Category: Environmental

Wild horses – they’re back!

The Przewalski horse population continues to grow. At the end of 2020, 487 animals of the endangered horse breed lived in the Xinjiang region in the far northwest of the People’s Republic of China.

The coat color varies from gray-yellow to red-brown © IMAGO / Xinhua

For a long time the Przewalski horse was considered the only wild horse species that still exists today.
Research has shown, however, that the horses of the Mongolian steppe with the characteristic long mane and flour nose are wild descendants of the first domesticated horses – which of course does not make Przewalski, which is on the Red List of Endangered Species, any less worthy of protection .

The news that the wildlings are increasing in their original homeland is all the more gratifying.

The population of the endangered Przewalski horses is growing again. © Erdenebayer | pixabay.com

Gone and yet back

The last free-living Przewalski horse was sighted in Mongolia in 1969. Since then, the Thakis have been considered extinct in the wild.
They had been hunted to extinction for their fur and meat and lost their habitat to grazing cattle.

The survival of the Przewalski horses is solely thanks to breeding programs in zoos and breeding centers.
The horses have been released back into the wild since the 1990s. In the meantime, several hundred Przewalski horses gallop through the grassy steppes of Mongolian protected areas.

Eel line and standing mane: Przewalski horses © IMAGO / Anka Agency International

In Mongolia, there are more than 500 wild Przewalski’s horses,with an adult population of 178 horses.

Exceptionally few captive Przewalski horses succeeded through the 1950s, and the last sighting of a wild individual occurred in 1969.

The species was listed as extinct from the wild in the 1960s until reintroduction programs began.
The species’ status has improved from extinct in the wild, followed by critically endangered, to a still-precarious endangered.

They are still considered critically endangered.

Like all wild horses, Przewalski’s horses live in small family groups consisting of a stallion, three to five mares and young foals.
Males without their own mares form their own “bachelor” groups. Bachelor horses fight bitterly for the right to mate and have their own group of mares (called harem).
They keep the rest of their herd in sight at all times and communicate through lots of noises, ear twitches and odor markings.

The Przewalski’s horse is a subspecies of Equus ferus and is considered to be the domestic horse’s closest relative.
It is a cousin to zebras and the wild ass, which also falls under the Equidae family.

The split between Przewalski’s horse species and the ancestors of domestic horses happened somewhere between 120,000 and 240,000 years ago.

The beautiful wild horses owe their name – pronounced Pschewalski – to the Russian researcher Nikolai Michailowitsch Przhevalsky.
He discovered the largely unknown horses during his expeditions to Central Asia at the end of the 19th century.
But even then the wild horses had become rare.

Scientists do not quite agree whether the Przewalski horses are actually real wild horses, i.e. were never domesticated.
A genetic study from 2018 suggests that horses in Mongolia may have been domesticated several thousand years ago and only then went wild again.
A later study again supports the hypothesis that they are real wild horses after all.

https://www.treehugger.com/przewalskis-horse-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-last-wild-horses-4863638https://blog.wwf.de/wildpferde-fakten-przewalski-pferd/

And I mean…Horses play an important role in the culture of Mongolia. Przewalski’s horses, in particular, symbolize the national heritage and culture of this country.

Otherwise called the Mongolian wild horse, this mammal is an object of various folk tales. In this country, Przewalski’s horses are considered the riding mounts of the Gods and are hence called “takhi”, literally meaning “spirit” or “holy”.

These animals possess very sharp hooves, which they use in digging the ground, typically in search of a water source in their dry habitat.
There have been found prehistoric, 30,000 years old cave paintings in Spain and France, which feature sturdy ungulates, closely resembling those currently known as Przewalski’s horses.

Community members form very close bonds between each other. They feed together and practice mutual grooming. Communication system of Przewalski’s horses includes neighing calls, which display threat submission or frustration.
Additionally, these neighing calls are used to alert group members of a predator.

