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Water voles: National Trust releasing 100 in Yorkshire Dales

Water voleNATIONAL TRUST IMAGES / NORTH NEWS AND PICTURES

About 100 water voles are to be released in the Yorkshire Dales.

Ecologists from the National Trust plan to release the new colony into Malham Tarn, England’s highest freshwater lake.

It will be the first time voles have been in high Yorkshire Dales in 50 years.

Vole numbers have dropped by almost 90% in recent decades, and they have become one of the UK’s most threatened mammals.

The animals being released have been bred in captivity and will be introduced in batches over five days.

They will spend two days in cages along the banks of the lake, before the cage doors are opened on the third day.

‘Perfect habitat’

Ecologists will place apples and carrots on floating rafts near the cages to tempt the voles out into their new environment.

Once fully introduced into the wild, they will largely eat grass, reeds and roots.

Roisin Black, a National Trust ranger at Malham Tarn, said: “In the rest of Europe, water voles are common. In Britain, the creatures are incredibly rare.

Water vole releaseNATIONAL TRUST IMAGES / NORTH NEWS AND PICTURES
Water voleNATIONAL TRUST IMAGES / NORTH NEWS AND PICTURES

“We know water voles have thrived at Malham Tarn in the past and thanks to work by the National Trust, the habitat here is perfect for water voles again.”

The UK’s water vole population was decimated in the 1960s, largely by American mink that had escaped from fur farms.

Water voles live in burrows dug into banks along slow-moving rivers, streams or ditches.

The population has been unable to recover, largely due its natural habitat being destroyed by intensive farming, pollution and flood plains being concreted over.

American minkNorth American mink, escaped into the wild in the UK from fur farms, are predators of water voles

Mink have not been seen in the region of Malham Tarn for 10 years.

Rangers say they will closely monitor the area for any signs of the predators by setting devices that can capture their footprints.

Natural predators

Ecologists hope the voles being released at Malham Tarn will improve the local ecosystem, saying their burrowing should provide the space for rare species of moss and liverwort to thrive.

They will also be food for struggling predators such as barn owls and otters.

National Trust rangers will monitor the colony over the coming year.

They should produce between two and five litters every year, with up to eight pups in each litter.

If the water voles in the reintroduction project flourish, ecologists say they plan to breed and release another 100 next year.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37127152

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Fighting for the Yorkshire beagles in the High Court

Cruelty Free International has taken legal action against the Home Office and its plans to expand a horrific Yorkshire beagle farm for animal experiments.

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Tens of thousands of dogs are imprisoned in laboratories around the world, and injected with or force-fed substances. They can suffer horrific effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, organ damage, seizures, paralysis and even death.

These poor animals are often supplied by purpose-built breeding facilities, which churn out litter after litter of puppies. They are then separated from their mothers and sent off to be experimented on. Their mothers, meanwhile, are generally kept as ‘breeding machines’ until they no longer ‘serve a purpose’ and are killed.

 

The story so far:
In 2011 animal breeding and rearing company, Bantin & Kingman Ltd (B&K), applied for planning permission to expand its Yorkshire beagle farm. This was so that it could breed thousands of dogs for experiments. But, following intensive campaigning, the application was rejected. The rejection was on the grounds that B&K had not provided enough information on how it would manage the noise from the dogs, which could be a ‘nuisance’ for local residents.

In 2013 B&K made a fresh application which addressed some of the planning concerns that had been raised previously. But part of its proposal to manage noise was to ensure dogs were not given any access to outdoor runs. However, EU law requires dog breeding establishments to provide dogs with outside access wherever possible. So it was no longer just a planning issue; there were legal implications too. B&K therefore needed permission from the UK Home Office not to have outside runs.

Astonishingly, B&K later claimed that denying dogs outdoor runs was to protect their health and ensure they were suitable for experiments. (They said this even though in the past dogs at the site did have outdoor runs, with no problems).

In mid-2015, Cruelty Free International was shocked to discover that the Home Office had granted B&K permission to keep dogs indoors at all times. This was on the basis that outdoor runs could compromise their health by exposing them to infections carried by wildlife. This could in turn, it was claimed, invalidate the results of laboratory tests.

The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, who was overseeing the planning appeal, was then satisfied that there would not be a noise issue for locals (with dogs being kept indoors). So he approved B&K’s planning application to expand.

This means that denying dogs access to outdoor runs for ‘health reasons’ conveniently removed the noise nuisance problem that had so far prevented B&K’s application from progressing.

A violation of EU law
Cruelty Free International believe that had the Home Office not authorised B&K to keep dogs indoors at all times, the application would probably have been rejected by the Secretary of State. This would mean B&K would not be allowed to expand and breed thousands of dogs for use in experiments.

The decision is an outrage and strongly suggests the Home Office wanted to support B&K’s planning appeal. It has failed to carry out ‘due diligence’ in order to make a reasoned judgement. For example, it has not cited any evidence regarding infections to support its claims.

So not only is it cruel to deny dogs access to fresh air, but CFI believe the decision is a violation of EU law.

Taking the Home Office to court
Cruelty Free International has launched legal proceedings against the Home Office decision. They have now been given the green light by a judge to take their case to a full hearing in court.

This is our last chance to fight for the Yorkshire beagles and CFI are urgently asking for our support.

Please donate today and your gift could help fund the legal costs of challenging the Home Office in the High Court of Justice.

Cruelty Free International has been campaigning for almost five years to stop the expansion of a beagle farm in Yorkshire, England. To donate today and help the fight to protect the Yorkshire beagles in the High Court of Justice, click here.

Article taken from: https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/fighting-yorkshire-beagles-high-court

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Thousands more dogs to be bred in Yorkshire for animal experiments

Cruelty Free International (CFI) have revealed the awful news that the Government has announced today a cruel beagle breeding farm in Yorkshire can expand.

This decision means that thousands of dogs could be bred by Bantin & Kingman Ltd in the picturesque hamlet of Grimston – to suffer and die in experiments in the UK and Europe.

Bantin & Kingman has been attempting to extend its Yorkshire beagle farm since at least 2011.

In January, their Italian sister company Green Hill, saw three executives convicted of animal cruelty at a similar beagle breeding farm. Bantin & Kingman not only shares the same parent company as Green Hill – Ghislaine Rondot, one of the executives to receive a prison sentence in Italy for animal cruelty, was also its Director.

CFI have been there every step of the way, trying to prevent this cruel business from expanding.

They have:
– provided expert legal argument to the Government
– handed in a 99,000 strong petition
– helped convince local councillors to turn down two previous planning applications by the company

As you’d expect, CFI are condemning the Government’s decision in the strongest possible terms, and looking at legal options to challenge it. But sadly, today’s decision shows just what a David and Goliath fight we all now have on our hands.

Ending animal experiments isn’t easy. But we know that it’s the right thing to do.

And we will not rest until no more dogs are forced to spend a lifetime of misery suffering in cruel animal experiments in UK laboratories.

3,554 puppies and dogs suffered and died in 4,779 experiments in Britain in 2013. You can help them.

If we stand together, we can end the misery suffered by thousands of dogs who spend their days confined inside laboratories.

Please sign CFI’s petition calling for a ban on the use of dogs and cats in UK laboratories now.

Thank you.

*** Petition Here ***