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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 07, 2020 1:55 am

Rebels kill 12 rangers
protecting gorillas


Rwandan rebels have slaughtered 12 rangers protecting gorillas who went viral in a selfie with their human 'parents' just days before the attack at Virunga national park

Congolese Major General Maurice Aguru Mamba said the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were behind the April 24 attack.

Around 60 FDLR fighters from a 'specialised unit' ambushed a convoy of civilians that was being protected by 15 rangers. As well as the 12 rangers, another five were killed, with others gravely wounded.

Just days before the attack, ranger Mathieu Shamavu had posed for a photo with two of the gorillas standing with remarkably upright postures. It is not clear whether Mr Shamavu was killed in the attack.

Image

A motive for the attack remains unclear. However, the park - which was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary in 2014 - is surrounded by rival militias and 176 rangers have been killed in the last 20 years.

Its rangers are armed and sniffer dogs are used to keep the gorillas and visitors to the national park safe.

Major General Mamba said his CORPPN corps, assigned to protect the national parks, had 'credible sources' who had informed them the attack was carried out by the Hutu rebels.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame last Monday denied persistent rumours that Rwandan soldiers had infiltrated eastern DRC to fight the FDLR, whose leaders were involved in Rwanda's 1994 genocide that killed about 800,000 people - mainly Tutsis.

The DRC army has been fighting an array of armed groups in the east of the vast central African country for nearly three decades.

Visits to Virunga have been suspended since March 19 in DR Congo's bid to halt the new coronavirus pandemic.

The park previously banned visitors between May 2018 and the start of last year after two British tourists were kidnapped. They were later released unharmed.

https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2019/04/20 ... 982954.jpg

The rangers' coffins are draped in the DR Congo during their funerals last month

Military personnel salute over the coffins of the Virunga national park rangers last month

Meet the protected Gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Last month's attack is the latest setback for Virunga which is facing severe economic challenges due to the coronavirus halting tourism which accounts for 40 percent of its revenues.

'Tourism, in spite of all the setbacks, has actually been a great success for Virunga,' park director Emmanuel de Merode said at the beginning of April.

In March, an off-season month at Virunga, the park took in around $280,000 from tourism. That revenue stream is now gone.

Aircraft used for monitoring are grounded and the park is facing the increased burden of supporting not only its 1,500 staff and their families but also impoverished surrounding communities.

Price inflation linked to the pandemic is driving food costs up, and de Merode had said he worried this could fuel poaching, particularly if local armed groups see it as a lucrative business opportunity.

'The level of poaching now is low. But that could quickly change for a lot of reasons,' he said.

Congo park ranger who took viral selfie with two gorillas reveals how he captured their 'human-like' poses

Mathieu Shamavu said he had been checking his phone at the Virunga Park in eastern Congo when he noticed the two female orphaned gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze mimicking his movements.

He then took a picture with the animals who looked as if they were posing for the camera. Shamavu then posted the photo on social media, where it quickly went viral.

The two gorillas had been orphaned 12 years ago when their families had been killed by poachers.

The centre, according the its management, is the only place in the world which is dedicated to the care of orphaned mountain goriallas.

As the gorillas arrive in the sanctuary at a young age, they learn from their caretakers, said Shamavu.

The rangers are guardians of the park that was primarily gazetted to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Pictured is Mr Sadiki in one of many selfies with his gorilla friends

He said: 'In terms of behavior, they like to mimic everything that is happening (around them), everything we do'.

He added that the caretakers at Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage Center try to give the animals as much access as possible to their natural environment, but they inevitably exhibit 'almost the same behavior as humans.'

Senkwekwe is named after one of the wild silverback gorillas that was killed in Virunga in 2007.

The orphans need constant care, so the rangers live nearby and spend their days with them - feeding them, playing with them, keeping them company.

Head caretaker Andre Bauma said the caretakers and the Gorillas are family.

He said without their own relatives nearby, the gorillas treat the rangers as their own.

'They know we are their mum. They are a member of the family. We are their friends,' said Bauma.

Virunga is billed as Africa's most biodiverse national park, spanning tropical forests, snow-peaked mountains and active volcanoes.

