Day: July 20, 2020

USA: ‘Unseen’ – A Look Into the Final Hours of Life for Many Pigs.





With thanks to Stacey at ‘Our Compass’ for sending this over.

-Regards Mark.


WARNING: Contains some graphic footage that some vegans may find upsetting. If you are not vegan and find the images upsetting, however, consider what the actual victims experience and stop contributing to it.

A warning will come up before the footage begins.

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DxE trailed a slaughter truck over 700 miles from a Smithfield factory farm in the Utah desert to a newly constructed California slaughterhouse, documenting the violence at every step. The investigation culminated in the groundbreaking, new mini-documentary, Unseen.

Dead, pathogen-laden pigs were left outside the slaughterhouse where wild animals were seen feeding upon them. This presents a proven risk of zoonotic disease transmission, with pigs, birds and even feral cats potentially infecting humans.

Workers cut away infected flesh from slaughtered pigs so they could be sold as healthy, with the removed, infected flesh left outside in open bins.

The diseases brewing inside Smithfield’s farms are being spread around the country, and everyone — animals, workers, and all life on this planet — is in danger.

The COVID-19 crisis has thrust animal agriculture into the public spotlight. People everywhere are waking up to this senseless collision course. Now is the time to call on California to lead the way and take a stance against animal ag. We’re demanding an immediate moratorium prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses statewide, and phasing them out completely by 2025.

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Climate change: Polar bears could be lost by 2100.


polar bears today carbon tomorrow


polar bears alaska wild


Climate change: Polar bears could be lost by 2100


By Helen Briggs and Victoria GillScience and environment correspondent, BBC News


Polar bears will be wiped out by the end of the century unless more is done to tackle climate change, a study predicts.

Scientists say some populations have already reached their survival limits as the Arctic sea ice shrinks.

The carnivores rely on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean to hunt for seals.

As the ice breaks up, the animals are forced to roam for long distances or on to shore, where they struggle to find food and feed their cubs.

The bear has become the “poster child of climate change”, said Dr Peter Molnar of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

“Polar bears are already sitting at the top of the world; if the ice goes, they have no place to go,” he said.

Polar bears are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with climate change a key factor in their decline.


polar bear thin


Studies show that declining sea ice is likely to decrease polar bear numbers, perhaps substantially. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, puts a timeline on when that might happen.


By modelling the energy use of polar bears, the researchers were able to calculate their endurance limits.

Dr Steven Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, who was also involved in the study, told BBC News: “What we’ve shown is that, first, we’ll lose the survival of cubs, so cubs will be born but the females won’t have enough body fat to produce milk to bring them along through the ice-free season.

“Any of us know that we can only go without food for so long,” he added, “that’s a biological reality for all species”.


polar bears melting ise


The researchers were also able to predict when these thresholds will be reached in different parts of the Arctic. This may have already happened in some areas where polar bears live, they said.

“Showing how imminent the threat is for different polar bear populations is another reminder that we must act now to head off the worst of future problems faced by us all,” said Dr Amstrup.

“The trajectory we’re on now is not a good one, but if society gets its act together, we have time to save polar bears. And if we do, we will benefit the rest of life on Earth, including ourselves.”

Under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, it’s likely that all but a few polar bear populations will collapse by 2100, the study found. And even if moderate emissions reduction targets are achieved, several populations will disappear.

The findings match previous projections that polar bears are likely to persist to 2100 only in a few populations very far north if climate change continues unabated.

Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface, forming and melting with the polar seasons. Some persists year after year in the Arctic, providing vital habitat for wildlife such as polar bears, seals, and walruses.

Sea ice that stays in the Arctic for longer than a year has been declining at a rate of about 13% per decade since satellite records began in the late 1970s.


polar bear mushroom ice


polar bear environment

A million mink culled in Netherlands and Spain amid Covid-19 fur farming havoc.

spanien-flagge-spaniens-r531xg   niederländischen-flagge

White mink


A million mink culled in Netherlands and Spain amid Covid-19 fur farming havoc


Agriculture minister says origins of outbreak unclear after seven farm workers – and 87% of the mink – test positive


Spain has ordered the culling of nearly 100,000 mink on a farm and an estimated one million mink have already been culled on Dutch fur farms, as coronavirus wreaks havoc in the European fur farming industry.

