Norway: NorwayTo Phase Out Fur Farms.


Norway to phase out fur farms.

Norway’s Labour Party, the dominant member of the country’s coalition government, finally seems to have lost patience with the Norwegian fur industry, after repeated cases of animal abuse.

Labour has expressed its dissatisfaction with the fur industry on several occasions but never taken concrete action.

While one of its coalition partners, the Socialist Left party (SV), has long called for a phase out of fur farms, Labour’s other partner, the rural-oriented Centre Party (Senterpartiet, Sp),has opposed an outright ban. Sp wants to keep giving the industry another chance to rid itself of rogue fur farm owners and improve conditions for the caged animals. Labour has been accused of dragging its feet on the issue, especially when it was announced that release of yet another report on the fur industry’s status would be “delayed” until after the national elections this autumn.

The postponement angered animal rights activists, with NOAH members demonstrating outside Parliament and demanding that Labour follow through on earlier promises to shut down fur farms.  Now it seems to be doing so, with a majority on its committee recommending that fur farms be phased out, over the next 4 years. 

There are around 260 fur farms left in Norway, and examples of injured animals and poor caged conditions continue to pop up in the local media. NOAH delivered animal cages filled with flowers to the Office of the Prime Minister, to illustrate alternative lines of business for the fur farmers.  The fur business has been booming, however, and the fur farmers have doubled their revenues just in the last 3 years. Prices for mink, for example, haven’t been higher since 1987, the marketing director of industry trade association Norges Pelsdyralslag, told newspaper Dagsavisen in December, which explains why the farmers don’t want to see their industry phased out. “Bloody unfair” is how one farmer reacted to Labour’s position, claiming that fur farming is one of the only lucrative areas within farming in Norway in general.

Horrific photos of stressed animals with their tails chewed off, or with open sores, have led to widespread public criticism of fur farmers, however, and a survey conducted by research bureau Norstat for NRK last autumn showed that a majority of Norwegians don’t support the industry. Labour’s program committee’s recommendation may push a ban through Parliament, since at least 2 other parties (SV and, in opposition, Venstre) also support a ban.

Helga Pedersen, deputy leader of Labour, told NRK that the industry “has had very many chances” to improve its record. Now it faces the consequences of the failure of too many of its members to do so.


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Wolves Vital for Ecosystem.


Wolves vital for ecosystem

Ranchers often use the term “invasive species” to describe wolves in the North, and even the South West. True, wolves were ‘re-introduced’ to those areas out of necessity, as the original wolf packs were systematically eliminated by ranchers and trophy hunters.

This elimination created an ecological disaster that could be easily highlighted and observed using Yellowstone National Park as the example. Without wolves, Yellowstone was literally dying. Elk, and all pronghorns, without any wolves around were over-eating certain vegetation because they didn’t have to roam or move around.

Other vegetation was ignored and overgrown causing severe problems with waterways. Those problems caused beavers to leave and many bird species. Wolves were also not there to spread the carrion that would feed and sustain many other animals, like crows, foxes, coyotes, eagles, and thousands of species of beetle necessary to have a balanced ecology.

Without wolves, diseased elk were not eliminated by depredation, therefore diseases became more widespread. Dead and dying from disease, bloated and rotting elk carcasses could be seen littering the landscape. Scientists realizing that the balance of nature in a region is not achievable without natural predators, made recommendations to bring back the wolf. Politicians cooperated and about $105m tax dollars later we had wolves back in Yellowstone.

The wolves earned their keep. They, once again, brought the park back to it’s original splendour with healthier herds, balanced foliage, other wildlife returning, clear running waterways, everything more lush and better than it was without wolves.

Fast forward to today – legislation is on the table to de-list all wolves in the lower 48 states because ranchers never stopped whining. Generations of wolf resentment and an attitude of “we feed the country – so we rule!”, has continued to wear away at federal wolf protections.

Ranchers want to continue and even increase grazing their cash cows on public lands – wolf territory! What seems more like an “invasive species” to you – a wolf running freely through the wilderness, balancing nature and enriching the ecology, or domesticated cows, and sheep walking around the wilderness, constantly grazing and defaecating?

When you think of a trip into the wilderness, do you think of seeing cows or do you hope to see the wolf which symbolizes the free spirit of the wild?  Remember the overlooked facts too – trees are cut down, wildlife is cleared out, so that grazing can be possible.  Where your house sits today, was yesterday’s wilderness.

Ultimately, the invasive species is us…..   Good Wolf Campaign


Thailand: An Elephant Never Forgets.


Tragically, few watching a young elephant painting pictures with its trunk or dancing with dainty footsteps on a Bangkok street will realise the horrors these majestic animals suffer before surrendering to their handlers’ brusque commands. It is the very fact that an elephants never forgets that makes these animals so vulnerable to the sharp spikes driven into their heads or heated nails dug into the most sensitive parts of their huge bodies.

Beatings handed out in an ancient 6-day ritual called “Phajaan” crushes a young elephant’s spirit so that it accepts being paraded through the smoggy streets of Thailand’s most popular tourist hots-spots to put on degrading shows rather than face more pain.

The shameful story of Thailand’s elephants and they way they are broken is to be exposed in a shocking new television documentary. An Elephant Never Forgets sees presenter Joe Keogh visiting the Far East and talking to some of the 870,000 Britons who visit Thailand, revealing to them the horrors of Phajaan. This age-old ceremony originates among remote hill tribes and sees elephant calves bound and forced into tiny enclosures where the handlers, or mahouts, drive spikes into their heads while chanting a prayer which translates as “elephant, if you stop struggling then we won’t hurt you”.


Half the elephants do not survive. Many go crazy and have to be destroyed. Others become aggressive and 100 mahouts are killed by their animals every year. Documentary-makers Groundbreak Productions were invited to Thailand by an animal welfare charity to look at how tourist cash is supporting the practice of Phajaan.

During filming, the production crew met an award-winning animal rights activist called Lek who has been at the heart of raising awareness of the country’s tortured elephants as well as caring for them at a sanctuary.

The full film is due to be released in 2013 and will be shown on television stations around the globe, including the UK.

To see the trailer go to youtube/RHLE1x4FRHk