It's also one of the last bastions of wild mountain gorilla populations. Parks in the mountains of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda have the last remaining mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

But it's in eastern Congo, an area that has suffered from years of armed conflict.

Fields of crops bordering Virunga National Park, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Virunga's management has had to take extraordinary measures to keep its visitors safe from the on-and-off fighting in the region - protecting them with a highly trained guard of elite rangers and sniffer dogs, and working closely with communities surrounding the park.

After a park ranger was killed by gunmen and three foreign tourists were briefly held captive, the park closed until it could secure the safety of visitors. It reopened in mid-February this year.

But all this costs money, and the state park says it wouldn't be able to survive without private donations from visitors.

Virunga's management hopes the viral gorilla selfie will help boost the park's profile, and encourage more people to contribute to the vital work of conserving the mountain gorillas and their unique natural habitat.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... rents.html

This is terribly sad, I hope that Mr Shamavu is alright
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 09, 2020 1:35 pm

It’s Already Happening

Heat and Humidity Near the Survivability Threshold

Bolstering a decade of research on the risks of unprecedented heat and humidity from human-caused climate change, a new study finds evidence for more than a dozen cases of heat-humidity combinations that could be deadly if experienced for more than a few hours. Led by scientist Colin Raymond, the paper, “Potentially Fatal Combinations of Humidity and Heat Are Emerging across the Globe,” was published Friday in the open-access journal Science Advances.

The study focuses on observations of wet-bulb temperature, which serves as an indicator of how much a person would be able to cool off by sweating. Since human skin temperature averages close to 35°C (95°F), wet-bulb temperatures above that value would in theory prevent people from dispelling internal heat and potentially lead to fatal consequences within a few hours.

    Wet-bulb temperatures are calculated in a different manner than heat indexes and are much lower for the same physiological impact; a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C would literally be off the chart on a U.S. heat index table
Previous high-profile studies had warned of the risks posed by increasingly high wet-bulb temperatures in future climates, including the chance that wet-bulb readings (TWs) of 35°C might emerge later this century.

The new paper goes a step further by identifying 14 examples of 35°C wet-bulb readings that have already occurred since 1979 in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Prior to this study, only one of these readings was widely known and acknowledged to be an informal global record: a value of 35°C at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on July 8, 2003.

Image

Maximum values of wet-bulb temperature (degrees C) for the period 1979-2017 at weather stations that had at least 50% data availability. (Fig. S1 from Raymond et al., Sci. Adv. 2020; 6 : eaaw1838. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC)

More broadly, the paper finds that the frequency of TW values reaching 27°C, 29°C, 31°C, and 33°C across the world all showed doubling trends over the period from 1979 to 2017. Extrapolating from the relationship between global warming and increasing wet-bulb temperatures over the past four decades, the authors find that dangerous web-bulb readings will continue to spread across vulnerable parts of the world, affecting millions more people, as human-caused climate change unfolds.

“The most important takeaway is the steepness of the trends,” Raymond told weather.com in an interview. “It didn’t matter what level of extremeness we looked at or what part of the world—the trends were upward and very steep across all of those levels.”

Where short-term heat has already reached potentially fatal values

The locations and dates of the 35°C-or-greater wet-bulb temperatures since 1979, as confirmed by Raymond and colleagues, include:

    Jacobabad, Pakistan: July 25, 1987; June 5, 2005; June 7, 2005; June 27, 2010; June 30, 2010; Jul 13, 2012

    Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE: August 2, 1995; August 12, 1995; August 11, 2009; July 8, 2010

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: August 15, 1999; June 24, 2010

    Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan: August 17, 2017

    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: July 8, 2003
Image
Locations and dates of reported wet-bulb temperatures at or above 35°C. (Data courtesy Colin Raymond)

Several dozen other such cases were filtered out in quality control checks, Raymond said in an email. The authors did not calculate the length of each event, but extreme TW values to date are generally concentrated into periods less than three hours, they said.

Using ocean data, the authors found that summer sea surface temperatures exceeding 35°C over the Persian Gulf are linked to several of these events. The worst heat and humidity occurred when this air moved onshore—like a diabolical sea breeze, but driven by different weather mechanisms.

Every station on the Persian Gulf coast with adequate data reported wet-bulb readings of 31°C (88°F) or higher at least once every three years during the study period.

