Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Industrialization of Animal Agriculture Jeopardizes Food Security, says Humane Society International
NEW DELHI (January 11, 2012) —Humane Society International has released a report critical of the idea that inhumane confinement of animals in industrial production facilities somehow enhances food security. In reality, the HSI report demonstrated, the industrialization of animal agriculture does just the opposite, jeopardizing food security by degrading the environment, threatening human health, and diminishing income-earning opportunities in rural areas.
 
“There is strong scientific evidence of the negative impacts of these animal factories on people and animals,” said Chetana Mirle, Ph.D., director of farm animal protection for HSI. “We must do a better job of supporting small-farmer led and animal welfare-friendly agriculture, as well as implementing stronger environmental and farm animal welfare regulations.”
 
In India, 140 to 200 million egg-laying hens are confined to barren, wire battery cages so restrictive they cannot even spread their wings. Each bird has less living space than an A4 sheet of paper. With no opportunity to experience most natural behaviors, such as nesting, dust bathing, perching and foraging, these birds endure lives wrought with suffering. Factory farms that confine more than 50,000 birds within a single shed are increasingly common in the country.
 
In 2008, more than 720 million chickens were slaughtered in India for their meat. These broiler chickens also experience crowded confinement and other adverse conditions.
 
The HSI report, The Impact of Industrial Farm Animal Production on Food Security in the Developing World, reviews the growing body of evidence showing that industrial farm animal production fails to improve food security. Some highlights of the document are:
 
·         Increasingly inhumane conditions for animals on farms do not benefit people.  For example, the growing confinement of India’s egg laying hens in cramped battery cages has failed to significantly improve the nutritional outcomes for low-income communities. 
·         More humane farming practices can benefit human communities as well as animals.  The report urges the government to implement progressive environmental, public health, and animal welfare regulations to minimize the negative impacts of industrial farm animal production on animals, the environment, and vulnerable human populations.
Media Contact: N.G.Jayasimha: (0)9490732614, ngjayasimha@hsi.org

Malaysian oppo leader Anwar acquitted in sodomy trial

Malaysian High Court on Monday has acquitted opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy charges by his former aide after a two-year trial, a verdict likely to strengthen his alliance ahead of the general elections.

High Court Judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah on Monday took just three minutes to deliver his most awaited judgment to a packed court house and found him not guilty of sodomising his former aide 26-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari.
The Judge said there were no collaborating evidence to support Saiful's testimony, citing unreliable DNA evidence.
"The court cannot be 100 per cent certain that DNA was not contaminated," the judge said. "And because it was a sexual offence, the court is reluctant to convict on uncorroborated evidence," he said. However, there is no written judgment.
A crowd of 64-year-old Anwar's supporters shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" after the judge finished reading the verdict.
Anwar immediately hugged his children who were crying over the verdict. He also shook hands with the prosecutors.
"Thank God justice has prevailed," a jubilant Anwar said. "I have been vindicated. To be honest, I am a little surprised... My focus now will be at the coming elections."
The verdict comes ahead of elections due in 2013 but widely expected to be called later this year.
The allegations against Anwar surfaced just months after elections in 2008, in which he led the opposition to unprecedented gains at the expense of the ruling coalition.
The trial has riveted Malaysia and sparked charges of a government set-up to cripple the Anwar-led opposition. It is the second sodomy verdict in a dozen years for Anwar.
However, Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement that the acquittal "proves that the government does not hold sway over judges' decisions."
"Malaysia has an independent judiciary," Rais said.
"The current wave of bold democratic reforms introduced by Prime Minister Najib Razak will help extend this transparency to all areas of Malaysian life."
Hundreds of police and security personnel were deployed on the streets and outside the court ahead of the verdict. Hours before the verdict, thousands of Anwar's supporters assembled near the Jalan Duta court, awaiting the verdict.
They carried banners saying "free Anwar" and shouted slogans denouncing the trial, with some chanting "reformasi" (reform), the battle cry of Anwar supporters after his spectacular ousting as deputy prime minister in the late 1990s.
Anwar, who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 to 1998, was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption in 1999 and to another nine years for sodomy in 2000.
In 2004, the Federal Court reversed the second conviction and he was released. Sodomy is illegal in this Muslim country though few are ever prosecuted.
Mohd Saiful, who accused Anwar of sodomy, tweeted that he remains calm over the verdict that dismissed his charge.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur police chief said officials were investigating an explosion at a car park about 400 metre from court complex. The bomb squad and forensics team were at the scene.

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