World Oceans 

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

World governments agreed in 2015 that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be expanded to include a new legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
During 2016 and 2017, four preparatory committee meetings were held at the UN Headquarters in New York to develop the draft text of the new ocean regulations, addressing: 

• Area-based management tools, such as marine planning and marine protected areas 

• Environmental impact assessment (EIA) requirements 

• The transfer of marine technology 

• The regime for managing marine genetic resources, including benefit-sharing

The formal development of this new legally binding ocean regulation will now begin. How will these new ocean laws affect companies currently or potentially operating in the high seas and deep seabed – shipping, oil and gas, cruise tourism, fishing, seabed mining, biotechnology, submarine cable, and others – as well those from associated support sectors, such as maritime legal, finance, and insurance companies?

There is still time for ocean industries to engage in this critical ocean governance process that will affect business access and operations. Industry involvement is critical and can help ensure that policies and regulations are developed with full and balanced information, are based on good science and risk assessment, are practical and implementable and engender the involvement and support of the ocean business community.

As the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, Peter Hinchliffe, noted, “It is important that ocean industries are informed and constructively engaged in ocean governance developments. The WOC is providing this by monitoring, analyzing and reporting on the ocean policy and planning on behalf of the ocean business community. The WOC merits the support and involvement of companies concerned about the future of their ocean operations.”

The SOS 2017 session on “The Law of the Sea New Legally Binding Instrument on Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ): What Will It Mean for Ocean Industries ?” will provide updated information and expert analysis for the ocean business community.

The session will address: 

• What is the final version of the legally binding BBNJ agreement that was developed in 2016-17? 

• What is the process for formal consideration and adoption of the BBNJ agreement by the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA)? 

• How can and should ocean industries engage with other ocean stakeholders, including governments, as the BBNJ agreement moves to and through the UNGA?


Canada and Whaling 

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

There are fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales left. We lost another ten this summer in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Some of the whales suffered blunt trauma from collisions of boats. Others got caught up in crab fishing nets.
We need the Canadian government to step in and stop these preventable deaths.

Right whales’ habitat is close to the shore, which made them a prime target during the peak of the whaling era. They were hunted nearly to extinction, and even though they’ve been protected for decades, there’s been little recovery. Today, the only whales left live along the Canadian and New England coast.

As the stewards of the last whales, Canadian officials have a duty to all of us to do everything they can to save the right whales we have left. This summer, they were alarmed enough to close a crab fishery off New Brunswick early, and after news broke of the 10th whale death, the federal Fisheries and Ocean Minister promised he’d implement new rules around commercial fishing gear before next year.

These are important and encouraging steps. But this summer’s death toll — three times higher than normal — illustrates just how quickly we could lose the entire species. We need to keep up the pressure on the Fisheries and Ocean Minister to ensure he enacts the strongest and most comprehensive rules with a goal of no preventable deaths in 2018.

Dawnwatch Party

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

As DawnWatch gears up for its first ever fundraiser on November 4, the DawnWatch Turkey Party, , DawnWatch alerts are a little sparse and I apologize for that — while also knowing that some of you prefer your emails to be less frequent.
Please know that DawnWatch now has its own Facebook page, where I post pretty much daily, nothing but major media animal stories, but without summaries, or comments or links for letters to the editor. It’s at Even without a Facebook account you can visit that page and scroll down it to keep abreast of animal media. But more than keeping you abreast of media, DawnWatch aims to encourage you to interact with and encourage the media. So here is a gentle reminder to please respond to whatever articles you see in your local media, with letters to the editor and comments on the media site. Be your local voice for animals.

I am going to share and comment on some of last week’s coverage of animals in the New York Times, particularly in the letters section, as one might expect from DawnWatch!

In response to Jane E Brody’s October 3 article, “Not All Vegan Diets Lead to Healthful Eating,” the following letter was published from Dr. David L. Katz of Yale, who is founder and president of the True Health Initiative, and Dr. Christopher D. Gardner of Stanford:

“The contention that foods must be dutifully combined in a vegan diet to provide the requisite protein for human health is obsolete. All plant foods contain all 20 amino acids, both essential and nonessential. Grains are proportionally low in lysine and high in cysteine, and beans the converse. The difference is simply a matter of concentration.

“This would be of practical importance if someone ate only grains or beans throughout entire days. Such a diet would be inadvisable for many reasons beyond amino acid distribution.

“There is no more reason to stress the ‘complementary’ choices required of vegan diets than to remind omnivores that they must carefully ‘combine’ their meat with citrus fruit to avoid scurvy. A diet of wholesome foods in a balanced, sensible assembly is the only combining required in either case.”

