"To achieve this, we encourage animal welfare organisations, community groups, youth and children's clubs, businesses and individuals to organize events in celebration of World Animal Day. Involvement is growing at an astonishing rate and it's now widely accepted and celebrated in a variety of different ways in many countries, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology," the event's website says.
Here are some of the creative, informative and sometimes adorable happenings around the world in honor of both wild and domestic animals.
Activists in Jakarta, Indonesia have organized a moving protest to oppose the killing of mother macaques, whose children are then captured and sold as pets. On World Animal Day, the Jakarta Animal Aid Network is asking concerned citizens to mail or bring flowers to decision makers' offices in order to commemorate the thousands of monkeys killed in Indonesia every year as part of this cruel practice and to encourage them to put a stop to the deaths.
The People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Foundation is offering free checkups to pets at its clinic, the Dhaka Tribune reported. They also offered discounts on vaccines and vaccinated 20 stray dogs for free.
Cape Town, South Africa
The Cape Animal Welfare Forum, a conglomeration of 31 animal welfare organizations in Cape Town, is organizing a Moonlight Dog Walk on Friday to raise funds. They aim to get 1,000 dogs walking around the Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town for a first in Africa.
Serbia and the Philippines
Organizations across the globe are teaming up for an international art contest to promote "care and responsibility to animals." The "Pets are Family Too" art competition, hosted by Animal Kingdom Foundation in the Philippines and the Society for the Protection of Animals LJUBIMCI in Serbia will invite school children from both countries to send in artwork celebrating their pets. Selected entries will be displayed at exhibits in both countries.
New York, USA
Cruelty Free International and the Body Shop are celebrating their success in partnering to collect more than 8 million signatures in favor of prohibiting the use of animal testing for beauty products. The event will take the form of a roundtable hosted by the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations, and speakers will include representatives of the three host organizations plus members of British and European parliaments and actors Declan McDermott and Maggie Q.
"We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this bill," California state director for the Humane Society of the United States Crystal Moreland said in a press release. "I am proud that California is the first state in the nation to take a stand against cruel cosmetic animal testing."
The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, which was written by Democratic state Senator Cathleen Galgiani, passed the state legislature earlier in September, The Hill reported. It stipulates that manufacturers cannot "import for profit, sell or offer for sale" any cosmetics tested on animals once the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Violations will be punished with a fine of $5,000, followed by a fine of $1,000 per day every day the violation continues, the Huffington Post reported.
It is the first law of its kind in the U.S., though similar laws have been passed in the EU, India, Israel and Norway. A national law introduced to Congress last year has not yet been passed, though animal advocates hope California's law might change that.
"We're hopeful this law will encourage the federal government to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act," program manager for animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States Vicki Katrinak told the Huffington Post.
The law does allow for some exceptions. Any testing required by federal law can go ahead if there are no alternatives. In addition, companies can pay for animal testing for products and ingredients if it is required by law for sale in foreign markets. It can also sell those same products in California as long as the testing wasn't specifically to determine the safety of the products sold in the state.
China, for example, requires all imported cosmetics be tested on animals, but Katrinak said she hoped the new law would encourage companies to put pressure on countries like China that require testing, since they won't want to pay for two separate tests for markets that require and prohibit animal testing.
"It gives greater impetus for [the cosmetics] industry to push for changes in other countries," Katrinak told the Huffington Post.
Rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits are the animals most often used for cosmetic testing. They are used to test whether ingredients will irritate eyes or skin and are sometimes forced to eat or breathe toxic substances. They are often killed after testing.
The Humane Society said such testing is unnecessary, as thousands of products have a history of safe use and there are other ways to assess the safety of ingredients that do not rely on animal testing and are more relevant to human health.
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End #EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing https://t.co/2ZdesQ1TbR @peta @AnimalPlanet— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1534878021.0
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.
