Animal activists stage protest in Beijing against China’s barbaric annual dog meat festival which sees tens of thousands of canines beaten to death and cooked

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By TRACY YOU FOR MAILONLINE |

“Nobody will die if dog & cat are taken off the menu!!!”

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 

  • Around 30 animal campaigners carried out the protest today in bid to stop Yulin dog meat festival in China
  • The controversial festival sees as many as 10,000 animals butchered and eaten on summer solstice  
  • A petition signed by over 11 million people has been submitted to the authority, animal charity claimed
  • During the event, activists called Yulin in rural Guangxi Province a ‘scumbag’ and ‘a total embarrassment’ to China
    351d5a6300000578-0-image-a-66_1465547648765

A group of animal activists staged a protest today in Beijing in a bid to stop a Chinese dog-eating festival set to occur later this month.

This must stop: A group of around 30 animal activists staged a protest today in Beijing in a bid to stop the Yulin dog meat festival

The demonstration, initiated by three animal protection groups, submitted a petition allegedly signed by over 11 million people, calling on the Chinese authorities to end the Yulin dog meat festival.

The annual festival, which takes place in south China’s Guangxi Province, sees tens of thousands of animals beaten to death, cooked and sold on the market to celebrate summer solstice.

Around 30 activists carried out the protest outside of the Yulin government office as the petition was presented to the authority by three animal charities: Humane Society International, VShine and Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty.

Pictures from today’s event show animal campaigners, many of whom brought their own pet dogs, holding signs saying ‘Scumbag of China’ in English and ‘Shame on Yulin’ in Simplified Chinese.

Wendy Higgins, the Director of International Media at Humane Society International, said over 11 million signatures had been collected worldwide through the internet to demand the festival to stop.

The petition also included signatures gathered by four other international animal welfare organisations. They are RaiseURPaw in Canada as well as the Duo Duo Project, Care2 and Avaaz from the United States.

The petition has been accepted by officials from the Yulin government in Beijing, according to Ms Higgins.

Peter Li, the China Policy Expert at Humane Society International, attended the protest in Beijing today.

Mr Li told MailOnline:

‘There was a huge presence of police, but our hand-in went very peacefully. It was a great feeling to join with our Chinese partner group activists in Beijing today, there was a tremendous sense of determination to get our voices heard to the global media, and to let the world know that many people across China want the brutal Yulin dog meat festival shut down.

He added: ‘We gave a show of strength and defiance against the dog thieves and the blatant animal cruelty, to say loudly – you will not steal our best friends! 

‘I hope that the authorities listen, they really should do as the strength of public upset about Yulin and the trade here in China is really growing.

‘Next stop for me is Yulin, where I have been a number of times before, for the grim task of visiting the slaughterhouses before the festival starts.’

329f258d00000578-0-image-a-62_1465547648595Sickening feast: Residents in Yulin tucked in their dinner made with dog meat during last year’s festival. Many of the animals, which were caged and beaten before being slaughtered, are thought to be stolen pets!

Xu Yufeng, founder of Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty who were also present at the protest, said: ‘Yulin is a total embarrassment to China. 

‘Its failure to stop mass dog slaughter and mass dog consumption shows that the local authorities are not doing their job to protect the people, especially young children.

‘We urge the Yulin authorities to stand on the right side of history and to end the “festival” in the interests of public security, food safety, social morality and China’s reputation.’ 

Another member of the protesters, Pan Danyang from China-based small animal protection group VShine, said:

‘This is the third year of our participation in the nation-wide campaign against the Yulin dog meat festival. ‘Since we have over the last few years helped accommodate dogs rescued from the dog meat trade, we know Yulin’s dog meat market relies on dogs from suspicious sources. ‘I hope that Yulin authorities will take actions to stop the dog trucks from going into their city so that the mass slaughter on the summer solstice day won’t happen.’

