Sunday, September 30, 2007
I immediately run into the L'Oreal mess. I visited their website and did a search for "animal." According to a terse one-line statement, "The L'Oréal Group has not conducted animal testing since 1989."
Hmmmm....but, in fact, while L'Oreal does not conduct testing, it includes ingredients that have been tested on animals. Therefore, it is neatly sidestepping the issue with the above statement.
Here is a good web page by that has a letter from L'Oreal posted which addresses their animal testing policy. NatureWatch from England makes the following good points...
* At first sight L'Oreal's animal testing policy might seem ethical; however, EU legislation requires that all newly developed cosmetic ingredients have to be tested on animals to assess safety, until validated alternatives are available.
* Any development of alternatives to animal testing is welcomed, however over the past twenty years, alternatives have been found and validated for only 4 tests. Tests for which there are presently no alternatives include toxicity tests and skin irritation tests, until alternatives to these tests do become available, these tests continue to use animals.
* In citing European legislation, and the legal requirement for compulsory safety testing of chemical substances, the letter sidesteps the real issue, that by not including new ingredients, the need to test new substances on animals would be eliminated.
So, out with L'Oreal and their products. No nail polish for me from that company!
The Egyptian city of Giza plans to either shoot or poison stray dog soon. The reason given is budgetary.
"It is necessary to return to the traditional ways of killing dogs with bullets or poison," he said "This method is used around the world particularly in developing countries."
The discovery of dogs carcasses in upscale neighborhoods and near the famed Pyramids of Giza in May provoked an uproar and petitions to the government from local and international animal welfare organizations to end the traditional methods of controlling strays.
Animal rights activist and former sex symbol Brigitte Bardot even addressed the Egyptian government over the matter and subsequently President Hosni Mubarak called for an investigation into using more humane methods to the city's population of strays.
Here is another article on the issue.
And here is Brigitte Bardot's foundation.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The article above doesn't specify what the language is.
This comes in responses to Kurdish villagers beating a young bear to death for fun in Bingöl.
You can watch the video of that here.
H/t to Florida Animal Law for this one...
Nevada-Federal officials temporarily shut down the National Wild Horse and Burro Center in northern Nevada, where 130 horses have died from health problems that could pose a threat to workers and visitors.
The voluntary closure of the center about 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Reno is a preventive measure because the salmonella bacteria found in some of the mustangs can infect people and domestic animals, officials for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday.
Janeen Bubien's hard work finally paid off. The Oceanside resident, with the help of North County Humane Society, has put Robert Brunner of Vista in prison for three years.
Brunner shot Bubien's cat, Bill, a 3-year-old orange tabby, with a bow and arrow in April 2006. The animal suffered for several days before he died.
“He was a good cat and didn't deserve this. It was god-horrifying awful,” Bubien said.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wildlife officials fear the ample water and vegetation brought by record-setting rains in Texas this year could double the state estimate of 2 million hogs. The animals reproduce prolifically even under normal conditions, with sows annually having up to two litters of four to eight piglets.
"We are seeing an absolute explosion," said Kirby Brown, executive vice president of the Texas Wildlife Association. "They are on a roll right now."
Feral hogs are the most prolific large, wild mammal in North America. Descendants of domestic hogs, they are found in nearly all of Texas' 254 counties and in about 38 other states. Texas has roughly half the nation's population.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Here is their web site. I encourage you to visit as an example of BAD website design. Gah! Scrolling text and weird frames with scroll bars all over the place. The only question is where is the blinking text?
Maybe they need a visit from this site's owner.
A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp's behalf.
The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a "person" so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.
Group president Martin Balluch insists that Pan is "a being with interests" and accuses the Austrian judicial system of monkeying around.
"It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can," Balluch said.
OK, I post this because I live in King Co. Washington. The Seattle Animal Shelter is pretty good though.
But, King Co. has always had a mediocre reputation (if not a bad one).
King County should act immediately to improve "unacceptable" conditions at its animal shelters in Bellevue and Kent and to control the spread of contagious diseases among impounded animals, several members of the County Council said Thursday in reaction to a report by a citizens advisory group.
"The advisory committee's report clearly demonstrates that King County is out of step with the community's values and capacity to provide humane care for the animals who have been entrusted to our care and to whom we have a moral obligation, " wrote four council Democrats -- Julia Patterson of SeaTac and Dow Constantine, Bob Ferguson and Larry Phillips of Seattle -- in a letter to County Executive Ron Sims.
"King County's animal services program should be a reflection of the tremendous compassion, prosperity and generosity that is found in the citizens of King County."
It comes complete with a doggy counter showing how many dogs have been killed nationwide since you've been looking at the web page.
Hat tip to the Register for this story.
Well, he pled guilty to 13 counts of animal cruelty in NJ back in 1999.
In Teaneck, N.J., police found 13 pit-bull puppies held in cages or crates in the basement and garage of the rapper's home.
"They were growing into their cages," said Koski, a former special prosecutor who represented the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which brought the charges.
The confinement deformed the puppies, Koski said, adding that a veterinarian had to cut them out of their cages.
