Croatia: One Of Several Places To Watch Re Fur Production – Serbia Is Another.

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We have been involved with Slavica in Serbia regarding the future production of fur and fur farming in Serbia.  We have concerns about fur farming as Serbia is currently seeking EU membership (accession) and effectively it could pick up the trade which is greatly reducing in other parts of the EU.  There is NO EU wide restrictions on fur bearing animals in the EU; it is left to individual member states to act as they see appropriate.  For example, here n the UK; and EU member state, we have banned fur farming.  Some other EU nations also have, along with others that have not.  The issue of seal skins into the EU is another issue; and the EU has legislation regarding seal skin import bans.

Our good colleagues at ‘Animal Friends Croatia’, in Zagreb, Croatia, (already an EU member nation) have been very active in supplying us with the situation within Croatia.  We (at SAV) have learnt a great deal from the research undertaken with their help and the information kindly provided by others.

Here in the main section below are a few important points which need to be considered very carefully in relation to the fur farming industry – much of which the fur producers wish to keep very quiet about; but us being us, we are gonna shout about it !.  We have given references as necessary to support our evidence.

We have had some great input from our friends in Croatia.  We understood that Croatia was currently going through a phase out of fur production there; commencing in 2007 with a 10 year phase out period; eventually leading to a ban which would be in line with some other EU nations (such as us here in UK).  But things appear to be less simple than just a straight move towards a ban in Croatia; is this not always the case ?.

It would appear that both the fur industry and politicians are trying to impose changes which would have a major influence on Croatian fur farming; and which would be very much in opposition to the Croatian public who very much support a ban on fur and fur farming.  You can read more from ‘Animal Friends Croatia’ at the end of this post; but the information they are currently providing to us is as follows:

Hi all,

unfortunately, due to fur lobbying of fur farmers both fur farming in Croatia and Serbia are in great danger (perhaps Bosnia as well, we’re awaiting info).

In Croatia we managed to get the fur farming ban in 2007 with phasing out period until 2017. However, our Minister of Agriculture plans to make an exception for chinchillas who are, paradoxically, only animals kept for fur in Croatia.

We are lobbying towards politicians to get support and keep the ban as it is. It’s a rather complex situation, but in short: we’ve gone public last week (now a few weeks ago – SAV) with info on real possibility that our fur farming ban gets dropped.

We at SAV would suggest that this is read as it is very informative

We have written argumentation against fur farming which is now online: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=1765

At this point, we don’t have our press release translated to English, only the argumentation, but we have it in Croatian -: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.hr.php?id=2732

We are in contact with some Serbian organisations who informed us on the situation there and will continue correspondence. The situation is very similar. Although we (Croatia) are part of EU, since the EU itself didn’t issue the ban of fur farming, our Ministry of Agriculture is using that as an excuse.

We’re struggling with time and money but doing all we can to keep the ban. To make things worse, our Ministry of Agriculture is trying to legalize hunting with bows an arrows (which is currently not permitted) so we have been working so far on that issue as well: http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=1755

We wanted to give you all info on situation on Croatia.

Best regards,

AFC.

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Some general information relating to fur production that we at SAV have found whilst doing our research:

http://www.infurmation.com/index.php/issues/fur-environment

Environmentally harmful products including chromium and formaldehyde are used in the processing of real fur garments to keep them from rotting. Many fur farmers and processors have been fined for releasing toxic waste into the environment. Far from being “natural, renewal resources,” real fur products consume more of our precious and irreplaceable energy resources than do those made from synthetic materials.

TOXIC FUR: The Impacts of Fur Production on the Environment and the Risks to Human Health

A 2009 study by the Humane Society of the United States addresses the fur industry’s claims that fur is green and demonstrates how the use of animal fur by the fashion industry is far from environmentally friendly. Rather, the production of fur for fashion imposes significant adverse impacts on both the environment and human health.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/38836299/Toxic-Fur

How serious is the pollution generated by the fur industry?

The 2003 European Commission Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau “Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Tanning of Hides and Skins ”recognizes the tanning industry as “a potentially pollution-intensive industry.”

The Industrial Pollution Projection System rates the fur dressing and dyeing industry one of the five worst industries for toxic metal pollution to the land.

