Nudies Save Lives!

No more orangutans - all because of palm oil!

The Cree Indians had a saying-

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
— 19th century Cree Indian saying

It’s pretty famous and I’m sure you’ve heard it. I think pretty soon we’ll all be chomping on crunchy green notes.  But they’ll have to be plastic notes because there’ll be no trees left to make paper.

I’ve been hearing for some time that the last of the market gardeners around Sydney have been selling their land to property developers. The Maltese and Chinese market gardeners used to provide a great deal of produce to Sydney from their market gardens in the Horsley Park area.

So how will we get enough food?

Farmers are struggling with extreme weather conditions. In Australia we have become used to drought, locusts, bush fire and sudden flooding – all not good for crops and livestock. Farmers have a mean taskmaster – the supermarket chains who pay them pennies for their stock but sell it for megabucks.  I’m sure that if any farmer had a viable alternative they would leave the land in a flash.

So that leaves overseas purchases.  A great deal of food is grown in China but we eat that produce at our own risk – if we are concerned about dodgy pesticides and gross fertilizers (human excrement). Anything coming in from overseas could be irradiated and/or genetically modified. I mean, we don’t know what they’re doing to our food grown in Australia, but at least it’s our own germs so to speak!

Most food choices contain either or both – soy protein and palm oil.  These crops are both no-nos. Soybeans are now one of the chief denuders of the Amazon Rainforest. There are Brazilian farmers out there right now, hacking down the Amazon so they can grow more soy beans for European pigs and for our bread.  The same is happening in Argentina. Since the Argentian peso was floated the Argentinians have fallen on hard times and now they have fallen prey to soy bean global manipulation. They have chopped down their forests too, endangering many Argentinian forest dwelling species, so that more soy beans can be grown.

As for palm oil, most of South East Asian jungles have now been burnt to the ground so that more palm trees can be grown. Where palm oil used to be supplied by Nigeria, the incredible demand for palm oil worldwide has seen supply shift to South East Asia. Now that they have burnt down their own jungles, Indonesia is about to start burning down the jungles in Papua New Guinea. We can expect two million hectares of virgin jungle to be burnt down in the next few years. The aim is to grow  palm oil plantations and yes, soy beans.

Soy beans are mostly genetically modified. Palm oil is a thick yellow oil  that clogs the arteries.

Since we can’t buy a loaf of bread that doesn’t contain soybean protein, or a bar of soap or chocolate, or a biscuit or cake that doesn’t contain palm oil, our food choices (if we are concerned about our health) are seriously diminished.

Hence, I suggest we all live on Nudies. Nudies are the most delicious fruit drinks. They don’t contain palm oil or soy beans. They contain no sugar or preservatives and they are good for you. In fact, my father who has just recently suffered congestive heart failure and can’t eat, only likes to drink Nudies. And I have to agree, they taste delicious.  I emailed the company to tell them how they’re keeping my dad alive and they told me that this is not the first time they’ve heard this story and that lots of children who don’t like eating fruit really like Nudies.

So what lives do Nudies save? Well off the top of my head – they are keeping my dad alive; they are nourishing children who won’t eat fruit; they are not causing jungles to be burnt down in either South East Asia or Brazil and hence they are saving orangutans, tigers, snakes, monkeys, butterflies and big spiders.

And they’re not paying me to say this either! But let’s face it, there’s not much in the way of alternatives with regard to wholesome foods to eat out there. So, drink a Nudie and keep reading those food labels – avoiding soy protein and palm oil – and do the environment and your health a favour.

That was a bit tongue in cheek, but the sentiments are sincere, and the gravity of the global problem not to be underestimated!

The picture at the top was taken from  They rescue orangutans.

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Something Oily is Going on Here!


Sea life is now only safe in Sea World

The current  BP oil spill in the Mississippi Delta made me think of a Macrobiotic philosophy. It is something like this – a big front hides an even bigger back. The front is the good side that we all see and the back is the bad side that is hidden by the big front.

The oil industry is a perfect example of this philosophy. We need petrol for our cars.  Billions of cars taking people quickly to their destinations would have to be the good side.  Trucks, planes, ships and machinery also run on the fuel.

However, there is definitely a big back to this one.

A man named Stan Meyer invented a dune buggy circa 1995. This vehicle ran on water. It ran 100 miles to the gallon. Such was the threat of such a vehicle to the oil industry that he was apparently offered a billion dollars by an Arab to shelve the idea.  He refused to accept.

He died of  food poisoning in mysterious circumstances in 1998 and immediately the buggy and the plans were stolen. Nothing has been done on this concept since that time.  Read about Stan here

Oil pipes frequently run through the lands of poor farmers, poisoning the soil. Nigeria is such a country.

Here is a piece I have taken directly from the website

The Nigerian delta has some of the best agricultural land in Africa, as well as vast oil resources.� The area is densely populated by many different tribal groups, including the Ogoni people who have lived there for over 500 years.� Several oil companies, including Shell, set up operations in the 1950s and since then, the land, water, and air have been polluted to such a great extent that the Ogoni people�s livelihood is threatened.

The effect of pollution on the Nigerian delta has been great.� As a result of oil spills and industrial waste dumped into the Niger River Delta, fishing as a means of supplying food for the tribe is no longer an option because very few fish remain in the river.� The groundwater is contaminated and is not safe for drinking, and the rainwater cannot be collected for drinking because it falls as acid rain. Dr. Owens Wiwa, a medical doctor and human rights activist from the area says, �We cannot drink the water from the streams, you can’t drink rainwater and there is no piped water. Our right to drinking water has been taken away by the company, our right to farming has been taken away by the company, and our right to clean air has also been taken away by the company� (1). Developed countries such as the United Stated require mud from drilling to be enclosed in a containment well or land fill to prevent seepage. However, the Nigerian government permits oil operations to dispose of the drilling waste directly into the river (2).

The air has also been severely polluted. The natural gas that is a byproduct of drilling is flared off horizontally from five flaring stations, some of which are near homes and villages. Flaring is a process in which the gas is collected in batches and then combusted, creating a loud explosion. More dangerous in the long run is the massive amounts of carbon dioxide created by flaring off gas that could be sold or even donated to the local people for a cooking fuel.� Flaring, combined with the methane and soot produced by the two refineries, petrochemical complex, and fertilizer complex that are in Ogoniland produce low air quality linked to cancer, asthma, and other lung diseases.� The flaring has also been associated with reduced crop yield and plant growth on nearby farms (2).

