Archive | March 2014

Animal experimentation: debunking the myths

Animal experimentation

Animal experimentation is a controversial issue. Those that support it argue that it is necessary if we are to find cures for human ailments, and those against it maintain that it is cruel and unnecessary, and even misleading.

There is a public misconception that animals used in experiments are protected through the presence of ethics committees, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Code of Practice. There is also the view that it is “only” rats and mice that are used. The truth is that many animals are being used unnecessarily in experimentation, including cats, dogs, primates and rabbits. Horrific procedures are carried out on all sorts of animals – procedures that the general public is largely unaware of.

Humane Research Australia

Humane Research Australia Inc. (HRA) is a not for profit organisation that challenges the use of animals in research and promotes the use of more humane and scientifically-valid non animal methodologies.

“HRA’s vision is one where scientific establishments are lined with significant achievement awards instead of cages; where inappropriate animal models are replaced with progressive technologies and where every patient receiving lifesaving medications can be confident knowing that their treatments have been safely and thoroughly tested through methodologies that are directly relevant to humans.” – http://www.humaneresearch.org.au/about/

Debunking the myths

HRA has produced a broadcast of a six-part series about the use of animals in research. It features Dr Andrew Knight, DipECAWBM (WSEL), PhD, MRCVS, FOCAE and is based on his critically-acclaimed book The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments.

These can be viewed online:

Animal Experiments – a failing science
Efficacy – accessing the utility of animal experiments
Statistics and Regulation
Non-animal Methods of Research – a more humane and scientifically valid option
Humane Education – caring, not killing
Working Together For Change

Supporting Humane Research Australia

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.
The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Humane Research Australia as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

Support HRA and the end of animal experimentation

You can support HRA in their quest to end animal experimentation by becoming a HRA member or monthly donor. Your contribution will allow them to continue the fight to end unethical and inhumane animal research in Australia.

http://www.humaneresearch.org.au/membership-donations

Support Women Dairy Farmers in Bangladesh!

Every year, vulnerable river communities like Panjar Bhanga in Bangladesh are hit hard by extreme weather conditions. In the dry months before the monsoon season, there is very little work and people go hungry, while during the monsoon families survive on meagre portions of dried food, and their land and homes are often washed away.

Women in these communities are particularly vulnerable and marginalised. Social norms and husbands’ restrictions mean that they have to stay at home, and are not recognised as wage-earners.

Women have always reared cows in Panjar Bhanga, but are not always able to earn a reliable income from dairy production. It is considered inappropriate for women travel to market, so they have to pay considerable transport costs and fees to middlemen, or rely on husbands – who may spend the money on themselves rather than the family.

Oxfam’s mission

Oxfam and its partner Social Equality for Effective Development (SEED) are helping women in Panjar Bhanga to earn a reliable, year-round income by rearing dairy cows and selling the milk collectively.

Oxfam and its partner have:

  • Provided cows to the most vulnerable families, as well as providing training on keeping them healthy and productive.
  • Helped women smallholders to form a producer group, so that they can share knowledge and resources and sell their milk collectively.
  • Set up links between producers and a dairy processing company, Rangpur Dairy. Producers now sell their milk directly to the company, giving them a guaranteed price and removing the need for middlemen.
  • Provided financial support, such as helping producers invest in their own transport to save on costs.
  • Helped the community access services from local government and extension service providers. This includes veterinary services, 40-day employment schemes, support to repair roads, and grants to build sturdy cow sheds with concrete floors.
  • Provided training on disaster preparation (e.g. by storing food, taking cattle to a safe place, or setting up a food bank for vulnerable families),
  • Provided training on women’s rights, including preventing domestic violence and child marriage.

Aklima Khatun’s story

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Aklima Khatun, a mother of four, lives with her family in Bangladesh. Before she became a dairy farmer, Aklima struggled to feed her family.

“My children used to cry and complain but eventually they got used to it. They realised there was no food at home.”

Aklima’s life has been transformed since she started selling milk. She can now earn enough to provide for her family. They’re now able to contribute to their household income, send their kids to school and are confident enough to take control of their own lives.

“Sometimes, we had days where we used to mix wheat and water and that’s all we had to eat. But now we have three meals, with rice, vegetables and fish, and we can eat meat four or five times a month. This project is the light of our life.”

Supporting Oxfam

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Oxfam as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

Take action!

You can show your support for women dairy farmers by joining with Oxfam in their mission to provide for Bangladeshi women:

https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/women-dairy-farmers/

Consider alternatives to palm oil and save the orangutans

The problem with palm oil

The single greatest threat facing orangutans today is habitat loss. The average annual rate of forest loss in Indonesia was 498,000 hectares from 2000 to 2010, or the equivalent of over 55 rugby fields per hour.

The expanding palm oil industry has been a key driver of this deforestation.  In the decade to 2010, the Indonesian plantation area nearly doubled to close to 8.0 million hectares and is expected to near 13 million hectares by 2020.

Today palm oil accounts for 35% of world edible vegetable oil production with 85% of this sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia. The industry kills an estimated 1000 orangutans each year.

The use of palm oil

The majority of palm oil (about 80%) is used in the food industry either as a vegetable oil or embedded in other ingredients. Palm oil also occurs widely in personal care, cosmetic and household products including soap, toothpaste, shampoo, cosmetics, laundry powders and detergents.

The effects of palm oil

The Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation sees the result of the palm oil industry expansion on a daily basis. It rescues and releases orangutans displaced from their natural habitat. Those not able to be immediately trans-located are cared for at centres in Central and East Kalimantan.

Borneo’s Nyaru Menteng orang-utan rehabilitation centre has more than 600 orang-utans despite being built for 100-200, and more keep arriving.

