The city council in Martelle, IA is trying to force me to remove my “vicious breed” dog from the city limits. The city has an ordinance banning any “vicious breed.” Please help me by getting the city council to realize that not all of the dogs in these breeds are vicious.
My dog has been raised right and grown up around kids her whole life. My dog is a 3 1/2 year old American Bully, she will be 4 in October. Between my husband and I we have five boys 7 years old and younger. She is a registered emotional support animal to me. Please help myself and my kids keep our dog. They all love her so much… my almost two year old will not go to bed at night without giving her kisses and telling her goodnight. She has never done anything wrong to anyone in this town. I have submitted my emotional support paperwork and my letter prescribing her to me, and they have hired a lawyer & are giving me a week to remove her from within the city limits.
Please help myself and my family by signing this so I can show up with as much help as possible during the next city council meeting to get them to change this ordinance in our city!!!
Rebecca Shepherd in NewsLast updated 6:53 PM, Monday July 20 2020 GMT+1 3-4 minutes
An animal rights charity has shared shocking pictures of caged puppies in Korea as they urge people not take part in the tradition of eating the dog soup to cool them down during the hottest days of summer.
The charity, NoToDogMeat, says that some Koreans still maintain their tradition of eating boshintang, a Korean soup that includes dog meat as its primary ingredient.
Credit: Jam Press
The dogs used in the soup are typically found from dog farms, stray dogs or are people’s own pets that end up being brutally tortured.
NoToDogMeat is calling on all Koreans to boycott this practice and urge anyone taking part to think again.
Days of Bok (伏)/ Boknals, which mark the beginning, peak and the end of the dog-eating season according to the Chinese calendar, are traditionally in the summer when temperatures are at their hottest. This year the Boknals began on Sunday (19 July) and will end on 8 August.
Credit: Jam Press
NoToDogMeat CEO Julia de Cadenet said: “In previous years, our activists witnessed the horrors of Koreans feasting on dogs at the notorious Moran market.
“Dogs often with collars on staring out with pleading eyes and revellers selected them for slaughter. In 2012 we launched a UK Government petition to close this vile market, and in 2017 the mayor of Seoul ordered the dismantling of cages in this market and several others followed suit.
“For us, it signalled a true beginning of change as soon other markets started to close. Of course, dogs are still sold, and gruesome farms and abuse continue, but we saw progress.”
Credit: Jam Press
Protests containing their distinctive NoToDogMeat banners were also featured in Australian filmmakers movie The Dog Meat Professionals: South Korea.
In the film we see rows of dogs in cages at a dog farm. An interviewer asks an employee if the dogs are being kept for pets. He replies: “All these dogs are for dog meat soup. They are all raised to be eaten.”
Julia added: “Although Korea has not followed China’s recent move to tentatively declare dogs and cats as companion animals (so no longer livestock), there are many bye-laws in place that activists on the ground and internationally push to be enforced.
“So why aren’t these laws enforced? This is a question activists continue to raise to embassies and government officials, and right now in South Korea, there is a mass e-petition campaign.”
NoToDogMeat are currently supporting, among others, Korean Charity Kara, which organised a drive through protest four days ago with an overwhelmingly positive response.
Julia said her charity will be showing their support by taking to the streets on 23 July (Thursday) at 2-5pm at the South Korean Embassy in London followed by a walk to House of Parliament before they break for summer recess.
It also clarifies standards of care requirements for food, water, and shelter, and includes provisions for hygiene conditions, grooming, and veterinary care, while removing ambiguous language to ensure anyone who tortures a pet can be charged for their crime.
Finally, mental health assessments will now be required for juveniles with offenses punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor and class D felony.
“HF737 is a significant step forward for Iowa, a state that has long been ranked as one of the worst in the nation for animal protection laws,” commented Iowa Pet Alliance executive director Haley Anderson. “During such unprecedented and politically contentious times, HF737 has proven that protecting our pets is something the majority of Iowans and legislators can agree on, regardless of party.”
Lady Freethinker (LFT) applauds this step in the right direction for Iowa. Thank you to the nearly 32,000 people who signed LFT’s petition demanding stronger and more effective animal welfare legislation in in the state, and to all of the animal activists in Iowa fighting so hard for change.
Whilst Kellogg’s does have a number of vegan cereals and products, they could expand this range extensively by simply switching the vitamin D used in their cereals to a plant-based version.
The vitamin D currently used in most of Kellogg’s products is an animal-derived version of vitamin D3. This comes from a substance called lanolin, which is found in sheep’s wool.
Vegans avoid wool and products made from wool for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is an inherent link between the wool industry and the meat industry. Additionally, undercover investigations into the wool industry have shown abuse and horrific treatment of gentle sheep during the sheering process.
Plant-based vitamin D can be in the form of vitamin D2 or a plant-derived D3.
Last year, Animal Aid announced that supermarket giant Asda has swapped the vitamin D in a number of their cereals to a plant-based version, making a number of their own-brand cereals vegan.
This simple swap does nothing to alter the taste or quality of the product, but it does open it up to a huge and ever-growing vegan market.
Please join us in urging Kellogg’s to swap the vitamin D3 in their cereals for a vegan version.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the preeminent legal advocate for animals, released the first in a series of white papers providing policy recommendations to reduce our heightened risk from zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and the next global pandemic, which need only a human-animal interaction to arise. The paper — COVID-19 and Animals — asserts that, even as the government mobilizes to limit the staggering impact of COVID-19, it is imperative it also address immediate and gradual changes to mitigate the ongoing risk from zoonotic disease outbreaks.
Live markets, where diverse live animals are sold and slaughtered on demand, originally received significant attention and criticism due to suspicion that COVID-19 originated in a live market in Wuhan, China — as SARS had originated in a similar market in 2002. Alternatively, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s paper raises the alarm around the rate of zoonotic disease being produced in the industrial animal agriculture industry in the U.S.
Factory farms engage in many of the same risky practices as live markets, but on a scale orders of magnitude greater. Factory farming is already responsible for numerous zoonotic disease outbreaks, including the 1997 Bird Flu (H5N1) and the 2009 Swine Flu (H1N1). In April 2020, a highly pathogenic strain of Bird Flu (H7N3) — a strain which has caused illness in humans — was discovered in a turkey farm in South Carolina. It is simply a matter of time before a zoonotic disease outbreak has the combination of high level of contagion and high fatality rate. In that respect, COVID-19 is a dress rehearsal, with a fatality rate predicted to be under one percent (still fluctuating as cases progress) — compared to 60 percent of H1N1 and 90 percent of Ebola, another zoonotic disease, which have lower levels of contagion.
The legal and illegal wildlife trade, animal habitat loss and human encroachment, climate change, and recent regulatory obstruction by the federal government are also examined — as well as the failure of U.S. laws and regulatory oversight, including public health agencies, to prepare for a pandemic scientists and experts have predicted for decades — and the absence of any proactive measures.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is grateful for its collaborating partners in the production of these recommendations, including Co-Directors Ryan Gordon and Vanessa Shakib of Advancing Law for Animals and Jackie Bowen, MS, MPH, of Clean Label Project.
This article is contributed by guest writer, Emily G. (Author of Cattail Gardens).
Temperatures are on the rise signifying the start of summer. While the hot weather gives you a chance to go out and enjoy some sun, be aware that the hot temperatures can be dangerous for your pet.
While humans sweat to remain cool in hot weather, cats and dogs sweat glands provide them with traction to protect their paws while they’re walking rather than thermoregulation. Thus, during this hot weather, your pet will rely on you to keep them cool. Here’s how you can help your furry friend cope with summer heat.
Dogs pant to keep themselves cool. Unfortunately, during hot months the air they are taking in is often too hot, which means panting may be less effective in keeping them cool. Here are a few things you can do to keep your pup cool during this weather.
1. Don’t leave your dog in your car
Every summer, many pets die due to heat exposure in vehicles. Between 2009 and 2018, the RSPCA received 64,443 cases of pet’s heat exposure in England and Wales, and 90% of these cases involved dogs in vehicles. You should never leave your dog in the car even with windows open. On a hot day, a car is like a furnace, and it takes just six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car.
2. Provide your dog with lots of water and shade
Drinking lots of water is one of the ways dogs keep cool in summer. If you are going for a walk, ensure you carry a bottle of clean, fresh water for your dog. If you must leave your pet in the house, provide several bowls of clean, fresh water just in case one of the containers gets knocked over. You can also give your dog more wet food during the hot months to protect them from dehydration. If you have to take your dog for a walk, ensure you do so in the early mornings or late evenings when the temperature is cooler. Further, walk them in shady areas to protect them from the direct heat. Always ensure they are on a leash as they might get lost while running after a rabbit or another dog. Let your dog soak in a shallow swimming pool during scorching hot weather but ensure this is done under supervision to protect them from drowning.
Your pup’s sensitive paws shouldn’t walk on hot pavement, asphalt, or metal. Such hot surfaces will not only burn their paws, but the heat will also increase their body temperature. Even riding with your dog on an open pickup truck is extremely dangerous. The hot dark truck metal surface can result in overheating.
4. Apply sunscreen on your dog’s light-colored nose and ears
Dogs and cats, just like humans, can get sunburn and skin cancer. Apply a dog recommended sunscreen on your pet’s light-colored coat, ears, and nose to protect them from the heat.
