H&M and the leather industry 

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Cows in the leather industry are often branded, parts of their tails are amputated, their horns are removed through an excruciating dehorning process, they’re castrated without painkillers, and they’re often transported hundreds of miles to feedlots and slaughterhouses, where many are skinned while still alive.

News from Animal Defenders

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Let’s start with some great news: Guatemala has banned ALL animals in circuses! The 35th country in the world to pass a national restriction on the use of animals in circuses.
Meanwhile it is eleven years since a British Government first promised a ban. Eleven years of animal misery.
When we first exposed the savagery of the British circus industry, we were promised a ban under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

When we exposed the vicious abuse of the elephants with the Great British Circus, a public consultation was called and 94.5% of respondents demanded a ban. A ban was promised.

When we exposed the blows and kicks that rained down on poor Anne the elephant as she stood chained and helpless, back bench MPs voted unanimously instructing the government to bring forward a ban. A ban was promised and the law drafted. It was never implemented.

At the last General Election almost all Members of Parliament (98%) were elected on a manifesto commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Those promises are still unfulfilled.

I was due to meet Defra with our team next week to discuss moving the ban forward – the meeting has been cancelled following the announcement of the General Election. We are working to reschedule.  

Perhaps there are those who think we will simply give up on this, frustrated by the broken promises. We will never give up until the abuse is stopped. 

I need you to contact all your Parliamentary candidates in your area (all parties) and urge them to support a ban on wild animals in circuses.

Circus animals need you to write today to the parties as they compile their manifestos urging them to include a commitment to ban wild animals in circuses.I

I know you have done this before and the politicians have let you down, but the animals cannot afford for you to give up! HELP THEM TODAY!

A year ago this month, we completed our mission to close down all Peru’s animal circuses and I flew with Hoover the tiger and over 30 lions to new lives in Florida and South Africa. Yet lions and tigers continue to languish in circus cages in the UK.

DawnWatch today

April 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The advent of herbivorous “butcher” shops is good news – particularly so when it is considered big enough financial news to make the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The Thursday, April 20 front page headline reads, “These butchers sell baloney that’s phony” with the subheading, “Vegan shops hawk veggies that look, taste like real meat.”  
The article, by Erin Ailworth, opens with:

“Michael Abramson has set up his butcher shop in Toronto’s Little Italy to look much like any other, with gleaming knives lining the wall, employees prepping cutlets and someone hand-cranking a sausage stuffer.

“There’s one meaty exception. His choice cut isn’t beef, it’s beet. He’s not proffering lamb, but yam.

“Mr. Abramson, a 62-year-old vegan, is the proprietor of YamChops, a faux meat market where every patty, link, and fillet is made from edible plants. To entice ‘veg curious’ meat eaters as well as vegetarians, he takes great pains to make sure his substitutes look as much like the real thing as possible.”

The bulk of the article is on page A8, where we read, “Mr. Abramson is part of a small but growing community of ‘vegetable butchers’ opening shop from Northern California to Sydney to The Hague, hoping to wow discerning diners with substitute lox crafted from carrots and jerky fashioned from wheat gluten.” The story includes a big photo of the deli case at the Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, looking uncannily like a deli case at any other butcher, packed with various pastrami style meats and sausages. 

Subscribers to the Wall Street Journal can see other photos on line, such as the Herbivorous Butcher’s sumptuous looking “Smoky House BBQ Ribs” and “Barbecue slabs on the grill” at Monks Meats in Brooklyn. 

Unfortunately non subscribers cannot see those photos, or read past the first few paragraphs of the article. It discusses why vegetarians would want food that looks and tastes like meat, and ends with a nice quote from Josh Karant, who teaches about the politics of food at the Pratt Institute. He says that the brisket at Monk Meats won’t fool many carnivores, but he compliments it: “It’s totally its own thing: nothing bloody or Texan about it, but nice and smoky and salty and toothsome…Great with the slaw and pickles too.”