The most immediate threat to Ogoni people is oils spills, which have damaged their land dramatically.� At least one hundred pumping stations and pipelines crisscross Ogoniland (1).� The pipelines run over farm land and through villages; leaks and spills are a common occurrence. From 1970 to 1982, 1,581 oil spill incidences were recorded in the Niger Delta, over 1.5 million gallons of which were a result of Shell’s 27 incidents.� While Shell runs oil operations in over one hundred different countries, 40% of the company’s spills were in Nigeria (3).� What little Shell has done to clean up these spills has been delayed and inadequate.

In mid 2006 a huge oil spill along Lebanon’s Mediterranean shore was caused by Israeli planes hitting a Lebanese power plant, dumping 15,000 tons of oil into the Eastern Mediterranean. The entire coastline of Lebanon, which is an important environmental site, was coated with oil, killing blue fin tuna and green turtles, among other sea life.

Then there was what was formerly considered to be the most devastating man-made environmental disaster in history – the Exxon Valdez oil spill. This occurred in Prince William Sound in Alaska on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker heading for Long Beach, California, spilled 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil when it hit a reef. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this spill is still affecting local communities twenty years on . Oil still clogs beaches and there have been social effects in the local communities ranging from domestic violence to alcoholism.

And now we have the terrible BP  environmental disaster in Mississippi. Only time will tell how that has damaged the fragile eco system in Mississippi. However, having millions of gallons of oil pouring into the water can hardly be healthy for the local sea life. Some are saying that this oil spill is worse than the Exxon Valdez disaster.

There are more factors at stake besides the decimation of local wildlife and sea life. Fishing communities are destroyed and locals lose their livelihoods. Tourism is also affected and its financial benefits lost.

To read more about the numerous oil spills in the US alone that are not generally reported, read

Cynics  (and there are an awful lot of them) believe that the wars in the Middle East, starting with Iraq, had more to do with preserving America’s oil supply than any other consideration.

The reason for Britain’s interest in the tiny Falkland Islands has now become apparent as England has begun drilling for oil there.

I wonder how it sits on leaders’ consciences that young men and women had to give their lives for such a crass commercial consideration?  I’m not sure how saving a country’s oil supply could be considered to be a noble ideal – especially in the light of no one wanting to explore the application of an invention that made oil redundant (Stan Meyer’s dune buggy).

These days we do have vehicles which run on electricity but they are too expensive for the average consumer. And of course they have to be recharged regularly which does diminish their ability to be used for long trips. Toyota manufactures the hybrid Prius which has had problems, but still runs on petrol as well as electricity.

No one seems prepared to move away from petrol, there is way too much politics and money involved.

Now I think about it, water probably isn’t the answer either. Although it is a cleaner fuel, it hardly ever rains in Sydney these days so I don’t know where the water would come from if that became our new fuel. The price of water would go through the roof. There is also a nasty big back to the water industry – water rights issues in third world countries; farmers’ dams being forcibly taken over by the government and dams flooding pristine wildlife areas etc.

Maybe Clover Moore, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, has the right idea. Everyone thinks she is severely misguided as she has ordered all the city roads to be dug up and made into bicycle tracks. She seems to be under the misapprehension that everyone is going to want to cycle to work if she does this. However, although it would certainly be wonderful for the environment, I don’t see this happening. The back side of that is that there is going to be so much road rage coming up that it won’t be safe to drive into the city!

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The Value of Life – The Big Trade-Off

I remember seeing an episode of Judge John Deed a year or so ago. The story was about a teenager who needed a transplant (I think it was a heart transplant) and he refused to have it because it would mean he’d be dependant on anti rejection drugs for the rest of his life.  He felt that as the drugs had been all tested on animals, by taking them he’d be contributing to their pain and suffering. His mother overrode his objections and even Judge Deed sided with the mother although he admitted that the teenager was very articulate and made a very good case for the stand he was taking. The boy died during surgery so we never got to see how he would have dealt with being given a heart he obviously didn’t want.

Radical? Well maybe not. In fact I totally agree. Of course, I suppose that given a choice between life and death I’d most probably choose life, as would most of us. However, when I read this week about a hideous experiment that scientists conducted on mice I had to wonder when it was decided that the lives (and not to mention the beauty) of humans were worth the intolerable suffering of billions of mice, rats, monkeys, dogs, pigs, apes, sheep,  rabbits and who knows what other animals?

The experiment I am referring to involved mice being injected with acid and mustard oil so that their grimaces could be measured. See   I suppose it is handy, if you are exposing animals to all sorts of dreadful suffering, to know exactly how much they are suffering. Does this mean that they’ll be replicating the experiment with monkeys, rabbits, dogs etc ? My thoughts are that they will.

At this moment there are countless rabbits in laboratories all over the world, having all manner of cosmetics, shampoos and hair colouring agents painted on their eyes.  And that is only in the name of beauty.

I have an image indelibly printed in my memory. Years ago when they conducted the first heart transplant between an ape and a human, I remember breathlessly watching the news  as a huge ape was carried into surgery.  What still pains me to this day was seeing how happy it looked as it waved its arms and looked curiously around.  A few minutes later its heart was ripped out. For what? As far as I can remember the transplantee died soon after the operation.

So, for every person who receives a transplanted heart from an ape, it follows that an ape must die.  Is that a fair trade?  Of course, you’d say, humans are worth much more than monkeys. But on what basis? Do monkeys destroy the earth as man has done? Man’s lasting achievement is that without a shadow of doubt he has changed the face of the earth in not an altogether good way. And by man, I don’t mean indigenous communities. I mean industrialized man.