And in 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined six fur processing plants $2.2 million for the pollution they caused, citing them for hazardous waste violations and stating that “the solvents used in these operations may cause respiratory problems, and are listed as possible carcinogens.”

The Chinese government is also notably concerned about the pollution caused by fur dyeing factories.  In December 2007, a fur trade publication, The Trapper & Predator Caller, reported that China was considering imposing a punitive tax on the fur dressing and tanning industries as part of an attempt to penalize “industries causing excessive pollution.”

Energy consumption.

Energy is consumed at every stage of fur production. This is in addition to the energy costs of transporting the animal pelts and finished fur garments around the globe, throughout all the stages of fur production—beginning with transporting feed to fur farms or trappers setting and checking their trap lines, then shipping the animal pelts to international auctions and on to dressers, dyers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and finally to the consumer.

In describing the energy input required to run intensive animal farming operations, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health note in a2008 report that such systems are “almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels.”

A tremendous amount of gasoline is used by trappers to check their miles of trap lines on a regular basis, to remove dead and dying animals, and to reset the traps. In many of the highest-volume trapping states such as Michigan,

Ohio and Wisconsin, trappers are required to check their traps every day for the three to four month duration of the trapping season. This is done with gasoline-burning vehicles including trucks, snowmobiles, four-wheelers and even airplanes.

And when trapping in inaccessible areas of Alaska, “many gallons of expensive gasoline must be freighted in” simply to operate snowmobiles.

Because they use so much gasoline, a steep rise in price per gallon may lead many trappers to reduce or eliminate how many traps they set.

To account for the amount of energy required to operate tanneries, the European Commission maintains “it is necessary to record the energy consumption for electricity, heat (steam and heating) and compressed air, particularly for the units with highest consumption, such as waste water treatment and drying procedures.”

In Mink Production 

A “manual for fur breeders,” the Danish Fur Breeders Association fur discuss the energy consumed during the pelting and drying process: “A pelting plant is not complete without a storeroom in which the temperature can be kept between 10 and 12oC…and the humidity at about 70-80%.” The suggested drying room similarly requires a constant temperature and an energy-powered system for discharging a controlled amount of water.

http://www.respectforanimals.co.uk/facts-and-reports/the-fur-trade-and-the-environment/113/

Chemical processing of fur

As soon as the pelt is removed from the animal it begins to decay. Chemicals such as formaldehyde are needed to prevent the animal skins from rotting. One of the first signs is hair loss as individual hairs begin to fall off the skin.

It’s pretty obvious really, since fur is part of a dead animal it needs protection from attack by natural decay agents including insects, bacteria and fungus.

In fact, a cocktail of harmful and toxic substances are used to process and protect raw fur skins. These include surfactants and fats, solvents, acids, tannins, biocides, fungicides, dyes and bleaches. 

Workers in the industry are at risk from acute and chronic effects ranging from skin complaints and eye irritation to cancer and even death.  Risks to the environment include toxicity to aquatic organisms, as well as air pollution.

Much of the fur processing industry has moved to developing countries such as China due to their lower environmental standards and cheap labour.  However it still takes place in a number of European countries including Italy, Greece, Germany.

A 2003 European Commission Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control study on Best Available Techniques for the Tanning of Hides and Skins recognizes the tanning industry as “a potentially pollution-intensive industry.”  The Industrial Pollution Projection System rates the fur dressing & dyeing industry one of the five worst industries for toxic metal pollution to the land. 

In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined six fur processing plants $2.2 million for the pollution they caused, citing them for hazardous waste violations and stating that “the solvents used in these operations may cause respiratory problems, and are listed as possible carcinogens.”

But now, even the Chinese government is becoming concerned about the pollution caused by fur dyeing factories.  In December 2007, one of the fur trade’s publications, The Trapper & Predator Caller, reported that China was considering imposing a punitive tax on the fur dressing and tanning industries as part of an attempt to penalize “industries causing excessive pollution.”

After animals have been killed on fur factory farms or on trap lines, their skins are  pulled off the animals’ bodies.  Now referred to as a “pelt,” the animal’s skin with the hair still attached is sent to be tanned (or “dressed”) and perhaps dyed, bleached, or otherwise treated.

Two of the main methods for dressing fur skins involve chemicals that are listed as carcinogens and are toxic to humans. 

