30 July 2013

Endangered Seals Need Protection

Written by Sarah Pritchard

Two seals have been found dead in the Tasmanian islands.

Both of them have been confirmed as shot with a small calibre gun but it is as yet unknown whether the shootings were related. Police are running ballistics on the bullets to discover any links between them.

A few weeks ago a New Zealand fur seal was found dead at Cape Huay, within a few days another was found at Dunalley and two more injured animals that swam away before they could be treated.

It is against the law to kill these animals since they have been classified as endangered and can incur a fine of up to $13,000. The New Zealand Fur Seal is one of only two remaining species of seal left in the Tasmanian waters and are restricted to breeding among its islands.

Their numbers have been dwindling since the devastation of the sealing industry, which spanned the entire 19th century, only dissipating early in the 20th century.

Unfortunately nearly 100 years later, seals still end up caught and killed in nets and other fishing equipment as “accidental by catch” deaths. Fishermen are known to be aggressive towards seals, they blame them for the low numbers of blue fin tuna in southern waters.

The public and animal protection groups are outraged and urge anyone with information to come forward.

Sarah Pritchard is a new Canberra writer. She has recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and she now writes for a few online magazines including her own blog called Girl House Problems. Sarah is always interested in improving living conditions for animals.

9 July 2013

Are Sow Stalls Here to Stay?

Alas! The Tasmanian Government has gone back on its Sow stall ban.

Instead Bryan Green, Tasmania’s minister for Primary industries, intends to allow sow’s to stay confined in stalls up to ten days after mating. Without banning them altogether the process is difficult to monitor how long individual pigs are kept enclosed.

Things were looking better in 2010, when Tasmania beat the rest of Australia in banning sow stalls. A little late in following the example, set by the United Kingdom a decade ago, but in good company with Sweden, Luxembourg, several American states and soon to be Denmark. See Vegan Tasmania’s coverage of the event here.

“Sow stalls” or gestations stalls are small enclosures where sows are kept during pregnancy, which lasts about 16 weeks. As the pregnancy continues the pig grows too big for the stall and has to sleep on it’s front, which is an unnatural position for a pig.

Some say the enclosures are necessary to separate sows and stop them from fighting, others say that the aggression can be limited with enough hay and nutritional food. Sows also suffer mental and physical illnesses such as joint damage, leg weakness and urinary tract infections when they are confined for nearly four months.

Unfortunately they are only allowed a little extra space once they have birthed their litter, so that they can lay down to allow their piglets access to their milk. “Farrowing cages” are another aspect of pig farming that needs to be revisited and only slightly more humane than sow stalls.

Written by Sarah Pritchard 

Please Welcome Sarah Pritchard to Vegan Tasmania, our first ever contributor! *Cheers*

Sarah Pritchard is a new Canberra writer. She has recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and she now writes for a few online magazines including her own blog called Girl House Problems. Sarah is always interested in improving living conditions for animals.

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