USDA withdraws Obama-era animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs and dairy

March 14, 2018 by  
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The United States Department of Agriculture has officially withdrawn an Obama-era rule that would have established basic animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs, and dairy products. The Trump Administration justified its reversal by claiming the rule “exceeds the department’s statutory authority and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program.” The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule, which was originally set to go into effect in March 2017, would have required that organic laying hens have access to a full square foot of space indoors. It also would have clarified exactly what qualifies as “access to the outdoors” and introduced additional regulations regarding the transportation of animals for slaughter and general animal handling. In making its decision, the USDA cited the recent success of the American organic food industry. “The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach said in a statement . “The organic industry’s continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.” According to the USDA, the number of certified organic farming operations in the United States grew by seven percent in 2017, while organic sales in the United States expanded nearly $3.7 billion from 2015 to 2016, for a total of nearly $47 billion in sales in 2016. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ Despite the growing popularity of food labeled organic, the lack of clarity regarding whatis or isn’t organic can leave consumers in the dark over what exactly they are purchasing. The Trump Administration’s withdrawal of animal welfare regulations for organic products shines a light on the hazy definitions that guide the industry’s practices. One would expect that “organic” animal products are ethically sourced from animals that are raised in humane conditions. As it stands, with the rule withdrawn, “organic” simply means that the animals were provided with organic feed. For those hoping for stricter standards, state-level initiatives such as those in Vermont may offer some promise. Unfortunately, it may require a very different White House and Congress for meaningful animal welfare regulations to be put in place. Via One Green Planet Images via Depositphotos (1)

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USDA withdraws Obama-era animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs and dairy

215 pterosaur eggs unearthed in biggest collection ever found

December 4, 2017 by  
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Scientists recently uncovered the largest group of fossilized pterosaur eggs ever. In a 10-foot-long sandstone block in northwest China , they came across 215 eggs – 16 of which have embryonic remains. Discoveries of pterosaur eggs are exceedingly rare. The only previous discoveries with an intact embryo and well-preserved 3D structure include three in Argentina and five in China , so researchers around the world are especially thrilled with this latest find. Pterosaurs may have been around on Earth up to 225 million years ago, but vanished with the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. This new discovery of pterosaur eggs from the species Hamipterus tianshanensis reveals the reptiles – the first creatures following insects to evolve powered flight – actually couldn’t soar right away after they were born, requiring care from parents. Paleontologist Alexander Kellner of the Museu Nacional at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro told AFP, “Since these are extremely fragile fossils , we were very surprised to find so many in the same place. Because of this discovery, we can talk about the behavior of these animals for the first time.” Related: Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane The eggs are an estimated 120 million years old, from pterosaurs that as adults would have been around four-feet-tall with an 11-foot wingspan. Researchers unearthed partial skull and wing bones , and even one entire lower jaw, filling in some of the gaps in our knowledge about the pterosaur life cycle. The baby pterosaurs would have had functional hind legs not too long after hatching, but weak chest muscles. Kellner said they “could walk but not fly…This is one of the biggest discoveries we have made.” Scientists also found some adult pterosaur bones in the vicinity, leading them to think adult pterosaurs may have come back to the same nesting spots. The journal Science published the work this month. 17 scientists from institutions in China and Brazil contributed; paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences led the study. He said there could be as many as 300 eggs at the excavation site – there appear to be some buried beneath the exposed ones. Via Phys.org , EurekAlert! , and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Images via Xinhua/Wang Xiaolin/Chinese Academy of Sciences and Alexander Kellner (Museu Nacional/UFRJ) ( 1 , 2 )

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215 pterosaur eggs unearthed in biggest collection ever found

