Category Archives: Animals

New whistleblower says Boris Johnson put animals before humans in Afghanistan evacuation

Josie Stewart – a senior official at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – has said it was “widespread knowledge” that the decision to help the Nowzad charity evacuate cats and dogs from Afghanistan “came from the prime minister”.

She said emails in her inbox referred to “the PM’s decision on Nowzad”.

This supports claims made in two Foreign Office emails that were released to the public in January.

As I wrote back then:

“One lobbies for the rescue of a second animal charity because Johnson had agreed to evacuate Nowzad: “The PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated.”

“The second, between FO officials, states: “In light of the PM’s decision earlier today [August 25, 2021] to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [other animal charity – name redacted] is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals.”

“The issue is controversial because human beings were left behind. Some have since travelled out of Afghanistan and tried to gain entry into the country.

“Damningly for the UK’s Tory government, some have died in the attempt.”

Ms Stewart accused Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s permanent undersecretary, and Nigel Casey, the PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, of having “intentionally lied” to MPs on the foreign affairs select committee.

Appearing before the committee on January 25, Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published the next day, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

Sir Philip had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he insisted that he had no memory of the emails, and nor did Casey.

Johnson has denied direct involvement in the evacuation of animals.

But the email evidence suggests that, indeed, he ordered it – and then lied to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

Ms Stewart also dismissed government claims that civil servants often portrayed decisions as coming from the PM if they did not, saying, “Governance would fall apart entirely if this were the case.”

She said: “I feel a strong sense of moral injury for having been part of something so badly managed and so focused on managing reputational risk and political fallout rather than the actual crisis and associated human tragedy.”

Ms Stewart said the messages about the animal evacuation decision were coming from the PM on Microsoft Teams, and “heard it discussed in the crisis centre including by senior civil servants”.

She also said she was copied on numerous emails “which clearly suggested this” which no-one, including Mr Casey, challenged.

Ms Stewart said she did not believe there was any deliberate decision “to prioritise animals over people” but that “the decision to approve Nowzad’s Afghan staff under LOTR (leave outside the rules) was not in line with policy”.

The whistleblower said “there was no reason to believe these people should be prioritised under the agreed criteria”.

The Foreign Office has claimed that “at all times officials have responded to the committee’s questions in good faith, on the basis of the evidence available to us at the time”, which is not quite a rejection of the evidence.

There is plenty of evidence to question that protestation of good faith.

Source: Boris Johnson ordered evacuation of animals from Afghanistan, says new whistleblower | The Independent

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#ForeignOffice admits it was wrong to deny #BorisJohnson authorised Afghan animal evacuation

The Foreign Office has admitted misleading MPs over whether Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of Pen Farthings dog rescue charity Nowzad from Afghanistan last year.

But you won’t realise that from looking at the BBC report!

Foreign Office boss admits error over Afghan animal evacuation reads as though Johnson had nothing to do with it.

And you have to read a long way into the story to discover that Sir Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, was saying that he had not seen emails sent within his department, indicating that Boris Johnson did indeed authorise the evacuation.

If he did, then he lied about it to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

People the UK abandoned in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over have since tried to reach this country via the refugee route – crossing the Channel – and this has led to at least one death.

Appearing before the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Nigel Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published on Wednesday, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

And BBC Newsnight’s Sima Kotecha has seen two emails with the subject heading “Pen Farthing and dogs”, showing the Foreign Office and Mr Casey sought guidance from No 10 over the issue.

So now Sir Philip has had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he stuck to the part of the story covering his involvement:

“As Nigel said to the committee on [Tuesday] he has no recollection of having seen emails in which staff attributed this decision to the prime minister. Nor do I.”

Downing Street is saying that the decision may have been interpreted as coming from Johnson when that was not the case – but it has provided no evidence to support this claim.

So Labour’s Chris Bryant, a member of the committee, is well within his rights to say (as he did on BBC Breakfast News): “All I want to know is who made the decision?”

We all want to know that, Chris. At the moment it seems clear that Johnson has lied again and our civil servants are disgracing themselves in their haste to cover up for him.

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Hunt staff appear to MURDER dog that just wanted to play

Shot dead: Scamp’s reward for being a playful puppy who acted according to her nature.

There’s a big push to end the ban on hunting with dogs at the moment, because we have a Conservative government with a huge majority and Tories love cruelty to animal.

Today we found that this cruelty extends even to the dogs, with the filmed murder of a young hound – apparently for being too much trouble for her handlers.

It seems they got tired of having to chase her back in, after being allowed out into the exercise field with the rest of her pack.

So they shot her in the head.