It is very good news to learn that the population of these intelligent and beautiful animals is growing.
In fact, there isn’t a single animal species that shouldn’t grow.
There is only one whose growth threatens all others.

My best regards to all, Venus

Scotland: First Minister Says (Proposed) Cambo Oil Field Should Now NOT Be Given the Green Light to Proceed Due To Climate Issues.

In relation to our very recent post regarding (S)hell moving to the UK – see the climate activist video in this:

NL / UK: Shell; Eco Destroyers, Pull the Plug on the NL and Ready Instead for the UK. Watch the Environmentalist Girl Do Her Bit With the CEO On Video – Welcome Mr CEO to the UK ! – World Animals Voice

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland has now stated that the proposed oil field in Scottish waters should NOT be given the green light to proceed.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon the first minister told MSPs that the new field, at Cambo off Shetland, “could not and should not pass any rigorous climate assessment”.

It comes after climate campaigners urged her to get off the fence on the issue. She had previously said the development should be reassessed but stopped short of saying it should be cancelled.

“I don’t think we can go on extracting oil and gas forever, and I don’t think we can continue to give the go ahead to new oil fields.

“I have set out a proposal for a climate assessment and I think the presumption would be that Cambo could not and should not pass any rigorous climate assessment.”

Source:

Cambo: Nicola Sturgeon says new oil field should be blocked on climate grounds (msn.com)

Regards Mark

China Outbreak Fears as 18 ‘High Risk’ Viruses Found In Wet Markets: ‘Pandemic Waiting’.

China outbreak fears as 18 ‘high risk’ viruses found in wet markets: ‘Pandemic waiting’ (msn.com)

China outbreak fears as 18 ‘high risk’ viruses found in wet markets: ‘Pandemic waiting’

The Huanan Seafood Market where traders sold live mammals, reptiles and fish was linked to the initial outbreak of coronavirus in 2019. According to British scientist Dr Eddie Holmes, Chinese experts had highlighted the risk of a virus “spilling over” from animals to humans five years before the start of the pandemic. Now experts have sounded the alarm over history repeating itself.They warn that wildlife species that are traded sold and consumed in China’s wet markets are a “pandemic waiting to happen”.

A new study published on November 12, has identified 71 mammalian viruses, including 18 “high risk” that could be dangerous to humans and other animals.

According to the researchers, the most worrying was the microbes found in civets, a small nocturnal animal.

This species is believed to have carried the SARS coronavirus from bats to humans in China in 2002.

Co-author of the study, Edward Holmes, said: “This study highlights exactly why the wildlife trade and live animal markets are a pandemic accident waiting to happen.

“This paper also shows that humans regularly transmit their viruses to other animals. There’s clearly two-way virus traffic.”

Experts have also identified cross-species transmission of animal viruses with the most worrying being the transmission of a bat coronavirus to a civet.

Professor Holmes added: “A further species jump from civets into humans could easily start a major outbreak.

“The animals sold as game in live animal markets carry a wide range of viral pathogens.

“The right virus in the right animal at the right time could easily trigger a global pandemic.”

The origin of COVID-19 remains a mystery.

But recent analysis does suggest that closely-related viruses are much more widely distributed than previously believed.

The report, written by Etienne Simon-Loriere of the Pasteur Institute in Paris and Veasna Duong of the Pasteur Institute International Network in Phnom Penh, was based on two samples obtained from horseshoe bats in Cambodia.

Their conclusions suggest similar coronaviruses may be endemic in large areas of south-east Asia.

The report, published by Scientific journal Nature last week, highlights horseshoe bats (genus Rhinolophus) as the “main natural reservoir” of SARS-related coronaviruses, also named Sarbecoviruses2.

It states: “Indeed, a high diversity of coronavirus species have been found in Rhinolophus bats collected in several provinces of China.

“To date, the closest relatives to SARS-CoV-2 were identified from horseshoe bats sampled in the Yunnan province, southern China.”

