Record Death Valley flooding ‘a once-in-1,000-year event’
Hundreds were marooned in the downpour as the climate crisis increases the likelihood of extreme weather
Recent severe rains in Death Valley that flushed debris across roadways, damaged infrastructure and carried away cars are being described by meteorologists and park officials as a once-in 1,000-year event.
The arid valley was pelted with roughly an inch and a half of rain on Friday, near the park’s rainfall record for a single day.
The storm poured an amount of water equal to roughly 75% of the average annual total in just three hours, according to experts at Nasa’s Earth observatory. Hundreds visiting and working in Death Valley national park were marooned and all roads continue to be impassable, according to park officials.
The waters have receded, leaving behind thick layers of mud and gravel, but those who were stranded were able to exit the park earlier this week, aided by park service personnel.
But events like this one, once thought to be exceedingly rare, are on the rise. Scientists are finding that weather extremes, fuelled by the climate crisis, are becoming more likely in the American west, which continues to be mired in drought. Periods of dryness are expected to be broken with strong, destructive storms as the world continues to warm.
No injuries have been reported but aerial searches are being conducted by the California highway patrol and naval aircraft, the National Park Service said in a statement, to confirm that vehicles are not still stranded in remote areas of the park.
In a statement, the park superintendent, Mike Reynolds, said it would “take time to rebuild” and noted that officials were still working to assess destruction from the storm across the roughly 3.4m acres and more than 1,000 miles of roads in the park.
While the storm did not break Death Valley’s all-time record for daily rainfall, it did break records for this time of year, as August generally produces just a tenth of an inch of rain.
Nasa satellites were able to capture the storm’s effects, showing a belt of blue across the typically brown terrain.
“This week’s 1,000-year flood is another example of this extreme environment,” Reynolds said. “With climate change models predicting more frequent and more intense storms, this is a place where you can see climate change in action.”
‘Immediate ban’ needed on annual release of 50 million pheasants amid bird flu outbreak, says RSPB
An immediate moratorium on the release of tens of millions of birds for shooting is needed to limit the “catastrophic spread” of bird flu, the RSPB has said.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has devastated seabird populations around the UK’s coast this year, leaving hundreds of thousands of birds dead since it arrived last winter in the Solway Firth in the north west.
The RSPB has now said the annual release of around 55 million pheasants and red-legged partridges, and 2.6 million mallard ducks, all of which are reared in captivity to be shot for sport, represents a serious risk to wildlife.
The organisation said large numbers of these gamebirds are imported from across Europe, then held in pens to mature prior to release.
The volume of birds released into the UK each year now represents more than the total biomass of all UK native birds.
Pheasants in the UK have previously tested positive for HPAI – first in Lincolnshire in 2018 and a further 13 times since, on three premises with commercial breeding game for release.
In a statement the RSPB said it believed “that to limit the catastrophic impacts of this outbreak on our wild birds, the deliberate release of captive birds into the countryside must be stopped for this year”.
Jeff Knott, the RSPB’s director of policy, said: “In recent months we have witnessed an unfolding catastrophe taking place on our wild birds.
“It has been emotionally tough to witness, but we are not helpless and there are many positive actions that we can take to help them weather this storm and reduce the risk of exacerbating this crisis.
“This disease originated in poultry in Asia before passing into wild birds. It is another human pressure on beleaguered wildlife across the world and in the UK specifically. We must all now take responsibility and do everything we can to limit the impact in the immediate term, and to implement and fund species conservation programmes to build resilience in our wildlife for the future.”
The RSPB said that although spread from pheasants to wild birds has not yet been confirmed scientifically, this route of transmission has not yet been fully investigated.
“Given the current scale of the outbreak in wild birds, ongoing losses of wildlife from other human pressures and the context of the wider nature and climate emergency, it is necessary to employ a precautionary approach to all possible vectors of this deadly new virus to our wildlife populations,” the organisation said.
The disease has already taken a heavy toll on great skuas, gannets and terns, but numerous other species are also affected, including puffins, white-tailed eagles, red kites, guillemots and black-headed gulls.
The RSPB said last week it was calling on Defra to put together a task force of experts including vets, virologists, ecologists and policy makers, just as occurred in 2005 when the first spike in bird flu occurred.
This would allow appropriate testing to understand what is happening and inform how to deal with it.
