Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

New Mexico is rolling in the right direction

Statewide Hotline Opened for New Mexico Animal Cruelty for extreme cruelty and/or animal fighting.

August 28, 2007 -- (ALBUQUERQUE) -- New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, who chairs the newly formed Animal Cruelty Taskforce (ACT), says the new ACT Hotline is up and taking calls. The New Mexico toll-free, 24-hour hotline’s purpose is to take information about animal fighting and extreme cruelty to animals. The number is accessible from anywhere in the state at 888-260-2178.
“People who abuse animals in New Mexico will be prosecuted,” says the Attorney General. “This new hotline gives the public and law enforcement another tool as we work together to ensure compliance with animal protection laws.”
ACT member and spokesperson for Animal Protection of New Mexico, Heather Greenhood, says “Animal fighting is a scourge in our state and contributes to other forms of violent crime. We need all New Mexicans to report any activity that they believe to be connected with any form of animal fighting and help us make their communities safer places for all forms of life.”

I know two Grandchildren that want a dog named Trouble

12 Million Dollars left to Trouble Helmsley

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley left $12 million in her will for her dog Trouble but cut out two of her four grandchildren entirely.
Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean" who was famously quoted as saying "only the little people pay taxes" before going to jail for tax evasion, died August 20 at 87.
The 14-page will was made public in Surrogate's Court on Tuesday and reported in New York media on Wednesday, with the New York Post headlining the story "Rich bitch," referring to the female dog
.

Animal Activists Release 2500 Minks in Finland

I wonder if they can survive on their own...

Police, farmers and local people on Friday chased hundreds of minks released from a fur farm in western Finland during the night, officials said.

Police said they suspected animal rights activists released some 2,500 minks from the farm near Vaasa, 420 kilometers (260 miles) northwest of the capital, Helsinki.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What is happening to the Dogs he left behind???

You may be tired of hearing about Michael Vick, but here is an article about the dogs that were left after the last fights.

A group of Bay Area pit bull advocates is helping in the evaluation of dozens of pit bulls seized in connection with the federal dog-fighting case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, officials said Wednesday.

Donna Reynolds, director of Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls, or Bad Rap, said three certified animal behaviorists from her group will be part of the eight-person team that will look at the dogs beginning next week.

The evaluation team will be led by the science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The behaviorists will look at the dogs' response to humans and other dogs, how they react to outside stimuli and how comfortable they are with being handled.

Animal Testing on the Rise in Switzerland

According to the 3R Research Foundation, experimentation is on the rise.

The organisation, which strives to promote alternatives to animal tests, made the announcement as part of an event to mark its 20th anniversary.

Here is a link to the 3R site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What came first the wildlife or the home???

Here is an article to help prevent wildlife from entering your yard. Personally I think the animals were here first.



Wild animals have no boundaries, so the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control urges people to take caution when wildlife is spotted near their home.
“You don’t want to get too excited (if you see an animal),” said Sgt. Greg Rhodes from the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “If you’re getting too many there are things you can do to minimize them.”
Once of the most common things that people do wrong, Rhodes said, is not properly securing their trash outside their home. Feeding dogs and cats outside can also attract unwanted wildlife .When mistakes like this occur, raccoons and possums can make their way into residential areas.

Let's Hear it for the Kids

They could hardly wait to turn 12 years old to be a volunteer.

Friends spend time caring for animals at wildlife center
For most people, turning 12 isn't necessarily an important birthday. But for friends Adrian Smith and Madison Weaver, turning 12 meant they could finally volunteer at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
And that made it a very special birthday.

"We had known Gail (Barnes, coordinator of the center's Junior Volunteer program) and we had seen her work with the animals," Weaver said. "She told us when we were 12 we could come out and help, so we did."
The two have been volunteering at the center since the beginning of the summer as part of the Junior Volunteer program. The program, which started four years ago, is designed to give teens ages 12 to 17 experience working with the animals at the center.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I too am traveling the diet road....

I would never believe that animals would ever have to be put on a diet.

Preciosa Dumlao - AHN Writer
Seoul, South Korea (AHN) - Chubby and overweight animals in a South Korean zoo will be put on a diet after almost ten years of eating processed foods.

Animals at the Seoul Grand Park zoo had been eating more than the normal amount of food intake per day so the animal management have decided to increase amount of their natural food intake and decrease the processed foods.

Park Seon-Deok, a member of the animal management team said, "Feeding the animals according to the 1998 guidelines made the animals overweight,"

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Plea is in!

We have to wait until December 10th for sentencing.

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 27 — Michael Vick formally accepted a plea agreement from the federal government today at the United States District Court here, pleading guilty to a felony charge stemming from a dog fighting ring run from a property he owned.

On Friday the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons was suspended indefinitely without pay by the National Football League hours after the plea agreement was filed here.

Within the statement of facts, which accompanied the agreement, Vick admitted to funding the dog fighting operation and the gambling associated with it and to being complicit in the killing of at least six dogs that underperformed.

Animal Protection Group in Portugal

Since we´ve been in the Azores, we´ve been wondering what groups work on animal issues here (or in Portugal proper).

Here is one group called ANIMAL that works on bullfighting and other welfare issues.

ANIMAL was founded in December 1994 in Porto, the capital city of the North of Portugal, having started as a local animal protection campaigning, educational and lobbying organisation. Quickly evolving for a regional organisation and maintaining its developing tendency, ANIMAL became a nationwide organisation in 2002, having become the main animal protection organisation in Portugal, covering all fields of animal protection work, namely:

- developing special investigations to organise exposés to provide a strong basis for the campaigning, lobbying and education work;
- campaigning to expose the different forms of cruelty to animals in the food, clothing, vivisection and entertainment industries;
- educating the public about the characteristics and needs of animals and how they are dramatically affected by these industries;
- educating the public about the alternatives and sollutions for the problems exposed;
- lobbying local, parliamentary and governmental officials to advance animal protection in Portugal;
- building strong court cases to prevent different acts of cruelty to animals.

Since the beginning of its activity, ANIMAL has had as its core-campaign the struggle for the end of bullfights. From a society which accepted bullfights as a respectful tradition to a society which is now strongly opposing bullfights, ANIMAL has changed the public´s view about the cruelty against bulls and horses that goes on in Portuguese bullfights, causing severe economic damage to the industry and making it highly unpopular.

The Missing Lynx

OK I stole this headline. Excellent article from the Telegraph on the Iberian Lynx and efforts to save it.

In 1996, when the first alarms were raised by international big-cat scientists, the Iberian lynx was down to a few hundred animals, living in 50 small, isolated, declining populations. The World Conservation Union declared it in critical danger of extinction and noted that the last feline species to become extinct was the sabre-toothed tiger 10,000 years ago. The EU and the Spanish and Portuguese governments granted it their maximum levels of official protection and instructed regional authorities to prepare recovery plans. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other conservation groups started funding scientific studies, habitat improvement schemes, captive breeding programmes and public awareness campaigns.

Spanish Network Stops Showing Bullfighting

Spanish network TVE has stopped showing bullfighting.

I had heard it was going out of style. I went to a bullfight yesterday, but it was more like the running of the bulls (but the bull had a rope attached to him). I´ll write more about that when I get back from the Azores.

Now on to the article above...