“One of the things that was most surprising to us as researchers was that in these hot-spot regions…the intensity of the humid heat is confined very closely to the coastline, say 10 or 20 kilometers [6-12 miles],” Raymond said.

In the case of Pakistan, extremely hot, humid air can surge up the populous Indus Valley to affect cities like Jacobabad, which sits about 500 kilometers (300 miles) inland. Widespread irrigation is likely another factor in boosting the moisture values in this region and elsewhere across western South Asia, noted the authors.
Image
Left: Surface winds (in meters per second) and temperatures (degrees C) from the ERA5 reanalysis, averaged over the four days on which Ras al-Khaimah, UAE, recorded a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C or greater. Right: The same analysis for the six days in which Jacobabad, Pakistan, reached the same threshold. (From Figs. S3 and S4 in Raymond et al., Sci. Adv. 2020; 6 : eaaw1838. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC)

Other parts of the world that are already yielding wet-bulb readings of 31°C or higher at least every three years include eastern coastal India, Pakistan and northwestern India, and the shores of the Red Sea, Gulf of California, and southern Gulf of Mexico. All of these feature subtropical coastlines with access to both intense continental heat and marine air flowing off high sea surface temperatures.

Drilling into the data

Previous studies on this topic have relied largely on gridded analyses such as ERA-Interim (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). Such datasets pool temperatures across grid points that each represent a small area—comparable to having one to three data points in a state like Rhode Island.

Such averaging obscures the localized short-term peaks in wet-bulb temperature that were brought to light in this study. The authors found that the discrepancy between ERA-Interim gridded values and observed values of dew point grew larger as the wet-bulb temperature rose.

“According to our weather station analysis, emphasizing land grid points underplays the true risks of extreme TW along coastlines, which tends to occur when marine air masses are advected even slightly onshore,” note the authors.

Based on the study’s findings, many thousands of people have already experienced 95°F wet-bulb temperatures, though these episodes were almost certainly too brief to raise the question of survivability. Jeddah has a metro-area population of close to 4 million, and Jacobabad, where 6 of the 14 identified cases occurred, is home to about 200,000 people.

Jacobabad is accustomed to extreme heat in general: its average daily high and low in June are 112°F (44°C) and 85°F (29°C), which is hotter than any average month in Jeddah, or Phoenix for that matter.

The deadliest heat waves in recent decades have struck parts of the globe where wet-bulb readings surge to levels that are less extreme than 35°C but still hugely dangerous when sustained over multiple days. “Severe mortality and morbidity impacts typically occur at much lower values [than 35°C TW],” noted Raymond and colleagues.

Heat waves felled an estimated 70,000-plus people across Europe in 2003 and more than 55,000 people in Russia in 2010, according to the database EM-DAT. Regional wet-bulb values in these heat waves never exceeded 28°C (82°F), the paper points out.

In contrast, relatively few heat deaths are reported near the Persian Gulf, where air conditioning is widespread and societies have long dealt with extreme heat. Raymond and colleagues point to “the need to ascertain how acclimation to high-heat-stress conditions is diminished as the physiological survivability limit is approached. Such efforts may also help resolve the reasons for the paucity of reported mortality and morbidity impacts associated with observed near 35°C [wet-bulb] conditions.”

During the intense pre-monsoonal heat at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, on June 8, 2015, the city’s temperature peaked at 47.7°C (117.9°) on May 24. At least 2500 people were killed by widespread heat across India in 2015.

A future of increased extreme heat and humidity

Looking ahead, the authors used a technique called generalized extreme value analysis to estimate the extent to which 35°C wet-bulb readings will increase with global warming. They found that a temperature increase over preindustrial values of around 2.3°C—which could occur over the next few decades—would be enough for 35°C wet-bulb values to show up regularly in gridded analyses, which suggests that multiple locations within a grid box could encounter such heat and humidity on a recurring basis.

Going forward, one of the prime areas of concern is northern India and Pakistan, where many thousands of laborers work outdoors in premonsoon heat that can reach dangerous levels. A 2015 heat wave killed more than 2500 people in northern India. As pointed out in a 2019 post by Jeff Masters, four of the ten deadliest heat waves on record in the EM-DAT database affected India and/or Pakistan.