The RSPB’s Martin Fowlie told The Independent: “Over the last five months we’ve just seen an escalation in terms of the numbers and in terms of the geographic spread. Initially it was all concentrated up in north east Scotland and then we’ve seen cases spread south.”
The disease has now reached south west Wales, home to globally important populations of seabirds such as gannets and puffins.
Many of you know that live animal transport (exports) are one of our main issues.
Here are some stories and links, and videos, from ‘Animal Equality’. There is a lot to take on, and so at the end I have given a link for you to complete the reading.
The top right ‘wire globe’ (in the link) allows you to convert translation into several languages if you desire.
What are we doing to stop the transport of live animals?
The transport of live animals is one of the topics on which our team of researchers has focused the most in the last 10 years of research.
After a miserable life on a farm, every animal destined for human consumption ends up in the slaughterhouse.
But first, he is forced to endure another intolerable injustice: the transport phase.
A suffering that can last for days, weeks, months: an absurd journey towards death.
How many times have you traveled next to a truck from which you could glimpse, through small slits, animals crowded inside?
If you’ve ever encountered their eyes, you know what it means to see a living being suffer and not be able to do anything to ease their pain.
Because that is our job, what we have been doing tirelessly for more than 15 years around the world: we fight to end the suffering of animals raised for food.
To combat the transport of live animals, we are moving on several fronts: research is not enough, we need a precise strategy and that the institutions perceive us as authorised partners.
Here’s what we’re doing to counter the transport of live animals:
We have filed a complaint with the Directorate-General for Health of Agricultural Production;
We have filed a complaint that “is valid for an entire country”;
We have denounced and sanctioned non-compliant carriers whenever possible;
We have conducted 10 investigations in 10 years;
Thanks to our research work and political pressure, the Committee of Inquiry into the Transport of Live Animals (ANIT) was set up in the European Parliament;
We are working with ENPA and the Ministry of Health to increase roadside inspections.
THE LAWSUIT FOR IRREGULARITIES IN THE TRANSPORT OF LAMBS TO SAUDI ARABIA
Thanks to the images obtained during the shipment of lambs in the Port of Cartagena bound for Saudi Arabia that revealed acts of mistreatment, we were able to file a lawsuit with the General Directorate of Health of Agricultural Production.
The workers resorted to violence to force the lambs to move.
These practices are in breach of the European Union Regulation on the protection of animals during transport.
In addition to this demand, we also initiated a petition addressed to the European Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries demanding the end of long-distance transport that has already been signed by more than 46,000 people.
THE COMPLAINT AGAINST SPAIN
THE CASE OF DRIFTING BOATS
The case that has led us tothe decision to file a complaint with the European Commission against Spain is the one that affects the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah, which left the Spanish ports of Tarragona and Cartagena, respectively, in the spring of 2021.
On board these ships were hundreds of thousands of animals, specifically 895 cattle in the Karim Allah and 1789 calves in the Elbeik. The animals were to be sold in Tripoli (Libya), but once they were denied disembarkation due to an alleged animal disease, the boats were leftadrift and remained so for more than two months.
During these very long weeks, the animals traveled locked in pens in chilling hygienic conditions, going back and forth from one country to another, without the possibility of being unloaded in a port or even being able to rest or feed.
TheSpanish authorities – which would be responsible for enforcing EC Regulation 1/2005 regulating the protection of live animals during transport – did not take any measures to put an immediate end to the extreme suffering of animals on board.
All this despite the fact that the authorities were aware of the situation.
Already on February 18, 2021, when the karim Allah ship was near the port of Cagliari, Animal Equality – in collaboration with ENPA and the Foundation for Animal Welfare – sent a petition to the Italian Ministry of Health requesting an immediate inspection of the ship and livestock on board.
Following our request, the Ministry had scheduled an official inspection, but the ship left Italian territorial waters before it could be done.
In addition to this report, Animal Equality, again in collaboration with ENPA, sent two petitions to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture requesting urgent action to safeguard the health of animals still alive in karim Allah.
However, the Spanish Ministry did not react with the speed required by the case and did not immediately force the animals to be docked and unloaded, despite the fact that EC Regulation 1/2005 considers that it is a perfectly legitimate measure in case of infringement.
This decision came much later: the Karim Allah was forced to dock in the port of Cartagena after weeks of travel and the Elbeik, also in the same port, after three months of its departure.
In both cases, all the surviving animals were sacrificed, while others, in both the Karim Allah and the Elbeik, died on board. Some animals were also torn to pieces and thrown into the sea, according to the sources.
