Missing Piglets, The FBI and The Revolving Door

Many thanks to The Intercept:
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Veda Stram
October 2017

piglets
Some “factory-farmed” piglets...

I have been a vegan and animal rights activist since January 1989 and am RELIEVED to read this absolutely amazing and thorough post from The Intercept: The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms.

Thanks to The Intercept for this thorough representation of the links between abusing someone for profit AND ignoring reality for profit AND the revolving door of governmental and industry corruption that profit from ABUSE!

Too many people have been claiming for decades that animal activists are “exaggerating” the horrors animals endure because people choose their taste bud and tradition preferences over civility and decency.

We are now into too many generations of many humans eating animal parts and pieces and secretions several times EVERY day. I am certain there is a provable connection between the eating of the psychological and biological RAGE those animals endure and the rise of violence in this world AND the lack of concern for “others.”

Whether or not there IS that provable connection about ‘eating rage,’ then there is the worse realization that too many people continue to CHOOSE to pay someone to brutalize and slaughter someone because they want to eat parts and pieces of their dead tortured bodies. Or how about paying industries to brutalize and slaughter someones because other someones want their oil, their diamonds, their land, their water?

If you eat “other” animals because you get some kind of personal gratification, what sets you apart from those humans/industries that destroy wild animals, water, air, land for personal/corporate financial gratification?

This MUST END! Being vegan is not a diet, it is not about what/who you eat, it is about CHOOSING civility over domination and violence.

Veganism IS the possibility of a world that works for every one and every thing, with no one and nothing left out.

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-missing-piglets-intercept.html

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Five detained after 300 tonnes of dead pigs dumped in east China

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-09/11/c_136600302.htm

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-11 12:28:44|Editor: Song Lifang
 

HANGZHOU, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) — Five people have been detained on suspicion of dumping 300 tonnes of diseased pigs in a mountainous area of Huzhou city, eastern China’s Zhejiang Province.

The city government issued a circular Monday accusing the Huzhou Industrial and Medical Waste Treatment Company of sending pigs that died of disease to a landfill rather than for cremation between 2013 and 2014.

Police investigation shows that the company, which is responsible for disposing the city’s dead pigs, has a refrigerated storage facility with a capacity of 50 tonnes. For six times, the company dumped diseased carcasses at three sites at Dayin Mountain whenever the facility was full.

Over the last week, the Huzhou government had dug out 224 tonnes of decomposed carcasses and sludge, which will be cremated.

A sample-test report by the municipal agricultural department said that no human-infecting pig diseases, such as H5 and H7 bird flu viruses and foot-and-mouth disease, had been found.

The authorities have ordered that the public security bureau, agriculture and environmental department and the local government to collectively ensure no carcasses are left in the soil. Later, local environmental service center will carry out an environment impact assessment.

The Zhejiang provincial government has sent inspectors to oversee the treatment process.

East China provinces are known for breeding pigs, and there are rules for disposing of carcasses. However, illegal dumping occasionally occurs when dealers try to save on bio-safety costs.

Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc gives water to a pig in a truck

Christie Blatchford: Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

by Christie Blatchford

These days, you can hardly pick up a paper or click on a news site without reading another story about the woes of the Canadian criminal courts.

They’re chronically short of judges! There aren’t enough Crown prosecutors! Legal aid is a mess and no one qualifies to get a lawyer any more! The buildings are old and crumbling!

And delay: Such a hue and cry about delay in the courts.

Since about six months ago, when in a case called R v Jordan the Supreme Court of Canada pronounced upon the unacceptable length of time it takes to get a case to trial in this country, and blamed what it called “a culture of complacency,” knickers have been in a knot across the land.

Defence lawyers are pressing to have charges against their clients dismissed because of egregious delay, years sometimes. Prosecutors say no, wait a minute – we’re doing our best here with limited resources. Judges are all over the map, here throwing out cases, there throwing up their hands. There is wild talk of such drastic measures as doing away with preliminary hearings.

