Tags: animals, Body & Mind, environmental issues, health, Nature, sustainable development
SYDNEY—California has become the newest region to ban lightweight plastic bags, joining four states and territories in Australia in restricting the use of disposable plastics. The move comes as Australian researchers study the toxicity of plastics, which are polluting the marine environment at a molecular level.
The Californian ban was signed into law on Sept 30, making plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies prohibited from July 1, 2015, with convenience and liquor stores to follow a year later.
In Australia, non-biodegradable lightweight plastic bags are banned in Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, but the legislation does permit the use of compostable, bio-degradable bags.
While the bans on bags represent important progress, researchers are finding the threat of plastics goes deeper than the disposable products we can see. Professor Richard Banati from the the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) says the full lifecycle of plastic is not yet understood and its degradability is questionable, particularly when litter is left to float in oceans.
The present paradigm is “the solution to pollution is dilution” but his research indicates otherwise.
“Dilution has its limits,” he said in a phone interview.
Beyond the Visible
There is no doubt that on a visible pollution level plastic is a huge problem. Scientists have found evidence of plastics choking or smothering many marine animals and ecosystems.
In a report released last month, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found plastic constituted most of the rubbish floating along Australia’s coastline, with densities ranging between a few thousand pieces of plastic per square kilometre to more than 40,000 pieces.
“About three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic,” said CSIRO scientist Denise Hardesty after collating data from survey sites every 100 km along the Australian coastline. “Most is from Australian sources, not the high seas, with debris concentrated near cities.”
Professors Banati’s work, however, looks beyond the visible. Using nuclear scientific methods he is examining a more insidious interaction – plastic contamination at the molecular level.
Following the results of an earlier collaboration with biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers, who was researching plastic in shearwater birds, the two scientists found that when plastic interacts with sea water, it absorbs heavy metals, becoming more toxic as it degrades. Looking at shearwater feathers at the molecular level they have identified the presence of plastic particles.
“Micro plastic particles are perfectly bite sized pieces for things like krill, zoo plankton, filter feeders and all of the marine creatures at the very base of the marine food web,” Dr Laver said.
Professor Banati is now collecting a larger sample for further research, conducting his own survey from Hobart to Sydney Harbour.
His aim is to identify the full life cycle of plastic, its impact on marine life and the food chain.
The forensic method, he said, will make plastic traceable and in that respect make producers and consumers accountable.
It is the increasing use of plastic on a mass level that is the concern. Identifying the full life cycle of plastic will allow for a better understanding for industry and government of how and when it can best be used.
“Traceability will allow us to make policy decisions,” he said.
Tags: Animal welfare, animals, elephants, mistreatment of animals
Press People – Huffington Post
An elephant who was cruelly kept in spiked shackles for 50 years has been released.
Held in chains, beaten, abused and living on handouts from passing tourists, Raju was a pitiful sight on the streets of India.
Day after day he was forced to hold out his trunk, begging for a few coins and was often left so hungry he’d eat plastic and paper to fill his empty stomach.
But last week a North London-based charity Wildlife SOS stepped in to save Raju.
During the daring midnight rescue, which saw the beast finally freed on 4 July, tears were seen rolling down his noble face, as if he was weeping with gratitude.
Spokesman Pooja Binepal said: “Raju has spent the past 50 years living a pitiful existence in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue. It was so incredibly emotional for all of us. We knew in our hearts he realised he was being freed.
“Elephants are not only majestic, but they are highly intelligent animals, who have been proven to have feelings of grief, so we can only imagine what torture half a century has been like for him.
The incredible story of how leopard Diabolo became Spirit – Anna Breytenbach, “animal communicator”.
This is a very touching story about an angry and sad black panther who had been badly treated in the zoo where he previously had been. See the heartwarming story of a miraculous transformation to a much more healthy black panther and hear his story.
By Tara MacIsaac
Here’s a look at what your dog’s breed may say about you. Researchers at Bath Spa University surveyed 1,000 dog owners, compiling data about the owners’ personality traits and their dogs’ breeds.
The researchers presented their findings to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in 2012.
Stanley Coren, a psychologist and author of “Why We Love the dogs We Do,” also discussed the connection between owner personality traits and dog breeds, in an interview with Modern dog Magazine.
By Kate Rinsema
Want to hear something magical?
Experimental director and playwright, Robert Wilson, caught a hauntingly beautiful piece of music one night, a recording of crickets.
That part is common enough, but then he stretched out the sound as much as one would have to stretch the life of a cricket to equal that of a human, and the result is truly wonderful.
And here is a perhaps truer version:
By Tara MacIsaac
Cats communicate not only in purrs and growls but in many complex motions, using ears, eyes, tails, and body to express themselves. These expressions are often misunderstood. Here’s a guide to help you better understanding your cat.
