10 animal and environment campaigns you can support right now

The sky is filled with sky lanterns at the YeePeng Festival in Sansai Thailand. But the lanterns - when released in the UK - have caused problems for farmers and animals.  

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It’s never been easier to show support for a cause. To make online armchair campaigning even easier still, Ellie O’Donnell and ALEXANDRA HEAL and ELLIE O'DONNELL have compiled a list of 10 ongoing campaigns they think Ecologist readers would like to know about

Pesticides are linked to struggling populations of bees and other insects in the UK, and local council policies are crucial to protecting them.

1) PETA: stop Amazon allowing the sale of live animals

Amazon is allowing live lobsters to be packaged and delivered by post. The small sea creatures that can journey up to 100 miles in a year are denied any natural livelihood and are put under stressful conditions when they are packaged in cramped boxes and sent to buyers. This is a welfare concern for PETA who say that the conditions in the packaging mean that they are unable to breathe properly.

What you can do: Send a letter to Mr Douglas Gurr, Amazon UK Country Manager, asking him to ban the sale of lobster and other live animals.

2) Friends of the Earth: prevent fracking in Lancashire

Fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources plans to start the UK’s first major commercial fracking operation in summer 2018, depending on government consent. The local council rejected their fracking plans in 2015 but following the government’s overturning of the decision, Cuadrilla recently finished drilling the country’s first horizontal well at their Preston New Road site in Lancashire.

What you can do: Ask Greg Clark, the energy secretary, to stop the operations by refusing to give his consent.

3) Kathleen Haase on change.org: stop Thomas Cook and British Airways supporting SeaWorld

The documentary Blackfish struck a chord for many with its heartbreaking story about the treatment of killer whales at amusement parks. However, leisure resorts such as SeaWorld still operate despite the physical and mental trauma its operations can cause whales. The British tourism companies Thomas Cook and British Airways continue to sell tickets to SeaWorld, thereby supporting this treatment of the animals. At the end of April, SeaWorld’s Orlando park reportedly failed an animal welfare inspection ordered by Thomas Cook.

What you can do: Write a letter to Thomas Cook asking them to stop selling tickets, and sign a petition demanding the same of British Airways.

4) Woodland Trust: stop the destruction of ancient woodland in South Wales

South Wales local council is threatening several ancient woodlands with its plans to build a new link road for improving access to Cardiff airport. In April, Vale of Glamorgan council announced two potential routes for a new road connecting the A48 with junction 34 the M4, but the two options would mean destroying six and seven ancient woodlands respectively.

What you can do: Sign a petition to call on the council to reconsider their plans in a way that wouldn’t destroy ancient woodlands.

5)  Greenpeace: re-allocate quotas for sustainable fishing and coastal communities

Fishing quotas limit the amount of fish caught by each boat. Greenpeace has found that just three companies have 61% of the English fishing quota. Large operators are typically less sustainable, says Greenpeace, and do not offer as many benefits and employment opportunities to coastal communities.

What you can do: Send a letter to Michael Gove, the environment secretary, and George Eustice, the fisheries minister, to re-allocate the fishing quotas to local and more sustainable fishers.

6) Soil Association: stop greenwashing beauty products

The beauty industry has been 'greenwashing' beauty products, according to the Soil Association. Beauty companies have been using misleading labels that say their products are organic, when they actually contain ingredients prohibited from certified products.

What you can do: sign the petition calling on companies to use 'natural' and 'organic' claims responsibly.

7) Friends of the Earth: reduce pesticide use to save insect populations

Pesticides are linked to struggling populations of bees and other insects in the UK, and local council policies are crucial to protecting them. Friends of the Earth has successfully asked some local councils to put vital pollinating insects first by introducing Pollinator Action Plans.

What you can do: ask your local council to put its own Pollinator Action Plan in place and share your ideas for making a difference.

8) 10:10: make the rules on wind power fair

Plans to build new onshore wind farms in England are currently being hobbled by government rules, despite the potential of such sites to help the country tackle climate change. The written ministerial statement on onshore wind, issued 18 June 2015, introduced additional planning requirements for onshore wind farms which made it harder to get the go-ahead for new sites.

What you can do: write to James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing, to ask him to unlock onshore wind by removing these additional planning requirements.

9) RSPCA: ban sky lanterns on council land

Paper sky lanterns make for an exotic and colourful addition to any celebration, but most people don’t know how harmful they can be to wildlife and farm animals. More than 200,000 sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns) are sold in the UK each year, and when the flame extinguishes, they fall back to earth. Animals can then get injured or die from getting tangled up in the wire frames or ingesting them. Lanterns are illegal in parts of Germany and Austria or this reason, and now 16 out of 22 Welsh councils have banned them on their land.

What you can do: urge your local council to ban the use of sky lanterns on council-owned land.

10) Caged Nationwide on change.org: end the use of bolt guns on unwanted greyhounds

Thousands of ex-racing greyhounds are not rehomed and become “unaccounted for” every year.  Existing UK legislation states that any person can use a bolt gun to destroy a greyhound if they are the legal owner. Botched attempts can leave dogs injured and in pain until a vet puts them down. Caged Nationwide attempts to alert the public to the wrongs of greyhound racing in general, but it is campaigning for a change in law so the animals are at least entitled to a humane death if they must be put down at all.

What you can do: sign the petition calling for a change in law so the animals must be put down with intravenous euthanasia, administered by trained vets.

These Authors

Ellie O'Donnell is a freelancer and investigative journalism MA student on the Evening Standard Scholarship at City University. She tweets at @ellietodonnell. Alexandra Heal is a journalist and MA student at City University, London. She freelances for BBC News and is co-founder of siftguide.com. She tweets at @alexandraheal. 

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