Halton Region, west of Toronto, is no different, and maybe worse.

A simple Google search reveals that for the past five years, there’s been a steady drumbeat of whingeing emanating from the bar and the judiciary in the area, particularly about the “unmitigated disaster” that is the Milton courthouse, as one local lawyer has called it.

Area judges have taken judicial notice of the situation, meaning they’ve worked criticism of government into their decisions.

“Let the ministries that fund and operate the various arms of our court system be forewarned,” Ontario Court Judge Stephen Brown said in a March 8, 2012 decision in which he tossed a case of impaired driving. “Failure to increase judicial and physical resources to match the growing population will quite possibly result in a floor of delay applications being granted.”

Seven months later, Brown was at it again: “Because of the chronic persistent and growing demands on the limited resources in Halton Region, we are slipping further into a crisis situation where the lack of allocation of government resources by way of an increase in judicial resources and a proper physical plant and infrastructure to deal with the explosive growth in this region is leading to a breaking point.”

So the point is made, and undoubtedly legitimate: There’s no time or resources to waste in the justice system.

It’s in this light that the trial of animal rights activist Anita Krajnc might be considered.

On June 22 two years ago, Krajnc and other activists on a traffic island took advantage of a stopped tractor trailer (it was stopped at a red light) to talk to and pet the 190 pigs inside being taken to a nearby slaughterhouse in Burlington.

As a short video that was played at trial shows, the pigs were clearly thirsty and some of them were panting, and breathing open-mouthed.

Krajnc began giving some of them water.

The truck driver got out of the vehicle, approached her and asked what she was doing, told her to stop, and then phoned 911. He later went to the local police station to file a complaint, and Krajnc was charged.

(In the interests of full disclosure, let it be known that I have a white-and-pink English bull terrier, aka “a pig dog”, so named for its magnificent resemblance to a pig – big pig ears, piggy sort of snout and body, sort of dogs in pig skin. Balancing off that bias, I eat bacon, or at least I did until I read the expert report of Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist who testified at trial. Her evidence was that in fact pigs are dog-like, every bit as sentient and capable of feelings as dogs are. They are also ridiculously cute, but that’s just my view.)

In any case, however one sees Krajnc’s cause, the fact is that the overburdened and impoverished justice system nonetheless allowed this prosecution not only to proceed, but also to eat up seven full days of court time, and all the public resources that entails – seven days of salary for the judge and prosecutor Harutyun Apel, court officials and security officers, court reporter and clerk, etc.

Blessedly, both for Krajnc and the taxpayer, she was represented pro bono by lawyers Gary Grill and James Silver.

Prosecutors had offered to settle the case with a peace bond, Grill said in a phone interview, but that was hardly reasonable given “she believes she’s done absolutely nothing wrong” and also recognized a PR and public education opportunity when she sees one.

A request for comment to prosecutor Apel Thursday resulted in a referral to the spokesperson for the attorney general’s ministry, who at first referred the query to the agriculture ministry, but when pressed – this is an issue which is clearly within the AG’s bailiwick — then declined to comment until the appeal period is over.

The government is considering an appeal? What, insufficient public funds haven’t yet been squandered?

As Gary Grill said, “There’s definitely real money being spent on this. Nobody in Milton can ever say they don’t have the resources.” Amen.

Texas Lawmaker Wants to Legalize Hunting Feral Hogs from Hot Air Balloons

 https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-lawmaker-feral-hogs-hot-air-balloons/

Policymakers in Texas continue to scratch their heads over the state’s feral hog problem, and the solutions are getting weirder.

Hot air balloon  FLICKER/IRULAN_AMY

Researchers and policymakers for years have searched fruitlessly for effective ways to significantly drop feral hog population levels in Texas, with proposals ranging from eating our way out of the problem to widespread poisoning.

Roughly 2 million wild hogs are estimated to live in Texas, and they cause more than $50 million in damage each year. The invasive animals’ high breeding rate and lack of predators have fueled their proliferation in South, Central and East Texas, leading to big business for hunters and trappers.

