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Endangered Species Monday: Rhinoceros sondaicus

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Endangered Species Monday: Rhinoceros sondaicus 

This Endangered Species Post (ESP) Monday I have decided to touch up on the current fate of the critically endangered Javan Rhinoceros of which scientists this month caught yet another rare glimpse of this rather elusive beast within their still natural habitat. (Pic Javan Rhinoceros) 

The Javan Rhinoceros was identified back in 1822 by Dr Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest (March 6, 1784 – June 4, 1838) was a French zoologist and author. He was the son of Nicolas Desmarest and father of Anselme Sébastien Léon Desmarest. Desmarest was a disciple of Georges Cuvier and Alexandre Brongniart, and in 1815, he succeeded Pierre André Latreille to the professorship of zoology at the École nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort. In 1820 he was elected to the Académie Nationale de Médecine.

Unlike the African black and white rhino, you’d be very lucky to catch a glimpse of this stunning specimen of which is classified as a sub-species of the four extant Rhinoceros and, is nearing complete extinction within the wild. Furthermore the subspecies of the Javan Rhinoceros are all extinct too. Known as Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus, Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus, and Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis the three sub-species went extinct from 1930-2011. Below I have included the “documented dates” of extinctions for the three sub-species to the Javan Rhinoceros.

  1. Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus (extinction was formally documented from 1999, however this report needs to be backed up with further historical data to pinpoint an exact extinction and location).
  2. Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus (extinction was formally recorded in 2010, however reports state the very last male was located dead within Viet Nam back in 2011).
  3. Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis (extinction was formally recorded back in 1925).

Please note the Wikipedia article online has confused the (extanct) R. sondaicus with the (extinct) subspecies Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus.

From 1965 Rhinoceros sondaicus was considered ‘extremely rare’ within the wild, then from 1986 to 1994 the species was classified as (endangered). Unfortunately from 1996 the species was again re-classified as (critically endangered) and now no fewer than sixty individuals remain within the wild.  The last sighting of ‘a’ Javan rhino was I believe on the 18th September 2015 at exactly 17:46 hrs within the Ujung Kulon National Park.

Javan rhino’s did cover quite an extensive area ranging from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and probably southern China through peninsular Malaya to Sumatra and Java. Sadly the species is now thought to be inhabiting the Ujung Kulon National Park which is located within Indonesia. Further non-viable (all male) and elderly populations are also claimed to be inhabiting a very small area of Viet Nam.

To date the species is now endemic only to Indonesia, however there are said to be few individuals ‘possibly’ remaining within Viet Nam too.  I must stress though that there has been no official camera trap sightings or actual eyeball sightings of the species in as many years within Viet Nam of which its likely the species “may have gone extinct”.

Regional extinctions of the current sub-species have occurred within the following countries; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar and Thailand. Reports from the 18th September 2015 have also confirmed that the species has taken some ‘fifty years’ to double in size from (50) to now (60) individuals remaining.

From the middle of the nineteenth century the species was practically eradicated due to over-hunting, unregulated hunting, poaching, disease and habitat destruction. The last records of the Javan Rhinoceros within locations not listed above were from 1920 in Myanmar, to 1932 in Malaysia, and 1959 on Sumatra (Indonesia). Up to date records have proven further sightings this year and last year within Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park. The last “known” poached Javan Rhino (sub-species) was said to be from 2010-2011 which was that of the Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus species of which “complete extinction” was formally documented in relation to this specific sub-species of the Rhinoceros sondaicus.

The exact number of individuals noted within the wild is said to be in between 40-60 individuals however due to such small “fragmented locations” its quite difficult at times to know just how many do actually remain, hence the need for increased conservation projects, funding and anti poaching operations to increase. On a good note we know the species is reproducing, unfortunately on a bad note 40-60 individuals is considered near extinct and drastic measures need to be implemented sooner rather than later to preserve the remaining wild specimens.

The second “alleged” location and I stress alleged of the Rhinoceros sondaicus occurs in and around the Cat Loc part (Dong Nai province) of the Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam, with maybe as few as six individuals remaining. Please do remember not to confuse the extinction of the Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus within the same country (Viet Nam) with the Rhinoceros sondaicus that’s considered still extant although possibly believed to be extinct within (Viet Nam). (I will be providing an update in relation to the alleged Cat Tien Javan Rhino R. sondaicus) via my main Facebook site and will correct amend this document accordingly.

Something I do find rather peculiar is that there are currently no Javan Rhinoceros within protective captivity. Records have stated that some twenty two individuals have been recorded within protective captivity though. I do find this rather strange as we have in zoological gardens around the world just about every other species of Rhinoceros to protect its current future for reintroduction back into the wild at a later date – yet the Javan Rhinoceros has literally been left to its own demise. I’ve yet to locate any real reasonable explanation as to why from the mid 1980’s some individuals were not removed from the wild and bred within protective captivity.

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Image: Javan Rhinoceros information graph.

The Javan Rhinoceros currently occurs in lowland tropical rainforest areas, especially in the vicinity of water. The species formerly occurred in more open mixed forest and grassland and on high mountains. Because of its rarity, little is known about its preferred habitat, but it is certainly not naturally restricted to dense tropical forest water. Little is known about the species’ biology and the habitats in which the two remaining populations are found may not be optimal.

The home range size of females is probably no more than 500 ha, while males wonder over larger areas, with likely limited dispersal distance. The species is generally solitary, except for mating pairs and mothers with young. Its life history characteristics are not well known, with longevity estimated at about 30-40 years, gestation length of approximately 16 months (as with other rhino species), and age at sexual maturity estimated at 5-7 years for females and 10 years for males. -IUCN.

Unlike their African relatives the Javan Rhinoceros has a rather small single black horn (typical of Asiatic rhinos). The black market for rhino horns varies with species and price of current horn however it must be noted that the “rarer” the species the more value the horn will provide to the seller. Your average African Rhinoceros horn fetches in the region of $60,000 to $80,000 per kilogram on the black market. However the Asiatic Rhinoceros horn[s] can fetch over or even double this should the species be considered extremely rare.

On a recent visit to Viet Nam I was viewing more Asiatic antique Rhinoceros horn on the black market still selling at higher prices than African rhino horns, however not once did I locate any fresh African horns (2014). So again the need to drastically increase conservation actions, funding and anti poaching patrols is greatly needed. In my own opinion there seems to be way too much funding and awareness pushed into Africa with little progress being seen. Whereas in relation to the Asian Rhinoceros, funding and awareness identical to whats being witnessed in Africa is not even a fraction seen within Asia.

