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As well as founding the Ealing Animals Fair, Marion Garnett has also, since 2011, written a weekly Animal Rescue column which is published in the West London local newspaper, The Gazette. Columns published since January 2019 are now available online here.

If you would like to see any of the columns published before 2019, please contact Marion directly (see the Contacts page).


Column 4th August 2021

First, there’s been a change to an event I mentioned two weeks ago. The party that was being organised for August 7 by the National Animal Welfare Trust to celebrate their fiftieth birthday has been postponed. That’s disappointing but sometimes things have to change. Some changes (like this one) are disappointing but others can’t come soon enough.

There’s a shop in London where, despite the staff being very helpful, I dread going into. Sitting there, helpless, in a brightly lit tank with their claws banded together are live lobsters. I know some people don’t have a problem with this and compete with each other to make insensitive comments about their plight. But, if you’re one of the thousands of people who do care and want to see their treatment changed, now is the time to stand up and be counted.

But, first, some background.  In 2015 it was reported a supermarket in the UK was selling live crabs immobilised in shrink wrap. Consumers complained but the council said they were powerless to stop it. The reason is these creatures are not protected by animal welfare legislation. For example, The Animal Welfare Act 2006 defines an “animal” as a “vertebrate other than man”. This means that invertebrates such as crabs and lobsters are not legally entitled to be protected from suffering. However the Act does say if scientific evidence shows invertebrates can experience pain, they can be included in the definition.

The campaign to demonstrate crabs and lobsters can suffer is spearheaded by award-winning Crustacean Compassion. They cite numerous studies, as evidence, they feel pain and, consequently, that the way they are treated needs to change. For example, it’s currently legal for a live lobster to be ordered online and sent through the post, killing can be preceded by breaking off its legs and is often accomplished by boiling alive.

But there is hope. The UK government are in the process of reviewing a new piece of legislation – The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill which would protect these animals as sentient beings. Crustacean Compassion want to show the government people care about this issue. They want us to be a voice (and a face) for these animals. They are creating a Selfie Wall where we can post our picture so we can stand with others who care. They also want us to write to our MP and ask them to ensure decapod crustaceans are not forgotten in the Sentience Bill. For details and to join the wall, see crustaceancompassion.org.uk.

Column  11th August 2021

These baby ferrets will soon be ready for their new homes. We haven’t talked much about ferrets in the past so let’s change that. Ferrets can make lively, curious and fun-loving pets. They are part of the Mustelidae family which includes otters and badgers. They are naturally active during dawn and dusk and can sleep for eighteen to twenty hours a day.

Pet ferrets can live for five to fifteen years. Females are called jills, males are hobs and babies are kits. Ferrets don’t have varying breeds but they do have different colours. With these four babies, the two males are polecat colour and the two females are albino.

Ferrets enjoy exploring so when thinking about their accommodation, they need the largest enclosure possible so they have plenty of room to exercise and play. They love to dig and are very good at escaping through small holes. They need constant access to safe hiding places.

Domestic ferrets are sociable and usually enjoy living in groups although this does depend on the individual animals. They rely on their senses of smell, taste and hearing as their eyesight is quite poor. As well as using smell to hunt, ferrets use scent to communicate with each other. Paintings of animals thought to be ferrets have even been found on the walls of Egyptian tombs.

If, from a young age, ferrets are well handled by people they can become socialised and learn to see humans as companions. They can form a strong bond with their owners. However ferrets aren’t the easiest to handle and can bite if startled so they don’t always make ideal pets for young children. These babies are looking for an owner who is experienced in ferret care. If this could be you contact Hillingdon RSPCA on 01895 833417 or email rspca@rspcahillingdonclinic.org.uk.

Hillingdon RSPCA do fantastic work with sick and homeless animals. However they are currently short of kitten food, newspapers and shallow plastic takeaway containers. If you have any to spare, drop donations into their clinic at 16 Crescent Parade, Uxbridge UB10 0LG or any of their charity shops.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got a young child to keep amused, you’ve still got time to enter the RSPCA’s Little Steps sponsored walk organised by RSPCA Headquarters. Taking place between August 14 and August 22 you can pick your location and your distance (1 mile is a popular choice). They’ve got ideas to make your walk even more fun such as incorporating a scavenger hunt. For details see rspca.org.uk.

Column  18th August 2021

Column  25th August  2021

August 2021

Weekly column Subject Index
The Ealing Animals Fair is organised by Thinking of Animals CIC
Although the information given here is, to the best of the organiser’s knowledge and belief,
correct, the organiser reserves the right to make alterations and amendments, as necessary.