As well as being a writer, I am an acupuncturist.  It is our philosophy that ill health can be treated with acupuncture, herbs and alternative therapies. I myself have had great success with acupuncture both personally and professionally. I also love to travel to India for Ayurvedic medical treatment involving herbs and massage. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. You can read about my treatment here

I constantly read about the side effects of Western medicine. In most cases drugs mask the symptoms but do not cure the illness. Cancer is treated by chemotherapy which is a cocktail of toxins. The purpose of chemotherapy is not to ‘cure’ cancer  – it is to kill the cancer cells. Of course, being a toxic cocktail it also kills the healthy cells, but this is the trade off one apparently has to make in the battle against cancer.  Pharmaceutical companies are making squillions of dollars marketing chemotherapy drugs and jealously guard their hold on the cancer ‘cure’.  No other person except a medical practitioner is allowed to say they can treat cancer.

Recently drug companies cracked down on an alternative therapy which has proven very successful in treating cholesterol. It is called Lipoplex. Lipoplex is made from red rice which apparently works in the same way as statins, but without the muscle wastage which is a hallmark of medical statins.  Where formerly, Lipoplex could only be obtained from a naturopath, now it can only be obtained from a medical practitioner. I don’t think, given the hold of Lipitor and Crestor on doctors, that there’ll be too many presciptions for Lipoplex written.

Of course it must be understood that drug companies are not going to get richer by actually curing an illness, are they? They don’t cure elevated cholesterol. If you are on a statin drug for ten years and then stop taking it, your cholesterol will immediately return to its previously elevated position. Hence you are obliged to take cholesterol lowering drugs and therefore suffer the side effects, for life. The same applies to blood pressure medication, arthritis drugs, heart medication and diabetes medication.  It certainly doesn’t pay a pharmaceutical company to invent a formula to cure a condition. That is because that is way too hard.  So they mask the symptoms and force you, the consumer, to take their pills to the day you die.  And a lot of people die from the side effects of the drugs they are taking.

 Recently we had a serious example in Australia whereby 251 children under the age of 5 suffered extreme reactions including convulsions after being injected with flu vaccine. One child actually died from the vaccine and  If parents weren’t encouraged by pharmaceutical companies to be terrified of every little illness killing their children, they would allow them to develop natural immunity. That is nature’s way although it is an unfashionable concept these days.  Drug companies would demand that everyone gets vaccinated against every condition known to man if they had their way.  But are even half the vaccines necessary? In Australia last year everyone was half scared out of their minds by the threat of swine flu. Quick as a wink, a vaccine was developed. No one in my extended family took  the vaccine and none of them caught the swine flu and for that matter, I don’t know anyone who did catch it.  It was a total non event. What a waste of money to have the vaccination!

There are many books written on the subject of the hold of the pharmaceutical industy over medical practitioners. Much has been written about how normal conditions such as menopause and depression are now medical conditions that must be treated with drugs. If you don’t believe me see Much has been written about how thresholds for acceptable cholesterol levels have been lowered so that more prescriptions for statins can be handed out.

In the meantime, laboratories all over the world are working overtime pumping one chemical after another into little and big animals. I remember speaking to a woman who worked for a big laboratory and when I asked her about the animal experiments she told me blissfully that their animals were the happiest animals around. They were so well cared for they were happy to die in the service of mankind. Now how good is that?

Why don’t medical professionals take some time to teach people about the value of foods to health? People of Asian background know full well about the health value of food. They consider foods to be heating or cooling and they know that heating foods should not be taken when the health problem is a hot condition. Western born people mostly would not think of their health conditions in those terms and would certainly think nothing of eating ice cream when they had a cold. For the most part, people in the West are totally out of touch with their bodies.  If this was not the case how would so many fast food enterprises have thrived with billion dollar profits? Why is it only Asian born people who seem to know about eating for good health?  We all need to know about the synergies of food in the fight against ill health.  There is certainly more to food than vitamins and minerals. I remember a Chinese herbalist telling me that the Chinese believe that when someone is sick they should first turn to food for the cure and only when that doesn’t work should they turn to herbs and medicines.

Now if doctors and schools took the time to educate us on how to avoid ill health by making appropriate food and lifestyle choices, then we wouldn’t need to be reliant on drugs.  There are a few holistic doctors in practice but for the most part if you go to a doctor with diarrhoea or a kidney infection, the doctor reaches for a script. And yet there are definitely food cures for these conditions.  Of course we can also blame the patient. We have been so conditioned to want a quick fix – ie the pill that can cure everything instantly – that we don’t even want to take the time to treat our health naturally. Such has been the overuse of antibiotics, which are even mixed in with the food fed to farm animals, that there are now super bugs which are antibiotic resistant.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, if you have a headache or you have diarrhoea, investigate other ways to treat it rather than taking a pill. Firstly, you’ll be doing your kidneys and liver a favour, and secondly, you’ll be reducing demand. Of course, if the condition is more serious, see your doctor!

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Happy Mother’s Day – But Not For Pigs!


Aren't they cute?

This Sunday it’s Mother’s Day – so happy Mother’s Day for Sunday!

Maybe some of you are familiar with the above picture of a tiger with piglets. This came from a widely circulated email about a mother tiger whose baby died. She was inconsolable and the zoo feared she’d die so they thought of an ingenious method to cheer her up. They dressed some piglets in tiger material (golly, I hope they didn’t use tiger skin!) and introduced them to the tiger. This could have gone so very wrong! However, as you’ll see, the experiment was a huge success and the result was one happy tiger and a number of very relieved piglets.

I just received an email from Animals Australia Action Network . To quote from their email –

Many Australians are still unaware that in Australia it is legal to confine mother pigs in metal and concrete sow crates for their entire 4 month pregnancy in a space that only allows them to take one step forward or back. Mother pigs in a natural environment will spend the 24 hours prior to giving birth gathering together straw and twigs to make a nest to give birth to her babies in comfort. One can only imagine their distress at being forced to give birth on a hard concrete or metal floor in the same area that they toilet and then being unable to nurture their piglets due to the bars that surround their body. Their distress continues as they have no choice but to watch on helplessly as their piglets’ tails are cut off and needle teeth brutally clipped without pain relief in the first week of their life.

They ask us to write to the editor of your local newspaper to encourage people to spare a thought for the sad plight of factory farmed mother pigs on Mother’s Day and urge consumers to stop supporting this cruelty by refusing to purchase factory farmed pork products.

Have a look at their website. They are committed to animal welfare and list the latest actions in helping the plight of animals. If you decide to write to your local paper about cruelty to pigs, have a look at their tips and let them know on this link

Of course, it would be inaccurate to think that pigs will be the only animals suffering this Mother’s Day. We all know this isn’t true! Pick an animal! If you trawl through my blog you’ll find a plethora of animal issues.