The condition of the animals was terrible: the cattle were injured, hungry, in obvious pain and dehydrated; some were in a state of stupor, unable to open their eyes or respond to stimuli.
Equally shocking were the conditions of the boats: the pens were overcrowded, in sanitary conditions so extremely inadequate that the animals could not even lie down; the pens were built with iron pipes with rusty and broken areas; the drinking troughs were closed and fodder and straw were totally absent, with numerous rodents present on the decks.
Animal Equality, in collaboration with ENPA, filed a complaint with the European Commission against Spain, pointing out the incorrect procedures and omissions carried out by the authorities of the ports of Tarragona and Cartagena, which should have controlled compliance with the minimum standards of protection of animals on board the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah.
We have asked the European Commission for an audit on the correct application of the Regulation on the protection of animal welfare during transport by the Spanish authorities and the possible opening of a procedure for infringement of European legislation.
In addition to bringing these testimonies to light, we have done much more:
We protest against the Spanish and port authorities, even filing a complaint with the European authorities against Spain for incorrect procedures and omissions on the part of the port authorities, which should have monitored compliance with the minimum animal protection standards. These practices are widely in breach of the EU regulation on the protection of animals during transport, which explicitly prohibits excessively long journeys without adequate veterinary care, food and water;
We have also submitted a petition to the European Parliament, asking MEPs to take the measures they deem appropriate to ensure compliance with EU legislation on the protection of animals during transport, with particular reference to their export by sea from Spain, and other affected Member States, to third countries.
UPDATE: THE COMMISSION HAS RESPONDED TO US!
A year has passed since our complaint against Spain to the European Commission and the sending of the petition to the European Parliament, which followed the case of the ships Elbeik and Karim Allah, left adrift for months by the omissions and incorrect procedures applied by the competent authorities.
A news that has confirmed, for the umpteenth time, the serious violations that the Spanish authorities continue to commit of European legislation on the welfare of live animals transported.
The Commission has finally responded to the comments we included in the petition to the European Parliament, specifying some measures it has taken or intends to take.
The European Commission has informed us that:
It will carry out 4 new audits, i.e. in-depth assessments, during 2022, including one in Spain;
The Commission has carried out audits in the Member States responsible for the authorisations granted to the Elbeik and Karim Allah vessels, namely Romania and Croatia, in order to clarify possible shortcomings related to the approval of the two vessels. What is clear from these findings is that these two vessels are not currently authorised to transport live animals;
The Commission is developing rules to step up official controls on cattle ships and at exit points from EU ports.
The Commission also gave us important news about Spain’s intentions:
“Spain has submitted to the Commission a series of corrective measures, including its protocol on the protection of animals during the export of livestock by ship, its new national legislation on the welfare of animals during transport and its working agreement with the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine of the Ministry of Transport to help the competent authority to carry out official controls for the granting of authorisations to ships.”
We are sincerely pleased that our request has been accepted and that Parliament has asked the Commission for explanations: although on this occasion the demands of animals have been taken into account, our work does not end there.
In fact, we have requested a copy of this document to know the deadlines and to be able to verify that these actions are really executed by Spain.
PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANT CARRIERS
The work of denouncing that we have carried out over the years has been crucial not only in paving the way for inspections by the authorities and obtaining sanctions, but also in supporting political and media pressure, in denouncing those responsible for animal offences and – very importantly – also in calling on the European Parliament to shed light on infringements of transport legislation.
There is frustration in Canada over plans to reduce fertiliser use to combat the climate crisis. The government wants a 30% reduction in emissions, and farm producer groups say that cutting nitrous oxide emissions can’t be done without reducing fertiliser use.
Meanwhile, Ireland has committed to a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2030 after a bitter political battle between farmers, business groups and environmentalists.
IMPORTANT – Indonesia is dealing with its first major outbreak of foot-and-mouth diseasein almost 40 years. Since May, more than 300,000 cases have been recorded across 21 provinces, prompting the Indonesian government to roll out a vaccine programme to inoculate healthy cattle.
French health authorities have confirmed a link between nitrates added to processed meat and colon cancer, dealing a blow to the country’s prized ham and cured sausage industry. The national food safety body, Anses, said its study of data published on the subject supported similar conclusions in 2015 from the World Health Organization.