When will politicians actually take note and vent their anger at China killing so many around the world ?

Regards Mark

NL / UK: Shell; Eco Destroyers, Pull the Plug on the NL and Ready Instead for the UK. Watch the Environmentalist Girl Do Her Bit With the CEO On Video – Welcome Mr CEO to the UK !

WAV Comment – Is being in the EU everything ‘they’ wish it to be ?

Maybe others need to do a ‘Brexit’ and take back some of their own national control; and pride !

Once Shell move entirely to the UK, campaigners can really start on them and show what their alleged climate action is all about.

There is an obvious reason for the move, and I would have a slight haphazard guess that it is something to do with money and possibly orders from the Dutch courts.

Who knows the real reasons ? – we never will; but for the future, welcome Shell to the UK; people are ready for you;

Like this for example:

Recent information:

‘Losing Dutch pride because of EU’ Nexit fury as Shell chooses Brexit Britain as new home (msn.com)

Dutch government only has itself to blame for Shell move to UK (msn.com)

Some of our recent posts relating to Shell:

The video is worth a watch:

UK; Twas The Night Before COP26 – British Comedian Joe Lycett Holds ‘Shell’ (Oil Giant) To Account For Their Green Sales Techniques. He Literally Talks Shit ! – World Animals Voice

Netherlands: ‘The climate has won today’ – Shell ordered to cut CO2 emissions by 45% in landmark climate case. – World Animals Voice

Regards Mark

UK (Scotland): How the ‘Eat Local’ Food Myth Led to COP26’s Menu Failure.

WAV Comment:   Thanks as always to Stacey at Our Compass for sending us the article.

https://our-compass.org/author/ourcompasses/

This is of special interest as I (Mark) have been dealing with the issue of plant based foods (or not) on the menu at COP26.  See the link here:

October 8th;

England: Vegan Food At COP26. Why None ? – WAV Now Write To MP and Ask Him To Contact Mr Sharma For Responses. Keep Ramping It Up Sort Of Thing ! – World Animals Voice

Today (15/11) I have still had nothing back from anyone associated with my request to my MP / Alok Sharma.

UK: Ever Visited Your GP With A Cough And Then Been Prescribed 20 Cigarettes A Day ? – World Animals Voice

UK: UN COP26 Climate Summit – vegan eating can reduce food-related carbon emissions by 73%. Eating meat and dairy is part of what got us into this mess. So Why No Vegan Food At the Summit ???? – Take Action Below. – World Animals Voice

UK: COP26 – ‘You Can’t Be A Meat-Eating Environmentalist’ Declares New (Bus) Campaign (In Glasgow) Aimed At COP26. Go Vegan !! – Also, Don’t Have Blood On Your Hands ! – World Animals Voice

The article below shines a lot more light on the food / menu served at COP26 – I think you will find it interesting; info which goes above and beyond the fancy spin put out at the conference to make us normal people think that they, the conference goers are all so plant based environmentalists.

Please read and absorb.

Here is a link to actions undertaken by Viva! (England) which also relate to COP26 activism:

Viva! Campaigns Newsletter (mailchi.mp)

More reading:

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cop26-food-menu-criticised-mostly-25372431

Regards Mark

————————————————

Stopping animal exploitation does not require any human benefit, people don’t need profit to be opposed to human exploitation, the same is true for animals. However, given that nonvegans live on a planet hurtling towards destruction and potential extinction, you would hope people would at least embrace a plant-based diet, if not for them, then for their children.

Using plastic straws and reducing animal consumption is the same as doing nothing. it’s meaningless “baby steps” that will result in the same planetary destruction: don’t pretend to support the disingenuous nonsense that consuming animals is “environmentally friendly”, the scientific data has proven time and again that consuming NO animals is ideal for the environment despite the cherry-picking animal farmers/consumers/execs desperately manipulate to satisfy their greedy agendas: as I have asked previously, if you’re vegan, where will you get the decomposing flesh, rotten blood, bacteria, parasites, disease, necrotic organs, feces, gore, and pus to maintain an environmentally stable position? See? Ludicrous.

