NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
ANIMAL lovers worldwide scored a huge victory after it was announced that dog and cat meat will be banned from this year's Yulin Festival in China.
The ban will come into effect on June 15, a week before the start of the gruesome festival that in recent years saw the slaughter of thousands of dogs and cats, many stolen from their owners, for their meat.
Eleven million people around the world have signed the petition to stop the organizers and supporters of Yulin Festival from killing and consuming dog and cat meat by first bludgeoning them to death or even cooking them alive.
According to Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, the ban ends the sale of dog meat in restaurants, markets and by streets vendors. Those who violate the ban will be arrested and fined up to 100,000 yuan (nearly $15,000).
Although it is only a temporary ban, Gung said it will hopefully lead to the collapse of the dog meat trade. Yulin Festival is not an old tradition but a mere creation of enterprising dog meat traders that started in 2009. Gung said the ban is consistent with how Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.
Animal rights activists, campaigners and international celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Sharon Osbourne and the late Carrie Fisher were in the forefront of the fight against the unthinkable cruelty that thousands of innocent animals were subjected to for the ghastly dog meat festival. At its height, the 10-day Yulin Festival saw the deaths of up to 15,000 canine and other animals.
The signature campaign, organized by the Humane Society International and other charities, was also instrumental in petitioning the local government to halt the practice of killing and eating dogs and cats in Yulin. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IT is said that dead men tell no tales, but apparently dead dogs do especially when killed as part of a movie.
When the dog in the photo was allegedly killed to create one of the scenes in the movie ORO, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) immediately asked for an investigation from the Metro Manila Film Festival. After initial meetings with the film body, PAWS said it will file criminal case against those who killed the dog and against the people who watched/filmed the crime as it was happening and did nothing to stop it.
"A screenshot of the dog that was killed in the MMFF movie ORO. The dog was put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted. Are the good reviews and awards the film got worth it at the cost of an an innocent creature's life?", asked PAWS which uploaded this photo on their official Facebook page.
ORO, one of the movies in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), is about the interplay of politics and poverty to make life harder for struggling villagers who work in gold mines somewhere in Bicol province where supposedly a group called Patrol Kalikasan are known to eat dogs.
It is against this backdrop that the dog in the photo, according to PAWS, was “put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted” as part of the movie.
In a statement posted on the movie's Facebook page, ORO director Alvin Yapan denied ever killing a dog for the movie. He also said no actor would agree to kill a dog nor would he put any actor in that position.
In its official statement regarding the issue, PAWS reported that the filmmakers have reasoned that they only happened upon the dog's killing in the location they were filming. The animal rights and welfare group, however, challenged this by pointing out that a PAWS Board Member Rich Ilustre, a director himself, made the observation that using actual footage of dog killing and editing it seamlessly into a scene with actors is extremely difficult.
Don Michael Perez, a television and film writer and director, believes there could have been creative ways of mounting the contentious scene at no cost to the life of a poor dog.
“I think it's reprehensible. I hear the filmmakers wanted to show the brutality of dog killing paralleled with the disregard for human life depicted in the story but in the process they have disregarded the life of a sentient being while making the film...And by going for shock value the filmmakers displayed that they're just as heartless and brutal as the evil men in their film,” Perez told MetroPets.
Meanwhile, PAWS said they obtained a copy of the ORO script that showed that the graphic dog-killing segment was indeed part of the scene. PAWS also said that it was established that the ORO filmmakers lied to the MMFF Screening Committee by claiming that the dog was not harmed in the scene.
“During the inquiry, the filmmakers eventually admitted that the live dog shown at the start of the controversial scene and the dead dog being gutted is one and the same,” PAWS said.
PAWS has asked the MMFF Executive Committee to require the ORO filmmakers to submit the raw footages of the dog killing to help complete the ongoing investigation.
Killing an animal for dramatic purposes or entertainment is ethically reprehensible, PAWS said, stating that “The director, producer, crew, and (possibly) the actors and extras, violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by procuring a dog for slaughter, and actually having it killed – whether by them directly or by some other people – for the movie.”
ANIMAL CRUELTY IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT
PAWS' request to have the ORO movie stripped of all awards it received and for the director and producers to be administratively sanctioned has so far resulted in the recall of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award granted to the film.
PAWS said that upon consultation with the family of the late Fernando Poe, Jr., the MMFF Executive Committee has decided to take back the said prestigious award as the dog's death had cast doubts on the movie's ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late actor who is an icon in the local movie industry.
Meanwhile, PAWS said all members of the entertainment industry must uphold humane standards for the use of animals and to call out their colleagues when they commit acts of atrocities towards animals in the making of films and TV shows.
Director Perez, who owns Bengal Brew Cat Cafe and Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe, agrees with PAWS.
