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Showing posts with label Maneka Gandhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maneka Gandhi. Show all posts

Monday, January 29, 2018

By Invite , Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

You should know what you will get when you eat the fish from commercial fish production.

Parasites like sea lice, viruses, heavy metal, chemicals, antibiotic residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are some of the gifts that you get for free when you eat farmed fish.

In a typical aquaculture facility, fish eggs are raised in a hatchery. The young fish are then transferred to inland ponds, or sections of the sea separated from the main body by nets.

To increase the production and profits, the density of fish in these enclosures is kept very high – in fact, the owners keep stuffing fish in till they start dying off. 10% death is acceptable. It is only when the die off increases beyond 30% then stocking stops. These fish are so crowded that they resemble the chickens in poultries that cannot move their wings and sit huddled on A4 paper sizes of cage till they are killed. A 2.5-foot-long salmon is given 4 feet of water for its entire life – these fish normally swim hundreds of miles in one day and can even climb small dams. Trout farms are even more crowded – 27 fish in 4 feet space.

As children get lice in crowded boarding schools, the first problem is that of fish lice. There are 559 kinds of sea lice. These are marine parasites that feed on the mucus, skin tissue, and blood of fish. The adult females produce 6-11 egg strings of 1000 eggs each. Sea lice move between fish.

In severely crowded conditions, sea lice eat down to the bone of a fish’s face. Lesions appear on the body as the lice eat the scales, and the fish become so ill that they become susceptible to other diseases. The lice remain in the fish even after they are killed. This problem exists in farmed fish all over the world. In 2012, the Canadian grocery chain, Sobey’s, had to pull out all the fish from its shops after sea lice was found in them. In Scotland, government inspections showed farms with a minimum of 44 lice per fish. Irish “organic” farms showed between 54-71 sea lice per farmed salmon - over five times the Government’s allowed maximum. Imagine what happens in India where there is no checking of farms, and fish are sold on the roadside.

Pus filled boils or furuncles on the human head are caused by a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus. In a severe infection, an individual may get fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. The furunculosis bacterium has also been found in sea lice.

Fish farms deal with this – not by reducing the fish in the pond, but by increasing the toxic pesticides poured into the water. In the last 10 years, use of these poisonous chemicals has gone up ten times. Medicines, given for the control of sea lice, include organophosphates which cause cancer in humans. Dichlorvos was used for many years and replaced by azamethiphos. Both cause mutations. Cypermethrin and Deltamethrin are the two pyrethroids commonly used to control sea lice. In humans these cause difficulty in breathing, tremors, incoordination, rash, lower sperm counts and breast cancer. The main drugs used are Avermectins, including Ivermectin and Emamectin benzoate. Since these are toxic for humans, the fish farm is supposed to stop them 175 days before killing the fish. But who’s counting?

Amoebic gill disease is the main problem in most fish farms. It is a potentially fatal disease caused by the amoeba Neoparamoeba perurans. To bring down the mortality, Levimasole, which is used to deworm cattle (and as an anti-cancer drug in humans), is added to the water at 10 parts per million. Chloramine and Chlorine dioxide are also used.

Since the fish are crowded and living in chemical waters, they are now so physically stressed that their bodies develop weakened immune systems and are prone to every kind of infection. They rub against each other and the sides of cages – as do the chickens – damaging their fins and causing infections. Aquaculture operators use strong antibiotics to control disease (For every fish you eat from an inland fish pond, hundreds have died. A normal die off is 20% for fin fish, 40% for shrimp and 50% for molluscs.) The most frequent fish infections treated with antibiotics, are skin ulcers, diarrhoea and blood sepsis. The micro-organisms, responsible for these infections, belong to bacterial families that also produce infections in humans.

These antibiotics are given in the feed, baths and as injections. An unlimited amount of oxytetracycline and flumequine is used, and this stays in the body. One study has found upto 578.8 milligrams per kg in trout and sea-bass farms. Shrimp farms in India will probably show even more.

The antibiotics used in aquaculture, either for prophylactic or therapeutic purposes, often accumulate in the tissue of aquatic animals. These drug residues cause allergies, toxic effects, changes in the intestinal microbial fauna in the fish eater. Residue of chloramphenicol in food consumed by humans can even result in aplastic anaemia, which leads to very serious bone marrow diseases. Nitrofuran antibiotics are known to cause cancer.

So, humans get not just bacteria with their fish but they also eat antibiotics, which make them resistant to Tetracycline , trimethoprim, sulfonamide and streptomycin antibiotics when they fall ill and really need them. Salmonella and E.Coli bacteria are the first to become antibiotic resistant, and evidence shows that the bacteria Typhimurium DT104, which is a cause of salmonellosis in humans and animals, originated in fish farms in Asia which use florfenicol extensively. Antibiotics in farmed fish also cause allergies and poisoning.