In 2011, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, then a state rep, passed what became known as the “pork chopper” bill, legalizing the hunting of feral hogs from a helicopter. On its face, the bill sounded more like a joke than an actual solution.

Hunter prepares to shoot feral hogs with a rifle from a helicopter.  YOUTUBE/NICK LEGHORN

Turns out, it’s really hard to shoot anything from a helicopter. In addition to being ineffective, the method is also very dangerous (and not just for the hogs.) The only results produced by the bill were some crazy YouTube videos and an industry in which people pay upwards of $3,000 per hunt to pick off pigs from a chopper.

Enter state Representative Mark Keough, a Republican and pastor from The Woodlands. He told the Observer that he “loved” Miller’s pork chopper bill and found himself asking: “What are more ways we can take more feral hogs?”

After chatting with hunters and conducting his own informal research, Keough believes he’s found an alternative solution: hot air balloons.

His House Bill 3535 would authorize Texans to hunt feral hogs and coyotes from a hot air balloon with a permit.

If the idea seems crazy, that’s because it is. No one hunts from a hot air balloon. Go ahead, Google it. “I haven’t found people anywhere doing this,” Keough admits.

But he thinks it would be pretty damn sweet to try. (It’s currently illegal, or he would’ve tried already, he said.)

The fast-moving helicopter approach, Keough says, has a lot of “safety issues,” leads to many misses and often scares off the hogs. “They’re smart,” he said.

Feral hogs damage land in rural areas, but have increasingly caused problems in suburban and urban areas.  U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Hot air balloons, on the other hand, are more stable, slower and offer a better rifle-shooting platform, Keough said.

Last July, 16 people were killed in the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history near Lockhart when the pilot lost control and crashed into power lines. The incident led to calls for stricter regulation of the balloon industry.

Still, Keough says, “It’s far safer than if you were hunting out of a helicopter.”

But more effective? Probably not.

Even Keough admits there’s a good chance hunters could spend all day in a balloon and not shoot anything. And its clumsy, slow-moving nature will keep hunters from effectively chasing the animals.

The animals, which can grow to weigh 100-400 pounds, have a gestation period that’s shorter than four months and litter sizes of up to 12. They are considered a non-game animal, meaning there are no seasons or bag limits, but a state hunting license is required.

Billy Higginbotham, a professor and wildlife and fisheries specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said the balloon strategy faces the same problem as helicopters in the eastern third of the state: trees.

“Aerial gunning by any vehicle [in East Texas] is not widely used because of the extensive tree cover,” Higginbotham said.

State Representative Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands.  FACEBOOK

Keough said the “pork choppper” bill “was more about creating an industry” and that no single strategy will significantly reduce hog populations.

“I think there is a possibility [with hot air balloons] for an industry, but the motivating factor is this is another way to get rid of the problem,” he said

Keough also sponsored legislation that would require more research on the effects of widespread lethal pesticides, including warfarin, before they can be used on hogs. The measure passed the House Monday.

A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesperson declined to comment on pending legislation, citing agency policy. HB 3535 would require the agency to license individuals who want to hunt from the balloons.

Keough, who said he’s “interested in anything that will help us get rid of these things,” believes his bill represents the spirit of Texas.

“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself,” he said. “We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things. It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported no license is required to hunt feral hogs in Texas. A state-issued license is required, although there are no seasons or bag limits.

Animal Rights Activist On Trial In Canada For Giving Water To Pigs

An animal rights activist is being tried in Canada on charges of criminal mischief because she gave water to pigs bound for the slaughterhouse.

Anita Krajnc faces a maximum of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine if convicted, and she has pleaded not guilty, according to the CBC. The pigs were on their way to Fearman’s Pork Inc. in Ontario last summer.

Animal rights group Toronto Pig Save posted a video, which you can watch here:

First, it shows Krajnc approaching a truck full of pigs and asking the driver to give one of the pigs some water.

