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BLOG: Palm It Off – Jennifer Green

We all know to some extent the damage and devastation palm plantations and peat lands do to the world. That is why in this blog I will do my best to help you understand and educate yourself more with these very sad but true facts. If you are affected by any of the sections in this blog then please notice that feeling and do your very best not to disregard it.

STATISTICS
Agricultural land for palm oil is a shocking 4.6 billion hectare’s. A hectare is an SI accepted metric system unit area equal to 100 acres (10,000 m2) used in measurement of land as a metric replacement for the imperial acre. So one hectare contains about 2.47 acres. Global supply for both the fats and oils are a mind blowing 32% compared to the likes of cotton at 2.7%, Sunflower 7.9% and Rapeseed 13.1%

HISTORY
1870’S- Malaysia was introduced to Palm oil from the British
1917- First commercial plantation in Tenamaran, Selangor.
1960’s – Malaysian government’s agricultural diversification programme designed to reduce rubber and tin. Palm oil production increases.
1960’s- Land settlement and schemes.

STAKE HOLDERS, GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY
1. Producers
2. Processors & traders.
3. Consumer goods manufacture
4. Retailers
5. Banks & Investors
6. Social & Development NGO’s
7. Renewable Energy
8. Consumers & Customers

Due to supporting companies and many of the public, private sectors and governments have begun to draw a response about palm production in recent years. Movement from Southeast Asian governments has made some significant effort, but there is still much more to be done. A moratorium (BAN) in 2010 by Indonesia was established on concessions for palm oil, logging and timber operations on primary forests and peat lands. By doing this Indonesia has responded to worsening haze conditions,by calling a halt for clearance and drainage of peat lands and restoration of those already drained. Malaysia has made some conscious effort to protect their rain forests but nowhere near as strong as Indonesia’s. The private sector-RSPO (Round Table Sustainable Palm Oil) was created to bring oil producers, non-governmental organizations (NGO’S), stakeholders together to improve and manage the sustainability of palm oil production. However current RSPO standards fall short in important respects. For example while primary forests are protected under RSPO regulations, secondary, disturbed or regenerating forests are left unprotected. Peat lands are also given limited protection under RSPO guidelines. So “RSPO-CERTIFIED” does not necessarily mean “deforestation free.”

I have focused on these two countries as this is where the most damage/danger is coming from at the moment. Take action towards the masses sign petitions write blogs tell family and friends, do whatever you need to do to make your voice heard and stand up for what is right. We can no longer ignore these issues and the fact that governments have started to realise this, is a massive shift in realisation that something has to be done. Below is a list of names substituted for palm oil that you should look out for.

Elaeis guineesis, Glyceryl, Etyl palmitate, Hydrogenated palm glycerides, Octyl palmitate, Palm oil fruit, Palm kernel, Palm kernel oil, Palm stearine, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmitic acid, Palmitoyl exostearamide, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, Palmityl alcohol, Palmolemin, Sodium kernelate, Sodium laureth sulfate, Sodium lauryl lactylate/sulphate, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium palm kermelate,Stearate, Stearic acid, Vegetable fat, Vegetable oil, cetyl, cetearyl, SDS,NaDS (Sodium) Caleium Stearoyl, Lactylate steareth-2, 20 Emulsifier, 422, 430-36, 465-67, 470-8, 481-483

For more information visit ‘SPOTT’ – SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL TRANSPARENCY TOOL KIT.

OUR RIGHTS

In just a few years from 2009-2011, approximately two thirds of animal habituation has been destroyed/converted to palm plantations. High demand for palm oil has skyrocketed since 2015 and 2017 is in serious trouble. By 2050 (depending on if there are still fish left in the ocean) corporations, businesses, governments have already started to make future plans for countries for plantations which means more life’s lost on both humanity and the animal kingdom. So all those sir David Attenbough documentary’s you loved could very much be simply nothing more, than another chapter in humanity’s “great” achievements.

The following countries up for this “great” lotto are more of  Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Columbia it is crucial that expansion does not continue to come at the expense of forests, human rights and trillions of life, around the world. But let’s concentrate on the problems we have now, catering for the high demand as people want more the demand gets higher, nuts, biscuits, bread, cleaning products, cosmetics the list goes on. Borneo, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and most recently papa new quinoa, it’s estimated that much as 300 football fields that’s (15km) are cleared every hour to make space for plantation. The cheapest and quickest way to do this is to do something the industry calls SLASH AND BURN they cut a few trees down to then set on fire and so begins the list of animals.

