News Blog End of year highlights: 2023 animal welfare achievements 18-12-23 2023 was a monumental year for OneKind, from a real ban on the hunting of foxes for ‘sport’, to a snaring ban commitment from the Scottish Government and leading the Unbound the Greyhound coalition campaign. We are delighted to have played our part in securing stronger protection for animals not only in Scotland, but also across the UK and Europe. We’re excited to share our highlights from this year. A ban on hunting of foxes for ‘sport’ January was a month for celebration in the OneKind office as the Scottish Government introduced the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023, ending the ‘sport’ of foxhunting. Under the new legislation, there is now a two-dog limit for flushing wild mammals to guns, effectively putting an end to fox hunting packs. The Act also banned trail hunting, which has been used as a smokescreen to allow fox hunting to continue in England. We've been campaigning for decades for a real foxhunting ban and were delighted to be able to say that January 24th was the day the ‘sport’ of foxhunting was finally consigned to the history books. "The chasing and killing of our beautiful foxes with packs of dogs for ‘fun’ is unbelievably cruel and we are delighted that today the Scottish Government consigned this archaic ‘pastime’ to Scotland’s history books. Today we have seen a positive step towards wild animals finally obtaining the respect and basic protections that they deserve". Bob Elliot, OneKind Director. Scottish Government commits to ban snares In November, Gillian Martin MSP, Minister for Energy and Environment, confirmed that she plans to introduce "a full ban on the use of snares" in the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill. A few weeks later, the Scottish Parliament then voted in support of the general principles of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill. Snares are cruel and indiscriminate traps and we are delighted that after decades of OneKind's campaigning for an end to their use in Scotland, the Scottish Government has finally committed to a ban. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our supporters, who have campaigned alongside us over the years. We are also delighted that our campaign to ban snares was highlighted in 20 pieces of news coverage this year. Open letter to phase out greyhound racing secures 20,000+ signatures In November we crossed the finish line on our Unbound the Greyhound open letter to phase out dog racing in Scotland! Having launched the Unbound the Greyhound coalition campaign in June, we were delighted to secure our target of 20,000 signatures in a short period of time. Co-ordinating the campaign has been a highlight for OneKind this year and we’re grateful to be able to work in collaboration with effective and passionate like-minded groups and individuals. We will be handing in the open letter to the Scottish Government in due course and we have exciting plans for 2024. In the meantime, check out the exciting things we did for the campaign in 2024! Vote for our campaign video We lit up Glasgow and Edinburgh In August, we projected ‘End Dog Racing in Scotland’ onto prominent buildings throughout Glasgow and Edinburgh. We also projected an animated video that tells the story of Bob the greyhound, who has been rescued from the greyhound racing industry, and fictional greyhound, Bea, who remains in the racing industry. The projections came on the first day of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s (GBGB) ‘Greyhound Week’- a week they say is to ‘showcase the joy and excitement of greyhound racing.’ We took this opportunity to highlight the sad reality of greyhound racing. Our projections even made the mainstream media. 32 venues cease using live reindeer in festive displays Earlier this year, we commissioned a report that established the welfare needs of captive reindeer in the UK, explored the impact of captivity and entertainment events on reindeer welfare and provided recommendations to improve captive reindeer welfare. ‘The Welfare Needs of Captive Reindeer Used for Entertainment Events in the UK: a review’ written by Dr Tayla Hammond ultimately concluded that the use of reindeer in such events be ceased. We then co-ordinated an open letter, that noted the welfare issues and recommendations from the report, that was signed by 10 other animal welfare organisations. Alongside our friends at Animal Aid, Born Free and Freedom for Animals, we sent the letter to 370 venues and all councils across the UK. The letter called on venues, that planned to exhibit or had previously exhibited live reindeer in their Christmas celebrations, to cease the use of live reindeer in events. In response to the open letter and emails from our supporters, 32 venues (that previously used live reindeer between 2019-2022) confirmed that their Christmas celebrations would go ahead this year without the use of reindeer. A further 102 events that have previously used live animals between 2019-2022 are not advertising the use of live animals this year. Raised awareness of the welfare issues of zoos On December 5th, pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian embarked on a journey back to China, after 12 years on ‘loan’ at Edinburgh Zoo. We have consistently raised our welfare concerns for the pandas throughout the 12 years that they have been held in captivity. And so ahead of, and during, the panda’s departure, OneKind was interviewed BBC News, BBC Reporting Scotland and STV News to name a few. We spoke about the outdated notion of animals as diplomatic ‘gifts’, misleading claims of conservation and the continuous artificial insemination procedures performed on Tian Tian. We also stressed the point that wild animals do not belong in captive environments. We were also quoted in The Herald, The Guardian and several other media outlets. You can also read our concerns in depth in our blog post. We spoke at the Revive Conference OneKind Director, Bob Elliot, was invited to speak at REVIVE’s 2023 National Conference in November. The conference, hosted by OneKind Patron Chris Packham, facilitated discussions on land reform, wildlife and environmental protection, and alternative approaches to revitalise Scotland’s land to it’s best potential. The conference, which was attended by an incredible 600 people, came at a crucial time, as the Bill that proposes to license grouse shooting and ban snaring, the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill, works its way through the Scottish Parliament. Bob outlined the serious animal welfare issues regarding grouse moor management and the use of snares and traps. He described it as a privilege to share the stage with other campaigners. We even spotted two rescued greyhounds in the audience – a lovely cross-over to our Unbound the Greyhound campaign! We secured 100+ pieces of media coverage In 2023, OneKind’s comments on animal welfare issues were featured in more than 100 media articles! Our media highlights include debating for a real foxhunting ban on STV News, Campaigner Eve’s opinion piece on greyhound racing in The Courier, the Daily Record’s coverage of our joint calls with Animal Equality for the Scottish Government not to sideline salmon welfare and speaking to the BBC about the Scottish Government’s snaring ban. The importance of securing media coverage for our campaigns cannot be understated. Being featured in media outlets allows us to inspire more people to connect with animals and recognise them as individuals, with capacities, different to ours, but no lesser than ours. It is crucial in helping us end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.