Archive for ‘Animal Welfare’

Moscow birds suffer in heat wave

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Moscow birds suffer in heat wave

Moscow birds suffer in heat wave

Moscow’s bird populations are suffering from the severe heat wave, which settled in the city in mid-June, a representative of the Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU) said on Tuesday.

“Birds…find it very difficult to live in such heat. Members of the crow family are the worst affected as their black feathers heat up very fast from the sun,”

Meteorologist say temperatures will reach 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) this week.

The conservationist said it was difficult to help the suffering bird populations.

“We don’t have many options available for helping the birds… The only thing we can do is put bird baths on our balconies and render first aid to heat-affected birds,”

According to an animal census held in Moscow from February 13 – March 5, 2010, more than 200 bird species live in Moscow. Of these, 66 are listed in the Moscow Red Data Book of endangered species.

Source: Moscow birds suffer in heat wave – en.rian.ru

Date: 13 July 2010

Environmentalists to set up trust fund to save dolphins

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Eight wildlife conservation and environmental protection organizations from central Changhua County announced yesterday the establishment of an environmental trust fund to purchase a vast wetland to save the Taiwan Sousa, also known as the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinesis), living along Taiwan’s west coast.

This is the first ever campaign in Taiwan launched by environmentalists to purchase state land to be reserved for the endangered animals in the form of an environmental trust, with signatures from more than 30,000 people supporting the cause.

The organizers also held a rally in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei to urge the government to respect the people’s wish to safeguard the rare dolphins, commonly known as “white dolphins” or “Mother Sea-Goddess (Matsu) Fish” for local people.

The environmentalists are concerned that the government’s possible approval for constructing a giant petrochemical complex in southwestern Taiwan will cause extensive pollution to farmland and agricultural crops while hampering animal conservation in the area.

Officials at the Environmental Protection Administration said there is no need to purchase the wetland since a panel conducting the environmental impact evaluation project has included a proposal to leave a safe swimming corridor with a width of 800 meters for the dolphins.

Source: Environmentalists to set up trust fund to save dolphins – chinapost.com.tw

Date: 07 July 2010

Malians mobilise to protect dwindling elephants

Monday, July 5th, 2010
A desert elephant walks in the north of Mali, known as the Gourma area. Inhabitants of the Gourma region of Mali have organized vigilante brigades, and even attached global positioning systems (GPS) on the pachyderms to protect them from poachers in the region.

A desert elephant walks in the north of Mali, known as the Gourma area. Inhabitants of the Gourma region of Mali have organized vigilante brigades, and even attached global positioning systems (GPS) on the pachyderms to protect them from poachers in the region.

Ali Ag Rhissa, a young Touareg nomad, sits in his tent, his gun ready, on the frontline of one of Mali’s battles — protecting its majestic but dwindling herds of desert elephants.

Faced with the dual threat of drought and poachers, the elephant population has almost halved in recent decades.

But help is at hand from local people in northern Mali, who have started to form conservation brigades to ward off poachers and protect the animal from extinction.

Between 1972 and 1974 there were 550 elephants in the Gourma region, now there are no more than 354. In June alone, severe drought killed 21 of the animals.

The elephants of the Gourma are the biggest in Africa and are tempting quarry for poachers, both for their ivory tusks and their meat, which is popular in neighbouring countries.

“When we hear the sound of a vehicle, we get ready to make sure the poachers can’t settle here and kill our elephants,”

said Rhissa, who lives in a tent with his wife and three children in Banzena, near Timbuktu.

“We take precautionary measures. In this no elephants have been victims of poaching since we organised our protection brigades,”

said Bakary Kame, a water and forestry ranger.

“But you can never be too careful,”

added Kame, who had a rifle slung across his back.

According to official statistics, 50 percent of the elephants in the Gourma are adult females, with 11 per cent male adults, 26 percent young and 11 percent “very old”.

Gourma elephants are the only nomadic elephants in the world and the only ones that live in the desert apart from a group in Namibia.

Every year, they migrate hundreds of kilometres (miles) along the southern edge of the Sahara towards the border with Burkina Faso and back again in search of food and water.

Each one consumes up to 250 kilograms (500 pounds) of vegetation per day, and can suck up 10 litres in every trunkful of water.

They leave huge footprints close to a metre (three feet) deep when they trek across the barren landscape.

“To protect them from poachers, we have placed GPS chips in collars around the necks of some of the elephants. This way, we know where they are all the time,”

said Biramou Sissoko, the national coordinator for the government programme to conserve the elephants and biodiversity in the Gourma.

The government of Mali is taking steps to protect the elephants. Efforts are being made to educate local people about the plight of the animals, while legislation is also being drawn up to combat poaching.

The conservation action plan has been launched to protect the elephants’ ecosystem, and “biodiversity co-ordinators” are being appointed under Sissoko.

“Our role is to educate, and raise awareness of the damage done by poachers and the destruction of the environment,”

said Amadou Bore, one of the co-ordinators.

“Whoever comes here to take the tusks of elephants will find instead our own tusks — our rifles,” he said.

Source: Malians mobilise to protect dwindling elephants – france24

Date: 05 July 2010

Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

The antelope, including chinkaras and black bucks, continue to die at regular intervals in the arid region of Jodhpur and Barmer. This has been primarily attributed to starvation and thirst, say sources On Saturday, the members of the Bishnoi Tiger Vanya Evam Paryavaran Sanstha, brought the carcasses of 25 chinkaras from Dhawa village at the office of deputy forest conservator (wildlife).