Threats

The cause of population decline is mainly attributable to the excessive demand for rhino horn and other products for Chinese and allied medicine systems. The bulk of the remaining population occurs as a single population within a national park and the population size in Ujung Kulon National Park is probably limited to the effective carrying capacity of the area (around 50 animals). One possible threat to this population is disease. In addition, such a small population faces a constant threat from poachers, although there is evidence that current poaching levels are under control. The Cat Loc population may be too small to be viable, and no breeding has been observed for many years, and it is possible that the animals are too old to breed. The population is so small that all the animals could be of the same sex.

While we have in the past month witnessed new Javan sightings and evidence of reproduction the Javan Rhino is by far nowhere near from danger. As explained above disease could wipe the entire fifty to sixty remaining individuals out. Furthermore while poaching levels are currently under control – it will only take a single individual or group of poachers to gather intelligence on the remaining populations thus exterminating the entire wild populations indefinitely.

My name is Dr Jose C. Depre, thank you reading and please be most kind to share and make aware the current plight of our Asiatic Rhinoceros.

Dr Jose C. Depre

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 

NB: Please note that while there have been “reported sightings” of the R. sondaicus in Viet Nam there is no up to date data that proves this species is still endemic to the country of Viet Nam. 

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Embassy Day: For Cats and Dogs in the Horrific Meat Trade.

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EMBASSY DAY: 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015  WWW.SAYNOTODOGMEAT.NET

Did you know on the 17th September 2015 from 11:00am the Australian organisation www.saynotodogmeat.net, registration 49 860 343 527 will be hosting peaceful demonstrations around the globe within nine major cities? Embassy Day forms the first (governmental) lobbying in relation to #OperationUnite 2016. Embassy Day will be the organisations second largest demo since April 4th 2015. Back in April Say No To Dog Meat made history by hosting the worlds largest anti pet meat demo in over twenty five countries.

On the 4th April 2015 the Say No To Dog Meat family hit the streets internationally in their thousands marching for dogs and cats in the horrific pet meat trade.  The main April protests were non-governmental, however was a reminder that should the (eight governments) the organisation are lobbying not respond to the polite requests from the Aussie organisation. The next step would be Embassy Day, September 2015. Finally after Embassy Day, the organisation will then begin gearing up for phase two of Operation Unite 2016 that will be held October 2nd and 3rd 2016. Followed up with #OperationUnite comes the new #lovefamily campaign too.

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Image: (SNTDM) supporter, #lovefamily campaign.

September 17th 2015 will see demonstrators lobbying South Korean embassies within Los Angeles, United States and Ottawa, Canada. Then in New York the Indonesian embassy, followed up with the Cambodian embassy in Seattle, United States will be demonstrated. Meanwhile within the United Kingdom the Vietnamese embassy will be peacefully protested in London, followed up with the Indian consulate in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Nigerian embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa will follow soon after. The Thailand consulate within Perth and Philippines consulate in Brisbane, Australia will be peacefully lobbied too.

Donna Armes, campaign manager and director confirmed that all embassy consulate generals and ambassadors had been sent communications months before Embassy Day was planned. Furthermore the campaign manager stated a second electronic communication had been sent and received by embassy staff informing them about the peaceful protests, and why the organisation has been forced to lobby all nine embassies. Embassy staff, consulates and ambassadors have failed to acknowledge the Aussie organisations peaceful plans which is a little frustrating but then the organisation didn’t expect a reply anyway.

Say No To Dog Meat volunteers and directors will begin the ‘peaceful demonstrations’ with an up to date speech on current and past issues in relation to both ‘Asian and African’ dog and cat meat trade outside of each embassy. After the main speech the public can stay or depart of which the organisations volunteers and directors will then be handing into the embassies all data and petitions.

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 Image: Nigeria, woman prepares dog carcass for [404 joint delicacy, peppered dog soup]. 

Each petition contains from 10,000 to 200,000 signatures. Statistics on pet meat consumption death rates, virus and disease, regulations and violations of current standing law, predictive model data research, food hygiene violations will be handed into the consulate generals and ambassadors too. Presidential letters will also feature within the pack of which each government has a set six to eight months to respond. The organisation is not expecting an immediate or even positive response, of which OPERATION UNITE will continue to go ahead come October 2016.

For the very first time in history the Indian and Nigerian embassies will be lobbied by the organisation in relation to the Indian, Nagaland and Nigerian pet meat trades. Nigeria is the largest dog meat consuming country on the continent of Africa and third largest on the planet. Furthermore deaths from consumption of diseased or rabies infested pet meat has skyrocketed this year alone with some eighty people dead already. Meanwhile the Indian Nagaland state loses on average an estimated forty people a year via the direct consumption of rabies infested dog meat. Rabies is also on the rise in both pet meat consuming zones. India is where 85% of all human rabies deaths occurred between 1995 and 2004. Over this period there were 21404 rabies deaths a year there. Death rates for 2014 are yet to be seen.

“About 3.5 million dog bites are registered every year in India. The Government cannot give vaccine free of cost to all people. From 2006, the price of vaccine has increased…”

Despite many protests against the South Korean Bok Nal pet meat trade that began in June and ended in the first week of August. The South Korean government took no notice of expert knowledge, scientific data or petitions handed to them. Instead they allowed traders to continue the horrific disease riddled trade, and took little notice of their own laws and guidelines implemented to protect dogs and cats in meat trade. Dare we ask what the point is in introducing animal protection laws, just to allow native citizens to continue violating them?

From 2013-2015 Say No To Dog Meat has vainly lobbied the Viet Nam health minister and president Trương Tấn Sang to bring an end to the pet meat trade. On the 19th August 2014 reports issued by the (World Health Organisation) confirmed that deaths rates had increased slightly to forty (per year), however its estimated that some one hundred people die annually from rabies infection.

Despite the Aussie organisation sending more than enough scientific evidence to the Vietnamese health minister and president the trade continues. From 1995-2004 the then death rate from rabies in Viet Nam stood at some 1,550. Since 2004 the Vietnamese pet meat trade has increased. Death rates continue to increase within the country from the direct consumption of diseased pet meat, statistics from 2014 showed many of these deaths were infant related either bitten by dogs on private land or from consuming rabied infected dog and cat meat.