The use of antibiotic quinolones is unrestricted in aquaculture in countries with growing aquaculture industries, such as India, China and Chile. For example, in Chile, statistics indicate that annually 10–12 metric tons of quinolones are used in human medicine and approximately 100–110 metric tons of these antibiotics are used in aquaculture. These broad-spectrum antibiotics have serious side effects associated tendinitis and tendon rupture, causing permanent disability. Other risk factors include patients with kidney, heart and lung transplants, renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis. Nervous system effects include insomnia, restlessness and, rarely, seizure, convulsions, and psychosis. Common side effects include gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, as well as headache and insomnia. There are no records of how much is used in India. But you get to eat it when you eat farmed fish.

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used widely in fish farms. The fertilizer is used to increase the growth of fish food and they remain in the body of the fish. A piscicide is a fish poison used to eliminate a dominant species of fish in a body of water, as the first step in attempting to populate the body of water with a different fish. They are also used to combat parasites. Piscicides, such as rotenone, saponins, TFM, niclosamide and Antimycin A, are widely used in India, specially in shrimp ponds. So is Formalin and malachite green, commonly used as disinfectants. Malachite green has been reported to cause cancer, physical abnormalities and lung collapse.

Fish farming has more than tripled within the past 15 years. 40% of all the fish are now artificially bred. Do you want to risk eating them?

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Monday, January 22, 2018

By Invite , Maneka Gandhi

Why do people eat certain animals and keep others as pets? Very often because they think that the animals they eat are not sentient, do not feel fear, pain or stress. But all these animals feel exactly as you do, and they show their stress as well.

For instance, in farms where cattle are grown for slaughter, the cow will try to give birth to her child in a secluded place, and if she sees humans going there she actually tries to draw them away by pretending she is going to her calf somewhere else. It is as if she knows she is in a concentration camp and needs to give her child a fighting chance to escape.

In a few countries (it is now banned in most parts of the world including India and the EU) it is common for pregnant sows to be kept in “gestation crates” for their entire 16-week pregnancy period. A gestation crate is a metal crate or cage with a bare, slatted floor, which is so narrow that the sow cannot turn around and can only stand up and lie down with difficulty. How does the sow respond to this terrible stress? She goes into clinical depression, sham chewing and bar-biting, indicating severe frustration and stress.

Tail biting in pigs is considered an abnormal behaviour, where a pig bites or chews another pig's tail. This is a sign of extreme stress in the animal. Tail biting typically occurs in indoor facilities with a high density of pigs housed in a confined area with poor ventilation and/or poor feed quality and accessibility. Chickens show the same stress when they are cooped up with other chickens. The birds try to bite each other, or scratch each other’s wings off. Instead of making the place less stress free for hens, the poultry owner responds by cutting of the beaks and toes of chickens, making their lives even more stress and pain filled. Sheep that have restricted space, poor feed, and are maintained in indoor systems, start pulling out the wool of other sheep. It is usually one member of the group that initiates wool pulling and this catches on. This stress created behaviour has a social ranking as well, where the lowest ranking sheep usually are the victims of wool pulling.

Horses are built to walk and eat and have social relationships, and when these are thwarted, abnormal behaviour results. They weave their heads to and fro and keep shifting their weight from foot to foot. Crib biting is an abnormal, compulsive behaviour which involves the horse grabbing a solid object, such as the stall door or fence rail, with its incisors, then arching its neck, pulling against the object, and sucking in air.

When cattle are confined in intensive factories, they express stress through rolling their tongue, curling and uncurling it inside or outside their mouth, partially swallowing it and gulping air. Licking objects and biting bars is common.

Calves raised for 'white' veal are generally fed a milk-like diet from birth until they are slaughtered at about four months of age. The calves are prevented from eating any solid food, like grass, so that the colour of the meat remains pale. With a few days of this unnatural diet calves go into extreme stress. They spend hours per day in what appears to be 'vacuum grazing'. They extend the tongue out of the mouth and curl it to the side in what appears to be the action that cattle use to grasp a bunch of grass and pull it into the mouth, but the calves do this simply in the air, without the tongue contacting any physical object.

Calves without their mothers try to take hold and suck parts of the pen and buckets with their mouth, or even the skin of other calves. They prefer to suck ears, nave and scrotums. Their body position and posture resembles a naturally sucking calf, including pushing movements.

In order to measure stress in sheep, researchers at CSIRO in New South Wales devised an experiment to look for changes in behaviour that give away an animal’s mood. When humans are feeling anxious, we pay more attention to things that seem threatening. Scientists call this an “attention bias.” If farm animals do the same thing, then testing how attentive they are to threats could be a simple way to measure how anxious they are.