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Visitors play with rescued dogs at a shelter ran by Yang Xiaoyun in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB (48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin’s annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

 

To learn more & signn other petitions, please visit the following, just a handful of sites that contain very informative material:-

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3634923/Animal-activists-stage-protest-Beijing-against-China-s-barbaric-annual-dog-meat-festival-sees-tens-thousands-canines-beaten-death-cooked.html

 

UPDATE: Circus Malta: Petition Supporting Animal Circuses Gains 5,000 Signatures

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Thursday 9 January 2014

Most animal charities & the public want to see a ban worldwide of wild animals being used in circuses. Now the owner of this circus is circulating his own petition to keep his Malta circus open. So please if you don’t agree with animals performing degrading tricks, kept behind bars & of course the cruelty that has been documented in circuses: PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS BELOW. We can’t let this circus continue, if it does through its petition, the flood gates for circuses using wild animals may open again; that would be tragic after all the hard work has been done to stop them!!

Circus promoter says 2013 could be last year for animal circuses in Malta due to the proposed ban.

But circus promoter Silvio Zammit has collected 5,000 signatures as part of a petition to overturn a proposal to ban animal circuses.

The circus has now moved to Ghajnsielem, Gozo, where Zammit hopes to continue collecting more signatures. The petition will then be passed on to the competent authorities.

Zammit, who has been bringing circuses to Malta for the past 16 years, said he could not allow the banning of animal circuses from Malta without taking any action.

“It was a personal initiative after finding out that the government had moved on to publish a White Paper proposing to ban animal circuses,” he said.

See all the animals, such as, Long horn cattle, Donkeys, Lama, Camels, Lions, Tigers, Zebra, Elephant, Giraffe, Baboon, Horses, Ponies, Donkeys performing pitiful & degrading acts; acts they would never do in the wild. The animal acts stop at 12 mins; then the human artists perform!I believe the only thing not seen is the Hippo; but is in a video below!!

Circo Orfei Floriana Malta 1st January 2012

Uploaded on 2 Jan 2012 – By levelone12

He argued that only 390 persons took part in the consultation process initiated by the government, of which 49% said they were against such a circus.

“We know that the majority of these were NGOs, and NGOs do not reflect popular opinion. I am doing this petition on my own. I know that there are many others who would like to sign it, but I have neither the time nor the manpower to go on a nation-wide petition,” Zammit said.

He said he was “very happy” with the number of signatures collected: “This shows that the Maltese do love the circus. They won’t flood the streets of Valletta with placards to support the circus.”

He also said that a number of MPs from both sides of the House visited Circo Orfei this winter. “Some came with their children while others accompanied their grandchildren. They thanked me for the level of the show and all said they had fun,” Zammit said.

He however refused to name them.

The debate as to whether Malta should ban animal circuses for good has been going on for a number of years, with animal rights NGOs insisting that circuses solely operate to maximise profits while completely disregarding the safety of the animals and the adverse effects they may impose.

Animal Rights Coalition said veterinarians only attend to the animal’s physical needs and as a result, the psychological issues brought about by the circuses are not being addressed.

With a number of countries moving to ban animal circuses for good, Zammit said in Italy alone there were 800 circuses. He said the UK was one of the countries which will stop animal circuses as from next year. “But this was the result of many circuses caught mistreating their animals,” he said, adding that the circus he brought to Malta did not see animals performing any tricks and only a minimal part of the show was dedicated to animals.My pic4

Zammit argued that the circus animals were born in captivity “and therefore they do not know otherwise. Their trainers threat them like their pets”.

He said Animal Welfare Department officials and veterinarians made regular checks to verify that the animals were well-kept.

Circo Orfei’s travelling team is made up of 60 people, whose living depends on the shows, Zammit said.

“This is their life. They are a community who live on the road and have been doing so for years on end. This is how they earn a living… their bread and butter,” he said.

The Animal Rights Coalition has also called for a full ban on dolphinaria and aquaria. The coalition has said it was unjust to deny dolphins the right to roam free in their natural habitat and called for the ban on dolphinariums as these restrict the creatures to a mere pool.

The Coalition also said that this should extend to aquaria as in this case, animals are likewise being “confined to cages and restricted from roaming in their natural habitat”.

Protesters outside circus. Image from http://www.timesofmalta.com

But Zammit feels that two weights and two measures were being applied when talking about animal circuses and aquaria.

He also said that circuses gave people the opportunity to see animals which would otherwise require them to travel abroad to zoos or safaris.

He insisted that a proper discussion was required and said he agreed that animals like elephants, pandas and monkeys should be banned. “What we have in our circus are horses, ponies, donkeys and tigers,” he said, adding that tigers in captivity lived for an average of 25 years while those in the wild lived for 12 years.

