Hundreds of dogs die at animal shelter after viral disease outbreak

Hundreds of dogs die at animal shelter after viral disease outbreak

by PF Louis


(NaturalNews) A Humane Society animal shelter in a New Braunfels, Texas, had to euthanize approximately 75 percent of its animals due to a distemper outbreak in the shelter. Distemper is highly contagious and very little if anything can be done about it, although maybe half of them, usually older dogs, do survive.

The problem is that animal shelters are places where many are picking up a pet to adopt, and taking home a distempered animal will definitely create problems for other animals, but it doesn’t produce symptoms in humans.

Apparently, the source of this outbreak was a dog brought in by an owner who refused to have his distempered dog put down, then brought the animal to the shelter as a stray that he couldn’t care for.

Although the virus is slightly different, there is also…

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A Ranger and two Park Employees in South Africa’s Kruger National Park were arrested on World Rhino Day for poaching the animals they swore to protect.

Rhinos Can’t Catch a Break

Indian Mob Attacks Women Demonstrating Against Animal Cruelty

(Photo: ‘Hindustan Times’/Getty Images)Indian Mob Attacks Women Demonstrating Against Animal Cruelty 

The women were trying to persuade people not to kill goats as part of a religious observance. …

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New controversy over Malta’s bird slaughter


New controversy over Malta’s bird slaughter

Island MP Karmenu Vella nominated as European commissioner to head green policies, including wildlife protection
Juncker's new European Commission members

Karmenu Vella, who has been nominated to be EU commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries. Photograph: Lino Arrigo Azzopardi/EPA

Karmenu Vella has unusual credentials for a man selected to be the next European commissioner for the environment. The 64-year-old politician is a long-serving member of Malta‘s Labour government, which is accused of direct involvement in the widespread slaughter of birdlife on the island – including many endangered species.

Every spring and autumn, thousands of migratory birds – including quails, song thrushes and brood eagles – pass over Malta as they fly between northern Europe and Africa, only to be greeted by thousands of local hunters who gather in trucks bearing slogans like “If it flies it dies”. They duly open fire on the birds.

“Turtle doves have suffered a catastrophic decline in western Europe, including Britain. Yet the Maltese government continues to allow them to be shot in their thousands every year,” said Andre Farrar of the RSPB. “This slaughter has widespread implications and involves dozens of rare species, many of them regular visitors to the British Isles.” …

Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

 Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbag-e Patch

The Film Everyone Needs to See: Plastic Paradise

Published on September 26th, 2014 | by Derek Markham

September 26th, 2014 by

The wide adoption of plastics for making everything from single-use shopping bags to toys to gadgets and electronics has been a boon for the consumer, but an environmental disaster for the planet.

Being able to cheaply reproduce almost any shape in mass quantities has made it possible to make and distribute vast quantities of plastic doo-dads and widgets and bottles and bags and packaging, most of which are then destined to end up in our oceans, affecting marine environments and the people who depend on them.

A new film, Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, investigates the effects that plastic from our modern disposable society has on the world around us, even in places far removed from human habitation.

“The images Angela uncovers, combined with the latest evidence from researchers, shows that the truth behind the myth is much worse than imagined. A growing toxic confetti is transforming the oceans and is also working its way up the food chain that humans depend on.”

Plastic Paradise is available as an on-demand rental or for purchase, at Vimeo.

Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave Newsletter.

Japan Gov’t-funded Study: Fukushima has released up to 120 Quadrillion becquerels of radioactive cesium into North Pacific Ocean — Does not include amounts that fell on land — Exceeds Chernobyl total, which accounts for releases deposited on land AND ocean (MAP)

Japan Gov’t-funded Study: Fukushima has released up to 120 Quadrillion becquerels of radioactive cesium into North Pacific Ocean — Does not include amounts that fell on land — Exceeds Chernobyl total, which accounts for releases deposited on land AND ocean (MAP)