But we are talking about pigs today.

The RSPCA has put together a fact sheet on the plight of pigs  .  Have a read of it as it debunks popular myths about pigs.  They’re not dirty – they roll in mud to keep cool because they can’t sweat. They love to socialize and they are very smart.

Pigs have an excellent sense of smell and are used to hunt truffles in Europe. They can solve puzzles and be trained to perform tricks.

However, our poor treatment of pigs extends not only to farming practice and often cruel treatment in abattoirs, but to medical practice where they are used in experiments.  Recently PETA reported that they were able to save a large number of pigs in Europe which had been earmarked for an experiment. The plan was to bury the pigs in snow and then see which ones survived! The premise of the experiment was that when skiers are buried in an avalanche, some survive and others don’t – so are there pockets of air in the snow? So what? Why would they have to kill a lot of pigs to do such a silly test? Luckily, due to the outrage of animal lovers, they dropped the proposed experiment. But there’ll be others…

People who have pigs as pets love them dearly. George Clooney had a pot bellied pig as a pet whom he kept until it died. They are faithful pets and are excellent company at home. But if you can’t keep a pig, then maybe you’d like to sponsor one.  The following organisation allows you to sponsor one of their farm animals.

A number of times I have spoken about the Catskills Animal Sanctuary. They rescue abandoned and ill treated farm animals and nurse them back to health. They have a regular newsletter in which they advertise farm animals searching for homes. Go to and you’ll see a pig on the homepage today. They have a number of pigs in their care.  Incidentally, last year a very kind benefactor offered to meet donations to the Sanctuary dollar for dollar to the amount of $1.5 million up to 31st. December, 2010. It’s wonderful to know that someone cares enough to make that offer! So if you donate $10 to the welfare of their pigs, they’ll actually get $20!

I just checked their adoption alerts for today and would you believe – there is one for a pig! Here it is – ring them if you are in the US.

URGENT Miss Piggy is a very friendly, elderly pot belly pig. Her family’s farm is in foreclosure and she must be placed ASAP. Located in Orange County, NY. Please contact Paula at 845-551-5765.

By the way, I used to prepare the  financial  accounts for a piggery and I noticed an awful lot of antibiotics in their every day purchases. I got the impression that it was put in all the pigs’ feed. So beware, if you eat pork, you’re also getting a big dose of antibiotics which you didn’t order! And don’t forget – due to the over the top consumption of antibiotics throughout the world, there are now super germs which are antibiotic resistant. Don’t eat pork (sorry but that includes ham and bacon) and you won’t be contributing to their suffering and you won’t be getting an unknown dose of antibiotics. Anyway, why would you want to eat processed pork products? They’re full of unknown preservatives and the method used in curing the pork uses toxic materials which are carcinogenic.

Hire the movie “BABE” on Mother’s Day in sympathy for pigs.


If you read my last blog on the bears, you might like to read the latest from Animals  . I urge you to read it.


Last week I travelled to Muswellbrook as guest of the Muswellbrook Library.  During the week I visited six of their regional libraries and spoke to a large number of local schools. I had a wonderful week and would like to thank the library for their kindness to me. I also found a fantastic olive grove which sold wonderful, freshly squashed (extra virgin)  olive oils. It’s called Pukara Estate at Denman. I was thrilled when the library gave me a bag of goodies from Pukara Estate as a present. Lucky me.


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The Bear Facts

The subject of bears has once again reared its ugly head this week.

Firstly, a friend drew my attention to the work of an organisation which is trying to stop the ‘sport’ of bear baiting in Pakistan. They’re selling bricks for $10 each to support their work. If you want to help them by buying a brick, go to  . You’ll be no doubt horrified by the way bears are treated – from having their teeth ripped out, to being set upon by dogs. It’s amazing that from being one of the most noble of animals, bears are used so deplorably by humans.

The picture below of a Moon Bear was taken from the post

If you’ve read my earlier blog on the state of animals in China, and in particular, about the way bears are farmed for their bile, you might be cheered by a small improvement in the situation. Apparently, bile from bears has been used in Chinese medicine for 3000 years! Even though now there are at least 50 natural and synthetic substitutes, bears are still kept in cages where a catheter is inserted into their gall bladder so the bile can be drained off. Animals Asia Foundation has rescued 276 bile bears and sent them to a refuge in Chengdu, Sichuan. Last Monday, ten bears were rescued in Weihai in the Shandong province. This means that 19 Chinese provinces are now bear farm-free. There are however, still twelve provinces, containing 10,000 bears still in cages, to go. I immediately clicked onto the website of Animals Asia Foundation to give them a donation. If I can’t go to China to help with the work, then I fully support anyone who does. A story in the newspaper told of how, during the trip to the Chengdu refuge, they dropped into a hospital on the way, where one of the bears was given emergency gall bladder surgery due to the level of his suffering. In his gall bladder was a metal disc which had been put there to keep the catheter inside. Just imagine 10,000 bears in this situation! And I believe that there are bile bears in Vietnam too.

This rescue mission was sponsored by a Melbourne philanthropist, Sharon Pearson. What a wonderful human being! We hear so much about cruelty, but there are many genuinely kind people around who do wonderful things for animals.

See the Squidoo post on the Moon Bears at

I’ve taken the following picture from the website of Sharon Bowles Sharon Bowles is also fighting to draw public awareness to the plight of the Moon Bear.

A Moon Bear

 And while I’m on about bears, I would like to give a big BOO to the British government for refusing to bow to public pressure and not agreeing to change the hats of the Buckingham Palace Guards from bear skin to a synthetic subtitute in a bid to save the American black bear. The big black fluffy hat is called a BEARSKIN – since it has traditionally been made from the skin of a bear (both black and brown bears). In April, English singer, Joss Stone, posed nude for Peta’s new animal right’s campaign to draw attention to this issue. Surely, since she’s a good friend of Prince William, she can exert a bit of influence? Each hat requires a complete bear skin and each year 50 to 100 skins are ordered for the silly hats.

So it’s no joy being a bear on this planet!  I could go on and on, but it’s too depressing!!!

