Day: June 20, 2019

Update – Two very special Belugas have arrived at their new sanctuary home…


Following on from our recent post that Little Grey and Little White had set off on their journey to a new sea sanctuary; we can now give you an update that they have arrived safely at their destination – so that is brilliant news !

Our recent post:

News From the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society:

Two very special belugas have arrived at their new sanctuary home…

Yesterday, Little White and Little Grey arrived safely in Iceland! 

If you’ve been following this story, you’ll know that we have been working with the SEA LIFE Trust to create the world’s first ocean sanctuary for whales.

We realised a long time ago that it is no use calling for an end to captivity unless there is somewhere for captive whales and dolphins to go. After years of planning and mind-boggling logistical challenges, the first two whales have arrived at their new sanctuary home. They will be monitored by our experts in a quarantine area to make sure they are fully fit after their long journey before being released into the sea.

beluga jet full livery

How do you fly two Belugas to their new sanctuary home?

beluga transport graphic WDC

Your support made all this possible. Now we need your help to continue looking after Little Grey, Little White, and many others still held in captivity. Please donate today so we can continue our vital work. 

Donate to help the new sanctuary by clicking on the following link:

Java: Central Java regent commits to shutting down dog meat trade.

The 21st June will see the start of another Yulin dog meat ‘festival’ in China. Most of us are very familiar with the extreme cruelties involved with this; and we will focus more over the coming days.

In the meantime; there is better news from Java about the dog meat trade there:


Central Java regent commits to shutting down dog meat trade, is hailed as a hero by animal rights activists

Two dogs tied up as part of Indonesia’s dog meat trade. Photo: Dog Meat Free Indonesia

Two dogs tied up as part of Indonesia’s dog meat trade. Photo: Dog Meat Free Indonesia


Though it is not eaten widely throughout Indonesia, dog meat is popular in certain regions and demand for it fuels an industry that animal rights activists have denounced as not just cruel but also a threat to public health. Last year, activists scored a victory in getting officials from multiple government agencies to agree to work towards banning the trade.

Despite that success, the national government has yet to issue a blanket ban on dog meat, leading activists to focus on persuading regional governments to take the initiative. Yesterday, the Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition (DMFI) announced they scored another win with a commitment from Juliyatmono, the head of Central Java’s Karanganyar regency, to shut down all of the dog meat stalls in his jurisdiction.

According to a statement accompanying the above video, DMFI met with Juliyatmono on Monday to talk about the dog meat trade. The regent said he shares their concerns and has agreed to take “some bold steps to start immediately, including the closure of the Regency’s 21 dog meat stalls!”

After calling upon other senior government officials to follow Juliyatmono’s example, the post ends with an expression of gratitude to Regent Juilyatmono: “You are a hero!!”

Speaking to Detik, Juliyatmono confirmed his plans to close all of the dog meat stalls in his regency, citing health concerns as a justification.

“To prevent various diseases caused by dog ​​meat, we will immediately close all dog stalls in Karanganyar,” Juliyatmono said, adding that the shut down would save about 2,000 dogs per month.

DFMI has had mixed success in lobbying other regional governments. They reported having “a disappointing meeting with the Surakarta City Government” in April, but in March they were able to get promises of action from representatives of the governor of North Sulawesi as well as the office of the mayor of Tomohon – the city home to the infamous “Tomohon Extreme Market” – which pledged a 12-month action plan that would result in the end of all sales of dogs and cats within a year.

In August, DFMI — which includes NGOs such as the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation and Humane Society International — made their case at the National Coordination of Animal Welfare meeting, organized by the Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture and attended by representatives of livestock and animal health agencies, the Indonesian Veterinary Medicine Association and related NGOs from across Indonesia.

During the meeting, DMFI coalition showed a video of their investigations into the dog meat trade and held a group meeting session to discuss it afterwards. Similar videos showing some of the most shocking and cruel aspects of the dog meat trade have helped given momentum to activists seeking a ban in recent years.

Part of DMFI’s argument was based not just on the cruelty of the dog meat trade but also its potential health dangers to humans. Just days earlier, the coalition had issued a public warning that millions of tourists to Indonesia could be at risk of rabies due to the dog meat trade.

Their arguments were apparently quite convincing. In a video from the meeting, Indonesia’s director of veterinary public health referred to the way dogs in the trade were treated as “torture”.

According to a press release by JAAN, at the end of the meeting’s closing session, all participants agreed to issue a ban on the trade of dog and cat meat in Indonesia, as well as prohibit the issuance of veterinary certificates for meat from either animal.  Additionally, the results of the national coordination meeting would be used as the basis for a recommendation to the Ministry of Agriculture to formulate a regulation regarding the ban on the dog meat trade in Indonesia.