I’m not asking anyone to do more than I do, but even if you don’t care about justice or decency for animals – for whom veganism is a moral imperative versus a plant-based diet – at least care about the human ones. SL

Source Sentient Media

By Caroline Christen

he 2021 United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) hosted by the UK in Glasgow is drawing to a close. As the conference unfolded, environmental advocates criticized COP26 for serving animal products instead of a more climate-friendly, plant-based menu.

While the COP26 menu includes vegan haggis, mushroom risotto, and lasagna topped with plant-based cheddar, it also offers beef burgers and haggis made from sheep offal. More than half of the menu’s items contain meat, dairy, fish, and eggs, according to Levy, the company in charge of catering at COP26.

Despite the accelerating climate crisis, yet another COP conference chose to serve attendees some of the world’s most climate-damaging foods. A closer look reveals that livestock producers were selected as suppliers for a simple reason: being based within 100 miles of Glasgow. The COP26 menu failure is a direct result of the “Eat Local” myth, the misguided belief that locally sourced foods are ecologically superior to imported foods regardless of their other qualities.

Continue on next page.

England: The Fight To Get Better For Feral Pigeons. By Mark (WAV).

The press took up the issue and covered it well. I spoke in defence of the birds as always !

Personal experience has shown me that, although many ‘officials’; the top people who work in regional authorities, regardless of their position and title; do not really have much a clue when it comes to pigeon management in their area.  This includes reproduction, feeding and general issues which affect them and the birds welfare.

Venus travels several miles each day to her local town to give feed to pigeons in need.  With so many clampdowns at the moment; her actions are literally a matter of life or death to many of these birds.

Some people call them ‘vermin’ or ‘flying rats’; but at the end of the day, they have a reason to exist as part of ‘the system’; are sentient creatures, and thus should be treated as such.

Feral pigeons are like stray dogs and cats; people in authority often (very wrongly) have the mindset, and undertake the principle that, if you kill of all (or as many as possible) of the birds in ‘your’ town or region, then they have largely resolved your pigeon ‘problem’ and will become a bird free town or region.

WRONG – just like the issue of stray dogs, culling pigeons often only largely eradicates the older and generally sicker, non breeding birds.  But, by undertaking a cull, it lets the younger, healthier, and very reproductive birds remain in the area, or move into the area which will be new to them; in their search for more / better food; thus; just like killing stray dogs and cats, the ‘problem’ of bird numbers actually increases populations in an area rather than decreasing it.

I am not a pigeon specialist, but I have worked with, and know a man that is.  His name is Guy and he is the founder of PICAS, set up in here in Southern England many years ago.  I learned a lot about pigeon management from Guy.

I had the pleasure of getting to know (and respect) Guy when we worked together to fight for the pigeons in my (then) local town.  His advice and expertise on the subject has always remained with me; just like the pigeon numbers that have remained or increased in the town as the local authority did not take his / our advice on pigeon management and control techniques; which I outline below.

PICAS stands for the Pigeon Control and Advisory Service, and their web site can be found at:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control (picasuk.com)

Why lethal control fails:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Why Lethal Bird Control Fails (picasuk.com)

“Pigeons control their own numbers very effectively according to the volume of food available to them. An adult pair of pigeons will usually breed 4-6 times a year but can breed more frequently in optimum conditions, producing 2 young each time. If, however, the food supply reduces and there is only sufficient food available to support the existing flock, adult birds may only breed once or twice a year or possibly not at all. Pigeons will not breed if there is insufficient food to service the needs of their young.

If the food supply increases for any reason (following a cull for example), pigeons will breed continuously until the flock reaches the point where it is fully exploiting the food available to it. In other words, there is a minor population explosion each time a cull takes place.

