Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Many wishes for a joyful, successful and animal-friendly 2009!

From,
THE CRITTER NEWS TEAM

(aka Anna, Patrick, Charlotte, Sonia, Jennie, Cleo, Chay, Doris, Heidi, and Lou!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weird Things Pets Eat

I used to have a dog that ate rocks thrown at him (and he was as fast with the jaws as a cobra). Here is a list of strange items eaten by pets from a British charity.

US Fish and Wildlife Offers Ivory Identification Guide

Wonder if something is made from illegal ivory? US Fish and Wildlife has a guide for identification.

From the web page....

This is a web version of the Identification Guide for Ivory and Ivory Substitutes by Edgard O. Espinoza and Mary-Jacque Mann, published in cooperation with the CITES Secretariat, and was developed to give information about a nondestructive and visual means of tentatively distinguishing clearly legal ivory from suspected illegal ivory at ports of entry....

One point which must be emphasized: while the methods described in this handbook are reliable for the purposes described (i.e. tentative visual identification, and "probable cause" to seize as evidence), an examination of the carved ivory object by a trained scientist is still necessary to obtain a positive identification of the species source.

Animal Cruelty Database at Pet-Abuse.com

There are 14,436 cases in the animal abuse database. You can search for all kinds of crimes against animals in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Spain.

Great research tool. Amazing work.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Elephants Missing in Chad, Presumed Poached

This situation sounds a lot like the the mountain gorillas, the Congo and Virunga National Park.

Elephants in Zakouma National Park, the last stronghold for the savannah elephants of Central Africa's Sahel region, have crashed to just 1,000 animals from an estimated 3,000 in 2006. Ivory poachers using automatic weapons have decimated elephant populations - particularly when herds migrate seasonally outside of the park.

Civil unrest in has made conservation exceedingly difficult in Chad. Several park guards have been shot and killed in recent years. However, safety conditions have recently improved somewhat and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is optimistic that it can increase on-the-ground elephant conservation work in and around Zakouma to protect the remaining population.

Attempt to Recover Sumatran Rhino Species

A breeding program in Malaysia will attempt to breed a rescued Borneo Sumatran rhino in order to save the endangered species.

Tam, whose species is known for its solitary nature, has been resettled in a wildlife reserve in Malaysia's Sabah state, the last preserve of the Borneo Sumatran rhino _ a subspecies of the bristly, snub-nosed Sumatran rhino.

Authorities hope to bring at least five male and female rhinos into the reserve over the next few years so that they can mate and produce offspring, said Junaidi Payne, the senior technical adviser for the World Wildlife Fund's Malaysian Borneo chapter.

"Their numbers are so low that they might drift into extinction if no one does anything," Payne told The Associated Press.

Experts cannot confirm how many Borneo Sumatran rhinos remain in the wild, but estimates range from 10 to 30 individuals, many of them isolated from others in their species.

Video of the Week

This is why the internet was invented. So you could watch important stuff like this:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stray Dog Rescued in Mumbai

An old stray dog was wounded in the Mumbai attacks and rescued. He is now recovering and will hopefully find a home. Sadly, he is the lucky one in a city filled with starving strays. But still....

Sheru was a stray dog hit by an errant bullet when two gunmen opened fire in a crowded railway station during the first night of the assault. The survival of the aging Sheru, despite a gunshot wound to his left shoulder, has become an uplifting and soothing symbol of Mumbai's recovery to many of the city's anxious and angry citizens....

"Some may ask why a dog is being saved when so many human lives were lost," said J.C. Khanna, a retired lieutenant colonel and head veterinarian in the Indian army. "But saving all creatures big and small shows the love and affection for all life that [Mumbai] has shown again and again. Sheru's life stands for something, for all of us getting back on our feet."

How To Care for Wild Babies

If you find any out there during these cold winter months, or at any time of the year, read this before you act.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pet Love Closes its Doors in Beverly Hills

This is awesome. (Pet Love is a business that sells animals from puppy mills.)

The Beverly Center, an upscale shopping mall in Beverly Hills, California, has announced it will terminate Pet Love’s lease sometime in the next few months. Best Friends made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday.

“Our work here in Los Angeles sends the strongest possible message everywhere that pet shops are supplied by puppy millers,” said Paul Berry, Best Friends chief executive officer. “If a pet store can be closed down in the iconic Beverly Center, it can happen anywhere in the country – New York, Chicago, Boston and other large metro areas.”

Pet Love isn’t just your average little neighborhood pet shop. It has been a fixture at the high-end, celebrity-filled mall for more than 15 years. Pet Love is to pet stores what FAO Schwarz is to toy stores, says Julie Castle, director of Best Friends’ Community Programs and Services.


Best Friends is an amazing organization. Please do support their work. Not only do they advocate, but they train advocates as well. And this Pet Love is only one of several stores that have closed as a result of Best Friends' Puppy-Store-Free L.A. campaign started last summer.

Sea Shepherd Goes After Japanese Whalers Again

I guess I haven't been paying attention, as I didn't know this was going on again.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin closed in on one of the vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet at 0730 Hours GMT (1930 Hours Sydney Time) on December 26th off the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory north of the Mawson Peninsula.

The Kaiko Maru emerged from dense fog in front of the Steve Irwin. The Sea Shepherd crew pursued and delivered 10 bottles of rotten butter and 15 bottles of a methyl cellulose and indelible dye mixture.

"That is one stinky slippery ship," said Sea Shepherd 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden.

The Japanese ship was ordered out of the territorial waters of Australia by Australian citizen Jeff Hansen from Perth, Western Australia. The message was delivered in Japanese.

As the Steve Irwin came alongside the starboard side of the Kaiko Maru, the whaler steered hard to starboard and struck the Steve Irwin lightly crushing part of the aft port helicopter deck guard rails on the Sea Shepherd ship. There was no serious damage to either ship.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Animal Legal Defense Fund Ranks States on Animal Protection

The ALDF has released a report on how different states' animal protection laws stack up.

Among the best: California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Oregon.

And the worst: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, South Dakota, Wyoming

You can check out the whole report on their web site.

UK Animal Rights Activists Profiled

Here is n article in the Guardian about several activists involved in SHAC (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at Critter News!

Efforts Being Made to End Eating Cats in China

Disgusting to read about, but there are people in China who are just as outraged at cat eating.

Kudos to the many people in China that do care.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Should the Military Force Protect the Environment?

Thought-provoking article in the Boston Globe.

...some green thinkers are now coming to a surprising conclusion: In exceptional circumstances, they say, the only effective way to protect the environment may be at the barrel of a gun. In some cases, notably in Africa, biodiversity is threatened by military conflict, or by well-armed gangs of poachers. These situations, some say, call for a response in kind - deploying the military to guard natural reserves, or providing rangers with military-style arms and training.

A few analysts go further, arguing that in certain cases of severe ecological harm, the international community may be justified in mustering troops to intervene, with or without the permission of the host country. For example, a government might refuse to protect - or even willfully destroy - its own natural treasure, as when, in the 1990s, Saddam Hussein's regime drained the wetlands that were home to the persecuted Marsh Arabs. Or, as resources grow scarcer, one nation's overexploitation of a forest or river could lead to dire consequences for other countries. In response to both kinds of scenarios, some have begun to raise the possibility of an "eco-intervention," analogous to humanitarian interventions.

Already, some conservation campaigns have taken on martial aspects. Over the past couple of decades, at least two paramilitary groups in the Central African Republic have operated with government approval, as reported recently in an article on "armed environmentalism" in The Ecologist, a British magazine. In some parts of Africa, rangers receive military training and equipment to defend animals (and themselves) from poachers in pursuit of elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and other endangered species. In Nicaragua, the army patrols beaches to protect sea turtle eggs.

But now there is increasing talk of more far-reaching action....

British Student Attacked by Portuguese Fur Shop Owner

The post in the ANIMAL blog is in Portuguese, but here's the gist of it.

A British student studying in Porto, Portugal, was handing out leaflets in front of "Beigel," a fur shop. She was volunteering for ANIMAL.

She had already been threatened by the owner on Wednesday for trespassing on her premises. On Friday, the owner really lost it and attacked her, leaving marks on the student's arms.