"They looked like they had grill marks on them," Koski said.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vick tested positive for a urine sample submitted on September 13. As a result, federal court probation officer Patricia Locket-Ross petitioned judge Henry Hudson to impose stricter pretrial release conditions on Vick.
In court documents filed Wednesday, Hudson ordered that Vick must submit to any method of testing, "for determining whether the defendant is using a prohibited substance
This should really impress the NFL if he ever tries to get back into the league too.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The province has designated September 22 as its first "Hunting Day," an attempt to lure the video-game generation off the couch and into the great outdoors.
Over the past 25 years...the number of hunters tramping the province's wilds has dropped by half to around 100,000...[the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development] said the benefits of hunting include cutting the number of vehicles damaged in collisions with deer and other game, reducing crop damage from grazing deer and elk and slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer.
PETA doesn't think it will work.
Hunting Day "is not going to change people's minds about why they have stopped hunting," said Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife biologist at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Wearing No. 7 jerseys and T-shirts that proclaimed "Free Michael Vick," supporters of the disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback turned out for a town meeting that was supposed to expose the divided feelings over his dogfighting case.
The ESPN-sponsored event came on the same day that Vick was indicted in Virginia on state charges that could land him more time in prison. He already pleaded guilty in a federal case related to a gruesome dogfighting operation found on property he owned in his home state.
And then my favorite part:
It was clearly a pro-Vick crowd. White was cheered when he accused the media of devoting too much coverage to the case.
"At some point, enough is enough," White said. "This is overkill. He's been subjected to every kind of negative press there can be."
Boo hoo. The guy pled guilty to federal charges, OK? If Tom Brady or Peyton Manning pled guilty to felonies, do you really think it would end up by the bowling scores in the sports pages?
I guess it's better late then never, as the locals seemed to know about this for a while before the feds raided his house.
The grand jury brought two charges against Vick: one count of killing dogs and one of promoting dogfights. In a plea agreement on federal charges, the quarterback has admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation from his home in Surry County, Virginia.
Arraignment for Vick is scheduled for October 3.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies raided the 36-year-old rapper's property in the suburb of Cave Creek on Aug. 24, after being tipped off about possible animal cruelty. The deputies evacuated 12 half starved pit bulls that had been caged without proper food and water in the desert heat.
Hmmm, sounds like it could be dog fighting.
The rapper's New York-based lawyer, Murray Richman, has maintainedthat his client hadn't been to the house in months, and the dogs were supposed to have been tended for by a caretaker, identified as Brad Blackwell.
That's starting to sound familiar. I think there may be something to this story. This is a story that will be worth watching over the coming months.
Miami-Dade Police officer is scheduled to go on trial Monday accused of killing his own K-9 partner.
Sgt. Allen Cockfield faces charges stemming from a June 7th incident during a K-9 training exercise in which he allegedly kicked his Belgian Malinois police dog, “Duke”, numerous times, and then shook the animal.
Coincident with the recognition of World Rabies Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formally declared the elimination of the type of rabies previously found in dogs in the United States. This declaration is supported by animal rabies surveillance nationally.
Who knew there was a World Rabies Day being planned?
Rabies in humans is preventable, yet accounts for at least 55,000 deaths annually around the world—almost one death every 10 minutes. The World Rabies Day initiative, founded by CDC and the UK charity Alliance for Rabies Control and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), aims to bring together the appropriate stakeholders to raise awareness and funding for rabies prevention and control globally.
But don't get excited and start thinking you're going to save $ on rabies shots.
The elimination of dog-to-dog transmission of rabies does not mean that people in the US can stop vaccinating their pets against rabies...[According to the chief of the CDC Rabies Program], "Rabies is ever-present in wildlife and can be transmitted to dogs or other pets. We need to stay vigilant."
Despite the elimination of canine-rabies, the disease remains a human threat in the US particularly from bats. Rabies also remains a potential threat through spillover infections from wildlife to domestic animals adaptation to new animal reservoirs, movement of potentially infected animals, and lack of adequate vaccination coverage of domestic animals, particularly cats and dogs.
Not to be a killjoy, but I do have a concern with the following sentence..
In the United States, canine-rabies elimination was achieved through implementation of dog vaccination and licensing, and stray dog control.
Probably me, but the term "stray dog control" makes me wonder what type of control measures they are referring to....
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Sun seekers and tanning-bed junkies take note: Researchers have induced honest-to-goodness suntans in mice without exposing them to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Instead, they rubbed a lotion into the critters' skin that activated their tanning machinery, which then protected the mice from UV's cancer-causing effects. The animals carried a mutation making them fair skinned and unable to tan otherwise, like human redheads, suggesting that a similar tanning trick might help even the pastiest of us bask in the sun without worry....
"It's a very elegant study," says skin cancer researcher Meenhard Herlyn of the University of Pennsylvania. "We can now test new compounds to induce pigmentation, and that has major ramifications for the future prevention of skin cancer. It makes me quite optimistic." Others note the value added by studying the right mouse. "This is an incredibly good example of how mouse models can be used to gain insight into human disease or prevention," says Glenn Merlino of the National Cancer Institute.
