Category Archives: Animal welfare

Copycat culture: is it wrong to clone a beloved dead pet?

Barbra Streisand has revealed that she has created copies of her dog – but the ethics should give others paws for thought

Barbra Streisand has revealed that she had two clones made of her dog Samantha after her beloved coton de tulear died last year. This follows the fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg cloning her dog two years ago. Although pet cloning is illegal in some countries – including the UK – it appears to be a burgeoning international industry. The first pet to be cloned was a cat at Texas A&M University in 2001, while the first dog was cloned at Seoul National University in 2005. So, how exactly does one clone a pet?

1 The first thing anyone wishing to clone an animal needs is money. The US company Viagen, a market leader, charges $50,000 (£36,000) to clone a dog and $25,000 to clone a cat. It describes these animals as “an identical twin of the donor pet that is born at a later date”. For $1,600, you can genetically preserve your pet by freezing a tissue sample, thus keeping your options open. The dog in question doesn’t have any options, obviously.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

James Cromwell: 'In jail, everyone recognises my face'

The Hollywood star now has a second life as a fearless animal activist and eco warrior – and, he reveals, it all started with Babe, his film about a talking pig

James Cromwell, veteran actor, Oscar nominee and star of LA Confidential and The Green Mile, is listing what he hates about Hollywood. “I don’t like the system,” he says. “I don’t like what it does to people. I don’t like the values. I don’t like the class system. I don’t like the disparity in pay, for men and women, and men and men.” He smiles. “I have a chip on my shoulder about Hollywood.”

Cromwell, at 78, might be assumed to have shed any youthful inhibitions about speaking his mind. In fact, he says, he has always been awkward, particularly when starting out. “I had issues with authority and made myself fairly unpopular in almost every theatre.” Not only was he “terminally stupid”, he had a temper. On the set of 1997’s LA Confidential, Cromwell disagreed with the director Curtis Hanson over a line. “I cursed him,” he recalls. “I kicked dirt. I punched the car.”

Continue reading…
Source: gad

'Dirty meat': Shocking hygiene failings discovered in US pig and chicken plants

Previously unseen government records detail ‘deeply worrying’ incidents in pork and poultry plants, raising fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering the UK under a post-Brexit trade deal

Shocking hygiene failings have been discovered in some of the US’s biggest meat plants, as a new analysis reveals that as many as 15% (one in seven) of the US population suffers from foodborne illnesses annually.

A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Guardian found that hygiene incidents are at numbers that experts described as “deeply worrying”.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Focusing on animal welfare is a smart move for Labour | Abi Wilkinson

Policies that motivate your base are no bad thing if they’re also popular among the wider electorate. Priorities such as a ban on exporting live animals will play well

During the last general election, animal welfare issues generated relatively little mainstream media attention. Though polls showed the vast majority of people opposed repealing the fox hunting ban, the consensus among commentators (myself included) was that the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge – to allow a vote on the issue in parliament – wouldn’t be a priority for voters. Other things, like the NHS, security, education and perceptions of competence, seemed far more likely to swing the result.

Meanwhile, on social media, something significant was happening. Not so much on Twitter, where journalists tend to spend a lot of their time. But over on Facebook, which has a far larger active user base, articles and videos about the potential legalisation of fox hunting went viral, sometimes racking up seven-figure view counts and reaching people who weren’t necessarily particularly politically engaged. The other big animal welfare story of the election – the Conservative U-turn on banning wild animals from circuses – spread similarly rapidly. That ban is also supported by the vast majority of voters and has already been implemented in Scotland.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

YouTube penalises Logan Paul for dead rat Taser video

Google pulls all adverts from vlogger’s content for displaying a ‘pattern of behaviour’ that ‘damages the broader creator community’

YouTube has once again penalised vlogger Logan Paul for posting inappropriate content, just weeks after he was suspended from the company’s paid-content program over a video trivialising suicide.

The YouTube star has had all adverts on his videos suspended over what Google describes as a “pattern of behaviour”, repeatedly posting content which push the boundaries of what is acceptable on the site.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

In pursuit of the tortoise smugglers

Stuffed in suitcases or strapped to passengers’ bodies, more and more rare species are finding their way on to the black market. But a radical new wave of wildlife detectives is on the case. By Rowan Moore Gerety

In February 2016, Richard Lewis, a wildlife conservationist working in Madagascar, was contacted by a veterinary clinic with an unusual request. “Someone went to a vet and said: ‘Can you take a microchip out of a ploughshare?’” Lewis recalled. “So they called us.”

The ploughshare tortoise is one of the rarest tortoises on the planet: with fewer than 50 adults thought to be left in the wild, each one is worth as much as $50,000 on the global exotic pet market. Like gold or ivory, their very rarity is part of what drives smugglers’ interest. Lewis runs the Madagascar programme of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which operates a captive breeding site where ploughshares are reared for more than a decade before being released into the wild. Both buying and selling ploughshares, or keeping them as pets, is illegal, and the breeding site is heavily defended, with barbed wire and round-the-clock armed security. As a further measure against smuggling, the organisation implants every ploughshare it encounters with a microchip. Anyone hoping to remove the microchip is likely to be involved with tortoise trafficking.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

VW suspends media chief amid scandal over fume tests on monkeys

Move follows report carmaker used animals to demonstrate diesel emissions technology

The carmaker Volkswagen has suspended its head of external relations and sustainability after admitting that he had known about experiments in which monkeys were locked in small chambers and exposed to diesel exhaust.

Thomas Steg, a former government spokesman who worked for German chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, is the first person to be relieved of his duties as VW said it was “drawing the consequences” of the scandal, which has rocked both the government and industry.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

Thai police arrest notorious wildlife trafficking suspect

Exclusive: Boonchai Bach allegedly ran tusk and horn smuggling route from Africa

Police in Thailand have arrested one of the world’s most notorious wildlife traffickers, allegedly involved in the smuggling thousands of tonnes of elephant tusks and rhino horns from Africa to Asia, the Guardian has learned.

Boonchai Bach, who goes by multiple aliases including Bach Mai Limh, was arrested at his operational base in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Phanom, next to the Mekong River on Thursday.

Continue reading…
Source: gad