“As a fellow filmmaker and animal rights advocate I condemn this act in the strongest terms,” he said. “We should all make our voices heard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. The recent MMFF was groundbreaking in many ways. Too bad this ORO controversy tarnished that,” Perez added.
*The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) or RA 8485, as amended by RA 10631 imposes a penalty of 2 years and 1 day to 3 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P250,000 if the offense is committed by a person who makes business out of cruelty to an animal.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IF dogs and cats and other animals could speak, they would demand a total ban on the use of firecrackers, especially on New Year's Day.
This is the key message that the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) together with other animal welfare groups and environmental organizations tried to impart by staging a peaceful and informative rally to encourage the public to refrain from using firecrackers that severely scare and affect animals.
Held on Dec. 28 inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, the rally was joined by dogs of all sizes -- from Chihuahuas to Alaskan Malamutes -- who all demand one thing: a total ban on firecrackers.
Ana Cabrera of PAWS advised the public to secure their pets especially on New Year's Eve or at the height of the expected lighting of fireworks and firecrackers nationwide.
Deemed hazardous to the environment, fireworks and firecrackers pose danger not only to humans but to animals as well. Dogs and cats, with their acute sense of hearing, suffer from the heightened booming noises.
To help pets cope during the revelry, Cabrera said pet owners should try to exercise their pets early on Dec. 31 to spend their energies so they would be less fidgety and scared when the clock hits midnight. She also said it would help if pet owners would let all their pets inside the house, even for this special evening only, to protect them from the noise and dangers that pyrotechnics can cause.
"Create white noise by playing soothing music to help calm your pets," she added.
Cabrera lamented that stray animals suffer the most when people hazardously use firecrackers because they have no safe place to hide. Sadly, some people even purposely harm strays by throwing lit firecrackers at them, she added.
Representatives from the Animal Kingdom Foundation, CARA Welfare and the EcoWaste Coalition also joined the activity to drum up awareness on the ill effects of pyrotechnics to humans, animals and the environment.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
“WE want you to learn carpentry.”
With these words, Robbie De Guia, president of Dunsk Kuhner, the company behind St. Roche dog shampoo, ushered groups of pet lovers to the 1,400sqm property in Silang, Cavite that will be the site of Haven of Love, a home for abused and neglected animals.
The recent gathering marked St. Roche's groundbreaking ceremony for the planned animal home. Company executives emphasized that an animal home is more than an animal shelter because it will also provide loving care on top of food and shelter for animals and education for people.
“Animals deserve a shelter not a home. In our culture, dogs are reincarnated as humans so we would like to treat them as humanely as possible. Let's keep this a beautiful place for dogs, said top company executive, Raja Menghrajani.
Volunteerism will be at the core of this endeavor which targets to have a soft start before the year ends. De Guia said they aim to spend only for the building materials and a construction foreman's salary. Labor will be a collective effort of volunteers.
HAVEN OF LOVE
During the ceremony, St. Roche officials took turn touring guests to the vast property where facilities and buildings will be built.
The Haven of Love is envisioned to have the following:
* A building with conference rooms for the use of veterinarians and pet groups, a clinic, and food storage.
* The Home (at least 7meter x 7meter), partly covered by football turf so it will be parasite free.
* Sleeping quarters made up of five houses, each able to room from six to eight people. Each house will be about 30sqm.
* A 400sqm Pet Cemetery with an incinerator machine. A memorial plot will be for sale.
* A Vegetable Farm to grow squash, okra, fruit-bearing trees, sweet potato, eggplant and other vegetables that can be used to feed cats and dogs.
* A Cat Area that is 150sqm big at least. It will be an enclosed area with good ventilation for the benefit of 200 cats.
* A Fish Farm that is 100sqm big, good enough for tilapia, catfish and other kinds of fish to thrive. Volunteers will be allowed to fish for their meals.
* A Dog Pool about 30 to 40 feet for dogs' enjoyment and exercise.
* A Dog Quarantine with about 50sqm floor space.
There will be five of the “Home” structures with ceiling fans and comfy dog beds and pillows from Daki. The interiors will be painted blue and green as these colors have a calming effect on dogs, especially those that have been traumatized in the past. De Guia said each Home can keep 30 to 40 dogs.
So far, 1,300 individuals have expressed their interest to donate their time and skills to help build the Haven of Love animal home. Even homeless people who can be proven to be of good character and are animal lovers could potentially be tapped to help out at the shelter.
De Guia said, volunteers can earn “love tokens” commensurate to the services they render. The love tokens can be used to avail of the free use of facilities like the conference room for team building.
The Haven of Love is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a foundation with a seven-man Board of Trustees.