First on my list is Orangutans. Even though we share 96.4% of our genes with these amazing animals they are in just as must danger and people still don’t hesitate to shoot them on sites. They often wander out on to plantations looking for food or loved ones lost in the fire, though sadly only small numbers ever survive the fires. As orangutans spend most of their life’s in tree tops as walking on ground is bad for their joints, the flames rise upwards making it near impossible to escape. We have slashed 80% of these wonderful animals in just 20 years.

Next on my list is Sumatran Tigers – one of my favourite animals – these beautiful creatures depend on the forest for camouflage to hunt food, they often escape the fires but wonder like many others on to plantations and are shoot on site and sold off to poachers for money because isn’t that what makes the world go round (sadly).

Bornean Pygmy Elephants – the smallest of the Elephant kingdom – like the tiger escapes most fires but often wanders along new roads made up making them very easy targets for poachers same with the Sumatran rhinoceros with the Elephants having just over 1,500 left in the wild and 100 Rhinos out of 800 since  the 1980’s. Malayan sun bears killed on site because the dig up roots of the plantation for food and also are sold to poachers. It’s not just the big animals that suffer the birds, bugs and insects suffer too every living thing deserves to life a normal and happy life. Palm oil production takes a toll on biodiversity and human rights. 15% of native animals species can survive the transition from primary forest to plantation. Further more palm oil growers have also been accused of using forced labor, seizing land from local populations and other human rights abuses.

GLOBAL WARMING

Peatlands which are carbon swamps associated with palm oil get drained and burnt 18-28 times more carbon  than the forests above them. Unless all this carbon released into the atmosphere has a restored water table peatlands decay and continue to release warming emissions for decades. This super dangerous way of burning peatlands also releases a haze’s in to the air, resulting in health impacts and significant economic losses. 100,000 deaths in South east Asia can be attributed to particulated matter of exposure from landscape fires, many are peat fires. If we compare this to the recent fire in London and how affected us as humans where to this how can we ignore the mass destruction going on for others with no voice or protection it is morally wrong.

#NOPALMOIL #SAVE THE RAINFORESTS

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BLOG: This is a call to action! – Samantha Francis

Every year for the last five years Moffatt, a small town in Dumfries, Scotland, holds a sheep race through their town. 2017 will be their sixth year. Or, if we are successful, last year will be their last.

The sheep are raced through the town and people place bets on which one will win. Crowds line the streets and cheer and shout as they race by. Sheep are by nature timid and quiet animals. This must be a terrifying experience for them. Sheep are prey animals, which means they are sought, captured and eaten by a predator, so they will only run when they are frightened.

I have started a Care 2 petition to get this race cancelled on grounds of cruelty. Just a few weeks ago, I was successful in getting a sheep race in Cambridgeshire cancelled with a petition that had gained over 40,000 at the time of cancellation.

This race is likely to be more tricky. The race in Cambridgeshire was part of a village fete. The Moffatt sheep race is a tourist attraction and brings in a lot of money for local businessmen. And when you threaten someone’s wallet, then you get resistance.

The organisers have already said they will not cancel the race. However my petition is currently at 72,000 and now PETA have kindly got involved. They sent a letter to the Moffatt council requesting the race be cancelled. There has been no response as yet.

I am asking that anyone who cares about animals and wants to end their use as commodities, please get behind me in this campaign.

TAKE ACTION

Please sign the petition!

You can also write a polite letter to Mr Bob Opray at Moffat council!

The race is due to be held on 13th August. We still have time!

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BLOG: The Future Is Here – Non Animal Testing – Judith Snaith

Some may argue that it is not moral to grow human organs at all, let alone test on them. This level of playing God seems to be too futuristic to be comprehended as a current possibility.

I have grown up seeing science progress to the point of cloning sheep and growing ears on the back of mice. This has never sat well with me personally, yet I never heard many people opposing it. I have, however, heard a lot about people opposing stem cell research in recent years. I think it’s safe to say that humans put a much higher value on their own species than they do on the lives of other species.

Some organisations are making moves towards different kinds of non-animal testing, the most recent to hit the news is growing human hearts to test on. They are doing this to cut down the time and therefore the amount of money spent on testing drugs before they go to human trials. While the reasons behind this move may not be pure, the end result will certainly be more ethical than the cruel science experiments that we have grown up accepting as inevitability.

The human race is very accepting of tradition, things that have always been done and actions that are therefore deemed normal. Very few people challenge the system that they are in without something kick-starting the question in their mind. No person is born evil; no person buys an animal tested product because they are glad animals suffered, yet they still buy them.

