Country Life Today: Sir David Attenborough’s heartfelt call to arms

Scotland's natural crisis demands new laws, says David Attenborough, while we look at hornless cattle, terrible weather and the protests which shocked the world 50 years ago.

‘Our systems and laws have failed the natural world’

If you read coverage of the 2019 State of Nature report — such as our piece yesterday — you’ll be worried. Sir David Attenborough is worried too, and is demanding new laws.

‘A wildlife-rich natural world is vital for our wellbeing and survival. We need wild places, to thrive. Yet many of our systems and laws have failed the natural world,’ he said.

‘We now live in one of the most nature depleted places on the planet… Now is the time to tell our politicians that we need a nature recovery network set in law…

‘A legally binding network for nature would mean that wildlife is prioritised when managing our land and planning our towns.

‘Powerful new environmental laws can ensure habitats are expanded and reconnected meaning all life will thrive once more.

‘It’s time to turn things around. Nature is capable of extraordinary recovery but we must act now. Tell your politicians now is the time to put nature into recovery. Everything works better when it’s connected.’

Full story (The Scotsman /inews)

‘Hornless cattle’ bred by scientists

There’s nothing new about farmers using selective breeding to encourage certain traits and features in their herds, and many believe that editing the genes of livestock is simply a way of speeding up the process. But does a genetically de-horned cow cross any sort of line?

UC Davis researchers produced the new, hornless animals using gene-editing technology in 2016, removing the need for farmers to physically de-horn cattle at an early age, saving pain and trauma for the animals. Now, the bulls they created have successfully bred, and passed the mutation on to all of their offspring — with all the animals normal and healthy in other respects.

‘We’ve demonstrated that healthy hornless calves with only the intended edit can be produced,’ said study author author Alison Van Eenennaam.

Full story (UC Davis)

On This Day: Chicago’s ‘Day of Rage’

Leaders of the radical American student organization the Weathermen, an offshoot of the SDS, (left to right) Peter Clapp, John Jacobs, and Terry Robbins (1946 – 1970), march at the vanguard of a crowd of demonstrators during the ‘Days of Rage’ actions organised by the Weathermen to protest the Chicago Seven trial and to ‘bring the war home,. Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images.

Today, the protests on the street are in London and Hong Kong. Half a century ago it was Chicago, which witnessed its ‘Day of Rage’ as activists protested the Vietnam War and the trial of fellow anti-war campaigners known as the Chicago Seven.

Read more (Wikipedia)

Vast Bronze Age city unearthed for first time in 5,000 years

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of an ancient city near a cemetery about 30 miles from Tel Aviv. Some 6,000 people are believed to have lived on the site — an enormous number by the standards of the time — which stretches across over 160 acres.

En Esur’s size has seen researchers dub it the ‘Bronze Age New York’, describing it as ‘a huge city – a megalopolis in relation to the Early Bronze Age, where thousands of inhabitants, who made their living from agriculture, lived and traded with different regions and even with different cultures and kingdoms in the area..

Full story (Daily Mail)

If you’re waiting for better weather, don’t hold your breath

If you’re still holding off from putting the heating on, perhaps in hopes that we might yet get an upturn before wintry weather settles in, hold off no more.

Full story (The Sun)

And finally… the most ridiculous headline of Brexit so far?

That’s a big claim, of course, in an age when truth is stranger than even the most far-fetched political thriller. But the headline on this piece — from The London Economic — still had us picking up our jaws from off the floor.