This is a good article because it is an opportunity to apply my four criteria for when I am willing to shut my mouth and acquiesce to animal testing (in the ideal world, animal testing wouldn't happen at all, but we will never be in an ideal world.)
Here is my criteria.
Is it really related to a critical HEALTHCARE issue? In other words, is it research related to cancer, leukemia, AIDS, etc? Or is it research related to household products or cosmetics?
Is it the ONLY alternative? Is there no other way to test? No cells grown in cultures, etc.
Is it UNIQUE? In other words, has this research already been conducted and you are thus conducting a repetitive experiment?
Is the care of the animal HUMANE? If you are going to sacrifice this animal, then you must respect it and care for it. Give it stimulus, a comfortable environment, food, and water?
As for sunless suntanning, it doesn't even get past criteria 1. I like how the scientists use the phrase "future prevention of skin cancer."
Here's a great way to avoid skin cancer from tanning...use your head!
I have a problem testing on animals so humans can get their vanity fix with browning their skin in a toaster. As an olive-skinned woman, fortunately, I don't have that problem. But to me, this is really an issue of cosmetic vanity and not worthy of animal sacrifice.
If you don't want to get skin cancer, don't spend hours in the sun and don't go to a tanning salon multiple times for hours on end. Is this type of experimentation really for human health or for the suntan industry? We don't need to spend more government money in order to further lessen human responsibility for their own bad decisions.
The ASPCA has this letter posted to send a thank you to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General, USDA, for strong and decisive action against Michael Vick.
It's worth signing. It's so easy to complain that we forget to give thanks when someone actually does something right.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
DMX, also known as Earl Simmons, was not home at the time, and had not been there for several months..
The cattle were tested for the disease after they showed symptoms following three recent outbreaks in the Egham area just a few miles away.
Defra said about 40 cows had tested positive and were slaughtered. The farm at Old Windsor is within the 3km protection zone set up after the latest cases emerged.
The latest outbreak brings the total of confirmed cases of foot and mouth in Surrey to six since the first case at the beginning of August.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I don't think anyone's taken responsibility, but it looks like ALF. Also from their site:
According to media reports, as many as 6,000 mink were released from cages early Saturday at a fur farm near Harcourt, a town on the east coast of Newfoundland.
The Harcourt Mink Farm (located 1 kilometre east of Ryders Brook Bridge, off of Route 232, on Trinity Bay) is owned by Jorn Mogensen, a Danish mink farmer who operates several fur farms and related businesses in the area.
The Canadian government has decided to cut spending on Environment Canada programs that address climate change by 80 percent, and wants cuts of 40 percent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries, according to cabinet documents obtained by "The Globe and Mail." In addition, wildlife programs and services within the federal department have been completely frozen, environmental groups say.
As yet, there has been no official statement from any level of Stephen Harper's Conservative Government on the budget cuts.
"Initially the cuts were preceived as rumor," said Sandy Baumgartner, executive director of programs and communications for the 300,000 member Canadian Wildlife Federation. "But I have now had confirmation from individuals in the department who have been impacted by it. The cuts are affecting every section of the department."
Thursday, September 20, 2007
From the 2007 volume 1 newsletter from Vita, Center for Animal Rights Protection in Russia...
Internationally renowned television and film star Pamela Anderson - on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment Animals (PETA) and the Moscow center for the protection of animal rights VITA - has sent a letter to Russia's top fashion designers, urging them to stop using fur. Enclosed with the letter is PETA's shocking video narrated by Anderson and dubbed into Russian - in which she describes the horrific suffering of animals caught in traps and raised on fur farms as graphic images of the animals' painful lives and deaths appear on the screen. Although Anderson has written to North American designers who use fur and even travelled to Paris to personally show the video to French designers, her letter marks the first time that a mailing of this type has been sent to Russian designers.
"It amazes me that some designers still turn animals into fashion victims",says Anderson. "I've written to them all to say, 'Foxes and chinchillas are anally electrocuted, beavers are drowned in underwater traps and minks are injected with weedkiller, all for a tacky coat that makes women look like Bigfoot!'"
In the video, Anderson takes viewers on a worldwide undercover tour of fur farms and trap lines. In Russia, wolves, beavers and raccoons are trapped, drowned and beaten to death in the wild, and in Europe and the US, chinchillas and minks suffer electrocution and neck-breaking on fur farms. In Korea, a top fur-producing nation, foxes are crushed between wooden
I really think Pamela Anderson should be commended for this work. She is talking about ugly, nightmarish practices that can't be easy to learn about and have in your psyche. Not usually stuff that stacked blondes are known for doing. Animal rights is probably the most thankless work because so much of your audience are self-absorbed "people only" types. Moreover, the victims themselves can't even thank you with a phone call or a letter. Someone like Pamela Anderson can choose to live a fluffy life filled with nothing but money and frivolity, but she chooses not to do so.
I have to admit that I'm impressed.
Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.
Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.
They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.
A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.
So, 45 counts later and the county says, "begone from our sight! Let thee be someone else's problem!".
