The okapi game reserve is home to a sizeable population of endangered okapis.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country where this species still exists. But rampant gold mining in the Unesco World Heritage area – namely by the Chinese company Kimia – is a major concern.
Only 30,000 okapis still live in the wild – and their habitat is inexorably shrinking.
5,000 of the remaining animals are at home in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, where many other endangered species such as chimpanzees and 376 species of birds can be observed.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the countries with the highest biodiversity and therefore has a special responsibility to protect its forests, which are essential in the fight against the climate crisis.
Unfortunately, the illegal mining of gold is rampant there, destroying forests, damaging the natural habitats of numerous animal and plant species, polluting water bodies with toxic substances such as mercury, and impairing the health of local and indigenous peoples.
The open pit mines attract people in search of a livelihood, which increases the hunt for the meat of wild animals.
At the center of the current development is the Chinese company Kimia Mining, based in Bunia, which has received illegitimate permits from the mining ministry and is working in the semi-industrial style within the reserve.
According to a United Nations report, senior officers in the Congolese army, FARDC, are involved in illegal mining activities.
Because militias also earn money from the extraction of raw materials, it is closely linked to violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Basically, it would be easy to protect nature: mining violates environmental laws and the Mining Act, which prohibit environmentally harmful activities.
Article 53 of the Constitution also gives everyone the right and duty to defend the environment.
We therefore ask President Tshisekedi and the government to implement the laws and end mining in the Okapi Game Reserve and other protected areas.
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is not the only protected area in the Congo that is threatened by mining and the exploitation of raw materials: In the Virunga National Park, gorilla habitat may be destroyed by the search for oil; in the Itombwe Nature Reserve gold mining will also lead to this.
Four of the five world heritage areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are therefore on the list “World Heritage in Danger”, the fifth has only just been removed from the list because the government abandoned plans for oil production in Salonga National Park after international pressure.
The greed for gold – it is the danger in which the gorillas hover in the east of the Congo Basin.
The primate habitat has been shrinking for years.
The human population is growing and contesting their habitat*, hunters kill the great apes for their meat, militias make effective protection more difficult and keep tourists away who would bring some money.
Gray gorillas, a subspecies of the eastern gorilla, are now threatened with extinction.
The Canadian company Banro apparently entered the Itombwe reserve in June 2018, one of the last refuges for gray gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The reason – again the gold!
Locals secretly photographed the company’s helicopters and informed the authorities.
Banro has secured mining concessions for more than 2,600 square kilometers in the Congo since the mid-1990s and has been operating two gold mines in Twangiza and Namoya for several years.
The population complains about land grabbing and displacement.
For the protection of Virunga and Itombwe, the organization “Save the rainforest “ campaigns with two petitions:
Please sign “No primate blood for oil” and “Gold threatens gorillas”.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest state in Africa by area, as large as two thirds of the country
European Union and a little more than six times larger than Germany.
Due to its wealth of natural resources, the country could be one of the richest in Africa, but it is one of the poorest in the world.
The majority of the estimated 94 million inhabitants live in extreme poverty.
Around half of all children under the age of five are malnourished.
Political instability, wars, violence and corruption characterize everyday life.
There are more than 70 armed groups operating in the east of the country;
A country that is so rich in mineral resources, water and fertile soil would have every chance of securely supplying its population and preserving its natural and animal populations.
Peace and political stability are urgently needed to curb corruption, violence, poverty and hunger
*P.S: I have something to correct in the article: “The human population is growing and contesting their habitat …” that is not correct.
If Congo is six times bigger than Germany and has “only” 94 million inhabitants, (Germany has 83 million) then it is not the growth of the Congo population that is the problem.
Overpopulation exists in Europe, but this is (not yet) a problem because Europe is plundering and exploiting Africa.
We don’t need to give anything to Africa.
We just have to stop robbing the continent.
My best regards to all, Venus
Shockingly, our latest Freedom of Information request to Forestry Land Scotland (FLS) has revealed that FLS has continued to allow fox hunting foot packs access on Scotland’s public lands despite our previous exposé last spring.
The FOI also reveals that FLS have been unable to stop ongoing wildlife crime which has been taking place on Scotland’s public lands since 2016, and is suspected to be gamekeeper-led.
External reports of ‘out of control’ hounds in the FOI also highlight just how weak Scotland’s fox hunting legislation is and why reform is urgently needed.
The majority of the Scottish public are opposed to fox hunting, and so, as the public body responsible for promoting Scotland’s land, we believe that FLS should amend its fox control policy to reflect public opinion. Fox hunting in any form should not be permitted on Scotland’s public lands.
Read the expose here:
Revealed: Fox hunting foot packs & wildlife crime on Scotland’s public land
Support the campaigns:
WAV – This is a foxhunting link, not exports – we have no control:
The Scottish Government has also committed to reforming Scotland’s fox hunting legislation in this parliamentary session to make it more effective and enforceable. We will be urging the government not to license any packs of dogs and to end fox hunting for good.
If you would like to help us raise awareness of the ongoing use of fox hunting foot packs on FLS land, click here for a pre-written tweet. You can also click here to share the exposé directly to your Facebook page.
Our campaigns are funded by donations. If you would like to help strengthen our campaign even further, you can donate here.
Together let’s use our voices to take a stand against fox hunting in Scotland.
This is a 3 PAGE post:
Thanks as always to Stacey at ‘Our Compass’ for sending over this excellent article.
