Britain’s oldest polar bear dies aged 22 at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

dailymail.co.uk

By Joseph Laws For Mailonline 16:55 22 Aug 2020, updated 17:13 22 Aug 2020

  • Oldest polar bear in Britain dies aged 22 after suddenly falling ill in wildlife park
  • He had terminal kidney failure and after he suddenly fell ill vets put him to sleep 
  • Victor was rehomed in Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster in 2014

Britain’s oldest polar bear has died aged 22 after falling ill on Friday.

The animal, named Victor, was living at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster after being moved from various zoos in Europe. 

He had terminal kidney failure and after he suddenly fell ill, vets put him to sleep. The animal, named Victor, was living at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster after being moved from various zoos in Europe

Victor was born at Rostock Zoo in Germany, before moving to Rhenen in the Netherlands. 

After he retired from the European breeding programme, he was rehomed in Yorkshire in 2014. He fathered 13 cubs during his time in the breeding programme.

The directors of the park thanked the team of vets from Portland House Veterinary Group who responded so quickly and the ‘dedicated’ team who had ‘loved and cared’ for the bear since his arrival.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park said: ‘Victor was a great ambassador for his species, inspiring generations and drawing attention to the plight of his species in the wild and the threat of climate change. He will be greatly missed by everyone.’ The animal, named Victor, was living at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster after being moved from various zoos in Europe

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8654121/amp/Britains-oldest-polar-bear-Victor-dies-aged-22-Yorkshire-Wildlife-Park.html?__twitter_impression=true

Dictator Kim Jong-un orders citizens to turn over their dogs to be used as meat • Pet Rescue Report

petrescuereport.com

Cheryl Hanna

In July, the dictator of North Korea,  Kim Jong-un, announced having a dog as a pet would be against the law. Stating that pets are a symbol of capitalist ‘decadence,’ dogs in Pyongyang are being confiscated and being sent to either restaurants or zoos for meat to solve the nation’s food shortages.

According to the Daily Mail, dog meat has continued to be a delicacy on the Korean Peninsula, and even though there has been a downturn with younger people, there are still one million dogs raised on farms for human consumption.

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” a source from South Korea’s Chosun IIbo newspaper stated.

Pet owners have little choice even though there have been reports of “cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back.” Anyone refusing to give up their dog could be viewed as an act of defiance by Jong-un, who commonly refers to himself as the Supreme Dignity.

In 1989, pets were encouraged in North Korea and used as a symbol of economic development, sophistication and wealthy families could be seen walking their dogs on state run television programs. In 2018, Kim Jong-un gifted the South Korean president two home grown hunting dogs presenting them as “peace puppies.” Those obviously were the lucky pups.

North Korea now faces a widespread food shortage – 60% of the population of 25.5 million people are included.


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https://petrescuereport.com/2020/dictator-kim-jong-un-orders-citizens-to-turn-over-their-dogs-to-be-used-as-meat/

Habeas corpus scholars, philosophers support New York elephant rights case

<>Nonhuman Rights Project

IMG_20200730_203536

Photo: Gigi Glendinning

Following an amicus brief filed last week by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, they are the latest experts to call for freedom and sanctuary for Happy the elephant

July 22, 2020—New York, NY—Two habeas corpus scholars and twelve North American philosophers with expertise in animal ethics, animal political theory, the philosophy of animal cognition and behavior, and the philosophy of biology have submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of the legal personhood and right to liberty of an elephant held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo.

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) recently filed an appeal in its habeas corpus case on behalf of Happy, a 49-year-old Asian elephant who is both the first elephant in the world to demonstrate self-awareness via the mirror self-recognition test and the first to be the subject of habeas corpus hearings to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment.

The authors of the briefs are:

Justin Marceau (Brooks Institute Research Scholar at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law) and Samuel L. Wiseman (Professor of Law at Penn State Law in University Park):

“One of the greatest blemishes on our justice system is the wrongful detention of persons. The Writ of Habeas Corpus is one of the tools available to correct injustices by requiring a person’s captors to justify the person’s imprisonment to the courts. While the Writ has provided a procedural vehicle for vindicating the right of thousands of humans to not be unlawfully detained, this brief argues that the time has come to consider the Writ’s application to other cognitively complex beings who are unjustly detained. The non-humans at issue are unquestionably innocent. Their confinement, at least in some cases, is uniquely depraved—and their sentience and cognitive functioning, and the cognitive harm resulting from this imprisonment, is similar to that of human beings.”

Read Marceau and Wiseman’s brief here.

Andrew Fenton (Dalhousie University), Bernard Rollin (Colorado State University), David Peña-Guzmán (San Francisco State University), G.K.D. Crozier (Laurentian University), Gary Comstock (North Carolina State University), James Rocha (California State University, Fresno), Jeff Sebo (New York University), L. Syd M Johnson (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Letitia Meynell (Dalhousie University), Nathan Nobis (Morehouse College), Robert C. Jones (California State University, Dominguez Hills), Tyler John (Rutgers University-New Brunswick):

We reject arbitrary distinctions that deny adequate protections to other animals who share with protected humans relevantly similar vulnerabilities to harms and relevantly similar interests in avoiding such harms. We submit this brief to affirm our shared interest in ensuring a more just coexistence with other animals who live in our communities. We strongly urge this Court, in keeping with the best philosophical standards of rational judgment and ethical standards of justice, to recognize that, as a nonhuman person, Happy should be released from her current confinement and transferred to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, pursuant to habeas corpus.”

Read the philosophers’ brief here.

In 2018, Judge Eugene M. Fahey of the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, favorably cited to an amicus brief submitted by philosophers in his concurring opinion in the NhRP’s chimpanzee rights cases. In that opinion, he urged his fellow judges to treat the rightlessness of nonhuman beings as a “deep dilemma of ethics and policy that demands our attention” and to “consider whether a chimpanzee is an individual with inherent value who has the right to be treated with respect.”

Earlier this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Y. Tuitt wrote in her decision in Happy’s case that while she “agrees [with the NhRP] that Happy is more than just a legal thing, or property … and may be entitled to liberty,” she was required to dismiss Happy’s habeas petition because “regrettably … this Court is bound by the legal precedent set by the Appellate Division when it held that animals are not ‘persons’ entitled to rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus.”

