Day: July 28, 2022

USA: How one US senator’s dramatic U-turn finally gives Biden a chance to confront the climate crisis.

By Oliver Milman

First of all – apologies for the delay to this week’s newsletter. You can blame Joe Manchin for that.

The disintegration of President Biden’s climate agenda was playing out almost perfectly in sync with new, graphic reminders of why such an agenda is necessary, with extreme heat and wildfires scorching the US, UK, France, Spain and several other countries.

Biden had vowed he “won’t back down” in tackling the climate crisis, even though in the past month the conservative-leaning US supreme court restricted his administration’s options to do so and a sweeping renewable energy bill appeared to suffer a protracted, inglorious death in Congress.

Then, suddenly, unexpected hope. On Wednesday night Manchin, the West Virginia senator who also happens to own a coal trading company, decided, after all, he was going to support a $369bn package to boost renewable energy rollout, proliferate electric vehicles and aid the direct victims of fossil fuel pollution.

The U-turn by Manchin, a crucial swing vote in an evenly divided US senate and until now a nemesis of Biden’s agenda, provoked both shock and jubilation. Al Gore said it could prove an “historic turning point”. The US, after decades of denial, delay and dysfunction, may finally have policies in place to deal with the climate crisis, giving the world a chance to avoid truly disastrous heatwaves, droughts, floods and other climate impacts.

There are major caveats. Manchin is in favour of expanded oil and gas drilling, citing fears over inflation, and so new leases on public land will be pushed by the bill, giving it a rather contradictory status as a lifeline that also locks in fossil fuel production for decades to come.

But it at least provides a glimmer of hope of addressing a crisis that is unfolding in real time. Temperatures have soared to 46C (115F) in parts of the US over the past week, placing about a third of the population under dangerous heat conditions. At least 20 people have died due to the heat, while so many livestock have died that farmers have resorted to shoving them into landfills.

Wildfires, now a year-round threat in the US west, have chewed up land with such ferocity the federal government has scrambled emergency interventions to save California’s sequoias, the largest trees on Earth, from burning. A fifth of these enormous trees, previously seen as virtually indestructible, have been lost to fire in just the past two years, with officials setting up a system of sprinklers in desperate bid to save Grizzly Giant, a fabled tree that dates back to the time of Jesus and stands more than 200ft tall.

Many climate activists want Biden to do more, urging him to declare a climate emergency that would unlock new presidential powers, as well as ban new oil and gas drilling on public lands. Even with the prospect of long-overdue legislation, these calls will only grow as the climate crisis takes a worsening toll on America.

Regards Mark

Netherlands: Proefdiervrij launched a campaign and petition calling for non-animal science solutions to the human organ shortage.

 Not normal – Animals shouldn’t have to suffer due to organ shortage

28 July 2022



Proefdiervrij launched a campaign and petition calling for non-animal science solutions to the human organ shortage.

There is an ongoing chronic shortage of suitable human organs for life-saving transplantation. Animal to human transplantation, known as xenotransplantation, has been heralded as the solution to save patients’ lives. Earlier this year, a US man became the world’s first person to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. Unfortunately, the patient died two months after the transplant.

Proefdiervrij are countering this movement to regard animals as spare parts for humans with their online campaign Niet. Gewoon. (Not. Normal.). The foundation that strives for a future without animal testing thinks it is not normal to make animals suffer for the sake of people and wants to make people think more about this controversial subject.

Proefdiervrij wants to move away from outdated methods that cause pain suffering and distress to animals and is focused on human-oriented methods to solve the donor shortage, including a growing investment in disease prevention, the improvement of the still ineffective system of organs donations, and on furthering the technologies that are already providing solutions for some transplantation needs.

For example, at the end of 2021, researchers at UMC Utrecht implanted a complete artificial heart for the first time in the Netherlands. The outside of the heart is made of plastic and the inside is lined with biological material. At the time of this transplant, this was still animal material, but in the future this could hopefully also be human tissue. 

Culturing human organoids is also a step towards cultivating organs. Researchers in America have already developed a 3D biological structure for organs that will hopefully one day allow us to grow fully functional human organs in the lab.

Organ regeneration is the body’s ability to repair damaged tissue itself. UMC Utrecht has a department that focuses entirely on regeneration. This department investigates, for example, the regeneration of cardiovascular tissue. 

Biomimicry uses synthetic materials and grows tissues from the patients’ own stem cells, which also carries less risk of organ rejection than using animal organs. 

In the Netherlands, animal organ transplantation is prohibited.

And it should stay that way. Using animals to solve human problems is a step back in time and we want to prevent donor animals from becoming the new generation of laboratory animals.

Debby Weijers, director of Stichting Proefdiervrij

Read more at source


Regards Mark

EU: New study highlights need to shift towards the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods,

New study highlights need to shift towards the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods

25 July 2022

The European Commission, academia and animal protection organisations co-authored a study to identify challenges and put forward proposals to promote the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods.

Non-animal methods are increasingly used in research and testing, but some of these methods still use animal-derived components. Cell- and tissue-based models routinely use, for example, coating materials, growth factors and antibodies that are derived from non-human animals. These animals can experience severe pain depending on the procedures they are subjected to. Besides the ethical concerns, the use and production of animal-derived components also raises many scientific issues, generally associated with the presence of undefined components and batch-to-batch variability, which may compromise the trustworthiness of the experimental results. However, non-animal components are becoming increasingly available, and their use is encouraged in EU legislation and in guidelines of the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Non-animal components include, for example, human cells, alternatives to animal sera or non-animal recombinant antibodies.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Oltre la Sperimentazione Animale, the Centre for Predictive Human Model Systems, Atal Incubation Centre-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, the Animal Welfare Academy of the German Animal Welfare Federation, and Eurogroup for Animals carried out a study that maps the current state of use of animal-derived ingredients across different sectors and identifies challenges hampering the large implementation and use of non-animal derived alternatives. In particular, the new article provides ideas to: increase awareness about non-animal products/ingredients; improve accessibility of reagents and protocols; and increase funding for the replacement of animal-derived components.

Read more at source

A worldwide survey on the use of animal-derived materials and reagents in scien…

Regards Mark