Finnish animal advocacy history

I recently finished reading the book “Jonkun on uskallettava katsoa: Animalian puoli vuosisataa” (“Someone has to dare to look: the half century of Animalia”) by Tiia Aarnipuu (2011), which depicts the history of Finland’s biggest animal protection organization, Animalia. At the same time it also gives a picture of Finnish animal protection and animal rights history in general.

For me, who is still relatively new in the animal advocacy movement, reading the history behind it is both interesting and gives me a better understanding of the situation we are in now. I appreciate more the work that has been done for the animals long before I was even born; the struggles that the organizations and individual animal advocates have gone through during the years, and the victories that have been celebrated. As in every other movement, knowing the history is very important if you want to be able to move forward.

Some important happenings in the Finnish animal advocacy history, based on the book, include:

  • 1901 – the foundation of Uudenmaan Eläinsuojeluyhdistys, today SEY (Suomen Eläinsuojeluyhdistys)
  • 1961 – the foundation of what later became Animalia
  • 1971 – the foundation of the Juliana von Went Fund for Research Without Animal Experiments
  • 1991 – Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” was first published in Finnish
  • 1995 – the foundation of Oikeutta Eläimille

Another interesting book, which depicts the rise of the new animal rights movement in Finland in the 1990’s, and the creation of the animal rights organization Oikeutta Eläimille, is “Ulos häkeistä! Kaksi näkökulmaa uuden eläinliikkeen sisältä” (“Out of the cages! Two perspectives from inside the new animal movement”) by Salla Tuomivaara and Joni Purmonen (1998).

Are there any other good books on the history of animal advocacy – especially in other countries – that you would recommend?

I don’t want to pay for continued cruelty

Recently the animal rights group Oikeutta Eläimille released new footage from Finnish farms, this time including pig farms, a goat farm, a dairy farm and a farm for egg-laying hens. The group have released this kind of footage pretty much regularly since 2007, and the conditions at the farms never get any better, even though there have been discussions around the footage and animal welfare every time.

The industry gets subsidies from both the Finnish government and the European Union (i.e. from our tax money) to better their image. Not to advance the welfare of the animals, but to better the bad image that the industry has got thanks to the footage that has been released and because people have gotten more conscious about what they eat. I don’t understand the logic behind this, why give money to an industry so that they make a bigger gap between what is shown in their commercials and what is the truth? If we would like to give funds, then why don’t focus on advancing the welfare of the animals instead? Wouldn’t that be a better use for the money? Giving money to better the image so that people will continue to buy meat is not a solution to the problem, it’s a cover-up.

Oikeutta Eläimille has started a petition to make this kind of subsidies history. You can find the petition here. Please sign it if you care about animal welfare and think it’s wrong to give funding for covering up cruelty and bettering the image of an industry with so much problems. This is what the petition-site says, loosely translated into English:

“Petition: No subsidies for cruelty!

I the beginning of the year new shocking pictures from pig farms were released. At the same time the meat industry got 1,5 million euros in subsidies for advertisement of pork.

Factory farming causes suffering to animals and big environmental problems. No more subsidies from the society for advertisement of animal products!”

Vetoomus: Ei tukea kärsimykselle!

Alkuvuodesta julkisuuteen tuli uusia shokkikuvia sikaloista. Samaan aikaan lihateollisuus sai puolitoista miljoonaa euroa verorahoja sianlihan markkinointiin.

Eläintuotanto aiheuttaa kärsimystä eläimille ja suuria ympäristöongelmia. Ei enää yhteiskunnan tukea eläintuotteiden markkinointiin!

– See more at: http://oikeuttaelaimille.net/vetoomus-ei-tukea-karsimykselle#sthash.ZXvX6MID.dpuf

Vetoomus: Ei tukea kärsimykselle!

Alkuvuodesta julkisuuteen tuli uusia shokkikuvia sikaloista. Samaan aikaan lihateollisuus sai puolitoista miljoonaa euroa verorahoja sianlihan markkinointiin.