He replies: “Don’t give him anything. Do not put water in there!” She says, “Jesus said if they are thirsty, give them water.”

His response: “No, you know what, these are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad!” He threatens to call the cops as she repeatedly says, “Have some compassion.” When she attempts to insert the water bottle through a slot in the trailer for the pigs to drink, he threatens to slap it out of her hands.

Speaking outside the courthouse, Krajnc told reporters that this trial is about “putting pigs in the spotlight. … We want people to see them as individuals and not property.”

She told The Washington Post that her defense lawyers will argue she was not breaking the law but acting in the public good.

The trial opened this week and held two sessions. On Thursday, animal welfare expert Armaiti May testified in court that “in all likelihood they were in severe distress,” the CBC reported. May said she couldn’t be sure: “I was not there to examine the pigs, and they’ve been slaughtered now.”

Toronto Pig Save, which Krajnc founded, regularly holds “vigils” in front of Fearman’s and other local slaughterhouses to “bear witness” to the animals’ final moments,according to the group.

The driver, Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, and hog farmer Eric Van Boekel maintained “the pigs were watered and transported according to industry standards,” as the CBC reported.

Veldjesgraaf testified that “his main concern was over what was in the water that Krajnc’s group gave the pigs, and whether it might contaminate the livestock,” CBC reported.

As the Star reported, Van Boekel told the court that he had other safety concerns: “One of my biggest fears — and it’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen — is one of the protesters has their arm in the slat, and the driver pulls away, they’ll get (dragged) under the truck.”

Defense lawyer Gary Grill told the broadcaster that he hopes “Justice David Harris will wear the [virtual reality] gear to experience what it’s like being an animal in a slaughterhouse,” which “will be instrumental in helping Harris understand Krajnc’s viewpoint as an animal rights activist, and why she gives water to pigs outside slaughterhouses.”

The trial will continue on Oct. 3, when Krajnc is expected to testify.

The case has attracted the attention of other animal rights activists, who are tweeting messages of support using the hashtags #PigTrial and #StandWithAnita.

WE ARE WITH ANITA! STAND TALL YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT AND YOU HAVE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU! ❤❤❤❤

Factory Farm 360

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/mdi-factory-farm-360.html

FROM

Last Chance for Animals (LCA)
February 2015

The first interactive, 360-degree video of animal life on factory farms. Brought to you by LCA’s Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit.

WATCH THE TRUTH about Pig Farms

CLICK AND DRAG ON THE VIDEO TO LOOK AROUND

  • On a factory farm, a breeding pig spends most of her life in a gestation crate too small for her to turn around in. The confinement is maddening; pigs bite on the bars until their mouths are sore and bloody.
  • After about four months, the mother is moved to a small, filthy maternity crate, where she will give birth and nurse her babies.
  • The piglets’ back teeth are cut with pliers, and their tails are clipped. The males are castrated with no anesthetic, so the meat tastes more pleasing to consumers.
  • Many piglets die of infection, or are crushed to death by their mother because her movement is so restricted. Dead piglets are gutted, and their intestines fed to mother pigs in an effort to immunize them from disease. After just weeks, the surviving piglets will be taken away and the mother re-impregnated.
  • These facilities are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria like salmonella, so pigs are given steady doses of antibiotics, spawning antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Workers deface the pigs’ bodies with spray paint to mark their status, like whether they’re pregnant or that it’s time for them to die. Some workers have spray-painted “kill” or “die” right on animals’ backs.
  • Nearly all pork at grocery stores and restaurants in the U.S. – including bacon, ham and pork sausage – comes from these farms, where the pigs endure excruciating suffering every day of their lives.
  • You can help end this torture by choosing cruelty-free meatless options instead of pork.