I'd say there's a good chance he'll show up somewhere else doing the same thing.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The proceeds got to the Greg Biffle Foundation. NASCAR driver Greg Biffle started the foundation to help animals. From their website:
The Greg Biffle Foundation for Animals was founded in 2005 by Greg Biffle and Nicole Lunders to create awareness and serve as an advocate to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motorsports industry. The foundation donates to local Humane Societies, no-kill animal shelters, spay and neuter clinics and the Animal Adoption League.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Here is what we could find. And also one note, the Norwegian press may very well have covered it, but we don't read Norwegian.
Here is an AP story run on AOL News.
Monsters and Critics.
Divepro, which lists Agence France Presse as it's source
And last but not least, here is a Norwegian site. I don't understand Norwegian, but I do understand "Agenda 21", which is the group that claimed responsibility.
Thanks for the comment, Dave.
The Moscow Cat Museum has existed in Moscow since March of 1993. The Gallery of Modern Arts "INTER" is it's organizer.
The MUSEUM has collected everything, that is somehow connected with the theme of CAT in Art and Life. The "INTER" Gallery has exhibition programme "CAT'S EYE", that is the base of the exposition, which includes different works of art: paintings, graphics, ceramics, batics, tapestries, costumes, applications, dolls, installations, etc.. which show the theme of CAT through the eyes of artists, presenting every style and trend of modem art.
The artistic part of the collection includes more than 1500 works of art and is constantly expanded.
I especially love this...
The special part of the collection, that is the exhibition programme "WOMEN & CATS", shows the essence of the relations between the most exciting creatures of nature....The elite cat-shows, auctions and saling exhibitions of the works of art devoted to CAT, the contests of songs about cats, the cat film festivals, the show of theatre and dancing groups, the demonstrations of cats' fashion, perfomances are taking place in CAT MUSEUM as well as unique annual beauty contest "WOMAN & CAT" (where the jury evaluates the beauty and grace of the pair -woman and cat) and the contest "CHILDRENS' PICTURES OF CATS" (where the kids' pictures from all Russia and CIS take part, and the best of them are including to the children collection of the CAT MUSEUM).
CAT MUSEUM takes part in large international cat-shows, organizes the exhibiting of it's own collection in different places of Russia and abroad.
And I thought I was a cat lover. Sheesh!
The article goes on to explore pet ownership in other Islamic countries.
An animal rights activist in Iran told Radio Farda that domestic dogs were kept in Iran for hunting and guarding property long before it became a widespread practice in the West.
The crackdown coincides with a move by religious police in Saudi Arabia that goes even further, by banning the sale of cats as well as dogs. The prohibition on dogs raised few eyebrows as conservative Muslims revile them as dirty. But the cat ban bemused many Saudis because Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet Muhammad loved cats, which are renowned for their cleanliness.
A newly issued Saudi police decree, which applies to the Red Sea port of Jeddah and the holy city of Mecca, bans the sale of cats and dogs because "some youths have been buying them and parading them in public". City authorities were urged to help enforce the ban.
As in Iran, Saudi conservatives view pet dogs as a western-inspired fad that, like fast food, jeans and pop music, is threatening the fabric of society.
They rescued 6,000 pets after Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans. They delivered 300 dogs and cats from war-ravaged Beirut and, earlier this month, they saved 600 felines from a Nevada shelter.
Next stop for the animal rescuers from southern Utah's Best Friends Animal Society: earthquake-rattled Peru.
The world's largest no-kill animal sanctuary, located five miles north of Kanab, sent a three-member team to the South American country to assess the damage and determine the resources needed to help the cats and dogs there after a huge Aug. 15 temblor killed more than 400 people.
"Some parts of the country are barely affected while there is massive damage in other parts," Best Friends President Michael Mountain explained. "One of the biggest problems is the Health Ministry destroying some cats and dogs that are infected and starving. Another problem is that people without food are eating cats while leaving kittens and dogs alone."
Sacramento State University's president helped win permission for hunts in Africa to supply stuffed animals—including some considered endangered—for a natural history museum, according to documents released by the university.
Two letters from university President Alexander Gonzalez were used by auto dealer Paul Snider to secure special licenses to hunt animals that could not be killed under a standard Tanzanian hunting license.
Three of the species sought by the university—a lappet-faced vulture, a striped hyena and a golden-rumped elephant shrew—were listed as in danger of extinction by the World Conservation Union, an international coalition of nations and nonprofit groups.
Since the letters were written, two additional vulture species sought by the university have also been listed as in jeopardy. The letters, written by Gonzalez in 2004 and 2006, were released in response to a public records request by The Sacramento Bee.
Snider and his wife, Renee, traveled twice to Tanzania to hunt 84 species Gonzalez said would be used in the university's museum.
Huntington says intimidation by activists is at an end because of High Court injunctions against leading figures.
However, the company cannot find a bank to handle its accounts.
