Category: Environmental

EU: Bad News for Wolves – European Parliament Votes to Downgrade Protection of Large Carnivores.

From Eurogroup for Animals:

The European Parliament votes to downgrade protection of large carnivores

24 November 2022

On 24 November, the European Parliament adopted a Joint Motion for Resolution calling for downlisting wolves’ protection status under the Bern Convention and threatening the continuous protection of large carnivores. These statements ignore scientific evidence and best practices demonstrating that coexistence is the solution.

The vote on the Joint Motion for Resolution on the protection of livestock farming and large carnivores in Europe took place on 24 November. The Resolution has been adopted with highly concerning amendments, calling for the conservation status of wolves under the Bern Convention to be downlisted and mentioning that flexibilities under the Habitats Directive should be explored further. We note that the Resolution does not call the European Commission to downgrade the protection status of wolves under the Habitats Directive from strict protection in Annex IV to protected in Annex V. However, it calls on the Commission to assess populations so that their protection status in particular regions can be adapted as soon as they reach a favourable conservation status. 

These calls, if implemented, would put wolves, large carnivores and other vulnerable species in the EU at high risk. Indeed, these statements ignore the threats on the survival of these species even when their populations increase to satisfactory levels. Downgrading protection of large carnivores has only one objective: generalise culling. However, we know it does not work! Reduction of livestock depredation has been successful thanks to preventive measures such as fencing and guarding dogs, not by killing emblematic species vital to healthy ecosystems. In addition, six out of nine wolf populations in Europe are still vulnerable or near threatened, favourable conservation status has not been reached in six out of 7 EU biogeographical regions.

We ask the European Commission not to implement the problematic measures suggested by the Resolution, and to continue protecting wild animals, including large carnivores, listed under the Habitats Directive for strict protection by promoting coexistence, the only viable solution. This is in line with the results of the European Commission Fitness Check evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directives that concluded both Directives are sufficient and fit for purpose to achieve the objectives. We also welcome the calls of the Resolution to strengthen funding for preventive measures.


and yesterday …………………………….

Joint Motion for Resolution on wolves and large carnivores will be voted by the European Parliament this Thursday 24 November in the November Plenary session in Strasbourg

23 November 2022

This resulted from campaigns seeking to downgrade legal protection for wolves and large carnivores, and use culling as a strategy to prevent livestock depredation.

The Habitats Directive provides for the strict protection of large carnivores including wolves and provides sufficient flexibility. The European Commission reiterated that the Directive is fit for purpose. Efforts led by the EU and Member States to protect wolf populations are successful and led to an increase in the number of individuals. This is a positive trend since wolves are essential species in keeping their ecosystems healthy and play a key role in maintaining biodiversity in the EU. This conservation success on some populations should be celebrated as an encouraging sign of recovery. Importantly, wolves must still face a number of threats and still need to be protected. Hundreds of wolves are currently killed each year in the EU although some populations are considered as vulnerable and nearly threatened. 

As the European Commission clarified several times, the strategy for wolves and large carnivores management should focus on coexistence measures. Mitigation strategies have proven to be more effective to protect biodiversity, livestock and farmers. For instance, in France and Sweden, the number of attacks is decreasing despite the increasing number of wolves, partly thanks to fencing and other preventive measures. Besides an improved access to such measures such as fencing and guarding dogs, appropriate compensation schemes should be in place across the EU in a view to achieve coexistence. 

We therefore call on MEPs to ensure that the Joint Motion for Resolution does not undermine the conservation and protection of large carnivores, including wolves.

For more information, read our joint letter co-signed by the Humane Society International/Europe, Birdlife, IFAW, the European Environmental Bureau, WWF and ProWidlife and Eurogroup for Animals.


 Regards Mark

USA: Take Action Against the DAPL – violating Indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights, and posing a constant threat to the Missouri River.

