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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:50 am

Climate activist Greta Thunberg
meets Westminster party leaders


Britain's most high-profile politicians rushed back from their holidays today to be photographed alongside a 16-year-old environmental activist who took the House of Commons by storm

MPs including John Bercow, Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband welcomed Greta Thunberg to Parliament, where she made a speech about climate change and got a rapturous round of applause.

Miss Thunberg is the schoolgirl whose refusal to go to school because of global warming led to children around the world skipping classes in protest.

She came to Britain on Sunday and spoke to protesters camping out in Marble Arch and causing chaos to London's transport networks.

Today, she met political leaders at Westminster, including Mr Corbyn, Vince Cable and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas at Parliament.

The 16-year-old told a packed room in the Palace of Westminster that her future and those of her fellow children had been 'sold'.

'We probably don't even have a future any more,' she said.

'That future has been sold so that a small number of people can make unimaginable amounts of money.

'It was stolen from us every time you said 'the sky is the limit' and 'you only live once'.'

Miss Thunberg spoke alongside a panel of MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Green MP Caroline Lucas, former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem MP Layla Moran.

The schoolgirl said she knew politicians did not want to listen, as she started to experience microphone problems.

She asked: 'Is this microphone on? Can anybody hear me? Is my English OK? I am starting to wonder.'

Environment Secretary Michael Gove assured Miss Thunberg she had been heard as he admitted 'we have not done nearly enough'.

MPs stood and clapped the youngster after she told them they didn't want to listen

In a 'no-chairing stunt', opposition party leaders left an empty chair for the Prime Minister at the meeting. Theresa May was in a cabinet meeting at the time.

Organisers of Miss Thunberg's event said that no response had been received to their invitation to the Prime Minister, but they were still hopeful she might attend at least part of the discussion.

Opening the talks, Miss Thunberg - who earlier met Commons Speaker John Bercow - told the MPs: 'We just want people to listen to the science.'

Ms Thunberg's visit to Parliament was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group. Mrs May's office said they did not know whether she had been invited.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: 'It was a pleasure welcoming UK youth climate strikers and Greta Thunberg to parliament.

'Young people will be the most affected by climate change - seeing them take charge of their future is inspiring. Labour's committed to working with young people campaigning to save our planet.'

Ms Thunberg met politicians including Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former Labour leader Ed Miliband

Speaking at an event in London yesterday, Greta called on the UK to hold a general strike over climate change

The schoolgirl then told Radio 4's Today programme this morning that there needs to be 'a level of panic' over climate change.

She added: 'If your house is on fire then that does require some level of panic. You don't sit talking about insurance claims and rebuilding - you do everything you can to put out the fire.'

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee is also expected to meet the leaders at around 11.30am on Tuesday before giving a speech at a meeting in Portcullis House at around 2pm.

She tweeted this message to her 460,000 followers on Twitter from Parliament this morning

Six months ago, the then-unknown Miss Thunberg camped outside Sweden's parliament next to a hand-written sign that read 'Skolstrejk för Klimatet' (School strike for the climate).

She skipped school every Friday to sit on the steps of the Riksdag and soon became a global success following her first TED talk - which now has more than a million views.

The 16-year-old climate crusader has already been immersed in her specialist subject for seven years.

Last year Miss Thunberg described herself as having been 'diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, OCD and selective mutism, saying 'I only speak when I have something important to say'.

She added: 'I see the world a bit differently, from another perspective… I can do the same thing for hours.'

She comes from an eminent family. Her mother is the beautiful blonde Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman who was the country's entry in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

Her father is actor Svante Thunberg, who was named after a distant relative, Svante Arrhenius, a Nobel-prize-winning scientist who in 1896 first calculated the greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg attend a session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Miss Thunberg explained that she first learned about climate change in school, aged nine.

'They were always talking about how we should turn off lights, save water, not throw out food,' she said in one interview.

But she was baffled and frustrated by what she saw as a lack of action.

'If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn't be talking about anything else,' she said. 'But this wasn't happening.'

She started researching climate change herself, giving up other extra-curricular activities along the way - and became a vegan, stopped buying anything that was not essential and refused to fly anywhere.

By 2016 she had convinced her mother to give up flying, and the family cut out all meat and dairy. They installed solar batteries, started growing their own vegetables, went vegan and cycled everywhere, keeping an electric car for emergencies.

In August last year, her private personal protest went public when she walked out of school and plonked herself outside the Riksdag, hadninh out leaflets saying 'I'm doing this because you adulting are sh**ing on my future'.

Her demands were simple — that politicians reduced carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015.

In November 2018, still aged just 15 and dressed in a blue hoodie and hair in long plaits she gave her first TED talk, which has now been viewed more than a million times.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg: 'Together we are making a difference'

Greta holds a placard next to students during a 'strike for climate' held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum

Some have questioned whether her rise to global fame has been as accidental as it appears, but Miss Thunberg and her family have hit back hard at anmy suggestion of media manipulation.

PR consultant Ingmar Rentzhog's We Don’t Have Time climate change PR agency used Miss Thunberg's image to gain funds for his firm, according to Climate Change Dispatch.

But the publication said the teenager's family deny being aware that she would be used in this way, and the family have since cut ties with Mr Rentzhog’s organisation.

Her school strike coincided with the launch of a book about climate change written by her mother, according to Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche, but Miss Thunberg denied that the book launch had anything to do with her.

Miss Thunberg delivered a stern rebuke to attendees of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018, accusing them of leaving the burden of climate change with future generations.

'I don't want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day,' she told them.

And she told business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 'our house is on fire!', after piously camping in the snow in temperatures of -18C rather than accepting luxury accommodation. She arrived at the out-of-the-way location after a 32 hour train journey, eschewing the jet planes used by most attendees.

On February 15 and again on March 15 school students around the world, inspired by her example, played truant from school in a 'strike' to protest climate change.

In the UK last month, thousands of placard-waving youngsters ditched their lessons and flocked to London's Parliament Square to try to grab the attention of MPs.

They chanted 'this is what democracy looks like' while primary school children, who were at the protest with their parents and holding handmade placards, shouted 'climate change, boo!'

The walkouts took place in more than 100 UK towns and cities, including Kent, Edinburgh and Bristol, as part of a global day of action inspired by Miss Thunberg.

In response to the protests in March United Nations climate change chief Patricia Espinosa said: 'What we're seeing is a clear message from youth throughout the world that nations must significantly increase their efforts to address climate change.

Some 2,000 rallies took place on March 15 with 100 events in UK towns and cities including this one in Parliament Square

Strikes took place in over 120 countries around the world. A massive demonstration was held in Milan outside the iconic Duomo

Thousands of students thronged the streets of Lisbon on the international day of climate protest inspired by Miss Thunberg

'Given the urgency the world faces, it's vital nations come up with more ambitious plans both this year and in 2020 as stated in the Paris Agreement.

'This is how we will not only reach our collective climate goals, but how we will build a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future for all people.'

While recognising the importance of climate change in response to the first UK strike, Downing Street said the disruption increased teachers’ workloads and wasted lesson time, and Education Secretary Damian Hinds said missing class was not the answer.

The children's demands for urgent action to treat climate change as a global emergency come in the wake of a UN report last year which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.

That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years, and to zero by mid-century.

Miss Thunberg's arrival in London today comes on the ninth day of the the Extinction Rebellion protests, after the activists kept up their demonstrations and sit-ins over the long Bank holiday weekend.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in London over the last two weeks during climate change protests which started on Monday April 15.

The action has seen Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus blocked and a 100-person 'die in' at the Natural History Museum yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police said 1,065 people had been arrested in connection with the demonstrations by 10am on Monday, while 53 of those had been charged.

A spokesman also revealed they have needed more than 10,000 officers over the last ten days to police the ongoing protests.

Last night, officers cut the main power to the Extinction Rebellion camp in Marble Arch and then removed the sound equipment.

After a police cordon was put in place, officers could be seen taking away the various parts of a sound system, including a mixing desk and amplifiers.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... trike.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:59 pm

London climate demo to end Thursday

A climate protest that has disrupted parts of London for nine days is to end on Thursday, organisers say

Police cleared Extinction Rebellion's final road block in Marble Arch earlier and arrested 22 people, bringing the total to 1,088 since protests began.

Specialist equipment has been deployed in Parliament Square to remove protesters camping in trees.

