Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, February 29, 2008

Four Factors for Animal Rights Movements?

This guy named Wes Jamison, a professor of agricultural and natural resource politics at Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa), is clearly an agent of the agricultural sector in the country. But at a recent presentation he gave to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference, he made some interesting points about the growth of animal rights movements. (He's been studying this nutty thing for twenty years!)

While farmers have been focusing on competition and farm profitability, the world has been changing, according to Jamison. Animal rights discussions hinge on the human values that society has placed on animals.

Jamison outlined four factors needed in a society for an animal rights movement to rise, including urbanization, anthropomorphism (attributing human qualities to animals), belief in evolution, and a sense of equality. Unless all four factors are present, an animal rights movement does not exist.

Urbanization has made animals go from tools, instruments and commodities to something else. Animals now live in the house as members of the family.

“Animal rights does not cause society to change, but changes in society itself give way to animal rights,” Jamison said.


Interesting litmus test to apply to countries around the world to see if true.

Photo by Skinnyde.

Sea Shepherd Still Chasing the Japanese Whalers

The latest from Paul Watson (quoted in full because I know they won't care).

Leap year gave us an extra day this month, but despite that it looks like we have made it to the end of February without any whales killed for last six days.

We are chasing the Japanese in circles and there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason as to what the Japanese whalers are doing. What we do know is that they are wasting fuel and not catching any whales.

We had two Humpback whales breach beside the ship today.

The weather is getting colder and we are getting many hours of darkness now. The Antarctic winter is creeping up on us. The seas are getting rougher and we are getting blizzards. The Japanese whalers are running out of time.

Back in Japan the whaling industry is getting desperate. Last month the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) dumped 10 tons of unsold whale meat in to a primary school lunch program according to a recent article in the Australian Daily Telegraph. The Japanese government is trying to get children to develop a taste for whale flesh and blubber despite the high mercury content in the whale meat.

As the Japanese whaling fleet tries to kill whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary, they have admitted to the Japanese media that they have over 3000 tons of unsold whale meat from last year’s whale hunt.

Says the article, “School kids urged to eat whale meat” dated February 28th:

A total of 200,000 free lunches of whale meat salad marinated in sesame sauce were served on January 21 and 22. Yokohama children have not eaten whale meat as part of school lunches in 26 years….

Manager of health education at the Yokohama City Education Committee, Ms
Atsukjo Ito, who coordinated the lunch program, said there were no plans for a second program.
(Observes Captain Watson: She did not say if this was because the children did not like it or not.)

…Leading Liberal Democratic Party Upper House member Yoshimasa Hayashi, who chairs Japan's International Whaling Commission committee, yesterday admitted there was a deliberate attempt to revive the domestic market for the meat. He said he saw no problem with feeding the meat to children as part of a public relations campaign. "We are trying very hard to regain a market for whale eating," Mr Hayashi said.

But, in a surprise concession, Mr Hayashi said Japan would seriously consider ending whaling operations in the high seas if they were allowed to extend its coastal whaling program. "There is a chance of an agreement. It will depend largely on US leadership to bridge the differences at the IWC," he said.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is concerned that the United States has struck a deal with Japan that would end whaling in the Southern Ocean but would legalize coastal whaling near Japan. Although we would welcome an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean we are opposed to killing whales anywhere by anyone for any reason.

However, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not a protest organization and we will reluctantly support the rulings of the International Whaling Commission if they strike such a deal.

At least it will bring peace to the Southern Ocean and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will in fact be a whale sanctuary. At present it is simply a joke to call this a whale sanctuary as Japan slaughters over a thousand whales a year within its boundaries.
I believe that Japan is now looking for an excuse to get out of the Southern Oceans. It is becoming a major international embarrassment for them and they are losing more money every year. During the 2005/2006 season we intervened and caused them to fall 85 whales short of their quota. During the 2006/2007 season they did not make half their quota because of Sea Shepherd’s interference and a major accident and fire onboard the Nisshin Maru. Our goal this year is to prevent them from reaching half their goal. We know we have prevented them from taking a major part of their quota this season. I think we will have a major impact on the numbers this year.


Photo by iTopher

Former Vivesector Appointed as Head of Food Standards Agency in UK

Colin Blakemore, a professor of neuroscience at Oxford, was recently appointed as head of the Food Standards Agency. He is a man who unapologetically done animal testing (but opposes it for cosmetics), and has had nail bombs mailed to his home for it.

He prefers to reframe the whole debate, to talk of responsibilities, rather than rights. "The reason why I don't mistreat my own cat is not because it has some kind of rights. It's because I try to be a decent person. Our primary responsibility is to our own species. As for, say, mosquitoes, do we have responsibilities to them? No. Do you swat them? Of course. They don't have rights. They're bloody awful, carriers of disease. None of this, ah, pseudo-Buddhism."

