Archive for the ‘Enviroment’ Category

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

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September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Scottish consumers will pay a small deposit for plastic and glass bottles, which can be refunded upon return to a shop. The scheme will mirror parallel deposit return projects in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, where recycling rates of containers are now above 95%.

The Scottish Government commissioned Zero Waste Scotland to investigate design options for a deposit return scheme in June. Evidence gathered from 63 respondents such as Coca-Cola and Diageo showed numerous benefits of running such a system, including net savings of £5m a year from reduced kerbside litter.

The announcement was greeted positively by environmental groups, with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) calling it a “momentous step” towards a cleaner environment.

“Deposit return systems are easy to use and recapture valuable materials,” CPRE litter programme director Samantha Harding said. “There is little doubt the system will prove a triumph in Scotland, and it paves the way for the rest of the UK.”

Echoing these views, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK chief executive David Palmer-Jones said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government is showing national leadership with plans for deposit scheme for plastic bottles. It shows encouraging and progressive leadership in reducing waste and litter.

“Suez backs UK wide bottle return schemes – it makes not just environmental sense but, importantly, economic sense too – putting pounds in the pockets of both households and business through reduced waste disposal costs and reduced need to buy virgin raw materials.”

But the scheme has not been universally welcomed. The makers of Irn Bru, AG Barr, have warned that the country would be subject to fraud as well as potentially reverse household recycling rates.

“On a small-scale we could see people scavenging in bins for containers, as is the US experience,” AG Barr said. “On a medium-scale there is potential for local authority amenity centre looting. On a larger-scale there is the very real possibility of cross-border trafficking of deposit-bearing containers.”

Will rest of the UK follow suit?

As coverage of plastic waste has grown, driven by fresh CSR campaigns from the likes of Sky, so have discussions about the UK’s willingness to tackle the issue head on. The UK’s recycling rates for plastic bottles are flatlining at 57%, while other European nations are recording recycling rates for bottles at 98%.

Recent research from the Green Alliance suggests that incorporating reverse vending as part of a wider return deposit scheme in the UK could reduce one third of plastic seeping into the oceans.

Even bottlers are starting to warm to the idea. Drinks giant Coca-Cola has announced it supports testing a deposit return service for drinks cans and bottles, after previously claiming that it did not reduce packaging use or improve recyclability.

However, the UK market for deposit schemes is in its infancy, with businesses and politicians looking at alternatives – such as water refill stations or outright bans on plastic bottles instead.

Defra explored the potential of a deposit scheme as far back as 2008, but suggested that alternative schemes can achieve the same outcomes at a lower cost. The lack of political desire could be shifting, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove calling on the Government to introduce a deposit scheme “as soon as possible”.

A 2010 study by Bristol-based consultants Eunomia found that that a deposit scheme would cost £84m to introduce, £700m to run each year and would generate £160m in savings for local authorities. Additional benefits of the deposit scheme were claimed to reach £1.2bn for the UK economy.

The question is what does the Scottish Government do with what we already recycle. Again they are going for the consumer to pay extra instead of going for the retailer. They should be forcing retailers to do more. But again they are scared of upsetting big business for fear of losing their backing support. People will just stop buying if they have to pay more which will affect retail. Also why should we not get reduced council tax or recycling.

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The winner of BP’s annual Young Artist Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London has donated 1/7 of his winnings to Greenpeace as a symbolic act of dissent.

The artist, Henry Christian-Slane, won £7,000 in prize money from the oil giant but decided to donate some of his winnings to the prominent environmental group because he felt “very uncomfortable with the idea that the portrait award was being used to improve BPs image.”

All oil and gas operations are destructive and have lasting impacts on land and ecosystems. They disturb the ground surface, fragment habitats, and strip the environment of vegetation. Oil spills on land and offshore are all too common and are intensely harmful to human and nonhuman animals. 

But BP leads the pack of fossil fuel companies– it has a worse environmental record than other major oil companies. From the 2005 Alaska North Slope leak when 260,000 gallons of oil leaked from a BP pipeline to the Deepwater Horizon Spill, the worst environmental disaster in US history— BP is a company desperate for some PR wins.

Sponsoring art competitions and museum exhibits used to be a go-to for fossil fuel extraction companies. They could throw a comparably small amount of money to an arts institution and have their name on an exhibit or contest.

But advocacy from groups like Art Not Oil, as well as actions like Henry Christian-Sane’s, have drawn attention and opposition to cultural institutions and workers taking money from BP and other oil companies. Arts funding is constantly being cut and cultural institutions struggle with tight budgets—but settling for scraps from oil companies is misguided. In the UK for instance, Oil Change International points out that the government pays over £200 million of public money to BP in the form of tax breaks and subsidies. BP keeps most of this and then gives an incredibly small bit to cultural institutions.