March 16th 2009 the Vietnamese government were handed third party data from; National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, Viet Nam that stated; “Most Rabies deaths in Vietnam were from the direct Butchering and eating of either dog or cat meat”.

Vietnamese researchers confirmed;

“In Viet Nam, dogs with rabies have been detected in dog slaughterhouses and workers at dog slaughterhouses are vaccinated against rabies as part of the national programme for rabies control and prevention. However, the private slaughter of dogs is relatively common in the country which increases rabies infection rates”

“Vietnamese doctors already consider dog slaughtering to be a risk factor for rabies transmission, but it is important that other health care workers and policy makers, both in- and outside Vietnam, are aware of this risk factor”

Dog and cat meat trade is now finally illegal within Thailand, unfortunately this doesn’t stop traffickers from snatching dogs and transporting from Thailand into the Viet Nam. Yes the trade may indeed be illegal, but again our own investigative journalists have located street traders openly selling and smuggling unhygienic meat in rural communities.

Back in 2013 [Life With Dogs] stated; “In the past week, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have signed a deal with the intention of ending the importation and sale of dogs to be used as food. This move was initiated by their governments because of the involvement of animal welfare group Asia Canine Protection Alliance. The ACPA is comprised of four notable animal groups: Animals Asia, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Soi Dog Foundation.

We are now in 2015 and as yet [SpeakupFortheVoiceless] and [SayNoToDogMeat] have yet to witness any such decrease of trade within Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Trafficking and snatching of pet dogs and cats continues within Thailand feeding the trade within the Viet Nam and China. Why has it taken from 2013 to do nothing?  One only has to walk the streets of Hanoi, Saigon, Hoi An and Ben Tre to witness dog meat traders more than active. On June 30 2015, police from Sakol Nakorn intercepted a truck carrying the butchered remains and carcasses of more than 100 dogs. The truck was heading for Tha Rae, [the traditional home of Thailand’s dog meat trade]. Yet trade is illegal!

Within the Philippines the government has introduced tough and stringent laws with regards to pet meat traffickers and peddlers (Please click the links to view current data from government). Say No To Dog Meat recognizes the Philippines as one of few Asiatic countries on the continent that has taken the pet meat trade seriously. Despite a law banning the killing and maltreatment of dogs (Animal Welfare Act of 1998), dog-eating and the industry that supplies it continues particularly in the northern part of the country. Back in June 23 2013, some 12 dogs were rescued in San Pedro Laguna, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Philippines government aims to eliminate the country’s dog meat trade by 2016, AKF Head and Legal Counsel Heidi Caguioa told Rappler [2014]. Eradication means no more dog meat traders and no more dog meat restaurants. Say No To Dog Meat will be lobbying the Philippines embassy within Brisbane, Australia calling on the government to strengthen the current Animal Welfare Act 1998 and Rabies Act 9482.

Finally Say No To Dog Meat volunteers will be lobbying the Indonesian embassy calling on the government to enact law and close down all known dog meat markets. The Indonesian dog meat trade is allegedly associated with the Minahasa culture of northern Sulawesi, Maluku culture and the Bataks of northern Sumatra, where dog meat is considered a festive dish, usually reserved for occasions such as weddings and Christmas. While Say No To Dog Meat and our comrades Animal Defenders Indonesia, Surabaya Tanpa Dog Meat, Bali Adoption and Rehabilitation Center would like to believe this, the trade on dog and cat meat actually occurs every day of the month.

This September 2015 please unite with Say No To Dog Meat this Embassy Day 2015. For more information please contact the organisation here via email: contact@saynotodogmeat.info

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Image: Say No To Dog Meat, Team Perth. 

Chief Executive Officer. 

contact@saynotodogmeat.info


Endangered Species Monday: Eos histrio

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Endangered Species Monday: Eos histrio

This Monday’s endangered species watch post I speak about an all time favorite bird of mine commonly known as the red and blue Lory. Generically identified back in 1776 as the Eos histrio, the species of bird is unfortunately listed as endangered. (Image: Eos histrio) 

Identified by Professor Philipp Ludwig Statius Muller (April 25, 1725 – January 5, 1776) Dr P.L.S Muller was a German zoologist. Statius Muller was born in Esens, and was a professor of natural science at Erlangen. Between 1773 and 1776, he published a German translation of Linnaeus’s Natursystem.

The supplement in 1776 contained the first scientific classification for a number of species, including the dugong, guanaco, potto, tricolored heron, umbrella cockatoo, red-vented cockatoo, and the enigmatic hoatzin. He was also an entomologist.

Endemic to Indonesia populations are decreasing like many birds of its kind now within the country. The red and blue Lory was listed as endangered back in 2012 of which population sizes haven’t really increased since this time-frame. Back in 1999 a rather crude evaluation was undertaken by scientists that estimated the population to be standing at roughly 8,500 to 21,400 birds. This evaluation would then place the number of “mature individuals” at a rather depressing 5,400 to 14,000, hence its qualification for the listing of [endangered].

Red and blue Lory can be mostly found on the Talaud Islands (almost exclusively on Karakelang) off northern Sulawesi, Indonesia although, it was previously known to be abundant. Populations have declined fiercely on Karakelang of which its population sizes as explained stand at around 8,500 to 21,400 birds. The nominate subspecies, known from the Sangihe Islands, is probably now “extinct” however, further scientific evaluations around have still to confirm a sub-species extinction.

Diet will normally consist of fruit and insects of which the red and blue Lory will normally collect said foods in dense forest and woodland. Coconut nectar and cultivated fruits from agricultural land have been documented to be part of the red and blue Lory’s diet too.

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Image: Suspected extinct sub-species; Extinct subspecies E. h. histrio and E. h. challengeri. 

Red and blue Lory’s are recorded at high densities in primary rain-forests rather than low densities. The species will at times tolerate some secondary rain-forest however, it must be noted high density primary rain-forest remains the – birds preferred habitat. E. histrio are not known to commonly build nests like some species of forest dwelling bird do within the family of Psittaculidae. Normally the species can be witnessed nesting within holes in trees which at times is rather comical if you’ve ever seen the species in the wild as I have.

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Image: Red and blue Lory – mates forever. 

