Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / William Richardson)

Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / William Richardson)

For him it be "Raccoon bullying" to defend the hunt he refuses.

Animal rights activists see an excuse for hunting raccoons

"flora" According to the Brandenburg State Hunting Association, it is not the only dog ​​that was killed by a raccoon attack. The animals are very aggressive and killed four hunting dogs last year, says Joachim Olbrecht, member of the association’s executive committee.

Critics are now reproaching the association. One is only looking for an excuse to hunt the animals, which originally came from North America.

Half a million raccoons in Germany

They have no natural enemies and are a nuisance in many places. They devastate attics, knock over garbage cans and threaten protected species such as various songbirds and pond turtles. The skilled climbers are also good in the water.

About half a million raccoons live in Germany, most of them in Brandenburg and Hesse. The Brandenburgers originally come from a fur farm in Eberswalde, from which some animals escaped at the end of the Second World War. Animals were once abandoned in Hesse. In Brandenburg, almost 21,600 raccoons were shot in the 2013/14 hunting season – six percent more than the year before.

Raccoon hunts spark disputes

When dogs hunt for wild boars in the reed belt, they can come into the enclosure with the fur animals. "The raccoons act in a group" it says at the State Hunting Association. Several would initially distract the dog by biting the flank. Then a raccoon will jump on the dog’s back and kill it with targeted bites in the neck and throat. Raccoons could also push the dogs underwater and drown them.

The cases are known to the Bundesjagdverband. "Raccoons are defensive animals" says Torsten Reinwald, spokesman for the German Hunting Association. From the point of view of species protection, however, hunting is necessary, he emphasizes.

The ecological hunting association is not fundamentally against hunting bears either. "If it is coupled with a meaningful use" explains the federal chairwoman Elisabeth Emmert. For example, the skins are not used. So far, according to Emmert, there has been no evidence that the existence of other species is endangered.

For other animal welfare and raccoon experts, the fatal attacks on hunting dogs are only isolated cases. And reports of targeted attacks by raccoons are just fairy tales from their point of view.

As part of the "Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards" the funniest animal photos of 2015 were chosen. The organizers don’t just want to cheer up the audience with the award. Their “Born Free” foundation, which is committed to the protection and preservation of endangered animal species, should also receive additional attention.

The Austrian Julian Rad won with the inclusion of a particularly quick hamster. As a prize, Rad is allowed to go on a 7-day photo safari in Tanzania and also receives a new camera.

Other shots that were nominated as the funniest animal pictures of the year follow:

(Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / William Richardson)

The second prize was won by this stag that knows how to camouflage itself in a particularly elegant way.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Oli Dreike)

Third place goes to this gorilla who doesn’t care about good behavior.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Graham McGeorge)

This owl family is getting closer together. It will be tight for visitors. But they don’t seem particularly welcome either.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Tony Dilger)

When it gets uncomfortable outside, you just have to warm each other.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Yuzuru Masuda)

Celebrated too much? This cute ground squirrel is obviously humming a lot. 

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Marc Mol)

This hippopotamus is not at all good to speak of on feathered visitors.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Alison Buttigieg)

That looks like a rehearsed choreography. There is something like that in the animal kingdom too.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Julie Hunt)

This seal seems to be bending over with laughter. Maybe the seaweed tickles your stomach.

(Source: Source: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards / Charlie Davidson)

It is fascinating how elegantly a booby can sail through the air. From behind it looks funny at times.

The big dream of many animal lovers is their own dog. But the enthusiasm quickly fades when the beloved four-legged friend turns into an exhausting macho who never hears and always wants to play the boss. Dogs are not interested in tagging the boss. The reason for their difficult behavior is often the master.

"Dogs do not have a rigid hierarchy in nature, as many believe. Dogs work well especially in a community" knows Udo Kopernik from the Association for German Dogs. If the four-legged friends notice that someone in the group is having difficulty solving problems, they step in for him. This is also the case with the master. "If the dog thinks that his master is overwhelmed or insecure, he will take command."

Dogs don’t really want to play boss

The animals don’t care to take on the role of boss. "Dogs are opportunists. They actually think it’s good when others take on responsibility and they don’t have to do it themselves" says Kopernik. But before nobody does it, they prefer to take on the leading role themselves.

Social bonding is the key

However, yelling at the dog and thereby showing authority does nothing. The relationship between dog and owner is primarily about social ties. "The dog must have basic trust in the master, he must feel comfortable in his group, in the family. If that is the case, he also listens to his master. That cannot be regulated through dressage. There’s no point in letting the dog practice sitting and sitting hundreds of times. That doesn’t change anything in terms of social relations" so Kopernik.

When the dog doesn’t hear

Nevertheless, dogs need to learn commands. A dog that never wants to hear outside must practice responding to the master’s call, preferably as often as possible. The consistent approach is also decisive. This happens initially in situations in which the dog is not distracted. Over time, small distractions can then be built in to simulate the outdoor situation. But here too, a good relationship between humans and dogs is an important prerequisite. If the dog likes his master, he likes to stay with him outdoors.

Obedience: Dogs hear better when signals are given – commands are of little use Tips For Dog Owners: Seven Golden Rules For Dog Training Dog ownership: If the dog barks constantly: Seven dog problems Dogs: which dog is right for you?

Professional help is not only good for the master

If you can’t get along with your dog despite your best efforts, you should get professional help. "Often the master makes mistakes that he is not even aware of. The dog notices this and tries to iron out the mistakes." A dog trainer will expose the mistakes and give tips on how to do better. This not only helps the owner, but also the dog. Because dogs also suffer from a difficult relationship with their master.

According to the German Farmers’ Association, the prices for pork must be increased drastically. Otherwise some fattening farms could go bankrupt because of new requirements. 

The German Farmers’ Association has threatened a massive price increase for pork in order to finance new animal welfare rules. "Pork would have to be almost twice as expensive for consumers so that we can meet animal welfare requirements such as the castration of piglets under anesthesia or significantly more space for the sows – without going bankrupt" said the vice president of the German farmers’ association, Werner Schwarz "Rheinische Post": That would not earn more money, but only maintain what are turkish women like the standard.

Schwarz complained that although many people want their animals to be kept better, they are often not prepared to spend more money on it. "People want the sow running freely under the blossoming apple tree – but often cannot or do not want to pay for it. Because: You don’t feel any added value if you are supposed to pay more money for less meat." If the meat costs more, the consumer has no direct benefit. A kilo of seasoned pork cost 7.19 euros on average in May, compared to 7.14 euros in the previous year.

Cancer risk: what makes meat dangerous to our health

The farmers have to meet new animal welfare requirements

From January 2019 pigs may no longer be castrated with a knife without stunning. This is currently still legal. In July 2013, the federal government passed a corresponding amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (TierSchG). According to § 1 sentence 2 TierSchG nobody is allowed to an animal "cause pain, suffering or harm for no good reason" it says in it.

In this respect, the surgical castration of young pigs without anesthesia has so far been apparent as "reasonable" classified. "Such a reasonable reason does not (any longer) exist if alternatives are available" it says in a report by the federal government on the development of procedures in which the suffering of pigs is reduced. So far there have only been corresponding voluntary declarations by business. 

The animal welfare initiative aims to reduce torture

In the meantime, however, alternatives have been developed in animal fattening in which the pigs can be neutered without pain. But only a few fattening farms have been using them so far.

Average meat prices in Germany per kilogram in 2017 (source: Statista)

The food industry started the animal welfare initiative in 2015 to promote such animal welfare measures in companies. The initiative is financed by participating companies in the food retail sector. These include the large grocery chains Aldi (North and South), Lidl, Rewe, Edeka, Netto and Wasgau. These companies pay 6.25 cents per kilogram of pork and poultry meat and sausage sold to the initiative. Around 130 million euros are to be raised annually. Ultimately, the money will go to animal owners who implement measures to improve animal welfare.

Some food retailers announced in 2015 that in the foreseeable future they would only sell meat from uncastrated pigs or only from animals that were castrated with anesthesia.  

Sources used: dpa, Reuters Report of the federal government on alternatives to neutering without anesthesia Federal Center for NutritionInformation on the animal welfare initiativeAdditional sourcesShow less sources

Loud, dirty and expensive: there’s not much to be said for fireworks. A survey for shows: The people in Germany are still divided on whether the bang should be banned on New Year’s Eve.

Fireworks are only briefly fun with their popping and lighting up. What stays longer are bad air, masses of garbage and, time and again, serious injuries. Read more reasons against New Year’s Eve here.

Respondents disagree about the ban

Although the disadvantages of fireworks are numerous and well documented, people in Germany are divided on whether the bang should be banned on New Year’s Eve. This was the result of a representative survey by the opinion research institute Civey for

Almost 45.6 percent of those surveyed say that they reject a ban on fireworks and firecrackers. The proportion of those who are in favor of a ban is only slightly lower at 44.4 percent.