Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Tories have voted that animals can't feel pain

A horrible piece of UK news from The Independent:

The Tories have voted that animals can't feel pain as part of the EU bill, marking the beginning of our anti-science Brexit

Every single Conservative and DUP MP present voted that all animals (apart from one category of mammal - humans, of course) have no emotions or feelings, including the ability to feel pain. All MPs there from the Labour, Lib Dem, Green and SNP parties voted to keep the protection and the acknowledgement that other species can suffer.

The Tories won the vote.

This is some of the follow-up, including David Attenborough's comments.

Please sign the petitions below and share them!
With enough publicity and pressure we could get this terrible and selfish decision reversed.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Travel - Roads And Cycling

There are many problems with cars and roads.

Some of them would be ameliorated if we had nicer, greener roads. Line them with trees and bushes and wildflowers wherever possible. Like this:

Sunset on a road in Bolgheri, Italy - Photo by Tiziano Pieroni

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wildflowers On Campus

It's nice to point out positive things when they occur. One of the main reasons most developments are worse than they should be (housing estates and so on) is because they don't incorporate enough wildlife-supporting environment. If a house was built on a bare green field, then an orchard was added, and flower banks, and bushes and other trees, it would be a net gain. Councils and the government let us down by not enforcing that. Instead they cram houses on, with no wildlife corridors, just predominantly roads, paths, foundations, fences (instead of hedges), small patches of manicured lawn rather than bushes and flowers. Councils and the government extend the ruin over our countryside.

Anyway, as an example of ways that can mitigate change, Aberystwyth University recently cut back some bushes - but instead of leaving the earth bare, they planted wildflowers. You can read more about it here. Councils should adopt this strategy (and other green ideas) whenever there are new developments.

[January 2018 update: see this.]

Friday, 5 May 2017

Kettles Forever Breaking - Waste

The interior of a kettle. Fragile connections, parts near heat,
lots of plastic moving parts. What could go wrong?

Planned obsolescence is horrible. We mentioned it here and here. Ah, kettles.

I would rather have a no-frills kettle that is reliable. No water-level window (they're a point of failure and leaking), no fancy bases, no filters, no internal lights. Just a kettle with minimal parts, high-quality, with fewer things that can break. Although the Morphy Richards kettle looked nice I was immediately concerned by the on/off switch (that lights up) - it is the most handled component in the kettle and seems to be intentionally of the flimsiest design. It didn't feel sturdy, and I suspected it would be an inbuilt failure point. I was almost right.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Animal Fat In The New Bank Of England Notes

Tallow. Yum.

If you are in the UK, you might be aware that the Bank of England uses tallow (rendered fat - a slaughterhouse by-product) in the production of the new £5 notes, and the bank has plans to do the same for the future notes they are going to release. We get those notes in Wales, too.

The bank is doing a consultation as to whether this bothers people. I know it bothers me and many vegetarians. If it bothers you too then the details of the consultation can be found here and you can respond here.

Vegans and most vegetarians exclude animal products because of the cruelty involved in their production. By using animal products in the production of the money, the bank is excluding many people from using those notes. For many other people it is offensive to know that the money is connected to slaughterhouse byproducts.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Welsh Government / Labour Want To Kill Badgers (Again)

It's sad to see badgers being targeted again. This is following on from Wildlife Trusts and Forestry Commissions persecuting wildlife, livestock farmers doing the same, and an upturn in prejudice and discrimination from speciesists. Well, this is the latest:

On 28th March the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, set out her plans for badger culling in Wales at a Bovine TB Symposium in London. Here is the BBC report of an interview she gave them and comments from a scientific expert that are critical of her plans. In the interview the Chief Veterinary Officer admits the proposed culling might actually increase TB.