Makeshift camps at Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge were removed earlier in the week.

One protester told the BBC "This is our last stand". :((

Organisers said a closing ceremony would be held at 18:00 BST on Thursday at Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park.

'Huge challenge'

"We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world," they said in a statement.

"We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he welcomed the decision to cease the protests, which had been a "huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police".

So far 69 people have been charged in connection with the protest, the Met Police said.

Police have extended restrictions at the Marble Arch site, preventing protesters congregating on the road, until Saturday afternoon.

A senior Scotland Yard officer has warned that officers will require new powers to deal with demonstrations on a similar scale in the future.

Giving evidence to the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, Commander Adrian Usher, head of the Metropolitan Police's protection command, said it should not be enough for a protest to be "peaceful" to be considered lawful.

"We will conduct a sober review of our tactics against recent protests, but I think it is likely to say the legislation associated with policing protest is quite dated and that policing and protest has moved on and that legislation should follow suit," he said.

Earlier, Extinction Rebellion Youth handed a letter addressed to MPs, to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

In response, Ms Abbott said MPs needed to come together to host a "broad conversation" on bringing the country's greenhouse gas emissions down.

Campaigners have issued three core demands to the government:

    to "tell the truth about climate change"
    to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025
    to create a citizens' assembly to oversee progress.
In a letter to MPs Extinction Rebellion Youth said: "We are asking you to hear the science, to feel the public's change of heart and to act now to save our futures"

Elliott Cuciurean, 20, believed to be the first climate activist successfully prosecuted over the fresh wave of protests, was spared a fine at a court hearing on Tuesday.

More actions are expected in the future :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48044056
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:33 am

Thousands of penguin chicks wiped out

Thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned when the sea-ice on which they were being raised was destroyed in severe weather

The catastrophe occurred in 2016 in Antarctica's Weddell Sea.

Scientists say the colony at the edge of the Brunt Ice Shelf has collapsed with adult birds showing no sign of trying to re-establish the population.

And it would probably be pointless for them to try as a giant iceberg is about to disrupt the site.

The dramatic loss of the young emperor birds is reported by a team from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Drs Peter Fretwell and Phil Trathan noticed the disappearance of the so-called Halley Bay colony in satellite pictures.

It is possible even from 800km up to spot the animals' excrement, or guano, on the white ice and then to estimate the likely size of any gathering.

But the Brunt population, which had sustained an average of 14,000 to 25,000 breeding pairs for several decades (5-9% of the global population), essentially disappeared overnight.

Emperors are the tallest and heaviest of the penguin species and need reliable patches of sea-ice on which to breed, and this icy platform must persist from April, when the birds arrive, until December, when their chicks fledge.

If the sea-ice breaks up too early, the young birds will not have the right feathers to start swimming.

This appears to have been what happened in 2016.

Strong winds hollowed out the sea-ice that had stuck hard to the side of the thicker Brunt shelf in its creeks, and never properly reformed. Not in 2017, nor in 2018.

Dr Fretwell told BBC News: "The sea-ice that's formed since 2016 hasn't been as strong. Storm events that occur in October and November will now blow it out early. So there's been some sort of regime change. Sea-ice that was previously stable and reliable is now just untenable."

The BAS team believes many adults have either avoided breeding in these later years or moved to new breeding sites across the Weddell Sea. A colony some 50km away, close to the Dawson-Lambton Glacier, has seen a big rise in its numbers.

Quite why the sea-ice platform on the edge of the Brunt shelf has failed to regenerate is unclear. There is no obvious climate signal to point to in this case; atmospheric and ocean observations in the vicinity of the Brunt reveal little in the way of change.

But the sensitivity of this colony to shifting sea-ice trends does illustrate, says the team, the impact that future warming in Antarctica could have on emperor penguins in particular.

Research suggests the species might lose anywhere between 50% and 70% of its global population by the end of this century if sea-ice is reduced to the extent that computer models envisage.

Dr Trathan said: "What's interesting for me is not that colonies move or that we can have major breeding failures - we know that. It's that we are talking here about the deep embayment of the Weddell Sea, which is potentially one of the climate change refugia for those cold-adapted species like emperor penguins.

"And so if we see major disturbances in these refugia - where we haven't previously seen changes in 60 years - that's an important signal."

Whether the Halley Bay colony specifically really had a future is a moot point.

The Brunt Ice Shelf is being split apart by a developing crack.

This chasm will eventually calve an iceberg the size of Greater London into the Weddell Sea, and any sea-ice stuck to the berg's edge may break up in the process.

The colony could have been doomed regardless of what happened in 2016.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48041487
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:00 am

Climate activists block stock exchange

Protesters glued themselves to each other and to the building in the City of London

Click to enlarge:
1159

Climate activists blockaded the London Stock Exchange by gluing themselves across the entrances.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion attached themselves to walls and to each other at the financial centre in the City of London.

A group also climbed on to a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train at Canary Wharf and held up banners.

Protesters at both locations were later removed, but police warned of disruption throughout the day.

Police said Fleet Street would remain closed for about three hours, after it was blocked by activists

Elsewhere in the City, temporary road blocks have been set up by activists at Bank and Southwark Bridge.

Others glued themselves together on Fleet Street outside the Goldman Sachs bank headquarters.

Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to "tell the truth" about the scale of the climate crisis, it wants the UK to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and it wants a Citizens' Assembly to oversee the changes needed to achieve that goal.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested since the protests began on 15 April.

Traffic has been blocked during short protests opposite the Bank of England

The group had previously said it would end its action later in the day, having previously blocked sites including Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge.

Extinction Rebellion said protesters would spend the day focusing on the financial industry "and the corrosive impacts of the financial sector on the world we live in".

The 13 activists who blockaded the stock exchange wore LED signs reading "Climate emergency", "Tell the truth" and "You can't eat money".

One protester, Adam Woodall, said they had targeted the building because "people are making millions, even billions of pounds out of trading ecological destruction".

The group was removed by police officers and transferred to police vans.

The London Stock Exchange said markets were all open as normal in spite of the action.

One woman glued herself to a train carriage

Four people were standing on top of the DLR train holding signs saying "Business as usual = death" and "Don't jail the canaries". Another activist glued herself to a carriage.

Services were able to continue on the DLR, but there were minor delays between Bank and Stratford/Lewisham.

Officers from British Transport Police used ropes, harnesses and ladders to remove the protesters.

Five people had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway, the force said.

Phil Kingston, 83, was among those taken to custody over the protest at Canary Wharf

As of Wednesday evening, a total of 1,088 people had been arrested - with 69 of those charged in connection with the protest, the Met Police said.

Extinction Rebellion protesters also remain at Marble Arch, although no roads have been blocked there.

Meanwhile, Dame Emma Thompson, who joined the activists on Saturday, has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to take part.

The actress said it was "very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying" but she was "in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint".

The Hollywood star said people were going to have to fly less as "the future of this planet is at stake".

More than 10,000 officers have been deployed during the action.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the protests had been a "huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police".

The group said it would hold a "closing ceremony" at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park at 17:00 BST.

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48049040
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:26 am

What's behind the US
anti-abortion heartbeat bill?


The March for Life is the world's largest annual pro-life demonstration

A slew of states have introduced new anti-abortion legislation that would ban the procedure as soon as a foetal heartbeat can be detected. What's behind the push - and the backlash - for these bills and what exactly do they mean for women?

In the first months of this year, nearly 30 states introduced some form of an abortion ban in their legislature. Fifteen have specifically been working with so-called "heartbeat bills", that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute - a group that researches sexual and reproductive health - says it's a huge increase, up from seven last year.

What are these bills - and why now?

"Heartbeat bills", as the term implies, seek to make abortion illegal as soon as a foetus' heartbeat is detectable. In most cases, this is at the six-week mark of a pregnancy - before many women even know they are pregnant.

For context, morning sickness generally happens around the nine-week mark, according to Mayo Clinic, and one study found about only half of women experienced pregnancy symptoms by the end of the fifth week of pregnancy.

"We have never seen so much action around six-week abortion bans," Ms Nash says. "But we now have seen a shift in the composition of the US Supreme Court."

President Donald Trump has thus far successfully placed two conservative Supreme Court justices - moving the nation's top court further to the right, and, Ms Nash says, making it seem more amenable to revoking abortion rights.