There were plenty of shocked witnesses and the student is going to press charges upon her return from Xmas with her family.

ANIMAL is a Portuguese animal rights group that had already been having weekly actions directed at this particular shop, so they were not surprised by the venom of the owner's response.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Investigation Reveals Cruel Treatment of Pigs in Europe

It really sucks to be a factory farm pig in Europe.

Investigators from Compassion in World Farming found 80 per cent of farms across five European countries engaging in illegal practices such as barren pens and routine tail-docking.

In one of the biggest undercover inquiries into pig-farming, CIWF visited 60 farms across five big pork-producing states, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and Britain.

In 48 farms, farmers had cut the tails off pigs to stop them biting each other, despite EU rules restricting tail-docking. Some 47 failed to provide anything for the pigs to root around in, despite an EU requirement to provide "environmental enrichment" such as straw. Most farms made widespread but legal use of metal cages for confining pregnant pigs. Overall, Spain had the worst conditions, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and Britain.


Conditions are so bad, some pigs are resorting to cannibalism.

Jaime Oliver is doing a show about the issue in Britain.

Quote of the Week

"Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it."

~ Henri Nouwen

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

So, I belong to this book group of 5 to 7 women. I've been with the group for a while and it's not bad. I do enjoy reading books and discussing them, but I have a quandary that I'm going to post about.

There is one member of this group who works for a pharmaceutical company. She is the "science" one and likes to call herself an "independent" on the political landscape. She is a practicing Catholic. That's all fine, except for one thing.

She supports medical research on animals.

Here are the two incidents I just CANNOT get out of my head.

1. We had a discussion about Lucy Grealey's "Autobiography of a Face." One scene has the author entering the part of the hospital where the research animals are. There are awful descriptions about what is being done to them. I was the only person who remembered the scene and brought it up. This woman, who I now mentally call "THE VIVISECTOR," defended medical research. She said that there were guidelines on how to treat animals and that, in medical ethics, they are considered "sacrifices." She then said, "I think people are more important than animals."

2. She recommended a book for me to read called Angelica by Arthur Phillips. It's a good book, much like the Turn of the Screw. But the scientist husband is a vivisector back in the 19th century. The descriptions of the research subjects are very roundabout, but still horrific to me. This woman said that those scenes didn't really bother her that much, it was the ghost and sexual implications in the story that disturbed her (latter relating to the human characters of course.) Which surprised me. It didn't affect you AT ALL?

So, fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. My question though is whether I want to be in a book club with someone like that.

I went to someone's house and found out that a friend of theirs works for the University of Washington Primate Center, a horrific place with a TERRIBLE reputation for treatment of animal subjects. When I mentioned my surprise to my friend about this guy, she said that I handled it very "maturely." What did that mean? That I kept my mouth shut and smiled (which is what I did.) What if I had said something? I would have been the "immature" one at fault?

I've been dwelling on these issues for about a year and they fester and fester. Should I really spend time with people who disagree with me so profoundly on an issue that touches me to the core? Or am I being unfair and "immature" to be expecting everyone to agree with me.

Just cannot decide.

Critters in our yard


Our yard is pretty animal friendly. We get cats, mice, birds, squirrels and raccoons. Here is a picture of some mice feeding on bird seed we threw out for the birds.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Arctic Ice Melting at Stunning Rate

Bad news for those Arctic species.

Compassionate Cooks Worth Visiting

I really like this website for vegan cooking. Compassionate Cooks also has a podcast I used to subscribe to, but it was a bit overwrought for me. Still, they have a great website and they do important work.

Bush Proposes Penguin Protection, Hell Freezes Over

Not perfect, but still, wow.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list six species of penguin as threatened species and one _ the African penguin _ as an endangered species.

But it has denied protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act for three others _ including the emperor and northern rockhopper penguins, the stars of such popular movies as "March of the Penguins" and "Happy Feet."

....Environmentalists hailed the Bush administration's proposal to fully list six penguin species, but criticized its decision not to protect three others, including the emperor penguin, the largest penguin in the world and one that depends on sea ice for breeding and feeding.

Holiday Vegan Recipes

I've been posting a lot about vegan cooking lately. I'm not ready to take the plunge, but am ready to start experimenting.

Here are some tasty ideas for the holidays.

Are Thai Temple Tigers Drugged?

Some conservationists worry that the tigers living at a Buddhist Temple in Thailand are drugged, but the monks deny it. There's a big article at the ABC News site. Read it and tell us what you think.

Tourists visiting the Tiger Temple pay big money: anything from $15 just for entry, up to $50 for the very special photograph of a tiger with its head in your lap. The temple says the money goes toward caring for the tigers (each animal eats 13 pounds of meat a day) and construction of "Tiger Island," where it is hoped the tigers will soon move to live in larger enclosures.

....A recent report by wildlife organization, Care for the Wild (CWI)...{accuses} the temple of illegally trafficking and mistreating the tigers, allegations that the temple emphatically denies.

Robyn Shelby, a law student from California, has been volunteering at the temple for seven months and told ABC News, "I haven't seen anything that I don't agree with, and I am very big on animal rights. These tigers are really happy and you can see that in their interactions with people."

Humane Society Likes Obama's Animal Welfare Picks

I bet you didn't realize that Obama had any animal welfare picks, but he did. And, in general, the Humane Society and its Legislative Fund likes them.

They are very enthusiastic about Tom Vilsack, the proposed Secretary of Agriculture. In fact, he was their top choice. They're not so sure about Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior, but they see some promise. He has a strong environmental record and he has supported some animal issues in the past. (Here's some information on his financial contributors. Not sure whether it's enough to worry about yet. He does get money from alternative energy people too.)

HSUS is also happy about Lisa Jackson heading the EPA.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Activists Allegedly Use Computer Virus Against UC Berkeley Researchers

This according to a communique received at the ALF Press office.
UC Berkeley vivisector Ralph Freeman and all of the current lab members in Freeman's Visual Neuroscience Lab were sent a trojan horse virus embedded into email. This virus is designed to completely wreck their computers while leeching all vital personal information they've ever entered into their systems.
Interesting. I've never heard of them using this tactic before.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Retailer Pulls Vick Jerseys After Complaint..Wait, What?

Who would be dumb enough to still be selling Vick jerseys? Why that would be Bealls Outlet Stores. No doubt going after the coveted football loving animal abuser fan base.
Hannah Tostensen, director of the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia, and Lisa Norton, president of Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment in Brunswick, complained to Bealls' corporate office in Bradenton, Fla., earlier this month after finding replicas of Vick's No. 7 jersey being sold at stores in Darien and Waycross in southeast Georgia.

"It is unfathomable to me that any reputable store would market an item that symbolizes the heinous crime of dogfighting," Tostensen wrote in an e-mail to Bealls.
Update- OK,I'm being unfair about the supporting animal abuse part. I do, however, think it was a little strange not to notice this considering Vick is already in jail for this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Week

We now have scientific evidence that vegetarianism is good for the body. The greatest spiritual teachers have always know that it is good for the soul.

Reverend Alvin Van Pelt Hart
Episcopal Priest
Chaplin St. Luke's Hospital

Alleged Police Spy Found in NZ

According to this post, a police spy in New Zealand who infiltrated animal rights groups as well as other activist organizations.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Far, Mountain Gorilla Deaths Only from Natural Causes

Pretty amazing that the 7 mountain gorilla deaths recorded thus far in Virunga have all been due to natural causes. Remember that Virunga National Park has been under Congolese rebel control since 2007 and the park rangers have only just been allowed back in.

Two of the deaths were newborns killed by a silverback. The rest were adults that died from illness or age.

Don't Eat Camel - Eat Schmeat!

I'd rather not any meat at all, thank you, but for those meat addicts like my husband, this could help. This article on Gristmill (excerpt below) goes into detail on pros and cons of "schmeat."

Earlier this year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that it will offer a $1 million X Prize for the creation of affordable, humane, and "commercially viable" test-tube meat by 2012.

Shmeat is grown from a cell culture (hence the in vitro or cultured prefixes), not from a live animal. These harvested cells are taken from an animal, such as a pig, and placed in a "nutrient-rich medium" that mimics blood. Once the cells multiply they are attached to a spongy scaffold or sheet (sheet + meat = shmeat) that has been soaked with nutrients and stretched to increase cell size and protein content.

