Happy Valley Farm Hospital for animals in medical need

Valley Farm Animal Hospital in Faerie Glen. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

DO not think quality medical care is only for humans. In the heart of Pretoria’s eastern suburbs is a veterinary facility to rival the best private hospital.

Described as a “home away from home”, the Valley Farm Animal Hospital in Faerie Glen has recently undergone an upgrade and is the answer to every caring pet-lover’s needs, regardless of the time of year.

From the entrance of the hospital tucked away on Old Farm Road, one feels a sense of tranquillity and well-being. If one didn’t know better, with all the hi-tech equipment and state-of-the-art facilities, one could be forgiven for forgetting this was an animal hospital.

It has the latest equipment, such as a CT scanner, operating theatres, climate-controlled wards – including a high-care ward for critical cases – and specialist vets and nurses at hand to deal with any ailment or emergency.

Physiotherapist Nadia van der Merwe administers laser treatment to a patient at the hospital

Before our tour of the hospital, we are met by the co-owner, Tim Krafft, who beams with pride and passion.

“Gentlemen,” he says to us, “this facility is like no other. I don’t want to blow my own horn. Let’s take a walk through the hospital and you be the judge. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though.”

With a staff of 85, 18 of them qualified staff veterinarians, Valley Farm Animal Hospital provides ultra-modern, comprehensive service to its existing client base as well as to clients referred from other practices in Pretoria, Joburg and further afield.

The hospital is one of the biggest veterinary practices in South Africa. In addition to general veterinary care for pets in Pretoria east, the practice offers a 24-hour on-site veterinary team for emergencies and in-patient monitoring.

Sandra Purwin and Justin Grace prepare a dog for an anesthetic at the Valley Farm Animal Hospital

Valley Farm general veterinarians are supported by specialists in medicine, surgery, anaesthesia and radiography. Owners are provided with veterinary care, grooming and a well-stocked on-site shop.

They also provide pet owners from all over South Africa with specialist care on a referral basis.

The facilities are world-class, used to aid with diagnostics, surgery, post-operative and other care, including stem cell therapy for arthritic pets, dentistry and physiotherapy.

Valley Farm Animal Hospital called in the services of Prof Robert Kirberger, a South African- and European-registered specialist radiologist to assist with advanced CT and sonar scans and, among the new hi-tech equipment at the hospital is a recently installed, multimillion-rand 16-slice computed tomography (CT) machine, the first of its class in the country for veterinary work.

Many of the staff qualified at the internationally renowned Onderstepoort veterinary faculty of the University of Pretoria.

Dr Arpana Bhagwan administers acupuncture treatment to a patient at Valley Farm Animal Hospital

Gareth Zeiler is a specialist veterinary anaesthetist, certified internationally, and able to deal with any tricky case or emergency.

Others on the staff are Dr Salome Nagel, specialist physician who takes referrals for a wide range of medical cases, and Dr Adriaan Kitshoff, who specialises in advanced soft tissue surgery on the brain and heart.

A cat recovering at the Valley Farm Animal Hospital

The practice was established by Krafft in 1995, joined a year later by Dean de Kock. They have worked hard at building the practice, introducing a 24-hour emergency service, improving facilities and constantly increasing the range and quality of services offered at the practice.

Valley Farm Animal Hospital provides a weekly pet-care column in the Pretoria News Weekend.

Source: IOL
By: Sakhile Ndlazi


Pet abandonment now punishable by law in the UAE

Residents who abandon their pets may now suffer legal consequences under new regulations announced by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Wednesday.

An executive regulations comprising of nine articles outlining the responsibilities of animal owners and the health and technical standards of animal facilities was released, with failure to follow the regulations punishable by law.

The legal amendments detail pet ownership obligations, stating animals should not be abandoned under any circumstances, and says that any act considered as animal cruelty could carry a fine or jail sentence.

“The UAE is strongly committed to animal welfare, which holds significant value in our Islamic beliefs and culture,” said Saif Mohammed Al Shara, assistant undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE.

“Our role is to develop a legislative framework for animal protection and biodiversity preservation in line with global animal welfare standards.”

Susan Aylott, founder of Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi, said abandoning animals should be classified as animal abuse and prosecuted in the same manner.

“We have had a lot of new cases recently concerning animal welfare issues,” she said.