It makes payments on Bank of England cheques signed by officials at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
It has also relied on Whitehall to provide it with insurance cover and to give it an exemption from usual company auditing rules because no accountant can be found to take its business.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This happened back in August, but I only just got their newsletter. Kudos to the Binh Thuan province Forest Protection Department in Vietnam for contacting Animals Asia after confiscating the animals from an animal trader (although they could have been treated a bit better):
Until Animals Asia’s rescue team, headed by Boris Chiao, came to pick them up 11 August 2007, the two bears were kept by the Binh Thuan FPD in the same cage and were fed a diet of mainly congee soup made from leftover food. Fortunately, the FPD contacted our Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen and asked Animals Asia to take the bears to our sanctuary as neither of them could be released back into the wild because both are missing front paws, probably from being snared in the wild.
As some of you may know, the government there recently announced a plan to mass poison stray dogs there for their recent millennium celebration.
Here is a link to the Homeless Animal Protection Society.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
A century-old Kansas law allows for such poisoning. The law states that the county can go uninvited onto property and poison prairie dogs if landowners won’t. The bill for the poison goes to the landowners.
The controversial dog-catching competition by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), which offered prize money of up to RM15,000 to the public, has been called off.
State executive councillor Datuk Tang See Hang and MPS president Zainal Abidin Azim said the decision to scrap the competition, launched on Sept 3, was made following public outcry, particularly from animal rights groups and pet owners.
Tang, who is Rawang assemblyman, said the authorities would be working closely with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and other animal rights groups to ensure that the animals were handled and caught only by trained personnel.
The decision also had to do with safety concerns expressed by various groups that both the public and the strays could get injured if the competition went ahead.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Peru 21 newspaper reported today that a Canadian Animal Rights group had the testimonies of earthquake victims that had to eat cats and other household pets to stay alive several days after the August 15 earthquake that struck Peru and left parts of Peru in ruins.
Shari Artadi, representative of the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT), explained today that many of Pisco's people had to eat adult cats and their own pets in the first few days after the earthquake struck because humanitarian aid did not arrive.
Artadi stated that several testimonies had been obtained in which people admitted to having eaten these types of animals and even had to sacrifice their own pets out of desperation. "We were surprised that when we inspected the city we only found kittens and no adult cats," stated Artadi.
CAAT and other groups will be helping out in Peru until September 14.
"Make your pet a hero... to curb terrorism and make our motherland Sri Lanka a country with a new facelift," the police department said in a public notice carried by the state-run Daily News.
It said donated dogs should be between six months and two years old and must have an impressive pedigree. German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Dalmatians, Cocker Spaniels and Doberman Pinschers are preferred.
....He said the dogs would be trained to identify explosives, search for buried mines, sniff down narcotics, tackle criminals -- and even perform tricks for the public.
The dogs will retire after serving a maximum period of eight years and will be returned to their original owners.
No word on retirement benefits or possibilities of redeployment.
The billionaire businesswoman has four beloved pet pooches and has already set up a trust fund to take care of them should anything happen to her.
A source told Australia's Woman's Day magazine: "Oprah has a menagerie of animals and she wants them to be pampered for the rest of their lives if she were to die first.
"She has four dogs, plus various other pets, so she rewrote her will to include millions for their care.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
According to the Red List of Threatened Species of 2007, compiled by the World Conservation Union, the news just gets worse and worse for gorillas.
The main changes from previous assessments include some of the natural world's iconic animals, such as the western lowland gorilla, which moves from the Endangered to the Critically Endangered category.
Numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20-25 years.
Forest clearance has allowed hunters access to previously inaccessible areas; and the Ebola virus has followed, wiping out one-third of the total gorilla population in protected areas, and up to 95% in some regions.
Ebola has moved through the western lowland gorilla's rangelands in western central Africa from the southwest to the northeast. If it continues its march, it will reach all the remaining populations within a decade.
The news is also bad for orangutans, African vultures, and coral reefs.
Interesting though is the viewpoint by some environmentalists that there is TOO MUCH attention being paid to climate change and not enough to biodiversity.
Many in the environmental movement argue that too much money and attention has gone on climate change, with other issues such as biodiversity, clean water and desertification ignored at the political level.
IUCN's (World Conservation Union) assessment is that climate change is important for many Red List species; but it is not the only threat, and not the most important threat.
So the much-needed attention on climate change is now hurting the survival of species?
I don't buy the argument that we can only focus on one fight at a time. It's a matter of political will. Funny how resources miraculously appear for multiple fronts of a war zone, but to save an animal and its planet, we must "prioritize."
Give me a break.
August 30, 2007
Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands, Norway
On the night of august 30th we decided to celebrate the end of commercial whaling in Iceland by removing a large section of cooling pipe in the engine room of the norweigan whaler "Willassen Senior".
After ensuring that the vessel was unoccupied the salt water intake valve was opened unleashing a torrent of water into the heart of the killer ship that two years earlier took 14 minutes to brutally murder a threatened minke whale.
The sinking of the whaler and the silencing of its deadly harpoon is dedicated to the memory of the yangtze river dolphin who because of humankinds greed will never again grace the waters of our blue planet. The turn of our wrenches is a rational response to a world where tens of thousands of species disappear every year.
