Animals to be formally recognised as sentient beings in UK law

Animal welfare protesters are seen at a rally in front of the Al Kuwait live export ship as sheep are loaded in Fremantle harbour, 16 June, 2020

amp.theguardian.com

Fiona Harvey

Show captionAnimal welfare protesters at a rally in front of the Al Kuwait live export ship as sheep are loaded in Fremantle harbour, 16 June 2020. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAPAnimal welfare

Set of government measures will include halting most live animal exports and a ban on hunting trophy imports

Animals are to be formally recognised as sentient beings in UK law for the first time, in a victory for animal welfare campaigners, as the government set out a suite of animal welfare measures including halting most live animal exports and banning the import of hunting trophies.

The reforms will be introduced through a series of bills, including an animal sentience bill, and will cover farm animals and pets in the UK, and include protections for animals abroad, through bans on ivory and shark fins, and a potential ban on foie gras.

Some of the measures – including microchipping cats and stopping people keeping primates as pets – have been several years in preparation, and others – such as the restriction of live animal exports – have been the subject of decades-long campaigns.

George Eustice, the environment secretary, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our action plan for animal welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets, and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling. As an independent nation, we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”

The action plan for animal welfare includes measures that will involve cracking down on pet theft, which has become a growing problem in the “puppy boom” sparked by the coronavirus lockdowns with a new taskforce. Controversial e-collars that deliver an electric shock to train pets will be banned, and import rules changed to try to stop puppy smuggling.

Illegal hare coursing will also be the subject of a new crackdown, and the use of glue traps will be restricted. In response to worries from farmers over dogs loose in the countryside during the lockdowns, police will be given new powers to protect farm animals from dogs.

However, the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs will not be subject to an outright ban, as campaigners had called for. Instead, their use will be examined, and farmers will be given incentives to improve animal health and welfare through the future farm subsidy regime.

The government also repeated its pledge to uphold UK animal welfare in future trade deals, but will not put this commitment into law as campaigners have urged.

James West, senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming, a pressure group, said some of the measures were the subject of protracted campaigns: “We have long been calling for UK legislation that recognises animals as sentient beings and for sentience to be given due regard when formulating and implementing policy. We are also delighted the government has confirmed it will legislate for a long-overdue ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening. We have been campaigning for this for decades: it is high time this cruel and unnecessary trade is finally brought to an end.”

He called for the government to go further, and stop the import and sale of foie gras, and ban the use of cages for the UK’s 16 million sows and laying hens that are still kept in cages.

He added: “All of these positive announcements must be supported by a comprehensive method of production labelling, and it is essential that the government ensure these much-needed animal welfare improvements are not undermined by future trade agreements.”

The ban on the import and export of shark fins, the subject of a campaign by the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and others, was also welcomed. Steve Backshall, the Wildlife TV presenter and patron of the Bite-Back campaign on shark finning, said: “[This] will be significant in helping restore the balance of the oceans [and] sends a clear message to the world that shark fin soup belongs in the history books, not on the menu.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Delivering on the plan will require understanding and real commitment from across Whitehall. Respect for animal welfare is not only the right thing to do for animals, it will also play a critical role in tackling global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance, and pandemic prevention.”

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/12/animals-to-be-formally-recognised-as-sentient-beings-in-uk-law?__twitter_impression=true

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Hummingbird Nests 101: Answers to All Your Questions | ABC

 

nich May 06, 2021

Each spring, hummingbirds return to our gardens, farms, and parks, bringing their sparkle and activity. Birders and non-birders alike are excited to see these birds return. The hummingbird species we see vary depending on location, but these colorful birds brighten up any backyard with their beauty. Their majesty is not without mystery, though — especially when it comes to their nesting habits. Hummingbirds are masters at camouflaging their nests, making them almost impossible to spot, even when you are looking.

To shed some light on how hummingbirds breed, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the size of hummingbird nests, what time of year these tiny birds build these natural structures, and what to look for, read on!

Where do hummingbirds nest?

