Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

Activists demand better protection for British wildlife

A woman wears foliage during the People’s Walk for Wildlife in central London, Saturday Sept. 22, 2018. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

AA

LONDON (AP) — The animals can’t protest so people in London did that for them.

Hundreds of marchers demanded better protection for British wildlife at the People’s Walk for Wildlife in Hyde Park on Saturday. Many carried pro-nature and pro-animal banners and placards and some wore animal masks.

Organizers said the march was to raise awareness about the threat to species and habitats across the United Kingdom.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Natalie Bennett

@natalieben

@ChrisGPackham – “our wildlife needs us more than ever”. And the people today have turned out to show they are here for it.

Singer Billy Bragg implored the crowd to put the environment “back on the agenda” despite the Conservative government’s preoccupation with its Brexit divorce from the European Union.

Organizer Chris Packham has unveiled proposals to help Britain’s natural environment, including linking elementary schools to farms so children learn about food production. He has also called for an end to grouse shooting and dredging for scallops.

37 Percent

by Stephen Capra 

BOLD VISIONS CONSERVATION

 
We live in a country that I sometimes no longer recognize. It is a place where a large segment of our population has decided that wild nature and the conservation of our precious resources have no value. Let’s be clear, they still hunt, hike and visit our National Parks, but they are angry, religiously distorted, ignorant or devoid of caring, but they have put their faith in a monster that calls himself President. Their reasoning is varied, but it comes back to money and the delusion of grandeur that spills from the lips of a man that has made exploitation of our natural world a driving force in his presidency.

In less than a year, this White House in concert with the Republican majority have rammed through legislation that has allowed the killing of wildlife in their dens, pushed to open wild oceans to drilling, opened public lands to more fracking and drilling, opened wildlife refuges to trapping, while removing protections for our precious National Monuments. They have also set their sights on the priceless Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in their endless genuflecting to the dying oil industry.

Perhaps even more alarming is the selection of people to fill positions designed to protect the environment. Using the Republican playbook, most selections are those with strong ties to the industries doing the most harm. From the EPA to Interior, from Department of Agriculture to anything based in science, this White House and Congress have made clear, its war!

Yet across our nation, 37 percent of the public is content with this direction. Recent months have made clear that this year’s- Time Person of the Year, will not be a person, but once again a raging planet that is showing, without question, the impacts of such kamikaze policies and the crushing of bi-partisan efforts at sanity for the earth.

What is it like to be that 37 percent? How can you use our public lands and then ignore their peril? How can you sit on a beach and disregard the discharges in Florida that support Big Sugar, or live in southeast Alaska and not see the destruction of your beautiful and vital rainforest? How can you flock to Yellowstone to see and experience wolves and stand by silently as they are destroyed for ranching interests and Republican fundraising?

How can you perceive the world as us against them, rather than we are one? We are a divided nation like never before and it seems clear that those who support this President will allow him full reign and support even while it destroys the places and quality of life that they clearly take for granted. When will the drape finally be opened to expose the incompetence that we have created, a man devoid of empathy and emotion, a child leader that will destroy all that defy him and his interests. He sees our natural resources as a profit pool to be plundered for his personal enrichment.

It’s like a Jim Jones flashback to listen to supporters as they defend the undefendable. As we pull away from the Climate accords and the world watches they see a nation that no longer pretends to care. We have devolved into a nation that has sucked the world of its natural resources and now has made clear that it will continue to plunder and steal the right to life on this planet. When, many are asking, will we have the maturity and moral guidance to stop corporate special interests that are determined to drain the life out of our planet, for short-term profit.

What world does this 37 percent want to live in? They seem to believe in code words like cutting regulations, refusing to acknowledge that that means filthy water and foul air, less bees and more cancer. It is a Monsanto free world, more oil spills and mountains blown apart for cheap coal. Who wins in such a scenario, certainly not people or communities, not any part of our country or the world.