Wales has had real success in reducing bovine TB over the past 8 years through increasing cattle measures and biosecurity without culling badgers. It has achieved a 47% reduction and now has the lowest number of new incidents for a decade with 95% of herds TB free. It makes no sense to jeopardise this success through the introduction of reactive culling of badgers which the science does not support and which has previously been shown to increase TB levels. Welsh Labour had committed to being science-led regarding bovine TB in their 2016 manifesto.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Speciesism, Immigrants And Natives

We recently wrote about Wildlife Trusts And Forestry Commissions Persecuting Wildlife and Farmers Campaign To Kill More Wildlife. A week full of hypocritical people wanting to kill badgers, deer and other wildlife, yet calling themselves environmentalists. Following on from that, one of our members had an interesting chat about this with someone claiming to be an environmentalist yesterday. For the whole conversation the anti-squirrel person (ASP) kept focussing on "native" versus "non-native" species, yet they couldn't recognise their own speciesism. Just as with racism or sexism, it is the assigning of more value to one kind of being than another based on arbitrary preferences. Here are some parts of the discussion.

Anti-Squirrel Person (ASP): "Are you content with one non-native species causing the local or nation extinction of another?"

CIN: After this many generations non-native species ARE native species. Or do you think children of immigrants aren't "proper" citizens?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Farmers Campaign To Kill More Wildlife

From the Cambrian News: Calls for culling of red deer

"FARMERS in the Pontsian area near Llandysul are calling on environmental chiefs to cull a rogue herd of 30 to 35 wild red deer."

(And we'd only just written about idiots persecuting wildlife...) Sigh.

Question: What do they mean by "rogue deer"?
Answer: Wildlife.

Any animals that aren't being raised and killed for profit are "rogue".

First humans cut down the forests that covered most of the country. Then we built towns and cities and roads and industrial estates and motorways and factories and power stations. Then, because there were not many totally unspoilt green spaces left, people rushed to visit and explore those remaining. Wildlife once had free reign across the land that was just as much theirs, before the larger species were persecuted and killed. Any large surviving wildlife retreated to the ever-shrinking areas, but even here farmers and idiots want to persecute and kill them.

Best answer? Go vegan. It requires far less land, and the rest could be given over to nature and wildlife. It also cuts off the income to the animal farmers who want to persecute badgers, foxes, deer, and anything else they can't send to a slaughterhouse.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wildlife Trusts And Forestry Commissions Persecuting Wildlife

Wildlife organisations are made up of people, and therefore can be as prejudiced as any other organisation - they choose one animal to protect, another to kill. Grey squirrels are one of their more frequent targets (covered in the past here and here), since they see grey squirrels as immigrants having an effect on the wildlife organisation's favoured "pure" squirrels. Good old speciesism.

Regardless of how the apologists at the Wildlife Trusts or RSPB try to spin it: killing wildlife is killing wildlife.

We recently discovered that the Wildlife Trusts support killing grey squirrels, and have withdrawn our support from them (and I've removed them from my will, to be replaced with a more compassionate organisation!). The Wildlife Trust are part of Red Squirrels United, who will be "training" volunteers to cull greys, probably with clubs. Sounds lovely, doesn't it. There's a petition here, and more information here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

“How’s Our Wildlife Doing?” The Nature of our Village Report: Penparcau 2016

"If you want to know what a Penparcau hedgehog likes for dinner, what a Feathered Gothic is, or what bright green lizards are up to on Pen Dinas, then have a look at this report." -- Chloe Griffiths

Today we're recommending this: “How’s Our Wildlife Doing?” The Nature of our Village Report: 2016, Penparcau, Aberystwyth. Covering Wildlife Surveys from November 2015 to November 2016. Surveys and report undertaken by Chloe Griffiths for the Nature of our Village Project at Penparcau Community. Published February 2017.

Download it free here!

Amongst others, there are sections on Flowering Plants, Dragonflies, Hoverflies, Butterflies, Moths, Bees, Slugs and Snails, Sharks and Rays, Reptiles and Amphibians, Birds, Mammals, Seashore and Rock Pools, Freshwater Life.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Destroy A Meadow

Used to be a wildflower meadow

It was a meadow before, it's a meadow no more ... and we'd only just posted about loss of green spaces bit-by-bit.

Some Aberystwyth residents were surprised recently when one of the local meadows was dug up and laid with road surface instead. This was a wildflower meadow, part of a vital wildlife corridor, and also a route used by runners, walkers and dog walkers around the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water sewage works, that took you through fields and woods. Now it is all blocked off and built over.