This shmeat could, in theory, be harvested in vast quantities and used in minced meat products: burgers, nuggety things, or potted meat-food products, etc. While scientists (they call themselves "tissue engineers") admit that growing a pork chop with a bone without a real pig attached is not likely, the say also that affordable, palatable minced shmeat might be available at a grocery store near you within a decade.

Save the Planet - Eat a Camel!

First, Aussies were told they should start eating kangaroos to save the environment. Now, they are are being encouraged to eat camel because there are just too many of them.

Camel-eating advocates should talk to British chef Gordon Ramsey. That clown will eat anything.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quantico Has No Compassion for Feral Cats

Quantico Military Base is really behaving cruelly when it comes to the feral cats on its base. They've prohibited feeding and want the animals trapped. If they are not adoptable, oh well, kill them.

Please. It is NOT the animals' fault that they have been abandoned to miserable lives. (Of course, this is the military, so why should they be any better than humanity in general?)

We do not support or promote feral animals on the base,” flatly stated Bruce Frizzell, head of the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs office...

Frizzell explained that a large population of feral cats is ultimately detrimental to the overall environmental health of the base, its native species and ecosystems.

‘‘They’re a big impact on wildlife. That’s why I’m concerned,” Frizzell said. ‘‘The raptors feed on these things (mice, rats), snakes feed on these things, it’s in the wild food chain and the cat interrupts that because it’s not part of the natural setting.”

Frizzell has encountered those who trap feral cats with the intent of spaying or neutering them, vaccinating them and then releasing them back into the wild. It is their belief, he said, that rendering most of the feral cats sexually inactive will humanely decrease their numbers.

‘‘The people that are doing this are really kind-hearted,” he said. ‘‘They just think this is the right thing to do and we don’t. We worry about wildlife, disease and nuisance animals.”

Feral cats may be an animal problem, but there is a human solution. While both Frizzell and Ellington maintained that base residents should not provide for or promote feral cats with the understanding that they have a substantially negative impact on base, proper care of one’s own pets will prevent ‘Whiskers’ or ‘Frisky’ from adding to the ranks of destitute ferals.


"Whiskers" or "Frisky?"


Alley Cat Allies is leading the fight to help the ferals.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Goin' to Portland

Light posting this weekend, as we are going to Portland to take in the waters. Or whatever it is they have down there.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Da Bears

Got this page from pandarazzi on Twitter. This is a page about Moon Bears. It's supposed to be for kids, but it's actually pretty good for just about anyone that doesn't know much about Moon bears (and other species).

Obama to Get Dog From Shelter, Biden Gets One From Breeder

PETA takes Biden to task for buying a dog from a breeder.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Humane Society Exposes Petland Practices

This news story slipped by in November. The Humane Society has another great investigation into the shady practices of a corporate giant.

This time it's Petland, who I'm glad to say has no stores in my area (that I know of.) It has about 140 stores nationwide that sell puppies that supposedly come from "good" breeders (are any breeders good? but that's another post.)

Not so, says the Humane Society. Among the investigation findings....

**Despite assurances by Petland staff and on their corporate website that the company knows its breeders and deals only with those who have "the highest standards of pet care," many Petland puppies come from massive commercial breeders in Missouri and other Midwestern states, where hundreds of breeding dogs are packed into cramped, barren cages—often for their entire lives, with no socialization, exercise, or human interaction.

**Many of Petland's puppies are not supplied directly by breeders but are purchased from a "middle man"—large-scale "pet distributors," otherwise known as brokers—showing that the company may not even know who the breeders are or what their standards of care may be like. The investigation revealed that some of Petland's brokers are also buying from puppy mills.

**Documented USDA violations at some of Petland's breeders and suppliers included dirty, unkempt enclosures; inadequate shelter from the cold; dogs kept in too small cages; and inadequate veterinary care. Some of the breeders were found with sick or dead dogs in their cages.

Study Shows Shorter Life Spans for Zoo Elephants

Do elephants born outside of captivity live longer? The results of this study are pretty clear...and pretty controversial.

Elephants born in European zoos die at much younger ages than those bred in protected spaces, says a new study that's adding fuel to an already fractious debate over the welfare of the animals in captivity.

The research, to be published Friday in the journal Science, found that endangered Asian elephants born in zoos had a mortality rate two times higher than those born in parks or working in the logging industry.

....Animal rights groups argue that the size of the enclosures - usually less than a square kilometre, {report co-writer Georgia} Mason said - severely restricts the movement of animals that would travel thousands of kilometres annually in the wild.

They say that leads to obesity, atrophied muscles and cardiovascular problems, while the wet concrete they stand on can cause foot disease and lameness, which {Suzanne} Roy {of In Defense of Animals} said is the leading cause of euthanasia.

But zoo supporters dismiss the claims outright, arguing that competing studies have shown that captive elephants have life spans similar to those of animals living in the wild.

Steve Feldman of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums questioned the credibility of the Science report because it used data from 1960 when zoo husbandry practices were considered sub-standard. And it didn't include data on poaching, a major threat to wild elephant populations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rare and Strange Animals

Got this weird site from Guy Kawasaki on Twitter. Really cool looking animals

DMX Back in Jail

Seems he has a hard time making court dates.
DMX is facing drug-possession, identity-theft and animal-cruelty charges. He was due in court last week for a status hearing on his upcoming trial related to the aforementioned charges. But, he failed to appear in court Friday morning, which prompted a Phoenix judge issue a bench warrant for his arrest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jamie Foxx: Something Stupid This Way Comes

Jamie Foxx opens his mouth again. This time it's an exceptionally irresponsible, ignorant comment, especially considering the recent news about the growth in dogfighting in Texas.

As the quest for the first dog continues, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx thinks he's come up with the perfect solution for the President-elect and his family.

"A pitbull," the entertainer said.

"(I'm) trying to pick out Barack Obama's Christmas puppy right now, so we're working hard on that," he joked. "I think I'm going to get him a pitbull, we just got to keep it street."

I know he likes to shock people, but it's irritating. He's promoting the idea that a pitbull is not a pet, but a symbol of "street" cred. The subtext is that it's how you reflect your manhood. Young people hear that kind of talk and believe it.

Dogfighting will continue as long as this stupid meme of pits being a public display of men's genitalia continues. And as long as people like Jamie Foxx keep shooting off their mouths with such ideas.

Kill the Sea Lions Before They Kill Again!

This is pretty frustrating. The major threats to salmon are the 4 'H's: habitat, hatcheries, hydro(power) and harvest. All driven by humans. But we can't get rid of humans, of course, and we need to punish someone who can't fight back.

Let's pick the sea lions!


Portland judge said Wednesday the Northwest states can kill hungry sea lions on the Columbia River. The animals eat salmon as the fish try to pass Bonneville Dam each spring.

Judge Michael Mosman’s ruling means Washington, Oregon and Idaho can shoot or remove up to 85 sea lions next year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the animals eat three thousand salmon annually.

Mosman denied an attempt by the Humane Society of the United States to stop the killings. The group’s Sharon Young says fisheries managers are using the sea lions as scapegoats.


Three thousand salmon annually? Do you know how much salmon is wasted and destroyed in processing plants, restaurants, and grocery stores? Please, I used to work for a seafood company and had to order cases dumped when they got past the expiration date. Three thousand salmon is nothing.

Thanks to Rose for the heads up.

Cool Vegan Website!

Thanks to Rose for forwarding a link to Vegan Yum Yum, a cool food website for vegans!

Study Claims Islamic Slaughtering More Humane

I came across this strange article about German research on which slaughter method creates more pain for the animal: the Western method of stunning or the Islamic method of a cut to the neck. According to the researchers, the Islamic method wins. You can read all about the results in the article.

What an utterly grotesque project.

The Islamic practice of slaughtering animals by means of a sharp cut to the front of the neck has frequently come under attack by some animal rights activists as being a form of animal cruelty, the claim being that it is a painful inhumane method of killing animals. In the West, it is required by law to stun the animals with a shot to the head before the slaughter, supposedly to render the animal unconscious and to prevent it from reviving before it is killed so as not to slow down the movement of the processing line. It is also used to prevent the animal from feeling pain before it dies.

