Each year thousands of outdoor farm animals suffer terribly from heat stress and pain due to having no access to shade or shelter in paddocks throughout Queensland, Australia and the World.
A former RSPCA president, merchant banker turned philanthropist, and Australian veterinarian and professor are all supporting Queensland animal advocates in our campaign to mandate shade and shelter for thousands of farm animals in the sunshine state and ultimately throughout Australia and the World.
My name is Morika Elek and I'm the founder of a new campaign 'Animals Need Shade'. We have lodged a petition in the Queensland Parliament Australia calling for it to force owners of Farm Animals to provide adequate shelter for cows, sheep, horses and other livestock. Farm animals urgently need your help. Please sign the Care2 petition EVERYONE.
NB the Queensland Governments e-parliamentary petition finished at the end of February 2019.
MEDIA RELEASE (please use as a reference in your own country)
Queenslanders urge government to enforce mandatory shade and shelter for farm animals. Animal advocates have lodged a petition in the Queensland Parliament, urging a change in the law to protect heat-stressed livestock, as temperatures in the state rise and heatwaves become commonplace.
Australia is definitely a sunburnt country. Record summer temperatures have made headlines around the world. While the heat may be good news for some in our beach-loving country, it has devastating consequences for millions of farmed animals routinely kept outdoors in paddocks, saleyards, holding pens and feedlots with little to no shade. Queenslanders fear lack of no shade/shelter for farm animals is an animal welfare crisis in what is one of the hottest countries in the world.
Queensland local Morika Elek is leading the charge in calling for mandatory legislation to force owners of farm animals in the sunshine state and across Australia and the World to provide adequate shelter for cows, sheep, horses and other Farm Animals through their newly launched 'Animals Need Shade' campaign. Linda Aldridge recently filed a petition on the Queensland Parliament's website urging the government to insert mandatory requirements into the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 for adequate shelter for livestock kept outdoors, including a definition of 'adequate shelter', and to introduce penalties for owners and carers who fail to provide adequate shelter for their outdoor farm animals.
The pair have the support of leading animal advocates, including former vice-president of Citibank and philanthropist Philip Wollen, OAM, veterinarian and professor Andrew Knight, and former Rockhampton RSPCA president Elizabeth Shanahan."I remember how hot it was last summer in Canungra, Beaudesert and Boonah and how I couldn't stand in the sun for more than five minutes without feeling the brunt of this shocking heat," says Elek, who lives in the Scenic Rim. "The sight of Farm Animals exposed and suffering from the extreme heat of the sun without shade or shelter is unfortunately common throughout Queensland."
Elek is concerned about all Farm animals and claims that cows suffer, even more in the heat than humans, especially without shade. Dairy NZ notes that Fresian cows (approximately 83% of dairy cows in Australia are Fresian) begin to experience the effects of heat stress when their body temperature reaches 68℉ (21℃) at 75% relative humidity. The average annual temperature in many parts of Queensland is 29°C. In 2017 even southern regions such as Gatton recorded 141 days where temperatures reached over 30°C.
Despite the Queensland government's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) acknowledging the impact of heat stress on livestock and recommending shelter and shade, it is not mandatory for owners of farm animals to provide these basic requirements. Speaking about cattle in an interview with Living the Country Life, David Sparks, an extension veterinarian from Oklahoma State University, warns: "If you're uncomfortable,the herd is too hot, and if you're too hot, the herd is in serious danger." Sparks explains that cattle don't sweat and have an upper critical temperature that is around 20 degrees cooler than humans. "So that means if it is 80 ℉ [26.6 ℃] outside it feels like 100℉ [37.7℃] to cattle. They are also affected more seriously by humidity."
This results in severe suffering, according to Australian-born veterinarian Andrew Knight, Professor of Animal Welfare at Winchester University in the UK. "Cows and other Farm animals are sentient, sensitive animals, capable of feeling pain, stress and fear," says Knight. "Being exposed to excessive sunlight can be highly stressful and decrease their health and welfare. Such systematic lack of care is indicative of the widespread exploitation these animals endure."
Elizabeth Shanahan, former Rockhampton President of the RSPCA for 20 years, is also deeply concerned about the lack of appropriate shelter for outdoor farm animals. "From my experience very little has been done to protect farm animals from the elements," says Shanahan. "Complaints about the treatment of farm animals are rarely, if ever, prosecuted. Something must change and soon to protect these vulnerable forgotten animals. TheQueensland community expects laws that protect all animals. Laws must be upgraded and enforceable, to ensure the basic right to shade and shelter for all farm animals."
The petition lodged by Aldridge and Elek with the Queensland government has also received the support of Melbourne-based Philip Wollen, OAM, renowned former merchant banker turned philanthropist. "I travel 20,000km throughout the Australian countryside every year," says Wollen. "What I see every day as we drive past vast open paddocks in Australia are no trees, blazing heat and distressed, parched and panting animals. I often see animals lying dead on the ground. Every paddock has been cleared of trees. Occasionally I see a paddock with a single tree, under which 100 or so parched animals stand, and clustered around them in the blazing sun will be 1,000 more – with not a single shadow to protect them. This is an atrocity and laws must be changed to force farmers to provide adequate shelter and shade for their charges."
Elek is calling on all citizens of the World as well as Australians to sign this petition. She is asking fellow Queenslanders to 'sign and share' the QLD government parliamentary petition "to give farm animals the basic right to shade and shelter. The public are unaware of the statistics on deaths, and the serious physical and psychological distress suffered by animals who have no protection. Together our voices will help stop suffering and change laws!" she says. The petition can be viewed here.
Evidence is available of hundreds of community complaints in relation to no shade/shelter. There is mounting evidence amongst the community and many animal advocate groups of many Farm Animals that continue to suffer without adequate shade/shelter, even after reports have been made.
The community will continue to report to the RSPCA, keeping the case number and photos. When the community sees that animals continue to suffer after a report has been made - many in the community will now contact the Animal Defenders Office.
### About 'Animals Need Shade' Animals Need Shade is a campaign launched recently by Queensland animal advocate Morika Elek. Animals Need Shade have launched an online petition with the Queensland government calling for stronger legal protections and enforceability regarding the provision of adequate shade and shelter for farm animals. They will be working with all states to make shade/shelter mandatory across Australia and ultimately the world.
Morika Elek: via Animals Need Shade facebook page
High-resolution images of animals exposed without shade on Queensland farms are available on request.
The embedded image in this email is available for one-time editorial use (print/online). Credit AAP Dean Lewins. A high-res version is available on request.
Other relevant links:
ZONES OF COMFORT FARM ANIMALS
Farm animal have zones of comfort (thermoneutral zone) before they experience heat pain. No shade shelter heightens suffering. Humidity will also lead to further pain and suffering.
Beef cattle (British breeds) 15 – 25°C
Beef cattle (tropical breeds) 16 – 17°C
Chickens & hens 10 – 20°C
Dairy cattle 5 – 20°C
Goats 10 – 20°C
Pigs 16 – 25°C
Sheep 21 – 31°C
Turkeys 10 – 24°C