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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

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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