Leanne Kingwell is an Australian rock goddess, who has recently released her second solo album to rave reviews. But her life isn’t all about music. She volunteers and donates proceeds for her album to the GUNYAH Animal Sanctuary in Australia, and has branched into the US with her newest crowdfunding campaigns! Leanne has teamed up with the Feral Cat Foundation in San Francisco and Karma Rescue in Los Angeles to raise funds for homeless animals, and she is giving away her song “Sunshine” to any generous donor! “Sunshine” is about her rescue kitten, Tiger, the true love of Leanne’s life. As a result of the first week of campaigning, the Feral Cat Foundation was happy to annouce that the spotlight cat, Scotty, had been adopted!
Over 100,000 inappropriate, misleading or illegal adverts were removed in just six months this year by some of the UK’s biggest classified advertising websites following a hugely successful pilot scheme run by the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) to regulate online pet sales. A six-month monitoring scheme was undertaken by trained volunteers from a number of animal welfare organisations in membership of PAAG.
This vast number shows the level of commitment given by the participating websites to improving animal welfare and demonstrates how cooperation between PAAG and online classified websites can make a huge difference to the welfare of pets and the protection of consumers.
As the six month pilot scheme draws to a close, PAAG – which is made up of representatives from the UK’s leading animal welfare groups and trade associations – believes that animal lovers now have a huge opportunity to make a difference for the thousands of animals advertised online each day. The group is thus calling on the public to join the fight against bad adverts, reporting anything suspicious they find whilst browsing online classified pages directly to the sites themselves and informing PAAG where sites refuse to remove illegal or unscrupulous adverts from their pet sections.
From underage animals, banned breeds, illegally imported or endangered species to animals offered in exchange for inanimate objects, the adverts removed in the pilot scheme all contravened PAAG’s Minimum Standards which were launched in September 2013.
Endorsed by Defra and supported by the Scottish Government, the Minimum Standards aim to improve the welfare of pets sold online by encouraging websites to filter out illegal, unethical and unscrupulous advertisements.
The classified advertising websites involved in the pilot scheme: Gumtree, Pets4Homes, PreLoved, Vivastreet, FridayAds and EPupz removed adverts highlighted by their own filters and those reported to them by PAAG Volunteer Moderators.
Clarissa Baldwin, Chairman of PAAG, says:
“The truly staggering number of adverts that have been blocked in the pilot scheme is a real eye-opener in terms of the scale of the problem in the UK. We would like to say a huge thank you to the websites who have engaged with PAAG over the past year and who have committed to meeting the Minimum Standards. We hope that continued engagement will ultimately help to make the internet a safer place for pets and those looking to purchase a pet.
“Unfortunately, despite the fantastic efforts of a number of the biggest UK websites, thousands of other websites continue to accept illegal, unethical and unscrupulous adverts. We are urging any classified website in the UK offering pets for sale to sign up to the Minimum Standards so that progress can be made towards ensuring that all adverts on these websites are from reputable individuals or breeders.”
Animal Welfare Minister Lord de Mauley said:
“Preventing over 100,000 illegal or unscrupulous online adverts of pets for sale is an incredible achievement and I applaud the Pet Advertising Advisory Group and advertising websites for making this happen.
“We can all play a part in ensuring the welfare of pets sold online. If anyone sees a suspicious pet advert, from the sale of under-age animals to banned breeds, I would urge them to report it directly to the host site. If the advert isn’t removed quickly, they should contact the Pet Advertising Advisory Group straight away.”
The Minimum Standards are just the first step on the road to solving the problems related to the online sale of pets. Anyone with a serious concern about the welfare of an animal in an advert should notify the RSPCA, SSPCA, USPCA and PAAG at firstname.lastname@example.org
While PAAG organisations would prefer people not to look for a new pet on a classified website they recommend that, for those that wish to, they follow the following guidelines:
- Check that the website follows the PAAG Minimum Standards
- Do thorough research before getting a pet. PAAG members or your local veterinary practice can provide advice on all aspects of a pet’s health and welfare, or direct you to a reputable source.
- In the case of puppies and kittens, insist on seeing the mother with the litter and judge the parents’ health and temperament. Check that the animal you are interested in is interacting with the mother.
- Where appropriate make sure your chosen pet is old enough to leave its mother.
