Day: September 23, 2021

Rare rhino species are experiencing sensational population growth!

In a good 100 years from just 100 to 3,700 today – with falling poaching!

The IRF, an advocate for all things related to the rhino, publishes an annual report entitled “The State of the Rhino,” which this year highlights that even in the midst of a rare pandemic, there are committed people in a dozen Countries are working to keep the rhinoceros healthy and recover.

In fact, the IRF has invested $ 20 million in rhinoceros conservation projects around the world over the past 10 years and its work is paying off in many countries.

The greatest success is undoubtedly the great unicorn rhinoceros.
The rhinoceros, native to India and Nepal, were only 100 left at the beginning of 1900.
Today there are 3,700 and their number is constantly increasing.

In the past eight years, poaching incidents have decreased from 41 in 2013 to just one.

In the Indian state of Assam there are rhinos in four protected areas and this year the population in the magnificent Manas National Park on the border with Nepal has reached 47 animals, after it was founded only a few years ago with 4 animals.

107 larger unicorn rhinos were also counted in Nepal.

The Javanese rhinos in Indonesia gave birth to four new calves, bringing the number of the critically endangered species to 75, significantly reducing the number of natural deaths.
This means that the number of Javanese rhinos has almost doubled compared to 2011.

In Africa, the black rhinoceros population has risen by 16 to 17% over the past decade, while the South African “rhinoceros court”, which was set up exclusively for poaching cases, reopened in April this year, giving rangers the opportunity to target suspects testify without having to travel to a bigger city.

In Zimbabwe, black rhinos have been reintroduced after a 30-year absence and are steadily increasing, while in Kenya, thanks to efforts to combat poaching, the number of rhinos killed has fallen to 0 this year from 59 in 2013.

“We must act today to ensure that these wonderful animals can continue to grow for future generations. Let’s continue to build on our successes in the great unicorn, black and Javanese rhinos and reverse the decline in Sumatran and white rhinos by working together to keep rhinos growing on Earth”.
Nina Fascione, managing director of the IRF

And I mean…This is great news!
In the jungle of horror reports that we read, hear, see about animals every day … these positive news work like opium for our souls.
The belief that the struggle each of us against animal exploitation, animal cruelty and animal slavery could bear fruit is growing stronger.
We remain vigilant, active, hopeful

My best regards to all, Venus

Great Britain: carbon dioxide to stunning the animals is running out

British slaughterhouses threaten to run out of carbon dioxide to stunning the animals – with consequences for the food supply.
Many energy suppliers in the country also have problems because of the high prices.

After tens of thousands of truck drivers are missing, and many food items such as fruit, vegetables and milk have therefore not been picked up from the farms at the usual speed for a few days, the gas is now also running out.

More precisely, the carbon dioxide, which is urgently needed, especially in the food industry.
For example for the production of meat.
Both during slaughter and packaging afterwards.

80 percent of British pigs are processed in just 10 slaughterhouses, and they all rely on CO2 stunning, reports “Tagesschau” magazine.
If there is no gas, the animals can no longer be removed from the slaughterhouses and have to be slaughtered on the farms.
Exactly this scenario is now imminent, as the British meat producers warn.
Immediately afterwards, the supply of regional fresh meat will collapse, according to the producers.

The background to the CO2 shortage is that the US operator CF Industries has temporarily closed two of its fertilizer companies in northern England due to the sharp rise in energy prices.
The production is currently not profitable.

The carbon dioxide that the food industry so urgently needs is a by-product of this very fertilizer production.
In the production of fertilizers, there is also a strong reliance on gas, which is now becoming a scarce commodity.

As a result, factories have recently been closed, which further reduces the available quantities.
Now there is criticism of the enormous market concentration, which leads to extreme dependence on a few companies.

England’s Economics Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has signaled that he is in talks with the US operators of the fertilizer companies with the aim of restarting production as soon as possible.

But another trouble spot seems more urgent for the government: the looming bankruptcy of energy suppliers.
Because in view of the sharp rise in energy prices – caused by the recovery of the global economy after the corona crisis – a number of companies will not survive.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is on his way to talks in the US today, tried to spread optimism.
“The situation will improve once the markets have sorted themselves out again,” said Johnson

And I mean…With Nord Stream 2, Russia wants to once again significantly increase the supply of natural gas from Western Europe.
Anti-Russian politicians and many conservative media are spreading fear that the new pipeline through the Baltic Sea could be used as a geostrategic weapon

The Nord Stream 2 project was recently completed, but the certification process at the EU is artificially delayed by various actors such as Poland.
This Nord Stream 2 pipeline will supply the European Union with natural gas, thereby increasing the security of supply.

