Manali cess: All vehicles entering a popular holiday resort in Himachal Pradesh will have to pay a heavy tax starting April, 2004. On December 1, 2003, the Himachal Pradesh high court approved levying an environment cess on all vehicles entering Manali, except those registered in Himachal Pradesh. The cess would be Rs 100 on two-wheelers, Rs 200 on cars and Rs 500 for medium and heavy vehicles. The court passed the order on the basis of a report submitted by a high-level committee it had constituted to suggest ways of making the tourist hill station free of pollution due to large-scale congestion of vehicles from outside.
chickening out: Britain's 800 million broiler chicken will continue to be raised in conditions animal welfare activists consider unacceptable. On November 28, 2003 High Court Justice Newman threw out a petition to end factory farming of chicken in the uk, ruling that there had to be a balance between the needs of animals and commercial interests. The petition was filed by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).
In its case, CIWF had argued that modern broilers are selectively bred to reach their slaughter weight in just 41 days. The heart and lungs of the birds are often unable to keep pace with the growing body; the legs often buckle under the strain of holding up an over-developed body. So their growth rate is slowed down by cutting down on feed, so much so that the birds suffer chronic hunger. This, argued CIWF, went against the clauses of the European Union's (eu) 1998 General Farm Animals Directive, which bar keeping animals for farming purposes unless it can be done without detrimental effect on their health or welfare.
But Justice Newman wasn't convinced. He said he could not extend the eu law to UK's chicken because of the "stark reality of the position and status animals have in the human food chain". "Animals are exploited by humans for any number of purposes," said Newman in his ruling, "including, in a number of different circumstances, commercial gain."
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