Anguish: Ewe Mourns The Death of Her Lamb

“Sheep are able to experience emotions such as fear, anger, rage, despair, boredom, disgust, and happiness.”
 Dr. Isabelle Veissier et al., Animal Welfare1

The engraving below is entitled Anguish (Angoisses) 1879 artist Unknown, after August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck

The following is the original painting  (c. 1878) August Friedrich Albrecht SCHENCK

True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) (English essayist, poet, playwright and politician)

When I first saw the engraving above, I had not up until then seen the painting,  I was profoundly moved, the artist has captured the anguish of the grieving ewe at the death of her tiny lamb.

Detail from the painting Auguish

Standing in the bleak snowy landscape of winter with large back birds (crows) waiting to devour the flesh of her newborn her sorrow is palpable. I find that in fact the engraving more keenly portrays the bleakness of despair than the painting.

I mostly appreciate art for aesthetic reasons but since seeing this work anguish most certainly conveys a meaningful message, particularly in view of the time of year and the recent death from exposure, pneumonia and hyperthermia of an estimated million tiny lambs here in the UK.

Schenck 1828 – 1901 was known for his paintings of animals, many of which were thought to be allegorical .

In Anguish, Schenck has given his distraught ewe an expression suggestive of despair mingled with stoic determination. Recognizing these decidedly human responses, the viewer might be expected to identify immediately with the animal’s grim predicament. The ewe’s bravery in the face of the threat posed by the murderous circle of crows is perhaps, however, somewhat overstated in her defiant stance above the bleeding lamb.

There is little subtlety evident in this work. Although Anguish has a sentimental quality, Schenck did not intend this to be overt. Indeed, his sincerity in portraying the nobility in animals was not lost on his contemporaries, with a critic for Le Figaro describing the artist in 1878 as ‘One of our finest animal painters. He is one of those originals of the species not yet extinct who prefer dogs to men and find more sweetness in sheep than women’. This is by no means a derogatory statement, but is, rather, a testament to Schenck’s abilities as a painter. Interestingly, if we accept that there is an anthropomorphic quality in Anguish, then the surreal massing of the crows may well be Schenck’s method of alluding to the inhumanity prevalent in society

Read More:
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/4344/ –  Incidentally I don’t see the “stoic determination” only the despair.

Here is a philosophical interpretation:

“A mother has just lost her child; it is winter, and there’s no food. She knew he was in danger, she tried to feed him, she tried to keep him safe but in the end, after yet another bitter night, he succumbed. Her grief feels all the more real, all the more like ours, for being inarticulate and wordless; pure anguish. The crows are unbearably cruel. They gather when another is in agony; they sense the opportunity opened up by the problems of others. They are like the people we most fear – those who like it when we are miserable. The scene reminds us of a possibility we glimpse perhaps only in our own worst moments: that we won’t always be able to protect what we love, our children, our homes, our dignity… That they might win.”

Read More:
http://thephilosophersmail.com/virtues/painting-alleviates-anguish/

While the above perspectives treat this mostly as a metaphor for Human anguish and despair such of course can be manifest in animals, and sheep have emotions similar to our own.

Consider the following:

Sheep are capable of compassion and will help others even those of another species

Jeffery Massom in this book ‘The pig who Sang to the moon’ tells the story of Rammo, ” a macho two-year old Ramouillet ram” who formed a special and compassionate bond with Whisper, a cow who was born blind.

“Rams tend to be loners, and he was a pretty tough ram, so it seemed unusual that he would take up with a blind member of another species. But he did”

“He would graze next to her all day and guide her about the field, making certain she did not bump into the fence or posts…When she had a calf , Shout, sired by an Angus bull, Rammo behaved paternally toward the young animal, more so than even to his own offspring, several bouncy lambs. Whisper lived to be four years and than died in 1996 of a viral infection. Rammo mourned her a long time, standing by her dead body, calling and calling.”

Sheep grieve for their loved ones

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Sheep

“Research has shown that many animals grieve for their lost loved ones, but did you know that sheep do too? When they lose someone they love, it can completely shake their world and leave them feeling lost and unsettled for months. Sheep have been known to cry out for their lost friends and family in a desperate attempt to understand why they are no longer here.”
http://www.care2.com/causes/10-things-most-people-dont-know-about-sheep.html

Sheep fall in love and have best friends

(A) study showed that ewes fall in love with rams, have best friends and feel desolate when those close to them die or are sent for slaughter. The discovery could have important implications for the way farm animals are treated.
Jonathan Leake, Science Edito

So it can be established that sheep are capable of grief, therefore it is reasonable that the artist was actually portraying the anguish of the sheep and there was in fact no philosophical implication relating to human beings as such, though of course it can be implied. I am not inclined to accept artistic interpretations if they do not originate from the artist his or herself.

http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/school_resource/art-start/image-bank/august-friedrich-schenck/

Maybe the art should be taken at face value which may be to convey the agony/anguish of a ewe for her dead lamb.

