Campaign "An Animal Is Not a Thing""Zwierze nie jest rzecza" ("An animal is not a thing")
Research laboratories, stockbreeding farms, slaughter-houses, hunting grounds, circuses and zoological gardens are all places which, in our culture, we have determined as appropriate for animals.
In our circus campaign the target is to introduce a ban on taming of wild animals for entertainment.
On this day the largest action for the recognition of and protection of animal rights that has ever been organised in our country took place.
We are conducting action on the transport of live animals for meat, mainly the transport of horses. We want to protect many thousands of animals from suffering during transport through the ban on the transport of live horses for meat.
Horses are bred mostly in the eastern, agricultural regions of Poland where people are poor. In Poland in 1999 there were 36 companies which exported live horses.
Long term aims of the campaign:
Short term aims:
To find materials and documents, which present the problems in Poland relating to the export of live horses for meat. This information will then be incorporated into our materials.
To inform public opinion about this problem through our actions, meetings, literature and co-operation with the media.
To build a network of organisations, experts, horse clubs and especially people who care about horses and to use this network to help the campaign.
To obtain 500,000 signatures to the petition to stop the transport of live horses exported from Poland for meat.
To support and promote people and institutions who buy horses from the meat trade in order to save them.
Klub Gaja Report – I -VI 2008
Project "We Help the Animals"
Klub Gaja organizes many campaigns and programs to protect animal rights and to respect animal wellbeing.
In 2008 all operations of Klub Gaja in the area of protection of animal rights, were carried out as a part of "We Help the Animals-environmental education project", which is partially financed by the European Union funds under the Temporary Resources PL2005/017-488.01.01.01, the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Katowice, Eurogroup for Animals and private resources.
So far we accomplished the following:
We published the following materials:
- educational exhibition "We Help the Animals"- 4 posters, edition of 4500 pieces - 18000 pieces
- brochure "We Help the Animals" - printed 4500 pieces
- poster - May 22nd - the Animal Rights Day - edition of 4500 pieces
- educational film "We Help the Animals" - 4500 pieces
These materials were sent to 4000 schools and educational centers.
Within the framework of the project we plan to publish 4500 pieces of the Report about "We Help the Animals", and send it to 4000 schools and educational centers.
School Lectures "We Help the Animals"
Until the end of June 2008 we gave 19 lectures/presentations under "We Help the Animals" project in the following cities: Kołobrzeg, Robuń, Łaziska Górne, Bielsko-Biała, Dobrodzień, Poznań, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Libiąż, Kościan, Wrocław, Warszawa, Lublin. In total, in 19 lectures/presentations, 504 students participated.
In September and October 2008 we are planning to organize 6 more lectures/presentations.
FAQ - guide "We Help the Animals"
In March 2008 we launched on our website www.klubgaja.pl/projekty/pomagamy_zwierzetom/ a FAQ guide "We Help the Animals" - 25 the most frequently asked questions and answers about protection of animal rights.
For the whole duration of the project we were engaged in the civil counselling about protection of animal rights. In total, from the beginning of the year until July we gave 120 counsels and responses to the interventions.
The conference promoting the project.
In March 2008, Klub Gaja, with cooperation from the Regional Environmental Education Center at the county council in Limanowa, organized the conference for teachers during which we introduced the program of active environmental education within the framework of "We Help the Animals" project.
At the conference the following issues were presented:
- Jacek Bożek - president of Klub Gaja introduced the general outline of the project;
- Paweł Grzybowski - environmental education officer of Klub Gaja presented "Potential for educational materials and information about civil counselling in "We Help the Animals" project.
- Jagna Kudla - veterinarian and specialist therapist in behaviour of cats and dogs presented "Why is it worth it to respect animals?"
- Jarosław Kasprzyk - environmental education officer of Klub Gaja presented "The Forms of Education in Practice".
Educational and artistic workshops of "We Help the Animals" project.
Klub Gaja organized 2 educational and artistic workshops for students of the Middle School No.3 and the Karol Wojtyła Integration Groups in Mysłowice. The team of 19 pupils worked to organize the happening, which was presented at the Animal Rights Day in Silesian Library in Katowice.
On May 20th 2008 Klub Gaja organized the Animal Rights Day in Silesian Library in Katowice.
The celebration of the Animal Rights Day began with the press conference with the following participants:
Iwona Kuklik from the Marine Station of the University of Gdańsk in Hel,
Jacek Bożek - president of Klub Gaja, Magdalena Sadek and Basia Milewska both 3rd grade students from the Middle School No. 3 in Mysłowice.
The press conference was followed by the happening "The Animal is Not a Thing" - organized by Klub Gaja and the students of the Middle School No. 3 in Mysłowice.