However, such a national regulation has yet to pass. So, for now, animal activists will have to keep pushing at the local and regional level to shut down the dog meat trade piece-by-piece.

DMFI has been lobbying the government heavily since the start of 2018. In January of that year, they sent a letter to President Joko Widodo calling for immediate action and the letter was signed by more than 90 Indonesian and international celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Jane Goodall, Sophia Latjuba, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. The coalition also has a global petition signed by more than 930,000 people all over the world.

As a Muslim-majority nation, the vast majority of Indonesians do not eat dog (it is considered haram or forbidden in Islam) but it is popular in among certain people in some parts of the country including Sulawesi, the capital Jakarta and the popular tourist island of Bali. Coconuts took a look into the dangers facing Bali’s native dogs, including the island’s illicit dog meat trade, as part of our Coconut’s TV on iFlix series.


Delicatessen from Austria!


österreichische Flagge


Is not it just amazing? The photos that follow are not just a selection of some horrible pictures, they are randomly removed from the folder – this is what it really looks like behind the scenes! In the meantime, even the greatest optimists must realize that the pink farm idyl does not exist!

Five visited stables – five criminal charges, five times animal cruelty!

A cut of 100%! Delicatessen from Austria!!

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We almost miss the words about what a recent research in Salzburg’s cow stables brought to light – this is only a term permissible at the end of the day:

In the last 2 or 3 years we had several times one in the Salzburger Land, resident farmers because of the horn connection of his bulls display. The Vet authority told us afterwards, from now on the problem would be eliminated, the cruel tying on the horns would be history!

Of course, we are of good faith, but then of course we always want to make sure ourselves that what they have said to us, the promised, has really been implemented.

It will not surprise you, we will disappoint you on a regular basis; so again – unbelievable, no! much worse than that, actually really unbearable, we found now again everywhere bulls chained by the horns.

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Moreover, it is not the case that the detainees are well housed – all of them are permanently chained, and not ‘just’ by ordinary means – please see the photos, such an attitude is highly inadmissible (of course, any tethering must finally be forbidden, note)!
Here, the chain is pulled around the neck, then wrapped around the bars on the left and right and fastened. What remains as a radius of movement?
When standing up, the limbs slide upwards over the iron bar a few centimeters, often not even determining that; In addition, the system is amateurish, inadequate, ‘put together’ – just, pure shit!

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But what if the authorities simply have no effect on an old, grumpy and stupid farmer? And worse:  how good are the chances of improving grievances when it comes to an influential farmer?
How many of them are in Salzburg !!

Another ‘cow farmer’, in the same environment. Again, neighbors notice that the animals are ‘never at all’ outside; as well as, the stable is in the middle of town, surrounded by buildings.

But may this be a reason for lifelong custody? Would not it rather run so that, if the circumstances do not allow an at least halfway welfare animal husbandry, that then just no animals may be kept in such places ??? But we would not be in Austria …

The lying areas for the cows are too short; The animals are therefore with the hind legs in the feces gutter, an intolerable condition. Their tails are tied up with laces.

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Especially a cow seems injured; low-viscosity feces in large quantities surrounds their mooring, and it stands with a forefoot very unnatural on the concrete parapet. Her hind legs are tied together. Expert diagnosis: paresis. She would have to be under constant veterinary treatment, which the official veterinarian has to verify; a permanent bondage of the hind legs is also prohibited!

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Next stable, just a few meters away!!.

ställe austria 11The terrain smothered in the dirt. We are here in a richer environment, a so-called Nobel suburb of Salzburg; but apparently the states do not really bother anyone. At least not so much that there are – justified – criticism. ‘

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Even for this place applies: although there is a large lawn behind the farm, it is said that the cows would NEVER be outdoors. We have no doubt about it.

The cows are like the stable itself – dirty from top to bottom. Manure flows behind the chained animals. Some are in it too. In addition, the lying areas are once again too short. A calf is in a box, young animals are tied shoulder to shoulder.

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In the next courtyard, in thick letters, ‘Salzburg Milk – Premium Milk Maker’ is emblazoned. Interesting: Salzburg Milch” is currently running a major advertising campaign with enormous effort, ‘animal health’ is a buzzword for this.