Up: Happy and approachable
Down: Scared or threatened
Wagging rapidly: Agitated
Wagging slowly: Alert, assessing the situation
Stiff, up: Trying to appear larger, aggressive
Straight up and quivering: Excited. If your tom cat has not been neutered this gesture can also mean he is ready to spray.
Read more: A Guide to Cat Body Language
More in Slice of Life
By Tara MacIsaac
Though dogs may understand some human words, body language is their main form of communication. Not only is it how they tell you what they’re feeling, it is also the best way to communicate with them.
Here are some signs your dog may give you and how you can respond:
Dogs may sweat through their paws when they are stressed. They may rapidly pant and lower the back end of their bodies with their tails down.
Calming signals: Dogs perform these actions as a way to calm themselves and others, but you can also imitate these actions to put a stressed dog at ease: yawn, look away, move slowly, appear to become distracted by something, sit. Dogs may also lick their lips or nose and lie down.
Read more: How to Communicate With Your Dog
More in Slice of Life
By Associated Press
Over the past six years, 580 dogs have died and 3,600 have
become ill from eating pet jerky from China. As the United States sees another surge in the illness, the FDA is baffled as to the cause and is calling for help.
LOS ANGELES—All that’s left of Doodles are his ashes, a clay impression of his paw and a whole lot of questions owner Patricia Cassidy has about his mysterious death.
Doodles is believed to be one of 580 dogs in the U.S. that have died in the past six years from eating pet jerky from China. Baffled by the cause and seeing another surge in illnesses, the Food and Drug Administration reached out to owners and veterinarians Tuesday to help it find the poison behind the sickening of at least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats since 2007.
Within hours of eating the suspect jerky, pets lost their appetite, became lethargic, vomited and had diarrhea and other symptoms. The strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit were sold under a variety of brand names.
There was a decrease in 2007 after some products were voluntarily removed from the market, but the FDA said it didn’t want to conduct a recall without a definitive cause. Those products included Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers, made by Del Monte, and Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, made by Nestle Purina.
But in the years since, the FDA has gotten complaints from pet owners and veterinarians who have seen repeated cases of kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder, the FDA said.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has run more than 1,200 tests, visited pet treat manufacturing plants in China and worked with researchers, state labs and foreign governments but hasn’t determined the exact cause of the illness.
Testing is complicated because the poison may have come from the manufacturing plant, shipping, transportation or anywhere along the way. Scientists have to know what they’re looking for to test for it.
“I grew up watching ‘Quincy’ and ‘CSI’ and they have given us this look at forensics — you put samples in and answers come out the other end,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It doesn’t work that way.”
That’s little consolation to Cassidy in Chattanooga, Tenn. Doodles died Sept. 9 at the age of 6. In just three months, he turned from a vibrant 16-pound shih tzu into a frail, 6-pounder who couldn’t eat or drink and had so little left in him he could only vomit yellow bile.
“He was such a loving little guy and so cute. Every day my daughter will say, ‘Mom, I don’t know when the holes in our hearts will be repaired.’”
Cassidy promised Doodles she would wage war as long as it took to get the products off store shelves or, at the very least, labeled so people know it might be deadly.
The jerky mystery is the worst case of tainted pet food from China since 2007 when there was a nationwide recall of food made by Menu Foods and 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died. Kidney failure caused all of those pet deaths and the poison was found to be tainted melamine from plastic packaging in the wheat gluten. About 150 brands of dog and cat food were recalled and included some of the biggest names in pet food.
A federal grand jury indicted two Chinese nationals and the businesses they operate, as well as the U.S, company ChemNutra Inc. and its CEO for their roles in importing the poisonous products. A class-action lawsuit awarded more than $12.4 million in compensation to pet owners whose pets died from the poisoned food.
Veterinarians can only tell pet owners they don’t know what’s causing their animals to get sick and that’s hard to do, said Dr. Karl Jandrey, an emergency and critical care vet at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis. They have treated several dogs for what they believe was poisoning from the treats, but no patient has died, he said.
Dexter, a 3-year-old, 19-pound miniature schnauzer also survived, but it cost owner Rich Phillips of North Richland Hills, Texas, about $1,200, he said.
In April, Dexter started throwing up and couldn’t stop. He spent the night at an emergency clinic and the next day at the vet’s. Test after test was inconclusive. The dog was given an IV and anti-nausea medicine and sent home. That’s when Phillips saw the package of chicken jerky treats and knew that was the cause. “We were lucky we caught him quick,” Phillips said. Dexter had only had about two of the treats and has been fine ever since that night.
No one knows how many treats a pet has to eat before it starts getting sick, said Dr Amy Bowman, regional medical director for Banfield Pet Hospital in Reston, Va.
“Some say it’s a single serving, some say the whole bag,” she said. Her advice is to avoid jerky treats if the label says it comes from China. There are all kinds of healthy treat substitutes, including apples, uncooked green beans and carrots, she added.
