VEGA News Item

Noise Abatement and the (not just our) Environment. - 16/05/2005
Human activities affect all animals species and their environment. We weigh in on an otherwise worthy DEFRA consultation that is anthropocentrically dominated. Non-human animals not only have to contend with the on and off noises of acts of God and of our kind. Many of them avoidable and unduly stressful. Throwing in a few fireworks and bangers we go to war on the cruelty of noise pollution.
re: Consultation on proposals for transportation and implementation of Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental (the Environmental noise directive (END)).

1. The factors of noise and nuisance are based on human perceptions, mainly in the built environment, with no appreciation of the effects on animals of all species and feral and wildlife in built and open environments, terrestrial and marine and other riparian habitats. Exclusion of definitions of noise and range in terms other than human faculties and of non-human animals in a human- dominated world is unacceptable. Although there are many examples of domestic and feral and wild animals accommodating to noises created by humans, sounds scaring or creating nuisance to all species must be considered.
2. As farms are likely to become bigger and diversified, noise from related activities associated with traffic, dairying and creamery operations, heating, pumping, ventilation and refrigeration will increase. Noise from wind farms is raising objections and intensifying calls for alternative means of generating electricity and power.

3. Some people complain of an “environmental hum” that is persistent and probably represents pollution, like that of artificial light, that is a general nuisance of uncertain accommodation. Further, sporadic and intermittent noise must be considered, as associated with changes of mechanical noise. Sounds of farming activities, such as automatic bird scarers and nocturnal harvesting are intentionally averse and annoying, and ultrasound is used in means of repelling animals with hearing beyond the human range. Even seasonal birdsong, such as dawn chorus and cockerels’ crowing and the nocturnal sounds and screeches of foxes can annoy some urbanites. It is most unlikely now that the wartime nightingale will be heard singing above the racket then and now in Berkeley Square and aircraft noise of a different sound will never reproduce in the traffic of cheap travel, the evocative atmosphere of the nightingale singing in a Surrey wood as the Lancasters flew on their mission to bomb Germany. Harmony and peace are still hard won in the discords of human activity and the competition with the natural world for dominance.
4. In marine environments there is unlimited and unmonitored amounts of noise pollution in the form of low-frequency ultrasound, which is so damaging to cetaceans that there are now common cases of dead whales and dolphins (that have suffered severe internal tissue explosions to their organs) within military low frequency active sonar hotspots. Military and commercial sonar generators are in frequent use around the ocean generating sounds at frequencies of 250 dB, (decibels), noise that is 100,000 to 1 million times louder than the loudest whale and a billion times louder than the subtle acoustical signals used by other animals.


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