Personally I rather like this description with the exception of the reference to sheep being the humble servants of man:

” All the world to-day regards Schenck as one of our first animal-painters. He is one of those originals, of a species not yet extinct, who prefer dogs to men, and finds more sweetness in sheep than in women. With such fancies one leaves the city for the fields, and has only to do with animals. Our artist has taken this part after having profoundly studied his fellow-creatures. Retired to Ecouen, to a farm, he lives in the midst of oxen, dogs, goats, asses, horses and sheep of all types, races, and species ; cares for them, cultivates them, loves them, and above all studies them, as never artist studied his models. He knows better than any one their habitual behavior, their favorite poses, their preferred attitudes, and the mobile play of their physi- ognomies. By means of studying closely the joys and griefs of these’ modest companions and humble servants of man, he has penetrated the inmost recesses of their souls, which he knows how to show us in pictures of striking truth. His animals’ heads are portraits particularized with all the care which Cabanel, Uubufe, and Bonnat gave to the human mask. The picture which he exhibits to-day under the title of ‘Angoisses, ‘ is pathetic to the last degree. A lamb is wounded, lying on the ground, losing its blood, which pours out of a” horrible wound. The ravens, with their infallible instinct, scent the approaching death, and await their prey; their sinister circle is closed in, — the unfortunate little beast cannot escape them. The mother is- there ; she comprehends it, the poor creature ! the fate which awaits her dear nursling, and broken-hearted, full of anguish [it is the title of the picture, and it is just], she bleats for the shepherd who comes not. It is a little drama, this picture, and as poignant as if it had men for actors and victims.”

Reference:

Catalogue of Mr. H.L. Dousman’s gallery of valuable paintings
by George A. Leavitt & Co

Published 1884

https://archive.org/stream/b1494157/b1494157_djvu.txt  or https://archive.org/details/b1494157

Below another poignant painting by the same artist entitled The Orphan. Below is a print of this painting.

A similar subject but in reverse the Orphan Lamb left to fend for his or herself.

His animals’ heads are veritable portraits. In the picture of The Orphan (which is a companion to Anguish, exhibited with it) the mother is dead or dying, and the ravens with their infallible instinct scent the soon-to-be carrion and close their sinister circle round the sheep and lamb. The poor living helpless lamb will hardly escape them. It is a tragedy, and as poignant as if it had a mother and child for actors and victims. There are few artists more popular than Schenck and we find the reflected judgment of the connoisseurs confirming the instantaneous verdict of the multitude.”

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata03.html

Anguish and animal rights

While the whys and wherefores, interpretations, history and so on are all very interesting; it is the subject of the art that rings so true. Both paintings depict the despair and anguish of these creatures extremely well. According to this article the painting has also been called Agony and indeed the agony of fear and sorrow is expressed on the sheep’s face and indeed on the face of the orphaned lamb. Amazing art, so powerful, so moving.

The lot of sheep left to fend for themselves in the bleak cold uplands of the UK and elsewhere the worldover has changed very little. You can read in a previous entry about the suffering of sheep and lambs who die from exposure:
https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/lambs-the-cruel-side-of-spring/

Tiny fragile lambs born too early as a result of human manipulation to ensure they are ready for Easter. Very much like the paintings, no shepherd comes.

Apparently in a very literal way a bird similar to crows; ravens, are harming/killing newborn lambs, yet another hazard to contend with. Hundreds of lambs die as a result of conservation gone wrong, even 10 to 12 ewes have died as a result of attacks by ravens.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/01/death-from-above-the-ravens-slaughtering-newborn-lambs/

Time to stop interfering with nature, time to bring an end to farming and the enormous suffering not only to sheep and their vulnerable lambs but all farmed animals of course.

More paintings dramatically depicting the hardship of sheep:

Above is a print of Lost: Souvenir of Auvergne (which may be a religious metaphor)

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437637

An unknown work

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata24.html

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about this artist or this series of paintings. Some of the information and graphics came from the following website:

http://www.searlecanada.org/schenck/albertschenckdata03.html

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It Is Hard to Believe That People Can Be So Cruel: Fish Fights For His Last Breathe While Being Eaten Alive

“Fish are more intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates including non-human primates”
Culum Brown University of Edinburgh

Fish do not get a lot of sympathy in quite the same way as other animals, yet their lives are just as important. Fish are sentient creatures who suffer both physically and psychologically. The poor creature in the video below struggles vainly for breath, an horriffic way to die and as the article which follows says, it is the stuff off nightmares

Please watch the video which you are advised is difficult to watch.

