As the year draws to a close we always take a step back to look at what we have achieved during the year with the help of thousands of dedicated supporters like you. We use this period of reflection to analyse our performance and make plans for another year of creating effective change for animals around the world.
The year started dramatically with our disaster relief team in the Philippines responding to the Christmas Typhoon, Washi, in the Philippines throughout the early days of the New Year. Dino Yebron, our veterinarian, and a small dedicated team worked tirelessly in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City to distribute dog food and rice to pet owners and ensure the safety of animals affected by this natural disaster.
In 2012, thanks to you, our fight to stop the dog meat trade in the Philippines has had notable successes. As our network of informants grows and convictions increase, we are stepping up the pressure on the Philippine police to join Network for Animals in an ever more aggressive pursuit of those involved in this cruel trade. In November a key dog meat trader, Mr Montano, was fined 125,000 Pesos (£2,000) and sentenced to one year in jail under the Rabies Act with another nine convicted and fined later in the month.
In December we commenced a renewed effort to crack down on illegal dog meat slaughterhouses. On December 5th a slaughterhouse raid in Malasiqui, Pangasinan Province, resulted in the arrest of seven dog meat traders and the seizure of dogs, ensuring a major dent in the traders’ profits. We hope this is the first of several pre-Christmas raids that will harm the industry during its busiest period.
Also in the Philippines, Dino Yebron, our veterinarian, was awarded a certificate of recognition from the Philippines University of Southern Mindanao for his vital work against the brutal blood sport of horse fighting. Dino provides free veterinary clinics in communities where horse fighting is prevalent as an incentive to stop horse fighting. He also provides advice on long term care for horses and works to instil a sense of compassion towards horses.
Closer to home, the recent news of the postponed badger cull is a monumental breakthrough. Our meetings with politicians, including Ed Miliband and many key Government figures, our involvement in ‘Team Badger’ (a coalition of animal welfare groups opposed to the cull) and especially your support, have had real impact. The collective voices of animal lovers and scientific evidence have finally made the Government back down and postpone the cull, but only until next spring.
As part of our campaign against the cull we supported both Somerset Badger Group and Cornwall Badger Rescue in their fledgling badger vaccination projects and produced a short campaign film explaining the process. We believe supporting projects such as these is crucial for demonstrating the viability and effectiveness of alternatives to culling badgers:
Through our campaign site, Shooting in the Dark, thousands of you wrote to Defra and to your MPs highlighting the problems with the Government’s proposals and many of you cared deeply enough to attend our Lobby of Parliament and discuss the matter with MPs in person. The political campaign culminated in a parliamentary debate in which MPs voting overwhelmingly against the cull. We must continue our campaigning to ensure the will of the people and the demonstrated will of Parliament is obeyed and this slaughter is never allowed to happen next year – or ever.
There were many more things we achieved in 2012 with your support and much more we want to do in 2013; ensuring the badger cull is cancelled for good, putting the final nails in the coffin of the Philippines dog meat trade, lobbying against a repeal of the Hunting Act, responding to natural disasters in the Philippines and launching a new campaign against cruelty. All of it is impossible without our dedicated supporters, so on the occasion of the New Year we want to say THANK YOU.