A major US chicken company, Mountaire Farms, is reportedly asking its contract farmers to oppose a Biden administration proposal aimed at improving their conditions because the company says it would ultimately reduce farmer pay.
More than a million meat chickens are dying every week in the UK before reaching slaughter weight, according to a new report. An analysis of government figures by the animal welfare charity Open Cages reveals that about 64 million chickens die prematurely each year in the UK.
Poultry farmers should prepare for bird flu numbers to remain high over the winter and prepare accordingly, according to UK animal health officials. “We cannot drop our guard,” said Ian Brown, head of virology at the Animal and Plant Health Agency. “Prospects for the immediate future are not great.”
Bird flu has managed to do what animal rights activists have been trying to achieve for decades – with a little help from Brexit.
Lamb, pork and beef production in Britain is returning to pre-Covid levels, according to the latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. With the impact of the pandemic subsiding, prime lamb slaughterings for each of the first five months of 2022 were higher than the previous year.
More than half of all antibiotics sold and used in the United States do not go to treating people. Instead, they go to animal agriculture — where overuse of these drugs is now contributing to a huge upsurge in antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Factory farmers regularly dole out antibiotics in livestock’s water and food supplies, as part of a general mission to prevent infections and death among their pig, foul, cow, and other animal populations. Preventing infections is a huge concern, because factory farmers lock these animals in filthy, feces-covered, overcrowded conditions where diseases can easily run rampant. While corporate farmers could solve this problem by improving facility conditions, they’d rather continue to pack animals as tight as possible to keep profits high. So instead they pump the animals full of antibiotics. This has already had disastrous consequences for human health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tried to help reduce antibiotic use in agriculture, but with limited success. That’s partially because it hasn’t set many hard, enforceable rules. Recently, it began requiring farmers to work with veterinarians to administer certain antibiotics that it deems “medically important” for human use. But as long as a vet is willing to sign off on the treatment, there’s not much enforcement in place to stop misuse.
With the EU ban on cosmetics tests on animals came the promise of a Europe in which animals no longer suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics. That promise has been broken. Authorities still demand animal tests on ingredients used in cosmetics, which goes against the expectations and wishes of the public and the intention of legislators.
Yet, never have we had such powerful non-animal tools for assuring safety or such a golden opportunity to revolutionise human and environmental protection. The European Commission must uphold and strengthen the ban and transition to animal-free safety assessment.
We call on the European Commission to do the following:
1. Protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban. Initiate legislative change to achieve consumer, worker, and environmental protection for all cosmetics ingredients without testing on animals for any purpose at any time.
2. Transform EU chemicals regulation. Ensure human health and the environment are protected by managing chemicals without the addition of new animal testing requirements.
3. Modernise science in the EU. Commit to a legislative proposal plotting a roadmap to phase-out all animal testing in the EU before the end of the current legislative term.
French matador El Rafi performs a muleta pass on a fighting bull in the arena of Arles, southern France, on June 6, 2021 (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)
‘Immoral and archaic’: Animal rights activists eye bill to ban bullfighting in France
As thousands of bullfighting aficionados gather across southern France for traditional summer ferias, opponents of the practice are reviving their fight for an outright ban, confident that public opinion is finally on their side.
“I think the majority of French people share the view that bullfights are immoral, a spectacle that no longer has its place in the 21st century,” said Aymeric Caron, a popular former TV journalist and animal rights activist who was recently elected to parliament as part of the hard-left France Unbowed party.
For years, critics have sought a final legal blow against what they call a cruel and archaic ritual, but none of the draft bills presented have ever been approved for debate by National Assembly lawmakers.
French courts have also routinely rejected lawsuits lodged by animal rights activists, most recently in July 2021 in Nimes, home to one of France’s most famous bullfighting events.
But Caron, based in Paris, told AFP that the time was ripe for a new proposal given growing concerns about animal welfare, with a draft bill to be submitted this week.
“I do indeed hope this bill will be debated in parliament in November… it would be a first,” he said.
The prospect seems all the more likely after France Unbowed won dozens of new seats in recent elections, helping to strip President Emmanuel Macron of his centrist majority in parliament.
The goal is to modify an animal welfare law that allows exceptions for bullfights — as well as cock fighting — when it can be shown that they are “uninterrupted local traditions.”
Such exceptions are granted to cities including Bayonne and the mediaeval jewel of Mont-de-Marsan in southwest France near Spain, where the practice has its origins, and along the Mediterranean coast including Arles, Beziers and Nimes.
