State government partners with WIRES to deliver the vehicle | The Advocate

The funding will be used to provide practical field-based wildlife rescue and rehabilitation support, assistance with training for volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, grants to help rehabilitators, and improved access to specialist wildlife veterinary services within Tasmania.

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State government partners with WIRES to deliver the vehicle | The Advocate

The funding will be used to provide practical field-based wildlife rescue and rehabilitation support, assistance with training for volunteer wildlife rehabilitators, grants to help rehabilitators, and improved access to specialist wildlife veterinary services within Tasmania.

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Vueling expands vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free inflight options – Business Traveller

Vueling has updated its buy-on-board menu with new options “to better accommodate customers’ culinary preferences”.

The menu now features 12 new vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and the overall Shop on Board catalogue has been expanded from eight to 28 pages.

The IAG member carrier said it had “responded to calls from coeliacs”, with new gluten-free choices including beer, almonds, chicken noodles, jellybeans, chocolate brownies and Spanish omelette.

There is also a new Vegan Box option, containing black olive tapenade, houmous, breadsticks, and caramelised pecan walnuts, and for vegetarians a new wrap is available consisting of cajun mayo sauce, white rice, red beans, corn, red cabbage and cheddar cheese.

Other choices added to Vueling’s winter menu include Ramon Bilbao DO Rioja red wine, a savoury egg, cheese muffin and banana bread.

In addition to the expanded menu, the carrier is now offering passengers the option to donate to Save The Children when they make an inflight purchase, with all proceeds going towards the NGO global emergency fund.

Vueling also provided an update on its inflight sustainability initiatives, with the airline having eliminated the use of more than 1,276 tonnes of single-use plastic since 2021.

Next month the carrier is set to launch three new winter-sun routes from Gatwick to Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Vueling to launch three new Gatwick routes to the Canary Islands


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Neurotoxicological hazard assessment without animal testing

Neurotoxicological hazard assessment without animal testing
Microscopic image of a neuronal network, as developed and used in the Leist research group for testing substances. Credit: Working group of Marcel Leist; University of Konstanz

The development of our nervous system in the womb and during the first years of life is a highly complicated process: Nerve cells proliferate by cell division, specialize, change their position in the tissue and interconnect to form networks of innumerable cells.

However, this complexity also makes the development of the nervous system vulnerable, for example, to the harmful effects of environmental toxicants. The negative consequences often only become apparent much later—in childhood or adulthood.

It is therefore all the more surprising that fewer than 200 substances worldwide have been tested for their developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) in accordance with the official guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—despite the high relevance of such data for consumer safety. Obvious reasons for this include the enormous cost of at least one million euros per substance for DNT studies conducted in animals.

An alternative to animal testing

In order to reduce the effort required for hazard assessment while maintaining or even increasing reliability, an international research team led by Marcel Leist (University of Konstanz) and Ellen Fritsche (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and IUF) developed an animal-free testing battery to detect DNT and used it to test 120 substances.

“Among them were some substances known to be toxic to the nervous system, such as certain pesticides or flame retardants, as well as substances considered to be harmless to serve as negative controls,” explains Fritsche, professor at the IUF–Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Düsseldorf.

The results of this extensive study have just been published in the journal Chemosphere and are extremely promising: They show that the carefully compiled testing battery is technically feasible and already has a measurement sensitivity that is on a par with animal experiments. The battery provided alerts for more than 80% of the known toxicants among the tested substances and for none of the harmless substances used as negative controls.

“However, we also discovered ‘gaps’ in our testing battery. Thus, in the article we also mention possibilities which test procedures could be added to the battery to close them,” says Jonathan Blum, lead author of the study and a member of the Leist research group at the Department of Biology at the University of Konstanz.

Higher relevance for humans

All test procedures included in the battery are based on cell cultures. This means that they are not carried out on living organisms, but “in the test tube” (in vitro). Even more importantly, human cells are used for all tests. “Ideally, this increases the conclusiveness of the test procedures compared to animal testing, since the respective results do not have to be transferred from an animal model, such as mice or rats, to the processes relevant for humans,” Fritsche describes one of the potential advantages of using human cells.

