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Poll Reveals Sharp Drop in Spanish Support for Bullfighting Down to 19%

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A new opinion poll on bullfighting in Spain, carried out on the eve of national elections in the country has shown a steep fall in support for the activity, along with strong opposition to other festivals and traditions. The online poll by Ipsos MORI for World Animal Protection, found that 19% of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting, compared to 58% who opposed it – three times as many. This is a sharp drop from 30% support amongst adults aged 16-65 in a similar Ipsos MORI online poll conducted in March 2013.

The current poll also found that

  • Only 7% of 16-24 year old respondents supported bullfighting compared to 29% support in the 55 – 65 age group. In the 16 – 34 age group, 71% opposed and 10% supported bullfighting and in the 35 – 65 year old group, 51% opposed and 23% supported.
  • 84% of 16-24 year olds said they were “not very” or “not at all” proud to be living in a country where bullfighting is a cultural tradition. In comparison 67% of all respondents 16 – 65 said they were not proud of this.
  • Although the Spanish Government can use public funds to assist the bullfighting industry, there was strong opposition to this with around 3 in 4 (73%) disagreeing that this should take place. A similar proportion (73%) disagreed with public funds being used to promote bullfighting as part of Span’s national heritage.

 

The poll also revealed strong opposition to individual festivals and traditions. The Toro de la Vega festival, was supported by just 5% of adults 16 – 65, with 75% of adults aged 16-65 being opposed.

The Toro de Fuego festival in Medinaceli had 7% support, with 71% being opposed. In November 2015, World Animal Protection delivered a petition signed by 140,000 supporters to the Mayor of Medinaceli calling on him to stop this cruel event taking place.

Ruud Tombrock, Regional Director of World Animal Protection said “Outdated traditions of bullfighting and other cruelty towards animals in the name of culture are no excuse for the torture that it involves. And the torture of animals should have no place anywhere in the world, least of all in a modern, progressive nation like Spain.

World Animal Protection believe these results are a fantastic opportunity for Spanish politicians to show they listen to their people. It’s clear the public are moving away from the outdated practice of bullfighting.  Forward–looking Spanish politicians should seize this moment and what may well be the popular appeal of taking a stand on this issue.

This is why we are calling on them to make a resolution that 2016 will be the last year these despicable traditions will take place. All political parties should make a new pledge to end the cruelty – not just bullfighting but of all the other fiestas and festivals where animals are treated cruelly, or terrified, taunted and tortured. This includes the Toro de la Vega, where mounted horsemen armed with steel tipped lances pursue a bull to its death. The Toro de Fuego, where a tethered bull has flammable material tied to its horns which are then ignited. We’re calling for an end to the use of precious public funds to support such events – Festivals or fiestas which masquerade as cultural assets but which in reality are heartless, dying traditions which should rightly fade into history.”

Marta Esteban, President of Spain’s “Torture is not Culture” coalition, said “Bullfighting is mortally wounded in Spain and we will see it collapse in the next 5 coming years. Attendance has dropped 54% in the last 7 years (Source: Estadísticas de Asuntos Taurinos 2009-13. Ministerio de Cultura) and only survives due to public subsidies which we are also managing to gradually remove as more political parties listen and respond to our demands. We thank World Animal Protection for this poll, which so neatly reflects the reality of bullfighting in Spain, as well as for their support in lobbying with politicians and showing them what Europe thinks about this abominable practice.”

National elections took place in Spain on Sunday December 20 but no party won a workable majority or has been able to form a coalition with smaller parties. Spain has traditionally been a two-party state but the emergence of two new parties (Podemos and Ciudadanos) suggests a new reforming era, perhaps more in tune with the public feeling revealed in this poll. It is anticipated that the general election may need to be re-run in two months.

 

 

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Environment

New Climate Change Report Emphasizes Urgent Need for Airline Emission Regulations

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In less than two months, the United States has grappled with some of the worst natural disasters in its history. Hurricanes battered the south central United States. Fires destroyed homes throughout Northern California. Puerto Rico experienced some of the worst storms ever. A massive windstorm caused more damage to the northeastern United States then any other storm on record before winter even struck.

These recent incidents have spurred discussion on the dangers of climate change. A recent report from the University of London has shed some light on the discussion. The new report suggests that new regulations are needed, including stricter EPA regulations on Airlines.

Review of the new report

The new report was published in the British medical Journal, Lancet. The report concluded that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for a variety of social problems, including diseases and natural disasters. While numerous studies have processed the risk that climate change plays with creating natural disasters, University of London report is among the first to explore the relationship between climate change and disease.

The authors warned that the problems are becoming irreversible. They will continue to get worse if risk factors are not adequately addressed.

The most concerning part of the report is that these problems are having the most serious impact on the most vulnerable communities in the world. Countries that depend on agriculture and other issues will suffer the most if climate change escalates.

“The answer is, most of our indicators are headed in the wrong direction,”said Nick Watts, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Global Health and executive director of the Lancet Countdown, one of the lead researchers of the paper. “Broadly, the world has not responded to climate change, and that lack of response has put lives at risk. … The impacts we’re experiencing today are already pretty bad. The things we’re talking about in the future are potentially catastrophic.”

Airline industry discovers climate change is a two-way Street

The airline industry is coping with the problems of climate change, while also coming to terms with the fact that it has helped accelerate the problem. Earlier this year, American Airlines was forced to cancel four dozen flights near Phoenix. Cancellations were called due to excessive temperatures. The air was over 120 degrees, which is too hot for some smaller jet planes to get off the ground.

One anonymous airline executive privately admitted that their business model has facilitated climate change. They warned that the problem may become twice as bad in the next few years if proper safeguards aren’t implemented. Representatives from Goindigo have echoed these concerns.

The EPA has stated that airplanes account for 11% of all emissions. They are expected to increase over 50% within the next 30 years. This could have serious repurcussions if newer, greener airplane models don’t become the new standard in the very near future.

This is driving discussion about the need for new policies.The EPA has been discussing the need for new airline regulations for nearly two years. An EPA ruling made in July 2016 set the tone for new regulations, which could be introduced in the next year.

The new policies may be delayed, due to the new president’s position on climate change. He hired an EPA chief that has sued the organization about a dozen times. However, the Trump Administration may not be able to oppose climate change indefinitely, because a growing number of people are pressing for reforms. Even younger conservatives primarily believe climate change is a threat and are demanding answers. This may force the EPA to follow through on its plans to introduce new solutions.

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