Summer safety tips for cats
Cats enjoy sunbathing and lazing around in hot weather. But they still need to keep cool, and this is possible with a little help from their pet parents.
1. Ensure your cat isn’t confined in hot areas
Although cats like to bask in the sun during a hot day, they can also suffer from a heatstroke. This often occurs when they’re trapped in hot areas such as a greenhouse, a car, an apartment, or a conservatory. Ensure your pet isn’t confined in such areas.
If your furry friend is indoors, ensure you have a fan or air conditioning that keeps the house cool. You can also keep the curtains drawn, and the blinds closed to keep the house cool.
If your cat is outdoors ensure you keep a watchful eye on them. There are many temptations during summer and it takes just a second for your cat to get lost or get injured while running on the street.
Your cat’s coat helps to keep them cool during hot weather and warm during the cold months.
You can trim your cat’s fur, but don’t shave it. You’ll note that your cat will regularly groom themselves during hot days. This is nothing to worry about as it’s a cooling mechanism, just like sweating in humans.
3. Check your cat’s paws
Cat’s sweat glands are found on their paws. Wet paws are a sign that your cat needs to cool off. Dipping the paws in water helps to cool your cat’s body temperature. Don’t forget to provide your cat with plenty of fresh, clean water even when they’re outdoors.
Give special attention
Some pets need special treatment during the summer months. Such pets include:
Pet breeds with flat faces
Pets that are overweight
Pets with unkempt hair
Pets with lung and heart diseases
Such animals are more susceptible to overheating. You’ll need to give them extra attention and ensure they’re comfortable during the hot months.
If your pet exhibits any of these signs, take them to a shaded area. You can also apply cool water on their foot pads, abdomen, or ears. You also need to take them to a vet once they have stabilized as a heatstroke can be fatal.
Dr. Bryan Langlois, medical director of the Lancaster County-based Pet Pantry, said the days leading up to July 4 can be a stressful time for pet owners
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The Fourth of July weekend is a time of celebration for many Americans, but it can be a stressful time for pet owners who struggle to keep their furry friends calm as more and more fireworks displays happen in the runup to the holiday.
Dr. Bryan Langlois, Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and past president of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, recently offered some advice on what pet owners can do.
“This is always a difficult time of year for many pet owners,” Langlois said in a press release. “In fact, the July 4th Holiday is one of the biggest times when pets go missing or get lost from their homes because they are so frightened by the fireworks displays.
“While some pets seem to adapt just fine, many others will suffer mild to extreme stress and anxiety over it. That can translate into pets causing harm to themselves and your homes trying to escape the noise of fireworks. Fortunately, over the years veterinarians have been able to obtain new medications and methods to help control this anxiety to make the holiday enjoyable for everyone.”
Langlois said some of the things pet owners can do to help reduce anxiety because of fireworks include:
Set them up in a room that has distractions such as an air conditioner going or a TV or radio playing in the background. Many cable and online platforms even have dedicated channels now that are geared towards cats and dogs to keep them entertained. Just providing this type of distraction (sometimes with you spending time in the room with them) helps to keep their focus on what is going on inside, and not outside.
Offering treat puzzles, treat balls, catnip toys, or kongs filled with things like peanut butter can all help act as a distraction for dogs and cats as well.
If your pet is one that gets extremely frightened or anxious to the point of being destructive or harming themselves, then you definitely want to discuss with your veterinarian about getting some anti-anxiety medications for your pet. These medications make can make a world of difference for your pet in being able to remain calm.
Langlois also said that now, and not the day of July 4th, is the time to discuss with your veterinarian about these issues and develop a plan of action.
“It used to be that vets would give a straight sedative for these animals,” he said. “Over the years it became known that, while they were sedating the animal, they were really not taking the anxiety away. Veterinarians now will look to prescribe a true anti-anxiety medication for your pet, and there are many to chose from.
“That is why it is important to talk to your vet about which one is best for your pet, as all pets react differently. Talking with your vet now allows for you to decide which medication is best and provide time for you to get it from your vet or a pharmacy.”
Improvements in the way medications are made is also an important advancement making administration a lot easier, Langlois said.
“Probably the biggest hurdle we have faced in being able to medicate pets properly has been in owners being able to give these medications to their pets without difficulty,” he said. “As we all know many pets, especially cats, can be exceedingly difficult to medicate even if we try to hide the medication in food or treats.
“Fortunately, the world of compounded medications now allows us to create these medications in various forms that can be flavored and therefore become quite easy to give to your pets. It is important that you talk with your vet about this opportunity as well since many compounded medications do take a few days to produce.”
Langlois offered this final piece of advice for anyone with questions.
“As we always say, if you have any questions at all about the health and well being of your pet and how to help keep them stress free this holiday, the only place you should go to is your local and trusted veterinarian.”
A service dog was found shot in the head, face and shoulder after disappearing from his home with a military veteran. He survived, but the person behind this horrific cruelty is still at large. Demand justice for this innocent animal.
Animals were rescued from a “shelter” where they reportedly endured unimaginable neglect, such as untreated tumors, infections and one report of a dog whose jaw was “literally rotting out… laying there, waiting to die.” The owner of the shelter had previously been charged with abuse, was allowed to continue owning animals, and remains a free man even today. Sign this petition to demand authorities finally prosecute the accused abuser.
Author (s): Claudine Liegeois Recipient (s): President RPChine, Ambassador RPC in France, governor of the city of YULIN The petition
Governing a continent-state is obviously a challenge.
And this is undoubtedly part of the origin of the centralizing and firm regime in the DRC.
However, it did not prevent (if we dismiss the scenario of a laboratory leak), the propagation and the monstrous planetary damage of the Covid19.
This is because those in charge of the Chinese political apparatus, despite all the coercive means with which they have been able to acquire, allow archaic traditions, officially banned, to persist until this 21st century (!)
On this sinister occasion, what an incredible image China has revealed for itself: beneath the veneer of a modern country and a brilliant elite, we discover a people maintained in its rusticity and lack of education.
The Chinese regime’s tolerance for these evil traditions is odious. One would not dare to think that these are there, valves necessary for the supervision of the masses….
Concerning the market of Yulin and the prior, abject torture, of dogs and cats for a meat of better taste, You continue to ignore the terror of other nations that can not, by simple comparison, qualified as ” civilized ”.
You will tolerate unbearable, cruel, intolerable practices; unworthy of any individual having respect for himself. You stick to diplomatic promises, facade bans; You close your eyes, You let it happen.
This customary and irresponsible tolerance to feudal practices has led you and the entire planet to almost unprecedented human, economic and social disaster.
The image of China did not come out of it larger, and distrust towards it was duly installed around the world.
Since then, you have been able (it seems?) To take things in hand and stop the markets for wild and protected animals.
Do the same with markets like Yulin; Stop the gratuitous and unbearable torture of these poor beasts!
These are manifestations of barbarians, which we can only hope to turn to those who practice them and those who tolerate them. One would hope that the Covid19 would spread to Yulin; So, in turn, men will have to suffer before they die
Hoping that my appeal will be heard, I shout my indignation here against all these so-called traditional abuses.
PETITION TARGET: Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko
After a plane landed in Toronto from Ukraine, airport workers discovered a shocking scene on board: 38 French Bulldogs lying dead in their cages, likely from suffocation during the flight, and hundreds more covered in vomit and barely able to stand, dehydrated from traveling so far without water.
French Bulldogs are already so vulnerable to respiratory problems that some airlines refuse to allow them on their planes, but this particular flight reportedly shrink-wrapped some of the cages, dramatically increasing their likelihood of death.
The helpless dogs were likely imported from large-scale breeders, or puppy mills, as the demand for French Bulldogs has soared during the current coronavirus pandemic, according to the Daily Mail. Even for commercial breeders, though, transporting 500 dogs on a plane is a near impossible task.
Sign this petition urging Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko to push the Ukrainian government to ban all puppy mills involved in this tragic event, potentially saving hundreds of dogs from suffering a similar fate.
Ask Iceland’s Minister of the Environment to stop allowing trophy hunting of puffins
Iceland’s iconic puffins are incredibly friendly and social birds who spend most of their lives on the ocean. These remarkable birds have been rapidly declining over the years1 – the population of Atlantic Puffins in Iceland has recently shrunk by over 2 million and the numbers of puffins have declined by as much as 42% in the last five years2.
One reason for their decline? Hunting, including the trophy hunting of puffins for ‘fun.’ As many as 100 of these defenseless birds are killed per trophy hunter and taken back to their homes to show off as evidence of this cruel ‘sport.’
Puffins already face other threats out of our control, but we do have the power to shut down the slaughter of these threatened birds3. We can help ensure that puffins can thrive and survive in their natural environment without the additional threat of trophy hunting driving them to extinction.
About 60% of the puffin population lives in Iceland4. Sign the petition to tell Iceland’s Minister of Environment to STOP the slaughter of puffins!
Even though the hunting season for puffins in Iceland has been shortened, it still allows for 10’s of 1,000’s of puffins to be killed each year – including by trophy hunters paying a premium to hunt up to 100 puffins per hunter, sometimes for their feathers alone.
According to the globally renowned ICUN Red List, puffins are classified as vulnerable, or “considered to be facing high risk of extinction in the wild.” A full ban on the trophy hunting of puffins is urgently needed to help protect them from disappearing entirely.