“There needs to be proper action and enforcement on these new standards so people are made accountable.

“A licensing body needs to be established and put in place to complement these new regulations.

Ms Aylott also said that there needs to be more awareness of what to do if you become aware of someone mistreating an animal.

“Residents need to know how they can report abandonment and abuse of animals safely, so it is acknowledged and followed up on,” she said.

“All these practises need to be transparent so we know the topic is being taken seriously.”

pet abandonment now punishable by law in the UAE

The legal amendments detail pet ownership obligations, stating animals should not be abandoned under any circumstances. Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National

A ministry circular also offers new regulatory standards on animal nutrition and guidelines for loading, transporting, and unloading animals.

Restaurant owner Lisa Knight, who has lived in Dubai for more than 10 years and volunteers to help abandoned cats, said the law is a positive step, as long as it is effectively enforced.

“Stray cats have only become problematic in Dubai because of irresponsible owners, particularly in Barsha, where I lived for nine years,” she said.

“Volunteers do as much as we can to try to help with trap, neuter, release programmes, but it is never enough.”

Amendments to Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 on animal welfare and Federal Law No. 18 of 2016 will also allow prosecution of the overwork of animals used on farms and in industry.

Animal owners are considered in violation of the law if they neglect to follow the rules of humane slaughter, or if they use animals in a way that goes against their nature in art and entertainment performances, in pranks or in staged animal fights.

The law has banned administering animals with growth hormones, steroids or other illegal additives.

Electroshock devices such as cattle prods have also now been banned, as well as the use of sharp tools to handle animals.

pet abandonment now punishable by law in the UAE

Animal rights advocates have backed financial penalties for irresponsible pet owners. Courtesy Stray Dogs Center UAQ

Any housing containers must also be safe, sterile and adequate.

Sarah Alzaki, founder of the Protection of Animal Rights Association in the UAE, said pets should be recorded on an Emirates ID card to monitor animal ownership.

“This is a good starting point, but It needs work as it is very vague,” she said.

“Is it going to be 100 per cent compulsory that every pet is registered and micro-chipped, and if they are not, will the owner be fined?

“We are in the right place, but we have to act further on animal welfare, so we know where animals are and who they belong to.

Ms Alzaki said that more education is needed to show people how to care for healthy pets as “they don’t come with a manual”.

Animal rights campaigners have called for a crackdown on illegally selling animals on social media.

They have also backed financial penalties for irresponsible pet owners to include the cost of vaccinating, boarding and feeding animals until a new home is found.

Source: The National
By: Nick Webster


Dark side of exotic pet trade

The darker side of the exotic pet trade is a growing concern.

Experts have warned that the widespread use of the Internet has made it easier than ever to “order” or purchase a wild animal without clarification as to where it has come from or how it should be cared for.

In Pietermaritzburg, hedgehogs, chinchillas, and slippery non-venomous snakes are some of the exotic pets that families are bringing into their homes.

Steve Smit, co-founder of Monkey Helpline, said most wild animals are gregarious, and live in pairs or small groups, and yet in captivity they are often kept as individuals in unsuitable conditions.

“Very few people have the inclination or the ability to take proper care of the animal that they’ve got. As a result you have huge numbers of these animals with rescue individuals or organisations often in very poor health,” he said.

“The fact is that animals are not commodities. They shouldn’t be kept as pets, exotic animals tend to be fad animals. Once people realise that they are not suitable as pets, they neglect them,” said Smit.

He said the animals become morbid and end up dying from depression

It’s just a money making thing. When people buy animals as pets, it breaks down the inherent value that they have, they are seen only in terms of their monetary value or status value. They are not respected for who they are,” he said.

Martie Rossouw, manager of the wildlife unit at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: “Our biggest concern is for the welfare of these animals. Most often these animals are bought on a whim and their owners have no idea how to care for them. Wild animals are highly sensitive to stress.”

She said an incorrect diet, handling and husbandry by inexperienced, ignorant owners often led to the animals’ welfare and mental and physical well-being being severely compromised.

Rossouw said exotic animals were not easy to keep as they come from parts of the world where their natural environment is very different from South Africa.

“Housing for exotic animals should simulate the natural environment as much as possible. Animals suffer when they are kept in conditions that are significantly different from their natural environment,” she said.

