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Scale of animal suffering in British laboratories finally revealed

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The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has condemned the number of severe animal experiments taking place in Britain which have been revealed for the first time today. Please note readers might find some of the content distressing.

Government figures released today show that over 3.8 million experiments were carried out on animals last year, of which over 180,000 were “severe”, causing the highest level of pain, suffering and distress. The vast majority of animals are killed at the end of the experiment. A ban also comes into effect today for household products, but will do little to spare animals from unnecessary tests.

Jan Creamer, President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society said, “The level of suffering animals are experiencing in Britain’s laboratories is shameful. Until now, the pain and distress these animals were forced to endure was unknown; the research industry’s dirty secret. There is an urgent need for greater transparency and accountability in animal research, so these extreme tests can be reviewed and replaced with advanced non-animal methods.”

The Home Office figures reveal:

– Over 700,000 experiments forced animals to suffer severely (184,240) or moderately (557,707). ‘Severe’ suffering can include collapsed lung, internal bleeding, heart failure, nerve damage and infection – all symptoms anticipated to be experienced by 6,500 GM mice during a five-year heart failure experiment. ‘Moderate’ suffering can include implanting a device into monkeys’ skulls, with common adverse effects including wound infections. This was planned for 40 monkeys for stroke research, even though a human volunteer study was being conducted at the same centre. Almost 2 million animals endured ‘mild’ experiments which incredibly includes “Removing the heads of the [newborn] mice with a sharp scalpel” which was carried out as part of the GM mouse study.

– 2,742 dogs were used ‘for the first time’ in tests which can involve force-feeding compounds such as agricultural chemicals, or having toxic substances pumped into their veins which can make them so sick that they die in agony. A controversial beagle breeding facility which was rejected planning permission on several occasions has now been authorised by the government and will be built in Yorkshire. NAVS warns that it is likely to fuel demand in the UK and EU, reversing the downward trend in the use of dogs.

– 2,466 monkeys were used ‘for the first time’ in experiments. Monkeys are used mainly to test drugs and typically endure force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds; full body immobilization in restraint chairs whilst they are experimented on. NAVS is calling on politicians to implement the principles of a hugely popular written declaration adopted by the European Parliament in 2007. Written Declaration 40 calls for an end to the use of wild-caught primates and a timetable for replacing the use of all primates in scientific experiments.

– Almost a third of experiments (32%, 618,389) were on genetically modified animals. Many hundreds of thousands more suffer during the creation and maintenance of animals with genetic modifications, who can suffer from deformed limbs, fused bones and painful swellings. There has been an explosion in animal genetic modification over the past decades, yet little evidence that results have benefitted human health because GM animals remain fundamentally different from humans, making them poor ‘models’ for studying human disease.

In 2013, the number of animals experimented on in Britain surpassed 4 million, the highest on modern record. Following the adoption of EU rules, changes have been made to the way the figures have been compiled, with actual severity of procedures published for the first time and use of animals reported at the end of the project, rather than the beginning as previously.

Despite previously pledging to ban the use of all household product testing on animals for ingredients and finished products, the government has instead brought in a “qualified ban” today which will still permit tests to be conducted. For ingredients that may be used for other purposes, a system of “retrospective notification” has been introduced, while an application to use animals for solely household product ingredients tests can also be approved if considered of innovative benefit.

Over a year has passed since the government consulted on the ‘secrecy clause’, Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. The clause places a blanket ban on the release of details about animal experiments which prevents public and scientific scrutiny. There is strong and growing support for reform, supported by NAVS, in line with the government’s commitment to increased openness.

For further information, please see www.NAVS.org.uk. Through its Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research, the NAVS funds non-animal scientific and medical research, including projects looking at cancer, and neuroscience.

 

Picture credit: Beagle Camry – Ruth Ellison – Flickr

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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