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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 07, 2020 1:55 am

Rebels kill 12 rangers
protecting gorillas

Rwandan rebels have slaughtered 12 rangers protecting gorillas who went viral in a selfie with their human 'parents' just days before the attack at Virunga national park

Congolese Major General Maurice Aguru Mamba said the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were behind the April 24 attack.

Around 60 FDLR fighters from a 'specialised unit' ambushed a convoy of civilians that was being protected by 15 rangers. As well as the 12 rangers, another five were killed, with others gravely wounded.

Just days before the attack, ranger Mathieu Shamavu had posed for a photo with two of the gorillas standing with remarkably upright postures. It is not clear whether Mr Shamavu was killed in the attack.


A motive for the attack remains unclear. However, the park - which was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary in 2014 - is surrounded by rival militias and 176 rangers have been killed in the last 20 years.

Its rangers are armed and sniffer dogs are used to keep the gorillas and visitors to the national park safe.

Major General Mamba said his CORPPN corps, assigned to protect the national parks, had 'credible sources' who had informed them the attack was carried out by the Hutu rebels.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame last Monday denied persistent rumours that Rwandan soldiers had infiltrated eastern DRC to fight the FDLR, whose leaders were involved in Rwanda's 1994 genocide that killed about 800,000 people - mainly Tutsis.

The DRC army has been fighting an array of armed groups in the east of the vast central African country for nearly three decades.

Visits to Virunga have been suspended since March 19 in DR Congo's bid to halt the new coronavirus pandemic.

The park previously banned visitors between May 2018 and the start of last year after two British tourists were kidnapped. They were later released unharmed. ... 982954.jpg

The rangers' coffins are draped in the DR Congo during their funerals last month

Military personnel salute over the coffins of the Virunga national park rangers last month

Meet the protected Gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Last month's attack is the latest setback for Virunga which is facing severe economic challenges due to the coronavirus halting tourism which accounts for 40 percent of its revenues.

'Tourism, in spite of all the setbacks, has actually been a great success for Virunga,' park director Emmanuel de Merode said at the beginning of April.

In March, an off-season month at Virunga, the park took in around $280,000 from tourism. That revenue stream is now gone.

Aircraft used for monitoring are grounded and the park is facing the increased burden of supporting not only its 1,500 staff and their families but also impoverished surrounding communities.

Price inflation linked to the pandemic is driving food costs up, and de Merode had said he worried this could fuel poaching, particularly if local armed groups see it as a lucrative business opportunity.

'The level of poaching now is low. But that could quickly change for a lot of reasons,' he said.

Congo park ranger who took viral selfie with two gorillas reveals how he captured their 'human-like' poses

Mathieu Shamavu said he had been checking his phone at the Virunga Park in eastern Congo when he noticed the two female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze mimicking his movements.

He then took a picture with the animals who looked as if they were posing for the camera. Shamavu then posted the photo on social media, where it quickly went viral.

The two gorillas had been orphaned 12 years ago when their families had been killed by poachers.

The centre, according the its management, is the only place in the world which is dedicated to the care of orphaned mountain goriallas.

As the gorillas arrive in the sanctuary at a young age, they learn from their caretakers, said Shamavu.

The rangers are guardians of the park that was primarily gazetted to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Pictured is Mr Sadiki in one of many selfies with his gorilla friends

He said: 'In terms of behavior, they like to mimic everything that is happening (around them), everything we do'.

He added that the caretakers at Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage Center try to give the animals as much access as possible to their natural environment, but they inevitably exhibit 'almost the same behavior as humans.'

Senkwekwe is named after one of the wild silverback gorillas that was killed in Virunga in 2007.

The orphans need constant care, so the rangers live nearby and spend their days with them - feeding them, playing with them, keeping them company.

Head caretaker Andre Bauma said the caretakers and the Gorillas are family.

He said without their own relatives nearby, the gorillas treat the rangers as their own.

'They know we are their mum. They are a member of the family. We are their friends,' said Bauma.

Virunga is billed as Africa's most biodiverse national park, spanning tropical forests, snow-peaked mountains and active volcanoes.

It's also one of the last bastions of wild mountain gorilla populations. Parks in the mountains of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda have the last remaining mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

But it's in eastern Congo, an area that has suffered from years of armed conflict.

Fields of crops bordering Virunga National Park, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Virunga's management has had to take extraordinary measures to keep its visitors safe from the on-and-off fighting in the region - protecting them with a highly trained guard of elite rangers and sniffer dogs, and working closely with communities surrounding the park.

After a park ranger was killed by gunmen and three foreign tourists were briefly held captive, the park closed until it could secure the safety of visitors. It reopened in mid-February this year.

But all this costs money, and the state park says it wouldn't be able to survive without private donations from visitors.

Virunga's management hopes the viral gorilla selfie will help boost the park's profile, and encourage more people to contribute to the vital work of conserving the mountain gorillas and their unique natural habitat. ... rents.html

This is terribly sad, I hope that Mr Shamavu is alright
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch



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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm

It’s Already Happening

Heat and Humidity Near the Survivability Threshold

Bolstering a decade of research on the risks of unprecedented heat and humidity from human-caused climate change, a new study finds evidence for more than a dozen cases of heat-humidity combinations that could be deadly if experienced for more than a few hours. Led by scientist Colin Raymond, the paper, “Potentially Fatal Combinations of Humidity and Heat Are Emerging across the Globe,” was published Friday in the open-access journal Science Advances.

The study focuses on observations of wet-bulb temperature, which serves as an indicator of how much a person would be able to cool off by sweating. Since human skin temperature averages close to 35°C (95°F), wet-bulb temperatures above that value would in theory prevent people from dispelling internal heat and potentially lead to fatal consequences within a few hours.

    Wet-bulb temperatures are calculated in a different manner than heat indexes and are much lower for the same physiological impact; a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C would literally be off the chart on a U.S. heat index table
Previous high-profile studies had warned of the risks posed by increasingly high wet-bulb temperatures in future climates, including the chance that wet-bulb readings (TWs) of 35°C might emerge later this century.

The new paper goes a step further by identifying 14 examples of 35°C wet-bulb readings that have already occurred since 1979 in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Prior to this study, only one of these readings was widely known and acknowledged to be an informal global record: a value of 35°C at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on July 8, 2003.


Maximum values of wet-bulb temperature (degrees C) for the period 1979-2017 at weather stations that had at least 50% data availability. (Fig. S1 from Raymond et al., Sci. Adv. 2020; 6 : eaaw1838. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC)

More broadly, the paper finds that the frequency of TW values reaching 27°C, 29°C, 31°C, and 33°C across the world all showed doubling trends over the period from 1979 to 2017. Extrapolating from the relationship between global warming and increasing wet-bulb temperatures over the past four decades, the authors find that dangerous web-bulb readings will continue to spread across vulnerable parts of the world, affecting millions more people, as human-caused climate change unfolds.

“The most important takeaway is the steepness of the trends,” Raymond told in an interview. “It didn’t matter what level of extremeness we looked at or what part of the world—the trends were upward and very steep across all of those levels.”

Where short-term heat has already reached potentially fatal values

The locations and dates of the 35°C-or-greater wet-bulb temperatures since 1979, as confirmed by Raymond and colleagues, include:

    Jacobabad, Pakistan: July 25, 1987; June 5, 2005; June 7, 2005; June 27, 2010; June 30, 2010; Jul 13, 2012

    Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE: August 2, 1995; August 12, 1995; August 11, 2009; July 8, 2010

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: August 15, 1999; June 24, 2010

    Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan: August 17, 2017

    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: July 8, 2003
Locations and dates of reported wet-bulb temperatures at or above 35°C. (Data courtesy Colin Raymond)

Several dozen other such cases were filtered out in quality control checks, Raymond said in an email. The authors did not calculate the length of each event, but extreme TW values to date are generally concentrated into periods less than three hours, they said.

Using ocean data, the authors found that summer sea surface temperatures exceeding 35°C over the Persian Gulf are linked to several of these events. The worst heat and humidity occurred when this air moved onshore—like a diabolical sea breeze, but driven by different weather mechanisms.

Every station on the Persian Gulf coast with adequate data reported wet-bulb readings of 31°C (88°F) or higher at least once every three years during the study period.

“One of the things that was most surprising to us as researchers was that in these hot-spot regions…the intensity of the humid heat is confined very closely to the coastline, say 10 or 20 kilometers [6-12 miles],” Raymond said.

In the case of Pakistan, extremely hot, humid air can surge up the populous Indus Valley to affect cities like Jacobabad, which sits about 500 kilometers (300 miles) inland. Widespread irrigation is likely another factor in boosting the moisture values in this region and elsewhere across western South Asia, noted the authors.
Left: Surface winds (in meters per second) and temperatures (degrees C) from the ERA5 reanalysis, averaged over the four days on which Ras al-Khaimah, UAE, recorded a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C or greater. Right: The same analysis for the six days in which Jacobabad, Pakistan, reached the same threshold. (From Figs. S3 and S4 in Raymond et al., Sci. Adv. 2020; 6 : eaaw1838. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC)

Other parts of the world that are already yielding wet-bulb readings of 31°C or higher at least every three years include eastern coastal India, Pakistan and northwestern India, and the shores of the Red Sea, Gulf of California, and southern Gulf of Mexico. All of these feature subtropical coastlines with access to both intense continental heat and marine air flowing off high sea surface temperatures.

Drilling into the data

Previous studies on this topic have relied largely on gridded analyses such as ERA-Interim (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). Such datasets pool temperatures across grid points that each represent a small area—comparable to having one to three data points in a state like Rhode Island.

Such averaging obscures the localized short-term peaks in wet-bulb temperature that were brought to light in this study. The authors found that the discrepancy between ERA-Interim gridded values and observed values of dew point grew larger as the wet-bulb temperature rose.

“According to our weather station analysis, emphasizing land grid points underplays the true risks of extreme TW along coastlines, which tends to occur when marine air masses are advected even slightly onshore,” note the authors.

Based on the study’s findings, many thousands of people have already experienced 95°F wet-bulb temperatures, though these episodes were almost certainly too brief to raise the question of survivability. Jeddah has a metro-area population of close to 4 million, and Jacobabad, where 6 of the 14 identified cases occurred, is home to about 200,000 people.

Jacobabad is accustomed to extreme heat in general: its average daily high and low in June are 112°F (44°C) and 85°F (29°C), which is hotter than any average month in Jeddah, or Phoenix for that matter.

