Human Population Cycle

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Human Population Cycle

Current world population: 7.4+ billion

world pop growth

Recent Human Population Explosion

Ecologists have described numerous examples of boom and bust population cycles in which the explosive growth of a species’ numbers is followed by rapid decline.  Compared to the population cycles of other species, the human population’s global extent and impact are remarkable.  Our technology has helped us spread across the globe harvesting resources, and changing soil, water, and plant life far more than any other species ever has.

Consequences of Our Population Explosion

Human population impacts take many forms.  Here’s an example that may seem insignificant until one considers how often this happens around the world.

Mere Presence Alone

Common Blackhawk

Common Blackhawk

In 2013, a Blackhawk family moved onto Coldwater Farm [LINK].  The hawks built a nest in a tall Cottonwood down by the Agua Fria River that runs through the eastern edge of the Farm.  Blackhawks are large black birds with a white band across their tails.  They are uncommon and they avoid humans.  This year (2016), I watched the fledglings learning to fly.  Just like the young Red-tailed hawks at the west end of the farm, the young Blackhawks scream in fear and ecstasy as they make those first great diving swoops.  I’m sure the two adults circling above were near collapse with anxiety.

Blackhawks, unlike many other hawk species, will not remain in an area frequented by humans.  At Coldwater Farm, we try to discourage would-be river explorers and hikers, but some get in because we can’t watch constantly.  So far, the number of trespassers has been small, but this could change.  Developers keep trying to alter local zoning restrictions so they can increase housing density around the Farm.  So far, we’ve blocked their efforts.  If they ever win, the number of people tramping along the river will increase.  The same threat extends across the Blackhawk range.  With growing population around the world, sensitive wild animals like the Blackhawks are disappearing.  When human numbers increase along the river, the Blackhawks will abandon their nest, and since there are few remaining quiet waterways in Arizona, those delightful fledgling flights could end forever.

Regulation of the Human Population

Population growth cycles occur because they produce negative feedbacks that limit numbers.  Growing populations consume resources and encourage growth of predator populations.  The same kinds of negative feedbacks will limit the human population.

It’s obvious how we reduce available resources by consuming them and by ruining them with our wastes.  Less obvious, but still familiar, is the way we enhance our predators.  Some plants have the ability to shed chemicals toxic to their herbivore predators.  However, if the plants produce the chemicals continuously, their predators can evolve tolerance to the chemicals.  Thus, the plants lose their defense and are eaten.  Humans enable disease predators by creating and continuously using antibiotics.  Like the plants, we enable evolution of tolerance among our disease predators.

There have been numerous analyses of historical collapses of human societies.  I like the analysis and predictions of our coming global collapse contained in the 1972 book, Limits to Growth.  Scientists recently reanalyzed the book’s research and concurred with the prediction that the first signs of collapse of human civilization will appear in 2020.  Here’s a summary of the research.

Limits To Growth Was Right.  Research Shows We’re Nearing Collapse

By:  Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander (theguardian.com)

“The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse sometime this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

“It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

“Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.

“The task was very ambitious. The team tracked industrialisation, population, food, use of resources, and pollution. They modelled data up to 1970, then developed a range of scenarios out to 2100, depending on whether humanity took serious action on environmental and resource issues. If that didn’t happen, the model predicted “overshoot and collapse” – in the economy, environment and population – before 2070. This was called the “business-as-usual” scenario.

“The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.

“So were they right? We decided to check in with those scenarios after 40 years. Dr Graham Turner gathered data from the UN (its department of economic and social affairs, Unesco, the food and agriculture organisation, and the UN statistics yearbook). He also checked in with the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the BP statistical review, and elsewhere. That data was plotted alongside the Limits to Growth scenarios.

“The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. The data doesn’t match up with other scenarios.

“These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. The dotted line shows the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2100. Up to 2010, the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.  Graphs:  Faint and dotted lines, Limits to Growth “business-as-usual projections.  Heavy lines, the newly added data.

“As the MIT researchers explained in 1972, under the scenario, growing population and demands for matLimits-Populationerial wealth would lead to more industrial output and pollution. The graphs show this is indeed happening. Resources are being used up at a rapid rate, pollution is rising, industrial output and food per capita is rising. The population is rising quickly.

