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Bovine tuberculosis testing - we really need to talk

Tom Langton

11th September, 2017

Are the shortcoming of existing cattle TB tests soon to be exposed by a simple, clever blood test that has been waiting in the wings? The development may shine light on practical compromises in the extended, failing fight against TB in England - at huge tax-payers expense. Biologist TOM LANGTON looks at a growing dilemma in the world of bovine TB cattle testing more...

Jaime Lannister warns Game of Thrones fans of the threat of climate change

Joe Ware

1 September, 2017

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor behind Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones, has confirmed our suspicions that the threat of winter in the hit HBO show is a metaphor for climate change. JOE WARE reports (spoiler alert!). more...

Donald Trump ends IPCC funding and 'abandons global science leadership'

Brenda Ekwurzel

17th August, 2017

The US has ended its funding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change despite the serious national security implications for the country, argues BRENDA EKWURZEL more...

Wealthy farm subsidy recipient's historic links to massive aid scandal

Crispin Dowler

4th August, 2017

The Common Agricultural Policy has come under increasing criticism as a means of transferring wealth from the taxpayer to wealthy landowners. Today it emerges that a Malaysian tycoon linked to a historic aid scandal is among the largest beneficiaries. CRISPIN DOWLER of ENEGYDESK reports more...

Should teenagers give up on having children to save the planet?

Brendan Montague

18th July, 2017

Science textbooks aimed at teenagers simply ignore the most effective lifestyle changes to prevent climate change: go vegetarian, cycle, take the train overseas and have fewer kids. It is time parents sat down and explained the low carbon birds and the bees, asks BRENDAN MONTAGUE more...

Special Report: The growing importance of Urban Biodiversity

Christopher Swan, Ecologist

11th July, 2017

Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living things on Earth, but people often have very specific ideas of what it means. If you run an online search for images of biodiversity, you are likely to find lots of photos of tropical rainforests and coral reefs. Those ecosystems are invaluable, but biodiversity also exists in many other places writes ecologist, CHRISTOPHER SWAN more...

Meadows offer food and shelter to vast varieties of animals and wildflowers - and must be saved

Laura Briggs

30 June 2017

The Save Our Magnificent Meadows partnership hopes to demonstrate the fragility and importance of our fast-disappearing Great British meadows. more...

Leading from Nature: Politics and Biomimicry

Elizabeth Wainwright, Nature Editor

13th June, 2017

As Theresa May and her Ministers struggle to make a pact with the DUP, Ecologist Nature Editor, ELIZABETH WAINWRIGHT says we could all do worse than model both leadership and politics on Nature and work together to improve partnership and community, as well as innovation more...

How planting bioenergy crops could help stop Britain's brown hare from becoming extinct

Laura Briggs

6th June, 2017


If you live or spend time in the UK countryside it may have been some time since you spotted the native brown hare - if you've ever seen one at all. That's because the hare relies on an increasingly disappearing biodiverse landscape for its food. LAURA BRIGGS talks to the scientists behind a new study investigating what type of planting - including bioenergy crops - will help stop hare populations from continuing to decline
more...
The Kimblewick hunt on its Boxing Day meet, 2016. Photo: Roger Marks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Foxhunting hounds and bovine TB - why the official silence?

Lesley Docksey

15th May 2017

Teresa May's promise to bring back foxhunting has proved one of the most unpopular items in the Tories' election platform. So we should not be surprised at the official silence over the TB-infected hounds in the Kimblewick hunt, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor, given the political power of foxhunting landowners, should we be surprised that officials are shrugging off any idea that bad biosecurity in hunt kennels could possibly have anything to do with TB in cattle. more...

No Seed... No Food

Laura Briggs

10th May, 2017

With the diversity of food crops falling dramatically and just three giant corporations controlling over 75 per cent of the global seed supply, it's no wonder people feel disconnected from their food. LAURA BRIGGS learns more about a new UK Seed Co-operative which aims to redress the balance more...
Another 100,000 English badgers could be shot because of fake science and faker statistics. Photo: Tom Langton. Note that no badgers died or suffered to produce this photograph!

Lies, damned lies and twisted statistics - fake science set to kill 100,000 English badgers

Tom Langton

13th April 2017

The government / NFU badger culling policy is based on a single study, the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT), which found that area-wide badger killing reduced TB 'breakdowns' in cattle herds. But a robust reanalysis of the RBCT data reveals that culling is entirely ineffective, writes Tom Langton. The only scientifically valid conclusion is that culling badgers has no effect on TB in cattle. Defra and Natural England must think again! more...

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Chinese-built road under construction through rainforest in Mouloundou Department, Ogooue-Lolo, Gabon. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The dark legacy of China's drive for global resources

William Laurance

11th April 2017

As China pursues a startling array of energy, mining, logging, agricultural, transport and other infrastructure projects on virtually every continent, it is having an unprecedented impact on the planet, writes William Laurance. It's not that China is any worse than historic colonial powers - the difference is in the sheer scale and pace of environmental destruction, and the total lack of oversight under which Chinese mega-corporations operate. more...
Photo: Tom Langton.

Bovine TB summit: science-based policy, or policy-based science?

Tom Langton

7th April 2017

The Bovine TB conference in London last week was disrupted by media reporting of scientific conflict over badger culling studies, writes ecologist Tom Langton. But the real story is the collapse of confidence in the Randomised Badger Culling Trials, used to justify the mass killing of badgers; and the emergence of reliable new TB tests. The simple solution: stop the cull, and spend the money on gamma interferon cattle TB testing. more...
Aerial view of Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar. Photo: via Andrew Lees Trust.