Formaldehyde is used during dressing and dyeing, as already mentioned, to protect fur follicles. Formaldehyde is on every major list of toxic substances, including the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) Toxics Reporting Industry (TRI) list of reportable toxic chemicals, the American Apparel and Footwear Association Restricted Substances List (AAFA-RSL) and the California Proposition 65 Super List of chemicals known to cause cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), “this chemical is carcinogenic.”  This expert working group of 26 scientists from 10 countries determined in 2004 that there is now sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans” and strong evidence that formaldehyde causes leukemia. 

Chromium is used in the “chrome tanning” process – a common method for dressing fur skins. It is widely considered to be toxic, and even carcinogenic in some forms.  In 2003, children’s toys and other retail items made with dog and cat fur and sold in Australia and Europe were found to contain toxic levels of chromium.  Chromium is on the EPA TRI List of reportable toxic chemicals and the California Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive effects.

Other chemicals that may be used or emitted in the fur dressing and dyeing processes and that appear on one or more US government lists of toxic chemicals include aluminium, ammonia, chlorine, chlorobenzene, copper, ethylene glycol, lead, methanol, naphthalene, sulfuric acid, toluene and zinc. 

Of these typical tannery pollutants, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) recognizes toluene and lead as chemicals that are “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”  This is echoed by the IARC which classifies lead as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and toluene as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Naphthalene-which may be used during the dyeing and finishing stages, as a component of the oxidation dyes- is also listed as an OSHA carcinogen.

Ethylene glycol, lead, toluene and zinc are among the chemicals used known to be developmentally and reproductively toxic to men and women. The Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety (4th ed.) states that “various chemicals used in the fur industry are potential skin irritants.”  Furthermore, a 1998 study of workers in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that women employed as leather and fur processors may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Furthermore, the European Commission considers air pollution to be one of the chief environmental concerns of the tanning process, whereby toxic and odorous substances are typically emitted during normal tannery operations.

The chemicals listed in the section above are just a sample of all those used in fur dressing and dyeing, and all furs are dressed in order to be used for fashion.  Dressing is important as it prevents fur from biodegrading.  In the pre-dressing preservation process, “common salt is used to remove moisture from the skin, inhibiting putrefaction.” This is the explicit purpose of subjecting fur garments to a dressing process before they can be sold-to stop the natural process of biodegrading.

http://www.four-paws.org.uk/files/united_kingdom/Campaigns/Fur/Factsheet.pdf

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Could Stopping Hunting In Albania For 2 Years (at least) Be The Answer To Serbia Starting To Protect More Endangered Animals ?

Update 1/7 – 

very informative articles –

http://www.birdlife.org/europe-and-central-asia/news/balkans-bird-mafia

http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/13/massacre-europes-songbirds-304716.html  

All across south-east Europe but particularly in Romania, Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria, Italian hunters have become public enemy number one for bird lovers and conservationists.

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We (in UK) are trying to help Serbian campaigners regarding the proposed new Serbian animal welfare legislation; which currently seems to be all over the place – we are attempting to get accurate information but it is difficult at present.

One of the main questions that is currently being thrown in our direction it is regarding Albania – and we’re asked “if Albania has banned hunting, then can it not be achieved in Serbia ?”

Well our response is initially that there are several very important issues which have to be considered as part of any response to what appears to be a simple question.

Issues include:

  1. Albania has introduced a two-year ban on hunting; not currently a permanent ban.  Regardless of this, as animal welfare people, we very much welcome the decision.

  2. Albania is a Balkans country (like Serbia); which lies along a major migratory flyways, and which  encompasses wetlands and other habitats that provide crucial refuelling stops for millions of migrating birds.

  3. While many Albanians, including a substantial number of hunters, realized that the situation had to change, the (old) government showed no interest in strengthening conservation laws, or even in enforcing the regulations that were in place. But elections last June brought a new party to power, with government ministers more sympathetic to conservation.

  4. Albania’s move combined with a more pro-environment government clearly highlighted the clear connection between overhunting and species loss, which so many other countries (including Serbia) have yet to address, perhaps afraid of upsetting hunting lobbies or hunting “tradition”.

Today, 1/7, we have attempted to contact the UK RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) to ask them for more information on major migratory routes from Africa to Europe; because if Serbia IS one of these prime routes then we can work with Serbian campaigners to press the Serbian government to introduce the same type of anti hunt legislation as now introduced in Albania.