We know you’re aware of the troubling numbers of puffins and are reviewing actions to help protect them… but not enough has been done yet. It’s a critical time for the puffin and we ask you to take action NOW, before we lose these iconic birds forever.
Renee Kraft started this petition to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and 10 others 2 minutes
Due to the impact of Covid -19 the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter (TOHAS) shut its doors to the public only allowing adoptions of animals following Covid -19 guidelines. Despite the pleas of trappers and homeowners they discontinued their much needed and popular Trap Neuter Return (TNR) services leaving trappers and homeowners to pay out of pocket for spay and neuter expenses.
Now with the reopening of NYS phase 2, TOHAS has not provided any information when they are opening and resuming TNR services despite the fact that under NYS phase 2 spay and neuter services are permitted to be performed per the NYS COVID executive orders under NIACS code 541940. There is no excuse for the TNR program to not be opened!
There is an overpopulation of feral cats on Long Island. We are exploding right now with an abundance of kittens. Too many to place as pets and mamas are quickly getting pregnant with the next litter. Have you ever seen kittens lose their eyes to infection? Have a URI so bad it could barely breathe? Have it’s little body devoured by worms and parasites from the inside out? TNR is the only humane way to control the feral population and reduce the suffering.
Please sign this petition telling TOHAS to open their doors and resume their TNR program immediately. Taxpayers funded this program, they need these services now!
While walking down a street in Columbia some people were face to face with a shocking sight after a horse that was pulling a cart had to stop and give birth.
People there recorded the happening, some helped the horse and the little baby while another group was mad at the owner for making the pregnant horse carry heavy loads.
The birth happened at Popayan city and the video was put on YouTube and gathered more than 50.000 views.
Thousands of people that saw the video want for the owner to get charged with animal cruelty.
The owner of the horse tried to explain to the angry people that he along with his family were having financial struggles and they relied on the horse for their daily works.
But the angry crowd contacted animal authorities and reported the owner.
Óscar Ospina, Popayán’s health secretary informed that the horse and the baby had been taken from his previous owner so that she wont be used for heavy work again according to Mexico-based news site Cultura Colectiva.
Now the animal and her foal are under medical observation, added the article.
We hope we won’t hear these kinds of stories anymore because it’s truly heartbreaking.
All this has led to a joint statement from the British Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America regarding the need for a fashion industry reset. Other publications, such as Global Fashion Agenda’s CEO Agenda COVID-19 Edition discussed a humanitarian and existential crisis [for the industry].
What is fascinating in all these words, articles and dramas is, given that COVID-19 is a novel zoonotic disease none have discussed the fashion industry’s use of exotic and endangered animals. Company supply chains use both captive breeding facilities and wild-harvested ‘product’.
While ‘sustainability’ is the word on the fashion industries lips, repeatedly one of the most fragile ‘components’ of the luxury fashion business is left out of the sustainability conversation – endangered wildlife. COVID-19 is the result of business, including luxury retail and fashion, being blinkered to this most fragile component in its supply chain. Just what needs to happen for (luxury) fashion to break out of this tunnel vision? Sadly, the use of exotic and endangered species by the fashion industry falls into no man’s land between vegan fashion and pro-wildlife trade fashion; their main area of overlap being animal welfare.
The result is that endangered species, those listed for trade restrictions under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) have been ignored for decades. In a recent email Eva Kruse, CEO of GFA, she said “The legal trade in endangered species is a critical issue and not one we have engaged with in depth before here at Global Fashion Agenda. With regards to biodiversity as a topic, we find that our community of brands and retailers generally hold a low level of knowledge in this area.” What makes this astonishing is that a 2016 European Parliament said “The wildlife trade is one of the most lucrative trades in the world. The legal trade into the EU alone is worth €100 billion annually.”
On Monday evening, I sat through a session of The Act #ForNature Global Online Forum hosted by the UN Environment Assembly. The session I chose to watch was Adapt to Thrive: transformational change for nature and business. During this session Business For Nature CEO, Eva Zabey, used the example of Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault chairing The Fashion Pact as an example of the fashion industry doing something practical about the need to align business with a ‘nature-positive’ approach. As this example was given, HowToSpendItEthically.Org would like to clarify The Fashion Pact’s commitment to the CITES listed endangered species used in the fashion industry supply chain.
Firstly, what is the Fashion Pact? French President, Emmanuel Macron proposed a mission to Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault to bring together ‘a global coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry (ready-to-wear, sport, lifestyle and luxury) including their suppliers and distributors, all committed to a common core of key environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.’
From the site: The “Pact” contains best efforts that are concrete (i.e. visionary but achievable) and that intend to directly address each of the priority areas.
It goes on to say: The “Pact” will not reinvent the wheel but create an overarching framework for action in relation to the One Planet Lab work streams. This includes direct links to the significant work already taking place in existing initiatives within the fashion sector in the manufacturing part of supply chains. The new targets will build on the existing initiatives such as Apparel Impact Institute, C&A Foundation, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Fair Fashion Center, Fashion For Good, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN International Labour Organization/Better Work, ZDHC. The aim is to ensure that new actions will fill the “gaps” across fashion supply chains.
Did you notice what is missing? CITES, whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. How can this not be included when one of the 3 goals of the pact is restoring biodiversity and direct exploitation for trade has been confirmed as the second biggest contributor to the extinction crisis, playing a greater role than climate change?
The industry has a blind spot in relation to its use of wildlife, be it by accident or deliberate. This has been apparent from going through publications, announcements, talks, conference proceedings etc. If wildlife ever features – and it almost never does – it is only in the context of considering animal welfare issues.
(Bloomberg) — There are four critical facets of pandemic prevention, according to Lee Hannah, senior scientist at Conservation International. Three of them make immediate sense against the backdrop of our current emergency: stockpile masks and respirators; have testing infrastructure ready; and ban the global wildlife trade, including the open animal markets where COVID-19 may have first infected people.
His fourth recommendation is more grandiose: “Take care of nature.”
The assault on ecosystems that allowed COVID-19 to jump from animals to humans went far beyond merchants hunting and selling rare wildlife. Biodiversity—that is, the health of the entire ecosystem—can restrain pathogens before they ever leave the wild. “We need to tell people right now that there is a series of things we need to do once we’re out of this mess to make sure it never happens again,” Hannah says.
The role of biodiversity in disease prevention has received increased attention of late. In a 2015 “state of knowledge review” of biodiversity and human health by the United Nations, scientists wrote that “an ecological approach to disease, rather than a simplistic ‘one germ, one disease’ approach, will provide a richer understanding of disease-related outcomes.” Recent research has given more support to the idea that biodiversity protection in one part of the world can prevent novel diseases from emerging and leaping into another.
It’s a numbers game, in part. Not all species in a community are equally susceptible to a given disease, nor are they all equally efficient transmitters. In diverse ecosystems well separated from human habitations, viruses ebb and flow without ever having a chance to make it to the big time. null
But as people move in, those protections begin to break down. Disrupted ecosystems tend to lose their biggest predators first, and what they leave behind are smaller critters that live fast, reproduce in large numbers, and have immune systems more capable of carrying disease without succumbing to it. When there are only a few species left, they’re good at carrying disease, and they thrive near people, there may be nothing between a deadly pathogen and all of humanity.
“Virus spillover risk” from wildlife to people rises as contact increases between them, according to research published Tuesday by a team of researchers led by Christine Kreuder Johnson of the One Health Institute at University of California, Davis. Almost half of the new diseases that jumped from animals to humans (called zoonotic pathogens) after 1940 can be traced to changes in land use, agriculture, or wildlife hunting. SARS, Ebola, West Nile, Lyme, MERS, and others all fit the profile. There may be 10,000 mammalian viruses potentially dangerous to people.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.390.0_en.html#goog_798448485null
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Share: Will Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here’s What One of World Health Organization’s Top Experts Thinks
Dr. Bruce Aylward was part of the WHO’s team that went to China after the coronavirus outbreak there in January. He has urged all nations to use times bought during lockdowns to do more testing and respond aggressively.
“We are messing with natural systems in certain ways that can make them much more dangerous than they would otherwise be,” says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “And biodiversity loss is one of those. Climate change is another.”
A longer-term strategy can help nations see the benefits of rethinking resource use. “The revenue from clearing new forest is extremely high—briefly,” says William Karesh, executive vice president at EcoHealth Alliance, a research nonprofit. “But the cost to the public-health system also goes up because you get very common diseases like malaria.” And as we’re now seeing, new zoonotic pathogens can be even more expensive to deal with.
Despite years of creative and resource-intensive work by governments and nonprofits, companies’ actions to mitigate habitat loss aren’t adding up. Many large companies have pledged to halt deforestation, the largest driver of biodiversity loss, through initiatives like the Consumer Goods Forum, the Banking Environment Initiative and their Soft Commodities Compact. “All have missed the mark,” according to a new report by the Rainforest Action Network.
Hannah, of Conservation International, is working to make sure that the reasons to promote biodiversity, including its pathogen-dulling potential, align with the other endangered elephant in the room: climate change.
In February, Hannah and colleagues announced findings on what the effects of achieving climate and conservation targets might be. Using data on 290,000 species, they were able to squint into the future and see where ecosystems might be saved from mass extinction if nations preserve 30% of natural habitats and meet UN limits for global warming. All told, meeting the goals would cut biodiversity losses in half.
