Day: July 14, 2019

Portugal: Putting pigs in the shade: the radical farming system banking on trees – or, How It Used to be Before Intensive Factory Farming !



Putting pigs in the shade: the radical farming system banking on trees

A farm in Portugal is showing how the ancient art of silvopasture – combining livestock with productive trees – may offer some real answers to the climate crisis

The land to the north of the village of Foros de Vale Figueira in southern Portugal has been owned and farmed through the centuries by Romans, Moors, Christians, capitalists, far rightists, even the military. It has been part of a private fiefdom, worked by slaves as well as communists.

Now this 100-hectare (247-acre) patch of land just looks exhausted – a great empty grassland without trees, people or animals, wilting under a baking Iberian sun.

But look closely and you can just see the future: tips of thousands of tiny oak and nut trees following the contours and poking through thick mulches of grass and leaves.

“This will be the new montado,” says Alfredo Cunhal, referring to a pre-medieval Portuguese system of farming. He is an agricultural scientist whose great-grandfather cleared the cork and olive trees that were once scattered around, and whose family then overworked the land by dosing it with chemicals and growing monocultures of cereals.

The montado system combines herds of animals with productive trees and shrubs. Cunhal’s vision is to create an oasis-style abundance on land where there is often no rain for nine months of the year and where temperatures can reach 49C (120F

“Imagine tall trees, like 40-metre tall walnuts, putting down leaves, letting light through, drawing up water. Below them, cork oaks giving shade, and a line of citrus and olive trees; and then imagine vines climbing the trees. The fruit and nuts will provide the food for the pigs, chickens, cows and other animals who graze there,” he says.

“Animals are the key,” he says. “They are important for the whole ecosystem, as well as part of the food chain. They must be balanced with the tree system. Pigs provide digestion, and are good for the soil, they disturb the ground and fertilise the land. The natural fertility cycles work better with them. The pig is not a meat machine but a friend of nature.”

The “new montado” at Herdade do Freixo do Meio farm will take years to mature but will repay itself many times over with the variety of food produced and healthier soils, he says. “It offers resilience against fires and global heating and it soaks up the carbon,” he says.

‘The pig is not a meat machine but a friend of nature,’ says Cunhal

Animals are free to roam under the shade of trees and shrubs at a co-operative farm in Portugal.

“We are aiming to go from zero to abundance in a few years. We can put chickens on the land soon, pigs and sheep will follow, cows come later. We invest now, and the next generation sees the real benefits,” he says.

Cunhal, who comes from a large landowning family related to Portugal’s legendary communist leader Álvaro Cunhal, says he has had to reject much of what he was taught about farming at college.

“I spent five years studying agriculture and I never heard the word ecology. We were taking more and more from the land but we were farming monocultures. We were eating the system. I was managing 7,000 hectares for my family but I never noticed the trees. I really didn’t know anything. I produced a lot but I needed so many inputs. I needed carbon, energy, chemicals. I could do nothing efficiently. The land was eroded, the soil damaged.”

Demoralised, he gave up managing the family estate in 1990, took a share of the land, and started to run 600 hectares on organic, co-operative lines with a collective of 35 people, many of whom had worked on the estate for years. Together, these “partners” are converting the whole farm into a full montado system.

The results are beginning to show. Wild boar, lynx and deer roam freely, while old varieties of pig, cattle, chickens and turkeys are rotated among the established oak and olive trees and in newly planted orchards. The farm grows almost every type of Mediterranean food among the trees, as well as 40 varieties of fruit and nut.

“We can grow water,” says Cunhal. “By planting trees whose roots go deep we are drawing moisture up and building soils, creating the possibility to grow even more.”

The complexity of the system baffles conventional farmers who mostly specialise in a handful of crops or products. But Cunhal dismisses monocultures as “the end of life” and insists there is resilience and safety in diversity.

