January 23, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

American Airlines is Grounding Emotional-Support Animals

Source: APNews.com

January 5, 2021


American Airlines is banning emotional-support animals in a move that will force most owners to pay extra if they want their pets to travel with them. The airline said Tuesday that it will allow animals in the cabin free of charge only if they are trained to service dogs. The change takes effect Monday, although passengers who already bought tickets can fly with a companion animal until February 1st.


The move follows a similar decision by Alaska Airlines and is likely to be copied by other carriers. The U.S. Transportation Department cleared the way for the crackdown against companion animals last month.


American said passengers with a service dog will need to complete a government form vouching for the dog’s health, training, and temperament. Other animals, including dogs not trained as service dogs, will only be able to fly in the cargo hold or a kennel that fits under a seat in the cabin. Either way, American will collect a pet fee ranging from $125 to several hundred dollars.


Commentaries of IALA

The emotional-support animals (ESA) are different from service animals. Service animals are trained for the assistance of people with disabilities and the rights of carrying service animals on transportation are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The emotional-support animals are not trained as the service animals so they have fewer rights. According to the final rule of the U.S. Department of Transportation, “a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; no longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal.”

Learn more on the difference between ESA and Service Animal here.

Discovery of Endangered Female Turtle Provides Hope for Extremely Rare Species

Source: livescience.com

January 7, 2021


The world's most endangered turtle species may now have a fighting chance after a 3-foot-long (1 meter) female — a potential mate for the lone known male of the species — was discovered in Vietnam.


Researchers from the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) discovered the 182-pound (86 kilograms) turtle in Dong Mo Lake, in Hanoi's Son Tay district, in October last year. They analyzed genes in her blood and have now confirmed she is a Swinhoe's softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), making her the second known living member of the species. They hope that the female will be able to mate with the last known captive male, currently living at Suzhou Zoo in China, and provide a lifeline for this dying species.


Commentaries of IALA

The Swinhoe’s softshell turtle is an extremely rare turtle that is endemic to eastern and southern China and north of Vietnam. This species is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and listed under Appendix II of CITES. The main threats include habitat loss, hunting, alternative medicine, trophies. Some captive breeding programs were launched to conserve this rare species of turtle. In 2017, conservationists were searching for any possible wild species that could have similar descriptions to the Swinhoe’s softshell turtle. 1-2 turtles were found, which gave a little hope for the rare species to survive.

After 19 Days Trapped in Japan’s Infamous ‘Cove,’ Young Minke Whale Brutally Killed by Taiji Fishermen

Source: worldanimalnews.com

January 11, 2021


It is with heavy hearts that WAN shares the tragic news that an adolescent minke whale, who was trapped for 19 days in fishing nets in Taiji, Japan, was brutally slaughtered by fishermen aboard boats owned by the Taiji Fisheries Association.


“While shooting with a drone, I witnessed the agony of the minke whale, and my hands were trembling with sadness,” noted Yabuki, a Campaign Director of Life Investigation Agency. Appalling, according to Yabuki, the fishermen were laughing as they violently brutalized and drowned the minke whale before sending it off to be butchered for its meat.


Minke whales are estimated to live for approximately 50 years in the wild.


As noted by the Humane Society International (HSI), the Government of Japan recently issued its quotas for the country’s commercial whaling operations for 2021, setting the catch limit of large whales at 383. The quota allows a catch limit of 171 minke whales including a potential ‘by-catch’ of 37. They also allow for the capture of 187 Bryde’s whales and 25 Sei whales.


Commentaries of IALA

Commercial whaling has been banned by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, however, Japan escaped the ban by withdrawing from the obligations imposed by the convention. Japanese whaling arose in the 12th century. Since the creation of the convention and International Whaling Commission, Japan has expressed its objection a few times. First, it launched the program of whaling for scientific purposes due to the exception in the convention but was recognized as invalid by the International Court of Justice. However, in 2018, Japan announced that it would resume its commercial whaling in 2019 within its territorial waters and commercial zones and withdrew from the convention in 2019 respectively.

Four Fined, Total of 19 People Facing Charges for Feeding Wild Boars Near Location of Recent Pasir Ris Attack in Singapore

Source: channelnewsasia.com

January 13, 2021


Four people were fined S$2,500 each on January 13th for feeding wild boars at Lorong Halus, Singapore, with a total of 19 people to be charged for the offense over the coming weeks. It is the largest number since the Wildlife Act came into effect in June 2020 in Singapore. The location of the feeding site is "within a few kilometers" of a park in Pasir Ris where a wild boar attack took place on November 17th, 2020. The 19 individuals were caught feeding the wild boars with bread or dog food between November 26th and December 7th on inspection rounds. Some were alone, while others were observed in groups of up to three.


Commentaries of IALA

Intentional feeding or irresponsible discarding of food alters the natural foraging behavior of wildlife and habituates them to human presence and relying on humans for an easy source of food. This results in wildlife having an increased propensity to approach humans for food and may lead to them venturing into urban areas in search of human sources of food. As a result of this, wildlife may wander onto roads, endangering themselves and creating hazards for motorists, and may also display aggressive behavior when encountering people. The latter may result in animals being euthanized in order to safeguard public safety.

The World’s Oldest Animal Paintings Are on This Cave Wall in Southeast Asia

Source: scientificamerican.com

January 14, 2021


The oldest known examples of figurative art, or imagery that shows more than just abstractions, occur in Southeast Asia. The new painting was discovered by Basran Burhan, a doctoral student, and co-author of the study. The panting is a series of three to four Sulawesi warty pigs and an outline of human hands, in an isolated valley reachable only by foot. After taking precautions to ensure the collected samples were untouched, the authors calculated that the images must have been made at least 45,500 years ago.


In the Western imagination, ancient cave paintings tend to conjure the Lascaux paintings, 17,000 years old, the cave complex in southwestern France that is famous for its exceptionally detailed depictions of humans and animals.


Commentaries of IALA

The painting shows the history of interaction between humans and animals. Understanding history can provide a new way to understand the relationship and the attitude towards animals. This painting shows the Sulawesi warty pigs have been used in human’s life at least 45,500 years ago.

Major Halal Food Company Launches Its First Vegan Burger in UAE

Source: vegnews.com

January 17, 2021

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based halal food giant AI Islami Foods recently launched its first plant-based burger. The product launch is in response to the growing demand for vegan options and in time for Veganuary, a global campaign that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January. The new burger is made from a combination of sunflower protein sourced from an organic non-GMO farm, fava beans, and peas, along with extracts from onion, pepper, garlic, celery root, carrot, and beet juice.


The vegan burger is the first in a series of plant-based products the company plans to roll out and is available at major co-ops in the UA, followed by other supermarkets and hypermarkets. There are also plans to partner with hotels, restaurants, and cafés and to export the product to other markets in the Middle East.


Commentaries of IALA

With Al Islami Foods’ launching its first vegan burger, the UAE becomes more vegan-friendly. It is estimated that by 2025 approximately 500 000 citizens may go vegan in the country. Also, in 2017, Dubai opened the world’s largest vegan restaurant.


Lately, a lot of people have been shifting to vegan diets for various reasons, such as a healthy lifestyle, saving the environment, caring for animals, etc. Veganuary is a campaign launched by the UK non-profit organization that aims to promote veganism by encouraging people to go vegan in January. Since 2014 it has involved over 1 000 000 people from across the globe. Try vegan this January!

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