The international community is positioned to make some progress. The Convention on Biological Diversity is a 196-nation effort to protect the richness of living things, tap natural resources sustainably, and share the benefits of the environment’s naturally occurring genetic innovations. (The U.S. and the Vatican are non-members.) The next phase of the biodiversity treaty, currently in draft form, proposes that at least 30% of land and ocean be conserved, up from 17% in the previous round. If governments agree to that goal, then nations and conservation scientists must take on the complicated step of figuring out which 30% is most important to protect and how to do it. null
The way those areas are drawn today rarely reflects the scientific ideal of how to guard biodiversity. Looking at the existing protected lands, a paper in Nature last month found that 90% of conservation space fails to give bird, amphibian and mammal species the full range of environmental conditions across their existing habitats.
“We could be doing a much better job of getting things in the right places,” says Hannah. “There’s going to be right places for disease control and they may largely overlap the right places for biodiversity.”
Chief, a white-and-orange English setter, knifes through a forest of pale-barked aspen, so thick in places the trees seem to gobble him up, the ding ding ding of his collar the only clue to his whereabouts.
These impenetrable thickets in central Pennsylvania known as the Scotia Barrens make for hard hiking. But they’re prime habitat for ruffed grouse—crow-size birds whose mottled, russet coloring blends into the fallen leaves Chief is sniffing feverishly. If he flushes out a ruffed grouse on this November afternoon, he’ll get an extra hearty pat from his owner, Lisa Williams. That’s because Pennsylvania’s official state bird is getting harder to find.
“Depending on who you talk to, the ruffed grouse is either the king of the game birds, or it’s a forest chicken,” says Williams, grouse biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, a state agency whose mission is to conserve birds and mammals for present and future generations. Hunters prize ruffed grouse because they’re canny—elusive on the ground and tricky targets in the air.
They’re native to the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes region, and large swaths of Canada. In the spring mating season, males hop onto a log and beat their wings rapidly and rhythmically in a crescendoing womp womp womp— “drumming” that carries more than a quarter of a mile,even through thick cover such as we’re tromping through following Chief’s helter-skelter lead.
But after a few hours of searching, the setter comes up short.
A male ruffed grouse in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, puts on a courtship display. These spectacular, elusive birds are a favorite among hunters.
A ruffed grouse perches on a branch in Minnesota’s Sax-Zim Bog. In 2005, a biologist found West Nile antibodies in birds killed at the Annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, in north-central Minnesota. Crows, blue jays, and owls are some of the 300 species hit hard by the mosquito-borne disease.
Photograph by Michael Quinton, Minden Pictures (top) and Photograph by Benjamin Olson, Minden Pictures (bottom)
Between 1978 and 2000, flush rates for ruffed grouse reported by hunters in Pennsylvania declined by 2 percent, reflecting the aging of the thick, young forests the birds need for food and shelter, Williams says. But then, between 2001 and the end of 2018, flush rates plummeted by 54 percent.
West Nile virus: a mosquito-borne pathogen that dominated the news when it appeared in New York City in the summer of 1999. Many expected the virus to race through the human population as a pandemic, but the disease peaked four years later with just under 10,000 cases nationwide. The fear waned.
The virus lingered in the woods, however, spreading from bird to bird— not just ruffed grouse but more than 300 species, causing brain lesions, and killing millions of birds. “Some of our best-loved backyard birds are missing,” Williams says. Crows, owls, and blue jays are among those that have suffered severe losses to West Nile virus. Ruffed grouse numbers have fallen in states from Minnesota and Michigan to North Carolina and New Jersey, a problem exacerbated by climate change.
In Pennsylvania, Williams says, ruffed grouse declined by an estimated 23 percent between 2017 and 2018—“a horrendous year.” West Nile virus, she adds, is “a classic climate change disease.” Earlier springs in the forests give mosquitoes more time to pump out larvae, and increases in precipitation, also spurred by climate change, create more stagnant pools in which the insects can reproduce.
For all the seriousness of the situation, ruffed grouse numbers have yet to fall to a level that would trigger Endangered Species Act protections. That’s all the more reason to act now, Williams says. “The time to intervene is before you’re in that emergency-room situation. You want to do something while you still have enough animals to respond and work with.”
Following a hunch
Williams spent nearly two decades as a bat expert at the Pennsylvania Game Commission before switching to ruffed grouse in 2011. She had witnessed firsthand how white nose syndrome, a fungus that infects the faces and wings of bats, devastated local bat populations, and the more she examined ruffed grouse population information, the more she suspected that something similar was happening to the birds. But no one could say for sure, because in the early years after the virus showed up, most research focused on human health. (Read more about the killer fungus wreaking havoc on bats.)
In 2004, for example, Pennsylvania’s largest breeder of captive grouse reported that 24 out of 30 birds died during a two-week period. This prompted him to send one of the dead birds to a lab for testing, which determined West Nile virus as the cause of death. In 2005, a biologist found West Nile antibodies in birds killed at the Annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, in north-central Minnesota. In 2006, experiments showed that West Nile could be particularly lethal to greater sage grouse, a relative of ruffed grouse native to the American West.
“There were all these different things that came together as I was sort of working through this hunch,” Williams says.
To get a better idea of what was going on, Williams mined information provided by hunters—an “amazing” trove going back to 1965. In Pennsylvania, ruffed grouse hunts are permitted from mid-October to the end of November, as well as for another 10 days in mid-to-late December. Each hunter is allowed to take up to two grouse a day but isn’t permitted to have more than six in the freezer at one time to prevent overexploitation of the birds.
In November 2019, I joined Duane Diefenbach, a wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and his English setter Chelsea, in Susquehannock State Forest, in north-central Pennsylvania. Diefenbach is one of hundreds of hunters who report to the commission everything from the number of hours they spend looking for grouse and where they search to how many times their dogs flush out birds.
When cornered, a ruffed grouse explodes out of the forest undergrowth with thunderclapping wings. So when Chelsea freezes, signaling that she’s scented a grouse, Diefenbach closes in, shotgun poised. But no bird erupts. “This is probably where the grouse was 10 minutes ago,” he says ruefully.
By the end of our outing, though, Chelsea and a younger setter named Parker have flushed out eight grouse. Diefenbach doesn’t bag a single one, though. “That’s how it goes with grouse hunting,” he says with a grin.
Eight ruffed grouse may seem a good number, but 30 years ago, a day in this forest would likely have yielded 20 or so, according to Diefenbach. “Everyone I know agrees there’s fewer grouse, and that’s because there’s less habitat…but if you’re a dedicated grouse hunter, you know that the changes over the past 10 years have nothing to do with habitat.”
To get a deeper understanding of the effects of West Nile virus on ruffed grouse, in 2014 Williams began asking hunters to mail in feathers and blood samples, which she tested for the disease. Counterintuitively, she says, in a bad West Nile year, only about 4 percent of hunted birds have antibodies that indicate previous West Nile infection. But in years when West Nile ebbs, up to a quarter of the hunted birds may test positive for antibodies. That’s because when the virus is hitting hard, exposed grouse don’t survive long enough to be shot by hunters in the fall.
Williams says this suggests that the virus’s true toll is likely even higher, because there’s no way to estimate how many ruffed grouse die from it before the hunting season begins.
Since 2014, states from Minnesota to Maine and North Carolina have followed Pennsylvania’s example and collected ruffed grouse blood samples. Most places register declines similar to Pennsylvania’s, but Maine, inexplicably, seems largely unaffected. This could be because most hunting—and 98 percent of the testing—takes place in the northern part of the state where the climate is generally cooler, says Kelsey Sullivan, migratory bird biologist at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Or, he adds, it could be “that quality habitats reduce occurrence and increase the ability of grouse to withstand and diffuse the virus.” And Maine’s north woods are as close to paradise for ruffed grouse as it gets.
Lisa Williams has been pushing the importance of habitat for a while. And in 2019, she teamed up with Bob Blystone and Jeremy Diehl, geographic information system analysts at the Pennsylvania Game Commission, to develop a computer model to assess habitat quality. It’s called the Grouse Priority Area Siting Tool (G-PAST), and it can help wildlife managers identify the best and worst areas for conserving ruffed grouse.
G-PAST predicts, for example, that the Scotia Barrens—previously some of the best ruffed grouse habitat in the state—is unlikely to regain that status region-wide because of its low elevation (where mosquitoes tend to thrive), its flat terrain (conducive to standing water where mosquitoes breed), and its lack of proximity to existing grouse populations (which hold potential for repopulating the area). By contrast, G-PAST finds that parts of Susquehannock State Forest, where the terrain is higher, could serve as critical ruffed grouse sanctuaries.
With that information, the Pennsylvania Game Commission can target forest areas for management strategies such as cutting stands of older trees to encourage the new growth preferred by ruffed grouse, which will also invigorate more than 30 other species, including deer, bears, turkeys, and rattlesnakes.
Another way to help grouse is by adjusting the pressures people put on them. New Jersey has banned ruffed grouse hunting indefinitely and is working with Pennsylvania to create its own version of G-PAST. Both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have shortened their hunting seasons, and Ohio is considering doing the same. Hunters have been supportive of the measures.
“Grouse hunters are their own unique breed,” Williams says. “They’re highly passionate about the species, and they’re willing to give up their own recreation to try to help.”