It's an interesting article.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Plastic Bags Threaten Marine Life

I absolutely hate plastic bags and always try to pick up stray ones that I find for proper disposal. However, there are certain things for which I can't figure out how to live without them. I can use cloth bags for groceries, but what do I do for trash? And do paper bags help or just hurt because they come from trees.

I'm thinking that the danger to marine life is from those random bags that lie in the streets and get swept into our storm systems. But there sure is a lot of them.

This a sad story of a minke whale in 2002 who died a lingering death from all the plastic bags in her stomach.

The minke was found on the Normandy coast. At first, it was assumed she had died of natural causes.

When her stomach was cut open, scientists were amazed to find nearly two pounds of plastic bags, eaten by mistake as she searched for food.

The 2lb haul included two plastic bags from English supermarkets, seven transparent plastic bags, and fragments from seven dustbin bags.

In an ironic twist, one of the bags found in the gut of the dead whale appears to read: "We support good farm animal welfare."

Most worrying of all, there was no proper food in her stomach.

Minkes are among the smallest of the whales and the fastest moving. They can be seen swimming off the coasts of Scotland, Ireland and the South West.


These plastic bags also threaten other whales, dolphins and turtles who mistakenly consume them.

Photo by gooseflesh.

Reform Pending for Kosher Slaughter Practices

We've been following the controversies surrounding methods of kosher killing. It looks like the criticisms have finally made a dent.

Amid claims by animal rights groups of gratuitous suffering, the Chief Rabbinate is planning to gradually phase out the use of the "shackle and hoist" method of kosher slaughter in Israel and South America.

"We are working toward upgrading the way animals are prepared for slaughter to minimize animal suffering," a Chief Rabbinate spokesman said Sunday on behalf of Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, who is responsible for kashrut supervision.

The spokesman refrained from saying what steps Metzger would take to encourage slaughterhouse owners to make the transition from the cheaper shackle and hoist method to the more expensive "rotating pen" method.

We plan to meet soon with importers and slaughterhouse owners who use the method in an attempt to reach an agreement," said the spokesman.


Photo by guylookin4fun06.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Humane Society Sues USDA Over Eating Downed Cows

The Humane Society is suing the USDA over downed cows.

The Humane Society sued the federal government Wednesday over what it said is a legal loophole that allows sick or crippled cattle, called "downers," into the food supply.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture rule change made in July allows some downer cows into the food supply, the Humane Society of the United States alleges in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In 2004, the USDA tightened regulations to prohibit the slaughter of all "downer" cows — animals that cannot stand — after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state. The lawsuit alleges that under last year's change, cows that fell down after an initial veterinarian inspection but appeared otherwise healthy were allowed to be slaughtered.

Police Dogs With Sneakers

In Dusseldorf, the police dogs wear sneakers. Next up, dogs that shoot bees at you.

They're big, strong, and fierce -- and they wear little blue booties.

The police dogs in Duesseldorf, Germany are now patrolling the pavement in protective shoes that their police-officer handlers strap onto their paws.

The reason? Too many glass shards left by beer drinkers in the city center, said Andre Hartwich, a spokesman for police in Duesseldorf.

ALF Targets Hunt Kennels in UK

Here's an item that slipped through the news on February 18. I often forget that ALF is active outside the US too.

Kennels of the Duke of Beaufort's and the VWH were the subject of the attacks that took place late on Saturday {February 16} and in the early hours of Sunday and included the Hunting Office's new base.

The letters ALF (a reference to the direct-action animal rights group the Animal Liberation Front) and the message "Enforce the Ban" were scrawled in red paint on the driveways of both hunts and the walls of the Hunting Office...

Today (18 February) marks three years since the Hunting Act came into play and it is thought the attacks could be meant to coincide with that.


Photo by Cyzaki.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Indigenous Tribe Hunting Illegally in Alberta

Issues surrounding indigenous hunting are always tough.

{The Métis} have embarked on an out-of-season {antelope} hunt to assert what they claim is their inherent right to hunt for food anywhere in the province.

Some of them say they may never use the right, but they are determined to claim it just the same.

"It's not about hunting; it's about aboriginal rights," says Jones, who was born in Edmonton, but moved into the mountains to trap and guide when he reached his teens. "If we don't exercise our rights, we don't have any rights."

The Métis say a Supreme Court of Canada decision upholds this constitutional right, but the Alberta government continues to deny it.

Under Alberta's rules, which came into effect last summer when the province cancelled a negotiated interim harvesting agreement, Métis cannot hunt on this prairie between Calgary and the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary. It has removed their legal right to hunt for food in all of central or southern Alberta.