Clever eh ? – especially as Serbia is seeking EU membership and wants drastically to be viewed as being very ‘pro EU’.  We say simply, and we know, that the EU does not like the killing by hunters of migratory birds, and so it is solely down to the Serbian government to review the current situation and take decisive action.  But we also have to ask will they put corruption aside and protect migratory birds and other protected animal species killed by hunters ?; or will they just continue down ‘corruption road’ as they have done; making no changes to the real benefit of any living thing apart from themselves ?

For your information, here below are a few links to the current (no) hunting situation in Albania, which we very much welcome.  We will be back at the UK RSPB tomorrow to get more info on the Africa – Europe migratory routes for birds; especially asking the question if Serbia is included as a major transit route for birds flying into Europe from Africa.

SAV.

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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140210-birds-albania-hunting-ban-migration-franzen/

Vast numbers of European birds and other wildlife will be spared from illegal slaughter, thanks to a two-year moratorium on all hunting enacted by the government of Albania.

The Balkan country, which lies along a major migratory flyway, encompasses wetlands and other habitats that provide crucial refueling stops for millions of migrating birds. But poor law enforcement, a surge in gun ownership, and an influx of foreign hunters had made Albania essentially a year-round shooting range. Targets were not just game species but also eagles, cranes, shorebirds, and even small songbirds.

While many Albanians, including a substantial number of hunters, realized that the situation had to change, the government showed no interest in strengthening conservation laws, or even in enforcing the regulations that were in place. But elections last June brought a new party to power, with government ministers more sympathetic to conservation.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/11/albania-hunting-ban-takes-aim-at-depopulation-2014111812148301986.html 

Albania’s coast is part of what’s called the Adriatic Flyway zone – an important resting spot for birds migrating between Europe and Africa. According to figures from EuroNatur, an NGO that runs conservation programmes in the region, an estimated two million birds were being hunted along the Adriatic coast before the moratorium came into effect.

http://www.rewildingeurope.com/news/albania-bans-all-hunting-for-two-years-to-protect-endangered-animals/  

The ban will be introduced in February. The new law suspends all hunting licenses and use of hunting areas. The government will use this hiatus to study ways to reform conservation regulations and bring control to what had become almost complete lawlessness.

http://www.birdlifecyprus.org/en/news-430-Ground_breaking_news_for_bird_conservation_Albania_votes_for_a_2_year_hunting_ban.html 

http://www.euronatur.org/News-Bird-hunting.939+M5fb2f742345.0.html?&cHash=d1553c491a421231fbcc3e00dfa76942 

The story “Last song for migrating birds” impressively shows how bird hunting in the Eastern Adriatic is persistently ruining extensive conservation programmes in the birds’ breeding areas. “The article was circulated within the relevant ministries and was very well received”, Spase Shumka, president of Albanian EuroNatur partner PPNEA, said to National Geographic. “The article strongly influenced the debate on hunting in Albania.”

Read the interview with Jonathan Franzen and an article on Albania’s hunting ban on the website of National Geographic:

Interview with Jonathan Franzen

Article “Albania’s Hunting Ban: Birds and Mammals Get a Two-Year Break”

Interview with Jonathan Franzen about his experiences at the “Adriatic crime scene” (2013)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/albania-bans-hunting-to-save-endangered-species/ 

Albania’s environment ministry spoke with AFP, and reported that the country’s brown bears and eagles have become “seriously endangered” and that “the number of pheasant and wild quail have also fallen dramatically.”

We have been forced to adopt strict measures to protect endangered species from illegal hunting,” Environment Minister Lefter Koka told AFP.

The ban is set for introduction later this month, and while it will only remain in place for two years (unless revised later on), Albania’s move highlights the clear connection between overhunting and species loss, which so many other countries have yet to address, perhaps afraid of upsetting hunting lobbies or “tradition”.

 

 

 

England: Time Out – A Bonsai For Less Than The Price Of A Shirt – Graham Shows More !

England

 

As you folk will see I am a self confessed Bonsai Nut (or should that be ‘nutter’ ?) – you can see some of my collection by scrolling down at ‘About Us’ – http://serbiananimalsvoice.com/about-us/

Graham Potter is an Englishman who has produced many videos on the art of bonsai.  He operates Kaizen Bonsai here in the UK, which you can check out via their website:

https://www.kaizenbonsai.com/

Whilst being an absolute specialist at the production of specimen bonsai, Graham also adds the odd ‘quirk’ (an English tradition I guess) to all of his videos – everything is always light hearted, which is what makes them all the more fun to watch.