Meanwhile, in coordination with hunters and other Great Lakes states, Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources, based in Saint Paul, recently started a two-year study of West Nile virus in ruffed grouse. According to Charlotte Roy, the department’s grouse project leader, the state is experiencing more frequent extreme rainfall events, which may lead to more West Nile-carrying mosquitoes.
“I think we should be aware of the impacts that we’re having on natural processes and potentially take corrective action where we can,” she says. “West Nile virus is going to be out there whether we pay attention to it or not.”
Bears are highly intelligent with strong family ties. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. Photo by Jos Bakker
Missouri has proposed a hunting season on its small and still-recovering population of black bears, who were once nearly wiped out because of overhunting and logging, which decimated their habitat.
The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates that there are now approximately 540 to 840 bears in the state. But some studies show that those numbers may be inflated. And even if there are as many bears as the MDC claims, it’s still not a large number.
Missouri has no good reason for allowing such a hunt. Bears self-regulate their own populations because of limited food availability and slow reproduction. There have also been minimal bear-human conflicts in the state, and these are entirely preventable.
Fact is, the only reason the MDC is proposing this hunt is to appease trophy hunters. But Missourians do not support it, not least because it would deprive a majority of the state’s residents of the joy of seeing a black bear in the wild. According to a March 2019 poll conducted by Remington Research Group for the Humane Society of the United States, nearly half of Missouri residents outright oppose hunting the state’s bears while fewer than a third support such a hunt.
Instead of allowing trophy hunters to kill them, the MDC ought to be working hard to preserve its bear population. Bears are critical for a thriving ecosystem. They disperse seeds across vast distances—even more seeds than birds. They open up forest canopies and allow sun to filter to the forest floor. They also break logs while grubbing, which helps the decomposition process and facilitates the return of nutrients to the soil. Keeping bears protected is critical to maintaining the state’s biodiversity.
These are also incredible animals, highly intelligent with strong family ties. Bears have the largest brain size of any carnivore and are highly sentient. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. They are also slow to reproduce, which means hunting them can lead to their numbers dropping even faster than projected. Trophy hunters also tend to target adult breeding animals, which can lead to cubs being killed by incoming male bears looking to take over the newly opened territory.
Black bears are naturally shy and typically try to avoid humans, and the only times they are likely to come near humans is when there is food available. The MDC can help avoid such conflicts by expanding public education about simple, non-lethal preventative measures that residents can take to coexist peacefully with bears–including using bear-resistant trash cans, cleaning up BBQ grills, feeding pets indoors, and using electric fencing around chicken coops and beehives.
In what is also a concerning development, the MDC’s proposal leaves the cruel practices of bear baiting and bear hounding on the table “if management needs change in the future,” although these are not part of the current proposal. Hound hunting, or using packs of dogs to pursue bears, is an incredibly cruel practice that causes stress and distress to wildlife, and to the hounds themselves. Baiting—the practice of leaving large piles of junk food to attract the animals and then shoot them—is particularly heartless. Baits often attract mother bears who are looking for food but who find themselves in the crosshairs of a hunter instead. An overwhelming 77% of Missourians are strongly opposed to these methods, according to the Remington poll, and the MDC should not even be considering it.
Missouri’s wildlife officials would do well to heed the needs of the state’s wonderful wild animals, and the wishes of their residents, instead of kowtowing to a handful of trophy hunters. If you’re a Missouri resident, please let the MDC know that you’re opposed to this unnecessary killing of the state’s small and vulnerable bear population. The agency is accepting input on this proposal until June 5th, and raising your voice in opposition to it could make all the difference.
By national rural reporter Kath Sullivan. 5-6 minutes
An exemption to live export laws intended to improve animal welfare could be granted before the laws come into effect, allowing more than 50,000 Australian sheep to sail to the Middle East during the northern summer.
About 56,000 sheep are ready to be loaded on a ship with six crew infected by COVID-19.
The ship won’t be cleaned or loaded in time to sail before exports to the Middle East stop on June 1 to protect animals from heat stress.
The Agriculture Minister says an independent regulator could allow the shipment to go ahead.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has told the ABC the Al Kuwait, docked at Fremantle with at least six crew infected with COVID-19, won’t be cleaned or loaded in time to sail by June 1, when the three-and-a-half-month ban on sheep exports comes into effect.
“It will miss the deadline of 1 June for the moratorium on the northern summer exports, but there’s an exemption in the legislation for the independent regulator to grant approval for that ship to sail after 1 June, particularly in light of these circumstances,” Mr Littleproud said.
“But that would be at the discretion of the independent regulator, not me.”
In March, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environmentannounced a ban on live sheep exports to the Middle East from June 1 to September 14, due to the increased risk of heat stress.
“The changes will see improved animal welfare with a focus on conditions to manage the risk of heat stress during the northern hemisphere summer,” the department said at the time.
About 56,000 sheep are ready for loading on the Al Kuwait.
The Al Kuwait was expected to export 56,000 Australian sheep to the Middle East before a ban on sailing comes into effect on June 1.(Supplied: Rural Export and Trading, WA)
Mr Littleproud said they were in good health and distanced himself from a potential exemption, saying the independent regulator would need to make a quick decision about allowing the exports to take place.
“We don’t want to see this go too deep into June, but there’s a decision for the independent regulator,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I won’t be making a recommendation or making any of my personal views known to the independent regulator — that would be inappropriate,” he said.
“It is up to them to make their determination, that’s what the Australian public would expect. They’d expect that the live sheep that go into the Middle East do that in a safe way.”
‘Difficult to return sheep to paddocks’
Mr Littleproud said there were now “limited options” for dealing with the sheep.
“Those sheep have passed through biosecurity and it would be difficult for them to enter back into paddocks around Western Australia,” he said.
“The boat needs a deep clean and we have to work through the welfare of the crew and understand that and work with the company to see if other crew can take over.
“If that’s the case, that’ll evolve over the coming days.”
Mr Littleproud estimated a shipment of live sheep could be worth up to $12 million.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced sweeping changes to the live export sector following a review by the Department of Agriculture.(ABC News: Sean Davey)
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which led calls to ban live exports, said alternative markets for the sheep should be found after slaughter at West Australian abattoirs.
“Under no circumstances should exemptions from regulations prohibiting the export of sheep between 1 June and 14 September be granted to accommodate this consignment,” said the RSPCA in a statement.
“This would subject the sheep to unacceptable levels of heat stress and [possibly] death due to extreme heat and humidity in Middle Eastern waters at this time of year.”
Sheep ‘well cared for’
State-based lobby group WA Farmers said there was no cause for animal welfare concerns.
“The stock due for departure are being well cared for,” WA Farmers spokesman David Slade said.
“They have access to ample feed and water, with the livestock being held in the usual feedlots. They are regularly monitored by livestock personnel including vets and stock handlers.”
The Al Kuwait’s owners, Rural Export and Trading, WA issued a statement saying it would work closely with WA health authorities following the detection of COVID-19 on the vessel, but made no mention of the livestock.
Earlier this month it issued a statement that said it was disappointed by the Government’s new regulations prohibiting shipments of live sheep to the Middle East over the northern summer.
“Animal welfare is part of good business and has always been a company focus with significant investments in the vessel fleet, feedlot infrastructure and abattoirs which are world class,” it said at the time.
An online petition for Kaavan the elephant had gained over 280,000 signatures
He was brought to the Islamabad zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s
Caretakers responded to his aggression by chaining his legs and beating him
Animal rights groups have launched petitions to cover the costs of moving him
A court has ordered the release of a ‘mentally ill’ bull elephant to a sanctuary after 35 years suffering in a Pakistani zoo.
Local and international animal rights organizations launched a campaign to free Kaavan the elephant a year ago after reports that zookeepers were beating him and denying him food.
The Islamabad High Court today ordered wildlife officials to consult with Sri Lanka, where the Asian elephant came from, to find him a ‘suitable sanctuary’ within 30 days.
An online petition gained over 280,000 signatures and small protests were held outside Marghazar Zoo.
The campaign also attracted international attention, with rights groups and celebrities, including the singer Cher, calling for the elephant to be moved to a more humane facility.
After hearing the news of his release today, Cher said: ‘This is one of the greatest moments of my life.’The plight of Kaavan, a mentally tormented bull elephant confined to a small pen in an Islamabad Zoo for nearly three decades, has galvanized a rare animal rights campaign in PakistanPakistani caretaker Mohammad Jalal sits next to Kaavan the elephant at Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad Animal rights groups called on Pakistan to relocate Kaavan to an animal sanctuary. But the Capital Development Authority, the local agency in charge of managing the zoo, had refused
‘The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country,’ the court ordered, criticising the zoo for failing to meet the animal’s needs for the past three decades.
The court has also ordered dozens of other animals – including brown bears, lions and birds – to be relocated temporarily while the zoo improves its standards.
Elephants are gregarious by nature, and males can become aggressive when they are separated from the herd.
Kaavan, who was brought to the zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s, grew even more unruly when the female elephant he was being kept with died in 2012.
Activists say caretakers responded to his aggression by chaining his legs, beating him and confining him to an enclosure that was far too small.
Sunny Jamil, an activist at the Help Welfare Organization – a local animal rights group – said the mangled ceiling fan in the roof of the enclosure testifies to its insufficient height.