Photo – KeithTurrill/Alamy

Dear Mark,

Each day the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues to operate, it violates Indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights and poses a constant threat to the Missouri River — a crucial water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes as well as much of the United States.

Last year a federal court ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the environmental impacts of the pipeline before the project can proceed. But, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is refusing to make many of their most critical findings public, especially relating to the effects of a potential oil spill and the effectiveness of spill response plans.

Showing the immense risk that this pipeline poses is an important step in the fight to end the threat DAPL poses to people and the environment. This information is crucial to understanding the immense risk this pipeline poses. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has access to data from the Department of Transportation (DOT) — but they won’t make it public.

Urge the Army Corps and the Department of Transportation to reveal the true impacts of a potential oil spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline on frontline Indigenous communities and the environment today.

DAPL crosses the Missouri River one-eighth of a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation and travels under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is the primary water source for the Reservation. The risk of a spill poses an immense threat to the Reservation drinking water system as well as crucial fish and wildlife habitats that provide food for residents of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assessing the environmental impacts of the pipeline, the results of which will likely be revealed next year, the pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) — a company with a disastrous history of pipeline safety violations — wants to double the flow rate of the pipeline to nearly a million barrels a day . This will inevitably put more pressure on the pipeline, increase the risk of oil spills, and risk the safety of the Tribes’ water sources — and makes it even more vital that the Army Corps produces a fair assessment of the impacts of the pipeline in order to head off this threat.

The continued operation of the pipeline and the lack of transparency that is playing out in the review is an environmental justice issue, as the communities being affected the most by the pipeline’s operation and who would be first responders to a potential spill are being left out of the assessment process.

Sincerely,

Matthew McKinzie
Senior Director of Planning and Operations, NRDC

Take Action

Help fight the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect Indigenous rights! | NRDC

Regards Mark

Food Systems Transformation is Brewing at UNFCCC COP27.

Food systems transformation is brewing at UNFCCC COP27

17 November 2022

While food systems does not yet have the place it deserves on this year’s COP27 agenda in Sharm el-Sheikh, it was addressed in important side-sessions.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held an event on ‘Climate Resilience in Food Systems – why act now?’ where it was recognised that food systems, despite their significant impact on emissions, have been lacking at the climate meetings. The panel projected that food systems would get a stronger place on the COP agenda next year. 

In fact, COP27 was the first time that the UNFCCC has endorsed food systems pavilions to be set up in the ‘Blue Zone’ and that 12 November was a thematic day dedicated to agriculture. The extensive programme in the Food4Climate pavilion, sponsored by a number of organisations including Eurogroup for Animals’ members’ Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS and World Animal Protection, addressed a series of important topics related to animal agriculture and plant-based diets. 

Compassion in World Farming launched the new global petition ‘End of the Line for Factory farming’, calling on the UN and global leaders for a UN global agreement to end factory farming and reduce the consumption of meat and animal products.

Without ending factory farming, we simply cannot tackle the growing climate emergency” – Ben Williamson, U.S Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming

Above – CIWF Campaign Launch

Compassion in World Farming together with FOUR PAWS arranged the event ‘Tackling Climate Change through better Livestock Management Systems’. Martina Stephany, International Director Farm Animals and Nutrition at FOUR PAWS, gave examples of how the meat and dairy industry seeks to reduce methane emissions through techno-fixes such as feed additives.

It shows that the industry wants to further adapt the animals to a sick system rather than let the animals live the way they normally would live”, she said

Martina Stephany also called on governments to stop financing factory farms and to use public money to help farmers transition to better animal welfare systems or to produce more plant-based food.

World Animal Protection presented the new report ‘Climate change and cruelty – the true impact of factory farming’ in a session that showcased the impact of intensive animal agriculture on climate change in Africa as well as U.S farmers applying the principles of a just transition and showing that there are alternative ways of producing food.

