Seidle T.,Humane Society International
ATLA Alternatives to Laboratory Animals | Year: 2013
The Research & Toxicology Department of Humane Society International (HSI) operates a multifaceted and science-driven global programme aimed at ending the use of animals in toxicity testing and research. The key strategic objectives include: a) ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide, via the multinational Be Cruelty-Free campaign; b) achieving near-term reductions in animal testing requirements through revision of product sector regulations; and c) advancing humane science by exposing failing animal models of human disease and shifting science funding toward human biology-based research and testing tools fit for the 21st century. HSI was instrumental in ensuring the implementation of the March 2013 European sales ban for newly animal-tested cosmetics, in achieving the June 2013 cosmetics animal testing ban in India as well as major cosmetics regulatory policy shifts in China and South Korea, and in securing precedent-setting reductions in in vivo data requirements for pesticides in the EU through the revision of biocides and plant protection product regulations, among others. HSI is currently working to export these life-saving measures to more than a dozen industrial and emerging economies. Source
The mighty African lion that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as threatened and endangered on Monday goes by many names — the king of the beasts, Leo of the zodiac, so royal that that it doesn’t just live in families — it lives in prides. Yet the agency’s action also shields another cat, the Asiatic lion, that’s far less known or heralded. Unlike its sub-Saharan relatives, which are studied often by wildlife biologists and filmed relentlessly for TV wildlife shows, the few Asian lions that mostly roam the Indian state of Gujarat, in and around the Gir Forest, barely get a mention. Estimates put their numbers at only about 500 in the forest and a small section of north Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a group devoted to the protection of wild flora and fauna, listed them as critically endangered in 2000 and pegged the number of adults at only 175 eight years later. They are considerably worse off than east and southern Africa’s lions, having been hunted almost to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries. [2 sub-species of lion will be added to the endangered list, activists say] African lions, which through much of the last century roamed in the hundreds of thousands, now number about 20,000. They’ve long been beset by a mixed cocktail of issues. In its announcement, Fish and Wildlife labeled the lions in India and west and central Africa as endangered and those in east and southern Africa as threatened. Africa’s population explosion is causing humans to expand into their range. Many of those people kill animals to sell as bush meat, reducing the wild prey that lions need to survive. When the lions instead begin preying on cattle, they’re killed. And the final issue: Governments promote lion hunting in exchange for lucrative permits that are supposed to contribute funds to programs meant to help conserve the species. Under an agreement with the United Nations and member states, African governments such as Zimbabwe allow hunting with permits that cost up to $300,000. American hunters pay extra for a permit to import the slain animal’s head into the United States as a trophy. But if preservation is the goal, Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said Monday, the programs have failed and need “to be held to a much higher standard.” The agency drew a bead on both practices by listing African and Asiatic lions as threatened or endangered, depending on their location, under the Endangered Species Act. The action will take effect in late January. As part of the listing, Ashe said, the agency will place more scrutiny on how African nations that allow hunting use permit fees that are supposed to be spent on wildlife conservation. Fish and Wildlife vowed to determine “that all the revenue is transparent so we can be assured that these revenues aren’t contributing to some kind of corruption in the range states that distracts from management.” That statement aligns with charges from at least one animal rights group, the Humane Society International, that there’s no way of knowing what happens to the bounty governments get for the slaughter of not only lions, but elephants and rhinoceros, two others species that have undergone steep population declines resulting from poaching recently and hunting historically. [US officials make contact with a rep for Cecil the Lion’s killer amid extradition calls] “The burden will be on the range states to show that their program is enhancing conservation of lion populations in the wild,” Ashe said. “We will hold them to a higher standard than we ever have before. We need to see programs where trophy hunting revenues is enhancing research.” On top of taking a harder look at the books of foreign governments, Fish and Wildlife is seeking to make it considerably harder for hunters to acquire the bragging rights that fuel their trade — trophies. Calling the trophy imports “a privilege not a right,” Ashe said he is issuing a director’s order that will bar any hunter convicted of violating wildlife laws from getting an approved permit, and there will be an extra layer of permitting and possibly higher fees for those who are allowed a permit. The higher fees, Ashe said, will add to the funding for Fish and Wildlife law enforcement, whose officers patrol the nation’s largest ports in small numbers that frequently mean illegal wildlife goods such as elephant ivory slip through. “It’s the responsibility of the hunting industry and the American hunter in particular to do better,” he said. “Hunting, particularly trophy hunting, is going to have to lead to the enhancement of lion populations. We have an