The end result is an estimated 15% -30% increment in flock size over and above the pre-cull figure.

Commercial values have now overtaken good working practice in the pest control sector with pest control contractors recommending culling at every opportunity; as a direct result of this stance pigeon numbers throughout the UK continue to rise year on year. This is clearly not in the interest of those experiencing problems with pigeons (and other species of wild bird) and it is yet another example of the pest control industry putting profit before client’s needs”.

After a full visit and review of the local town site, Guy, with my own support, decided to present a non lethal approach to controlling and reducing pigeon numbers in the town.

A simple cote (with pigeon) used for population control.

A series of dovecotes (easily constructed – we supplied lists of materials and construction info) and feeding areas (located directly below them) were suggested as a primary means of control.  This feeding area would allow people to continue feeding the birds if they wished, (as many do), but by having the cotes; a facility will be provided which will not only provide pigeons with a daytime perch, but also with an overnight roosting and breeding facility where flock size can be controlled by birth control (important). This is achieved by removing eggs say once every day or other day, as laid, from the dovecote and replacing them with dummy eggs. This simple but very effective method of numbers control will dramatically reduce pigeon flock size and is very cheap and simple to maintain. Although the infrastructure required to implement this type of system is straightforward, the overall programme is complex and should not be considered unless it is being provided in conjunction with advice from PiCAS.

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Artificial Breeding Facilities (picasuk.com)

Part of our dovecote presentation – Materials and construction method.

To cut to the chase; in the end, after a detailed presentation to the local council to outline our proposal; which included suggested sites around the town; construction materials lists; and cote construction sizes); allegedly due costs, council officials decided to ignore the control advice given and go instead with simply putting up a few ‘warning’ signs around the town asking people not to feed the birds. 

This method of sticking up a few signs around the town is about as useful as a chocolate fireman !

Lots of people love to feed (and watch) birds.  A few signs mean nothing.  People will always feed regardless of signage.

Nothing in the way of costing for the signage and ‘alternatives’ were given as a comparison against our proposal.

The council letter to myself outlining reasons for not taking up our suggestions.

Also, in their letter to myself (see above), the council suggested that they had been in touch with other councils and had no proof that the system proposed actually worked.  As part of our presentation; we did supply information on several councils that had adopted the PIUCAS method of bird numbers management.  The PICAS site now reflects some more recent issues:

PiCAS Humane Non Lethal Methods of Bird Pest Control Further Reading (picasuk.com)

Hey ho; some you win, some you lose.

As said, I learned a lot knowing Guy and the relationship with PICAS.  This was quite a while ago and I have not returned for years now to see the current situation re bird control in the town.

We tried, we failed; but in the end you have to ask yourself who has been the real loser in this issue.  I was glad to be part of it regardless; PICAS continues and the council ?; do they all live in a pigeon free zone now, one has to ask ? – I very much doubt.

Regards Mark

UK (Scotland): COP26 Is Now Completed. Please Review Links Provided and Decide For Yourselves; Good Or Ineffective ?

Thousands of people takes part in a demonstration against climate change in Brussels, Belggium on October 10, 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

There are potentially positives; but have we not heard the issue of funding suffering nations from meetings in the past, and which have never been fulfilled ?

One thing is for sure, the world is in a crisis; and until world governments who really can make a difference for those who only suffer as a result of their actions, or inactions, we will continue to remain in crisis.  The clock is ticking, and is very near to midnight.

So, please read the info in the attached links and hopefully at least get a better overall picture of both the pros and the cons.