“So far, Limits to Growth checks out with reality. So what happens next?

“According to the book, to feed the continued growth in industrial output there must be ever-increasing use of resources. But resources become more expensive to obtain as they are used up. As more and more capital goes towards resource extraction, industrial output per capita starts to fall – in the book, from about 2015.

Limits-Environment“As pollution mounts and industrial input into agriculture falls, food production per capita falls. Health and education services are cut back, and that combines to bring about a rise in the death rate from about 2020. Global population begins to fall from about 2030, by about half a billion people per decade. Living conditions fall to levels similar to the early 1900s.

“It’s essentially resource constraints that bring about global collapse in the book. However, Limits to Growth does factor in the fallout from increasing pollution, including climate change. The book warned carbon dioxide emissions would have a “climatological effect” via “warming the atmosphere”.

“As the graphs show, the University of Melbourne research has not found proof of collapse as of 2010 (although growth has already stalled in some areas). But in Limits to Growth those effects only start to bite around 2015-2030.

Limits-Economy“The first stages of decline may already have started. The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and ongoing economic malaise may be a harbinger of the fallout from resource constraints. The pursuit of material wealth contributed to unsustainable levels of debt, with suddenly higher prices for food and oil contributing to defaults – and the GFC.

“The issue of peak oil is critical. Many independent researchers conclude that “easy” conventional oil production has already peaked. Even the conservative International Energy Agency has warned about peak oil.

“Peak oil could be the catalyst for global collapse. Some see new fossil fuel sources like shale oil, tar sands and coal seam gas as saviours, but the issue is how fast these resources can be extracted, for how long, and at what cost. If they soak up too much capital to extract the fallout would be widespread.

“Our research does not indicate that collapse of the world economy, environment and population is a certainty. Nor do we claim the future will unfold exactly as the MIT researchers predicted back in 1972. Wars could break out; so could genuine global environmental leadership. Either could dramatically affect the trajectory.

“But our findings should sound an alarm bell. It seems unlikely that the quest for ever-increasing growth can continue unchecked to 2100 without causing serious negative effects – and those effects might come sooner than we think.

“It may be too late to convince the world’s politicians and wealthy elites to chart a different course. So to the rest of us, maybe it’s time to think about how we protect ourselves as we head into an uncertain future.

“As Limits to Growth concluded in 1972:  If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.

“So far, there’s little to indicate they got that wrong”.


Will Global Warming Extinguish the Human Species?

The authors of The Limits to Growth did not anticipate the rapidity with which global warming would appear. Of many predictions the book contains, the one for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), based on the 20-year record of observations available at the time was surprisingly precise.  The graph on page 79 of The Limits to Growth shows Lester Machta’s CO2 level projections both forward and backward in time.

Most scientists agree that anything over 380 is dangerous.  The fear is that somewhere on the way to 550 ppm we will pass critical points after which continental ice masses will melt, radically altering climate and causing a large increase in sea level.  The July 17, 2016 level is 404.74; and already the ice has started melting, storms and floods are intensifying, the oceans are warming, and lethal heat waves are expanding.

The human population’s resource use and pollution have already had catastrophic effects on Earth ecosystems.  Those effects will continue to increase, but by 2100, global warming’s impact will become greater than all the others combined.

Most species survive their boom and bust population cycles.  However, the combination of resource exhaustion, antibiotic resistant diseases, pollution, and global warming might do more than reduce our population.  It might rub us out.

We’ve Had the Boom.  Can We Avoid the Bust?

InfernoMany people recognize the dangers of the human population explosion.  In his recent novel, Inferno, Dan Brown’s villain says, “Here I stand with the head of the World Health Organization—the best the WHO has to offer.  A terrifying thought if you consider it.  I have shown you this image of impending misery.”  He refreshed the screen, again displaying the bodies.  “I have reminded you of the awesome power of unchecked population growth.”  He pointed to his small stack of paper.  “I have enlightened you about the fact that we are on the brink of a spiritual collapse.”  He paused and turned directly toward her.  “And your response?  Free condoms in Africa.”  The man gave a derisive sneer.  “This is like swinging a flyswatter at an incoming asteroid.”—Dan Brown.  2013.  “Inferno, a novel.”  Doubleday, New York, page 104.