Legal scholar and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe also recently filed an amicus brief in Happy’s case, urging the First Department to recognize Happy’s right to liberty as part of New York’s noble tradition of expanding the ranks of rights holders.”

For a detailed timeline of Happy’s case and court filings, visit this page. For more information about Happy’s appeal, visit this page. To download the above image of Happy, visit this page (credit: Gigi Glendinning).

CASE NO./NAME: THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC. on behalf of HAPPY, Petitioner, v. JAMES J. BREHENY, in his official capacity as Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos and Aquariums of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Director of the Bronx Zoo, and WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY (Appellate Case No. 2020-02581)

Media Contact:
Lauren Choplin
lchoplin@nonhumanrights.org ###

About the Nonhuman Rights Project
The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only civil rights organization in the United States working through litigation, legislation, and education to secure fundamental rights for nonhuman animals.Nonhuman Rights Project

We are the only civil rights organization in the United States dedicated solely to securing rights for nonhuman animals.

https://www.nonhumanrights.org/media-center/habeas-scholars-philosophers-support-elephant-rights/

Think Your Dog is a Good Communicator? Congratulate Yourself

firepaw.org

Researchers have found that dogs adapt their communicative strategies to their environment and that owner behavior influences communicative effort and success.

Study Overview

Given the remarkable sensitivity of dogs to human vocalizations, gestures and gazes, researchers have suggested that 30.000 years of domestication and co-evolution with humans may have caused dogs to develop similar principles of communication — a theory known as the domestication hypothesis.

On this basis, researchers designed an experiment that would examine the factors influencing the form, effort and success of dog-human interactions in a hidden-object task. Using 30 dog-owner pairs, researchers focused on a communicative behavior called showing, in which dogs gather the attention of a communicative partner and direct it to an external source.

While the owner waited in another room, an experimenter in view of a participating dog hid the dogs` favorite toy in one of four boxes. When the owner entered the room, the dog had to show its owner where the toy had been hidden. If the owner successfully located the toy, the pair were allowed to play as a reward. Participants were tested in two conditions: a close setup which required more precise showing and a distant setup which allowed for showing in a general direction.

Results Overview

The findings indicate that a crucial factor influencing the effort and accuracy of dogs’ showing is the behavior of the dog’s owner. Owners who encouraged their dog to show where the toy was hidden increased their dog’s showing effort but generally decreased their showing accuracy.  Bottom line: the current study indicates for the first time that owners can influence their dog’s showing accuracy and success.


Journal Reference: Melanie Henschel, James Winters, Thomas F. Müller, Juliane Bräuer. Effect of shared information and owner behavior on showing in dogs (Canis familiaris). Animal Cognition, 2020; DOI: 10.1007/s10071-020-01409-9


https://firepaw.org/2020/07/07/think-your-dog-is-a-good-communicator-congratulate-yourself/#like-7045#like-7045

This is the way we brush our teeth brush our teeth

New White Paper Identifies Root Causes of Zoonotic Disease: Animal Exploitation – Animal Legal Defense Fund

aldf.org

Contact: media@aldf.org

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.

https://aldf.org/article/new-white-paper-identifies-root-causes-of-zoonotic-disease-animal-exploitation/

Horse forced to pull heavy cart stops so she can give birth in the street – Animal’s World

newsaboutanimals.com

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.

https://newsaboutanimals.com/horse-forced-to-pull-heavy-cart-stops-so-she-can-give-birth-in-the-street/

Breaking news: Dutch parliament votes to permanently close mink fur farms · A Humane World

blog.humanesociety.org

Breaking news: Dutch parliament votes to permanently close mink fur farms

After the Dutch government confirmed that two fur farm workers were “extremely likely” to have contracted the virus from mink, the country ordered the killing of hundreds of thousands of mink on the infected farms to prevent future outbreaks. Photo by BirdImages/iStock.com

The Dutch parliament has voted to permanently shut down an estimated 128 mink fur farms in the wake of coronavirus outbreaks on 17 of these farms since April. If approved by the Dutch government, the decision would bring a welcome end to the cruel business of fur farming in the country—a business that causes immeasurable suffering for millions of animals each year.

Mink on fur farms in the Netherlands have already paid a heavy price during the pandemic. After the government confirmed that two farm workers were “extremely likely” to have contracted the virus from mink, the country ordered the killing of hundreds of thousands of mink on the infected farms to prevent future outbreaks. Most of the animals killed were days’ old and weeks’ old pups.

Denmark, which is Europe’s largest mink producer, has also discovered infected mink on its fur farms and has culled at least 11,000 mink as a result.

The Netherlands is Europe’s third largest producer, producing 4.5 million mink pelts, according to the latest data available. Along with a dozen other countries in the European Union, the Netherlands has been in the process of phasing out ​mink fur farming ​since 2013, when a ban was adopted, with a deadline of December 2023. But animal protection groups, including Humane Society International, have been lobbying the Dutch government to end the practice sooner in the wake of the pandemic.

The Netherlands has already phased out fox and chinchilla fur farming.

The novel coronavirus is believed to have originated at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, and since the outbreak there has been more attention focused than ever before on trades that cruelly confine animals. We have been warning for years about the animal welfare problems inherent in such businesses, and the strong public health risk they pose. Last month the Humane Society family of organizations released an 11-point policy report to prevent the risk of future pandemics, including ending the wildlife trade, ending fur farming, ending the large-scale commercial breeding of dogs in puppy mills, and ending the intensive confinement of farm animals on factory farms.

Infectious disease experts around the world have voiced similar concerns over future pandemic outbreaks and animals kept in close confinement.

Conditions on fur farms are not all that different from those in a wildlife market: scared animals are kept in filthy, crowded cages. Many are often sick or injured, creating the perfect environment for diseases to breed. An HSl investigation of a fur farm in Finland showed hundreds of foxes and mink crammed in small, barren and filthy battery cages. Many of the animals had eye infections and gaping wounds, including a mink with a large, bloody hole in the head. Some animals lay dead in the cages and others ate them or walked over them.