I personally do bonsai as an escape from the endless suffering and cruelty wich I see in the production of this site – it is an escape, which sometimes is very much needed.

Here for now you can see one of Graham’s videos were he transforms a nursery tree (for the price of a shirt) into the early stages of something that will improve and become ever more beautiful over the years !! – Enjoy – Mark.

 Bonsai for Less than the Price of a Shirt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R02603rkTUw   

Graham Potter (http://www.kaizenbonsai.com) demonstrates how to use nursery stock to create interesting bonsai trees for less than the price of a shirt.

Other videos from Graham:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIWVSoqjvuU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=807_4oNX4HI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z_T0aXO2Cs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEsARih00SM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCKu0lgzUOo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lPTDehtaC4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDean65SkHI

England: The Dalai Lama speaks at Glastonbury (Rock Festival) 2015 ahead of his 80th Birthday.

D Lama Tibet

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XPO8B2QZ1g

The Dalai Lama speaks at Glastonbury 2015 ahead of his 80th Birthday. Visit the Glastonbury website at http://bbc.co.uk/glastonbury for more videos and photos

 

 

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Twyla Francois Art.

Although I do not really use Twitter anywhere as much as I should; I had an e mail come in today informing me that a lady named Twyla Francois was now following me on Twitter.

So by pure chance, I decided to look a bit deeper; and was very pleasantly surprised at what I came upon.

It turns out that Twyla has dedicated her life’s work to being an animal advocate in many different ways; Twyla is also a great artist, which she uses to raise awareness on the plight of today’s farmed animals in a more gentle, but hopefully equally compelling, way.

Find out more about Twyla at  http://www.twylafrancois.com/#!bio/cjg9

You can view her excellent work by visiting this page of her site; and if you scroll over any of the images you will find write ups by Twyla on the inspiration for the artwork or some general words on the subject matter.

You can visit and have a look at much of Twyla’s work via the following link  –   http://www.twylafrancois.com/

I was very pleasantly surprised to have firstly had a notification that Twyla was following me on Twitter and then to see her art website and all the past and current work she is doing to help and save animals.

As everything Twyla shows in her art is based on a great many issues of animals and the cruelty inflicted on them; I very much would suggest that you visit her site when you have the chance.

Regards Mark.

Faroe Islands: Petition Result – SUCCESS ! – Mr. Spielberg and Dreamworks Will NOT Now Be Filming In The Faroe Islands Due To Pilot Whale Slaughter – Your Petition Has Worked !

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Faroe whale slaughter

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SAV Comment – Over 81,000 people signed the petition – you did it folks –have announced that due to the Pilot whale slaughter, they will not be filming in the Faroe islands where this barbaric murder of intelligent animals takes place.

We offer our thanks to Mr. Spielberg and Dreamworks for considering and acting on this.  Just sometimes your petition voice is heard and acted upon.  Well done everyone !

The following is a message from Kellie – who created the petition.

Congratulation Kellie !

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SUCCESS  !

After being contacted for comment on the Petition by Screen Daily on the 8th of May 2015 Dreamworks have since announced that they will not be filming in the Faroe Islands.

Thank you for signing and supporting the petition.

Sincerely,
Kellie Mcleod

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The Original Petition Overview

Director Steven Spielberg is going to the Faroe Island in july 2015 to shoot his upcoming live-action film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book The Big Friendly Giant Please sign the petition to ask mr Spielberg to consider filming at a different location rather than the Faroe Islands where every year around 800 pilot whales (and occasionally dolphins as well) are brutally killed in an inhumane way. The hunts, called “grindadráp” in Faroese (or “The Grind”), are non-commercial and are organised on a community level. The hunters first surround the pilot whales with a wide semicircle of boats. Then they drive the whales slowly into a bay or to the shallows of a fjord. When a whale is in shallow water, a hook is placed in its blowhole so that it may be dragged ashore. Once on land or immobilised in knee-deep water, a cut is made across its top near the blowhole to partially sever its head. The dead animals are then dragged further to shore after the remaining whales have been likewise killed. These intelligent, empathic, sentient & emotional mammals don’t die instantly and often suffer prolonged agony in the blood-stained waters. These animals need not be killed for the people of the Faroe Islands to subsist. They already boast one of Europe’s best average standards of living, thus having enough meat to survive is not a major concern of the population. Women and children bear witness under the excuse of tradition and culture. It is claimed it is done for food, but with the meat being full of mercury and other poisons, this reasoning doesn’t make sense.