Aside from enlisting more volunteers to help build the shelter, St. Roche is also getting creative with its fund raising campaigns. It is selling for P2,000 the St. Roche Love Pack, a basket full of St. Roche products, with 75 percent of the sales going to the shelter. They also created a “Wall of Love” at the site where people could write a dedication to their former pets for a small fee of P100.
In addition, the company will launch a personalized logo of St. Roche with a customer's pet's photo for P1,000.
Meanwhile, the dogs that will be homed in Silang will enjoy food and treats from a Canadian dog food manufacturer. De Guia said they target to open Haven of Love early next year or before the year ends.
Present during the groundbreaking ceremony are several dog groups (photos below) such as the Cavite Husky Pack, Tarlac Dog Walkers, Mandaluyong Pack Leaders, Philippine Dog Pawsitive, UPLB-Veterinary students, United ShihTzu Lovers Philippines, Bulacan Dog Walkers, Noah's Ark Petlovers Society, Canine Lovers Association of Pampanga, Boston Terriers Tribe, and the Valenzuela South Alpha Dogs, and others. Also present are several individuals who are not necessarily part of any dog group or association.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia is offering up to P50,000 reward for information that could help find the person or group that killed innocent cats from Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
On Jan. 13, a dozen community cats from the posh village went missing and some were found dead, apparently from unnatural causes. In a circular released by the village management, one cat was reported to have died from chemical burns after paint thinner was poured over him.
The community cats in Dasmariñas Village have been spayed and neutered through CARA Welfare's Trap-Neuter-Return program and are fed by residents of the village. Before the cats' disappearance and deaths, a note was found saying: “You stop feeding cats. Our village is no cat sanctuary. Or else...”
The management and security of Dasmariñas Village are looking into the barbaric series of crimes against the cats, but so far no suspects have been identified.
"It's imperative that any community faced with a violent act such as the vicious killing of the community cats of Dasmariñas Village take measures to find the culprit or culprits and bring them to justice," says PETA Asia Vice President for International Operations Jason Baker. "Animal abusers are a danger to everyone: They take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or nonhuman, and must be caught before they act again. We're appealing to anyone with information about those responsible for these cruel crimes to come forward now so that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
PETA hopes to bring the person or persons responsible for the cats' deaths and disappearances to justice. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a penalty of up to P250,000 and three years imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 as amended by Republic Act No. 10631.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the PETA Asia hotline at 0999-888-7382.
THE man from Cotabato City recently filmed repeatedly slamming a puppy against a concrete wall and smashing a bottle on its head has gone into hiding.
The video went viral after it was shared by a minor who owns the puppy. Scared to stop the dog's tormentor, the child secretly filmed the incident which became a strong evidence in filing this yet another case of animal cruelty.
The Philippine Animal Lovers Society (PALS) reported that the animal abuser, one Rodolfo “Opong” Serguino, went hiding after PAL's founder, Mirriam Bengil, spoke in GMA TV News last January 10 about the case and its possible penalties under Philippine law.
The good news is, PALS also visited Barangay Presbitero in the said province where the incident happened and confirmed that the dog, now called “Presby”, is still alive contrary to reports that it perished after being attacked by Serguino, a neighbor of Presby's owner.
PALS members and officers were skeptical at first, but witnesses who gave their testimonies confirmed that the dog survived the attack. Apparently, the dog was unconscious for three hours straight and when people decided to bury him, Presby woke up and coughed blood, PALS said.
According to a veterinarian from Animal Solution Vet Hospital in Davao, Presby survived his ordeal and didn't suffer from internal bleeding because he was able to expel his blood. Presby's body is still sore and his face swollen, but the puppy has a strong will to survive and is now eating.
The mother of the minor who owns Presby has filed an affidavit and PALS will file a case against Serguino.
Presby is now being fostered by a PALS rescuer and member named “Anya”. The group said they will seek justice for Presby even if it takes long now that his assailant is in hiding.
DOGS in the country, especially the native Aspins, have reason to be hopeful this year as government agencies and partner institutions fighting the illegal trading of dog meat are hoping to have the national plan of action finalized early this year.
Launched last September, the National Plan of Action (NAPOA) to Eliminate the Trade of Dogs for Meat aims for a complete end to the nefarious dog meat trading which not only victimizes dogs but also endangers public health.
One of its immediate impacts would be on the apprehending and filing of cases against violators. The penalties will be based on the provision of the Animal Welfare Law which include a fine of up to P250,000 and six years imprisonment.
Armelo Mauro, training officer at the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry, told MetroPets that that plan's Implementing Rules and Regulations are now at the committee level for finalization.
He said, they have statistics that show a decline in dog meat trading around the country last year, thanks mainly to the efforts of NGOs who are at the forefront of the campaign against hot meat.