The vote yesterday in the Netherlands shows that the people of that country do not want their nation contributing to such cruelty anymore, and we urge the government to approve the closure of fur farms without delay. The experience of the Netherlands should also serve as a reminder for other fur-producing nations that this is a business rife with animal welfare and public health problems, and that they should act swiftly to end fur farming on their soil. The market for fur is dropping fast, with major fashion houses and retailers shutting their doors on this cruel commodity. Now, with the danger of disease looming, there is not a single reason to keep this fading industry alive.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/06/breaking-news-dutch-parliament-votes-to-permanently-close-mink-fur-farms.html

Baby bear that wandered into Maryland neighborhood shot and killed • Pet Rescue Report

petrescuereport.com

Cheryl Hanna 4-5 minutes

In a disturbing situation on Saturday afternoon in Hartford County, Maryland, a baby bear that had wandered into a residential neighborhood was shot and killed by police.

Witnesses were shocked and questioned why police did not notify Animal Control or the Department of Natural Resources to get involved. A local resident expressed her horrifying experience on social media.

“I just witnessed the most horrifying unjust killing of this baby bear,” Dawn Cowhey wrote on her Facebook page. “Right outback my condo building. Why wasn’t DNR called?!!! Why didn’t Animal Control in Hartford County get involved?! Why didn’t they tase the bear till DNR or Animal Control could come and sedate this poor life and relocate?!! Questions and absolutely felt helpless and could not protect this life as it was going down. I should have screamed louder… I should have screamed louder!!!!”

A press release from the Havre de Grace Police followed with an account of the situation. According to the police, the DNR had been contacted, but were unable to respond.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sgt. Daniel Petz, Public Information Officer, (410) 939-2121

On Saturday, June 20th, 2020, officers from the Havre de Grace Police Department were dispatched to the 700 blocks of Union Avenue for a bear on residential property. Officers responded to the area, and were unable to locate the bear who was last seen going towards the area of the hospital. Officers launched a search for the bear and alerted citizens in the area that a bear was sighted and to take appropriate actions. Officers eventually found the bear in the area of the promenade and had to euthanize the bear due to the high potential for a physical encounter with humans.

We understand this was a very unfortunate event, but officers made this decision based on the overwhelming concern for public safety.

As this investigation is still ongoing, no further information will be released at this time.

For additional information regarding this release, or any others, please contact the Office of Media relations at 410-939-2121.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources does not remove and relocate bears unless they have caused a conflict with humans or have shown signs of aggression. It is believed this baby black bear had been looking for food.

Bear attacks are extremely rare, and a bear showing up in a residential area doesn’t necessarily mean the animal is a threat. A general rule is never leave any food outside, make sure garbage cans are securely shut and remove bird feeders. If the bear appears aggressive, stay indoors and contact the DNA Bear hotline at 410.260.8888.

If you see a bear and it is not bothering anyone, keep your distance; take some photos, but never approach and stay at least 200-300 feet away from him. Be respectful of wildlife – they want to live too.

Rest in peace little one.

(Photo: Dawn Lucajko Cowhey FB screenshot)

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https://petrescuereport.com/2020/baby-bear-that-wandered-into-maryland-neighborhood-shot-and-killed/

They declared them companion animals… But this is still going to happen!!

Family camps out at animal shelter for 27 hours to adopt dog with ‘black heart’

mypositiveoutlooks.com

If some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, this pup wears hers on her chest!

An adorable black and white dog with a heart-shaped patch of fur on her chest recently got adopted. Last week, Broken Arrow Animal Shelter shared a photo of the unique-looking border collie on their Facebook page. The post has been shared over 27,000 times and got thousands of comments, according to Fox23 News. Broken Arrow Animal Shelter

The shelter got hundreds of messages about the dog – both from people around the country and outside the U.S. Lots of people wanted to give her a home, but one dedicated family went the extra mile to make sure it’s their home she ends up in.

After arriving at the shelter, all stray animals have to stay in the facility for at least five days before they’re put up for adoption.

Also, adoptions are made on a first-come, first-served basis. A Facebook post they made last month explains this policy better: “The shelter is open for adoptions by appointment only. All adoptions are 1st come 1st serve on the date available.

This means: If you are the 1st person in our parking lot for a particular animal. Shelter staff will make contact with you as soon as they arrive at the shelter. We will take your name and number, and you will be asked to return when the shelter opens.”Facebook

Knowing this, a family from Tulsa began camping out the shelter’s parking lot 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday – 27 hours before the adorable pooch was eligible for adoption.

The family’s efforts were worth it – they got her! The shelter shared the good news on Facebook the next day.

“This precious baby girl has touched the hearts of people around the U.S. and we are happy to announce that she has found her new furever home!!! Thank you to everyone that has shared our post,” they wrote.

Many comments poured in from people who felt happy that the dog already found a home.

“This Sweet girl looks just like our doggie that was a stray we rescued. Happy the girl found a good home,” one user commented. Courtesy of Ryan and Liz

“I fell in love with her. Happy she found a home!” another one wrote.

The lucky new parents of the border collie are an engaged couple. We spoke about the adoption with the soon-to-be groom, Ryan, and here is what he said:

“My fiancé and I were excited to get the puppy and really wanted her. My step-brother Kyle kindly offered to wait in line for us so that we could be first in line to adopt her. We adopted Luna and met her days prior to adopting her. Kyle’s wedding gift to us was being a “stand in line” so that we would have the chance to adopt her first. It was a very kind gesture for Kyle to wait in line for us and even my fiancé and I and my parents waited in line with him as well. It was a family effort but Kyle was the trooper.” Courtesy of Ryan and Liz

The fact that this adoption is a family effort just makes this story even sweeter! Kyle Johnson told Fox23 that they’re planning to name the pooch Luna.

The Broken Arrow Animal Shelter also told the outlet that many dogs and cats in the facility are still in need of a forever home. Almost 50 of them that are up for adoption. Just like Luna, they’re hoping that these animals each find a loving family who will take them in. They may not have unique fur patterns, but they’re just as deserving of a home!

You may visit the shelter’s Facebook page to check their list of adoptable pets. For more information about their adoption policies, click here.

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/family-effort-to-adopt-dog/

REMEMBERING HARAMBE

West Nile virus is still here, and it’s spreading among U.S. birds

api.nationalgeographic.com

By Jason Bittel 15-19 minutes


PUBLISHED June 4, 2020

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.

The culprit?

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.