A bear must be patient - they can spend their lives in a tiny cage - but is there an escape?

After my last blog on the joys of shooting (not!), I was rather disturbed to read that Pamela Reeves, a senior vice-president of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia,  thinks that shooting is a great family sport – “Everyone can come along. With other sports, you’re divided into age groups. Once people try it, they tend to come back.” Yep, I can picture the baby in a pram with a baby gun, a gun toting ten year old, a pregnant mum with a rifle and granny with a shotgun. If shooting is now a fun family sport, this could explain why it’s so dangerous on the streets at night as pre-teens and teenagers trawl the streets looking for someone to kill. Anyone who ventures out on the streets of Sydney at night is asking for trouble.

See –   Shooting is not a wholesome family activity.

Has anyone see the Squidoo website? I’ve seen a few great Squidoo posts in the past few weeks which highlight different environmental concerns. was a lovely post about the birth of baby hummingbirds in a backgarden. is a lens on how palm oil is killing orangutans. is a lens on some clever ways to recycle.  is a lens on the benefits of trees to the world.

Tribune Media Services are reporting that the level of acid in the oceans is increasing at an unpreceded rate. The chemistry of the oceans is changing so rapidly that it is expected that ocean acidity could increase by 200% by the end of the century. According to the National Research Council report, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing so rapidly that natural processes in  the ocean that maintain pH levels, are unable to keep up. Eventually, sea life will be adversely affected as it becomes impossible for them to live in a sea of acid. The one thing that separates Planet Earth from many other inhabitable planets in the universe, is the fact that we have oceans of drinkable water. When we are a planet of acid water, things will be quite diferent.

Post Script

I am soooo happy as I’ve just seen an advertisement on television warning people about eating products containing palm oil as it is resulting in the destruction of jungles in South East Asia and hence the murder of thousands of orangutans as well as all other jungle dwelling animals. I’m so glad that someone has been prepared to pay for this advertisement.  I was extremely disappointed recently when I travelled on Singapore Airlines and they served Nestle Tim Tam Cornettos made from palm oil,  for dessert. I complained on the airline questionnaire.  I’ve recently heard that Nestle is going to stop using palm oil in its products. Cadbury already has, due to loss of sales.

So, it’s wonderful to know that people really care about this issue. Companies are only using palm oil as a cheap substitute for a traditionally used ingredient. In any case, palm oil would be a big artery clogger – so it’s for your health benefit not to eat it.


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The Joy of Shooting – for Some!

Yes, I know that deep at heart man is a hunter as well as food gatherer.  Millions (or is it hundreds of thousands) of years ago cavemen speared mammoths for dinner. Dodos and other slow moving birds were wiped out due to their deliciousness and their slow-movingness.

This I understand and in actual fact I am a meat eater myself. However, what I do detest is the killing of animals for the sheer joy of it – recreational shooting, I believe it’s called.

I just read a charming story about a young ex-cheerleader who shot an eleven foot alligator with a crossbow. There was no mention of her being hungry – this was just a fun night’s shooting

The fact that she was young and attractive certainly glamorized the story. I suspect that the alligator didn’t find any particular joy in having its life snuffed out by a beautiful woman. And why did she shoot it? Well, to mount its head on her wall of course!  And to make ‘gator shoes.

A little something for the loungeroom wall

The need to kill something so that its head or skull can be mounted on the wall is one of the most perverse things I can think of.  Having visited Austria, I can attest to the fact that half the houses in the country have walls covered with the skulls of deer. How anyone could think that a deer’s skull mounted on the wall is more attractive than a deer, full of life, bounding through the woods, is beyond me.  And yet, while I was driving through Leichtenstein some years ago, the driver pointed out a little deer grazing just outside of a forest at the side of the road. As I excitedly reached for my camera, he muttered, “I wish I had my rifle with me!”

Another house I stayed in had a photo gallery on the wall. This photo gallery was of the death of a bear. The shooter – a shooter in more ways than one – had documented the demise of a brown bear. The first shot was of a bear being woken from hibernation. The next shot showed the bear standing outside its lair looking rather confused. The next shot was of the hunter shooting him and the last one was of the hunter standing with his foot on the bear’s head. I felt sickened to the heart.

That same man used to travel regularly to Africa where he’d bagged elephants and anything else that wasn’t fast enough up a tree. The house bore testimony to his travels with an elephant foot umbrella stand at the front door. I find it amazing that he felt that a magestic elephant was better served as an umbrella stand than as a member of a herd of elephants roaming free.

Sadly, in Australia, the Shooters’ Party has gained such a strong political influence that they’ve threatened to block the passing of government legislation unless they’re given rights to hunt in National Parks. These reserves have been set aside to protect native animals and now it’s deemed acceptable to hunt in them!

 Anyway, this whole topic came into public discussion recently when a hunter shot a deer, leaving  an orphaned baby. There was a lot of public discussion about shooting and what to do with the orphaned offspring. If you’ve read my earlier blog about beheading baby joeys, then that’s exactly the government advice for any shot animal’s baby.  Apparently, someone took over the care of the fawn and was bottle feeding it. A sarcastic letter to the newspaper mentioned that the only reason people were up in arms about the fawn was because it reminded them of Bambi. The writer’s argument was that deer are feral and hence was fair game –

Feral! Now that’s the word hunters adore. If something is deemed ‘feral’ then it deserves to be shot. So what exactly is ‘feral’? Well, according to my dictionary, it is something living in a wild or untamed state. However, hunters argue that if something is feral it is dangerous and a threat to land and other domesticated animals. Hence the justification for killing feral pigs. Feral pigs are such annoying animals that hunters go to shoot them, not only heavily armed but with a troop of dangerous dogs as their bodyguards.

Well, nothing is going to stop a shooter from killing I suppose. But then, I have read and heard tell that there is something that does stop shooters. I have heard several people say that they shot an animal and they were so disturbed by watching it in its death throes that they vowed never to kill another creature. I know one that immediately turned vegetarian.

Also see  Shooting can be dangerous for the shooting party too.

