Transporting of livestock.

Most people interested in animal welfare would agree that transporting livestock destined for slaughter across a country, an ocean or a continent is a practice that should be discontinued.

Though the status of  animal transport in each region presents a somewhat different context, the basic  problems of overcrowding, rough handling and ill effects from long rides without rest are essentially the same in all parts of the world. Long distance livestock transport in itself is economically inefficient, but persists largely because of inefficient investment in developing the alternatives.

Donald Broom of the Cambridge University Animal Welfare Information Centre points out that long transport varies by species.  Journeys for birds must be considerably shorter because poultry held in crates cannot be effectively fed and watered during transport. For four legged animals standing on a road vehicle subject to movement, they position their feet outside the normal area under the body in order to help them in balancing. They also need to take steps out of this normal area if subjected to accelerations in a particular direction. Hence more space is needed than if standing still. But livestock are seldom allowed much space in transport.  Instead haulers typically try to pack as many animals into a vehicle as can be shoved aboard. The animals are kept upright by the pressure of the bodies of the other animals around them.

In Malaysia livestock transport by road is the usual practice  with livestock exposed  to heat and sun and the amount of time spent without food, water and inadequate  ventilation. Trips maybe longer if truck stops at more markets along the way, or has a breakdown, or is stopped at borders for permits and inspection.

The plastic crate for holding the birds can contain about 10 – 12 chickens. Measuring 915mm in length by 510mm in width and by  305mm in height,  these are deemed by farm exporters to be conducive for easy loading and unloading for work efficiency.  They are stacked high on top of each crate in a transport truck or lorry.  Many of the birds are seen panting due to heat stress and many arrived at markets with wet feathers as they are watered down to prevent deaths during the long journey. On arrival they are kept in their crates until the following day for slaughter.

The treatment of animals at livestock markets  revealed  that animals are routinely abused through negligence on the part of the transport worker.  In one incident at the Kuantan Road market, Penang, Friends of the Earth Malaysia (FOEM)/Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)’s officer witnessed a scene in which a lorry attendant was seen pulling a crateful of chickens out from inside the lorry.  He pulled it over  the edge of the lorry then let the crate drop from the height of the lorry floor onto the ground (height of about 3 feet) giving the chickens a terrible  jolt.

Livestock also suffer traffic accidents during transport whereby thousands of crates filled with chickens are strewn on the road.    Despite the “relatively” low mortality rate, animals suffer high-risk situations that cause pain and stress. According to The  Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, accidents pose a greater risk to animal welfare. “Animals have not evolved to be programmed to cope with a road accident, meaning they suffer stress, anxiety, fear, pain and uncertainty, which can endanger other animals and people”, explains Miranda de la Lama,  a  researcher at the Department of Animal Production and Food Science at the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR).

Pigs and cattle are one of the most-transported animals due to the heavy consumption demand for pork and beef products across the country, and this means they are the most exposed to traffic accidents.

Live animal export is a story of corporate profiteering, politics, deceptive information and profound cruelty. It is also a story of division within society where the opponents of the trade are unyielding in their fight to end the prolonged horror meted out to the animals selected for export. Generally the government’s  interest in economics far overshadows any compassion for the entities being exploited. The truth is that there is a very dark side to this trade and there is no way that live animal export can be ethical. There is no ambiguity of the inherent.  One would expect livestock  to have some level of ‘protection’ commensurate with their value; sadly, however, this is not the case.

In short the export of live animals causes unnecessary suffering, and unnecessary suffering is bad, whatever the context. That really is all there is to it.

In view of the above SAM is joining the Compassion in World Farming in support of its International Awareness Day – September 13th 2017 – to Stop Live Transport  of Livestock.

Press Statement, 13 September 2017

CAP calls on Government not to join UPOV that does not safeguard rights of small farmers

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) strongly calls on the Malaysian Government not to join the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991 (UPOV 1991).

CAP has learnt that the Malaysian government has been under increasing pressure to agree to such a move, and we are most worried and fear that the government will give way and join UPOV, which will be against the interests of our small farmers, local researchers and the protection of our biodiversity.

The UPOV 1991 establishes an intellectual property system of “plant breeders’ rights” that favour developed countries’ corporate plant breeders and institutional researchers, at the expense of biodiversity, the rights and interests of small farmers and local researchers of developing countries such as Malaysia. 

For years, the Malaysian Government had correctly decided against joining UPOV 1991. This continues to be appropriate given our current stage of research and development in agriculture, where domestic public research institutions predominantly do formal plant breeding research.

Malaysia already has the Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004 (PNPV Act) which   fully meets our obligations under the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property agreement that requires protection of new plant varieties. There is no requirement for WTO members to join UPOV 1991. Joining UPOV 1991 would mean that the PNPV Act would have to be drastically changed in such a way as to strike at the heart of what makes the Malaysian law unique to meet the needs of our country.