The revelation comes after secret filming showed hounds at the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt in Gloucestershire being shot dead at kennels (be warned: if you visit the site you will see footage of this happening).

It seems hounds can be killed, legally, if they are too old to hunt, or are ill or injured. The Hunt told ITV that hounds are humanely euthanised if they cannot be rehomed – and most can’t because they are not house-trained and are used to a pack environment.

But the footage appears to show one hound being shot simply for being playful and enjoying life.

Here’s the story:

The RSPCA has responded to the footage (after being challenged on it, on Twitter) – but only to say that it has handed Hunt-related prosecutions to the police and would appreciate an investigation:

There was no indication that the RSPCA had bothered to bring the incident to the attention of the police – an act that would have had greater weight than if any ordinary member of the public did so. Asked if it would take such action…

… There was no reply.

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Coca-Cola fox cull halted after campaigners raised the alarm

This article was going to be a call to arms – but now it seems the pressure is off after Coca-Cola announced it has put plans to shoot foxes at its Sidcup factory “on hold”.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the multinational drinks firm won’t kill large numbers of the animal by other means, but at least it signifies that bosses are willing to discuss what can be done.

Residents launched a passionate “Stop the Cull” campaign after they discovered a plan for the mass killing of foxes – to take place today, February 11 – on the Cray Road, Sidcup site.

They pointed out that at this time of year it would mean the targeting of pregnant vixens.

This Writer is not particularly fond of foxes as, in large numbers, they can become pests.

But I have always opposed fox hunting (and any blood sport) and killing animals because they interfere with industry is unacceptable because it ultimately leads to the mass extinctions we are causing across the world.

Coca-Cola has released a statement, quoted in some news outlets as follows:

“Unfortunately foxes can, on occasion, cause damage and we have found the need to keep their numbers under control at our Sidcup site.

“We have taken on board people’s feedback and understand their concerns.

“We have put these control measures on hold at our Sidcup site and we are now reviewing what other options are available.”

Campaigners favour a humane, non-lethal fox management service called Fox-a-gon and it is to be hoped that the firm will take that into account.

Source: Fox culling at Coca Cola’s Sidcup site criticised | News Shopper

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Goats in Llandudno herald takeover of the streets in coronavirus lockdown

Goat: These animals have been known to enter Llandudno before, but never walked so far into the town.

The coronavirus lockdown has emptied town streets across the UK – so animals are taking them over.

Usually a herd of 122 Kashmiri goats are only known to venture into Llandudno during bad weather.

But – see for yourself:

The phenomenon is not restricted to north Wales, either:

Although I think perhaps some people have let their imaginations go a little too far…

Who knows? The longer the lockdown, the more likely we could all end up living our own version of The Jungle Book.

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Badger cull is expanded to ‘unimaginable scale’. Why do Tories hate them so much?

What is the Conservative fascination with killing badgers?

Was a Tory agriculture minister once baited by one?

Or is the badger cull the Tory response to the hunting ban?

It seems they are determined to get their kicks from killing animals somehow.

The badger cull certainly has no justification in terms of beating TB in cattle.

So, why are the Tories determined to expand it, if not for cruelty?

The controversial badger cull in England has been expanded to an “unimaginable scale”, according to a leading expert who warned the government is paying far too little attention to the transmission of tuberculosis between cattle when they are traded.

Ministers approved culling in 11 new areas on Wednesday, taking the total to 43. Up to 64,000 animals are likely to be killed this autumn, up from a maximum of 42,000 last year.

TB infections in cattle blight farms and cost taxpayers more than £100m a year in compensation payments. But scientists and conservationists oppose the cull, saying there is little evidence it is effective and is being badly run.

Source: Badger cull in England extended to ‘unimaginable scale’ | Environment | The Guardian

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Labour urges Boris Johnson not to sign trade deal that would aid Amazon destruction

Bolsonaro’s legacy: The fires set in the Amazon rainforest, apparently on the order of the Brazilian president – and the cost to animal life. Boris Johnson seems keen to contribute to this slaughter.

Look at the images above and bear in mind that Boris Johnson may try to sign a trade deal with Brazil that would accelerate the deaths of these animal breeds and the destruction of the so-called “lungs of the world”.

In world trade terms, after Brexit, he’ll be a beggar and not a chooser, meaning if Jair Bolsonaro – the Brazilian president most people consider responsible for the fires destroying the rainforest and its animal habitats as I type this – tells him to sign a deal that increases the harm, he’ll do it.

Labour has appealed to Mr Johnson to show sense, pointing out that “We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.”

But when has BoJob ever shown any sense at all?