"Because of this, we are seeing state legislatures looking to ban abortion as a way to kickstart litigation that would come before the [Supreme] court, and the court could then roll back abortion rights."

Progressive legislators are also responding - in January, New York signed into law a bill safeguarding abortion rights up to 24 weeks in certain cases, reigniting discussions about the controversial procedure.

Ms Nash notes that a conservative shift at the state level was apparent in 2010 as well, but under the Obama administration, there was still a federal safety net for abortion rights.
Graphic showing some state abortion bans, ranging from 6 weeks to 25 weeks

A brief history of US abortion

The US movement against abortion began in the 1800s, spearheaded by physicians who saw non-medical professionals providing abortion services as both a threat to their industry and harmful to women's health.

By 1900, every state had banned abortions entirely - with exceptions granted only at the discretion of a licensed physician.

The issue arose again in the 1960s, when women began advocating for reproductive rights. Colorado changed its anti-abortion law in 1967, followed soon after by California and New York.

Amid these efforts to return the choice to women, the anti-abortion movement as we currently see it was born, led largely by Catholics and other conservative religious groups. The oldest such group in the US, the National Right to Life, was founded in 1968.

Most funding for the movement still comes from religious conservatives - including wealthy donors like the vocally pro-life DeVos family.

In 1973, the Supreme Court issued the landmark Roe v Wade ruling legalising abortion in all 50 states.

Roe v Wade protects a woman's right to an abortion only until viability - that is, the point at which a foetus is able to live outside the womb, generally at the start of the third trimester, 28 weeks into a pregnancy.

Pro-life signs were seen during the 2019 March for Life Conference and Expo, the day before an annual rally and march of pro-life activists that mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the US, in Washington, DC, January 17, 2019

What does the anti-abortion movement want?

The movement in recent years has grown increasingly diverse, advocates say, and as a result, not everyone within it has the same vision of how to move forward.

For Karen Swallow Prior, a professor at the evangelical Liberty University who is a proponent of banning abortion outright, these foetal heartbeat bills are "a good faith effort" to restrict abortion. :ymapplause:

While Prof Prior supports the legislation, she says that such a dramatic step is unlikely to result in any lasting political change - but it does spark potentially constructive debates.

"What I like about these heartbeat bills is the name alone allows us to think about the unborn children in a different way than we're used to talking about in political discourse."

Prof Prior says those supporting abortion rights - the "pro-choice" camp - argue that most abortions occur within the first trimester, but also say some women do not realise they are pregnant until 20 weeks in, so these heartbeat bills have the added effect of "encouraging women to be more aware and conscious of what's going on in their bodies".

"These bills and the pro-life [anti-abortion] movement are not about punishing women for having sex, they are about preserving a human life that already exists," Prof Prior says. She emphasised it was not a religiously motivated viewpoint, but one based on science and human rights.

It's worth noting, however, that the science and medical community remains just as embroiled in the debate over when a foetus is alive.

Kyle Eisenhuth, the 21-year-old president of the pro-life group at Liberty, echoes the same argument.

"I'm a devout Christian, so that's part of it, but I really think science is on the side of the pro-life movement," he says. "Just because we have that faith doesn't change how a baby has a heartbeat at 18-21 days."

Mr Eisenhuth says that he believes progressive retaliation to Mr Trump has had the biggest impact on jump-starting these bills.

"More than anything else, when New York passed their bill on abortion, I think that inspired a lot more activism."

In addition to these six-week bans, pro-life activists have fought for restrictions on abortion methods, rationales (such as sex or race or abnormality) and trigger bans that would end abortion if Roe v Wade is overturned.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 18 states have laws that would restrict abortion in the absence of the federal law, while 10 have laws that would protect abortion in the same scenario.

But some activists are focusing instead on changing infrastructure they view as promoting abortion, rather than seeking to immediately criminalise the procedure.

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of New Wave Feminists, says her organisation wants to make abortion "unthinkable".

"We're arguing about autonomy - which is more important, the woman's or the child's? As a pro-life feminist, I believe we have to take into account both."

She is not opposed to the heartbeat bills, but says her own activism focuses on women's empowerment.

"We know statistically it's a decision made on financial constraints, lack of access to healthcare, things like that," she says. "Let's get to the real root as to why women feel they have to have an abortion in the first place."
Presentational white space

Ms Herndon-De La Rosa says she had to fight to continue her own education when she became pregnant at 16.

In her view, abortions "help society not adequately meet the needs of women" by promoting the idea that women cannot have children and be successful in other aspects of their lives.

What about the other side?

Reverend Marie Alford-Harkey says the right to have an abortion goes hand in hand with the right to follow one's own values and morals.

Rev Alford-Harkey, who is a Christian pastor and the president and CEO of the Religious Institute, a national multi-faith organisation working for sexual, gender, and reproductive justice, says the notion of reproductive justice, a term created by black women in the 1990s, is behind her pro-choice views.

"It's the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, to have children, to not have children, to parent in safe and sustainable communities," Rev Alford-Harkey explains.

"Justice is a very Christian concept, and this particular framework grew out of communities that were not being served."

Rev Alford-Harkey recently began working as an abortion doula, accompanying women into the exam rooms, speaking with them before, after and sometimes even during the procedure.

"I've been asked once or twice if I think God would forgive them and I say, I don't think there's anything for God to forgive. What I think is a sin is that we've taught people that God won't forgive them for doing what's best for their own bodies, their own lives."

Rev Alford-Harkey says viewing abortion as an issue rather than focusing on the human needs has exacerbated the problems.

"What is most resonant for me is the great variety of people I've seen [as a doula] - from a woman who I'm pretty certain was being abused by the person who impregnated her, to a woman who was barely out of high school and knew she couldn't care for a child, to a woman who had three children and knew she couldn't care for another."

"Part of the problem here is there's not equal access to all of the things that people need to be healthy and whole."

This belief in ensuring equal access and choice for everyone, rooted in Christianity for Rev Alford-Harkey, is why she says there is "absolutely no good to come of a six-week ban".

"It's just removing access for people who are already on the margins," she says.

But the reverend adds that seeing religious communities speak out about their values has made her more hopeful.

"What's changing with Trump is progressive people with faith are becoming more visible in advocating for our values.

"Instead of just framing the debate of religion versus access to abortion, there's now a more nuanced conversation happening that recognises that there is not one 'religious' position."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47940659
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:28 am

Live dogs tied up in sacks before
being beaten to death in Indonesia


Shocking video footage and images have emerged showing the grim conditions inside an Indonesian slaughterhouse where dogs are butchered for humans to eat

Canines arrive on trucks at the meat factory in the city of Surakarta, known as Solo, and are bound up in sacks before being thrown into filthy cages to await their fates.

Workers then pummel the animals over the head with large pieces of wood, string them up and slit their throats - with some of them still conscious.

Video and pictures captured from inside a slaughterhouse in the Indonesian city of Surakarta, on the island of Java, shows dogs being tied up and butchered for food

The animals arrive at the slaughterhouse in hessian sacks with their mouths bound to stop them barking before being beaten unconscious with wood

As other dogs watch, the stunned animals are then strung up and have their throats cut before being butchered and sold for human consumption

This grisly spectacle occurs in front of other dogs who are forced to watch, knowing that they are next in line.

The images and video was captured by campaign group Dog Meat-Free Indonesia, which urged the government to follow up on its pledge to stamp out the trade.

Lola Webber, Change For Animals Foundation, said: 'Dogs are captured from the streets and stolen from people’s homes to be taken on long journeys – often lasting for days – tightly packed in pick-up trucks or in hessian sacks, their mouths bound shut so they can hardly breathe.

'They are then taken to filthy slaughterhouses where they watch others being slaughtered as they wait their turn, trembling in fear.

'The look in their eyes is haunting, the blood-spattered walls unforgettable.'

Activist's latest investigations and report reveal that an estimated 13,700 dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status continue to be captured and stolen each month from the streets of cities throughout Java – Indonesia’s most populous island.

West Java acts as a 'supply hub' for the region, importing dogs into Solo’s densely-populated city centre.

Campaigners estimate that up to 90 per cent of the animals brought to slaughterhouses like this one are stolen - either off the street or from their owners

While Indonesia's Muslim-majority population consider dog meat haram, and therefore do not eat it, the animals are eaten by some of the islands' minority populations

Indonesia does have strict laws governing the sale of dog meat, and last year vowed to wipe the trade out altogether, but activists say little action has been taken

Here, the dogs are slaughtered and sold in one of the city’s 82 restaurants openly advertising the meat.