“Many people buy baby exotic animals without knowing how big they will grow. For instance, a rock python can grow up to five metres, an iguana up to 1,5 metres and a baby terrapin can grow from a tiny 2,5 cm to over 30 cm,” she said, adding that some of the animals were poisonous and can be very aggressive.

“Exotic animals can carry dangerous diseases which can be transmitted to man,” she said.

The CEO of the Captured Africa Foundation, Drew Abrahamson, said the growing acceptance of people living with exotic and wild animals was symptomatic of the country’s lack of capacity to effectively deal with wild animal populations.

“There are more than 8 000 lions in captivity in this country alone. The 270 breeding farms form part of this figure as well as animal sanctuaries and other conservation facilities. There are only a handful of good sanctuaries and they only get issued with permits for a limited number of lions and, unfortunately, they can’t go over that limit.”

Keeping wild animals as pets poses a danger to humans.

“Wild cats have so many parasites that can make you gravely ill. They are often riddled with worms, so if you take your kids to go and pet cubs, they run a heavy risk of contracting tapeworms that can burrow into your intestines and literally eat you from the inside out.”

Smaragda Louw, of animal rights lobby group Ban Animal Trading, said the scale at which wild animals from South Africa were being sold locally and overseas was threatening several endangered and indigenous animals.

She said South Africa was the largest exporter of exotic animals such as the African Grey parrot and was known as a source of lion cubs for other African countries, such as Libya.

In January, The Witness reported that a man was caught in Pietermaritzburg, allegedly trying to sell one of the world’s most endangered animals, a pangolin.

The pangolin, which was found in a backpack, later died at the Johannesburg vet, after severe suffering.

Police said the man allegedly intended to sell the 8,9 kg adult pangolin for about R85 000.

Pangolins are widely considered to be the most trafficked mammal in the world, and their sale is illegal.                    

In March, Traveller24 reported that the European Union (EU) is a major destination for illegally smuggled live lizards, snakes, and tortoises from southern Africa.

Wealthy EU citizens are big collectors of rare reptiles, with one tortoise openly offered for sale at R35 000. The traders, mainly from Germany, Slovenia and Russia, create special online platforms and Facebook groups with the physical hand-over mostly done at European reptile trade shows such as the exhibition that was held in Hamm, Germany.

Sandra Altherr, a biologist at Pro Wildlife specialising in small reptiles, told Traveller24 some dealers prefer not to have dedicated stands at the fair, since the fair prohibits the sale of venomous snakes, so they rather exchange the reptiles carried in their backpacks in nearby hotels.

Paris police find lion cub in Lamborghini

A lion cub was found in a flashy car on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Monday evening, a police source said, the latest incident of the fluffy-but-fierce animal apparently being kept as a pet.

The baby lion was discovered inside a hired Lamborghini during a police search on the busy luxury shopping street, according to the source, confirming earlier media reports.

The driver was taken into custody and the cub was being looked after, they said.

Last month, a six-week-old lion cub was seized from an apartment in a Paris suburb and the owner sentenced to six months in prison.

During that trial, the prosecutor said the discovery was not an isolated case and investigations were already under way into three other baby lions kept on the outskirts of the capital.

In a separate incident also in October, a tiny lion cub weighing just a few kilos was found in a car garage in the southern French city of Marseille.

That cub, a female believed to be between one and two months old, has been passed on to a specialist NGO which works to shelter wild animals.

Thrill of owning exotic pets

Joanne Trollip from Doolittle Exotic Pets in Clarendon, said exotic pet owners are always looking for something odd, unusual and slightly dangerous. For them it’s the thrill of being close to an animal that belongs in the wild.

Doolittle Exotic Pets stocks snakes, marine fish, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, leopard geckos and tarantula spiders.

While there are favourites, Trollip said these are linked to trends.

“It goes through periods,” she said.

“You’ll have one week where it will be snakes and we’ll sell snakes for the next week or two. And then it will be hamsters. They all are favourites but it just goes through stages.

Trollip said they went through a stage where lots of people wanted African pygmy hedgehogs.

“The African pygmy hedgehogs don’t make the best pets because they are spiky and hard to handle,” said Trollip.

Classifieds site Gumtree had over 20 adverts for the sale of chinchillas on Thursday. Prices ranged from R450 to R5 000.

Brett Cooper, owner of Butterflies for Africa, said the chinchillas, from Mexico, need to be kept in a fairly cool environment.