Adaptive measures such as cooling centers have successfully reduced the toll taken by heat waves in many northern midlatitude areas over the last decade, but air conditioning is not an option for many impoverished South Indians.

“The southern Persian Gulf shoreline and northern South Asia are home to millions of people, situating them on the front lines of exposure to TW extremes at the edge of and outside the range of natural variability in which our physiology evolved,” Raymond and colleagues state in the paper.

    The deadly heat events already experienced in recent decades are indicative of the continuing trend toward increasingly extreme humid heat, and our findings underline that their diverse, consequential, and growing impacts represent a major societal challenge for the coming decades
https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/heat- ... -happening
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 12, 2020 4:19 am

Swan shot dead as she lay on eggs

Two swans have been shot in a "barbarous" attack which killed a female as she lay on a nest of eggs

Image

Hilary was found dead and the male Stocky injured nearby on the Chesterfield Canal in Worksop on Friday morning.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust said it was "upsetting" as the adult swans, who have featured on BBC Countryfile, were "a feature of the canal".

South Yorkshire Police added it was investigating.

The swans, who were about four years old, have been based at Turnerwood on the Chesterfield Canal for several years.

The canal trust said: "As the female swan, Hilary, sat incubating her nest full of eggs, someone took her life by shooting her in the head with an air rifle.

"Her mate, Stocky, was also shot, as he attempted to defend her."

Rod Auton, 70, a volunteer for the trust, added: "They weren't just any old swans. They had character and were known along the canal. That's why it's upsetting."

Image
Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital said an X-ray showed Hilary had four air rifle pellets in her head

Dan Sidley, from Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital - who attended the scene - said it was "shocking" to find Hilary dead and Stocky with "blood on his neck".

"It was a barbarous attack," he said. "I can't comprehend how someone could take life in such a cruel way.

"It's heartbreaking. The pair were only on Countryfile with Matt Baker a couple of months ago."

Image
Stocky has been treated and is being looked after at the hospital

Mr Sidley said Stocky was making a "swift recovery against the odds" but added the eggs were now not viable.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The birds were discovered by a woman walking along the Chesterfield Canal at 08:20 BST on Friday.

"Officers are now carrying out inquiries including reviewing nearby CCTV footage."

A reward of more than £1,000 has been offered for information.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-d ... O1kS4MGf_4
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 14, 2020 7:51 pm

Scientists find way to
fight coral bleaching


Scientists in Australia say they have found a way to help coral reefs fight the devastating effects of bleaching by making them more heat-resistant

Image

Rising sea temperatures make corals expel tiny algae which live inside them. This turns the corals white and effectively starves them.

In response, researchers have developed a lab-grown strain of microalgae which is more tolerant to heat.

When injected back into the coral, the algae can handle warmer water better.

The researchers believe their findings may help in the effort to restore coral reefs, which they say are "suffering mass mortalities from marine heatwaves".

The team made the coral - which is a type of animal, a marine invertebrate - more tolerant to temperature-induced bleaching by bolstering the heat tolerance of its microalgal symbionts - tiny cells of algae that live inside the coral tissue.

They then exposed the cultured microalgae to increasingly warmer temperatures over a period of four years. This assisted them to adapt and survive hotter conditions.

"Once the microalgae were reintroduced into coral larvae, the newly established coral-algal symbiosis was more heat-tolerant compared to the original one," lead author Dr Patrick Buerger, of Csiro, Australia's national science agency, said in a statement.

"We found that the heat-tolerant microalgae are better at photosynthesis and improve the heat response of the coral animal," Prof Madeleine van Oppen, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Melbourne, said.

"These exciting findings show that the microalgae and the coral are in direct communication with each other."

The next step is to further test the algal strains across a range of coral species.
How bad is coral bleaching?

"Coral reefs are in decline worldwide," Dr Buerger says.

"Climate change has reduced coral cover, and surviving corals are under increasing pressure as water temperatures rise and the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events increase."

Earlier this year, Australia's Great Barrier Reef suffered a mass bleaching event - the third in just five years.

Warmer sea temperatures - particularly in February - are feared to have caused huge coral loss across it.

Scientists say they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. But they have also found healthy pockets.