Boo to Blacktown Council and Cheers to the Greens

Last week I and many residents of Glenwood, Sydney, were very disturbed when Blacktown Council began the destruction by stealth of one of the last remaining clusters of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland to make way for sports fields. The Greens brought this to everyone’s attention and sought the intervention of Frank Sartor, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. A temporary halt was brought about and the council had a special meeting to discuss the issue which resulted in a majority vote to continue the destruction of the trees.  Why, when there are already two football fields in the Glenwood Reserve, do they need a third one, at the expense of these rare trees? And furthermore, why does the Blacktown Council website profess that the council is anxious to protect the remaining Cumberland Plain Woodland when at the drop of a hat it puts commercial interests first?


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Don’t Monkey Around with the Monkeys!

All my life I’ve been under the pathetic delusion that I could be great friends with a monkey. I’ve just discovered that I’m not the only one with that delusion. However, back to the story.

I’ve had a couple of embarrassing run ins with monkeys in different corners of the globe.  My most recent encounter with a monkey was in India and this time I didn’t push the boundaries of friendship. We shared a couple of bananas and for my trouble the monkey climbed on the roof above my hotel balcony and peed on my head. But I’m sure it was in the spirit of camaraderie. Anyway, that’s how I read it.

About fifteen years ago I was visiting Phi Phi Island, Thailand, which is a lovely spot where they’ve filmed a couple of James Bond movies. I couldn’t imagine anything awful happening there.

Actually, it did – a few years after my trip, the island was badly hit by the tsunami and I still wonder if the little chap I met there came to a sticky end. I do hope not.

But back to the story. We got off the ferry at Phi Phi Island and waded through the water to shore (yes, it’s not very high tech!). And the first thing I see is a cute monkey sitting on a chair under a palm tree. Well, I just love monkeys but I have a very short memory. If I had a reasonable memory I would have recalled a Sunday in gay Paris when I visited a market full of cute animals in cages. There was an enormous cage containing a number of big monkeys. One seemed to think I was very interesting and stupidly I thought it was because we had somehow forged a bond, until, faster than the speed of light, a little hand darted through the bars and ripped the necklace from around my neck.  The monkey then raced up to the top of the cage where it sat, chewing enthusiastically on its treasure. I never did get that necklace back either.

But back to Phi Phi Island. Making excited goo goo noises, I raced over to the monkey and sat down next to him/her/it. It looked at me with quite a bit of interest and once again my ego kicked in and I thought for a millisecond that my personality had shone through and I’d won a monkey’s heart. Then deju vu! A hairy paw shot out and with amazing dexterity, whipped my necklace over my head and was up the palm tree like a …monkey!

There it sat, chewing on its prize and no doubt laughing at me. I made all sorts of cranky noises and the monkey’s owner came running over. After assessing the situation he hauled his friend down by the chain to which it was tied.  He grabbed the necklace back and then as a final insult, he clipped the monkey over the top of the head. I certainly didn’t endorse the head clipping and I felt sorry for the monkey who was now sitting, rubbing its sore head and thinking, thinking, thinking. I could see its little eyes darting from its owner to me. Someone had caused it pain and that person would have to pay. But it also realized that its owner could not be punished – after all, he was its owner.  But this annoying woman was another matter! It was all HER fault! I saw vengeance in its eyes as it flew through the air, screaming a monkey scream! Landing on my bare arm it sunk its teeth deeply into the skin as it clung on for dear life. Meanwhile I ran around in circles, waving my arm around and also screaming a monkey scream!  Fortunately, the owner disengaged the monkey from its hold and I collapsed in a moaning heap. Blood poured from the wound as I tried to assess the situation. Could I possibly have rabies? I’d heard somewhere that if there’s a chance you have contracted rabies you have to take the monkey’s brain to a hospital so they could check it for rabies. The poor monkey had however, suffered enough without me taking its brain, and in any case I had a feeling that a monkey that was tied to a tree didn’t have too much communication with other rabid monkeys so I felt that I was pretty safe. But I wasn’t sure if I might catch a horrible disease from its green teeth. At the resort they dabbed on disinfectant and assured me that the monkey regularly bit women and they’d all survived.

I did live, and for the rest of my holiday I watched (from a great distance) the nasty creature sidle up to unsuspecting women and steal their sunglasses and necklaces. My friend said he’d give the monkey a talking to. I watched as he sat down next to the monkey and the little wretch put a hairy arm around him and cuddled him! So it would appear that the monkey was a female with a hatred for all women. Still, I do hope she survived the tsunami. I’ve often thought about her, chained to the tree right on the water’s edge. Maybe she had already gone elsewhere with her owner. Does anyone out there know?

My friend, author Alison McKenna with a monkey

However fast forward down the track to today and firstly I receive an email which contained an amazing video of monkeys opening bottles for incapacitated people. These monkeys have been trained to heat food in ovens, fill glasses with water and no doubt do all the things that these people would like to do for themselves.  Go to this link on youtube to see these videos  and . Incidentally, while looking up the previous videos, I found a video of an Indian monkey which baby sits a newborn baby

Then, within two hours of receiving the email on the helper monkeys  I saw a documentary on the tellie. It was called “My Monkey Baby”. Apparently in the US there are thousands of people who have monkeys as a substitute for a baby. I watched this show with mixed feelings. Three couples were featured. They had all purchased their baby monkey from a registered monkey breeder. This was itself a very sad issue. The monkey parents were locked in a small cage and following birth the baby was taken off the mother after 10 days. Monkeys have very close knit families and a baby normally stays and bonds with its mother for years. So to my way of thinking this was the equivalent to using two humans as breeding pairs and taking their baby off them after ten days. The only difference was that the monkeys couldn’t verbalize their feelings on the matter. One of the couples however, flaunted the baby monkey in front of the cage and we saw the mother desperately running from one side of the cage to the other in obvious distress. It was heartbreaking. I don’t know why humans have the view that an animal can’t feel the same depth of grief that we do.

In fact, I recently saw a documentary filmed on a wildlife reserve. The oldest member of a chimpanzee troop – a lady chimp – had died of old age and the staff wheeled her lifeless body in a wheelbarrow past the rest of the chimps. As the chimps stood silently watching this spectacle they cuddled each other and looked genuinely distressed. This was supposed to be proof positive that animals feel grief.  However, every day I see proof that animals feel grief. Surely we’ve all seen dead birds on the side of the road with a disturbed mate hovering beside their lifeless body. When some of my hens were killed by a dog, the remaining hens were most definately distressed.