Joaquin Olona, agriculture minister for the north-eastern Aragon region, said the cull would involve the slaughter of 92,700 mink which are prized for their pelts.

Officials suspect the virus first reached the farm through a worker who passed it on to the animals. But Olona said it was not completely clear if “transmission was possible from animals to humans and vice versa”.

Covid-19 infections are now reported to have spread to 24 Dutch fur farms, a fur industry source confirmed. A further outbreak reported on Friday, bringing the number to 25, appears related to a planned movement of mink pups to another location. Scientists believe the initial Covid-19 infections passed from two farm workers to the mink in April. Culling began shortly afterwards.

The Netherlands is the world’s fourth biggest fur farmer after China, Denmark and Poland. Spain is the seventh largest European producer.

In Denmark, Covid-19 has been confirmed on three mink farms.


The Spanish mink farm – in Puebla de Valverde, about 100km (60 miles) north-west of the coastal resort of Valencia – has been carefully monitored since 22 May after seven workers tested positive for Covid-19, Olona said.

Since then no animals have left the property, which is the only mink farm in Aragon.

Officials had carried out a string of tests which on 13 July showed that 87% of the mink were infected, prompting the decision to carry out a cull “to avoid the risk of human transmission”, Olona said.

‘There’s a direct relationship’: Brazil meat plants linked to spread of Covid-19

Read more


Dutch mink farming is due to be phased out by 2024 but there are calls for closures to speed up. The Dutch parliament adopted a motion last month from the Dutch Party for the Animals calling for faster shutdowns.


On Thursday, Humane Society International (HSI), the animal welfare NGO that collected the Dutch cull data, said Covid-19 infection risks, and the conditions in which mink are bred, meant more immediate action to end fur farming was needed.


Fur farms can potentially act as “reservoirs for coronaviruses, incubating pathogens transmissible to humans” and are “inherently cruel”, HSI Europe’s public affairs director, Joanna Swabe, said.

Mink are culled in the same way they are killed for fur, using carbon monoxide and dioxide gas. Culled fur does not enter the retail chain.  Swabe said gassing is a particularly cruel way to kill mink because they are semi-aquatic animals able to hold their breath for long periods. Recent Dutch video footage appears to show a mink that survived gassing being fished out of a container to be gassed again, she said.


Prior to the pandemic, HSI said its data showed fur farming was in decline globally, mainly due to falling demand and bans on the practice.

Data from leading Finnish fur auctioneer, Saga Furs, shows that at this year’s latest auction, which started on 29 June and ended last week, 4.9 million mink pelts were offered along with 900,000 long hair pelts from foxes and finnraccoons, but only about a fifth sold. Magnus Ljung, Saga Furs CEO, estimates the auction raised about £33m, and would have been worth £200m if all the skins had sold.


Ljung told the Guardian on Friday, however, that sales were picking up again as international borders reopen, particularly to China, and orders for next week now stand at about £5m.

press release this month from Saga Furs said “changes in consumer demand caused by the global coronavirus pandemic had [had] a significant impact on the company’s business during the current period”. Ljung stated that auctioneers “firmly believe” in future demand for responsibly produced fur and that “organisational changes” being made now “will help us to operate more efficiently … [and] take us beyond this crisis phase.”


A number of countries have already banned fur farming including the UK (in 2000), Austria and Croatia. Slovakia, Norway and Belgium are phasing it out, like the Netherlands, and bans are under consideration in Ireland, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine and Estonia.

Major fashion brands, meanwhile, are going fur free. The most recent announcement came from the Prada Group in 2019. Jean Paul Gaultier went fur free in 2018, but said more recently that he might return if traceability improved. Other fur-free fashion houses include Michael Kors, Gucci, Armani and Hugo Boss.


Mette Lykke Nielsen, CEO of Fur Europe, hopes the issues can be resolved. “We know that it was people infected with Covid-19 that brought the virus into the farms in the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain [so] we believe that good biosecurity is the answer to prevent virus from entering farms again.”


Nielsen hopes that because fur is long-lasting and fully biodegradable, unlike many fast fashion items that risk ending up in landfill, the pandemic might boost fur demand. She pointed out that 100,000 people across Europe work in the fur sector, which supports farmers, dressing and dyeing companies, furriers and retail outlets.