Circo Orfei also has a hippo and an emu as part of their travelling repertoire. 

News Link:http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Petition-supporting-animal-circuses-gains-5-000-signatures-20140108

Petitions to ban wild animals in circuses:-We must get the ban in place before this circus succeeds with their petition to continue

Published on 7 Jan 2013 – This video shows the hippo in the ring, but its towards the end of the video, after the trapeze act! What the hell is a hippo doing in a circus? Bloody outrageous!! Search Circo Orfei on You Tube to see all the animals when not entertaining  :-http://youtu.be/GEMx3YVIRmg 

Published on 10 Jan 2013 – Tiger & Lion Act:-http://youtu.be/aHeMPaW_d20

Published on 6 Sep 2013 – This is about the lions & tigers in the outside enclosure plus RARE WHITE LIONS & TIGERS?? Are they interbreeding??:-http://youtu.be/K40RjOFsX4c

My previous posts on circus in Malta etc.:

Polar Bears Are Left Out In The Cold By CITIES – Born Free : Videos & Petitions To Sign Please

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“This news arrived in my inbox. Just devastating news from the CITES convention for polar bears…who it seems are going to be left out in the cold!!! Watch the video then read the briefing below!!

Polar bears left out in the cold by CITES

Published on 7 Mar 2013 – Born Free

Will Travers, Born Free CEO, is saddened by today’s vote at the Bangkok meeting of CITES, which soundly rejected a proposal to increase protection from commercial trade for the polar bear, imperiled by the impacts of climate change.

This morning, the Conference of Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) currently taking place in Bangkok, discussed a proposal by the United States asking for higher protection of the iconic polar bear (see video above).

This species, completely dependent on sea ice for survival, has seen its number s fall to around 20,000-25,000 in recent years. This has in part been caused by a dramatic decrease in the extent of both winter and summer sea ice (showing a reduction of up to 20%) over the past 30 years, exacerbated by hunting for domestic and international trade amongst other factors.

Found in just five countries in the circumpolar region (Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russian Federation, and the United States), this species has caught the attention of the international community in recent years as the story of their decline has become common knowledge.

So, what will CITES Parties do to increase its protection and offer a life line to the world’s largest and best known bear species…WELL NOTHING!!!!

The precautionary principle, on which this proposal was largely based states that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation’.

So what this means is that if we are not sure of the effects an action is having, better to stop and reassess rather than proceed, possibly past the point of no return.

Today however, the Parties to CITES unfortunately threw precaution to the wind and voted not to increase global protection through greater trade restrictions despite the numerous current and ever looming threats to this species. It remains to be seen how this will contribute to the polar bear’s demise

News Link:-http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/bears/bear-news/article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1259

ENDANGERED POLAR BEAR

Uploaded on 2 Oct 2010

Polar bears are inquisitive, flexible and opportunistic, adept at exploiting their Arctic habitat.  Global warming is considered to be polar bears’ greatest threat and causes ice to melt earlier and freeze later. 

Bears have less time to hunt, have a longer summer fast and wait longer to resume hunting, causing loss of condition and potential conflict situations when hungry bears come in contact with peopleMeanwhile in captivity, intelligent and adaptable polar bears can suffer particularly badly in zoos, circuses and marine parks.

Polar bears are dying. As global warming accelerates, the sea ice they depend on for survival is literally melting away. Bears are starving and drowning as they have to swim farther and farther to reach solid ice. Some are even turning to cannibalism in a desperate search for food. Those trapped on land hundreds of miles from the nearest ice often wander near villages in search of food and are shot.

As if that weren’t enough, oil and gas drilling is destroying and polluting their fast-dwindling Arctic habitat.

A third of all polar bears — including all bears in Alaska — will be extinct by 2050 if current trends continue. The rest of the species will be gone by the end of the century.

But it’s not too late to save the polar bear if we join together and take immediate action. The science is clear.  We know what needs to be done — we just need to build the political support to do it.

Please sign the petition below to encourage President Barack Obama to rein in global warming and save the polar bear now.

