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As many students swapped classrooms for computers over the past year, a new survey of 2,000 parents across the UK and US finds that their children’s classmates in the virtual learning setting – their pets—provided real mental health, academic and social benefits. Research has long shown the benefits of having pet interaction in a physical classroom setting and this study confirms these benefits are now being seen in virtual education environments as well. The survey reveals pets helped children cope during the pandemic -- decreasing loneliness, anxiety, and stress and providing a source of motivation for their studies helping improve academic performance. This is positive news in light of early indicators the pandemic has had a negative impact on children’s social skills and well-being, with a recent report finding over 1.5 million children in the UK alone will need additional mental health support as a consequence of the pandemic.

EXTRAORDINARY INNOVATIONS IN ANIMAL-FREE VACCINE TESTING THAT OFFER HOPE

PETA Coronavirus Researcher Shares New Testing Techniques for COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments, and Our Future

 

Samantha SaundersBVetMed, Ph.D., MRCVS, Research Associate for PETA U.K. (a veterinarian with a doctorate in coronavirology)

BACKGROUND:

Scientists worldwide are racing to find effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. For some, this means falling back on outdated and notoriously ineffective tests that waste time waiting to see what happens in beagles or monkeys, when the vast majority of such efforts fail to lead to human therapies or cures. Fortunately, tremendous advancements in state-of-the-art, human-relevant methods—like organs-on-chips, sophisticated, high speed computer simulations that use human data, and 3D tissue models—enable breathtaking scientific progress without harming a hair on an animal’s head. Scientists in Tennessee, for example, are using the world’s smartest supercomputer to rapidly identify existing drugs that might fight COVID-19. Those drugs can then be tested in coronavirus-infected human cells before progressing to responsibly conducted human trials. This saves huge amounts of time and can safely bring treatments to clinical trials far sooner than bizarre and useless methods, like using genetically engineered mice.

 

DID YOU KNOW THESE FACTS?:

·       95% of new drugs that appear safe and effective in animal studies go on to fail in human trials.

·       Mice do not naturally carry the COVID-19 virus receptor, therefore they have to be genetically engineered to be susceptible to the disease. This proves to be an ineffective practice for generating results that are applicable to humans, and causes suffering and death for many mice.

·       For the first time ever, vaccines have gone directly to human trials without waiting for the results of animal trials. This demonstrates that, in the face of a crisis, medicines regulators—including the FDA—deem that some animal tests are not ultimately necessary for the protection of human health.

 

For more information please visit: www.PETA.org

 

 

More About Samantha Saunders:

Samantha Saunders, BVetMed, Ph.D., MRCVS, is a research associate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) U.K., where she works with European Union regulators to replace cruel chemical tests on animals with superior and humane non-animal methods. She is a veterinarian and holds a doctorate in coronavirology.

 

Movie review written by Jon Patch with 4 out of 4 paws

The Gentlemen

Miramax and STX Films present an R rated, 113 minute, Action, Crime film directed, screenplay and story by Guy Ritchie with a theater release date of January 24, 2020.

Inspired by the True Story of whistleblower Katharine Gun
portrayed by Keira Knightley
 
 
 
 

 
OFFICIAL SECRETS
 
DIRECTED BY GAVIN HOOD WRITTEN BY SARA BERNSTEIN + GREGORY BERNSTEIN + GAVIN HOOD
 

OFFICIAL SECRETS 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Martin Bright
The Observer's first journalist to receive the leaked email.
 
Katharine Gun
Real life whistleblower who's character is played by Keira Knightley
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About the film
Running Time 112 Minutes | Rated R
 
Synopsis: 
She risked everything to stop an unjust war. Her government called her a traitor. Based on world-shaking true events, Official Secrets tells the gripping story of Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist whose job involves routine handling of classified information. One day in 2003, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Gun receives a memo from the NSA with a shocking directive: the United States is enlisting Britain’s help in collecting compromising information on United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq. Unable to stand by and watch the world be rushed into an illegal war, Gun makes the gut-wrenching decision to defy her government and leak the memo to the press. So begins an explosive chain of events that will ignite an international firestorm, expose a vast political conspiracy, and put Gun and her family directly in harm’s way.
 