Two-thirds of the reef - the world's largest such system - were damaged by similar events in 2016 and 2017.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-52661860
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 16, 2020 9:38 pm

How evil humans are

Lab forces monkeys to eat lard and become nicotine and booze addicts

Oregon lab part-funded by $218M in taxpayers money is performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys 'forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts'

    The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro has been slammed by PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques

    Shocking videos are said to show experiments where pregnant macaque monkeys are given high-fat diets

    PETA alleges researchers 'inflict pain and suffering' onto animals 'forcing the animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol'

    The experiments are partly paid for by $218 million in taxpayer money

    In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments

    The facility has been plagued by scandals, including being found guilty of 12 violations of animal welfare in the last three years alone

An Oregon lab with a history of animal mistreatment has been accused of performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys including forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts.

The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, based at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), has been slammed by animal rights group PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques - experiments that are partly paid for by taxpayer money.

In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments.

This comes after the facility has been plagued by scandals, including being found guilty of 12 violations of animal welfare in the last three years alone and claims that monkeys have died at the lab due to botched experiments.

Image

PETA images from inside the lab. The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, based at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), has been slammed by animal rights group PETA for its lab experiments on Japanese macaques - experiments that are partly paid for by taxpayer money

Shocking videos from the research center show experiments where pregnant macaque monkeys are given high-fat diets and their offspring are then studied, according to court records.

In other studies, 11-month-old Japanese macaques are deliberately frightened by researchers, so they can test them for anxiety and stress, records reveal.

PETA also alleges researchers at the center 'inflict pain and suffering' onto the animals with some experiments involving 'forcing the animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol'.

'These kinds of videos are highly controversial because they inflict pain and suffering on baby monkeys,' said Martina Bernstein, PETA's senior litigation counsel.

Multnomah County Judge David Rees ordered the release of the 74 videos in a court ruling on April 20.

The judge said it was in the public interest for the footage to be handed over to PETA to ensure the research facility is complying with animal welfare rules, given it has previously been found guilty of animal mistreatment.

'Some of these violations caused harm to [primates] and some did not,' Rees wrote about the centre's previous studies.

'The public has an interest in seeing ONPRC's videos of its studies to ensure ONPRC's compliance with regulatory requirements in using [primates] in experiments.'

ImageImage

PETA image of a monkey inside the National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro. In April, a judge ordered the facility to hand over footage of the experiments

Rees added: 'The public also has an interest in knowing how public [National Institutes of Health] grant funding is being spent and whether the experiments at issue are a worthy use of public funds.'

PETA welcomed the ruling: 'OHSU was happy to take millions of tax dollars to impregnate monkeys, feed them 'junk food,' and then separate the baby monkeys from their mothers in order to deliberately frighten them - but it fought tooth and nail against releasing the videos of this horror.'

The OHSU said it was important to labs to keep some research 'confidential' in a statement at the time.

Image

A pregnant monkey in a Wisconsin lab gets an ultrasound. The Oregon lab has been accused of performing 'cruel' experiments on pregnant monkeys including forcing them to eat lard and turning them into nicotine and alcohol addicts

Around 5,000 monkeys are still being kept in the lab in Oregon

A macaque monkey sis swabbed inside a Wisconsin lab. PETA filed the lawsuit against the Oregon research facility in March 2019 after it denied a request to view the videos

'OHSU and other premier biomedical research centers around the world strongly believe that faculty should have the right to perform research - and to keep confidential such research and related research data - at a minimum, until published in peer-reviewed publications,' it said.

PETA filed the lawsuit against the research facility in March 2019 after the research center denied its request to view the videos.

The animal rights group argued that the footage should be made public because the research is partly funded by $218 million in taxpayer money.

The lab has a long history of allegations of animal abuse, being found guilty of 12 violations since 2017.

Shocking incidents allegedly date back further, with PETA alleging several animals have died due to botched experiments and poor treatment.

The National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro (pictured) has a long history of animal rights violations including being handed a $12,000 fine for violations in 2012

In one incident, a monkey died after it was injected with the wrong dose of insulin, PETA's suit says.

While in 2016 the US Department of Agriculture issued a warning to the lab when it emerged a monkey had died in an enclosure.