Other SciFi novels deal with the human impact on the Earth and many are devoted to human experience after a collapse.  In the world of applied science, numerous private and public organizations are trying to find reasonable ways to control our population.  Here’s one example.

Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) Work on Population

CBD.–“Human population growth and overconsumption are at the root of our most pressing environmental issues, including the species extinction crisis, habitat loss and climate change. To save wildlife and wild places, we use creative media and public outreach to raise awareness about runaway human population growth and unsustainable consumption — and their close link to the endangerment of other species.

“There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we’re adding 227,000 more every day. The toll on wildlife is impossible to miss: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate. It’s clear that these issues need to be addressed before it’s too late.

About Our (CBD) Population and Sustainability Work

“The Center has been working to address the connection between rampant human population growth and the extinction crisis since 2009. Our innovative outreach and public-pressure campaigns — like our award-winning Endangered Species Condoms project — focus on common-sense solutions, including the empowerment of women and girls, the education of all people, universal access to birth control, sustainable consumer choices, and a societal commitment to giving all species a chance to live and thrive.”  Continue reading:  Population and Sustainability.

Follow this link for a list of other population organizations.

Is Human Extinction Inevitable?

Without global warming, our resource consumption and environmental pollution would have brought about a collapse from which we could recover, smarter and stronger.  However, global warming has made recovery uncertain.  Glaciers and polar ice caps are melting, sea level is rising, the oceans are warming and becoming acidic, and the weather–heat waves, storms, droughts, and fires–is getting worse.  For insightful analyses of these consequences of global warming, go to Robert Fanney’s blog.  It’s too late to prevent the coming disasters, but if we could stop population growth, fossil fuel burning, road and building construction, and meat consumption today, we might limit the size of the disasters and insure our species’ survival.  Of course, we’re not going to stop today.

Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that humans will become extinct.  Though the coming hardships will exceed the ice ages and anything else we’ve experienced, we are so widely distributed and so adaptable, some of us could survive.  We may decline to small bands picking over Earth’s wasted ecosystems, but even the citizens of Mad Max’s dystopian Earth had a future.  And so might we.

Hothouse 2090: Category 6 Hurricane A Grey Swansong For Tampa | robertscribbler

GR.–“Here’s what you get when a climate expert adds a little drama to scientific projections of what we can expect:  Sea-level rise, massive storms, heat, and failing civilization.  Be sure to read the comments that follow Scribbler’s story.”

Tampa. 2090. Late September.

“The stiff wind running off the Gulf of Mexico felt like a blast furnace. Ocean surface temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit; air temperatures of 113 F, high humidity, and a smell like rotten eggs added to the overall insufferability. Unpleasant was a better word from a better time. Mere unpleasantness had long since fallen away before the new deadly edge that Nature had adopted.

“Tampa’s streets were packed with vehicles but featured only the rare transient foot and bike traffic. Just 15 minutes’ exposure to the brutal four p.m. heat and humidity could swiftly result in heat stroke as a body’s natural cooling systems were overwhelmed by conditions no human physiology could for long endure. The city had long since grown accustomed to the warnings. Anyone wanting to stay healthy remained indoors, huddling close to the blessed vents blasting machine-cooled, filtered air.

“In the heat-scorched streets, elevated many times over to keep above the rising seas, a few diehards still roamed. They sported the latest in cooling accessories — thermal-bleeding fashions were all the rage and had been for at least three decades now. So too were the thin-film sulfur filtration masks, totem-like in their branding and individually styled in patterns of iridescent colors. These were the stylized provisional responses to the gigantic dead zones that regularly painted the Gulf’s waters purple-black with stinking, toxic-gas-spewing bacteria. But today, the waters were sickly green. The stink was merely unbearable and only somewhat unhealthy, thanks to the large and powerful storm now pushing in the bluer off-shore waters and flushing out some of the seaside dead zone.