Boom! There it is. Or actually here it is: 

Thanks to all who wrote, thereby letting the New York Times know this was an issue about which people know and care. I currently have a request into the New York Times for a formal correction of the phrase from Brody’s article, “the protein in plants is not complete.” It was changed, in the online version, to “the protein in most plants is not complete,” with no acknowledgment of the previous error, which is not standard practice for the New York Times. A formal correction would be appropriate and could prove useful.
On Wednesday, October 18, the paper carried two letters in response to an October 13 New York Times editorial, titled “The Guggenheim Censors Itself,” about the museums choice to remove three exhibits being protested by animal rights activists. The Times editors stated:

“We are left instead to contemplate an exhibition of irony: Chinese artists find their provocative statements against oppression suppressed in the land of the free.” 
The editorial further noted: 

“The works taken down by the Guggenheim may be of dubious taste. They may even qualify as animal cruelty (but no crueler, it should be said, than what’s suffered daily by hundreds of millions of factory-farmed animals)….

“Before the Guggenheim folded, it defended one of the works, the video with dogs, acknowledging that while it might be ‘upsetting’ to some, the curators hoped that ‘viewers will consider why the artists produced it and what they may be saying about the social conditions of globalization and the complex nature of the world we share.’

“That first instinct was the right one. The museum should have stuck with it.”

The letters printed in response to that editorial are from Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, and from Ben Williamson of PETA. 

Armstrong writes, “our institution and individuals on our staff were methodically targeted by social media posts, online petition comments, and email and personal voice mail messages numbering in the many thousands. In some cases, these messages threatened violence….We regard the decision we reached as painful but necessary in order to protect our staff and visitors, the art and our landmarked building.”

The PETA letter states that “The Guggenheim Museum was right to pull three cruel and gratuitous animal displays from its new show.” It details horrors visited upon animals in China and continues, “Withdrawing these pieces sends a strong message to China and its artists that animals are not props and that they deserve respect.”

If you are interested in DawnWatch’s take on the issue, and you have a copy of my book “Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the way we Treat Animals” around somewhere, please check out pages 336-344, encompassing the sections, “Militant Mishaps” and “the Psychology of Persuasion.” The sections look at the public opinion backlash that is generally suffered when we force others to behave according to our standards, rather than persuading them to reevaluate their own. And it shares the results of social experiments that make clear that forcing compliance does not bring about lasting change. Change is lasting when those making it believe the change to be their choice. 

You’ll find links to the original op-ed, and both of those response letters, in full, on line at

The Saturday, October 21 New York Times, Page A3, brought us the welcome headline, “New York State Bans Elephants in Shows.” You’ll find that online at You can respond with a letter to the editor sent to, including your full name, address and phone number.

Finally, “Blood and Beauty on a Texas Exotic-Game Ranch” is a lengthy piece by Manny Fernandez, replete with stomach turning photos. It has been online most of the week and has garnered over 1100 comments. Oddly, it is yet to appear in print. When it does, I will let you know, as a letter to the editor will be even more useful than another comment arguing the cons rather than pros of this kind of ranch. And I hope that DawnWatch letters will widen the discussion beyond canned hunting at expensive ranches. Meanwhile, the article is online at for you to read, share and comment on. 
Yours and all animals,’

Karen Dawn 

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Produced from the Ecofining™ process, Honeywell Green Diesel meets or exceeds the most rigorous diesel performance standards, and can be made from a variety of sustainable feedstocks.

This super fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions and offers improved performance over biodiesel and petroleum diesel, with many other key advantages:

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Watch Honeywell Green Diesel Overview

  • Pure drop-in fuel that can be blended in any proportion with petroleum fuel; suitable as a blending component for EN590 or ASTM 975 diesel
  • The high cetane and low density of Honeywell Green Diesel can enhance your diesel pool’s performance characteristics
  • Requires no changes to fuel infrastructure or vehicle technology
  • Up to 85% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel from petroleum fuel, based on UOP’s lifecycle analysis; ultra-low sulfur, low NOx emissions
  • Excellent performance at both cold and warm temperatures
  • Stable, not oxygenated

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

An unlicensed “veterinarian” has been performing crude surgeries to de-bark dogs on the streets of Chengdu, China. In a now-viral video, the man stretches the dogs’ jaws open with string, and uses bloodied pliers and a scalpel to slice through their vocal cords.

The tools are not sterilized between dogs, and the ground is littered with bloody cotton wads and hypodermic needles, used to administer a shot that knocks the dogs out cold before their cords are cut.

The procedure — performed in the open air at a flower and bird market — is not only unhygienic for humans and animals, but can cause blood loss and problems breathing and swallowing for the dogs. Still, dog owners have been lining up to pay 50 to 100 yuan (about 7 to 15 USD) to mute “bothersome” barking.

Since the video went viral, local officials have opened an investigation and ordered the man away from the market. Sign the petition to urge officials to file charges, and to stop this man and anyone else from performing cruel procedures like this again.

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The Verbist slaughterhouse in Izegem, Belgium was shut down by animal welfare minster Ben Weyts on Tuesday after video footage was released showing brutal abuse against cattle. The video was captured by the animal welfare group Animal Rights, who operate in both the Netherlands and Belgium.

The footage reveals haunting violations, including cattle being suspended and having their throats cut while conscious, being slaughtered in front of other, live cattle, causing panic and fear amongst them, and improper and illegal stunning methods. The slaughterhouse also failed to meet infrastructure standards.