Showing posts with label Animals and Pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals and Pets. Show all posts

22 January 2020

"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" to Open in China [Video Included]

"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" to Open in China
"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" to Open in China
Cityneon Holdings has announced that Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition will be making its first-ever appearance in China, starting with Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, on the first day of Chinese New Year on 25 January 2020.

Set to be launched at the iconic Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, special guests from the media and tourism industry were invited to an exclusive preview into Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition on 20 January 2020.

This preview event was also attended by strategic partners that made this exhibition possible, including Mr. Ron Tan, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of Cityneon Holdings, Mr. Michael Silver, Universal Parks & Resorts' President for Global Business Development, , Mr. Liu Xiaobin, Vice President of Wanda Film Group and Executive CEO of Wanda Film, Ms. Zhou Haiyan, Deputy Governor of Chenghua District and many other distinguished guests. The official signing ceremony was held earlier this month (5 January 2020) at the Wanda Cinemas in Chengdu Mid-Town.

"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" - Opening Ceremony held on 20th January 2020 in Chengdu
"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" - Opening Ceremony held on 20th January 2020 in Chengdu
This exhibition spans a total area of approximately 30,000 square feet and is poised to bring the ground-breaking film franchise Jurassic World to life. Visitors will feel as if they have entered the films as they walk through the world-famous Jurassic World gates and explore the experience through an interactive journey. Guests will come face-to-face with a Velociraptor, step behind the glass into The Hammond Creation Lab; and be able to imagine what it would have been like to walk among these breathtaking animals as they visit a majestic and family-friendly Brachiosaurus, and get a rare up-close look at the most vicious dinosaur of them all, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition"
"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" (screengrab)
The Jurassic World franchise has been entertaining audiences around the world with powerful stories and characters for more than 25 years -- from film to TV to video games and toys to rides at Universal theme parks. In fact, Universal Beijing Resort is scheduled to open in 2021 as Universal's newest theme park destination and will feature seven highly themed and immersive lands -- including Jurassic World Isla Nublar. Guests of all ages will be able to explore Isla Nublar, an island of wonder and thrills where dinosaurs roam the Earth again.
Speaking at the event, Universal Parks & Resorts' President of Global Business Development Mr. Michael Silver said, "I am indeed excited to see Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition opening here in Chengdu. We strongly believe that this exhibition's first foray into China is only the beginning, and we are confident that Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition will be presented in many other Chinese markets in the future. We are delighted that our licensee Cityneon Group, together with Wanda Films, are presenting such a world-class exhibition that is such a credit to the iconic Jurassic World franchise, and we are pleased that the many Jurassic World fans in China will have the opportunity to experience this wonderful exhibition."
"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition"
"Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" (screengrab)
Adding to that, Cityneon's Executive Chairman and Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan said, "We are honoured and thrilled to have forged strong and strategic partnerships with Universal and Wanda to bring Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition to Chengdu, our first stop in China. We are highly encouraged by the committed ticket sales of 300,000 tickets even prior to the start of the exhibition and deeply hope that this exhibition can bring the same excitement to the Chinese audiences here as well."
Reiterating his commitment to create high-quality and unforgettable experiences, Mr. Tan added, "We will continue to leverage on our expertise, credentials and relationships with existing and new partners to deliver more unique exhibitions and compelling experiences in markets with high growth potential."
Wanda Film Group and Wanda Film's CEO Mr. Zeng Maojun, said, "We are very impressed with Cityneon's licensed portfolio of leading global IPs and its iconic exhibitions that captivate audiences around the world. It is our great pleasure to collaborate with them to bring this exclusive exhibition to China. We are confident that the audiences will be wowed by the magnificence and interactive experiences, leaving them with unforgettable unique memories like never before, especially during this festive Chinese New Year."

The Video:

SOURCE: Cityneon

6 December 2019

World Animal Protection And Other Leaders Move To Reduce Greenhouse Pollution From Food And Agriculture

World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture
World Animal Protection, a global animal-welfare organization, along with 14 other organizations released a policy brief yesterday, urging leaders attending the 2019 United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) to take immediate action to reduce planet-warming emissions from food and intensive animal agriculture.

In the policy brief the organizations outlined five key actions

  • Providing technical assistance for countries to include food and agriculture in emissions reduction targets
  • Promoting sustainable diets and food production in climate and development policies
  • Internalizing the costs of livestock production and ending tax subsidies for feed crops
  • Aligning efforts across government departments to address meat and dairy production as well as consumption
  • Shifting procurement to prioritize purchasing low-impact foods.
"We as a society are watching our world burn because of the over production of meat and dairy. Intensive animal farming is among the biggest contributors to climate change," said Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director World Animal Protection, US. "We cannot stand around and wait for the next generation to make a difference. Our world leaders need to take immediate action to transform our global food system."
World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture
World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture (image via World Animal Protection)
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that the livestock sector alone accounts for at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined. What's more, it is projected that demand for animal products will increase 70% by 2050. Studies have shown that it will not be possible to meet global climate targets, including limiting the temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels set forth by the Paris Agreement, without dramatically reducing meat and dairy consumption and production.

Thus far, the conversation around the overconsumption of animal-based foods has been largely absent from international climate talks and commitments. The majority of food-related efforts focus on improving production practices with few or no significant targets for shifting to less climate-intensive diets.

By reducing meat and dairy consumption through public policy, world leaders can not only create a more sustainable future, but also free up resources to move to higher welfare practices for farmed animals.