Laura Moreno Ruiz, a WWF biodiversity officer, said Spain now has only 38 fur farms in the country, mostly in the northern region of Galicia, down from more than 300 in the 1980s. “The species is listed as an invasive alien species since 2011,” she said.

  • Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.



England: China risking new pandemic even more deadly than COVID as hotbed for new viruses exposed.




Chinese pig farms are propagating viruses

Chinese pig farms are propagating viruses (Image: GETTY)


‘Chinese factory farming is creating the perfect environment for “the mutation and amplification of new viruses” and unless conditions improve “this pandemic will not be the last one”, a leading scientist has warned’


China risking new pandemic even more deadly than COVID as hotbed for new viruses exposed


CHINESE factory farming is creating the perfect environment for “the mutation and amplification of new viruses” and unless conditions improve “this pandemic will not be the last one”, a leading scientist has warned.

Global Head of Research and Animal Welfare for Animals in Farming Kate Blaszak described the growth of intensive farming units not just in China but across the world and pointed to them as having the potential to both increase antibiotic resistance and create a deadlier pathogen than COVID-19. Speaking to Ms Blaszak said: “China is incubating two new strains of bird flu. It is also dealing with an outbreak of swine flu, which is a mixture of human, pig, and avian influenza viruses.

“These different viruses mixed together to form a very potent pathogen.

“The current swine flu virus that has broken out in China has the potential to bind very successfully in the human throat and respiratory system.”

The veterinary scientist said in the last ten to 15 years China has seen a vast and rapid shift away from traditional farming practices and is now emulating the US model of high-intensity farming were animals are kept in dark, confined environments.

Ms Blaszak described the new factory farming system in China as lacking regulations and operating with very poor animal welfare principles.


A duck farm in China

A duck farm in China (Image: GETTY)


The hundreds of millions of animals contained within the new factory systems are under so much stress that is lowering their immune systems making them need constant feeds of antibiotics to stay healthy and alive.

Ms Blaszak said: “These kinds of low welfare environments lower animals immunities and allows viruses to propagate.

“They create the perfect scenario for the mixing of viruses and the mutation and amplification of viruses.”

She added waste from farms, the movement of large amounts of animals and the processing of animals are also a risk to humans.

The scientist warned of the high risk of animal to human infections from having live animals at wet markets.


A chicken farm in China

A chicken farm in China (Image: GETTY)



The cause for concern in China is the fact that it is moving towards a US model of intensified meat production, where the majority of animals are factory farmed.

China is the biggest pig producer in the world and the second-biggest chicken producer in the world.

Ms Blaszak describes how the high numbers of high density, genetically uniform animals are the perfect conditions for another virus to propagate that could potentially jump to humans.

The animals that are genetically uniform and crammed side by side need yearly inoculations to protect them against the ravages of quickly mutating viruses.

It takes a long time and considerable expense to develop vaccines for the new viruses being formed, and when a vaccine comes out it is not long before it must be changed because of the rapid mutation of these influenza viruses.

Furthermore, because 75 percent of antibiotics are used in the rearing of farm animals there is the added risk of creating extremely resistant bacteria.

Much of these antibiotics are used to promote growth rather than cure illness.

Ms Blaszak said: “Without huge amounts of anti-biotics a lot of animals would be unwell and die and these intensified farming systems would not work.


A pig factory in China

A pig ‘factory’ in China



“So, antibiotics just prop up the system for the next pandemic.”

However, Ms Blaszak said: “To be fair China is banning the use of antibiotics in animal food and water at the end of 2020.”

Since 2018 African swine flu, which originated in factory farms in Mexico, has wiped out the vast majority of smallholder pig farmers in China.

This then accelerated the intensity of farming practices in china.

Ms Blaszak stated the need to improve the welfare standard of animals and move away from a factory farming system, “so we can take the pressure off meat production by reducing the consumption of meat”.

She added: “We need to do this otherwise this pandemic will not be the last one.”

Since 2016 China has made some significant polices in moving away from overt meat consumption and improving food sustainability in the country.

Ms Blaszak added that the whole world should rethink their consumption of meat.

