Environmental News

Record 32,000 badgers shot in annual cull

Scientists accuse officials of cherry-picking data to defend disease-control scheme

More than 32,000 badgers were killed in England this autumn during the annual cull, which is intended to reduce tuberculosis in cattle.

Government officials claimed the culls were effective and starting to reduce prevalence of the disease in cows. But independent scientists said the officials were cherry-picking data and making up targets as they went along.

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Packaging producers to pay full recycling costs under waste scheme

Government strategy to make ‘polluter pay’, with penalties for difficult to recycle items

Retailers and producers of packaging will be forced to pay the full cost of collecting and recycling it under the government’s new waste strategy.

Supermarkets and other retailers could be charged penalties for putting difficult to recycle packaging – such as black plastic trays – on the market as part of the strategy, which aims to make the “polluter pay”. They would be charged lower fees for packaging that was easy to reuse or recycle.

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Chickens freezing to death and boiled alive: failings in US slaughterhouses exposed

An investigation finds hundreds of shocking welfare incidents, fuelling concerns about standards in a post-Brexit trade deal

Chickens slowly freezing to death, being boiled alive, drowned or suffocating under piles of other birds are among hundreds of shocking welfare incidents recorded at US slaughterhouses, according to previously unpublished reports.

Among them are “inexcusable” violations, say campaigners, who ask if the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) current system, where inspectors issue reports when they see violations, really works. One inspector, who asked to remain anonymous, questioned the impact of those reports.

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Back to the land: are young farmers the new starving artists?

A small but growing movement of millennials are seeking out a more agrarian life but the reality of life on the land is not always as simple as they hoped

Eight years ago, Liz Whitehurst, then 25, was working in digital communications at a policy organization in Washington DC and dreaming of life outside a cubicle. She started exploring a different kind of existence by volunteering on local farms. When the farmer who provided the locally sourced vegetable box she signed up for invited her to work the fields one day, she was starstruck. “You’re my hero,” she recalls telling the farmer. “I want your life.”

Today, she has it. Whitehurst grows a wide array of produce on Owl’s Nest Farm, set on a few acres in Upper Marlboro, Maryland (she bought it from that same farmer). Whitehurst grows sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash – everything is handpicked. She also provides greens to a local pizza kitchen which was recently named one of the best new restaurants in the country.

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Climate change activists vow to step up protests around world

Campaigners say they will force governments to act after lack of progress at UN summit

Civil society groups have pledged growing international protests to drive rapid action on global warming after the UN climate summit in Poland.

The summit agreed rules for implementing the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming as close to 1.5C (2.7F) as possible, but it made little progress in increasing governments’ commitments to cut emissions. The world remains on track for 3C of warming, which scientists says will bring catastrophic extreme weather.

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