Green Guru says 'we are past the point of no return'

Wind farms:Can go elsewhere

Blown out of proportion?

I am glad Metro considers renewable energy front-page news (Metro, Tue) but I would disagree that the ruling against the Lewis wind farm is a 'huge blow' for green energy. It is a victory for common sense and the protection of our natural heritage. The Lewis peatlands are one of a comparatively small number of sites in Britain that are protected by European law because they are considered so important for their birdlife. Given that there are still large parts of the country where wind farms can be viably sited, it doesn't seem unreasonable to require energy companies to go elsewhere. The same cannot be expected from the wildlife of the Lewis peatlands.
Dominic Coath, Herts

I can't understand why 11,000 people complained about a wind farm - would a nuclear power station be more visually appealing? How can we, the windiest country in the EU, fail to do what our European counterparts have done; some producing as much as 30 per cent of their electricity by wind. We could produce 100 per cent of our needs by wind farms yet they hardly get built because people don't want their views spoiled. This is about our environment, our future and that of our children. If the government wanted to build windmills next to me, I would welcome it .Why? Because there are more important things than the view from my house.
Joshua Martin, NorthYorkshire

When climate change has destroyed the habitats of the rare birds living on the Lewis peatlands, what excuse for not building wind generators is Moorlands Without Turbines going to come up with then?
Bob Harris, Birmingham  [Metro 23Apr 2008]


Readers who love Lakeland should be alerted to the threat of windfarms. They ruin the beauty of the uplands. I invite readers who are outraged by these proposals to write to Country Guardian,PO Box 229,Warrington WA1 1DP,a group set up to fight these obscenities.
J Lythgoe,Warrington

It's safer energy

In response to J Lythgoe's condemnation of windfarms (Postbag Mar18),only through utilisation of renewable power sources such as wind,solar,and tidal energy,will global warming be slowed. Not everyone finds windfarms offensive to look at. Surely,there is beauty in the marriage of natural elemental power and human technology for such positive ends.
Preserving scenery is commendable,but don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Renewable energy is the key to giving future generations the chance of enjoying that scenery,too.
D Hickman, Monsall.

Blowing up a storm

I was the amazed to read (Postbag,Mar18) that there is a group set up to fight the construction of windfarms. Any kind of construction in a rural area is a frightening prospect, but where does the reader who complained expect to get electricity in the coming century - nuclear power stations?
Windfarms are one of the most 'green' sources of electricity and need to be placed where there is wind,which necessitates a high altitude position.
I sympathise with concerns if they are based on fears of destruction of a beautiful place,but there is a considerable lack of thought put into the alternatives. I would prefer a windfarm to a raised background radioactivity level. Some form of clean energy will be required in the future.
The windfarm/environmental debate is a frying pan/fire situation that needs a strategy,not blind refusal.
DL Borrell, Ashton-under-Lyne [M.E.N Postbag 1993]

The rain in vain

Metro Letters 2009I am perturbed at the present weather patterns. I have two barometers,each set slightly differently,yet for the past four days both have stayed fixedly on 'rain'.
This is unprecedented in my 45 years of research into particles,atoms and molecules of atmospheric gases.
The only conclusion I can draw is that there has been a drastic reduction of the oxygen in the atmosphere. How,and why, I cannot even hazard a guess. It is impossible for two barometers to stay on 'rain' while daytime temperatures have been so high!
WHR Arnold,Leigh [ M.E.N Postbag Jun14 1993]

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Click to visit Keep the word Wild

People will go veggie to save planet

 A pig is smarter than a dog,click to seeAs people become more aware of the danger to the environment they will choose to eat less meat, according to a leading climate change expert.

Nicholas Stern said: "I think that once people understand the great risks that climate change poses, they will naturally want to choose products and services that cause little or no emissions of greenhouse gases, which means 'low-carbon consumption'.
"This will apply across the board, including electricity, heating, transport and food.
"A diet that relies heavily on meat production results in higher emissions than a typical vegetarian diet. Different individuals will make different choices."
The former World Bank chief economist was responding to an interview he gave The Times which was published under the headline: 'Climate chief - give up meat to save the planet'.
"The headline and opening paragraphs of the front page story in The Times today give undue prominence to comments I made to them yesterday about the greenhouse gases that are emitted by different types of food production," Lord Stern said.
The debate about climate change should not be "dumbed down" into a single slogan, he added.
Cows and pigs emit methane, which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
It has been estimated that livestock accounts for a fifth of global warming.
However, Jonathan Scurlock of the National Farmers' Union said a vegetarian diet was not a "worldwide solution".
"Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us," he said.
Su Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, disagreed.
"Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water," she said.
"One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet."

