Wednesday, 24 November 2010

WWF - Roar detail

 Flopsy roars for the tigers - will you?

WWF - Roar detail

Monday, 22 November 2010

Tiger Danger

Hunting with dogs

I wrote to Julie Baum of the Lib Dem party regarding my concern that the coalition government were attempting to overthrow the ban on hunting with dogs.  I had this reply:

"The coalition agreement has in it the provision for a free vote on hunting, which means MPs can vote as they wish on the matter if it ever comes to a vote. Lib Dem policy remains against hunting, and our latest policy statement on the matter reasserts our support of the ban. In fact, on animal welfare in general the Lib Dems were the most supportive of the three main parties towards animal welfare legislation in Parliament in the last full session."

Let's hope they keep their word!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Being creative - sort of ...

My new Ikea unit - put together by me!  I didn't even swear - well maybe just once!

Silver & Sepia

My Treasury list on Etsy:


I have just emailed my MP asking them to support a ban on snares.

Snares are commonly used by game-keepers to catch foxes. They are thin wire nooses that silently garrotte their victims, often inflicting terrible cruelty.

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 899 asking for a ban on snares:  BAN SNARES

We need you to help us keep the countryside cruelty free.

Put an End to Bullfighting

I've just signed the World Wide Pledge against bullfighting. If you want to see an end to this barbaric cruelty then why not sign the pledge too using this link:

Fox Hunting - Keep the Ban

Like the vast majority of people, I think that hunting with dogs is barbaric and I’m pleased that it’s banned in Britain.

I've just emailed my MP, it only took two minutes, please would you do the same?


Love this Etsy shop ...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Animal Aid: Online Petitions

Animal Aid: Online Petitions

Dan Reed - Brave New World (Official video)


I love this!

For a fanciful centrepiece, place a vase inside a vase and weave a nest between the two with dodder vine. Weave feathers between the vine or place speckled hen or quail eggs in the nest. Make sure there is no overhanging the inner vase before placing a candle in the centre. Dodder vine is available from florists. It's often green when fresh but as it dries and ages, it'll take on a beautiful appearance.

From Donna Hay website

Monday, 15 November 2010

Christmas ornament swap

I can now get my ornaments packaged and posted.  I felt the packaging needed an extra element and found some gorgeous feathers on ebay - I'm assured they were naturally molted and obtained legally under the Wilflife & Countryside Act!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Animal Rights: This is absolute madness!

Government scraps protection for hens, game birds, pigs, cows, sheep – and circus animals

Millions of hens will have their beaks mutilated; game birds will remain in cages; pigs, sheep and cows in abattoirs will lose crucial protection from abuse; badgers will be culled and lions, tigers and other wild animals will continue to perform in the big top.
In a series of little-noticed moves, the Coalition has scrapped or stalled Labour initiatives to improve animal welfare some weeks before they were due to come into force.
The Agriculture minister James Paice, who part-owns a farm in Cambridgeshire, has been behind most of the moves – which have infuriated welfare groups. In the latest of a series of controversial decisions, Mr Paice this week delayed by five years a ban on beak mutilations of laying hens due to come into force in January. 

Home made lemon cheese ...

 ... deeeeeevine!

Recipe: Mix together the juice of 2 lemons, 2 eggs, a cup of sugar and a nob of butter. Heat gently until thickened - as Ina would say "how easy is that?"



Why killing badgers might not be "The final solution" we seek

I trust you will give this correspondence due consideration if for no reason other than I served on the Government Consultative Panel for three years and am the author of The Fate of the Badger (Batsford 1986). You may see therefore I am a long term student of the problem.

Not wishing to go over well-trodden ground, of which you must already be well aware, I shall concentrate on some points which will demonstrate why the planned ex-officio or proxy cull of badgers is misguided, uncivilised and dangerous. If we take each of those concerns separately, allowing for the moment that this is not solely an agricultural problem.


1. The most telling evidence is historic: on-farm intradermal tuberculin skin-testing ('Test & Slaughter') reduced bovine TB after the war in the National Herd to residual proportions. It was achieved without a single badger being targeted and effected a national no-cull zone. In 2008 Defra claimed, "Many countries have eradicated bTB through the systematic application of the tuberculin skin test alone and the slaughter of all test reactors" suggesting cow-to-cow transmission. Were this not so, badgers or any wildlife host would have been spreading the disease up to the 1970s just as it is claimed they are now, for badgers were widespread then, as now;

2. Cattle are kept far more intensively now than in the post-war period, and it is well established that TB is a stress-related disease;

3. However, looking at other evidence, impartial scientific opinion, including the Independent Scientific Group and your own vastly experienced principal scientist at Woodchester Park, Dr Chris Cheeseman, opposes a cull. In fact good science has always done so (cf. New Scientist articles in the 1970s and '80s);

4. An inevitably haphazard unco-ordinated campaign by non-qualified amateurs is a desperate response to manipulated vehement farming opinion which demands, "Something has to be done". This is insane and a recipe for disaster and widespread cruelty;

5. Badgers have been singled out because they are large, recognisable and live in settled communities which makes many (but crucially not all) relatively easy to find and catch (and see #3 under next heading);

6. A badger suffering from bovine TB maybe like the miners' canary, and should be valued in the same way. Video evidence shows cattle avoiding badger products (i.e. soiled pasture), whereas badgers of course target cowpats for the insects inside and underneath. It is not difficult to see the most likely direction of bacterial transmission;

7. Even if this is denied, it is a scientific truism that the more you look the more you find. The corollary is also true: if you do not look, you won't find. So in concentrating on the badger other potential hosts are ignored or only cursorily examined, eg. feral cats, rats, deer, hedgehogs, moles etc, not to mention possible mechanical vectors such as corvids and starlings. So where do you stop...?