“Fish Gasps for Air While Being Eaten Alive

BUT I JUST EAT FISH

Fish are tortured in so many ways from being cut apart alive on the fishing boats to being cut apart alive in restaurants…. DON’T TAKE PART IN THIS BARBARITY TO ANOTHER LIVING BEING…..Leave them and ALL Sea Life off of your plate!

The fish in this video isn’t the only animal who has had to live through this horror: Frogs, lobsters, octopuses, and other animals are eaten alive by humans all around the world.”

Please continue reading:

https://www.peta2.com/news/fish-gasps-air-eaten-alive/?utm_campaign=0317%20bi%20weekly%20recap%20march%20twenty%20six%20EA&utm_source=peta2%20E-Mail&utm_medium=Alert

Please take the actions suggested in the article including sending the message linked below to Urge legislators in California and New York to introduce laws that will stop restaurants from mutilating and serving live animals :
http://campaigns.peta2.com/restaurants-hack-apart-and-serve-live-octopuses-and-other-animals/

Fish are sentient creatures.

Watch Some Screams Can’t Be Heard

Fish feel pain and suffer psychological distress. Below is an excellent article by Marc Bekoff with links to numerous essays and studies which validate the fact that fish feel pain and are sentient beings like any other animal.

Science Shows Fish Feel Pain, So Let’s Get Over It and Do Something to Help These Sentient Beings

A set of essays in the new journal Animal Sentience concerning the question of whether fish feel pain is a must read. Fish are not mere streams of readily available unfeeling protein.

Continue reading:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/fish-feel-pain_b_8881656.html

If you don’t think fish are intelligent watch the following video. While I don’t condone making animals perform tricks this video nonetheless shows how intelligent fish are. Yes a fish is an animal. Obvious to most people right? Unfortunately there are those who do not consider fish to be an animal. I had a friend who insisted she was vegetarian regardless of the fact she ate fish. You could not convince her otherwise. A fish is an animal along with other aquatic creatures such as jelly fish, crustaceans and so on.  If you eat fish and other sea creatures you are neither a vegetarian nor a vegan. 

“Leading scientists are in agreement that fish feel pain. As biologist Victoria Braithwaite writes, “there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals” – a conclusion hardly surprising to anyone who has seen a fish struggling and fighting for his or her life when pulled from the water.”

Read more and please take the pledge to go Vegan

Fish and Sea Animals
http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-not-eat/fish/

Fish are intelligent animals who lead complex lives that rival those of your dog and other mammals.

Dolphins and whales are accepted without doubt as intelligent creatures, sensitive, aware, conscious: sentient. But what about other aquatic creatures, the myriad species of fish, 27000 in all, which is more than all vertebrate species combined, are they sentient? Approximately three new species of fish are discovered each week! And even more vast are the huge numbers of species of invertebrate creatures such as molluscs – Octopuses, squids, snails, slugs, do they possess sentience? The ocean is a vast habitat teeming with life, astronomical in number and diversity, creatures dwell even in the most inhospitable of environments.
Read more:
http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Sentient%20Farm%20Animals%20Aquatic%20Animals%20Fish.htm

Stop the cruelty to fish and other aquatic animals and go vegan:
How to Go Vegan:
http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/

If you can’t resist the taste of sea food try vegan alternatives which taste much the same but are cleverly prepared and flavoured but do not contain the flesh of a dead animal.

Here is PETA’s  list of the best places in the UK where you can eat faux fish and chips and other Vegan sea food.
The UK’s Best Vegan Fish and Chip Spots:
http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/uk-best-vegan-fish-and-chip-spots/

Eating at home? Why not try  VBites  fish streak, fish cakes and fish fingers, these products and others may be available at Holland and Barrett in the refrigerator section or in any health food store. Yes they really do taste of fish, though frankly I have never been that keen on fish. Ever noticed the stench of fish at a market or a seaside town, not pleasant. The stench of death in one small fishing village in Scotland was so overpoweringly awful I never visited again. Over so many many years millions of sentient beings met their deaths here and out in the sea, caught in nets they were dragged aboard a fishing vessel and left to die gasping for air.

We do not need sea food to be healthy, we do not need the flesh or any other derivative from any animal, it is neither natural nor humane.

Credit fish graphic:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barracuda_laban.jpg

Help Protect America’s Health Care

“It is my aspiration that health finally will be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for”
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan

Please take the following actions concerning ObamaCare . Despite the fact that the House of Representatives has failed to pass the Obamacare repeal it is unlikely that this is the end of the matter.

Please read the information below and sign and share the petition. 

Lawmakers: Please Protect Our Health Care!

Despite recent defeats, Republicans on Capitol are not giving up on their quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Every proposal we’ve seen takes health care from millions of low-income families while giving billions in tax breaks to the wealthy and the health care industry.

The bottom line? Repealing the Affordable Care Act would harm millions of people in America and throw the U.S. health care system into disarray.

