California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics

October 1, 2018 by  
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A new California law banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics is the first of its kind in the U.S. The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday soon after its inception by colleague and Senator Cathleen Galgiani. The regulations will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, restricting manufacturers wishing to “import for profit, sell or offer for sale” all cosmetics produced with animal testing. Violators will incur a base fine of $5,000, plus $1,000 for each day they continue their illicit activities. Currently, several  animals are manipulated in the cosmetics industry including mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs. A large proportion of these test subjects are killed after experimentation, but not before they have been exposed to possibly irritating or even deadly substances. Susceptibility to hazards is determined by force-feeding or causing the animals to inhale chemicals in order to evaluate toxicity levels. Related: LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur The new California law makes the Humane Cosmetics Act, a federal bill that would eliminate the practice of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, all the more significant. The vital legislature was introduced to Congress last year, but has yet to be passed. Unfortunately, the greatest loophole that remains in the groundbreaking law is an exception for products for which no alternative experimentation procedures exist. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been very lax thus far, simply asking companies to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective” to eliminate adverse effects for consumers. California joins a list of governments, such as the EU, India, Israel and Norway, that have already adopted such a ban. But some countries, including China , require animal testing on all imported cosmetics. These animal-tested products could also funnel through the California legislature’s loopholes — as long as animals weren’t used to determine the safety of a product for sale in California specifically. While there has been a push in China to move away from animal testing, there is also greater incentive for companies to stop animal testing. Companies hope to avoid having to pay for two sets of testing, one set of animal tests for China and another to be able to sell the same products in the EU or California. “It gives greater impetus for [the cosmetics] industry to push for changes in other countries,” said Vicki Katrinak, program manager for animal research issues at the U.S. Humane Society. “We’re hoping that California will just be the start of resolving this issue.” + The California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Via The Huffington Post Image via Siora Photography

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California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics

Volkswagen says it will stop all animal testing

June 6, 2018 by  
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German automaker Volkswagen came under fire earlier this year for funding an experiment subjecting macaque monkeys to diesel fumes — tests PETA  described as cruel and outrageous. But PETA has also  just announced a victory : CEO Herbert Diess told PETA Germany the company would “never again use animals in testing unless required to do so by law.” In January, the New York Times reported  on a study involving 10 macaque monkeys at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the experiment, equipment pulled exhaust from tailpipes of a Volkswagen Beetle and a 1999 Ford pickup. The gas was diluted and sent into airtight chambers where the monkeys were kept. The laboratory played cartoons for the monkeys as they sat for four hours breathing fumes. The Beetle used, provided by Volkswagen, had been rigged to generate pollution levels less harmful in a laboratory than on a street. Related: Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal The European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), funded by Volkswagen , BMW, and Daimler, commissioned the Albuquerque experiment. The group shut down in 2017 during controversy about its work. EUGT wanted the Albuquerque experiment to challenge a World Health Organization finding that classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen. EcoWatch said a new Netflix series called Dirty Money, from which the above YouTube video was taken, also documented diesel emissions tests on monkeys. PETA said due to biological and genetic differences between monkeys and humans, “the results of experiments on them are useless in predicting human responses to things like inhaling diesel exhaust.” They also said LRRI has a history of abusing and neglecting animals. Diess told PETA Germany that Volkswagen will update their code of conduct later in 2018 with the ban on animal testing. PETA credited the victory to communications with company executives, protests at Volkswagen headquarters, and emails sent to the car company. They said over 160,000 people in the United States alone took action. + PETA Via EcoWatch and The New York Times Image via Depositphotos

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Soil Algae aims to improve soil quality through algae cultures

June 6, 2018 by  
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Algae : it’s not just for bodies of water anymore. Algae Research and Supply , a company based in Carlsbad, California that historically provides algae products for educational purposes, aims to bring its algae cultures to farmers across the world through a line of products called Soil Algae , so that farms may improve the health of their soil and boost production. In addition to offering its own algae cultures, Soil Algae also offers products that will allow farmers to cultivate the indigenous varieties of algae found in their fields. “Twenty percent of the microbial biomass in natural, healthy soil is algae, but many farmers only monitor and maintain bacteria and fungi.” said Matthew Huber, Chief Scientist at Algae Research and Supply, in a statement. “We want to bring Soil Algae to the public consciousness.” The company is now running a Kickstarter campaign to do just that. Algae Research and Supply originally became intrigued by algae’s agricultural potential when farmers continued to buy algae cultures from them. Upon digging into research, the company concluded that algae’s benefits for agricultural production should be more widely promoted, particularly as the world faces a crisis of growing populations and degrading soils. Some of the benefits of adding algae directly into irrigation lines include increased water retention through algae-produced polysaccharide, reduced erosion through its cementing effect in soil , more aerated soil, and a reduction of nutrient runoff through a process known as luxary uptake, which also decreases algal bloom in bodies of water. Related: Light-manipulating algae could boost solar power technology Soil Algae, specifically through bluegreen algae or cyanobacteria, is also capable of pulling nitrogen from the air and converting it into usable nitrogen within the soil. The added algae increases soil biodiversity, organic biomass, and the total humus found in soil, all good things for farmers keen to produce in healthy soils. “Algae in our soil has long been neglected but it is nevertheless important for soil ecology . We intend to correct that gap in knowledge,” said Huber. Via Soil Algae Images courtesy of Algae Research and Supply

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Soil Algae aims to improve soil quality through algae cultures