Jamil, who visits the zoo regularly, says the pen can reach 40 degrees Celsius (100 F) in the summer, and that the elephant is given little water to cool down. ‘It is cruel,’ he said.Kaavan, who was brought to the zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s, grew more unruly when the female elephant he was being kept with died in 2012 Activists say caretakers have responded to his aggression by chaining his legs, beating him, and confining him to an enclosure that is far too small
Mohammad Jalal, the caretaker for the 36-year-old elephant, said: ‘I have hardly seen him happy.’
Kaavan swayed back and forth as Jalal spoke – a sign of mental torment – and at one point hurled a brick at onlookers.
Animal rights groups have launched petitions to cover the costs of the move to the sanctuary.
The Capital Development Authority, the local agency in charge of managing the zoo, had originally refused the transfer – perhaps fearing it would lose visitors.
Instead, it had worked on bringing in another female elephant, said Sanaullah Aman, an official with the agency.
Aman denied the allegations of abuse and said ‘every possible step’ was being taken for Kaavan’s wellbeing, without elaborating.Mohammad Jalal, the caretaker for the 36-year-old elephant, said: ‘I have hardly seen him happy’
A zoo dubbed the worst in Britain is threatening to put down its animals because it is running out of money to feed the exotic breeds amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Tracy and Dean Tweedy, who own Borth Wild Animal Kingdom in West Wales, fear they only have enough money to feed more than 300 animals for a week.
The married couple say their money is running out to care for their stock and are planning ‘as a last resort’ to euthanise ‘the animals that we care for’. Married couple Tracy, 49, and Dean Tweedy (pictured) say their money is running out to care for their stock and are planning ‘as a last resort, euthanising the animals that we care for’ The zoo is running out of money to care for its 300 animals and the married couple said they are planning ‘as a last resort’ to euthanise ‘the animals that we care for’
Council chiefs ‘lost confidence’ in the ability of the zoo to operate safely following the deaths of two lynx and other animals.
In January this year, the zoo was ordered to close because it did not have trained gunmen in case of an animal escape.
But it was allowed to reopen in February before having to close again in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Tweedy, 49, said many staff are on furlough and the zoo’s business relief grant of £25,000 has nearly run out.
She said: ‘We were already only scraping by financially after the long, quiet winter season.
‘We need help now more than ever. Despite everything, we are as determined as ever to not give up.’ Council chiefs have ‘lost confidence’ in the ability of the zoo to operate safely following the deaths of two lynx. Pictured, the lynx in the zoo before it escaped and was shot https://secured.dailymail.co.uk/embed/gamp-video/8352217/video-1571188.html#amp=1Ms Tweedy, 49, said many staff are on furlough due to the coronavirus pandemic and the zoo’s business relief grant of £25,000 has nearly run out It costs £3,000 a week to run the zoo and if the animals cannot be fed or re-homed, a cull of the animals has been considered. She said it costs £3,000 a week to run the zoo and a cull of the animals has been considered if they cannot be fed.
After the money runs out, the couple will have to start looking at re-homing but are considering euthanasia as a last resort.
Problems for the zoo began in late 2017 when Lilleth the Eurasian lynx escaped and was shot dead by a marksman after being found at a nearby caravan site.
A second lynx, Nilly, also died in what was described as a ‘handling error’.
A report revealed one in five of the zoo’s animals died in just one year. It was discovered that monkeys, crocodiles and a leopard also died from its animal stock during 2018.
Tracy and Dean bought the zoo for £625,000 in 2016 to start a dream new life with their family, but it has turned into a nightmare A report revealed one in five of the zoo’s animals died in just one year. It was discovered that monkeys, crocodiles and a leopard also died during 2018.Pictured, the police at the zoo when the Lynx escaped
Tracey said: ‘It would be tragic if mid Wales lost its only zoo. We work with so many local organisations on animal education and wildlife conservation that we see ourselves as a vital asset for the communit.
Tracy said many of the animals would be very hard to re-home due to licence requirements needed to look after the exotic animals.
‘We also run as a sanctuary for animals that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade. For many of these animals, we are a last resort.ADVERTISEMENTnull
‘They came here because destruction was their only alternative.
‘They would be very difficult to re-home as the licence requirements to look after these animals and provide the proper care, can be very involved and expensive,’ she said.
The couple say Westminster has announced a fund to help zoos in England but there is no similar support in Wales.
The Welsh government said it had already provided all licensed zoos with details of existing support schemes. Ms Tweedy said many of the animals would be extremely difficult to re-home due to licence requirements to look after the exotic animals The couple say the Westminster government has announced a fund to help zoos in England but there is no similar support in Wales
‘If any zoo operators have concerns about their ability to meet the needs of their animals, they should contact their local authority’s animal health team for advice without delay as they are on hand to offer support,’ a spokeswoman said.
It said its £500m economic resilience fund provided more generous support than one specifically for zoos would have.
A spokesman for Ceredigion County Council earlier said: ‘The local authority has lost confidence in the ability of the zoo to operate responsibly and safely.’
Zoos were forced to close at the end of March due to the coronavirus lockdown and many have warned their futures are in danger from the impact of the pandemic.
Andrew RT Davies, Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the Welsh Parliament, said: ‘This is a dire situation that the zoo finds itself in, but I’m afraid that zoos right across Wales are in the same precarious situation and desperately need support due to the profound impact of Covid-19.
‘It’s outrageous that whilst the UK Government has taken action and given £14 million to support zoos in England the Welsh Government has still not followed suit.
‘It is high time that the Welsh Labour Government listened to the plight of our zoos and introduce the much-needed fund.’
American actor turned environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged his support for a gorilla conservation park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Virunga National Park needs $2 million (€1.8 million) in funding to stay afloat after suffering an attack in April of this year. A suspected Rwandan militia group allegedly killed 12 park rangers in the ambush. Ever since, the lack of security patrols has put the endangered mountain gorilla population at even greater risk.
“Virunga urgently needs funds to protect the endangered mountain gorilla population, to provide support to the rangers and the families of rangers who have fallen in the line of duty, and to help deliver essential disease prevention efforts,” the actor told BBC News.
“I had the great honour of meeting and supporting Virunga’s courageous team in their fight against illegal oil drilling in 2013,” he said.
DiCaprio has announced that he is donating towards the Virunga Fund via his organisation Earth Alliance. In a recent Instagram post, he wrote, “The future of Virunga hangs in the balance as it deals with the impacts of Ebola and COVID-19, and now this recent attack.”https://www.instagram.com/p/CAVVjUdlaR1/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=743&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.euronews.com&rp=%2Fliving%2F2020%2F05%2F19%2Fleonardo-dicaprio-saves-gorilla-park-by-donating-to-1-8-million-fund#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2905%2C%22ls%22%3A1164%2C%22le%22%3A1183%7D
Other contributors to the fund include the Emerson Collective, Global Wildlife Conservation and the European Commission.
Why save Virunga National Park?
Virunga National Park is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and home to the endangered mountain gorilla. In total, the park provides a habitat for several hundred species of birds, reptiles and mammals.
Two active volcanoes located in the park, Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira, have helped shape its unique ecosystem. Over 3,000 species of flora and fauna have been recorded so far, including animals like the blue-headed tree agama, the African elephant and the golden monkey, which is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
There are fewer than 1,200 mountain gorillas left in the world
The Gorilla Organization is a UK-based charity working to protect our closest living relatives. Today, there are fewer than 1,200 mountain gorillas left in the world, so the charity encourages the public to adopt a gorilla for £3 a month to help save them from the threat of extinction.
They are building a ‘Gorilla safe zone’ in the DR of Congo basin rainforest by planting millions of trees. This is to help local communities and stop them entering the national parks where the last wild gorillas can survive.
GoFundMe has helped many needy causes and individuals with legitimate fund raising campaigns throughout the years. It makes fundraising easy and accessible.
However, GoFundMe is now approving fundraisers for Africa Trophy Hunters!
The promotion of senseless killing of “trophy” animals by GoFundMe especially at a time in history when the planet is in an ecological crisis in terms of the environment and its wildlife is reprehensible. GoFundMe should take down this fundraiser immediately. This campaign is regressive and has tarnished the GoFundMe image.
Alternate positive campaigns to create sustainable, cruelty free employment in Africa and elsewhere should be encouraged. Why would GoFundMe promote such a deplorable campaign rather than promoting positive changes benefitting local tourism, the environment and the animals.
GoFundMe – do the right thing and disassociate yourself from this cruel and deplorable campaign. Take the Africa Trophy Hunters fundraiser down!Start a petition of your ownThis petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same?Start a petition
Twenty thousand live bullfrogs from China that will be cooked and eaten as frog legs. Forty green monkeys from St. Kitts and Nevis for biomedical research. Three hundred giant clams from Vietnam and 30 stingrays from the Brazilian Amazon for home aquariums. null
That motley assortment is a miniscule glimpse of what the legal international wildlife trade might look like on a given day in any of the 41 ports of entry staffed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors. I routinely saw consignments like these—alongside crates filled with shampoo bottles, cucumbers, and freshly cut roses—at the Port of Newark, New Jersey, when I was a wildlife inspector, from 2004 to 2010.
At airports, seaports, and land border crossings in 2019, $4.3 billion of legal wildlife and wildlife products was imported into the U.S. Approximately 200 million live animals are imported to the U.S. annually, according to a five-year trade report: 175 million fish for the aquarium trade, and 25 million animals comprised of an array of mammals, amphibians, birds, insects, reptiles, spiders, and more. On top of that, thousands of illegally traded shipments of wildlife are intercepted each year. In 2019 alone, the agency opened more than 10,000 illegal wildlife trade investigations.