- Check that the facilities are clean, have adequate and appropriate bedding, toys and stimulation and that the animals appear alert and healthy.
- Try to ensure that all relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit. This could include the pedigree and registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates.
- Ask the advertiser for a written medical history of the animal which might include veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and worming.
- Request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your veterinary surgeon within 72 hours of purchase.
- If your chosen pet was not born at the place of purchase ask where it came from. If you encounter any problems please contact the publisher of the advertisement.
Channel 4, 7.30pm, 3 October
Reporter Nelufar Hedayat and director Daniel Bogado travel to Vietnam to investigate how dog thieves have infiltrated the lucrative dog meat trade and are stealing thousands of pet dogs from family homes to meet demand. The crime wave has provoked outrage across the country and led to the mob killing of scores of dog thieves. Unreported World reveals disturbing evidence of how dogs are stolen, transported and slaughtered in an illegal trade which has shocked the nation.
The Vietnamese have a long tradition of eating dog meat, which is served in packed restaurants across the country. In one busy Ho Chi Minh City street market the Unreported Worldteam films at least eight dog meat stalls. Live dogs are arriving all the time from suppliers, to be packed into small cages until they are slaughtered for customers.
Most dogs used to be trucked in from neighbouring Thailand, Cambodia and Laos but in recent years, animal rights groups have largely succeeded in closing down these routes. It’s led to a big increase in demand for dog meat from inside Vietnam and an opening for unscrupulous thieves targeting other people’s dogs.
The Unreported World team heads to Nghe Ann, a province under constant threat from dog thieves. One local man, Dang, tells Hedayat that keeps his pet in a cage to prevent it being stolen. Along his road all the families have lost dogs with almost 300 being stolen over the last few months.
The Unreported World team heads out on night patrol with Dang. The patrol seeks safety in numbers and their fear is justified. In another village, the team meets the family of 18-year-old Bau Huynh who was killed a few weeks beforehand by dog thieves. His family tell Hedayat that Bau was profoundly upset when thieves stole two dogs he had raised from puppies. Together with two other boys, he gave chase but the thieves fired a homemade stun gun at them, killing all three boys.
There’s no prison sentence for dog theft in Vietnam and officials have rejected tougher punishments for the crime, saying there isn’t enough room in Vietnam’s jails for all the dog thieves. So the rewards far outweigh the risks. On the outskirts of Hanoi Hedayat speaks to two dog thieves. One of them tells her that he’s stolen more than 3,000 dogs in the seven years he’s been doing it, earning up $100 a night from the dogs he catches.
But the risks are high for the thieves as well. The team visits the village of N-hi Trung, in an area of the country where 20 dog thieves have been reportedly killed in the past five years and many more have barely escaped with their lives. Hedayat talks to villagers who admit to beating two dog thieves to death though they tell her that they only intended to hurt them. Ten people were prosecuted for the murders though four of them have had their sentences suspended. One villager tells her that in 80 years he’s never seen such a large number of dog thieves.
Every day, trucks deliver more than seven tons of live dogs to Hanoi. The team visits a village in the north of the country which is one of the largest dog trading spots. The street is lined with holding pens, each with up to 200 dogs inside. The dogs are sold by weight and the team films as the animals are force-feed through feeding tubes to increase their value before being packed into incredibly cramped crates. At busy times, the holding houses on this street process around 2,000 dogs in a single day.
Back in Hanoi the team visits a slaughterhouse specialising in dog. Owner Kieu Vu tells Hedayat that they slaughter up to 30 dogs a day. The dogs are kept in a cramped pit before being brought out and despatched quickly and – according to her husband – painlessly. There are rules for the slaughter of cattle, pigs and poultry in Vietnam but not for dogs. And the government has no plans to introduce any regulations. A previous proposal was abandoned when animal rights groups opposed it, saying it would legitimise the trade.
Animal rights groups are trying to convince the government to introduce at least basic rules about welfare and protection for animals, including dogs. The talks are at very early stages but because of the violence surrounding dog theft, people are starting to talk about the many problems of the dog meat trade and bring about changes. But without real punishment for dog thieves, and laws against animal cruelty, there’s no end in sight to the pain, for people or animals.
Jason Dyer and Dean Rostock, who entered the burning building and kicked open a number of kennel doors to rescue the dogs, have been nominated for a prestigious Animal Hero Award..