Click the link below to sign the petition please:-

Petition & News Link:http://www.savethepolarbear.org/

Global Ban On Polar Bear Trade Turned Down

Published on 7 Mar 2013

An international conference of 178 member nations of an environmental group opts to allow trading of polar bear parts to continue.An international ban on trade in polar bears has been banned because of fears it would distract from the bigger threat of global warming.
The proposal put to representatives of the 178 member nations of the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (Cites) had divided conservationists.
They all agreed that the main risk to the world’s largest carnivorous land animal came from habitat loss but differed over whether international trade also put the bears at risk of extinction.
Polar bears, widely seen as the animal on the front line of global warming, are predicted to be hard hit by melting polar ice caps.
But the debate at the Cites meeting in Bangkok focused on the additional threat to the species posed by international trade. “The polar bear is facing a grim future, and today brought more bad news,” said US delegation head Dan Ashe who warned the polar bear population could fall by two-thirds by 2050.
“The continued harvest of polar bears to supply the commercial international trade is not sustainable.”
The ban was rejected by 42 votes to 38, with 46 abstentions among the nations who participated in the poll in Bangkok – the proposal needed a two-thirds’ majority support to be passed.

Polar bears are prized for their skins – particularly in Russia – as well as other body parts such as skulls, claws and teeth and their are strict controls over their international trade.

About half of the roughly 800 polar bears killed each year end up in the international trade, mostly wild bears from Canada, according to expert estimates cited by the US.

The US, Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway are home to a global population of 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears.

The WWF, which chose to oppose the ban in favour of concentrating on global warming said “habitat loss from climate warming, not international trade, is the primary driver” of an expected population decline.

Canada, which hosts the largest portion of the global population of polar bears and is the only country that still exports polar bear parts, opposed a ban, citing the need to preserve the traditions of the Inuit, an indigenous minority living mostly in the north of the country.

“The polar bear advances strong emotion. It is an iconic symbol of the Arctic,” said Canadian delegate Basile Van Havre.
Глобальный запрет на Polar Bear торговли Отклонен
ホッキョクグマ貿易に関する世界的な禁止が下がってい
全球北極熊的貿易禁止拒絕
Prohibición mundial de oso polar Comercio Rechazado
Proibição global de urso polar Comércio recusou

Please sign, Just a few on-line petitions to help save the polar bear:-

Protecting the polar bear, great links & facts:- http://animals.about.com/od/bears/a/polar-bear-protection.htm

Dog Needs Help After Miraculously Surviving Being Thrown Off A Bridge

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“Words fail me, if you don’t want your pet hand it in to a shelter, unless your scared they will be after you for abusing the pet; if you’ve done nothing wrong, there is no shame in admitting you can’t cope! Better that than end the life of an innocent that gave it’s all just to love you, despite how treated. Somebody knows more about this & I would beg that you please contact the police if there is anything you know, if a pet describing the one below has suddenly disappeared from your neighbourhood; or someone has told you they surrendered the animal. Please this person needs to pay for his actions, who ever it is, they must be a little un-balanced to do this to a dog! Didn’t anyone see the incident from the bridge?, please think back, did you see someone behaving strangely with a dog on the bridge?? the video link is below, sorry I couldn’t get it to play in WP.”

Lindey is alive today thanks to the fast actions of two animal lovers.

Witnesses say the German shepherd was thrown from a bridge in Kansas City falling over forty feet.

Poor Lindey Thrown from bridge

The couple rushed the dog to the veterinarian and now they are trying to raise the funds to get her the surgery she needs.

A horse show was being held at the Hale Arena in Kansas City when witnesses saw a 2-year-old German shepherd come flying off the bridge and land in a snow bank, she appeared to have been thrown. Although one witness called for help, no one rushed to her aid until two horse show attendees pulled up. The two animal lovers didn’t hesitate to come to her aid, putting her in their car and getting her to the vet as fast as they could.

Thanks to the quick actions of her rescuers Lindey was at the vet within 30 minutes of her fall. “That made a huge difference,” said Dr. Smith. Her injuries were severe. “Obviously there was a great deal of trauma. She was in shock.”

Lindey is lucky to even be alive after her horrific fall. “When dogs fall that far they assume an orientation in space where front legs are coming down first, followed by their head,” said veterinarian Dr. Richard Smith. “We call that a 3-point landing and it’s not very pleasant, when front legs give out and then their chin hits the ground and causes damage to their mouth as well.” Lindey’s rescuers believe her landing in a snow bank very well saved her life. Though Lindey is not out of the woods yet.