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Generous announcement: as the “first” dairy to renounce the year-round tethering!!! (which, according to law anyway no longer is allowed … probably thea did not know that, but does nothing, still sounds beautiful and pet-friendly and modern). At least 120 days per year, all suppliers must grant their milk producer, the cows, access to a pasture. In ‘premium operation’ even more so. Theoretically at least

All the neighbors confirm it: Here, the animals NEVER come outside the whole year, although extensive meadows are fenced just behind the stable.

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A cow obviously suffers from an inflamed udder, she lies alone and abandoned – at least on straw.
The other cows in the stable are tied to thick chains. To ‘premium chains’, certainly …

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The managing director of the “premium” company “Salzburger Milk” Christian Leeb said in an interview in the newspaper: “We want to give milk consumers a good feeling that they are consuming healthy products, from animals, those who are doing well (!!!) All our dairy products receive 100 percent animal health”.

We go to another farm, in the same environment. Everywhere are components, machines, materials, distributed in the landscape. Chaos. The confusion gives rise to an idea of animal husbandry. The interest is aroused;

Every time we think the height of cruelty has been reached, someone puts it somewhere else.

stier mit ring in der Nase

It’s dirty, all cows are hanging on heavy chains. Did I say all? A mighty bull rises, laboriously. In pain. A whole life in shackles, forced to one and a half square meters. Probably 1000 kg of existence, limited to getting up and lying down.
And the gentle giant actually hangs on a NOSE RING !!! Unbelievably !!!

Ultimately, the next question arises here at the latest: does such a government, like the Vet authority really need it? What is their use then? If this instance seems incapable of enforcing even the smallest of the animals’ rights? Is not this something THE bankruptcy declaration of an entire profession par excellence?
We like to be persuaded of the opposite, but words are simply too few, they are not enough. After all, only the deeds count.


My comment: I know Tom Putzgruber, the chairman of the association “Respect animals” in Austria, and I would like to thank him in the name of all the uncountable animals for which he literally uses his whole life and his whole existence with a force that is in any case unattainable and very difficult to imitate for me.

“Gigantic suffering weighs on many of our animal fellow creatures worldwide,” he always says.
Tom Putzgruber, and his small team has resisted all the animal misery for many years.

in faraway Africa, in Romania, in Mauritania for the labor donkeys, in Bulgaria, in Serbia … everywhere and around the world he travels to alleviate animal suffering.

“In some of the indigenous dialects of Mauritania, there is not even a word for donkeys, they are often referred as “the beasts that one beats “, he says!

Thank you, Tom, for everything you do for our fellow creatures.

My best regards, Venus




















Further questions?

Thanks EU – When It Comes To Pesticides, We Will Mark Our Own Homework.


We expressed our concerns about the way things were going with the EU and big pharma lobbyists back in March; here is the ink:

Well as the following article suggests, big pharma has now got its foot in the door and its lobbyists are now working to play down the effect that pesticides can have in relation to human health. It has been shown that such pesticides are killing off the bees kept within the EU, but it does not really appear to matter much in the corridors of Brussels. The lobbyists appear to be getting their way, in direct opposition from the European citizen. The shape of things to come ? – regardless of what damage your products may incur on people, the people who make decisions have been sorted out by the lobbyists to work in their favour – and regulations may be watered down as a result to ensure that big industry continues to make profits for shareholders; products continue to be sold in the shops; and if you fall ill as a result of using them; then tough; we have doctored the legislation so that we will not be taken to court. In other words; just as we want it !





By Hans Muilerman and Jonathan Latham, PhD

Current EU regulations forbid human exposure to pesticides that are classified as mutagenic, carcinogenic, reprotoxic (toxic for reproduction), persistent or capable of disrupting endocrine systems. By virtue of these and other protective measures EU regulations are considered the gold standard in public protection.

However, experts who are closely linked to industry (or are part of anti-regulation pressure groups) have taken control of the EU’s new Science Advice Mechanism (SAM). These experts have contributed to a report commissioned to reevaluate the EU’s authorisation of pesticides. The report, called “EU authorisation processes of Plant Protection Products”, and published in late 2018, recommends dramatically weakening the EU regulatory system. Especially notable is the adoption of many ideas previously proposed by the chemical industry. For example, the EU currently deems the acceptable level of public exposure to mutagenic pesticides (those that damage DNA) to be zero. The new report recommends scrapping this standard of protection.

The history of the new SAM report is that it was requested by EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. Its purpose was to determine how to act in cases of so-called ‘diverging views’; that is, when media and public interest groups get involved. The request follows a series of major controversies over EU regulatory decision-making. One such controversy was over the herbicide Glyphosate. A “European Citizens Initiative” delivered more than a million signatures to the EU Commission asking for a ban on Glyphosate. Several cities banned Glyphosate. Even a dairy company banned the use of Glyphosate by their farmers.