The deadliest heat waves in recent decades have struck parts of the globe where wet-bulb readings surge to levels that are less extreme than 35°C but still hugely dangerous when sustained over multiple days. “Severe mortality and morbidity impacts typically occur at much lower values [than 35°C TW],” noted Raymond and colleagues.

Heat waves felled an estimated 70,000-plus people across Europe in 2003 and more than 55,000 people in Russia in 2010, according to the database EM-DAT. Regional wet-bulb values in these heat waves never exceeded 28°C (82°F), the paper points out.

In contrast, relatively few heat deaths are reported near the Persian Gulf, where air conditioning is widespread and societies have long dealt with extreme heat. Raymond and colleagues point to “the need to ascertain how acclimation to high-heat-stress conditions is diminished as the physiological survivability limit is approached. Such efforts may also help resolve the reasons for the paucity of reported mortality and morbidity impacts associated with observed near 35°C [wet-bulb] conditions.”

During the intense pre-monsoonal heat at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, on June 8, 2015, the city’s temperature peaked at 47.7°C (117.9°) on May 24. At least 2500 people were killed by widespread heat across India in 2015.

A future of increased extreme heat and humidity

Looking ahead, the authors used a technique called generalized extreme value analysis to estimate the extent to which 35°C wet-bulb readings will increase with global warming. They found that a temperature increase over preindustrial values of around 2.3°C—which could occur over the next few decades—would be enough for 35°C wet-bulb values to show up regularly in gridded analyses, which suggests that multiple locations within a grid box could encounter such heat and humidity on a recurring basis.

Going forward, one of the prime areas of concern is northern India and Pakistan, where many thousands of laborers work outdoors in premonsoon heat that can reach dangerous levels. A 2015 heat wave killed more than 2500 people in northern India. As pointed out in a 2019 post by Jeff Masters, four of the ten deadliest heat waves on record in the EM-DAT database affected India and/or Pakistan.

Adaptive measures such as cooling centers have successfully reduced the toll taken by heat waves in many northern midlatitude areas over the last decade, but air conditioning is not an option for many impoverished South Indians.

“The southern Persian Gulf shoreline and northern South Asia are home to millions of people, situating them on the front lines of exposure to TW extremes at the edge of and outside the range of natural variability in which our physiology evolved,” Raymond and colleagues state in the paper.

    The deadly heat events already experienced in recent decades are indicative of the continuing trend toward increasingly extreme humid heat, and our findings underline that their diverse, consequential, and growing impacts represent a major societal challenge for the coming decades ... -happening
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 12, 2020 4:19 am

Swan shot dead as she lay on eggs

Two swans have been shot in a "barbarous" attack which killed a female as she lay on a nest of eggs


Hilary was found dead and the male Stocky injured nearby on the Chesterfield Canal in Worksop on Friday morning.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust said it was "upsetting" as the adult swans, who have featured on BBC Countryfile, were "a feature of the canal".

South Yorkshire Police added it was investigating.

The swans, who were about four years old, have been based at Turnerwood on the Chesterfield Canal for several years.

The canal trust said: "As the female swan, Hilary, sat incubating her nest full of eggs, someone took her life by shooting her in the head with an air rifle.

"Her mate, Stocky, was also shot, as he attempted to defend her."

Rod Auton, 70, a volunteer for the trust, added: "They weren't just any old swans. They had character and were known along the canal. That's why it's upsetting."

Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital said an X-ray showed Hilary had four air rifle pellets in her head

Dan Sidley, from Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital - who attended the scene - said it was "shocking" to find Hilary dead and Stocky with "blood on his neck".

"It was a barbarous attack," he said. "I can't comprehend how someone could take life in such a cruel way.

"It's heartbreaking. The pair were only on Countryfile with Matt Baker a couple of months ago."

Stocky has been treated and is being looked after at the hospital

Mr Sidley said Stocky was making a "swift recovery against the odds" but added the eggs were now not viable.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The birds were discovered by a woman walking along the Chesterfield Canal at 08:20 BST on Friday.

"Officers are now carrying out inquiries including reviewing nearby CCTV footage."

A reward of more than £1,000 has been offered for information. ... O1kS4MGf_4
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 14, 2020 7:51 pm

Scientists find way to
fight coral bleaching

Scientists in Australia say they have found a way to help coral reefs fight the devastating effects of bleaching by making them more heat-resistant


Rising sea temperatures make corals expel tiny algae which live inside them. This turns the corals white and effectively starves them.

In response, researchers have developed a lab-grown strain of microalgae which is more tolerant to heat.

When injected back into the coral, the algae can handle warmer water better.

The researchers believe their findings may help in the effort to restore coral reefs, which they say are "suffering mass mortalities from marine heatwaves".

The team made the coral - which is a type of animal, a marine invertebrate - more tolerant to temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal symbionts - tiny cells of algae that live inside the coral tissue.

They then exposed the cultured microalgae to increasingly warmer temperatures over a period of four years. This assisted them to adapt and survive hotter conditions.

"Once the microalgae were reintroduced into coral larvae, the newly established coral-algal symbiosis was more heat-tolerant compared to the original one," lead author Dr Patrick Buerger, of Csiro, Australia's national science agency, said in a statement.

"We found that the heat-tolerant microalgae are better at photosynthesis and improve the heat response of the coral animal," Prof Madeleine van Oppen, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Melbourne, said.

"These exciting findings show that the microalgae and the coral are in direct communication with each other."

The next step is to further test the algal strains across a range of coral species.
How bad is coral bleaching?

"Coral reefs are in decline worldwide," Dr Buerger says.

"Climate change has reduced coral cover, and surviving corals are under increasing pressure as water temperatures rise and the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events increase."

Earlier this year, Australia's Great Barrier Reef suffered a mass bleaching event - the third in just five years.

Warmer sea temperatures - particularly in February - are feared to have caused huge coral loss across it.

Scientists say they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. But they have also found healthy pockets.

Two-thirds of the reef - the world's largest such system - were damaged by similar events in 2016 and 2017.
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 16, 2020 9:38 pm

How evil humans are

Lab forces monkeys to eat lard and become nicotine and booze addicts

Oregon lab part-funded by $218M in taxpayers money is performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys 'forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts'

    The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro has been slammed by PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques

    Shocking videos are said to show experiments where pregnant macaque monkeys are given high-fat diets

    PETA alleges researchers 'inflict pain and suffering' onto animals 'forcing the animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol'

    The experiments are partly paid for by $218 million in taxpayer money

    In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments

    The facility has been plagued by scandals, including being found guilty of 12 violations of animal welfare in the last three years alone

An Oregon lab with a history of animal mistreatment has been accused of performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys including forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts.

The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, based at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), has been slammed by animal rights group PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques - experiments that are partly paid for by taxpayer money.

In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments.

This comes after the facility has been plagued by scandals, including being found guilty of 12 violations of animal welfare in the last three years alone and claims that monkeys have died at the lab due to botched experiments.


PETA images from inside the lab. The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, based at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), has been slammed by animal rights group PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques - experiments that are partly paid for by taxpayer money

Shocking videos from the research center show experiments where pregnant macaque monkeys are given high-fat diets and their offspring are then studied, according to court records.

In other studies, 11-month-old Japanese macaques are deliberately frightened by researchers, so they can test them for anxiety and stress, records reveal.

PETA also alleges researchers at the center 'inflict pain and suffering' onto the animals with some experiments involving 'forcing the animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol'.

'These kinds of videos are highly controversial because they inflict pain and suffering on baby monkeys,' said Martina Bernstein, PETA's senior litigation counsel.

Multnomah County Judge David Rees ordered the release of the 74 videos in a court ruling on April 20.

The judge said it was in the public interest for the footage to be handed over to PETA to ensure the research facility is complying with animal welfare rules, given it has previously been found guilty of animal mistreatment.

'Some of these violations caused harm to [primates] and some did not,' Rees wrote about the centre's previous studies.

'The public has an interest in seeing ONPRC's videos of its studies to ensure ONPRC's compliance with regulatory requirements in using [primates] in experiments.'


PETA image of a monkey inside the National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro. In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments

Rees added: 'The public also has an interest in knowing how public [National Institutes of Health] grant funding is being spent and whether the experiments at issue are a worthy use of public funds.'

PETA welcomed the ruling: 'OHSU was happy to take millions of tax dollars to impregnate monkeys, feed them 'junk food,' and then separate the baby monkeys from their mothers in order to deliberately frighten them - but it fought tooth and nail against releasing the videos of this horror.'

The OHSU said it was important to labs to keep some research 'confidential' in a statement at the time.


A pregnant monkey in a Wisconsin lab gets an ultrasound. The Oregon lab has been accused of performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys including forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts

Around 5,000 monkeys are still being kept in the lab in Oregon

A macaque monkey sis swabbed inside a Wisconsin lab. PETA filed the lawsuit against the Oregon research facility in March 2019 after it denied a request to view the videos

'OHSU and other premier biomedical research centers around the world strongly believe that faculty should have the right to perform research - and to keep confidential such research and related research data - at a minimum, until published in peer-reviewed publications,' it said.

PETA filed the lawsuit against the research facility in March 2019 after the research center denied its request to view the videos.

The animal rights group argued that the footage should be made public because the research is partly funded by $218 million in taxpayer money.

The lab has a long history of allegations of animal abuse, being found guilty of 12 violations since 2017.

Shocking incidents allegedly date back further, with PETA alleging several animals have died due to botched experiments and poor treatment.

The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro (pictured) has a long history of animal rights violations including being handed a $12,000 fine for violations in 2012

In one incident, a monkey died after it was injected with the wrong dose of insulin, PETA's suit says.

While in 2016 the US Department of Agriculture issued a warning to the lab when it emerged a monkey had died in an enclosure.

This came after the OHSU was rocked by another scandal in 2012 when five monkeys died because of dehydration, being injected with unapproved drugs, and after staff without adequate training carried out tests incorrectly.

It was fined nearly $12,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act over this case.

Four years earlier PETA carried out an undercover investigation at the lab where it said many caged monkeys showed signs of high stress and neurotic behavior, including one monkey that had pulled out 90 percent of its own hair. ... dicts.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 23, 2020 7:38 pm

Saturn the alligator dies

Saturn, the alligator, survived World War Two and escaped from Berlin Zoo when it was bombed


Link to video of Saturn:

An alligator who survived World War Two in Berlin and was rumoured - wrongly - to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has died in Moscow Zoo.

"Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was about 84 years old - an extremely respectable age," the zoo said.