Below – Food 4 Climate Pavillion 

World Animal Protection, together with Eurogroup for Animals, also hosted a side-event on ‘Transitioning agriculture systems for sustainability and climate resistance’ bringing together experts in food, climate and animal welfare to discuss why a Just Protein Transition to plant-based proteins and agroecological farming is critical. James Yeates, CEO of World Federation for Animals, spoke about how improved animal welfare and more plant-based diets have climate change mitigation benefits, stressing also the role of marine animal welfare.

Sophika Kostyniuk, Managing Director of Aquatic Life Institute, spoke at the Food Systems Pavilion event ‘Innovation and Technology in Water and Aquatic Food Systems’, emphasising that 2-3 trillion aquatic animals are killed for human consumption every year and that their welfare must be part of the food system transition.

Above – World Animals Protection and Eurogroup for Animals

Other signs that food systems are gaining traction at the climate talks could be seen in the Nordic Pavilion, hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers, which had a ‘food systems take-over’ on agriculture day to bring food production, agriculture and diets to the front and centre of climate action. 

On the same day, the Singapore pavilion had an event on ‘Alternative Proteins: Boosting Sustainable Food Security Resilience through Science’ addressing both plant-based food and cellular agriculture. Singapore is the first country to have started serving cultivated meat and Low Teng Yong, Branch Head for Risk Assessment and Communications from Singapore Food Agency, spoke about Singapore’s innovation programme and the regulatory process for bringing cultivated meat to market.

In short, food systems transformation is brewing at COP27 but it still has to make its way up on the agenda to get the attention it deserves in order for the world to limit global warming.

Regards Mark

England: Robin Photos From Pauline.

We were just talking about these – I asked if Pauline had noticed that in one photo the bird has a leg ring fitted.

Pauline did notice and said that these pictures were taken at the Sevenoaks (Kent) wildlife trust nature reserve.

Guessing they may have ringed him for monitoring purposes.

Regards Mark and Pauline.

Some past robin photo links:

USA: The Miami Seaquarium Starved Dolphins, Just to Force Them to Entertain Humans. Take Action Here.

A shocking new report confirms many activists’ worst suspicions: animal abuse and cruelty have run rampant at the Miami Seaquarium. According to the report, many of the facility’s dolphins were chronically underfed and deprived of food in an effort to ensure they would perform for guests.

The situation was so dire that the zoo cut nine dolphins’ daily food rations by a whopping 60%, and one dolphin lost more than 100 pounds. These intelligent, social animals should not even be in tanks to begin with, and the fact that they were forced to endure additional cruelty is terrifying.

The Miami Seaquarium has proven that it does not care about animals. It must send its captive animals to sanctuaries now. Sign now to demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture protect dolphins by shutting down the Miami Seaquarium for good!

There is absolutely no reason this facility should remain open for even one more day. Sign the petition.

petition: The Miami Seaquarium Starved Dolphins for Entertainment (thepetitionsite.com)

Regards Mark

Eurogroup for Animals – We’re joining Compassion in World Farming to ‘End of the Line for Factory Farming’

12 November 2022

CIWF

From Eurogroup for Animals:

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), addressed the attendees of COP27 this morning to call for a Global Agreement on Food and Farming, as part of a new campaign they’re calling the ‘End of the Line for Factory Farming’.

Their goal? To ‘bring factory farming and high meat consumption to the end of the line once and for all’.

It’s an ambition we share. At Eurogroup for Animals, we’ve been lobbying to reduce meat consumption by 70% by 2030 in the EU/UK, as well as for food system transformation that shifts away from industrial agriculture to agroecology: a farming system in which nature is respected and high animal welfare standards are prioritised.

CIWF’s amazing initiative is therefore one that we’re delighted to support… and it’s off to a powerful start. Representatives from the NGO called on policymakers today at this year’s global climate conference to take action urgently, with evidence showing that intensive farming systems pose a huge threat to the planet.

A leading source of suffering for farm animals across the world – not to mention a key driver of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation – industrial farming systems are at the heart of significant issues that world leaders can no longer afford to ignore.