Given the obvious similarities with humans I’m saddened that the trade in baby monkeys is legal. However, we all know that if there weren’t breeders then babies would be ripped off mothers in the wild.

The monkey I met in India

Anyway, back to the story. The three couples in this story doted on their monkey babies which they dressed in baby clothing.  The monkeys had toys and well, everything a little monkey could want. One parent had five children of her own but didn’t speak to them anymore. The jist of the story was that when they left home and she couldn’t play with them anymore, their bond broke down. So she embraced the monkey as a substitute for all her children and fed it the most dreadful diet. It continually had a lolly pop in its mouth and only ate pastries, ice cream and sweets. Apparently it didn’t care for bananas.

They all had an extremely responsible attitude towards caring for the monkeys, having provided for them in their wills and juggling jobs so that there would always be someone at home to keep the monkey company. I suppose it would be wonderful if all parents cared for their human babies with such diligence. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen when the monkeys reached maturity and yearned for a monkey boyfriend or girlfriend.  Would they become naughty monkey teenagers that bit and scratched when they couldn’t get their own way? Would they be relegated to the monkey scrap heap when that day came? To find the answer to that and more, go to and see what happened to two monkeys when they got sick of being substitute human babies.

I remember reading that Michael Jackson found his chimp, Bubbles too difficult to handle when the chimp reached maturity. I’ve heard of others that have been given to circuses when that day came. Trust me, being bitten by a monkey is not a fantastic experience.

Last week I saw a documentary on Bobonos. These delightful monkeys which live in the Congo, have great empathy for each other. One monkey hurt its finger and the other Bobonos ran across to him. They studied the injury and kissed the finger better.  Genetisists say that Bobonos have empathy in their genes. This did not however, stop the Congolese killing them for bush meat during the civil war. Many parents were killed and their babies sold into the pet trade. Given that there are monkeys with the same characteristics of man (ie empathy and close bonds with their families) – why do we feel the need to yank them from their mothers and subject them to unnatural life situations?

Sad as it is, monkeys are under threat in the wild as their jungles are burnt down all over the world. They are poached for bush meat in Africa. They are the subject of gruesome experiments in laboratories. The hope that a monkey can be born and live out a long life in its native jungle these days are pretty slim.

Maybe the best we can offer them are homes where they can eat ice cream, dress up as babies and perform cartwheels to entertain us.


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A Step Closer to the End

Do we have enough palm oil plantations?  Has enough jungle been burnt to the ground? Have enough animals been burnt to death?

No, no, no.

Indonesia, having apparently burnt down the majority of its own  jungle, is now looking further afield for jungle to destroy. Luckily, it has found a whole heap of uncultivated land and jungle in the province of Papua.

Last month the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate targeted 1.6 million hectares of land in the Merauke district of south-east Papua for development, but this could expand to 2.5million hectares.

The land has been earmarked for agricultural projects including palm oil plantations, soy bean plantations, sugar cane, corn and rice farms. Already, throughout South-East Asia, palm oil plantations have been responsible for destroying millions of hectares of jungle. Throughout the world, soy bean plantations have been responsible for the destruction of huge tracts of the Amazon jungle and Argentinian forests. Environmentalists claim that up to 2 million hectares of jungle in Merauke are under threat.

Furthermore, the project will increase the Merauke population from 175,000 to 800,000 people and there are fears that the indigenous Melanesian population, who have already been reduced by 30% since Papua was annexed by Jakarta in 1969, will be further displaced as Indonesians from Java, and other parts of Indonesia, pour into the area.

There is no guarantee that the project will be successful even if the jungles are razed. A similar Indonesian project – the Kalimantan mega rice project that caused the devastation of peatland forests in Kalimantan – did not produce a single bushel of rice.

As the earth watches the small amount of its remaining jungles and forests being slashed and burnt to the ground, one wonders what price will be paid in years to come. The rainforests, which include swamp forests that are ecologically fragile, contain stores of peat that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Bear in mind that although we are located not that much further from the sun than Venus, the temperature on Venus is 477 degrees C. The reason for this super hot temperature  is that Venus has a massive greenhouse effect. The super-abundance of CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere (96% of the atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide) has resulted in this effect, which occurs when carbon dioxide is released (most probably from the rocks) and not re-absorbed.

Venus once had water, just like earth. In fact, astrological  research shows that Venus once had continents and oceans. It is likely that billions of years ago Venus was habitable.

The surface of Venus

Did Venus have a civilization that acted with the same lack of foresight as we have on earth?  Venus is made from the same material as earth and had approximately the same initial temperature 4.5 billion years ago. But something went wrong to cause the current unlivable situation.

Are we on the same crash course for destruction as Venus?  Only time will tell. However, who wants to find out?

To read more about this project, go to


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Baby Seals and Joeys – a head splitting issue

Let’s get something straight.

When baby seals are bludgeoned to death it’s barbaric, bloodthirsty and cruel. We all agree on that!

But when Australians clobber millions of joeys to death every year it’s … kind and humane.

There’s a big difference anyway. Firstly, those cute fluffy seals have mothers who love them, but those joeys don’t have a mother anymore – she just had her brains blown out.

The world thinks kangaroos are adorable. In fact, so much so, that Tourism Australia stuck one in a cage in a busy Los Angeles street in January.

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains of Sydney

Wallabies living in the Blue Mountains, Sydney

But to be truthful, kangaroos are not so popular in Australia. There are heaps of them and they eat too much. For starters, they eat all the grass that ‘rightfully’ belongs to cows and sheep. They eat crops.  Farmers whose mantra is ‘there are too many kangaroos and they are a pest ‘– hate them!

Secondly, insurance companies hate them. They’re sick to death of paying claims for smashed car windscreens and bent fenders. Every morning Australian highways are littered with hundreds of dead kangaroos. A particularly popular site for corpses is on any highway leading into Canberra.

Hence, kangaroo shooting is a favourite sport for anyone with a gun and a desire to kill something. You see them all the time – 4 wheel drives with a string of lights across the roof. They’re great for lighting up the bush so shooters can blast dozens of roos without too much effort. Kangaroos are nocturnal animals and hence night is the best time to kill them.