Saturn was gifted to Berlin Zoo in 1936 soon after he was born in the US. He escaped the zoo being bombed in 1943.

British soldiers found him three years later and gave him to the Soviet Union.

How he spent the intervening years always remained a mystery, but since July 1946 the alligator has been a hit with visitors in Moscow.

"Moscow Zoo has had the honour of keeping Saturn for 74 years," the zoo said in a statement.

"For us Saturn was an entire era, and that's without the slightest exaggeration... He saw many of us when we were children. We hope that we did not disappoint him."

The zoo reported that Saturn knew his keepers, loved being massaged with a brush - and was able to crack steel feeding tongs and bits of concrete with his teeth if irritated.

Mississippi alligators usually live to 30-50 years in the wild, it added.

Saturn may even have been the world's oldest alligator - it's impossible to say. Another male alligator, Muja who is at Belgrade Zoo in Serbia, is also in his 80s and still alive.

But it's doubtful any alligator could compete with Saturn if it came to selling their memoirs.

The most headline grabbing detail is the rumour that Saturn had belonged in Hitler's personal collection, which is untrue.

"Almost immediately after the arrival of the animal, the myth appeared that it was supposedly in Hitler's collection, and not in the Berlin zoo," Interfax news agency reports.

It is unclear how the rumour started.

Moscow Zoo dismissed such reports, noting that animals "do not belong to politics and mustn't be held responsible for human sins".

Saturn's death-defying escape in 1943 is unlikely ever to be explained.

Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subjected to intense Allied bombing before the war ended in 1945.

The so-called Battle of Berlin began in November 1943 and the night of 22-23 November saw extensive damage to areas west of the centre, including the Tiergarten district where the city's zoo is located.

Thousands of people were killed or injured and many of the zoo's animals perished too.

The zoo's aquarium building took a direct hit. One report said passers-by had seen the corpses of four crocodiles in the street outside, tossed there by the force of the blast.

Saturn somehow survived and then lived for three years in a city ravaged by war, and a climate unsuited to alligators.

It's reported he will now be stuffed and exhibited in Moscow's popular museum of biology named after Charles Darwin.
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 30, 2020 11:34 pm

Thousands of pigs are steamed to death

Iowa's largest pork producer has allegedly euthanized thousands of pigs by steaming them to death in a mass-extermination after meat processing plants shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic

An investigation by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, into Iowa Select Farms revealed footage of what appeared to show the brutal slaying of thousands of pigs by 'ventilation shutdown,' of VSD.

Ventilation shutdown is a mass-extermination method where pigs are hoarded inside a barn, the airways sealed shut and scalding steam is pumped inside overnight.

The heat will increasingly intensify as the pigs are essentially boiled to death as they suffocate and suffer hours of unbearable cruelty.

According to a whistleblower at Iowa Select Farms, the process helps the facility become 'depopulated' as livestock is backlogged at meat factories.

Footage from hidden cameras obtained by The Intercept and DxE shows thousands of pigs gathering in an Iowa Select Farms facility in Grundy County to undergo ventilation shutdown.

Horrific footage shows thousands of live pigs being steamed to death

Footage obtained by Direct Action Everywhere appears to show thousands of pigs undergoing 'ventilation shutdown' at Iowa Select Farms

Temperatures inside the barn reportedly surpassed 140 degrees Fahrenheit and the pigs' tortured squeals can be heard as they were roasted.

Most of the pigs died during the ventilation shutdown, but some managed to stay alive throughout the process. Iowa Select Farms staffers are seen killing surviving pigs with a bolt gun shot to the forehead.

The dead bodies are then cleared away by bulldozers and mechanical equipment.

The investigation into Iowa Select Farms was prompted by a whistleblower who told The Intercept that the company first used the ventilation shutdown method in April.

Temperatures inside the barn reportedly surpassed 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the process

Iowa Select Farms reportedly first experimented on a small group of pigs by simply shutting off the airways and increasing the temperature.

After this failed, the company then reportedly added steam to the method as a way to raise barn temperature to deadly levels.

'They shut the pit pans off, shut the ventilation fans off, and heat up the building. That’s what the plan is. It’s horrific as it is. It was first used on test cull sows: those were first given the VSD treatment,' the whistleblower said.

'The first day they shut off all the fans and turned the heat up and the hottest they could get the building was 120 degrees.

'After four to five hours, none of the animals were dead. There was an attempt to induce steam into the building, along with the heat and the ventilation shutdown, and that is how they ultimately perfected their VSD operation.

'Every time they’ve been euthanizing the animals, it’s been a test in a sense. Piglets were killed off in a barn with gas generators.'

The meat packing industry, like so many others, have been dealt a massive blow as the economy stuttered during the coronavirus outbreak.

Even with food lines growing due to increased unemployment across the United States, factory farms have begun mass-exterminating their animals.

A breakdown in the commercial supply chain, as well as several slaughterhouses closing after COVID-19 outbreaks ravaged poorly protected staffers, resulted in an excess of now 'worthless' livestock.

Options like donating to food insecure Americans or saving the animals until demand peaked again were reportedly bypassed by many farm factories, including Iowa Select Farms, to maximize profits.

Some factory farms are now exterminating their livestock in vast numbers to avoid paying the cost to keep them alive.

Usually, commercial animal killings take place at slaughterhouses after being shipped over from factory farms, but with so many closures the supply chain has deviated from normal practice.

Officials in Iowa warned on April 27 that some 700,000 pigs could be killed as a result.

'Given severe processing capacity constraints, pigs are backing up on farms with nowhere to go, resulting in overcrowding and animal welfare issues,' the statement said.

'At current capacity levels, there are 700,000 pigs across the nation that cannot be processed each week and must be humanely euthanized.'

But according to the whistleblower, Iowa Select Farms' ventilation shutdown method has been anything by humane.

The ventilation shutdown method is meant to kill the majority of pigs, while staffers are to ensure there is 100 per cent mortality, but this is not always the case.

After the pigs are killed, they're reportedly transported by bulldozer and other mechanical tools out of the barn

The Intercept reports that the sheer number of pigs being killed at once inside the barn is so large that standard methods to confirm death, like pulse-checking, are not performed.

This means that some pigs can survive the ventilation shutdown, avoid death by the bolt gun and still be buried alive or crushed by bulldozers meant to lug them away.

Additionally, the American Association of Swine Veterinarian also described how horrific ventilation shutdown is to animals.

'When ventilation systems fail, “pigs may suffer distress or death by what is commonly called ‘suffocation’ implying lack of oxygen or excessive CO2",' it read.

'In realistic terms, death may result from any combination of excessive temperature, CO2, or toxic gases from slurry or manure below the barn.

'Numerous variables may make the time to death of 100% of animals in the barn subject to a range of times.

'The age and size of the barn; the insulation of the barn; the ventilation system; the ability to adequately seal fans, louvres, doors, and windows; and the number and size of animals in the barn can make achieving temperature goals problematic.'

Iowa Select Farms reportedly did not initially respond to claims about the mass-extermination, but later released a series of statements after learning of DxE's investigation.

'The thought of euthanizing entire herds is devastating. Sadly, Iowa Select has been forced to make this heartbreaking decision for some of its herd,' a company spokesperson said in an industry newsletter.

In another statement, Iowa Select Farms 'announced in a statement that they have been forced to euthanize some of its herd.'

'It’s been hard on us to come to those decisions, said Pete Thomas, DVM at Iowa Select Farms, focusing the grief on company executives instead of the slaughtered pigs.

The whistleblower, who chose to stay anonymous over fears of retaliation, said a 'massive increase' in pig production in 2019 led the already cramped quarters for pigs to become smaller.

Even after spending the majority of their life around farms, the whistleblower couldn't stomach that alleged mistreatment happening at Iowa Select Farms.

'It’s immoral, hard to see every single day,' they said.

'I wasn’t becoming numb to it. It was affecting me more and more every day: feeling the compassion and empathy for these animals that we were working with every day, then beginning to question,' the ethics of industrial practices.

The whistleblower began their own research into regulatory requirements after finding that the pigs were being stored in ways that appeared 'double what is permitted' by normal standards.

They decided to reach out to DxE instead of local government after deciding little would actually be done.

In the past, the agricultural industry used its economic influence to impact political parties and laws to shelter themselves from public scrutinty.

The industry was successful in passing former 'AG-GAG' laws that was designed to punish transparency meant to show the true inner-workings of the agricultural trade.

The whistleblower, whose spent their entire life around farms and farm animals, said the alleged mistreatment was affecting them 'more and more every day'

The whistleblowers concerns escalated as the pandemic caused 'massive backups' and they soon suspected that 'massive kill-offs of healthy pigs' were being considered by Iowa Select Farms.

Pigs, according to the whistleblower, 'are now being killed for no reason.'

'The weight of that was pretty heavy, to be honest,' they added.

Over several months, The Intercept repots the whistleblower noticed the company implementing new protocols, transportation schedules for pigs, reviewing documents for new procedures and having talks of ventilation shutdowns.

This is what convinced the whistleblower that the mass killing of health pigs was happening 'very much sooner rather than later.'

Iowa Select Farms advertises itself as animal friendly and ethically sound 'with homegrown Iowa values' on its website.

'We believe in doing the right thing every day, operating with character and integrity and being stewards of our resources.'

The company's blue collar branding comes at odds with its overwhelming influence as the fourth-largest pork producer in the US. It sells more than five million hogs annually to Tyson Foods and the Brazilian firm JBS.

Pictured:Dozens of pigs raised by Craig Anderson and family, are loaded to be trucked to meat packing facilities in Centerville, South Dakota, as farm factories shut down

In an effort to explain the newly released footage, Iowa Select Farms claimed in a newsletter that 'veterinarians and production well-being professionals are overseeing the process to ensure accordance with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and American Veterinary Medical Association.'

The Intercept points out that that 'veterinarians' used to in this instance may have their own stake in the game as they're most likely dependent upon these factory farms.

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Iowa reportedly receives financial support from corporations with ties to the industrial agriculture community.

On May 19 - the same day it was revealed DxE obtained footage of Iowa Select Farms' reported ventilation shutdown - they released a statement on swine procedures during the pandemic.

'If depopulation must be considered, veterinarians should reference the American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals,' they wrote.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines manual divides 'depopulation' methods into 'preferred' and ones that are only 'Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

Ventilation shutdown falls under 'Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

The AASV's May 19 statement added that: 'priority should be given to those methods classified as ‘Preferred’ but the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 processing disruption may require the use of methods classified as ‘Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

The AASV effectively said ventilation shutdowns could be justified due to the unexpected impact of the coronavirus on the same day allegations against Iowa Select Farms were unveiled.