At a time when the bloody ritual that was once Spain's "national fiesta" has come under increased scrutiny, it would be easy to read this absence as another sign that bullfighting is in trouble. In 2004, Barcelona declared itself "an anti-bullfighting city," and earlier this year an animal-protection law prohibiting new bullrings went into effect throughout the entire northeastern region of Catalonia. To prevent future generations from embracing the sport, the law also made bullfights R-rated: children under 14 can no longer attend the spectacles.

Cat Killing in Italy: Don´t Give Me Any of That Old Black Magic Crap

Claims are that 60,000 black cats are killed each year in Italy because of fear of "bad luck".

Idiots.

More on Animals Being Killed in European Zoos For Profit

I wrote about this a few weeks ago.

Here is a detailed article on how unwanted animals in European zoos are being killed and their skins are being sold for profit due to a loophole in CITES.

From the article.

Video footage shows the animals suffering a lingering death as they were repeatedly and inexpertly shot over more than 20 minutes. Afterwards Gerard is shown skinning the animals with a view to their being stuffed. He also confessed on camera to having shot the animals himself, although he subsequently insisted to The Sunday Times that his “friend”, who he would not identify, had actually pulled the trigger.

Gerard has fuelled his lucrative taxidermy business buying surplus animals from zoos across Europe. The footage now suggests that he has also been involved in the death of unwanted zoo animals as well as stuffing them.


Let´s hope this article prompts changes in the laws covering this.

Pakistan Cracks Down on Turtle Hunting

Looks like Pakistan is making moves to protect fresh water turtles.

The NWFP Wildlife Department has banned the hunting of fresh water turtles and has categorised six species of turtles found in NWFP as ‘protected species’, NWFP Wildlife Chief Conservator Dr Mumtaz Malik told Daily Times on Sunday.

Good for them. You don´t hear much on these issues from Pakistan.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Up to the minute, Update on Vick

This post should cover everything up to the last hurrah

A tangled trail behind Vick
News looks at issues surrounding the case
BY CHRISTIAN RED in Newport News, Va. and T.J. QUINN in New York DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Sunday, August 26th 2007, 8:54 AM

Read full text of Vick plea agreement
Read full text of Summary of Facts in Vick case
Vick co-defendant Quanis Phillip's "Summary of the Facts"
Vick co-defendant Purnell Peace's "Summary of the Facts"
Read full text of Michael Vick indictment
Michael Vick Video Package
Will Vick play in the NFL again? As much as it might disgust him, Frank R. Ascione understands what draws people to blood sports like dog fights, where the crowd cheers dogs tearing into each others' faces and necks, spraying sand pits with blood.
"Obviously there's one element of the excitment of a fight to the death that people are sometimes attracted to," says Ascione, a professor of psychology at Utah State University and the author of several books on animal cruelty. "But then when you look at the people who go to a dog fight, you have other people motivated by other things. Some are there for the gambling, others who want to see the blood, others who are looking to make a drug deal, others trying to build a reputation."

Overindulging your pet...is is one more kind of abuse.

Can you compare it with Michael Vicks treatment with dogs...

Two sides of coin: torturing and overindulging animals
went for a walk in Central Park, New York, and came across a poodle with a manicure. It was wearing long bright red fake nails and was being pushed through the park in a baby carriage. I told the proud owner that I thought a French manicure would have been more appropriate.
It was a startling sight, but in Manhattan not an isolated one. New York's Pet Fashion Week, a trade show and designer platform to showcase pet lifestyle products, was held a week or so ago. On the catwalk, dogs in diamond collars and cats in haute couture were paraded before buyers and doting owners.
At the same time, Michael Vick, a well-known American-football player, dominated US headlines with news that he would plead guilty to charges relating to unlawful dog-fighting. For about six years Vick conducted dog-fighting matches on a property he owned.

Dogs Win Vick Looses

I'll Be Watching the Court Cases on Monday

Michael Vick's guilty plea to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge will cap one of the most rapid and startling falls from stardom in U.S. sports history.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback is scheduled to formally enter his plea Monday, following the path of three co-defendants who already have pleaded guilty.

In Vick's written plea agreement filed in federal court Friday, he admitted helping kill six to eight pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on the fights. He said he did not personally place any bets or share in any winnings.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Noisy Poultry?????

Keep the Bird Quiet or Risk Hefty Fine

One of Hannah Dahlquist's pets is a rooster she nicknamed Tony Chickenhawk. It's hard for Hannah Dahlquist to imagine her family's Enumclaw farmhouse without their flock of chickens.

That's why the 12-year-old was so disturbed when a letter came from King County Animal Services last month.

The complaint notice — usually sent to owners of barking dogs — asked the Dahlquists to quiet their pet rooster, Fancy Pants, or risk fines of up to $1,000. It came just weeks after Hannah won second place at the King County Fair's Royal Critter competition, where Dahlquist wowed judges with the Antwerp Belgian rooster she nicknamed Tony Chickenhawk and trained to ride a skateboard.

Dogs for Calming; Healing Patients

An Airdale and a Rottweiler are Part of a Pet Therapy Team in West Texas.

It's Windsten and Lakota's world. Their owners just live in it. Brightening the lives of patients and staffers alike, the Airedale and Rottweiler are new pet therapy dogs at Midland Memorial Hospital. Claire Glover, who owns Windsten, and Betty Flesher, who owns Lakota, recently bought their four-footed friends to the complex.

Director of Volunteer Services Kim Modisett said Windsten, age 4, and Lakota, 2, are two of eight dogs in the canine visitation program at the main and West campuses.

Greetings from the Azores

Hello from the Azores. We are currently in a town called Ribeira da Aria which is on the island of Sao Jorge. It´s a small village on a small island that is mainly dairy farms. It´s been an interesting experience staying here.

So far I´ve seen lots of cows, some goats, dogs, cats, cockroaches and other critters. I´ll write more when we get back about our experiences, as we are borrowing this computer time from a dairy farmer and school teacher (who have a better laptop then ours, despite it being a Windoze machine).

We´ve seen cows being milked, dogs being hit by a kid trying to make them mean and lots of other interesting things, and that´s only after 3 days here. But mainly we´ve been eating cheese, drinking wine, and meeting with my wife´s cousins, aunts and uncles. It´s more tiring than you think...

Michael Vick's Finances In Trouble

No Job..No Endorsements..Lots of Legal Fees...

Vick standing at financial precipice Dogfighting's cost: Lost salary, endorsements, legal fees.

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's guilty plea on federal dogfighting charges could wind up costing him well over $100 million.
Vick will lose $71 million in salary over the next seven years if the Falcons terminate his contract, which legal experts say the team has the right to do.

Friday, August 24, 2007

No More Football

"It's better than 50-50 that Vick will never play in the NFL again."

GOLDBERG ON FOOTBALL: Don't Count on Vick playing again
Michael Vick's plea agreement and Roger Goodell's decision Friday to suspend the Atlanta quarterback indefinitely add up to this: It's better than 50-50 that Vick will never play in the NFL again.

Vick might be out of jail in time for the 2008 or 2009 seasons. But the NFL commissioner made it clear that Vick's involvement in a dogfighting ring and bankrolling that operation were far too reprehensible for a simple post-prison "you've served your time, you can go back on the field now."
So Vick misses 2007 and likely will spend at least a portion of 2008 incarcerated. He is expected to get at least a year and perhaps more from U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson when he is sentenced.

Next season? Forget it. Goodell won't allow it.