Fighting back

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.”

https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/2020/06/west-nile-virus-spreading-among-us-birds?__twitter_impression=true

Monkeys steal Covid-19 test samples from health worker in India | India | The Guardian

Monkeys eating fruit on a street in Delhi

Blood samples later recovered undamaged after fears incident could have helped spread virus

Agence France-PresseFri 29 May 2020 10.06 EDT

Monkeys mobbed an Indian health worker and made off with blood samples from coronavirus tests, prompting fears they could have spread the virus in the local area.

After making off with the three samples this week in Meerut, near Delhi, the monkeys scampered up nearby trees and one then tried to chew its plunder.

The sample boxes were later recovered and had not been damaged, the Meerut medical college superintendent, Dheeraj Raj, told AFP on Friday after footage of the incident went viral on social media.

https://d-20527234781725149654.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html

“They were still intact and we don’t think there is any risk of contamination or spread,” Raj said. He said the three people whose samples were stolen had been retested for the virus.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/2020-embeds/2020/03/country/embed/main.html?country=India#amp=1

Coronavirus has been detected in animals, though there has been no confirmation that the disease can be passed to humans from them.

India’s coronavirus death toll passed that of neighbouring China on Friday, with 175 new deaths in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.

India, home to some of the world’s most densely populated cities and a creaking healthcare system, is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days.

In many rural areas, farmers regularly lose crops to monkey populations and have demanded local governments intervene to check their populations.

City authorities in Delhi have used long-tailed langur monkeys to scare away smaller primates from around the Indian parliament.

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North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

