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Environment

THE WHEAT AND THE CHAFF: Will ‘Vegans’ take the Coronavirus vaccine?

CHAS NEWKEY-BURDEN: The hunt for a coronavirus vaccine has been horrendous for some animals. As part of the drive to save human lives, thousands of cheeky monkeys, ferrets, cats, mice and hamsters have been deliberately infected and experimented on in labs. Pfizer and BioNTech, the big pharma companies behind the vaccine that caused excitement yesterday, have treated monkeys and mice with contempt. While their human researchers have been protected with elaborate PPE, the animals in their care have been trapped and deliberately infected. Some were injected with an inoculation first and some…

JUST LIKE US: ‘Gunda’, Joaquin Phoenix’s new ground-breaking animal rights documentary

JUDE DRY: Gunda is an experimental black-and-white film about the life of farm animals that took this year’s Berlin Film Festival by storm. “Gunda” is the latest in a trilogy of nature films from Russian documentary auteur Victor Kossakovsky, whose 2018 film “Aquarela” broke technological barriers to examine water in various shapes around the world. After viewing an early cut of “Gunda,” Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix was so moved by the film that he came on as an executive producer. Phoenix has a long history of advocating for animal rights and related issues (including in his 2020 Academy…

Bruce Friedrich: Will plant-based meat become the new fast food?

NEIL KING: McDonald’s introduction of the "McPlant" product line is further proof that meat alternatives are here to stay. But can they really replace meat in the long run? Bruce Friedrich is the founder and executive director of the Good Food Institute (GFI), an international non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that strives for alternatives to conventional agriculture products. DW's environment podcast team "On the Green Fence" spoke with Bruce about the future of food as part of a series on meat consumption: DW: What, in your opinion, is wrong with eating meat? Industrial…

‘The conditions are catastrophic’: Inside Germany’s factory farms

DW: From cramming livestock together in crates to needlessly brutal methods of slaughter, the factory farming industry has repeatedly been accused of engaging in animal abuse for the sake of profit. Yet, it remains incredibly difficult for journalists to gain access to slaughterhouses and verify these claims. To get a clearer picture of what actually goes on inside factory farms, DW spoke with someone who knows the industry better than most — retired butcher and food inspector Franz Voll. Parts of this interview are included in DW's environment podcast On The Green Fence... He has written…

WORLD’S FIRST: At the first lab-grown meat restaurant, you can now eat a ‘cultured chicken’ sandwich

ADELE PETERS: At a new restaurant in Tel Aviv called The Chicken, the chicken on the menu is grown from cells in a bioreactor in an adjacent pilot plant visible through a glass window. Diners don’t pay for their meals; instead, SuperMeat, the startup making the “cultured chicken” meat, is asking for feedback on its products, as it prepares for large-scale production of food that it thinks can transform the industry. The main item on the menu, the Chicken Burger—a crispy cultured chicken fillet served on a brioche bun with toppings—looks and tastes like conventionally-produced chicken. “The…

UN report says up to 850,000 animal viruses could be caught by humans, unless we protect nature

KATIE WOOLASTON: Human damage to biodiversity is leading us into a pandemic era. The virus that causes COVID-19, for example, is linked to similar viruses in bats, which may have been passed to humans via pangolins or another species. Environmental destruction such as land clearing, deforestation, climate change, intense agriculture and the wildlife trade is putting humans into closer contact with wildlife. Animals carry microbes that can be transferred to people during these encounters. A major report recently released says up to 850,000 undiscovered viruses which could be transferred to…

STUDY: Replacing Just 10% of Animal Ag With Plant-Based Would Save Land Equivalent to Size of Germany

VEGCONOMIST: A study commissioned by Blue Horizon with PWC reveals that if 10% of the global animal market was replaced by plant-based products, by 2030 we could save CO2 emissions equivalent to 2.7 billion trees – an area of land bigger than Germany, and enough water for everyone in the state of New York for five years. The environmental footprint of beef mince production is most striking: the impact of alternative protein is 15x lower than conventionally farmed beef... The environmental footprint of plant-based alternatives has proved to be significantly lower than their animal…

REPORT: Scientists propose tax on meat to help avert future pandemics

THIN LEI WIN: Policy makers should consider levying taxes on livestock production and meat consumption to reduce the risk of future deadly pandemics, international experts said on Thursday, as they published a study calling for better protection of nature. “Over-consumption of meat... (is) bad for our health. It’s unsustainable in terms of environmental impact. It’s also a driver of pandemic risk,” Peter Daszak, a zoologist who chaired the study, told journalists at its launch. Outbreaks of influenza viruses and new pandemic strains have emerged largely because of “incredibly dense…

Is Asia cooling on dog meat as COVID puts it on disease alert?

SANDY ONG: When Cambodian province Siem Reap banned the dog meat trade in early July... animal activists, who have long decried the business as cruel and barbaric, cheered. Public health officials are applauding, too, hoping the decision will ease the country's rabies problem. The move came as the coronavirus pandemic cast a spotlight on the threat of zoonotic illnesses that spread from animals to humans, as well as the potential role of exotic meat. Scientists are still investigating COVID-19's origin, but it is likely to join a long list of zoonoses that includes Ebola and plague... The…

REALITY CHECK: Checking-in on the climate as you check-out your meat and dairy

ALI WITHERS: A major supermarket chain in Denmark is offering shoppers something extra at checkout: an estimated amount of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from their groceries. COOP DK, the Danish cooperative that controls one-third of the country’s grocery market, says it is trying to educate consumers with an eye toward nudging them to cut back on meat and dairy, two categories of food that produce the most greenhouse gasses linked to climate change. At stores run by COOP DK’s five grocery chains — Irma, Fakta, Kvickly, SuperBrugsen and Dagli’Brugsen — shoppers can use an…