“We keep them separate from the rest of the butterfly enclosure because it’s too hot for them there. They’ve become fairly popular, but they are not really suited to the South African climate. They have the thickest fur of any mammal and they are unable to sweat and they can’t get wet.”

Cooper said it was dangerous for chinchillas to be exposed to high heat.

“They are also nocturnal like the hedgehogs. Hedgehogs and tenrecs are extremely cute but the problem is you can’t buy them as pets because they are extremely spiky. You can’t pick them up and hold them very easily,” he said.

Trollip, who co-owns Doolittles Exotic Pets with her husband Jacques, said she has always loved exotic animals. She grew up on a farm in northern KZN, where she hand-raised baby birds, and had rabbits and hamsters.

“I’ve always loved taking care of animals, and learning about them is great. I think people who want to own these animals have to be dedicated to them as they require extra care. If you buy a pet, understand the responsibility, and get the right equipment to look after it,” she said.

Trollip said milk and corn snakes were ideal for first time snake pet owners.

“A lot of people like the ball pythons as well because they are quite easy to handle. There are a lot of snakes on the invasive species list that we are not allowed to sell and we stay away from those,” she said.

Depending on the type, the sex, the colouring and age, the corn snakes sell for R200 upwards and the milk snakes between R500 to R800.

The two main hamsters are the Russian dwarf hamster and the Syrian hamster, which includes the Teddy Bear hamster.

Doolittle Exotic Pets also keep a wide range of freshwater tropical fish, and marine fish, which are imported from the Far East.

Safiya Mohamed, owner of Exotic Pets on Victoria Road, said while she now only keeps rodents and birds, she is often bombarded with requests for Iguanas, turtles, exotic frogs and spiders.

“The pet trade industry is not as it used to be. The rules are stricter and we are not allowed to keep some of these animals in store. It affected my business drastically and we now only keep birds and hamsters,” she said.

Mohamed said the African Grey, selling for R3 000 to R3 500 remained a favourite with bird enthusiasts.

“People love African Greys because they consider them to be lifelong companions. They can live for up to 70 years,” she said.

“When you have them, it’s like you have a child in your house,” said Mohamed.

According to the Lafeber Veterinarians website, much of the Grey’s appeal comes from its talking ability.

It is among the best talkers in the parrot family, able to repeat words and phrases after hearing them just once or twice. This bird reaches full talking ability at around a year of age, and most become capable mimics much earlier.

Not only will a Grey develop an outstanding vocabulary, research has shown that this species can come to understand what it’s saying.

Mohamed said budgies, selling at R75 each, were the preferred option for bird novices because they are easy to breed.

Do you need a permit?

According to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, exotic animals may only be obtained from reputable, legal outlets and private dealers.

Important questions to ask before purchasing your pet include:

  • Where did the animal come from?
  • Are copies of the required permits for import into the province and conveying within the province available?
  • Do you need permits to keep the animal? If answers to these questions are not adequate this should raise alarm bells about the legality of the transactions.

Do you need a permit to keep exotic animals as pets?

In certain provinces permits are required to keep exotic animals as pets. Conservation issues are regulated mainly by the relevant provinces’ bylaws and ordinances.

In Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo no permit is required for the legal possession or conservation of an exotic animal. However, any import, export or transport of an exotic wild animal in any of the nine provinces requires a permit. Ownership and conservation permits, permits to buy or sell exotic animals, as well as import and export permits are required in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

Source: News24
By: Nokuthula Khanyile


No 18th birthday bash: Cape Town teen uses money to set up charity for animals

cape town teen uses birthday money help animal charity

Blake Pittaway with his dog food donation. (Supplied)

Celebrating an 18th birthday party usually involves presents and much fanfare. But one Cape Town teen decided to forego a flashy celebration and instead set up a charity to help animals in need.

Blake Pittaway told News24 that he set up Project18 and used the money he received for his birthday on October 1 to help the Fallen Angels Pet Rescue in Melkbosstrand.

“Normally, people go have massive parties. I decided I wanted to give back to communities and make a difference,” he explained.

He set up a website for donations and contacted dog food suppliers to secure a reduced rate and bulk order system.

It was not long before he made his first donation of 200kg of food to the animal shelter.

“Since October, we have now managed to donate 653kg. They have 350 dogs and go through 160kg of dog food a day which equates to around R54 000 a month.”