Please sign our petition urging lawmakers to vote NO on any bill that repeals the ACA without a plan that provides the same coverage and protections of the ACA.

Repeal would lead to higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and leave state governments to cover the cost of care for those who lose coverage. It would also jeopardize the availability of adequate, affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Sign this petition telling Congress to protect the health coverage and consumer protections that millions of Americans enjoy thanks to the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). 

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/960/554/412/

TRUMPCARE VS. OBAMACARE

Americans don’t want to lose the benefits they have gained, and Republicans are hearing about it.

“…Obamacare, it turns out, has done a lot of good. It guarantees that people with preëxisting health conditions cannot be rejected by insurers or charged more than others. It has reduced the number of uninsured people by twenty million. It has increased access to primary care, specialty care, surgery, medicines, and treatment for chronic conditions. Patients are less likely to skip needed care because of the cost. As a result, according to studies conducted at Harvard, the A.C.A. is saving tens of thousands of lives each year.”

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trumpcare-vs-obamacare

Other actions you can take to remind republicans how you feel about Obamacare:

Keep the Pressure on Congress to Protect Our Health Care

“With House Republicans trying to revive their disastrous bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s time once again to remind lawmakers that we are paying attention.

Opponents in Congress were unable to repeal the law because the American people – along with a bipartisan majority in Congress – want to keep the law’s protections and key components. Members of Congress must hear this simple message: Do not take away our care. Stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid. Move on.”

Read More and take the suggested actions:
http://familiesusa.org/blog/2017/04/keep-pressure-congress-protect-our-health-care

Sending the following message from Familes USA may remind the Trump and republican leaders how you feel about the repeal of ObamaCare

Protect the Gains We Have Made Under The Affordable Care Act and Protect Health Coverage for Millions

This message asks President Trump and Republican leaders of the House and the Senate to protect the gains already made:

“Dear President Trump and Republican leaders of the House and the Senate:You have declared your intention to repeal or sabotage the Affordable Care Act. If you do, millions of people will lose their health insurance. You would return us to the days before Obamacare, when insurance companies could deny coverage to the sick and kick people off insurance if they ran up big bills.

It means turning back the clock to when fundamental benefits—like maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care—were not routinely covered, and women were charged higher premiums based solely on gender.”

Continue reading and please sign and share:
http://familiesusa.org/protect-americas-health-coverage

In my opinion health care is a basic human right. To provide care to those who need it regardless of ability to pay is surely the mark of a truly progressive society. It is shameful that one of the world’s richest countries does not provide it’s citizens with a universal system of health care. Progress has been made with Obamacare , it is vital that this progress is not undone by the warped ideology of the Trump administration.

It is interesting to compare health care in other countries.

Which country has the world’s best healthcare system?

We look at how patients pay for healthcare around the world and the general standard of care they might expect

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/09/which-country-has-worlds-best-healthcare-system-this-is-the-nhs not all countries are mentioned.

List of countries with universal health care:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_universal_health_care

Health care should be available and free to every person, it should not be a commodity sold for profit. To leave anyone without medical attention when his or her life could be improved or saved is great social injustice.

 

 

Help Stop the Cull of Grey Squirrels

Life is life–whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.
Sri Aurobindo

I would like to add to the above quote that there is no difference between a Grey squirrel’s life and that of a Red squirrel – not to the squirrels that is.

Please sign and share the following petition to stop the killing of Grey Squirrels

“Urge the Wildlife Trust not to cull the Grey Squirrels

“Urge the Wildlife trust to seek out alternative methods to save and protect the Red Squirrels, a method that does not involve the destruction of the Grey Squirrels by bludgeoning them to their death!

Wildlife Trusts’ biggest-ever recruitment drive will see volunteers bludgeon grey squirrels to death. An army of 5,000 volunteers is being sought to save the red squirrel from extinction by monitoring populations, educating children – and bludgeoning grey squirrels to death.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/931/766/296/

Further Action

You may wish to contact the Wildlife Trust and ask them to find an alternative method to save and protect the Red Squirrels, which will not involve killing Grey Squirrels.

Please write, telephone,Tweet and leave a message on their Facebook page. Please be polite.

Postal Address

The Wildlife Trusts,
The Kiln,
Mather Road,
Newark
United Kingdom
NG24 1WT

Twitter: @wildlifetrusts
Facebook: wildlifetrusts
Registered Charity Number: 207238
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/who-we-are/contact-us

General enquiries

Phone: 01636 677711
Fax: 01636 670001

Email: enquiry@wildlifetrusts.org

Full contact details which includes a form:
http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/who-we-are/contact-us

I prefer not to use the word cull: slaughter, kill, massacre or murder seems more appropriate . Yes I know grammatically speaking you can only use the word murder in reference to human beings. Ignoring such rules here I use this word and the others as they are more descriptive of what is taking place to animals, in this case Grey squirrels who have as much right to life as you or I or any other of the millions of species who inhabit this planet! Bludgeoning them to death no less is an appalling act of cruelty which caring sensitive people should not tolerate.   I have to wonder what type of person will volunteer to bludgeon to death helpless Grey squirrels. Not the sort of person I would wish to associate with that’s for sure. Violence breeds violence, any such cruel act to an animal increases the possibility of violence to humans and escalates the misery that abounds in the world. One also has to ask what kind of education they will be providing children with reference to eliminating Grey squirrels! Again not something I would want a child of mine exposed to.