It is vital that every effort to cut back consumption of animal-based products is taken to ensure we have a habitable planet for humans and animals.
The call for action was prepared by Brighter Green and Center for Biological Diversity, in partnership with the Food and Climate Alliance and endorsed by World Animal Protection, 50by40, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Compassion in World Farming, Farm Forward, Feedback, Health Care Without Harm, Humane Society International, ICLEI, Israeli Forum for Sustainable Nutrition, ProVeg International, and Vegetarianos Hoy.

Related Story:

25 November 2019

New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs

New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs
New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs (image via World Animal Protection)
The world is facing a public health crisis because of antibiotic resistance. According to the United Nations, currently at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs," can even be found in the food you eat.

That's because antibiotics are vastly overused in raising farmed animals globally. Superbugs can start on farms and then enter our food chain and environment. When antibiotic resistant superbugs are passed to people, they make us less able to fight disease.

A new report from the global charity World Animal Protection has found superbugs in pork sold at Walmart stores in the United States. The report showed that 80% of the bacteria isolated from Walmart's pork products were resistant to at least one antibiotic, with significant resistance to classes of antibiotics considered highly important or critically important by the World Health Organization.

  • Last year the charity released a report where pork products tested in five countries, including Spain and Thailand, also had superbugs resistant to antibiotics.
Pork products sold at Canadian Walmart stores have not been tested, but Canada does import pork from the US. According to the US Meat Export Federation, last year, 205,568 metric tonnes of US pork valued at USD$765 million was exported to Canada.

As of December 2018, in Canada, a veterinary prescription is required for antibiotics given to farm animals and antibiotic use in the livestock industry has decreased. However, administering antibiotics to farm animals for disease prevention is still commonplace.

The results from the Walmart pork testing come on the heels of a Canadian study from the Council of Canadian Academies warning of the potential rise in the percentage of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatments. The report states that overuse of antibiotics on farm animals raised for food contributes to this. It's estimated that about 400,000 Canadians are likely to die from drug-resistant infections by 2050.

One solution to help stop this and the overall global superbug crisis, would be to keep farm animals in better conditions.

"We know that raising animals in low welfare farms with crowding and unsanitary conditions makes the animals stressed and more vulnerable to illness. Mother pigs (sows) are still largely housed in cages where they cannot even turn around. That is why it is important to transition from these environments to higher welfare farms where animals have space to move and can live in an enriched environment. It's better for them and they are healthier and less prone to disease in the first place," says Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection Canada.
Farmers who raise pigs in better conditions, agree that the health is much better for the animals. In Canada, all producers are expected to eliminate the practice of confining mother pigs in gestation (pregnancy) crates by 2024 and the Retail Council Of Canada, which includes companies such as Walmart Canada, has committed to sourcing pork from mother pigs raised in group housing by 2022. However, Walmart Canada has still not made a public commitment to this on their website. World Animal Protection encourages them to do this as consumers expect companies to be transparent about their animal welfare commitments.

World Animal Protection is also calling on global supermarkets to improve the lives of pigs by only sourcing pork from high welfare farms. World Animal Protection's Raise Pigs Right campaign wants pigs to be freed from cages and not left to suffer in barren environments that promote disease and increase the risk of superbugs. Rather, these highly intelligent, social animals should be allowed to live in groups, with room to move around naturally.
"Change is possible and higher welfare systems are good for the health of animals and people and it's good for business too," says Kavanagh.

The Video:

Around the world pigs are raised in intensive farm conditions ,which includes overcrowding,unsanitary conditions and being kept in cages. This leads to increased stress and illness for the animals. However, some farmers choose to raise their animals in better conditions with space to move freely, have access to the outdoors, and have comfortable straw bedding, allowing pigs to simply be pigs. This video profiles one Canadian farmer doing just that.


World Animal Protection's report, US pork and the superbug crisis: how higher welfare farming is better for pigs and people, follows global testing conducted by the organization of Walmart pork products in Brazil. In December 2018, World Animal Protection released a global report on the results of pork samples tested for the presence of bacteria resistant to specific antibiotics. The project was prompted by research suggesting a link between low-welfare farming systems and overuse of antibiotics. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics considered most critically important to human health by the World Health Organization were found in samples sold by major supermarkets in Brazil, Spain and Thailand, including samples sold in Walmart stores in Brazil.

Key Findings

Amongst the 32 batches of samples, 51 total isolates were detected: E. coli was detected in 14 (43.75%) batches; Enterococcus in 27 (84.38%) batches; Listeria in four (12.5%) batches; and Salmonella in six (18.75%) batches.

Of the 32 batches tested, 30 (94%) were positive for at least one of the four bacteria.
  • Twelve (37.5%) batches were positive for Enterococcus only;
  • one (3%) batch was positive for Listeria only; and,
  • one (3%) batch was positive for Salmonella only.
16 (50%) batches were positive for at least two bacteria:
  • eight (25%) were positive for both E. coli and Enterococcus;
  • two (6%) were positive for Enterococcus and Salmonella;
  • one (3%) was positive for E. coli and Listeria;
  • two (6%) were positive for E. coli, Enterococcus, and Salmonella;
  • one (3%) was positive for E. coli, Enterococcus, and Listeria; and,
  • one (3%) was positive for all four bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance results by species

Twenty-six (96.3%) of the Enterococcus isolates were resistant to at least one class of medically important antibiotics. The most common resistance was to lincosamides (lincomycin), streptogramins (quinupristin/dalfoprisitin), and/or tetracylines (tetracycline). All three classes are categorized as highly important.