Regards Mark

 

Milan, Italy - October 2 2021: People protesting against global warming and climate change in fridays for future strike after Youth4Climate Milan COP26

Cop26: Sharma appeals for nations to seal deal in ‘moment of truth’ for world (msn.com)

‘COP26 is dead’: Expert says global temperatures could rise 2.4°C and spark ‘dramatic change’ around the world (msn.com)

Cop26: Nations announce landmark Glasgow climate pact after last-minute weakening on coal (msn.com)

Cop26 ends in climate agreement despite India watering down coal resolution | Cop26 | The Guardian

COP26 – BBC News

Lots of good images – Cop26 Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Milan, Italy - October 2 2021: People protesting against global warming and climate change in fridays for future strike after Youth4Climate Milan COP26
Demonstrators in London demand action on climate crisis- London-06-11-2021

England: Top Chef Quits Claridge’s as Hotel Rejects His Vegan Vision. He Has the Right Vision, Many Critics Do Not.

WAV Comment: Well done Daniel for your actions over plant based. Yes, for sure, it is the way forward in future – you have the means to see this and believe in your actions; you have our full support.

In May, the Swiss cook transformed the menu at Eleven Madison Park, his three Michelin star establishment in Manhattan, scrapping its renowned meat dishes such as glazed duck for an entirely vegan offering, a move that raised eyebrows in the industry.

Critics are just critics; we are all critics in our own right; so what makes them know better than you ?

You have a vision, so stick with it. It is the right vision for sure.

Mark.

Top chef quits Claridge’s as hotel rejects his vegan vision

Claridge’s three Michelin star chef Daniel Humm has dramatically parted ways with the Mayfair hotel in a row over his attempt to give the restaurant a vegan makeover.

Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park - Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America

Top chef quits Claridge’s as hotel rejects his vegan vision (msn.com)

The chef was lobbying for a meat-free future at the helm of Davies and Brook, the five-star hotel’s prestigious restaurant and his first outlet in London.

Talks were under way to overhaul the establishment’s menu, famed for its foie gras, roasted venison and dry-aged duck, after the 45-year-old axed meat from his “world-best” New York restaurant to make it fully vegan.

Claridge’s told The Telegraph on Friday that its culinary offering was under review, “including the possible introduction of a fully plant-based menu”.

But on Friday night the row came to a head as Mr Humm confirmed he was leaving the hotel after just two years, insisting that “the future for me is plant-based”.

A spokesman for Claridge’s said: “We completely respect and understand the culinary direction of a fully plant-based menu that Daniel has decided to embrace and champion and now wants to introduce in London.

“However, this is not the path we wish to follow here at Claridge’s at the moment and therefore, regretfully, we have mutually agreed to go our separate ways.”

In May, the Swiss cook transformed the menu at Eleven Madison Park, his three Michelin star establishment in Manhattan, scrapping its renowned meat dishes such as glazed duck for an entirely vegan offering, a move that raised eyebrows in the industry.

New fine-dining plates included cucumber with melon and smoked daikon, and sunflower butter with bread rolls.

Despite a scathing review from the New York Times’ acclaimed food critic, Pete Wells, Mr Humm justified the decision by stressing that “the current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways” and insisted “we need to inspire change”.

A similar vision was being pursued at Claridge’s, prompting concern that its two centuries of culinary tradition, including foie gras torchon, butter-poached native lobster and roasted venison, would be ditched for climate-friendly vegetables with a lower carbon footprint.

Mr Humm said on Friday night it was “with sadness” that in December he would leave Davies and Brook, which has gained one Michelin star, adding: “The future for me is plant-based. This is our mission and what we stand by as a company, and at this time this is not the direction that Claridge’s feels is right for them.”

‘Maybe he should bring back the celery root steamed in a pig bladder’

He said it was a “dream come true” to join the hotel in 2019 and praised the “beautiful restaurant with a dedicated and passionate team”. Claridge’s thanked him for his efforts and promised an update on its future plans in due course.

Mr Humm, a leading voice in the charge to make the food industry more eco friendly, visited the Cop26 environmental summit in Glasgow this week and expressed his wish to “make plant-based food delicious, magical and luxurious”.