But reports from The Intercept and testimonial from the whistleblower reportedly revealed that Iowa Select Farms did not fully comply with guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines.

The manual said 'depopulation methods' should 'result in rapid loss of consciousness and the associated loss of brain function.'

'Physical methods must be skillfully executed to ensure a quick and humane death because failure to do so can cause significant stress, distress, and pain.'

The uncovered footage appeared to be contrary to these guidelines as some pigs were killed by staffers several hours after the process began.

As of Friday, Direct Action Everywhere filed a criminal livestock neglect complaint with the Grundy County Sheriff's Office.

Matt Johnson, the group's leader, said in a statement: 'An element of good that has emerged from the ravages of COVID-19, and of this investigation, is that the longstanding systemic abuses of animal agriculture have been openly exposed for the world to see.' ... ducer.html

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:53 pm

Garbage Islands

Nasa animation shows how ‘garbage islands’ have taken over the seas


The ocean is filled with eight million tonnes of garbage - enough to fill five carrier bags for every foot of coastline on the planet.

Carried by sea currents, this waste congregates into five giant ‘garbage islands that swirl around the world’s major ocean gyres.

Now, Nasa has created a visualisation of this pollution highlighting the extend to which humanity is ruining the oceans with waste.

The space agency created the time-lapse using data from floating, scientific buoys that had been distributed in the oceans for the last 35 years.

‘If we let all of the buoys go at the same time, we can observe buoy migration patterns,’ said Greg Shirah from Nasa’s Scientific Visualisation Studio.

‘The number of buoys decreases because some buoys don't last as long as others.’ The buoys on the map are represented by the white dots.

The buoys migrate to five known gyres, the large system of rotating ocean currents. These are located in the Indian Ocean and in the north and south of the Pacific and the north and south Atlantic.

The ocean is filled with eight million tonnes of garbage - enough to fill five carrier bags for every foot of coastline on the planet. Carried by sea currents, this waste congregates into five giant ‘garbage islands’ that swirl around the world’s major ocean gyres

Around 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans each year, scientists claim. Because of the difficulties in working out the exact amount, since much of it may have sunk, the scientists said the true figure could be as much as 12.7 million tons polluting the ocean each year


More than half of the plastic that flows into the oceans comes from five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka

The only industrialised western country on the list of top 20 plastic polluters is the United States at No. 20.

The U.S. and Europe are not mismanaging their collected waste, so the plastic trash coming from those countries is due to litter, researchers said.

While China is responsible for 2.4 million tons of plastic, nearly 28 percent of the world total, the US contributes 77,000 tons.

‘We can also see this in a computational model of ocean currents called ECCO-2,’ said Shirah.

‘We release particles evenly around the world and let the modelled currents carry the particles. The particles from the model also migrate to the garbage patches.

‘Even though the retimed buoys and modelled particles did not react to currents at the same times, the fact that the data tend to accumulate in the same regions show how robust the result is.’

Around 8 million tons of plastic bottles, bags, toys and other plastic rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans each year, scientists claim.

Because of the difficulties in working out the exact amount, since much of it may have sunk, the scientists said the true figure could be as much as 12.7 million tons polluting the ocean each year.

Dr Jenna Jambeck, from the University of Georgia in the US, said we are becoming ‘overwhelmed by our waste’.

The team also warned that this ‘ocean of plastic’ can harm sea life.

Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them. The bags then block their stomachs, which causes them to starve to death.

Dr Jenna Jambeck, from the University of Georgia in the US, said we are becoming ‘overwhelmed by our waste’. This ‘ocean of plastic’ can harm sea life. Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them. The bags then block their stomachs, which causes them to starve

Nasa created the time-lapse using data from buoys (seen as white dots) that had been distributed in the oceans for the last 35 years


The full scale of the threat to our wildlife from the plastic rubbish polluting our seas was exposed in a landmark study in Febuary.

It found that nearly 400 marine species are at risk as a result of the tons of shopping bags, fishing nets and other waste dumped in the oceans each year.

Puffins, turtles, seals and whales are among the creatures that have swallowed or become entangled in plastic bags.

It found many of the world’s most endangered marine species are now threatened.

Hawaiian monk seals, North Atlantic right whales, African penguins and loggerhead turtles have become caught up in lines, choked on plastic bags or swallowed bottle tops.

The problem has increased by nearly 50 per cent since the previous study was carried out in 1997, British scientists said

Sea birds also often mistake floating plastic for food; over 90 per cent of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs. It is also feared that it could harm our health to eat fish that have consumed plastic.

The scientists reached their figures by analysing data on the amount of waste generated and how well it is disposed of in 192 coastal countries.

This included litter left on beaches as well as plastic from fly-tipping and badly-managed rubbish dumps.

Their figures are much higher than those from previous studies, which only looked at rubbish floating on the surface and did not factor in the plastic that had sunk to the sea floor or was trapped in ice.

They estimated that between 4.7million and 12.7million tons of plastic made its way into the world’s oceans in 2010, with a best estimate of 8million tons.

The figure is expected to rise each year. Between 2010 and 2025, some 155million tons of plastic could be dumped into the ocean – enough to fill 100 bags per foot of coastline.

Piled one on top of the other, the bags would create a wall of rubbish 100ft high.

Co-author Roland Geyer, associate professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said: ‘Large-scale removal of plastic marine debris is not going to be cost-effective and quite likely simply unfeasible.

‘This means we need to prevent plastic from entering the oceans in the first place through better waste management, more reuse and recycling, better product design and material substitution.’

Frank Davis, director of the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in the US, said: ‘The numbers are staggering but the problem is not insurmountable.’

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:08 am

Trade in Lion bones

The sickening trade in the bones of butchered lions for use in Chinese ‘medicines’, wines and jewellery could spark another catastrophic health crisis, experts have warned


An astonishing 333 farms in South Africa are breeding thousands of lions either to be shot by hunters in fenced enclosures or slaughtered for their bones, according to a devastating book serialised in The Mail on Sunday.

It reveals how the booming trade in lion skeletons, worth millions of pounds a year, is fuelled by demand in China and South-East Asia for traditional medicines. Lion parts are also passed off as rarer tiger bones and used to make wine and trinkets.

More chillingly, the book by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft claims the captive-bred lions are raised in such appalling conditions that they could spread fatal diseases to humans, including tuberculosis or botulism – and even spark another pandemic.

The sickening trade in the bones of butchered lions for use in Chinese ‘medicines’ could be the next thing to trigger a pandemic, health experts have warned

Unfair Game details an undercover operation by ex-British Army and security services personnel to expose the horrors of South Africa’s lion industry. The team recruited a dealer as a ‘double agent’ and planted tracking devices in lion skulls destined to be sold to the Far East.

The eight-month operation uncovered a string of damning revelations, including how:

    A wealthy Russian hunter used a pack of dogs to illegally hunt and kill a captive-bred lion in a fenced enclosure;

    Wild lion cubs are being caught in Botswana and smuggled into South Africa to boost the gene pool of lions raised in captivity;

    Undercover investigators joined poachers planning to kill wild lions in Botswana by poisoning or shooting them in the stomach to ensure their bones were not damaged;

    Some lions are ‘deboned’ while still alive because this produces a distinctive pink colour – caused by blood left in the bone – that is highly valued by buyers;

    Illegal wildlife trade is conducted openly at a public market in Johannesburg, where lion skulls and skins are sold alongside skins from endangered pangolins, which have been linked to the coronavirus pandemic;

    A South African police chief rejected a mountain of evidence presented by Lord Ashcroft’s chief investigator, who was then told he was ‘lucky’ not to be in jail.
Lord Ashcroft estimates there are at least 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa, compared with a wild population of 3,000. Wealthy hunters pay thousands of pounds to hunt and kill the most magnificent lions within fenced enclosures.

Between 600 and 1,000 lions are killed in such ‘canned hunts’ in South Africa each year, campaigners claim, with many more trucked to slaughterhouses to be shot in the head and butchered for their bones. An entire skeleton is worth up to £3,200.

Dr Peter Caldwell, who runs a wildlife veterinary practice in Pretoria, warned that botulism – a potentially fatal infection that attacks the nervous system – is common in captive-bred lions because of poor hygiene, and can be spread to humans via infected bones or skin.

‘Clostridium botulinum is a bacteria that produces spores and toxins and it can grow in that dead flesh and bone,’ he told Lord Ashcroft.

‘The lions chew on those bones, get the toxin, and that can paralyse them. ‘If that lion dies from botulism, the people who bred it won’t waste that animal by burying it or burning it. Instead, they will put it into the lion bone and skin trade.

An astonishing 333 farms in South Africa are breeding thousands of lions either to be shot by hunters in fenced enclosures or slaughtered for their bones, according to a devastating book serialised in The Mail on Sunday

And the toxin remains in the body, so the people who utilise that lion can die a miserable, painful death.’ Other diseases that can be spread by lion bones include brucellosis, a bacterial infection that can cause arthritis, fever and inflammation of the heart, and tuberculosis, which led to 1.5million deaths worldwide in 2018.

Warning that Asia’s rampant lion trade could cause another devastating health crisis in the next decade, Dr Caldwell said: ‘If it’s not tuberculosis, it’s going to be brucellosis or one of those diseases that can easily be transferred from animals to humans.’

Lord Ashcroft said: ‘So are we sleep-walking straight into a new major public health crisis with the lion bone industry at its core? I fear we are. ‘It could be a surge in a disease that already exists, or it could be a new and frightening infection, just like Covid-19 was.’

Last year, The Mail on Sunday revealed undercover video footage of a Briton who paid thousands of pounds to shoot an 11-year-old lion with tranquilliser darts in an apparent breach of South African law.

Lord Ashcroft’s investigators subsequently rescued the animal, named Simba, and relocated it to a safe sanctuary. He then launched another undercover probe into lion farming last April, codenamed Operation Chastise after the 1943 RAF Dambusters raid.

His team recruited a lion dealer, codenamed ‘Lister’, to work as a double agent and collect evidence against others involved in canned hunting and the bone trade.
Exposing the most barbaric industry on earth: The heart-stopping story of how LORD ASHCROFT hired a crack team of soldiers using drones to nail the criminals behind South Africa's lucrative captive lion trade

I cannot abide those who are cruel to animals, but the sad fact is that in our digital age, my strong aversion is aroused all too often. I have lost count of the number of people who post on social media platforms such as Twitter so-called ‘kill shots’ of themselves grinning at the camera (or, even worse, kissing their partner) alongside a beautiful animal they have recently slaughtered.