WATCH THE TRUTH about Free-Range Egg Farms

CLICK AND DRAG ON THE VIDEO TO LOOK AROUND

  • This is a “free range” egg farm, but these hens are far from free. They know only concrete and metal, and beneath the grating under their feet sits piles of urine and manure.
  •  Dead hens rot among the living, spreading their disease.
  • All of these hens’ brothers were killed the day they were born, because to the egg industry, they are worthless.
  • In the U.S., no government-regulated standards exist for “free range” farms. Hens may go outside for just minutes a day. Some birds never even get outdoors, because access is blocked by the crowds.
  • The crowding and filth create a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites, making both birds and humans sick.
  • This is cruel, and it’s happening right now to hens all over the world. Help end their suffering by choosing plant-based alternatives to eggs and other animal products. Together, we can stop farm cruelty.

WATCH THE TRUTH about “Broiler” Chicken Farms

CLICK AND DRAG ON THE VIDEO TO LOOK AROUND

  • You are in a room of thousands of other “broiler” chickens, where you will spend your entire life never seeing sunlight.
  • Beneath you is a sludge of litter, urine and manure; it has so much ammonia, it’s burning your feathers off, so your chest is sore and bald.
  • You’ve been bred for constant hunger, and the lights are on all night to keep you awake and eating.
  • You’re so obese, you cannot stand (If you were a 10-year-old child, you’d weigh 500 pounds by now).
  • You probably have salmonella or another sickening bacteria, spawned from the overcrowding and filth.
  • Sound like torture? It is. And it’s reality for chickens found at nearly all stores and restaurants in the U.S.
Rescued Chicken--Pigs' Pease Sanctuary

Rescued Chicken–Pigs’ Pease Sanctuary

Four Minutes of “Pigman” Ted, Evil Incarnate

68439_10151399495155861_1116657731_nAlways known about the infamous Ted Nugent, but by reputation only? Never had the displeasure of seeing him in action? Here’s your chance.

This is a 4 minute compilation of Nugent and his cronies killing 100 animals on different continents, with bullets and arrows, and machine guns from a helicopter, in the blood-orgy that is their way of life.

[Watch as much as of him as you can stomach–I lasted about 4 seconds.]:

No Offense, but Have Yourselves a Merry Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year (you’ll notice I didn’t call it Xmas, or “the holidays”). It’s the season of chilly nights, snowy days

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

and cozy mornings by the crackling fire, that I long for during the dry summer months. The Solstice —with its leafless trees, longer days and promise of spring—adds its magic to the spell. To this devout unbeliever—this compassionate atheist—the arrival of winter has always been known as Christmastime.

Make no mistake; I don’t believe in virgin births, any more than I believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or the talking walnut. It’s all a bunch of anthropocentric hooey. But I think it’s sad that Americans aren’t supposed to say “Merry Christmas” any more.

I wouldn’t expect store clerks to assume their customers are all church-going Christians. I for one am not and never have been—my church is the DSC_0082wild forest, mountains, rivers and oceans. Yet I still think of the giving season simply as Christmas. When I’m out shopping for Christmas presents, I’d rather hear a hearty “Merry Christmas” than a sheepish “happy holidays.” Instead of spreading good cheer, the latter comes across as an embarrassed, “the capitalist corporation I work for will fire me if I’m caught wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

I enjoy all kinds of Christmas music—as long as it’s joyous—and all sorts of Christmas decorations, particularly those that celebrate trees and greenery. I’m not offended by manger scenes, especially the ones that include lots of animals bedded down on nice dry straw. But the religious slant can definitely be taken too far. I get irritated when someone includes a cross in their Christmas display.

To me a cross is a symbol of cruelty, suffering and death, not peace, love and generosity. It doesn’t belong anywhere near Christmas. I’ve never believed in needing savior to achieve redemption. And I’m already painfully aware of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man (not to mention, to the pigsDSC_0101 and turkeys, as well as the ducks and geese I hear being shot at out there as I write this—all in the spirit of holiday feasting).