After the vegan overhaul to his 12-course New York restaurant drew criticism, Pete Wells wrote in the New York Times: “Almost none of the main ingredients taste quite like themselves in the 10-course, $335 menu the restaurant unwrapped this June after a 15-month pandemic hiatus.

“Some are so obviously standing in for meat or fish that you almost feel sorry for them.”

The critic remarked that Mr Humm achieved “purer, deeper results out of vegetables before the restaurant went vegan” and suggested that “maybe he should bring back the celery root steamed in a pig bladder”.

William Sitwell, The Telegraph’s restaurant critic, suggested that a high-end vegan Claridge’s restaurant could be a “clever idea” without the costs of buying in protein. “That restaurant has driven away classic Claridge’s customers very successfully already and this cements that view,” he said.

While veganism was not for Claridge’s appetite, Alex Gauthier, the Michelin-star French chef, responded to protests at the doors of Gauthier, his Soho brasserie, over the force-feeding process to produce foie gras by turning his restaurant vegan.

Now he cooks a version made of lentils, walnuts and cognac.

Regards Mark

Daniel Humm at Claridges
Photos – the Teklegraph

Comment – thanks Stacey:

Imagine being pissed off and indignant because a chef refused to prepare food requiring violence and suffering.

People are disgusting.

I hope Mr. Humm becomes widely, incredibly successful and famous.

UK: UK Government Asks Chefs for Vegan Recipes to Replace Foie Gras Ahead of Expected Ban.

Alexis Gauthier's ‘faux gras’
Alexis Gauthier says he has emulated the buttery taste of the original in his ‘faux gras’ recipe. Photograph: Gauthier

UK government asks chefs for vegan recipes to replace foie gras

Restaurateurs invited to discuss plant-based ‘faux gras’ ahead of expected ban on liver-based spread

It is prized for its rich flavour and exclusive image by top restaurants and gourmands, but now foie gras is going vegan as the government meets chefs to discuss how to make alternatives out of nuts and mushrooms.

Vegan restaurateurs have been invited to meet UK government advisers to discuss how to create plant-based “faux gras” in the event of an upcoming ban, the Guardian has learned. Sources said the government hoped to show that a gap in the market left by a restriction on the trade of the controversial product could be filled by high-end chefs who are willing to produce alternatives.

MPs have vowed to ban trade in foie gras, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting on legislation to outlaw the sale and import of the liver-based spread.

Foie gras production is illegal in the UK on animal cruelty grounds, as the ducks and geese whose livers are harvested are force-fed to make it. However, top restaurants still import and sell from countries such as France.

The force-feeding process is known as gavage, where grain is poured into a funnel or tube that has been thrust down the bird’s neck. After two weeks, the liver has swollen to many times its normal size.

Photo – WAV Archive

The French chef Alexis Gauthier, who runs fine-dining restaurant Gauthier Soho and plant-based restaurant 123V in Bond Street, both in London, decided to stop serving foie gras in his establishments after activists from Peta demonstrated outside and he read up on the meat and dairy trade.

He now serves a faux gras at his Soho venue made of mushrooms, lentils, walnuts and cognac, and says the concoction has emulated the buttery taste sought after by foie gras fans. Since this year, all the food served at his restaurants is plant-based.

The government has asked him for his recipe and invited him for talks with policy advisers to see if a gap in the market caused by a ban could be filled by his creation.

An email to vegan chefs, seen by the Guardian, says: “I understand your restaurant serves an alternative to foie gras. We would appreciate the chance to arrange a virtual meeting with the chef or someone else from the team to discuss a few questions in this area. These would be questions about your views on foie gras and the challenges and opportunities associated with ‘ethical’ alternatives.”

Gauthier says foie gras was once a bestselling item on his menu and that he used to sell 20kg of it a week, but claims people are now travelling from around the country to try his faux gras. He said it took patience and precision to emulate the texture, appearance and depth of the delicacy in a vegan version.