In Surakatra alone, it is thought 1,200 dogs are slaughtered daily for their meat, though official statistics on the trade are hard to come by.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, which considers dog meat haram - or forbidden - and therefore most Indonesians do not eat it.

However, among some minority groups the dish remains popular and is often linked to festivities or family celebrations such as weddings and baptisms.

As in many other parts of Asia, dog meat is also consumed for perceived health properties such as curing skin problems, dengue fever and asthma, as a general boost for the immune system, or improving male stamina.

Indonesia has strict laws relating to the sale of dog meat - banning animals from being brought in from outside the state in which they are sold.

Animals are also supposed to be fully vaccinated against diseases like rabies and sourced from reliable farms.

However, campaigners say such rules are seldom enforced and believe up to 90 per cent of dogs killed for their meat are stolen from owners or off the streets.

The Indonesian government pledged to fully eradicate the trade in 2018, but markets and restaurants selling dog meat continue to operate openly.

Among the communities who eat dog meat, it is often consumed at special events such as weddings and baptisms, or for its supposed health benefits

Campaigners have called on the government to come good on its pledge to eradicate the dog meat trade, which they say is cruel and poses health issues

Activists have recorded 82 restaurants in Surakarta which they say are openly advertising dog meat for sale, where it is called 'asu'

Dr. Katherine Polak, of the FOUR PAWS group, added: 'We know that rabies control and elimination efforts are futile without addressing the dog meat trade which is the only trade known to encourage the mass unregulated movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status.

'This facilitates the spread of the disease and disrupts any attempts to reach the required canine vaccination coverage required to ultimately eliminate the disease from the dog population.

'Pledges for action have been made from the Central government’s Ministry of Agriculture. DMFI and the millions of supporters we represent worldwide applaud this position.

'But these words need to result in commitments for change through strong and impactful actions.

'For now, the illegal trades continue, threatening the health and safety of millions of Indonesians, and resulting in the suffering of thousands of animals each day.'

Link to Article - Photos - Video:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... ayer_click
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:26 am

Extinction Rebellion praise beautiful beings

Extinction Rebellion leaders have praised the 'beautiful beings' who caused chaos across London for two weeks at a self-proclaimed 'closing ceremony' in London

Demonstrators gathered at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park for the event marking an end to the current wave of blockades in the capital.

Skeena Rathor, vision co-ordinator for XR, welcomed the 'rebels' to the event which was billed as a 'closing ceremony' by the group.

She described the crowd of hundreds of people sitting on the grass as 'beautiful beings', adding: 'This is our pause ceremony. Welcome to the beginning of our pause.'

Demonstrators gathered at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park on Thursday evening for the event marking an end to the current wave of blockades in the capital

Climate change activists, dressed in red with white face paint, take part in the 'closing ceremony' of the Extinction Rebellion protests in Hyde Park

Ms Rathor invited the eco-protesters to 'begin a process of reflection' after the 10-day campaign, adding: 'Thank you for what you have done this week. It is enormous. It is beyond words'

Activists listen to speeches and songs through small PA system in Hyde Park at the self-titled 'closing ceremony' of the Extinction Rebellion protest

Extinction Rebellion campaigners attend a 'closing ceremony' in Hyde Park. Many listened to speeches, including from Ms Rathor who said: 'We are here for all of us. And together we are all we need'

She said: 'We are here for all of us. And together we are all we need.' Answering a shout from the crowd, she added: 'And for all species. Absolutely.'

On their final day, XR members temporarily blockaded the London Stock Exchange by gluing themselves across entrances to the trading hub in the City of London in the morning.

The action came after the group announced on Wednesday it would end blockades at Parliament Square and Marble Arch.

Members of the group targeted London's financial districts to highlight what they call the business world's 'role in our collective suicide', on the final day of protests.

They were un-attached before being taken away in police vans, with Scotland Yard saying 13 people had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespassing.

Others had made signs with messages including 'act now' as they listened to speeches at Hyde Park yesterday evening

People observe the Extinction Rebellion 'closing ceremony' from a tree, as the protestors celebrated the action they had taken over the past couple of weeks

Some Extinction Rebellion campaigners closed their eyes as they listened to speeches at the self-titled closing ceremony in Hyde Park

Elsewhere, six protesters including 83-year-old grandfather Phil Kingston clambered on to the roof of a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in east London, holding signs saying 'business as usual = death' and 'don't jail the canaries'.

British Transport Police (BTP) used ropes, ladders and harnesses to remove them before saying six people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway.

In central London, dozens of XR members including drummers and banner-carriers could be seen demonstrating outside offices of bankers Goldman Sachs on Fleet Street.

The group moved down the road and blockaded it at intervals, with about a dozen buses seen stuck on either side of the blockade.

Police said 13 people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespassing in Fleet Street.

Protesters later glued themselves to the front of the Treasury in Westminster.

The nine protesters, two men and seven women, formed a chain of people preventing others from entering One Horse Guards Road.

Link to Full Article - Lots of Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... weeks.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:09 pm

Australia to kill millions of feral cats
by airdropping poison sausages


The Australian government is airdropping poisonous sausages across thousands of hectares of land in an effort to kill millions of feral cats, according to reports

It is just one of the tactics used by the government as part its plan to kill two million feral cats by 2020 in order to protect native species.

Cats are also trapped and shot by government officials.
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

The cats die within 15 minutes after eating the sausages made with kangaroo meat, chicken fat, herbs, spices and the poison, 1080, the New York Times reported.

Planes distributing the poisoned treats, which are produced at a factory close to Perth, drop 50 sausages every kilometre in areas where the cats roam free.

Dr Dave Algar, who helped develop the poison recipe, said he used his cats to test the taste of the sausages before adding the poison to check the flavour.

"They've got to taste good,” he told the paper. “They are the cat's last meal."

Since they were first introduced by European settlers, feral cats have helped drive an estimated 20 mammal species to extinction, Gregory Andrews, the national commissioner of threatened species told the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to Mr Andrews, that makes feral cats the “single biggest threat” to Australia's native species.

"We have got to make choices to save animals that we love, and who define us as a nation like the bilby, the warru (Black-footed rock-wallaby) and the night parrot," he said.

It is estimated that cats kill 377 million birds and 649 million reptiles every year in Australia, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Biological Conservation.

When the Australian government first announced its cat culling target in 2015, it drew international criticism.

More than 160,000 people signed half a dozen online petitions calling on Australia to drop the plan. Brigette Bardot wrote a letter calling on the government to stop “animal genocide”, while Morissey responded by saying "idiots rule the earth".

The cull has also come under fire from some conservationists who argue that the government are focusing too heavily on cats, rather than addressing other factors that reduce biodiversity such as urban expansion, logging and mining.

Tim Doherty, a conservation ecologist from Deakin University in Australia, told CNN: "There's a possibility there that cats are being used as a distraction to some extent," he said. "We also need to have a more holistic approach and address all threats to biodiversity."

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Despite the more creative methods employed in the government’s cat cull, individual shooters are responsible for the 83 per cent of the cats killed so far, according to The Royal Melbourne Institute.

And Australia is not the only country to focus on reducing cat populations, with calls in New Zealand to put a stop to domestic cats altogether.

The country has announced a goal of becoming completely predator free by 2050. And last year, Omaui, a small coastal town in the South Island, considered banning people from owning cats – although it has since backtracked on this plan.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... 1556294951

I would suggest that instead of poison, they should drop some form of contraception X(
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:59 pm

Investigation reveals sickening lion
trade ending with dramatic rescue


Thousands of lions are being bred to be killed by callous hunters or slaughtered so their bones can be turned into ‘medicines’ and trinkets sold for huge sums in the Far East

Some of the animals are shot in fenced enclosures by wealthy trophy hunters – including Britons – who pay thousands of pounds to kill them for kicks. Many more are trucked to squalid slaughterhouses and held in appalling conditions until they are shot in the head and butchered.

The repulsive industry, which is rife in South Africa, has been exposed in a year-long investigation by former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft, who last night accused the British Government of being complicit in the trade because of its failure to ban the import of trophy skins.