A lot of pet owners transfer food and treats into other containers at home to keep pets and pests out, but Wismer suggested keeping labels with lot numbers and manufacturers.
Imported pet food is inspected when it arrives in the United States but only randomly and to check for things like mold, Wismer said.
Dr. Barry Kellogg, senior adviser to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, called for increased testing and stricter guidelines on labeling of imports. If only part of a product is from China and it is put together here, labels don’t have to say made in China, he said.
More in China Society
By Lauren Morency DePhillips
NEWBURG, Oregon—Jacquie Lukens rescued her first horse over 15 years ago. Today she continues to save horses from slaughter, abuse, starvation, euthanization, and negligence. She wants to give them all a chance at a happy and peaceful life.
Hoofprints in the Sand Rescue is in the sprawling countryside. Among vineyards and forests, more than 20 horses graze peacefully in open pasture.
Some have scars, some limp, and one is blind. The more recent rescues are still emaciated, but are adapting well to their new home and carefree life. “Maybe 1 percent are in good health … but I take what’s thrown at me and work with it, make them happy and healthy,” Lukens said, speaking of when she and her husband are called to rescue a horse, and occasionally a cat or dog.
No horse is put down, or not given the care it needs, including surgery.
“We don’t turn away anything, if there’s a creature that needs help we’re here,” she said. It has not been easy. Up until a year ago Lukens’ husband, Dave was supplementing the rescue operation with his income.
Neighboring farms would offer a small patch of land where the Lukens could grow and harvest hay for feed.
Their daughter, son, and several volunteers also help around the farm. Lukens’ daughter has been riding horses for most of her life. She trains horses, gives lessons and recruits friends who help out, and sometimes even adopt.
The farm also offers cheap board, the income from which can help pay for veterinary care. Once an animal is restored to health Lukens is on the constant lookout for new homes for the rescued horses. Many of the volunteers who come to help with the farm have adopted their own horses from Hoofprints in the Sand.
News of the farm has spread by word of mouth, via friends and neighbors. In the past, those who donated were unable to take charitable deductions on their taxes because the Luken’s horse rescue was not an official charity. But Lukens just got Hoofprints in the Sand registered as an official non-profit, so gifts will be deductible. Lukens hopes she may now be able to find grants to help the horses.
“I’m not good at calling people for money, [we rescue] free of charge, and we accept donations,” said Lukens.
As for the reason Lukens and her family devote time, energy, money and love to this cause, Lukens summed it up simply, “We believe the horse has the right to a quality of life, the horse has a right to live.”
You may also like:
Tags: Animal welfare, animals, Society
India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, has banned public entertainment shows by captive dolphins calling it morally unacceptable.
In a statement by the Central Zoo Authority, the Government of India has advised all state governments in the country to reject any proposal to establish a dolphinarium “by any person / persons, organizations, government agencies, private or public enterprises that involves the import [and] capture of cetacean species to [use] for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition and [other] interaction purposes whatsoever.”
Avinash Basker, Legal Consultant at the Wildlife Protection Society of India said: “As far as Dolphins in captivity are concerned, it’s a great step. Dolphins hunting is illegal in India and those in captivity in the country would have been captured elsewhere in the world. Thus, it’s good for Dolphins globally.”
Basker, however, mentions that there are other challenges about Dolphin Conservation in the country. “There are sporadic reports on Dolphin meat consumption in southern Indian states. The Extent of this problem is … not known as the fishing industry is not well regulated here.”
In India, Dolphins are protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972. The Indian Government has declared Dolphins from the Ganges river as its national aquatic animal with a view to protect the endangered species.
The statement released by the Central Zoo Authority mentions that cetaceans (marine mammals) cannot survive in captivity. “Cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and it is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purposes.”
Basker mentions that more countries need to come up with such policies to prevent more Dolphins from being captured. “Mentioning Dolphins as ‘non-human persons’ gives huge impetus to the Animal Rights discourse in the world. It’s a great statement,” he says.
Basker believes that the essence of this statement is that keeping Dolphins under captivity is cruel. “Under the aegis of the Wildlife Protection Act of India, Dolphins are protected as are any other species. By mentioning them as non-human persons, the government has probably tried to heighten their status under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.”
Tags: Animal welfare, Body & Mind, Children, Culture, documentary, film, psychology, relationships, Society, sustainable development
This documentary about Buck really touched me. What a nice man he seems to be; honest, soft and firm at the same time and with a huge sense for other living beings, and especially horses since he is a cowboy :-)
Wonderful to see how he is so much in tune with another being, and that’s exactly how it should be! With everything and everyone! Can really recommend it. It’s possible to see this documentary for another 26 days.
