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25 February 2012

3:00 PM

25 February 2012

3:00 PM

Animals in court

A group of US scientists has demanded that a Declaration of Cetacean Rights be incorporated into law. There have been animal welfare laws since at least 1635, when an Irish statute prohibited pulling wool off a live sheep. But no country has yet gone as far as to grant animals rights, in spite of several legal challenges.

— A US court threw out a case in 2011 brought by pressure group Peta, which argued five orcas were illegally enslaved.
— In 2009 the Israeli Knesset rejected an attempt by an MP to rename an Animal Welfare Bill the Animal Rights Bill.
— The Spanish parliament’s environment committee recommended in 2008 that primates be granted limited rights, but the suggestion has not been taken up.

Working models

Tesco was the subject of protests against an unpaid work placement scheme run in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions. Workfare is unpopular in Britain, but does it work?

New York obliged benefit claimants to sweep streets and clean parks. Only 5% of participants found jobs afterwards but the number of welfare-claimants fell by 28%.

Wisconsin required claimants to undertake unpaid work experience. Over half of participants found paid employment at some point within the next three years.

Washington State had two schemes. Unpaid workfare increased employment among participants by 13%. A paid programme increased employment by 33%.

Ontario’s community placement scheme requiring participants to undertake unpaid work led to a 54% fall in welfare cases.

Australia’s six-month unpaid placements increased participants’ employment by 7%.

Stars of CCTV

Local councils have spent £515m on CCTV systems over the past four years.

Council area / Number of cameras
Leicester 2083
Fife 1420
Wandsworth 1158
Hounslow 1
Mid-Sussex 0

Source: Big Brother Watch

Dry land

A state of drought has been declared in south-east England after two dry winters.   Where are the emptiest reservoirs?
Reservoir /  How full
Bewl Bridge, Kent 40%
Charnwood, Leicestershire 41.5%
Ardingly, Sussex 42%
Ogston, Derbyshire 48%

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