This came after the OHSU was rocked by another scandal in 2012 when five monkeys died because of dehydration, being injected with unapproved drugs, and after staff without adequate training carried out tests incorrectly.

It was fined nearly $12,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act over this case.

Four years earlier PETA carried out an undercover investigation at the lab where it said many caged monkeys showed signs of high stress and neurotic behavior, including one monkey that had pulled out 90 percent of its own hair.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... dicts.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 23, 2020 7:38 pm

Saturn the alligator dies

Saturn, the alligator, survived World War Two and escaped from Berlin Zoo when it was bombed

Image

Link to video of Saturn:
https://youtu.be/uezlJ0x-HTI

An alligator who survived World War Two in Berlin and was rumoured - wrongly - to have belonged to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has died in Moscow Zoo.

"Yesterday morning, our Mississippi alligator Saturn died of old age. He was about 84 years old - an extremely respectable age," the zoo said.

Saturn was gifted to Berlin Zoo in 1936 soon after he was born in the US. He escaped the zoo being bombed in 1943.

British soldiers found him three years later and gave him to the Soviet Union.

How he spent the intervening years always remained a mystery, but since July 1946 the alligator has been a hit with visitors in Moscow.

"Moscow Zoo has had the honour of keeping Saturn for 74 years," the zoo said in a statement.

"For us Saturn was an entire era, and that's without the slightest exaggeration... He saw many of us when we were children. We hope that we did not disappoint him."

The zoo reported that Saturn knew his keepers, loved being massaged with a brush - and was able to crack steel feeding tongs and bits of concrete with his teeth if irritated.

Mississippi alligators usually live to 30-50 years in the wild, it added.

Saturn may even have been the world's oldest alligator - it's impossible to say. Another male alligator, Muja who is at Belgrade Zoo in Serbia, is also in his 80s and still alive.

But it's doubtful any alligator could compete with Saturn if it came to selling their memoirs.

The most headline grabbing detail is the rumour that Saturn had belonged in Hitler's personal collection, which is untrue.

"Almost immediately after the arrival of the animal, the myth appeared that it was supposedly in Hitler's collection, and not in the Berlin zoo," Interfax news agency reports.

It is unclear how the rumour started.

Moscow Zoo dismissed such reports, noting that animals "do not belong to politics and mustn't be held responsible for human sins".

Saturn's death-defying escape in 1943 is unlikely ever to be explained.

Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subjected to intense Allied bombing before the war ended in 1945.

The so-called Battle of Berlin began in November 1943 and the night of 22-23 November saw extensive damage to areas west of the centre, including the Tiergarten district where the city's zoo is located.

Thousands of people were killed or injured and many of the zoo's animals perished too.

The zoo's aquarium building took a direct hit. One report said passers-by had seen the corpses of four crocodiles in the street outside, tossed there by the force of the blast.

Saturn somehow survived and then lived for three years in a city ravaged by war, and a climate unsuited to alligators.

It's reported he will now be stuffed and exhibited in Moscow's popular museum of biology named after Charles Darwin.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52784240
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 30, 2020 11:34 pm

Thousands of pigs are steamed to death

Iowa's largest pork producer has allegedly euthanized thousands of pigs by steaming them to death in a mass-extermination after meat processing plants shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic

An investigation by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, into Iowa Select Farms revealed footage of what appeared to show the brutal slaying of thousands of pigs by 'ventilation shutdown,' of VSD.

Ventilation shutdown is a mass-extermination method where pigs are hoarded inside a barn, the airways sealed shut and scalding steam is pumped inside overnight.

The heat will increasingly intensify as the pigs are essentially boiled to death as they suffocate and suffer hours of unbearable cruelty.

According to a whistleblower at Iowa Select Farms, the process helps the facility become 'depopulated' as livestock is backlogged at meat factories.

Footage from hidden cameras obtained by The Intercept and DxE shows thousands of pigs gathering in an Iowa Select Farms facility in Grundy County to undergo ventilation shutdown.

Horrific footage shows thousands of live pigs being steamed to death

Footage obtained by Direct Action Everywhere appears to show thousands of pigs undergoing 'ventilation shutdown' at Iowa Select Farms

Temperatures inside the barn reportedly surpassed 140 degrees Fahrenheit and the pigs' tortured squeals can be heard as they were roasted.