Scientific Reports (,  Mar. 4 2014: The total amount of decay-corrected 134Cs in the [subtropical] mode water was an estimated about 6 PBq [petabecquerels, i.e. 6 quadrillion becquerels] corresponding to 10–60% of the total inventory of Fukushima-derived 134Cs in the North Pacific Ocean. […] The decay corrected ratio of 134Cs/137Cs in soils has been calculated to be 1.0, which suggests that the total amounts of 134Cs and 137Cs released from FNPP1 were equivalent. […] the total amount of Fukushima-derived radiocesium in the North Pacific remains uncertain, because it has been difficult to obtain sufficient samples of water, especially from subsurface and deep waters, in the vast North Pacific Ocean […] Estimates of the total 134Cs released to the North Pacific Ocean ranged from 10 PBq (direct discharge of 4 PBq + atmospheric deposition 6 PBq) to 46 PBq (16 + 30 PBq). Thus, the 6 PBq inventory accounts for 10–60% of the total release. However, the total inventory in the subtropical region derived from the activity in STMW [Subtropical Mode Water] may be underestimated, because CMW probably carried the radiocesium into the subtropical region, too […] The estimated inventory in the subtropical region (6 PBq or 10– 60% of the total inventory) is probably a lower limit of estimation because contribution of CMW [Central Mode Water]  was not counted. […]

Funding: “This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid… from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan

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Canadian beekeepers file lawsuit against Bayer, Syngenta over bee-killing neonicotinoids

 Canadian beekeepers file lawsuit against Bayer, Syngenta over bee-killing neonicotinoids


by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Canadian beekeepers have filed a class-action lawsuit against two pesticide manufacturers, seeking $400 million in damages for the devastating effects of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to the destruction of honeybee colonies.

“The goal is to stop the use of the neonicotinoids to stop the harm to the bees and the beekeepers,” said Paula Lombardi, a lawyer with Siskinds LLP, the law firm that is handling the case.

The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court on September 2 by two of the largest honey producers in Ontario, Sun Parlor Honey Ltd. and Munro Honey. The next day, the Ontario Beekeepers Association publicly announced the lawsuit and invited other beekeepers to join in. By September 4, more than 30 beekeepers had already signed on.

Bee colonies devastated

The neonicotinoids, which include imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are systemic pesticides applied to seeds prior to planting. The neurotoxic chemicals then coats the plant, making the entire thing poisonous. This means that birds or insects that visit the plant for nectar or pollen are also poisoned.

“The plants become poison not only for the insects that farmers are targeting, but also for beneficial insects like bees,” said Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Numerous studies have shown that bees exposed to neonicotinoids experience trouble navigating, are more likely to fail to return to their hives, and have smaller colonies than non-exposed bees. In a 2013 study by Health Canada, 70 percent of all dead bees tested positive for exposure to neonicotinoids.

In response to these concerns, the European Commission has restricted the use of neonicotinoids for two years, and Ontario has announced plans to regulate them more tightly.

In the lawsuit, the beekeepers accuse Bayer CropScience Inc., Syngenta Canada Inc. and their parent companies of negligence in the design, manufacture, sale and distribution of the pesticides. The lawsuit claims that the negligent behavior of the companies has directly resulted in damage or death to bee colonies and breeding stock; contamination of beeswax, honeycomb and beehives; decreases in honey production; lost profit; and increased labor and supply costs. The plaintiffs are seeking $400 million in damages.

A global crisis

Over the past 20 years, neonicotinoids have become among the most popular of all pesticide varieties. In recent years, researchers have raised concerns that they may be a primary factor behind colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon marked by honeybees abandoning their hives and dying during the winter. Because honeybees pollinate a third of the entire global food supply — 130 different crops, valued at $15 billion per year — CCD has caused alarm at high levels of government and industry.

A pair of studies conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Worcester County Beekeepers Association decisively linked neonicotinoids to CCD. The researchers found that exposing bees to neonicotinoids induced CCD in the majority of beehives over the winter, while non-exposed bees did not experience CCD. The researchers suggested that, in part, neonicotinoids may cause CCD by making bees more vulnerable to cold.

But it’s not just honeybees that are affected by neonicotinoid poisoning; because the pesticides are systemic, any animal that even visits a treated crop may be affected. According to a comprehensive international review published in June 2014, neonicotinoids are severely damaging ecological integrity worldwide, on a scale comparable to the damage done by DDT prior to the 1970s.

Shockingly, there is no evidence that neonicotinoids are even particularly beneficial for farmers.