Simba the lion rescued after being shot during a 'green-hunt'

Thousands of lions are being bred to be killed by callous hunters or slaughtered so their bones can be turned into ‘medicines’ and trinkets sold for huge sums in the Far East, a year-long investigation by former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft has revealed. Simba, a majestic 11-year-old, was at the centre of Lord Ashcroft’s probe

His exposé ended in victory as one lion was rescued from death at the hunters’ hands, and released into the wild in joyous scenes last night.

Lord Ashcroft’s probe – compiled by a team of undercover investigators – is published in The Mail on Sunday today and also reveals that:

    54 lions were killed at one squalid slaughterhouse in just two days;

    Lion skins are being smuggled into the US via Britain, hidden inside deer skins so they are not detected by customs officials;

    Lions and tigers are being crossbred in captivity in a sickening bid to squeeze greater profits from the barbaric bone trade, conservationists claim;

    A British City worker paid thousands of pounds to shoot a magnificent lion with tranquiliser darts in an apparent breach of South African law.
That lion, a majestic 11-year-old called Simba, was at the centre of Lord Ashcroft’s probe. The tragic creature was bred in captivity and touted to foreign hunters looking for prime specimens to slaughter.

But thanks to the actions of the undercover investigators, Simba’s life has been saved – and yesterday the noble beast was released into a large enclosure at a secret location.

Video footage showed him bounding out of a trailer and into a thick area of bush as one of his rescuers cried out: ‘Yay Simba!’

The rescue came with just hours to spare, as a source reported that a professional hunter was on his way to kill Simba at the very moment he was being rescued.

The lion was initially offered to one of the investigators last year, when he posed as a hunter wanting to bag a wildlife trophy.

When the ‘hunter’ backed out – having had no intention of killing such a magnificent beast – Simba was instead offered to Miles Wakefield, a British hunter, who paid around £3,000 to pursue him through an enclosed hunting area before shooting the animal with two powerful tranquiliser darts.

Heartbreaking images of the harrowing incident are published in today’s Mail on Sunday, showing a terrified and confused Simba staggering through the bush before finally collapsing in the dust.

Click on ALL photos to enlarge:
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Thanks to the actions of the undercover investigators, Simba’s life has been saved – and yesterday the noble beast was released into a large enclosure at a secret location

Mr Wakefield, 48, this weekend said he believed he was participating in a legal conservation operation, adding that he was ‘misled’ by the safari bosses who organised the hunt.

Lord Ashcroft’s operators spent the last two months trying to extricate the lion from a ranch owned by professional hunter Freddie Scheepers.

Mr Scheepers, however, kept dragging his feet. It took an offer of $2,000 (£1,500) to speed up the process, and on Thursday a transport company and vet arrived at the ranch on the edge of the Kalahari Desert to humanely drug and move the animal. They were finally given the all-clear to move him at 7am on Friday. Unconscious, he was lifted into a trailer and taken to safety, via an 11-hour journey.

Lord Ashcroft’s investigation heaps pressure on the Government to close a loophole that allows the import of hunting trophies of captive lions. A source close to Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he would be chairing a meeting on the issue in the next fortnight.

Operation Simba: Farms where lions are bred to be slaughtered and the Britons revelling in sickening trade

By Lord Ashcroft

THE sickening cruelty and horror of ‘lion farming’ – in which thousands of Africa’s most noble beasts are bred to be mercilessly slaughtered for their bones or as hunting trophies – can be revealed today after a groundbreaking undercover investigation.

My year-long probe lifts the lid on barbaric and illegal practices at the heart of South Africa’s deeply shameful lion trade.

The investigation, exclusively revealed in The Mail on Sunday today, shows how up to 12,000 lions bred in captivity are destined either to be shot by wealthy hunters – in what is often a pathetic charade of a hunt – or killed in squalid abattoirs so their bones can be exported to the Far East.

The investigation, exclusively revealed in The Mail on Sunday today, shows how up to 12,000 lions bred in captivity are destined either to be shot by wealthy hunters. Wealthy clients are emailed brochures with photographs of captive male lions, so they can choose which one to kill. Prices range from £10,000 (like the above lion) to £42,300 and depend on the size and quality of the mane

The booming trade in lion skeletons is worth tens of millions of pounds a year and meets an insatiable desire in South East Asia and China for ‘traditional’ medicines, including aphrodisiacs.

Britain’s complicity in lion farming is also laid bare by my undercover investigators, which includes ex-Special Forces soldiers, who have exposed how hunters and middlemen from this country are involved in the despicable trade.

It also shines a light on how the UK Government’s failure to close a glaring loophole that allows the import of captive-bred lion trophies into Britain encourages the international smuggling of lion skins.

Following this exposé, I will vigorously lobby Ministers to follow the example of the US and France and ban such imports. The investigation’s shocking revelations include how:

    Wealthy clients are emailed brochures with photographs of captive male lions, so they can choose which one to kill. Prices range from £10,000 to £42,300 and depend on the size and quality of the mane;

    One British hunter was filmed shooting an exhausted lion with tranquiliser darts. It is illegal to dart a lion without a vet present. The lion had been chased by a vehicle around a fenced hunting enclosure before the grinning City worker from Essex shot the terrified beast from ten yards away;

    The UK representative of a South African safari company advised an undercover investigator how he could bypass a US ban on importing captive-bred lion trophies by legally importing it to the UK, before hiding the lion’s skin inside that of a dead red deer and moving it on to America;

    More than 50 lions were slaughtered for their bones at a so-called ‘eco-farm’ in South Africa’s Free State province in just two days;

    Lions were kept in tiny cages and suffered appalling conditions in the farm’s blood-stained slaughterhouse before their deaths. Horrific pictures showed lion skeletons and innards littering the floor, while discarded body parts were piled high in overflowing black plastic bags on a trailer outside;

    In what is believed to be an obscene bid to maximise profits, breeders in South Africa are thought to be cross-breeding lions with tigers and creating hybrid offspring. The abusive process, which can lead to birth defects and the early death of cubs, boosts bone weight, earning the breeders more money;

    British tourists are unwittingly helping encourage the horrific trade by paying to play with cubs or to go walking with adolescent lions.

The booming trade in lion skeletons is worth tens of millions of pounds a year and meets an insatiable desire in South East Asia and China for ‘traditional’ medicines, including aphrodisiacs. Above: Hunters would pay £12,300 to shoot this lion

South Africa is the only country in the world that permits large-scale lion breeding, with the majestic animals kept in fenced enclosures or cages at more than 200 farms and compounds.

Codenamed Operation Simba, the undercover probe discovered that there are now believed to be 4,000 more captive-bred lions in South Africa than previously thought.

Astonishingly, the 12,000 animals that have been bred and raised in captivity outnumber wild lions in the country almost four to one.

Young cubs, often only a few days old, are taken away from their mothers and hand-reared, sometimes to pet and cuddle as tourist attractions. Tourists, unaware of the appalling fate that awaits many of the creatures, also pay to walk with adolescent lions at so-called conservation centres.

As the lions become too dangerous to be allowed near tourists and enter their majestic physical prime, some – particularly the most impressive-looking males – are supplied for South Africa’s ‘trophy hunting’ industry.

Hunting clients pay as much as £42,300 to shoot a large male, often then triumphantly mounting its head on a wall. Such hunts, however, are often feeble pretences. Far from being a wild beast to be tracked and hunted, the lions in so-called ‘canned’, or captive, hunts are pursued in heavily-fenced private game ranches and have little or no chance of escape.

Many are partially tame, having been handled by humans for much of their lives, and are unable to hunt for themselves. Instead they rely on bait left out for them by those organising the hunt.

SOME 80 per cent of so-called canned lion hunting takes place in South Africa’s North West Province. There lions are allowed to be shot just four days after they have been released into a private hunting area. Other provinces require lions to be released for up to 90 days before they can be killed.

As part of the investigation, one undercover operator posed as the intermediary for two different ‘trophy hunters’ who wanted to hunt and shoot a lion. On both occasions he was quickly offered several photographs of potential targets and price tags to ‘hunt’ and kill them.

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Britain’s complicity in lion farming is also laid bare by my undercover investigators, which includes ex-Special Forces soldiers, who have exposed how hunters and middlemen from this country are involved in the despicable trade. Above: Poachers would pay £13,500 to shoot this lion, which was part of the 'catalogue' offered via Whatsapp

In the first case, the investigator approached Mugaba Safaris, owned and run by professional hunter Patrick de Beer.