Breeding time is quite typical from May through to June however, some reports have suggested that the species may nest through to June and/or  January. Red and blue Lory’s are not known to be a migratory species however will at times locally migrate to local islands out of Indonesia to roost. These movements though must not be considered or documented as migratory.

Listed on appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species wild flora and fauna (Cites) the species faces many threats highlighted below for your attention;

Threats

Trade represents a significant and on-going threat to the species. It was widely trapped as early as the 19th century. In 1999, research suggested that as many as 1,000-2,000 birds were being taken from Karakelang each year, 80% (illegally) to the Philippines. This is compounded by the extensive loss of forest, perhaps the main factor underlying its disappearance from Sangihe. The reasons behind habitat loss are small-holder agricultural encroachment into primary forest and (illegal) commercial logging. Furthermore, in 2003 there were plans to develop a commercial banana plantation on Karakelang. The use of insecticides and the transmission of disease via escaped cage-birds to wild populations, have been identified as a further potential hazards.

While conservation actions are underway the species continues to decline at astronomical rates. I doubt that the species will still be around by the time I hang up my gloves and retire. Extinction is sadly looming, occurring all over Asia at alarming rates, its highly unlikely the red and blue Lory will pull through.

 

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 

 

 


Endangered Species Friday: Ailurops ursinus

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Endangered Species Friday: Ailurops ursinus

A. ursinis was identified back in 1824 by Dutchman Dr Coenraad Jacob Temminck – (31 March 1778 – 30 January 1858) was a Dutch aristocrat, zoologist, and museum director. Listed as vulnerable the species is endemic to Indonesia on the island of Sulawesi of which there remains limited data on this rather fine specimen of marsupial that resides in the family phalangeridae. (Image: Young Bear cuscus)

Populations of the (Bear cuscus) as its commonly known continue to steadily decline even though there are limited – conservation measures in place protecting the species (There remains as yet no data on population size). The Bear cuscus has practically gone extinct within the Tangkoko-DuaSudara Nature Reserve of which a staggering 95% decline has been recorded within the region alone of which the primary threat within the nature reserve is hunting and trade for pets.

North Sulawesi has also seen a staggering decline identical to the population decreases documented within the Tangkoko-DuaSudara Nature Reserve too. Yet again hunting and the illegal pet trade are very much responsible, and may very well within the next five to ten years lead to a complete extinction occurring.

As much as I myself hate to say it I am pretty certain from viewing statistical data past and present that extinctions are going to occur even sooner than predicted. Should extinctions occur it proves yet again that poaching is having a disastrous effect onto just about every African and Asian species known.

Habitat loss and forest clearance are all playing a pivotal roll at decreasing populations of this beautifully attractive marsupial. As a conservation and botanical scientist sometimes I wonder to oneself why we even bother to help species of animals and flora when some governments show no support, or respect whatsoever in our quest to protect and serve. Then I remember, my children and their children’s heritage is just as important as mine and the teams fight to protect.

Bear cuscus are known as arboreal marsupials meaning, they mostly thrive and spend the majority of their peaceful and playful lives within trees and dense forest. Unfortunately these forests and trees are slowly dwindling in size primarily for land clearance to support local farms and communities and, not forgetting slash and burn activities. I cannot begin to imagine what these creatures think and feel when destructful and greedy humans destroy their homes and pastures.  The feeling of not-knowing-when such harm is to be inflicted must be terrorizing for them.

The genus contains the following single species that is known to be related to the Bear cuscus; Ailurops melanotis that inhabits the Salibabu Island listed as (critically endangered) and endemic to Indonesia on the island of Sulawesi. Typically found in undisturbed tropical lowland moist forests, this species does not readily use disturbed habitats, thus it is not usually found in gardens or plantations. It is a largely diurnal and as explained a arboreal species that is often found in pairs. Diet usually consists of a variety of leaves, preferring young leaves, and like many other arboreal folivores it spends much of its day resting in order to digest similar to the Koala bear of Australia.

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Image: Bear cuscus relaxing in the canopy of Tangkoko

The only known conservation actions that are taking place are within in few protected areas, that include: Tangkoko-DuaSudara Nature Reserve, Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, Lore Lindu National Park, Morowali National Park, and a host of forest reserves. This species is nominally protected by Indonesian law. Unfortunately even though the species is protected the illegal pet trade still continues of which I myself have on many occasions located small pet shops in Indonesia selling Bear cuscus from rusty, cramped cages.

Threats

The species is threatened by habitat loss due to clearance of forest for small-scale agriculture and through large-scale logging. It is also heavily hunted by local people for food, and collected for the pet trade. Cuscus hunting forays are often planned before special occasions (e.g., birthday celebrations) in order to provide future guests with the greatly appreciated meat. (These inferences are based on some six months of residence among Alune villagers in 1993–95, which included participation in forest activities and standard ethnographic data collection.)

Thank you reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre 

Environmental and Botanical Scientist. 

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Please donate by clicking the link below and help the board of directors establish their Viet Nam pet and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation clinic today. Without your help we cannot take dogs, cats and small bush meat animals of the streets and into safety. No donation is to small and all donations are greatly and kindly appreciated.

Please donate here:

https://www.facebook.com/SayNoToDogMeat/app_117708921611213

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Thank you.

Stay up to date with African and international environmental and animal welfare affairs here:

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Endangered Species Monday: Cuon alpinus.

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Endangered Species Monday – Cuon alpinus.

Dhole – Reckless and Daring.

This Monday’s endangered species article we focus on a rather undocumented species of wild dog in the family of canidae generically identified as the Cuon alpinus back in 1811 and commonly named as Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog or just Red dog.

The species was scientifically named by Berlin born Dr Peter Simon Pallas (22 September 1741 – 8 September 1811) was a German zoologist and botanist who worked in Russia. A number of animals were described by Pallas, and his surname is included in their common names, including: Pallas’s cat, Pallas’s long-tongued bat, Pallas’s tube-nosed bat, Pallas’s squirrel, Pallas’s leaf warbler, Pallas’s cormorant, Pallas’s fish-eagle, Pallas’s gull, Pallas’s sandgrouse, Pallas’s rosefinch, and Pallas’s grasshopper warbler. Also, he is honored in the specific epithet of scientific names of animals described by others, including: Pallas’s pika (Ochotona pallasi), Pallas’s reed bunting (Emberiza pallasi), and Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii). (Wiki).