Eläintuotanto aiheuttaa kärsimystä eläimille ja suuria ympäristöongelmia. Ei enää yhteiskunnan tukea eläintuotteiden markkinointiin!

– See more at: http://oikeuttaelaimille.net/vetoomus-ei-tukea-karsimykselle#sthash.ZXvX6MID.dpuf

If you would like to see the new footage, it can be found at elaintehtaat.fi (the site is in Finnish, but you don’t really need any Finnish language skills to be able to find the footage). Viewer discretion is advised.

Finnish factory farming exposed, again

Last week new pictures and videos from Finnish factory farms were released by the animal rights organization Oikeutta Eläimille. This time the footage is taken at several different types of farms, including pigs, cows and chickens raised for different purposes. The footage was originally released during the 45 minuuttia (45 minutes) show in Finnish TV, where also animal activist spoke about why it is important to show what goes on behind the closed doors of the factory farms.

The footage can be found on the website eläintehtaat.fi (translates to “animal factories”). Videos are added to the site as soon after they have been filmed as possible.

On the site you can also watch the story of two piglet brothers (Pig Vision – The Journey of two Brothers), both born into the farm industry, but ending up living totally different lives. One of them is kept at the factory farm and end his life by being slaughtered at 7 months old. The other is rescued and brought to an animal sanctuary where he still lives today. Some of the footage in the video is horrifying – however, common practice within the industry – but the video also paints a picture of how the life of a pig could be if he or she would be allowed to be a pig instead of just a product. The video is originally made by the United Creations organization in Austria:

How to be a better animal advocate

Earlier this month the Helsinki Oikeutta Eläimille (a Finnish animal rights group) hosted a lecture evening about how to become a more effective animal advocate. The lecture was held by Nick Cooney, American animal advocate and author of the books “Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change” and “Veganomics”, and he was talking about how to use social psychology research as a tool for understanding what makes people change their attitudes and behaviors.

I didn’t have the possibility to attend the lecture, but fortunately for me (and maybe for you?) it was filmed and can now be viewed online. It’s sure worth watching for anyone who wants to be better at spreading social change, or anyone just interested in how we humans work.

I embedded the video for you guys below (it’s of course in English):

“People have the right to know what factory farming looks like”

The Finnish animal rights organization Oikeutta Eläimille has started a campaign  for supporting two of the people behind the videos and pictures from Finnish pig farms presented in the 2009 campaign “Sikatehtaat”. The two activists are possibly awaiting severe sentences for their actions, while the farmers have not been accused of anything despite the obvious violations seen in the pictures and videos. The issue will be taken up in court again next week and the activists need all the support they can get.

https://i1.wp.com/www.oikeuttaelaimille.net/sites/default/files/kuvat/sikatehtaat_oikeudenkaynti_4.jpg

To join the campaign and show your support, you should take a picture of yourself holding one of their pre-made signs found on their website (one of them seen above) and send it to the organisation by e-mail at sikatehtaat@oikeuttaelaimille.net. A lot of Finnish people have already submitted their pictures and there is also international support, from the crew of Sea Shepherd for example:

Picture from Oikeutta Eläimille’s facebook page.

I’m not a very big fan of being in pictures, but I want to show my support by writing this post. I find it ironic that you get punished so much more for breaking laws concerning privacy and property than laws against cruelty to other living beings. We have a really messed up view of animals (and ourselves) when we think we can do whatever we want to them just because we can, and if someone tries to stop that or even point it out they are the criminals. It doesn’t seem logical to me.

In theory the Finnish animal protection law sounds very good, but in practice it is not working out very well. Animals don’t get to live good lives, they are not well taken care of and they do suffer. As long as we don’t have a good system for checking up the conditions at the farms, activism like this will be needed. People have a right to know what they are supporting when they buy meat or other animal-based products. In fact, I would even argue that we should have an obligation to know these things before supporting such an industry.