Fossil fuel companies get PR from “sponsorships” for a minimal expense and with these donations obtain social capital, good standing, and control or influence over cultural institutions.

It’s a rotten deal and one that needs to be put in the spotlight– this artist’s action does just that. 


September 17, 2017 Leave a comment

On Wednesday, 13th September, amazing campaigners in 33 countries held over 100 actions to raise awareness of the suffering of animals involved in long distance transport.Our flagship protest was held at Parliament Square, Westminster, London. Around 200 people attended the rally and speakers included Downton Abbey actor and animal welfare activist Peter Egan, and Members of Parliament Caroline Lucas, Theresa Villiers and Craig Mackinlay. Other MPs including Kerry McCarthy and Sir Roger Gale also attended to show their support.

Other highlights included candlelight vigils in Australia, billboards across the Czech Republic, a 40m banner on the bridge over the Seine River in France, and marches for animal rights in Israel. You can read more about the day here.

“Brexit gives us the opportunity to stop live transport. I encourage [Michael Gove] to support Compassion, to find the compassion in himself, and to stop the horrible transport of live animals.”

– Peter Egan

If you couldn’t be with us on the day, you can still join Peter Egan, by calling on Michael Gove to ban live exports:

Take Action

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove has suggested that Britain may end the cruel UK live export trade after Brexit. If you haven’t already done so, please email him today, welcoming this suggestion and urging him to act.

When we unite as a global movement who care about the fate of farm animals, we can do remarkable things.

Let’s make 13th September 2017 the date when the public stood against the cruel trade in live animals.


September 17, 2017 Leave a comment

This week, a California court uphold a ban on foie gras – news that makes the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times and Marin Independent Journal, and also page 2 of the Washington Post. I will share those stories below, but first, let me share something else with profound implications, the interview with Natalie Portman about the film she narrates, “Eating Animals.” The interview aired this week on “The Frame,” on KPCC, Southern California’s most widely listened to NPR station. 
I’m yet to see the film, “Eating Animals,” but enjoyed the interview immensely. Portman is upbeat, warm, soft-sell, while unabashedly vegan. 
This quote pretty well sums up her message:
“Well I’m a vegan and I love food, and so I think you can live really deliciously without consuming these animal products. Some people are like, I could never, I’m too used to having steak, I’m too used to having chicken, I’m too used to having cheese. You don’t have to give it up, but if you just choose one meal a week or one meal a day, any small step I think would be a huge step collectively.”
I am big fan of her approach because it warmly invites people, persuasively, to see a film they have been warned might be hard to watch, a film that might change their eating habits. I doubt her telling the huge, thoughtful, but mostly non vegetarian audience that they absolutely had to eat the way she loves to eat would have as much impact. But I bet many listeners will end up where she really wants them, after she has guided them, gently, to the beginning of the path.
Check out the interview at and see what you think. And please leave a comment on the page, so that “The Frame” knows that people find this subject matter interesting, always remembering that you are representing animals and the vegan community as you write.  
The good news about foie gras on the LA Times front page is titled, “9th Circuit panel upholds state’s ban on foie gras;” Sadly the articles subtitle has some bad news: “Restaurants can keep serving the delicacy while case is appealed.”
The article, by Maura Dolan, Jenn Harris, Geoffrey Mohan, includes important information:
“The typical method involves placing a 10- to 12-inch metal or plastic tube down a bird’s esophagus to deliver large amounts of concentrated food. When the birds are force fed, their livers grow to 10 times their normal size. The process is ‘so hard on the birds that they would die from the pathological damage it inflicts if they weren’t slaughtered first,’ California’s legislative analyst wrote when the bill banning foie gras was introduced….
“The court noted Friday that Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, India, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom have some form of a ban on forced feeding or on foie gras products”
Forgive my cynicism, but I chuckled at this quote from foie gras serving restaurateur Neal Fraser, having a hard time believing that the causes he mentions are where he focuses most of his energy in life:
“Don’t we have anything better to do than attack foie gras? Like ending childhood hunger, cleaning up Houston or getting a step up on homelessness.”
This one, from HSUS’s Paul Shapiro, was easier to swallow:
“If you can get Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former pope and the Israeli Supreme Court to agree that foie gras is inhumane, then there must be something to it.”
You’ll find the full article on line at . Letters can be sent to
The Marin Independent Journal carried the same story on its front page at . That paper takes letters at and advises, “Confine letters to 250 words. We don’t have room for all of the letters we receive; we give preference to shorter letters and to letters from people who live in Marin or Southern Sonoma counties. Letters are edited for length, grammar, spelling, clarity, style, libel and civility.

We do not publish form letters, ‘open’ letters, petitions, individual consumer complaints or letters published elsewhere.

