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Feel-good Christmas gift idea: Adopt a wild animal

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If you're stuck for ideas of what to get your nearest and dearest who have everything, here's a present idea with a 100% feel-good factor: Adopt a wild animal.

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Many species such as tigers, pandas and turtles are facing extinction due to human exploitation of their natural habitat or illegal hunting. By donating a small (or large depending on how much you can spare) you'll be helping giving these animals a chance to survive for future generations to appreciate. There are many organisations that offering various adoption and donation programmes, but here are some of our favourite ones.

WWF

Now there is a lot more to the WWF than just animal adoption - read more about it here - but if you'd like to gift someone special a panda, a tiger, a snow leopard or a bottlenose dolphin among others, this is the place to go. For a monthly sum of your choice, you can help make a difference!

Born Free

In addition to its existing adoption scheme, this year Born Free has teamed up with Tiger Nation to launch a Tiger Tracker, which lets you follow the lives of individual wild tigers in India through the power of social media.

For only £20 a year you can access regular updates on tigers like Vijaya and her cubs and help protect them. Get involved here.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare saves individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. It currently has projects in more than 40 countries and provides hands-on assistance to animals in needs, whether it's dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters. While you can't adopt a single animal, you can help by donating to the organisation.

The Wildlife Aid Foundation

Their animal adoption scheme enables you to help towards the costs of looking after sick, injured or orphaned animals that are brought to the Wildlife Aid Foundation hospital. Your donation will contribute towards the costs of the specialist care, food and medicines that the patients need to help them return to the wild as soon as possible. Find out more here.

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trunks-for-trunks.jpgOK you might think we're insane to even mention swimwear as the autumn chill is swooping across the British Isles, but with many jetting off to warmer climes or taking advantage of the great exercise that swimming provides we just couldn't help ourselves. But the main reason for shouting about this new swimwear label is the fact that it is dedicated to wildlife conservation.

Love Brand & Co. is the brainchild of young London designer Oliver Tomalin and has launched its first collection of ethical swimwear: Trunks for Trunks. Inspired by the plight of the iconic Asian elephant, 5% of each sale will go towards helping endangered elephants survive in the wild through charity Elephant Family.

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The current collection is uses state-of-the-art, soft and fast drying fabric, particularly notable are the silver tusks on the end of the drawstrings. The design is of a classic European cut, loosely tailored for a comfortable fit.

The collection is available in 8 block colours, two stripes and 5 limited edition prints and comes in sizes XXS - XXL. Prices range from £118 - £128 for men's swimming trunks, £68 to £78 for boys'.

Chrissie Hynde.jpgLead singer of the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde, has become the latest celebrity to give her support to the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign and make a stand against animal testing and end the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics in the EU.

Today, the coalition of animal protection groups behind the campaign, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), will hand over its petition with almost a quarter of a million signatures to the European Parliament.

The campaigners are calling for No Exceptions, No Postponement and most importantly No Cruel Cosmetics.

Chrissie Hynde in her appeal to the EU commission said:

"It is shameful that animals continue to endure painful tests for beauty products and toiletries sold in the EU. I'm supporting the ECEAE in its campaign to rid Europe of animal tested cosmetics once and for all. I appeal to the EU Commission to ensure the full marketing ban is implemented in March 2013. I urge the people of Europe to join me by signing the petition to say No to Cruel Cosmetics in Europe!"

The petition has been signed by other celebrities, including Sir Paul McCartney and Morrissey, politicians, cosmetic companies and citizens of Europe.

member_sml.jpgYou might have seen the posters on bus stops or overheard people joke that the panda made them do things...

The Panda Made Me Do It is a campaign by WWF that encourages people to take action and do something positive for the environment; feel inspired and become part of the wonderful world and work of the World Wildlife Foundation. WWF has devised a number of simple actions that people can do to really make a difference to the environment as featured on wwf.org.uk/doit.

So how can you get your paws on a The Panda Made Me Do It t-shirt? Just commit to do an action set out on wwf.org.uk/doit to unlock the exclusive tee. Once you've taken some positive action for the environment, inspired by WWF's work, then you can proudly wear the t-shirt as an environmental 'badge of honour'.

Personally, I adore pandas so have been in love with the campaign ever since I spotted it - I even Instragrammed a photo of the poster on the bus stop (tragic I know but it's all spreading the word)

As part of the campaign the WWF has released this video showing that all is fair in (environmental) love and war... And if in doubt, just say: The Panda Made Me Do It.