- Agenda 21"
Agenda 21 is probably a reference to this program.
Here is more on the actual sinking.
Members of the animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will picket the Manila Zoo on Thursday to protest congestion in the zoo and alleged “psychological sufferings” of the captive wildlife there.
PETA, in a statement, said that unless the animals were freed, they are sure to suffer “a lifetime of loneliness and misery.”
“The animals at the Manila Zoo are treated like prisoners, even though they've committed no crime. These animals are bred or captured for a lifetime of loneliness and misery, and the best way to help stop the suffering is to boycott the zoo,” PETA director for Asia-Pacific Jason Baker said.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Of course, I shouldn't talk. I have a little feline porkchop named Che weighing in at 14 pounds. (That's about 7kg for the rest of the world.)
It's not often we see positive stories about people and animals in Africa. But, there are a lot of people there who do care (and some pay with their lives, as happens in places like the Congo).
Monday, September 10, 2007
They had better. If they can't show that they can control their own members (and this hunt included a member of the Makah Whaling Commission), they are going to have a tough time getting that exemption to hunt more whales.
Certainly the tribe is in full damage control mode. Members have already planned on flying out to Washington DC to meet with Members of Congress. They certainly have some explaining to do. This was more than just a rogue hunt. Wayne Johnson, who was captain of the last legal hunt in 1999 and is also a member of the tribe's whaling commission, was a participant.
This looks like a political act, and a particularly dumb one at that. It makes the tribal leadership look foolish, and makes the hunters look like incompetent, cruel men who killed a whale purely to make a point.
Is this the cultural heritage they seek to preserve?
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Canadian volunteers are going to Peru to help survivors of the magnitude 8.0 earthquake that devastated the central coast of the South American country last week.
But the volunteer group won't tend to wounded citizens. These medical specialists will tend to often-overlooked survivors: pets.
More than 500 people were killed and 1,000 injured when the quake levelled buildings, highways and 34,000 homes on Aug. 15.
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) is sending 31 volunteer veterinarians and technicians to the country next week to treat Peruvians' wounded animal companions.
Here is a link to CAAT.
Best Friends Animal Society is always a leader in animal rescue.
Amazon Cares is a new organization we've encountered that does special work in the Amazon area, including Peru.
Here is an appeal from the Peruvian Ministry of Health for help from animal welfare groups around the world and asking for donations to go directly to Amazon Cares. There is also an email for a local Lima contact from the Association for the Protection of Animals.
Five rogue members of the Makah Tribe in Washington State killed a gray whale yesterday without tribal permission.
The former captain of the whaling crew that in 1999 took the Makah tribe's first whale in 70 years, Johnson confirmed that the hunt that shocked his own tribe and anti-whaling activists Saturday was done without the permission of his tribal council or the whaling commission. And it was done without conforming to conditions of the federal permit that controlled the 1999 hunt.
That hunt was carried out legally, with a permit secured from the tribe first, and with prior notification to a federal observer, who had to be in place at the time of the kill. The permit also required the hunt take place only on the outer coast, to protect so-called resident whales known to frequent nearshore waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Under the 1999 permit, the whalers were to spear the animal with a harpoon thrown from a traditional canoe, then dispatch the whale with a. 50 caliber gun.
There was none of that on Saturday: no permit, no observer, no canoe. No restricting the hunt to the outer coast, either. Just five whalers, four of them from the 1999 hunt, casting loose from the downtown dock and heading out to meet the whale on their own terms.
As stated earlier, the Makah Tribe itself has denounced the hunt.
Among members of the Makah tribe, Saturday's hunt is very controversial. The tribe is already receiving death threats over the kill. Tribal-council and whale-commission members were in a closed-door session most of this morning.
In the early afternoon, the council issued a one-page statement denouncing the actions of the whalers and promising prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. The tribe said it would cooperate with federal officials in the investigation of the hunt and that the whalers will stand trial in tribal court at a future date.
"We hope the public does not permit the action of five irresponsible persons to be used to harm the image of the entire Makah tribe," part of the statement said.
It's called an "eco-thriller," but it's basically a mystery series with a highly unusual detective. There is a human body count, but the crimes and the law enforcement principles in the book are definitely focused on the wildlife.
Marquez, the protagonist, is a former DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent who now works for California Fish and Game. He leads a team of agents on an undercover assignment to nail poachers and illegal bear bile farmers in the State of California. The story starts simply enough, but there is a number of plot twists. I really enjoyed learning about the challenges Fish and Game agents have in being taken seriously by fellow law enforcement officials and having their jurisdiction and cause respected on equal terms. I really felt that I was seeing real life situations which made me respect these men and women a lot.
I also learned a lot about bear bile farming, poaching and illegal trophy hunting. The perpetrators can be a tough and dangerous lot. I really felt like I got a glimpse into this world and its cruel practices.
The book is not sentimental, but hard-nosed and practical. The situation with wildlife is what it is and there are no easy solutions.