While many youths savour the opportunity of free time for relaxation and hanging with friends, Pittaway is always on the go.

He volunteers as a lifeguard for the National Sea Rescue Institute and is training to be a coxswain.

“I can’t sit at home and do nothing. I work at the beach six days a week and love it.”

His family have been a huge support, with dad helping to set up his online payment portal and mom generously offering her chauffeur services to transport the dog food.

“I help people on a daily basis but animals can’t help themselves. 

“We as people, have so much and we just don’t realise it. Animals get beaten and it’s really sad how they have been abused and neglected.”

Source: News24
By: Jenna Etheridge


Cats Who Have Access to Cardboard Boxes Are Less Stressed Out and Heal Faster Than Cats Who Don’t

cats who have access cardboard boxes less stressed

There is now an official (and scientific!) reason why cats love boxes. Researchers have confirmed that cats take a liking for enclosed cardboard spaces because it aids in lowering stress.

Why cats and boxes are such a good mix has long been a mystery. Now researchers from the University of Utrecht have discovered just why, publishing the results of their findings in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

In their study, the researchers aimed to determine if boxes can help in alleviating stress in shelter cats. Felines have long had an affinity for enclosed cardboard structures so researchers explored just what would happen if shelter cats were exposed to boxes. In a Dutch animal shelter, 19 new shelter cats were identified and randomly assigned to either get a box or not get a box. Ten were given boxes; 9 did not get one.

According to results, those cats with boxes exhibited faster recovery ability and also adapted to their new environment more quickly compared with the group without boxes, with significant differences recorded just three to four days into the study.

“Stressful experiences can have a major impact on the cats’ welfare and may cause higher incidences of infectious diseases in the shelters due to raised cortisol levels causing immunodeficiency. Though several studies showed preference for hiding places and stress-reducing effects of hiding boxes on cats in combined studies, none of these studies determined if proper hiding enrichment would be effective in a quarantine cattery,” explained the researchers.

To assess the cats, researchers used the Kessler and Turner Cat-Stress Score during a 14-day study period. The results showed that the cat group with boxes registered mean CSS lower than their counterparts without the boxes, which meant they had lower stress levels.

There was also minimal difference in the scores reported for each cat individually within the group with boxes while those without boxes showed a higher variance. Both groups managed to have the same CSS by the end of this study but in terms of recovery, the group given boxes were already well off by the third day. These findings led these researchers to conclude that being given a box to hide in allows a cat to recover in a new environment faster by keeping stress levels down.

As a next step in research involving cats and boxes, it may be explored how taking a box and hiding it factors in on housed cats and what long-term effects having access to a hiding box might have. Additionally, research may also soon be done on the role of hiding boxes in infectious disease outbreaks in cats.

University of Utrecht researchers C. M. Vinke, L.M. Godijn and W. J. R. van der Leij each contributed to the study.

Source: The Best Cat Page
By: Daniel Torres


Deadly dog virus hits crisis levels in Cape Town just before busiest season

deadly dog virus hits crisis level cape town

Canines with parvovirus suffer from loss of appetite, lethargy, and diarrhoea Image: Supplied

As animal welfare organisations prepare for their busiest time of year, clinics and veterinary services are facing the added burden of an outbreak of the potentially deadly parvovirus among dogs in Cape Town.

The workload ahead of the Christmas season includes normal vaccinations and check-ups. In addition, over the festive season many pets are abandoned and need rescuing.

This year an unusually high incidence of the canine virus, reported across the city, will exacerbate the workload and costs.

“We’ve learned first hand that parvo is extra bad this season,” said Lesley Jones, director of Pet Farewells, an organisation that collects and disposes of 1,500-2,000 pet and animal carcasses each month. She said staff at the animal clinics she deals with expressed concern.

Parvo is a highly contagious and often deadly disease that spreads through dogs’ faeces. Symptoms include vomiting, distinctively scented diarrhoea, loss of energy and loss of appetite.

It’s the worst influx of parvo patients in the 22 years of our existence

Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Karen de Klerk, who heads the Cape Animal Welfare Forum, representing animal rescue shelters in the Western Cape, confirmed that infection reports were up across the region.

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha has been overwhelmed with the “worst influx of parvo patients in the 22 years of its existence”, said manager Susan Wishart.