A map of the meadow area as it used to be - part of
a loop around the sewage works.
It also impacts the pond area.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Protecting Green Spaces At Every Scale

Ysgol Penweddig

We've written about how, over time, more and more paths are laid, slicing up green areas. "Death by a thousand cuts". It happens at every scale. The photo above was taken recently at Ysgol Penweddig, Aberystwyth. At one point that was one large piece of grass. Then a path was laid across it "for convenience" because some people kept cutting across the grass in order to save a second or two. Then the footpath was widened. Then, as more people cut across the grass from the new path, further paths were laid (some fairly recently). A green area gets sliced up into smaller and smaller wedges. No-one takes an overview of it, no-one steps in to protect the green spaces - perhaps planting bushes, trees and flowerbeds across the areas people were cutting across, to protect them from being trampled. It's always just "one more path". And it is the same with roads and housing estates, up to the scale of things like the proposed M4 extension that would destroy huge areas of important wildlife green spaces, without even fixing the underlying problem - too many people, too many cars, and an assumption that the earth is ours to do with as we wish. In another thirty years there will be so much traffic the bypasses will need bypasses, the roads will need widening, and the same process that has been going on at an accelerating rate for hundreds of years will continue.

Most people – and most politicians too – don’t see or care about the big picture.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Welsh Government Consultation On Forestry And Woodland Policy In Wales

The Welsh Government is running a consultation on Forestry And Woodland Policy In Wales. Details here; you have until 7 April 2017 to respond. Here are a few points we made.

Responding to climate change – coping with climate change and helping reduce our carbon footprint

Prevent all building on greenfield sites. Protect current green spaces, whether agricultural or not, from development and housing; new housing should only be on existing and brownfield sites.

Cease all new road-building. Discourage car use; create a nationalised, fast, cheap, reliable, regular and connected public transport system that is better than using cars.

Make sure very new development in Wales, of any kind, must include wildlife areas – trees, bushes, flowers and so on, planted in the earth (not sterile pots, which are just ornamental). They need to be connected up to provide wildlife corridors.

Implement a policy to create X amount of new woodland in Wales every year.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Save The Gwent Levels From The M4 Bypass

Contact your Assembly Member about this!
More information here, and on the Save The Levels site (they also have a Twitter account).

Recent news coverage:
The Guardian: Thought the Newbury bypass devastated wildlife? These M4 plans are far worse
BBC: M4 relief road - Common cranes nesting on proposed site 
Also, a damning report on road-building culture.

Help to save Magor Marsh Nature Reserve and the Gwent Levels from the proposed M4 bypass, for the sake of the environment and for the wildlife. The proposed 'black route' M4 relief road around Newport, Gwent in South Wales will damage 2 nature reserves, 5 of Wales’ most precious nature sites (SSSIs), the Wales Coastal Path and the Celtic Trail, part of National Cycle Route 4. Pollution from construction and traffic will enter the ancient reen (ditch) systems that are home to, among other wildlife, rare birds, water beetles, aquatic plants, otters and water vole. And it will cut a dangerous divide across the Gwent Levels, right through their habitats. The new elevated bridge over the River Usk will be noisy and disruptive for people in South and Central Newport and experts believe the new road will not solve any traffic problems. It will cost the public over £1 billion, probably more than £2bn. But with the support of AMs it can be stopped.

And none of that will do anything about the longer-term problem of unsustainable road-building and increasing car use. Until our society does something about over-dependence on cars, there will be no end to this problem.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wales Consultation On TB Eradication (Including Badgers)

Wales consultation on TB eradication (including badgers)

Urgent - responses due back by 10th Jan

The Welsh Government is consulting on bovine TB. Seems that they are proposing a regional approach, and although it's hard to tell from the document, possibly badger killing. Ceredigion is affected - as are all areas - by the consultation. Please read and respond to the Government.

There's lots of useful info on our site, tagged under "badgers".

Some of our thoughts on what they should do:

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Popular CIN Posts Of 2016

What were the most popular CIN posts of the last 12 months? These! If you have missed anything then now is your chance to catch up. CIN has been nominated for environmental awards in the past thanks to the work we do. Best wishes to you all in 2017. (You can see 2015's best posts here).

February 2016
Scallop Dredging In Cardigan Bay (results from November - sadly, dredging to go ahead)

March 2016
Democracy In Ceredigion

April 2016
Ceredigion County Council Wasting Money And Pulling Out Hedges