The book is very much a police procedural and there are some slow parts. Sometimes the dialogue reminded me of Dragnet and sometimes I just didn't understand what the protagonist was thinking. But the author made this a compelling read for me and I could never bring myself to put it down.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Dogs are the four legged foes of natural wildlife and not their friends, according to the first study to quantify the effects on local birds of taking them for a walks.
Experiments show that dog-walking causes more than 40 per cent reduction in bird abundance and more than 35 per cent reduction in bird diversity in woodlands, even if the pets are kept on a lead.
We live near a city park that is pretty much an urban forest. While I love dogs and truly believe walking them is a joy, I can definitely see the impact they have on wildlife. They are loud, excited and active. This makes them highly disruptive to shy and sensitive wildlife.
However, if you are a supporter of marine animal and environment issues, then we'd like to recommend the Ocean Conservancy. We've been supporters for years and they are a good group. They have a great magazine too and action alerts.
Check them out.
Where do wild animals fit in here? Because I'm seeing more and more talk about "wild animals" being farmed for food and other products. Are they on their way to becoming domesticated and, therefore, new livestock?
The latest is the endangered sea turtle. The sea turtle has been eaten for centuries and it is a delicacy in such places as Baja California where sea turtles virtually disappeared due to "overharvesting." But now I'm seeing that they are being farmed for local use, even though the international trade has been illegal since 1977.
Oh good, let's get them onto the dinner plate. That will conserve the species in the long run. No one wants to save a living thing, but a TASTY thing....that's different!
Here's a turtle farm out on the Cayman Islands. Apparently, the enterprise failed a couple of times in the 60s and 70s due to those darn conservation regulations about selling sea turtles in countries like the US. They refer to their "herd," but also indicate all the research made possible due to their farm. They release turtles and have been the site for a number of research dissertations. Judge for yourself.
The Property and Environment Research Center (Improving Environmental Quality through Markets) seems to like it. They wrote a piece on it.
The Humane Society wrote a piece too, but they don't like it so much.
Federal and state wildlife officials said Friday they are investigating the killing of a grizzly bear in north-central Idaho, where the last confirmed sighting of the species was in 1946.
The bear, a member of a threatened species, was killed Monday by a hunter near Kelly Creek about three miles from the Montana border, said Steve Nadeau, statewide large carnivore manager for the Idaho fish and game department.
Nadeau said the bear was not confirmed as a grizzly until Friday, after the hunter and guide had packed it out of the remote, roadless area and contacted authorities.
Officials did not release the identities of the hunter or the guide, who was not present when the bear was killed.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Committee on Environment and Public Works: Committee concluded a hearing to examine the potential human health, water quality, and other impacts of the confined animal feeding operation industry, after receiving testimony from Robert M. Hirsch, Associate Director for Water, United States Geological Survey, Department of the Interior; Benjamin H. Grumbles, Assistant Administrator for Water, Environmental Protection Agency; W.A. Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma Attorney General, Oklahoma City; Leonard Blackham, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Salt Lake City, on behalf of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; Catharine Fitzsimmons, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Urbandale, on behalf of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies; Thomas P. Bonacquisti, Loudoun County Sanitation Authority, D1166Leesburg, Virginia, on behalf of Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies; Olin Sims, National Association of Conservation Districts, McFadden, Wyoming; Chris Chinn, American Farm Bureau Federation, Clarence, Missouri; Nicholas Nemec, Western Organization of Resource Councils, Holabird, South Dakota; Michael R. Dicks, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; and Richard J. Dove, New Bern, North Carolina.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
They have pictures.
Here is more on it from Roots of Compassion. Also includes a short video clip of the Willassen Senior in action taking over 15 minutes and numerous rifle shots to kill a whale (it's not a particularly bloody video as it is taken from some distance).
The Paris Criminal Brigade is working flat out to trace those who may have contaminated liquid used for contact lenses, as revealed last Friday [31 August]. The Animal Rights Group claimed it had carried out such action on Bite Back, an Internet site based in the United States.
Here is a link to Bite Back.
I suspect this is a hoax. It's too easy to get them to recall products without actually having to go to the trouble of tampering. Either way, I hope these people get caught. And if this is the direction ALF and these people are going, I hope they don't whine about being lumped in with groups like Al-Queda.
There is a tendency in Uganda to replace the low-yielding indigenous cattle with cross-breeds and exotic cattle.
This is contained in a report by scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which was presented at an international conference in Interlaken, Switzerland, on Monday.
But scientists have expressed concern about what they call a 'livestock meltdown', not only in Uganda but also in other developing countries.
"There is a livestock meltdown underway across Africa, Asia and Latin America," Carlos Sere of the International Livestock Research Institute told the 300 participants at the conference.
"Valuable breeds are disappearing at an alarming rate. In many cases we will not even know the true value of an existing breed until it is already gone. This is why we need to act now to conserve what is left by putting them in gene banks."
Here is what they look like (very distinctive).
Officials of Tawi-tawi province fear that Turtle Island, a protected area and home to giant leatherback turtles, is on the verge of devastation due to foreign and local exploitation.
