Day: March 22, 2021

22/3/21 Is ‘World Water Day’ – Prepare to Enter the ‘Dead Zone’; How Intensive Livestock Production Fuels Water Pollution Around the Globe.

WAV Comment – Today, 22nd March 2021, is the United Nations ‘World Water Day’.  Philip is a personal friend and fellow campaigner, CEO of Compassion In World Farming (England) who we have worked with for around 30 years.  Here he describes entering the ‘Dead Zone’.

Philip Lymbery | Water and Welfare

Today, 22nd March 2021, is the United Nations World Water Day. It’s about raising awareness of the value of water and the importance of protecting this vital resource on which we all depend.

For me World Water Day brings back memories of my investigations in the USA whilst writing Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were, where I witnessed for myself how intensive livestock production fuels water pollution around the globe.

I had travelled about 15 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico and was looking at something resembling a construction site. All around me were oil rigs. I’d heard a lot about this place in the middle of nowhere from the media. A place out at sea where nothing lives. Called the ‘dead zone’. An expanse of water so polluted that nearly all the oxygen has gone. A liquid symbol of what happens when efforts to prevent, mitigate or contain environmental damage fail and the water represents worst-case scenario; the marine ‘end of days’. The gathering body of oxygen-depleted – hypoxic – water forms a barrier to life, killing just about everything that can’t flee.

My plan had been to see the dead zone for myself – and not from the comfort of a boat. So snorkel fixed, I slipped into the water. At surface level the pea-green sea looked nothing out of the ordinary. As I peered into the gloom below, I could see fish and the water around me looked very much alive. Had there been some mistake? I ducked down again and held my breath this time, swimming down. Now things began to grow clearer – or rather not. A few metres beneath the surface, everything changed. The water was cooler, saltier and far more murky. I could see very little and without diving kit, I could go no further. I wouldn’t reach the dead zone myself, for it was far, far below, coating the bottom half of the water in a suffocating blanket.

Sadly, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is not unique – they exist all over the world but among biologists, marine scientists and conservationists, it is among the most notorious. It now boasts the world’s second-largest area of oxygen-depleted water (the Baltic is the biggest). It’s a squalid claim to fame. The zone emerges every year, without fail, from February to October, stretching all the way from the shores of Louisiana to the upper Texan coast.

And the main culprit? Fertiliser.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the source of the problem is the ‘flowing green oceans’ of corn in the Midwest of America. It is an area of intensive corn and soybean production, where large amounts of nitrogen from fertiliser and manure are applied to the soils every year. Excess nitrate is washed into rivers and streams and ends up in the Gulf. One would think the corn and soya would be feeding the world, but you’d be wrong, it’s feeding factory farmed animals. The problems in the Gulf are squarely linked to the food on our plates.

The reality of all this was brought home to me when I took to the air in a tiny Cessna plane. I was expecting various warehouses with impressive pallet-stacks of fertiliser bags, but we flew over a small town of sprawling industry, one of many perched on the banks of the Mississippi and to my horror, they were all fertiliser factories. But the term ‘fertiliser factory’ entirely failed to convey the sheer scale of this hidden part of the industrial farming jigsaw.

Dead zones are emerging around the world. Industrial agriculture systems, with their high dependence on artificial fertilisers and chemicals, are a major source of pollution of our precious water. Quite simply our hunger for ‘cheap’ meat from animals fed on cheap corn grown on chemical-laced fields is poisoning and driving out precious species and damaging ecosystems on land, rivers and sea. But it’s not too late to reverse the situation – a reduction in meat, dairy and egg consumption especially from factory farms, can reduce the water impact of our diets and greatly improve the welfare of farm animals.

This is why we need to seize the opportunity of this year’s United Nations Food Systems Summit to move toward a global agreement to end factory farming. To reset our food system towards regenerative, restorative, nature-friendly ways of producing food. The UN summit presents an incredible opportunity to focus this debate in one place and form the catalyst for change on a global basis.

Please join us and become a food systems hero.

Thank you.

Note: For more information and to watch the video ‘The Downstream Disaster’ from the Dead Zone series of films, please click here 

Elbeik and EU: the absolute lowest point has been reached.

Spanish authorities find animals onboard the Elbeik in detrimental conditions

22 March 2021 AWF News

The Elbeik 1,600 bovines will be euthanized because of their detrimental health and welfare status

The animals on board the Elbeik vessel will soon be relieved from their sufferings. The vessels reached Cartagena (Spain) last Thursday with 1,600 animals still alive on board.

Since the vessel left Tarragona last December heading to Libya, 189 animals have already died.