Revelling publicly in the death of a creature in this way is completely alien to me.

People may be brutal through ignorance or by taking shortcuts to save money, but South Africa’s captive-bred lion industry is conscious, intentional cruelty, sometimes carried out with or for pleasure. I cannot think about this without feeling a burning sense of shame. The question is: for how much longer will South Africa allow this industry to prosper?

I have lost count of the number of people who post on social media platforms such as Twitter so-called ‘kill shots’ of themselves grinning at the camera. In 2019, hunters Darren and Carolyn Carter from Canada incurred the wrath of thousands worldwide with this provocative - and disturbing - show of triumph

In a major exposé in this newspaper last year, I revealed details of an undercover mission, Operation Simba, which I had funded in South Africa in 2018 and 2019, which aimed to shed light on the way this appalling trade is run.

I described the hideous phenomenon of ‘canned hunting’, whereby lions bred in captivity are drugged and released into a relatively small area and then shot by a tourist who has paid many thousands of pounds for the privilege. It is not so much a chase as an utter farce. The photos of people standing triumphantly over these wretched beasts once they are dead are sickening.

I also revealed how once the farm-bred lions have served their purpose, their bones and other body parts are exported for the booming Asian medicine market. At every stage of their lives, these animals are abused and monetised. Even as cubs they are forced to play with tourists, although they should be sleeping for 16 to 20 hours a day in order to grow and thrive.

Finally, I reported how an undercover team had managed to save one of the lions, Simba, just as he was about to be shot in a canned hunt. I am now paying for him to live out his days in a secure and peaceful location.

Despite my feelings of euphoria at having saved Simba in the nick of time, it seemed clear that more needed to be done. It was obvious that those who profit by abusing lions are able to operate with great ease in South Africa. I decided to assemble my own evidence through a second covert investigation.

Our findings could then be presented to the South African authorities so pressure could be brought to bear on the perpetrators. And so Operation Chastise was born.

Named after the famous Dambusters mission and involving a crack team of former British Army and security services personnel, it swung into action in April 2019.

Despite my feelings of euphoria at having saved Simba in the nick of time, it seemed clear that more needed to be done

The captive-bred lion industry is guarded jealously by its practitioners – many with links to global organised crime – while the value of human life in South Africa is far lower than it is in Britain. The bravery and ingenuity displayed by my team was phenomenal.

Through the recruitment of an undercover agent, a South African lion dealer, they managed to infiltrate this highly lucrative business. Our double agent, to whom we gave the codename Lister, was able to provide us with video footage of extreme cruelty to lions.

In the meantime, my team used their military expertise to fit secret trackers to caches of lion bones being bought and sold so that their whereabouts could be monitored as they were smuggled out of South Africa.

They also kept Lister himself under constant surveillance by bugging his cars, his phones and his house.

The team’s findings make truly horrifying reading for anybody who, like me, abhors any form of cruelty to animals.

Those involved in the production and export of lion bones also smuggle rhino horn, elephant ivory and the scales of pangolin, the most trafficked animal in the world [and linked to Covid-19, having been sold in the Wuhan wet market in China where the pandemic started]. To my mind, buying any of these is on a par with buying a Class A drug from a dealer.

The team was in place. Gibby, named after the Dambusters leader Guy Gibson, was the boss. Hopgood, again named after another of the raid’s heroes, was his deputy.

Munro, a Kenyan who spoke many of the local languages, was to play an invaluable role, while Ginger, our electronics expert and drone pilot, would be the equivalent of the James Bond character Q, looking after all the covert kit: cameras, audio recording devices, GPS trackers and any other technical wizardry.

And then, of course, there was Lister. A typical alpha-male Boer farmer in his late 40s, he has a large frame and rough-hewn features. A former policeman, there is certainly something intimidating about him.

We’d learned from contacts that he had already offered his services to another undercover operation, and during an early meeting he insisted to my team that his sole aim for joining the project was to end the cruel practice of killing lions for their bones. As if to prove he was genuine, he offered to show them footage of a lioness which had been shot in a tree.

In it, two men drive a pick-up vehicle into a fenced enclosure. While they speak Afrikaans, the camera pans to a lioness which has climbed into a tree and is perching precariously, looking forlorn and distressed.

The men speak again before a gunshot is fired from the truck. A branch splinters and the lioness roars in pain. She falls to the ground and tries to position the tree’s trunk between herself and her pursuers.

The men in the vehicle shoot into her again and again. They then drive round to the other side of the tree, where the lioness lies panting in a pathetic state, one shoulder shattered and bullet holes pock-marking her flank. Using pistols now, the men try again.

Several shots later, the poor beast, riddled with bullets, finally expires. In this shooting spree, stretched over seven-and-a-half minutes, she is seen being shot ten times while the men chat to each other casually.

Lister, who had made the recording himself, explained that their marksmanship had been deliberately poor as they had not wanted to damage the animal’s skull and thus reduce its value in the bone trade.

Hopgood, who has seen two frontline tours of duty in Afghanistan, was visibly shocked. Blood and suffering were not new to him, but this display of deliberate cruelty turned his stomach.

We later found out that this horrifying event took place at a tourist facility and wedding venue whose professional hunter owners were the ones who shot the lioness so callously that day.

It is appalling to think that these men would tout their property as a wedding venue where they are happy to slowly butcher a defenceless creature.

It was obvious that those who profit by abusing lions are able to operate with great ease in South Africa. I decided to assemble my own evidence through a second covert investigation

Similarly, it is chilling to think that young children might go to pet lion cubs there.

There can be no justification for such barbarous behaviour, but this is the reality of the captive-bred lion trade in South Africa.

Although my team had huge reservations about working with Lister, the importance of his role as an undercover agent could not be exaggerated: he was well-connected and involved in the trade of live lions and their bones.

Indeed, he had claimed that he was South Africa’s biggest lion dealer.

As long as he was kept on a tight rein, he had the potential to produce important material which could, we hoped, be added to our dossier.

At the end of June, he had given Hopgood promising information about some contacts he referred to as ‘serious players in the trade’ from whom Lister had bought lions and tigers.

Lister also said that the man bred ‘ligers’ – a hideous crossbreed of lions and tigers – for bones, as well as selling live ligers to Arab clients for many thousands of dollars.

The question might well be asked: what were tigers doing in South Africa, thousands of miles from their native Asia?

It’s not hard to understand why ligers are popular with bone traders. Able to grow to a length of 11ft and a height of 4ft, a three-year-old liger can be the same size as a nine-year-old lion. Its accelerated growth means it produces more bone more quickly. Once slaughtered, it generates greater profits.

These enormous freaks of nature are, of course, kept well out of sight of holidaymakers at the safari lodge. This is typical of such enterprises in South Africa. Animals that are going to be seen by visitors are kept in good condition. But those bred for the bone trade have to take their chance. Anything goes.

‘It’s not just lions,’ said Karen Trendler, a former inspector with the NSPCA, South Africa’s equivalent of the RSPCA.

‘Tigers are bred and slaughtered for bone on these farms, too. It’s a very hidden industry, fiercely protected. There are areas where you can farm and slaughter lions and nobody will ever know.

‘On some, the lions and cubs in the front or public area are in beautiful condition, but it’s what goes on behind the scenes.

‘This is a huge industry with what could be up to 12,000 lions being farmed in captivity.’

It’s worth taking a look at the mission statement of the lodge where the lioness had been shot, which says its animals are treated lovingly – like royalty.

And yet the evidence provided by Lister proves that, far from being a place where young children and their parents can go and spend time with creatures that are treated like royalty, it supplies big cats to the canned hunting industry and to the illegal lion and tiger bone trade. We later collected video evidence to confirm this.

By early August, my team had developed a decent intelligence picture of the captive lion operation. A diagram of Lister’s known associates was drawn up, providing leads that could be checked on social media platforms. Another name that cropped up frequently was ‘Michael’, a mysterious Asian bone-dealer described by Lister as ‘not a person to cross’, for whom he was busy collecting lion parts. At an agreed time, these would then be dispatched from Johannesburg International Airport.

When pressed for details, however, Lister would not be specific either about where he would take the grim haul prior to the flight, or when the drop-off would take place, maintaining that he was only ever given such information shortly beforehand.

He did, however, say that Michael paid corrupt airport staff to wave his contraband boxes through without being searched.

If this is even remotely accurate, it is a devastating indictment of South Africa’s so-called customs patrols at its international airports, which raises major questions about the robustness of the country’s approach to tackling the bone trade.

To help us monitor the shipment’s journey, Lister agreed that trackers that had been hidden in a lion skull by my team would remain in place.

BY THE start of September, the bone shipment destined for Michael remained on Lister’s property. While my team waited for it to be moved, they explored downtown Johannesburg’s traditional medicine market to try to establish whether any lion parts from captive-bred operations ended up there.

It was immediately obvious that the market is not policed in any serious way and neither, on the strength of the team’s visit, is the law enforced regularly, such is the breadth of dead specimens being traded openly. Leopard and lion skins abounded, as did pangolin skins, big-cat skulls and even rare vulture heads.

One of my operatives took pictures with an iPhone while his colleague bought time by handing 50-rand notes (worth just over £2) to any stall-holder who raised questions. Word soon spread that a couple of Europeans were photographing cat skins.

After several minutes, a crowd started to follow them around the maze of market stalls. As my operatives moved towards the exit, they saw a huge male lion skin hanging from one of the market roof’s supporting pillars. All questions about this skin were batted away by the stall-holder.

When one of our team asked the seller if he would stand in front of the skin for a photo, he refused, threatening to put a fatal Zulu curse on him.

They soon left, pleased to have obtained solid confirmation of the illegal wildlife trade being conducted openly in a public place in South Africa’s biggest city without hindrance from the authorities.

In the meantime, further checks were run on those believed to be associates of Michael. My team discovered the existence of a network of Russian nationals in South Africa, each with links to South Africans who themselves had connections to various professional hunting outfits that had form for unethical practices.

A larger picture was beginning to take shape.

AS AUTUMN approached, it was decided that in order to have some control over how and when the various pieces of this complex jigsaw came together, one of the team would have to work alongside Lister.

Munro was chosen for this delicate and high-risk task. He could speak several indigenous African languages, including Tswana, which is widely used in North West Province.

Back in the summer, Lister had told us about a potential deal in which he was involved. This would involve wild lions in neighbouring Botswana being poisoned so that their cubs could be trafficked into South Africa.