John Nettles, Sue Johnston, Pam Ayres and Wendy Turner Webster unite to support campaign for dogs in laboratories to be found new homes
The high-profile actors, author and journalist have joined with the BUAV in its campaign to make it mandatory for dogs, cats and other animals to be found homes, where possible, after their use in laboratories.
Every year hundreds of cats and thousands of dogs suffer and die in experiments in the UK. Many animals may be used but not killed as part of the experiment, and others are bred for research but not used. All of whom could feasibly be found homes.
John Nettles, said: “I was surprised, and saddened, to learn from the BUAV that there are many animals bred for research but not used and considered ‘surplus to requirements.’ However, without any effort to release or find homes for them outside the laboratory, these animals are simply killed. They should not be denied the opportunity of freedom so please join me in calling on the Home Office to make the homing of cats, dogs and other animals “no longer required” a mandatory requirement for laboratories.”
Sue Johnston said: “It is shocking that there is no requirement for laboratories to release dogs once they are no longer required in research. Many could be given the chance to find a home, which is why I support the BUAV’s campaign that laboratories should be required to find homes for animals, wherever possible, rather than kill them and deny them a chance at happiness and freedom.”
Pam Ayres said: “Whatever the arguments in favour might be, I detest the sight of animals in laboratories being used in this way. I feel saddened and revolted that their desolate lives end in euthanasia. Certainly if any of these animals are in a condition where they can enjoy a new, loving home, I am massively in favour of them having one. I would love to think that any animal, from a mouse to a beagle, could finally have loving care and a safe home.”
Wendy Turner Webster said: “I fully back the BUAV’s call that laboratories should be required to work with reputable animal shelters and organisations to find homes for animals who are no longer required, rather than kill them. These animals deserve a chance to find happiness… they are not soiled goods which are only fit for the scrap heap.”
The BUAV is calling for Home Office Minister, Norman Baker, to make the release of such cats, dogs and other animals a mandatory requirement for laboratories. The organisation argues that laboratories should be required to work with reputable animal shelters and organisations to find homes for these animals rather than simply kill them.
A BUAV investigation in 2013, at a UK laboratory, revealed that beagle puppies and adult dogs were killed because it was easier than finding them homes. This is despite an EU Directive (1) on animal experiments that states ‘…..animals such as dogs and cats should be allowed to be rehomed in families as there is a high level of public concern as to the fate of such animals’. The BUAV was able to home three such beagles due to be killed – Bonnie, Billie and Oliver – and is publicising their stories to illustrate why animals no longer required by the research industry deserve to be given their freedom and found loving homes.
The BUAV’s Dr Katy Taylor, who adopted Bonnie, one of the adult beagles used for breeding said: “Bonnie is now an extremely happy dog. Her joy at seeing us in the morning is a delight. She wags her tail so much and adores going for walks. It is heart breaking to think that she was due to be killed, like the other breeding females in the laboratory, so would never have experienced the joy of her new life and freedom”
CEO of the BUAV, Michelle Thew, said: “We are grateful that all these wonderfully high-profile spokespeople are using their voices to speak out for those animals who are not being given the chance to experience the happy lives that Bonnie, Billie and Oliver now have. We know that the public are behind us on this call for homing to become a mandatory requirement and we urge the Home Office to respond to our request.”
Chinese social media users have tracked down a cruel pet owner who attempted to “get rid” of his dog by dragging it behind his car on a busy road in the Guangdong province, south-east China…
Several dead animals were removed from an animal hospital in the suburbs and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department is investigating…
Leicester’s Woodside Animal Centre has launched the biggest appeal in the history of the Leicestershire RSPCA.
It aims to raise £1 million through the Care 4 Paws appeal to build an onsite veterinary suite that will transform the way animals are cared for at the centre…
A kindhearted animal lover says she offered to let her home through a Christian homeless charity’s Newquay office – but despite it having a 300-strong waiting list, was ignored.
The charity, Chapter1, came in for criticism last week after it was revealed that it was trying to evict 23-year-old dog owner Anthony Miller from one of its properties on Mount Wise…
Mario Balotelli has apparently shown his heart is in the right place after appearing to have made a generous donation to Manchester Dogs’ Home.
The millionaire ex-City striker who now plays for Liverpool is thought to have given a five-figure sum to the home after 60 dogs were killed in a blaze a week ago today…