Lindey will need complicated and expensive surgery to repair both of her front legs and damage she sustained to her teeth. The surgery along with follow-up care could cost $10,000. Lindey also sustained some internal injuries“She had some blood in her stomach, some compression in her lungs,” said Dr. Smith.  Her internal injuries seem to be stabilizing and will be monitored for another week or two to make sure there is no residual internal damage.

Approximately $4,000 has been raised to date to help Lindey.

To help donate towards Lindey’s surgery and recovery go to mogsrescue.rescuegroups.org or send donations to:

Love 4 Paws

P.O. Box 13305

Overland Park, Kan. 66282

Video Link:-http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=69016&sitesection=wtvr&VID=24540921

News Link:-http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2013/03/dog-needs-help-after-miraculously-surviving-being-thrown-from-a-bridge/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeWithDogs+%28Life+With+Dogs%29

During Tough Economic Times Pet Food Stamps Helping Families Keep Their Dogs

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“What a great idea, watch the video, this could mean many hundreds if not thousands of pets (depending on how much the organization can get in donations)would not have to be surrendered; freeing up much needed space in shelters for injured animals etc. This could also mean many pets won’t have to starve to death either…what’s their owners excuse going to be, when they get in front of the judge “for starving their dog to death…no more excuses!!! Aside from lazy buggers who couldn’t be bothered to get the food??”

Over the past couple years the economy has hit many families hard. Some have even been forced to give up their dogs because they can no longer afford to adequately care for them.

Pet Food stamps, a new non-profit organization, is hoping to help families avoid having to give up their pets.

Food Stamps For Pets

Published on 26 Feb 2013

Program provides pet owners with handout

Pet Food Stamps is based out of New York and is offeringfood stamps” for low income families that can’t afford to feed their pets. The current United States Food Stamp Program excludes the purchase of pet food and supplies. Pet Food Stamps is remedying that issue.

Families are not the only ones who will benefit from this program. Shelters are hopeful that this will help reduce the number of dogs on the streets and in overcrowded shelters. Many shelters across the nation have reported a recent increase in the number of pets surrendered by owners because owners have faced economic hardship.

Marc Okon is the creator of the Pet Food Stamps program, which runs off private donations. The program has only been running for a few weeks but has already received an overwhelming amount of applications. “We’re receiving several thousand applications a day, and with each application there may be two or three dogs or two or three cats,” said Okon. “So in total we have over 40,000 cats and dogs already awaiting food.”

Okon is hoping to find corporate sponsorships and steady funding for the program. “The love of a pet, the therapeutic ability of a pet and things like that are impossible to measure. It gives us a great feeling of pride to be able to help people like that and we’re happy to do it,” said Okon. The program is easy to apply for. Anyone who is receiving food stamps or is around or below the poverty level can go to the Pet Food Stamps website to fill out a contact form to be contacted by an enrolment agent and being the application process.

The program currently offers food and hopes to expand into discounted veterinary care as well later in the year. Until the program finds corporate sponsorship and steady funding it relies solely on private donations. If you wish to help you can make a donation through the Pet Food Stamps website.

News Link:-http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2013/03/during-tough-ecomonic-times-pet-food-stamps-helping-families-keep-their-dogs/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeWithDogs+%28Life+With+Dogs%29

With Your Invaluable Support, The League, RSPCA And Other Organisations Will Continue To Oppose The Badger Cull in 2013.

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“Please watch the video below, from last year…then please sign petitions etc. Together we can save the badgers”

The Government’s proposed badger cull, set to go ahead last year was postponed after a sustained and comprehensive campaign that involved numerous organisations, including the League and our supporters, coming together as Team Badger.

Last year over 160,000 people also signed a Government e-petition, far exceeding the 100,000 signatures needed to be considered for a House of Commons debate, which went ahead on 25th October.

The Parliamentary vote against the badger cull was overwhelming: 147 votes to 28 votes, with the majority of MPs agreeing with scientists, animal welfare organisations and the general public, that the cull is wrong and would be ineffective on scientific, humanitarian and practical grounds.

However, the vote is not binding and the Government are still planning to resume culling this summer.

The League, our partner organisations and supporters are committed, therefore, to continue with the campaign to ensure the cull isn’t just postponed, but abandoned for good, in favour of vaccinating badgers and developing an effective bovine TB vaccine.