NFL Commissioner gives Vick a "Thumbs Down"

Roger Goodell wrote a letter to Michael Vick :

Goodell tells Vick his conduct was 'cruel and reprehensible'
Text of excerpts of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's letter to Michael Vick. Vick was suspended indefinitely without pay from the NFL on Friday:

Your admitted conduct was not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A New Twist on the Michael Vick Story

Dog Abuse or Spousal Abuse: Where does it get ya?


Football superstar Michael Vick is in big trouble for his role in a dog fighting ring. Sandra Kobrin agrees he's in the wrong, but wonders at the outrage deficit when it comes to the guys who beat their wives and girlfriends and stay in the game.
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.

(WOMENSENEWS)--National Football League superstar Michael Vick is in trouble, serious trouble. Federal prosecutors charged the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback with animal abuse for his role as the alleged leader of a dog-fighting ring and, after denying it for months, Vick pleaded guilty on Monday. He faces stiff sentencing
.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

You have to blame something or someone

A Pigeon problem is one factor being investigated in the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Pounded and strained by heavy traffic and weakened by missing bolts and cracking steel, the failed interstate bridge over the Mississippi River also faced a less obvious enemy: pigeons.
Although investigators have yet to identify the cause of the bridge‘s Aug. 1 collapse, which killed at least 13 people and injured about 100, the pigeon problem is one of many factors that dogged the structure.

Another Pet Food Recall.

I have never heard of this brand but I am sure it is effecting some pets.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a limited recall of Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry dog food due to potential contamination.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Animals Found in New Jersey Mansion can Now be Adopted

Officials are still finding more animals in the 20-room mansion.

MIDLAND PARK, N.J. - People can begin adopting many of the 113 cats rescued from a feces-filled mansion in Saddle River last week. A judge cleared the way for Bergen County animal control officials to permit the public to take the cats. They're available for adoption at the Midland Park shelter.

"Wildlife Disease Kills Area Deer"

Wildlife officials can't stop the disease that is killing off herds of deer in middle Tennessee.
Deer in Middle Tennessee are becoming infected with a disease that officials can't stop. In turn, the population is starting to die off. Wildlife officials contribute the die off to a disease called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, a viral disease spread by biting flies. Wildlife officials said once the deer are bitten, there is little hope for survival. They loose their appetite and fear of man, grow weaker and develop a rapid pulse and respiration rate. The deer will finally go into a shock-like state, become stiff and die. EHD is not uncommon and usually happens every year. This year, however, it......is worse because of the extreme heat and drought.

We Made it to the Azores!

Well, after a thoroughly wretched plane trip on an Airbus 310, we made it to Terceira. The plane was built for short people, and had special jagged edges to scrape your legs should you get too close. 11 hours of misery.

Fortunately, they do sell beer in vending machines. That´s right, vending machines.

We saw one dog, one cat and 2 birds. They don´t have a lot of wildlife here. But, so far it´s been a nice trip. Tomorrow we go to Sao Jorge, which is a less developed island. Hopefully can find internet access there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pleading guilty, Vick will spend at least a year in Jail.

In the prime of his NFL career...

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 20 — Michael Vick, the star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, agreed Monday to plead guilty to dogfighting charges in a deal with federal prosecutors that probably will land him in prison while he is in the prime of his N.F.L. career.

The National Football League, which has barred Vick from the Falcons’ training camp, will probably not announce its punishment for Vick until he accepted the plea in a hearing next Monday. As part of the deal, Vick agreed to plead guilty to the felony charges of conspiring to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture.

Michael Vick Accepts Plea Deal

Vicks future looks bleak.

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 20 — Michael Vick, the star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, has accepted a plea offer from federal prosecutors in a criminal case stemming from a dog-fighting ring that was run from a property Mr. Vick owned, his lawyer and the judge in the case said today.

Mr. Vick will probably face a sentence of at least a year in prison under the deal. His future in the National Football League appears bleak.

Mr. Vick is expected to formally enter his plea on Aug. 27. The United States District Judge overseeing the case, Henry E. Hudson, has scheduled a status hearing in the case for this afternoon.

More News on Michael Vick.

Vick should seek mercy of the court - and commissioner.

Michael Vick has more to worry about at the moment than just what Roger Goodell thinks. Or so it would seem.

Three of his acquaintances already cut their own deals and told the feds most of what they know about the goings-on at "Bad Newz Kennels," leaving Vick to fend for himself. He faces a $250,000 fine and a year in jail if he pleads guilty, and as many as five years if he fights the charges in court and loses. And that’s assuming he can avoid state charges in Virginia and that the federal grand jury that convenes Monday doesn’t add racketeering charges, either of which would raise the stakes considerably.

On top of that, the Falcons could decide to go after some or all of the $22 million in signing-bonus money Vick already pocketed to cover the final three years left on his contract. That would require owner Arthur Blank to swallow hard and keep Vick on the roster, a smart business move, but a potential public-relations disaster.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Weird and the Wild....

While only some find weird and a few would call it wild...

Homosexuality in the animal kingdom is as natural as green grass in summer.
Amusing or appalling as some might find it, this ‘weird proclivity’ has been recorded in 1,500 animals species from mammals to crabs and worms.
Chimpanzees need little invitation to have sex or masturbate.Same sex pairs of animals kiss and caress each other with obvious affection and tenderness. Any homosexual behaviour you care to name — anal sex, same sex kissing, long term pair bonding between members of the same sex, courtship rituals unique to homosexual couples and more are commonly found in the animal kingdom
.

Hello Fellow Critters:

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ruthie D., and avid lover of animals everywhere, and for the time being the Guest host of Critter News. I own 2 wonderful kitties named Gus and Jingles. Recently we moved to a home of our own and it is the first time that our cats had gotten to go out in the back yard. The picture is one of our Cat named Jingles. She is about 10 years old and has a very hard time hearing.
When we came home yesterday, our neighbor came over and told us about the night she spent with her cats. Readers, it was not a pretty picture! Some people in the next block had let their dogs run loose around midnight and one of the animals was a Pit Bull Dog and the other one was a mixed breed that was with the same family.

Well it is something that happens all too many times ...those Dogs got a hold of those cats and mauled them to death. The Authorities were notified and they finally came to take a statement 2-3 hours later. They also told the owner of the cats that she had every right to handle those dogs with force as she saw fit.

Now I know there are readers who might side with the family of Dog owners. But I must side with the cat family. I guess I against the violence of the act.

Just wanted to introduce my self and most of the time I don't have much happening around me to report on but you can believe me that I will have some interesting posts. So until mrbarky gets back......lets get on our horses and Ride............ Yahoooooooo!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cat Skin "Fashion" in Australia: An Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle Reported on by a Lazy Journalist

It seems there is a cat skin trade in Australia. Ace reporter Liam Houlihan from the Herald Sun has the story.

Fashion items made from skinned domestic cats are being sold at Victorian markets.

The illegal trade in patterned cat skin cuffs, designed to be attached to jackets, has outraged cat lovers.

And animal rights activists believe cats are being bred locally in "feline factories" for their skins.


The article concludes:

Consumer Affairs Victoria said it was unaware of a trade in pet skins.


Okay. Is that it? The article makes a few generalized allegations with no effort to find out what is going on. Who is buying this stuff? Who is selling it? Maybe a visit to one of these "Victorian markets" selling cat skin items is in order.

The headline says "Animal Lovers Appalled". At whom? Other than quoting Animal Liberation Victoria founder Patty Mark, and a veterinarian, there doesn't seem to be any fuss at all over this. And he certainly displays a minimal amount of interest in getting to the bottom of the story.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vick Allegedly Killed Dogs Himself

Well, if he doesn't take that plea deal, he's in for some big trouble. And even if he does, I doubt the NFL will let him play again.

