Day: March 10, 2023

Chernobyl leaves legacy of mutant dogs with genetics modified by nuclear disaster.

Dog in abandoned amusement park in ghost town Prypiat in Chernobyl exclusion zone© GETTY

Stray dogs living in the toxic ruins of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster are suffering from genetic variation and irradiation, a new study has found. Depending on their proximity to the nuclear accident, the report showed that the canines exhibited varying degrees of irradiation, with those closest to Chernobyl 200 times more likely to bear traces of cesium-137, though this disparity did not preclude procreation between them.

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Chernobyl leaves legacy of mutant dogs with genetics modified by nuclear disaster (

Regards Mark

Belgium: GAIA calls on Flemish Animal Welfare Minister to do his damned duty for caged hens.

10 March 2023

GAIA (Belgium)

In his own words, Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts said, “It is our damned duty to avoid animal suffering”. With new investigative footage, GAIA is calling on the Minister to turn his words into actions and ban enriched cages in Flanders for more than 3,000,000 laying hens currently confined to the space of an A4 piece of paper.

There are currently more than 3 million laying hens in cages in Flanders. The hens are locked up there for the duration of their lives – 13 months – in which time they have to produce as many eggs as possible. 

Footage released by GAIA from a laying hen farm in Sint-Gillis-Waas clearly demonstrates the problem of caged hens. Countless chickens are housed in unhygienic metal grid cages stacked on top of each other, too restricted to spread their wings properly.

The sanitary condition of the farm is deplorable and the metal grids cause a lot of injuries and suffering. The footage shows that the plumage of many chickens is damaged, and many chickens do not survive – carcasses are seen everywhere. 

Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, already banned cages for laying hens in 2018. 

Almost three-quarters of Flemish people (72%) agree that keeping chickens in cages should be banned, according to a 2022 study by Ipsos. 

At the end of February, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published their opinions on the welfare of laying hens and broilers. They clearly indicated that poultry should not be kept in cages and advise better living conditions, such as aviaries with covered outdoor areas or “winter gardens”, which are already used in some farms in Flanders.

Chickens are welfare-sensitive animals and deserve a better life, Mr. Minister. You know that yourself and it is your damned duty to avoid avoidable animal suffering, as you so aptly put it. We count on you to really get to work on this now, to take your role as Animal Minister to heart and to abolish the cages, starting with all cages for laying hens.

Ann De Greef, Director of GAIA

Read more at source


End The Cage Age

Regards Mark

EU: Civil society denounces opacity and lack of democratic debate on EU-Mercosur agreement.

9 March 2023

As Europe’s trade ministers gather on 9 March for an informal trade Council, environmental, animal protection and trade groups denounce the Commission’s closed-door negotiations with Mercosur countries that aim to push through a controversial Free Trade Agreement (FTA), that has been the subject of public outrage and been rejected by national parliaments across the EU.

The lack of democratic debate and transparency around the protocol further damages the legitimacy of the EU and risks weakening European and national parliaments’ ability to comprehensively debate the consequences of the trade agreement.

The EU-Mercosur FTA has been dormant since the European Parliament and some Member States have refused to ratify it “as it stands” following massive civil society mobilisations from across the EU and South America denouncing the FTA as a bad deal for people, animals and the planet, that prioritises corporate profits at the expense of planetary boundaries.

Yet again the Commission is showing its anti-democratic face by pushing the toxic EU-Mercosur deal across the finishing line. Despite public opposition from both sides of the Atlantic, the EU’s negotiators are still discussing the annex in complete secrecy. Parliaments and civil society play a crucial role in scrutinising trade agreements as they are being negotiated, not once when they are ratified and it’s too late to reverse the impacts it will have.

Audrey Changoe, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe

Now, the European Commission is seeking to revive stalled discussions with an “additional instrument” – or annex – that is being presented this week to Mercosur countries, despite proof of the rampant devastation of the Amazon.

The European Union’s push for ratification of the EU-Mercosur deal is not supported by public opinion. Three-quarters of Europeans want the deal to be scrapped if it leads to deforestation and environmental damage. Despite public concerns, the Commission refuses to share the content of the additional document and is discussing it behind closed doors.

European and South American civil society groups reiterate their calls to stop the deal and reject these additional annexes and protocols and call for a different kind of relationship between the continents. 

No greenwashed protocols or annexes can fix an inherently bad deal whose aim is to promote trade in products driving deforestation, land grabbing, massive pesticide use, carbon emissions and human rights violations. The good news is that an alternative model exists, which could both strengthen ties with the countries and populations of the Mercosur while basing our relations on sustainability and cooperation.

Leah Sullivan, Seattle to Brussels Network

The recent EU legislation on imported deforestation does not make the FTA acceptable, first and foremost because it cannot offset all the deforestation: it ignores many ecosystems that, just like the Amazon rainforest, are also destroyed by intensive animal agriculture. The scope of products it covers is very limited, as it does not include animal products derived from animals fed by soy on intensive farms. In addition, the EU still does not have any new import requirements related to animal welfare standards.

Stéphanie Ghislain, Political Affairs Manager at Eurogroup for Animals

Regards Mark