RCP 8.5(Under RCP 8.5 warming scenarios, the Earth is transformed into a hotter, more deadly place, capable of supporting storms of never-before-seen intensity. Image source: The European Environmental Agency.)”–RobertScribbler.com. Hothouse 2090: Category 6 Hurricane A Grey Swansong For Tampa | robertscribbler

Scientists warn of ecological recession as biodiversity declines

GR.–Population growth, land use, and resource harvests are destroying the Earth’s natural systems.  The study described below reviewed thousands of research reports and concluded that we might have already taken so much from nature that collapse of natural ecological systems–vegetation, soils, animal webs–is inevitable without human intervention.  In other words, it’s inevitable.

Species loss has pushed ecosystems past a danger threshold across more than half of the terrestrial world

Climate News Network.–“Over the decades, in both laboratory experiments and in real-world observations, naturalists have confirmed that as the diversity of living things in a forest or a field or grassland is reduced, so is the ecosystem’s resilience − its capacity to go on supporting life and turning sunlight, air and water into green growth to nourish all other creatures.

“And the greatest changes have happened in the last century or so as human numbers, and human economic exploitation, have soared.

“It’s worrying that land use has already pushed biodiversity below the level proposed as a safe limit,” said Andy Purvis, life sciences research leader at the Natural History Museum in London, and leader of the PREDICTS team.

“Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions, but an ecological recession could have even worse consequences – and the biodiversity damage we’ve had means we are at risk of that happening. Until and unless we can bring biodiversity back up, we’re playing ecological roulette.”  Continue reading:  Scientists warn of ecological recession as biodiversity declines | Climate Home – climate change news

Will Global Food Prices Stagnate as Population Growth Slows?

ErosionGR.–The stability of Earth’s natural systems, the planetary ‘resource infrastructure’ is weakening.  Remember, the Club of Rome projected that collapse begins around 2020. The decline of human civilization will surely bob along only visible as a smooth decent if reconstructed centuries hence.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.–“Global food costs more than doubled since 2000 as population expanded and rising incomes meant more demand for meat…

“My first thought upon reading the following article, many iterations of which made the global news-circuit earlier this month, was that I am glad the FAO and OECD are not in charge of my future planning.

“The article is intended as a report out on the latest release of the two organizations’ annual projections for major agricultural commodities. This report analyses how global and domestic forces are likely to shape agricultural markets over the next decade, while highlighting some of the risks and uncertainties that may influence the agricultural outlook. As you can see, the Bloomberg news-report below gives an extremely Pollyannish view for the next ten years — which defies common sense to a considerable degree.

“However, if you go to the actual report, which this year features a special section on sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll see a somewhat different picture emerge. For example, the Forward of the full report, (PDF) notes the following:

  • …for the [agricultural] sector to meet the expanding demand for food, feed and raw products for industrial uses, significant production growth is needed. This expansion will have to take place in the face of declining land and water availability for many areas in the world, compounded by the effects of climate change
  • … While improvements to the global availability of, and access to, food are expected in the coming years, many countries will continue to be burdened with undernourishment and face increasingly complex issues of various forms of malnutrition…
  • …the challenge of feeding rapidly rising populations [in sub-Saharan Africa] remains formidable. The region has to overcome the challenge of low productivity of agricultural resources in the face of rapid urbanisation, increased globalization, the impacts of climate change, changing diets and the need for creating employment opportunities.

“So, now you know “the rest of the story,” as they say. It is disturbing to think how utterly misinformed someone taking the Bloomberg report at face value would be.”

Global Food Prices Set to Stagnate as Population Growth Slowing (The following is from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-04/global-food-prices-set-to-stagnate-as-population-growth-slowing)

“Food prices will stagnate over the next decade as the population growth rate declines and income expansion in emerging economies slows.

“Food costs will stabilize at a level slightly higher than in the years before the 2007-08 price spike, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said in a joint report. Population growth, the main driver of food prices, will slow to 1 percent annually through 2025, the organizations said.”  Source: Global Food Prices Set to Stagnate as Population Growth Slowing?

Agencies Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize, or Deter Unauthorized Livestock Grazing on Public Lands According to a New GAO Report

GR.–U. S federal land management agencies knowingly allow damage to public land so that ranchers and loggers can make profits harvesting forage and timber.  Excesses that violate agency rules are not penalized.  This needs to stop.  Perhaps criminal charges should be brought against the heads of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior.