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Originally published on ShinyShiny.tv

If you're looking to do something a little bit different in the capital over the next few weeks, then ditch the usual tourist haunts and take a little wander around some of London's hidden waterside areas. Yes really. It'll be fun, we PROMISE.

The WWF has recently ventured into the world of mobile, launching a free smartphone web app called The Waterside Challenge, which has been designed to get people walking around some of London's top nature hotspots. The app activates once you visit one of ten special locations and allows you to discover new wildlife, take part in quizzes and challenges, watch videos, find cool Augmented Reality surprises along the way too and learn how you can make a difference to your local community.

The new app is part of The Panda Made Me Do It, a WWF campaign to reward and encourage the most awesome pro-environmental behaviour. Neil Gunn, Head of Digital Strategy at WWF-UK said:

"This is the first time we've jumped into apps in a major way. We think that by combining the beauty of the natural world with the rich information available in the digital world, people might get even more out of their weekend trip to the riverbank."

Now admittedly it's a bit twee to spend your weekend wondering around looking at wildlife, but great if you want some fresh air (OK fresh may be a bit of a leap), a stroll through a different area or if you have kids to entertain, because they love nothing more than running around trying to spot hidden creatures.

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As The Waterside Challenge is a web app you can access it via iOS and Android devices, just visit wwf.org.uk/waterside for more information and it'll work at ten special locations in and around London town, including Tottenham Marshes, Highgate Ponds, Middlesex Filter Beds, Camley Street Natural Park, New River Walk, Regent's Canal and the Olympic Waterways Mini-trail that runs from Hackney Wick along the canal to the Olympic Park.

save-the-arctic.pngFormer Beatle and life-long animal and environment friend Sir Paul McCartney has joined Greenpeace's campaign to help Save the Arctic. In a statement, the musician writes about 1968, a year revolution was in the air - much like 2012 - and when a single image of delicate Earth was captured from space, Earthrise. As McCartney writes 'that single image made such an impact on the human psyche that it's credited with sparking the birth of the global environment movement - with changing the very way we think about ourselves.'

Forty years later, and with the polar ice rapidly melting, McCartney has joined the Greenpeace movement to fight the oil giants moving in to digging up the Arctic seabed in search of find fossil fuels.

"Since Earthrise was taken we've been so busy warming our world that it now looks radically different from space. By digging up fossil fuels and burning our ancient forests we've put so much carbon into the atmosphere that today's astronauts are looking at a different planet."

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Speaking about his dedication to the cause McCartney notes: 'Here's something that just baffles me. As the ice retreats, the oil giants are moving in. Instead of seeing the melting as a grave warning to humanity, they're eyeing the previously inaccessible oil beneath the seabed at the top of the world. They're exploiting the disappearance of the ice to drill for the very same fuel that caused the melting in the first place. Fossil fuels have colonized every corner of our Earth, but at some time and in some place we need to say, "No more." I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic."

To date more than one million have signed up at www.savethearctic.org to show their support for the campaign. As an Arctic native I've already signed it. And I think you should too.

And you can, like Sir Paul join the Arctic Rising online movement, which gives you the chance to be one of five Arctic animals - a polar bear, a snowy owl, an Arctic fox, a walrus or a narwhal. No prize for guessing which one Sir Paul is...

[via Huffington Post]

You might have noticed a flurry of activity on Twitter and in the news last week as Greenpeace occupied Shell across the globe in protest of the drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Using the slogan Save the Arctic, the activists are not stopping there and will fight this summer to raise awareness.

Another digital activity, Arctic Ready - which we've written about previously - first appeared a few months ago. The hoax Shell website set up by Greenpeace asked people to create spoof Shell adverts and now a winner has been crowned. The winning entry on a massive billboard graced the Houston skyline recently, and only a short drive away from One Shell Plaza... Oh how awkward for Shell.

Here are the top ten entries as voted by the digerati.

Cruelty Free International is the biggest ever global campaign to end the unnecessary torture of animals by testing cosmetics on them for the sake of people's vanity.

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais has signed the global pledge and is helping to raise awareness of the ongoing cruelty that happens behind closed doors as the campaign call on governments and regulators around the world to introduce a ban on animal testing.

Over 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cruel experiments for the sake of beauty. Despite progress with some countries and companies, animals that many consider pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats, are routinely injected, gassed, force-fed or killed for cosmetic testing.

Find out more about Cruelty Free International here.

Sign the petition!