It therefore may come as a surprise to those who have made such acclamations to learn of the results of a study carried out by Professor Wilhelm Schulze and his colleague Dr. Hazim at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover University in Germany. The study: 'Attempts to Objectify Pain and Consciousness in Conventional (captive bolt pistol stunning) and Ritual (halal, knife) Methods of Slaughtering Sheep and Calves' concludes that Islamic slaughtering is the most humane method of slaughter and that captive bolt stunning, practised in the West, causes severe pain to the animal.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bullfighting Ring Burned in Spain

Complete with pictures.
"On the night between Wednesday and Thursday we put incendiary devices in the Cascante (Navarra) bullring. They worked and they were effective.

Bullfighting is a symbol of animal exploitation in which bulls are tortured and killed because there are people who find it fun. But we are against all forms of animal exploitation, and we believe in veganism as a response to such exploitation and as a way of life.

We want to dedicate the action to the bulls and horses who have been tortured, humiliated and murdered in this arena that we have burned.

F.L.A. (Frente de Liberación Animal)"

Wired's Top Ten Animal Videos

Not a bad list.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dogfighting Grows in Texas

From the New York Times....
Investigators found that dogfighting was on the rise in Texas and was much more widespread than they had expected. The ring broken up here had links to dogfighting organizations in other states and in Mexico, suggesting an extensive underground network of people devoted to the activity, investigators said.

Besides a cadre of older, well-established dogfighters, officials said, the sport has begun to attract a growing following among young people from hardscrabble neighborhoods in Texas, where gangs, drug dealing and hip-hop culture make up the backdrop.

The investigation here led to the indictments of 55 people and the seizing of 187 pit bulls, breaking up what officials described as one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country.

“It’s like the Saturday night poker game for hardened criminals,” said one of the undercover agents, Sgt. C. T. Manning, describing the tense atmosphere at the fights.


Disgusting and disturbing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Portugal Deals with Same Issues Around Dogfighting

This link is to ANIMAL's blog, written in Portuguese. Essentially, it sounds like they are having the same issues as we have in the US regarding dog fights and dog attacks.

There are dog fights and dog attacks in Portugal and, per the December 5 post, the government came up with some legislation without consulting any animal rights groups. ANIMAL says that the legislation is not effective and is too loose. Plus, the government is demonizing certain breeds of dogs even though they are very much victims.

At least they are doing something about it. I'm pretty shocked about that. In the Azores, where my family is from, I don't think there are any laws whatsoever.

Debate Over Injured Dog Video

I've only been able to watch this video, and read the comments, once. It's too much for me. The video is in Spanish. Essentially, a little dog gets hit on a busy street and no one stops to help it. Suddenly another dog comes into the street and drags the injured one to safety. I've read an unsubstantiated assertion that both dogs are okay, but I don't really know if that's a fact.

I don't know for sure what happened here. Watch and decide for yourselves.


On Huffington Post, the comments below the video are worth reading (just scroll down.) There are a lot of animal haters out there. Some people claim the second dog is simply going to eat the injured dog. I think that such haters can't bear a non-human being heroic. It begs the question of the uniqueness of humanity and, of course, themselves. Because animal haters are really afraid, afraid of looking at themselves in an objective light and realizing that they are not unique, special or more worthy than any other living thing. This is threatening to them.

And that's really what it's all about. Not other humans in general, but themselves.

Pale Male in National Geographic

Congratulations to Lincoln Karim, the unofficial photographer of Pale Male, the famous New York red-tailed hawk. His photos made it into the December issue of National Geographic.

I visit his site every day for pictures of Pale Male, his mate Lola and all the other hawks in New York's Central Park. Beautiful photographer and ardent animal rights supporter.

Agriculture Fears Possible "Cow Tax"

I don't know how seriously to take this, or if it's just the ag industry pulling an NRA stunt (ie. knee-jerk reaction to anything and everything.)

{There was} a proposal Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency to charge a fee for air-polluting cows and hogs. The proposal was one of several drafted after a 2007 Supreme Court ruling found that greenhouse gases the animals emit through flatulence or belching amounts to air pollution. It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog.

The ag industry really fears that the government may start taxing them for heads of livestock because of their contribution to global warming. (Remember cows "emit" methane.) I have a hard time believing that there would actually be a cow tax, but I would certainly support it. This country needs to eat less meat. Besides, if you can't compete, get out of the business.

The ag industry wants no government involvement when it comes to taxes and fees, but how about when it comes to subsidies from that same government to keep them afloat? Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Wall Street, Detroit, and agriculture....what ever happened to the "free hand of the market?"

More Video

This time, a cute little hammie:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Year of the Gorilla Begins

On Monday, December 2, 2008, the Year of the Gorilla was launched by the UN and Monaco's Prince Albert.

Officials for the U.N.-backed Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals said they hoped to raise half a million euros ($630,000) for projects aimed at fighting the animals' biggest threats.

The "Year of the Gorilla" was launched at a ceremony in Rome where Prince Albert II of Monaco and representatives from more than 100 governments gathered this week to discuss increasing measures for nearly 30 species endangered by pollution, climate change and overhunting.


Half a million euros? That's all they think they can raise? That's setting your sights pretty low. (Reminds me of Dr. Evil asking for One. Million. Dollars.)

Quote of the Week

It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Holiday Gift Ideas From Peta

Here is a post on gift ideas from Peta. I'm always complaining about them, but now I'm on their Twitter list, so I suppose they deserve some good publicity once in a while. If nothing else, I'll probably be posting more on them since they'll be handing me their stories on a silver platter.

I know I should tweet about Critternews, but I find it hard enough to find stuff to post, let alone tweet about. I do have a link to my Twitter page at right. Most of it is nonsense about what I'm having for dinner and such.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cute Google Hamster Gadget

This is a very cute little hamster gadget. He runs on his wheel, and you can click your mouse to feed him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Natalie Portman's Vegan Shoes Not Sustainable?

This is an interesting post from Econista, a "guerilla environmentalist and fashionista" blog that, sadly, is not often updated. It's too bad because I like the content and commentary.

For example, here's Econista's take on Natalie Portman's vegan shoe line.

Recently Natalie Portman appeared on Bravo's Project Runway hocking her vegan shoe line Te Cesan. While her shoes are adorable, I personally don't think certain vegan shoes are sustainable. Pleather isn't sustainable, in fact it's the opposite. With the exception of recycled plastic pleathers, these materials are made from petroleum products.

The desire to end the suffering of animals is noble and necessary. But plastic is not the answer. Leather is a byproduct of the food industry and using all of the animal does more justice to their sacrifice than letting things go to waste.

Truly sustainable shoes are ones that use recycled materials and use responsibly tanned leathers and sustainable production practices (that's more than just recycled packaging...a message to some of the vegan footwear makers).

Documentary Spotlights Plight of Mexican Dogs

This sounds like it would be very difficult to watch. It's called "Companions to None (Companeros de Nadie)."

The hourlong film is an unflinching commentary on the overpopulation of stray dogs in Mexico, who even outnumber us humans in some regions. Macho culture, argues {Dallas-based director Bill} Buchanan, goes some way to explaining why Mexicans are so reluctant to sterilize their male dogs. There is a common belief in Mexico, according to his narrative, that sterilizing a male dog will make the dog "gay."

Without a doubt, the most impressive thing about the film, shot on digital video, is the access Buchanan gets for his lens. In a series of gruesome shots that even the most hardhearted will find difficult to watch, Buchanan’s camera captures the method used to rid the streets of the thousands of unwanted stray dogs in Mexico -– electrocution.


You can watch the trailer at http://www.companionstonone.com.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Support Animals Asia

I recently wrote my first check to Animals Asia. They are doing very important work on animal welfare in Asia. I especially appreciate the work they do on those horrific bear bile farms that are really just a form of torture for the animal.

In a nutshell, here they are.

Our Mission
"The mission of the Animals Asia Foundation is to improve the lives of all animals in Asia, end cruelty and restore respect for animals Asia-wide."

Our Vision
Change for all animals, inspired by empathy for the few.

Our animal ambassadors embody the ideal that empathy for one animal can evolve into empathy for an entire species and ultimately for all species.