The EU has never been enthusiastic about Nord Stream 2 and has left its future “solely in the hands of the Germans”.

Various conspiracy theorists have spread fear and concern that “the pipeline would make Europe dependent on Russian gas supplies and give the Russian oligarchs a substantial injection of money.”

It also weakens the position of Ukraine, because this country is collecting a lot of money for the gas that is currently still being transported through its territory.
And thus the false conviction was generated that the construction of a second pipeline through the Baltic Sea was primarily for political reasons.

The Russian state-owned company Gazprom is the sole owner behind Nord Stream 2 and is also assuming half of the planned total costs of 9.5 billion euros.

Our Ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is the head of the Nord Stream 2 Shareholders’ Committee.
With 55.6 billion cubic meters, Germany is the largest importer of natural gas from Russia within the European Union.
And Germany will continue to be dependent on Russian natural gas for some time to come.

England, luckily, no longer belongs to the EU.
So there are two alternatives for the British:
Either convince the abandoned fertilizer companies to go back to business, or …
to be the first country in Europe to get out of factory farming.

My best regards to all, Venus

Russia forest fire damage worst since records began, says Greenpeace.

Source – ‘The Guardian, London.

A firefighter trying to extinguish wildfire in the republic of Yakutia, Russia, in August 2021.
Photograph: Emercom Of Russia Handout/EPA

Russia forest fire damage worst since records began, says Greenpeace

Analysis shows over 18.16m hectares were destroyed in 2021, an absolute record since satellite monitoring beganRussia has endured its worst forest fire season in the country’s modern history, according to recent data from the Russian Forestry Agency analysed by Greenpeace.

Fires have destroyed more than 18.16m hectares of Russian forest in 2021, setting an absolute record since the country began monitoring forest fires using satellites in 2001. The previous record was set in 2012, when fires covered 18.11m hectares of forest.

The record was surpassed late last week after a long fire season that has also produced unprecedented levels of global wildfire emissions and upturned daily life for hundreds of thousands of people living in Siberia and elsewhere in central Russia.

“For the past several years, when the area of the fires has surpassed 15m hectares, it has become, in all likelihood, the new normal in the conditions of the new climate reality,” Greenpeace Russia wrote.

‘Airpocalypse’ hits Siberian city as heatwave sparks forest fires

Read more

Those fires have primarily affected communities in Siberia, where dry, hot summers have turned the vast taiga forests into a tinderbox. In Yakutia, a northern Siberian region that has been particularly hard-hit, smog covered the capital city, Yakutsk, for weeks, and villagers have had to come together in last-ditch efforts to save their homes.

“Emergency workers have come and villagers are also fighting the fires but they can’t put them out, they can’t stop them,” Varvara, a 63-year-old from the remote village of Teryut, said by telephone in July. “Everything is on fire.”

The statistics do not record other types of fires taking place outside Russia’s forests. “If we counted all the fires – grass, reed, tundra, where there is no forest fund – then we would see an even higher number,” wrote Grigory Kuksin, the head of Greenpeace Russia’s firefighting project. The total area could be as high as 30m hectares, he said, an area the size of Italy or Poland.

Burning forests in Russia helped produced some of the worst global emissions in recent months. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service of the EU found that burning forests released 1.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last month, the highest since the organisation began measurements in 2003.

The taiga forests of Siberia pumped 970 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere between June and August – more than all the forests in the rest of the world put together. The fires in Yakutia played an important role in that, as the fire season lengthens and pushes farther north, amid unusually high temperatures and lower than normal soil moisture.

According to Greenpeace Russia, the fires in Yakutia are continuing, including north of the Arctic Circle. “That is not characteristic for this time of year,” Kuksin wrote.

Grassfires are also ongoing mainly in Russia’s southern regions of Rostov, Volgograd, Astrakhan and Orenburg, Greenpeace said. Climate change will also make it more difficult for emergency workers to manage Russia’s regular peat fires, which have enveloped Moscow and other cities in noxious smog in past years.

Regards Mark

Sustainable Food Systems: the intersection of trade and animal welfare.

Sustainable Food Systems: the intersection of trade and animal welfare

21 September 2021


Ahead of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit Eurogroup for Animals and The Good Lobby organised a high level event to discuss the intersection of animal welfare and trade in international policymaking

The COVID-19 crisis has reminded the world of the limits of unconditional trade liberalisation, which tends to favour corporate interests while ignoring the effects of the intensification of animal agriculture on the planet and on the animals. This has contributed to the three key challenges the planet is currently facing: zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance, and the overall climate and biodiversity crisis.