Cast: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Indira Varma, Rhys Ifans
Director: Gavin Hood
Writers: Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein, Gavin Hood
Producers: Ged Doherty, Melissa Shiyu Zuo, Elizabeth Fowler
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Movie Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

Official Secrets

IFC Films, Classified Films, Clear Pictures Entertainment, GS Media, Screen Yorkshire and The Gordon Company present an R rated, 111 minute, Biography, Drama, based on true events film directed by Gavin Hood, screenplay by Gregory Bernstein and Sara Bernstein with a theater release date of August 30, 2019.

Born Free Calls on UK Government to Implement Ivory Trade Ban Without Delay

UK ivory ban must inspire further international measures, take the commerce out of the ivory trade and pay attention to the plight of other ivory-bearing endangered species

Horsham, England -- March 4, 2018 ­-- Born Free today welcomes the long-awaited announcement of a ban on the commercial trade in elephant ivory within, to and from the United Kingdom. However, Born Free is seeking greater clarity about the appointment of a special regulator who will manage the accreditation of exempt items.

Born Free's co-founder and President, Will Travers OBE, said: "We applaud the government for its recognition of the need for the U.K., which has been the largest exporter of ‘legal’ ivory items in recent years, to take action on commercial ivory trade. African elephant range states, the international conservation community, and the British public, have all been calling for a comprehensive ban as the only way to help end the poaching epidemic which threatens the very future of wild elephants. We implore Parliament to pass the proposed measures into law without delay.”

Born Free believes the proposed online ivory registration process establishes, importantly, that the burden of proof now resides with the applicant. Furthermore, the range of penalties and fines for those who offend should have a suitably deterrent effect.

According to the government, the provenance of items exempted due to their rarity or cultural/historical importance, will be determined by independent advisors who will be accountable for their decisions.

Travers said: “In practice, it will be essential that anyone who seeks to trade ivory or facilitate the trade in ivory – including those who are responsible for its certification – must be held to account. Only a robust and highly precautionary approach will prevent these exemptions becoming loopholes that traffickers can exploit.”

Exempt items will include:

  • Items made before 1947 containing less than 10 percent of ivory by volume
  • Musical instruments containing less than 20 percent of ivory made before 1975
  • The “rarest and most important items” that are more than 100 years old, including portrait miniatures
  • Items traded between accredited museums.

Africa's elephant numbers have plummeted from perhaps 5 million a century ago, to less than half a million today, and upwards of 20,000 continue to be killed across the continent by poachers each year to supply criminal networks with ivory. Asian elephants, where only the males carry ivory and which number below 30,000, are also targeted for their tusks.

The U.K. has, in recent years, been the world's biggest exporter of legal ivory, largely in the form of antique worked items which have been in big demand among Asian buyers. This trade stimulates demand for ivory products and provides traffickers with a means by which they can launder new ivory from recently slaughtered elephants into trade.

Travers concluded: “Ending legal commercial trade in all ivory products is vital if we are to provide hope for beleaguered elephant populations. We need all countries that continue to operate legal markets and act as sources of ivory in international trade to step up and introduce similar measures to those announced here in the U.K. and, in particular, we urge the European Commission to announce far tougher restrictions on trade within, between and from EU countries without delay.

“We must also take into account the impact that closing elephant ivory trade and markets could have on other ivory-bearing species. For example, indications are that trade in poached hippo ivory is on the rise and official data confirms that since 2006 more than 50,000 kilograms of hippo ivory was released into trade – this from a species that may number as few as 130,000 individuals. Tackling the trade in ivory from other threatened species, such as hippos, narwhals and walruses, needs to be part of our immediate plan.”