With this pressure from all over Europe, the EU Commission had difficulty reaching a decision since many EU member states (Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Finland and the U.K) opposed a ban. Ultimately, a very unusual 5-years extension for glyphosate was agreed but soon the discussion will start again.

Issues with neonicotinoids have also pushed the EU Commission into a corner. Neonicotinoid insecticides are linked by much research to ‘bee colony collapse’ and, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature “represent a worldwide threat to biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services” (Goulson, 2013; IUCN 2017). This again placed the EU Commission in the crossfire since many EU member states and their ministries of agriculture wished to keep neonicotionids on the market. Waves of scientific publications and media attention about dying bees and empty beehives forced the EU Commission to finally ban them. Nevertheless, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Lithuania still resist the ban by using derogations.

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A third big controversy has been endocrine disruption. Public concern about hormone-mimicking chemicals forced politicians in 2009 to address endocrine disruption concerns in the regulations and ban endocrine disrupting pesticides. An enormous lobbying effort from industry, the US chamber of commerce, EU Directorate General (DG) Enterprise, and EU DG Growth, tried to stop the implementation of the new rules, especially during the TTIP trade negotiations with the US. EU DG Environment was isolated and in the end DG SANTE (health) was found willing to do the dirty work of undermining the rules. Again, waves of bad publicity from the public and scientists harmed the credibility of the EU Commission. This debate too is far from over.

Conflicted science advice

The SAM report is important since it will soon be used by the EU Commission as an input for its ‘REFIT’ programme to evaluate pesticide regulation. This is a programme that the chemical industry sees as a major opportunity for a regulatory roll-back.

Some of the experts invited to help SAM and listed on the SAM website, however, are not independent. Instead, they have strong links to the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). ILSI is a worldwide network, a federation of non-profits funded by many industries, including the pesticide industry, and which provides expertise in regulatory issues.

ILSI global includes over 400 company members and ILSI Europe includes 88.

Among them are every pesticide multinational.

Sourcewatch writes of ILSI that: “The interests of food, pharmaceutical, tobacco, energy, and other industries have become even more entwined. They have learned to cooperate (rather than blaming each other for the cancer epidemic) and they now form coalitions to fight health and environmental regulations.

“It is notable that [ILSI members] generally employ the same lawyers, lobbyists and PR companies, and use essentially the same tactics”.

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ILSI has a negligible public profile, and claims not to be a lobby group, but is very active behind the scenes in obtaining seats for ILSI-associated scientists on regulatory panels such as that of the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and international organisations like WHO, the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, and the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) of the WHO. Experts generally do not disclose their links to ILSI and pretend to be independent academic scientists.

A recent example of ILSI members successfully getting seats on an EFSA-panel concerned the risk assessment idea of a Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC). This idea assumes chemicals are safe at low doses without (expensive) testing. It has been an important goal of the chemical industry to establish TTCs in European and other jurisdictions.

PAN Europe has analysed the process of developing guideline for the TTC at the European Food safety Authority EFSA. We discovered that the chair of the EFSA working group was Sue Barlow, who worked for ILSI and the cigarette industry. She had volunteered to be chair of the EFSA working group. From this position she installed an ILSI network. This EFSA working group then more-or-less copy-pasted the ILSI proposal, making it into an EFSA opinion.

ILSI has been imposing its ideas on many other current EU risk assessment methods too, intending to weaken protections and ease access of pesticides to the market. Thus a PAN Europe survey showed that out of 12 EU pesticide risk assessment methods analysed, 8 were designed and promoted by ILSI. Industry is being allowed, under the radar, to “write its own rules”.



The conflicted scientists

In the case of the SAM, a prime example of these conflicts is UK professor Alan Boobis who is listed on the SAM website as a contributor to the SAM report. Alan Boobis has been active in ILSI  for decades. Until January 2018 he was the chair of its Board of Trustees. Due to his conflicts of interest Boobis was disbarred from a new expert panel convened by EFSA in 2012.

French professor Dominique Parent-Massin is mentioned alongside Boobis as working on the SAM report. Prof. Parent-Massin has previously worked with ILSI member, Ajinomoto – the world’s biggest Aspartame producer.

Also listed on the SAM website is Joergen Schlundt, former Director of the Danish National Food Institute. Schlundt is also a former ILSI board member .