Hummingbirds can be picky about where they nest. While some species like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird have adapted to urbanization, sometimes even nesting on wires, plant hangers, and other human-made items, most prefer the cover of deciduous trees growing near water. Tree foliage provides shelter for the parents and their chicks, while the water helps to keep the area cool. Hummingbirds also need to live near food sources, including nectar-rich flowering plants — another reason why sites near water are important for hummingbirds in dry regions.

Due to the small size of hummingbird nests, you’re not likely to find one in the crook of a large branch. Instead, hummingbirds tend to “set up shop” on thinner branches roughly one foot from tree trunks, often at a fork.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird and chicks. Photo by Agnieszka Bacal/Shutterstock

How can you attract hummingbirds to nest?

Unlike some other popular backyard birds, hummingbirds do not nest in birdhouses. However, there are a number of good ways to tempt them to your yard. You can maintain or plant native flowering plants, provide reliable water sources, and avoid chemicals that harm birds and other wildlife, including the insects hummingbirds prey upon. Properly maintained feeders can also supplement hummingbirds’ natural diets and attract them to your property.

How big is a hummingbird nest?

In general, hummingbird nests only measure a little over one inch in diameter! Their size depends on several factors. Different species, of course, build different nests. In general, larger species build larger ones than smaller species do. Construction materials and location can also affect the shape and size of nests.

Hummingbird nest and eggs. Photo by Wellington Nadalini/Shutterstock

What are hummingbird nests made of?

Hummingbirds like their nests to be soft and flexible. To construct them this way, they use a variety of natural materials. Like most birds, hummingbirds start with twigs and other bits of plants, using leaves for a base. However, hummingbirds will also use moss and lichen to camouflage their nests and to make them softer. The secret to a successful hummingbird nest, however, is spider silk. More about that directly below.

How do hummingbirds build their nests?

Female hummingbirds spend up to seven days building their flexible, bowl-shaped nests. First, they create a base layer. Then, they incorporate spider silk by rolling it over the unfinished structure. The silk, which holds the nest together and anchors it to a foundation, is inserted into nooks and crevasses to ensure attachment. Construction requires several hours each day.Video Player

https://abcbirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Hummingbird-arrives-with-full-bunch-of-spider-silk-to-reinforce-her-nest-by-Freebilly-PhotographySS.mp4?_=1

 

WATCH: Hummingbird arrives with spider silk to reinforce her nest. Video by Freebilly Photography/Shutterstockes-at

What does a hummingbird nest look like?

Because it is adorned with compacted green lichen, moss, and spider silk, a hummingbird nest can appear like a small knot of wood. Its shape and coloring work as camouflage to keep hummingbird eggs and chicks safe.

When do hummingbirds nest?

The time of year that hummingbirds nest and lay eggs varies by location. In the southern U.S., hummingbird breeding begins as soon as March. In contrast, the process may not start until July in cooler, northern or montane regions. Some western species, such as the Anna’s Hummingbird, may start nesting with the first winter rains in November.

Baby hummingbird of Rufous tailed in nest by Damsea/Shutterstock

Hummingbird chick. Photo by Damsea/Shutterstock

How do you find a hummingbird nest?

Hummingbird nests are extremely hard to spot. As noted above, they are both well-hidden and camouflaged. The best places to look are on thin, forked branches and in dense shrubs. As mentioned above, these nests often look like tree knots. If you spot an oddly placed knot, you might have gotten lucky!

Carefully observing hummingbird behavior is usually key to finding their nests. Watching from a distance, you might be able to spot a female repeatedly visiting the same site during the process of nest construction. During incubation, females leave their nests only for brief periods to forage. If you are lucky enough to spot a female during this phase of breeding, and luckier still to be able to follow her flight path, she may lead you to her nest.

Can I touch a hummingbird nest?

You should not touch hummingbird nests. In the United States, it is illegal to touch, relocate, or remove an active nest. If you discover one, it is best to observe it from a distance. Binoculars will enable you to view the female or young from afar. This will minimize disturbance and avoid inadvertently tipping off a predator, such as a jay, to the location.

Two baby hummingbirds in a nest by F Armstrong Photography/Shutterstock

Hummingbird chicks. Photo by F Armstrong Photography/Shutterstock

Do hummingbirds leave their nests at night?

