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Indian Vegetarian Activists
IVU News - Issue 1-96
In the UK the Young Indian Vegetarians, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-creed organisation - with absolutely no age bar - under their indefatigable president Nitin Mehta added to their reputation for being in the vanguard of the animal movement by founding the National Alliance For Animals, an umbrella organisation supported by many groups ranging from Animal Aid to Viva! with the aim of ensuring that animal issues figure prominently on the agenda for the forthcoming general election.
The following detailed questionnaire has already been sent to sitting Members of Parliament and to electoral candidates for all three main parties in every constituency and a considerable number of replies - ranging from highly sympathetic to downright hostile - have been received. Closer to the election date, every candidate (about 2,000 in all) will be approached again, both in writing and by local supporters, and their attitude to these issues publicised in the area where they are seeking votes.
The questionnaire is reprinted in full overleaf as an example which could be followed in other countries during election campaigns, whether local or national, with suitable amendments to reflect local problems such as bullfighting in Spain, bear farming in Asia, and so on.
Questionnaire for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates
Dear Prospective Parliamentary Candidate,
The time has come for the human race to re-evaluate its relationship with the animal kingdom with whom it shares the planet. The merciless exploitation of the animals is leaving a blot on human civilisation and, as we prepare to enter the 21st century, we need to accord to the animal kingdom some fundamental rights. We believe that the United Kingdom and its people can lead the world in this field and therefore ask you, the future members of parliament, to respond positively to the questionnaire in this booklet. We shall be making known to the people in your constituencies your responses to the same. Generations will come to look upon our achievements with great pride, if we succeed in extending the hand of compassion to the animal kingdom. We look forward to receiving your early response.
"The moral progress of a nation should be judged by the way it treats its animals" - Gandhi
Questionnaire on Animal Welfare
Please answer all questions by ticking the appropriate box
1. Should there be an immediate ban on the export and import of all live food animals?
2. Do you agree that battery and broiler units for poultry should be phased out as soon as possible, and until this takes place eggs and poultry products should be clearly labelled "from intensively reared animals"?
3. With the increased interest in the farming of animals such us ostrich, rheas, crocodiles, kangaroos and even horses, do you agree that legislation should be brought in now to ban the farming and slaughter of exotic species?
4. Do you agree that there should be an immediate ban on all forms of mutilation of animals such as de-beaking, tail docking or unanaesthetised castration, etc.?
5. Should the degrading practice of artificial insemination be banned also?
6. Do you agree that farm animals should be granted a new status under the Treaty of Rome as sentient beings (not, as at present, as products or goods)?
7. If exports and imports were banned, should we still implement a maximun 8 hour journey time for animals travelling in this country?
8. Should livestock markets be legally obliged to give animals direct access to water, and provide food, bedding and veterinary attention?
9. In the light of the dangerous Mad Cow Disease, should the highly unethical and unnatural system of feeding herbivorous animals with meat be stopped immediately?
10. Should the relentless pressure on cows to produce more milk and the cruel practice of separating baby calves from their mothers be stopped?
11. Should farm animals be allowed free movement so that they are not denied the pursuit of their natural desires, such as foraging, tending their young, etc. While at the same time animals should not be exposed to unnatural practices such as forced overfeeding or the administration of growth hormones?
1. Should all hunting with hounds be banned?
2. Should there be a ban on breeding birds for sport when not only are they killed in vast numbers, but other creatures are killed and maimed by gamekeepers in order to "protect" their breeding birds?
3. It is argued that some animals and birds need to be culled for their own welfare. Do you agree that an independent local Wildlife Management Service should be formed to decide if it is necessary (every possible alternative should be exhausted before coming to this decision), and if it is, how should it be done humanely?
4. Snares and traps are indiscriminate and are often not checked as fequently as they should be, leading to the suffering and death of many animals. Do you therefore agree that they should be banned?
5. Should the Government introduce legislation to ban the import of all raw or unprocessed fur, pelt and feather products of trapping, rearing or other cruel methods from wheresoever?
1. As there is overwhelming medical and scientific evidence to prove that the results of vivisection can frequently be extremely detrimental to human health, should we not abolish all animal experiments in favour of diverting resources into implementing health care policies and medical research genuinely applicable to man?
2. Should all testing of animals for non-medical substances (cosmetics, warfare, commercial) be banned?
3. Should we introduce an immediate ban on any form of vivisection?
4. Should there be a Freedom of Information Bill introduced to stop so much secrecy surrounding animal experimentation, with increased welfare legislation and independent inspections of all stablishments involved in animal-based research?
5. In view of the fact that so many experiments are constantly repeated, should we not commit ourselves to pooling information which can then be accessed, thus preventing any need for such repetition?
6. Should a moratorium on the genetic engineering of animals be imposed?
7. Should genetically altered food =97e.g. putting fish genes in tomatoes, pig genes in potatoes, or whatever be banned as ethically unacceptable (because undetectable, thus precluding free choice) and ecologically hazardous?
1. Should there be an immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses?
2. Should there be improved legislation governing the licensing of zoos?
3. Should there be a total ban on the import or sale of any product derived from sea animals such as dolphins, whales, seals, etc.?
4. Should there be a ban on causing the death of animals through gross violence such as boiling them alive, as in the case of lobsters?
5. Should there be a ban on the cruel practice of live baiting whereby small fish are used as bait to catch larger fish, and on any similar practices in hunting or so called "sport"?
For those questions you agree with, would you work in Parliament to bring about the required changes?
Time for Vegetarians to go Vegan
[From an article in "Ahimsa", the journal of the Young Indian Vegetarians.]
Difficult as it might be for Indians to give up milk, the facts are that milk production involves immense cruelty to cows. Cows are artificially impregnated and the baby calves are separated immediately from their mothers. This separation causes intense suffering to the cows. The male calves then suffer the cruelties of transportation and incarceration in veal crates. When the cows stop giving milk, they are slaughtered for meat. The same situation exists in India, too, where the male calves die from starvation and neglect. I will myself reduce milk products wherever possible. Certainly I will never drink a glass of milk again! How about you? Please let me know.
The Young Indian Vegetarians, 226 London Road, West Croydon, UK.
Fax (44) 181 681 7143