As part of Team Badger, the League recently submitted evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee inquiry, which is looking into vaccination alternative to culling and is due to report later this year.

Vaccination has already been a proven success in Wales, where over 1,400 badgers have already been protected against bovine TB as part of a five year programme of work to eradicate TB completely. The badger vaccination initiative in Wales reflects the constructive alternative to culling that the League, along with “Team Badger”, is calling for. It also demonstrates the co-operation that is possible between the farming industry and government in taking swift, positive and decisive action against the spread of Bovine TB.

The League, alongside our campaign partners, believes strongly that vaccination of both badgers and cattle and better husbandry are the most effective and long-term way to tackle this terrible disease. Together we successfully came together to ensure badgers had a stay of execution in 2012 and we are now working for a full and permanent pardon in 2013.

What can I do to stop the cull happening this summer?

You should contact your MP to remind them that the badger cull is set to go ahead in summer of 2013. You should ensure that they know the evidence and science against the cull and ask them to make sure they will continue to oppose the cull in 2013.

Link:-http://www.league.org.uk/faq/32/Badger-Cull-FAQs

Keep checking back at this site for more news & next steps to take:- http://www.league.org.uk/content/643/Badger-Cull

Badger cull to begin from June, Environment Secretary confirms

Conservative MP Owen Paterson said that, if successful, the cull aimed at stopping bovine tuberculosis would be rolled out across the country next year.

It has not been confirmed where this summer’s pilot culls will take place, however the National Farmers Union (NFU) said it believed they would be in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Animal rights campaigners expressed dismay, claiming there is still no scientific evidence to support the cull and that the move is against the wishes of the British public.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Paterson said: “We need to make sure that these two trials are carried out in a professional and scientific manner and if we prove that this works we will continue.”

The Government wants to stop the animals spreading the disease which has cost the taxpayer £500m in the last decade. That figure is expected to rise to £1bn in the next 10 years.

Adam Quinney, the vice president of the National Farmers’ Union, welcomed the decision and said they had expected the cull to go ahead this summer.

“The two licences have been issued for two areas in Gloucestershire and Somerset and they still stand.

“There have been discussions about looking at alternative areas just because it is prudent,” he said.

A spokeswoman for The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed: “The earliest the cull can take place is from June 1, and it will definitely be going ahead this summer.”

The cull cannot take place before then for a number of reasons, including licence restrictions and welfare concerns for badger’s caring for their young.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said they were “deeply disappointed” with the plans to cull the animals tomorrow as there is no “real proof” that it will help either cows or badgers and called for Defra to look again at alternatives including vaccines.

They said: “The Government must think again and the RSPCA will continue to campaign against the cull until it does so.

“After this year’s postponement we had hoped that the government would finally see sense and pay attention to the vast amount of scientific research showing that a cull will be ineffective, wasteful and potentially damaging to the welfare of both farm and wild animals.

“The vaccination of both badgers and cattle along with more effective biosecurity is the only approach which addresses the welfare of both cattle and badgers and the long term livelihood of farmers.

“This announcement flies in the face of the views of a huge majority of MPs who voted against the cull as well as the majority of the British public and the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion. The RSPCA stands ready to work alongside all those seeking an alternative to this barbaric cull.”

News Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/farming/9828358/Badger-cull-to-begin-from-June-Environment-Secretary-confirms.html

British Badger Cull – Channel 4 News

Published on 19 Sep 2012

UK channel 4 news item with Brian May, badger supported and guitarist with Queen and Jan Rowe, cattle farmer, debating the badger cull which is taking part in the UK now. 
This programme was first shown in the UK on Monday, September 17th, 2012 
If you are against the cull please support http://www.teambadger.org

Relevant sites & petitions:-

A selection of related items, to find more, type Badgers in the search box in my blog:-

Elephants really do grieve like us: They shed tears and even try to ‘bury’ their dead – a leading wildlife film-maker reveals how the animals are like us

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The pictures of a baby elephant in Borneo, nudging and nuzzling the body of its dead mother in obvious distress and bewilderment, cannot fail to move us.

Allegations that up to ten pygmy elephants were poisoned, perhaps by local farmers, are upsetting — perhaps because elephant emotions seem so like our own, so heartbreakingly close to human sorrow and grief.