Cows at Herdade do Freixo do Meio

The variety of food produced is astonishing. The farm grows dozens of fruit and vegetable crops and makes and sells 600 different products, ranging from eight kinds of oak flours and breads, to meats, wine and olive oils.

“It’s far more than any normal farm would ever consider. This used to be a cork oak farm. Now cork is just 5% of the turnover. Four years ago we were 100% dependent on the open market and wholesalers. Now nearly 50% of what we grow is sold directly to consumers. We have a butchery, bakery, olive oil press, smoker,” he says.

A montado system also demands a new social approach. “It’s not right that a system of farming as complex as this should be run by one person. Far better that a whole community should propose how it works. Eventually we want consumers to be part of the farm, too,” says Cunhal, who says he intends to eventually hand the land over to the co-operative.

“It works because the risks and the benefits are shared. Together we are resilient to shocks. We employ more people. We produce variety. It’s a different approach.”

Partners working at Herdade do Freixo do Meio

“It is very exciting. This is the meeting place of trees, crops and animals,” says Ricardo Silva, a trained biologist who switched to forestry before coming to Herdade do Freixo do Meio. “The results are measured not just in profits, but in the social and ecological benefits created. We cannot say exactly, but our hypothesis is that we can double, even treble production without taking away from the land.”

Twenty years ago, an approach like this might have been dismissed as marginal, perhaps as an ecological experiment to be conducted by wealthy landowners. But that idea is changing fast as the needs of the environment are recognised, says Patrick Caron, chair of the UN’s high-level panel of experts on food security and nutrition and a former head of Cirad, the French food research agency.

“We need a transformation of our food systems. It does not involve a return to the way our grandparents farmed – that would be a catastrophe. But we must take stock of the principles of what they were doing, and their knowledge.

“Change is happening. The big companies know it, too. The meat industry used to laugh, but now they are preparing for change. It is possible to move from mass production to quality.”.

“Farmers became fascinated by the baubles of technology in the 1930s. They tried to simplify everything,” says Patrick Worms, senior science policy advisor at the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre.

“What Cunhal is doing is the opposite – using more animals, growing more crops, making everything more complex. He is supported by the science, which shows that you get much greater production when you mix things up, and when animals and plants interact.”

Studies from Africa, Brazil, Europe, Sri Lanka and elsewhere all show conclusively that interspersing trees, animals and crops can boost food production, but also build soil, increase biodiversity and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, he says.

“Agro-forestry isn’t a ‘no man’s land’ between forestry and agriculture,” says Maria Helena Semedo, deputy director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. “We know it can help diversify and sustain food production and provide vital social, economic and environmental benefits for land.”

But even as scientists and policy-makers wake up to the potential of silvopastoralism as both a better way to grow food and as a way to respond to the climate crisis, the speed and the scale of change challenges the farm.

“We are more resistant to climate than our neighbours who farm conventionally, but a 3C rise in temperature here, which is where we are heading, means everything is lost. Higher and more extreme temperatures are a death threat to the animals. The land will go to desert. I am really worried. I have no doubt the climate crisis is happening. I feel it every day … Now we get more irregular summers and temperature increases every year,” says Cunhal.

He is one of eight Europeans trying to sue the EU over its climate change policies, which they argue are inadequate. “We had 49C last year. We are used to 43C. In 2017-18 we had an eight-month drought. Then in mid-December we had 100mm of rain in two hours. I have lived here for 30 years. It’s more unpredictable now; we risk stopping almost all the biological process.”

Barring disaster, Cunhal says he will continue to plant trees and rear animals. “We don’t want a square metre without shade. We must treat the farm as a common good. The satisfaction is in creating something beautiful.

I want to leave a landscape where everyone – humans and animals – feel good.”


…… and what system would you prefer ? ……

σψηςειν ιν Καστεν 3jpg

Bullfighting: the medieval shame of Spain


How primitive and anti-social can people be in the middle of Europe?