Seventeen of those isolates (65.38%) were multi-drug resistant:
  • Thirteen isolates were resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, and tetracyclines.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, and oxazolidinones.
Oxazolidinones are categorized as critically important.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, tetracyclines, and macrolides.
Macrolides are among the classes categorized as HPCIAs.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, quinolones, and nitrofuran derivates.
Quinolones are categorized as HPCIAs
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, tetracyclines, amphenicols, macrolides, and aminoglycosides.
Aminoglycosides are categorized as critically important; amphenicols are considered highly important.

All four (100%) Listeria isolates present in the sample batches were resistant to lincosamides, which are listed as highly important.

One isolate (25%) was resistant to six total classes of antibiotics: lipopeptides, penicillins, streptogramins, macrolides, lincosamides, and glycopeptides.

Macrolides and glycopeptides are listed as HPCIAs.
Penicillins and lipopeptides are categorized as critically important.
Lincosamides and streptogramins are highly important.

Two of the Salmonella isolates (33.33%) were resistant to one antibiotic class, while the rest of the isolates were pan-susceptible.

The two resistant isolates were resistant to quinolones, which are categorized as HPCIAs.

E. coli:
Nine E. coli isolates (64.29%) were resistant to at least one class of medically important antibiotic.
  • Four (28.57%) were resistant to tetracyclines alone, and one (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines and sulfanomides.
Tetracyclines and sulfanomides are considered highly important.
  • Another isolate (7.14%) was resistant to both tetracyclines and aminoglycosides.
Aminoglycosides are considered critically important.

Three E. coli isolates were multi-drug resistant:
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, and penicillins.
Penicillins are categorized as critically important.
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, sulfanomides, aminogylcosides, and amphenicols.
Amphenicols are categorized as highly important.
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, sulfanomides, aminoglycosides, penicillins, macrolides, and cephalosporins (1st/2nd generation).
First and second generation cephalosporins are categorized as highly important.
For further information, please access the full report here.

20 November 2019

Peace 4 Animals & Wildlife SOS Launch "Refuse to Ride Elephants" Campaign to End the Cruel Practice of Riding Elephants in India

Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign "Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse," in India, which is aimed to raise awareness to the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative "elephant riding" tourism industry.
Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign "Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse," in India, which is aimed to raise awareness to the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative "elephant riding" tourism industry.
Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign "Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse" in India, which is aimed to raise awareness to the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative "elephant riding" tourism industry.

While a pervasive problem throughout Asia, this campaign focuses on the elephant riding industry in Jaipur, India, the epicenter of the abusive trade. Sadly, in Jaipur, more than 100 elephants are enslaved and exploited to carry tourists up to the Amer Fort.

Beginning this month, messages from "Refuse to Ride" are being distributed across billboards, auto rickshaws, and print advertising in travel and airline magazines, as well as on digital media throughout Jaipur, India, and the world.
"Riding elephants might appear to be innocent, but the industry is driven by money and greed, and can be very deceiving to tourists. What transpires before the elephant ride is animal cruelty and torture at its worst. Once stolen as babies from their families in the wild, they are beaten until they can't take it any more in order to break their spirit and force them into a life of enslavement to line people's pockets," said Katie Cleary, Founder of Peace 4 Animals and World Animal News. "Our goal is to raise awareness about the horrors that elephants are subjected to so that people around the world can make an educated and compassionate decision to help end this abhorrent industry by refusing to ride elephants."
Most tourists are unaware that the elephants exploited by tourism are put through a cruel practice called "phajaan" or "breaking of the spirit." The elephants, which now cower and obey commands to avoid further beatings, are forced into hard labor for up to 18 hours per day for 50 years or more until they finally collapse or die. The elephants are often starved and deprived of medical care for acute injuries.
"We have found that most tourists would be horrified if they knew the mistreatment that these beautiful elephants endure just to provide them with a few hours of entertainment," stated Nikki Sharp, Executive Director of Wildlife SOS. "Our hope is that this message will resonate with animal lovers around the globe and that people who love elephants won't ride them."

The Video:

Statistics about rampant elephant abuse in Jaipur, India, include:

  • Tourists are often lured in and fooled by false claims that the elephants are well-treated.
  • Elephants usually carry the load of three riders and a heavy saddle.
  • Nearly one-third of Jaipur elephants are more than 50 years old.
  • Nearly 20% of Jaipur elephants are blind, yet are still forced to walk on the busy roads.
  • 100% of Jaipur elephants suffer from foot problems such as deformation, arthritis, and cracks.
  • Most elephants have been illegally trafficked from the wild for elephant riding.
  • Asian elephants are an endangered species and the elephant tourism industry is having a negative impact on protecting them in the wild.
Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign "Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse," in India, which is aimed to raise awareness to the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative "elephant riding" tourism industry.
Peace 4 Animals and Wildlife SOS have joined forces to launch the campaign "Refuse to Ride Elephants: End The Abuse," in India, which is aimed to raise awareness to the abuse and enslavement of the exploitative "elephant riding" tourism industry.
SOURCE: Peace 4 Animals

Related Stories:

7 November 2019

The Polar Regions - The End of the Eternal Ice

The Polar Regions - The End of the Eternal Ice
The Polar Regions - The End of the Eternal Ice (image via Pixabay)
The polar regions play an exceptional role in the Earth's climate system. The almost endless snow and ice surfaces of the Arctic and Antarctic act like a gigantic mirror and radiate up to 90 percent of incident sunlight back into space. Because of this, they not only slow down the warming of the Earth, but also create large temperature differences between the cold polar regions and the warm tropics. This disparity, in turn, drives the global wind and ocean currents and contributes significantly to the fact that the heat stored in the sea and in the atmosphere is distributed over large areas of the globe and that people, animals and plants find reliable living conditions everywhere in the world. What happens in the remote polar regions is therefore of concern to each and every one of us. Numerous demonstrations not only by climate activists and worldwide Fridays for Future protests in recent months have impressively pointed out that such reliable living conditions are not self-evident but can only be understood as the result of a forward-looking, intergenerational and environmentally conscious policy.

