Egypt slaughters over 30,000 baby cows stranded at port

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CAIRO: Egypt’s ministry of agriculture reported on Thursday that they had slaughtered over 30,000 baby cows who had been stranded for weeks at a Red Sea port. The ministry said that it had discovered what it described as “hormonal capsules” in the animals, local newspapers reported.

The stranded cows had made international headlines after first reportedtheir situation on September 1, including a petition that was signed by over 25,000 people globally urging the Egyptian government to free the baby cows from their horrific conditions.

The ministry chose to slaughter the animals instead.

Egypt slaughtered over 30,000 baby cows, but the anti-live export protests are growing.

The baby cows had remained on board the ships for over 6 weeks at Port Sokhna in what animal rights groups told are “horrendous and inhumane” conditions.

It is yet another incident that revealed the horrors of the live export trade.

Background on Live Export

Live export from Brazil and Australia to the Islamic world is a controversial practice that sees thousands of animals crammed into small crates and transported by sea to their destination to be slaughtered for food.

According to the ministry, tests had been conducted to learn more about the potential carcinogen that had been given to the animals before they would be unloaded. Tests had reportedly been ongoing for the past month at a private lab in Egypt, but no results had been conclusive.

According to a al-Shorouk newspaper report, the animals are likely to remain in their confinement for a number of weeks more in order for further tests to take place.

Earlier this year, some 3,000 of the cows died on a ship destined for Egypt after the Egyptian government refused to allow the ship to dock at a Red Sea port.

They were slaughtered as a “precaution,” the ministry said, outraging a number of Egyptians.

Animals Australia, the leading organization reporting on the controversial live export trade to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, said the incident was among the worst the industry had witnessed in years.

Animals Australia’s Campaign Director, Lyn White, said in a statement to that the ship was anchored at sea after being refused port in a number of countries, including Egypt, where the cattle were supposed to be offloaded.

It’s understood that ventilation problems on the converted livestock vessel, the MV Gracia Del Mar, had caused the deaths of more than half of the animals on board since the ship left South America for Egypt a few weeks ago. The ship was anchored in the Red Sea for weeks and saw more animals perish as a result.

This is nothing short of an animal welfare disaster. If remaining cattle are not offloaded more of these animals will suffer appalling deaths at sea. We are appealing to authorities in Egypt to offload the remaining cattle at al-Sohkna, as was originally intended.

“This disaster is just another example of the inherent risks of transporting animals by sea. It was only nine years ago that 5,000 Australian sheep perished on board the MV Cormo Express after country after country refused to allow it to berth.

“And this isn’t the first time that mechanical issues have caused mass deaths on live export ships. We only need to look to the breakdown of the Al Messilah in Adelaide last year. Had that vessel broken down on the open ocean it would have caused a similar welfare catastrophe — as thousands of animals would have died.

“Australia also exports cattle to Al Sohkna Livestock company in Egypt. Whilst we have an MoU with Egypt which should ensure the offloading of our animals, it has never been put to the test. The Egyptians thus far have flatly refused to allow the MV Gracia Del Mar to dock despite the mass suffering of the animals on board.

“If they continue to refuse to allow the surviving animals to be unloaded it would provide little confidence that the non-binding agreement with Australia would be honoured if a similar incident were to occur on an Australian livestock ship.

“It should not matter if these cattle aren’t Australian and if Brazil doesn’t have a similar piece of paper, they should not be abandoned to suffer and die at sea. We are appealing to Egyptian authorities to offload these cattle as a matter of urgency.”

Australia’s live sheep exports have fallen significantly over the past decade.

In 2010, three million sheep were exported compared with 6.3 million in 2001.

Australia’s government last year was to see a bill that would have banned live export to the world, but industry lobbyists fought back and forced the legislation off the table in a move that angered animal activists in the country and across the world, notably the Islamic world, which receives the lion’s share of live cattle and sheep from both Australia and Brazil.

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Whale shark found dead near Mangrol

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AHMEDABAD: The coastal dwellers of Mangrolin Porbandar district woke to a strange sight. The carcass of a huge whale shark, that weigh 10 tonnes and was about 47 feet long, had been washed up on the shores of Mangrol on Sunday.

As the news spread, people living in nearby villages rushed to the coast to see the big shark which was lying on the shore. The forest department and the local police had a tough time controlling the endless stream of visitors that went close to the shark to touch it and even took photographs, posing before the dead shark.

