Tag: Government

Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life

The National Marine Fisheries Service has broadly authorized seismic airgun oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The long-awaited final rule comes in response to a court-ordered settlement of a lawsuit brought by environmental groups.

The move promotes the expansion of oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico as the Trump administration leaves office. President-elect Biden promised to end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters during his presidential campaign.

“We need better protections for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, not more oil exploration that will deafen whales and deepen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “President-elect Biden needs to put an end to offshore oil leasing because we are in a climate emergency.”

The rule authorizes oil and gas companies to explore for fossil fuels using seismic airguns that are harmful to whales and dolphins. It allows seismic surveys to harm and harass marine mammals up to 8.7 million times in the Gulf of Mexico over five years.

“This decision ignores years of science on the harms of seismic testing,” stated Michael Jasny, Director of Marine Mammal Protection at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s galling but not surprising that the Trump administration, with one foot out the door, would sign off on continually harming endangered whales for the benefit of polluters.”

The rule estimates that seismic blasting will disturb and harass the Gulf’s Bryde’s whales more times than its entire population of just 33 remaining individuals.

As previously reported by WAN, seismic exploration surveys use extensive arrays of high-powered airguns to search for oil. These generate the loudest human sounds in the ocean, short of explosives. The blasts, which can effectively reach more than 250 decibels, can cause hearing loss in marine mammals, disturb essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances, mask communications among whales and dolphins, as well as injure and kill a diversity of fish and invertebrates.

Prior to the lawsuit, the oil and gas industry conducted seismic surveys for decades without the permits required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. During the lawsuit’s pendency, a settlement compelled mitigation for seismic surveys, avoiding duplicative surveys and certain area restrictions, and required consideration of additional measures to protect the Gulf from future surveys.

The new rule ends that mitigation, adopts less stringent measures, and rejects alternatives designed to reduce harm to marine life. Although the rule improves upon the lawless history of seismic activities, the plaintiffs say it justifies the harm it anticipates only by ignoring the standards in our wildlife protection statutes.

“We need to be phasing out oil and gas activity in the Gulf, not increasing it,” said Brettny Hardy, attorney for Earthjustice. “This rule will allow unlimited and overlapping seismic activity in the Gulf in sensitive areas, like coastal waters. Why are we harming our already imperiled marine mammals to allow thousands of harmful air gun surveys to take place when we are supposed to be heading toward a cleaner future? We need laws to take on the scope and scale of biodiversity loss and harm to communities that depend on healthy ecosystems, not regulations that propagate the destruction of those systems. The only viable answer for our wildlife and our communities is to put an end to offshore drilling for good.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that are calling for the marine mammal protection and environmental review include NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity, Healthy Gulf, and Sierra Club. They are represented by Earthjustice.

The post Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! The UK Government Moves To Ban The Cruel Practice Of Live Animal Exports For Slaughter In England & Wales

UK Secretary of State for Environment, George Eustice, announced plans to ban the export of live animals for slaughter. The move marks the beginning of renewed efforts from the UK Government to raise standards on animal welfare even further, including taking steps to ban primates as pets and crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies.

“We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life. Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter,” Eustice said in a statement. “Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice.”

Live animals commonly have to endure excessively long journeys during exports, causing distress and injury. Previously, EU rules prevented any changes to these journeys, but leaving the EU has enabled the UK Government to pursue these plans which would prevent unnecessary suffering of animals during transport, making it the first country in Europe to end this practice.

An eight-week consultation on the plan launched today in England and Wales to review ways on how to better protect animals during transport.

The government is also consulting on plans to further improve animal welfare in transport more generally, such as:

  • reduced maximum journey times

  • animals being given more space and headroom during transport

  • stricter rules on transporting animals in extreme temperatures

  • tighter rules for transporting live animals by sea

An estimated 6,400 animals were transported from the UK directly to slaughter in continental Europe in 2018.

“There is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be fattened for slaughter,” stated Chris Sherwood, CEO of RSPCA. “Ending live exports for slaughter would be a landmark achievement for animal welfare.”

More plans to improve standards and eradicate cruel practices is expected to be announced in the coming months.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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Breaking! Nairobi National Park In Kenya Receives Title To 2,000 Acres Of Government Land Increasing Space For Endangered Species To A Total Of 49,000 Additional Acres

The government of Kenya has granted a title deed to Nairobi National Park for 2,000 acres of Government land that was formerly known as a Sheep and Goat Research Facility, which is adjacent to the Park. The title was presented by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Center earlier this week.

“Giving the title deed to Nairobi National Park enables the Park to secure the much needed space for wildlife and is a clear testimony of Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement. “We must secure more space for wildlife habitat for posterity.”

The formal acquisition of the title deed means that Nairobi National Park, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife and 100 mammal species including: endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes and giraffes, among many others, will expand from its current 29,000 acres to 31,000 acres under the protection of Kenya Wildlife Service.

The land located on the southern side of Nairobi National Park will provide a wildlife corridor to inter-connect the Park with the Swara Plains and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conservancies.

Last month, ILRI and Swara Plains Conservancy declared 32,000 and 15,000 acres of land respectively for wildlife conservation in Machakos County. This means that the Park will now have 49,000 acres available for wildlife including the 2,000 acres in Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park is the only park in the world within a Metropolitan area. However, it faces threats due to numerous infrastructure developments brought by human settlements adjacent to the park.

Due to reduced space for wildlife in the park, several animal species occasionally move out of the park to the adjacent communities in search of forage and water. In the process, it sometimes results in human-wildlife conflicts outside the park. The newly-acquired land will therefore provide additional habitat to wildlife resulting in reduced conflicts between wildlife and people.

Wildlife corridors are important for maintaining the viability of isolated wildlife populations, genetic connectivity, and conserving ecosystems, ecological connectivity, for balancing environmental conservation and human development needs.

Migration and connectivity corridors are also often central to climate change adaptation strategies by providing options for shifts in wildlife ranges, thereby mitigating habitat fragmentation, degradation, and associated impacts on biodiversity.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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