The bones are sold into the trade and the cubs are brought into South Africa’s tourist market to widen the gene pool of the captive population. The entire process gives the lie to those supporters of the farmed lion industry who insist that it is good for conservation, and takes pressure off the wildlife population.

In early October, Lister told the team that a poaching trip in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park had been arranged.

The men he was going with were serious criminal operators who knew how to kill wild lions specifically for the bone trade.

The plan was to poison the animals or shoot them in their stomachs in order to avoid damaging any highly valuable bone tissue. Both methods guarantee they would make as much money as possible after the lions had suffered a slow and painful death.

It was a gruesome prospect, but for my team, collecting such evidence would be a coup.

On the morning of October 23, Lister crossed the border into Botswana. Along with Munro (disguised as a farm-worker), they headed to the rendezvous with Lister’s poaching contacts close to the village of Kokotsha.

Munro noticed that Lister was very friendly with the poachers, but he was soon outraged to discover that Lister had brought with him some poison to give these two crooks.

Munro stepped in before Lister had the opportunity to hand it over to the poachers, warning him that if he went through with his plan, he would be filmed doing so and would then be reported to the authorities.

The group set off to find the lions which the poachers had tracked previously.

They struck gold. One of the poachers wanted to follow the pride, but Munro called a halt to proceedings, using Lister’s obvious lack of fitness as an excuse.

Crucially, he had confirmed that the poachers were prepared to commit wildlife crime – and for the purposes of our investigation that was sufficient.

Based on what they witnessed, neither Munro nor Lister had any doubt that the pair were practised players who had killed wild lions before.

Operation Chastise continued to gain momentum. On November 3, Lister had another meeting with the team to outline proposals for his next trip to Botswana to link up with the lion poachers again. He also talked about a plan to smuggle several live cheetahs into the country, along with a cache of lion bones.

At the beginning of December, however, Lister told the team the Botswana operation would have to wait until January as he had to go to Namibia.

This was the last time they had any contact with him.

That same day they received a tip that a middle-aged man had walked into Kimberley Police Station in the Northern Cape and told officers about an illegal wildlife trafficking operation that he knew of involving a Botswana national.

He gave a number of details and had apparently spoken about the bone sets to which my team had fixed trackers.

It was obvious that the ‘walk-in’ was Lister. He had double-crossed everybody.

Without him, Operation Chastise could not function, and the only course of action now was to wind it up.

It didn’t matter. We had more than enough information to give to the police, allowing them to open their own investigation. All that remained now was to present our findings.

But as I reveal in the facing panel, this did not quite go as we had anticipated.

Why DO South African police condone the slaughter of their nation's most famous symbol?

There was no time to lose. The batteries were running low on the trackers fitted in the contraband caches of bones destined for a big player in the trade and whom we knew only as Michael.

A meeting was arranged on December 12 last year between my team and the South African police chief responsible for the wildlife unit at Pretoria.

On arrival, Gibby, who’d run Operation Chastise on a day-to-day basis, and a colleague were introduced to a hard-looking man with a dark beard and a big frame, along with a fellow officer.

Both policemen, the team felt, had a faintly menacing presence about them.

Gibby recounted the story of Operation Chastise, and handed over a folder of A4 photographs of lion and tiger bone contraband collected by Lister, the Boer farmer we had paid as part of our undercover investigation to expose the captive-bred lion industry. He also offered to give the police the dossier of evidence, the locations of two separate caches of illegal lion and tiger bones (and possibly rhino horn), plus the address in Johannesburg used by the bone-dealer Michael.

African woman crouching on the ground and playing with four-month-old lion cubs Panthera and Leo

The main officer’s response was frosty from the word go. He wanted to know under whose authority Gibby had run the investigation. Gibby explained why he had conducted it alone and that the intention had always been to hand the evidence to the police. But the officer told Gibby that he and his colleague were lucky not to be spending Christmas in a Pretoria jail wearing orange overalls.

Having said that he was prepared to take all responsibility for the operation, Gibby, calmly and patiently, suggested it was surely reasonable for everybody to focus on bringing these wildlife criminals to justice.

The police chief ended the meeting and passed the photos back to Gibby. He said he was not going to get the Christmas present he wanted: the bone caches would not be seized and, owing to a lack of proper evidence, Michael would not be receiving a visit from the police.

He added that tracking people and property was illegal and jeopardised any evidence the team might have secured. Wishing them a merry Christmas at home in the UK, both my men were dismissed.

This 90-minute meeting had been a total waste of time. The two police officers had been aggressive instead of actively engaging with the information my team had tried to give them.

For reasons which will never be entirely clear, they showed complete disregard for the obvious illegality they were told about. Was it simply that they had no desire to involve themselves in what might have led to a complicated and potentially exhausting case?

Only they can know the answer to this question. Others must draw their own conclusions.

Why would South African police condone the serial cruelty and slaughter of arguably their country’s most recognisable symbol – unless a serious allegation made to me some months earlier by former wildlife inspector Karen Trendler was accurate?

She said there are ‘definite incidents’ of collusion between law enforcement and breeders, adding: ‘The lion-breeding industry is one of the most powerful. They have a huge amount of money. When we say corruption, it’s not just a theory. It’s there.’

Operation Chastise was over, and our approach to South Africa’s police had yielded nothing.
Tourists love petting tours – but the ‘cute’ animals can be lethal

With their huge paws, sweet faces and soft fur, lion cubs are among nature’s most endearing young creatures. It’s no wonder tourists flock to the many parks in South Africa that give the chance to cuddle and stroke these delightful animals.

What the innocent visitors do not know, however, is that they are helping to prolong the agony of these cubs and others which, like them, have been bred solely for the purposes of making money.

At a safari park outside Johannesburg, visitors can, for about £5, enter a dusty lion cub enclosure for ten minutes.

During a visit by my team one day last August, three cubs, including two rare white lion cubs, were dozing in the midday sun. Lion cubs need plenty of rest but these ones were not left in peace for long.

Their keeper prodded them awake so that they could be stroked, picked up and played with and, of course, pose for that all-important selfie.

The animals looked well and were extremely docile – so much so that the stories one hears about cubs being sedated to guarantee their good behaviour are eminently believable.

The guide told the tourists that the park has a total of ‘about 75’ lions. Oddly, only 25 were available to see. When asked about the 50 others, the guide provided no concrete answer, saying something about them being in what he jokingly referred to as the ‘retirement village’ area.

Subsequently, operatives working for me entered that enclosure unobserved. They counted about 15 old-looking lions, some wild dogs and three cheetahs. Pens containing the lions were cramped and the enclosures were covered in a foul carpet of faeces and chicken feathers. The big cats looked hungry, pacing the fences. Their final destination remains unclear.

Another entertainment at the park that August day was to go on a ‘lion walk’. These have become a very popular way of enhancing tourists’ interaction with the predators while adding an element of risk.

Anybody taking part must sign a release form, acknowledging they accept responsibility for the situation into which they place themselves. This is no surprise considering that several tourists have been mauled to death on safaris in South Africa.

During my team’s visit, two male lions – far larger than the cubs made available for petting and cuddling earlier – were driven up to the enclosure on a trailer.

When released, they were very curious and energetic, but the guides kept them occupied by throwing chunks of pungent-smelling raw meat in their direction. They were little more than circus animals, trained to obey.

But alongside the covert operations, I have been working tirelessly to raise the profile of the scandal of the abuse of lions in South Africa with those in authority and public figures.

In April 2019, after the findings of Operation Simba had been published in The Mail on Sunday, I wrote to South Africa’s High Commissioner in London, drawing attention to the 11-page exposé, and offering to furnish their office with further evidence of illegality.

This was met with silence and, to the best of my knowledge, none of those identified in Operation Simba has been so much as questioned about their actions, let alone arrested.

I had hoped that my reasonable approach to the High Commissioner would prompt some kind of acknowledgment and, perhaps, a meeting. I am sorry to report, however, that, to date, I have received no response.

Under the circumstances, I find this lack of interest on the part of South Africa’s authorities utterly perplexing. It is sad that my approach has, for now, been ignored. The offer still stands, of course.

I also wrote to the then Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, seeking a meeting to discuss banning the import of captive-bred lion trophies into the UK. This meeting went ahead just a few days later. Afterwards, on May 9, I wrote a follow-up letter to Mr Gove emphasising my horror of lion farming, sham trophy-hunting and the bone trade.

I also underlined the fact that the South African state not only allows mass lion breeding but also overlooks those who breach its quotas.

As the law stands, 800 lion skeletons are allowed to leave the country every year. In 2018, South Africa’s then environment minister, Edna Molewa, raised this number to 1,500 skeletons, claiming it was sustainable and supposedly supported by solid scientific evidence.

After a public outcry, however, Molewa’s highly questionable decision was reversed and the limit of 800 skeletons was restored.

Yet those who oppose the trade believe that substantially more than 800 lion skeletons leave South Africa each year. Often this is achieved through fraud, simply by under-declaring the number or weight of bones which are shipped.

One study by two charities suggests this deception, possibly carried out in conjunction with corrupt officials, is widespread.

I pointed out to Mr Gove that Britain could be more determined to end this through our influence and diplomacy, and argued that everything possible should be done to discourage this industry.

I suggested that banning the import of lion body parts to the UK would have a significant impact and raised the possibility of tackling the bone trade by implementing something similar to the very effective UK Bribery Act.

The idea was to make it illegal for UK firms to be involved in the shipping, trading or the movement of money associated with bones and that their directors would be liable unless they had taken steps to ensure their firms were not involved. I believe this would encourage companies to take measures to protect themselves.

It is no exaggeration to say that the abuse of lions in South Africa has become an industry. Thousands are bred on farms every year; they are torn away from their mothers when they are just days old, used as pawns in the tourist sector and then either killed in a ‘hunt’ or simply slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are very valuable in Asia’s so-called medicine market.

In between, they are poorly fed, kept in cramped and unhygienic conditions, beaten if they do not perform for paying customers, and drugged. This sinister system has sprouted up in plain sight in South Africa, inflicting misery on this most noble of beasts on an unimaginable scale. My research suggests it is highly likely that there are now at least 12,000 captive-bred lions in the country, against a wild population of just 3,000. Yet, strikingly, just a small number of people – a few hundred – profit from this abusive set-up. Thanks to South Africa’s constitution and laws, they seem able to operate as they wish.

Arguably, the authorities have become the enablers of all of this, overseeing lion-hunting regulations and awarding licences for the export of lion bones with what appear to be the lightest of touches, and wilfully ignoring wrongdoing when they learn of it.