While the clinic usually sees around 14 parvo patients a month, last month it had seen 45, the organisation confirmed. “Our vets think that the recent heat wave could have triggered the outbreak,” said Wishart.

Parvo is preventable if pet owners take their dogs for a three-part vaccination, starting when dogs are six weeks old, and return for a booster shot each year, the clinic advises.

But at R300 for the full vaccination, it is not something that all dog owners can afford. “It’s not an option for some people. We support animals but we also support people,” said Wishart.

Treatment of infected dogs is even more costly. At the Mdzananda clinic, it runs to almost R6,400 per animal.

The nonprofit organisation is appealing to the public to donate money to help deal with the crisis that will strain already-stretched resources, as it approaches the “busy season” for abandoned pets. 

“We see a lot of undernourished dogs coming in during the holidays because people haven’t talked about who’s going to take care of them while they’re away,” said Wishart. 

Source: TimesLive


Dog walking on a leash

dog walking restrictions on clifton beach

The public will have the chance to comment on dog walking restrictions at Clifton 1st Beach, following an amendment to the animal use zone at the beach proposed at a recent subcouncil meeting.

The Good Hope Subcouncil recently heard a report on an amendment to only allow dogs on the beach before 09:00 and after 18:00 during summer months (November to March). They would also have to be on a leash at all times, according to the report.

In the report, the City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department states that rapid growth in the city’s population has led to the increased use of beaches, by both beachgoers and pet owners. With this comes an increase risk of conflict between beachgoers and dogs in a shared space.

It was also added that Clifton 1st Beach is a “relatively confined pocket” and that beach users have “as much a right to a dog-free environment as others have to a dog-friendly environment”.

The amendments were made in line with recent changes at Milton Beach in Sea Point, which saw it designated as a dog-friendly beach. The item appeared before the Good Hope Subcouncil, which is delegated to change the animal use zone of local beaches, with the restriction that no dogs will be allowed from 1 November to 31 March between the hours of 09:00 and 18:00.

“After a presentation for amendments on Milton Beach at Sea Point, a resolution was reached by Subcouncil to amend the animal use zone at Clifton 1st Beach. The proposed amendment to Clifton 1st is a result of the substantial increase in beach use by people and the growing concerns surrounding conflict between beach users and dog walkers. Unfortunately, there is also a history of such incidents on this beach,” the report states.

Subcouncil chairperson Matthew Kempthorne says the subcouncil decided to start a public participation process into what the users of the beach want, taking into account all who use the Clifton beaches.

“We need consistency at our beaches and the public need to know which beaches are dog friendly and which are not. We also need to make sure the signage is correct and users behave correctly,” he says.

The decision on the proposed amendment will only be made once a thorough public participation process has been completed. This is expected to start in the new year.

Source: News24
By: Nicole Mccain @Nickymccain



Season to open with a bang on Saturday – Eastern Cape

Season opens with bang Eastern Cape

KOUGA Municipality will be opening this year’s Festive Season with a bang this Saturday, 15 December.

The municipality will be hosting its first official fireworks show at 8:30pm on the day, preceded by a host of fun activities and the switching on of the festive lights.

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks said the fireworks show would be about five minutes in duration and would be launched from a boat some 500m from the coast.

“A professional pyrotechnician, with the necessary permits from the police’s Explosives Unit, was appointed. The police will also be doing an inspection on the day to ensure all safety requirements are met,” he said.

“We were assured that the risk of sea pollution is basically non-existent as the type of fireworks that will be used, is totally consumed by the explosion and does not leave bits floating about.”

He said the Port Control Authority would also be informed of the show, although the fireworks are not expected to interfere with their operations.

“The fireworks will not go as high as emergency flares typically do.”

Hendricks said the discharging of fireworks by the public was strictly prohibited throughout the Kouga region.

“Despite it being illegal for the public to discharge fireworks, many people still do so, especially over the festive season.

“That is why the municipality decided to arrange an official fireworks show this year, with all the necessary police authorisations and safety requirements in place.

“We wish to plead with the public to refrain from breaking the law by discharging fireworks at home or in public spaces,” he said.

“If you want to celebrate the holiday season with fireworks, rather come and join us at the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay for the official show.”

He said one of the advantages of having an official show is that pet owners then know when to expect the noise and can make the necessary arrangements to protect their animals from potential trauma.