The diseases that hitchhike into the country on legally imported wildlife continue to go largely unnoticed.
But along with such a diversity of wildlife, a kaleidoscope of pathogens is also entering the country. My experience with the Fish and Wildlife Service, where I worked for 10 years, first as a wildlife inspector and most recently as a policy specialist regulating and managing the international wildlife trade, showed me that although many controls have been implemented to combat illegal trade, the diseases that simultaneously hitchhike into the country on legally imported wildlife continue to go largely unnoticed.
Importing any live animal brings with it the risk of disease—to native wildlife, to livestock, and to people. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China, theorized to have jumped from bats into humans and then spread at a wet market in Wuhan, possibly through an intermediate host, has shined a spotlight on how easily zoonotic diseases can emerge from wildlife. Indeed, an estimated 60 percent of known human diseases originated in animals, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.
Much of the public discussion around COVID-19 has focused on the potential role of the illegal wildlife trade in spreading pathogens. But as a wildlife trade specialist and conservation biologist—I studied the spread of disease among imported frogs—I’ve learned that we need to think just as critically about the risks and vulnerabilities presented by the massive legal trade, which continues to place both ourselves and the world at risk of more pandemics. null
With few exceptions, the U.S. has no laws specifically requiring disease surveillance for wildlife entering the country, and the vast majority of wild animal imports are therefore not tested. Inspectors with the Fish and Wildlife Service are the first to set eyes on an imported shipment of animals, and they’re charged with enforcing a variety of national and international laws, regulations, and treaties that focus on preventing illegal and unsustainable trade. But its mandate doesn’t extend to monitoring animal or human health. Its only responsibilities related to disease are the enforcement of rules limiting trade in certain fish and salamander species, which have the potential to spread devastating disease to other animals of their kind.
In fact, no federal agency is tasked with the comprehensive screening and monitoring of imported wildlife for disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates the importation of wildlife and wildlife products known to “present a significant public health concern,” focusing primarily on bats, African rodents, and nonhuman primates, Jasmine Reed, a CDC spokesperson, wrote in an email. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intervenes only if there’s a disease risk to poultry or livestock animals of agricultural importance.
This leaves millions of animals that come into the U.S legally each year unchecked for diseases that have the potential to spill over to humans or other animals. null
The CDC insists it’s keeping an eye out. “CDC works closely with other federal agencies to ensure animals and animal products that present a public health concern are regulated,” Reed says. “Through our partnerships with international agencies, we are constantly evaluating and assessing what we and the international public health community do to detect, prevent, and control zoonotic disease threats.”
“I’m confident that our authorities are doing the best they can with the resources they have,” says Catherine Machalaba, a policy advisor for EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit focused on the connections between human and wildlife health. “But I’m not confident that’s a good enough benchmark when we’re talking about leaving the door open [to potential diseases that are] a threat to our health and security.”
About two million American bullfrogs are imported live to the U.S. from factory farms abroad each year to be eaten. Legally imported frogs have been found to carry the devastating chytrid fungus at high rates, putting all North America’s amphibians at risk. With no government agency responsible for comprehensive pathogen screening and monitoring of imported wildlife, scientists have little understanding of the range of diseases being imported.Photograph by Jonathan E. Kolby
The problem isn’t unique to the U.S.—most countries do not have a government agency that comprehensively screens wildlife imports for pathogens. “The absence of any formal entity dedicated to preventing the spread of diseases from the wildlife trade is such a chronic gap around the world,” Machalaba says. “When multiple agencies have to be called in for any given shipment, personnel is limited, and coordination is lacking, there’s bound to be gaps—a false sense of security that another agency has it covered.”
Outbreaks from legal trade
Many recent zoonotic outbreaks affecting people sprang from trade that was allowed at the time, says Lee Skerratt, a wildlife biosecurity fellow at the University of Melbourne, in Australia. null
In 2003, for example, people in six U.S. states became ill from exposure to the monkeypox virus after it entered the country in a pet trade shipment of 800 rodents from Ghana. In that shipment, African giant pouched rats, rope squirrels, and dormice carried the virus. It spread to prairie dogs held in the same pet trade facility, which were then sold to the public, starting the animal-to-human outbreak. Luckily, although human-to-human transmission of monkeypox can occur, no cases were confirmed.
Three months after the infected animals had been imported, the CDC banned the import of all African rodents into the U.S. That gave the Fish and Wildlife Service the legal power to detain shipments in violation of the ban and alert the CDC, which could choose to require quarantine, re-exportation, or euthanization of the animals.
Although this outbreak led to an import ban on African rodents, the government stopped short of doing any risk assessments to consider whether rodents from other places might also carry diseases that would require regulation, Machalaba says.
“Wildlife coming into the U.S. are sourced from many countries that are ‘hot spots’ for emerging diseases—of potential concern for human health but also posing threats to other sectors via our food systems and ecosystems,” Malachaba says.
Warnings about shortcomings
Officials have long known about the gaps in the U.S.’s regulatory system. In 2005, the National Academies of Science published a report that found a “significant gap in preventing and rapidly detecting emergent diseases” from imported wildlife.
Five years later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which audits government spending and operations, published a report on live animal imports and diseases. It found that the Fish and Wildlife Service “generally does not restrict the entry of imported wildlife that may pose disease risks.” Furthermore, the report says, the CDC doesn’t use its full power to prevent the import of live animals that pose a risk of zoonotic diseases.
The 2010 report recommended that the CDC, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA develop and implement a coordinated strategy to prevent the import of animals that may be carrying diseases. But a follow-up assessment in 2015 found that the agencies did not take action. There simply weren’t the economic or staffing resources to make it happen, it says. null
The ability to prevent and control emerging zoonotic diseases requires an understanding of the diversity and abundance of pathogens being imported. But without monitoring and surveillance of imported wildlife, we don’t have this information, Skerratt says. “This is a problem for the wildlife trade as there is much that we don’t know, especially for diseases that could affect other wildlife,” he says.
The CDC also acknowledges the lack of research. “We need more data through risk assessments and basic research before adding any new regulations,” Reed says.
But it’s a Catch-22: For an agency to systematically collect pathogen data from wildlife imports, it would need a legal mandate from the government. But the government is only likely to do that once it has pathogen data to guide its decisions.
Pathogens passed from animals to humans aren’t the only cause for concern. Amphibian chytrid fungus, the aquatic fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is the first disease known to infect hundreds of species simultaneously and drive many of them toward extinction. It’s so dangerous because it can jump between nearly any amphibian—a class with more than 8,000 species. It has already spread to remote protected areas around the world. From my Ph.D. research, I discovered that imports of factory-farmed American bullfrogs—nearly 2.5 million a year, more than any other live amphibian species—introduce frighteningly high numbers of chytrid-infected animals into the U.S.
The deadly amphibian chytrid fungus, introduced to the U.S. through the legal wildlife trade, has spread to native frog species across North America, even in protected areas like King’s Canyon National Park, in California. The U.S. continues to allow the import of species known to carry the disease. Photograph by JOEL SARTORE, Nat Geo Image Collection
Humans have never been part of a pandemic on the scale of that now affecting amphibians. Even tragedies such as the Black Death, in the mid-1300s, and the 1918 influenza pandemic devastated only one species of mammal: humans. By contrast, emerging wildlife diseases, notably chytrid, have been much less picky in the diversity and numbers of animal hosts they infect and kill. Imagine what it would be like if the next pandemic could infect hundreds of the world’s 5,000 species of mammals—including humans—causing many to become extinct.
The best way to minimize risk
An enormous variety of plants and animals are involved in the international wildlife trade, and many are a regular part of our daily lives: Imported seafood for dinner; timber for building homes and musical instruments; pet birds and frogs and aquarium fishes; mother-of-pearl buttons on dress shirts; medicinal plants like ginseng; cosmetic essential oils such as argan and frankincense; and even many of the orchids and cacti for home decoration. This is why ending the legal trade in wildlife seems unlikely, and why, Skerratt says, controlling disease at the source is the best way to minimize the risk to public health.
There seems to be a lack of economic incentive to create a wildlife health law in the U.S. to regulate the pathways of spread of wildlife pathogens.
Priya Nanjappa, Director of Operations, Conservation Science Partners, Inc.
Key to reducing the spread of pathogens is a “clean trade” program, in which private industry and government officials work together to implement safer strategies, according to Matthew Gray, associate director of the University of Tennessee Center for Wildlife Health, in Knoxville.
Gray says that clean trade could involve testing either before transport or at the border, so that animal health certificates could accompany wildlife—similar to what’s required for livestock. “If clean trade is not economically sustainable, government subsidies could be provided, as done often with agriculture,” he says.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to develop a program in the U.S. to monitor imported wildlife for pathogens and develop risk assessments, says Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an environmental nonprofit. “We have a very good model of this, and it’s the U.S. livestock trade.” The USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Service implements a comprehensive system of veterinary services and trade controlsto reduce the risk of importing pathogens that can harm animals, including cattle, sheep, poultry and others.
Jenkins estimates such a program could be implemented for a reasonable cost, with just $2 million and six full-time government employees, a figure developed with Congressional staff in 2015 when Jenkins was lobbying to expand the Fish and Wildlife Service’s “injurious wildlife” program. “We’re not talking about a Cadillac program. We just need people doing the research, making risk-based predictions, and then operationalizing those predictions to reduce risk.”