From CNN:

Two co-defendants of Michael Vick say the NFL star helped execute dogs that didn't fight well, according to federal court documents.

The court papers, filed as Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges Friday, said all three men "executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions" in April of this year.

Vick's co-defendants also stipulated that the money behind the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation came "almost exclusively" from the Atlanta Falcons star.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vick May Plead

Prosecutors are allegedly offering him a deal where he would serve a year in prison.

I bet he takes it. His 2 co-defendents have already made deals. If he doesn't he would be left holding the bag. From the article:

The deal offered by federal prosecutors recommends that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback serve a year in prison, The Virginian-Pilot reported in its Thursday editions. The newspaper quotes two anonymous sources.

Without an agreement in place by the end of the week, Vick could face new, more serious charges when a grand jury reconvenes on Monday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes its sources as saying Vick is waiting to hear from the NFL how a guilty plea might affect his football career.


If he takes it and the NFL let's him continue playing, I think they would be making a gigantic mistake. And any potential team could count on lots of bad publicity.

U.S. Presidential Candidates: Will the Pets They Have, Help Win the Race?

The "Pet Factor" might be more important than you think!

As more names are added to the ballot and the presidential campaign heats up, candidates are pulling out all the stops. And the latest secret weapon on the campaign trail may have more than two legs, a really hairy back and a tail.
It's the pet factor, and it might be more important than ever.

Dead Cats and Dogs Found In New Jersey Mansion

"Horror House" of Dead Animals and Feces:

Authorities were still looking for animals yesterday in a feces-ridden New Jersey mansion after removing at least 23 dead cats and dogs and rescuing dozens more pets.
"Behind a mansion door there's a horror house," said James Lagrosa, head of the Bergen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dogs Being Trained to Assist Stroke Victims

Dogs are being trained to assist stroke patients regain speech and learn to walk.

Lots of hospitals use pet therapy, but now new research shows that trained dogs can do much more that boost patient morale. They can help stroke patients walk again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hamas Abuses Animals to Teach Kids Not To Abuse Animals

I actually saw the video of this (see below).

The show consisted of some guy in a bee costume picking cats up by their tails and throwing them. Then he goes outside and throws rocks at some lions living in these wretched little cages. It ends with a little girl saying that the guy in the suit shouldn't have done what he did. What a rotten thing to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mexican Candidate Worse than Mitt Romney!

I thought Mitt Romney and the crated dog on the speeding car roof was bad. But Mitt is St. Francis of Assisi in comparison to this guy running for office in Mexico.

Jorge Hank Rhon brags about drinking tequila mixed with bear bile and steeped with the penises of tigers, lions and dogs. He has weathered allegations of ties to drug trafficking, money laundering and murder-for-hire.

But none of that seemed to matter to his supporters as the dog-track owner and Tijuana mayor closed his campaign for governor of Mexico's Baja California state this week.

...But Hank Rhon -- who keeps a private zoo with 20,000 animals -- loves a good fight, and has overcome much bigger obstacles. The son of a Institutional Revolutionary Party boss, he overcame a double-digit deficit in the polls to become Tijuana's mayor three years ago, despite claiming during the campaign that ''women'' were his favorite animals.


Charming fellow.

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

We come across a lot of stories on the internet about poaching and illegal animal trade. While doing this research, we came across this website for Traffic, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network. Great resource for this issue.

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN - The World Conservation Union


FOCAL AREAS OF WORK

*Working in keeping with the conservation objectives and methods, TRAFFIC sets out to achieve measurable results in four areas, updated every three years, to maintain currency. For 2005-08, these areas are as follows:

*EARLY WARNING - TRAFFIC aims to obtain market intelligence on emerging or newly discovered issues and trends posing trade-related threats to wildlife, in order to catalyse responses to these.

*FLAGSHIP SPECIES IN TRADE - TRAFFIC aims to make emergency interventions for selected species threatened by trade. Flagship species are those selected as ambassadors, or symbols, for wider trade and conservation challenges

*RESOURCE SECURITY - TRAFFIC aims to support trade measures that help improve the security of key wildlife resources.


*WILDLIFE TRADE HOTSPOTS - TRAFFIC aims to focus action in priority trade centres and trade routes where it can bring about greatest benefit, to reduce wildlife trade threats to species, resources and ecoregions.

It's an important site to visit if you are interested or active in this issue.

Followup on the Dead Dogs of Texas

Here is a follow-up story in the Houston Chronicle about animal control, or lack thereof, in Edcouch TX. The allegations are that they were starving them to death and dumping them in ditches.

According to the city manager it's not that bad. They just escorted the dogs out of town...where they probably starved to death in some ditch.

I'm glad the Associated Press picked up the story.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Legacy of Dian Fossey Part II

I received a thank you note from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International the other day for a donation I made to the organization. It is one of my favorite groups and they are doing great work trying to save the mountain gorillas.

I was struck by the following paragraph in the letter...

Although we are the only group that Dian Fossey established, DFGFI has not benefited financially from her estate. Her will, executed in Rwanda, was challenged in US courts by her stepfather and royalties from Gorillas in the Mist were awarded to him.

I looked into this further and, while I didn't find a great deal of information out there, I did find some. Apparently, Dian had a very unhappy childhood with her mother and stepfather. Some of the material indicated that it was her mother that challenged the will and got about 4 million dollars that Dian had wanted left to the Digit Fund which eventually became DFGFI.

It's a sad story that doesn't say much for the guardians of a remarkable woman.

Dian Fossey was controversial. Some say she was a martyr and some say she was disturbed. You can decide for yourself. Here is DFGFI's take on her. Here is a generic take on Wikipedia.

And for a really in-depth analysis of her murder from the criminal angle, here is a lengthy article from the Crime Library, of all places

Animal Assisted Therapy for Patients Health

Here is a good article about animal assisted therapy.

From the article:

If you or someone that you know is lonely and feeling blue at some points in life it may be beneficial to have a pet to add some joy. Having a great pet that will add love and entertainment is a great feeling. There are so many pets out there that are in need of love and attention and what a better way than for someone that is feeling sad and upset a pet to love?

Spiders: Not Chick Magnets

This article is particularly inane. Pets can apparently "wreck" relationships according to this survey of 200,000 people according to the Guardian.

Women were particularly unimpressed with men who owned spiders, with 48% admitting to being repelled at the prospect. Men were turned off by partners who pampered pets, spending more than £100 a week on accessories and upkeep. One in four men said they would not date a woman with two or more cats and a third of women said they would avoid men who let cats sleep on their pillows.

OK, so tough luck for all you spider owners (men only, as I'm sure guys would be impressed by women like this). And if you have more than one cat ladies, a full 25 percent of men won't date you! Jeepers! £100 ($201.00) per week on pet accessories? Are you kidding me?

Newsweek Covers Mountain Gorillas

Newsweek has made the plight of the mountain gorillas its cover story for the week. Here's hoping it brings some attention to this sickening situation. The picture you see on the first screen makes me mad as hell.

It's sad to go to the checkout line at Fred Meyer's and see Newsweek, with this important story, shoved to the bottom of the magazine rack. What's on top? That goofball Britney Spears and her pointless life.

And they say WE are the higher species?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dogs in War

Here is a good article about dogs being used in the military in Iraq. If there is one bright side, vet care is far better than in previous wars.

