Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 169 of our Green Year: Signing The UDAW Petition

A few years after the creation of the United Nations, one of the most important documents in human history was drawn up (by a Canadian. Go Canada!). It was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it detailed exactly what each human on Earth was entitled to and it has been used by the United Nations as evidence against countries that choose to mistreat their populations, and has helped some dictators be charged with war crimes.

Well there is a new document being drawn up and it is the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. The campaign has the goal of getting 10,000,000 signatures to help get the United Nations to sign into law a resolution that would give rights to animals around the world. In 2003, during the Manila Conference on Animal Welfare, 19 government delegations from the European Council, the United States and Saipan created a foundation text for the UDAW. Two years later, representatives from Kenya, India, Costa Rica, Czech Republic and the Republic of the Philippines agreed to create a committee to push for the initiative. Other countries have joined on with representatives of their own including Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. The initiative has active support of both the European Union and the United Nations.

So far, the initiative has reached over 1,000,000 signatures, with Oscar Arias, the president of Costa Rica, becoming the one millionth signer.

This mandate is the most ambitious initiative on animal welfare that has ever been attempted and since there is no international protection for animals, it is highly important. If accepted by the United Nations, it would recognize animals as sentient beings, which means they are capable of suffering. It would recognize that animal welfare is an issue of importance as a part of the social development of nations. Lastly, it would act as an initiative to create better provisions to protect animals around the planet.

Layla and I are big animal lovers, and that is why for our 169th Day of Our Green Year, we are signing this petition in the hopes that our future will see animals with rights to protect them from harm, pain and suffering.

You can sign the petition here.
For those of you who live in Ontario, I encourage you to send a letter to your premier regarding Bill 50. Introduced by Minister Rick Bartolucci, it would overhaul the 89-year-old Ontario SPCA Act to widen definitions of cruelty to animals and to address critical animal welfare issues. It will also allow investigators to bring abusers to justice.

If it is made law, it would make Ontario's weak animal protection laws into some of the toughest in the country, and the world. Some of the changes would include:
  • Establishing new provincial offences against animal cruelty, including: causing or permitting distress, training or allowing animals to fight, and obstructing an Ontario SPCA Inspector or Agent.
  • Giving judges greater flexibility to impose stiffer penalties, including jail time, fines up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime ban on owning an animal of any kind.
  • Providing for inspection powers; allowing investigators to inspect premises where animals are kept for the purpose of exhibit, entertainment, boarding, sale or hire.
  • Allowing the Society to apply for custody of an animal victim while the case is still in the courts; preventing the Society from having to return an animal to the owner during a trial if cause for concern is shown.
Send your letters of support of this bill to:

Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Rm 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M74 1A4

You can also e-mail them to dalton.mcguinty@premier.gov.on.ca

If you do send a letter, take a picture and send it to us and we will put it up on our blog to show that you support helping animals! E-mail to crwbaird@wildmail.com

On the weird search front, one of the searches that brought up our blog today read:
"has any human lived over 159 years?"...odd
Below is two pictures of Layla and I in the garden today bringing up the potatoes. There were pretty big ones in there as can be seen.