Tall tales and tailings - the truth about Rio Tinto's rare earth mine in Madagascar

Yvonne Orengo

3rd April 2017

Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar was meant to be an exemplar of 'corporate social responsibility' and environmental best practice. But the reality experienced by local communities is different, writes Yvonne Orengo, with uncompensated land seizures, food insecurity, deforestation and social deprivation. New concerns are emerging about the infringement of legal buffer zones and radiation exposure. Rio Tinto must be held responsible for its actions! more...
Victoria water lilies in Pucate Creek (Quebrada Pucate) off Rio MaraƱon, Peru. Photo: Mike LaBarbera via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Scientists: protect vast Amazon peatland to avoid palm oil 'environmental disaster'

Joe Sandler Clarke /Greenpeace Energydesk

23rd March 2017

A recently discovered peatland in northeast Peru contains two years worth of US carbon emissions, writes Joe Sandler Clarke, but it's under threat from the rapidly advancing 'palm oil frontier'. Now scientists are calling for the wetland's immediate protection - before it's too late to save it. more...
Eric Dooh from Goi, plaintiff in the Dutch court case against Shell for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, a biodiversity hotspot in which conflict has been raging for decades. Photo: Milieudefensie / Akintunde Akinleye via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

War, human rights and biodiversity: turning conflict into conservation

Alex Reid

23rd March 2017

Over 90% of major armed conflicts between 1950-2000 occurred in countries containing biodiversity hotspots,writes Alex Reid, and more than 80% of these took place in the hotspot areas themselves. This poses a major challenge to the conservation community: to work in combat zones to strengthen environmental protection before, during and after conflicts. Or better still, to defuse incipient conflicts and resolve those under way, to reduce their toll on people, and nature. more...
Badgered to death? Photo: Andrew Gray via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Badgered to Death? Now MPs have no excuse for ignorance

Dominic Dyer

20th March 2017

The badger cull is a clear failure on scientific, cost and humanity grounds, writes Dominic Dyer. Yet the government is planning a major extension of the cull in 2017. That's why he has just sent a copy of his acclaimed book to every British MP, before they debate the issue next week. Write to yours now demanding an end to the slaughter! more...
English badger at sunset near Canterbury, Kent. Let's all blame him for farmers' poor biosecurity! Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Is Natural England granting unlawful badger cull licences to farmers with poor biosecurity?

Anna Dale

29th March 2017

Below-par farm biosecurity should block farmers from participating in England's badger culls, writes Anna Dale. But a large body of evidence of poor and negligent biosecurity by farmers suggests that Natural England, the government's official regulator, is turning a blind eye to this strict requirement - and undermining the purpose of the cull. more...
Boxing Day Hunt and Hounds in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. Photo: Kentish Plumber via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Pity the poor hounds! Bovine TB, foxhounds and the biosecurity black hole

Lesley Docksey

15th March 2017

The 25 TB-infected hounds of the Kimblewick hunt, all put down, remind us that the lot of hunting dogs is not a happy one, writes Lesley Docksey. Unloved and at constant risk of slaughter, they are prone to a host of diseases, from bovine TB to brucellosis, neospora and botulism, which they can pass on to farm stock, humans and other dogs. They deserve better! more...
The Kimblewick hunt on its Boxing Day meet, 2016. Photo: Roger Marks via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Official cover-up - are hunting hounds the 'cryptic carrier' for bovine TB?

Jordi Casamitjana / League Against Cruel Sports

9th March 2017

Was the discovery of bovine TB in a pack of foxhounds in southern England covered up? Jordi Casamitjana asks if hunts bear much of the blame for the bTB epidemic, while Defra may have deliberately suppressed the evidence. The 25 bTB-infected hounds of the Kimblewick Hunt may just be the tip of an iceberg of diseased dogs spreading TB across the UK - while badgers take the blame. more...
Hounds observing slaughtered fallen cattle.

Bovine TB found in foxhounds - and nothing to do with badgers! Now what?

Lesley Docksey

9th March 2017

The news that the Kimblewick Hunt's hounds are infested with bovine TB has come as a shock to farmers and hunters, writes Lesley Docksey. But it's no surprise to campaigners against the badger cull, who have long complained about poor farm hygiene and the feeding by hunts of disease-ridden 'fallen cattle' carcasses to foxhounds - never mind that the cattle are likely bTB carriers! more...

Ecologist Special Report - Bhutan's stumbling block to becoming the greenest nation on the planet

Michael Buckley

1st March, 2017

Bhutan is well on its way to becoming the greenest nation on the planet. In his Special Report for the Ecologist, photojournalist MICHAEL BUCKLEY explores the reasons why the country's ecosystems and dazzling biodiversity remain intact - and highlights the one thing that threatens this admirable integrity... more...
Badger trying to keep out of trouble in the Somerset cull area, September 2015. Photo: Somerset Badger Patrol via Facebook.

Putting the 'con' into consultation and the 'fiction' into science: England's badger cull

Lesley Docksey

27th February 2017

We know the outcome of Defra's latest 'public consultation' on killing badgers long before the results have even been analysed, writes Lesley Docksey. Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has already promised farmers to extend the cull 'even further' - although it brings no proven benefits. Welcome to the new world of 'alternative facts' that's driving UK government policy. more...
A village being destroyed with fire, bulldozers and elephants as the Kaziranga Reserve doubles in size into local farmland and settlements. Photo: still from video by BBC Newsnight.

Are India's 'shoot on sight' wildlife guards doing more harm than good?

Bhaskar Vira, University of Cambridge

28th February 2017

Ruthless conservation policies at India's Kaziranga reserve claimed 20 lives in 2015 alone, writes Bhaskar Vira. Now, after a BBC film revealed the grim reality of life for local people, the BBC itself is in the firing line - banned from all India's tiger reserves for five years. Successful conservation must build bridges with communities - not fight them! more...

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