When he came to, the Marine's arm hung lamely. It was broken by ball bearings hurled so hard from a suicide bomb that they also became embedded in his gun. Yet Brendan Poelaert's thoughts quickly turned to his patrol dog.

The powerful Belgian Malinois named Flapoor had served him as partner and protector for the past four months in Iraq. Now, the dog staggered a few steps along the Ramadi street, then stared blankly. Blood poured from his chest.

"I didn't care about my injuries, my arm," his handler says. "I'm telling the medic, 'I got to get my dog to the vet!"'


The dog's handlers seem to really care about them.

Here is a site dedicated to dog handlers and the dogs
that served with them.

Puget Sound Orca Population Down

After six years the population of Orcas has decreased by one.

FRIDAY HARBOR — The Center for Whale Research at Friday Harbor has counted 86 orcas in this year's census of killer whales.

Pygmy Elephants Losing Habitat

Pygmy elephants are losing their habitat in Malaysia.

Malaysia—Satellite tracking of pygmy elephants has found that the endangered animals—unique to Borneo island—are under threat due to logging and commercial plantations encroaching on their habitat, conservationists said Thursday.

A World Wildlife Fund study, based on two years of satellite tracking, found that pygmy elephants thrive best in forests on flat lowlands and in river valleys—the same terrain preferred by loggers and oil palm plantations.

About 40 percent of forest in the Malaysian state of Sabah, where most pygmy elephants live, has been lost to logging, conversion for plantations and human settlement over the last four decades, WWF said.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Texas Town Starving Dogs to Death and Then Dumping Their Bodies in Ditches

This is unbelievable.

From the article:

Nestled in a ditch less than two-tenths of a mile east of the city maintenance shop here rests a lumpy, gray, plastic garbage bag.

Inside it is the fly-ridden, decomposing carcass of what was a black, medium-sized dog.

Municipal workers here have been starving dogs to death and irresponsibly tossing their carcasses in ditches inside and around the city limits for months, as ordered by the city manager, according to former city worker Abel Escovedo and Mayor Jose Calin Guzman.

Along with other city maintenance workers, Escovedo said he was ordered by City Manager Ernesto Ayala Jr. to pick up stray dogs in town and keep them at the maintenance shop for a week.

“We’ve been dumping dogs,” he said. “(Workers) went at least 10 times in the last two months.”


This is so disgusting I won't even bother commenting on it.

Snakes for the Stars

Looks like things made from snakes are popular with the vacuous $3000.00 handbag crowd.

J-Lo's passion was a metallic python number by Zagliani, an Italian company that injects its skins with Botox for that ultra-soft feel, while Ms Longoria, star of Desperate Housewives, prefers an exotic python tote by Prada. Meanwhile Sienna Miller and Keira Knightley have barely been seen out of their metallic python flats by Chanel.


Charming.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bone-Headed Activism

You know, there are some battles worth fighting. Protesting buggy rides isn't one of them.

This is what Friends of Animals is doing when not suing Chimp's Inc to return two apes that lived in (what had been) wretched conditions at Primarily Primates.

From the article:

"People generally think of horse-and-buggy rides as romantic and beautiful, but the bottom line is it is exploiting animals. It's forcing horses to pull people on the street. The horses wouldn't be doing it if they had the choice," said Nancy Rice, the group's outreach coordinator.


I suppose not. I'll bet these horses have better things to do as well. Exploiters!

My point is this. First of all, the chances of success are pretty small. Unless the animals are beaten or live in squalid conditions, people just aren't going to look at this as animal abuse.

Second, the average person looks at this and concludes that all animal activists are complete kooks who would grab those leather Nikes off their feet if given half a chance.

And finally, whether it's dog fighting, true animal abuse or exploitation, I think there are so many issues that demand attention and activism. If they need ideas, I can certainly come up with a long list. And it won't include buggy rides, ponies, or service dogs.

But if you really want to go after this activity, these are the worst offenders. And if you go to protest, I hear they make very nice furniture too.

Railroads for Dogs and Cats

This is interesting. The websites Catster and Dogster (think myspace for animal lovers) have forums where people will transport animals thousands of miles to be adopted out. Called the Catster and Dogster railroads, people volunteer to take the animals for different legs of the journey.

Here is a link to the Catster forum
so you can get an idea of what it is.

Here is Dogster.

15th Annual Animal Law Conference

Someday, I'm going to go to this conference at Lewis and Clark. Portland is one of my favorites cities!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blood-Thirsty Portuguese Matador Guilty of Killing Bull

Unlike Spain, Portugal outlawed the killing of bulls in 1928. Pedrito de Portugal, their most famous matador, seems to really get off killing them. He was recently fined €100,000, or $137,000 for doing so.

"Bullfighting in Portugal is like a play with the ending missing," says the elegant, soft-spoken 32-year-old, whose father was also a bullfighter. "Killing the bull is an art, and the way we do it in Portugal deprives the bull of his dignity."

Pedrito, born in Lisbon as Alexandre Pedro Roque Silva, committed his notorious act in 2001 at a bullfight in Moita, a town south of Lisbon.

The crowd began waving white napkins and chanting, "Kill the bull! Kill the bull!" he recalled in an interview. Eager to satisfy, he pulled out his sword and stabbed the raging half-ton bull in its spinal cord. He received a standing ovation, was hoisted on the crowd's shoulders and paraded through the streets.

Hours later the police detained him and slapped him with a fine, but he was released after crowds of angry fans circled the police station. Amateur video footage showed the bull's ears and tail being cut off in the ring as a reward for his kill.

I wonder if he would feel dignified if someone stuck him with a sword. I can't say the people chanting "kill kill kill" are much better.

Another Species Bites the Dust

This extinction is credited to our country of the week - China!

China's rapid industrialization has likely made extinct a species of fresh water dolphin that had been on Earth for over 20 million years, Chinese and British biologists said Wednesday.

Scientists from China, Japan, Britain and the United States failed to find the white dolphin, known as the baiji, during a six-week search of its natural habitat in the Yangtze river last year.

"This result means the baiji is likely extinct," Wang Ding, co-author of the survey and one of the world's leading experts on the species, told AFP.

The dolphin was a victim of devastating pollution, illegal fishing and heavy cargo traffic on the Yangtze, Wang said.

The findings mean the baiji is likely the first mammal to become extinct in more than 50 years. It is the cousin of the bottlenose dolphin, which is also on the critically endangered list.


What else will go extinct in our lifetime?

Economic Costs of Humane Treatment of Livestock

This is an interesting article on CNN Money about the costs of improving conditions for farm animals.

Much of the time it comes down to the money. Are consumers willing to pay more for more humane treatment? From the article:

The rhetoric by both sides clouds the issue. Animal activists demand that laws be passed to change the conditions under which livestock and poultry are raised. The livestock sector argues that the changes the activists want will increase production costs and that some of the alternative programs they want are inhumane as well.

The Humane Society of the United States is initiating a petition drive to put an initiative on the California ballot that would ban gestation crates for sows, battery cages for laying hens and veal crates for veal calves. A San Francisco Bay area group called East Bay Animal Advocates is an on-the-ground group working to aid in the effort.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Animal Rights Extremism in Los Angeles

Here is an article in the LA Weekly about Alf, Elf and other assorted groups.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, which closely watches extremist groups of all kinds throughout the world, Los Angeles has become the capital of a more aggressive brand of animal-rights extremism in the United States — with UCLA as ground zero. “Los Angeles, for now, is the epicenter of this movement,” says Oren Segal, co-director of ADL’s Center on Extremism in New York City. “We’ve seen a lot of humans targeted overseas, and now it’s happening here.”