For Info. Only

Officials of the forest department said that the full grown whale shark was examined to find if it had died due to some fishing boat or any other factor. But, post mortem examination revealed that the whale shark had died due to natural causes. The forest department buried the shark close to the spot where it was found, after the medical examination.

A senior official said that this would be among the few full grown sharks that have been found dead on the shore. This, once again, reveals that the sharks are found in the Indian water and come here during the monsoons.

The state government in association with the Wildlife Trust of India has also tagged few sharks for satellite tracking. “Tags are put on the sharks to get information about the path that they take to come to Gujarat coast and also to get the details as to where do they actually come from,” said an official.

The whale shark was listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act in 2001, according to the highest level of protection. It is this Mangrol, a small fishing town situated along the Gujarat coast, that has a mascot – the whale shark. The adoption was declared during the Whale Shark Day celebrations to mark the successful Whale Shark Campaign.

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Hunter gets most ”convincing” proof of Loch Ness monster

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“Hmmm…I’m no expert but it looks like a blow up or plastic toy (sorry, no discredit intended) it just doesn’t look real. Don’t you think this picture would be in all the news papers & on TV screens around the world if in fact…it was proved to be real??”

London: A man who has been on the look out for the Loch Ness monster for nearly three decades believes he has clicked the best photograph of – and some important new information on – the legendary creature

George Edwards spends his life on the loch – around 60 hours a week – taking tourists out on his boat Nessie Hunter IV, and has even led innumerable Nessie hunts over the years.

The devoted Nessie hunter publicly released a photograph of a gray creature with a mysterious hump schlepping toward Urquhart Castle.

“I was just about to return to Temple Pier (in Drumnadrochit) and I went to the back of the boat which was facing the pier and that’s when I saw it,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“It was slowly moving up the loch towards Urquhart Castle and it was a dark grey colour. It was quite a fair way from the boat, probably about half a mile away but it’s difficult to tell in water,” he said. 

After watching the object for five to ten minutes, the 60-year-old said it slowly sank below the surface and never resurfaced. 

“I’m convinced I was seeing Nessie as I believe in these creatures,” he said.

“Far too many people have being seeing them for far too long. The first recorded sighting was in 565AD and there have been thousands of eyewitness reports since then.

“All these people can’t be telling lies. And the fact the reports stretch over so many years mean there can’t just be one of them. I’m convinced there are several monsters,”he said.

Steve Feltham, who has dedicated the past 21 years to hunting for the monster was unequivocval.

“It is the best photograph I think I have ever seen,” he said.

From his base on Dores beach he has studied many Nessie sighting photographs.

“I think the images are fantastic – that’s the animal I have been looking for all this time,” he said.

“I would say it doesn’t prove what Nessie is, but it does prove what Nessie isn’t, a sturgeon which is a fish that has been put forward as one of the main explanations as to what Nessie could be but this hasn’t got a serrated spine like the sturgeon,” he said.

Edwards said that he tried to make a contact with the help of his vessel’s sonar but to no avail.

I hung around for a good half-an-hour and used the deep scanning sonar to try and pick it up, but I’m afraid I had no luck at all,” he said.

Edwards took the picture at 9am on 2nd November last year on a compact Samsung digital camera that he always keeps handy on the boat.

Before releasing it publicly he sent it to the USA for analysis. “I did not want to mention my sighting until I was sure that I had not photographed a log or something inanimate in the water in the water,” he said.

“I have friends in the USA who have friends in the military.

“They had my photo analysed and they have no doubt that I photographed an animate object in the water. I was really excited as I am sure that some strange creatures are lurking in the depths of Loch Ness,” he added.

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Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have played role in dolphin deaths

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In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill.

Researcher with dead dolphin calf. Photo courtesy of the University of Central Florida.

According to researchers, oil leaking from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon could have decimated the dolphin’s prey base, leaving a larger than usual number of dolphins suffering from malnutrition.

“Declines in planktivorous fishes over the shelf in summer and fall 2010 and evidence of genetic and physiological impairment of nearshore fishes support the hypothesis that bottlenose dolphins’ forage base may have been reduced,” the scientists write.

An harsh winter along the Gulf likely worsened matters. Then came high volumes of freshwater snowmelt into the Gulf of Mexico, which was the last straw for many dolphins and their calves, according to the paper.