Bullfighting is a lucrative business. The arguments “tradition” and “culture” are only an invention of the bull mafia to get appropriate EU subsidies for this murderous spectacle.

The animal cruelty committed before the fight is kept secret from the public. Animals are tormented with devilish ingenuity.

Animal welfare organizations continue to fight with education campaigns against the martyrdom of the bulls. Unfortunately, Spain is overwhelmed with its social system and invests in this “tradition” of the primitive, millions instead of investing in the education system.

Furthermore, in the high season and with thunderous applause from the spectators, around 30,000 animals die each year in the arenas.

Stier in Arenan

Almost none of the few brain-sick Europeans who regard this form of sadism as a “culture” and pay to see how a defenseless animal is massacred knows what really happens before the fight.

We will tell them that!

It starts with the days of transporting the bulls to the arena. In narrow containers they are brought on trucks in burning sunshine. Some lose up to 30 kilos and are so weakened that they collapse as soon as they are driven out of the stalls with iron forks.

Then the horns are counted. The animals are clamped in a headgear to saw off the horns, and then they are filed in a natural looking pointed shape.

Stier aud Gillotine fixiert_o

This is for two reasons: first, to weaken the animal by the long-lasting, unbearable pain – inside the horns are as sensitive nerves, as in a tooth – and second, the bull loses the sense of the distance by the reduction and therefore always pushes into the void.

At the same time, the horns are also drilled in several places to the nerve and planted in the holes wood splinters, so that any defensive maneuvers for the bull to hell’s torment.

So that he can not shout of pain, the vocal cord is severed in some battle sites.

Drugs and tranquilizers are given to animals before drinking in water to alter and destabilize their natural behavior. Mostly, the back of a fighting bull is also dirty or bloody due to severe diarrhea. With Spanish pepper suppositories the intestines of the animals are made to bleed.

Stier allein sterbend

The night before the gruesome spectacle, the bulls are either placed on their backs in cramped boxes, or they push long nails through the genitals to prevent them from lying down and further weaken them through this incredible torture during the long night.

During the morning heavy bullets sacks the bull’s neck to unbalance them and make any head movement – which might surprise the bullfighter – extremely painful.

Despite the scorching heat, the animals will no longer be given water. Her eyes are smeared thick with Vaseline, so they can hardly recognize the torero, and the nostrils are stuffed with cotton wool so that it hangs down to the throat to make breathing difficult.

Then the legs are rubbed with turpentine. The pain, burning sensation, and itching make the bulls restless, and so the spectators believe they are aggressive and dangerous when they gallop around madly because of the burning pain as they bump out of the darkness of the cages into the blazing sun of the arena.

The bull’s gallop into the arena is not the expression of “rage” or “wildness”, it is a panic reaction of the animal desperately seeking the path to freedom!

How it goes on..

Stier mit Matador jpg

Unfortunately, Spain is a country that has and spends very little money on education. This is also noticeable at every point and also when dealing with animals. The bullfighting is televised and promoted in schools as a cultural heritage to the children.

Education and the future of Spanish children is not worth a penny in and for Spain.

Kinder beobachten aufgehängten Stier_n

 Spain is at the top of animal cruelty as an EU country.
With bullfighting, Spain holds a “tradition” that has been proven to originate from Gitanos and was invented during the darkest period of our earth, the same in the time of the Inquisition.

Stier blutend und gefesseltn

As the Pisa study shows, Spain is at the very back end of education in Europe, as evidenced by the fact that traditions from the Middle Ages are perceived with enthusiasm that only scare and disgust every educated person.

Bull fight and bull festivals violate every ethic of modern civilized countries and societies. The ridiculous pseudo-arguments of the Taurinos about the “culture” and “tradition” of the bloody spectacle are so stupid, in fact false and hypocritical that they can not convince a single person with intellect and education.

toter Stier 2gThe Spanish Animal Protection Party PACMA is making every effort to abolish this shameful barbarity. So far without much success.