Letters must include the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number so we can verify authorship (we publish only the writer’s name and hometown).”
The Saturday, September 16 Washington Post, page 2, shares the Associated Press version of the story under “Digest.” It would be great for folks in the DC area to respond to that one. You’ll find it online at Note, the online version is longer; the page two “Digest” version ends after Judge Nguyen’s quote as to why this court overturned an earlier ruling that dealt with a product’s ingredients: “It is not the livers that are force-fed, it is the birds.”
The Washington Post takes letters at
Yours and all animals,’

Karen Dawn 
The DawnWatch mission is to encourage positive coverage of animal issues in major media. DawnWatch news alerts share animal relevant media and facilitate one-click responses. You can learn more about DawnWatch, sign up for alerts, and support DawnWatch, a 501C3 nonprofit charity that relies on donations, at . All donations are tax deductable.  
After eighteen years of advocacy, DawnWatch will have its first fundraiser, the Turkey Pardon Party, in Los Angeles on November 4: Don’t miss it!
If you would like to know more about any issue covered by DawnWatch, please go to to check out Karen Dawn’s book, “Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals.” It is a warm, friendly and comprehensive handbook of animal advocacy topics. The updated, eco-friendly e-edition came out in 2014.  

OneKind update

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Things have been really busy here in OneKind HQ since our last newsletter. Last month, we went up to the Cairngorms National Park to hand over our mountain hare postcard. We had a successful meeting with the Park’s CEO and look forward to seeing what the Park does next to end mountain hare culls for good.It hasn’t all been good news though. We were hugely disappointed to see MSPs vote in favour of reintroducing the tail-docking ban for working dogs in Scotland. It is nothing less than a huge step backwards for animal welfare.

The vote may not have went the way we wanted, but we definitely made our voices heard. So, thanks as ever for being a OneKind member! Your support really does mean a lot to us. Here’s some of the most recent work you’ve helped us with. 

Over 2,000 people have signed our petition so far and we only launched it a few days ago! If you haven’t already added your name, then please do so now. We want to bring transparency to Scotland’s slaughterhouses. That’s why we’re calling on the Scottish Parliament to introduce mandatory CCTV monitoring in all Scottish abattoirs, covering all the key areas, that is accessible by independent experts. Until CCTV is installed in every slaughterhouse in Scotland, we really won’t know what is happening behind closed doors. You can also read our blog here which exposes some of the horrifying cruelty in Scottish abattoirs. 

Last month, we took our giant mountain hare postcard up to the Cairngorms National Park. Here’s a photo of OneKind Director Harry Huyton handing it over to the Park’s CEO Grant Moir. A total of 8625 supporters added their name to the back of the card, and a further 500 people sent their own individual postcards and letters to the Park. If you sent one, then thank you! They really did make a big impression on everyone at the Park. This isn’t the end of our mountain hare story. We’re going to keep on going until we win. Stay tuned as we’ll be announcing the next stage very soon!

Reactions to the tail-docking vote:

Despite veterinary organisations, animal welfare groups and the public opposing tail-docking, the majority of MSPs voted 86 to 29 in favour of bringing it back in June. We were shocked and disappointed that so many MSPs voted to bring back this cruel practice for working dogs in Scotland. The only good thing to come from it was that the vote caused a lot of uproar among the press and public. Click here to read our blog with all the reaction to the vote.

Hen Harrier Day:

This year we’re getting behind Hen Harrier Day for the first time. We’ll be up at Highland Hen Harrier Day on the 6th August in Boat of Garten where OneKind’s Director Harry Huyton will be giving a talk and I’ll be at our campaign stand discussing our latest campaigns. Don’t worry if you can’t make it up to the Highlands, there’s events happening all over the country. Check out this map to find a Hen Harrier Day near you. Read more on our blog here.

Walk the Kiltwalk for OneKind:

There’s now only a month to go until the Kiltwalk in Dundee, and under two months until the Edinburgh Kiltwalk takes place – so if you’d like to take part to raise funds for OneKind, now is the time! We have small number of discount places left for the Dundee walk, and we’ve just managed to secure 20 reduced price spots on the Edinburgh walk! You’ll pay just £15 for your registration fee instead of the usual £30 – so sign up today and get walking either 6, 13 or 26 miles to help us end cruelty to animals in Scotland.

Volunteer with OneKind:

Are you interested in doing a bit more for animals in Scotland? If you’re looking to take the next step, then why not consider volunteering for OneKind? Volunteers work closely with the OneKind team on all aspects of our work: research, investigations, campaigning, policy development, administration, and fundraising. You only have to commit as much time as you want to and we’ll support you all the way. Why not have a look at the lovely new volunteering section of our website to find out a bit more about how you can get involved? 

July 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Lynx could be reintroduced into the UK for the first time in 1,300 years.

If the application is successful, between six and 10 of the wildcats would be released into a forest in Northumberland for a five-year trial period.