“Unfortunately it was a ‘perfect storm’ that led to the dolphin deaths,” explains co-author Graham Worthy in a press release. “The oil spill and cold winter of 2010 had already put significant stress on their food resources, resulting in poor body condition and depressed immune response. It appears the high volumes of cold freshwater coming from snowmelt water that pushed through Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound in 2011 was the final blow.”

However, the study argues that the dolphins would likely have survived the freshwater snow melt influx, if they weren’t already stressed and in poor condition. The question remains: just how responsible was the oil spill for the dolphins’ deteriorated health?

Bottlenose dolphins are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List with a global population of over 600,000.

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July 18, 2012 by Ric O’Barry, Earth Island Institute

Ric O’Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins

Dear Friends and fellow Dolphin Lovers:

I am asking you for your help. On or around Sept. 1, please head to your local Japanese embassy or consulate to voice your concern about the dolphin slaughters!

This time of year always makes my heart heavy. September 1 marks the official beginning of the dolphin drive hunting season in Taiji, Japan, as I helped to show the world in the Oscar-winning movie The Cove. Every year, thousands of dolphins are brutally killed; some are then sold into a lifetime of slavery in captive facilities around the globe, and the rest are used for their flesh – which is highly contaminated with mercury and other toxins, rendering in dangerous for human consumption.

We absolutely must keep the international spotlight on Taiji in order to stop these senseless murders once and for all. This is why I am asking you to lend your voice to the cause and join or organize a Japan Dolphins Day event in your area.

The good news is that we already have many events in countries around the world, put together by dedicated people like you. We have created a map which allows you to find one in your area:,-5.930203&spn=91.259621,292.160024&t=m&source=embed

If you don’t see an event in your area, I STRONGLY encourage you to organize your own! Please contact laurab@earthisland.orgfor more information on how to get started.

This year, September 1 falls on a Saturday. Organizers have the option of holding their event on August 31, but only for the purpose of attempting contact with the embassy staff. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these events should be focused around MEDIA – try to get as many newspapers, journalists, and television stations there as possible – because these are the people who will make sure our message gets heard around the world.

Please keep in mind that we are not speaking out against the Japanese people – we are opposing the handful of corrupt government officials who allow and even encourage the hunts to continue. I do not condone any racial slurs or anti-Japanese sentiments of any kind. We are also speaking out against any captive facility that keeps dolphins and small whales. These places, such as aquariums, marine parks and dolphinariums, are abusing animals purely for their profit. This should come to an end. Remember – don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show!

Also, it is important to note that most Japanese do not eat whale or dolphin meat, and the market for such meat is drying up — so much so that dolphin hunters in Taiji last season killed fewer dolphins than ever.  Our efforts to convince the Japanese people to stop eating whale and dolphin meat are working!  Keep up the pressure by emphasizing the human rights that are being violated by the Japan government’s silence on mercury contamination of dolphin and whale meat!

Throughout last year’s hunting season, our Cove Monitors reported regularly on the hunts, to the consternation of the dolphin hunters and the Japanese government alike. See our blog postsand be sure to regularly check our Facebook page for this year’s updates.

I hope you will join me and participate in a Japan Dolphins Day event near you. Together, we can get this stopped!

Contact to organize an event near you.

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Please sign the petition:- The Cove: Help Save Japan’s Dolphins:-


Shell’s Arctic Drilling Venture Stumbles Toward Reality

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Royal Dutch Shell, the global energy giant, has already invested more than $4 billion in its Arctic drilling venture, but that was apparently not enough to purchase proper mooring in Alaska‘s Dutch Harbor and avoid a subsequent public relations mess.

Precisely what happened is still being sorted out. Official accounts had the Noble Discoverer, one of two massive drilling rigs that Shell had parked midway up the Aleutian Island chain, dragging anchor in stiff winds over the weekend before coming to a halt 100 yards offshore.

Locals, including a shutterbug harbor captain, disputed that scenario and lit up Twitter and Facebook with photographs showing the rig all but on the beach.

“There’s no question it hit the beach,” Kristjan Laxfoss, the harbor captain, told The Associated Press on Sunday. “That ship was not coming any closer. It was on the beach.”

Judge for yourself: 

Whatever the reality, and while Shell plans to send divers down later this week to inspect the hull, no damage to the rig has yet been reported, and the incident appears to have had no environmental impact.