The sixth volume of the publication 'World Ocean Review' (WOR), published with the support of the International Ocean Institute (IOI), is therefore entitled 'The Arctic and Antarctic – extreme, climatically crucial and in crisis'. It is edited by climate and polar researchers from the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM), the Future Ocean research network in Kiel and the magazine mare, who are responsible for the overall concept and preparing the scientific contents in a way that is comprehensible to the public. As a bundling of the expertise of German marine research, the new issue is dedicated to these two extreme and highly contrasting regions of the Earth. The issue provides profound information on their origin and significance for life on Earth, as well as on the observed climatic changes and their dramatic consequences, some of which extend far beyond the borders of the polar regions.

"Until a few years ago, the Arctic and Antarctic realms were destinations of historical expeditions such as those of Scott or Amundsen and home to polar bears or penguins," says Nikolaus Gelpke, editor of 'WOR', founder of the magazine mare and board member of the International Ocean Institute (IOI). "Since the new IPCC special report 'Ocean and Cryosphere in Climate Change', however, we have known about the outstanding importance of the polar regions for our climate future. The observed changes are symbols for the consequences of our industrial development, the melting of the formerly eternal ice stands for the loss of control of our actions. Our 'WOR', as an excellent complement to the IPCC special report, can hopefully help to deepen our understanding of cause-and-effect relationships."
The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world and is now showing a whole new face. Last summer alone, the world witnessed the widespread burning of dried out tundra areas in Alaska and Siberia, the melting of the Greenlandic ice sheet on its surface during a heat wave, and the shrinking of the Arctic Ocean's sea ice cover to the second smallest residual area since satellite measurements began. In the Antarctic, heat comes mainly from the sea. Warm currents increasingly penetrate under the floating ice tongues of West and East Antarctica and melt these so-called ice shelves from below. As a result, not only do more icebergs calve, the glaciers now also transport more ice from the interior of Antarctica to the sea, so that their contribution to global sea-level rise increases and the ice sheets of West and East Antarctica thin out overall.

Walruses (via
But what consequences do these and other climatic changes have for the highly adapted flora and fauna of the Arctic and Antarctic? What are the chances of survival for polar bears, walruses, polar cod, krill and all other sea dwellers who depend on sea ice for their foraging and breeding? How does the vegetation change on land? 'WOR 6' explains the unique adaptation strategies of polar flora and fauna and the extent to which polar species are likely to be able to adapt to rising air and water temperatures, dwindling food sources and migratory competitors.

But where glaciers and sea ice are disappearing, people also gain access to previously hidden resources and raw material deposits. The Arctic states in particular therefore see climate change as an opportunity to develop their northern territories economically. One focus is on the expansion of tourist infrastructures such as airports and berths for cruise ships, because the worldwide demand for trips to the polar regions is increasing – grotesquely, above all, because many nature lovers and adventure tourists have come to the conclusion that now is the last chance to see the ice landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic with their own eyes. At the same time, mining and oil companies are currently investing large sums in the exploration and extraction of raw material deposits in the Arctic, above all in Russia. 'WOR 6' shows which expectations are attached to this industrialization, which risks and dangers go along with it and which protection precautions are taken.

"The developments in the polar regions illustrate one of the challenges for ocean research to develop solutions across disciplines. The coming decade of marine sciences for sustainable development, which aims to combine, increase and make available knowledge in order to enable clever development paths in human-ocean relations, gives us hope," says Prof. Dr. Nele Matz-Lück, spokesperson for the Future Ocean Network in Kiel and maritime law expert at the Walther Schücking Institute for International Law at Kiel University.
Germany is one of the leading polar research nations in the world and operates research stations, observatories and long-term measurement series in both the Arctic and Antarctic. At the time of WOR publication, the ground-breaking international Arctic expedition MOSAiC on the German polar research vessel Polarstern is also in full swing. The icebreaker will be frozen in the sea ice and drift through the central Arctic for about a year. In the meantime, researchers from 17 nations are collecting urgently needed data on the interactions between atmosphere, ice, ocean and polar ecosystem.
"Polar research is climate research at the pulse of time, and once again German polar, marine and coastal research is proving to be a signpost in the international context," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann, Director of the Leibnitz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) and Chairman of the German Marine Research Consortium.

An Iceberg
An Iceberg (image via Pixabay)
  • The 'World Ocean Review 6' was presented on 7th November 2019 at the Schleswig-Holstein representation in Berlin during an evening event with guests from politics, business, science, media and education.
A Polar Bear
A Polar Bear (via


maribus gGmbH was founded in 2008 by mare publisher Nikolaus Gelpke. It serves as a non-profit organisation for the purpose of sensitising the public to marine science and contributing to more effective marine conservation. To date, about 170,000 printed copies of the 'WOR' in German and English have been ordered and distributed worldwide, in addition to countless online downloads.

'WOR 6' is being published with a total circulation of 20,000 copies. The publication is not sold, but given away for free. There is no profit-making intent. It is available at At the same time as the printed edition, the entire publication will also be published online. In addition to the German version, an English edition will also be available shortly.