Such in vitro methods as well as all other alternative methods to classical animal testing in toxicology are referred to as “new approach methods” (NAMs). Further general advantages of NAMs are the comparatively low costs and the possibility of testing significantly more substances for their toxicity in high-throughput procedures than would be possible in animal testing in the same period of time. Consequently, NAMs are an important part of current concepts of next generation risk assessment—by both scientific and regulatory bodies.

This is particularly relevant in view of the thousands of industrial chemicals that have not yet been tested, but nevertheless are produced at a rate of more than 1,000 tons per year. The findings obtained in the current study play a very important role in this, confirms Andrea Terron, who works for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma and was involved in the study: “The study was a cornerstone of our strategy at EFSA to obtain and use DNT data from human relevant in vitro tests for risk assessment.”

Application in the regulatory context

A first concrete application for the testing battery could be screening the large number of pesticides and substances in the living and working environments for which currently only insufficient or no DNT data are available. In fact, key international organizations, including the OECD, are taking the first steps toward implementing the testing battery and using it for regulatory purposes. “This study has been extensively discussed by OECD member countries and formed the basis of a draft guidance on how to interpret data from the DNT in vitro battery,” says Magdalini Sachana of the OECD.

For example, when a pesticide is re-approved in the EU, the testing battery could provide hazard data for the substance to be evaluated, which in the best case would already allow a final assessment with regard to DNT. “If the data are not finally conclusive, follow-up tests could be carried out, such as the extensions we have proposed for our testing battery,” Blum says, explaining one possible approach.

A new alliance of the study authors with other European partners to further develop the testing battery has planned work that will also include input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In order to make the tests available to end users, such as the pesticide industry, Ellen Fritsche’s team recently founded the start-up DNTOX.

More information:
Jonathan Blum et al, Establishment of a human cell-based in vitro battery to assess developmental neurotoxicity hazard of chemicals, Chemosphere (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.137035

Neurotoxicological hazard assessment without animal testing (2022, November 15)
retrieved 20 November 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-neurotoxicological-hazard-animal.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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K’taka court gives death penalty for sexual assault, murder of 1-yr-old boy

K’taka court gives death penalty for sexual assault, murder of 1-yr-old boy

  • A Karnataka court on Saturday announced death penalty to an accused who sexually assaulted and murdered one-year-old boy in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru: A Karnataka court on Saturday announced death penalty to an accused who sexually assaulted and murdered one-year-old boy in Bengaluru.

First Fast Track Special Court (FTSC) Judge K.N. Roopa announced death penalty to accused Murthy aka Hallujja. The court has also ordered to provide Rs 5 lakh cash compensation to the Legal Services Authority for the family of the boy.

The convicted Murthy was known to the boy. The boy and his father met Murthy on September 12, 2015 near Ullas theatre. The father asked him to take care of the boy as he had emergency work.

Afterwards, the convict had taken the boy to an isolated place near Goraguntepalya and forcefully had unnatural sex with the boy. When the boy started crying loudly, the convict had taken a cement mould weighing about 40 kilograms and smashed the head of the boy. Afterwards, he torched the boy.

Rajagopalanagar police had registered a case in connection with the case. The police cracked the case and arrested Murthy in Yeshwanthpur locality of Bengaluru. The accused had confessed to the crime during the interrogation.

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Animal rights activists call for closure of dolphin ‘circus’

Updated 3.36pm with Mediterraneo statement

Dozens gathered in Baħar iċ-Cagħaq on Saturday to protest what they say is a dolphin park that encourages animal cruelty.

Protestors marched to Mediterraneo Marine Park (MMP), carrying placards saying “your entertainment is our torture,” “empty the tanks,” and “we must Meditteraneo horror story”.

Ten police officers were on site, as several MMP employees watched on from a distance.

Activists were sparked into action against the marine park after it emerged that three of its dolphins died in mysterious circumstances.

They say the park, which is licenced as a zoo, is in reality a circus and should therefore be banned.  