Journal subscribers will find the article on line at http://tinyurl.com/lgxzoa6 . (Others will find a few paragraphs of it.) It opens the door for letters appreciative of the coverage that make any point about health, environment, animal cruelty or animal rights that you feel would be useful in response to this article about the growing popularity of meat-free “butcher” shops. 

The Wall Street Journal takes letters at wsj.ltrs@wsj.com 

Always include your full name, address and phone number.

Message from OneKind

April 20, 2017 Leave a comment

In last weekend’s Scotland on Sunday [1], we called on the Scottish Government not to settle with regulating fox hunting but to ban it for good. 

Scotland was meant to have banned fox hunting back in 2002. But loopholes in the ban mean that there are still ten mounted hunts operating in Scotland, as there were before the ban, and about 800 foxes are thought to be killed by hunts every year. They suffer horrifically, with many dying as they are ripped apart by hounds [2].
For years, we have been pushing for the loopholes in the ‘ban’ to be closed so that fox hunting ends for good, and in 2016 these calls were finally heard. Lord Bonomy was commissioned to review the law and he recently published his report. We now know that the law in Scotland will be changed. The question is whether it will result is a real fox hunting ban or whether the Scottish Government will compromise with the powerful hunting lobby and opt to regulate hunting instead. Our fear is that unless we all make ourselves heard, this is what will happen.​

In the Summer of 2015 the SNP made a dramatic intervention in Westminster that prevented the Conservative-led Government from proceeding with their plans to undermine the fox hunting ban in England and Wales. Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster and now deputy party leader, said: 

“We totally oppose fox hunting and, when there are moves in the Scottish parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales”.

But now, two years on, it looks like the Scottish Government are giving in to the hunting lobby. Instead of consulting on a complete fox hunting ban they are considering proposals to regulate fox hunting and to introduce voluntary protocols. 

At the same time, strengthening the Scottish ban could not be more important. If the General Election results in a large Conservative majority the Hunting Act may well be back on the firing line. A real ban in Scotland will help weaken any attempt to weaken the Hunting Act in England and Wales. 

We have to keep the pressure on the Scottish Government, but to do that we need your help.

We appreciate the immense support you already give us by being a member, but if you’d like to make an extra one off donation to help us fight this campaign we would be extremely grateful.

A small financial contribution will help us to step up our efforts to end fox hunting in Scotland for good, and would allow us to lobby more MSP’s, pay for advertising, organise events and turn-up the heat on the Scottish Government. 

OneKind is a small but highly effective charity, and we are entirely people powered. We do not receive any government funding or lottery money and we rely solely on voluntary donations, from kind people just like you. Thank you so much for all you do for animals and for the support you give us – we couldn’t do it without you.

Harry, Sarah, Maree and the Onekind team

[1] Article in Scotland on Sunday, 16/04/2017

[2] This post-morten demonstrates why Scotland should ban fox hunting for real

Message from IFW

April 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Each year, IFAW and special guests come together to celebrate and say thank you to passionate and dedicated people who make a difference for animals, at a unique ceremony at the House of Lords.

Nominate someone special

At last year’s ceremony, award winners included:
Glasgow vet Ruby Shorrock, who runs free community clinics treating the dogs of homeless people.

Sheffield schoolgirl Storm Burgess, who has raised more than £6,000 for animal causes.

Dan Sidley, who set up the Yorkshire Swan Rescue Hospital to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick or injured swans.

We also recognised a special animal of the year and are looking for your animal nominations for 2017.

2016’s Animal of the Year was a 12-year-old springer spaniel called Roscoe, whose keen sense of smell has helped London Fire Brigade investigators sniff out the cause of hundreds of suspicious fires around the Capital and beyond.

Nominate an animal today

We will be presenting our Animal Action Awards in October and need your nominations by 30 May.