Mugaba’s website states that De Beer, who is pictured holding up a dead leopard, specialises in ‘dangerous game-hunting safaris’ and prides himself on having ‘successfully bagged’ a large number of lions and buffalo.

The investigator was offered an online brochure with photographs of 16 male lions ranging in price from £10,000 to £20,000.

He finally settled on an older lion called Simba, which De Beer described in a WhatsApp message as being ‘a very good cat with a dense mane’. Simba’s heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story is told in detail on the next two pages.

The hunt was due to take place last October at Kalahari Lion Hunting Safaris near the Botswana border and Simba was supplied by a breeder in the Bloemfontein area.

The undercover hunter, who had no intention of killing the animal, postponed the hunt indefinitely but the lion was then offered to a British hunter called Miles Wakefield who was to be charged £3,076 ($4,000) to shoot the creature with tranquiliser darts in what investigators were told was a 1,100-acre hunting area.

De Beer last night told The Mail on Sunday that their hunts comply with rules governing the conduct of a chase.

Heartbreaking footage obtained by one of the investigators shows Wakefield, who lives in Essex and works for an insurance company in London, first shooting the animal in the right hind leg from the safety of a vehicle from about 20 yards.

Wakefield and Freddie Scheepers, who owns and runs the safari company, then slowly follow the terrified and dazed beast as it stumbles through bush. Taking his time, Wakefield finally shoots the cowering animal for a second time from just ten yards away before posing next to it as it lies semi-conscious in the dirt. The sickening spectacle can be seen on pages 18 and 19.

Under South African law, lions can only be shot with tranquiliser darts ‘for veterinary, scientific, conservation or management purposes’ and a vet should be present.

Hunters are also banned from hunting lions from vehicles unless they are tracking them over long distances or unless hunters are disabled or elderly.

In the second case, the undercover investigator contacted Adrian Sailor, the UK representative for Settlers Safaris in South Africa, to arrange a hunt for his boss who he claimed wanted to shoot a lion.

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It also shines a light on how the UK Government’s failure to close a glaring loophole that allows the import of captive-bred lion trophies into Britain encourages the international smuggling of lion skins. Above: £16,100 to shoot this lion, as offered in the Whatsapp 'catalogue'

Sailor, the general manager of a car-parts firm in the West Midlands, offered a choice of three male lions and sent photographs of all of them, along with suggestions of where to hunt them.

The lions cost between £8,500 and £16,000 to hunt and kill, plus £200 a day for the duration of the hunt.

In a tape-recorded phone call, the investigator then explained to Sailor that another client, an American, wanted to kill a lion and have his ‘trophy’ returned the US. However, since 2016, American law has banned the import of captive-bred lion trophies.

Sailor, an amateur taxidermist, volunteered a method of bypassing the restrictions, suggesting that the client might want to initially export the lion to the UK, which is legal, and then send it on to the US by putting the lion’s skin inside the skin of a dead red deer.

The lions offered for sale by Patrick de Beer to Lord Ashcroft's undercover operative featuring pictures of different lions and the amount they would cost

If salted and rolled, the stag skin sets hard, making it almost impossible for customs officials to detect the lion skin inside.

‘You stick the lion, stick the lion skin, inside the bloody stag… It’s all salted and rock hard,’ Sailor said. ‘It’s a bit dodgy, but you know.’

In messages to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Sailor did not deny suggesting a deer skin could be lined with a lion skin but stressed he was not involved in the lion hunt which the conversation referred to.

He stressed that ‘no crime has been committed’ and added: ‘How will a lion fit inside a deer skin? Major size difference. I have no idea about any recordings.’

Colin Bell, a South African conservationist who has spent more than 40 years in the tourism industry, this weekend branded captive lion hunting as a ‘cancer in our society If we don’t get on top of this type of lion hunting, we are going to be in a situation where there is going to be a boycott of South African tourism. This is too ghastly to contemplate.’

BUT the trophy-hunting industry is only part of the appalling lion farming story. South Africa is the only country that allows the export of lion bones and the majority of the lions bred there are believed to be slaughtered for the grisly ‘bone trade.’

The exports began a decade ago, after strict laws protecting tigers led to the increased use of lion bones in medicines, including aphrodisiacs, in the Far East.

South Africa’s government allows 800 captive-bred lion skeletons to be exported each year as part of a hugely lucrative industry.

They fetch about £125 a kilo, or £4,600 for a whole skeleton, including the skull.

About 98 per cent of the legal sales go to Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, where the bones are boiled down and made into a cake that is meant to give those who eat it the strength of a cat. A 100-gram bar can be sold for an astonishing £769.

Campaigners, however, believe that many more than the permitted 800 skeletons are leaving the country each year via illegal lion-bone smuggling. Once smuggled out of the country, organised crime networks in Vietnam and Laos traffic lion bones through South East Asia to China. There they are often sold as fake tiger products, including jewellery and even wine.

Last November six Vietnamese nationals and two South Africans were arrested in North West Province, around 155 miles from the capital Pretoria, after more than 40 lions were slaughtered at a nearby lion farm.

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Cowering in a tiny cage, this lion was due to be slaughtered but was mercifully rescued by campaigners - but thousands of others are not so lucky

The men were caught with lion bones along with gas burners, knives and a saw, which it was believed were going to be used to process the bones into a paste.

Campaigners have exposed the horrific conditions endured by lions at one licensed slaughterhouse.

Officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in South Africa raided the facility at the Wag-’n-Bietjie ‘eco-farm’ on the bank of the River Vaal in May last year and found that some lions were being kept in small temporary containers for three days amid a ‘disgusting’ scene of squalor and blood-stained filth.

‘It was totally disgusting that they were kept like this,’ inspector Renet Meyer of the SPCA said. ‘For me, a lion is a stately animal, a kingly animal. Here he is butchered for people to make money.’

In another sickening twist, campaigners fear that lions are being crossbred with tigers to produce ‘ligers’ (whereby the father is a lion and the mother is a tiger) or ‘tigons’ (where the father is a tiger and the mother is a lion).

A three-year-old liger or tigon can be the same size of a nine-year-old lion, so producing more bone to sell once slaughtered.

Although the investigators were unable to prove cross-breeding, they identified one centre where a group of five lions and two tigers were being kept in the same enclosure and another game lodge which had around 50 tigers, which are not native to Africa.

Meanwhile, unwitting tourists are helping to fuel the lion farming industry by paying to play with cubs or walk with adolescent lions.

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Officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in South Africa raided the facility at the Wag-’n-Bietjie ‘eco-farm’ on the bank of the River Vaal in May last year

In February, two of the investigators paid £13 for a tour of a ‘lion and tiger park’, which culminated in petting three cubs, which were 14 weeks old and the offspring of a lioness at the centre.

‘You have got to stop yourself feeling, “This is really cool, I’ve just been licked by a real life lion cub”,’ one of the investigators told this newspaper. ‘You’ve got to think, “No, these poor things are destined for a lifetime in captivity and then the possibility of an appalling death”.

‘It has absolutely no conservation value to lions in the world. We were told the cubs we were interacting with would go into a three-year rehabilitation programme where they would be taught to hunt and fend for themselves and then they would go back into the wild.

‘There is no reputable study that we have been able to find that indicates that captive-bred lions can be successfully released into the wild.’

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Adrian Sailor, a British game hunter and taxidermy collector. Lord Ashcroft's undercover investigator contacted Sailor to arrange a hunt for his boss who he claimed wanted to shoot a lion

There are now only an estimated 20,000 wild lions in the world compared with 200,000 just over a century ago. Respected conservationists fear that wild lions could become extinct in just 30 years.

The South African Predator Association, a trade organisation for the captive breeding industry, insists the breeding of lions in captivity has a crucial role safeguarding the big cat’s future.

But Dr Mark Jones, a vet and head of policy at the Born Free Foundation, a wildlife protection charity, said: ‘Far from contributing to wild lion protection, captive lion breeding facilities cynically exploit these animals at every stage for profit. Ultimately many of these animals will end up in canned hunts or as part of the bone trade. It’s factory farming by another name.’

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is a businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. For more information on his wildlife work, visit http://www.LordAshcroftWildlife.com. Follow him on Twitter @LordAshcroft.