The parts in the PNPV Act that would be deleted in order to join UPOV 1991 include provisions that can protect against biopiracy of Malaysia’s agricultural biodiversity; provisions that ensure coherence among national laws such as biosafety regulations; provision that recognizes government’s right to refuse the grant of breeder’s right in the interest public; a safeguard that allows small farmers to replant any commercial seed they have saved on their own farms without paying royalties; provisions allowing farmers to exchange and sell farm saved seed. themselves.

Studies have shown that UPOV 1991 adversely affect farmers who are dependent on farmer-managed seed systems (the informal seed sector) and their customary practices of freely saving, using, exchanging and selling farm-saved seeds. These fundamental Farmers’ Rights are recognized in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Malaysian government has the responsibility to implement them. .

In the case of Malaysia, the native communities of Sabah and Sarawak, among whom are many small farmers who have important local seed varieties, will be displaced and threatened. 

There are reports from the United Nations and agriculture experts showing that farmer-managed seed systems allow farmers to limit the cost of production by preserving independence from the commercial seed sector while the free exchange of seeds contributes to the development of crop diversity and locally appropriate seeds that are more resilient to climate change, pests and diseases. Such systems have therefore contributed greatly to conserving, improving and making available agricultural biodiversity, which is the basis of food security. UPOV 1991 does not recognize farmer-managed seed systems and in fact, its implementation  adversely impacts them.

Moreover joining UPOV 1991, will undermine Malaysia’s effective implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity as Malaysia will not be able to implement safeguards such as disclosure of origin and evidence of compliance with access and benefit sharing rules that are necessary to combat biopiracy.

There are also potential adverse implications for Malaysia’s domestic public plant breeding research. The monopolistic breeders’ rights that UPOV 1991 create can put public researchers in Malaysia at a serious disadvantage compared to foreign plant breeders. At the same time, our local seeds and plants researched by foreigners would end up being claimed by them at the expense of the nation. 

We are unaware of any effort by the Government to consult our farmers on these important issues affecting their rights, livelihoods and food security,.

The Government is a party to the ITPGRFA and must live up to its international commitment to implement Farmers’ Rights including their right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to plant genetic resources. CAP therefore strongly calls on the Government to immediately halt all processes to join UPOV 1991.

This is in line with the recommendations of a number of independent expert studies that developing countries should not join UPOV 1991 as it offers a rigid legal framework unsuitable for the agricultural systems prevailing in developing countries.[1]

 


[1] For example, The UPOV Convention, Farmers’ Rights and Human Rights – An integrated assessment of potentially conflicting legal frameworks” published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development” (June 2015) available at https://www.giz.de/fachexpertise/downloads/giz2015-en-upov-convention.pdf ; UNDP (2008) “Towards a Balanced Sui Generis Plant Variety Regime”, available at http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty- reduction/toward-a-balanced-sui-generis-plant-variety-regime.html;

 

Media Statement, 20 February 2017

Eliminate Pests Using Biological Control Methods

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) recommends that the Agriculture Department and related agencies to intensify the use of biological methods for farmers to control the threat of pests in paddy cultivation.

 

Biological control is beneficial in the long run. In addition, farmers do not have to spend money to purchase pesticides and prevent exposure to health problems associated with pesticide use.

Commenting on an article published in a local newspaper (Berita Harian: July 18, 2016) about the brown planthopper attack in the paddy fields in Bagan Serai, Perak recently, CAP is concerned the use of excessive pesticides by farmers here to overcome the threat will have adverse effects on the environment and their health.

CAP learned that farmers who are facing the threat of pests such as brown planthopper, golden apple snails, rodents and caterpillars not only use pesticides recommended by the Department of Agriculture or the relevant agencies but are also using highly toxic pesticides that are banned in the country.

 

The effects of excessive use of pesticides that are highly toxic have been well documented and besides this it also causes pests to become resistant and difficult to eradicate in the future. At the same time these toxic ingredients also kill other beneficiary insects that are known as farmers’ friends such as frogs, dragonflies, grasshoppers, spiders and others that can help farmers to kill pests in the early stages of reproduction.

 

In our surveys, CAP found that although many types of pesticides have been introduced over the past 20 years to prevent pest attacks in rice growing areas in the country, the situation has yet to change and in fact has become more serious.

 

The affected farmers have suffered losses amounting to thousands of ringgit each planting season and if the situation persists, it can threaten our food supply and the future of our agriculture sector.

 

Thus CAP calls on the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Department of Agriculture and related agencies to conduct more awareness programmes for farmers to impart to them the adverse effects of pesticides and the advantages of biological methods to control pests that threaten rice crops.

Media Statement, 25 July 2016

Announcement

 

CAP is conducting a Training on Urban Garden without chemical at its premises 10, Jalan Masjid Negeri on 18 June 2016 from 9am-11.30am. Live demo on converting kitchen waste into fertilizers, making of growth promoters for plants, pot mixture and valuable gardening tips will be shared during training. Participation through registration only. SMS or whats app your registration to 012-5374899 / 017-4749504. Thank you.