UN releases first "state of plastics" report on World Environment Day

June 6, 2018 by  
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The United Nations has released its first-ever global plastics report on June 5th, World Environment Day. Well-timed and thematically coordinated, the UN “state of plastics” report debuted for this year’s theme, “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Officially named Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability , the report documents the efforts of more than 60 countries to fight plastic pollution by implementing bans or taxes on single-use plastic items, concluding that such policies are the most effective means to reduce plastic usage. “The assessment shows that action can be painless and profitable — with huge gains for people and the planet that help avert the costly downstream costs of pollution,” head of UN Environment Erik Solheim wrote in the report. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it.” In addition to assessing policy solutions, the report also outlines the current state of plastic recycling and disposal. According to the report, only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, while 79 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills, garbage dumps or in the natural world. Twelve percent is incinerated, resulting in pollutants that enter the atmosphere and affect environmental health. Of particular concern is the use of plastic bags, which often block water ways, provide disease-spreading insects with a place to breed and harm wildlife. Related: Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach Of the countries that have implemented plastic bag bans or taxes, 50 percent were not able to provide data to effectively evaluate the policy impact. Thirty percent of the total countries reported that their policies reduced the use of plastic bags within a year of implementation, while 20 percent said that their policy changes had little effect. This lack of impact may be due to poor enforcement or simply that consumers don’t have access to affordable alternatives. The report highlights the success of Morocco , in which an enforced ban resulted in the seizure of 421 tons of plastic bags and a near-total replacement of plastic bags with fabric. The report recommends that bans and taxes be supplemented with improved waste management, a circular plastic production and consumption model, and financial benefits dispersed to businesses and consumers to encourage the development and adoption of plastic alternatives. + UN Environment Via Ecowatch Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

September 29, 2016 by  
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Research on chimpanzees , the great ape thought to be most closely related to humans, is at last coming to an end. Last summer the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared captive chimpanzees endangered, which effectively made most chimpanzee research illegal. Now nine chimpanzees have moved from a Louisiana lab to a Georgia mountain sanctuary . Hundreds more are set to follow, and the sanctuary needs your help. Samira, Buttercup, Latricia, Charisse, Jennifer, Emma, Gracie, Gertrude, and Genesis were born at a lab. The New Iberia Research Center used these animals for medical testing for around ten years. Now they’ve been set free, and have been placed in a new home at Project Chimps . Related: NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps Tucked into the Georgia mountains, Project Chimps is a 236-acre sanctuary. Chimpanzees who live there will reside in groups, and be able to play with toys and puzzles. The chimpanzee sanctuary offers indoor cooled and heated spaces for the animals and ” acres of outdoor space ” so the chimps can explore and climb trees. There’s even a “water feature” meant to imitate streams chimpanzees would experience in Africa. Right now the sanctuary has room for 80 chimpanzees. But with over 200 more on the way, Project Chimps will be expanding to include room for 300 chimps. To accomplish this exciting feat, they could use the help of supporters. Caring for each chimp costs the sanctuary around $20,000 every year. If you want to help Project Chimps, you can donate money on their website. The sanctuary also has an Amazon Wish List if you’d like to know exactly what you’re giving to the chimpanzees and staff. You can also donate money specifically to help the sanctuary move the chimps the 16-hour drive from the lab to the sanctuary. For $200, you can send the sanctuary a picture or letter they’ll put in the transport trailer to give the chimpanzees ” something interesting to look at during their trip .” + Project Chimps Via The Christian Science Monitor Images via Project Chimps Facebook and Pixabay

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China breaks ground on world’s largest animal cloning factory next year

November 25, 2015 by  
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Next year, a Chinese biotech firm plans to break ground on the world’s largest cloning factory . Boyalife Group announced this week that its new facility will house a cloning production line, a cloned animal center, a gene bank, as well as a science and education exhibition hall. The factory will be used to make clones of countless animal species, from beef cattle to house pets. Read the rest of China breaks ground on world’s largest animal cloning factory next year

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NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps

November 19, 2015 by  
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Good news! The National Institutes of Health has announced it will no longer use chimps for medical studies — and the last 50 chimpanzees in the agency’s care are getting ready to retire to a federal sanctuary. There’s just one catch: the chimps will have to wait until there’s room to house them and some chimps have died while waiting on the list. Read the rest of NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps

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UN Studio’s undulating Arnhem station in the Netherlands opens today after 20 years of development

November 19, 2015 by  
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California and Minnesota state parks are free on Black Friday

November 19, 2015 by  
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Forget the stampedes at the mall. Forget the sidewalk sales. Forget the shopping bags and gift receipts. This Black Friday, which falls on November 27, some states are encouraging folks to get reacquainted with nature by offering free admission to all the state parks within their borders. If you live or will be traveling in California or Minnesota for the Thanksgiving holiday, consider starting a new Black Friday tradition by visiting a state park – without paying an entrance fee. Read the rest of California and Minnesota state parks are free on Black Friday

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Factory pig farms could soon grow 100,000 organs per year for human transplant

June 25, 2015 by  
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It may sound like a disturbing idea plucked straight from a dystopian science fiction novel, but work has already begun on a company that aims to build a factory where genetically modified pigs grow organs for humans in need. The goal is to manufacture more than 100,000 lungs, hearts, and other transplantable organs per year inside genetically modified pigs. “I’m using technology to create an unlimited supply of transplantable organs, and I’m doing it now, with no delay,” Martine Rothblatt said at a DARPA conference in New York this week. Read the rest of Factory pig farms could soon grow 100,000 organs per year for human transplant Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal testing , darpa , factory farm , genetic modification , genetically modified animals , genome , lung transplants , Martine Rothblatt , organ transplant , pig valves , science

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