In the past, Segal notes, ragtag groups in the U.S. calling themselves such names as the Animal Liberation Front and the mostly fabled Earth Liberation Front freed animals from university research labs and firebombed empty buildings. The Animal Liberation Front, in fact, claimed to only target inanimate objects for its violent actions. But now, underground groups — perhaps just one or two enraged people, or perhaps organized networks — have no problem making bombs for killing or maiming their human marks. One of those is the Animal Liberation Front, which took responsibility for last year’s attempted Fairbanks bombing. “They have been very violent over the years,” says Segal, “so going after humans has been inevitable.”

Foot and Mouth Disease in UK May Have Been Sabatoge

Authorities have traced the disease to a high security government lab, and are investigating whether it was deliberately spread. From the story:

The government's Health and Safety Executive said there was a "real possibility" the disease was spread by human movement, while the possibility it was transmitted by wind or floodwaters was negligible.

It said there were various potential routes for "accidental or deliberate transfer of material from the site."

Animal Abuse in Russia

Here is a story about an animal abuse case in Russia. Only about 80 people a year get charged with animal cruelty.

That pretty much says it all as far as their attitudes about animals.

Namibia To Use Farmers To Help Wildlife

This is an interesting plan.

Five species of game, namely, zebra, springbok, oryx, ostrich and eland will be translocated to the farms.

The ministry advertised for people to participate in the scheme in October last year, saying it recognised there were emerging commercial, resettled and communal farmers within the freehold land tenure system who were interested in developing a wildlife-based land use but did not have the capital to restock.

Obit: Lynn Tooker, President of People United for Animals Dies

Lynn Tooker died at the age of 57 died of insulin shock in her driveway while walking one of her dogs. Although this is what the article says, her daughter comments:

Thank you all for your thoughts. This was a misquote in the article. My mother did not pass of diabetic shock or coma. We believe she died of a heart attack. My mom always made taking care of her diabetes a priority in her life. Thank you for your kind words! We are devastated and will miss her more than any words could say...Her daughter Missy.


Here is Madeleine J. "Lynne" Tooker
.

From the article:

Local animal advocate Lynn Tooker dedicated her life to saving animals as founder, president and organizer of the nonprofit People United for Animals.

"I would hope her legacy would be as great to this area as Bob Barker’s was to the nation," said Jarrett Richardson, treasurer of PUFA.

Tooker was found dead Wednesday in the driveway of her Bristol Virginia home.

She was 57.

Tooker helped raise more than $80,000 toward pet spay and neuters since PUFA’s founding in January 2001, saving thousands of unwanted animals from being born.

"She did a lot unselfishly for the community," said Shawna Cook, a PUFA volunteer and close friend of Tooker’s. "When we lost her, Bristol lost one of its true animal advocates."

Man Held On 100K for Burning Dog to Death

This guy, if found guilty, will see some prison time.

The judge in this case deserves some kudos:

A judge doubled the bail Tuesday for a Long Island man accused of burning his pit bull alive after a grand jury returned an indictment charging the suspect with two felony counts of animal cruelty and other offenses.

Derick Phanord's attorney claimed after the arraignment in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead that his client's family has been receiving anonymous threatening telephone calls and messages at his Brentwood home since his arrest last month.

Phanord, 22, was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail after he pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, as well as weapons possession and traffic charges. If convicted, he could face two years in prison, prosecutors said.


Says his defense attorney (oh boo hoo):

"The young man must have been in tremendous shock in order to conduct himself that way," said Sabeti, who said his client was a special education student who never graduated high school. "Maybe the anger of Derick arose from the attack the pit bull made on his puppy?"

Sabeti, who said Phanord's family has been receiving threats ever since his arrest, said his client is "extremely, extremely remorseful. He doesn't know what he can do to correct the past."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Animal Hoarding

I don't usually post about animal hoarding. It's just so damn depressing, and unfortunately, so common in our society today. Here is a story about a man in Texas who led police on a high speed chase because he was "taking a sick kitten to the vet".

Foot and Mouth Disease

As you may have read, there is an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK. The last time this happpened, as many as 10 million animals were slaughtered. Foot and Mouth Disease is not always fatal.

But, it can lead to debilitation, loss of milk, followed by the dreaded....import bans. That in turn, leads to the mass killing of livestock to excise this pox upon livestock economics. For those of you not familiar with the disease, (which included me), here is part of the USDA APHIS fact sheet on foot and mouth disease:

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer, and other cloven-hooved ruminants. FMD is not recognized as a zoonotic disease.

This country has been free of FMD since 1929, when the last of nine U.S. outbreaks was eradicated.

The disease is characterized by fever and blister-like lesions followed by erosions on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats, and between the hooves. Many affected animals recover, but the disease leaves them debilitated. It causes severe losses in the production of meat and milk.

Because it spreads widely and rapidly and because it has grave economic as well as clinical consequences, FMD is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most.

What Causes It

The disease is caused by a virus. The virus survives in lymph nodes and bone marrow at neutral pH, but destroyed in muscle when in pH<6.0 i.e. after rigor mortis. The virus can persist in contaminated fodder and the environment for up to 1 month, depending on the temperature and pH conditions.

There are at least seven separate types and many subtypes of the FMD virus. Immunity to one type does not protect an animal against other types.

How It Spreads

FMD viruses can be spread by animals, people, or materials that bring the virus into physical contact with susceptible animals. An outbreak can occur when:

* People wearing contaminated clothes or footwear or using contaminated equipment pass the virus to susceptible animals.
* Animals carrying the virus are introduced into susceptible herds
* Contaminated facilities are used to hold susceptible animals.
* Contaminated vehicles are used to move susceptible animals.
* Raw or improperly cooked garbage containing infected meat or animal products is fed to susceptible animals.
* Susceptible animals are exposed to materials such as hay, feedstuffs, hides, or biologics contaminated with the virus.
* Susceptible animals drink common source contaminated water.
* A susceptible cow is inseminated by semen from an infected bull.

Honoring a Fallen Officer

There is a mystery in Bellmead TX about who killed Animal Control Officer Bob Mead, He was found in the animal shelter with multiple gunshot wounds to the back.

Bellmead police believe the person who killed the city's only animal control officer most likely knew him.

Chief Bob Harold said it's possible the murderer had been verbally critical of Bobby Evans before shooting him in the back and leaving him for dead last month.

Evans' family made an emotional plea Wednesday to bring that killer to justice. The big question they have is: Why would someone want to kill their loved one, and who would shoot a man multiple times in the back?

Police found Evans shot three times in the back June 18th, lying in the doorway of the animal shelter.

Nearly a month later, with few leads and no arrests, police and the Evans family held a news conference to plead for help.


It's impossible to tell for certain whether this was a personal, random or work-related attack. However, he was found in his work place and he was the only animal control officer in the town. A variety of animal groups are jointly offering a reward for information.

The National Animal Control Association has a page in his honor.

Watch Out, This is How it Started With The Gang of Four

Xinhua has come out with a story about the rising problem with dogs in Beijing.

More than 100,000 dogs have been newly registered this year, bringing the Chinese capital's dog population to 703,879 and prompting a "string of social problems," the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Complaints about barking and dogs fouling public spaces are on the rise, while numbers of strays abandoned by their masters are growing, it said.

