Saturday, 29 November 2008

*Christmas without Cruelty Fayre - tomorrow.

Tomorrow is one of the highlights of the year for Animal Rights people - The CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CRUELTY FAYRE at Kensington Town Hall, just a few yards from Kensington High Street Tube. 10am-5pm. It will be packed with stalls, so a great place to pick up ethical seasonal presents. There will also be interesting fringe events.

One of the highlights will be the annual auction that have conducted for several years. I haven't yet seen the auction list, but there are always unusual and tempting ideas. Top lot last year was Tony Benn's pipe. The previous year it was Miss England's bikini.

I will also be running the Green Party stall, so come along and have a word.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


This comes from Haringey Police:

Be aware that the Trading Standard Office and Royal Mail have advised that a scam is being operated across the country in the run up to Christmas. This involves a card being posted through doors at private residences, or to company post rooms, from a firm called PDS (PARCEL DELIVERY SERVICE) suggesting they were unable to deliver a parcel and they need to contact them on a number beginning 09066611…..DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER!! It is a premium rate number and part of a postal scam originating from BELIZE, once connected you will pay £15.

*London Mayor cancels cycle lanes as new budget pays for red light rephrasing

Jenny Jones has commented on the London Mayor's annual allocation of money from the Transport for London (TfL) budget, to the boroughs. A cut in the planned budget for borough spending on cycling, follows the dropping of London Cycle Network plus (LCN+) from the TfL financial plan.

" The mayor has cut £10m off the budget for cycle lanes in London and used the money to help fund a new £11m budget for traffic light rephrasing. This might well please a few motorists who want to get through red lights faster, but it is a stab in the back for cyclists in London. After years of waiting for more than a few painted lines, cyclists were starting to see real changes made to road layouts, dangerous junctions and roundabouts. The boroughs had bid for £38m of spending to deliver the London Cycling Network on their roads and had expected to get £20m this year, instead they only have £10m."

"Local cyclists have spent the last three years working on schemes, often having to overcome the resistance of reluctant traffic engineers. What we needed this year was a Mayor with some backbone and the desire to remove the physical barriers to cycling in London. The cycling Mayor was meant to be on their side, yet he has now halved the funding for London's biggest cycling scheme"

Monday, 17 November 2008


I have had this reply from BBC to my complaint about the Jeremy Clarkson "Kill prostitutes' outburst:

"Top Gear is BBC Two's long-running motoring show and its audience has clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona and exaggerated humour."

So, what they are saying is that Clarkson can say anything he likes or maybe they are giving him just enough rope:-)

Friday, 14 November 2008

*Campaigner wins pesticide victory

A campaigner has won a legal victory in a long-running battle with
the government over the use of pesticides.

A High Court judge ruled Georgina Downs, who lives near Chichester,
West Sussex, had produced "solid evidence" that residents had suffered harm.

Mr Justice Collins said a European order aimed at defending rural
dwellers from possible exposure to toxins during crop-spraying had
not been followed.

Ms Downs said the government "should now admit that it got it wrong".

Ms Downs, who lives on the edge of farm fields, launched her
independent UK Pesticides Campaign in 2001.

On Friday, the judge granted her application for judicial review of
the policy of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra had argued that its approach to the regulation and control of
pesticides was "reasonable, logical and lawful".

The judge said Ms Downs was 11 years old when she was first exposed
to pesticide-spraying and began to suffer from ill-health, with
flu-like symptoms of a sore throat, blistering and other problems.

Ms Downs argued that the government failed to cater for the needs of
residents "who are repeatedly exposed to mixtures of pesticides and
other chemicals throughout every year, and in many cases, like mine,
for decades".

People were not given warnings about what was to be sprayed near
their homes and gardens, she complained.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Collins said it was interesting to note
that the 1986 Control of Pesticides Regulations stated that
beekeepers must be given 48 hours' notice if pesticides harmful to
bees were to be used.

"It is difficult to see why residents should be in a worse position," he said.

Defra said the protection of human health was "paramount"

Ms Downs has collected evidence from other rural residents reporting
health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease, ME and asthma
which they believe could be linked to crop-spraying.

The judge said "defects" in Defra's approach to pesticide safety
contravened a 1991 EC Directive.

He ruled that the result of his judgment was that Environment
Secretary Hilary Benn "must think again and consider what needs to be done".

Ms Downs said she was very pleased with the ruling.

"The UK government's relentless and extraordinary attempts to protect
industry, as opposed to people's health, has been one of the most
outrageous things to behold in the last seven years of my fight."

A Defra spokesperson said the protection of human health was "paramount".

"Pesticides used in this country are rigorously assessed to the same
standards as the rest of the EU and use is only ever authorised after
internationally approved tests," he said.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Following yesterday's GM post, I got a message from the moderator of the Haringey GP blog that Monsanto had been on their site having come through The Green Room blog.

Talk about 'Big Brother' At this rate I most have quite a file in Monsanto:-)

The Green Room blog is also banned in China.

Monday, 10 November 2008

*10 reasons why we don't need GM foods

This article's taken from the new website - part of a project aimed at helping people ensure their voices are heard amidst the current wave of pro-GM propaganda.