Yet it hasn’t happened.
“There seems to be a lack of economic incentive to create a wildlife health law in the U.S. to regulate the pathways of spread of wildlife pathogens, but the COVID-19 disease highlights the consequences of our lack of understanding of these pathogens,” says Priya Nanjappa, director of operations at Conservation Science Partners, Inc., a nonprofit that provides research and analysis for conservation projects.
The lack of incentive, Najappa says, seems to stem from the false belief that if an imported disease doesn’t immediately threaten public health or agricultural animals, it’s not a major threat to economic interests. But take white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has decimated millions of bats, across several species, in the U.S. Some of these bat population crashes led to Endangered Species Act protections, which in turn place restrictions on economic activities such as logging within the species’ habitats.
The CDC, Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA did not comment on what kinds of resources the agencies would need to do additional risk assessments, implement monitoring for diseases in the wildlife trade, or whether the pandemic would prompt them to push for increased disease surveillance.
With COVID-19 aiming a spotlight on long-existing deficiencies, now is the time for the best minds in the Fish and Wildlife Service, CDC, USDA, industry and academia to come together and consider what steps can be taken to sew this hole shut, before the next animal-origin pandemic is thrust into our daily lives.
Wildlife Watch is an investigative reporting project between National Geographic Society and National Geographic Partners focusing on wildlife crime and exploitation. Read more Wildlife Watch stories here, and learn more about National Geographic Society’s nonprofit mission at nationalgeographic.org. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to email@example.com.
A former planning commissioner allegedly threw his cat while he was attending an online business meeting. Demand that this animal be removed from this person’s home and that rescuers do everything in their power to find this sweet cat a new home if it is found that this senseless and thoughtless act was committed.
In addition to the logistical and financial crises so many continue to endure as a result of COVID-19, extended social distancing has plunged much of the world into a full-blown existential crisis as well. Shelter-in-place mandates, shuttered businesses and community spaces, and the loss of important social and familial rituals has found us confronting an unprecedented moment of alienation. We are profoundly disoriented by the sense of being estranged from our own lives.
While this feeling of separation is emotionally harrowing, I believe it can also provide an opportunity to consider the abjectly alienated existences we routinely inflict on so many of our fellow beings; the nonhuman animals we breed or capture for the purposes of exploitation. For us, this estrangement from the lives we belong to is temporary. For the animals languishing on farms, in zoos, vivisection laboratories, aquariums, circuses, pet stores, breeding mills, kill shelters, and anywhere else humans have imprisoned our fellow creatures, alienation is the very essence of their existence, and a permanent condition.
A “beef” cow at a “livestock” show. Photo by Unparalleled Suffering Photography.
And while the plights of all of these creatures is urgent and worthy of closer examination, in the interest of time I will limit this reflection to animals who are farmed; not only because they comprise the bulk of my research and advocacy, but because our consumption of animals, and our obsession with meat, is now unavoidably implicated in the current pandemic on multiple levels.
Our Fatal Flesh Obsession
While it is widely believed that COVID-19 jumped to humans via the animal flesh trade, this has led to a disproportionately critical focus on wildlife and “wet” markets. In reality, the “livestock” sector is the single largest source of human zoonotic disease pandemics globally. A 2012 global study mapping human diseases that come from animals found that “While zoonoses can be transmitted to people by either wild or domesticated animals, most human infections are acquired from the world’s 24 billion livestock, including pigs, poultry, cattle, goats, sheep and camels.”
Indeed, the World Health Organizationstates that “the greatest risk for zoonotic disease transmission occurs at the human-animal interface through direct or indirect human exposure to animals, their products (e.g. meat, milk, eggs…) and/or their environments,” while the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations notes that “Seventy percent of the new diseases that have emerged in humans over recent decades are of animal origin and, in part, directly related to the human quest for more animal-sourced food.”
Just a decade ago, swine flu, an H1N1 influenza virus, jumped from farmed pigs to humans and infected nearly 61 million people in the U.S. alone, where it resulted in 12,469 deaths, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, as many as 284,500 people were killed by the swine flu pandemic.
The infamous 1918 influenza pandemic known as the Spanish Flu was also caused by an H1N1 virus. Attributed to having developed from either a swine flu or avian flu virus on a pig or poultry farm (pre-dating so-called factory farms, it should be noted), the pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people globally.
While these pandemics are tragic, they are not inevitable. In the grand scheme of things, they are symptoms of a much deeper sickness, one of our own making, with which we have infected not only ourselves, but whose toxic consequences can now be seen across the globe: in the burning of the Amazon rainforestto make room for ever more cattle ranching; in Australia where the ceaseless bulldozing of koala habitat, and the deliberate mass killing of kangaroos, both on behalf of the beef industry, kill far more of each species every year than the recent wildfires that drew a collective gasp of horror; in the unprecedented rates of wildlife species extinction resulting from habitat loss, whose number one driver is animal agriculture; in the climate crisis to which meat and dairy production contribute more greenhouse gas emissions than all global transport combined, leading to more and increasingly devastating droughts, floods, fires, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events, while inching global temperatures inexorably toward the point of no return.
A koala mother and joey on a bulldozed log pile in Queensland. Photograph: WWF
Killing animals is killing us.
And the sickness is not in the scale of our killing; this is not an argument about the evils of industrial animal farming and a need to simply shift to more so-called humane, bucolic forms of exploitation and slaughter. The sickness is the mentality that designates sentient beings as something to be farmed at all. These animals, from whom we have stolen so many dignities; the dignities of self-determination, of bodily and reproductive autonomy, of family, of wildness, and of inherent existential worth, live suspended in a Frankensteinian netherworld of separation, entirely outside the natural order their ancient instincts once belonged to.
A mother goat at a “livestock” show. Unparalleled Suffering Photography
“Isolated from the natural world to which they belonged for millennia, farmed animals are forced to live their short lives in severely degraded physical and psychological environments that are far different from the ecosystems and cultures from which they historically derive. Severed from the intricate social structures that governed and guided their free-living communities, and confined, without the possibility of escape, to a human world where they have no place in the present, no link to the past, and no possibility of a future, domesticated animals have no power whatsoever over the most important aspects of their lives.
Humans decide where they will live; if they will ever know their mother; if, and how long, they will nurse their babies; when, and if, they will be permitted to see or be with their families and friends; when, where, or if they will be allowed to socialize with members of their own species; when, how, and if, they are going to reproduce; what, when, and how much they will eat; how much space they will have, if any; if, and how far, they will be allowed to roam; what mutilations they will be subjected to; what, if any, veterinary care they will receive; and when, where, and how they are going to die.”
Photo by Toronto Cow Save.
What can it mean that in a society obsessed with personal identity and freedom, we have erased the very concepts of identity, liberty, autonomy, and consent from entire populations of sentient individuals without so much as blinking at the moral implications of the indignity and debasement we needlessly inflict on them in the name of profit and palate pleasure?
To degrade any individual, much less entire species, to the lifelong status of property, captive, and commodity, is the grossest devaluing of life, and the ultimate alienation.
A dead hen on the egg conveyor. Jo-Anne McArthur/WeAnimals Media
“When we use other individuals, they have not a thing to call their own; not their bodies, not their children, not even their very lives. Nothing. Reduced to commodities and resources, every moment of their existence is governed by human economics of the service that can be taken from them, the cash value of such substances as milk, eggs and body fibres that can be stripped from their living bodies, and ultimately the value per kilo of their pitiful corpses hacked and sawed to pieces. Our use of them is thorough and utterly pitiless.
These are the innocent victims of our deluded species. They do not ‘live’ as we know and value the word. They endure an existence. They are powerless, brought into the world by violation on an industrial scale for the sole purpose of gratifying human indulgence.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can thrive without causing this devastating harm.”
And here’s author Will Tuttle:
“Harboring the idea of owning another living being is in itself an act of violence, and our outer violence toward nonhuman animals, which is so devastating to us all, springs from this idea… [W]e are never owners of others. We can be their guardians, companions, friends, protectors, admirers, and appreciators, and this blesses us far more than we might think. The move from “owner” to “guardian” frees both the “owners” and the “owned,” and establishes the foundation for peace, freedom, and justice. We are all harmed by the culturally mandated ownership mentality that reduces beings to mere commodities, whether for food, clothing, entertainment, or the myriad of other uses. It is long past time for us to awaken from the cultural trance of owning our fellow beings…”
It is no coincidence that our systematic destruction of animal lives, which is in large part facilitated by our refusal of their subjectivity, is also destroying the earth. As I write this, U.S. slaughterhouses and meat processing plants have been identified as the largest hotspot for coronavirus infection in the country, but are being forced to stay open by executive order of Donald Trump in order to supply the flesh fetish. Meanwhile, headlines continue to report “mass meat shortage” fears alongside images of people in full medical masks browsing empty meat refrigerators.
Our culture is in a state of addiction. It is pathological. And it is wrecking our planet, which ought to be incidental to the immorality of needlessly breeding billions of sentient individuals into captivity, reproductive subjugation, and slaughter. Bodies are not commodities. Body parts are not barcodes. Beings are not property.
Until we divest from this poisonous sense of entitlement, this stupor of violence, exploitation, and consumption, our species is doomed.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard