Effect of modern drugs on the environment and the role of alternative medicine

Ganesh Murugan
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Effect of the modern drugs used extensively for treatment of humans and animals could be detrimental on the environment. The reported near extinction of several vulture species in India and"careless and casual" use of Diclofenac sodium on livestock being attributed as the cause, shows the extent and depth of this issue. Effects of drugs like Ivermectin and organophosphates in the environment need to be understood. Traditional plants have the potential to be used as alternatives, but a lot of constraints, including a lack of hard evidence to support the use of many of them, which can raise ethical concerns in using them. Environmental impact has to be considered to especially of rarer plants. This paper aims to stress the importance of pursuing alternative medicines like herbs/plant products and constraints in using them on animals are discussed. Potential natural products that could be used in place of modern medicines wherever possible especially in mobile veterinary units are discussed.

Published as conference proceedings
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A fracture in the snow sheet: the invisibility of animals in outdoor learning research

Roger Cutting
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Outdoor learning has traditionally been associated with using the natural environment as a mechanism for not only developing and enhancing behavioural characteristics such as confidence and resilience, but also in more recent times perhaps, as a means of developing a greater understanding of the natural world and therefore, promoting a greater sense of its curation.

The increasing interest in outdoor learning, both nationally and internationally, has facilitated a significant body of research work. Since 2000, two of the leading peer-reviewed journals in outdoor learning, have published nearly 1,000 research papers (approximately one a week). Research to inform the development and effectiveness of outdoor learning appears to concentrate primarily on relationships within and between the student/s and the natural environment. Popular topic areas include initiatives such as Forest Schools and the taught programmes of outdoor, or field studies, centres. It is interesting to note that only one paper in nineteen years of research in these two journals, deals with animals.

At a time when the Care Farm movement and animal assisted therapies are playing an increasingly important role in education and social support, animals are curiously absent from the research literature. Papers review 'nature therapies' and the important benefits to be gained by people being in the natural environment, but animals seem quite invisible within those environments.

Starting from this position, the presentation will initially explore the elusive nature of animal-human relationships. It will then explore the reasons why both outdoor and environmental education emphasise on the importance of 'place' , yet when the living environment is considered, it is more likely to be the floristic rather than the faunal. It concludes by exploring the efficacy of a more animal centred approach for promoting compassionate education and thereby enhancing the proposed, deeper, aims of environmental and outdoor learning.

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