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Letters from New Scientist

I read with interest Andy Coghlan's article on recent research findings about the pain experienced by animals when slaughtered without stunning (17 October, p 11).

I head a project in Europe called Dialrel, which aims to improve welfare at slaughter by finding more common ground between what science tells us about slaughter and what procedures are found acceptable by religious traditions. We know that both Muslim and Jewish authorities are concerned about the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter; however many of them interpret the practice of stunning as incompatible with their religion. Reaching compromise is complex. Wide variations in slaughtering practice already exist within faiths: for example, the majority of halal food in the UK is obtained from animals that have been stunned before slaughter.

As part of the Dialrel project, we have conducted spot visits in slaughterhouses in several countries in the European Union and we have discovered that there are more animals slaughtered according to the religious rules than are necessary to meet the demands of the halal and kosher markets. Moreover, both conventional and religious practices of slaughter could be improved. If stunning is not performed according to the suggested rules or the equipment is not in optimal condition, it can be ineffective. Animals can experience high levels of stress before stunning and slaughtering if they are not handled properly.

We are planning a scientific workshop for early next year, with veterinarians and animal scientists from the Dialrel project and experts from both the halal and shechita certifying bodies, to discuss possible strategies for improving all the practices of slaughter. We hope that new practices, such as post-cut stunning, which is already implemented in Australia, will be adopted. We believe that this intervention would help to improve the welfare of animals in the case of religious slaughter.

From Shuja Shafi, Muslim Council of Britain

Andy Coghlan appears to have made up his mind that stunning is the solution to the welfare problems associated with the slaughter of animals, yet he ignores some important facts that are published in the very journal volume he cites.

Troy Gibson and colleagues showed in a carefully controlled experiment that in two out of seven calves stunned, the process was ineffective, as demonstrated by periods of EEG activity - an indicator of cortical function (New Zealand Veterinary Journal, vol 57, p 96). Thus they demonstrated that stunning did not render those two calves completely insensible to any pain and distress.

This failure to render the two calves insensible to pain was attributed to either incorrect positioning of the stunner on the animals' heads, a deflected shot, or incorrect function of the stunner itself. It is well recognised that mis-stuns occur in practice, and that each instance compromises animal welfare. A frequency of up to 5 per cent is considered satisfactory, meaning that even if as many as 1 in 20 animals are mis-stunned, the slaughterhouse is still considered to be practising good animal welfare.

Even working on anaesthetised animals that are further immobilised by a purpose-designed head frame, Gibson's work showed an almost 30 per cent incidence of mis-stuns. This must surely raise concerns about the practicality of achieving the required level of accuracy and precision in a commercial environment.

The notion that stunning solves all animal welfare problems around slaughter is simply not true; stunning often creates more problems than it solves. A holistic approach is essential for realising the high standards of animal welfare we all endeavour to achieve. The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should, along with other relevant agencies such as the Food Standards Agency, evaluate this evidence objectively, understanding both the strengths and severe limitations of the work.

London, UK

From Daniel Weisman

On reading the first paragraph of your editorial on the pain response in animals undergoing religious slaughter, I systematically, mentally replaced the words "slaughterhouses" with "fields", and "religion" with "sport". Doing so, I came to a more realistic view of human cruelty.

If you want to be self-righteous about animals suffering pain, as in your editorial, maybe you should campaign for the immediate banning of all sport shooting, thus saving pheasants, grouse, rabbits and stags from being blown apart for fun.

London, UK


Click to see a polar bear!

Your correspondent Z Rewse-Davies supposes he has the facts. If he had seen Physicist Brian Cox on TV,he would have heard him explain that none of the current power sources, including nuclear fission can provide us with the power we need- that is a fact. Only fusion - the power of the sun has the potential to do that,and it is clean. Fission power is not - that is another fact. Replenishable power,such as wind and direct sunpower are not capable of generating the power we need,unless we cut back. In the long run,investment in fission is wasted money- that's another fact Mr Davies.

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Green Guru says 'we are past the point of no return'

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