The US Lawrence Livermore National laboratory (LLNL) has successfully recorded electrical signals and cellular beating from a heart grown on a microchip. Using these microchip hearts will allow them to make predictions about the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the human heart. It is efficient – only taking 9 days to grow a heart on a chip. They hope that they will be able to reduce the need for animal testing by using this system.

Harvard have now printed a 3D medical device that holds heart tissue and can read its reactions to heart drugs. The Harvard researcher John Ulrik Lind has written a study on this device, he hopes that this heart on a chip will be able to hold person specific cells too, customising their use for individual patients. He thinks that these tests could be more accurate than animal testing and of course will be more humane.

An organ alone has nowhere to send pain messages to; with no brain connected, it cannot be conscious of its pain. In drugs and product testing there always has to be a human testing phase, as animal testing cannot truly show what effects the tested item will have on the human physiology, I believe that technology such as this will therefore completely replace the need for animal testing. It’s just logic really.

Once other companies notice the boost in effectiveness of this line of medical testing they will surely follow suit to keep up with competition. So despite the shaky moral foundation of these plans it may lead to not only the end of animal testing but it could open the minds of the public. Once they are no longer using animal tested medicines they will be able to see that the old style animal tests are not necessary. This means a veil will be lifted, people will be able to look at the atrocities they were paying into, that they may still be paying for in household goods or cosmetics. Once they can see that they will be free, there may even be a mass boycott and all companies will cease animal testing, governments may even make it illegal.

It is important that we support ground breaking moves such as these. It is steps like these. That could lead to the entire world changing its outdated view of animals being here for our disposal.

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BLOG: Vivisection: A Study in Suffering – Lauren Davies

“The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but, ‘Can they suffer?’” – Jeremy Bentham.

Vivisection is the exploitation of animals in scientific experiments, in which animals are poisoned, deprived of food and water, isolated, paralysed, injected with diseases, burned, gassed, electrocuted, surgically mutilated and much more. As a result, most of these animals are killed. Approximately 11.5 million animals are used for vivisection in Europe every year, with rats and mice being experimented on the most. The products tested on these animals include pharmaceutical drugs, bleach, tobacco, and cosmetics, and these tests can last for months, years, or for the duration of the animal’s life. And all of this happens legally.

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BLOG: A Day at a Slaughterhouse Vigil – Samantha Francis

As I approached the entrance to the slaughterhouse I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the abattoir’s deceptively innocent logo of a sunrise, belying the horrors that take place behind their walls.

I was arriving to join my fellow animal rights activists on a vigil. These peaceful vigils take place outside slaughterhouses around the country and worldwide. The aim is to bear witness to the animals who are being taken to their brutal deaths. Many apologise to the animals they see on the trucks – for past carnivorous behaviour, as an apology for not being able to help those particular animals,and perhaps even to apologise on behalf of the whole human race for the atrocities we commit against the animal kingdom.

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BLOG: Vivisection – Ebony William

The word Vivisection means different things to different kinds of people. To some, Vivisection is a word associated with medical advancements, and ‘imperative’ research being done to cure diseases. To others it is a word filled with darker meanings, a word that is associated with unnecessary suffering and a lack of compassion.

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BLOG: Are service dogs treated with the respect they deserve? – Alex Henry

Are service dogs treated with the respect they deserve?

 

Service dogs are some of the best dogs on the planet, they will always stick by their ‘owner’ and have been trained to stay calm in all situations. The number of human lives saved by these amazing dogs is unthinkable and we know as a fact they are many people’s best friends.

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BLOG: Christianity & Veganism – Samantha Francis

Many who are concerned for animals dismiss Christianity as “speciesist” and unconcerned for animal welfare. They, as a result, are tempted to turn to Buddhism, for example, as it seems the kinder religion to animals. With some justification they assume Christianity to be hostile to their own moral insights. Many see the Church as an agent of animal oppression – even though atheism is as historically guilty of perpetuating speciesism.

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BLOG: Animal Justice Project at the Make Hunting History march! – Cecily Baker, Communications Officer

The Animal Justice Project team headed to London on Monday to support the Make Hunting History march which was organised by an alliance of anti-hunt campaign groups. #KeepTheBan

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BLOG: The Philosophy of vivisection – Judith Snaith

Why have we as a society agreed that experiments on non-human animals is “okay”? Is it okay because it is for the greater good, because it is necessary … or because we don’t actually know what it entails?

I know what you’re thinking; “I haven’t agreed to animal experiments”. Well the hard truth is that by buying products tested on animals you are not only agreeing with the practice, but you are funding it too. Whether it’s cosmetics, toiletries, household products or medication, you are voting with your pound.

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