SOURCE: maribus gGmbH

24 October 2019

"Behind the Smile" - New Report From World Animal Protection Exposes Scale Of Suffering Behind Dolphin Tourism Experiences

Public display facilities confining marine mammals such as dolphins, are not essential conservation or education resources. The animals suffer poor welfare as a result of their captive environment. Pictured; Dolphins posing for visitors at an entertainment park in China.
Public display facilities confining marine mammals such as dolphins, are not essential conservation or education resources. The animals suffer poor welfare as a result of their captive environment. Pictured; Dolphins posing for visitors at an entertainment park in China. Credit Line: World Animal Protection Date: 08/08/2019 (CNW Group/World Animal Protection)
A new global report from World Animal Protection shows the massive scale and profitability of the multibillion-dollar, dolphin entertainment industry which causes immense animal suffering. This is likely unknown to many Canadian tourists who visit sun destinations like Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. Some 64% of Canadians polled have gone on holiday to a destination where dolphin tourism was offered.

Millions of animal lovers every year are tricked into thinking that dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphin experiences sold by the world's largest travel companies are humane, educational and support conservation efforts.

The report, Behind the Smile, is the most comprehensive assessment of captive dolphins to date. It reveals that globally, there are 336 dolphin entertainment venues in 54 countries, including the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and China, which confine at least 3,000 dolphins.

Melissa Matlow, Campaign Director for World Animal Protection says, "For wide-ranging, social and intelligent animals like dolphins, a life spent in a concrete tank entertaining tourists is no life at all. Every ticket sold is an incentive for this industry to continue breeding and capturing dolphins for a lifetime of suffering."
Fortunately, governments and travel companies are starting to respond to the scientific evidence and public pressure against keeping dolphins in captivity. Last June, Canada passed legislation banning the breeding, display and trade of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) making it illegal to possess cetaceans for purposes other than research or rehabilitation.

Also in Canada, Transat and Air Canada have shown leadership on this issue. Transat has ceased commercializing all shows featuring captive marine mammals, including swimming with dolphins, with its holiday packages and flights-only sales. In so doing, the company is asserting its leadership in responsible tourism and responding to the concerns of travellers who are increasingly sensitive to the well-being of these wild animals.

"Transat supports the actions of World Animal Protection and is committed to helping its local incoming tourism partners, including its own Trafic Tours business unit, to cease commercializing such activities by finding economically viable and socially acceptable ways to replace them within two years," says Odette Trottier, Director, Communications and Corporate Affairs for Transat.
Peter Fitzpatrick, Director of Corporate Communications for Air Canada, Central Canada stated, "By the end of August 2020, Air Canada and its subsidiaries (including Air Canada Vacations) will no longer directly sell or promote packages to, or generate revenue from, attractions that involve the captivity of current or future generations of dolphins."
Other major travel brands such as Virgin Holidays, Trip Advisor and, following guidance from World Animal Protection, have taken similar steps. They recently committed to stop selling or promoting tickets to captive dolphin venues.

However, market research shows that there is still work to do to educate and influence Canadian tourists, booking sites and travel companies. For example, 50% of Canadian tourists still consider keeping dolphins in enclosures acceptable and one-third of Canadian travellers have participated in at least one dolphin-related activity in the past three years.

"Canadian attitudes and behaviours are changing," says Matlow. "When people learn the truth about how dolphins suffer, they don't want to participate. That's why we are calling on travel companies like Expedia Group and others that are lagging behind to stop supporting activities that cause harm to animals."

The Video:

  • World Animal Protection's goal is to make this the last generation of dolphins to suffer for our entertainment.

16 October 2019

Stars Speak up for Working Animals Overseas in New Animated Film for Charity SPANA [Video Included]

Brian Blessed, Deborah Meaden and Peter Egan lend voices to highlight the plight of animals overseas
Brian Blessed, Deborah Meaden and Peter Egan lend voices to highlight the plight of animals overseas
Actor Brian Blessed OBE, Dragons' Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, and Downton Abbey and After Life 2 star Peter Egan, have joined together to speak up for working animals around the world, in a new animated film for the charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).

SPANA improves the welfare of working animals in 26 developing countries worldwide, providing free veterinary treatment, training for owners in how to better look after their animals and humane education for school children.

The film aims to raise awareness of the lives of working animals overseas by showing the solidarity of our own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (voiced by Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (played by Deborah Meaden) are comically shown ignoring their daily duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.
Around the world, more than 200 million working animals, such as horses, donkeys, camels and elephants, support the livelihoods of more than half a billion people in the poorest communities. By transporting food, water, firewood and people, they make it possible for families to earn a small income.

However, these animals often endure terrible working conditions, carrying backbreaking loads in extreme temperatures. In the vast majority of cases, they face short and painful lives, with no access to veterinary care when they are sick or injured.

Brian Blessed
Brian Blessed (image via SPANA)
Brian Blessed said: 'I support SPANA's work wholeheartedly, and it was wonderful to be a part of this new film. In the poorest communities across the world, people work tirelessly to simply put food on the table for their families – and working animals are their lifeline. The lives of these people and animals are unimaginably difficult, but we can help make a considerable difference to them.'

The Video:

  • SPANA worked with award-winning agency Don't Panic to create the awareness-raising film.