Most of the pigs died during the ventilation shutdown, but some managed to stay alive throughout the process. Iowa Select Farms staffers are seen killing surviving pigs with a bolt gun shot to the forehead.

The dead bodies are then cleared away by bulldozers and mechanical equipment.

The investigation into Iowa Select Farms was prompted by a whistleblower who told The Intercept that the company first used the ventilation shutdown method in April.

Temperatures inside the barn reportedly surpassed 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the process

Iowa Select Farms reportedly first experimented on a small group of pigs by simply shutting off the airways and increasing the temperature.

After this failed, the company then reportedly added steam to the method as a way to raise barn temperature to deadly levels.

'They shut the pit pans off, shut the ventilation fans off, and heat up the building. That’s what the plan is. It’s horrific as it is. It was first used on test cull sows: those were first given the VSD treatment,' the whistleblower said.

'The first day they shut off all the fans and turned the heat up and the hottest they could get the building was 120 degrees.

'After four to five hours, none of the animals were dead. There was an attempt to induce steam into the building, along with the heat and the ventilation shutdown, and that is how they ultimately perfected their VSD operation.

'Every time they’ve been euthanizing the animals, it’s been a test in a sense. Piglets were killed off in a barn with gas generators.'

The meat packing industry, like so many others, have been dealt a massive blow as the economy stuttered during the coronavirus outbreak.

Even with food lines growing due to increased unemployment across the United States, factory farms have begun mass-exterminating their animals.

A breakdown in the commercial supply chain, as well as several slaughterhouses closing after COVID-19 outbreaks ravaged poorly protected staffers, resulted in an excess of now 'worthless' livestock.

Options like donating to food insecure Americans or saving the animals until demand peaked again were reportedly bypassed by many farm factories, including Iowa Select Farms, to maximize profits.

Some factory farms are now exterminating their livestock in vast numbers to avoid paying the cost to keep them alive.

Usually, commercial animal killings take place at slaughterhouses after being shipped over from factory farms, but with so many closures the supply chain has deviated from normal practice.

Officials in Iowa warned on April 27 that some 700,000 pigs could be killed as a result.

'Given severe processing capacity constraints, pigs are backing up on farms with nowhere to go, resulting in overcrowding and animal welfare issues,' the statement said.

'At current capacity levels, there are 700,000 pigs across the nation that cannot be processed each week and must be humanely euthanized.'

But according to the whistleblower, Iowa Select Farms' ventilation shutdown method has been anything by humane.

The ventilation shutdown method is meant to kill the majority of pigs, while staffers are to ensure there is 100 per cent mortality, but this is not always the case.

After the pigs are killed, they're reportedly transported by bulldozer and other mechanical tools out of the barn

The Intercept reports that the sheer number of pigs being killed at once inside the barn is so large that standard methods to confirm death, like pulse-checking, are not performed.

This means that some pigs can survive the ventilation shutdown, avoid death by the bolt gun and still be buried alive or crushed by bulldozers meant to lug them away.

Additionally, the American Association of Swine Veterinarian also described how horrific ventilation shutdown is to animals.

'When ventilation systems fail, “pigs may suffer distress or death by what is commonly called ‘suffocation’ implying lack of oxygen or excessive CO2",' it read.

'In realistic terms, death may result from any combination of excessive temperature, CO2, or toxic gases from slurry or manure below the barn.

'Numerous variables may make the time to death of 100% of animals in the barn subject to a range of times.

'The age and size of the barn; the insulation of the barn; the ventilation system; the ability to adequately seal fans, louvres, doors, and windows; and the number and size of animals in the barn can make achieving temperature goals problematic.'

Iowa Select Farms reportedly did not initially respond to claims about the mass-extermination, but later released a series of statements after learning of DxE's investigation.

'The thought of euthanizing entire herds is devastating. Sadly, Iowa Select has been forced to make this heartbreaking decision for some of its herd,' a company spokesperson said in an industry newsletter.

In another statement, Iowa Select Farms 'announced in a statement that they have been forced to euthanize some of its herd.'