‘Respecting the animal’
For Caron, “it’s not a French tradition, it’s a Spanish custom that was imported to France in the 19th century to please the wife of Napoleon III, who was from Andalusia,” the countess Eugenie de Montijo.
That argument is unlikely to convince the jostling crowds who packed the streets of Bayonne for the bullfighting feria that ended Sunday, a sea of fans clad all in white except for bright red bandanas or sashes.
“The people who want to ban it don’t understand it. Bullfighting is a drama that brings you closer to death… You’re afraid, but that’s a part of life,” said Jean-Luc Ambert, who came with friends from the central Auvergne region.
Like many other fans, his friend Francoise insisted that bullfighting is an art as much as a sport, where “a man puts his life on the line, while respecting the animal.”
“We’re not trying to convert anyone — I just want the people against it to leave us alone,” she told AFP.
The guest star of the Bayonne feria, Spanish matador Alejandro Talavante, did indeed find an appreciative audience, with the crowd demanding the award of the bull’s ear for his performance.
It’s a conflict that echoes the widening rift in France between rural dwellers steeped in deep agriculture traditions, and Parisians and other urban residents accused of trampling on the country’s cultural heritage — often derided as “the Taliban of Paristan.”
Andre Viard, president of the national bullfighting association, shrugged off the threat of a ban.
“This comes up in every parliamentary session,” Viard told AFP of Caron’s efforts to find allies for the France Unbowed initiative.
“We tell the other parties: Why do you want to be associated with a bill that attacks a cultural freedom protected by the Constitution, and territorial identity?”
The debate echoes similar opposition in other countries with bullfighting histories, including Spain and Portugal as well as Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.
In June, a judge in Mexico City ordered an indefinite suspension of bullfighting in the capital’s historic bullring, the largest in the world.
Caron is banking on support from across the political spectrum, including top members of Macron’s party such as the head of his parliamentary group Aurore Berge, who was among 36 lawmakers who called for a bullfighting ban last year.
An Ifop poll earlier this year found that 77 percent of respondents approved of a ban, up from 50 percent in 2007.
“More and more people are concerned about animal suffering, including in bullfights,” Claire Starozinski of the Anti-Bullfighting Alliance told AFP, adding that many people don’t realise that the bulls are actually killed.
“I know there are MPs from other parties who will support me, and have said so,” Caron said — though he admitted that more mainstream lawmakers such as Berge might be reluctant to join his leftish campaign.
“Is she going to remain true to her convictions, or make a political calculation that prevents her from supporting me? That’s what will be at stake in the talks over the coming weeks and months.”
A New York animal sanctuary boss was arrested after she allegedly refused to return some missing cows to their owner.
Tracy Murphy of Asha’s Farm Sanctuary could face up to seven years in prison if convicted after a missing steer and heifer escaped from a nearby farm and ended up on her property.
New York State Police say that troopers visited the sanctuary in Niagara County, New York, on July 25 to retrieve the animals and return them to the farm.
But when they arrived at the sanctuary, Ms Murphy allegedly would not return them to the farmer.
So troopers with a search warrant seized the animals and returned them to the owner of McKee Farms,Scott Gregson, and took Ms Murphy into custody.
The 59-year-old appeared in court shackled and pleaded not guilty to third-degree grand larceny charge. She was then freed from Niagara County Jail.
“I don’t know how they got over there,” said Mr Gregson.
“My fence was secure, the electric was on, and the gates were all closed and there were no hoof prints or droppings so I don’t know how they got over there.”
He says that he initially called Ms Murphy and made arrangements to visit her and collect the animals. But he says when she refused to comply he called the State Police.
“All I wanted was for me to get my cattle back. Obviously, I made a complaint with the state police and they are pressing charges against her. I guess it’s up to the courts at this point,” he added.
Before her arrest, Ms Murphy had offered to pay for the animals and keep them at the sanctuary.
“Where do you think a Sanctuary would release the animals back to slaughter when they found their way here,” Murphy told WKBW. “We’re willing to waive any bordering, and we’re willing to give them top dollar for these animals.”
The incident has attracted the attention of Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix, a vocal animal rights activist, who told The Independent that he hoped Ms Murphy would be treated fairly and praised her “kindness.”
“There was an opportunity here to show compassion and mercy. To allow these peaceful creatures to remain without fear or anticipation of harm for the rest of their lives,” he said in a statement.
