Kinship Circle: I Am Alive – Save Me ! – Video of the Work of ‘Kinship Circle’ Rescues.

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She was found on a bridge over floodwaters, her pelvis dislocated from water-swept debris. She was emaciated, listless, in pain. Mabel is every animal forgotten in disasters – stranded, hurt, starving, scared. Through her eyes, I am reminded why Kinship Circle helps animal disaster victims. Each one is a story filled with intimate detail and great capacity to love…if given the chance to live.

This video takes you to disaster rescues in Thailand Floods, Japan Quake-Tsunami-Radiation, Brazil Floods-Mudslides, Chile Quake-Tsunami… It shares brief notes about skills and training needed to rescue animal survivors. Please watch, share and join Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team in its mission to help animals left behind.

Chad: Over 30 Elephants Massacred As 350 Participants Meet in Switzerland for CITES Standing Committee.

Dozens of elephants massacred in Chad

July 26, 2012

Poachers killed at least 30 elephants in southwestern Chad during the early hours of Tuesday, July 24. During the night, Stephanie Vergniault, president of the organization SOS Elephants, described on her Facebook page how a group of armed horsemen chased a herd of elephants with “war weapons near the SOS Elephants camp in the Chari Baguirmi area. After daybreak, the SOS Elephants team counted 28 carcasses, most with missing tusks. The exact number of carcasses with missing tusks is unclear because the team was afraid to stay and investigate further due to the presence of the poachers hiding on the other side of the Chari River.

The elephant massacre occurred as 350 participants from all over the world attend the 62nd meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, where the illegal killing of elephants and ivory smuggling are at the top of the agenda. On Tuesday, the Standing Committee discussed the close correspondence between rising trends in elephant poaching and large-scale ivory seizures and recommendations to improve the situation. It also considered a new report, titled “Decision-Making Mechanisms and Necessary Conditions for a Future Trade in African Elephant Ivory,” that explores the future legalization of international ivory trade and the potential establishment of a Central Ivory Selling Organization (similar to the DeBeers diamond cartel).

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Serbia: Stara Planina Update – Construction Applications Submitted AFTER The Work has Been Completed – Do the EU Environment / Enlargement Commissions Care About This Approach By Future Accession States ? – It Would Appear Not.

Serbian and SAV campaigners are now stepping up their campaign for the protection of Stara Planina another ‘notch’ by undertaking the following:

  • On 10/06/12, SAV wrote to EU Commissioners Janez Potocnik and Commissioner Stefan Fule regarding this current situation in Serbia, and providing what we considered was new additional evidence regarding the destruction at the park, with regards approval for construction work only being applied for to the ministry AFTER the construction work had actually taken place.

Please click on the following link for information:

To further the campaign with the EU Environment Commission and also the EU Enlargement Commission, Serbian environmental campaigners also wrote (12/06/12) to the EU, as well as to the Ministry of the Environment within Serbia.

EPAR, Prijava sumnje na divlju gradnju na Staroj planini i.

EPAR, Zahtev za info od javnog znacaja, gradj. inspekcija, Stara planina, 27.12.2011.

Zakon o zastiti prirode, izmene i dopune i Uredba iz 2012.

The request to the Serbian Ministry was for access to information which should be provided under public interest, asking the ministry a series of questions about the issue of construction work at Stara Planina.  The Serbian Ministry has  an obligation to respond to the campaigners questions because of the legislation relating to the agreement of public interests law which exists within Serbia.

The response from the Serbian Ministry is shown below and has not been edited at all – the green text is a translation into English by Serbian campaigners:

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Odgovor na zahtev za dostavljanje informacija od javnog znacaja
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 09:03:49 +0000
From: Radmila Padezanin <>
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
CC: Jelena Milosavljevic <>



У вези вашег захтева за достављање информација од јавног значаја, упућеног електронски 27.02.2012. године, поводом ваше пријаве од 22.11.2011. и допуне пријаве од 30.01.2012. године, везано за грађевинске радове у Парку природе „Стара планина“, на подручју Споменика природе „Бабин зуб“ и „Јабучко равниште“ и друго из захтева, обавештавамо вас следеће:

У поступку вршења инспекцијског надзора на предметној локацији, републичка грађевинска инспекција, између осталог, донела је и:

Concerning your request for sending information of public importance, forwarded by electronic mail, 27.02.2012, related to your application from 22.11.2011 and amendments to the applications from 30.01.2012, concerning construction works in the Nature Park “Stara Planina”, in the area of Natural Monument “Babin Zub” and “Jabucko Ravniste”, and other items from the request, we inform You on the following:

During the procedure of inspection survey on the specified location, the Republican construction inspection among others, brought the following:

·         Решење Бр.920-352-354-173/2011-13 од 22.03.2012. године, којим се инвеститору наређује уклањање објекта жичаре који представља фиксни четворосед;

Issue No. 920-352-354-173/2011-13 of 22.03.2012 by which the investor is ordered to remove the ski lift objects composed of the fixed four-seated lift;


·         Решење Бр.920-352-354-172/2011-13 од 22.03.2012. године, којим се инвеститору наређује уклањање линијског инфраструктурног објекта – гондоле;

Issue No. 920-352-354-172/2011-13 of 22.03.2012 by which the investor is ordered to remove the linear infrastructure object-gondolas;


·         Решење, Закључак о дозволи извршења и Закључак о обустави поступка Бр. 920-353-354-204/2010-13 од 21.07.2011- године.

Issue, conclusion of permission of execution and conclusion of termination of procedure No. 920-353-354-204/2010-13 of 21.07.2011- године.

Изградња објекта ретардационе преграде са вишенаменском акумулацијом на Дебештинској реци, на Старој планини, се врши сходно налогу из решења Министарства пољопривреде и шумарства и водопривреде број 271-325-15/2011-03 од 01.03.2011. године, којим се ЈВП ”Србијаводе”, налаже предузимање мера на спречавању започетих ерозивних процеса изазваних јаким бујичним кишама насталим услед тољења снега. Инвеститор је приступио изградњи на основу члана 143. став 1. Закона о планирању и изградњи (“Службени гласник РС”, број 72/09, 81/09 и 24/11) – без претходно прибављЍ

?не грађевинске дозволе. Инвеститор има поступити у складу са чланом 143. став 3. Закона о планирању и изградњи (“Службени гласник РС”, број 72/09, 81/09 и 24/11) и прибавити грађевинску дозволу, односно решење из члана 145. овог закона, у року од једне године од дана престанка опасности које су проузроковале његово грађење, односно извођење радова

Construction of barrier with multipurpose accumulation on the Debestin River, on Stara Planina, is executed comitent to the order of the Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Waters, No. 271-325-15/2011-03 from 01.03.2011, by which the Public Company “Serbiavode” is bound to undertake measures to prevent the beginning of erosion processes initiated by strong torrents resulting from the melting of snow. The investor approached the construction on the basis of article 143. statement 1. Law on Planning and Construction (Official Gazette, Rep. Serbia  No 72/09, 81/09, and 24/11), without obtaining beforehand the construction permissions.

The investor is to comply according to article 143. statement 3,  Law on Planning and Construction Official Gazette, Rep. Serbia  No 72/09, 81/09, and 24/11 and obtain construction permission according to article 145 of this Law, within one year AFTER THE END of danger CAUSED BY THE CONSTRUCTION ie. execution of the works.   


Напомињемо да, сагласно одредбама чл. 24. ст. 3. Закона о слободном приступу информацијама од јавног значаја („Сл. гласник РС“, бр.120/04, 54/07, 104/09 и 36/10), а имајући у виду одредбе чл. 9. истог Закона, овај орган неће доказивати да је поступао, обзиром да је у току поступак вршења инспекцијског надзора, односно, поступак издавања грађевинских дозвола за планиране објекте на предметној локацији.

We note that in agreement with article 24, statement 3, Law of Free Approach to Information of Public Interest, (Official Gazette, Rep. Serbia No. 120/04, 54/07, 104/09 and 36/10) and having in mind the article 9 of the same Law, this organisation will not prove that it acted, since the procedure of inspection survey is on, ie. the procedure of issuing the construction permission for the planned objects is underway for the specified location.


Radmila Padežanin

Ministry for Environmental Protection, Mining and Spatial Planning

Ministarstvo životne sredine, rudarstva i prostornog planiranja

Nemanjina 11

11 000 Beograd

Tel: 011/36-17-717

Faks: 011/36-17-722<>

PS Personal comment

*** This is a typical example of how something in Nature is destroyed and the permission is obtained afterwards to cover actually illegal activities. ***

Ovo je tipican nacin da se u prirodi nesto upropasti i naknadno donose dozvole da bi se pokrile ustvari nelegalne aktivnosti.