Our Approach
The Animals Asia Foundation, managed by professionals, resident in Asia, is committed to forging constructive solutions to the seemingly insurmountable problems which the animals face in today's changing environment. Implementation is through a dynamic three-pronged approach:

Investigation: Using the latest veterinary techniques, animal care and conservation science, our network of field officers target countries in Asia, identifying local needs and finding solutions for the animals.

Negotiation: Cultivating sensitive communication and cooperation with governments to open the door to visionary win-win solutions.

Education: Creating inspired grass roots programmes within the community, which spark far reaching change in people's attitudes, thus motivating them to co-exist peacefully with animals.

Southern Poverty Law Center on ALF

Interesting article on ALF from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is better known for going after racist extremist groups.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Five Baby Mountain Gorillas Found at Start of Congo Census

Now, don't get too excited, because this is not an indication of how the Virunga population is doing as a whole. BUT, the rangers are shocked because these five babies were all born and survived during the war period.

Things are not all peaceful yet either.

Despite a ceasefire in the months-long fighting, tracer from a heavy machine gun streaked across the sky close to the rangers headquarters late Thursday. Answering gunfire rattled up from the valley, in what a ranger said was a clash between the CNDP and the Rwandan Hutu rebels based in the park.

Here's a video of the gorillas and the babies (be patient, it tends to start and stop).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

T. Boone Pickens' Wife Proposes Horse Refuge

Here's hoping it works out.

The wife of the Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens said {November 18} that she would create a refuge for wild horses, after the federal agency that manages them said it might have to kill some to control the herds and protect the Western range.

About 33,000 wild horses and burros roam the open range in 10 Western states. The federal Bureau of Land Management wants that population to be around 27,000 to protect the herd, the range and other foraging animals.

Horses that are too old or not adoptable by the public are sent to long-term holding facilities. The bureau now has about the same number of animals in holding facilities as on the range. The agency has said the costs of keeping horses in the holding facilities has caused officials to consider euthanasia as a last resort.

Mr. Pickens’s wife, Madeleine, said that she had proposed buying about one million acres to be a refuge for the horses now in holding facilities and that the bureau had agreed to give her the horses once she had the land."

Turkey Abuse in West Virginia Aviagen Plant

Overlooked this one. Another nasty farm animal abuse story. Whatever you think about PETA, I admire them for exposing this crap.

It's even got Chuck Jolley from the Cattle Network riled up.
Bottom line: If you’re running a business where you allow the kinds of shortcuts that let animal abuse happen, please sell it and leave the industry now. Find another line of work. If you’re caught by PETA or HSUS, please do not plead ignorance and vow to clean it up. It will be too late.

Animal Rights Activists Burn Wrong Car

A group calling itself Students and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates burned 3 cars, none of which belonged to the individual they were targeting.

ALF is disputing the notion that the wrong cars were hit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Humane Society and Changes in DC

Here is a good article on the HSUS.

Search Begins for Mountain Gorillas

Now that the rangers have been allowed back into Virunga, they are going to conduct a census to determine what's happened to the mountain gorillas living there. They have been out of contact since September 2007.

Mr {Emmanuel} de Merode and the 650 Virunga rangers have been forced to rely on second-hand reports from amateurs who paid their way into Mikeno where General Nkunda has been using some former rangers who defected to the CNDP.

Spirits are now high at Rumangabo. Within the last few days the Belgian conservationist led a posse of rangers back to their former patrol post at Bukima, inside the Mikeno sector of the park. Outside, Mr Mwanake is talking to Innocent Nburanumwe, another veteran ranger. They remain fretful over the situation and aware that the crisis could take another turn for the worst. "When there is a war there is no certainty, no security. We are not sure when we go to sleep if we will wake up in the morning."

Another nagging worry remains: the gorillas simply won't be there any more. Mr De Merode is refusing to think that way. Over the next month he and his staff will conduct a census of the mountain gorillas, hoping to find the population of roughly 200 unaffected by the tempest that has raged around them in the past 18 months. He says: "We've not had reports of any gorilla killings. It's incredibly exciting and any day now we're expecting good news."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

100,000 Salmon Released in Sweden

From Biteback:
On the night of 21 November more than 100,000 salmon were liberated from two fish farms in northen Sweden.
These two fish farms are a part of the huge Swedish fish farming industry that kills over 5 billion fish every year.
In a fish farm, tens of thousands of fish live cramped in net-cages without any chance to engage in their natural behaviors, like traveling long distances.
Fish are individuals who feel both pain and stress, and to breed, keep them in cages and kill them, however it is done, is unacceptable.

We wanted to give as many of these individuals as possible a chance to live the rest of their lives in freedom, instead of ending up on a dinner table.
We realise that some of the released fish will die in the wild because they were born in captivity and may have trouble learning to finding their own food, etc. But there is a big difference between dying in freedom than in captivity, and it is guaranteed that more fish are going to survive in the wild than if they were left in the fish farm.
We are also aware that the liberation of the fish may have a negative effect on the ocean ecosystem. We hold the farmers responsible for any such effects, because it is their oppressive actions that forced us to act.

At Näske Lax AB more that 100,000 salmon were liberated by cutting all the net-cages that were holding the fish. A boat motor was also destroyed and some tires slashed. A spray can was emptied painting messages from the DBF.
The farm is not insured and after economic loses of millions of Swedish Kroner, the farmer doesn't think he will be able to open up the business again.

The second farm visited the same night was Ålands fiskförädlings, a big floating facility hundreds of meters out in the sea. After rowing out to the facility we cut as many net-cages as possible before dawn, releasing lots of fish.

Direct action saves lives!
Both by saving individual animals and also by economic sabotage we make it harder and less profitable to continue to torture and kill animals.

For the animals!
DBF (Swedish Animal Liberation Front)"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Palin's Turkey Makes Letterman's Top 10

Now, I'm no fan of Sarah Palin's. I think she is an evil George Wallace in a dress. But I will say that this attention on her turkey slaughter interview is a bit hypocritical. Sure, there was a turkey being ground up behind her, but, come on. That is the reality of where Thanksgiving turkey dinners come from. It's not pretty or nice, with sugar and spice. It's ugly, bloody killing and that animal has to get to your plate somehow.

I hate it when people say "Happy Turkey Day" or, as today, "gobble gobble." Ef that! That turkey is NOT celebrating today while it's dead on your plate!

Having said that, any chance to insult Sarah Palin is worth it....so here's Letterman's Top 10.

Try a Vegan Thanksgiving!

Here's a site with some Thanksgiving recipes for vegans. I know it's a little late, but look it over and see if there's something you like. One should give thanks year round!

And you should try them out even if you're NOT a vegan.

Detecting Animal Cruelty

Per the ASPCA's cruelty FAQ, here are some signs.
Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:

* Tick or flea infestations
* Wounds on the body
* Patches of missing hair
* Extremely thin, starving animal
* Limping
* An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
* Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, and often chained in a yard
* Dogs who have been hit by cars—or are showing any of the signs listed here—and have not been taken to a veterinarian
* Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
* Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rangers Return to Virunga

The gorilla rangers have returned to Virunga after more than a year's exile. You can see how happy they are in this video.

Monkeys Work as Waiters in Japan

Oh brother.

Restaurants are always hit hard during economic downturns, but one restaurant in Japan has a novel approach to cutting costs: replace the wait staff with monkeys. The monkeys only work two hours a day, but bring in tourists from around the globe. They've even been deemed sanitary, so long as they wear their miniature uniforms.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vick Allegedly Put Family Pets in Ring to be Killed

This is the allegation as reported on TMZ.
In just released report, a person identified as confidential witness No. 1 says Vick actually placed family pets in the ring against pit bulls owned by "Bad Newz Kennels" and watched as the animals ruthlessly attacked the domesticated dogs causing "major injuries."
Here's hoping he dies broke and alone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wingnut Pretty in Mink Calendar

Ick. The only thing more hideous then staring at Ann Coulter's mug for a whole month is Ann Coulter in fur. And they could at least pose her where I can't see her Adam's apple.

Panda Bites Idiot Seeking Hug

Some guy in China thought the panda looked so cute, he jumped a fence to give it a hug. The panda was having none of it, and bit him on the arms and legs. Pity he didn't get an artery to make this fool a Darwin Award winner...