Speaking at the protest, Claria Cutajar from Moviment Graffitti said MMP and the vetinerary department had hidden the deaths of three dolphins.

She called on Animal Rights Minister Anton Refalo and parliamentary secreatary Alicia Bugeja Said to stop ignoring issues concerning MMP and shut it down.

“Circuses are illegal in Malta, yet MMP operates,” Cutajar said, arguing that dolphins are forced to perform unnatural tricks to entertain paying guests at the park.

Katya Borg from Animal Liberation Malta said that aside from the three dolphins who died of lead poisoning, eight others have died in suspicious circumstances.

Places like MMP, she said, give children the message that “people have a right to see wild animals perform tricks for entertainment.”

“Waving and kissing and posing for selfies are not natural for a dolphin,” the activist said.

Romina Frendo from the Real Animal Rights Foundation said animal shows are a crime against nature.

“Do you want your children to swim with psychologically broken prisoners,” she asked parents who take their children to the park.

“Empty the tanks,” she cried.

The three NGOs whose representatives spoke during Saturday’s event form part of a broader group of 14 NGOs that are pushing to have the park shut down.

Ramona Frendo addresses protesters. Activists say the park should be shut down. The banner reads 'a park of mistreatment'. Photo: Matthew MirabelliRamona Frendo addresses protesters. Activists say the park should be shut down. The banner reads ‘a park of mistreatment’. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

MMP fell under the spotlight last summer when three dolphins, Mar, Onda and Melita, died of lead poisoning.

The park did not announce the deaths, which were exposed by animal rights activists, and said after they became public that the dolphins in question had died as a result of an “accident” that caused them to be poisoned.

A report by the Commissioner for Animal Welfare however concluded that MMP and veterinary authorities had shown levels of “negligence and mismanagement” in handling the matter.

The MMP says that it operates an educational facility that teaches visitors about dolphins.

Dolphins and other sea mammals perform tricks at live shows and guests of the marine park can swim with dolphins at an extra cost.

It has defended its practice of getting dolphins to do tricks, arguing that these activities are necessary  as they “allow the veterinarian to check the health status of the animal.”

Animal rights organisations say the claim is bogus and that the park is in reality operating an animal circus. Such circuses were made illegal years ago.

Mediterraneo responds

Mediterraneo Marine Park however argued that protesters were spreading lies about the park based on outdated information.

“The park follows strict standards and regulations in line with the most recent EU directives. This is a highly regulated sector and we take our responsibilities extremely seriously,” the park said in a statement.

Mediterraneo insisted that dolphin presentations at Mediterraneo Marine Park were educational and had a veterinarian function that helped them protect the well-being of the dolphins on a daily basis.

The park also denied the accidental dolphin deaths last year were in any way mysterious or hidden.

“We immediately reported the deaths to the authorities and held transparent investigations that identified what went wrong: lead poisoning caused by strictly forbidden equipment that was used by an external diver who was cleaning one of the pools,” the park said.

They assured the public they had taken steps to ensure the tragedy did not repeat itself.

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Dr Amir Khan in video calling for end to trophy hunting

ANIMAL advocate and much-loved TV regular Dr Amir Khan has joined with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK to front a short film exposing the cruelty of the trophy hunting industry.

In the film, Bradford doctor Amir explains why the UK’s proposed ban on hunting trophy imports – due to be debated by MPs in Parliament on Friday, November 25 – is a vital step towards protecting threatened and endangered species.

Around the world, tens of thousands of animals every year are killed by hunters who pay thousands of pounds purely to kill for their own pleasure, often taking photos alongside the dead bodies of the animals they’ve shot and then cutting off their body parts to bring home as souvenirs.

Dr Amir said: “Like the majority of the British public, I find the concept of trophy hunting – the killing of animals for fun, especially species which are rare or endangered – disgusting.

“Seeing images of hunters posing with an animal they have just killed makes my blood boil.

“We cannot continue to support an industry which profits from the death of rare animals and exploits the natural world for short-term gain.

“That’s why HSI/UK and I are calling on the UK Government to ban the import of hunting trophies and end its involvement in this outdated practice.”

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