The Dhole is currently listed as (endangered) of which its populations are still decreasing quite rampantly. Although declines are still being documented the species remains native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Thailand and finally Viet Nam.

Within central eastern Asia there still remains no confirmed reports of Dhole populations of which the species was once endemic to this range. However as the species has yet to be declared extinct within countries of eastern Asia we must continue to make public that the species may still be true to this region of south east Asia. Recent reports have stated the species was seen within Jiangxi district, south China, however, outside of this area no other confirmed sightings have been noted now for some years within the Tian-Shan Range.

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Few sketchy reports have vaguely confirmed that the species was seen (2006) Qilian Shan in north-western Gansu Province. Meanwhile the Dhole still remains within Tibet of which forestry officers and locals confirm the species as “commonly viewed” which is at least a positive note despite populations declines over much of the species endemic range. North Korea was once known to hold Dholes however due to the communist states strict rules and no-go-areas its difficult to document or research on the species. If North Korea does indeed hold Dholes environmental research teams must be granted entry to secure the species from any localized extinction occurring.

South of the River Ganges, India Dholes are still very commonly viewed despite large human population increases, species displacement, human species conflict and, habitat fragmentation. Central, eastern and western India Dholes are still known to inhabit again, commonly. Research teams continue to pick the species up within north eastern India in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, and West Bengal too. Further reports place the species within the Ladakh area of Kashmir, which is contiguous with the Tibetan highlands in China.

In Bhutan, there have been recent press reports that Dholes have recovered from a government-initiated mass poisoning campaign in the 1970s and there have apparently been numerous recent incidents of Dholes killing livestock in the lower Kheng region. Two recent, independent, eye-witness reports identify Dholes in six protected areas in Bhutan. In some regions, Dhole predation on wild boar (Sus scrofa) may be viewed in a positive light by local people. Wild boars are known to injure and in some cases fatally wound the locals.

Reports still cannot confirm if the species is present within Bangladesh. In Indochina, Dholes probably ranged over all or almost all of Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand, although reliable site-specific information is scarce. Present distribution is highly fragmented and large parts, particularly of Viet Nam and Thailand, are without any regular occurrence of Dholes, although they persist in a number of protected areas.

The species’ historical range probably included all or most of the Malaysian peninsula and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, but reliable information is scarce. Current distribution is poorly known but is thought to be highly fragmented. On the Malaysian peninsula, Dholes are known to occur in four sites in northern and central areas of the peninsula (from recent camera-trap surveys). On Java, Dholes appear to be most common in the protected areas at the eastern and western ends of the island. On Sumatra, very little is known, but Dholes are known to occur in major protected areas in the southern, central, and northern parts of the island (e.g., from camera trapping)..  There is no reliable evidence of the presence of Dhole in Turkey.

Within some areas Dholes are known to inhabit the same areas as Tigers and Leopards however, due to increasing poaching attacks these areas are not being made public. Its quite likely though that poachers may use the Dhole as a point of interest to illegally monitor and poach Tigers and Leopards. Competition between the Dhole, Leopard and Tiger is mostly avoided due to differences in prey. Some reports have been duly noted of Dholes actually attacking Tigers causing them considerable damage and in two known cases Dhole packs have been documented as killing Tigers.

One would be led to believe that the Tiger has no real predators however, when a Dhole or Dhole pack confronts a Tiger the Tiger will on most occasions retreat up a tree or high rocky incline.  Dholes are known to “mob” Tigers for a considerable time should they feel threatened or malnourished. Reports have shown that Dholes are more than able to fend off Tigers and in most cases will if threatened or in search of food maim or fatally wound the Tiger. Dholes are quite able to defend themselves too and have the canines to easily kill and take on Tigers in Tiger habitat. Interactions between the Dhole, Tiger and Leopard has been documented however very little eye accounts or video footage show such species species conflict.

One of the very earliest reports of “Indian wild dogs” attacking Tigers can be viewed below for your immediate attention and information.

Tigerdholes

Image: A Tiger Hunted by Wild Dogs (1807) by Samuel Howitt. This is one of the first illustrations of the species, featured in Thomas Williamson’s Oriental Field Sports. The depiction though is based on Williamson’s description of the animal as resembling the Indian pariah dog.

Threats

Depletion of prey base: Across almost all of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam, as well as within protected areas, ungulates occur at levels well below natural. All species of ungulate except muntjacs, pigs, and in some areas southern serow (Naemorhedus sumatraensis) are ecologically or fully extinct across extensive parts of the region. Only a few of the largest wildernesses support nearly intact species assemblages and even in these, the larger species (Bos spp., Cervus spp., hog deer Axis porcinus) are very rare.

This situation will likely hinder any possibility of recovery by the region’s Dhole populations, even if the other issues could be addressed. While not as depressed as in Indochina, prey levels in Indonesia also exist at levels much below carrying capacity (because of illegal hunting and habitat degradation). In protected areas in southern and central India, where Dhole numbers are stable, prey densities are high. In north-east India, prey densities are very low in protected areas with Dholes.

Habitat loss and transformation: Currently, extensive areas of natural or semi-natural vegetation remain in Lao PDR and Cambodia, some areas encompassing many hundreds of square kilometres of potential Dhole habitat. However, habitat conversion and fragmentation are proceeding apace. In Viet Nam, very few natural areas of over 50 km² remain. Habitat loss and fragmentation is a major threat to protected areas in Indonesia, particularly those on Sumatra. Habitat loss and degradation are also serious threats to Dholes in South Asia and the disappearance of Dholes from many of the forested tracts in India has been attributed in large part to loss of habitat.

dhole-pack

Persecution: This certainly occurs in Indochina, although it is unclear how often. In Indonesia, too, it is a threat but again its significance is unknown. In India, such persecution can play a serious role in limiting local populations. Dholes living outside or on the edge of core protected areas are particularly vulnerable to human kleptoparasitism, snaring (non-selective) and direct persecution. For example, during a radio-tracking study in 2000, in the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve, central India, at least 16 out of 24 Dholes in one pack died from a sudden strychnine poisoning. In southern India, such persecution is moderate to low and often occurs indirectly when cattle graziers and others inadvertently go close to Dhole dens and disturb adults and pups, disrupting breeding and rearing. “By-catch” in snares and other traps is probably a significant threat to Dholes across Indochina at least.