“We have been using these things for 20 years and there’s not a single study that shows they increase yield,” said researcher Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, England. “If they don’t benefit yield we should stop using them.”

Sources for this article include: [PDF]

What’s killing all the sea stars along the West Coast?

What’s killing all the sea stars along the West Coast?

by Julie Wilson staff writer

sea stars

What’s killing all the sea stars along the West Coast?

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(NaturalNews) Millions of sea stars have mysteriously been wiped out along the Pacific coast, stretching from Alaska all the way to Mexico. Sea stars, belonging to the class Asteroidea, have been around for 450 million years, according to researchers. More than 20 species of sea stars are showing signs of what experts call “wasting syndrome,” a condition causing the ancient star’s limbs to disintegrate and melt, resulting in massive die-offs.

Last November, divers off the coast of Washington were able to catch video footage of the diseased starfish, describing the melting process as beginning with a “strange loss of coordination and inability to grasp onto objects.” Their limbs and insides eventually began to fall apart, piling on top of each other, creating heaps of dead sea stars.

“They are dying — wasting away, drying out and disintegrating into sun-bleached piles of dust. Limbs detach from the body and seem to melt away,” reported The Islands’ Sounder.

Researchers have known about the recent die-offs for about a year, but the cause is still unknown

“We have evidence that an infectious agent is involved, but it is too soon to say yet whether it is a virus or a bacterium,” said Drew Harvell, a marine epidemiologist at Cornell University.

“It’s the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen. It affects over 20 species on our coast and it’s been causing catastrophic mortality,” added Harvell, who has specialized in studying outbreaks among coral reef invertebrates.

In the San Juans, a group of four islands off the coast of Washington, biologists discovered that 49 percent of the sea star population is diseased and dying. The disease moves quickly. When experts first examined ochre sea stars near Indian Island, they noted only 10 percent to be sick, but just weeks later found that number to have multiplied five times.

More than 40 expert biologists from West Coast universities and surrounding aquariums are intensely studying what could be the cause of wasting syndrome. “This is slow, careful work that takes repeated experimentation in the lab and many tests to verify,” Harvell said.

In regard to extinction, she added, “We expect the stars to recover. But this is such a big, widespread event, it could take a long time.”

Experts suspect that warming waters could be contributing to the sea star’s stress, making them more vulnerable to pathogens. Pockets of cold water and swift currents have protected the region until recently, Harvell told PBS NewsHour.

“Over this winter I surveyed here, and looked at every animal and there was no disease at all,” said Morgan Eisenlord, a Ph.D. student in Harvell’s lab at Cornell. “When we came back in the spring we found sick animals so it obviously spread as it started to get warmer.”

If a pathogen is the cause, some believe it’s concentrated in mussels, which pass it on to starfish when eaten. Strangely, both captive and wild starfish living in the rocks along Santa Barbra, Calif. showed signs of illness simultaneously.

Indoor tanks for starfish at the University of California Santa Barbara Aquarium are filled with filtered seawater. One tank was fed mussels harvested from the rock outside, and the other frozen squid. Starfish fed frozen squid remained healthy, while the ones fed mussels developed wasting syndrome.

The small sample size has prevented researchers from jumping to conclusions, but experts feel further research on the hypothesis is warranted. Scientists at Cornell have narrowed down a list of pathogens which they suspect could be responsible, and expect to publish their research in a scientific journal.

So far, warmer waters, pathogens and radiation resulting from the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown have been blamed for sea star die-offs, but until the completion of more research, an answer is unlikely.

Without sea stars, the fate of aquatic ecosystems is unknown. These intertidal apex predators are considered a “keystone species,” whose extinction would most likely have a domino effect on oceanic biodiversity.

Additional sources:

AND ALL THE BIRDS THERE? “Drone video of the week: Drone zips through abandoned cyanide mill”

Drone video of the week: Drone zips through abandoned cyanide mill

For the first installment of Drone Beat’s Video of the Week, here’s a spectacular video of a mini-drone zipping through the abandoned and eerily beautiful cyanide mill in Virginia City, Nevada. The video was shot by Carlos Puertolas, an amateur pilot who works as a digital animator.