So what can be done?

First, the South African government must ban captive-bred lion farming, which has no conservation value. The case for a uniform nationwide hunting law, as opposed to individual laws that currently exist in each province, should also be made.

Wildlife and conservation groups need to co-ordinate their campaigns. Airlines, shipping firms and freight companies must be lobbied until they realise it is morally unacceptable for them to transport the trophies and bones of captive-bred lions.

The world’s tourist industry has to do more to educate everybody who visits South Africa that cub-petting and ‘walking with lions’ experiences are key parts of this cruel business. It should become socially unacceptable for any tourist to indulge in any of these activities.

Furthermore, I call on the British Government – and every other government that has not already done so – to follow the example of Australia, France and the US and introduce new laws that discourage the practice of importing captive-bred trophies.

There are many difficult decisions ahead, but it is imperative that everybody, especially tourists, does their bit to ensure that the barbaric and brutal abuse of lions is consigned firmly and permanently to the dustbin of history.

In his book, Lord Ashcroft identifies the individuals and lodges/ranches that he says were responsible for breaking the law and/or animal cruelty, but The Mail on Sunday has removed these for legal reasons.

Extracted from Unfair Game, by Lord Ashcroft, published by Biteback on Tuesday. To order a copy, visit here or here

All royalties from the book are going to wildlife charities in South Africa. Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is a businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster.

For information about his work, including his six books on bravery, visit

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @LordAshcroft, and visit here. Tomorrow, James Glancy interviews the author about his book in the environmental show Planet SOS on Mail Plus. ... cQf59lWTVo
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:21 pm

Climate change is as
urgent as coronavirus

Greta Thunberg says the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency

That means the world acting "with necessary force", the Swedish climate activist says in an exclusive interview with BBC News.

She doesn't think any "green recovery plan" will solve the crisis alone.

And she says the world is now passing a "social tipping point" on climate and issues such as Black Lives Matter.

"People are starting to realise that we cannot keep looking away from these things", says Ms Thunberg, "we cannot keep sweeping these injustices under the carpet".

She says lockdown has given her time to relax and reflect away from the public gaze.

Ms Thunberg has shared with the BBC the text of a deeply personal programme she has made for Swedish Radio.

In the radio programme, which goes online this morning, Greta looks back on the year in which she became one of the world's most high-profile celebrities.

The then 16-year-old took a sabbatical from school to spend a tumultuous year campaigning on the climate.

She sailed across the Atlantic on a racing yacht to address a special UN Climate Action summit in New York in September.

She describes world leaders queuing to get pictures with her, with Angela Merkel asking whether it was okay to post her photo on social media.

The climate campaigner is sceptical of their motives. "Perhaps it makes them forget the shame of their generation letting all future generations down", she says. "I guess maybe it helps them to sleep at night."

It was in the UN that she delivered her famous "how dare you" speech. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words", she told the world leaders gathered in the UN Assembly.

She appeared on the verge of tears as she continued. "People are dying," she said, "and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?"

She knew it was a "lifetime moment" and decided not to hold anything back, she says now.

"I am going to let my emotions take control and to really make something big out of this because I won't be able to do this again".

She describes travelling back from the UN to her hotel on the subway and seeing people watching the speech on their phones, but says she felt no urge to celebrate.

"All that is left are empty words", she says.

The phrase reflects her deep cynicism about the motives of most world leaders.

"The level of knowledge and understanding even among people in power is very, very low, much lower than you would think," she told the BBC.

She says the only way to reduce emissions on the scale that is necessary is to make fundamental changes to our lifestyles, starting in developed countries. But she doesn't believe any leaders have the nerve to do that.

Instead, she says, they "simply refrain from reporting the emissions, or move them somewhere else".

She claims the UK, Sweden and other countries do this by failing to account for the emissions from ships and aircraft and by choosing not to count the emissions from goods produced in factories abroad.

As a result, she says in her radio programme, the whole language of debate has been degraded.

"Words like green, sustainable, 'net-zero', 'environmentally friendly', 'organic', 'climate-neutral' and 'fossil-free' are today so misused and watered down that they have pretty much lost all their meaning. They can imply everything from deforestation to aviation, meat and car industries," she said.

Ms Thunberg says the only positive that could come out of the coronavirus pandemic would be if it changes how we deal with global crises: "It shows that in a crisis, you act, and you act with necessary force."

She says she is encouraged that politicians are now stressing the importance of listening to scientists and experts.

"Suddenly people in power are saying they will do whatever it takes since you cannot put a price on human life."

She hopes that will open up a discussion about the urgency of taking action to help the people who die from illnesses related to climate change and environmental degradation right now as well as in the future.

But she remains deeply pessimistic about our ability to keep any temperature increases within safe boundaries.

She says that, even if countries actually deliver the carbon reductions they've promised, we'll still be heading for a "catastrophic" global temperature rise of 3-4 degrees.

The teenager believes the only way to avoid a climate crisis is to tear up contracts and abandon existing deals and agreements that companies and countries have signed up to.

"The climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved within today's political and economic systems", the Swedish climate activist argues. "That isn't an opinion. That's a fact."

Thunberg talks movingly of a road-trip she and her father took through North America in an electric car borrowed from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood actor turned politician and climate campaigner.

She visited the charred remains of Paradise, the Californian town destroyed by a wildfire in November 2018.

She is shocked by the carbon-intensive lifestyles she saw in the US. "Apart from a few wind power plants and solar panels," she says, "there are no signs whatsoever of any sustainable transition, despite this being the richest country in the world."

But the social inequities struck her just as forcefully.

She describes meeting poor black, Hispanic and indigenous communities.

"It was very shocking to hear people talk about that they can't afford to put food on the table", she explained.

Yet Greta Thunberg says she has been inspired by the way people have been responding to these injustices, particularly the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in May.

She believes society has "passed a social tipping point, we can no longer look away from what our society has been ignoring for so long whether it is equality, justice or sustainability".

She describes signs of what she calls an "awakening" in which "people are starting to find their voice, to sort of understand that they can actually have an impact".

That is why Greta Thunberg says she still has hope.

"Humanity has not yet failed", she argues.

She concludes her radio documentary in powerful form.

"Nature does not bargain and you cannot compromise with the laws of physics," the teenager asserts.

"Doing our best is no longer good enough. We must now do the seemingly impossible. And that is up to you and me. Because no one else will do it for us."
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:48 pm

10 Cruel Things Done to Farm Animals

Some people find it incredibly difficult to understand why the common farming practices carried out on pigs, chickens, cows, geese, goats, and sheep are so cruel and inhumane. This is because society has conditioned us to believe that it’s okay to treat farmed animals differently than others because they don’t “feel” emotional or physical pain in the same way. However, this is a flat-out lie.

When you spend time with these animals, you quickly understand that they are every bit as complex as any other animal on the planet, including our cats and dogs. Here’s a simple way to understand and to teach others that the way we treat farmed animals is not ethical or acceptable. Read through the list of common practices which farm animals have to endure every single day around the globe, and ask yourself whether you would pay someone to do this to your cat or dog.

1. Cutting Their Tails Off

In order to prevent tails being mutilated or bitten off due to overcrowding in pens, tails are cut off shortly after birth, without anesthesia or pain killers.

2. Ripping Their Teeth Out

Piglets also have their teeth ripped out at the same time as they have their tails docked to prevent them from causing harm to each other when they’re confined in their tiny pens.

3. Locking Them in Cages Where They Cannot Turn Around

Factory farmed animals are often kept in cages where there is not even enough room to turn around, stretch their wings fully, or extend their legs.

4. Taking Away Their Babies Immediately After Birth

It’s standard practice to take calves away from their mothers within a day of birth, a process which causes immense emotional stress and deprives the newborn of its mother’s milk

5. Forcing a Tube Down Their Throat

Geese in the foie gras industry are force fed huge volumes of corn slop through long metal tubes, giving them no choice but to consume it.

6. Stealing Their Milk

Cows produce milk to feed their own babies, yet in the dairy industry, they are hooked up to machines which steal the milk for human consumption instead.

7. Filling Them Full of Drugs to Make Them Grow Faster

Almost all farm animals on intensive farms are routinely fed drugs and antibiotics in order to make them grow much faster than nature intended. Chickens are forced to grow so big that many suffer from broken legs and joint troubles.

8. Branding or Tagging Them for Identification

One method of identifying cows and pigs is by branding them with a hot iron which causes considerable pain and discomfort. Another way of doing it, for sheep, goats, and sometimes cows, is by punching a tag through the ear, which is also very painful and can become infected.

9. Depriving Them of Sunlight

Locking animals away in darkness and depriving them of ever seeing the sunlight is an industry norm for many industrialized farms.

10. Slaughtering Them at a Young Age and Eating Their Dead Bodies

Farm animal lives are cut extremely short because as soon as they reach the desired size, or they become less productive milk producers or egg layers, they are sent to the slaughter for people to eat.

Even though society deems it acceptable to do every single one of these things on a regular basis to certain animals, if someone were to do them to a dog or a cat, they’d probably be arrested for animal cruelty.

The thought of cutting a dog’s tail off, ripping her teeth out, branding her instead of giving her a name, shoving her in a tiny cage for her entire life, making her have puppies and then taking them away, and continuing to milk her so that you can drink the milk, before finally killing her and making dinner with her carcass sounds pretty psychotic. Yet this is what happens to billions of farm animals every single year.

If the thought of doing this to a cat or dog makes you feel disgusted, then you should ask yourself — do you believe this is an acceptable way to treat any animal? ... US0uLtSFGc
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:53 pm

Baby elephant training

A cruel training method for baby elephants known as “the crush” has been revealed in rarely-seen footage

The practice sees calves bound with chains and confined in narrow enclosures for days at a time to make them submissive enough to interact with tourists.

The footage is the first wealth of visual evidence in nearly two decades revealing that renowned elephant trainers in Thailand are using the practice, according to global non-profit, World Animal Protection (WAP).
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Elephants are seen wailing while being separated from their mothers, bound with ropes and jabbed with spiked, metal hooks.

From December 2018 until January 2020, a video was recorded of eight baby elephants in captivity in Thailand. Along with the tortuous “crush”, elephants suffered open wounds from repeated stabbing with hooks.

They are also conditioned using stressful situations such as being walked along busy roads. It is believed that it makes the elephants more pliable for performing, riding and bathing around tourists.

WAP said previous elephant training footage capturing single incidents was rejected by the tourism industry as rare occurrences.