"I don't know why…In fact, we have a memorandum of agreement with the World Wildlife [Fund], yet foreign and even local poachers could still penetrate the island and slaughter our turtles," Tawi-tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.
Another agreement has also been reached between officials of Tawi-tawi and the Malaysian government for the protection and preservation of the turtles.
On September 1, Sahali said, Taiwanese poachers slaughtered more than a thousand turtles.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
"It seemed like a light went off in his head when he realized that this was something the entire country really didn't appreciated, didn't like," Goldberg said, referring to Vick's guilty plea.
Really? That light must have gone off after he lied about it Remember, he denied all knowledge of what went on in that house, and blamed it on his relatives. Is that part of his culture too?
Take a good look at the dog in the picture. It's not from the Vick case, but it may as well have been. That is what this so-called "culture" does to these animals.
Highly endangered mountain gorillas in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo faced fresh dangers Monday after renegade troops overran their habitat, forcing rangers to flee, conservationists warned.
Forces loyal to cashiered general Laurent Nkunda, a powerful local leader, attacked Jomba and Bikenge patrol posts in Virunga National Park, Wildlife Direct said in a statement.
His troops looted weapons, ammunition and communication equipment, four days after a wildlife ranger was killed in another attack on a patrol post north of Rushuru, it added.
A third patrol post in Bukima was being evacuated pending an imminent attack, leaving the rare primates exposed to massacres that have already claimed several gorillas this year alone.
Monday, September 3, 2007
This is a picture I took of bullfighting in the Azores. Unlike the type in the ring, they release a bull in a village street (Santo Antonio on the island of Sao Jorge in this case), and 5 or 6 guys hold the bull with a rope. Then any intrepid (or crazy) person will try to get as close as possible to show how brave they are. Even though the bull is at the end of a rope, it's a long one, and people do get hit by the bull. Everyone else is standing around as close as they dare. Think of a very controlled form of the running of the bulls.
I was behind a low wall when this picture was taken. Usually when the bull heads towards the crowd, they scatter like a school of fish on the approach of a shark (and those bulls can leap over low walls). I don't like bullfighting, but if you are in the crowd when the bull comes running, it's a pretty exciting group dynamic.
And if you find yourself in that situation just remember: you don't have to outrun the bull, you just have to outrun the guy standing next to you...
What I found interesting is that fairly high up in the article they had this:
Lawmakers during the session this week proposed that the law should include more detailed and systematic stipulations on pets as pets, especially dogs, have caused "a string of social problems", such as dogs excrement, loud barking, growing number of abandoned and stray dogs, and more attacks on human beings by dogs.
Statistics show Beijing alone sees more than 703,800 dogs have been registered, and the total number of dogs including those unregistered might be bigger.
More than 90,000 people in Beijing were injured by cats and dogs in the first six months of this year, up almost 34 percent from the same period last year, according to statistics.
Then the article goes back to talking about immunizing pigs etc.
The above paragraphs have nothing to do with immunizing livestock or pets (loud barking?). But, it's something I've seen before in Chinese press articles. It makes me wonder if there won't be some sort of draconian measures to crack down on this "string of social problems". And with the Olympics less then a year away, I wonder what sort of extreme measures they might take to make sure nobody steps in dog doo...
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Sandy and gravely beaches support less diversity of animals than rocky beaches. But they are not necessarily "boring," contrary to the opinion of one of my friends. And small children find numerous treasures, including special stones, eagle feathers, stranded sea-stars, and cockleshells.
The two therapists do their rounds in fur coats.Sometimes, they'll stop and doze in a chair next to a patient's bedside. Or they will sit in their laps — and purr.Diesel and Charlie Girl, two Maine coon purebreds, are among the nation's few registered and trained therapy cats. They practice a special breed of medicine at a Fort Lauderdale hospital and a Miami veterans' nursing home, where residents have been known to forgo scheduled activities to get a dose of feline companionship. The pair still stops traffic in the corridors, even though they've been making regular rounds for almost two years
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Hikers can find great treks along Olympic National Park rivers, such as the Hoh River Trail southwest of Forks.The long drive is well worth the time to see the moss-covered trees, wildlife and free-flowing river.The extensive damage suffered by the park during the fall and winter is readily apparent as you drive over the one-lane bridge across the road washout.You’ll also notice it as you hike through the freshly chainsawed gaps in the trees that have fallen across the trail.Check in at the visitor center for a map, sundown times and the latest weather, trail and wildlife conditions plus a backcountry permit if you plan to camp.The trail begins on a path that winds behind the visitor center. The first thing you encounter is a sign warning of a wasp’s nest and advising you to move quickly until you reach the next sign.
If you have a canoe and an interest in learning more about the Missouri River, the Missouri River Communities Network (MRCN) has an event for you.The MRCN will host the Big Muddy Wildlife Float Sept. 29. The 16-mile float will take participants from Franklin Island Conservation Area near Boonville to Katfish Katie’s campground downriver from Rocheport. The event is part recreation, part education and part public service.MRCN Community Resource Specialist Brad Hargrave called the event "a unique opportunity to take a wildlife-themed, guided canoe trip on the Missouri River."