Largest Ever Trafficking Bust in Africa

Just five days ago.

An operation across five Africa countries over weekend, targeting wildlife crime has led to arrest of almost 60 people and seizure of one ton of illegal elephant ivory, Interpol has reported.

The one-day sweep, code-named Operation Baba, targeted more than 50 locations, including local ivory markets, airports, border crossings and smuggling points, international policying body said.

Body said arrests and seizures were part of a five-country law enforcement operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL, and involved more than 300 law enforcement officers from police, customs, national wildlife and national intelligence agencies in Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, further saying this represented largest-ever international wildlife law enforcement operation conducted in Africa.

Gorilla Rangers Return to Virunga

Yay!

More than 120 Park Rangers of the Congolese Wildlife Authority, ICCN, today returned to Virunga National Park - 14 months after fleeing violent hostilities between rebels and government soldiers.

The Gorilla Sector of Virunga National Park is inhabited by 200 of the last remaining 700 critically endangered mountain gorillas in the world. Since September 2007, it has been occupied by rebels who had driven the rangers out.

"It is a huge step that all sides have agreed that the protection of Virunga as a World Heritage Site and its mountain gorillas is of sufficient priority to transcend political differences," said Virunga Park Director Emmanuel de Merode.


Now it's time to assess the damage.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Amazing Rescue of a Dog Stranded at Sea

A golden lab was rescued by a North Carolina fishing guide about a mile from land. It sounds like his owner left him in one boat while he went off fishing with a friend in another.

LAME!

Some commenters think the story is a hoax. Who knows. But at least the story has a happy ending.

Feliz Friday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Palin Pardons Turkey, Gives Interview With Turkeys Being Slaughtered Behind Her

This woman is a complete dumbass. And yes, you will be hearing more about her here. We've been following her destructive policies since before she brought her trailer trash values down to the lower 48, and we'll keep following her until she leaves office.

Progress in the Congo? Relief for Virunga?

I hope so. We've got to get the gorilla rangers back into Virunga.

According to the AP...

The U.N. Security Council agreed Thursday to send 3,100 more peacekeeping troops to Congo, while rebels said they remained committed to a pullback from the front lines despite an army attack.

There are currently 17,000 peacekeepers in the vast Central African nation — the world's largest U.N. peacekeeping mission — but they have been unable to stop the fighting.


The rebels are pulling back from the front lines.

Rebels in Congo pulled hundreds of fighters back from several front-line positions as promised on Wednesday in what the U.N. said was a welcome step toward brokering peace in the volatile nation.

Vegetarian Web Site

Here's another web site for vegetarians. Really good, basic information. Consider it vegetarianism 101.

Bush Administration Seeks to Screw Environment as Much as Possible Before Leaving Office

They are seeking a new rule that would allow mining and development without a full scientific assessment. Little wonder, as the Republican Party and this unpopular knucklehead of a president are both anti-science and anti-environment.

Look at is one among many middle fingers we can expect from him before he leaves office.

Worst. President. Ever.

Casting Call: Need Vegans

An Animal Friendly Life has the details about a new documentary on vegans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on Mulesing

From The Age:
Animal rights activists intend ramping up their international campaign against Australian wool after producers indicated they would not stick to a deadline for phasing out mulesing.

The controversial practice - in which folds of skin are cut from a sheep's rear to prevent fly and maggot infestation - was due to end by 2010.

But a national vote of producers has elected a group of pro-mulesing directors to control Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
Now PETA and others are upset about this because the new directors say they won't be held to deadlines.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rescued Chimp Bonds with Human Caregiver

Sweet pictures of the baby chimp rescued from the Congolese military.

So much like any child....

Quote of the Week

"It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved."


~ Dalai Lama

Ontario Updates Animal Welfare Law

Finally. It's the first update since 1919. That's right 1919. Yeesh.
Bill 50 makes it a provincial offence to abuse any animal, and it establishes the strongest penalties in the country for those charged with animal cruelty -- including the potential to prohibit offenders from owning animals ever again. The Ontario SPCA now has the ability to inspect facilities that keep animals for exhibition, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale. For the first time, animal care standards will be established and failure to comply with these standards will be an offence.
Glad they're finally doing something, but really, why has it taken this long?

Monday, November 17, 2008

PETA Has a Europe Blog

And here it is....

Vegan Lunchbox Blog Worth a Read

I found this blog today and it's got some cool recipes for vegans. I also like reading people's ideas about food.

Congo Rebels Claim They Are Protecting the Gorillas

This New York Times article doesn't have much new to report. I did notice this though....

Officials with Virunga National Park are urging the rebels and government troops to allow them to return to work. The rebels insist the gorillas are safe.

“We are protecting them,” said Babu Amani, a rebel spokesman.


In the meantime...

France began circulating a draft resolution on Monday that would temporarily authorize an additional 3,085 troops and police officers for the peacekeeping mission in the Congo to protect civilians in the eastern part of the country.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ALF Activists Glue Locks of U Cal Primate Researcher

From the website:
Just after sunrise on Halloween, a sole trick or treater descended on the home of University of California-San Francisco primate vivisector Stephen Lisberger. As Stephen and his wife Chieko slept in San Francisco, tubes of superglue were used to fill his front door locks. UCSF vivisectors and officials shall consider this a gentle halloween prank, but this is just the beginning. We will increase our level of tactics as long as non-human primates and other animals are tortured to death at the hands of those driven by profit and as long as the University of California shows a complete disregard for the suffering of the non-human prisoners.

UCSF -- you've already had to pay out over $90,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act for Lisberger's experiments on primates that include fluid deprivation, gluing metal coils to their eyelids, restraint chairs and invasive surgeries. How's thousands, even millions more, in damage to the researchers property and your school sound?

"Now this war has two sides,"

Send Obama a Message About Factory Farming

The Humane Society makes it easy right here.

Dogfighting Ring Broken in Texas

Looks like a lot of people, and dogs, were involved.
Authorities already have seized 187 animals from Harris, Montgomery and Tyler counties connected to the operation. As many as 100 people attended the fights, placing bets as high as $1,000 for a single match.

Detailed records kept by those involved should help authorities prosecute the eight people arrested Friday and the 47 other suspects who have been indicted, but not yet arrested.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Veterinary Association Did Not Support Prop 2

The American Veterinary Medical Association did NOT support Proposition 2. Now they want to be involved in the rule-making.

If you want to know why they opposed it, here's a link to their reasoning.

Lame.

UN Envoy Arrives in Congo for Peace Talks

Things are very, very bad. It's a humanitarian and ecological disaster. The UN has got to wrap this up.

A Congolese minister says that "In 2007 alone, we recorded the slaughter of 15 mountain gorillas and more than 20,000 antelopes," ....adding that in the past decade the number of hippopotami had fallen from 30,000 to 1,000.

30,000 to 1,000? 15? 20,000? I don't have the words to react anymore.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michael Vick Expects to Return to the NFL

This according to his bankruptcy attorneys.

"The Debtor has every reason to believe that upon his release, he will be reinstated into the NFL, resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living," Vick's attorneys wrote in a disclosure statement filed before a hearing Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Norfolk.

Paul K. Campsen, another Vick attorney in the bankruptcy proceeding, said he had not had any contact with the NFL, nor had Vick. While Vick still has a contract with the Falcons, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have the final say on his return, which he is counting on after he is released.

"That's the hope," Campsen said in an interview. "I think efforts will be made once we get past this."


His court date for felony animal cruelty and dogfighting charges is set for November 25.

Mad about the Congo

I suppose I've come to this pretty late and gorilla people already knew that this trouble was brewing. The rebel forces in the Congo have controlled the gorilla sector of Virunga since 2007. Clearly, I haven't been following this as I should have been.

Right now, I am frustrated with the EU and the UN. This whole mess reminds me of other similar situations...Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda. There is a crisis and the UN and the EU do the proverbial "fiddling while Rome burns." What is the point of having UN peacekeepers when they are incapable of keeping the peace? How far can diplomacy really go?

I am no supporter of the Iraq War. I think we should have NEVER entered that country and we have bungled the post-invasion period. But we were EFFECTIVE militarily. We got Saddam. When the US puts its mind to something military, it gets it done.