What people who propose such barbarity do not understand is that to a squirrel his or her life is as import to them as ours is to us, either that or they simply do not care. What right have we humans to control the environment, to decide which animal should live and which animal should die. Whether it’s the slaughter of badgers in a misguided attempt to control Bovine TB or the massacre of grey squirrels to protect red squirrels it is simply not our right, leave nature to take its own course.

Related Links

In Defence Of Grey Squirrels

“The North American grey squirrel was first introduced to the UK in 1876. If you live in the UK, you’ll be well aware of how vilified the grey squirrel is here; it’s been accused of a multitude of sins, from almost wiping out the native red squirrels to killing trees by stripping away the bark. Much as I love grey squirrels, I always assumed the accusations were true; it seemed that the squirrels’ destructiveness was a consequence of their introduction into a region where they didn’t belong.

My views changed when I attended a talk at South West Vegan Festival which aimed to debunk the most commonly-held myths about grey squirrels. I thought I’d share with you what I learnt in an attempt to establish the innocence of these beautiful creatures.”

Continue Reading:

In Defence Of Grey Squirrels
https://littlegreenseedling.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/in-defence-grey-squirrels/

Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Please Take Action

Please take the following actions concerning this horrific crime against humanity: the chemical attack on the people of Syria including at least 30 children who were the first ones to die.‘Victims reached us in different states – some had muscular and respiratory paralysis, which we tried treating with tranquilisers and Atropine. They had secretions from the mouth and nose that were white. Some were completely unconscious. Some had severe muscular pain. Children are the first ones to die, they cannot fight this back. We only had one child who, thank God, survived.’  from an Amnesty International interview with a doctor working at the specialised surgery hospital thirty miles from the attack. In one heartbreaking incident one man tragically lost 22 members of his family including baby twins

All petitions are quick sign, so will take only a few moments to complete. I am sure most people are appalled by the horrendous gas attack on these long suffering people whose lives have been torn apart by war and devastation few of us have ever experienced or can ever begin to imagine.

If you do not have time to read the information below please at least sign the petitions:

Sign now to urgently call on Europe to act.
https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/syria_idlib_gas_attack_loc/

Demand that the UN Security Council take decisive action today.
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/demand-justice-victims-syria-idlib-chemical-gas-attack?

War is NOT the Answer, Don’t Bomb Syrian Civilians!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/810/975/596/war-is-not-the-answer-dont-bomb-syrian-civilians/

For more information about the petitions and related issues please continue reading and take the suggested actions if you have not already done so:

Please read the following from the global on-line activist network, Avaaz :

“These kids have suffered such extreme trauma that a top doctor has created a new name for their pain — ‘Human Devastation Syndrome’. For six years the world has failed to protect them. Now, with Trump’s policy unpredictable, and Putin fully backing the regime, immunity for the perpetrators of these crimes is a real possibility.

But Europe can be the world’s conscience. Already brave victims and prosecutors in Spain and Germany are using universal jurisdiction law to take cases against the highest officials of the regime. Europe can now make clear that Syria will not get away with war crimes.

The message Europe sends right now could give Assad the green light to keep gassing civilians, or let him know he will face justice. Let’s send a resounding message to Europe’s leaders fast that there will be a massive public backlash if they don’t stand up for humanity”:

Abdel Hamid, a Syrian father, cradles his two dead baby twins, reportedly gassed to death with chemical weapons by the Syrian regime — just days after Trump officials said the US will no longer go after President Assad as a war criminal.

The regime that has murdered, tortured, starved, and raped hundreds of thousands of its own people, now feels it can slaughter its way to victory, get off scot free, and stay in power.

One bloc can stop that — Europe.

The EU is deciding right now what to do on Syria, and there are rumours some countries could push for a ‘deal with the devil’. But if enough of us demand Europe’s leaders lock up the monsters who commit these crimes, it could be the only threat that stops more murder. Sign now to urgently call on Europe to act.

Please add your name to a petition to urge European leaders to act.

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/syria_idlib_gas_attack_loc/

Action and information From Amnesty International

‘Children are the first ones to die, they cannot fight back…’
Syrian doctor describing the aftermath.

Please read the following from Amnesty International

“On Tuesday, Syria suffered the deadliest use of chemical weapons since 2013, with more than 70 people – many of them children – killed, and hundreds more injured.

