Day: July 3, 2021

India: Covid escalates elephant killings in eastern India to ‘crisis proportions.

Covid escalates elephant killings in eastern India to ‘crisis proportions’

Corruption and apathy lead to mounting death toll of wild animals, say conservationists

The killing of elephants in eastern India has reached crisis proportions, magnified by the Covid lockdown, conservationists say.

In the past two years, 160 of the endangered wild animals have been wiped out in the state of Odisha, at least 40 of them in the past five months alone.

Many are deliberately electrocuted or poisoned by people who have taken forest land for farming, according to the Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VfAES).

Covid escalates elephant killings in eastern India to ‘crisis proportions’ | The Independent

<img src="; alt="<p>An elephant burial: ‘A silent catastrophe is unfolding across India,’ says Sangita Iyer

The felling of forests for mining and other human activity also shrinks their natural habitats.

And poachers wanting tusks for ivory have been emboldened by an absence of forest patrols, which have been cut back during the coronavirus pandemic.

The VfAES accused authorities of using Covid “as a shield to avoid their responsibilities” in carrying out patrols and cracking down on corruption.

Sangita Iyer, a biologist and the organisation’s founder, said: “There is a silent catastrophe unfolding across India.

“The situation in Odisha is dire. Apathy, complacency, dereliction of duty and a significant lack of accountability by certain forest officials are some of the core issues on the ground.”

Ms Iyer accused ministers of failing to investigate the problems behind the “senseless and preventable” deaths.

She said elephant tusks have been seized from the homes of corrupt officers who know where elephants can be found and tip off poachers.

“What chance do these animals have if the very people entrusted to care for them actually end up betraying these voiceless animals?” she said.

Records show at least 82 Odisha forest officials have been accused of corruption in five years, according to the Hindustan Times.

There are 40,000 Asian elephants in the world, officially classed as endangered, 60 per cent of them in India.

But activists say a burgeoning human population, causing “reckless” land use, such as mining and agriculture expansion, and railways and roads cutting through habitats is killing the creatures.

According to a report by Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring charity, during the pandemic the poaching of large mammals in India has increased by 44 per cent, and that of other small mammals by 25 per cent.

It’s feared the official elephant death tally is an underestimate because villagers who normally find carcasses have been out less.

In 2012, the Odisha government announced that every unnatural death would be investigated, but Ms Iyer claimed ministers have not questioned or reprimanded any officials for failing to prevent deaths.

And she called on the government to launch a thorough investigation into the deaths.

In the longer term, underpasses and overpasses should be built for railway tracks and roads to prevent elephant deaths, she said, and drivers flouting the traffic laws should be suspended.

“The consequences of the disappearance of Asian elephants would be colossal to the forest ecosystems, not only in India, but around the world, as elephants play a vital role in climate mitigation. Their decimation simply cannot be underestimated,” she added.

Maria Mossman, founder of Action for Elephants UK, said: “This kind of mistreatment of elephants in a state that houses India’s fifth-largest population will tarnish Odisha’s reputation around the world.”

Odisha government has not responded to requests from The Independent for comment by the time of publication.

Regards Mark

Poland: New outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on Polish mink farms means 37,000 mink will be culled. Yes, 37,000 Animals !

Otwarte Klatki

New outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on Polish mink farms means 37,000 mink will be culled

According to official information from the General Veterinary Inspectorate, a new SARS-CoV-2 mink farm outbreak has been detected in Poland. This is the second outbreak of coronavirus detected on mink farms in Poland.

The outbreak was detected in two farms which hold a total of 8,000 breeding females and 29,000 young mink, both located at the same address in the Biała-Podlaska district.

The presence of the virus was discovered from the results of laboratory tests carried out at the State Veterinary Institute in Puławy. The samples were collected on June 16, as part of ongoing disease control procedures put in place after the dramatic outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 across European mink farms in 2020.

The inspectorate reported that “all control procedures foreseen in the event of SARS-CoV-2 in mink” had been implemented on the farms where the infection was identified.

The local veterinary inspector confirmed that all mink on these farms, a total of around 37,000 animals, will be culled.

Earlier this year Eurogroup for Animals and the Fur Free Alliance released a scientific statement on public health risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 and intensive mink production, signed by numerous scientists from the fields of virology, infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, veterinary medicine and environmental health. 

Despite the mandatory SARS-CoV-2 screening of all European mink farms introduced by the European Commission, in addition to the introduction of more stringent disease prevention methods, this outbreak demonstrates that the risk of continued spread of the virus on fur farms is still extremely high.

We are calling on the European Commission to act immediately to suspend mink farming across the European Union to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, to protect human and animal health.

Disgusting – time for a total ban on fur farming.

Regards Mark

Netherlands: Dutch court rules in favour of chicken welfare.

Dutch court rules in favour of chicken welfare | Eurogroup for Animals

Andrew Skrowon

Dutch court rules in favour of chicken welfare

28 June 2021

Handling chickens by their legs, as prohibited in the Transport Regulation, will finally be enforced in the Netherlands. An example to follow for the rest of Europe.

Thanks to the case submitted by Wakker Dier on April 29, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal ruled that it is not allowed to handle chickens by their legs on farm and when loading and unloading the animals, as stated in the Transport Regulation

This cruel practice however, is the common one used across the EU, even if this type of handling was prohibited for the past 15 years. Alternative methods, such as the Swedish one introduced by Eyes on Animals, could provide for a more humane approach.

After the court case, the Dutch Agriculture Ministry supported the Wakker Dier position and, as a result of their enforcement request, three catching teams in the Netherlands were checked and fined (each 1,500 euro) for not complying with the Regulation. 

The Dutch chicken sector is working hard on this issue: which catching method to use, how to instruct and train trapping teams, and what time frame they need to properly implement it.

This decision, while causing a commotion in the Dutch chicken sector, could have important downfalls in other countries too. Indeed, without a Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) ruling it is only relevant in the Netherlands but it could definitely start the same conversation in other EU countries. 

The Dutch government indicated that it will possibly bring this matter up at the upcoming Agrifish meeting (28 and 29 of June). 

The Transport Regulation is at the centre of the current revision of all animal welfare laws and we call on the Commission to maintain the ban on handling chickens by their legs and ensure proper enforcement.

With our No Animal Left Behind campaign we will make sure that chickens are properly protected and we hope that other Member States will take the Netherlands as an example to follow.

Regards Mark