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:53 pm

Nature's emergency is our emergency too

Scientists and government officials meet this week in Paris to finalise a key assessment on humanity's relationship with nature

The Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, will issue the first report of this type since 2005.

It will detail the past losses and future prospects for nature and humans.

One author says the report will highlight the "social and ecological emergency" the world is now facing.

From Monday some of the world's leading researchers in the field of biodiversity will meet in the French capital to work through the details of their report with representatives from 132 governments.

Their conclusions, known as a Summary for Policymakers, will then be published on 6 May.

"I would say that this is the most comprehensive assessment on the state of nature and humanity's place in it," said Prof Sir Robert Watson, who chairs IPBES.

"It is the first intergovernmental assessment - this is much more powerful in my view, it means that governments are fully involved."

What exactly is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is just a sciencey word for all the amazing variety of life that can be found on Earth, their interactions with each other and with their environments.

Pollination is one of the key services that nature provides to humans

It encompasses everything from genes, through individual species such as orang-utans, through communities of creatures and then the whole ecological complexes of which they are part.

The phrase, which originated in the 1980s, is a contraction of the words "biological" and "diversity".

It was more formally defined in the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity signed in 1992 as: "Biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems."

Why does biodiversity matter to me?

Well, the air you breathe depends on plants producing oxygen, and without bees to pollinate crops, we wouldn't have so many things to eat.

Biodiversity helps provide and maintain our fresh water, fertile soils, our medicines, a stable climate and gives us places for recreation.

All species are interconnected and often depend on each other. So while fungi help maintain the soils of the forest, these healthy soils help plants to grow, insects then carry pollen from one plant to another, animals can eat the plants, and the forest as a whole provides a home for animals.

Losing one species in this chain may not seem like much but each loss weakens the connections that benefit us all.

Back in the 1980s, conservation researchers Paul and Anne Ehrlich said that species are to ecosystems what rivets are to a plane's wing. Losing one might not be a problem, but each loss adds to the likelihood of a disaster.

So why is this report important?

It matters because it will highlight the shocking losses that have hit the natural world over the past 50 years, and will warn that the future is looking bleak for tens of thousands of species.

It will also highlight the threat to humans if the devastation of nature continues.

More than two billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, while around four billion rely on natural medicines. Some three-quarters of our food crops require pollination by insects.

One of the scientists involved told the BBC that the assessment would underline the fact that the world is now facing both a natural and a human emergency.

"Social and environmental changes are much more connected than we have portrayed them in the past," said Prof Unai Pascual, from the Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain, who is a lead author on the report.

"This assessment will show these connections are based on robust scientific evidence; The evidence is clearer than ever that the negative impacts on nature that we are pushing translate into detrimental changes in people's wellbeing, and that for an increasing proportion of the population on our planet the emergency is not just an ecological emergency, but it is turning into a social and ecological emergency."

Researchers say the loss of nature will have big implications for humans
Surely we've heard all this before?

Much of the research about impacts on individual species, such as on bees and other pollinators, has been published before.

In the global assessment, the research team takes a much broader view of what's been happening to the natural world.

For three years, 150 experts from more than 50 countries have looked at 15,000 sources of information.

One significant way in which this assessment differs from previous publications is that it uses knowledge from people who have been living in and preserving ecosystems for generations.

"We have a systematic strategy to include indigenous and local knowledge," said Prof Sandra Diaz from Cordoba National University in Argentina and a co-ordinating lead author for the report.

"So the evidence of what's going on, the different practices to maintain and enhance diversity will not only come from mainstream science but will also come from the deep knowledge of people who have been managing diversity for a long time around the world. So I think we will have a much richer picture than previous assessments."

The full report, stretching to 1,800 pages, will be published at the same time as the 40-page summary.

What will the assessment say?

The details of the summary will remain under wraps until the scientists and political representatives have agreed every last word.

However, as much of the information has been published in one form or another in previous years, we have a reasonable idea of the key messages.

It will likely warn that we are on the brink of a rapid acceleration of the global rate of loss of species. And it will say the threat these losses pose - and the challenge that presents - is on a par with climate change.

It's probable also that it will say that farming, deforestation and our demands for energy are undermining the services we get from nature.

"I want people to know that nature is really important, and we shouldn't destroy it, and it is absolutely essential to food, water and energy security," said Prof Sir Robert Watson.

"I want the public to say that we should not be destroying it and urge their governments to make sure they have the right policies in place and to ask: 'what can I do in my everyday life to be more sustainable?'"

Is all this related to climate change?

Climate change will feature heavily in the assessment and is closely linked to the fate of species.

The scientists at IPBES believe the threat from the loss of nature will be as big a challenge to the world as rising temperatures.

This rise is also playing a key role in the destruction of nature. For example, the range of a much larger number of species will be affected by a rise in global temperatures this century of 2 degrees C than by a rise of 1.5C.

The researchers hope that just as the report from the IPCC woke the world up to the scale of the threat of climate change last Autumn, the IPBES report will do the same for nature.

"If you look at IPCC, they managed to show that climate change was a problem for the whole world," said Prof Sandra Diaz.

"Now, it is a problem that no-one ignores."

Will the scientists tell the governments how to act?

Not exactly. The scientists are meant to avoid being "policy prescriptive", which means they can't tell the governments what to do about the crisis facing the natural world.

However, the scale of concern is so great that some researchers feel that the report can't afford to pull its punches.

Sir Robert Watson, who will chair the Paris meeting and the report, says the researchers won't be afraid to tackle sensitive issues.

"We talk about some of the drivers of change, such as economic growth, and population growth, because the more people you have and the wealthier they are the more they consume, and the more pressure that puts on nature. Some might say the issue of population is politically sensitive but we don't avoid it."

While the report will likely highlight the policy choices that governments can make, and the implications of those choices, one key takeaway will be that nature and humanity cannot continue to have a "win-win" situation at our current levels of consumption.

"I think this is going to be one of the main messages; we have to be very mindful that having more of everything is not possible now," said Prof Unai Pascual.

"We have to be much smarter in how we allocate our resources to make sure we have sufficient for everyone.

"We need to understand the trade-offs, because once you lose biodiversity it is difficult to reverse."

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48059043
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:07 am

Primary school plans
to slaughter its pet pigs


Primary school plans to slaughter its pet pigs to teach children as young as four where meat comes from - sparking outrage among animal rights activists

    Farsley Farfield Primary in Leeds has revealed plans to slaughter its pet pigs

    The pigs will be slaughtered this summer and their meat will then be sold

    Headteacher Peter Harris believes plan will help pupils understand food chain
A primary school has sparked outrage among animal welfare activists after revealing plans to slaughter the pet pigs kept on its farm and sell the meat to teach pupils about the food chain.

The farmyard animals, who have been reared and doted upon by adoring students as young as four at Farsley Farfield Primary in Leeds, West Yorkshire, this academic year, will soon be turned into meat products.

Brainchild of the scheme, headteacher Peter Harris, said that his pupils will be 'more knowledgeable and sensitive to animal welfare' as a result of the plan.

Farsley Farfield Primary in Leeds, West Yorkshire, has revealed plans to slaughter its pet pigs this summer and sell the meat to teach young pupils about the food chain

Headteacher Peter Harris said that his pupils will be 'more knowledgeable and sensitive to animal welfare' as a result of the plan

The school was named 'healthy school of the year' at a national ceremony called the Times Educational Supplement's schools awards in 2017.

In a blog post on the school's website Mr Harris said: 'Through keeping the pigs the children will learn more about the provenance of their food and issues around animal welfare.

'I think that we are raising awareness of the meat industry, and some of the issues around animal welfare and sustainability.

'The pigs will live twice as long as commercial pigs and appear to be enjoying their outdoor life with plenty of opportunity to root around.

'Their welfare standards are much higher than most pigs.

'I don't think that we are desensitising the children, I suggest that our children will be more knowledgeable and sensitive to animal welfare than most of their peers.'

Mr Harris described the school farm as a 'tremendous long-term success' that gives pupils a 'better understanding' of where their food comes from.

He added: 'A key element of this project is to discuss the need to reduce meat consumption.'

In 2017, the school was named 'healthy school of the year' at the Times Educational Supplement's schools awards

Following the announcement irate parents formed an online petition to stop the proposed plans

However following the announcement, an outraged former Farsley Farfield Primary student called Ix Willow formed an online petition, which has already gathered almost 2,000 signatures, to stop the proposed plans.