But as scientists and elected officials are coming to the same conclusions about the inefficacy and unethical nature of animal testing, the U.S. government is still wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and countless animals' lives for archaic experiments opposed by most Americans. Now lawmakers have an opportunity to stop it, as Congress is currently debating federal agency budgets for 2019.
Recently, White Coat Waste Project, a watchdog group committed to ending taxpayer-funded animal experiments, uncovered how a little-known EPA program abuses approximately 20,000 animals annually in outdated air pollution experiments. The tests at the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory include making animals obese by feeding them lard and then forcing them to inhale diesel exhaust and smog to study the effects. In other tests, animals were blasted with loud noises and exposed to ozone, pregnant animals were stressed with light and noise and their babies were given electric shocks.
Following the exposé, our organizations, the White Coat Waste Project and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, along with more than 55,000 Americans, urged Congress to cut funding for these tests and support more productive EPA programs focused on alternatives to animal tests like robotic testing systems and organs-on-chips that the EPA has acknowledged can make testing more cost-effective, accurate and efficient. Yet, a lack of transparency and accountability about the EPA's animal testing and efforts to curb it has prevented much-needed scrutiny, until now.
To their credit, several Republican and Democratic lawmakers quickly sprang into action to address this waste and abuse.
In a recent letter to the EPA, Congressmembers Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), Dan Donovan (R-New York), Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee), Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania)—lawmakers who are often publicly at odds on other policy issues—demanded details on the EPA's testing, writing, "These tests likely cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year, and their relevance to humans, as EPA has often acknowledged, is dubious at best."
The same day, the House of Representatives passed language championed by Reps. Ken Calvert (R-California), David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) in the EPA's 2019 funding bill, urging the agency to do more to reduce its animal tests and focus on high-tech alternatives to animal testing.
This is important progress, but sadly the EPA is not the only problematic agency using wasteful 100-year-old testing methods to guide 21st century public health policy.
In May, the White Coat Waste Project and the Anti-Vivisection Society released a report titled "Toxic Testing" exposing hundreds of wasteful government animal tests by the National Toxicology Program. The report found that recent Program tests used more than 115,000 animals and 186 million taxpayer dollars, and that high-tech and cost-effective alternatives to animal testing are woefully underused.
One of the outlandish animal testing series documented included 25 million taxpayer dollars and 10 years spent to blast 3,000 animals with cellphone radiation equivalent to 10 iPhones all day, every day, for two years before killing and dissecting them. At the study's conclusion, the National Toxicology Program told The Washington Post, "Given the inconsistent pattern of the findings, the fact that the subjects were rats and mice rather than people and the high level of radiation used, [the study] could not extrapolate from the data the potential health effects on humans." Of course, this information was obvious prior to conducting the research, but they proceeded anyway.
In another troubling set of at least 36 different tests costing around $5 million, the Program force-fed and injected thousands of animals with acrylamide, a by-product in coffee and French fries using, as the National Institutes of Health put it, "doses 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the levels people might be exposed to in foods." Based on these inherently flawed rodent tests, the Program concluded that acrylamide can "reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen."
Yet, the National Cancer Institute—which, like the National Toxicology Program, resides within the Institutes of Health—reports, "a large number of epidemiologic studies … in humans have found no consistent evidence that dietary acrylamide exposure is associated with the risk of any type of cancer." Similarly, the American Cancer Society states that "there are currently no cancer types for which there is clearly an increased risk related to acrylamide intake."
The public health and policy impacts of this misleading animal testing are significant. Based on animal tests of acrylamide by the Program and others, a California court ruled that Starbucks and other coffee sellers must now include cancer warnings on coffee cups, despite there being no evidence of health risks in humans.
This is an issue that bridges the growing left-right divide. Consider the fact that Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald recently retweetedan article from the conservative Daily Caller about the EPA's animal testing, writing, "Disgust and opposition to horrific government experiments on animals is not only growing rapidly, but is becoming bipartisan and trans-ideological." He's right. National polls conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies have recently found that 79 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats want to cut EPA spending on animal tests, and that three-quarters of all voters think federal agencies should be required to replace animal tests with high-tech alternatives whenever possible.