There are approximately 2,800 captive elephants in camps across Thailand.

WAP called for an end to the cruel practices and a breeding ban on captive elephants. For most of the animals in captivity, being released back into the wild is not possible, so an elephant-friendly camp is the best option. These camps are observation-only but still provide jobs as elephant keepers, known as “mahouts”.

Audrey Mealia, Global Head of Wildlife at World Animal Protection said:“For too long, these intelligent, sociable, creatures have been the victims of a cruel trade that rips baby elephants from their mothers and family groups. In the wild, mother, daughter and granddaughter elephants spend their entire lives together.

“Instead they are destined for a life of suffering and brutality behind the scenes, cruelly exploited as entertainers under the guise of innocent fun for visitors. Tourists are duped into believing they are helping these elephants and the conservation of the species, while in reality, they are creating the demand for such activities.

“The tourism industry has come to a halt in the wake of Covid-19 but it will re-build – this is the ideal opportunity to build a better future.”

Link to Article - Video: ... 82081.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:13 pm

Click to enlarge:

Slaughterhouse Poem

I will never see the sun rise, I will never see it set,
I will never feel a kind touch, I will never be a pet.

I will never feel love, for I will not be loved,
As I’m led to my murder, being prodded, poked and shoved.

As they cut my tender skin, I wondered who would care,
If anybody out there, would consider my despair.

For you did not see me die, and you did not see me bleed,
You did not hear me cry, for the meat that you don’t need.

You did not watch them kill me, you could not feel my pain,
You will try not to think of me, as you blindly eat again.

I was the cow you ate on Monday, the pig you had midweek,
I was the turkey for your Christmas, I was the calf you liked to eat.

I was the chicken in your sandwich, the duck you had for tea,
I felt pain beyond belief, but you never thought of me.

Because thinking can be painful, and you refuse to see,
That for every time you eat meat, those animals must bleed.

The cow was killed for Monday, the pig was scalded too,
The turkey lived for 16 weeks, and the calf had died for you.

The chicken lived inside a cage, the duck could hardly move,
And all of this suffering, occurred for so-called food.

I fail to see a reason, as there is no need,
When humans eat my meat, it is purely for their greed.

You may think you’re above me, that you have advantage,
But a kind, innocent creature, is better than a savage.

So next time you’re out shopping, try to feel some guilt,
For those animals have died, for your eggs, your meat and milk.

My heroes are those people, who will not bite into me,
So I ask a simple favor, and please stop eating meat.

I’m asking for the cows, the pigs and all the sheep,
I’m asking for the birds, who are more than just some meat.

They can’t speak themselves, so please let’s be their voice,
Every one born into this, for them there was no choice.

For you did not see me die, and you did not see me bleed,
You did not hear me cry, for the meat that you don’t need.

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:26 pm

It's time to end factory farms

Time to end torture of innocent animals and get used to eating less meat

Slaughterhouses are a breeding ground for disease and hotspots for coronavirus, and dozens closed after thousands of workers became ill. President Trump ordered these operations open, and shielded them from legal liability for exposing disempowered workers to intolerable risks.

The same time, the government is spending $200m per month to support the meat and dairy industries, while agribusiness lobbies for more stimulus money to return to killing as normal. Industrial animal agriculture harms people, animals and the earth, and it should not receive government bailouts. It should be dismantled and replaced. To put it bluntly: it’s time to get used to eating less, or no, meat.

Factory farms and slaughterhouses demand a continuous supply of low paid, deemed expendable workers to perform dangerous and difficult tasks. To meet this need, agribusiness has obtained regulatory accommodations to exploit immigrant and prison labor.

The industry has faced chronic labor shortages and their killing capacity could not keep up amid the recent spate of coronavirus infections in slaughterhouse workers, causing slaughter-bound animals to back up in the supply chain.

Millions of these innocent creatures have been euphemistically “depopulated,” meaning killed and discarded. These deaths are tragic, but so are the billions of needless deaths that occur in the normal course of business. We can live well without exploiting and consuming other animals.

More than 9 billion farm animals are pushed through factory farms in the US, and every year, hundreds of millions die before even reaching the slaughterhouse. The industry considers individual animals, and workers for that matter, to be expendable as long as the system is profitable.

Chickens raised for meat, for example, have been genetically altered to grow four times faster and larger than normal, which causes painful maladies and results in millions of birds who die before being sold for slaughter. These early deaths are considered acceptable to the industry because the profits generated by the faster growing chickens outweigh the costs.

As we look to a post-pandemic world, we should envision a more resilient and sustainable food system, one that doesn’t commodify sentient life. We can feed more people with less land and fewer resources through plant based agriculture, which would significantly lighten our ecological footprint and free up millions of acres of land, since we use ten times more land in the U.S. for animal agriculture than for plant farming.

Shifting to eating plants instead of animals would enable natural ecosystems, wildlife habitat and biodiversity to return. It would allow the earth to regenerate and heal, and reduce threats from the climate crisis and future pandemics, which have been linked to our abuses of other animals and the environment.

The inflexible supply chains exposed during the pandemic should be shorter and more nimble, with consumers connected more closely with the source of their food and farmers. The widespread interest in gardening spurred by the pandemic is encouraging. Home gardens could supply more food than we realize, like Victory Gardens, which grew 40% of our nation’s produce during World War II.

Urban farming, farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs, and community gardens can provide nutritious food and meaningful jobs in diverse settings, and were spreading before the pandemic hit. These deserve more government and institutional support instead of factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Agribusiness is using its undue influence to obtain billions of stimulus dollars being spent in the wake of this pandemic, and has exploited government programs to fund factory farming for decades. A study released in 2018 found an astounding 73% of dairy industry income in 2015, more than $22bn, came from the government. In 2018 and 2019, agriculture received $14bn and $16bn respectively for lost trade, on top of the billions it already gets each year.

The industry has also had preferential access to scarce resources like water at below market cost, and exemptions from labor, environmental, animal welfare, and other laws that allow it to avoid liabilities, so it can externalize costs born of its irresponsible conduct. This needs to stop.

Instead of killing animals, exploiting workers, and despoiling the environment, we can feed ourselves sustainably and help heal the earth through community-oriented plant-based agriculture. Farmland that is currently growing monocrops with petrochemicals for animal feed can switch to producing legumes, grains, fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and other crops directly for human consumption.

Suburban lawns can be turned into gardens, and in urban settings, food is already being grown on empty lots, in school and church yards, on rooftops, in food forests, in containers and planting boxes, and even in abandoned buildings re-configured into vertical farms. This is a positive trend that should be encouraged.

As we look to the future, let’s seek to create a new “normal,” without factory farms and slaughterhouses. Government policies that have enabled abuses, should be redirected to support a healthier more diversified system that sustains vibrant communities, and produces food that is nourishing, instead of returning to the broken status quo that causes so much pain and suffering for both people and animals. And for our part, it’s time to get used to eating less, or no, meat.

    Gene Baur is president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, a national farm animal rescue and advocacy organization ... K3UbERwivI
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:38 pm

Netherlands Bans Fur Farms

The Dutch parliament has ruled that all fur farms that were shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be allowed to reopen

The virus had spread throughout the mink population nationally causing concern that it could worsen the outbreak.

Infections were found at more than at least a dozen mink farms in the Netherlands requiring the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent mink.

“All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms, where there are no infections, won’t be,” spokeswoman Frederique Hermie told the Guardian.

Sentient Media published the latest data showing that almost 600,00 mink from over a dozen farms were murdered to stop the spread of the ever-growing coronavirus. Sadly far more death is expected to follow in the coming weeks.

The first cases of infected mink began to pop up in early April and Dutch authorities identified that these mink were in fact infected by the farmworkers.

It’s known that at least two humans actually became infected from their contact with the minks but they are as of the writing of this article the only known cases of animal-to-human infection according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2015 the Dutch parliament reinstated a previous bill from 2012 that would end fur farming in the country by 2024. Now thanks to the coronavirus it’s happening even earlier.

With the closure of all fur farms in the country now assured the exact closure dates are being discussed but have yet to be announced.

Given the mass killing of the minks due to the infection rates it is sure to happen quickly before more humans are infected by the deadly virus that has destroyed lives and economies worldwide.

Despite the large mass murders of minks, Dutch MPs “overwhelmingly voted in favor of shutting down the estimated 128 remaining mink farms in the Netherlands following the outbreak of Covid-19,” the Humane Society International said in a statement.

Politicians “voted in favor of the early closure of farms with compensation to be paid to fur farmers to end the practice earlier than the (original) phase-out date of 31 December 2023,” they added.

As one of the world’s top fur producers (particularly mink) for many decades, the Netherlands is taking a historic stand against the cruelty of fur farming especially when you consider that in 2018 more than 4.5 million mink were farmed at outrageous profits.

Programs over the years like the Welfur program instituted by the EU to monitor the condition of animals on fur farms little success has been achieved in changing the public’s view on the barbaric practices that come with the fur industry.

That combined with fur falling out of fashion not only with the public with many well-known fashion brands like Gucci, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Aquatalia, Kenneth Cole, Ellen Tracy, Juicy Couture, Frye, Spyder, Tahari, Jones New York, Sean John, Goats, Dakine, Katy Perry, Karen Millen, Taryn Rose and many others assure that fur is soon to be a cruelty of the past.

Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) early in 2020 actually retired their decades-long animal rights campaign “Fur Is Dead”.

The organization announced the long-running campaign as a victory as the overwhelming majority of fashion brands, retailers, labels and other clothing manufacturers have banned fur from their clothing lines and stores.

Just last year California became the first state in the United States to ban fur trapping and production just after one of its major cities San Fransisco banned the sale of fur in the city limits.

By the end of this year (2020) Macy’s the largest department store in the United States with over 900 stores in more than 40 states has put out a statement saying they will stop selling all fur items at both their department stores and outlets by the end of the year.

That commitment by Macy’s Inc. is aisles going to apply to their Macy’s Backstage and Bloomingdale’s The Outlets stores by the end of this year as well.

“We are calling for the 24 countries around the world that still allow mink farming to very rapidly evaluate the situation and evidence coming out of the Netherlands,” Clair Bass, the executive director of the Humane Society International told the Guardian.

While many countries have limited or outright banned fur farming the top producers of fur for the industry which include Poland, Denmark, Finland, and most notoriously China are the leaders in the production of fur.

It’s estimated that over 100 million animals from fox, raccoon, mink, to yes even dogs are murdered every single year for their fur. ... LJTvUioMYQ
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