“What this merciful opportunity was met with was such a shame. I applaud Tracy for standing her ground in the name of animal liberation.
“To so harshly punish a woman who was simply showing kindness to two individuals who had wandered onto her property is astounding.”
ISLAMABAD: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a US-based animal rights non-profit organisation, has offered to help Pakistan implement humane practices in veterinary and medical schools and end animal testing in Pakistan through a series of reforms.
The offer was made during a zoom meeting between the prime minister’s strategic reforms adviser, Salman Sufi, and PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, Chief of the Science Advancement and Outreach Division Dr Katherine Roe and Vice President of International Laboratory Methods Shalin Gala on July 22, 2022.
PETA had approached Mr Sufi, after a viral video footage revealed veterinary students in at least three institutions in Pakistan were involved in inhumane practices on animals, such as operating on animals without anaesthetics and denying them post-operative care despite excruciating pain.
On June 30, Salman Sufi announced an initial set of historic strategic reforms that included barring animals from being used for live testing in any veterinary college or industrial complex in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
“This is a great start and we fully support this measure, and we agreed that more can and should be done since many of the veterinary schools are geographically outside of ICT and are not obligated to follow this new reform policy,” said PETA in a response.
It underscored Pakistan should issue a circular or a regulatory reform that explicitly embraced humane simulation training models for veterinary education and ban training methods that were not medically necessary and did not directly benefit animals involved at the federal level or through the Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council.
PETA cited numerous simulation models for both basic and advanced veterinary and zoology training, such as SynDaver Surgical Canine model, the Critical Care Jerry and Critical Care Fluffy models, the Virtual Animal Anatomy, and Biosphera softwares, to avoid harming animals during the training.
“As such, we are proposing a new collaboration with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Salman Sufi to help provide advanced simulation models so that universities in Pakistan can transition to harm-free and humane veterinary education. We are currently working with Salman Sufi to gather information and do an assessment of the universities’ needs with respect to acquiring simulation models so we can best plan how to assist them,” Ms Gala said.
In response to questions on areas of collaboration with Pakistan, PETA shared more topics that it was addressing with Mr Sufi, such as modernising medical training.
Shalin Gala said before the current Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) came into being, PETA was in communication with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to advise them on various reforms for their undergraduate medical (or MBBS) curriculum to replace the use of animals nationwide with non-animal methods.
According to Ms Gala, PETA had advised them to adopt its proposed curriculum reform language stating, “no animals or animal parts shall be used for any aspect of the MBBS curriculum including but not limited to practical labs, learning objectives, contents, teaching/learning strategy, teaching aids and assessments. Only non-animal teaching, learning, demonstration and assessment methods shall be used such as didactic methods, interactive computer-aided learning (CAL), human patient simulators (HPS), human cadavers, supervised clinical practice or other non-animal models”.
This reform, if enacted, would mirror similar reforms adopted internationally as well, she added.
“We would like for Pakistan’s MBBS curriculum to have the same non-animal training standard and use modern simulation technology. We hope to work with Salman Sufi to move this strategic reform forward, which will put Pakistan’s medical education system in sync with the US, Canada, India and others that no longer use animals for undergraduate medical training,” Ms Gala said.
In 2014, following discussions with PETA India, the University Grants Commission in India issued a notification ending dissection and experimentation, for training purposes, in university and college zoology and life sciences undergraduate and postgraduate courses, sparing 19 million animals in that country alone from being killed and cut apart for dissection every year.
PETA asserted its scientists were eager to work with Mr Sufi on setting up a national database in Pakistan for approved non-animal biomedical research and training methods, and drafting regulatory language that the use of animals for such purposes must be replaced by approved non-animal methods that appear in the database.
It also intended to assist conduct scientific reviews of the efficacy of animal use to identify additional areas in which such use had failed to advance human health, or in which non-animal methods were now available, and could be ended quickly.
While technical skills were important, it was also of the utmost importance to instill a culture of care in veterinary training. Creating a dichotomy between the animals used for training and the animal companions seen in an examination room did not benefit the veterinary profession, according to PETA.
“We are currently exploring ways to create materials relevant to Pakistani society and potentially incorporating this compassion-building programme into current school curricula,” the animal rights organisation said.
In response to a question on trafficking of animals, PETA said Mr Sufi mentioned his proposed reform to seize wildlife held in unsuitable living conditions and repatriate them to relevant countries for rehabilitation.