Friday, 23 March 2012

Welsh badger cull scrapped

Fantastic news, the plans to kill protected wildlife in Wales have been scrapped! (See also here and here).

The Environment Minister John Griffiths took a science-led, sensible, and practical decision on bovine TB. Combined with the tighter cattle measures introduced by the last government, his proposal will hopefully address the problem in a proper scientific coherent manner. No doubt he has been under pressure from some anti-wildlife elements of the farming lobby, but he listened to all the people of Wales who were against the culling of a protected species, rather than a vested-interest minority.

In a surprising twist, the former Rural Affairs minister Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru) caused controversy with her silly and deplorable reactionary comments in the Plenary session on 20th March, for which she rightly received wide-spread censure. She said: "Farmers will now have to decide how best to protect their cattle and I for one would not blame them for anything they do."

Monday, 19 March 2012

News coverage bias

Recently there has been some negatively biased news coverage of the campaigns against vivisection (vivisection is experimenting on and killing non-human animals for the benefit of humans). Although most people who object to vivisection are motivated by compassion and good science, the media has been attempting to portray them as bomb-making terrorists! Even the BBC has not been immune to sensationalism, for example in one BBC Radio news piece on Wednesday 14th March (8am, and 8:10-8:20am) on animal vivisection and airlines/ferries, the reporter gave only one view (that of the pro-vivisectionists). Some examples:
  • The feature piece made up of a panel of John Humphreys, a reporter, and the Science Minister, used emotional manipulation, was inaccurate and biased. It seemed to equate a legitimate democratic right (writing to a company expressing one's view) into an act of terrorism. Writing letters to the ferry and airline companies pointing out the truth about the experiments and the alternatives can hardly be called threatening or endangering the safety of employees. The Minister for Culture in particular needs to brought to account for his ill-informed position on this.
  • Use of the term “animal rights extremists” was inaccurate, biased and emotionally manipulative. People who write in defence of animals are not 'animal rights extremists', they are merely concerned for other sentient beings. Implying that they were inciting violence was wrong and emotional point scoring. 
  • All three panelists focused on mice, but failed to mention that of the many animals (from lots of species) which are imported into the UK for animal vivisection, the numbers include wild-caught primates. That is, endangered primates who are abducted in the wild and then exported to the UK for experimentation then disposal. Falling back on the claim that it was "usually mice" is sloppy journalism. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Further evidence of the harmful effects of red meat


A new report, Red Meat Consumption and Mortality (published in the Archives of Internal Medicine) has just been published. The study collected data over 28 years, based on 121,342 men and women. It concluded: 
"Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, CVD, and cancer mortality. Substitution of other healthy protein sources for red meat is associated with a lower mortality risk." 
The report has been covered in many places (e.g. The Guardian) and backs up what we've seen in study after study over the years. The World Cancer Research Fund recommend: "Animal foods - limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat" and "Eat mostly foods of plant origin".

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Aberystwyth University updates

We've come across, or been sent, details of a few things connected to Aberystwyth University recently, so it made sense to put them in a single post.

Road connecting the University's Penglais Campus to the National Library of Wales

The route for the new road

We've mentioned this silly road before, as an example of a waste of public money (c. £200,000 in this case) in building a road between the National Library of Wales and the Aberystwyth University Campus (Soil Sciences buildings, which will be demolished as part of the work). There was already a route there - for pedestrians, away from traffic, with pleasant green surroundings, which encouraged walking rather than driving. Cars and buses could still go between the sites using the main road. However Aberystwyth University decided that wasn't easy enough for people, and wanted to encourage vehicles to drive between the adjacent sites. And our silly Government decided to fund the silly scheme, since they must have over-taxed the citizens of Wales then had to scrabble around for ways to spend the money, rather than give it back by reducing taxes next time.

 March 2012 - more trees and green spaces removed for unnecessary roads

Monday, 5 March 2012

Circuses to be banned from using performing wild animals

Another piece of good news. Defra is developing proposals to prevent wild animals from being forced to perform in travelling circuses.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Taylor said:
“There is no place in today’s society for wild animals being used for our entertainment in travelling circuses. Wild animals deserve our respect. We have said many times we wanted to ban this outdated practice, but before we could do that there were serious legal issues we had to consider."
Hopefully it will eventually lead to an end to scenes like this.