Any scientist knows how dangerous it is to project human feelings on to an animal, to force them into human moulds or ‘anthropomorphise’ them, but it’s equally dangerous to ignore a wealth of scientific data based on decades of observation in the wild.

Heart-rendering: An African elephant mother mourns her calf, a victim of the three consecutive years of drought in East Africa

We may never know exactly what goes on inside the mind of an elephant, but it would be arrogant of us to assume we are the only species capable of feeling loss and grief.

I have been filming animals in the wild for more than 20 years, and that has often meant being around elephants: they live across a huge range of habitats. But mass poaching has put them into terrible declinearound 40,000 elephants a year are killed by poachers and, according to some estimates, since the Sixties the population has been culled from 3.5 million to just 250,000.

I am certain that the behaviour I have witnessed so often stems from real emotion. Understanding it is the biggest challenge for a wildlife cameraman. We have to get inside the heads of the animals, see how they are reacting and predict what they will do next, or we won’t get the shots we need.

Perhaps the most dramatic and emotional sequence happened in our current BBC1 series, Africa, narrated by David Attenborough. We filmed an elephant mother’s desperate attempts to keep her calf alive during the worst drought in 50 years in Kenya.

These animals were not dying of thirst: they were starving. Some volcanic springs were still flowing, so the animals could get water; what they couldn’t get were nutrients.

By that time, the drought was well into its second year and mother and baby were trying to survive on dry twigs. There was no hay in Kenya, there was a sense of utter helplessness, and we felt the most important thing was to document what was happening.

Cameraman Mark Deeble had been following the family for days. He saw that the mother stayed with her baby and felt she was distressed, trying to lift up the dead body and move it with her feet, before standing over the prone calf for about an hour, seeming to come to terms with the situation.

Whether you were actually there or watching events unfold on the screen, it was impossible to keep your emotions separate from what you were seeing. The mother’s bereavement transmitted itself so strongly.

In a more benign environment, an elephant might mourn for longer. I have heard of animals staying beside the bodies of dead friends for three days and nights, refusing to move.

This mother didn’t do that, possibly because she had been exposed to a lot of death around her. Fifteen thousand head of game died in that reserve during the drought. More than 400 elephants perished, including 60 per cent of all the matriarchs — a herd’s female leader. It was a terrible time for that population, and I think death had become familiar to them. You could draw a parallel with humans in wartime. The mother had to move on for her own survival.

We couldn’t save her baby, but we felt it was essential to put its death in context: Africa is infamous for its droughts and famines, and yet we very rarely see how seriously that affects its wildlife.

Scientists have observed extraordinary displays of emotion from elephants. When one tame animal called Abu died at a safari outfit in Botswana, his keepers brought the other elephants to say ‘goodbye’. One female, Cathy, was seen crying from both eyes, tears streaming down her face.

That doesn’t mean elephants know what death is. They can’t anticipate death in the way we can or imagine it as an abstract concept. Their grief is different: it’s simply about loss.

Dr Kate Evans, of the Elephants For Africa research foundation, has told me that on several occasions she has watched grieving elephants exhibit almost a sense of puzzlement.

They pick up, hold and examine bones, balancing a jawbone on their tusks or putting it in their mouths, as if they are saying to their dead friend: ‘Is that you?’ Perhaps the discredited myth of the elephant’s graveyard, a secret place where the animals supposedly went to die, had its origins in the fact that elephants interact with their dead.

Dr Evans has observed mourning among wild elephants that she knew well. On one occasion, a young bull came across three skulls. He ignored the first two, but paid particular attention to the third skull, from an elephant he had been friendly with. In Kate’s words, he seemed to know who the skull belonged to

Another time, a matriarch collapsed and died in the bush. Over the next three weeks, several lone males visited her body and spent time by her side.

Back in the Forties, George Adamson (the naturalist who, with his wife Joy, was the inspiration for the film Born Free) recalled how he once had to shoot a bull elephant from a herd that kept breaking into the government gardens of northern Kenya.

Adamson gave the elephant’s meat to the local Turkana tribesmen and then dragged the rest of the carcass half a mile away. That night, other elephants found the body, took the shoulderblade and leg bone, and returned the bones to the exact spot where the elephant was killed.