 

“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week detailing the extent to which the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have failed to follow agency regulations in documenting and penalizing unauthorized or trespass livestock grazing on federal public lands. The report, entitled Unauthorized Grazing: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Deterrence Efforts, was requested by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. The request came in response to several high profile cases of trespass grazing and a recognition of the devastating ecological impacts it can have on wildlife habitat.

“The report came to several important conclusions. Trespass grazing is pervasive and causes widespread degradation of public lands, agencies do not document it adequately, and the Forest Service trespass fees are too low to be a deterrent.

“The report also highlights the extent to which public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. In 2016, BLM and the Forest Service charged ranchers $2.11 per animal unit month for horses and cattle, and $0.42 for sheep and goats. But, average private grazing land lease rates in western states ranged from $9 to $39.

“In a separate press release, Grijalva stated, “We know we’re leasing public land at well below market value. What we don’t know nearly enough about is the extent or impact of unauthorized grazing on public lands. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management need to bring grazing fees in line with the modern economy and take illegal use of public lands more seriously going forward.”  More:  Agencies Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize, or Deter Unauthorized Livestock Grazing on Public Lands According to a New Report from the Government Accountability Office | The Wildlife News

A Quick Deconstruction of The Guardian’s Latest Population Article

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.–“Yesterday, The Guardian published the following well-written, but considerably off-the-mark essay. Apparently this is what happens when you assign an existentially crucial topic to an on-staff software engineer and a “community coordinator” with lot’s of experience in editing social media posts. Specifically, you get a well-intentioned article, produced by intelligent and skilled individuals, but obviously informed by standard internet searches and infused with so much “journalistic balance” and half-truths that the final product’s value is highly questionable.

“Here are a few items on my laundry list of complaints, several of which are quotes from John Wilmouth, director of the population division in the UN’s department of economic and social affairs. (Wilmouth strikes me as one who truly understands the gravity of the population issue, but is stuck in what amounts to a political office.)”

  • The rate of growth is continuing to slow – the overall growth rate has been falling since the 1970s.” In 1967, a population growth rate of 2.11% acted on a total population of 3.4 billion to produce annual global population growth of 73 million people. Today, a growth rate of 1.1% is acting on an enormous total population of 7.4 billion. This is resulting in even larger annual population growth than in 1967 – over 80 million additional people per year.
  • The number of births has peaked, or has levelled off globally.” From 1995 to 2000, the UN estimates 650 million births occurred. From 2010 to 2015, the UN estimates 699 million birth occurred. This is the highest number ever for a 5 year period, slightly exceeding the 698 million between 1985 and 1990.”  There’s more:  A Quick Deconstruction of The Guardian’s Latest Population Article

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Note to Chandrababu: Family planning is not about class but about women’s rights and choices

GR.– Too few realize that we must find ways to embrace negative population growth.  The quality of life and the longevity of human civilization depend on it.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.– “I was happy to see the following short essay, written by Poonam Muttreja, the Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India. Ms. Muttreja is responding to public remarks made recently by the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu.”

“Naidu is upset that the population growth rate in his state is decreasing, and has focused in on relatively rich citizens as the culprits. He blames the affluent for being content with a small family, and is urging them to have more children. “The ‘one or none’ norm, which gained popularity as a result of the state-sponsored family planning campaign for several years, has lost its relevance now.” He cites Japan’s population decrease as a scary bogeyman.”
“Ms. Muttreja points out that rather than a matter of consternation, a total fertility rate of 1.5 for the state “should should be a matter of great pride.”

.–Determining the size of her family is every woman’s right. For individuals in leadership positions, to make comments to the contrary is regressive and can push back the country’s progress on many fronts. These include India’s goal for population stabilisation, FP2020 – an international partnership of more than 20 governments on family planning – and the Sustainable Development Goals commitments. The debate is not whether the rich should have more children; it is about choices and rights.