If you want to print this article as a leaflet for distribution to family,
friends, colleagues etc., then you can download a PDF that will enable you to
print a double-sided A4 leaflet:

The leaflet also encourages people to take action and refers them to the website for this purpose and for the supporting references.

TAKE ACTION: For how to take action if you're in the UK:

10 reasons why we don't need GM foods

With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.

1. GM foods won't solve the food crisis

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices.[1] GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!

QUOTE: "The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry." - Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent[2]

QUOTE: "The cynic in me thinks that they're just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that's bullshit." - Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales[3]

2. GM crops do not increase yield potential

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops.[4] In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya,has suffered reduced yields.[5]

QUOTE: "Let's be clear. As of this year [2008], there are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil.Not one." - Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman, former biotech specialist for the US Environmental Protection Agency and former advisor on GM to the US Food and Drug Administration[6]

3. GM crops increase pesticide use

Official data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall average increase,not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.[7]

QUOTE: "The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true." — Bill Christison,President of the US National Family Farm Coalition[8]

4. There are better ways to feed the world

A major recent UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists,and endorsed by 58 countries, concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change,because better alternatives are available.[9]

5. Other farm technologies are more successful

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world.[10]

Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.[11]

QUOTE: "The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us understand crops better. That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [than GM]." - Prof John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics, John Innes Centre[12]

6. GM foods have not been shown to be safe to eat

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects.[13] Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food.[14] It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.

QUOTE: "We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences." - Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)toxicologist

7. Stealth GMOs in animal feed - without consumers' consent

Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labelled. Studies have shown that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products.[15] As GM foods have been shown to affect animals' health, eating such "stealth GMOs" may affect the health of consumers.

8. No one is monitoring the impact of GM foods on health

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored theconsequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.[16]

9. GM and non-GM cannot co-exist

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks.[17] In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape.[18] In Spain, a study found that GM maize "has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible".[19]

The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.

QUOTE; "If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods,soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It's a one way choice,like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it's made, it can't be reversed." - Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development[20]

10. We can't trust the GM companies

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception.[21] GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world's food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the "crime" of saving patented seed or "stealing" patented genes - even if those genes got into the farmer's fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.[22]

QUOTE: "Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell." - Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer[23]

References at _

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

*Ofcom set to clear Jeremy Clarkson over prostitutes quip

Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent / November 4, 2008

Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, is set to dismiss complaints about a joke by Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC's Top Gear, about lorry drivers killing prostitutes, The Times has learnt.

The controversial broadcaster made an offhand remark on Sunday night's programme, on BBC2, as he and fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond found out what it was like to drive heavy goods vehicles.

Clarkson suggested that "murdering prostitutes" was as much an issue for lorry drivers as fuel economy.

He said: "This is a hard job and I'm not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it's a hard job.

"Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."

Notorious prostitute killers Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, and Steve Wright, also known as the Suffolk Strangler, were both lorry drivers.

This morning the BBC said it had received 517 complaints about the joke, with Ofcom also confirming that it had received calls about the show.

But it is understood that the industry regulator, which is thought to have received only a handful of complaints, is likely to rule that the comments did not fall foul of the broadcasting code.

An Ofcom spokesman said: "We are looking at complaints we have received but are not currently investigating the programme."

The complaints come in the week after the corporation was shaken by the row over obscene phone calls on Radio 2, which saw Jonathan Ross suspended without pay for 12 weeks, and Russell Brand and Lesley Douglas, the station controller, resigned.

Prostitute welfare groups said that the remarks were insensitive. A spokeswoman from English Collective of Prostitutes said: "This is a truly heartless comment."

Brian Tobin, director of the ICENI Project, an Ipswich charity that had worked with some of the prostitutes killed by Wright, said: "I just think it was highly distasteful and insensitive. Maybe people on the BBC should think a bit more before saying some of the things they keep coming out with.

"It is around the time of the anniversary of the girls' deaths and it's a very delicate time. I saw it on Top Gear. It made me cringe."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona.

"This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence."

May defended his colleague. Speaking on Radio 5 Live he said: "We did put it through the compliance lot and they said it was okay. Lorry drivers are free to go and kick Jeremy's head in if they see him by the side of the road.

"It's Jeremy. He's being bombastic. I don't think for a moment anyone imagines that he actually means it. He doesn't really believe that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes or that they should. He's being deliberately fatuous. It's what he does."


So what the BBC and James May are saying is that it's OK to be offensive as long as you are Jeremy Clarkson.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Jeremy Clarkson: ' Kill prostitutes'

It will be interesting to see if the right-wing press have the same feeling of moral outrage over the disgusting remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson on last night's Top Gear.

Clarkson in describing the work of truck drivers said "....Change gear.....kill a prostitute....change gear....kill a prostitute..."

I hear that his co-presenter has been defending him with the comment "Oh, that's just how Jeremy talks. He does not mean anything"

WRONG!!!! It's totally unacceptable!

Interestingly, last night's show does not seem to be available on the web.