14 October 2019

During October's Adopt-a-Dog Month, American Humane and Hallmark Channel Remind Animal Lovers That Every Hero Needs a Home

During American Humane's 38th national "Adopt-a-Dog Month," the organization and Hallmark Channel are urging animal lovers everywhere to save a life by adopting a canine companion in need of a home.
During American Humane's 38th national "Adopt-a-Dog Month," the organization and Hallmark Channel are urging animal lovers everywhere to save a life by adopting a canine companion in need of a home.
For thousands of years, dogs have been our best friends, our protectors, and often our heroes, improving and even saving lives. That is why each October, American Humane, the country's first national humane organization and the nation's leading first responder for animals in need, encourages animal lovers to repay the favor by adopting a dog from a local shelter or rescue group during its annual "Adopt-a-Dog Month." 

This year, American Humane is teaming up with Hallmark Channel's "Adoption Ever After" campaign to help get more of the millions of beautiful animals left in shelters each year into forever homes. All throughout the month, you can go to to find tips on preparing your home for a new four-legged companion, other vital information, and social media campaigns and blogs to help build a better world for our best friends.

If you're already a dog lover, or just need an extra push to bring home a pup waiting for your love, be sure to tune in to the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards on Hallmark Channel Oct. 21 at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (check local listings for exact date and time). The heartwarming stories of amazing dogs (including rescued shelter dogs) who improve and even save our lives will make you realize that every dog is a hero and every hero needs a home. 

  • Make this the month you bring your hero home, watch the Hero Dog Awards, and spread the word with the hashtag #adoptioneverafter.
A poster from a previous 'Adopt-A-Dog Month' campaign
A poster from a previous 'Adopt-A-Dog Month' campaign (image via the American Humane site)

Here are a variety of ways to celebrate Adopt-A-Dog Month:

Adopt from a shelter or rescue group

When you're ready to open your heart and home to a new best friend, adopt from your local animal shelter or rescue group. Talk with shelter staff to find the perfect dog for you and your lifestyle, and remember that older dogs make excellent pets too.

Spay or neuter your dog

Have your dog spayed or neutered, thus preventing the possibility of unexpected, and potentially unwanted, puppies. Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives and have fewer of certain behavioral problems than animals who have not been spayed or neutered.

ID your pet

By putting identification on your dog, either in the form of a tag, a microchip or both, you will reduce the possibility that your pet will become one of the presumably "homeless" dogs that end up at your local shelter. Only 15-20 percent of dogs who enter a shelter are reunited with their owners. Make sure your dog is one of the fortunate few by outfitting him with proper identification!

Support your local shelter

Show the pets at your local shelter or rescue group that you care by donating time, money or supplies like pet food, leashes, beds and toys. Call the shelter to see what supplies or services are needed most. Even the smallest effort can make a difference.

SOURCE: American Humane

12 July 2019

World Animal Protection Celebrates JPMorgan Chase Decision to Cancel Advertising Featuring Elephant Performers

Tourists bathing elephants.
Tourists bathing elephants. (Credit: World Animal Protection / Nick Axelrod)
World Animal Protection, a global animal welfare organization with offices in 14 countries, is praising the decision by JPMorgan Chase to suspend its advertising campaign featuring direct contact with captive elephants. 

The "Plan Yourself Free" campaign for Chase Private Client featured a couple's direct contact with elephants on a volunteer vacation. In the ad, the couple are seen washing an elephant by hand, a harmful, but common practice at some captive elephant venues.

The elephants are also seen walking in a line holding the tail of the elephant in front, which is not a typical behavior of mature elephants in the wild, but of elephants who have been tortured into that behavior.

  • Following discussions with World Animal Protection, JPMorgan Chase will cease the ads in July 2019.
"JPMorgan Chase made a responsible decision to remove these ads which sent a dangerous message that direct contact with wildlife is acceptable," said World Animal Protection Executive Director Alesia Soltanpanah. "Elephants are trained using harsh and cruel methods to perform unnatural behaviors and interact directly with people in the manner portrayed in this ad. When people see elephants used in live shows, offered for rides, used for selfie props, or washing interactions, these elephants have been cruelly abused and forced to perform these actions."
"We thank World Animal Protection's leadership for reaching out to us," said Jeff Pilarcik, a managing director in marketing at Chase. "While we took great care in the filming, we learned more about the other side of elephant tourism and have ended the ad campaign."
World Animal Protection's, Taken for a Ride report found that up to 550,000 wild animals are exploited in the tourism industry worldwide. Three out of four venues studied found conservation and welfare issues including damage physically and psychologically to elephants. Tourist demand for direct interaction with elephants such as riding and feeding leads to a lifetime of abuse. Elephant washing as shown in the ad forces elephants to remain in water longer than they would naturally and reinforces demand for elephants in captivity. The constant presence of strangers requires elephants to be controlled by keepers through harsh obedience training from a young age that includes severe restraining, pain and discomfort.

Elephants forced into direct contact with people are anything but free. Taken from their natural environments and exploited for entertainment and profits, captive elephants tamed for entertainment never truly experience a life free from suffering and cruelty. Close interaction with captive elephants also regularly leads to injuries and fatalities of keepers and sometimes of visitors.

Through its Wildlife. Not Entertainers campaign, World Animal Protection engages with travel companies around the world, revealing the hidden cruelty behind the scenes at wild animal entertainment venues, to help bring about a world where animals live free from suffering.

To date, more than 220 travel companies around the world including Education First, Thomas Cook, TripAdvisor, World Expeditions, and Extraordinary Journeys have ended sales and promotion of elephant rides and shows by signing World Animal Protection's elephant-friendly pledge or making a commitment to wildlife-friendly travel policies.