kcra.com

Associated Press 15-19 minutes


North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

thousands of gallons of milk being dumped on dairy farms across Wisconsin. Restaurants close. We lost 50% of Earth seals over farmers air, taking big steps in rice country to beat the Corona virus closer to having to make that gut wrenching decision to euthanize some of their hogs. This is economically devastating as well as emotionally devastating a lot of farmers. The reason why we wanted to tell this story to begin with was because the pork producing industry is a very big industry in in Nebraska this whole idea pork production that we have the United States today. So finally tuned that if there isn’t any like disruption, and there it backs up everything. And when port parking plant started to shut down, there was a backup of I think they were estimated 150,000 hogs and day couldn’t go to slaughter, so that creates quite a backup. Well, what happens to those pigs? Will These producers on these farms are not finding a market to take their talks to Some people are in dire straits. They have no place to go the animals, and they’ve got to use a nice either The full grown market animal where they got to use a nice the baby pigs coming in these armors. They’ve got to make a decision on whether to either slaughter the whole just euthanize. That’s a lot of money that they have invested in those things or to slaughter up there. Kind of like they’re little piglets. That’s their money. That’s their investment as it’s going up. So if they slaughter off piglets, then they will have a gap in their revenue source. So it’s a tough decision when you run out of room and you don’t have a place to put them. There’s an extreme frustration there that you could hear from these these farmers, as they’re conveying some of their stories about, you know, uh, their situation. There’s there’s this feeling like I hate This is what we do. This is our job is to feed the nation. We’ve got the supply here, but we can’t get it to those people that need it. We’ve probably got maybe 23 weeks tops before we have start making these tough decisions. Some of these guys have 405 100,000 hogs that they have to go to market right now, some people think we’re gonna shut it off. Well, that doesn’t work in the farming business. You can’t just turn to switch off. And because you’ve got these little piglets coming along, you know, eventually if you had more time, they could slow down their production. Absolutely. You know, and they’ve done that before. They can’t just turn this thing off and then continue to stay in business. Once things get better. Industry is the holes in dire straits. We need some type of about grants or loans or even indemnification payments. If you have Teoh euthanizing animals report in the street there, there, they’ve got plans. Case of this mass slaughter. Luckily, I talked to the Nebraska Pork Producers Association representative. They said, Luckily, many of packing plants have been able to get online or partially online. This other issue compounding on this is that a lot of these farmers, also our grain farmers as well We’ve had three years of bad prices and kind of our economic times for some of these farmers because we had bloods. Recently, we’ve had severe weather. We’ve had prices for grains that have gone down. It’s a very difficult situation, putting a lot of emotional stress on these producers as well, and you could just hear in their voices. You know that that they don’t want to be armor that loses their 50 100 year arm that goes underneath. But they’re worried that this might happen, you know, because they can’t rebound of it. The other thing they really are concerned about is having to waste, you know, to kill their life stock, you know, needlessly and go to waste, especially when they see empty grocery shelves, the high priced for pain, the food lines that you’re seeing, how much or even have to pay for our food in the future when all of this thing starts to break loose, because we’re going to have probably some shortages. That’s why this is such that it is really a huge issue for everybody out there, and people should be paying attention to it. They are dumping all of their milk every day now for the rest of the week. That’s £2400 producing about 1/4 £1,000,000 of milk every day. Ford down the drain. I think customers knew that they couldn’t find milk that they normally would in the stores. But I don’t think the customers knew that there was this storm brewing with dairy farmers, especially in Wisconsin, until we started reporting about it. We’ve never seen anything like this. They’re extremely stressed. A lot of people assumed correctly that it was because so many people were rushing to the stores buying all those products. They didn’t realize that there was actually a surplus of dairy products and that the farmers were actually dumping their milk. At Thes Wisconsin Dairy farms in Wisconsin, about 90% of the milk that’s produced on farms ends up on a truck and moves to a cheese plant they have seen with the closure of hundreds of thousands of restaurants in schools and universities and destinations. But food service market will feed people through those channels, is put on pause around the country. You know, Wisconsin as kind of like a cheese state. We have so much cheese here, and I think that’s where all of the milk comes into play. In the end, these farmers didn’t have all that time to wait. They just had to do something right then and there, and that was to dump the milk. It’s delicious nutritious milk. This would have been on a store shelf 24 hours from now. Um, but it’s not. It’s a heartbreaking thing for that farmer and for so many other dairy farmers, because that is just it’s it’s quality product that they worked really hard to produce, that they’re just throwing away. We’re putting all this work into it. All this pride all this time, and we’re just dumping it down. The Dream. Ryan L. B. From Golden E Dairy Farm in West Bend, Wisconsin He says that they, at the start of the month started shipping the milk out again, and at this point, they’re not dumping any more Milk Hunger Task Force and its donors to the rescue. The organization is now committing $1 million for its new Wisconsin dairy recovery program. So far, everything’s being shipped, so I’m sure he’s pretty thankful for that. It was a win win win for everybody. It’s a win for the farmers when they finally get paid for their milk. It’s a win for the producer who is battling the milk and putting people to work as well as just six people who are driving around, and it’s a win for hungry people, There is a lot less going into food service in restaurants. I’m in touch with a lot of different industries here, one of them being the rights commission. California Rights Commission represents hundreds of growers across the state, and they had mentioned that their farmers were doing something that was kind of different and unique and using techniques that ahead of the curve and used social distancing out in the field naturally, if you will. Once you get inside the tractor for disinfectant, start with steering wheel on the tractor, all the facets of the tractor from the steps that get into the into the cab, the whole wheel, all of the parts and components of the tractor. They took a lot of time rigorous minutes to wipe those things down. In addition, they do a social distancing thing where only one farmer is assigned to one tractor going from field to field. Or if somebody doesn’t show up that day. But now you know it’s looking like this is gonna be the new normal. Farmers are feeling very much integral part of the economy and of the American economic fabric farmers, farm labourers, their essential it’s tryingto keep everybody safe and healthy so we can keep them employed. Number one as an essential business and number two get our rice crop planted. But what’s interesting also is that their market has diminished dramatically because a lot of their rice goes to sushi restaurants in California and elsewhere. And because a lot of those restaurants have been closed down, they don’t have a marketplace for back. The other part of it is that if they supply rice for schools, schools have been closed down as well, so it made a very big dent on their economic bottom line. California rice contributes more than $5 billion to our economy each year and 25,000 jobs. We also are home to millions of birds, and the environmental benefits are valued well into the billions of dollars as well. So they’re hoping that in September will be able to harvest. They’re banking on the fact that by that time things will loosen up a little bit. Things will, you know when they harvest, be able to actually go to market in a much more diverse and widespread geographic area by September, a lot different than they do now way see the end product when it comes home and we’re eating it and enjoying it. You don’t always think about how it got there. Seeing how it’s made, how it’s drone and how it’s harvested is always sort of an eye opener for me and the dedication and the love of the land that people have there. It’s just a lot to milk goats in the morning and make products somewhere in between milk goats at night and then some point during the day. Pack like 15 orders to go out. The dairy industry is huge in Vermont. That’s one of the things that were known for besides maple syrup. Their entire production line changed in the matter of 24 hours. Once stay at home, order started really setting in, and restaurants started really closing down. Their day to day operations look very, very different now. They were of work. We’ve been selling over our website for probably 10 to 15 years. Blue Ledge Farm has been around for more than 20 years. They have an established website, but the online orders were dead or something that they ever focused on. It was never focused, not just because they didn’t want to, but because there wasn’t really need, for there are only getting a couple orders the week or a couple hours a month. And so they were mostly distributing to restaurants in the area. She really is relying on these online sales to get them through this time of not being so busy on their distribution end. She was recruiting help from her teenage kids while they were out of school, so they would you know you some homework throughout the day. But they would be helping her package the cheese up sis actions, finishing up her high school career. He loves tracking him like a little present. Dame goes for Ice House. They are shipping out a ton way more sales, and they thought they would have. And now that farmers markets are open in a limited capacity, I think they’re starting to balance out the in person sales versus online sales. But I think they’re still is definitely a focus on the online sales. For both of them, he’s been sitting. They are still a small scale farm they’re still trying to develop, but this really pushed them. Maybe two years into the future, But they also have to think about how can I ship this and packaging all of those different orders. Up throughout the day, one of the farmers was saying that she had gotten maybe one or two online orders a week before this, or maybe even a month before this on it all of a sudden was 40 to 50 orders, and that’s a huge production change for them. It’s more like the squeaky wheel gets the grease kind. Uh, once I was just squeaking about enough. It’s been good to force us into some things that we wanted to do, but we’re low on the totem pole. So as difficult as this time is for a lot of these farms. And like I said, the amount of work that they’re taking on is incredible. You know, they’re also trying to find a silver lining, a swell of saying, Hey, we never got to focus on our website before he had a plan to do this maybe a couple years down the line. But we can do this right now, Blue allege, actually has its own farm stand. I mentioned in the story and they said that they’ve been getting a lot of business from there as well, where people could just drive up. And it’s an honor system where you can pick up whatever you want from their stand and you just put money in a bucket or an envelope or something, and then you can leave. So it’s a no contact business similar to online, where you’re not in contact with anybody. But that one, at least isn’t person. And so it was a really nice reminder for her of why she got into the business to begin with. And she thinks that will change the future of their business. She thinks their business will steer more locally instead of the big distribution like they were originally thinking about. We kind of had lost touch with that a little bit that direct consumer relationship, and it’s been really nice to be reminded of that

North Carolina farmers start euthanizing 1.5 million chickens after meat plant coronavirus outbreaks

Video above: Farming in turmoil due to coronavirusCoronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official.Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens already had been killed, Reardon said.Agriculture officials said Thursday that 2,006 workers in 26 processing plants across the state have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers and their advocates said the meat industry was slow to provide protective equipment and take other coronavirus-related safety measures.Chicken and hog farmers in other states also have been euthanizing millions of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, for example, the Baltimore Sun reported that coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens.North Carolina hog farmers have not taken steps to euthanize their animals, Reardon said.

RALEIGH, N.C. —

Video above: Farming in turmoil due to coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official.

Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens already had been killed, Reardon said.

Agriculture officials said Thursday that 2,006 workers in 26 processing plants across the state have tested positive for coronavirus. Workers and their advocates said the meat industry was slow to provide protective equipment and take other coronavirus-related safety measures.

Chicken and hog farmers in other states also have been euthanizing millions of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, for example, the Baltimore Sun reported that coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens.

North Carolina hog farmers have not taken steps to euthanize their animals, Reardon said.

https://www.kcra.com/article/north-carolina-farmers-start-euthanizing-15-million-chickens-after-meat-plant-coronavirus-outbreaks/32660662

Coronavirus ship may sail live sheep into northern summer, despite laws, says Minister David Littleproud

amp.abc.net.au

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.