1. We cannot lecture the rest of the world on conservation while killing off a protected species because its presence is seen as a nuisance;

2. Killing things on suspicion or circumstantial evidence is never a civilised answer to a problem. Since dead-stock is a live-stock farmer's end product they are immured to a throughput of animals. However low priced beef and milk is hardly a reason to destroy wildlife which has been a part of our heritage for much longer;

3. It's a human failure, but just as in a bad TV detective thriller so in bad science, the badger became 'prime suspect' and consequently evidence has to fit this theory (cf. #5 above);

4. If intensive farming was discouraged by consumers having to pay a fair price for food (perhaps not assuming an innate right to eat cheap meat every day), we could encourage a healthier human population and return to civilised farming which causes animals less stress and paid farmers a fair return for their work - work which would incidentally be more pleasant for them too;

5. There are farmers out there, often organic and small scale, some with closed herds, who have other views. They should be sought and listened to as well;

6. If all else fails, vaccination of cattle as for humans, is the only civilised and practical response to this problem. “The best prospect for control of TB in the British herd is to develop a cattle vaccine” – Krebs Report (1997); £18 million was spent showing that vaccinating young calves was effective. TB is a treatable disease. With an effective DIVA test (Differentiate between Infected and Vaccinated Animals) only EU law prevents this.


1. Collectively, farmers proclaim simple views loudly but most do not have the time, expertise or scientific curiosity to investigate the epidemiology of a complex disease such as TB so it is not surprising that they seek a simple 'final solution'. They were fed the idea by the NFU and old MAFF for a long time that the badger is villain not victim it is not surprising that they now urge its eradication from large tracts of our countryside;

2. It is 'Our' countryside and farmers claim to be its stewards. It appears as cant to claim on one hand that there are too many badgers while on the other shedding crocodile tears about diseased badgers. Again this reveals ignorance of ecological dynamics: disease is a natural in wild populations and TB in particular reduces where there is less stress: peturbation lessens and ecosystems recover;

3. The TB bacillus is endemic in the countryside, affecting a huge range of species and can never be entirely eradicated as it can under proper agricultural control;

4. Bovine TB is therefore an agricultural problem and the solution lies within agriculture. Killing badgers is a political decision not scientific one;

5. Government and agricultural communities need to realise that none of the above will be ignored by conservation and animal welfare bodies or the wider general public. I forsee a storm of public repugnance, civil disobedience and interference while the reputation of farmers sinks even lower.

Yours faithfully

Dr Richard Meyer



Thursday, 11 November 2010

Recycled Christmas ornaments

Whilst I was doing my daily "click to give" on the Greater Good Network I found these recycled metal ornaments and couldn't resist buying them - by shopping on this site they donated 50 cups of food, which is a great way to help the needy around the world.  As if I really need an excuse to go shopping!

Recycled Sheet Metal Angels from India

Haitian Spirit Recycled Steel Ornaments

Christmas swap

I'm taking part in a Christmas ornament swap on the Arte ed Anima group.  As we couldn't get 12 people to participate we're having the "9 days of Christmas" !  I was allotted day 2. 

Here's a clue (the 1st pic is a bit blurry) as to what I've used for my ornament:

... and here they are "tied up with string" and ready to go!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

"Do" try this at home!

Salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread


For the shortbread
  • 175 g plain flour, sifted
  • 150 g salted butter
  • 50 g caster sugar
For the caramel
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 40 ml water
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 70 ml double cream
For the chocolate topping
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 40 g butter
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped salted peanuts


1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Line a 20cm x 24cm baking tray with parchment paper.

2. For the shortbread: pulse the shortbread ingredients together in a food processor until a rough dough forms (do not overmix). Press the dough evenly into the lined baking tray and chill in the refrigerator for half an hour or so.

3. When chilled, bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. For the caramel: place the sugar and salt into a heavy-based pan with the water. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the butter. Increase the heat and cook until the mixture begins to bubble and turns a light toffee-brown colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream (be careful as the mixture may spit) until smooth.

5. Once the shortbread is completely cooled, pour the salted caramel over and chill in the fridge until set.

6. For the chocolate: place the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Heat until the chocolate melts, stirring to mix the butter into the chocolate. Set aside to cool.

7. Once the chocolate is quite cool, pour over the caramel base and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Place back into the fridge to chill until the chocolate has set.

8. Remove the millionaire shortbread from the tin and cut into diamond-shaped slices to serve.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door ...

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your
food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the
middle of my plate and/or food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food
and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to
the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster
than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this.
Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort,
however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is
not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the
fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and
having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but

For the last time,there is no secret exit from the bathroom!  If, by some
miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary
to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an
attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I
have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or
cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the
front door:


(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people..
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are
short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't smoke or drink,
(7) don't want to wear your clothes,
(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and
(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Been there ...

... done that!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Inspired by ...

... my recent holiday to Santorini!  I used 4 photos and 2 textures:

It's been quite a while since I played with Photoshop but I think it turned out ok  At some point I'll download some pics from my trip, although I did take over 1000 photos so it might be a difficult task choosing just a few!  The problem with visiting such an amazing place is that everywhere you look there are wonderful images - thank goodness for digital cameras!