Competition with other species: Apparently, free-living dogs have been seen and/or camera trapped in many parts of Indochina, but there is no evidence for existence of large populations. Undoubtedly, the main competitor for prey species in Indochina is people. There is no evidence that feral dogs are significant competitors with Dholes in Indonesia. In many parts of their range, Dholes are sympatric with Tigers and Leopards and so the potential for significant interspecific competition for prey exists, especially if the prey populations are reduced as a result of hunting by people.

Disease and pathogens: Particularly those transmitted by feral and/or domestic dogs (e.g., mange, canine distemper, parvovirus and rabies). The significance of disease is unclear in Indochina, but diseases are a significant threat in South Asia and probably in parts of Indonesia. There is no widespread exploitation for fur or other purposes, though medicinal use should be investigated in China..

Thank you for reading. 

Dr Jose C. Depre 

Chief Environmental and Botanical Environmentalist (CEO)  

info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org

www.saynotodogmeat.net

www.saynotodogmeatevents.info

contact@saynotodogmeat.info

www.international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

 


Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.

nepal animal cruelty 2

“Could a being create the fifty billion galaxies, each with two hundred billion stars, then rejoice in the smell of burning goat flesh?”

Sacrificial animal slaughter for religious reasons and beliefs is cruel and barbarically outdated. Back in 2012 in Sri Lanka I was disgusted to see a mass killing ritual involving hundreds of mainly men and young boys decapitating goats and other small mammals to the sheer delight of the baying crowds. Since my visit a Sri Lankan court has allegedly banned any sacrificial killings for religious purposes as of 29 August 2013. The cruel and inhumane practice still goes on though.

A complete list of religions across the world that involve animal sacrifice would be impossible to compile, as it is still a part of a variety of indigenous practices. However, in the West, very few religions involve animal sacrifice.  Animal sacrificial killings take place all over the world and documenting on them all would take a life time.

Back in 2009 in Benin I was somewhat shocked to see a practice of animal sacrifice known as Santeria, shocking and nauseating Santeria is a syncretic faith that blends traditional West African magic and practice with Caribbean tradition and Roman Catholicism. There are more than 250,000 practitioners of Santería in the world but only two Santeria temples, neither of which is in the continental United States. Thus, home sacrifice is not only the norm, but a crucial aspect of Santería, without which Santería would effectively cease to exist.

Nothing is more grotesque though than the Hindu Gadhimai animal sacrificial festival. The world’s largest practice of animal slaughter of which only four legged animals are allowed to be slaughtered under religious practice of which some 500,000 animals ranging from pigs, buffalo (being the most common), goats, chickens and even dogs are barbarically slaughtered to please the o-holy great  Gadhimai. Gadhima is the name of one of the Hindu goddesses of power, though the term usually refers to the world’s biggest animal sacrifice conducted at the Gadhimai temple area in central Terai of Nepal.

Animals are sacrificed as part of the Hindu festival, with the hope that the sacrifice will lead to the fulfillment of wishes by the goddess.  It is estimated that more than 250,000 animals were killed during the period of sacrifice in 2009 while 5 million people visited Gadhimai during the festival. This centuries-old tradition is observed every five years in Gadhimai premises located in the village of Bariyapur of Bara District of Nepal near the border with India.

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Male domestic Asian water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) (locally called “PaaDa”) are the preferred species to offer to the goddess. Several other species including male goats (Boka), chickens (Kukhura), Pigeons (Parewa), Ducks (Hansh) and some rats (Moosa), are also killed.

Several animal-rights activists protest against this event before and during every Gadhimai festival. The 2009 event drew the attention of celebrities like Maneka Gandhi and Brigitte Bardot, who raised their voices against the killings. Nepal government officials say they cannot stop the centuries-old tradition, despite opposition from animal-rights activists from Nepal and India. Animal rights activists say they are not looking for the practice to end overnight.

Is Gadhimai the worst festival though known to exist? I have viewed some “cultural traditions” that are by far more barbaric and gut wrenching than the Gadhimai. For instance we have Qurbani which in Islam is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid-ul-Adha. The word is related to the Hebrew qorbān “offering” and Syriac qurbānā “sacrifice”, etymologised through the cognate Arabic trilateral as “a way or means of approaching someone” or “nearness”. In Shariah Udhiyya would refer to the sacrifice of a specific animal, offered by a specific person, on specific days to seek Allah’s pleasure and reward. The word qurban appears thrice in the Quran and in once in Sura Al-Ma’ida in reference to animal sacrifice. In the other two places the Quran speaks of sacrifice in the general sense, referring to any act which may bring one closer to Allah. Other appropriate terms are Dhabihah, Udhiyah and Nahar. A fifth term Zabah refers to normal Islamic slaughter outside the days of Udhiyah.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO MAY UPSETTING VIEWERS – 18+ IS ADVISED.

Moving back to Africa a rather unpleasant traditional sacrifice occurs every year known as Ukushwama ritual. I was invited to this festival back in 2007 by a Zulu family that I had been talking to that previous week. On seeing the actual abuse and torture the bull went through I was almost brought to throwing up my previous meal I had that night. The Ukushwama ritual is performed by the Zulu’s of which has been outright condemned by many African animal rights groups. The festival was almost banned back in 2009 however to the dismay of those that fought hard to ban this repulsive tradition it still goes on to this very day.

Back in 2009 Animal Rights Africa tried to sue Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on the grounds that the Ukweshwama ceremony in which a bull is killed is cruel. Activists apparently met with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on the chance that the ceremony would be banned. President Jacob Zuma known for his rather unpleasant public activities that involve the wearing of animal skins to killing magnificent fauna species has also been known to attend Ukweshwama ceremony.

It is alleged the history of sacrifice begins with Adam (sws). According to the Qur’an, when two of his sons, Abel and Cain, presented their offerings to the Almighty, one of them was accepted and the other was not (27:5):‘إذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَاً فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ اَحَدِهِمَا وَ لَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الَآخَر.

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It is explicitly mentioned in the Bible that Able on this occasion had offered the sacrifice of the first born of his goats.

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man’. Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. (Genesis 4:1-5).