Born Free has been campaigning for a global ban on commercial trade in all ivory products since 1989. The charity's advocacy, awareness-raising and public mobilization efforts have played a major part in informing recent decisions and persuading the UK government to take action. Born Free will continue with these efforts until the poaching of elephants and other ivory-bearing species has been brought to an end, and their future secured.

###

Review written by Jon Patch with 2 out of 4 paws

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents an R rated, 90 minute, Comedy, directed by Mandie Fletcher and screenplay by Jennifer Saunders with a theater release date of July 22, 2016.


NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH: TOP BRITISH ECO-PET FIRM TARGETS AMERICA’S 40 MILLION OVERWEIGHT DOGS

Beco Pets issues ‘Get Fit, Not Fat’ challenge to US dogs,
unveils unique-design SAFER toy to encourage exercise

New Beco Pets Guide: ‘Top 10 Tips For Getting Your Dog Slim and Fit’



** There are approx. 80 million dogs in US **

** 53% of US dogs are overweight or obese, says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention **

** That’s approx. 42 million US dogs who need to lose weight **

** Fat dogs face risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular, respiratory & blood pressure conditions, cancer **

** Giving a dog a cookie is the equivalent of a human eating TWO cookies **

** Dogs that maintain their ideal weight live, on average, two years longer **

** Pictured: (L-R) The Beco Flyer; Beco Pets co-Founders George Bramble with Labrador Tarka,
and Toby Massey with Terrier Rupert **


Beco Pets, Great Britain’s biggest manufacturer of eco-friendly pet products, has launched a new product targeting America’s estimated 40 million overweight and obese dogs.

The pioneering firm, whose toys are popular with dog owners in 43 countries, has designed a unique new toy, aimed at encouraging overweight US dogs to take more exercise in a safe environment.

The unveiling of ‘The Beco Flyer’ follows warnings from leading canine health experts in the UK that throwing wooden sticks for your dog to retrieve in the park can cause “horrific injuries” and damage their teeth and mouths.

Now proving a big hit in the UK, The Beco Flyer(MSRP $15.99) is a flying disc dog toy that whizzes through the air to the delight of its canine catchers. Made from 100 per cent natural rubber and rice husks, which makes it durable, non-toxic and flexible enough to be easily carried everywhere, it is designed with an 'easy pick-up wobble' design, and the raised profile of The Flyer makes it easier for your dog to get a good grip when retrieving.

The President of the British Veterinary Association has just warned UK dog owners they could cause their pets "horrific injuries" if they play fetch with sticks. The Beco Flyer’s extra grip helps prevent any injuries as your dog races to the landing point, and the extra-super-soft natural rubber make it softer for dogs to catch without damaging their teeth or mouth, avoiding any nasty accidents.

In Britain, nearly 3 million dogs are not given the chance to exercise off the leash outside the home or garden every day. Worse still, in one investigation, 67 per cent of pet owners in Europe were found to be overweight themselves (source: BBC). Beco Pets is working with veterinary practices to better educate dog owners and is giving away free Beco Flyer toys to owners of fat British dogs nationwide to encourage them to take exercise.

In America, Beco Pets products are already proving a big hit with dog and other pet owners after the British company appointed Pet Product Innovations (PPI) as it Master Distributor in the US.

Beco Pets co-Founder and Design Director Toby Massey, a dog owner for six years and the man who designed The Beco Flyer, said: “We want British dogs to get healthier and stay slim. That’s why we’ve launched our campaign, which is aimed at both dogs and their owners. The Beco Flyer is designed to fly further than a traditional ball, increasing the mileage your pet covers. The Flyer’s bright colours also make it easier to spot as even the best retriever gets a little confused!”

