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In Outdoors….

The Free Press WV

Group: Video Reveals Inhumane Treatment of Pigs

“If the USDA is around, they could shut us down,“ a worker at one of the largest pork producers in the country can be heard saying in an undercover video released this week. The Washington Post reports the video was filmed by someone working for the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing at a Quality Pork Processors facility in Minnesota. The video shows pigs being dragged and beaten, writhing around while bleeding, covered in feces, and suffering from apparent “puss-filled abscesses.“ The law states pigs are supposed to be unconscious before they are killed. A spokesperson with the US Department of Agriculture calls the scenes in the video “completely unacceptable.“

Compassion Over Killing has turned the nearly 100-minute unedited video over to the USDA, which has promised to investigate conditions at Quality Pork Processors, which supplies Hormel, the Post reports. The actions seen in the video are shortcuts taken to increase the number of pigs processed every hour, reports AP. And the Post states the video could be an indictment of a USDA program that cut the number of inspectors at factories to reduce government costs. That program has led to more inspections being carried out by company employees. “This plant is the symbol of everything that is wrong with the meat industry,“ one expert tells the Post. Quality Pork Processors calls the video misleading and states there are no violations at its Minnesota facility.

In Outdoors….

The Free Press WV

Al Gore Changes His Tune on the Environment

The 1997 Kyoto climate treaty he helped negotiate didn’t end up controlling climate change, but Al Gore says this month’s conference in Paris will be different. “We’re going to win this,“ he tells the AP. “We need to win it faster because a lot of damage is being done day by day. We continue to put 110 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every 24 hours as if it’s an open sewer.“ Though he says “every night on the television news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,“ he adds “increasingly people are connecting those dots” and “more and more people are feeling that this is going to have to be addressed.“ It’s a real change of tune for a man the AP notes has been framed as a “preacher of doom and gloom” by some.

Indeed, in their 35 minutes together, Gore “uses versions of the words ‘optimistic’ or ‘hopeful’ or ‘positive’ at least 16 times,“ writes the AP. Their talk comes in advance of a 24-hour-telethon he’ll host Friday at the foot of the Eiffel Tower to raise awareness about global warming. Though initially scheduled as a global Live Earth event to be broadcast to 2 billion people across 193 television networks, Gore now says 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth will be streamed online and is “about mobilizing people around the world ... and making our voices heard in national capitals and at the negotiating table in Paris,“ per the Guardian. (The UN Conference on Climate Change kicks off November 30.) French President Francois Hollande, Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Neil Young, Fall Out Boy, Hozier, Ryan Reynolds, and Jared Leto will also take the stage, per People.


Skier’s 1,600-Foot Fall Caught on Video

Sure it’s fast, but it’s not the way we would choose to get down a mountain. UPI reports a 24-year-old professional skier survived a 1,600-foot fall while filming footage for an extreme sports film in Alaska’s Necola mountains. The film production company, Teton Gravity Research, posted a video of Ian McIntosh’s plummet to YouTube last week. The company’s founder calls it “the most terrifying crash I’ve ever seen” in a blog post. McIntosh tumbled 1,600 feet in less than a minute while losing a ski. “I pulled my airbag to help prevent against any possible trauma injuries as I tumbled to the bottom,“ he explains in the blog post. Well that’s one way to get viral advertising for your extreme sports video.


NYC May Give Personal Email Addresses to Trees

Ever wanted to drop a line to a charming red maple but thought it would be a bit macabre to send it a letter written on the disfigured remains of one of its fallen relatives? Well good news! New York City politician Mark Levine has introduced a bill to assign personal email addresses to 200 of the city’s trees, Gothamist reports. While the email addresses could be used to report problems and concerns about the individual trees, Levine says it’s about more than that. Apparently he wants to use the email addresses as “a mechanism for deepening public engagement with the trees.“ “NYC is a tough place to be a tree,“ Levine tells Gothamist.

According to Gothamist, there are approximately 5.2 million trees in New York City. Levine, who says choosing his favorite tree would be as hard as choosing a favorite child, would give email addresses to 200 that are notably old, tall, historical, or just plain odd. If his bill is passed, signs bearing each tree’s email address would be placed on or near them and city parks employees would be tasked with checking the trees’ emails, or “treemails,“ if you will. Melbourne definitely would, as Gothamist reports the Australian city has already done something similar for its trees.

In Outdoors….

The Free Press WV

Alaskan Cod Are Eating Seabirds

In what could definitely be the inspiration for a SyFy original movie, it appears Pacific cod are working their way up the food chain. A few years ago, Alaskan seafood workers started finding partially digested bird remains inside the stomachs of cod caught in the Aleutian Islands region, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Scientists started investigating and recently published their findings in Marine Ornithology. Researchers discovered the remains of 74 birds inside cod stomachs. One researcher tells the Daily News it appears the birds were swallowed whole and some had been reduced to nothing but “bones and feathers.“

The Daily News reports researchers identified 55 of the 74 bird remains as crested auklets, which dive underwater looking for krill. Evidence suggests most—but not all—of the birds were eaten while already dead. But it’s unknown if the cod were trying to eat the birds or merely swallowed them by accident. Scientists also don’t know why Pacific cod have started eating birds, how often they eat birds, or the significance of them eating birds. This is thought to be the first documentation of Pacific cod eating seabirds as a regular practice. Now we’re no cod scientists, but we fear these fishy monsters will get a taste for humans next. Be warned.

Bei Bei

Bei Bei took his first steps on Monday around 4:50 p.m.

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