Watch it on SVT Play (in English): Buck Brannaman has developed a unique and highly successful method to manage and train horses. It’s all about communicating with horses by using a responsive leadership and without penalty. Mostly he travels between ranches, where he teaches the method to horse owners. He spends most of the year on the road, without his wife and daughters. Bucks childhood was uncertain. An abusive father beat him and his brother, and they were forced to performing all sorts of tricks. The turnaround came when a football coach, after having seen the scars on the Bucks back and legs, helped him to move and find a foster family. (Translated from Swedish)
Tags: Animal welfare, Body & Mind, compassion, Spirituality, thoughts of the day
I saw this on internet. I really hope that more people wake up, come to understand and begin to respect and treat all living beings in a more dignified and compassionate way…
“And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.”
In the middle of the his fight Torero Alvaro Munera realized the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.
Look, to be a talented person doesn’t make you more human, more sensible, or more sensitive. There are lots of examples of murderers with a high IQ. But only those who have a sense of solidarity with other living beings are on their way to becoming better people. Those who consider the torture and death of an innocent animal a source of fun or inspiration are mean-spirited, despicable people. Never mind if they paint beautiful pictures, write wonderful books, or film great movies. A quill can be used to write with ink or blood, and many terrorists and drug dealers of the 21st century have university diplomas hanging on the wall. The virtues of the spirit, that’s what really counts in God’s eyes. – Alvaro Munera
Tags: Body & Mind, China, environmental issues, Food, health
Illegal use of “lean meat powder,” a banned drug in animal feed, is widespread in China. Lean meat powder inhibits the growth of fat in farm animals, thus making the meat more attractive looking and better tasting, but poisonous to humans.
Mutton fed with lean meat powder from a well-known lamb producer in Yanwo Township of Shandong Province has been found in 17 Chinese provinces.
In March, lean meat powder was detected in 198 sheep from Qingyue County, Shandong Province. In late September, eight more sheep farms were found using lean meat powder in Lijin County, Shandong Province.
Lean meat powder is a chemical that belongs to the family of adrenal gland nerve system stimulants. Human consumption of such stimulants leads to dizziness, upset stomach, lethargy, and trembling hands. It is especially dangerous to people with heart disease and high blood pressure. Long-term consumption may also cause chromosome abnormality.
Many villagers in Yanwo Township make a living raising sheep. Farms raise anywhere from several hundred sheep to as many as tens of thousands.
A villager from Xihou Village, who did not want to give his name, told The Epoch Times several sheep farms were punished for using lean meat powder late last year when the news was made public.
“It badly hurt the income of the entire village, but now the condition is a little better, and about 90 percent of the farms are okay,” he said.
Sheep given lean meat powder produce 3 – 4 lb. more lean meat, and the meat looks more attractive and tastes better, he said.
Tags: Animal welfare, animals, protection of animals
Before taking your next sip of tea, check the label on the bottle because you may be drinking a cupful of cruelty to animals. Nestlé, the maker of Nestea, has tested and paid others to conduct painful and deadly tea tests on animals. The company has caused animals to suffer simply to investigate the possible health benefits linked to tea products and ingredients, even though not one of these experiments is legally required for beverage manufacturers, and regulators have stated that animal tests are not sufficient to prove a health claim about a product.
In these cruel tests, mice and rats were tormented and then killed by such means as decapitation.
Modern, cruelty-free research methods are available and are in use by other leading beverage companies around the world. We need YOU to join us in telling Nestea to ditch its cruel-tea to animals and to use non-animal methods instead.
Please take a moment to ask Nestea to stop testing on animals and join other brands—such as Lipton, Arizona, Snapple, Honest Tea, Tazo, Twinings, Stash Tea, Celestial Seasonings, Luzianne Tea, and others—that don’t experiment on animals.
Send polite comments to:
Tags: Animal welfare, animals, dolphines, Nature
The pod was swimming peacefully in the Solomon Islands when nets closed in from behind — trapping 25 wild dolphins for a luxury resort’s latest exhibit. They are now locked in tiny pens, starved of food — but we can free them.
For wild dolphins captivity is torture, their powerful sonar bounces off the walls back at them — as if they are trapped in an endless house of mirrors. Most die young from stress induced illness, but some even commit suicide. If the wealthy Resorts World Sentosa succeeds in keeping them captive then half the dolphins will die in the first 2 years — and it will legitimise the widely banned practice of capturing dolphins in the wild. We can’t let that happen — let’s use our voices to set them free.
Resorts World was forced to abandon plans for a whale shark exhibit two years ago because of the huge outcry that threatened their reputation. Let’s build a massive call now to free these intelligent, beautiful creatures — and make this a turning point in the fight to end the global wild-dolphin trade. Our petition will be delivered to Resorts World and the media. Sign now and share this with everyone!
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION! Click on the link below
Read more: Avaaz – Save the Saddest Dolphins…