At the moment, international trade and economic policies are fuelling rather than countering the expansion and negative impacts of intensive livestock farming by prioritising profits and free trade above all. For example, the trade deal between the EU and Ukraine has led to a surge in cheap chicken meat imports, and the ones planned with Australia and Mercosur countries are expected to also fuel beef production – mostly on feedlots – according to the EU’s own analysis.

Indeed, there seems to be a disconnection between the conversations on the much needed transformation of our food systems and the international trade agenda

Both panels investigated the best ways to ensure that trade agreements and international trade rules not only avoid negative impacts on animal welfare, but also intrinsically contribute to a global transition towards a more ethical and sustainable way of producing

The first panel focused on how bilateral trade agreements can help to promote higher animal welfare and thus to move towards sustainable food systems. 

“We want to step up cooperation [under EU Trade Agreements] and make a big difference,” said Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General for Food Sustainability at DG SANTE. She also underlined the importance of developing work programmes for the animal welfare cooperation with each partner country, “so we have concrete plans about what to do with the country. It’s not a talking shop, it’s about making a change”, Bury added. 

Recognising animal welfare has never been as high on the agenda, Pascal Durand MEP called for products derived from animal exploitation – as well as biodiversity and human exploitation – not to be allowed on the EU market. 

The EU is not the only place where trade policy is at the centre of important debates. Chris Sherwood, CEO of the RSPCA, portrayed the tensions reflected by the current UK debate on trade policy. “There are real tensions at the heart of the UK government – between ensuring high standards locally, and wanting to have a Global Britain negotiating trade deals all around the world”.

EU trade policy is also monitored by non-EU Civil Society Organisations. “We need to bring [higher animal welfare and sustainability-related] standards within the [EU-Mercosur] agreement to push up Mercosur standards”, said Maureen Santos, Project Officer at FASE.

The second panel’s focus was on multilateral issues and how animal welfare can be addressed at WTO level and throughout the value chain.

“There is an increasing interest for animal welfare within our members”, said Jean-Marie Paugam, deputy Director-General at the World Trade Organisation.  “The debate can be open, and the WTO is open to support a trade policy enhancing animal welfare”, he added. 

“It is possible to build up a progressive interpretation of [WTO] rules. That would be a huge evolution about how article XX [and its exceptions to trade liberalisation] was being read in comparison to what it was when WTO was created”, said Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Director General for Trade at DG TRADE. “If we are going to [restrict trade based on animal welfare], we will need to have solid, strong evidence to show it is grounded in widely perceived ethical concerns, not tainted by economic considerations”, he added. 

Dr Laura Nielsen also mentioned the role that tiered labelling, intertwined with tariff reductions, could play in incentivising businesses all around the world. 

A key part of the solution to ensure that trade contributes to a transition towards more sustainable food systems is thus to better address the impact of trade policy on animal welfare

Asked about his expectations from the UN Food Systems Summit, Pascal Durand concluded that “we must understand that our current production methods are not sustainable for humans nor for animals, and that we must improve the life of all living beings. Once this is understood, policies will follow.” 

Now more than ever, we must seize the opportunity the UN Food Systems Summit presents to leverage the emerging global awareness that the health and wellbeing of humans are inseparable from those of animals and the planet. In doing so, we must break down silos to go beyond the traditional animal welfare and sustainability narratives and rethink trade policy, at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals

Regards Mark

Denmark: Large eggs push small hens to the breaking point – 85% of laying hens in Danish production have fractures of the sternum due to intensive breeding.

Photo credit – Wolfgang Mennel

Large eggs push small hens to the breaking point

22 September 2021

Dyrenes Beskyttelse


New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that 85 percent of laying hens in Danish production have fractures of the sternum due to the intensive breeding of smaller hens which lay many large eggs. Animal Protection Denmark is taking action.

Laying hens have reached their limit, and it is unacceptable to have a production that causes such extensive and serious damage to animals. This is the main message from Animal Protection Denmark and the National Organic Association, who have joined forces to invite the industry to find common ground on a solution. The meeting will be held on 1 November, and the entire industry has been invited together with Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn to participate in the presentations and debates, as well as suggestions for future solutions.

We are, of course, appalled by the study’s documentation of how widespread fractures of the sternum in laying hens are. It is completely and utterly unacceptable that this is the rule rather than the exception for hens in all branches of egg production. We are furthermore painfully aware that this also applies to the hens that we normally recommend, namely organic eggs and eggs under our brand “Recommended by Animal Protection”. That is why we have immediately taken up our producers, who are even taking it very seriously and in fact are already now initiating measures that can hopefully remedy the problems in the short term, while we work on the sustainable solutions in the slightly longer term.

Britta Riis, Director of Animal Protection Denmark, Britta Riis.

Read more at source

University of Copenhagen: “Keel bone fractures in Danish laying hens: Prevalenc…

Regards Mark