Source SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) Campaign “The Dark Side of the New Zealand Dairy Industry”
If animal farmers and industry executives weren’t so grossly deceptive, violent, and cowardly, they would just be embarrassing: people often attempt to validate abusing animals as being “intellectually superior” humans; the same people then claim thathumans are incapable of telling the difference between plant milks and cows’ milk.
And their cruel rhetoric also includes the belief that killing can be humane, that harming an animal is better for an animal than not harming an animal.
Intellectual superiority? No. Just entitled, privileged human supremacy.
WAV Comment – I want to touch on this ‘superiority’ issue here with the video to Oxford Uni by Dr Brain May – ‘Queen’ guitarist and doctor of astrophysics – see the video at or watch it below:
Too, the USDA has included soy milk as a nutritionally-equivalent, healthy dairy alternative (for the plant activists, soy is predominantly grown for animals, who humans eat, a unarguably inefficient and immoral use of resources and lives), and that in the USA, most cows’ milk is fortified, meaning vitamin is added, it is NOT naturally present. Nevertheless, I am personally unconcerned with the nutrition provided by plant milks because it is for certain 100% healthier for the animals to not use and kill them. As such, why would ANYONE choose suffering over not suffering? More than 500,000 calves and greater than 3 million of their mothers are butchered yearly, just in the USA, so that a different species, beyond infancy and with teeth, can drink the calves’ naturally- and biologically-intended milk instead. That’s an ethical fail, not a demonstration of decency. Or intellect. SL
On August 11, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Miyoko’s Creamery in its lawsuit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), upholding the company’s First Amendment right to use terms like butter and cheese in marketing its vegan products.
Based in Sonoma County, California, Miyoko’s Creamery produces artisanal vegan alternatives to traditional dairy products. In just over five years, its popularity has exploded with distribution in Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other major supermarket chains.
The company is known for its popular vegan butter made from cashews, coconut oil, and sunflower oil, as well as other high-end alternative products like vegan mozzarella, cream cheese, and cheese wheels—all of which I can attest are very good.
Last year, the company received a threatening letter from the CDFA demanding it alter its marketing in the state. Although its labels clearly read “cultured vegan butter,” the department requested the creamery stop using dairy-related terms on its packaging altogether, claiming Miyoko’s marketing was in violation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s labeling regulations.
California ordered the company to remove the terms butter and cheese and cease to refer to its products as “lactose-free,” “hormone-free,” or “cruelty-free.” Instead, the state suggested that Miyoko market its vegan butter as oh-so-appetizing “cashew cream fermented from live cultures.” To do so would require an inordinate investment to produce custom packaging for sale of the product in California.
The letter doubled down by also ordering the company to scrap its mission statement, “Revolutionizing Dairy with Plants,” and to remove an image of a woman hugging a cow from its website. The photo in question is that of a volunteer at a nonprofit refuge for farm animals, Rancho Compasión, which was started by the creamery’s founder Miyoko Schinner.
Continued on next page
No Animal Left Behind: Why every animal deserves protection and care
6 September 2021
Today, we are releasing our last demand as part of our campaign “No Animal Left Behind” focusing on the billions of animals left unprotected by our current EU legislation:
Fish, turkeys, dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats, ducks and geese, quails and farmed rabbits… the list seems endless. The review of our animal welfare laws is long overdue, and we need to make sure that this time, no animal is left behind in the process.
Europe’s animal welfare laws were introduced piece by piece over the last 40 years, but they are rarely enforced correctly, and there are serious gaps that leave billions of animals unprotected. In the context of our campaign “No Animal Left Behind”, we are calling on the European Commission to make sure a full-scale review of the legislation takes place, that our demands for the best possible welfare standards are heard, and that no animal is left behind.
In the EU, over 90% of turkeys are reared in overcrowded, intensive, indoor farms that cause numerous welfare issues. When these birds are packed together in large numbers with no enrichment, they quickly become stressed and bored. As a result, they start to feather peck, pulling out feathers on each other, which quickly leads to cannibalism. Farmers try to stop this by keeping the turkeys in low light, and by trimming their beaks. The pain from beak trimming causes further suffering and is performed without anaesthesia. The continuous low light also causes eye problems, such as blindness. Turkeys are also bred to grow very fast, and they do so at a rate that causes high incidences of lameness and heart failure. Turkeys do not need to be farmed like this.
Over a billion fish are being farmed in the EU at any one time. These are undomesticated animals being raised in often intensive systems without a basic understanding of their needs, and commonly without implementing the best practices and knowledge generated especially in the last decade. Aquaculture production systems are typically barren environments and always involve a range of stressful and harmful practices including crowding and handling. There is little transparency on the welfare outcomes, but in the few cases where mortalities are reported we see mortality rates of 15% to 20%. The humane slaughter equipment developed for the sector has been adopted by only a few sectors and producers, and typically farmed fish today are being asphyxiated slowly to death. Aquatic invertebrates including decapod crustaceans are also finding themselves without protection, notably in terms of their live transport and slaughter.
The more we discover about animals and their complex, intriguing lives, the more shocked we should be at how we have treated them in the past. And the more determined we should be to ensure they live a good life. Our laws need to do more than protect the welfare of all farmed animals. They should promote health, wellbeing and compassion. Because animals deserve no less. Let’s leave none behind.
You can add your voice here to help us reach enough supporters to be heard by the European Commission.