This crime cannot go unpunished.

Using chemical weapons is a war crime. Russian and Syrian authorities say they are not responsible. The UN must investigate this gruesome attack now and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Demand that the UN Security Council take decisive action today.

Please sign and share the action below which is to send a message to the Secretary General of the United Nations .

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/demand-justice-victims-syria-idlib-chemical-gas-attack?

More from Amnesty International

By now many of you may have seen the horrific footage and images from on the ground. Children and civilians gasping for air, unable to breathe from the chemical gas suffocating their airways, burning away at their skin.

One piece of footage, which is consistent with other available evidence, shows nine children lying lifeless in the back of a pick-up truck. The children are naked or partially dressed; they appear to have died in their beds.

Chemical weapons experts working with us have confirmed that victims are very likely to have been exposed to a nerve agent or compound, such as Sarin. This is one of the deadliest weapons of warfare, causing its victims to vomit, convulse, suffocate from respiratory failure and in many cases, lose their lives.

The conflict in Syria has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands and led millions of people – more than half the population – to flee their homes, either abroad or within Syria.

It’s time to deliver justice for victims and their families. It’s time to ensure that war crimes and crimes against humanity do not go unpunished.

Without justice and accountability, attacks like yesterday’s could happen again.”

Care2 Petition 

War is NOT the Answer, Don’t Bomb Syrian Civilians!

“Trump made an impulsive and irresponsible decision to go ahead and strike Syria with missiles. He was responding to the horrible chemical attack earlier this week, but according to experts in international relations, this move will not actually stop chemical warfare. Instead, this reactionary strike will make it harder for international coalitions to form to actually stop terrorism. And, it was an escalation tactic that will only make matters worse for those suffering the most: innocent Syrian civilians. “

Sign to tell Trump: war is not the answer, stop bombing Syrian civilians!

Please read more and sign and share the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/810/975/596/war-is-not-the-answer-dont-bomb-syrian-civilians/

Please sign and share widely all three petitions

Related Links

Assad has unleashed horror on Syria. The EU must not make a deal with him:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/04/syria-assad-white-helmets-torture-eu-prosecute?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-2

Here’s how German courts are planning to prosecute Syrian war crimes (Washington Post)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/04/04/heres-how-german-courts-are-planning-to-prosecute-syrian-war-crimes/?utm_term=.52bb8abef5e9

Spanish court to investigate complaint against Syrian security forces (Reuters)
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-spain-idUSKBN16Y1KD

 

Please Take Action to Help Protect Rhinos

Please sign and share the following petition:

South Africa: Protect Rhinos from Poaching – Don’t Legalize the Trade of Rhino Horn!

“In 2016, more than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa. Rhinos are no longer safe even at zoos – rhino horn is in such high demand that poachers recently broke into France’s Thoiry Zoo, shot and killed a white rhinoceros, and sawed off his horn with a chainsaw. Zoos throughout Europe and reserves in Africa are now cutting off the horns of living rhinos to protect them from the criminal gangs determined to kill rhinos and acquire their horn.

Despite the immense threats rhinos face as a species, South Africa is considering a proposal to legalize the trade of rhino horn within the nation’s borders and allow some exports for “personal purposes.”

Please sign this petition urging South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African Parliament to protect rhinos by maintaining the moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horn, and choosing not to legalize exports.”

Please continue reading and sign and share the petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/352/628/158/south-africa-protect-rhinos-from-poaching-don%E2%80%99t-legalize-the-trade-of-rhino-horn/

You can’t believe it can you? South African rhino breeders want the government to legalize the sale of rhino horns. Their bizarre and I must say dubious justification is that doing so will flood the market and bring down the cost of rhino horn!!!!!!!  “They argue that this would drive down demand for poached horns.”. I am serious read, the article included in the petition:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/13/519992083/south-africa-is-considering-legalizing-domestic-rhino-horn-trade

More about south Africa’s proposed legislation from Humane Society International

Proposed regulation to allow rhino horn trade and export in South Africa could worsen trafficking crisis, says Humane Society International
Audrey Delsink, Humane Society International/Africa executive director, says: “While the global community is working to save rhinos from poaching and to eradicate the illegal trade in their horns, South Africa’s proposed regulations will not only open a loophole for criminal syndicates to launder poached rhino horn, but also create an enforcement nightmare, both within the country and internationally. We do not have the luxury of time to spare when it comes to the fate of rhinos, and we have to focus on shutting down the illegal trade rather than endorsing legal trade in rhino horn which has significant enforcement challenges and poor capacity.”
http://www.hsi.org/world/south-africa/news/press-releases/2017/02/regulation-rhino-horn-export-021417.html

Please sign the pledge included in the above article and linked below:

Sign the Don’t Buy Wild Pledge!
https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=18974&ea.tracking.id=website&_ga=1.268539057.1735457554.1491323662

There are five species of rhino all of which are under treat of extinction as a result of poaching. The horns of these endangered animals are used in Chinese medicine throughout Asia. Each year hundreds of rhinos lose their lives. In south Africa alone between 200 to 300 rhinos per year have been killed by poachers which is three times more than it was back in the 1990s. Regardless of whether or not there is any curative properties in Rhino horn, and I rather think there is not, rhino horns belong to…well rhinos.