Use your voice: call for the end of intensive farming systems

A report commissioned by CIWF last month, covering 13 UN regions and surveying over 14,000 participants, indicates that an overwhelming majority of the public has a negative view of factory farming. Among other things, they believe that industrial systems put profit ahead of:

Animal welfare (69%)

The climate and environment (63%).

Rife with cruelties and terrible consequences for our nature and climate, there’s no place for intensive farming systems in our future. Sign CIWF’s petition today and join their global movement to end factory farming, to support:

Higher standards of farmed animal welfare

A ‘shift to nature-positive farming systems’ that focus on building biodiversity, protecting soils and more

A reduction in the consumption of animal products, as well as more ‘secure access to nutritious food’

Fair livelihoods for farmers and protected rights for ‘indigenous peoples, women, and vulnerable communities’

Financial and regulatory support for the transition away from intensive farming to CIWF’s proposed new, nature and animal-friendly model.

Let’s change the farming industry for the better

We’re proud to support CIWF alongside other amazing NGOs, including our members Djurens Rätt and World Animal Protection.

“The science is clear that we need to reduce the number of animals farmed and eat more plant-based products if we are to have a chance to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” says our Political Adviser for Food Policy, Camilla Björkbom. “Ending factory farms is also important for the sake of animals themselves, as they suffer greatly within them. We need a farming system which focuses much more on plants, and respects the needs of all animals.”

We’re excited to help this movement grow. Will you be a part of it?

Regards Mark

England: Right and Wrong Ways To Make Your Voice Heard. Show Some Respect and Dignity.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11360879/Animal-rights-protester-stood-naked-Harrods-speaks-against-modern-eco-zealots.html

RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

‘Never have I ever regretted flying the flag for vegans as much as I do now after seeing this pathetic and unacceptable attempt at protesting. Back in my day at least we had the common decency to show some respect and dignity.’ 

She protested the fur trade by standing naked outside Harrods almost every day for a year in 2015, paid upwards of £10,000 to advertise for her cause and lost her hair as a result of her vegan diet

She protested the fur trade by standing naked outside Harrods almost every day for a year in 2015.

The mother and childcare worker has done everything in her power to promote veganism. But even she says the current eco zealots who are wreaking havoc on the streets of London need to be stopped. Or at the very least, redirected

She fears she won't see the end of the fur trade in her lifetime, but remains hopeful for change

Ms Porter’s activism is often shocking and she wants it to lead to discussion – but she says she did not go out of her way to cause major disruption like current protesters

 ‘It has almost cost me my sanity’: Animal rights protester who stood naked outside Harrods reveals the true toll of her activism… but her only regret is sharing her cause with ‘pathetic’ modern eco-zealots

  • Heidi Porter has no regrets about her activism, despite admitting it has ‘cost me my sanity many times’
  • But even she says the current eco zealots wreaking havoc on the streets of London are in the wrong
  • She said the new crop of activists turned on her because her own views didn’t align exactly with theirs 
  • Ms Porter’s comments come amid a month of chaos in the United Kingdom due to repeated protests 

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Eco activists targeted the world famous Girl with a Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer in the Netherlands in the latest brazen gallery attack

Below – This is the moment a passerby intervened with a paint-wielding protester vandalised the MI5 building on Millbank, London, on Monday morning.

Police intervened after Tez Burns, 34, sprayed orange paint on the exterior of the MI5 building on Marsham Street.

There is right and wrong Direct Action.

Having been involved myself with direct action, you need to get public support on your side by facts and education, not by destruction.

Regards Mark

Below – Myself and Barb protest at Dover (England) against the live export of baby calves destined for the veal crates of Europe.

Sweden: Djurens Rätt proposes 10 measures for increased fish welfare.

2 November 2022

Djurens Rätt

In a new white paper, our member organisation Djurens Rätt describes serious animal welfare deficiencies affecting fish in aquaculture and wild capture fisheries, and proposes ten measures for increased fish welfare.