According to the general secretary of the organization, Ram NiwasBudhnagar, some 60-70 antelope, the major portion of which are theblack bucks, have died in the past 5-6 days due to acute shortage of water and fodder. He claimed they kept drinking the brackish water due to which their stomach got swollen as they could not digest their food and died a slow and painful death.

He blamed the forest department for this situation for it had “brazenly relied upon the monsoon rains.”

Budhnagar said, “We have demanded the present DFO be removed from office for failing to bring relief to the antelope.”

All these antelope were found dead in such villages like Bhawanda, Dhawa, Satlana, Dhundhara and Bhacharan etc. A medical team had visited a village and conducted post-mortem of six black bucks which confirmed their death from starvation and thirst.

According to experts, these animals are very shy in nature and due to the presence of stray dogs in the vicinity of water holes they fear to go there and prefer to remain thirsty, which lead to death.

Source: Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur - timesofindia.indiatimes

Date: 04 July 2010

Think before you carve

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Can I apologise right now if the content of this blog dampens your Christmas spirit? It is about something many of us believe we should do, but very few of us actually get round to doing.

It was certainly the hardest thing I did during my “year of living ethically” for the BBC.

But Adolf Hitler managed it and so did Linda McCartney. Indeed, the government’s former chief economist says we should all do it.

Are you there yet?

Yes, I am talking about giving up meat. Or, in my case, giving up all animal products.

But I should warn you we started our exploration of the ethics of what we eat with a lustrous Norfolk Black turkey chick we named Ned.

We watched him grow into a magnificent one-and-a-half stone stag… and then came Christmas.

Viewers with a sentimental nature should NOT watch this film.

I said at the time that I regretted not killing Ned.

“An ethical man should be able to stomach dispatching his own supper or should decline to dine upon it, shouldn’t he?” I wrote.

And I am sure lots of us carnivores would be a lot less keen on our mixed grills if we had to look all the animals that go into them in the eye before they were served up on our plates.

But this blog isn’t about sending you on a vegan guilt-trip – though if that’s what you want, you can learn more about the mechanics of turkey slaughter here.

Neither is this blog about the bizarre animal ingredients I discovered might be lurking in even the most innocent-seeming foods – bread anyone?

It is also not about the incredible health benefits I experienced from my brief flirtation with ethical eating – I shed 2kg in 31 days and saw my cholesterol level plummet from 5.6 mmol/L (rather high) to just 3.4 mmol/L (very low for a man of my age).

Nor is it about how the food we eat is destroying the planet. Everyone knows that now – though, if you will allow me a little boast – we in the Ethical Man team pretty much got their first.

So what is this blog about?

It is about another aspect of the food we eat – the threat of an impending food crisis.

There was a hint of what could be to come back in 2007-8 when world food prices soared leading to food riots around the world.

Well, don’t imagine that the worldwide depression has got us off the hook. Food prices have risen dramatically this year even as economic activity has fallen.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) a billion people on earth will go hungry this year – one in six of the world’s population. That’s a thought that will haunt you as you sit down to enjoy your Christmas dinner isn’t it?

But, lets be clear about this, there is no shortage of food in the world. Agricultural output is pretty near its historic high. So why are so many people going hungry?

The problem is that, increasingly, we don’t actually eat the food we grow. Some is converted into bio-fuels – and rising oil prices makes that more profitable – but even more is used to fatten up the animals so many of us eat.

There has been a huge increase in meat consumption around the world in recent years. That trend should be a cause for celebration because it reflects that fact that people in developing countries are getting significantly richer. One of the first things people do when their income rises is to buy themselves some meat.

The problem is, these trends – coupled with population growth (which I will be discussing next week) – mean there is unprecedented pressure on food supplies.

The FAO estimates that by 2050 the amount of food available in developing countries will need to double – which is the equivalent of a 70% increase in food production.

We would need a lot less if people stopped eating meat because it would require so much less land.

It is yet another powerful argument for changing our diet. So the question is: how can we get people to change what they eat?

We can try persuasion, working through some of the arguments, as I have here. But don’t underestimate how difficult it is to change people’s behaviour on this.

If you want a measure of just how tough a problem this is to crack, look no further than me.

I know the arguments pretty well (I hope you will agree) and I’ve experienced the health benefits first hand. But I will still be sitting down to a turkey dinner come Christmas.

So perhaps some gentle coercion might therefore be more effective. There is already a lobby for “fat taxes” – higher taxes on fattening foods. It is a short step from there to taxing foods that have an adverse impact on the environment.

But would any politicians have the courage to impose a tax on meat? They are reluctant enough to impose taxes on other, more directly polluting, behaviours.

There may be other ways – please use the comment box below to send in any ideas you have – but, in the meantime, I have two suggestions for determined meat eaters who want to reduce the environmental impact of their food.

First off, eat less meat – that’s something my family is doing (though not this Friday).

The second is even more straightforward, actually eat the stuff you buy!

In developed countries a quarter of all the food that is produced goes uneaten, most of it no doubt growing mould at the bottom of all our fridges.

So here’s a festive challenge: I want you to craft that limp carrot, half-eaten packet of cheese and the remains last night’s pizza into a delicious Christmas spread. It has to be possible to rustle up something palatable… doesn’t it?

Source: Think before you carve – BBC UK

Date: 20 December 2009

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Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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