obligation to make sure U.S. citizens are supporting wildlife management programs that enhance lion populations in the wild.” The new listing for lions is a victory for rights groups that started pushing for it four years ago. Their request plodded along until last year, when Fish and Wildlife announced its intention to propose a listing for African lions. After discussions with the international union, the agency also turned its attention to Asiatic lions. A few months later, a Minnesota dentist infuriated people across the world when he illegally shot a beloved lion, Cecil, in Zimbabwe. France banned trophy imports. [African lions set to become the last big cat listed under the Endangered Species Act] Asiatic lions are distinct from sub-Saharan African lions, but the genetic difference is infinitesimal, “smaller than the genetic distance between human racial groups,” according to the international union. “It has been a very long four years waiting for this decision,” said Adam M. Roberts, the chief executive of Born Free USA, one of the animal rights groups that requested protection. “We are hopeful the [Fish and Wildlife Service] will be rigorous when investigating any management plans in lion-range states and proposed trophy imports, and that the U.S. government will set the bar incredibly high before allowing trophies to come in.” In a statement, the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society said the Fish and Wildlife actions should allow the recovery of one of the world’s most iconic animals. “We believe that listing the lion under the…Endangered Species Act will encourage this better management of lion populations,” said John Robinson, the group’s chief conservation officer.
The Zoological Society London (ZSL), whose mission is to promote and achieve the world-wide conservation of animals and their habitats, says it may have taken a step closer to fulfilling that with the development of a new camera, which it calls Instant Detect. Developed in partnership with other companies like Seven Technologies Group, which specializes in security technology and helped train rangers on conservation sites on how best to use Instant Detect devices, ZSL hopes it could help the fight against poaching, as well as the monitoring of endangered and other species. In the last 40 years 95 percent of rhinoceroses have been poached and more than 100,000 African elephants from 2011-2014 have been illegally killed, according to the charity group. Instant Detect is a camera trap system that uses satellite technology to send images from anywhere in the world, according to ZSL Conservation Technology Unit Project Manager, Louise Hartley. "It's a camera that we would deploy in the wild, it has to be quite sturdy and it often uses motion triggers, so it will have a passive infrared sensor to detect heat changes, so as an animal or a person walks past an image will be captured, and it's just a great way to get an insight into the wild that you wouldn't be able to do if you were a person," she said. The satellite node uses a Raspberry Pi computer to send the images via the Iridium satellite network, which is a satellite constellation providing voice and data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and other integrated transceivers. A filter moves across the lens detecting the change from day to night and adjusting the camera accordingly, so it can see in the dark using night vision. According to Hartley, it has two main uses - monitoring and catching poachers. "We have a deployment in Antarctica to monitor penguins, so we're getting images back daily to look at the penguin behavior and also look at environmental change in that area," she said. "We're also using it for anti-poaching purposes to improve security within protected areas. So an alert, an image, would be sent to an operations room and then rangers can then react accordingly to that alert," she added. If an intruder enters a protected area the camera picks that up and sends an alert. It also has magnetic sensors that can pick up cars, guns and even knives, also triggering the alert to local rangers. The Instant Detect box has a camera lens in the middle, surrounded by an LED array used for night-time imagery using infrared flash - "so when it goes off you won't be able to see it, it's not visible to the human eye," said Hartley. "We have here the passive infrared sensor, so that's the motion detector, so it detects heat change, so as a person or a species is walking in it will trigger an image to be taken," she added, "you can also set it to timelapse so you can set an image to be taken every four hours or every five hours for example." The crucial part, though, is how it talks to ZSL's monitors and to local rangers. "You have the antenna attached to the top here, and then you would have a battery pack attached to the bottom here. When an image is taken there's a separate unit called the satellite node, and the images are sent via radio frequency to the satellite node and then the satellite node uses the Iridium Satellite Network to send that image to where you need it," Hartley said. Other anti-poaching technologies have come to the fore recently, including the Real-Time Anti-Poaching Intelligence Device (RAPID) developed by conservation organization Protect with support from the Humane Society International. DNA analysis, acoustic traps, thermal imaging and improving analytics and mapping are all contributing to the fight against poaching as well. ZSL hopes that Instant Detect could be a crucial addition to that growing arsenal, in what remains a battle with high costs. The Kruger Park, South Africa's main tourist draw, is one place on the front-line of the battle against a surge in rhino poaching for the animal's horn to meet demand in countries such as Vietnam, where it is a coveted ingredient in traditional medicine. The poaching of rhinos there rose in 2015, although it was on the decline elsewhere in the country.