Please sign the petition to ask Steven Spielberg to please, please not film in the Faroe Islands, where they allow such animal cruelty to take place

Whaling. Long-finned Pilot whalse ( Globicephala melas ) Carcass from Grindadrap on harbour in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, North Atlantic

Whaling. Long-finned Pilot whalse ( Globicephala melas ) Carcass from Grindadrap on harbour in Torshavn, Faroe Islands, North Atlantic

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USA: What Do You Have To Do To Try And Protect The Environment And Very Rare Species ? – Let The World Die ?

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http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

EPA to Analyze Impacts of Roundup, Atrazine on 1,500 Species

In a historic agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency this week finally agreed to analyze the effects of atrazine and glyphosate — the two most commonly used pesticides in the United States — on 1,500 endangered plants and animals across the country. The agreement is part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity in litigation seeking to protect wildlife from dangerous pesticides.

Up to 80 million pounds of atrazine are used in the United States each year. In addition to causing severe harm to endangered species, the chemical may be linked to increased risks of thyroid cancer and birth defects in people. It’s the second most commonly used pesticide after glyphosate, more commonly known as Monsanto’s Roundup, which has been linked to massive declines in monarch butterflies.

monarch 1 june

The EPA has, for decades, continued to register and allow the use of pesticides without considering their impacts on endangered species. The Center has filed a series of lawsuits to force the agency to conduct those analyses and better understand how these chemicals affect everything from Florida panthers to California tiger salamanders.

“This settlement is the first step to reining in the widespread use of dangerous pesticides that are harming both wildlife and people,” said the Center’s Brett Hartl.

Read more in our press release and consider giving to our Pollinator Protection Fund.

 

World’s Most Endangered Porpoise Likely Down to Just 50

A new scientific report finds that vaquitas — the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoises — declined by more than 40 percent in a single year; likely only about 50 remain. Vaquitas live exclusively in the Gulf of California and are being driven extinct by entanglement in nets cast for shrimp and for the illegal harvest of totoaba. Totoaba — fish that are also endangered — are caught for their swim bladders, which are smuggled to Asia to make soup and folk remedies.

The new report documents a 42 percent decline in vaquitas between 2013 and 2014, with additional animals killed in late 2014 and early 2015 before a two-year fishing ban was instituted by Mexico in April. While the ban is commendable, a permanent ban on nets in the Gulf is clearly needed.

The report also finds that Mexico’s previous efforts to ban fishing in vaquita habitat were unsuccessful; the number of boats in porpoise habitat actually increased during the Mexican government’s previous efforts to ban fishing. Unless these newest conservation measures are aggressively enforced, the vaquita will not survive.

Read more in onEarth.

Alaska Wolves in Steep Decline — But Hunting, Trapping Still On

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released a report confirming that rare Alexander Archipelago wolves in Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island area have declined by a shocking 60 percent in a single year. Specifically the population dropped from 221 wolves in 2013 to just 89 in 2014, and wolves on the island could now be as few as 50, with female wolves particularly hard-hit. These unique wolves are smaller and darker than other gray wolves, usually with dense, dark gray to jet-black fur.

The department’s report acknowledges that about a third of the population was killed in the last hunting and trapping season. Yet Alaska plans to allow still more trapping and hunting of the wolves this fall.

“To maintain a viable population of Alexander Archipelago wolves on this island, Alaska must cancel the season,” said the Center’s Shaye Wolf. “We won’t get a second chance to preserve these amazing animals.”

Read more in E&E News.

New Studies Show Earth on Brink of Sixth Mass Extinction

A report published Friday in Science Advances — authored by a team of scholars including Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University and Gerardo Ceballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico — indicates the planet is on the edge of the largest extinction wave since the dinosaurs disappeared some 65 million years ago.