Meanwhile, in front of the Silesian Library artist Waldemar Rudyk, with other students, created wolf sculptures.
Later that day, the educational exhibition "We Help the Animals" and photographic exhibition "Do not be afraid of a Wolf..." by artist Artur Tabor, were opened in the main hall of the Silesian Library.
Klub Gaja awarded The Co-feeling Awards 2008 for the exceptional involvment and interest in the protection of animal rights in the following categories: education, media and business.The ceremony took place in the auditorium Parnassos of the Silesian Library.
The laureates included:
- Ewa Podolska - Radio TOK FM - for her series of talks about animals and for animals;
- Joanna Podgórska - Weekly "Polityka" - for the compassion and sensitivity in describing the animals in contemporary world;
- Primary School in Skulsk - for the activities involving protection of amphibians;
- Group of Schools no.2 in Czeladź -for raising awareness about protection of animal rights;
- Tomasz Pietrzykowski - for a book "Dispute Over Animal Rights";
- the Marine Station of the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Gdańsk in Hel - for protection of biodiversity of the Baltic Sea;
- TNT Express Worldwide Poland sp.z o.o - for collecting 49 tons of recycled paper in our action "Collect and recycle waste paper - save the horses".
After awards ceremony, there was a time for our interesting discussion panel "An Animal, A Person and Globalization" and participants included:
Katarzyna Bielas z OTOZ Animals,
Ewa Siedlecka – Wyborcza Newspaper (Gazeta Wyborcza),
dr hab Piotr Skubała – Ecology Department of the Silesian University (Katedra Ekologii Uniwersytetu Śląskiego)
prof. dr hab. Marek Houszka – Environmental Studies University in Wrocław (Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu),
Daniel Wierzbinka – Regional Council Veterinarian (Powiatowy Lekarz Weterynarii), Iwona Kuklik from the Marine Station of the University of Gdańsk in Hel,
dr Tomasz Pietrzykowski – author of "Dispute over Animal Rights".
Panel coordinator - Jacek Bożek, Klub Gaja.
The opening of our movie "We Help the Animals" concluded the day in the auditorium Parnassos of the Silesian Library.
In the Animal Rights Day the attendance rose to 93 participants. The interviews were given to the following media representatives: Daily Newspaper "Dziennik Zachodni", Polish Radio Katowice, Radio TOK FM, Satelite TV Telpol, Silesia RV, Daily Newspaper "Gazeta Wyborcza", Radio dla Ciebie, and Polish Public Radio Channel 1.
Participation in the project "We Help the Animals-environmental education project", on the registration forms confirmed 218 schools.
In total, the program included 20515 participants.
193 schools organized the Animal Rights Day.
185 schools organized clasess developing wild animals topic.
188 schools organized lessons about farm animals.
172 schools organized lessons about pet animals.
176 schools organized lessons about animal rights and animal welfare.
In those schools the Animal Rights Day brought representatives from following bodies: local councils, regional departments of the Ministry of Protection of the Environment, Polish Forestry, Polish Hunting Club, Zoo, animal training schools, regional non-governmental organizations, Environmental Education Centers, National Health and Safety Organization (SANEPID), Waste Managament and Recycle Companies, Animal Shelters, student governments, as well as Veterinarians, University administratives and faculty and parents.
"Adopt the River-our Rivers flow into the Balitc Sea" project
is focused on the importance of fish industry, especially concerning cod and salmon in the Baltic Sea.
Within the framework "Adopt the River-our Rivers flow into the Baltic Sea" project, we organized 6 lectures in Bełchatów, Racibórz, Wilkowice, Robuń and Wrocław.
We prepared educational materials and books. Also, we gave number of radio and TV interviews and we put ads in the newspapers and on the Internet.
One of our promotional activities included the preparation of the happening called "The Story of a Golden Fish", about the protection of biodiversity of the Baltic Sea, well balanced fish industry and protection of cod and salmon. The happening took place in those cities and on the following dates:
Project Cross-border cooperation of animal welfare NGOs in Visegrad
Help stop the Canadian seal cull
In 2003 Canada set a quota for the cull of a million seals over a period of three years. This year 320,000 seals are to be killed for their fur, the biggest cull of wild mammals in the world.
The Canadian seal hunt has begun again this year. By the end of the season 320,000 seal pups are to be clubbed or shot to death, the largest hunt of marine mammals in the world.