Key points:

  • 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.

The formal ban on live sheep exports followed an industry-led moratorium in 2019 after a public campaign to end the tradey.

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.

https://amp.abc.net.au/article/12290198?__twitter_impression=true

Leonardo DiCaprio saves gorilla park by donating to €1.8 million fund | Living

Leonardo DiCaprio saves gorilla park by donating to €1.8 million 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.

In light of the covid-19 pandemic, gorillas are facing further challenges. Scientists worry that the health crisis poses an “existential threat” towards the survival of the species.

AFP PHOTO / VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK / © LuAnne Cadd

A mountain gorilla at Virunga National ParkAFP PHOTO / VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK / © LuAnne CaddLUANNE CADD

“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

© Phil Moore / AFP

Orphaned mountain gorilla at Virunga National Park© Phil Moore / AFPPHIL MOORE

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.

https://www.euronews.com/living/2020/05/19/leonardo-dicaprio-saves-gorilla-park-by-donating-to-1-8-million-fund

Could lockdown be the death of bullfighting in Spain? | Bullfighting | The Guardian

amp.theguardian.com

Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring is deserted, following the cancellation of the 2020 bullfighting season due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Show captionMadrid’s Las Ventas bullring is deserted, following the cancellation of the 2020 bullfighting season due to the coronavirus lockdown. Photograph: JuanJo Martin/EPABullfighting

For months the ranchers had laid the groundwork; grazing and exercising a select crop of half-tonne fighting bulls to be transported to arenas and festivals across the country. Then – just as Spain’s bullfighting season was set to kick off – the country was plunged into lockdown.

“It was dreadful,” said Victorino Martín, a second-generation breeder of fighting bulls. “The coronavirus came at the worst possible moment.”

The lockdown brought the bullfighting sector to a standstill as Spanish authorities scrambled to control one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks, with more than 26,000 lives claimed. Weeks later, though urban hotspots like Madrid and Barcelona remain under lockdown, elsewhere measures have eased, and industries ranging from travel to car manufacturing have turned to the government for help in navigating Spain’s new normal.

No request has been as controversial as that made by the bullfighting sector. Long reviled by animal rights campaigners who see it as cruel and outdated, bullfighting’s fight for survival has triggered a fierce debate over its future in Spanish society.

“The bullfighting sector is – and will be – one of the most affected by the dramatic situation that we’re living through,” bullfighter Cayetano Rivera said recently on social media, after dozens of events, including Pamplona’s running of the bulls, were cancelled.

Bullfighter Cayetano Rivera in the ring in Jaen, southern Spain, in October 2019.

Bullfighter Cayetano Rivera in the ring in Jaen, southern Spain, in October 2019. Photograph: SALAS/EPA

With the virus threatening to wipe out much of the season, which runs until October, he appealed to Spaniards to consider the tens of thousands of people thrown out of work as the industry struggles. “We can’t forget the many people and families who depend, either directly or indirectly, on the bullfighting world to live.”

The estimated loss of income so far is at least €700m (£797m), said Martín, who also heads the Fundación del Toro de Lidia, which was created in 2015 to defend the industry. “Even more concerning is that we don’t know when we’ll be able to restart our activities,” he said. “Meanwhile, the animals continue to eat. You have to take care of them and the employees.”

The industry is in discussions with television networks about broadcasting bullfights behind closed doors – a measure Martín hopes could help the beleaguered industry.

But with little chance that crowds will be allowed to return to the streets for bull fiestas or into arenas for bullfights, he was steeling himself for his worst-case scenario: cancellation of the entire season. “What industry could survive a year and a half without any income and still cover its costs?”

Animal rights activists protest against bullfights before the San Fermin annual running of the bulls in Pamplona in 2018.

Animal rights activists protest against bullfights before the San Fermin annual running of the bulls in Pamplona in 2018. Photograph: Pablo Blázquez Domínguez/Getty Images

A handful of ranchers have already given up, he said. “There are breeders that have slaughtered all of their animals … I know there was a week where more than 400 were killed.”

The economics of that make little sense, as it can cost up to €5,000 to rear a bull while the slaughterhouse pays €500, he noted. But for those who have bulls that will outgrow the strict age limits on bullfighting and street festivals if they are not used this year, it is one of the few options.

The Unión de Criadores de Toros, which represents the interests of some 345 breeders of fighting bulls, estimates that more than 7,000 bulls had been raised for this year’s season.

The industry has turned to the Spanish government for help, outlining a list of requests that include a rollback of the sales tax on fighting bulls and grants to help breeders. “We want them to treat us as they would any other cultural industry,” said Martín, citing the economic spinoffs for hotels, restaurants and bars generated by events.

Their request has been met with stiff opposition. More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition urging the government not to use public funds to prop up bullfighting.

“It’s outrageous – particularly at this moment, when there are families that don’t have enough to eat and hospitals that have been decimated by cutbacks,” said Aïda Gascón of AnimaNaturalis, an animal rights group that is one of the organisations behind the petition. “Public funds should not be used to promote and pay for spectacles based on the abuse and mistreatment of animals.”

Similar petitions have been launched in Portugal and France, where the local bullfighting industries have also asked for government help. “Bullfighting is facing the most critical moment of its existence,” the petition noted. “We have a unique opportunity … to build a world without bullfighting.”

The assertion is borne out by Spain’s last economic crisis, which saw cash-strapped municipalities shift funds away from festivals involving bulls. In 2007, one year before the financial crash, Spain held 3,651 events featuring bulls. Just over a decade later, this number had more than halved, with 1,521 such events held in 2018.

Spain’s economic minister, Nadia Calviño, predicts that Spain’s GDP could shrink by 9.2% this year and animal rights groups are pushing for bullfighting to be cut off from public funding.

“What we’re looking for is the total abolition of this practice of torturing animals as a form of spectacle,” said Gascón. “One way to do that is to choke off their subsidies … it wouldn’t get rid of the industry completely but it would reduce it to 5% or 10% of what we have today.”

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https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/12/could-lockdown-be-the-death-of-bullfighting-in-spain?__twitter_impression=true

All moms take care of their young

Do I need to worry that my dog has coronavirus?

worldanimalprotection.us

The simple answer is no. It’s understandable that many of us are feeling concerned about the possibility of contracting coronavirus, but to turn our attention towards dogs would be entirely misguided.

