California Passes Bill to Phase Out Deadly “Driftnets”

Just months after Mercy For Animals and the Ban Death Nets coalition released shocking undercover footage exposing the commercial driftnet fishing industry, California lawmakers passed Senate bill 1017 to phase out the use of the nets in the state.

Authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), along with over 15 co-authors, the bill is set to phase out the use of swordfish driftnets over a four-year period after the creation of a transition program, funded through public-private partnerships, to assist fishers who will be required to stop using the nets.

The bill passed nearly unanimously in both the state senate and assembly. Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign this historic legislation into law.

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New Zealand Signs Up To Anti-Plastic Pledge

New Zealand is turning the tide on the production and use of plastic to help clean up the oceans.

Associate environment minister Eugenie Sage yesterday signed the United Nations’ CleanSeas campaign pledge, making New Zealand the 42nd country to do so after the campaign’s launch in February last year.

The pledge requires signatories to significantly reduce the production and use of non-recyclable and single-use plastic by 2022.

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Emperor Penguin Selfie

A pair of emperor penguins managed to take a selfie video after an explorer, Eddie Vault, left his camera unattended at the Auster rookery. The rookery is on sea-ice and is sheltered by grounded icebergs about 5km east of Auster islands and about 51km east-north-east of Mawson station in Antarctica. 

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Trump Will Now Consider Elephant Trophy Imports on ‘Case-By-Case Basis’

The Trump administration will now consider all permits for importing the remains of elephants hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia on a “case-by-case basis,” The Hill reported.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), overseen by Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, issued a memorandum dated March 1 saying it will withdraw its Endangered Species Act (ESA) findings for trophies of elephants from the two African nations “effective immediately.”

“The findings are no longer effective for making individual permit determinations for imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies,” the memo states.
FWS will now “grant or deny permits to import a sport-hunted trophy on a case-by-case basis.”

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Taxing meat could help offset environmental, health problems, activists say

Some groups want to see animal products taxed similarly to tobacco, sugar and carbon

The steep climb in global meat consumption has environmental interest groups debating a “sin” tax on animal products.

Meat consumption grew by more than five times between 1992 and 2016 and has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, global obesity, rising rates of diabetes and cancer, soil degradation and deforestation, according to the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative.

The British activist group argues meat should join products like tobacco, sugar and carbon, which are often taxed because they are harmful to people’s health and the environment.

“We’ve seen an increasing trend toward intervention, especially in Europe, this idea of looking at sin taxes,” said Lauren Compere, managing director at Boston Common Asset Management, an environmentally minded investment group. She listed Denmark, Sweden and Germany as countries considering legislation toward a meat tax.

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Can Diet Help Reduce Symptoms of MS?

For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains may be linked to having less disability and fewer symptoms than people whose diet is less healthy, according to a study published in the December 6, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“People with MS often ask if there is anything they can do to delay or avoid disability, and many people want to know if their diet can play a role, but there have been few studies investigating this,” said study author Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, ScD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “While this study does not determine whether a healthy lifestyle reduces MS symptoms or whether having severe symptoms makes it harder for people to engage in a healthy lifestyle, it provides evidence for the link between the two.”

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Health Benefits of Trading Animal Protein for Plant Protein

Substituting one to two servings of animal proteins with plant proteins every day could lead to a small reduction in the three main cholesterol markers for cardiovascular disease prevention, a new study suggests.

The health benefits could be even greater if people combined plant proteins with other cholesterol-lowering foods such as viscous, water soluble fibres from oats, barley and psyllium, and plant sterols, said lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Sievenpiper led a systematic review and meta-analysis of 112 randomized control trials in which people substituted plant proteins for some animal proteins in their diets for at least three weeks. The results were published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Sievenpiper said the review indicated that replacing one to two servings of animal proteins with plant proteins every day — primarily soy, nuts and pulses (dried peas and beans, lentils and chickpeas) — could reduce the main cholesterol markers by about 5 per cent.

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