60 female Merino sheep were divided into three groups. A control group went through the experiment with only their natural level of anxiety. The researchers artificially increased the anxiety of the second group of sheep by injecting them with methyl-chlorophenylpiperazine or mCPP—a drug that “has been reported to induce anxiety in a range of species,” they write. The third group of sheep got a relaxing shot of diazepam, also known as Valium.

Each sheep was led into a walled yard with a food bucket sitting in the middle. A window in one of the walls revealed a dog sitting quietly outside. After 10 seconds, the window was shut so the sheep couldn’t see the dog anymore. Each sheep stayed in the yard for about three minutes while video cameras recorded its behaviour.

Every sheep froze when it saw the dog. But what happened after the window was shut?

Sheep in the control group spent about 22 seconds staring in the direction of the window after it was closed. Sheep injected with the anxiety-increasing mCPP spent almost 40 seconds like this. But sheep injected with the anti-anxiety drug stared for just 14 seconds, on average, before moving on with their lives. More than half of the diazepam sheep then ate from the bucket. Hardly any control sheep could bring themselves to eat and none of the high-anxiety sheep ate a bite.

The more anxious the sheep, the more attention it paid to the perceived threat – just as a human would. While the experiment, that anxiety (or lack of anxiety), was drug-induced. But it provided a way to measure the anxiety sheep feel from their everyday experiences.

Farmed fish live in very stressful conditions, vastly different to what they have evolved to cope with in the wild. Fish in aquaculture farms are forced to live in crowded tanks and endure unwanted interactions with other fish, handling by humans, struggles to get food, and sudden changes in lighting, water depth and currents. Cooped up, these fish live a life of suffering. Up to a quarter of fish in fish farms have stunted growth, and so acute is their mental trauma that they float lifelessly on the surface of the tanks. These fish are known as 'drop outs.' According to new research by Royal Society Open Science, these fish exhibit behaviour and brain chemistry identical to those of very stressed and depressed people.

Put yourself in their place. You don’t just kill them once, when you eat them. They die a thousand deaths every day.

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

By Maneka Gandhi

I never thought the day would come when I would recommend the drinking of milk! But it has and I am recommending the drinking of camel milk. The Foods Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has, on December 2, 2016 , put camel milk on its list of animal products that can be marketed for human consumption. This decision has come as a result of sustained lobbying by Sahjeevan, the NGO that is working to save camels and pastoral breeders. However, since FSSAI is, after all, ruled by government bureaucracy, they cannot do anything without making major mistakes. So some worthy (read idiot) in the Food Standards Bureau has written that the standard for camel milk has to be 3.0% fat. This is unrealistic, as camels in India are open grazed and their milk has 1.5 - 2.5% fat. FSSAI has been made aware of this discrepancy and has agreed to revise the standards when a study by a credible agency samples fat in camel milk in India.

Drink camel milk for three reasons:

1. It will save the camels. Camels are in steep decline. In 2012 there were 4 lakh camels – down from 10 lakh in 2008. Now they are less than a lakh. They are found in the five states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, UP and Bihar. Of these, 80% are found in Rajasthan, largely bred by the Raika community of pastoralists. There are 9 recognised breeds of camels in India, of which 7 are in Rajasthan. There are 2 crore camels in the world – and India is the only country where they are declining, because keeping them has become increasingly unviable for the pastoralists. Their traditional way of life has been attacked by disappearing grazing lands, mechanized farming, parasitic disease. The Raikas also find themselves struggling to survive in the face of active hostility towards their migratory traditions.

In Rajasthan the number of Raika herders have dropped more than 70% from the 1990s. The number of camels has fallen so drastically in the past 30 years that it has prompted the Rajasthan government to declare it as their state animal in 2014, hoping to increase protection for the animal.

With draught requirements being replaced with motorised options, camels are increasingly being illegally sold for meat. Everyday 100 or so are brought out of Rajasthan – even when the law there says that no camels can be taken outside the state – and cut in Mewat /Baghpat/ Meerut, or sent to Bangladesh. If we could drink camel milk then the herders could earn thousands every month and they would have an incentive to keep them.

2. Camel milk cannot be extracted in the same cruel fashion as cow and buffalo milk. The camels are free grazing. They cannot be locked up and their male children sold to the butchers, as they simply won’t give milk. Female camels’ thirteen-month gestation period must conclude in a live birth followed by suckling, else the female camel will stop producing milk. Unlike a dairy cow, which is parted from her calf when it is born and then gives milk for six to nine months, a camel can share her milk with the farmer and her calf for twelve to eighteen months. Therefore, pastoralists will be the main suppliers.