As a result of further evidence being provided to EU Commissions by both SAV and Serbian environmental campaigners, we were very disappointed with the EU to have the following letter sent to us:

Reply to EPAR OIPA Serbia

We are rather amazed that the EU Commissions do not consider that we have provided them with ‘any new substantial information’ and that they could effectively not be bothered to further  investigate our information and concerns.

We think that this is primarily because Serbia is currently not an EU member state, despite the fact that it will probably become a member within the next 5 years.  In our  view, both the EU Environment and Enlargement Commissions are ignoring the evidence presented to them; declaring that they are not going to act with regard a future  EU member state; and thus basically ignoring our information and further evidence.

Despite being very disappointed by the dismissive attitude of the EU Commissions; who should be investigating both environmental issues and also future (new) member state activities before they become EU members, we will continue to obtain evidence and approach the EU with regard illegal construction work which is only applied for to the Serbian authorities once the construction work has already been completed.

We are aware of this fact and have it in writing (see green text above) from the Serbian authorities.

It appears that the EU Commission does not really care about the situation of further environmental destruction within Serbia, simply referring us back to past correspondence between the EU and Serbian authorities, in which the Serbian authorities claim that they really care about the environment; when in reality, it would seem ok to apply for approval to the Ministry undertake constructions in protected areas only once all the construction work has actually been done !!

We see this as a major failure of the system – but it would appear that the EU Commissions see this policy of the Serbian government in another way !

USA: Organ Chips – The Future For Raplacing Animal Experiments In Labs ?


‘Organ Chips’ Could Replace Animal Experiments

Imagining a world where thousands upon thousands of animals no longer suffer in biomedical research and drugs actually help the people they’re meant to save may not be as far off a dream as it seems with the development of ‘organ chips.’

A $70 million research project that will develop transparent silicon microchips with hollow channels that contain actual living human tissue and pumps to replicate organ function is underway and is predicted to provide faster, cost-effective and more accurate results for testing diseases, toxins and pharmaceuticals – all on something about the size of a flash drive.

The ‘Tissue Chip for Drug Testing’ program is being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“More than 30 percent of promising medications have failed in human clinical trials because they are determined to be toxic despite promising pre-clinical studies in animal models. Tissue chips, which are a newer human cell-based approach, may enable scientists to predict more accurately how effective a therapeutic candidate would be in clinical studies,” according to the NIH.

While chips are already being used in some areas, this project intends improve upon existing test measures – cell cultures, human and animal testing – and overcome the limits of individual chips by creating and combining multiple chips to emulate the entire human body, in addition to designing software that can control and analyze different functions.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has entered into an agreement with DARPA to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips and link them together to create a human-on-a-chip. They’ve already got gut-on-a-chip, which mimics digestive functions, and are working on the heart, bone marrow and kidneys.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University will be working on a ‘microbrain reactor,’ which is intended to provide new insights into how the brain receives, alters and is affected by drugs. Researchers there plan on studying the biology of stroke and what role the brain plays in obesity by using tissue samples from affected patients.

“The ability to apply these precious samples entrusted to us by patients to a platform where we can literally measure hundreds of parameters is a dream come true,” said team member BethAnn McLaughlin, assistant professor of neurology and member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, who adds that there is not a single drug that has gotten FDA approval to protect the human brain from a stroke.

“Given the differences in cellular biology in the brains of rodents and humans, development of a brain model that contains neurons and all three barriers between blood, brain and cerebral spinal fluid, using entirely human cells, will represent a fundamental advance in and of itself,” said John Wikswo, the Gordon A. Cain University Professor and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE), who is orchestrating the multidisciplinary effort.

Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of California-Berkeley will also be participating.

The project isn’t just exciting for the scientific community and patients who are waiting for that medical breakthrough they desperately need to live either, but is also a welcome advance from those who want to see the end of the suffering of animals used in biomedical research.

“This is an exciting example of how modern-day innovation can produce a humane and more reliable approach to understanding the inner workings of human disease without the need for animal suffering. The USA appears to be leading the way in funding alternatives, it is now time for the UK to catch up,” said Dr. Katy Taylor, scientific adviser for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.
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