28 June 2019

#McGhoster: Support for The Humane League's Animal Welfare Campaign Surges, as Consumers Make a Stand on Twitter

Sending ghost emojis and using #McGhoster, the public are calling out McDonald's on Twitter for not signing the Better Chicken Commitment.
Sending ghost emojis and using #McGhoster, the public are calling out McDonald's on Twitter for not signing the Better Chicken Commitment. (PRNewsfoto/The Humane League)
The Humane League's #McGhoster campaign is acting as a wake-up call to the fast-food industry leader McDonald's, with more than 21,000 signatures already on the petition.

Thousands of conscious consumers across the US and the UK have taken to Twitter to grab the attention of McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook. Sending ghost emojis and using #McGhoster, the public are calling out McDonald's for not signing the Better Chicken Commitment, and criticising them for 'ghosting' their animal welfare responsibilities, unlike their competitors.

Public protests, billboards, and ad vans have been popping up across the UK to further spread the word and build as much pressure as possible; followed by an online brand-jacking film that's racked up over 700,000 views already (on Facebook and YouTube).

The Video

McDonald's is one of the biggest restaurant chains in the world with a net income of $5.877B. Yet, as companies like Pret A Manger are making concrete, meaningful changes to chicken welfare, McDonald's is lagging behind; despite previously facing criticism for the treatment of its chickens. What's more, The Humane League argues that eating poor chickens raised in cramped and confined factory farms have potential health risks for the public.

"Although McDonald's has taken progressive steps on some animal welfare issues, the truth is that when the suffering of millions upon millions of chickens—the most numerous animals in McDonald's supply chain—is at stake, McDonald's fails to live up to the upstanding image it portrays," said Pru Elliott, Head of Campaigns at The Humane League UK.
#McGhoster van
#McGhoster van
The Humane League is calling on McDonald's consumers and the wider public to demand improvements to its supply chain, and appreciates any support people are able to give to shine a light on their bad practice.

  • You can sign the petition here

7 June 2019

World Oceans Day is a Reason to Celebrate and Reflect

Ghost gear is killing our marine life and contributing greatly to the ocean's plastic problem, with more than 70% of microplastics by weight being fishing related. Pictured: a sea lion tangled in a gill net off the coast of California.
Ghost gear is killing our marine life and contributing greatly to the ocean's plastic problem, with more than 70% of microplastics by weight being fishing related. Pictured: a sea lion tangled in a gill net off the coast of California. (CNW Group/World Animal Protection)
The oceans. They link us together, provide most of the oxygen that we breathe and regulate our climate. They are also home to many marine animals like seals, whales, turtles and fish. But their home and survival are increasingly under assault from ocean acidification, over-fishing and marine debris.

It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum. Consumer and single-use plastics are often identified as the culprit but lost and abandoned fishing gear ('ghost gear') is also a major contributor to the plastic pollution engulfing our oceans. Like consumer plastic waste, ghost gear can also degrade into microplastics that end up being consumed by fish and other marine life, making its way into the food chain and onto our plate.

In fact, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), estimates that 640,000 tons of ghost gear ends up in our oceans each year. Marine animals can suffer a slow and painful death when caught in lines and nets, sometimes drowning, other times succumbing to painful injuries.

This is why World Oceans Day, acknowledged every year on June 8th, is so important. It's an opportunity to remind people about the critical role of our oceans and encourage everyone worldwide to take action to protect them.
And there is hope. In 2014, World Animal Protection founded the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), an international platform to address the causes of ghost gear and develop solutions. To date, the GGGI has over 100 participants including NGOs, private sector and governments. Last fall, Canada became a signatory to the GGGI, committing to the GGGI's aims of protecting marine animals from harm and safeguarding human health and livelihoods. Canada is acting on its promise.
"Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) continues to show leadership in managing lost, abandoned or otherwise discarded fishing gear. We are expanding mandatory reporting requirements for lost gear to additional commercial fisheries and added a new requirement to report any found gear that was previously reported lost. Compiling and mapping this information will allow for targeted efforts to retrieve gear and more robust analysis of ghost gear in Canada," says Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, says, "World Oceans Day is a time to acknowledge how vital our oceans are to our survival and the life of countless animals. We can all play our part in protecting this essential lifeforce, whether it's curbing our own personal plastic consumption, or the fishing industry adopting best practices for fishing gear management."

  • World Oceans Day was first proposed by the Canadian government in 1992 and has since been proclaimed by the United Nations.

SOURCE: World Animal Protection

17 April 2019

Sea Creatures Store Carbon In The Ocean – Could Protecting Them Help Slow Climate Change?

A sperm whale goes down for a dive off Kaikoura, New Zealand.
A sperm whale goes down for a dive off Kaikoura, New Zealand. (Heidi Pearson, CC BY-ND)
As the prospect of catastrophic effects from climate change becomes increasingly likely, a search is on for innovative ways to reduce the risks. One potentially powerful and low-cost strategy is to recognize and protect natural carbon sinks – places and processes that store carbon, keeping it out of Earth’s atmosphere.

Forests and wetlands can capture and store large quantities of carbon. These ecosystems are included in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that 28 countries have pledged to adopt to fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement. So far, however, no such policy has been created to protect carbon storage in the ocean, which is Earth’s largest carbon sink and a central element of our planet’s climate cycle.

As a marine biologist, my research focuses on marine mammal behavior, ecology and conservation. Now I also am studying how climate change is affecting marine mammals – and how marine life could become part of the solution.
A sea otter rests in a kelp forest off California. By feeding on sea urchins, which eat kelp, otters help kelp forests spread and store carbon
A sea otter rests in a kelp forest off California. By feeding on sea urchins, which eat kelp, otters help kelp forests spread and store carbon. (Nicole LaRoche, CC BY-ND)

What is marine vertebrate carbon?