14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

July 26, 2016 by  
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14-year-old Lucy Gavaghan of England is on a mission to stop the sale of eggs from caged hens. She convinced major British company Tesco to agree to end the sales of “caged eggs” by 2025, and isn’t finished yet. She’s now targeting British companies Asda and Morrisons, and if you want to help you can sign her newest petition here . Gavaghan worked for a few years to stop the sales of caged eggs by writing letters to politicians and supermarkets, but felt that no one was listening. She knew there would be others in the world who, like her, also wanted to stop the sales of eggs from caged hens, so in February 2016, she started a Change.org petition . In total, 280,278 people signed the petition. Related: Kid sisters raise $800,000 with origami to dig water wells around the world Gavaghan met with Tesco’s head of agriculture in May. She said after the meeting, she didn’t really think they would change their policies, but this month finally received a call. Tesco said they’d ” stop selling caged eggs by 2025 .” While the European Union banned putting hens inside battery cages in 2012, the industry began to use “enriched cages” instead. But Gavaghan says the hens still don’t have enough space in those cages – only around the dimensions of an A4 paper (that’s around 8 by 12 inches). Gavaghan said in her first petition, “I have five hens myself, two of them are ex-commercial barn hens and one of them once lived in commercial colony cages. They are amazing animals to be around. Keeping my own hens and knowing their past has made me determined to end caged and barn farming…These methods of egg farming are cruel, unnatural, and inhumane.” After her success with Tesco, Gavaghan plans to ensure they keep their word and is now targeting other grocery stores that still sell caged eggs, Asda and Morrisons . About a week ago she started another Change.org petition, and has already racked up 176,697 supporters. You can add your name to the petition here . + End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda Via The Telegraph Images via Lucy Gavaghan ( 1 , 2 )

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14-year-old girl convinces major British grocery to stop selling caged hen eggs

How Keeping Chickens Can Help You Go Green

June 3, 2016 by  
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There are many reasons why people choose to raise backyard chickens. Some want to go green, some want the eggs or meat, others want pets, and still others are looking for a combination of practicality and fun. Whatever the reason, raising chickens…

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How Keeping Chickens Can Help You Go Green

7 New and Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

March 17, 2013 by  
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If you are anything like us, you are sick of buying boring old Easter egg-dyeing kits from the store that are full of artificial colors . If so, don’t fret because there are many ways to decorate an egg. From rubber bands and book and leaf printing techniques, we have compiled a list of seven new and eco-friendly ways to design this year’s Easter eggs. We even have ideas for our vegan readers. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Design , DIY , Easter , eco easter , eco-paint for Easter eggs , eggs , green design , green easter , green holidays , Inhabitots , painting , sustainable holidays , vegan

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7 New and Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

7 New and Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

March 17, 2013 by  
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If you are anything like us, you are sick of buying boring old Easter egg-dyeing kits from the store that are full of artificial colors . If so, don’t fret because there are many ways to decorate an egg. From rubber bands and book and leaf printing techniques, we have compiled a list of seven new and eco-friendly ways to design this year’s Easter eggs. We even have ideas for our vegan readers. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Design , DIY , Easter , eco easter , eco-paint for Easter eggs , eggs , green design , green easter , green holidays , Inhabitots , painting , sustainable holidays , vegan

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7 New and Eco-Friendly Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

Llamas Recruited as Bouncers for Threatened Wildlife

April 27, 2010 by  
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Image: nao-cha via Flickr Already used as livestock guards for lambs and sheep (including by the Prince of Wales ), llamas are now being called on to protect the eggs and chicks of wading birds at a nature park in the UK—in particular, lapwing and redshank birds, which are both threatened species in England….

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Llamas Recruited as Bouncers for Threatened Wildlife

James Cameron: Oil and Coal Lobbies Engaged in "Disinformation Campaign to Discredit Science"

April 27, 2010 by  
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Image via CNN Okay, so this is hardly news: it’s been apparent for quite some time that coal and oil companies have been funding an ongoing campaign to confuse the public about climate science. Nothing revolutionary there; who would be surprised that fossil fuel industries are protecting their interests? What’s surprising is how depressingly effective they’ve been

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James Cameron: Oil and Coal Lobbies Engaged in "Disinformation Campaign to Discredit Science"

Breaking News: Reid Pivots, Picks Climate Over Immigration

April 27, 2010 by  
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Capitol Hill is a soap opera these days, complete with broken promises, hurt feelings, and strategic alliances.

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Breaking News: Reid Pivots, Picks Climate Over Immigration

Con Man Jailed for Selling Fake Organic Eggs

March 15, 2010 by  
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Image from doh.sd.gov This is not a yolk. It’s something many of us may have thought about: how do we know that the eggs we are buying really are organic or free range

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Con Man Jailed for Selling Fake Organic Eggs

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