It is still these mentally weak proletarians, these dwarves of morality, the Taurinos, those who pull the land into the dirt all over Europe and lead us to a paraphrase of the well-known saying  of “Isaac Bashevis Singer:

“When it comes to bullfighting, everyone becomes a Franco.”

My best regards to all, Venus


England: London – Interview With Founder of Save the Asian Elephants – Duncan McNair.



Watch the Interview with Save the Asian Elephants Founder Duncan McNair

Asian elephants are kidnapped as babies in the wild and tortured in unimaginable ways just to entertain tourists for human profit. That’s why prominent attorney and hero for the elephants Duncan McNair founded Save the Asian Elephants, an organization working to stop the cruelty.

Watch him discuss the plight of Asian elephants in the latest episode of LFT’s Activists in Action video series.



USA: Man Shoots Police Officer and Horse With Semi Automatic. Sign for Justice.



Justice for Horse Shot with Semiautomatic Rifle

Posted by Carly Day

SIGN: Justice for Horse Shot with Semiautomatic Rifle

PETITION TARGET: Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County DA

A horse in Fresno County, California was shot multiple times by a man using a semiautomatic rifle in a heated dispute over property lines.

Photos of the injured horse show blood pouring from at least three wounds on the side of the body, with more blood visible pouring down one hind leg.

It’s likely the injured horse suffered in agony for hours before authorities discovered the animal; the incident was reported at 11 am on the 2nd of July, and the situation wasn’t resolved until after 3 pm that afternoon.

Detectives took the horse to a local veterinarian for treatment. While the animal is still alive, prognosis for recovery remains unclear.

Police arrested 57-year-old Michael James Congdon at the property after he shot and injured Fresno Sheriff’s Deputy John Erickson, the officer called to the scene after the initial gunfire was reported.

The Fresno County District Attorney charged Congdon with attempted murder and other offenses — including animal cruelty — and set bail at just over 1.9 million dollars.

Congdon is clearly unstable and highly dangerous to people and animals. While he will likely be strongly prosecuted for injuring an officer — and rightly so — we must speak out to remind prosecutors that the suffering of this innocent horse is a serious matter, as well.

Sign this petition urging Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp to prosecute this man to the fullest extent of the law, ensuring he can never harm a living being again.


petition keyboard

Sign the petition and leave comments at:

States across the U.S. are taking bold steps toward protecting animals.


States across U.S. are taking bold steps toward protecting animals

In state firsts, fur may be banned in California, and New York has moved to ban cat declawing.

In a wave of groundbreaking animal welfare legislation, U.S. states have approved or are considering moves to ban the sale of fur, discourage cosmetics testing on animals, and end cat declawing, among other animal-friendly efforts.

In California yesterday, state senators considered a bill that would make it the first state in the country to ban the import and sale of fur products such as mink shawls, coyote fur-trimmed parkas, and pom-pom keychains made of rabbit fur.

“We’ve seen California voters more than once saying that any product involving animals should be humanely sourced,” says assembly member Laura Friedman, who introduced the statewide bill in her chamber, where it passed in May. Yesterday, it unanimously passed its sixth hearing, during which dozens of California residents spoke up in support of the bill. It faces two more votes in the California senate, as well as the governor’s approval, in order to pass.

It’s just the latest animal protection that’s been put in motion at the state and local level over the past year in the United States. This series of state-level firsts reflects Americans’ growing concern for the wellbeing of animals, says Kim Kelly, director of legislative affairs at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which spearheads legal fights for animal protection.

“There has been a trend where municipalities are taking on issues,” Kelly says. “Everyday advocates are making change happen within communities.” In turn, she says, it’s “creating more momentum for statewide legislation.”

Banning the sale of fur

Ending the use of fur, especially in high fashion, is one of the animal welfare movement’s longest running efforts. And yet, fur seems to be making a comeback, at least among some customers.