She said: “The world should move away from intensive farming systems and improve the welfare standards of animals.

“There should be a reduction in the consumption of meat.”

Kate Blaszak works for World Animal Protection and is World Animal Protection’s Global Head of Research and Animal Welfare for Farmed Animals.


“The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk?  But can they suffer?” – the clear answer is YES.




The Cruelty and Waste of Animal Experimentation

The Issue

The word “vivisection,” or animal experimentation, does not begin to describe how hundreds of millions of animals are used in science every year, let alone capture the physical pain, deprivation and emotional distress experienced by animals who are cut up, poisoned, burned, irradiated, gassed, shocked, dismembered or genetically designed to suffer. Nor does it reflect the tragedy of each individual life—however short and brutal—caged in an artificial environment which deprives them of experiencing life as nature intended.

Millions of animals—primates, dogs and cats, rats and mice, rabbits, pigs, horses, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and yes, guinea pigs—are sacrificed as a result of animal experimentation. They are used in basic and applied research, for the safety testing of products, to be bred or harvested from the wild to be killed and cut up for dissection, and as living factories of byproducts to be used as ingredients in drugs or laboratory experiments.

NAVS opposes the use of animals in scientific research and product testing for both ethical and scientific reasons. Animal experimentation is cruel. It is an outdated and inadequate methodology that can produce invalid, often misleading results. It wastes money and resources and sidetracks meaningful scientific progress.


The practice of animal experimentation has been debated for centuries—seemingly pitting the pursuit of knowledge and human health against compassion for animals. Society has allowed animal experimentation because people have been convinced that it was a “necessary evil,” and that it was the only way to find cures for human diseases and to make drugs, cosmetics and other products safe. Secrecy and security have ensured that people are unaware of what happens behind the laboratory doors or wrongly trust that the laws intended to prohibit cruelty to animals include protection for animals used in research.

Defenders of animal experimentation argue that nonhuman animals are enough like humans to make them scientifically adequate models of human diseases or to test treatments or the safety of products.  They also contend that other species are different enough from people to make it ethically acceptable to use them in experiments.

NAVS argues that it is the way that humans and nonhuman animals are similar that provides the basis for the ethical objection to animal experimentation. Perhaps the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, said it best when he asked, “The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk?  But can they suffer?”

There is little doubt that some breakthroughs in the past were made as a result of animal experimentation; but the questions being asked of science today are more complex and society has grown in its respect and appreciation for other sentient creatures, due in large part to studies of their behaviour and intelligence. Sophisticated technologies available today and under development promise new and better avenues for investigation. Many of these approaches offer human relevance and insight in ways that animal models have not, and cannot, provide.

How NAVS Helps

If people could witness what is done to animals in the name of science, they would share our outrage and impatience with the all too slow rate of progress in ending these practices. Since 1929, NAVS’ response to the cruel, archaic, wasteful and unnecessary practice of animal experimentation is to work towards the advancement of science without harming animals. We look to science to inspire, to inform, to heal and to help solve the world’s problems. Science is about discovery and exploration. Science replaces ignorance and superstition with knowledge. But scientific investigation that exploits innocent animals as objects to use and abuse, causing unspeakable suffering and death, is not progress. We know that every animal is amazing in their own way—intelligent, social, complex—designed by evolution to be the best at what they do and deserving to be treated with respect. Investing in more humane methods of scientific inquiry will lead to better science.

NAVS is a respected leader of advocates for animals and better, more humane science. We are dedicated to ending harmful, flawed and costly animal experiments through the advancement of smarter, human-relevant research and the promotion of animal-friendly changes to laws and policies:

  • We work with respected scientists to advance modern, human-relevant scientific methods that replace the use of animals through our support of the International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER) and other promising collaborations with the scientific community.
  • NAVS’ Advocacy Center empowers supporters to take action that promotes greater protection for animals through the legal/legislative and policy-making processes.
  • We provide innovative teaching tools and resources that replace animal dissection while enhancing education in the life sciences. NAVS also provides incentives to encourage young scientists to pursue careers that advance science without harming animals.
  • NAVS’ Sanctuary Fund provides emergency financial assistance to support animals retired from laboratories and those threatened by natural and man-made disasters.


Text reproduced from the NAVS website.



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