Writing online, Ms Willow said: 'My main concerns are with the well being of these pigs... and the message that we will be teaching the children at Farsley Farfield that it is okay to exploit and kill animals with the only justification being that people enjoy eating their bodies.

'Pigs are as intelligent as dogs and at least as smart as a three-year-old human child.

'They are friendly animals that can live for about 12 years or so.

'Schools have a duty of care to support children, teach them fair values and to provide a safe and happy environment for them.

'By teaching children that it is okay to exploit and kill animals they are in breach of this, and this could also be traumatising for children getting to know the animals and then knowing they are going to die.'

Farsley Farfield Primary has one 'meat free' day a week and there are boards at the farm explaining why meat consumption must be reduced.

Mr Harris said he was aware of the petition and that he 'respects people's individual views'.

One supportive parent said: 'Despite some individual's views on social media I think having the pigs on the farm is a brilliant idea.

'All of my children have been brought up knowing where our food comes from and it does not stop them eating any of it.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -from.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:15 am

Nearly 50,000 animals have
been killed at top secret MoD site


Nearly 50,000 animals have been killed in seven years at Ministry of Defence's top secret Porton Down research base by being shot, blown up, gassed or poisoned

    48,400 animals blown up, tested with nerve agents or poisoned in secret tests

    Happened at Ministry of Defence laboratory of Porton Down in Wiltshire

    The government agency defended the claims saying the research was used to protect armed forces personnel overseas

Thousands of animals have been tortured and killed in science experiments at a top secret government research base, it has been revealed.

Around 48,400 animals were blown up, gassed, or poisoned by the Ministry of Defence at their Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

Official figures show the series of fatal tests took place between 2010 and 2017.

Around 48,400 animals were blown up, gassed, or poisoned by the Ministry of Defence at their Porton Down site in Wiltshire

The animals were used in a variety of tests for new experimental chemical and biological agents for MoD's weapons research programme, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Scientists reportedly strapped pigs in body armour material before hitting them with explosives, causing either serious injuries or death.

The tests are believed to be in aid of developing more effective body armour for troops serving abroad in countries such as Iraq, where there is a high risk of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) being used against them.

Scientists reportedly strapped pigs in body armour materials before hitting them with explosives, causing either serious injuries or death

It is claimed that guinea pigs were poisoned with nerve gas at the top-secret Wiltshire test site

There were also reports of monkeys being tested with biological weapons and guinea pigs being poisoned with nerve gas at the top-secret Wiltshire test site.

The base was also where tests were conducted to discover what was used to poison Salisbury Novichok victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal and kill Dawn Sturgess.

But animal rights' campaigners claim the experiments are unnecessary and the numbers being killed are 'alarming'

'Animals suffer and die in so many different types of animal experiments, but there is something especially dark and troubling about warfare experiments,' Animal Aid's Jessamy Korotoga told the Sunday Mirror.

Porton Down was in the news last year after researchers discovered that former spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisioned by Novichok in Salisbury

'To expose live animals deliberately to compounds, simulated blasts and biological pathogens which are known, and indeed developed, to cause extreme suffering and death, is morally unconscionable.'

The MOD defends the practice, claiming it provides surgeons and doctors with vital training which has helped save the lives of British troops injured in battle.

An MOD spokesman said: 'The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is responsible for developing and creating indispensable technology and equipment to protect the UK and its armed forces. This could not, currently, be achieved without the use of animals in research.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -Down.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:07 am

How one woman beat mining giants
and saved rare snow leopards


A woman from Mongolia has won a prestigious environment award after successfully campaigning to stop mining firms destroying a critical habitat for snow leopards

Bayarjargal Agvaantseren persuaded her government to create a huge nature reserve in the South Gobi Desert and cancel 37 mining contracts in the area.

She is one of six people recognised for their work by the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize committee.

Link to Video:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-e ... w-leopards
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:43 am

Kurdistan's wildlife under threat by poachers

In an animal store in Soran, a boy sells a box of five wolf puppies for $292 to the shop owner

Tens of wild animals and birds are being traded in this shop. The pups came from the mountainious Bradost region in the northern reaches of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

"We receive animals from Bradost, Khwakurk and Balakayati areas and we buy them here. We depend on this job. We take them to Erbil and sell them there or we get them from Erbil," explained a shopper, Newroz Mewlud.

Wild animals and their pelts can be bought despite poaching being illegal in the Kurdistan Region.

The war with the Islamic State (ISIS) forced park rangers to the front lines to fight the extremists.

"People are free to do what they want. They are on the mountains every day and night. They kill any bird, partridge or ibex they see with shotguns and snares," said Park Ranger Ismael Warti.

As mating season arrives in the Kurdistan Region, animals are becoming more active.

"They use everything to [threaten] the extinction of the wild animals. Nothing is left now," added Warti.

There are more than 400 kinds of birds in Kurdistan Region, but the number is decreasing drastically because of poachers

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/29042019
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:16 pm

To keep carbon emissions down look underfoot

How cow dung could help fight climate change

Climate change can't be halted if we carry on degrading the soil, a report will say.

There's three times more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere – but that carbon's being released by deforestation and poor farming.

This is fuelling climate change – and compromising our attempts to feed a growing world population, the authors will say.

Problems include soils being eroded, compacted by machinery, built over, or harmed by over-watering.

Hurting the soil affects the climate in two ways: it compromises the growth of plants taking in carbon from the atmosphere, and it releases soil carbon previously stored by worms taking leaf matter underground.

The warning will come from the awkwardly-named IPBES – the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - a panel studying the benefits of nature to humans.

The body, which is meeting this week, aims to get all the world’s governments singing from the same sheet about the need to protect natural systems.

IPBES will formally release its report on Monday 6 May.

About 3.2 billion people worldwide are suffering from degraded soils, said IPBES chairman Prof Sir Bob Watson.

"That's almost half of the world population. There’s no question we are degrading soils all over the world. We are losing from the soil the organic carbon and this undermines agricultural productivity and contributes to climate change. We absolutely have to restore the degraded soil we’ve got."

Prof Watson previously led the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Governments have focused on climate change far more than they have focused on loss of biodiversity or land degradation. All three are equally important to human wellbeing."

Soil expert Prof Jane Rickson from Cranfield University, UK, added: "The thin layer of soil covering the Earth's surface represents the difference between survival and extinction for most terrestrial life.

"Only 3% of the planet's surface is suitable for arable production and 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost to land degradation every year." She said soils form at a rate of 1cm in 300 years.

Brazil lost more than one million hectares of primary forest in 2018

There's uncertainty about the exact level of global soil degradation. But the major hotspots are reported to be in South America, where forests are being felled; sub-Saharan Africa; India and China. Soil scientists in both the biggest Asian nations are worried that their ability to grow their own food may be compromised.

In the US, some soils are being restored as forests take over poor quality land previously worked by small farmers, but others are still being degraded.

Mud blown across a road in Cambridgeshire. The Fen Blow is composed of peaty particles lifted into the air on windy days

The UK is not immune either. Some maize fields in south-west England suffer major soil loss with heavy rainfall because growing maize leaves bare soil exposed. Heavy rain is more likely under climate change. Erosion is also a long-standing issue in the fertile Fens, where, on dry windy days, peaty soil particles sometimes form a kind of smog called the "Fen Blow".

Peat has a high carbon content – and a recent paper suggests there’s far more carbon being lost from peatlands than previously thought.

And on the chalky hills of southern England, chemical-intensive crop farming is said to have caused the loss of over a foot of soil in some places.

Soils are "incredibly important" for our well-being, said Dr Joanna Clark from Reading University.

"We all know that crops are grown in soil, but soils are important for climate change as well. There's three times more carbon stored in soil than there is in the atmosphere. So imagine if all that carbon was released, we’d get runaway climate change. So we need to keep the carbon in the soil."

The simplest way to protect soils while combating climate change is to let forests grow back. This option is favoured by fans of re-wilding.

But some farmers believe they can continue to produce food by changing the way they farm to enhance the soil.

Brexit could give the UK greater flexibility on how to spend public money on farming - enabling much more leeway to reward farmers for capturing carbon in the earth. But there are more than 700 soil types in the UK alone, so it won’t be simple.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48043134
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