One of the most famous photographs of all time has been recreated by PETA UK in honour of Sir Paul McCartney's 70th birthday this coming Monday, 18th June.

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This time it wasn't John, Paul, George and Ringo who crossed the famous Abbey Road zebra stripes, but a fish, pig, chicken and cow carrying signs that spell out 'Happy Birthday, Paul! Thank You for Loving Us.' A very fitting birthday card for the celebrated vegetarian and animal rights campaigner, we think.

In addition to sending Sir Paul the one-of-a-kind photograph, the animal-rights organisation will also be distributing free copies of its 'Glass Walls' DVD - narrated by Paul - to the fans who will gather on Abbey Road and in Liverpool on Monday.

"PETA couldn't be happier to celebrate Paul's birthday", says PETA Manager Mimi Bekhechi. "He has done so much to help animals during his legendary career, and we can't think of a person more deserving of celebration."

Sir Paul has been vegetarian for more than 40 years, deciding to give up meat out of compassion for animals after realising, whilst fishing, that a fish's life is "as important to him as mine is to me." Now, Sir Paul says, "I would never go back. I enjoy being vegetarian, It's a thrill and I can walk past a field of animals with a clear conscience."

We've always secretly hoped that Sir Paul is a reader of Hippyshopper; so join us in celebrating the ex Beatle's 70th by leaving him a birthday message in the comments as we celebrate him on the next Meat Free Monday on 18 June 2012.

In Paul McCartney's own words: "Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty".

Anti-animal testing activists rejoice! Lush has put the horrific sequences of animal testing into a space where no-one can ignore it: one of London's busiest shopping streets.

Joining forces with Humane Society International, Lush Cosmetics today launched the largest-ever global campaign to end animal testing on cosmetics in its Regent Street store window.

lush_animal testing_0.jpg Image via The Drum

Horrified shoppers witnessed the 'test subject', a young woman called Jaqueline Traide, being put through a series of tests that highlight the pain and cruelty inflicted on animals during laboratory tests on cosmetics.

Unlike the real life animals that through painful experiments each and every single day for the sake of beauty, 24-year-old Jaqueline had volunteered to be put through tests such as:
- Being force-fed, her mouth stretched open with two metal hooks
- Having irritant sprayed into her eyes
- Being restrained for ten hours
- Having a large strip of her hairline shaved off using electronic clippers
- Being manhandled by a lab technician

Publicly humiliated and nursing the red-raw skin on her cheeks after having various wonder creams put on her body, Jaqueline was, unlike helpless animals around the world, free to go home after the experiments had ended. The animals on the other hand will have suffered a miserable death.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: 'The ironic thing is that if it was a beagle in the window and we were doing all these things to it, we'd have the police and RSPCA here in minutes. But somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average. The difference is, it's normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.'

Humane Society spokeswoman Wendy Higgins said it was 'morally unthinkable' that cosmetic companies should continue to profit from animal suffering, adding there could be 'no justification for subjecting animals to pain for the sake of producing lipstick and eye shadow'.

Well done for Lush and Humane Society International for taking a risk and showing people exactly what is going on behind closed lab doors!

Sign the petition here.

More images and a video can be found on The Daily Mail.

peta-animal-testing-ban.jpgLondon tourists certainly got a different view of Big Ben as blonde beauty Victoria Eisermann - the female winner of PETA's 2007 Sexiest Vegetarian in Europe contest - gave bloodbath a new meaning this morning.

Sitting in a bathtub filled with fake blood with a banner that read "Stop the Bloodbath, Dr Cable: Support EU's Cosmetics Testing Ban", the naked lady was in full view of the Houses of Parliament earlier today.

Eisermann and PETA's 'blood bath' took place to make a statement to the European Commission, which is considering postponing the 2013 deadline for banning the sale of cosmetics that have been partially or fully tested on animals after pressure from the cosmetics industry.

Why was Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, targeted? Because he has refused to commit to backing the ban as scheduled. Naughty Mr Cable, very naughty.

"Everyone knows that cosmetics testing on animals is a bloody, indefensible business, but the government is standing by and doing nothing while the EU ban on selling cosmetics that have been tested on animals is under threat", says Victoria, a vegan and an ex-Playboy model. "Vince Cable needs to stand up for what's right, represent the people of this country and throw Britain's weight behind the 2013 ban."