Which is why I wonder whether the key factor missing here is US leadership. It seems like the UN and the EU sit around and complain about American initiative, but can't seem to get anything done without it.

The US won't get involved. There's no oil there and we've got two wars going on. Unfortunately, there is no strategic interest for a new president to risk important political capital.

So that leaves us with the UN and the EU. Again.

What does it take for them to grow a pair?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Tell Your Cat is Trying to Kill You

Funny comic.

Gorilla E-News from the Dian Fossey Fund

I signed up yesterday to get email alerts from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. I called the fund and spoke to the front desk person who said this was the best way to get updates from them about the situation in the Congo.

I thought things would settle down after the election, but now I'm tied up in knots again! I am so worried about these animals.

Petition Drive Launched Asking Obama to Adopt Shelter Dog

You can sign it here.

Visit the Official Virunga Forest Web Site for Updates

Here is a link to the official web site for the Virunga National Park. I feel so stupid for never knowing about it.

Great blog too. Today's post is about one little chimp who was rescued from the military.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mountain Gorillas Left Unprotected in Virunga

Of course, there is more war in the Congo. Always, always, war. And the mountain gorillas are once again vulnerable. The rebels have taken over the wildlife rangers' headquarters and the gorillas are unprotected. Unless they flee to the Rwandan side of the forest, they may die.

About 200 of the 700 remaining mountain gorillas are in this forest. They don't breed in captivity. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Why can't we just leave them in peace?

UK Birds Poisoned by Laced Bait

More animal cruelty in Britain. Great birds being poisoned by laced venison cubes in Scotland.

Monkeys Stolen from UK Wildlife Park

Horrible and cruel. I can't imagine the trauma the older monkey is going through. I hope they are returned.

Thieves have stolen two monkeys from an enclosure at a wildlife park, police said today.

The female squirrel monkeys were snatched after raiders broke into the Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford, Oxfordshire, last night.

Staff discovered the enclosure had been entered and the animals were missing at 7am this morning.

The stolen monkeys were called Stripe, who in her 20s was the oldest in the group at the park, and Deana, who was in her teens.

Curator Jamie Craig said the thieves cut through a number of fences and then kicked down a heavy door to gain entry to the area where the animals were sleeping.

"...My fear is that the two stolen will end up in a bird cage in someone's lounge."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ban on Ape Testing Proposed in EU

Their is a proposal to ban testing on apes in the EU. Is this a solution to a problem that doesn't exist?
Europe's environment chief plans to ban laboratory tests on mankind's closest relatives -- chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans -- in a clampdown on animal testing by the drugs industry and other laboratories.

But some animal welfare groups and researchers accused the European Union of masking weak regulation with empty gestures, as no great apes have been used in EU research for six years.

"Today's draft legislation does include a great ape test ban, but as no apes are used in EU research at the moment, this is considered by many animal advocates as something of a token gesture," said the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, a British-based charity which opposes using animals in experiments.

Welcome Lou!

Our last two hamsters passed away in September and are now buried under some berry bushes. Since then, I've been looking for another dwarf hamster (I currently have two teddy bear hamsters, Doris and Heidi). Finally, on Sunday, I found one at our animal shelter.

Our new Russian dwarf is named LOU!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

India's Wildlife Crime Unit Makes First Arrests

It sure looks like India is taking wildlife crime investigation seriously.

In its first ever independent operation since its inception last year, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has unearthed an illegal pet trade racket arresting one and seizing four live Indian Tent turtles from Mahipalpur area here...

The entire operation, including arrest and seizure, was executed by the WCCB officials on Tuesday. The operation was conducted without taking help from any other agency. However, the accused was kept in the Vasant Kunj police station as the bureau does not have its own lock up space.

"It was not a big haul but an important one as illegal trade of beautiful and small animals as pets is going on, thus adversely affecting the conservation efforts," Deputy Director of WCCB Ramesh Pandey said.

Forensics Used to Solve Wildlife Crime in India

In India, forensic tests helped establish guilt in the killing of 10 endangered lions.

Between February and March 2007, 10 lions were killed by poachers in three different incidents at the Gir National Park (GNP) which houses 360 Asiatic lions, the only surviving population in the wild.

Eighteen months later, 30 tribals belonging to the Baheliya tribe were found guilty by a local court in Junagadh and sentenced to three years imprisonment

The accused were subjected to forensic tests, which established that their nails, spears and animal traps carried traces of flesh, blood and hair of the poached lions. The analysis determined the species of the sample as well as the unique DNA fingerprint of one particular animal, whose flesh was found on the equipment. The link was clearly established.

To confirm the line of investigation, in a yet another unprecedented move, a narco-analysis test was conducted on one of the accused, a woman. It confirmed the initial findings.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stay Vigilant

Just because McCain and Palin lost this time around doesn't mean we can let our guard down. Whether we are environmentalists, animal rights activists, or simply supporters of democracy, we have to remain vigilant. Especially about Sarah Palin and the possibility that this woman will return in 2012.

Americans are a skittish bunch. It doesn't take much to turn us. And the Bushies and Palinites are still here. They will simply scurry off to their think tanks and Fox News. But they are waiting for their opportunity to come back and wreak their havoc. We have to make sure we don't give them the chance.

I don't expect Barack Obama to be a god. He'll make decisions I don't support (like off-shore oil drilling), but we dodged a BIG BULLET this time around.

I hope to keep an eye on our wolf-killing Sarah. I fear she'll be back.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Earth Friendly Makeup - But What About Animals?

Here's an article highlighting some "earth friendly" makeup brands. The article talks about health and safety, but mentions nothing about whether these products are animal-tested. It doesn't even raise the issue as an eco-concern.

Now, it may be that none of these brands are tested on animals (certainly not Sheila McCartney's Care right?), but the article made me question the assumption that "earth friendly" is naturally equated with "animal friendly."

Whale Wars on Animal Planet

Starts tonight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Research for Policy Wonks

Thanks to Animalblog for the heads up.
HumaneSpot.org is a unique research website tailored to the needs of animal advocates. [They] offer a wide range of useful tools and resources, including nearly 1,000 independent research studies relating to animal issues.

These people are serious. You need to apply to gain access and the applications are reviewed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Will Obama Rescue a Dog?

Hey, if it's important enough to mention in his speech that he was getting a puppy, it's important enough for us to talk about it. He did say in the past that he would adopt a dog. Let's hope he sends a progressive message by giving a shelter dog a new home. Maybe he could get two...

LA Unleashed has a good roundup of reaction from the Humane Society and PETA.

Prop 2 Passes in California

Proposition 2 has been passed in California. From the campaign website:
(Nov. 4, 2008) – Voters in California approved an historic ballot measure to halt the inhumane confinement of animals on factory farms by an overwhelming margin. As of 11 PM PST, Prop 2 was leading 62% to 38%.

“California voters have taken a stand for decency and compassion and said that the systemic mistreatment of animals on factory farms cannot continue," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, the primary back of the YES! on Prop 2 campaign. "All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.”

Proposition 2 ends the practice of confining certain animals raised for food in crates and cages so small the animals can barely move. Prop 2 requires that factory farms provide enough space for animals to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. It applies to breeding pigs, egg laying hens and veal calves. Prop 2 goes into effect in January of 2015, giving factory farms six years to shift to different housing systems.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Historic Moment

Barack Obama is the next President. Congratulations to him and all the people that worked on his campaign.

Yes we can!

Monday, November 3, 2008

You Know What To Do

And, you know what not to do, which is vote for the 72 year old crank who doesn't know how to use The Google. Nor, I might add, his dingbat trailer trash sidekick who thinks that voluntary dumbassery somehow gives her insights into the "common" man or woman.

Vote Obama. Our country cannot afford the destructive policies, nor the hateful divisive beliefs of the Republican Party.

That's all I have to say.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gordon Ramsey Disappoints Me

I know, I know, I shouldn't be surprised. The guy is a real jerk on Hell's Kitchen, but we watch him on the British show Kitchen Nightmares and I've learned a lot from the guy. He's more human and sensitive on the show. And he has such a sense and love of food.

But, according to my husband, the guy hates vegetarians and won't allow his daughter to marry one. What the f^&^! What is so threatening to chefs like Ramsey and David Chang? I think part of it is their egos, but it's also their training. When I watch Top Chef, these people can hardly make a chocolate cake without throwing some lamb in there.