The Canadian government claims that following independent investigations, the hunt is carried out humanely and is well monitored, however humane the clubbing to death of thousands of defenseless seal pups ever can be. Reports and videos of Animal Rights groups such as IFAW http://www.ifaw.org, monitoring the area daily, show otherwise. This is some information about the seal hunt, based on IFAW 2005 report:
The seals are aged from 2 weeks to 3 months old, they are weaned and left on the ice by their mothers at this age, but they have no way to defend themselves or run away from the hunters which chase the terrified pups over the ice before killing them.
The aim is to kill as many seals in as short a time as possible, therefore many hunters do not use the blinking response test as they should to test if a seal has been killed.
As a result many seals are left to die a slow painful death, a large proportion may even be skinned alive. An independent inquiry in 2001 showed that this may be the case with as many as 40% of seals.
A sustainable industry?
The Canadian government claims that the seal population is very large and the quota set for the hunt is in accordance with the size of the population. A report in the respected journal Marine Mammal Science estimated that up to a half-million seals (twice the legal limit) may
have been killed in each of three recent years because many seals escape and die elsewhere, and are therefore not included in the government statistics.
Hunted for their fur
According to the Canadian government, the hunt is carried out for economic profit, however they do not admit that most of the profit is from the seal pelt- a luxury product with a large market in Europe. The remaining parts of the seal are often left on the ice. This means that a million animals are killed over three years only for their fur! The question is: can we as human beings able to make moral choices allow such pointless cruelty to be carried out, in the name of profit?
Please, write to the Canadian Embassy and tell them you disagree with the seal hunt. Canada prides itself as a developed nation with high animal welfare and environmental protection standards, and the government does not want this opinion of Canada to change. Your letters will have an effect.
Below you will find email addresses and an example of a letter you could write:
I strongly disagree with the Canadian government’s decision to renew the culling of seals. I do not agree with the government’s arguments that the seal cull is necessary. Young seals are killed with clubs, pulled along the ice using hooks, and in many cases skinned alive. Killing is not painless, therefore it can never be humane.
I cannot accept that such cruelty is carried out for economic profit, therefore I protest against the seal cull.
Canada is considered a highly developed nation, yet it still kills animals in this barbaric fashion in order to sell their fur. This is yet another example of the unnecessary suffering we subject animals too.
Success and failure in animal welfare campaigning
It is exactly 20 years now since I founded Klub Gaja, a Polish independent organization dealing with animal rights and environmental protection. Back then I had no idea whether the so-called real socialism would ever collapse, allowing us citizens of Central and Eastern Europe a chance to live in free, democratic countries. What I wanted to do was to make a difference in the world and I was willing to put at risk all of my life as it was at that time, without knowing where that choice would take me. Looking back now, I can say I am one of those who have succeeded. I have built an important organization in my own country which also works successfully in the international arena. How was it possible? Did people and organizations within the former Soviet bloc share similar experience? At the end of the 1980's and in early '90's, many things seemed simpler than they really were. As citizens of these countries, our ideas of the free world were yet to be confronted with the economic transformations, unemployment, political ploys and clashes, as well as ruthless competition. We were very slow to realize that the revolution which brought us freedom was not completed yet but still going on, on the cultural, educational, world-view and even consumer-attitude levels. As it turned out, in our newly recovered space, a lot had yet to change and we had to face circumstances that were entirely new as we continued to work for the future. On the other hand, NGO's arising in the early nineties and their leaders did not yet know how to work professionally or what it takes. To say nothing about money, which was extremely hard to raise for independent activities e.g. in the animal welfare field.
So what is our situation at present?
Resources we have or have not access to are of tremendous importance. Thus, when it comes to the campaigners, the questions are: do they speak languages, do they know how to talk with the media, how to raise funds and how to work with other people? Do they have their own financial resorces to dispose or are they entirely dependent on project monies which have to be spent on particular programs? Last but not least, do they have enough knowledge to achieve it, to make positive changes where possible and to grow? It must be stated clearly that there is hardly an organization in Central and Eastern Europe that can afford one employee to solely deal with the media, another as a fundraiser, yet another as a campaign officer etc. Typically, everybody does everything, which entails some advantages but also numerous weaknesses. Research on the non-governmental suggests that many of the organizations are no longer making progress, and a great many have disappeared altogether as they failed to keep their employees or to act in professional ways. It is also significant that local and national governments do not understand animal protection issues.
To summarize, I believe a great deal of work has been done. We have built the essential bases for several significant organizations in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and the Baltic nations. However, due to sociopolitical circumstances, they often lack stability in financial, human-resource and strategic aspects, which may affect their future activities. One opportunity for us is to work together on the European level or among the Visegrad countries. To establish coalitions and to create partnership between strong Western organizations and ourselves. To enter a closer cooperation with environmental NGOs that count with a lot of resources, knowledge and public support.
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