Mauro said they are also proactively informing the public about the dangers of eating hot meat from dogs, cats, deer and wild boar because these likely carry deadly bacteria and other contaminants.
Meanwhile, Mauro advises concerned citizens to photograph or film those who slaughter dogs and report them to the police and file an affidavit at the prosecution office.
THE New Year celebrations bring the good and the bad. The good that comes with having a fresh start is marked by a lot of noise which is harmful to animals.
Dogs and cats with their acute sense of hearing suffer from “acoustical violence” from fireworks and other devices people use to create loud noise to usher the new year.
Once again, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition are appealing to the public to consider the safety of animals, especially the strays, and try to shield them from air and noise pollution and the high possibility of getting hurt when hit by firecrackers.
“Our four-legged friends, particularly cats and dogs, suffer in silence as firecrackers and fireworks of varying intensity are ignited in the belief that such practice can shoo away bad luck and pull in good energy and fortune,” said Anna Cabrera, executive director of PAWS, said.
Echoing Cabrera's appeal is Aileen Lucero, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, who cited that fireworks and firecrackers have negative impact on human and animal health, not to mention the environment.
Cabrera said pets get scared of the loud noise and, as a result, suffer from "appetite loss, upset stomach and confused sense of direction making animals to go astray or get injured.”
To have a peaceful and safe celebration, PAWS and EcoWaste suggested the following pointers:
* Persuade members of your household to make your home a “no firecracker” zone.
* Politely tell your neighbors not to light or throw firecrackers near your home.
* Exercise your pets during the days leading up to the New Year’s Eve and in the next morning when the festivities are over and the smoke has cleared.
* Give your pets a physical outlet for their pent up energy due to arousal and stress.
* Manage the environment so it is as relaxing as possible and as less stressful as you can make it.
* Provide your pet with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow your pet to stay in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
* Close the windows, put the curtains down and play a relaxing music to neutralize the noise from the outside to help your pets feel secure.
* Ensure your pet’s access to drinking water. Make her/him pee or poo.
* Do not yell or laugh at your pet when she/he is cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.
The groups also reminded pet owners to keep shopping bags, cleaning solutions, tobacco products out of pets' reach. In addition, pets should not be fed holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake, nuts and alcoholic drinks.
POPE Francis' recent encyclical on the environment includes powerful points against animal cruelty that was picked up and championed by animal rights groups such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In his message, the beloved Pope said: “It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings."
“We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people … Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’,” said Pope Francis.
In his 184-page encyclical on the environment, PETA shares Pope Francis’ conviction that humans are not God and that we must abandon the dangerous and pervasive idea that being made in God’s image justifies using other creatures to satisfy our appetites and whims. “Everything is related,” and that means that the choices we make each day—whether to buy products tested on animals; use beans or beef, or soy milk or cow’s milk; whether to patronize places that hurt animals, like zoos; and whether or not to ignore a suffering stray animal on the street—affect not only our animal friends, but the entire community.
THE barbaric Yulin dog meat festival went ahead as planned last June 22 despite growing protests from within China and around the world. AnimalsAsia Foundation, one of the groups that campaigned heavily against the event, reported that about 2,000 dogs – most of them stolen companion animals or strays – were tortured and brutally slaughtered for the table.
But the event was far smaller in scale than previous years thanks to the widespread criticism. More than 130,000 people from around the globe signed our open letter to the dog meat traders, and Chinese people of all ages took to social media in their thousands to protest against the slaughter.
Jill Robinson MBE, AnimalsAsia founder and CEO, said Yulin authorities distanced themselves from the event by strengthening supervision of the market and banning the slaughter of dogs on the street. They also prevented restaurants from advertising dog meat. She said more officials are seriously concerned with the widespread theft of dogs and the transport of caged and sick dogs that clearly adds to the threat of rabies and other diseases.
But 2,000 dogs are still far too many, and they are just the tip of the iceberg – up to 10 million dogs are slaughtered each year in China for their meat and fur.
AnimalsAsia's Cat and Dog Welfare team is working with city authorities and local animal welfare groups around China to:
* Promote animal protection laws and the banning of the sale, transportation and slaughter of dogs for their meat as soon as possible.
* Encourage the government to strengthen supervision and law enforcement in each link of the industry chain, including stronger penalties for stealing and poisoning dogs, banning the existing illegal slaughter and trade of dogs, and intensified supervision over illicit trafficking of dogs.
* Encourage the public to recognise that by consuming dogs they are encouraging theft and other crimes and also risking their own health.
* Encourage city authorities and local animal welfare groups around China to introduce humane population management and vaccination programs.
“We are doing all we can to stop the slaughter and we are seeing real progress. But there’s still much to do – and we’re going to need your help every step of the way,” said Robinson in a statement.
* Pet rock, anyone?