“Unfortunately 98 per cent of the orang-utans at Nyaru Menteng have lost their mothers to the palm oil industry. The main thing is the lack of forest. It’s escalating.” – Ms Butcher, Melbourne zoo keeper.

Alternatives to palm oil

There are alternatives to palm oil productions that do not harm orangutans and this includes certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). This oil has been produced according to a set of environmental and social criteria designed to ensure the rights of local communities are respected and that no new primary forests or high conservation value areas have been cleared for palm oil production since November 2005.

A number of major retailers and manufacturers have committed to moving to CSPO by 2015 including Coles and Woolworths (in all Coles and Woolworths branded products), Unilever, Arnotts and Nestle.

Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia’s position on palm oil

BOS Australia supports the use of identity preserved and segregated certified sustainable palm oil. They believe its adoption is achievable in the Australian market if sufficient consumer pressure is brought to bear. They acknowledge that the shift to sustainable production and the RSPO certification process is not without its issues but believe it remains the most acceptable solution currently available.

Supporting BOS Australia

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as BOS Australia as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can help

BOS Australia provides a list of palm oil free products that you can choose to buy as alternatives to palm oil products:
http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx

Check the ingredients – if the product contains palm oil (usually labelled as vegetable oil or fat), check to see if it has the CSPO logo or contact the manufacturer to get details on the oil’s source. If it’s not CSPO, seek an alternative product and let the manufacturer know why you’ve chosen not to buy the product.

Help stop the Keystone XL pipeline through Canada and the U.S

A defining climate decision

The US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency — whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.

First proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada in 2008, the $7 billion, 875-mile pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta’s tar sand reserves to a vast oil depot in Oklahoma, and eventually to refineries near Houston.

The ultimate decision lies with President Obama, who told an audience at Georgetown University in June that he wouldn’t approve the pipeline if it would “significantly exacerbate” the problem of carbon emissions.

Reports on the pipeline

Last month, the State Department released its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the pipeline. The report concluded the pipeline would not significantly exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions because Canadian tar sands would get to market regardless of whether the pipeline was built—a claim environmental activists immediately rejected, and they got to work rallying and lobbying against the pipeline. Retiring California Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the green movement’s fiercest advocates on Capitol Hill, added that “while still flawed, this environmental review recognizes that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline could have a significant effect on carbon pollution.”

The potential damage

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies, but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest dirty fossil fuel ever cooked up – releasing 3-4 times the global warming pollution of normal petrol.

“Essentially, it’s game over for the planet.” – Dr James Hansen, former NASA scientist

Supporting Avaaz

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Avaaz as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can help

Three years ago, this pipeline was a foregone conclusion. But then people-power swung into action — thousands were arrested at the largest act of civil disobedience in the US in decades, and Obama refused the initial proposal. By joining with Avaaz, we can make this happen again by collecting the most international comments EVER for a US government decision and give Secretary Kerry and President Obama the public cover they need to reject the Keystone carbon bomb.

Sign the petition now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_loc/?fp

Spread the word and send this article on 5 arguments against keystone to all your friends and family:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/02/28/they-said-it-5-quotes-condemning-keystone-xl-pipeline?cmpid=tp-ptnr-upworthy

You can join with Humane Research Australia and stop the killing of baby lambs for research

Humane Research Australia has uncovered an experiment by South Australian researchers that involves shaking baby lambs to death in an attempt to prove whether shaking alone is sufficient to produce brain injury and mortality or whether additional head impact is required.

The experiment

In this experiment, nine anaesthetized lambs were grasped under the arm or leg “vigorously shaken with sufficient force to snap the head back and forth onto the chest.” They were shaken 10 times of 30 seconds duration over a 30 minute period. During the experiment, three of the lambs (of a lesser body weight) died unexpectedly. The remaining lambs (of a higher body weight) were killed after six hours and left overnight. The next day, brains, spinal cord and both eyes were collected for examination. The results of this study showed that shaking a lamb caused death in the case of lower body weight animals and that higher body weight animals survived six hours later until they were killed. The work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Problems with the research

Humane Research Australia asks a number of questions to the researchers about the viability of these experiments. These include:

Was this research actually necessary when common sense dictates that we should NOT shake babies?

Why would tax payers money be wasted on seeking information already known (previous studies were quoted in the paper)?

How can neurological dysfunction of a lamb be compared with a human baby, particularly if the surviving lambs were killed after six hours, disallowing for long-term observation and monitoring?

Humane Research Australia

Humane Research Australia feels that putting non-consenting, highly sentient, beings through the pain and suffering caused by scientific research cannot be justified considering that the information gleaned from this research is already known through previous studies, and that there may be alternatives considered for this experiment that would not cause harm to animals (for example, brain scans of suspected human victims).

‘I am a veterinarian and PhD student researching animal cruelty and domestic violence. I was horrified to read of the experiments involving lambs being shaken to death to investigate how child abuse affects human babies. It is disturbing that this was approved by two animal ethics committees, funded by the NHMRC and published in a scientific journal. There is a major need for funding to be applied to development of non-lethal, non-animal methods of research.’Dr Catherine Tiplady BVSc B App Sci (Hons 1), veterinarian

Supporting Humane Research Australia

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Humane Research Australia as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

How you can help

Support Humane Research Australia in their efforts to stop cruel testing on animals by writing to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), asking them to stop funding animal experiments with your taxpayer dollars, and to instead fund research that is relevant to human health.

Prof. Warwick Anderson

Chief Executive Officer NHMRC
GPO Box 1421
Canberra, ACT 2601
Email: nhmrc@nhmrc.gov.au
Lodge a complaint form at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about/contact-us/complaint-form