For us it all started the day we went to an organized peaceful protest outside the congress building. Inside the congress men and women were debating over several new laws but the one we were there for was the new animal rights legislation. Posers ranged from dog and cat signs to anti-bullfighting and then ORCA with our dolphin poster and message to the minister. At its peak there was almost 40 people there chanting and letting people in traffic know what was going on!
The most drama of the day happened when another group showed up in mass and started getting up close and personal with the police line. Apparently the guard thought it was on the verge of escalating as they brought out the big guns. Water and tear gas guns that is. The water truck started and cleared a few people out but not enough. So out came the tear gas! Most of the canisters were contained to the other side of the street but one (stray or aimed we’re not sure) made it over next to our group. Luckily everyone moved fast enough and only a few people ended up with mild symptoms. So within 10 minutes we were back louder than ever!
Unfortunately due to blundering politics and a few other factors the vote was not settled the first day. So one week later we were back at it. This week was much of the same with the same other group of protesters making another appearance as well. The other group running in our direction once the water guns started this time unfortunately ended in me getting soaked. But luckily it was a warm day and I dried fast enough.
Finally after over seven hours of waiting for the congress to vote we received the verdict we were hoping for! The Animal Rights and Welfare bill had been unanimously approved by congress! While this might not make a huge difference on its own, the animal centered organizations of Peru now have the law backing them up and a legal course of action they can take up against those harming and exploiting animals and their habitat. While the bill has made it through congress the President still needs to give his final approval. If you have a moment to help, this petition has been started by ORCA to keep the pressure on until the bill is finalized!
Please Help!! This is a petition that an organization we’re volunteering with has started hoping to get a message through to the government. They, along with dozens of other animal welfare organizations, are asking the Peruvian congress to pass legislation giving animals’ basic rights. As of right now the laws they have are archaic and unenforced. This law will be a first step to protecting domestic, wild, endangered and agricultural animals.
Congress was supposed to vote last Thursday but one party walked out, leaving the remaining congress without quorum. Luckily one week later the congress voted unanimously and approved the law! However it still needs to be finalized with the Presidents approval. Help us keep the pressure on until we know the animals are safe!
A couple quick examples of why marine mammals are in desperate need of protection in Peru…
Just one month ago 230 dolphins and sea lions washed up dead on shore in Northern Peru. The government is claiming El Niño and disease are to blame but the stab wounds and crushed skulls tell a different story. Fishermen here have been known to form gangs and go out in numbers to kill and maim the animals as they see them as competition for the fish. Often they stuff rat poison in fish and drop them near the islands where the sea lions live. Mass mortality events involving sea lions has happened twice before in the last few years confirmed to have been caused by humans.
In 2012 over 850 dead dolphins washed up along the Peruvian coast within a week. An oil company also happened to be conduction seismic and sonic testing offshore that week. All dolphins that were necropsied had died from massive internal bleeding cause by fractured ear bones. The immense sound blast used in these tests has been shown to cause these types of injuries and mass strandings.
In all cases the Peruvian government did nothing, or covered up the true cause of the mortalities. Legislation won’t fix everything at once but at least it’s a start! Please sign and share!
Written by Elizabeth Penner, ORCA Intern from Canada, November 2015.