Objective of sacrifice;

The objective of sacrifice is to express gratitude to the Almighty. When we offer our life symbolically to the Almighty by offering the sacrifice of an animal, we are in fact expressing our gratitude on the guidance of submission which was expressed by Abraham (sws) by sacrificing his only son. On this occasion, the words uttered to declare the exaltedness and oneness of the Almighty are done so for this very objective. The Qur’an has explained this directive in the following words:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ كَذَلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (37:22)

The flesh and blood [of your sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to your service so that you may give glory to God for guiding you. [This is the way of the righteous] and [O Prophet!] give glad tidings to these righteous. (22:37).

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO DEPICTS HORRIFIC LEGAL ANIMAL ABUSE – VIEWERS ARE ADVISED TO PROCEED WITH CAUTION – FOOTAGE MAY BE UPSETTING.

The Shari‘ah regarding Animal Sacrifice;

The Shari‘ah regarding animal sacrifice that has reached us through the consensus and perpetual practice of the Ummah can be stated thus;

All four legged animals which are cattle can be sacrificed.

Sacrificed animals should not be flawed and should be of appropriate age.

The time of animal sacrifice begins after offering the ‘Id prayer on the 10th of Dhu Al-Hajj (Yawm Al-Nahr)

The days fixed for animal sacrifice are the same as have been appointed for the stay at Mina once the pilgrims return from Muzdalifah. In Surah Hajj, the words ‘أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ  (some appointed days (22:28)) allude to these very days. In religious parlance, they are called ‘The Days of Tashriq’. Besides animal sacrifice in these days, one is also required to declare the ‘Takbir’ at the end of each congregational prayer. Being an absolute directive, the words of the ‘Takbir’ have not been fixed.

The meat of sacrificed animals can also be eaten without any hesitation by those have had them slaughtered and can also be used to feed others. The words: ‘فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ الْمُعْتَرَّ’ (So eat from it your selves and also feed those who are content and those who ask (22:37)) explicitly point to this conclusion.

Picture depicts Russian Muslims sacrificing cattle.

russia-muslims-1

This is the Shari‘ah of animal sacrifice. The Prophet (sws) has also explained some of its aspects:

i. Animals should be sacrificed in all circumstances after the ‘Id prayer. It will not be regarded as the sacrifice of ‘Id if it is offered before the ‘Id prayer; it will be a mere animal sacrifice that one may offer to eat meet.

ii. The appropriate age for a sacrificed sheep or goat is at least one year, for that of a cow, it is at least two years and for camels, male or female, it is at least five years. If these animals are not available, a ram can be sacrificed. It will suffice even if it is six months old.

iii. More than one people can share the sacrifice of camels and cows. These shareholders can even go up to seven. There are some narratives which mention that at one instance in the presence of the Prophet (sws), ten people shared one camel for sacrifice and he did not stop them.

iv. Animal sacrifice can also be offered as an optional act of worship other than on ‘Id. Consequently, when people asked about the ‘Aqiqah, the Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Anyone who wants to offer an animal for sacrifice on the birth of a child can do so.

So just because the Holy Qur’an and Bible state that animal sacrifice is accepted does it give one the right to then brutally slaughter any four legged animals? No it doesn’t, and this brutal practice must end as the torture involved in such culturally accepted traditions is out dated, extreme, abusive and totally immoral. Least forgetting the pain these animals go through is no different to that of any human abusing illegally any animal within the western world. Such abuse would see the perpetrators thrown into prison or given a hefty fine. Abuse is abuse no matter what you call it or how it’s practiced.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTARY DEPICTS LEGAL ANIMAL ABUSE – VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING.

Recently within the Animal Rights Community camels have been displayed brutalised in Islamic traditional practices. There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up. So if they are all made up – meaning such practices are indeed nothing more than a hoax then surely governments locally and internationally that allow such slaughter to continue must now begin to end such horrific animal torture.

Some of them are quite startlingly verisimilitudinous, such as the story of Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24: “Then the servant left, taking with him 10 of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was towards evening, the time the women go out to draw water.”

But these camels are made up, all 10 of them. Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon.

None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place. Whoever put the camels into the story of Abraham and Isaac might as well have improved the story of Little Red Riding Hood by having her ride up to Granny’s in an SUV.

How can you tell whether a camel skeleton is from a wild or tamed animal? You look at the leg bones, and if they are thickened this shows they have been carrying unnaturally heavy loads, so they must have been domesticated. If you have a graveyard of camels, you can also see what proportion are males, and which are preferred for human uses because they can carry more.

All these considerations make it clear that camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000BC. The entire “cultural tradition is based upon a mocked lie”. So now we know this tradition is most certainly complete rancid nonsense of which has been scientifically proven is it right to state that God in both Christianity, Islamic and other faiths is not real? I will leave you to agree or disagree.

Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, the scientists who carried out the research, point out that the domestication of camels was hugely important economically, because they made trade possible over much larger regions of the Arabian Peninsula. But that is not what has provoked excitement about their claim.

Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an. But the peculiarly mealy-mouthed nature of the quotes they gave the New York Times (which is not much concerned with the feelings of Christian fundamentalists) shows where the real problem is.

kapparot-090313

The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.

FACT – Sacrifice, commonly known as Qurbani, means slaughter of an animal in the name of Allah on the 10th, 11th or 12th of the Islamic month of Zil Hijjah. FALSE – In the name of Allah (God) all religious stories surrounding such animal sacrificial events are non-factual. 

Animals used and not preferred for sacrifice –

Animals NOT to be used in sacrificial rituals. 

  1. Castrated four legged animals are the most preferred for animal sacrifice.
  2. Sheep aged six months to a year, but do not resemble a year old sheep
  3. Sheep a day under six months are not allowed
  4. Goat that is a day under one year. Cow, ox or buffalo a day under two years. Camel a day under five years
  5. Undomesticated, wild animals e.g. wild bull
  6. Any other animal beside domesticated goat, sheep, cattle and camel is not allowed for sacrifice?
  7. A blind animal or a sunken eye or an animal with its eye sticking out
  8. A cross eyed animal
  9. A frail weak emaciated animal
  10. An animal born without ears
  11. An animal with more than one-third of its ear cut off
  12. An animal that does not have any teeth and is unable to graze. However if it is able to graze it will suffice for sacrifice.
  13. An animal with the horns broken at the root and the brain is visible
  14. An animal that walks on three legs and does not take support from the lame leg. However if it takes support from the lame leg, it will suffice for sacrifice
  15. An animal with skin disease such as scabies or mange
  16. An animal that is deeply wounded
  17. An animal with cut teats or dried teats
  18. A cut-nosed animal
  19. An animal that is hermaphrodite (both sexual organs exist)
  20. An animal with damaged udders
  21. More than one-third of the tail is cut off