Just last month, heartbreaking images of pet dogs and cats emerged from China’s Hubei Province – their eyes glazed over, their bodies lying lifeless on the pavements, some surrounded by a pool of their own blood. The fear of catching the virus had terrified their owners, believing their pets could be carriers – they were thrown from the windows of the high-rise tower blocks. People’s fears were leading to cruel and unnecessary loss of life.

While not common, some authorities have reported pets being killed (either by force or humanely euthanized) or abandoned as a precaution. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the common response, and most people realize this is a completely unnecessary reaction to the coronavirus rumor mill.

Coronavirus is frequently being compared to the SARS outbreak of 2003 as it bears striking similarities. Just like with SARS, there were also fears that pets could spread the disease. By the end of the epidemic, just eight cats and a dog tested positive for the virus, but no animal was ever found to transmit the disease to humans.

Now, the world is turning its attention to Hong Kong, where an elderly, 17-year-old Pomeranian dog has tested ‘weak positive’ for coronavirus. A dog of this age might typically be quite vulnerable to infections, yet it is still showing no signs of disease relating to COVID-19. Experts will be monitoring the dog and will be repeating the test in the coming days, although more tests need to be done.

To put it into perspective, consider that there are around 750 million dogs living in the world, mostly alongside people, and of all these, just one single dog, has tested weakly positive for coronavirus. This is an extremely rare and isolated case. We need to prevent a knee-jerk reaction to our canine companions, preventing any drastic measures.

It’s still early days, and experts are unsure how the disease interacts with other animals. There have been questions on whether the dog has actually contracted the disease, or just that the virus is being harbored in its body. After all, the dog was in close proximity to its owner, who does have the disease. For a dog to contract coronavirus, the disease will have had to mutate to enable it to latch on to dog cells. Right now, we don’t know for sure if this is the case, so this example tells us very little.

It’s also important to consider that the genes of dogs are very different from the genes of humans. While it looks as though the coronavirus might have originated in a bat, it’s a mystery how the virus jumped from bats to humans, and if there was another animal in the middle, bridging this gap.

Even if this case does show that the virus can jump to dogs, we don’t know enough at this stage about its possible transmission to other dogs, animals or even back to humans again. Take distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms for example – these are all examples of infections that cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans due to the differences in our genetic make-up among other things.

Pets are great companions and they shouldn’t pay the price of our fear by being abandoned or cruelly mistreated. We’re urging people to continue to protect their pets by trying to avoid crowded places for dog walks and keeping their time outdoors to a minimum where possible until we know more about the transmission of the coronavirus. This should also serve as an important reminder to be a responsible pet owner by microchipping, vaccinating and neutering your animals. For pets belonging to a household with COVID-19 infections, we recommend pets are also placed in quarantined facilities where possible or kept isolated from other animals at least.

Our message is clear – we need to look after our animals and not panic. There is no evidence showing that pets can be the source of infection of coronavirus. All around the world, dogs improve and add value to our lives. They keep us company, protect homes and livestock, and can learn to do extraordinary tasks – so let’s make sure we keep them, and ourselves, protected.

https://www.worldanimalprotection.us/blogs/pets-dogs-coronavirus-transmission

P&G Ends Animal Testing On Its 19 Cosmetic Brands

Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s top cosmetics brands, wants to end global cosmetic animal testing by 2023.

The global consumer goods giant announced today that it joined the #BeCrueltyFree campaign launched by animal rights nonprofit, Humane Society International (HSI). Procter & Gamble owns a total of 19 cosmetics companies, including Olay, Old Spice, Gillette, Ivory, Head & Shoulders, and Pantene.

“We are pleased to partner with the Humane Society International in the quest to end cosmetic animal testing. I’m proud of the passion and expertise our researchers have contributed already to this goal,” Kathy fish, chief research, development, and innovation officer and Procter & Gamble said in a statement.

Procter & Gamble does not test products or ingredients on animals unless required by law, according to the website. The company has worked with HSI, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the Humane Society Legislative Fund to develop animal-free testing methods. Over the past 40 years, Procter & Gamble has invested more than $410 million in alternative testing. It currently uses over 50 methods, half of which the company had a hand in developing.

“This partnership represents an important milestone in our efforts to end animal testing for cosmetics worldwide through our #BeCrueltyFree campaign. By working together with forward-looking companies like Procter & Gamble, we can make this ambitious goal a reality,” said Kitty Block president of HSI and HSUS.

The new collaboration will focus on mainstreaming cruelty-free testing methods and laying pressure on companies and world governments to update their policies.

“Animal testing of cosmetics not only causes unnecessary animal suffering, but it also represents outdated science,” said Troy Seidle, HSI’s vice president for research and toxicology. He stressed how working with a household name like Procter & Gamble is important to mobilizing global cosmetic animal testing bans in major markets such as the US and Canada.

A growing number of nations have implemented cosmetic animal testing over the past year. Australia announced a ban earlier this month and Colombia banned testing for cosmetics and cleaning products last September. In the US, California legislators voted unanimously to ban cosmetic animal testing this past fall.

Both Canada and the EU are working towards bans. Last November, the EU invested €500 million toward developing cruelty-free alternatives. Major brands such as Dove and CoverGirl have also recently ended their animal testing policies.

Procter & Gamble, which owns 19 cosmetics brands, is working towards a global ban on cosmetic animal testing and cruelty-free animal testing alternatives.

Author Kat Smith

livekindly.com

http://Brands

Cat Rescued After Escaping from Dogfighting Ring

onegreenplanet.org

By Sharon Vega

Dogfighting is a horrible blood “sport” in which dogs are forced to aggressively and violent fight each other for the entertainment or profit of humans. Horrible people gamble over the suffering and violence between animals. Many dogs suffer tremendously not just when forced to fight, but when used as bait dogs. But dogfighting affects other animals too. Cats and rabbits are also used as bait in dogfighting rings. It’s as horrifying as it sounds.

In order to train dogs to develop a blood lust, part of that involves tying up other animals and painting them red to teach the dog to chase and maul them and tear them apart. It’s sickening and disgusting.

A cat that was going to be used in this appalling way thankfully somehow got away and was rescued!

