Category: Politics

Tax Bill Set to Open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for Oil Development

The GOP-backed tax bill inching closer to becoming law contains a provision that would open up an environmentally sensitive part of the Alaskan tundra for oil drilling. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) spans more than 19 million acres and is one of the last untouched ecosystems in the United States. It is home to over 200 varieties of migratory birds, 30 species of land mammals, and 40 species of fish, and is the only U.S. refuge where polar bears live. Other notable residents include walruses, beluga whales and snowy owls. The land is also the main calving grounds for North America’s largest caribou...

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Huge Setback for Animal Rights as UK Government Fails to Recognize Animals as Sentient Beings

For decades now, the majority of scientists have agreed that all vertebrate animals, (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles) are sentient. However, after an eight-hour-long parliamentary debate, British MPs have failed to recognise animals as sentient beings. Given the chance to vote on the NC30 clause that would have transported the EU’s recognition of animals as sentient beings into UK law, parliament voted against it. As a result, many animal rights advocates are concerned for the welfare of animals in post-Brexit Britain. As the Senior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association, Gudrun Ravetz worries that the against-vote “undermines the government’s precious...

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In This State, People Who Leave Their Dogs in Freezing Weather Will Go To Jail

Pennsylvania has been cracking down on animal cruelty. In June of this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed Libre’s Law, which allows district attorneys to bring felony charges against animal abusers. Libre’s Law is named after a Boston Terrior puppy named Libre, who was found (by a delivery man) surviving in terrible conditions on an Amish breeder’s farm. Libre was present when the new law was signed – he even got his paw print signature on the legislation! Now in effect, Libre’s Law includes stipulations against abuses such as neglect, tethering, and cruelty. As temperatures drop across the state, animal...

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No, Trophy Hunting Does Not Help Save Endangered Species

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed every day by poachers. While it’s clear elephants are endangered, the most effective way to protect them remains hotly debated. A minority of wildlife welfare advocates see trophy hunting as a way to “help” endangered species, arguing that countries can use revenues from hunting permits to fund conservation efforts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service think trophy hunting will help elephants in Zimbabwe In an effort to deter poachers – and their US buyers -in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) suspended elephant-trophy imports from those countries. That...

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If This Dangerous Bill Passes, Industries can Kill America’s Birds Without Question

A bedrock protection for birds native to North America is in danger of being gutted by House lawmakers. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is the key protection for non-endangered birds in the United States. It protects hundreds of bird species, and in its nearly 100-year history has remained largely uncontroversial.  But earlier this week, an amendment that would cripple the Act was quietly added to a larger energy bill. If passed into law, this amendment to the SECURE American Energy Act (H.R.4239) will end the MBTA’s provision that holds industries accountable for bird deaths resulting from their activities. Canada and the...

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Chile Moves Towards a Plastic Bag-Free Future

The president of Chile has signed a bill that prohibits the use of plastic bags in over 100 coastal areas. The move was made with the intention of addressing the stomach-turning amount of plastic that has found its way into oceans. A 2015 study in Science estimated it’s equal to five plastic bags per foot of coastline around the globe. The same study found that humans add 8 million tons of plastic to the ocean every year. Plastic bags are eaten by marine life, causing choking, malnutrition, and death. The amount of plastic that fish and other marine life...

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The US Government’s Climate Change Site No Longer Contains the Words ‘Climate Change’

The Trump Administration has removed links and references to “climate change” from a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. The website was previously entitled “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments” and is now named “Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments.” Fifteen mentions of climate change were removed from the main page. Links to crucial resources for state, local and tribal governments were moved and made less accessible. These changes were noted by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a network of academics and nonprofits working to address threats to environmental and energy policy and to the scientific...

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The World is Facing a Clean Water Crisis We Can No Longer Ignore

In April 2014, the city of Flint experienced something typically reserved for third-world countries and impoverished communities. The city decided to stop using the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department and instead began sourcing the city’s water from the Flint River. Due to a series of unfortunate oversights, including failing to apply corrosion inhibitors in the water, the city’s water began to suffer a major public health disaster via lead contamination. By the time the effects of the contamination began to take hold, between 6,000 and 12,000 children were already exposed to drinking water with higher levels of lead and...

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