ANIMALS ARE NOT COMMODITIES OR DISPOSABLE ENTERTAINMENT is the message from the National Council of SPCAs as more issues come to light that indicate a callous, uncaring and reckless attitude towards animals.
“Animals are sentiment creatures,” affirms Christine Kuch, spokesperson of the NSPCA. There is no question that they feel pain and can suffer, including fish. Yet we continue to come across matters that clearly indicate a total disrespect and disregard for living creatures.”
Rodeo is inherently cruel. The NSPCA considers it blatant animal exploitation and has been working tremendously hard to curb this activity within our own country. There have been fatalities, including the death of one rider. Yet starting on 31 December, Channel 172 on DSTV features “Rodeo : Life on the Circuit”. The enthusiastic review in DISH magazine states that, “In this brand-new series, follow 14 cowboys and cowgirls as they embark on a gruelling tour of over 60 rodeos in the hope of proving their prowess and winning the opportunity to attend the Canadian Finals Rodeo Discovery HD Showcase.”
Dog racing is illegal in South Africa. Yet the SABC 2 FOKUS programme featured footage of illegal racing. When producer Danie Hefers returned the calls to the NSPCA subsequent to the material being broadcast nationally, his response was defensive. He stated to Christine Kuch that FOKUS had been invited to have exclusive footage and exclusive use of that footage on how illegal dog racing events are organised. He added that it was not intended to be balanced and stressed that how FOKUS runs their programme is their right and that “nothing forces us as a broadcaster to include different groupings in one programme.”
We ask if such an attitude would have been demonstrated if footage of any other illegal activity had been given to them.
Whilst the giving of live animals as gifts is an ongoing problem area, it seems to be compounding as new ideas are promoted, to the detriment of living creatures. Live fish in glass bricks are not suitable gifts and severely compromise the welfare of the living creature inside. These “novelty” items are being promoted as corporate gifts or as wedding or party centre-pieces.
It is heartening that outraged members of the public are now coming forward to lodge complaints relating to these items. People who have contacted the NSPCA include individuals who have had Christmas gifts delivered to their door only to discover the “gift” is a live fish in a small container.
Given the size and the fact that the fish excrete in the glass containers, these fish are condemned to a life living in their own toilet.
The latest items drawn to our attention are so-called Magic Fish. The NSPCA has written to the company promoting and selling them, asking that they are withdrawn from sale. The Magic Fish are in fact a kit with a small glass bowl, shrimp eggs, sea salt and fish eggs in soil. When the shrimps hatch they are supposedly food for the emerging fish. Complaints received relate to the fact that fish die. The NSPCA believes that not only is the “habitat” inadequate, but there is a lack of information regarding welfare but the fact remains that the over-riding attitude is that living creatures are disposable novelties.
Welfare begins at home with everyone.
An appeal is made for attitudes of compassion and respect to prevail.
Please do not give living creatures of any kind as gifts. Please do not support any item or practice of concern that may compromise the welfare of any living creature.
Please make your views known to anyone who displays a callous, reckless or uncaring attitude towards animals of any kind.