Roo shooting is a great national pastime. Bored office workers love to spend their long weekends in the bush blasting them to smithereens. We do however draw the line when some yahoo shoots them with a bow and arrow through the face. See . Now that’s downright barbaric and the killer, Justin Stavropoulos got a whole year in jail.

Still, we have heaps of kangaroos left over and we do have a monopoly on them. So what to do? Until recently the only use for a kangaroo was as pet meat.

These days China makes everything but they can’t breed kangaroos (at least not that I’ve heard). Why don’t we encourage everyone overseas to eat kangaroo meat?  Delegations of government officials regularly trawl overseas searching for an interested country to purchase our dead kangaroos.

In the meantime, radio announcers on talk back radio breathlessly extol the virtues of roo meat. Woolworths and Coles now stock kangaroo steaks. The message is out there – it’s very healthy to eat roo meat. It’s Australian to eat roo meat. Furthermore, the more I discuss this matter with people, the more I get the impression that it’s ‘un-Australian not to eat roo meat’ and complaining against it makes one an enemy of Australia.

But maybe not so healthy for the joeys. As we blast the kangaroo into eventual extinction, we are left with a messy problem. Every female kangaroo seems to have a joey in the pouch. It seems unlikely that the shooters only kill male kangaroos. Until they work out a way to promote joey burgers they have to work out what to do with them. Anyway, the government has told kangaroo shooters what to do. They have to yank them out of their mothers’ pouches and clobber them on the head.

According to the RSPCA on the National Codes of Practice (Commercial and Non-commercial) for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies requires that if a shooter kills a female with pouch young, then they must kill the joey. This is usually done by decapitation or a blow to the head (usually on the bumper bars of their 4W drives).

According to the website  –     I quote 

In the field this equates to smashing their head against an object such as a towbar or just simply stomping on their skull. It is not only in-pouch joeys that are dependent on their mothers. For about a third of the time you can call a kangaroo a “joey” they have permanently exited the pouch, however they still require milk, protection and guidance from their mother. These little guys are the joeys-at-foot or ex-pouch joeys, they are the ones that stick their heads in their mother’s pouch to obtain milk. This a key stage in the development of a kangaroo that usually lasts 120 – 220 days. The code directs shooters to kill these joeys by a single shot to the head, however these joeys tend to flee in terror when their mothers are shot. As kangaroos do not “adopt” other joeys in the wild their prospects for survival are very poor, most will likely starve to death or be taken by predators. How this can be classified as humane by Samantha Vine, Peter Ampt and Sarah Doornpos is to say the least, puzzling. I shudder to think what would come under the inhumane category, perhaps death by iron maiden?

According to this website, in 2007, 30,000 joeys-at-foot were orphaned by kangaroo shooters.

What a charming business! So when you pick up a roo streak in the supermarket or order it in a restaurant, you might like to remember these statistics.

Some people have a very cynical view on the government’s interest in getting rid of kangaroos. See . The website says – I quote –

Unfortunately the bad behaviour of governments, state and local, regarding kangaroos, is increasing. A campaign continues by those with vested interests to declare kangaroos pests – and commodities. Despite global warming, drought and bushfires, they are all working hard to turn even more kangaroos into pet food, hides, scrotum purses, and so on – even as the Australia-wide numbers plummet. From ABC news May 5, 2008: “John Kelly, from the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, says (new culling in Victoria) ‘would be good for regional employment and crops.” In direct income to the state, it’s worth about $5.5 million,” he said. “In indirect benefits, such as improved agricultural productivity, decreased levels of road accidents, and other such benefits – you add them all up, and you start talking about something approaching $15 million per year.”

kangaroo from above website

We’ve done our darndest to get rid of koalas by chopping down most of their trees to make way for housing settlements, so it’s probably difficult to rustle up enough koalas to turn into koala steaks. But farmers hate wombats and flying foxes too so maybe they could consider selling them in the supermarket next! Of course, shooters would have to whack wombat babies on the heads too, as wombats are marsupials and carry their young in pouches.

One thing’s for sure – when I hear Australians bleating about how cruel the Canadians are for culling all those baby seals, I’ll mention the hundreds of joeys who had their skulls crunched last night.


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Cheers for Sir Roger Moore and Tears for the Baby Elephants!


Sir Roger Moore and his wife from website

Not only was he a fantastic James Bond and a yummy Saint – he is now PETA’s UK ‘Person of the Year’.  He also has a BIG heart for vigorously fighting against the gross practice of foie gras. This is the abhorrent business of force feeding ducks and geese so that their livers enlarge and even explode. He wrote to every member of the House of Commons asking them to do whatever they could to end foie gras sales in the UK.

Because of his activism, Selfridges has stopped selling foie gras! We all applaud you, Sir Roger! What is most impressive is that this is one celebrity who uses his name to get results!  He has used his privileged position to bring positive change to the world and help stop suffering.

When the market for a product dries up then the killing and suffering stops!  Cadburys has made that very discovery. They wrote to all their shareholders to tell them that the backlash against them using palm oil in their chocolate was so great that they have stopped.  Many people are furious that jungles are being burnt down in South East Asia every hour of every day to make room for palm oil plantations. Countless animals, reptiles, birds and plant life are being exterminated by the palm oil trade. Orangutans are just one species now endangered in South East Asia because their jungles have been razed to the ground.

On my recent return from India I flew on Singapore Airlines. I was very disappointed that they served Nestle Tim Tam Cornettos for dessert. Clearly marked on the wrapper was that they contained palm oil. I refused  to eat it and complained in the airline’s survey of the flight.

As I said – When the market dries up, the killing stops.


Unfortunately, since the cessation of the ban on ivory trade in Africa, there is great concern that elephants, rhinosauruses and other wild African animals are now seriously endangered by poaching. 

Roslyn with an Indian elephant (with tusks intact)

It is so sad to see how the killing of the adult elephants has now left a generation of orphaned baby elephants. 

Bear in mind that the ivory is used in  the Chinese herbal medicine market as most countries have a ban on the importation of ivory and Ebay has banned the sale of products containing ivory. There are quite acceptable alternatives to ivory in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and although China doesn’t care to know about them, they will have to find out what they are when the elephant becomes extinct.

When the market dries up the killing will stop.

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