South African ranchers breed lions in captivity, from cubs to adults, then release them just after the arrival of a hunter who pays about $15,000 for a kill. Sometimes the animal is drugged to make it easier game. Sometimes it’s lured by fresh meat to a place where the hunter lurks. Sometimes the felines are so accustomed to humans that they amble up to the person waiting to kill it. Not surprisingly, the success of these hunts is 99 percent. But the Obama administration’s federal protection of lions could end the practice when a new rule goes into effect in about three weeks. [Lions become the last big cat to be placed on the Endangered Species List] As part of actions listing African and Indian lions as threatened or endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared that it will make it much harder for American hunters to import the slain animals’ heads — their trophies and bragging rights. In addition, the fees for hunting permits will increase substantially. A recent analysis by Humane Society International said the harsher U.S. scrutiny of trophy imports, along with the higher fees and the refusal of some carriers such as Federal Express to ship them, could drive the South African ranchers out of business. According to the organization, almost nine of 10 lions shot in canned hunts there are killed by Americans. “It’s the responsibility of the hunting industry and the American hunter in particular to do better,” Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said last month, vowing that the agency will pay more attention to how African nations use permit fees intended to benefit wildlife conservation. “Hunting, particularly trophy hunting, is going to have to lead to the enhancement of lion populations. We have an obligation to make sure U.S. citizens are supporting wildlife management programs that enhance lion populations in the wild.” Humane Society International studied data compiled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement involving more than 150 countries, and found that in 2014, a total of 363 lion trophies from South Africa — 85 percent — were imported to the United States. Poland was a distant second with 20 trophies, followed by Spain with 17 and the Czech Republic with 10. Fish and Wildlife officials declined Monday to comment on the Humane Society’s analysis without seeing the raw data behind it. However, spokeswoman Laury Parramore wrote in an email: “We are aware that most of the sport-hunted lions documented in the international trade are imported into the United States and that most of these lions were exported from South Africa.” The agency said there were about 3,600 captive lions bred for trophy hunting at more than 170 facilities in South Africa in 2009. The industry often publicizes captive breeding as a potential solution to the dwindling populations in the wild. But lions bred in cages rarely have the tools and behaviors to survive on their own, according to scientific research. Canned or captive hunting, as it’s also known, has been widely condemned by animal-rights groups, including Born Free USA, which has declared 2016 as the “Year of the Lion” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the movie, Born Free, that focused worldwide attention on the African species. Blood Lions, a documentary set for worldwide release this year, targets such hunting. “If you thought Walter Palmer’s killing of Cecil was deplorable, what happens to nameless lions at these facilities is even more appalling and unsporting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States. “Along with the new U.S. import restrictions, we applaud France and Australia for banning lion trophy imports, and we urge other importing countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain, to enact similar rules.” African lions numbered in the hundreds of thousands in much of the last century but now total only about 20,000. They are haunted by a range of issues: people expanding into their habitat, the widespread human slaughter of animals they prey upon for bush meat, and government-sanctioned hunts for permits that fetch up to $400,000 each. While the death of the Zimbabwean lion known as Cecil drew worldwide attention last summer, little is generally known about lion hunts within contained areas where kills are all but assured. South Africa has about 6,000 captive lions. They are born in cages and often rented out to petting operations when they’re young. When they grow into adults, their value as hunting targets increase. [Yes, there are lions in India. Here’s why the US is protecting them] “The animals are normally kept in small cages and released just before being shot,” said Teresa Telecky, director of the wildlife department for Humane Society International. “They hang an animal for the lion to kill, and the hunter lays in wait for a guaranteed kill. More people are becoming aware of it.” South Africa isn’t the only site of canned hunts, which often are promoted at U.S. hunting conventions. Here at home, Texas ranches breed African antelopes for hunts, while red foxes in Virginia and elk in Colorado also are raised specifically for hunting, according to Born Free USA.”If you look at trophy hunting overall, it’s predominantly Americans engaged in the activity,” Telecky said. “There are more than a thousand captive hunts in at least 28 states,” the organization says on its website. “Of the 12 U.S. ranches holding current or recent government-issued endangered species permits, 11 are located in Texas and 1 is in Florida. The animal most commonly hunted at these ranches is the barasingha, or ‘swamp deer,’ native to India and Nepal.”