In 2003, the European Parliament voted to end the sale of all cosmetics and toiletries containing ingredients tested on animals, setting a final deadline of 2013 for a full ban. Although the testing of cosmetics on animals is already banned in the EU, companies that test elsewhere can still sell their products in the EU until then.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.

Joss-Stone.jpgJoss Stone has become the latest celeb to support BUAV's new global non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International and its mission to end product testing on animals worldwide.

Shockingly over 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cruel experiments for the sake of beauty. Despite progress with some countries and companies, animals that many consider pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats, are routinely injected, gassed, force-fed or killed for cosmetic testing.

Joss Stone said: "I'm proud to support Cruelty Free International. At last someone has stepped up to the plate to take on the task of ending cosmetics tests on animals around the world."

"Thousands of animals continue to die each year for lipstick, toothpaste, fragrance and other products, so it's crucial that we campaign for a global ban. Cruelty Free International has taken on this challenge and I am pleased to support them, and I urge you all to do the same."

Stone joins UK actor Ricky Gervais, who is the Ambassador of Cruelty Free International. See what Ricky has to say below:

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Ahead of Earth Hour 2012, WWF has launched an interactive website - Foodstory - that highlights some of the problems the world is facing when it comes to food sustainability and global hunger. These include:

Producing the meat and dairy we eat causes 30% of the loss of our natural world

30% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from the food we eat

1.5 billion people worldwide eat too much while a billion people go hungry, which is quite ironic as enough food to feed the world and to create a healthy future for people and the planet

In the words of the WWF, 'If we want to keep our world brilliant we have to change how and what we eat.'

It is time to take action and call for the UK Government and its Food Ministers to develop a strategy to meet the challenge.

Take action at wwf.org.uk/foodstory/

Earth Hour takes place at 8:30pm on Saturday 31st March 2012.

Would you eat test tube meat?

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Ever since we heard the news earlier this week that meat is now being grown in labs, with scientists using stem cells to create strips of beef, the debate has been quite lively here at Hippyshopper HQ: Would you eat test-tube meat?

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According to this article on BBC.co.uk, Dutch scientists are now working towards creating a more efficient alternative to rearing animals and have so far successfully grown small pieces of beef muscle in a laboratory. The beef strips are then to be mixed with blood and artificially grown fat to produce a hamburger by the autumn.

The cells initially used to grow the beef strips come from by-products of slaughtered animals, but could potentially be taken from a living animal in the future.

Besides the discussion of would you eat it or not, I suppose there is the question of if vegetarians could, and would, eat this lab-grown meat? According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian does not eat 'any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacean, or the by-products of slaughter'. So as it currently stands, these synthetic hamburgers would be a no-go for vegetarians.

However, leaving the idea that a meat-free diet is healthier aside, in the future, if no animals have been killed or hurt in the process of making this type of meat, vegetarians could potentially eat this meat if they (as most vegetarians I know) are doing it on grounds of animal welfare. In the end, I suppose it comes down to individual choice. But with the first lab-grown burgers estimated to cost around £200,000 to produce, there is still a long way to go before we would see it in our local supermarket.

But going back to the original question: Would you eat test-tube meat? For the devoted vegetarians in the office the answer was simple: no, they wouldn't. For me, a carnivore with a conscience - I'd never have an animal killed for the sake of ending up on my plate and I do care about animal rights - I would definitely try it. And if it means an end to unnecessary slaughtering of animals and a more fair distribution of food worldwide, the future is looking brighter when seen from the lab lights.

leona lewis.jpgLeona Lewis has issued a personal plea to help end the suffering of animals used in cosmetics testing.

The 'Hurt' hitmaker has sent a Valentine's card and letter to John Dalli, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, to encourage him to support Humane Society International's CrueltyFree2013 campaign against animal testing.

She wrote: "Like most girls, I love make-up, but my ethical principles are also very important to me. No new lipstick, eye-liner or other cosmetics ingredient can ever be worth the suffering and death of defenceless animals forced to endure painful toxicity tests.

"These gentle animals are killed by the hundreds in some tests, despite the fact that manufacturing products free of new animal testing is perfectly possible through the use of thousands of existing, safe ingredients.

"Animals have suffered enough - if their pain has been deemed immoral within the EU, it must also be immoral outside the EU. To trade in their pain would be hypocrisy."

Leona is one of a number of stars, including the likes of Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Melanie C, and Sir Roger Moore, to have signed the CrueltyFree2013 online petition.

In 2009, the European Union banned animal testing for cosmetics, but ingredients are still able to be tested on animals in other countries and sold in EU shops.

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