3. Camel milk is much better for you than cow or buffalo milk.

It is a superfood for diabetics. With 67 million sufferers, India has the highest population of diabetics in the world. Camel milk contains 52 units of insulin per litre, which is 60% of the average necessary external insulin administration for type 1 diabetics, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels, giving your body the insulin intake it needs in the most natural form. A study conducted on 24 Type 1 Diabetes patients, who consumed camel milk along with standardized exercise and standardized diet concluded that “There was a significant improvement in the microalbuminuria after receiving camel milk for 6 months. A significant reduction in the mean dose of insulin for obtaining glycemic control was achieved.” There is evidence that Camel milk helps with diabetic nephropathy.

One of the major complaints which diabetics have is that their pancreases do not function efficiently to process the sugar into its energy components. Camel milk improves the pancreatic function of the body, thus enabling the proper breaking down and absorption of blood sugar. A study conducted over 3 months compared the effects of camel’s milk and cow’s milk on a group of diabetic and non-diabetic men. The diabetics who were given camel’s milk, showed a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels and in blood glucose after eating. Their average blood sugar levels (HbA1c) were also reduced.

One of the serious complications of Diabetes is delayed wound healing and the consequent high chances of bacterial infections. A study demonstrated that camel whey proteins expedite the healing of diabetic wounds, by enhancing the immune response of wounded tissue cells .

Research has shown that camel milk might be helpful for people with autism, Type 1 diabetes, food allergies, hepatitis B and other autoimmune diseases, according to dietitians at The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Centre, and in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. “Studies have shown that the consumption of camel milk increases the bodies' production of antioxidant enzymes thereby lowering oxidative stress within the body.”

Camel’s milk contains A2 beta casein, unlike breed cows like Holstein or Friesian which produce milk that contains A1 beta casein. A1 beta casein is broken down into a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), which suppresses the immune system, causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and has been implicated in the development of Type 1 diabetes.

It apparently is also good for autistic children. A study, published in the 2005 edition of the International Journal of Human Development, cited anecdotal evidence of improvements in young autistic patients who switched from cow to camel’s milk. A study by Baba Farid Centre for Special Children (BFCSC), along with National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi also claims that camel milk is beneficial for autistic children. Autism is often accompanied by gut problems, food allergies and food intolerance. Camel milk does not contain beta lactoglobulin, the allergen present in the milk of ruminants.

Nutritionally, camel’s milk is lower in total fat, saturated fat, but equal to cow’s milk in protein. It has ten times more iron and 5 times more vitamin C than cow's milk. One cup of camel milk contains approximately 107 calories and 293 milligrams of calcium (more than any other milk) besides 5.4 grams of proteins. It has a higher amount of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and copper, Vitamins C, Vitamin A, D, C, B1, B2 & E. Immunity boosting lysozome and lactoferrin (antimicrobial agents) and less fat, whey protein, lactose and zinc. Cholesterol in camel milk is lower than in cow or goat milk. It is considered safe for children allergic to bovine milk. In many countries, camel milk is given to babies suffering from malnutrition.

Is camel milk something new? Camel milk production is more than 18,40,201 tons per year globally, with Somalia making the most. In 2006, in view of its medical value, UN declared camel milk as a superfood.

But camels, because they have not been tampered with genetically and given hormones and antibiotics as cows and buffaloes have been, produce only 4-5 litres a day – as against 40 litres that cows are made to produce. So there is less of it, and it is more expensive. The upside is that it is totally organic, and you do not get deadly poisons in it like oxytocin – which every single litre of cow/buffalo milk has in India and which gives tuberculosis, cancer and other diseases.

Where can you buy camel milk? You can get it from the Bikaner based National Research Centre on Camels. India's first camel milk microdairy project, was set up in 2016 by LPPS, an NGO working with Raika camel breeders. The Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, based at the LPPS Camel Conservation Centre at Sadri, Rajasthan, produces pasteurised camel milk and cheese products and distributes it to Delhi.

You can order it online from Camelicious, a company in Dubai which has recently launched its range of Camel Milk Products like Camel Milk Powder, Camel Milk Ghee, and Camel Milk Cheese for online sale of camel milk in India. Or you can ask your local supermarket to get it. If there is demand, there will be supply.

Environmentally, camel milk is much better than any other milk. It has supported pastoral communities for centuries. Herders survive solely on milk when taking the camels on long distances to graze in arid environments. It is an alternative to cow dairy farming in dry regions of the world where bovine farming consumes large amounts of water and electricity. In fact, camels contribute to de-desertification, according to UNESCO. Camels, with their ability to go 21 days without drinking water, and produce milk even when feeding on low-quality fodder, are a sustainable option for food security in difficult environments.