Consider this, from the Independent‘s report:

Mr Johnson has refused to join French president Emmanuel Macron and Irish premier Leo Varadkar in threatening to block a South American trade deal if Mr Bolsonaro fails to live up to his commitments to protect the environment.

Stressing his unwillingness to disrupt trade at a time when fears of a global showdown are rising, the PM said that some leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz were using the catastrophic wildfires in the Amazon as an “excuse” to interfere with free trade.

He hasn’t got a clue.

And if he has his way, we’ll all end up breathing ashes instead of oxygen. Who will he blame then?

Source: Labour demands Johnson refuse to sign post-Brexit Brazil trade deal that aids Amazon destruction | The Independent

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The United Nations is investigating the UK’s treatment of the disabled again. Don’t expect anything useful

We’ve been here before.

The UN will release a damning report stating that the UK’s Conservative government tortures disabled people, and the UK’s Conservative government will ignore it.

In his opening statement to the UN’s Committee Against Torture, the head of the UK government delegation, Paul Candler, said the UK government “consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and raises concerns about it “wherever and whenever it occurs”.

He said: “The UK has a longstanding tradition of ensuring rights and liberties are protected domestically, and of fulfilling our international human rights obligations, including through dialogues such as this one.”

There’s just one problem: The UK’s Tory government does not consider that disabled people have any human rights.

Tories don’t think disabled people are human.

If you are disabled, they consider you to be stock.

A UN body has been questioning the UK government this week on the “grim and unacceptable truth” that disabled people and other groups are still being subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment – and even torture – in taxpayer-funded services.

The UK and devolved governments have been scrutinised for two days by the UN’s committee against torture (UNCAT) over their record on torture and ill-treatment in the UK and abroad.

In a short oral submission – she and others were given just one minute 10 seconds each to deliver their presentations – NSUN’s Dorothy Gould told the committee in Geneva on Monday: “Following visits from the UNCRPD in 2015 and 2017 and last year’s visit from the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, there cannot be any doubt that levels of destitution in the UK amount to inhumane treatment and that people with mental health diagnoses have been disproportionately affected.”

She added: “Discrimination and hate crime against us are also prevalent, intersectional crime still more so.

“It is hard, too, to see current mental health legislation in the UK as anything other than inhumane.

“Under this legislation, the use of detention in psychiatric institutions and forced treatment is misinterpreted as care.

“These measures are employed at the very times when we are most vulnerable and despite serious challenges to the scientific basis for psychiatric diagnoses and medication.

“We are also detained on the basis of potential risks to others, although no-one else is detained on this basis.”

Source: UN’s torture committee probes UK on ‘grim and unacceptable truths’

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The animals that died out – or were about to – in 2018

Feline farewell: The Eastern Cougar is no more – and US corporate interests have been blamed for stealing its habitat.

Anyone who thinks this isn’t political has a lot to learn.

The activities of human beings have caused almost all recent animal extinctions, according to the website IFLScience, and although none of the following are based in the UK, British people should know that global developments like these deprive us all.

According to the website, the list begins with a movie star: the Spix’s Macaw. The star of Rio’s brilliant blue plumage has now been seen in the wild for the last time – around 100 of the birds still exist, and all are in captivity.

“Flying with the Macaws into extinction were the less well-known Alagoas foliage-gleaner, cryptic treehunter, and poo-uli. A recent study by biologists at BirdLife International put the probability of these species’ survival at just 0.1 – low enough to nudge them from “critically endangered” to “extinct” on the IUCN Red List.”

And” the eastern cougar was officially declared extinct – likely 80 years after the last one was killed in Maine. Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left in the world, died, reducing the global population of the species to just two females. And for many other animals, like the 12 tiny vaquita porpoises left in existence, it’s just a matter of time.”

Your politicians may not care – or may want you to think there’s nothing they can do. That isn’t true.

But they won’t do anything if people like you don’t ask them. And you can’t do anything if you don’t know. So now you know.

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Tories on self-destruct: MP openly advocates cruelty to animals

Philip Davies: His vile opinions have made him a favourite focus of the “Unseat” campaign.

The Conservative Party is falling apart before our eyes, now.

Tories who should know better are openly admitting opinions that voters will abhore.

Take, for example, Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, and his contribution to the debate on whether race horses should be protected from the whip.

The video also includes Labour MP Chris Williamson’s response:

Mr Williamson’s suggestion has prompted a chorus of approval from the massed minds of the social media.

Here’s my favourite response:

https://twitter.com/GeneRuane/status/1052215682631434242

If you think Philip Davies doesn’t deserve a hard horse-whipping, just type his name into the search box on this page and read a few of the other articles about him that have appeared on This Site.

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