But for a company embarking on what is arguably among the most watched and most contentious oil and gas ventures in recent memory, the image of shore-based personnel scurrying toward a drifting and uncontrolled rig is embarrassing at best, and inauspicious at worst.

It is also a chilling reminder that, despite the most careful planning, things can go awry.

“Our goal remains flawless operations,” the company declared in a statement posted to its website. “Even a ‘near miss’ is unacceptable. While an internal investigation will determine why the Discoverer slipped anchor, we are pleased with the speed and effectiveness of the mitigation measures we had in place.”

Opponents of Arctic drilling were unmoved. “For us,” said Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, “it’s a clear warning sign that Shell isn’t prepared to go up there.”

“Up there” is the unforgiving Chuchki and Beaufort seas, still more than 1,000 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, along Alaska’s northern coast. That’s where the Noble Discoverer and its sister rig, the Kulluk — along with dozens of support vessels — aim to soon hunker down, between 20 and 70 miles offshore, where they will begin poking exploratory holes in the seabed in the hope of finding oil.

With visions of oil-soaked beaches and BP’s flaming Deepwater Horizon rig still fresh in the minds of many Americans — as are more than two decades of environmental impacts arising form the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound — opposition to Shell’s Arctic ambitions has been fierce. In response, the company has pulled out all the stops in touting its experience in northern waters, including exploration wells it plumbed in the Chuchki and Beaufort the 1980s and ’90s, before low oil prices prompted it to focus on the Gulf.

Shell has also argued that, unlike BP’s operation in the Gulf of Mexico, which was groping in waters nearly a mile deep and drilling to depths of 18,000 feet, the Beaufort and Chuchki operations will be working in comparative shallows of 140 feet or so, and drilling to roughly 10,000 feet or less. Well pressures in the Arctic are also expected to be far lower, the company has said, making the sort of wild, unchecked gusher that BP experienced unlikely.

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Dead Horse Pulled From River Severn In Worcester Sparks RSPCA Appeal (GRAPHIC PICTURES)

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“OMG…this is heartbreaking, with the trap still attached it looks like someone got caught in a swollen part of the river crossing, but they got off to safety, & just left the horse to drown…how callous can people be, to walk away from a drowning horse! Judging by the trap, I am wondering if travelers live around that area…I can’t think of many other types that would use that kind of set up, it looks similar to a slinky from the pictures, but facing the other way around, which is odd…that’s just my theory!”

The RSPCA is appealing for information after the bloated body of dead horse was pulled out of a river in Worcester.

The local Fire and Rescue team successfully retrieved the body from the Severn, even though the horse was still attached to a trap. It’s possible to see the bridle and harness still attached to the horse in the picture below.

Flood warnings have been issued a number of times to the area since May, and the river was swollen on the day the fire and rescue service were notified, reports the Worcestershire news.


The horse had to be hauled out of the river by the local fire service

There had been concerns that a person may have fallen in the river with the horse, but a body has not been found, reports the Worcester Standard.

RSPCA inspector Pippa Boyd said: “This is a deeply unsettling incident and we urgently need the public’s help. At the moment we have no idea when this happened and so we need to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this dreadful discovery.”

There have been a number of horrific attacks against horses over the past six months, though there is no suggestion that these crimes are linked with the discovery of this body.

The first horse, Barney was attacked in Carmarthenshire, Wales on 5 January.

Linda Vickerage, a nurse, discovered the remains of seven-year-old Welsh pony Barney when she went to give him and her other pony their evening feed at a field in Whitland.

Wales Online reported that when police and a vet examined Barney they found he had had his eyes removed, his mouth slit, his ear cut, and been slashed along his body, exposing his organs.

Less than a week after this horrendous attack, a two-year-old horse called Eric was found in Cornwall with his genitals, an eye and teeth cut out after the attack in a field in Cornwall. Police are investigating whether he was drugged before being attacked.

His owner Dawn Jewell said she had lost “her baby”, a Friesian horse she had been wanting since she was a child. Animal lovers have been making their feelings of horror known in large numbers via Twitter, including the BBC horseracing presenter Clare Balding.

In May the RSPCA launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for a “never ending tide” of abandoned young horses.

The charity said it was currently looking after nearly 600 horses and ponies which have suffered neglect and cruelty – a figure which has more than doubled since last year, with almost half of the animals involved being youngsters.

Anyone with information about the incident in Worcestershire is urged to contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

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