Should weather conditions prevent the show from taking place on 15 December, it will be postponed till the next evening.

A second official fireworks show is also being planned. It will take place on December 31, from 23:59 to 00:09, at the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay.

Source: News24



Norway to Ban Deforestation-Linked Palm Oil Biofuels in Historic Vote

The Norwegian parliament voted this week to make Norway the world’s first country to bar its biofuel industry from importing deforestation-linked palm oil starting in 2020, The Independent reported.

Environmentalists celebrated the move as a victory for rainforests, the climate and endangered species such as orangutans that have lost their habitats due to palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia. It also sets a major precedent for other nations.

“The Norwegian parliament’s decision sets an important example to other countries and underlines the need for a serious reform of the world’s palm oil industry,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) in a press release emailed to EcoWatch.

2017 report commissioned by RFN found that palm oil-based biofuel is worse for the climate than fossil fuels. The report, authored by low carbon fuels policy expert Chris Malins, concludes: “There is a large body of evidence that because of indirect land use change, palm oil biodiesel is worse for the climate than the fossil fuel it replaces—perhaps several times worse.”

Norway’s consumption of palm oil-based fuels hit all-time high in 2017, according to RFN. The country consumed 317 million liters of palm-oil based biodiesel, representing 10 per cent of its overall diesel consumption, the group said.

Last year, a majority of the Norwegian parliament actually voted to stop the government from purchasing palm oil-based fuels.

However, the parliamentary decision was never fully implemented, as the government opted instead to rely on voluntary measures, The Independent noted.

The vote that passed Monday is thought to be stronger and was supported by the majority of the government, according to The Independent. The resolution calls on the government “to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk.”

The Indonesian government as well the country’s palm oil producers have already expressed concern about Norway’s vote this week.

“Although the impact will not be significant (on our exports), that will become a bad example for other countries,” Fadhil Hasan, the director for foreign affairs of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association, told The Straits Times.

Oke Nurwan, director-general for foreign trade in Indonesia’s Trade Ministry, worried that other countries may follow in Norway’s footsteps.

“The policy will certainly amplify the negative impression about palm oil products,” he told the publication.

Here is the full text of the resolution that passed in Oslo this week, according to RFN’s translation:

“The majority [in Parliament] is concerned that indirect land use effects from palm oil production lead to deforestation. The majority therefore believes that the use of palm oil should be limited as much as possible. The majority points out that it is important to find solutions in order to limit and phase out palm oil, and the majority will follow developments closely. The majority therefore puts forward the following proposal: 

“Stortinget [the Norwegian Parliament] requests that the Government formulate a comprehensive proposal for measures and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk both within and outside the blending mandate. These framework conditions shall be put forward in conjunction with the national budget for 2020, and shall be introduced from 1 January 2020.”


SuzelleDIY’s best pet hacks for all the pet lovers out there

South Africa’s favorite DIY star, SuzelleDIY recently uploaded a brand new web episode for all the pet lovers out there.

SuzelleDIY and her best friend Marianne, put together the brand new epsiode for all the pet lovers out there who are looking for new and fun ways to entertain their furry friends. 

In the episode, Suzelle and Marianne make everything from upcycled doggy toys, challenging cat puzzles and DIY pet treats.

“To be honest, I didn’t even really want to make this episode but Marianne forced me into doing it and we landed up having a lot of lolz (with Bakkies [the dog] included) Shame,” says Suzelle. 

Now you can also give your furry friends the treats they deserve this holiday season!

Here are four tips for taking care of your pet over the holiday season, especially if you are planning on going away for a while: 

1. Pete Wedderburn shared his best tips for animal arrangements over the holidays in an article for The Telegraph. He says that the first thing to do is to plan in advance: sort out your plans as early as possible to give yourself the widest range of options and the best value when it comes to pet-friendly accommodation, pet travel specialists, pet sitters, boarding kennels or other holiday-related pet activities. 

2. If you are taking your pet on holiday with you, check your pet insurance details to find out what sort of cover you will have at your destination (are trips overseas included?) 

3. If you’re leaving your pet behind, boarding kennels and catteries are still the traditional form of pet care over holiday periods, and a well run kennel can be a positive, enjoyable experience for a dog or cat. 

4. You can ask a friend or relative to care of your pet. 

Source: The South African