I wonder if this is the prelude to "cleaning" up the streets for the Olympics. It will be interesting to watch in the months ahead.

Here is a link to China Daily about the "rise in animal attacks"
.

They are saying that Beijing, a city of about 12.5 million, had about 140,000 people seek medical treatment last year. The US, by way of comparison, had about 800,000 for a population of 301 million. So, for the US, that is about 0.27 percent of the population. For Beijing, they are saying 1.12 percent of the population seek medical attention for this. I'm not saying it isn't true, but it's good to at least look at the numbers for yourself.

India Backtracks on Plans For New Elephant Reserves

Conservationists allege that they caved in to mining interests.

Last year, the government approved two new reserves in the mineral-rich areas of Orissa state aimed at strengthening the conservation of elephants and other wildlife such as tigers, leopards, deer and hundreds of species of rare reptiles.

But conservationists claim the plans have been dropped to ease the way for big steel investors like Vedanta Resources Plc, JSW Steel and Arcelor Mittal to mine for iron ore, manganese and bauxite.

"Multi-nationals can now carry out mining easily and get all the environmental clearance without any impact study on wildlife at all," said Biswajit Mohanty of the Wildlife Society of Orissa.

Government officials denied the charge.

"The area for the two proposed elephant reserves was too big and that was why we withdrew the proposals," said P.N. Padhi, a senior official in Orissa's forest and environment department.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Primarily Primates Files Suit to Get Apes Back

This is going to get NASTY. Primarily Primates is filing suit to get 7 apes that were taken away after it was found that their alleged alcoholic president, Wallace Swett, kept them in squalid conditions..

Here are some testimonials
about what conditions were like before the place was temporarily closed.

Now Friends of Animals (which merged with Primarily Primates) is alleging that the 7 apes might be subject to animal experiments at Chimp Haven if they remain there. Here is their press release.

Frankly, I find the experimentation angle a bit far fetched. Here is a link to Chimp Haven.

It's a pity that Primarily Primates and Friends of Animals don't spend their time and money on animals rather than this stupid "turf" war.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Prairie Dogs Need Protecting Too!

Forest Guardians is asking the Bush Administration to reconsider their decision not to list the black tailed prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act. I wouldn't hold my breath on that. Dick Cheney would probably shoot them himself and serve them in his underground bunker if he had a chance. Fortunately he only shoots other hunters and pen- raised animals.

Here is Forest Guardians Web site.
From their web site:

Founded in 1989, Forest Guardians has emerged as a results-driven group with a proven record of defending and preserving threatened southwestern wildlife and ecosystems. Our approach to conservation features a potent combination of scientific analysis, strategic litigation to enforce existing environmental laws, and efforts to reform misguided public polices.

Our Mission

Forest Guardians seeks to protect and restore the native wildlands and wildlife of the American Southwest through fundamental reform of public policies and practices.

Our goals are to protect and restore the native biological diversity and watersheds of the American Southwest; educate and enlist citizens to support protection of the forests, rivers, deserts and grasslands of this arid region; advocate for the principles of conservation biology in plans to restore degraded ecosystems and watersheds; enforce and strengthen environmental laws; support communities in efforts to protect their land and to practice and promote sustainable use of natural resources.

Nascar Driver Ryan Newman a Big Supporter of Animal Welfare Issues

Like Greg Biffle, Nascar driver Ryan Newman has his own foundation dedicated to animal welfare.

From the site:

The Ryan Newman Foundation gives special consideration to nonprofit animal welfare organizations that reach out to rural communities in their region or state that do not have no-kill animal shelters or spay/neuter clinics. The foundation encourages progressive, established animal welfare organizations and spay/neuter clinics to go outside of their own community to serve rural, inner city or otherwise financially challenged communities that lack the resources to provide their own no-kill animal shelters or spay/neuter clinics.

Every year in the United States an estimated 5 million animals lose their lives in shelters because they are homeless. That is one pet life lost every 6.5 seconds. The pet overpopulation epidemic is so staggering that for every animal born in the United States to have a home each and every humane being would have to own 6 dogs and 9 cats. So, in actuality a family of four…2 parents and 2 small children would have to own 24 dogs and 36 cats. I t costs U.S. taxpayers and estimated 2 billion each year to round up, house, kill and dispose of homeless animals.


He also has a book called Pit Road Pets, about Nascar drivers and their pets.

CSI for Animals

This is cool. In Malaysia they are setting up a lab to help solve poaching crimes.

Work is now under way to set up the wildlife equivalent of a CSI-styled laboratory at the Wildlife and National Parks headquarters in Cheras here.

A new wildlife forensic unit is also taking shape and in five years, it may be using the same principles of human forensic science to nab wildlife criminals.

The department’s officers are now collecting blood, tissue, hair and other biological materials from wildlife across the country for its Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Vick Case and Racial Tensions

The Vick case has certainly helped fan the flames of racial tensions.

Animal welfare supporters, who are overwhelmingly white, wonder how Vick's predominantly black supporters can possible be in favor of this guy. Vick supporters, on the other hand, probably wonder about screaming white protesters with signs calling him an "overpaid criminal" before he's had a trial.

There they go again, turning this into a racial issue. There they go again, screaming for the blood of a successful black man before he's even had an arraignment. And so it goes.

Ving Rhames' Dogs Kill Caretaker

The dogs killed the 40 year old caretaker, who had lived there for about 2 years.

Three of the dogs are bull mastiffs, and one was an english bulldog. It looks like two of the dogs were responsible for his death.

It will be interesting to hear more about this case, as it raises the issue of whether some dog breeds are inherently more dangerous than others.

Some are reporting that he died of a heart attack.

Alley Cat Allies Conference On Feral Cats in October

Alley Cat Allies will be hosting a conference in October in Alexandria on feral cat issues.

Join Alley Cat Allies, the nationally recognized experts on improving the lives of outdoor cats, in our nation’s capital. Learn how you can unite and mobilize to make nonlethal policies and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) the norm. Topics include best methods of feral cat care, how the law supports our goals and reforming animal control policy. Presenters are Becky Robinson and Wendy Anderson of Alley Cat Allies, Dr. Christine Wilford of Seattle’s Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, and Dawn Kua of Singapore’s Cat Welfare Society.

In Seattle, the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project does an excellent job on this issue. We visited one of their clinics a few years ago, and it was really interesting.

Friday, August 3, 2007

National Agricultural Law Center

This is an interesting institution from the University of Arkansas. From the site:

n 1987, Congress recognized the University of Arkansas School of Law for its "unique expertise in the area of agricultural law" and called for the creation of the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information at the Law School. Since then, the National Agricultural Law Center has been funded with federal appropriations through the National Agricultural Library, an entity within the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The National Agricultural Law Center is the only agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national and international in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network. The Center has expanded the scope of its coverage to include food law as it recognizes the expanding scope of agricultural law and its convergence with food law topics. The Center is staffed by a team of law and research professors, lawyers, other specialists, and graduate assistants from the University of Arkansas School of Law Graduate Program in Agricultural Law.

In early 2003, pursuant to Congressional directive, the Center established a close working relationship with the Drake Agricultural Law Center at Drake University School of Law in Des Moines, Iowa. The blend of the Center's national and international agricultural and food law focus and Drake's concentration on state and local food policy issues has formed a creative environment of sharing that generates activities and projects designed to reach all members of the agricultural and food law communities.