You will need to include:

Your contact information and the information of the person or animal you are nominating;

A description of the work the nominee has done for animals and what kind of animals they work with;

Why you think she/he is deserving of an Animal Action Award and anything interesting you would like to share with us about them.

Help us find this year’s winners and give them the recognition they deserve!

Reebok ‘grows’ plant-based footwear

April 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Global fitness brand, Reebok, is to launch a plant-based athletic shoe later this year. The development is part of the ‘Cotton + Corn’ programme, an initiative developed by the Reebok Future team to create shoes “made from things that grow”. The shoe has an upper made of organic cotton and a base originating from industrial grown corn, a non-food source.

Bill McInnis, head of Reebok Future, said: “With Cotton + Corn we’re focused on all three phases of the product lifecycle. First, with product development we’re using materials that grow and can be replenished, rather than the petroleum-based materials commonly used today. Second, when the product hits the market we know our consumers don’t want to sacrifice on how sneakers look and perform. Finally, we care about what happens to the shoes when people are done with them. So we’ve focused on plant-based materials such as corn and cotton at the beginning, and compostability in the end.”

McInnis added: “Ultimately, our goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use. We’ll then use that compost as part of the soil to grow the materials for the next range of shoes. We want to take the entire cycle into account; to go from dust to dust.”

Reebok partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, a manufacturer of high-performance bio-based solutions who have developed Susterra propanediol, a petroleum-free, non-toxic, USDA certified bio-based product, derived from field corn. Susterra propanediol is used to create the soles of the shoes.

Matt O’Toole, president of Reebok said: “Reebok’s philosophy is to ‘Be More Human,’ and sustainability is a core part of that belief. As human beings, we have a responsibility to leave this planet as we found it for future generations. Unfortunately, the fact is most shoes just end up in landfills, which is something we are trying to change. As a brand, we will be focusing on sustainability with the Cotton + Corn program as well as other initiatives we have in the works”.

For more information please visit http://www.reebok.com/cottoncorn and http://news.reebok.com/global

Incentives could curb disposable coffee cup use by 300 million

April 19, 2017 Leave a comment

The consumption of single use coffee cups could be reduced by up to 300 million a year through financial incentives, providing re-usable alternatives and clear messaging of the environmental impact, finds a new study.

It’s estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, creating around 25,000 tonnes of waste. The study by Cardiff University on behalf of coffee and tea company, Bewley’s, tested a range of measures that could encourage the use of re-usable coffee cups.
The research found that financial incentives, re-usable alternatives, and clear messaging reminding customers of the environmental impact of single use coffee cups all had a direct impact on consumer behaviour. 

The study found that a charge on disposable cups increased the use of re-usable coffee cups by 3.4%, environmental messaging in cafes increased the use of re-usable coffee cups by 2.3%, the availability of re-usable cups led to an increase of 2.5%, and the distribution of free re-usable cups led to a further increase of 4.3%.

Professor Wouter Poortinga, from the Welsh School of Architecture, and author of the report said: “While the increases for individual measures were modest, the greatest behavioural change was when the measures were combined”.

The study found that the provision of free re-usable alternatives combined with clear environmental messaging and a charge on disposable cups increased the use of reusable cups from 5.1% to 17.4%.

Poortinga said: “Our results show that, on average, the use of reusable coffee cups could be increased by up to 12.5% with a combination of measures. With this in mind, the UK’s usage of an estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year could be cut by up to 300 million coffee cups”.

Another notable finding was that, while a charge on disposable cups increased the use of re-usable coffee cups, a discount on re-usable coffee cups had no impact on their usage. Poortinga said there is an important nuance when it comes to financial incentives: “People are far more sensitive to losses than to gains when making decisions – so if we really want to change a customer’s behaviour then a charge on a disposable cup is more likely to be effective”.

Louise Whitaker, head of marketing at Bewley’s UK, said: “The research is a really useful step forward in knowing how best to steer people towards bringing their own cups”.