Alexandra Clark is a sustainable-food campaigner at Humane Society International. She recently presented HSI's meat reduction work at the COP21 in Paris. Prior to joining HSI, Clark worked for the vice president of the European Parliament and was responsible for a number of high-profile parliamentary initiatives on sustainable food systems. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Global leaders in Paris accomplished much with the climate change agreement they reached late last year, but it had its shortcomings — including a failure to specifically mitigate the emissions of climate-changing gases from animal agriculture. However, outside of the Paris talks, policymakers in the European Union (EU) are beginning to advance that discussion, pushing for a shift away from diets heavy in meat, egg and dairy products, in an effort to clear the air. There is extensive research showing the outsize impacts of animal agriculture on the environment. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has concluded that "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It's not hard to see why. The process of converting energy and protein in animal feed into meat calories and protein for humans is highly inefficient: For example, a 2014 study led by Henk Westhoek for the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and appearing in Global Environmental Change, found a 50 percent reduction in all EU consumption of meat, dairy and eggs would cut agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 19 to 42 percent. Similar research that year in the journal Climatic Change found that, in the U.K., vegetarian and vegan diets had 32 percent and 49 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions , respectively, than medium-meat diets. Compared to high-meat diets, the difference was even starker, with vegan diets emitting 60 percent less greenhouse gasses. Yet, reductions aren't the projected future we face. One 2010 study by Nathan Pelletier and Peter Tyedmers at Dalhousie University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, projected a 39 percent rise in emissions from animal agriculture by 2050 over year-2000 levels, accounting for more than two-thirds of the amount of greenhouse gases considered safe by 2050. Given the threats that climate change and other environmental impacts from farm animal production pose to long-term food security, there is a need for a global shift away from meat-heavy diets. Less meat for the wealthy, food security for the poor Eggs, meat and milk can continue to serve as sources of nutrition — particularly in rural areas of developing countries, which sometimes exhibit higher rates of undernutrition. Farm animals can provide a variety of supports to pastoralists, mixed farmers and landless peoples in rural areas. In rural communities around the world, people use farm animals as a means of acquiring cash income, a way to save and accumulate assets, as a food source, and as insurance against health or other financial crises. Integrated into a broader rural landscape of small farms, animals provide inputs and services for crop production. However, most farm animal production (and growth in production) is taking place in polluting and inhumane industrial farm animal production systems. These industrial systems are feeding middle- and higher-income consumers who could benefit from more plant-based diets. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 40 percent of adults across the globe are overweight, and noncommunicable diseases linked to the overconsumption of fats and energy-dense foods (such as meat, eggs and milk) are now a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. The WHO has called for an increase in the consumption of plant-based foods — specifically fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts — as part of the solution. Developed countries like the United States still have the highest per-capita meat consumption. However, according to the FAO, developing and emerging economies already account for the majority of meat production overall, and are projected to account for the majority of growth in animal consumption in the coming years. Developing countries where farm animal production is expanding may no longer require an overall increase in the consumption of animal source foods among all segments of their populations, as a significant proportion of their populations are already meeting or exceeding their energy requirements. Ironically, many developing countries with high levels of hunger and malnutrition now simultaneously bear the burden of an obesity-related public health crisis, with the number of overweight women already exceeding the number of underweight women in most developing countriesby 2005, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To