Many luxury shops and restaurants are turning their back on foie gras, including Fortnum & Mason, which stopped selling it earlier this year.

A government spokesperson confirmed officials were seeking meetings with those involved in creating faux gras to inform their decision on how the effects of a ban could be mitigated.

Photo – WAV Archive

Alexis Gauthier’s vegan faux gras recipe

Ingredients

1 shallot, peeled and diced
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp chopped thyme
2 tsp chopped sage
24 button mushrooms, roughly sliced
2 tbsp cognac
2 tbsp soy sauce
400g cooked lentils
150g toasted walnuts
2 tbsp beetroot puree
Black pepper, to taste

Method

In a heavy pan, sauté the shallot in two tablespoonfuls of the olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic, chopped herbs, and mushrooms. Add the cognac and turn up the heat.

Add the soy sauce, reduce the heat, and cook over low heat for six minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.

In a food processor, process the mushroom mixture, the remaining olive oil, the lentils, walnuts, beetroot puree and black pepper until almost smooth. Add an optional extra splash of cognac to give it that je ne sais quoi.

Place in a small glass jar and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve alongside toasted slices of sourdough or other bread.

UK government asks chefs for vegan recipes to replace foie gras | Food | The Guardian

Regards Mark

Picture – WAV Archive

Photo – WAV Archive

Sweden: Big Disappointment in Sweden: the Board of Agriculture Decided Today to Lift the Mink Ban.

Big disappointment in Sweden: the Board of Agriculture decided today to lift the mink ban

10 November 2021

Djurens Rätt

At the end of this year, the temporary ban on breeding mink for fur production will expire and the Swedish Board of Agriculture has just announced that it will not be extended. The decision means that 2022 may mean that half a million minks will once again be staying in cramped grid cages, with risks to animal welfare and continued spread of infection. Animal Rights are deeply disappointed with the decision.

In January 2021, the positive news came that the mink farms would be closed again for 2021 to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The breeding animals remained on the farms, almost as a promise to the companies that they would be allowed to start up again. It has now happened.

With today’s decision, the mink farms will be allowed to start their operations again on 9 November.

This is in contrast to Denmark, which recently decided that their ban on keeping minks will be extended for 2022. Other countries have also taken a different path than Sweden: the Netherlands imposed a permanent ban on fur farms following the pandemic, and during the week British Columbia in Canada decided on a plan to close down mink farms due to the spread of infection.

In order for the Swedish mink farms to be able to breed mink again, certain specific restrictions have instead been extended, such as a ban on the movement of live mink and isolation of the farms. But this is clearly not sufficient.

“I am deeply disappointed with today’s message. There are many reasons to stop mink farms from breeding minks in cramped lattice cages, the risk of infection spreading is just one of them. When the authorities made this decision today, they also took a stand for the mink industry to continue to conduct unethical activities in Sweden. I now urge politicians to take a new approach to the issue and introduce a permanent ban” says Camilla Bergvall, national chair of Animal Rights Sweden.

Minks have proven to be extra susceptible to the coronavirus, which also affects humans. The majority of Sweden’s approximately 28 mink farms have had outbreaks of infection, with consequences such as increased mortality and respiratory symptoms. Despite the breeding ban in 2021, the infection came on a farm during this summer.

Investigation in Sweden is ongoing

The Government has commissioned the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Veterinary Institute to investigate the risks of the spread of infection between animals and humans in Sweden. That assignment will be presented in February 2022, and may involve other proposals for restrictions than the current announcement. However, there are few indications that a breeding ban will be introduced again. It will be up to politicians, especially in government, to implement other legislative proposals to protect minks from suffering and disease.

Animal Rights, with the support of at least 76% of the population, is not alone in proposing the decommissioning of mink farms for infection control and animal welfare reasons. Other examples are the Swedish Veterinary Association and several farmers.

Read more at source

Regards Mark