Andhra Pradesh has shown a significant reduction in population growth, which should be a matter of great pride, given that the desired fertility rate for the state, as per National Family Health Survey III, is 1.5, indicating that women wish to have less than 2 children.”  Continue reading:  Note to Chandrababu: Family planning is not about class but about women’s rights and choices

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Britain Succumbs to Fear — Europe Shattered by Deteriorating Physical and Political Climate | robertscribbler

GR.– Climate experts are beginning to stop telling us that burning fossil fuel will cause global warming and that we must stop.  Now they are beginning to offer suggestions on how to deal with global warming.  It’s too late to avoid some of the consequences; we’ve past the point where stopping burning fossil fuels would avoid the catastrophes.

RobertScribbler.–“In Central India, during 2016, millions of farmers who have lost their livelihoods due to a persistent drought made worse by climate change are migrating to the cities. The climate change induced monsoonal delays and ever-worsening drought conditions forced this most recent wave of climate change refugees to make a stark choice — move or watch their families starve.

“It’s a repeat of a scene that happened in Syria during 2006 through 2010, but on a much larger scale. A scene that will repeat again and again. In Bangladesh and the other low lying coastal and delta regions of the world, hundreds of millions will be uprooted by sea level rise. In the US Southwest, India, Africa, South America, the Middle East and Southern Europe hundreds of millions more will be uprooted by drought. All because we, as a global civilization, failed to work together to halt fossil fuel burning soon enough and prevent a temperature increase great enough to wreck cities, states, and regions and to start to destabilize human civilization.

(In India, water sources like this Punjab well and major rivers are running dry. Climate change is melting glaciers in the Himalayas even as it is helping to delay the seasonal monsoon. As a result, millions of farmers have lost their livelihoods and are migrating to the cities. It’s a situation similar to what occurred in Syria, but one that is likely to ultimately produce a much larger wave of migrants. Will we, as a global community, do all we can to help and welcome these migrants? Will we provide the systems of global and national equality that are necessary to achieve this result? Or will we fear them, allowing such fear to have a deleterious effect on our various political systems as occurred in Britain last week? Image source: Commons.)  Continue reading:  Britain Succumbs to Fear — Europe Shattered by Deteriorating Physical and Political Climate | robertscribbler

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Brexit – the Animals’ View – Animalista Untamed

GR.– As Radford points out in the article, animals are last on the list of concerns of those wanting to leave the EU.  They are always last.  The British voters want to break the oligarch’s control over their fortunes, but brexit will increase it.  Neither Britain or the EU is effective with nature conservation, but the EU is definitely better than what the brexiteers want.  A petition that you can sign is linked to Radford’s post.

brexitPam Radford (Animalista Untaimed).–

From an animal rights perspective an independent Britain is worrying

“As the pound plummets, billions are wiped off the stock market, the PM resigns, the political parties are in disarray, Scotland looks to leave the UK, and Europe itself looks set to crumble, to many it might seem trivial to say “What about the animals?” But not to me, not to us.

“So what has Europe done for our animals? The EU has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and these are a few of its achievements over the last few years –

  • “In 2012 it banned battery caged hens and
  • “In 2013 sow stalls that cruelly restricted movement, both identified as the worst excesses of factory farming. Millions of farmed animals got a better quality of life
  • “Farming subsidies from the EU enable farmers to uphold higher welfare standards and provide protections for the environment
  • “The EU enacted strict rules to ensure animals are given regular rest, food and drink when being transported, and since 2015, this also applies to journeys that continue outside the EU
  • “The EU ended the use of great apes in animal testing
  • “The EU banned the sale of any cosmetic products that have been tested on animals
  • “The EU is at the forefront of the fight against wildlife crime, contributing millions to protection schemes for elephants, for example, and setting up training and anti-poaching patrols
  • “Last year the EU’s crime-fighting body Europol took an active part in the largest ever international operation against wildlife crime, making over 200 arrests and seizing live animals and animal body parts
  • “In March this year the EU set out a comprehensive EU action plan to crack down on wildlife trafficking
  • “Influential organisations such as the Eurogroup for Animals have access to lobby on behalf of animals at the highest level in Brussels for better protections Europe-wide

“So what will animals lose?”  Continue reading: Brexit – the Animals’ View – Animalista Untamed