For our country to move forward we must use any measure possible to block the oil and gas industry. Time is on our side, not theirs. We must demand of our leaders that this President be removed from office. We must stop spending more on our military and focus on clean, renewable energy, not as an option, but as a human right. We must respect wildlife and stop their slaughter and we must fill positions in our federal agencies with qualified people who put our wild lands and the planet first and can never again have ties to corporate interests. Democrats must push for strong environmental goals, no matter the majority; they must use this time to stand on the principle of defending the morality of a healthy planet and its importance to our quality of life, communities and the peace and stability of our world.
We know so much more about our natural world than we did even fifty years ago. We must use our knowledge to defend and rewild our planet, not exploit it any further.

But perhaps the most important thing we can do is to awaken the 37 percent and if nothing else, shame them into making the protection of our natural resources a priority for Republicans. If they continue to ignore the reality before them, they are accomplices to destroying our nation’s best ideals- our land, water and wildlife. They are cheerleaders of their own ruin.

37 percent is not a majority, but they remain a voice filled by fear, ignorance has historically reared its ugliness, but this fight goes beyond a people or a nation, it’s about life and the planet that has been so giving.

Ignorance in this case cannot be tolerated. We fight for life, for beauty and for the freedom that comes from true wildness.

We are in a real fight now.

The Worst Thing You’re Doing for Animal Rights and the Environment

Photo © Shutterstock

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Nathan Runkle is the founder and president of Mercy For Animals, a foundation that fights for humane treatment of animals. For two decades, Nathan has overseen the organization’s growth into a leading international force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies. Here, he demonstrates why we should all care about animal rights.

Most of us care about animal welfare. Whether we empathize most with dogs and cats in shelters, endangered wildlife, or orcas in captivity, the vast majority of us agree that animals matter and animal cruelty is wrong. In fact, a 2015 Gallup study found that a third of Americans believe animals should be given the same rights as people.

BUY THE BOOK

Mercy For Animals

by Nathan Runkle with Gene Stone

What most people don’t realize, however, is that most animal cruelty in America is legal – and that most of us pay for it at least three times a day. The truth is that the factory farming industry now raises and slaughters more than nine billion land animals per year in the U.S. alone. That’s more animals killed every year in America than there are humans on the planet.

The Animal Welfare Act, the main federal animal welfare law, doesn’t provide an ounce of protection for animals raised and killed for food. As a result, factory farmers can legally snap birds’ fragile legs into moving shackles, drag their heads through electrified water, and slit their throats while the animals are conscious. They can castrate pigs without anesthesia, and at most farms, slam piglets’ heads against the floor as the standard method for killing “runts” – all with impunity.

Systematic torture, in the form of overcrowded sheds and isolating cages and crates, is also all too common. The worst are battery cages for egg-laying hens, veal crates for baby cows, and gestation and farrowing crates for mother pigs. Trapped in such confinement systems, animals raised for food are deprived of natural conditions and behaviors, and many can’t even turn around or spread their limbs for nearly their entire lives.“…more animals are killed every year in America than there are humans on the planet.”TWEET THIS QUOTE

If all that animal cruelty doesn’t make you lose your lunch, consider this: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution and the single largest source of potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Translation: Animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change. We can screw in all the squiggly light bulbs we want and ride our bikes to work, but if we’re eating burgers for lunch, we’re doing more to harm the environment than if we switched from a Prius to a Hummer.

Animals release some greenhouse gases themselves, but the entire fossil-fuel-burning industry – complete with semi-trucks, extensive machinery, and factories – deserves the blame. The livestock sector is also among the most wasteful of Earth’s increasingly scarce water. These factors, plus the immense farmed-animal waste that pollutes community waterways and ecosystems surrounding them, endanger future human and nonhuman life alike.

Animal agriculture isn’t just polluting our world; it’s also polluting our bodies. Our country’s largest health crises are all linked to consumption of meat and other animal products. One in three people is obese, one in four will die of heart disease, and nearly forty percent of people will receive a cancer diagnosis. Science irrefutably shows that plant-based diets could prevent and even reverse most cases of these illnesses. In other words, the solution is right under our noses: on our plates.

Numerous studies from top universities and independent researchers have found that eating animal products promotes cancer in many forms. Vegetarians are about forty percent less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Eating animal products, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, also substantially raises the risk of heart disease. Forward-thinking doctors are prescribing a whole-food, plant-based diet to prevent and even cure our country’s biggest killer. A diet high in animal protein also raises risk of diabetes by twenty-two percent, while a plant-based diet significantly lowers the risk. I could go on and on about all the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but suffice it to say the research is clear: Animal products threaten our world’s well-being.

It may seem hyperbolic to suggest that a single practice – eating animals – is responsible for most animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and global public health threats. But we can’t deny the science. We know animals feel pain and suffer, we know the causes of climate change and pollution, and we know what’s ailing our own bodies.

The good news is that a major shift toward plant-based diets may be as close to a silver-bullet solution to many of the world’s biggest problems as there could be. By simply leaving animal products off our plates, we can prevent animal suffering, lighten our environmental footprint, and even lengthen our own lives. If enough of us made this shift, we could change the world.

Now all we need to do is trust that our own capacity for change is greater than we think.

Life existed on Mars, shocking discovery suggests

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/09/07/life-existed-on-mars-shocking-discovery-suggests.html

the-sun.png

Scientists have found key evidence which suggests life may once have existed on Mars.

Nasa’s Curiosity rover has detected boron, a key ingredient for life, on the dusty surface of the Red Planet.

The discovery is a huge boost in the hunt for extraterrestrials and could back up a theory suggesting life on Mars may have been forced underground when disaster turned the planet into a “frigid desert”.

Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory said: “Because borates may play an important role in making RNA – one of the building blocks of life – finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet.

“Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you have no life.

“The presence of boron tells us that, if organics were present on Mars, these chemical reactions could have occurred.”

RNA is ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in all modern life which is involved in the decoding and expression of genes from DNA.

It is known to be unstable, so unless boron is present it decomposes quickly.

Gasda’s work is detailed in a study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

It describes how Nasa’s buggy found the element in calcium sulphate mineral “veins” in the rocky surface.

That means boron was present in Mars groundwater and indicates that the Gale crater, where Nasa’s robo buggy is right now, may have been home to life.

It bolsters the bizarre theory that life originated on Mars and was carried to Earth on an asteroid.

Astronomer Caleb Sharf has previously claimed: “We can find pieces of Mars here on Earth and we suspect that there are pieces of Earth on Mars.

“If that material can carry living organisms on it, it’s possible that we are Martian.”

These hypotheses have forced bonkers scenarios in which officials have asked Nasa experts whether life existed there in recent times.

Dana Rohrabacher, an American senator, publically asked a project scientist overseeing Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover mission if aliens ever lived on the Martian surface.

He quizzed: “You have indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago.

“Is it possible that there was a civilisation on Mars thousands of years ago?”

Nasa’s Ken Farley responded: “So, the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago, and there is no evidence I’m aware of…”

However, there soon may be life on Mars if tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has his way.

The Space X founder has announced plans to put humans on the surface of the Red Planet by 2030.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

Desertification as a Source of Conflict in Darfur

Thanks again to Rosemary for the link:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5173

In Sudan’s Darfur region, brutal scorched-earth tactics by nomadic militias and government army units have killed at least 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million out of their homes since 2003. Stopping the mass violence has become a rallying cry for many who argue that there is a need for “humanitarian intervention.” The ENOUGH Project, for instance, calls for an approach that mixes peacemaking, protection, and punishment of perpetrators of mass violence. In contrast to such sweeping demands, however, negotiations have focused on shoring up a weak African Union mission by deploying a “hybrid” African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force.

While Darfur shows the limits of current peacekeeping and humanitarian policy, it is also becoming clear that the roots of conflict are not found in the often-repeated claim of simplistic “ethnic hatreds.” To a considerable extent, the conflict there is the result of a slow-onset disaster—creeping desertification and severe droughts that have led to food insecurity and sporadic famine, as well as growing competition for land and water. The “Sudan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment”—a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)—argues that severe environmental degradation is among the root causes of the conflict. The 354–page study includes the following findings:

  • Deserts have spread southwards by an average of 100 kilometers over the past four decades.
  • Land degradation is linked with overgrazing of fragile soils. The number of livestock has exploded from close to 27 million animals to around 135 million.
  • A “deforestation crisis” has led to a loss of almost 12 percent of Sudan’s forest cover in just 15 years, and some areas may lose their remaining forest cover within the next decade.
  • Declining and highly irregular patterns of rainfall in parts of the country—particularly in Kordofan and Darfur states—provides mounting evidence of long-term regional climate change. In Northern Darfur, precipitation has fallen by a third in the past 80 years.

Achim Steiner, the agency’s Executive Director, warns that “Sudan’s tragedy is not just the tragedy of one country in Africa – it is a window to a wider world underlining how issues such as uncontrolled depletion of natural resources like soils and forests allied to impacts like climate change can destabilize communities, even entire nations.”

Along similar lines, the Sudan Environment Conservation Society says that average annual rainfall in El Fasher in northern Darfur has dropped nearly in half since data was first gathered in 1917. Meanwhile, Darfur’s population—and with its, pressure on the land—has grown six-fold over the past four decades, to about 6.5 million.

Resource challenges might have spurred cooperation between Darfurs’s farming and nomadic communities. The two populations have both a history of competing for scarce water and fertile land, but also a record of economic interdependence and a tradition of seeking negotiated solutions. But encroaching deserts have pushed nomads further south and into growing conflict with farming communities. Increasing scarcity has led to rising tribal antagonism over the past 20 years.

Darfur has also experienced increased banditry and lawlessness, and it has played involuntary host to insurgent groups from neighboring Chad. Decades of economic and political neglect by the central government in Khartoum finally led to rebellion in February 2003. The Sudanese government responded by playing up ethnic distinctions and arming the so-called Janjaweed nomadic militias.

Both environmental restoration and reconciliation between different communities are key. And those driven off their land by the conflict need to be either allowed back home or resettled in sustainable communities. Refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad themselves are contributing to additional environmental degradation: the displaced have little choice but to cut down trees for firewood, or to deplete the little underground water there is.

Why Destroy What We Most Need?

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=5980&more=1

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

Published 02/17/17

Wolf© Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources

When I was young, the world’s wealthiest man was reportedly Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975), who “earned” staggering wealth partly from owning shipping lines, from whaling, and from getting a start in business by selling tobacco. Like most billionaires, he ultimately had diverse business interests. The great whales whose deaths generated such fortunes are largely gone, but their destruction certainly contributed to his and others’ fortunes (and to the employment of sailors and whalers).

But now, far more than whales are at risk. There’s a growing number of American species that require protection—protection that was provided, until now, by the Endangered Species Act. Some legislators seem to think that making money is more important than protecting the environment, although nothing could be less true.

In fact, all wealth springs from the natural environment. From the steel of ships, trains, and aircraft, to the fossil fuels that drive them, to tobacco and whales, we see the products of nature: of natural geological and biological processes accessed through the technological innovation and the physical endeavors of workers. They transfer the raw produce of the planet into wealth that tends to accumulate up the economic pyramid to those at the top.

Taking any wealth without regard for the wolves, pupfish, bald eagles, jaguars, and other species that are rare, threatened, or endangered comes at costs that are shared by everyone. We all, more or less, equally need fresh water, productive oceans, and clean air to breathe. We also need our fellow plants and animals. However, they are in rapid decline now that we are changing the planet hundreds of times faster than in primal times.

And now, in 2017, I worry that the American government may dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency: an agency that protects not only Americans, but Canadians, too (as well as the migrating wildlife that doesn’t recognize human-imposed borders).

Yes, workers at the economic pyramid’s broad base may benefit in the short term—but we can’t eat, drink, or breathe money. We must focus on protecting the natural environment that makes this planet so rich.

Dead animals across the world

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/details/223617/

Pollution and weather

Animals are dying all over the world in huge numbers because of the polluted seas and air. Millions of fish and massive numbers of various marine creatures are washing ashore dead. Birds are falling dead from the sky, and millions of poultry and wildlife are dying from avian flu. Land animals are also dying in large numbers from disease.

< http://static.pn.am/images/l_art1_eng.gif> October 19, 2016

PanARMENIAN.Net – Peru’s environmental agency is investigating the deaths of some 10,000 frogs whose bodies have been found in a river in the south of the country. According to a BBC report, a campaign group says pollution in the River Coata is to blame for the deaths. It says the government has ignored pleas for the construction of a sewage treatment plant in the area.

The Titicaca water frog is an endangered species that is found only in the huge freshwater lake shared by Peru and Bolivia and its tributaries.

The cases of mass deaths across the world are not rare. And here are some of them:

Southern blackbirds

On December 31, 2010, about 2,000 red-winged blackbirds fell dead out of the sky over a small town in Arkansas, U.S. There were so many that it took workers two days to remove all the birds’ carcasses from the town’s streets, sidewalks and lawns. The deaths were all the more mysterious because the birds in question don’t normally fly at night. So, they should have been asleep in their roost. None of the dead birds were found on the ground of the wooded area where they roosted, so officials ruled out disease or poisoning as the cause of their deaths, reports said. Instead, it was assumed a weather-related event caused the mysterious mass die-off. Despite that assumption, however, workers cleaning up the birds’ carcasses wore environmental-protection suits just in case.

Bats with white-nose syndrome

An estimated 6.7 million bats have died since 2006 because of an outbreak of white-nose syndrome, a fast-moving disease that has wiped out entire colonies and left caves littered with the bones of dead bats. The epidemic is considered the worst wildlife disease outbreak in North American history and shows no signs of slowing down. It threatens to drive some bats extinct and could do real harm to the pest-killing services that bats provide, worth billions of dollars each year, in the United States. Typically the disease kills 70 percent to 90 percent of bats in an affected hibernaculum (the area where bats gather to hibernate for the winter). In some cases, the mortality rate has been 100 percent, wiping out entire colonies. Some caves that once hosted hundreds of thousands of bats are now virtually empty.

< http://media.pn.am/media/issue/223/617/textphoto/photo_223617_7f725650f.jpg>

Pilot whales

In late 2008, 60 pilot whales beached themselves along the rocky coast of the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. A week later, 150 long-finned pilot whales did the same. Then, in early January 2009, 45 sperm whales perished when they stranded themselves on a Tasmanian sandbar. And, lastly, in the most egregious in the string of incidents, 194 pilot whales and a handful of bottleneck dolphins beached themselves along the same coastline in March. By the time officials arrived at the scene, 140 were dead. Using stretchers, small boats and jet skis, more than 100 volunteers managed to save 54. But with four beaching incidents in as many months, scientists found themselves at a loss to explain why the majestic mammals had gone ashore.

Pink flamingos

Over 50 pink flamingos have been found dead in southern France, victims of freezing weather conditions that have gripped Europe in February 2012. The birds succumbed to the cold after being trapped in the frozen water and left unable to fly away. Rescuers were able to save several weakened flamingos and send them to a bird park.

Hippopotamuses

In 2004, an estimated 300 hippopotamuses in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park died after drinking water contaminated with anthrax. The lethal bacteria can frequently be found in the pools of stagnant water that form during Uganda’s dry season. The country has suffered from occasional anthrax outbreaks since the 1950s and because of their semiaquatic nature, hippos are particularly vulnerable to contamination.

Magellan Penguins

In July 2010, for example, about 500 dead Magellan Penguins washed up on the shores of Brazil over the course of just 10 days. Autopsies on the animals revealed that their stomachs were entirely empty, indicating that they likely starved to death.

Livestock

In early 2010, a bitterly cold and snowy winter followed a summer drought, preventing many species in Mongolia from grazing adequately. The disaster resulted in the deaths of millions of camels, goats, sheep, cows, yaks and horses.

Saiga antelopes

In May 2015, 60,000 saiga antelopes died in just four days, and no one really knows why. Saiga – a species of dog-sized antelope with Gonzo-like noses, native to central Asia – are critically endangered. Saigas live in a few herds in Kazakhstan, one small herd in Russia and a herd in Mongolia. The herds congregate with other herds during the cold winters, as well as when they migrate to other parts of Kazakhstan, during the fall and spring. The herds split up to calve their young during the late spring and early summer.

Piglets

In May 2013, a virus never before seen in the U.S., called porcine epidemic diarrhea, quickly spread to 27 states and claimed the lives of six million piglets in less than a year. Scientists think the virus, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but it’s unclear how it got into the country and wiped out at least three percent of the nation’s pig herd.

Sardines

In March 2011, boaters awakened to find millions of dead anchovies and sardines washed up around their vessels in a Southern California marina. The fish were so thick in some places that boats couldn’t get out of the marina.

Turtles

In late 2005 and January 2006, 200 endangered sea turtles were found dead along beaches on the coast of El Salvador. Scientists’ best guess at to the cause of this mysterious die-off is that the turtles fell victim to harmful algal blooms, known as a red tide.

Brown Pelicans

In January 2009, hundreds of Brown Pelicans were found dead or acting peculiar along the California coast. Though researchers were unclear as to what exactly triggered the birds’ illness, the mysterious mass die-off may have been due to unseasonable weather patterns that threw off the Pelicans’ eating habits.

As She Campaigns With Al Gore, New Emails Show Hillary Told Environmentalists to ‘Get a Life’

|
Oct 15, 2016 12:00 PM
As She Campaigns With Al Gore, New Emails Show Hillary Told Environmentalists to 'Get a Life'

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the environmental movement has never exactly been the epitome of cordiality. At a campaign event in March, she blew up at a Greenpeace activist who asked her about her relationship with fossil fuel companies. Annoyed at the young woman’s question, she angrily pointed her finger at her and said she was “sick!” of the Bernie Sanders campaign lying about her. Now, thanks to WikiLeaks, we have proof that Clinton outright mocked green activists in her speeches to trade unions.

“I’m already at odds with the most organized and wildest” of the environmental movement, Clinton told building trades unions in September 2015, according to a transcript of the remarks apparently circulated by her aides. “They come to my rallies and they yell at me and, you know, all the rest of it. They say, ‘Will you promise never to take any fossil fuels out of the earth ever again?’ No. I won’t promise that. Get a life, you know.”…

In the same speech, Clinton goes on to promise her audience of trade union members she will defend fracking “in the right circumstances.”

Clinton gave the above speech in the same month she announced her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, suggesting it was merely a politically opportune decision.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein has seemingly criticized Clinton much more often than Donald Trump in this election. In an epic Twitter rant on Friday, Stein told her supporters that Clinton’s nomination was merely disguised as democratic but was always a foregone conclusion by party operatives. The media is also to blame, she said, of aggressively propping up Clinton.

In this context, is not a bit odd that Clinton has the audacity to let Al Gore, perhaps the most famous environmentalist in the country, speak on her behalf on the campaign trail?