Animals acceptable for sacrifice

  1. An animal which has two-third vision
  2. An animal with a slit ear
  3. An animal born with no horns, or its horns are broken at any point above the skin/ wool
  4. A barren animal
  5. An animals that gets injured during the actual slaughter process is acceptable for sacrifice. It is important to ensure that an injured animal be slaughtered very quickly since the injury can cause infection rendering the animal not fit for consumption
  6. An animal with two-third of the tail intact

Animal abuse; 

Back in 2009 a study challenged whether animals suffered more pain within sacrificial slaughter practices to that of (animals killed in slaughter houses). There has long been tension between animal activists and religious adherents over the sacrificing of live animals. Jewish and Muslim leaders have long argued that the sacrifices are not any more painful than what occurs in slaughter houses.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO known as Qurbani, means slaughter of an animal in the name of Allah. THE VIDEO DEPICTS LEGAL ANIMAL SLAUGHTER/ABUSE – PROCEED WITH CAUTION. 

Animal protection laws in the UK required the stunning of animals before slaughter but exempt live religious sacrifices. Both Islamic halal and Jewish kashrut law require that animals are slaughtered by having their throats cut. The animal must be alive to allow blood to drain freely — a relatively slow death for the animal. Conversely, the Sikh ritual – chatka – is a fast death caused by a sword. It has been alleged that the Jewish slaughter of animals via sacrificial killing has been stopped. This is not as factual as made out to be though.

WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO DEPICTS GRAPHIC LEGAL ANIMAL CRUELTY.

UK law requires that all livestock be stunned prior to slaughter – with the exception of those animals intended for consumption by members of certain religions. Islamic halal and Jewish kashrut law require that animals are slaughtered by having their throat cut – a relatively slow means of death. The Sikh ritual – chatka – is much quicker when done correctly, involving a clean sword strike to the neck. A practitioner of ritual slaughter say the animal must be alive to facilitate the draining of blood – and that throat slitting is humane.

But the new research suggests otherwise. Dr Craig Johnson and his colleagues at New Zealand’s Massey University reproduced the Jewish and Islamic methods of slaughter in calves. The calves were first anaesthetised so although their pain responses could be detected, they wouldn’t actually feel anything. They were then subjected to a neck incision. A pain response was detected for up to two minutes following the cut, although calves normally fall unconscious after 10 to 30 seconds.

Johnson told the New Scientist he thought this work was “the best evidence yet that [ritual slaughter] is painful”. However, he observed that the religious community “is adamant animals don’t experience any pain so the results might surprise them”.

The findings have earned Johnson the inaugural Humane Slaughter Award from the Humane Slaughter Association. Dr James Kirkwood, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This work provides significant support for the value of stunning animals prior to slaughter to prevent pain and distress.”

Adam Rutherford, an editor of Nature, wrote on the Guardian website: “It suggests that the anachronism of slaughter without stunning has no place in the modern world and should be outlawed. This special indulgence to religious practices should be replaced with the evidence-based approaches to which the rest of us are subject.”

Some European countries, such as Sweden, require all animals to be stunned before slaughter with no exception for religions. But such a ban in Britain would be hugely controversial – and would draw inevitable comparisons with the ban on kashrut enacted by Nazi Germany in 1933.

Sacrificial slaughter elsewhere in the world;

Before (anyone) starts condemning the Far East we must also look at ourselves. Back in 2011 in the United States of America (USA) Massachusetts William Camacho was arrested and charged under the animal welfare act for practicing sacrificial animal killings. He stated that the closure of his shop by city officials and police was a “violation of his Afro-Caribbean” belief surrounding the sacrificial slaughter practice known to the “Palo religion”.

Chickens, pigeons and roosters – including one dead bird – were found in the basement of Bad Boyz Cutz, surrounded by religious paraphernalia.The owner of the barbershop, William Camacho, told officials that the birds were for animal sacrifices and claims that closing his shop amounted to religious discrimination.

The animals were found in an inspection of the building by New Bedford Animal Control following an anonymous tip complaining of loud poultry-type sounds coming from the building. The birds — three chickens, two pigeons and four roosters — were penned in wire cages and a cardboard box. They were found in a room with an ornate alter with candles and statues near a wall illustrated with hand-drawn religious symbols.

No cutting implements or evidence of violence was found in the room, Scott Langley, mayor of New Bedford, told ABCNews.com Officials initially thought the animals were being kept as a cock fighting ring, but Camacho, 41, said they were being to be used for animal sacrifice as part of his religion, which incorporates elements of Afro-Caribbean rituals.

“It’s called Palo Mayombe . It’s actually working with the dead and working with the spirits. We use the roosters to sacrifice so that the spirits can eat. That’s the way they eat. It’s a tradition,” he told ABC affiliate WLNE.

Concluding; 

Animal sacrifice within the religious community must now come to an abrupt end. Inhumane slaughter must be abolished and replaced with “humane slaughter”. Although we do not recognize “inhumane slaughter” as a form of animal kindness we have to adopt some form of approach that will eventually see all animals globally given some form of “non-painful” death. As much as we despise all forms of animal slaughter within the meat industry and sacrificial slaughter community we will never see an end to such meat eating practices. So we must therefore continue challenging these communities and countries that fail to adopt such (inhumane slaughter and sacrificial) laws to now impose them based on scientific research tried and tested.

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Take action today – share this document – create awareness – sign the petitions. 

http://www.change.org/petitions/end-animal-sacrifice-in-nepal

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-animal-sacrifice-gadhimai-festival-nepal-mass-animal-sacrifice

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/indonesian-embassy-in-the-uk-stop-animal-sacrifice

http://www.change.org/petitions/city-of-los-angeles-enforce-the-code-banning-kapparot-ritual-animal-abuse

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-west-bengal-officials-from-promoting-cow-slaughter-violating-supreme-court-judgement-suppressing-durga-puja-festival

http://www.petitiononline.com/ifa646b/petition.html

http://forcechange.com/63001/ban-torture-of-bulls-in-south-african-festival/

Thank you for reading; 

Environmental and Botanical African and Asia Director

Dr Jose Calos Depre PhD, EnVstu, Ba, D.V.M 

“Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.”

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