Further information

Reducing Demand for Rhino Horn in Viet Nam.

Warning! Disturbing images

Published on Jan 9, 2015

In August, 2013, HSI launched a campaign to reduce demand for rhino horn in Viet Nam, in partnership with the Vietnamese government. The campaign is working with key stakeholders such as women’s groups, business leaders, students, scientists and traditional and Western medical practitioners to develop and implement demand reduction strategies within their communities. By reducing demand for rhino horn in key consumer nations, we can help put an end to the poaching of rhinos.

Read more from the Humane Society International about the threat to Rhinos from poaching and what measures need to be taken to save them from extinction:

“Africa’s black rhinos are critically endangered, with a population under 5,000. The 3,000 one-horned rhinos of India and Nepal are endangered, while Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively and are also critically endangered. At around 20,000, the southern white rhino is most numerous, with the vast majority living in South Africa.”

Continue reading

Rhino Poaching:
http://www.hsi.org/issues/rhinoceros_poaching/?referrer=https://www.google.co.uk/

As you see from the video poaching is an appalling vile act of cruelty. Is there nothing human beings will not do to gain material wealth? It is as though no animal is safe from the insatiable greed of people who are even willing to kill these amazing sentient creatures for their horns. Even Rhinos in zoos are not safe, showing the level of determination by these vile people.

Links to more information

Save the Rhino
https://www.savetherhino.org/?gclid=COq50pKPi9MCFUORGwodg-kJpQ

Stop Rhino Poaching
http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/ Warning this website has some disturbing images right from the start.

The following link to United for Life discusses the threat not only to rhinos, but also to other wildlife including elephants and a less well know animal the Pangolin

“Whole species are being hunted to extinction, as part of an illegal trade that benefits organised criminals and armed gangs. We want you to add your voice to ours and say “enough is enough”.

https://www.unitedforwildlife.org/?gclid=COXI6ZaGlNMCFYgW0wodZToHKg#!/the-facts

 

 

Help Amnesty International fight the Muslim Ban.

President Trump has signed a new executive order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries and slamming the door on refugees. The order demonises the vulnerable – those who have fled torturers, warlords and dictators. Make no mistake, people will lose their lives because of it. A Hawaii court blocked the ban just hours before it was due to come into effect, but it’s not over yet – we need to stop this policy for good.

We’ll fight it with everything we’ve got, just like we did last time. Take action now – tell President Trump to stop this ban and to protect human rights.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/its-back-fight-trumps-muslim-ban  – 

There are over 24,000 actions taken, the target is 40,000. Please send the above message and share widely.

There is a template which you may edit and add your own words, if this is not possible for some reason just send it as it is, but please do send and share widely.

While messages sent to trump may well fall on deaf ears you might think, by sending a message you nonetheless make a protest , we need to let him know what the world thinks of this injustice. The ban is nothing more than discrimination under the guise of a  ‘national security measure’.

“Don’t be fooled – it is a direct attack on freedom,justice and dignity and we will fight it every step of the way.

This ‘revised’ order is the same hate and fear with new packaging. It will cause extreme fear and uncertainty for thousands of families by, once again, putting anti-Muslim hatred into policy.

No amount of editing can make this executive order anything but what it is – blatant bigotry.

You can continue reading this and other information by scrolling down past the message in the above link.

Further information:

Last night we won against the Muslim ban  – here’s why we have to keep fighting

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/global-voices/donald-trump-muslim-ban-keep-fighting-usa

More Action

Please sign the following related petition by Amnesty International
Stand together against hate: Tell Trump to respect human rights:

Since President Trump took office on January 20, 2017, the US government has rapidly taken actions that weaken human rights protections.

  • A ban has been placed on entry to the US from countries with Muslim-majority populations.
  • Orders have been given to build a wall along the Mexican border.
  • The Dakota Access pipeline, which will violate the rights of Indigenous peoples, has received the go ahead.
  • The ‘global gag rule’ decreasing women’s access to sexual and health information and services abroad has been re-instated and funding for programs to help prevent violence against women have been cut.

