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An undercover investigation by an animal rights group shows captive reindeer being poorly treated at farms in the UK.
Animal Aid released the disturbing footage on Monday ahead of the holiday season and are calling on event organizers to halt the use of live reindeer as entertainment at public events.
The videos were shot at three different reindeer centers from Nov. 2017 and throughout 2018. Animal Aid investigators witnessed the animals suffering from "raw, exposed skin, diarrhea and skeletal abnormalities," according to a press release.
Worse yet, secret cameras filmed a worker at the Kent Reindeer Centre kicking a reindeer on two separate occasions and shouting profanities at them.
Animal Aid: Reindeer Investigation www.youtube.com
"Our investigations have revealed the shocking suffering of these gentle animals," Animal Aid campaign manager Tor Bailey said in the press release. "Reindeer are sensitive wild animals, not props to be paraded around and used for human entertainment. I would urge the general public not to support events which feature live captive animals and find other more animal-friendly ways to enjoy the festive period."
A spokeswoman for the Kent Reindeer Centre told the BBC that its animals were "much loved and well cared for" and said that the employee that abused the reindeer was "dismissed as unsuitable after a short period of time."
Animal Aid also raised concerns about farms located in Staffordshire and Cheshire.
At the Staffordshire farm, an animal was found with what the activists described as "severe fur loss and skeletal abnormalities." But the farm owner told the BBC that deer had developed arthritis and caused him to appear "bow-legged" and added that the animals he kept were all "happy and healthy."
At the Cheshire Reindeer Lodge, which is now permanently closed, some of the animals had "visible ribs" and the herd only had a barren yard to use as their outdoor space, Animal Aid said.
From 2014 to 2017, more than 570 reindeer were imported from Sweden, Finland and Norway, according to government figures. Once in the UK, they have to endure a different climate than they are used to, making them susceptible to a variety of diseases and pathogens, Animal Aid noted.
"Reindeer are highly specialized Arctic deer. The recent fashion of keeping them in captive situations many degrees south of their normal range is fraught with health and welfare issues," veterinarian Aidan Foster said in the press release.
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By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.