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Interview with Álex Lachhein: "There is no such thing as a declaration of animal rights".

Time to read: 10 min

Interview with Álex Lachhein, field naturalist, writer and environmental communicator. Author of the controversial book "Wuhan: Red Plague and Open Case". Álex Lachhein has worked in several biological parks in Spain, participated in countless productions as an 'Animal Trainer', and is a recognised expert in conservation communication work after more than thirty uninterrupted years of professional work with animals of all kinds.

Álvaro Peñas: Possibly in February, the Spanish Parliament will pass the law for the protection of animal rights and welfare. A very nice name, but one that will have very serious consequences.

Álex Lachhein: Yes, and it is based on a falsehood. Animals cannot have rights because they have no obligations. The plenary session will be held in early to mid-February, but the problem with this law is that we are not being told what it implies. There is talk in the media that a course will be required to own a dog, but what it hides is a direct attack on citizens' rights and freedoms. One of the aims of cultural Marxism is to change society by undermining its cultural, not economic, pillars. And severing man's relationship with the natural environment is one way of changing the way we live. To achieve this, the vegan/animalist movement seeks to put an end to any traditional and sustainable use of animals, to put an end to what they call "speciesism", i.e. discrimination against living beings by species. This is a very broad objective which cannot be achieved overnight - but it includes other sub-objectives such as emptying the rural world or ending livestock farming.

Most people believe that animals have rights.

That's right. If we were to go out on the street and ask people, the vast majority would say that animals have rights. This belief is backed up by a bogus UNESCO universal declaration of animal rights, which has been widely circulated by progressive journalists and politicians. It is a fourteen-article text by the International League for Animal Rights. In the first article, it says that animals are in the same legal category as human beings, i.e. they have the same rights. You can imagine what the other 13 are like. This declaration was read out in the Great Hall of UNESCO in Paris in three languages (Arabic, English and French) in October 1978, handed over to the Secretary General of UNESCO, and that was the end of it. It has never been adopted or recognised by anyone. The text was heavily criticised, and in 1989, a new 10-article document was presented in Geneva. Again, that document has not been adopted by any institution or state. In other words, it is a fairy tale.

So, as you pointed out earlier, we have a law that starts from a false premise.

Yes, but if you lie over and over again, from different angles, on TV, radio and everywhere else, people will end up believing the lie. And if you now say that this law is unnecessary and that animals have no rights, you will be called a denialist, a murderer, a hunter, etc. The explanatory memorandum of the bill makes it very clear: its aim is not to ensure the welfare of animals, but to protect and promote their dignity. It is a totally ideological question to put an end to the relationship between animals and human beings, and not only in a nutritional aspect: you cannot eat eggs because this is exploitation of the hen, you cannot eat honey because this is taking advantage of the work of the bees, you cannot wear a woollen jumper because you are taking advantage of the fleece of a sheep - and all this is speciesism. Veganism is not a diet, it is a philosophy of life in which human beings are a cancer for the planet.

However, this animalism is increasingly driven by politics.

By politics and the media. In all progressive parties there is an animalist and vegan department, and in Spain there is a parliamentary association for animal rights formed by deputies of all parties except VOX. At the European level there is a lobby, Eurogroup for Animals, based in Brussels, made up of more than 80 vegan and animalist associations from all over Europe (In Spain: FAADA, ANDA, AAP Primadomus and AnimaNaturalis). Their roadmap is very clear and they set their goals for each year, goals that they are achieving: in 2019, their target was farm animals, and we can already see how meat consumption is now criminalised; in 2020, the target was the protection of carnivores, and they have achieved it with the wolf; in 2021, the target was to ban animals in circuses, and there is not a single traditional circus left; in 2022, animal experimentation; and for this year fish, with new, more restrictive regulations for fishing.

Turning to the law, it looks like there is going to be a change regarding hunting dogs, which has provoked a conflict between the communists of Podemos and their PSOE partners.

This bill was made public as a preliminary draft last summer. More than 6,000 objections to it  have been presented (it is the most contested law in the history of democracy) and none of them have been answered. Furthermore, the law is to modify the Penal Code, extending animal abuse to all vertebrate animals. This will cause tremendous legal uncertainty. For example, killing a rat that enters your house would mean 36 months in prison and a fine. Crazy, but the final objective of this modification is to put an end to hunting.

In response to this bill, a huge demonstration of more than 600,000 people was organised by the hunting federations, to which other sectors of the rural world such as farmers, irrigators, etc. were also invited. The demonstration, little and badly covered by the mainstream media, was the reason why the socialists of the PSOE made an amendment against their own law for all working animals. It covered not only hunting dogs, but also horses, donkeys, mules, falconry birds, animals in sporting activities, etc. Because as the law stood, a hunter could not breed his hunting dogs unless he became a professional breeder. This socialist amendment was approved on 22 December with the support of PNV (Basque nationalists), PP and VOX, triggering the anger of Podemos, which stated that they would not vote in favour of the law if it carried this amendment.

Who was in charge of drafting the law?

It all comes from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Agenda 2030, of Ione Belarra, and one of its departments, the "General Directorate for Animal Rights" of Sergio García Torres. A person with no specific training in this area, an activist who was the coordinator of AnimaNaturalis - is the one who ends up deciding on issues where the only competent body was the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This is, by the way, the goal of the Eurogroup for Animals: that not any agricultural body but the associations should manage all issues related to animals. García Torres manages a budget of more than 7 million euros, of which around 2 million euros have gone to various associations in the form of subsidies.

Was this law necessary, were animals at the mercy of abusers?

No, it is a totally unnecessary law because animals are fully protected. Spain leads the ranking of countries with the most animal protection guarantees. It is an ideological law with two fundamental Trojan horses. The first, which we have already discussed, is the modification of animal abuse in the Penal Code to go against hunting. The second is the figure of positive listings to go against pet ownership. This is because animalism has always considered that having pets is taking advantage of animals; it is speciesism. In the 1970s Spain signed the Washington Convention (CITES), which regulates trade in plant and animal species that need some kind of protection. CITES draws up “negative” lists of animals that must be protected, which leave thousands of species out.  On the contrary, animalism seeks to create “positive” lists, with animals appearing on the list allowed as pets and any animal that is left out banned. The law foresees that a committee of experts will decide which animals will be on the list, but the effect of a restricted list, as the animalists want, will be the closure of pet shops, private kennels, etc.

In order to own a pet it will be necessary to take a course and meet quite a few requirements, so might this not lead to many people abandoning their pets before the law is enforced?

It is already happening. In some places the press has reported that the law is already in force and many people have set their pets free. In one village in the Seville region thousands of guinea pigs have already been released. This law will be a disaster if passed together with the PSOE amendment on hunting dogs. However, if the Socialists withdraw the amendment, and listen to Podemos, the damage to the rural world will be catastrophic.

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