allow for a more equitable distribution of agricultural resources and to ensure long-term food security and health for all communities around the world, society should place greater emphasis on small-scale, multipurpose, more animal-welfare-friendly and environmentally sustainable farm animal production led by small farmers. Middle- and higher-income populations should also reduce their consumption of animal products. A side event held within the U.N. climate conference — entitled "Meat: The Big Omission from the Talks on Emissions," hosted by leading international organizations such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and Humane Society International — brought together policymakers, scientists and civil society groups, and emphasized the need to reduce the number of animals raised for food. The event highlighted successful efforts around the world to achieve this goal by encouraging people to consume more plants and less meat. Jo Leinen, a German member of the European Parliament, spoke at the event, emphasizing nations' inability to mitigate climate change without shifting away from meat-centric diets. His comments came on the heels of a recently published report by Chatham House, "Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption," which specifically addresses potential government interventions to encourage meat and dairy reduction, ranging from public-awareness-raising campaigns to a carbon tax. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed with the event premise — the former California governor, actor and bodybuilder made waves during the climate conference by calling on people to keep meat off their plates one or two days a week to address climate change, according to the BBC. And, a growing number of food service providers, educational institutions, environmental groups and other stakeholders are embracing meat-reduction initiatives such as Meatless Monday. In October, HSI launched Green Monday South Africa and a Meatless Monday campaign in Mexico with events attended by media, celebrities and other stakeholders. There are also thriving humane eating campaigns in India, China and other emerging economies where meat consumption is rapidly rising, along with problems relating obesity and chronic disease. The growing middle- and upper-class consumers in these countries are becoming increasingly sensitive to animal welfare, health and environmental issues, as exhibited by the increasing number of food companies in these regions adopting animal welfare policies, and the growth in the market for organic and other sustainable products. HSI advocates what it calls compassionate eating, or the three R's: "reducing" or "replacing" consumption of animal products, and "refining" diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards. In the EU, those goals are gaining popularity, and there is growing public support for meeting the target of a 30 percent reduction in animal product consumption by 2030 through a variety of policy mechanisms. HSI launched this formal call in September 2015 at The Free Lunch, one of the largest food events ever held outside the European Parliament, where approximately 1,000 people, including politicians, attended in support of reducing the consumption of animal-based foods in the EU. The event featured cross-party members of the European Parliament, including the Parliament's vice president, civil society representatives and a representative of the EU Health and Food Safety Commission. Pathways to the 30 percent goal include incorporating sustainable food consumption into the EU and its member states' climate action plan; revising the European Commission's Green Public Procurement guidelines; and developing guidelines for healthy and sustainable diets. In early 2015, more than 60 cross-party members of the European Parliament wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and others to demand the publication of the blocked Communication on Building a Sustainable System, as well as EU sustainable dietary guidelines including a reduction in consumption of animal-based foods. The communication has been held up by a "principle of political discontinuity," practically ensuring that this important document never sees the light of day. Yet science demands more work to move this issue forward. With its overall goal and its recognition of the importance of people's consumption choices, the Paris Agreement provides a signal at the global level. The preamble of the document states that "sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, with developed country Parties taking the lead, play an important role in addressing climate change." The parties should elaborate this at the national and subnational level. Research increasingly shows the benefits of moving toward more plant-based diets — to improve the welfare of farm animals, promote environmental sustainability and protect human health. It is time to really get to the meat of the matter and stop avoiding the elephant — or chicken or pig — in the room. Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science. Why Does Less Meat Mean Less Heat? (Op-Ed) Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.