Monthly Archives: May 2014

Exposing the Big Game

Producing nearly 15% of the Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions, the meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change. Slowly, very slowly, movements like Meatless Mondays and Vegan Before 6 have demonstrated the value, and deliciousness, of adopting a vegan diet, but a carnivorous diet is still seen as evidence of prosperity.

In 2009, researchers at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency calculated that global veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by nearly 17%, methane emissions by 24%, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21% by 2050.

The researchers discovered that worldwide veganism, or even just worldwide vegetarianism, would achieve gains at a much lower cost that an energy intervention, like carbon taxes, for instance.

The study demonstrated tremendous value of a vegan or vegetarian diet in staving off climate change, but there are so many other benefits as well. Antibiotic resistance stemming from the meat consumed…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA writes about this video:

To Know the Crow: Insights and Stories From a Quarter-Century of Crow Study

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

American Crows have followed us into our suburban and urban neighborhoods, becoming one of our most familiar birds. They have socially intricate lives, with more complex goals than converging at your local dumpster—in fact, socially, they are probably more like us than any primate. Ithaca is home to the longest running study of marked American Crows anywhere: it is now 26 years since Kevin McGowan first began banding them.

McGowan, a scientist who works in the Cornell Lab’s Education program, and his collaborator Anne Clark, of Binghamton University, gave a seminar about their research to a packed house at the Cornell Lab. Watch this archived video of their talk to hear their crow studies and stories, including tales…

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Echoes in the Mist

Not a jallikattu bull, this bull was rescued from illegal transport by Blue Cross of India. Not a jallikattu bull, this bull was rescued from illegal transport by Blue Cross of India.

By Dr. Nanditha Krishna

May 7th, 2014 will go down in the history of India for the landmark verdict given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to ban the use of bulls for entertainment. This includes jallikattu, rekla (bullock cart) races and horse-and-bull races.

I am extremely delighted and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every one who has worked for years to achieve this verdict.

I must particularly mention and thank Mr Jairam Ramesh who, as Minister for Environment and Forests, banned the use of bulls as performing animals in 2011. Subsequently, the Tamilnadu government permitted jallikattu through the Tamilnadu Jallikattu Regulation Act of 2009, while the Ministry of Environment and Forests withdrew its own Gazette notification through an affidavit to the Supreme Court this year. The Animal…

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Echoes in the Mist

white bull IMG_3725 2 These and other bulls shown are not jallikattu bulls, but were rescued from illegal transport by Blue Cross of India.


By Sharon St Joan

Continued from Part One.


To read Part One first, click here.



“Tamil Nadu will burn.”

Following Jairam Ramesh’s ruling, when the High Court of Tamil Nadu was just at the point of banning jallikattu, the lawyers representing the sport’s promoters issued a dire warning that the jallikattu events for that year were already well beyond the planning stage, and that if they were canceled, then “Tamil Nadu will burn.” This threat of violent civil unrest gave the judges pause for thought, and they declined to ban jallikattu, much to the dismay of animal advocates.

Earlier, on November 27, 2010, the Supreme Court of India had refused to ban jallikattu, despite an appeal by the AWBI. The Court stated that there were already…

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Echoes in the Mist


red bullIMG_3744 2 This is not a jallikattu bull, but one rescued from illegal transport by Blue Cross of India.


By Sharon St Joan

Is the Supreme Court of India on the verge of banning jallikattu? And what is jallikattu?

With a case now before the Supreme Court, there is a chance that this cruel event, an Indian version of the running of the bulls, may be banned.


What is jallikattu?

Early every spring jallikattu events are held in central Tamil Nadu, in south India.

During jallikattu, the bulls are released through a gate. They then run along a corridor between two fences, required to be eight feet high, with crowds of shouting spectators held back behind the fences. In the area through which the bulls run, several hundred young men mill about, and when a bull comes running through the gate, they leap up and grab the hump of…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

Amazon kingfisher, 22 March 2014

In the afternoon of 22 March 2014, we were still in wetlands of Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. Among the birds there, this Amazon kingfisher.

A black-crowned night heron.

A pygmy kingfisher.

Boat-billed heron, 22 March 2014

A boat-billed heron.

A spotted sandpiper flies past.

After the two smaller kingfisher species, Costa Rica’s biggest species on a branch: a ringed kingfisher.

Lesser nighthawk, 22 March 2014

A lesser nighthawk sleeping on another branch.

Yellow-naped parrot, 22 March 2014

A yellow-naped parrot in a tree.

Solitary sandpiper, 22 March 2014

A solitary sandpiper in a pool.

Bare-throated tiger heron, 22 March 2014

A bare-throated tiger heron.

Bare-throated tiger heron, Costa Rica, 22 March 2014

It tries to look like a pole, like bitterns sometimes do.

Great egret, 22 March 2014

A great egret.

Harris's hawk, 22 March 2014

A Harris’s hawk in a tree.

Black-bellied whistling ducks.

A limpkin.

More about Costa, on 23 March 2014, will be on this blog soon.

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news from (and about) the trees

New this week:

Salamander’s Hefty Role in the Forest
The top predator in North American forests is the woodland salamander, who lives under a rock, or a log, or any convenient dark and damp forest habitat. Only a few inches long and weighing well under an ounce, they nevertheless eat a huge number of insects termed “shredding invertebrates,” who cause leaf litter to release carbon and methane into the atmosphere more than if it were simply left on the ground to decay and be covered up by further dropping of leaves.


New Insights into the Make-up of Tropical Forests Could Improve Carbon Offsetting Initiatives –
new studies from enhanced satellite imagery shows that not all species of tree store carbon in the same way. This is a key factor in carbon offset schemes, in which trees are given a cash value according to their carbon content, and…

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