Come on.

Egg Companies Accused of Price Collusion

The Justice Department has opened investigations. It's in the Wall Street Journal.

Fresh-egg farmers acted together through a series of export shipments, organized by United Egg Producers, an industry cartel whose 250-plus members include virtually all of the nation's big egg producers. By removing a small fraction of eggs that would have been bound for U.S. sales and arranging instead for their export, United Egg helped tighten domestic supply and drive up the price of eggs across the country, according to newsletters and other documents that United Egg sent to its members.

Not only did they arrange for exports, they also are accused of colluding to limit production and to increase cage sizes so that fewer hens can be kept. (This is actually good for animal welfare, but goes to show that only greed will motivate these bastards to do anything.) Scarcity then leads to high prices.

Wow. Tomato growers are accused of the same thing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Japanese Whaling Ship Found Guilty of Violating Environmental Agreement

The Japanese whaler Bluebird has been stripped of it's Panamanian flag. From Sea Shepherd:
The Japanese whaling fleet supply ship Oriental Bluebird has been de-flagged and fined by the Panamanian Registry after being found guilty of:

Using the ship for purposes it was not licensed for (i.e. carrying whale meat rather than oil)

Violating the MARPOL convention (a treaty designed to eliminate the deliberate, negligent or accidental release of oil and other harmful substances from ships into the marine environment) after illegally re-fuelling whaling vessels in Antarctic waters.

The illegal operations of the Oriental Bluebird underscore the illegality of the entire Japanese whaling fleet. Japanese whalers are targeting endangered whales in the legally established Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling.
I'm surprised that nobody has ever put pressure on the Panamanians to not register whaling vessels in the first place.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kudos to Coke for World Wildlife Fund Partnership

Coca-Cola has extended it's partnership with the WWF to reduce carbon emissions and save water. So drink Coke! That kind of corporate responsibility should be rewarded.

Light Posting Due to Halloween

Posting has been a little light. We'll post more on the weekend (and before then if we have time).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Proposition 2 Poll

I've been trying to find polling data on Proposition 2, but this is all I could find. It's from September 30, from the Humane Society.

As the quarterly campaign finance period closed today, the YES! on Prop 2 campaign reports a tidal wave of voter and donor support from Californians backing the effort to stop the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals on industrial factory farms. In contrast, the donations raised by the No on Prop 2 campaign have come from a handful of corporate factory farming interests—most from out of state and many which are embroiled in a national price-fixing scandal.

The results of a new statewide poll by KSFN-Fresno/SurveyUSA shows overwhelming support from voters, with Prop 2 commanding a 62-point lead: 72-10 (18 undecided).


The writer is Jennifer Fearing, the CHIEF ECONOMIST for the Humane Society.

Chief economist? That's so cool!

Need an Animal Law Talking Guy?

In Washington State, Adam Karp is your man.

But, he also has a list of referrals for lawyers in other states that do this kind of thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Week

People always tell me that it's useless to be a vegetarian. But, if I can save a single cow during my entire life, I'll be happy.

--Bruna Angotti, student

Monday, October 27, 2008

ALF's Campaign Against Fast Food in Mexico

Every time I go to Bite Back Magazine, I'm struck by how many times ALF activists in Mexico have targeted fast food outlets. I suppose they are easy to get at. Here is just a brief summary:

Oct. 24 - They left some sort of awful smelling liquid at a KFC
Oct. 21 - Arson at a Burger King
Oct. 16 - Fake bomb left at McDonalds
Oct. 15 - Spilled paint at KFC

They have hit other types of targets, but it seems like the number of attacks on fast food restaurants has gone up in the month of October.

Profile of Karen Dawn

Here is a profile of vegan author and creator of DawnWatch.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to Confront Cruelty

I came across this 2005 book from the Society & Animals Journal titled Confronting Cruelty Moral Orthodoxy and the Challenge of the Animal Rights Movement.

Sounds interesting.

Why and how do people campaign on behalf of a species that is not their own? Responses to this question provide important insights into the much misunderstood animal rights movement and the people in it who challenge the moral orthodoxy that underpins our attitudes towards nonhuman animals. The norm of moderate concern for animals - that animals matter albeit less than humans - permits the (ab)use of animals in vivisection, factory farming, bloodsports and other contexts where animals suffer.

Readership: This book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to understand the animal rights movement in England, the United States and Australia. It would also be useful to students of sociology and politics in general, and social movements
in particular

Animal Law Podcasts

Here's a link to some podcasts from the Animal Legal and Historical Center. The topics they have so far:

* Pet Sales Gone Bad
* Does My State Have a Leash Law?
* Can I Put My Pet in My Will?
* Lost and Found Pets
* The police shot my dog after it escaped. Do I have any recourse?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

OK, it doesn't have a lot to do with "critters" per se, other then the fact that it deals with That One that approves of killing wolves and polar bears. And it's really really funny. And hey, the title also uses the word vet in TWO different ways that don't mean veterinarian.

Helping Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood

Cory Williams, of the famed "Mean Kitty" YouTube videos (which are really funny), has a good how-to video about doing a trap, spay/neuter, and release of feral cats in your neighborhood. The video was done on behalf of the Stray Cat Alliance.

NY Times Profile of Wayne Pacelle

The NY Times has a long bio on Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suit Against Circus Owners Goes to Trial

Finally, a cruelty suit against Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is coming to trial.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture investigator determined the use of the bull hook “precipitated in the physical harm and ultimate death” of Benjamin, said Tracy Silverman, general counsel for the Animal Welfare Institute....The suit, also filed by The Fund for Animals, of Maryland; the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of Washington; The Animal Protection Institute of Sacramento; and Tom Rider, a former Ringling Bros. employee, claims the defendants inhumanely and illegally mistreat their Asian elephants and have done so for decades.

On Monday, Federal Court Judge Emmet Sullivan will begin hearing testimony in the case. The anticipated three-week, non-jury trial takes place in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

According to the complaint, the defendants routinely beat elephants, violating the 1973 Endangered Species Act by hitting them with bull hooks. It also contends they forcibly remove baby elephants from their mothers with ropes and chains before they are weaned.

Ebay Bans Ivory Sales

Hooray!

EBay has announced a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory products on its auction websites from next year.

An eBay spokesman said the move was the best way to help African and Asian elephants. The endangered animals are often hunted for their ivory tusks.

The ban comes as a conservation group prepares to release a report critical of the auction site.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare will say more than 4,000 ivory products have been listed on eBay

Sick Prank with Dead Bear Cub

This is not just stupid, but sick.

And don't forget that a bear cub was shot, not by the kids, but by some other monster.

Authorities said Tuesday that a student prank, not a political statement, was the motivation for dumping a dead bear cub draped in Barack Obama signs on a North Carolina campus earlier this week.

They found a bear cub that had been shot in the head, grabbed it, took political signs "at random" to cover the bleeding, then decided to leave it at the base of a statue on campus.

No political motivation either, huh?

I am so proud of being human.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Activist Releases 1500 Mink in Oregon

According to Bite Back Magazine, an activist released 1500 mink from a farm in Astoria.
In the early morning hours of October 17th, a lone activist
infiltrated the fur farm at 92659 Simonsen Road in Astoria Oregon.
About 1,500 mink were released from their cages with at least 200
of these being breeding stock. The fact that there is no fence
around this farm should help ease their escape.
This action is being claimed for the vegan straight edge
community. not as a self-congratulatory ego boost, but in the vain
hope that it might spur others into action. It has become apparent
that the combined tactics of record collecting, sing-alongs, and
militant posturing have failed to stop those who abuse innocent
life. once we accept this then we can stop squandering our
potential and choose a more effective plan of action.
I would like to close by offering a piece of advice to the
owners of this farm, to the owners of the other farms in the
Astoria, OR area (it was simply by luck of the draw that your farms
weren't chosen), and to ALL fur farmers:
find a new profession. fur farmers are a dying breed. get out
before you are forced out.

'your laws will have no meaning past the setting of the sun.'

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Palin Bad For Polar Bears

An ad from Defenders of Wildlife. Yet another reason to make sure this moron never gets to be one 72 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency.