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No Cages For Giraffes! Zoos, Animal Activists Join Up To Set Basic Standards

An orangutang at the Berlin zoo. Photo: achschav via Instagram

Animal welfare groups and German zoos have been working together to fix minimum standards for the keeping of animals. An assessment, a kind of catalogue, launched earlier this month is meant to be the definitive reference point for German zoos both large and small, game preserves, and for private individuals who keep wild animals.

How big does a giraffe-run need to be? What are the best foods for baboons and how should they be presented? New scientific knowledge, a new law on the protection of species, and European Union guidelines all had to be taken into account in this updated version, as did the fact that there are now some new species in captivity that zoos didn’t have when the last assessment was written in the late 1990s.

Reservations were expressed by both groups and suggestions for improvement, which, had they not been included in the report, would have meant that it was not signed by either group, reported Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Although the amount of run space for many species was increased — four giraffes now have a right to 1000 instead of 500 square meters, for example — the new rules don’t go far enough for the animal welfare advocates.

Photo: Jim Wells/QMI Agency/ZUMA

They had also wanted a review of whether certain animals like polar bears, great apes and dolphins should be held in captivity at all. James Brückner of the German Animal Protection League noted that the zoos tended to fulfill only the bare minimum of requirements and were resisting having to adjust their standards to the levels of other European countries, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

"The assessment is a compromise," said Theo Pagel, President of the Union of German Zoo Directors.

While the animal activists and the zoo representatives were unable to agree on so much, many chapters in the report had to be finished by some of the impartial observers, such as vets and scientists, who were also a part of this updating process.

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Economy

What's Driving The New Migrant Exodus From Cuba

Since Cuba reopened its borders last December after COVID closures, the number of people leaving the island has gone up significantly. Migration has been a constant in Cuban life since the 1950s. But this article in Cuba's independent news outlet El Toque shows just how important migration is to understand the ordeals of everyday life on the island.

March for the 69th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Loraine Morales Pino

HAVANA — Some 157,339 Cubans crossed the border into the United States between Oct. 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, according to the U.S. Border Patrol — a figure significantly higher than the one recorded during the 1980 Mariel exodus, when a record 125,000 Cubans arrived in the U.S. over a period of seven months.

Migrating has once again become the only way out of the ordeal that life on the island represents.

Cubans of all ages who make the journey set off towards a promise. They prefer the unknown to the grim certainty that the Cuban regime offers them.

Migration from Cuba has been a constant since the 1950s.

In 1956, the largest number of departures was recorded in the colonial and republican periods, with the arrival of 14,953 Cubans in the United States, the historical destination of migratory flows. Since the January 1959 revolution, that indicator has been exceeded 30 times.

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