Hummingbirds use the night to sleep. In most cases, they will sleep on or by their nests, but not always.

Do hummingbirds reuse their nests?

No. Because hummingbird nests are flexible and expand as chicks grow, they eventually stretch, losing their shape and becoming unsuitable for new use. This means that every new set of eggs requires a new nest!

What can you do to help hummingbirds?

We all can do our part to protect hummingbirds.

American Bird Conservancy and our Joint Venture partners have improved conservation management on 6.4 million acres of U.S. bird habitat — an area larger than the state of Maryland — over the last ten years. This is a monumental undertaking, requiring the support of many, and you can help by making a gift today.

Policies enacted by Congress and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have a huge impact on America’s birds. You can help shape these rules for the better by telling lawmakers to prioritize birds, bird habitat, and bird-friendly measures. To get started, visit ABC’s Action Center.

Finally, don’t overlook the impact you can have in your yard. Creating and improving habitat for hummingbirds can be easy. Check out our  “Hummingbird Paradise” post to learn more. For a complete list of daily activities you can take to help birds, visit our Bird-Friendly Life page.

anna's hummingbird gathering nest material by Feng Yu/Shutterstock

Anna’s Hummingbird. Photo by Feng Yu/Shutterstock

How does American Bird Conservancy help hummingbirds?

ABC works with conservation partners and local communities to ensure the survival of the world’s most endangered hummingbirds, as well as many other rare, declining bird species and their habitats.

With partners in Latin America and the Caribbean, we have created 93 reserves spanning more than 1 million acres, where 234 hummingbird species find protection.

Habitat restoration is another hallmark of our work with hummingbirds. To date, ABC has planted more than 6 million trees and shrubs to revitalize key habitats, and we’re planning to plant 70,000 more.

ABC also supports field expeditions to search for new, and monitor known, hummingbird populations. These efforts allow us to detect changes in populations and identify new threats or changes in the environment that might affect species and their habitats.Kathryn Stonich teaches English for the Community College of Baltimore County and Bryant & Stratton College online. She is an avid backyard birder and advocate for pigeon and dove rescue.« Twelve Tips to Help Migratory Birds on Their WayMigration Lessons from Long Point »

Copyright 2021 © American Bird Conservancy. All Rights Reserved. American Bird Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 52-1501259

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https://abcbirds.org/blog21/hummingbird-nests/

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Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Glaze [Vegan]

www.onegreenplanet.org

By Megan Calipari

Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Glaze [Vegan]

7 hours ago

These Fluffy Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Glaze really puts vanilla at center stage. And boy does it shine.

Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Glaze [Vegan]

Ingredients

For the Scones:

  • 1 Stick Non-Dairy Butter, COLD + cut into cubes
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 1/8 teaspoon if using fine grain salt
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Plant Milk
  • 2 teaspoons  Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped

For the Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 5-6 teaspoons Plant Milk

Preparation

For the Scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F and Line a sheet tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine plant milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the seeds from the scraped vanilla bean. Whisk to combine, being sure to break up any clumps of vanilla bean.
  4. Add the cubed non-dairy butter to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, work the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of small peas.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour butter mixture and using a spatula, gently fold until everything is just combined.
  6. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press into a circle that is 6-7 inches in diameter.
  7. Using a sharp knife, slice the circle into 6 triangles. Place the triangles onto a lined sheet tray and bake in a 425* oven for 18-20 minutes or until the scones are golden all the way across the bottom.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before glazing.

For the Vanilla Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract. Add the plant milk 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring with a whisk in between each addition, until you reach a consistency that can be drizzled.
  2. Once, scones have cooled for 10 minutes, use a spoon to drizzle the desired amount of glaze onto each scone.

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About The Author

Megan Calipari

See My Recipes

Megan is a plant-based pastry chef, recipe developer and founder of the food blog Earthly Provisions. She is passionate about sharing the power of p… lants– for the animals, the environment and for our own well-being.   Load More

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/vanilla-bean-scones-with-vanilla-glaze-vegan/