While it is well established that fish can feel pain and suffer, they are often treated as if they were emotionless beings. There are more than 30,000 species of fish, with both common and species-specific behaviours, needs and incredible abilities.

For human consumption, fish are either raised in factories (known as aquaculture or fish farms) or caught in wild capture fisheries. In both these industries, fish are measured in tonnes and not in numbers, which makes it difficult to know exactly how many fish are affected. It is estimated that around one to two thousand billion (one to two trillion) fish are caught and killed each year globally in fisheries. In fish farming, the corresponding figure is 50-150 billion.

We must treat fish as the sentient individuals they are, it is unsustainable to talk about expanding fish factories when there are already so many animal welfare deficiencies. For example, fish raised in Swedish fish factories are still subjected to painful carbon dioxide stunning before slaughter. Action is needed against this suffering and to increase fish welfare.

Camilla Bergvall, President of Djurens Rätt

Djurens Rätt launched the White Paper during a webinar on fish welfare on Wednesday 26th October. The White Paper lists ten of the most important measures that need to be implemented in order to improve the situation for fish: 

1. Fish must increasingly begin to be seen and treated as the living, sentient individuals they are.
2. A strengthened animal welfare legislation for fish at EU level.
3. A strengthened animal welfare legislation for fish at national level.
4. A ban on carbon dioxide stunning at fish slaughter.
5. More resources for research on fish welfare at slaughter.
6. Fish caught in wild capture fisheries must be subject to animal welfare legislation.
7. Certifications of fish products must include relevant fish welfare criteria.
8. A ban on bottom trawling and beam trawling.
9. The National Agency for Public Procurement must add animal welfare criteria to their fish standard, for example regarding stunning and slaughter.
10. The EU Commission must establish a European Fish Welfare Reference Centre.

Read more at source

Djurens Rätt White Paper: Ten measures for increased fish welfare

Regards Mark

England: Pictures Of the (Now) Rare Red Squirrel From Animal Buddy Pauline.

These beautiful pictures of the Red Squirrel were sent to me by animal buddy and good friend Pauline, who captured these shots during a recent break.  Sadly, outnumbered and dominated by the larger Greys, the Red is rather a rare sighting in the UK now days.  Here below is some info and links I have gathered associated with the red.

Red squirrels need woodland to survive and can be found in coniferous, broadleaved and mixed woodland. They were once found across the UK, but have disappeared from most of the country due to the introduction of grey squirrels. Now red squirrels are confined to Scotland, pockets of northern England and Wales and small islands off England’s south coast. The species can still be found across much of Ireland, but its range is shrinking there too.

Red squirrels have undergone one of the most drastic declines of all UK mammals. This is largely due to the introduction of non-native grey squirrels in the early 20th century. The larger greys are able to outcompete reds and they also carry the squirrelpox virus, which they are immune to, but which is fatal to reds.

Reds have now disappeared from most of England and Wales. There are an estimated 287,000 red squirrels in Britain, compared to 2.7 million greys. The Woodland Trust is helping to conserve the red squirrel by protecting its habitat. We support grey squirrel management in red-squirrel areas  

We have also backed research that suggests the recovery of pine martens could help boost red squirrel numbers.

Check out all you need to know about Red Squirrels by visiting:

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) – Woodland Trust

Video:

More info from Wikipedia:

Red squirrel – Wikipedia

I only get Greys into my garden, which is located in SE England.  Here is a picture of the Grey so that you can compare.  They are larger in size.

The red squirrel has a typical head-and-body length of 19 to 23 cm (7+12 to 9 in), a tail length of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in), and a mass of 250 to 340 g (9 to 12 oz). Males and females are the same size. The red squirrel is somewhat smaller than the eastern grey squirrel which has a head-and-body length of 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) and weighs between 400 and 800 g (14 oz and 1 lb 12 oz).

Compare to the pictures of the larger Grey:

Regards Mark (and Pauline)