But Americans’ attitudes are shifting. Gallup polling on the issue found that in May 2018, 37 percent of Americans said that they consider buying and wearing fur to be morally wrong. In May 2019, that number had risen to 45 percent, a new historical high. (Learn more about animal welfare concerns in the fur industry.)

Los Angeles and San Francisco both banned the sale of fur in the last year. “Our two largest population centers had made this move,” says Friedman, who says she watched the tremendous amount of support around the L.A. bill and felt that the temperature was right to take the ban statewide. “You really need to look at the values of your community and state.”

Opponents of the ban include fur industry groups in California and the International Fur Association, an industry trade group, which argue that a ban would harm commerce and censors the ability of consumers to make their own choices. Plus, they argue, real fur is more environmentally friendly than faux fur, which cannot break down.

California boasts the world’s fifth-largest economy, larger than that of the U.K. Supporters hope that a fur ban in the state would strike a blow to the demand for fur, set a precedent for future states to follow suit, and, ultimately, lead to fewer animals being raised, trapped, and killed for their fur. The bulk of fur products sold in California, Friedman says, come from overseas.

A series of firsts

On its face, the wave of new animal protections might seem like a California thing. Last November, the state enacted perhaps the most comprehensive farmed animal protection legislation in the country. In January, California became the first state to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, unless they come from a shelter.

And last September, California became the first state to ban the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Similar to the potential fur ban, the law stipulates that any cosmetic product that’s been tested on animals after January 1, 2020, can’t be sold in the state (although products tested on animals that are sold in countries like China, which legally require animal testing, can still be sold). The law coincides with a growing global cruelty-free cosmetics movement: Market research estimates that the global vegan cosmetics industry, which includes cult-favorite makeup brands like Kat Von D and Milk Makeup, will be worth more than $20 billion by 2025. Even in China, where animal testing is required for any foreign-made cosmetics, there is momentum to explore animal-free testing methods.

After California passed the law, Nevada followed suit. Then Illinois, where the bill awaits Governor J.B. Pritzner’s signature.

These state-level measures could usher in more sweeping action to come, says Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which works to pass animal protection laws. The cosmetics testing laws in California and Nevada are “giving us the momentum at the federal level to revisit the issue,” she says. (A federal bill that would ban cosmetic testing on animals in the U.S. was last introduced to congress in 2017. Although it gained 186 bipartisan cosponsors, it did not advance to a hearing.)

It’s a trend seen around the world: Australia earlier this year passed a ban on animal-tested cosmetics, following similar laws in the European Union, India, Switzerland, Turkey, Guatemala, and more.



It’s not just California spearheading action. A bill that would make New York the first state to ban cat declawing is awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature after passing the legislature last month. It follows declawing bans in the cities of Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and a handful of other cities and countries.

Cat declawing is a highly controversial practice. It’s not like a fingernail trim: in order to remove a cat’s claws, the last bone of each toe is amputated, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The veterinary community is divided on declawing. Some vehemently oppose declawing, arguing that it is rarely medically necessary and is a highly painful procedure that inhibits a cat’s natural scratching behavior and cause other long-term problems. Others, including the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, which opposed the bill, argue that it is sometimes necessary to preserve the human-animal bond, if a cat might otherwise be abandoned or euthanized, or if the owner has a skin condition that makes scratching dangerous.

The New York state bill, if signed into law, could ostensibly set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

Gaining momentum

“I think you’re going to witness remarkable progress this decade, driven in part by activation at the state level,” says U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who champions animal welfare as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus.

Circuses are one area where local and state efforts may lead to nationwide action. Dozens of cities and towns in 39 states have already imposed restrictions on traveling acts that feature exotic animals, and according to a 2015 Gallup poll, 69 percent of Americans are concerned about how animals are treated in circuses.