10 dead bodies were still on board when the Elbeik docked at Cartagena, while another 179 were chopped during the journey and thrown into the Mediterranean sea, declared the vessel’s master. As uncertainty persists on the number of animals effectively loaded in December, the number of animals that died during the journey could even be higher.

The vessel’s master initially declared to the Spanish authorities that the animals were in a good health and welfare status, but then he acknowledged that their conditions have deteriorated progressively due to the long journey and that the mortality rate has increased significantly as the length of the journey expanded.

The Spanish veterinarian authorities, in the inspection report shared by our member Animal Welfare Foundation, confirmed that “The most remarkable thing at the time of the inspection was the bad general state of the animals in all the pens [..] it is possible to observe a considerable loss of weight, [..] ribs and vertebrae are visible with the naked eye, as well as an evident dehydration”.

Indeed, the veterinarian inspectors said that when water was offered, the animals competed to get access to it.

Additionally, “some of these cachectic animals have been found in a stuporous state, being unable to open their eyes and react to stimulus”. The veterinarians also reported that the vessel was overloaded and animals have their hooves covered by feces and urine with the consequent impossibility for them to lay down in a dry and clean area.

As animals show signs of prolonged suffering with the development of cachexia, and dermatological, ophthalmological, and mobility problems, the Spanish Government issued an order to euthanize them.

The nightmare of the animals on board the Elbeik, as well as the ones transported by the Karim Allah, clearly shows that animal welfare cannot be guaranteed during long-distance journeys and that, in case of crises, interventions are impossible or ineffective, especially when it comes to export outside the EU.

Demonstration by animal activists from the Animal Equality organization in Spain

We call on the European Commission to investigate this case and hold parties accountable for violating relevant EU animal health and welfare law, as well as maritime safety ones.

Additionally, we call on the EU Institutions to use the revision of the Transport Regulation to put an end to long-distance transport of live animals and favor a meat/carcasses and genetic material trade over live transport.

My comment…Certainly, now the dispute in Cartagena goes on who pays the costs for the killing and disposal of the corpses.

The euthanasia of animals, in fact, the murder of all animal passengers, would now only be an act of grace, as cruel and heartbreaking as that may sound.
And all of this, although the death of the cattle was a done deal anyway. Only more brutal-

It is not known whether the animals were even fed in their last days.
Rather unlikely because their fate has long been sealed, everything around would only cost additional money; …

The captain tries to get out of the affair first, the animals were in good health and welfare status … then why didn’t anyone want them?
Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus … nowhere a buyer!

Crime multiplied by 2,671, human language has no other word for it.

And now we ask the EU Commission … what for?
To ban the transport of animals, which is absolutely in line with their economic interests?
To investigate the Elbeik case and at least punish the main culprits?
Just as the EU Commission reacted in the case of Middia?

This story is only one case among several, the EU Commission speculates with time – tomorrow it will be forgotten.

Go on Eurogroup! a 48-hour vigil in front of the EU Parliament, that would be the minimum for the 2671 Elbeik victims.
And the minimum for what you get as a salary.

My best regards to all, Venus

Spain: Human Meat for Sale During Animal Rights Protest in Barcelona.

Humans covered in blood on white trays sold as meat, photo: Reuters/Nacho Doce
Humans covered in blood on white trays sold as meat, photo: Reuters/Nacho Doce

Human meat for sale during animal rights protest in Barcelona

Animals rights campaigners organised a “humans sold as meat” protest in Barcelona on Saturday. Naked protesters were covered in fake blood, lying on white trays under plastic sheeting, replicating animal meat for sale. 

On the plastic sheeting, there were “Human Meat” stickers with a barcode and price on them, just like you would find meat in the supermarket.

“We are fighting against the suffering of animals,” Cristina Ibañez from the Spanish animal welfare organization AnimaNaturalis told Reuters. “For their right to life, they want to live the way this person who is walking wants to live, or just like I want to live.”

“That’s why it’s not fair, and it’s nutritionally unnecessary that we continue to exploit and kill animals just to satisfy our appetite,” Ibañez said.

The protest was staged outside the famous ‘La Boqueria’ market, which has several meat vendors. “You can live without eating meat, and it’s very important to do this because animals suffer a lot throughout the meat production process,” one of the protestors, Andrea, said.

The demonstration was on the same day as MeatOut Day, an event on the first day of spring to promote a vegan lifestyle, originally started in the United States in 1985 to question the consumption of animal products worldwide.

“MeatOut was designed to remind us of animal agriculture’s devastating impact to the animals, our health, and the environment,” they say on their website.

“Theologians have long debated whether there is life after death. For animals on factory farms, there is no life before death.”

Human meat for sale during animal rights protest in Barcelona (