Marine animals can sequester carbon through a range of natural processes that include storing carbon in their bodies, excreting carbon-rich waste products that sink into the deep sea, and fertilizing or protecting marine plants. In particular, scientists are beginning to recognize that vertebrates, such as fish, seabirds and marine mammals, have the potential to help lock away carbon from the atmosphere.

I am currently working with colleagues at UN Environment/GRID-Arendal, a United Nations Environment Programme center in Norway, to identify mechanisms through which marine vertebrates’ natural biological processes may be able to help mitigate climate change. So far we have found at least nine examples.

One of my favorites is Trophic Cascade Carbon. Trophic cascades occur when change at the top of a food chain causes downstream changes to the rest of the chain. As an example, sea otters are top predators in the North Pacific, feeding on sea urchins. In turn, sea urchins eat kelp, a brown seaweed that grows on rocky reefs near shore. Importantly, kelp stores carbon. Increasing the number of sea otters reduces sea urchin populations, which allows kelp forests to grow and trap more carbon.
Scientists have identified nine mechanisms through which marine vertebrates play roles in the oceanic carbon cycle
Scientists have identified nine mechanisms through which marine vertebrates play roles in the oceanic carbon cycle.( GRID Arendal, CC BY-ND)
Carbon stored in living organisms is called Biomass Carbon, and is found in all marine vertebrates. Large animals such as whales, which may weigh up to 50 tons and live for over 200 years, can store large quantities of carbon for long periods of time.

When they die, their carcasses sink to the seafloor, bringing a lifetime of trapped carbon with them. This is called Deadfall Carbon. On the deep seafloor, it can be eventually buried in sediments and potentially locked away from the atmosphere for millions of years.

Whales can also help to trap carbon by stimulating production of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton, which use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make plant tissue just like plants on land. The whales feed at depth, then release buoyant, nutrient-rich fecal plumes while resting at the surface, which can fertilize phytoplankton in a process that marine scientists call the Whale Pump.

And whales redistribute nutrients geographically, in a sequence we refer to as the Great Whale Conveyor Belt. They take in nutrients while feeding at high latitudes then release these nutrients while fasting on low-latitude breeding grounds, which are typically nutrient-poor. Influxes of nutrients from whale waste products such as urea can help to stimulate phytoplankton growth.

Finally, whales can bring nutrients to phytoplankton simply by swimming throughout the water column and mixing nutrients towards the surface, an effect researchers term Biomixing Carbon.

Fish poo also plays a role in trapping carbon. Some fish migrate up and down through the water column each day, swimming toward the surface to feed at night and descending to deeper waters by day. Here they release carbon-rich fecal pellets that can sink rapidly. This is called Twilight Zone Carbon.

These fish may descend to depths of 1,000 feet or more, and their fecal pellets can sink even farther. Twilight Zone Carbon can potentially be locked away for tens to hundreds of years because it takes a long time for water at these depths to recirculate back towards the surface.
‘Marine snow’ is made up of fecal pellets and other bits of organic material that sink into deep ocean waters, carrying large quantities of carbon into the depths.

Quantifying marine vertebrate carbon

To treat “blue carbon” associated with marine vertebrates as a carbon sink, scientists need to measure it. One of the first studies in this field, published in 2010, described the Whale Pump in the Southern Ocean, estimating that a historic pre-whaling population of 120,000 sperm whales could have trapped 2.2 million tons of carbon yearly through whale poo.
Another 2010 study calculated that the global pre-whaling population of approximately 2.5 million great whales would have exported nearly 210,000 tons of carbon per year to the deep sea through Deadfall Carbon. That’s equivalent to taking roughly 150,000 cars off the road each year.

A 2012 study found that by eating sea urchins, sea otters could potentially help to trap 150,000 to 22 million tons of carbon per year in kelp forests. Even more strikingly, a 2013 study described the potential for lanternfish and other Twilight Zone fish off the western U.S. coast to store over 30 million tons of carbon per year in their fecal pellets.

Scientific understanding of marine vertebrate carbon is still in its infancy. Most of the carbon-trapping mechanisms that we have identified are based on limited studies, and can be refined with further research. So far, researchers have examined the carbon-trapping abilities of less than 1% of all marine vertebrate species.
The brownish water at the base of this humpback whale’s fluke is a fecal plume, which can fertilize phytoplankton near the surface.
The brownish water at the base of this humpback whale’s fluke is a fecal plume, which can fertilize phytoplankton near the surface. (Photo taken under NMFS permit 10018-01. Heidi Pearson, CC BY-ND)

A new basis for marine conservation

Many governments and organizations around the world are working to rebuild global fish stocks, prevent bycatch and illegal fishing, reduce pollution and establish marine protected areas. If we can recognize the value of marine vertebrate carbon, many of these policies could qualify as climate change mitigation strategies.

In a step in this direction, the International Whaling Commission passed two resolutions in 2018 that recognized whales’ value for carbon storage. As science advances in this field, protecting marine vertebrate carbon stocks ultimately might become part of national pledges to fulfill the Paris Agreement.

Marine vertebrates are valuable for many reasons, from maintaining healthy ecosystems to providing us with a sense of awe and wonder. Protecting them will help ensure that the ocean can continue to provide humans with food, oxygen, recreation and natural beauty, as well as carbon storage.

About Today's Contributors:

Steven Lutz, Blue Carbon Programme leader at GRID-Arendal, contributed to this article.The Conversation
Heidi Pearson, Associate Professor of Marine Biology, University of Alaska Southeast

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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