Read more and please sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/451/575/547/

Here is the latest petition concerning the plight of refugees made more urgent as a result of the shocking chemical attack on defenceless people, including children and aid workers:

Trump: Stop your war on refugee children

“Children began choking, gasping, writhing and foaming at the mouth. That’s how witnesses describe the nerve gas attack on a rebel-held town in Syria’s northern province of Idlib. It happened in the early morning hours before 7am, after warplanes rushed the town and began dropping chemical weapons. The attack killed more than 75 people, including children and rescue workers — and it is one of the worst attacks in Syria’s gruesome civil war.

The war in Syria has been going on for six long, brutal years. This is not the first attack to kill children or aid workers. According to the United Nations, 4.81 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country because of the war. In Aleppo, another city in northern Syria, the government has bombed residential areas so frequently that children now collect shrapnel and other bomb fragments as toys. Schools have moved underground. Even hospitals have been flattened.

Despite the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, Trump’s administration continues to vilify refugees and block their access to safety, security, and a feeling of home in our country

Two months in a row, he has issued Executive Orders to target refugees and block their resettlement in the United States.

We must allow this latest attack to open our eyes. Refugees are human beings caught in the midst of violence, terror, and chaos..”

Read more and please sign and share the petition  to tell Trump: “Welcome more refugees to the United States of America!”:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/690/282/575/united-states-dont-abandon-refugees/

Trump it seems is quick to retaliate this vile atrocity against innocent children and aid workers but still unwilling to allow entry into the USA for refugees effected by these appalling crimes and the continuous ravages of war which has virtually destroyed their country and thousands of lives. It is time to take more positive action to help by offering refugees safe haven. Indeed this applies to all nations including here in the UK.

It is time world leaders including our PM Teresa May spoke out in an honest and forthright manner against Donald Trump’s shameful Travel/Muslim ban. Sadly it seems that trade agreements are worth overlooking this grave social injustice and the many others that violate human rights and are discriminatory. Is the UK so desperate that we are willing to ignore what is happening in the USA. Such bans spread hate and division and should not be the policy of any civilised progressive country and should be vigorously opposed.

We can feel hesitant to speak out about countries such as America which boast of democracy, fairness and social justice, a country that interferes with other countries concerning human rights issues – or at least purports to do so. It may seem somewhat incongruous, somehow a little surreal even now to be focused on such issues within the USA. Of course racism has always been a problem, only now it is actively sanctioned as a result of the prejudiced bile this man has spewed out since the beginning of his campaign. The USA  likes to give the impression that it is foremost concerning human rights, yet increasingly this image is not true.

It is perhaps of interest to note that Freedom House’s 2017 Report lists the USA among the countries to watch concerning human rights violations.

“Countries to Watch

“The following countries are among those that may be approaching important turning points in their democratic trajectory, and deserve special scrutiny during the coming year.”

  • United States: Donald Trump’s unorthodox presidential campaign left open questions about the incoming administration’s approach to civil liberties and the role of the United States in the world.”

Freedom in the World 2017
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2017

When thinking of human rights violations many of us tend to not consider countries such as the USA, though most of us know that despite recent progress, which is likely now to be undone of course, the USA has always discriminated against certain races and it has been a long hard campaign for black people in particular to gain the freedoms they now have.

What Trump does concerns everyone, his actions are global and a threat to us all and we all have the right and responsibility to speak out, so please do so by supporting the Amnesty International’s Campaign by sending a message to Trump and by signing the petitions.

Related Links

If Trump really cared about Syrian children, he wouldn’t ban them from entering the US

Trump doesn’t care about the Syrian people, he cares about ratings – and right now his ratings suck

“It’s tempting to believe that the President of the United States is a decent human being, moved by pictures of dead children and compelled to act by breeches of international law and human rights. Yet nothing about Trump’s long, well documented career indicates that he’s capable of compassion, let alone towards persecuted Muslims.

I don’t buy Trump’s false conversion. He has routinely tweeted that the President needs congressional approval to use military force, something he didn’t seek. He has, until now, demonstrated isolationist instincts that preclude America acting in its traditional role of world police. He has banned Syrian refugees from entering the US and demonised Muslims on the campaign trail. Considering literally everything Trump has said and done over the past several years, forgive me if it’s hard to fathom that he’s acting entirely altruistically.”

Read more about the Syrian gas attacks

“Abdulhamid al-Youssef sobbed as he carried his infant twins, wrapped in matching white shrouds, to their final resting place.

Ahmad and Aya, nine months old, died on Tuesday morning in a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, northern Syria, along with Mr Youssef’s wife Dalal and 16 other members of his family.

On Wednesday he had to bury them all in an unmarked mass grave.

The 29-year-old shopkeeper had been at work when the air strike hit close to his home just after 6.30am. When his wife called to tell him what had happened, he rushed home to be with them.

They appeared to be fine, but as a precaution he took them all down to the basement of a nearby building in case of another strike.

It was only then, an hour later, that they began displaying symptoms.”

Continue reading:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/05/syria-gas-attack-sobbing-father-cradles-dead-twins-19-family/ – Warning