In December, New Jersey became the first state to ban traveling acts featuring exotic animals like elephants, with “Nosey’s Law,” named for a 36-year-old African elephant who spent 30 years in traveling shows before she was seized by authorities in Alabama in 2017 and sent to a sanctuary. A federal bill, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Act, has been introduced in several past congresses, but it has not yet gained traction. (Read more about efforts to end wild animal performances at circuses.)

“This is one of the most animal-friendly congresses in history, if not the most,” says Blumenauer. And what the states are doing is “extraordinarily helpful,” he says. “It sends a clear and unequivocal signal as to where the public is.”


Holland: Bus stop as bee houses!


bienen dacht Utrechtpg

In the Dutch city of Utrecht, 316 bus stops have now become an oasis for bees and other pollinators. These bus stops not only look good and help prevent bee mortality, but also provide better air quality in Utrecht.

The fact that something has to be done to tackle pollution in the cities has already arrived in many countries.
Not yet in Germany !!

netherlands-flag -2

The bus stops are now covered in sedum plants – succulents that can purify the air – and these attract bees whose populations have declined, as well as butterflies. The roofs also absorb fine dust and store rainwater.

Utrecht-Bienen pg

Bee mortality is increasing alarmingly worldwide – and also in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, a Bee Foundation has been set up, which has been working for bees since 2010, protecting them from extinction.

massensterben von Bienenjpg

The best known pollinators are the honey bee and the bumblebee, which together make up between 80 and 90% of the total pollination in agriculture.

Many are of the opinion that the bumblebees are not affected by species extinction. After all, they see bumblebees flying through their garden. However, of the 29 different species of Dutch bumblebee, 21 have already shrunk. Many of them are rare today and six species have already completely disappeared from the Netherlands.


If bee mortality does not end soon, it could have serious consequences for food supplies worldwide, because not only in Europe, but also in other parts of the world there is a mass extinction of bees.

Bees not only produce honey, they pollinate more than 90 vegetables and fruits. Apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, pumpkins and cucumbers are likely to be rare without bees. Sweet things like citrus fruits, peaches, kiwis, cherries, blueberries and strawberries and a variety of melon varieties depend on the fertilization of the flying workers.


The bus stops are now covered with sedum plants that can also purify the air. They attract bees and butterflies. The roofs of the bus stops are cared for by urban workers driving around in electric vehicles.

As part of its plan to become more environmentally friendly, Utrecht is also planning to introduce 55 new electric buses powered by wind energy.


Sedum plants are robust and winter resistant. This plant is a subspecies of succulents. Like the succulents, sedum plants can live everywhere due to the very robust construction of the leaves and thus also on roofs.

Honeybees are the world’s most important pollinator, but they and many other bee species are declining worldwide due to human activity. Utrecht hopes to be able to further increase the bee population with its new bus roofs.

The citizens of Utrecht are also invited to turn their own roofs into “green roofs” and they can apply for special subsidies. The city suggests residents replace their worn-out roofs with green roofs instead of having them traditionally renovated.


My comment: A great idea that every city and every country should implement!

Everyone talks about the climate, nobody does anything.
The last media manipulation with the “climate Greta” is known, and except for the tremendous media attention this campaign received, something else did not work.
The Dutch have started to protect the climate in practical areas, and that is effective and useful.
People do not learn from lectures, people learn from examples that come from governments in the form of organized solutions.

We can hope to report from here soon about the green roofs of private houses in Holland.

My best regards to all, Venus

Thank`s Lacoste!




We are excited to partner with Lacoste and announce its commitment to a fur-free policy. The brand’s Global CSR manager said: “Lacoste has decided to ban fur long ago. However, we felt it was important to add our name to the list of fur-free companies to show our support for the cause around the globe.”

And we mean: For all who say that there is no hope for the abolition of the Fur Farms – we disagree!!!

We will continue to fight for it, and we will fight harder than ever. After all, the animals only have us. Together, we will push the fur industry and its deadly machinery even further offside!

Best regards to all, Venus