All three are listed on the SAM-website as contributors to the report, or as providers of evidence through another report written by a new network called Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA), or as being part of a ‘sounding board’ and fact-checking process. Despite these counter-indications the SAM website states that “The Commission found that none of the interests declared constituted a conflict of interest.”

Another expert used by the SAM is German professor Daniel Dietrich, editor-in-chief of the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions. With a group of editors of journals of pharmacology and toxicology he has been very vocal in trying to stop the regulation and banning of endocrine disrupting pesticides (in EU Regulation 1107/2009). Dietrich published editorials in several scientific journals that triggered highly critical responses from other scientists, such as members of the ‘Endocrine Society’. Ties between the Dietrich group of authors and industry were exposed by Le Monde journalist Stéphane Horel who found 17 out of the 18 experts of Mr. Dietrich’s group have past or current ties to industry. The Dietrich group has been prolific, publishing articles like ‘Endocrine disruption: Fact or urban legend?’ that disputes the health risks of endocrine disruption (Nohynek et al., 2013). Even after former EU science advisor Anne Glover achieved a consensus between opposing groups that toxicological thresholds below which chemicals are safe (see TTC above) were unproven, Dietrich and his group (along with Alan Boobis) still claimed their opponents used “pseudoscience” (Dietrich et al., 2016). Dietrich also opposed the EU ban of bee-harming neonicotinoids, and both Dietrich and Boobis criticized the IARC-report asserting the genotoxicity of Glyphosate.

Conflicts in EU science advice

The EU has mechanisms to prevent conflicts of interest from derailing its scientific decisions. The SAM website currently presents ‘Declarations of Interest’ (DoI) for its members including for Boobis, Parent-Massin, Dietrich, and Schlundt. But one might wonder if procedures to report conflicts of interest are functioning. DoI’s were not available online when the SAM-report was published (in June 2018). One was even not signed until considerably after publication, in August 2018.

The efforts of ILSI have so far been effective. Several of its campaigning targets are included in an important “SAPEA evidence review report“. SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) is a new body set up by European science academies. This evidence review is intended to feed into the SAM report and featured many of the conflicted scientists above. SAPEA’s report promotes many industry objectives, such as the use of ‘historical control data’. The great importance of this is that, since many potential historical controls exist, their use makes it much easier to ascribe toxic effects observed in animal testing as being simply noise and therefore irrelevant.

Another industry goal is to promote inexpensive (in vitro) ‘mode-of-action assessment’ in preference to expensive adverse outcome testing. A third is to drop the obligation for chronic mouse testing.

The aims of PAN Europe and the Endocrine Society, on the other hand, are: 1) to recognise the reality of ‘low dose effects’ which are currently not tested at all for pesticides; 2) the recognition that chemicals may cause non-linear toxicity responses over a wide range of doses. These are called ‘non-monotonic dose-effect responses’ (whereas regulators presently acknowledge only linear dose-response curves of toxicity and even dismiss effects entirely if they are not linear); 3) mandatory testing for endocrine disruption; 4) to dispute the current regulatory assumption that chemicals have safe thresholds. All are missing from the SAPEA report.

In a further blow to precaution, the SAM report proposes to change EU rules by exchanging the acceptable level of citizen protection from “do not have any harmful effects on humans” for an undefined level, that of “acceptable risk”. This is the change of regulation that would make human harm legal, since it would stop the EU’s much-detested-by-industry ‘hazard approach’ that aims to avoid any exposure of humans to classified (mutagenic, carcinogenic, reprotoxic (toxic for reproduction), persistent and endocrine disrupting) pesticides.

SAM proposes that the EU should re-examine this ‘hazard approach’, which has been under attack by industry for many years; and so it seems that SAM might prove to be the instrument by which industry finally achieves successes for which they have campaigned so long.

The EU has shown itself sensitive to public pressure. What is now needed is for that pressure to be redoubled.


Goulson, D. (2013) An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides. Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 977–987.
Nohynek, G.J., C. J. Borgert, D. Dietrich, and K. K. Rozmand (2013) Endocrine disruption: Fact or urban legend?, Toxicology Letters 223 295– 305.
Dietrich et al., (2016) Allowing pseudoscience into EU risk assessment processes is eroding public trust in science experts and in science as a whole: The bigger picture. Chemico-Biological Interactions 257 (2016) 1-3.
Dietrich et al., (2013) Open letter to the European commission: scientifically unfounded precaution drives European commission’s recommendations on EDC regulation, while defying common sense, well‑established science, and risk assessment principles. Arch Toxicol (2013) 87:1739–1741.

Hans Muilerman works at PAN Europe and is based in Brussels.

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