Of particular note on the left hand side is a link to CRS reports. To those of you unfamiliar with CRS, that stands for the Congressional Research Service. They provide analytical reports on everything from biotechnology to living conditions in Uzbekistan. I used to be a Legislative Assistant in Congress, so I would read these quite often. They are excellent.

They are also, fortunately, available to any constituent who asks for a report. Www.opencrs.com takes advantage of this by requesting that people ask their Member of Congress to send them a report in electronic form, and then passing it on to OpenCRS so they can keep it in their database.

Both of these sites are worth a visit.

Pets as Property

Here is an interesting article about a woman who is seeking to have animals treated as something more than "property" by the courts.

Given the recent pet food problems, this is a serious issue. Pets are an emotional issue with people. When they die as a result of someone else's negligence or malice, they are treated as just a piece of property.

WWF India Kicks off Signature Campaign for Tiger

China continues to push for permission to sell tiger parts that are raised on farms. What will happen of course, is this will only further worsen tiger poaching, as it bullets are cheaper than farming.

Here is a blurb from the WWF campaign:

WWF-India initiates a signature campaign to draw attention to the plight of the tiger. The campaign aims at reaching out to the multitudes of tiger and nature lovers in the country, while simultaneously hoping to drive home the point, that it could be now or never for the Indian tiger.

At the recently concluded CITES [Conference of Parties (COP) 14] held at The Hague, in The Netherlands, international voices rung clear: to urge China to continue with the ban on tiger trade, and not allow trade in their parts to be the incentive for breeding these cats, in any part of the world. At the meeting, India was vocal on the issue to save the tigers, and keen to take proactive measures for the benefit of tiger conservation in our country.

ALF Vandalizes Home of Primate Researcher

ALF visited the home of Eliot Spindel, a researcher with the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and spray painted "ALF Eyes On You!" on his house.

Here is a copy of the anonymous communique taking credit for it.

My Pet Goat

No this isn't about a certain person who stared off into space while airliners crashed into buildings. It's about an article on how we define what a "pet" is. In this particular case, a woman has pet pygmy goat, and county officials are saying it should be considered "livestock".

Baltimore County law requires residents to have an acre for chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. Three acres are required for each horse, burro and cow. And 3 acres are required to keep smaller livestock, including sheep, goats, ponies and pigs.

Benson the Bait Dog

Here is a Humane Society video about a rescued dog that was used as bait for dog fighting. Although the subject isn't pretty, there isn't anything too explicit in the video.

Your Mommy Kills Animals Review

Here is a review of the documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals. I really want to see this movie.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

House of Representatives Passes Resolution Asking Canada to End Seal Slaughter

Tom Lantos introduced H. Res 427, which urges Canada to end the seal hunt. It passed on a voice vote on July 30th. Here are some of Mr. Lantos remarks:

Mr. Speaker, we are all familiar with National Geographic images of fluffy white baby seals nestled next to their mothers. We stare at them on our TV screens or in our magazines and reflexively remark about how adorable they are. But now imagine, if you can, the brutal death that awaits hundreds of thousands of these baby seals every single year. With stunning barbarism, Canadian hunters swoop in with heavy clubs and stun guns to immobilize these little innocent creatures. They are then skinned alive simply so that their soft white fur can adorn winter coats, coats that could be composed of different materials without torturing animals .

These gruesome images are sadly commonplace in the Canadian Northwest. The Canadian Government estimates that over 1 million seals have been killed in the most recent 3-year period. Public outcry over this barbarism led to a ban of all seal products in the United States and in the European Union in 1983. Unfortunately, the public seems to have forgotten that the grisly practices of commercial seal hunters still go on, and international pressure on Canada to end the hunt has abated.

My resolution brings the focus of the United States Congress back to this heinous yearly slaughter. It urges the Canadian Government to cease this gruesome practice and bring Canadian policy in line with that of the United States and the European Union.

While the resolution can't force Canada to do anything, I suppose it will at least let them know we disapprove. Belgium doesn't care for it either, as they recently banned seal products. Canada is taking them to the WTO for that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Should Humane Law Enforcement Officers Carry Guns?

Yes.

I do not like guns and I certainly don't believe they are the solution to society's problems. However, I believe that it is time to elevate the field of humane law enforcement to where officers have the authority of human law enforcement officers, conduct their own and joint criminal investigations, and carry their own weapons.

This doesn't mean start handing out guns to current animal control field officers. This means a revolution in training, perception, and, of course, hiring. Cities don't just hire anyone to be a police officer. It has to be someone who can handle the danger, the stress, and the public.

Law enforcement is law enforcement. We are seeing more and more that humane laws and HUMAN laws are not segregated areas. There is the possibility of linking the two together in terms of actual enforcement operations. This would be more efficient and far more effective in the long-term.

Take the following examples of how human and humane link.

Dogfighting has been linked to drug dealing and illegal gambling. Baltimore, for example, is establishing a multi-agency task force to investigate dogfighting rings for this very reason.

Perpetrators of domestic violence may also abuse family pets
as an additional way to hurt the human victim or as an additional target of their rage.

Future killers, including serial killers, often start their life with violence against animals. Here's a list of killers with their animal and human victims listed side by side. (Warning...disturbing content.)

Humane law enforcement is currently geared towards answering complaints. If there are no complaints, there is no investigation. Real criminal charges and arrests are dependent on bringing in the police, who are not trained to deal with animals and who may not have the resources to expend in this area. Also, humane law enforcement is not empowered to gather evidence in far-reaching investigations.

Finally, it's important to remember that it's the smaller charges that are sometimes easier to stick on a hardened criminal. Can't get them on human law charges? Try humane law charges and see what shakes out.

Remember, Al Capone was ultimately brought down on tax evasion charges, not murder and racketeering.

Factory Farms in the US

This is a good interactive map of factory farms in the US. I found this on Animal Ethics blog.

This Just in From the BBC, Brian the Hamster Rescued From Dump

Hey, if this story is important enough for the Beeb, it's important enough for this blog. It has a nice picture too.

An Argument Against Zoos

Here is an interesting article in Newsweek by Rabbi Marc Gelman that zoos aren't such a good thing.

From the article:

My grandpa, Leo Gellman, was a zookeeper at the Milwaukee zoo. My childhood was filled with happy days feeding giraffes and monkeys. I wanted to feed Sampson the gorilla and Tony and Cleo the hippopotamuses, but Grandpa Lepa never let me get close to them. He loved animals, but he also understood what it means to be wild. He would patiently explain to me that they did not want to be in their cages but that we put them there so that little boys like me could see up close what they look like, how they move and what sounds they make. Grandpa explained to me that this was a deal we humans made with the wild animals of the world. We capture and display some of them so that people would feel something for them and protect the wild animals that were not in cages. I asked grandpa if he thought the deal was fair. He thought and said, “It's a good deal for us, and not such a good deal for them.” I still think grandpa was right.

How Not to Steal 23 Goats

Police in South Africa arrested 3 men in a minibus with 23 goats.

Yikes.

Humane Society Pushes for Prosecution of Man Who Killed Sea Lion

A sea lion takes this guy's bait, so he stabs it to death.

Police arrested Hai Nguyen, 24, of Garden Grove Friday on suspicion of stabbing a sea lion that took the bait from his pole as he fished off the M Street Pier. The sea lion was euthanized at Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

In a letter to Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, Dale Bartlett of the Humane Society asked that Rackauckas "diligently pursue this case and to seek, upon conviction, a meaningful sentence that includes jail time and mandatory psychological counseling."