The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Animals in the news

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 14 September 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 11 days ago

In past weeks, different kinds of reports put animals in the limelight. Dogs attacking and killing an old lady. The discovery of other dogs penned under extremely bad conditions in cages. Baby turtles, just born, crushed in their nest under the sand. Sharks attacking swimmers in Australia. A young flamingo shot dead. We’re now in the middle of the migration of birds to Africa. Plus other stories.

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We relate to these accounts from our human perspectives. Still, there has been a growing acceptance that animals, just as much as humans, have a right to lead a good life on this planet. The reality though is that man has enslaved all other beasts. He deals with some of them  as if they were just raw materials for a factory – he trains others to become his companions or to entertain him – and yet at others he shoots by way of target practice.

No wonder that a movement in favour of animals’ rights has developed, though it does not receive universal praise.

However another piece of news that surfaced meanwhile, clarified that almost half of all animal species living on our planet have been exterminated in past decades as a result of human activities. 

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NOT IN STRASBOURG

Last week, there was a last minute decision to transfer the European Parliament’s plenary meetings this week to a Brussels base instead of Strasbourg. The arrangement was kept that to a large extent, meetings would still also be carried out in virtual mode.

Naturally, France was displeased even if it expressed its dissatisfaction less strongly than one would have expected. The argument was made that if the Strasbourg area is to be considered a red zone, in terms of how active the corona virus pandemic is there, then Brussels too should be red. It is a powerful argument, close to the bone.

A problem in all this is that those who approach either of these two destinations risk having to enter quarantine on departing from them. In addition, on entering them from another red or amber zone, one is also at risk of having to spend time in quarantine. When at issue are frequent commutes which is what MEPs have as part of their work programme, such complications only serve to create major difficulties.

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EUROPE’S CAPITAL MARKETS

Over the summer months, I learned a lot about the state of European capital markets while working on an EP resolution dealing with the capital markets union as a rapporteur for the socialists.

Much thought is given in Europe to the fact that equity and bond markets have not taken the stature they assume in the US. Expansion and investment projects by private firms are mostly financed by bank lending, not by investors buying up equity in a venture. In the US, it’s the other way round.

There is not just one reason to explain this state of affairs. Saying that there is a fundamental difference between the culture that defines America’s financial behaviour and Europe’s, does not do the trick. True, such a difference exists. But by itself it does not explain “everything”.

 

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