms of humane restraint may also be used when needed."
It must be noted that the Gas chamber, too, is an atrociously cruel method of killing animals and should not be adopted.
4) Educating the public about animal welfare, encouraging debates about animal welfare codes. Street dogs should cease to be labelled as pests and nuisance in official sensitisation campaigns. Controlling the population of stray dogs is an important matter because a dog having to wander aimlessly in the street is in itself cruel. It is cruel for the animal to constantly have to fight against starvation. They are in danger of getting into accidents and even face the insults, kicks and mistreatment from some heartless individuals. Only on these terms should a humane dog control population programme be put in place, and not on the basis that they are a nuisance.
5) Please help by speaking on behalf of these animals to your family, friends, media, and the government. The laws of a democratic country often times reflect how developed (or not) are the citizen's intelligence and capacity for compassion. Animal welfare laws are practically nonexistent in Mauritius, and provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1957 are not enough. Speak about potential animal welfare laws whenever you can. Encourage your children to adopt compassionate attitude towards animals (they can write essays on animals!). Talk to your friends and families.Report any instance of cruelty you witness to the Police, and help injured animals. Anyone in the world who cares about the welfare of animals and who want to speak on behalf of these street dogs are invited to write to the Mauritian government.
New Treasury Building Intendance Street Port Louis Tel: 201 1331-33 Fax: 211 7099 Website: http://pmo.gov.mu/ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ii) The Hon Charles Gaetan Xavier Luc Duval, GSCK
Minister of Finance and Economic Development
New Government House, Port Louis Tel: 201 2507/201 1146 Fax: 211 0096 Website: http://mof.gov.mu/ e-mail: email@example.com
iii) The Hon John Michael Tzoun Sao Yeung Sik Yuen
Ministry of Tourism and Leisure
Level 12, Air Mauritius Centre, Port Louis Tel: 211 7930 Fax: 208 6776 Website: http://tourism.gov.mu/ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
iv) The Hon. Lormus Bundhoo
Minister of Health and Quality of Life
Emmanuel Anquetil Building Port Louis Tel: +230 201 2175 Fax: +230 208 7222 Website: http://health.gov.mu/ e-mail: email@example.com
iv) The Hon Mr. Yatindra Nath Varma
The Attorney General's Office
Level 2, 3, 4,5 and 6 Renganaden Seeneevassen Building Port Louis Tel: +230 203 4740 Fax: +230 211 3819/ 213 0250 Website: http://attorneygeneral.gov.mu/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also write to the municipalities across the island. Write to them to let them know you do not support the cruel handling of strays by dog-catchers. Tell them you would rather they call upon the government, and use their own delegated powers, to help put in place humane methods such as mass sterilisation, sensitisation campaigns with a compassionate outlook,provide for training about humane catching of dogs by MSPCA officers. Call upon them to advocate for the humane control of the population of strays. Put your heart and soul in all your letter/s (you can use the bcc or cc function of your email to help you), and speak up fearlessly. The animals need you.
Beau Bassin/Rose Hill Municipal Council of BB/Rose Hill Town Hall Royal Road, Rose Hill Tel: 454 9500 Fax: 454 9509 Email: email@example.com Website: www.bbrh.org
Curepipe Municipal Council of Curepipe Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Curepipe Tel: 670 4897 Fax: 676 5056 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.curepipe.org
Port Louis Municipal Council of Port Louis Jules Koenig Str., Port Louis Tel: 212 0831 Fax: 212 4258 Email: email@example.com Website: mpl.intnet.mu
Quatre Bornes Municipality Council of Quatre Bornes St. Jean Rd., Quatre Bornes Tel:: 454 8054 Fax: 466 0571 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.qb.mu
Vacoas / Phoenix Municipality Council of Vacoas/Phoenix St. Paul Ave., Vacoas Tel:: 696 2975 Fax: 696 4668 Email: email@example.com Website: vacoasphoenix.gov.mu
Moka / Flacq District Council of Moka/Flacq Royal Road, Quartier Militaire Tel:: 435 5531 Fax: 435 5661 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mokaflacq.org
Pamplemousses/Riv.Du Rempart District Council of Pamplemousses & Riv. Du Rempart Royal Road, Mapou Tel:: 266 2095 Fax: 266 1405 Email: email@example.com Website: www.prdconline.org
Black River District Council of Black River Geoffroy Road, Bambous Tel:: 452 0304 Fax: 452 0303 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.brdc.intnet.mu
Grand Port Savanne District Council of Grand Port Savanne Royal Road, Rose Belle Tel:: 627 4575 Fax: 627 4640 Email: email@example.com Website: gpsdc.intnet.mu
7) To all the compassionate souls reading this, sharing, and taking action, thank you for all you do for animals. Know how precious you all are! We can only hope for a world where no stray animals are killed and where compassion becomes a way of life. Everything starts with us, though. If animal lovers don't do anything, who will?
"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?" Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th-century French philosopher
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
"A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day." Albert Schweitzer, early 20th-century German Nobel Peace Prize-winning mission doctor
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