This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
- Father and Son Charged With Killing Mother Bear and 'Shrieking ... ›
- Brazil's Leading Food Retailer Goes Cage-Free ›
By Nika Knight
Experiments involving genetically engineered animals have nearly tripled in Germany in the past 10 years, driven by a burgeoning global industry that involves inventing and patenting genetically altered species for scientific research, says a new study commissioned by Germany's Green Party and conducted by the research group Testbiotech.
A GMO mouse with a gene related to hair growth removed from its genome, at left, next to a mouse with an unaltered genome.Wikimedia Commons
"The massive increase in animal testing in the genetics field is unacceptable," Nicole Maisch, the Green Party's parliamentary spokesperson for the protection of animals and consumer policy, told the newspaper Der Westen.
"Particularly when the experiments' usefulness from a medical standpoint is extremely questionable or when the trials have revealed themselves to be unsuccessful," Maisch said, "we must not allow any more animals to be tortured."
The study, which was released Wednesday and shared with Süddeutsche Zeitung and newspapers owned by Germany's Funke Mediengruppe, found that nearly 950,000 animals were subjected to experiments in Germany in 2013 alone and a full third of those involved genetically modified animals.
The genomes of mice, rats and fish are being tinkered with the most, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung, but rabbits and pigs are popular choices, too.
Moreover, Süddeutsche Zeitung notes:
In contrast to conventional animal testing, the research on genetically manipulated animals is especially deadly, says Silke Strittmatter of the organization Doctors Against Animal Experiments: "We can safely assume that up to 54 animals die for the creation of a single genetically modified animal." To achieve the desired outcome, scientists must experiment with many variations, which in many cases involves breeding multiple generations and then killing them. In this fashion, the number of genetically altered animals is increasing, despite the fact that in the last two years, for the first time the number of animals used for traditional experimental trials has fallen.
A race to patent and profit from genetically modified species is driving the growing global market for such creatures, observes the German newspaper: "Researchers patent altered animals, such as "knockout mice" and sign license deals with corporations, which in turn aggressively market the animals to laboratories—as "custom-manipulated rodents," for example."
The newspaper continues:
In the USA, biotech corporations market patented animals aggressively. [Study author Christoph] Then describes a downright "price war." Patents for new genetic engineering techniques then lead to more animal trials. In recent years, patent applications were even submitted for genetically modified primates and great apes—and some of those were approved. It is for this reason that the speaker for the Green faction on genetic engineering, Harald Ebner, is calling for a Europe-wide ban on patents on living things.
Ebner also told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he fears so-called "free trade" deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will lead to the worldwide dispersal of products from genetically modified animals.
The newspaper observes that "meat and other products from genetically modified animals cannot be sold in Germany. [...] In other countries, however, among other things scientists are experimenting with altering the ingredients of milk by changing the genes of cows. For such experiments, embryos must be genetically altered and then implanted in a surrogate. The Testbiotech study notes that these experiments often involve pain and suffering, as such laboratory animals are frequently killed in order to remove cells or the genetically modified embryo."
It seems other countries have reason to worry, as the U.S. government continues to fight for pro-GMO legislation. Indeed, when President Obama last week signed into law a corporate-friendly GMO labeling bill, he "scratched out the laws of Vermont, Connecticut and Maine that required the labeling of genetically engineered foods," reports AlterNet.
"He also nullified the [GMO] seed labeling laws in Vermont and Virginia that allowed farmers to choose what seeds they wanted to buy and plant," the progressive outlet observes, adding that "for good measure he preempted Alaska's law requiring the labeling of any [GMO] fish or fish product, passed to protect the state's vital fisheries from contamination by recently approved genetically engineered salmon."