Though the team relied on extremely conservative assumptions about the “background” (that is, naturally occurring) rate of extinctions, its findings that a mass extinction has begun were powerful. The loss of biodiversity we’re currently experiencing, the study says, is likely to produce the swiftest mass die-off in planetary history and the only one caused by human beings — and that’s not even counting the effects of climate change, not factored into the research.

Among vertebrates alone, 477 species have been declared officially extinct since 1900 — just one example.

Read more in The Guardian.

Bill Would Halt Federal Giveaway of Sacred Land in Arizona

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) has introduced a bill to stop the U.S. Congress from trading away Oak Flat, an Apache sacred site in central Arizona, to a foreign mining company. Rio Tinto has been pushing to develop a massive copper mine in the Oak Flat area for more than a decade. A last-minute rider in a spending bill — pushed by Arizona’s congressional delegation — included a land swap for the mining project. Grijalva’s bill would repeal that provision.

The Oak Flat area is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and is also home to a diverse array of wildlife. An endangered wild ocelot was found dead on Highway 60, very close to Oak Flat, several years ago, and there may be others in the area.

The San Carlos Apache and allies will take their fight to Washington, D.C., next month, when a cross-country caravan and sacred run from Arizona culminates with rallies and events in the nation’s capital July 20–21.

Learn what you can do to support the Apache resistance and follow the progress of the sacred runners.

New EPA Rule “Good for Business,” Bad for Wild Bees — Take Action

To address the problem of toxic pesticides driving bee population crashes, the EPA has proposed a new rule. It creates temporary “pesticide-free zones” when commercial crops, such as California almond trees, are in bloom and hired bees have been trucked in to pollinate them. The rule is a small step in the right direction — but grossly inadequate as a response to a massive pollinator crisis.

Protecting commercial hives and industry crops will leave solitary bees and bumblebees all over the country to die from acute poisoning. Also, the rule (which applies only to foliar spraying) conspicuously omits any mention of the widespread industry practice of treating seeds, such as corn and soybean seeds, with bee-killing chemicals.

Act now to urge the EPA to revise and expand its rule to reflect the scope of the actual problem. The agency must protect all bees — not just commercial hives — and regulate toxic pesticides applied to seeds as well as leaves.

Hillary Clinton is hiring Monsanto lawyers to help her become President.

Jerry Crawford is a lobbyist for big agriculture in the American state of Iowa, and Monsanto is one of his largest clients. He’s also a consultant for politicians, fixing political campaigns to elect candidates most likely to preserve Monsanto’s hold on the state’s farmers, so it can continue to rake in billions in profits a year.

Now, Crawford has been hired by Hillary Clinton to help her win the critical early state of Iowa, in her campaign to become President of the United States.

Tell Hillary Clinton to fire Monsanto lobbyist Jack Crawford from her Iowa state campaign.

Since stepping down as Secretary of State, Clinton has spoken out in favor of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and established herself as a friend of the biotech industry. But by hiring one of Monsanto’s political hitmen, she’s taken it a step further.

Iowa is an ultra-rural state in the midwest US, and it is the very first state to weigh in on the US Presidential election. In order to get elected, Clinton is going to be spending an awfully large amount of time traversing the state, meeting with farmers and hearing from them about how the US President can improve their lives.

With a GMO lobbyist who has earned over $1.6 million from Monsanto embedded in her campaign, the most toxic corporation on Earth will have direct access to a potential President of the United States, helping to shape her policies on everything from corporate farm subsidies to seed patents. And those farmers she stops to meet along the way — want to bet they’ll be champions of Monsanto’s policies, rather than family farmers fighting tooth and nail to hold onto their farm in the face of growing corporate control of farming?

Time and time again, hundreds of thousands SumOfUs members have come together to speak out against Monsanto’s deplorable behaviour all around the world. Monsanto even won our award for “Most Evil Corporation” which we delivered right in the middle of this year’s annual shareholder meeting.

We can’t let one of the most powerful people in the world get to office with help from Monsanto. Clinton needs to show she’s a strong, independent leader who can stand up to big industry, and not just another Monsanto puppet. But she can’t do that as long as Crawford is part of her campaign.

Reclaim democracy from corporate power — ask Hillary Clinton to fire Monsanto mole Jack Crawford.

Thanks for all that you do,
Paul, Lisa, Nick and the team at SumOfUs

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