On Tuesday, February 18th, a UPS driver found a black and white kitten whose white fur had been dyed red. Thankfully, the driver saved the kitten and took him to Southside Animal Shelter nearby.

The shelter explained that among animal rescuers, it’s common knowledge that a cat with fur dyed red means they were being used in dogfighting rings.

News site WTHR also explains: “In dog fighting, many times cats and kittens are dyed different colors with people then betting on which one will be killed by the dog first, put up the best fight or survive the longest.”

The sweet cat has since been named Cosmo. He needs to put on some weight and get neutered, but then he’ll be put up for adoption. We are so glad he somehow got away from the horrible fate that awaited him and that the kind UPS driver was compassionate and caring enough to get him to safety.

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/cat-rescued-after-escaping-from-dogfighting-ring/

You can now buy a dog collar that will swear every time your dog barks

fox43.com

For $60, the Cuss Collar, which fastens around a dog’s neck, will spit out a swear word every time your dog barks.

For every treat your good boy deserved but didn’t get, for every itch that you didn’t scratch, your dog can now vent out all its frustration in cuss words.

For $60, the Cuss Collar, which fastens around a dog’s neck, will spit out a swear word every time your dog barks.

It’s currently sold out, but those who are in desperate need to have their dog swearing like a sailor can sign up for details on its next drop by texting the number listed on the website.

The pre-recorded words include bullsh*t, the f-bomb and the like. The product’s website states that the product isn’t a “shock/vibration/training collar and is not intended for anti-bark training use.” It’s more of a gag gift that the company behind the collar, MSCHF, is known for.

The company behind Cuss Collar

MSCHF is the master of releasing products that nobody really needs, but everyone absolutely wants.

Bath bombs in the shape of a toaster that smell like strawberry Pop-Tarts, a rubber chicken bong, and customized Nike sneakers with Holy Water from the Jordan River in the sole, aptly called Jesus Shoes, are just some of the company’s latest drops.

But the company’s most outrageous releases aren’t even products at all.

Netflix Hangouts, an extension for Google’s Chrome browser launched by MSCHF, lets you watch Netflix at work by making it look like you’re on a conference call.

Man Eating Food is a YouTube channel that consists solely of videos of a man eating everything from dog food to a pancake in the shape of Bhad Bhabie.

M-Journal is a website that will turn any Wikipedia article into a legit-looking academic paper.

So if you didn’t know already, the internet truly has everything.

https://www.fox43.com/amp/article/life/animals/dog-cuss-collar/521-338bc5a1-d3b0-4b9f-b2e4-e4cfd6a1afaf?__twitter_impression=true

Some good news out of China

They do the mating call 12 hours a day for weeks

Even Animals Fall in Love ❣️

Live feed of snow goose migration in Lancaster County | fox43.com

HDonTap, in conjunction with the State Game Commission, has a live feed of the snow goose migration. Thousands of birds are gathering there.

Go here to get the live feed of the snow goose migration.

https://www.fox43.com/amp/article/news/local/lancaster-county/watch-live-feed-of-snow-goose-migration-in-middle-creek-wildlife-management-area-in-lancaster-county/521-bf9e9dfd-3071-4d4a-a723-5d6c762582d4?__twitter_impression=true

Stray dogs are beaten to death in china to “stop” spread of coronavirus

dailycolumn.com.au

Footage has emerged of a Chinese community officer savagely beating a defenceless stray dog to death with a large wooden club, claiming to “Prevent the coronavirus from spreading”.

As The death toll from the Coronavirus hits 1,019 Chinese citizens throughout mainland China, the fears of the disease spreading by stray and domesticated Animals is manifested.

Horrified citizens in the city of Nanchong, Sichuan Province were witness to a brutal attack which involved a stray dog being brutally beaten to death with a large wooden club by a community officer. Sources claim the stray dog had bitten a resident and caused havoc.

A shocked resident filmed the entire incident which is too graphic to be shown, which shows the officer beating a medium sized dog repeatedly with a large wooden club, the officers actions have been condemned by animal rights groups as being “cruel” and “atrocious”.

The citizens residing the the complex where the incident took place were later instructed by officers to keep their pets indoors and that no pets were allowed outside.

‘As long as [we] see a dog in the complex, no matter if it is on the lead or not, we will beat it to death,’ the officers were quoted saying.

The footage later shows one of the two dogs which was beaten to death being taken away by a man on a scooter.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) has stated that there has been no evidence to suggest the coronavirus can be spread by cats and dogs at this time.

So far the coronavirus epidemics death toll has reached 1,019 lives with 43,140 people in 28 countries and territories around the world infected with the majority of those cases being in China.

https://dailycolumn.com.au/stray-dogs-are-beaten-to-death-in-china-to-stop-spread-of-coronavirus/

May all animals be happy and free

Chinese Citizens Being Ordered to Dispose Pets Despite Any Connection with Coronavirus Outbreak

onegreenplanet.org
By Eliza Erskine

According to MailOnline, to reduce the spread of coronavirus, village officials in some Chinese cities have ordered citizens to get rid of pets, to stop keeping them or risk having them taken away.

As China tries different strategies to deal with the virus, some residential committees, companies and village officials in provinces have urged citizens to deal with their pets. Notices given to the MailOnline show orders from officials to dispose of dogs and cats immediately to prevent them from carrying the virus.

According to the MailOnline, China’s expert on infectious disease said the pets would need quarantine if they were exposed to patients with coronavirus. The World Health Organization disputes any claims that the virus can be passed onto cats or dogs.

Dr Peter J. Li, China Policy Specialist of Humane Society International, told the MailOnline that the organization had seen memos about banning and killing cats and dogs. He told the MailOnline, “This is not the right approach for local authorities in China to deal with the national crisis that can be traced to China’s out-of-control wildlife trade. Companion animals did not contribute to the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003. They do not have anything to do with the Wuhan epidemic.”

Coronavirus has been linked to a food market in Wuhan and is connected to the global wildlife trade. China has temporarily banned the wildlife trade as the virus continues to spread.

Click here to sign the petition to ban the wildlife trade for good.

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Also, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App on iTunes — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content.

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/chinese-citizens-being-ordered-to-dispose-pets-even-though-it-has-no-connection-to-coronavirus/

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