'It’s been hard on us to come to those decisions, said Pete Thomas, DVM at Iowa Select Farms, focusing the grief on company executives instead of the slaughtered pigs.

The whistleblower, who chose to stay anonymous over fears of retaliation, said a 'massive increase' in pig production in 2019 led the already cramped quarters for pigs to become smaller.

Even after spending the majority of their life around farms, the whistleblower couldn't stomach that alleged mistreatment happening at Iowa Select Farms.

'It’s immoral, hard to see every single day,' they said.

'I wasn’t becoming numb to it. It was affecting me more and more every day: feeling the compassion and empathy for these animals that we were working with every day, then beginning to question,' the ethics of industrial practices.

The whistleblower began their own research into regulatory requirements after finding that the pigs were being stored in ways that appeared 'double what is permitted' by normal standards.

They decided to reach out to DxE instead of local government after deciding little would actually be done.

In the past, the agricultural industry used its economic influence to impact political parties and laws to shelter themselves from public scrutinty.

The industry was successful in passing former 'AG-GAG' laws that was designed to punish transparency meant to show the true inner-workings of the agricultural trade.

The whistleblower, whose spent their entire life around farms and farm animals, said the alleged mistreatment was affecting them 'more and more every day'

The whistleblowers concerns escalated as the pandemic caused 'massive backups' and they soon suspected that 'massive kill-offs of healthy pigs' were being considered by Iowa Select Farms.

Pigs, according to the whistleblower, 'are now being killed for no reason.'

'The weight of that was pretty heavy, to be honest,' they added.

Over several months, The Intercept repots the whistleblower noticed the company implementing new protocols, transportation schedules for pigs, reviewing documents for new procedures and having talks of ventilation shutdowns.

This is what convinced the whistleblower that the mass killing of health pigs was happening 'very much sooner rather than later.'

Iowa Select Farms advertises itself as animal friendly and ethically sound 'with homegrown Iowa values' on its website.

'We believe in doing the right thing every day, operating with character and integrity and being stewards of our resources.'

The company's blue collar branding comes at odds with its overwhelming influence as the fourth-largest pork producer in the US. It sells more than five million hogs annually to Tyson Foods and the Brazilian firm JBS.

Pictured:Dozens of pigs raised by Craig Anderson and family, are loaded to be trucked to meat packing facilities in Centerville, South Dakota, as farm factories shut down

In an effort to explain the newly released footage, Iowa Select Farms claimed in a newsletter that 'veterinarians and production well-being professionals are overseeing the process to ensure accordance with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and American Veterinary Medical Association.'

The Intercept points out that that 'veterinarians' used to in this instance may have their own stake in the game as they're most likely dependent upon these factory farms.

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Iowa reportedly receives financial support from corporations with ties to the industrial agriculture community.

On May 19 - the same day it was revealed DxE obtained footage of Iowa Select Farms' reported ventilation shutdown - they released a statement on swine procedures during the pandemic.

'If depopulation must be considered, veterinarians should reference the American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals,' they wrote.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines manual divides 'depopulation' methods into 'preferred' and ones that are only 'Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

Ventilation shutdown falls under 'Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

The AASV's May 19 statement added that: 'priority should be given to those methods classified as ‘Preferred’ but the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 processing disruption may require the use of methods classified as ‘Permitted in Constrained Circumstances.'

The AASV effectively said ventilation shutdowns could be justified due to the unexpected impact of the coronavirus on the same day allegations against Iowa Select Farms were unveiled.

But reports from The Intercept and testimonial from the whistleblower reportedly revealed that Iowa Select Farms did not fully comply with guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines.

The manual said 'depopulation methods' should 'result in rapid loss of consciousness and the associated loss of brain function.'

'Physical methods must be skillfully executed to ensure a quick and humane death because failure to do so can cause significant stress, distress, and pain.'

The uncovered footage appeared to be contrary to these guidelines as some pigs were killed by staffers several hours after the process began.

As of Friday, Direct Action Everywhere filed a criminal livestock neglect complaint with the Grundy County Sheriff's Office.

Matt Johnson, the group's leader, said in a statement: 'An element of good that has emerged from the ravages of COVID-19, and of this investigation, is that the longstanding systemic abuses of animal agriculture have been openly exposed for the world to see.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... ducer.html

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