Not that I think anyone’s ever coming back from anywhere, but I can identify with this memorable line in the Woody Allen film, Hannah and her Sisters, when Max Von Sydow’s character, Frederick, laments about the garbage on TV: “You see the whole culture. Nazis, deodorant salesmen, wrestlers, beauty contests, a talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

I’ve never thought of December 25th as the birthday of any god-incarnate or the day that reindeer can fly or when Santa visits every house in one night. But I’ll always call it Christmas—the name for a season that ought to last all year long. It’s not just a holiday—the spirit of selfless giving should be a year-round sentiment.

Oh, and if anyone up there really is listening, all I want for Christmas is world peace for all beings— and enough freaking snow to ski on.

1493185_206170882901726_158839565_n

Beloved pets also lost, displaced by mudslide

[Only now, after the human death toll has been tallied up, do we hear about the no-human casualties of the Oso slide.]

imagesCALYDLG2

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Beloved-pets-also-lost-displaced-by-mudslide-253195501.html

By MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press Published: Mar 31, 2014
DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) – After a rescue worker called her animal clinic saying dogs had been extracted from the destruction left behind by a massive mudslide, veterinary assistant Cassna Wemple and her colleagues raced to this small Washington town near the debris field.

They found one of the dogs at the fire station among a flurry of rescue workers and townspeople. Bonnie, an Australian shepherd, was wrapped in a comforter. She was muddy and had a broken leg in a splint. One of Bonnie’s owners had just died in the slide. The other had been pulled out.

“She was just very much in shock,” Wemple said.

In this rural community north of Seattle, Wemple said it’s common for residents to have plenty of animals, including pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens, dogs and cats. When the deadly slide struck March 22, beloved pets and livestock also perished.

The full number of pets and livestock killed may never be known. Authorities also don’t have a clear number of how many pets are missing or displaced by the slide, incident spokespeople have said. There are at least 37 horses displaced and at least 10 dogs that were missing, according to different animal services helping the recovery efforts.

“To know that their animals are lost and may or may not be found. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the people and the animals,” said Dee Cordell of the Everett Animal Services.

Wemple said rescue workers could hear horses crying from the debris hours after the slide, but because of the unsafe conditions, rescuers couldn’t go in.

For those animals that survived, the community and outsiders have rallied in support with donations. Bag after bag of food for dogs, cats and chickens have filled up the rodeo grounds outside Darrington, which are serving as a makeshift shelter. At last count, it totaled nearly 45,000 pounds. On Saturday alone, 27 tons of donated food from Purina arrived.

Lilianna Andrews’s seven horses are now at the rodeo grounds. Their house wasn’t buried in the mud, but the displaced earth formed a dam, backing up the Stillaguamish River into a lake that rose waist-high in the house and as high as 10 feet in the barn.

“We got them out before they got any water on them,” the 13-year-old said after helping unload hay at the rodeo grounds on Saturday. “But they would have drowned. So we just had to evacuate them from the water, and they’ve been staying here ever since.”

The Andrews were in Seattle when a friend called to check on their whereabouts. When they realized it wasn’t just a small mudslide blocking the road, they hurried home. Their dog, cats and chickens are fine too, Andrews said, although they haven’t been able to get in to feed the chickens.

Volunteers are also tending to 20 horses that belonged to Summer Raffo, a farrier who died in the slide.

Wemple’s clinic, Chuckanut Valley Veterinary, treated three dogs hurt from the slide. One of those dogs, named Blue, had to have one of his legs amputated last week. His owner is still hospitalized. The owner’s daughter has visited the dog daily.

“He’ll be happier in the long run. No more pain in that leg,” Wemple said.

Bonnie’s owner was Linda McPherson, a retired librarian. She was in her living room reading newspapers with her husband, Gary “Mac” McPherson, when the slide hit. She died. He lived. Bonnie has been kept at the clinic for rehabilitation. At night, one of the staffers takes her home.

A memorial is planned for next week for Linda McPherson. Wemple said the staffer will bring the Australian shepherd to the memorial for a reunion with her surviving owner.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper contributed to this report.