According to Charlie Mayhew, of the Tusk Trust, elephants will ‘bury’ their dead, covering carcasses with branches and even taking the tusks to be placed at a different spot. We cannot guess the precise meaning of that, but it’s clear that elephants are large-brained and social animals that live in complex groups. They recognise each other and, of course, they have marvellous memories.

When one animal dies, they will each need to assess how their social group has changed and how to re-evaluate themselves within this new hierarchy. The whole dynamic changes, and they need to know where they fit in within the crowd.

Those are not the only emotions they display. If you look at an elephant calf, chasing cattle egrets through the long grass, it is playing — it exhibits joy. In another episode of the Africa series, we showed a young bull elephant in ‘must’ or on heat — he was throwing his weight around, clearly in a heightened emotional state. We called it a ‘sexual fury’.

Elephants in zoos have reportedly shown symptoms of depression. The first African elephant to be taken to London Zoo, in the 1860s, was called Jumbo, and he posed problems for his keepers, who tried to keep him happy and amused.

For humans, the most complex and important emotion is love, and we describe it in a multitude of ways. The powerful bond between a mother elephant and her calf is an easy one for us to understand. But unlike humans, elephants don’t seem to have any notion of romantic love. You don’t get courting elephants — when they mate, it can be a pretty brief encounter.

Their society is a very female-based hierarchy, and the loyalty that a herd shows to a matriarch is intensely strong. They will follow her wherever she goes: perhaps that is a manifestation of love of a different sort.

Emotion requires communication, and the vocalisations of elephants are incredibly sophisticated.

They operate on some sound frequencies we can hear — trumpeting and grumbling — and others that we can’t. Much of their long-distance communication occurs through vibrations that are inaudible to us.

Low-frequency (or infrasonic) sounds are transmitted constantly, a deep rumble somewhere between  15-30 Hertz. The normal human range of hearing is between 20Hz and 20,000Hz.

These low frequencies can be sensed through the elephants’ trunks and even their feet, like vibrations on the skin of a drum.

They can talk to other elephants 50 miles away through the ground, communicating in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. It is possible that each elephant can recognise up to 100 other individuals by their infrasonic ‘voice’.

When we’re working with elephants, we can never let down our guard. I have been with populations that were utterly relaxed around humans; they just looked at us as being another kind of primate. Once, in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, on foot, I was part of a three-man camera team when we were surrounded by a herd of elephants.

That felt pretty scary — we were miles from our camp and could do nothing but crouch low beside a termite mound and keep murmuring, making small movements to show the animals that we were still alive. These were elephants very much in their natural state; they had never been hunted, and they were simply curious. In turn, three mothers brought their babies to show us to them. It appeared to be for their education — as if the mums were saying: ‘Come here, kids, and look at this!’

The babies approached us to within about five or six metres, wiggling their trunks and looking in all directions, and then they would suddenly lock on to us. We could hear these rumblings between mother and calf, as if they were discussing us. This happened three times within about ten minutes, before the matriarch led the herd away. That really was a magical experience.

When we’re on foot, especially in the forests of western Africa, we often have to use their trails. The only pathways are those made by elephants, so there is always a chance of an encounter. If one is coming head on, our only option is to get off the path: we have to rely on our guides because they know much more about the habits of those particular elephants than we do. And they will probably hear them coming a lot sooner.

You might imagine you could see an elephant coming a mile off, but it’s amazing how easy it is for an elephant to disappear. Give them a few small bushes and they can vanish completely. They are incredibly stealthy for their size.

Sadly, the impact of poaching is changing their behaviour. Some populations are becoming more aggressive because of it. Though I can’t prove it, I would readily accept that the elephant who wanted to shake our cameraman out of a tree was an animal who might have been hunted. All the others in the herd seemed relaxed, but this one was grumpy.

Why was that? Who can say how an individual elephant will respond to the loss of a close family member to poachers? All this feels particularly poignant as we examine in the next and last episode of Africa the future of the continent’s wildlife, and ask what the next few years hold for elephants.

Apart from the poaching crisis, elephants are coming into increasing conflict with farmers and expanding human populations. The incident in Borneo highlights that it’s not just an African problem.  One thing is certain: there will be many more dead elephants to mourn in the coming months.

News Linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270977/Elephants-really-grieve-like-They-shed-tears-try-bury-dead–leading-wildlife-film-maker-reveals-animals-like-us.html#ixzz2JzKmOKP8
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