Fellow Beco co-Founder & Sales Director George Bramble became a dog owner three months ago when Labrador puppy Tarka arrived. He said: “It’s vital to keep dogs healthy. I’ve seen research that shows 60 per cent of pets in the UK aren’t ever weighed, and dog obesity is on the rise. We have a duty of care to do better. Owning a dog should be a reason to get outside and get some exercise. Looking after a dog responsibly can be great for both the dog’s and the owner’s waist line.”

As with humans, the risk of a dog becoming fatter increases throughout its life. The medical effects of a dog being overweight include a reduction in its life expectancy, diabetes, locomotion difficulties, circulatory problems, skin disease, respiratory problems, low immunity and a higher operation risk. Dog owners also report that The Beco Flyer keeps even the most energetic dog busy – and you’ll never lose sight of it in long grass thanks to its bright orange or purple colours.

Beco Pets’ ‘Top 10 Tips For Getting Your Dog Slim and Keeping Fido Fit’

  1. BAN  LEFTOVERS: Feeding dogs scraps from your meal table is the greatest single cause of obesity
  2. STOP 24/7 SNACKS: Limit access to food by feeding your dog at the same time, same place daily to create a routine
  3. GET OUT MORE: Set up a regular exercise plan, with walks, play and chase activities. You might enjoy it, too.
  4. LIMIT TREATS: Most dogs would rather have your attention than a calorific treat. Groom or play with them instead.
  5. BOX CLEVER: Use interactive toys so your dog has to work for its food, like a treat inside a rubber Beco bone.
  6. GET WEB-WISE: Download a dog workout chart from the Internet, checking the amount of exercise your breed requires.
  7. WEIGH IN: Track of your dog’s calorie intake, maybe weighing food with kitchen scales. Also weigh your dog regularly.
  8. ASK THE VET: Get your vet to assess whether your dog is overweight by calculating its "body condition scale".
  9. FIGURE IT: Healthy dogs’ ribs, spine and hip bones should be easily felt, and their waist should be visible.
  10. GO A-LA-CARTE: Choose the right diet for your dog, depending on its breed and age. The less processed meat meal and carbohydrates the better and stick to high-quality dog food if budget permits.

Notes to Editors - About Beco Pets (becopets-usa.com)

Beco Pets is a young, fast-growing, award-winning British company based in London. They are focused on creating fun products that are good for the environment without compromising on quality, price or aesthetics. Beco Pets believe that ‘eco’ living doesn’t mean having to go without. They are working hard to deliver a range of innovative, affordable, and eco-friendly pet products that make sustainable purchasing easy for pet owners. The range at Beco Pets has been growing steadily since the company formed in 2009 and now includes products in all four areas of your pet’s life – Fetch, Eat, Poop and Sleep! Everybody will tell you that their products are the best, but the team at Beco Pets really believe that theirs are. Beco Pets take all their products from design concept, (all Beco products are designed in Great Britain), through to shop shelf, which means the team understand what their retailers and customers really want. They pride themselves on making affordable, non-toxic toys and accessories that work just as well as competitor lines and rarely cost any more. The company believes that the foundations of any great product are selecting the right materials, and wherever possible, they use natural, renewable or recycled materials, such as rice husks, bamboo, plastic bottles and recycled cardboard. Beco’s rubber range is all made from their environmentally friendly rubber, containing ethically sourced rice husk, which is a bi-product from rice farming. This means as well as being biodegradable, their rubber is BPA and Phylaphate free. Beco’s plant fibre plastic is mainly made of bamboo, which is one of the world’s most renewable sources. This makes the bowls 100 per cent biodegradable. The Beco plush toy range and Beco Beds are all stuffed entirely of recycled plastic bottles, making their stuffing extra soft! They even recycle their cardboard boxes in the warehouse into packaging for all their shipments.

Paramount Vantage, Indian Paintbrush and Super Crispy Entertainment present a PG-13, 90 minute, romantic drama directed by Drake Doremus, written by Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones with a theatrical UK release of February 3, 2012, although already released in the U.S.