Photo by Olorin1.

Prince Charles Says No More Foie Gras

Thanks to Prince Charles for a boost to the anti-foie gras campaign.

The Prince of Wales has instructed chefs at all of his royal residences to stop serving the dish.

He is also considering withdrawing the royal warrant from one of his favourite shops - the House of Cheese in Tetbury, Gloucestershire - after he discovered it was selling the pâté.


Photo by Wastrel UK.

Did Animal Rights Activists Commit a Home Invasion?

If true, this is a pretty big deal. The alleged attack by six people wearing bandanas happened at a University researcher's home at 1:00 in the afternoon.

University of California-Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal confirmed late Monday that an off-campus home invasion by six masked intruders occurred at a faculty member's home. In a statement, Blumenthal called the incident "very disturbing."

Santa Cruz police reported that six people wearing bandannas tried to break into a Westside home just before 1 p.m., and that one of the family members, not the faculty member, was attacked before the intruders fled.

The male victim had made sure his wife and children were safe in the back of the house before he confronted the attackers. He suffered minor injuries after being hit with an unknown object. None of the other four people in the house were injured.


I'm not really sure what they would be trying to accomplish. If you want to sneak into a house, you wouldn't bring 6 people wearing bandanas in the middle of the day. And if it was some sort of physical violence they wanted, that must be one hell of a researcher to fight off 6 people. Or, maybe it was a bunch of idiot idealistic college students who had too many bong hits. Very weird.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Petco to Decrease Live Animal Inventory

Thanks to PETA on this one, at least that's what PETA says.

Petco says better customer tracking systems are allowing them to devote more space to products than pets. PETA says it's because the organization threatened to go public with the abuses at one of Petco's live animal suppliers.

PETA said it found a Petco supplier, Rainbow World Exotics in Hamilton, Texas, abusing animals in surprise visits from September to November last year.

For example, PETA said, rabbits were neutered using a dull razor; live hamsters, rats and mice were dumped in trash cans; and animals were thrown to the floor in attempts to kill them.

In response, Petco suspended Rainbow, conducted its own surprise inspection, and Rainbow has completed improvements to its facilities, Whalen said.

"Based on their performance over the last month and their continued interest in working with us to improve protocols, we reinstated them as a supplier," he added.


It doesn't seem right to me that Petco would still keep these monsters as suppliers or that there was no way to shut the place down. Neutering rabbits with dull razors?

Now, PETA needs to work on Petsmart too. I hate walking into that place and seeing all the little mice, hammies and other little animals squashed into small cages.

Adopt, adopt, adopt.

Photo by The_Kinkajou.

Groups May Take Novia Scotia to Court

More seal troubles up in Canada...

Animal rights groups say they are considering taking Nova Scotia and seal hunters to court to prevent a repeat of the grey seal hunt on Hay Island, a protected wilderness area off Cape Breton.

Officials from Humane Society International and the Atlantic Canada Anti-Sealing Coalition, which spent a couple of days observing the hunt, released pictures and video on Monday of seals being clubbed and skinned, evidence they said of a "violent slaughter."

"We want to hold the Nova Scotia government accountable so that we don't ever see this again," said society spokesperson Rebecca Aldworth.

"The fishing industry is trying to scapegoat grey seals for its own destructive fishing practices."

Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Ron Chisholm said his department was looking to protect fish species around Hay Island when he authorized a cull earlier this month.


Photo by giles.breton.

Iranian Man Imprisoned for Walking Dog

This is just strange. Dogs are considered "impure" in Islam, so they are going to beat this guy and put him im prison.

A 70-year-old Iranian man was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail and 30 lashes for walking his dog, Adnkronos.com reported Tuesday. Police caught the man on the street with his dog in Shahr Rey, a suburb of Tehran.

Owners of domestic animals are forbidden from taking them on the streets of the city because Islam considers dogs to be impure. An Islamic judge later charged the man for "disturbing the public order,” Adnkronos.com reported.

Muslims can own dogs, but not keep them in the house. I don't pretend to know Islamic theology, but this religion sounds like a sure prescription for cruelty and abuse. Some may try to talk their way around it, like here, but I'm just not buying it. Dogs are just considered BAD in the Islamic world. A 70 year old man shows compassion for an animal and is treated like this. I wonder what they did to the dog...

What a very sad view of these wonderful animals.

South Africa to Allow Killing of Elephants

I'm not really happy about this, but I will say South Africa does a much better job in controlling the ivory trade then many countries in Africa.

South Africa will allow elephants to be killed in an attempt to control a burgeoning population, the government said, ending a 13-year ban and setting a trend that could embolden other southern African nations confronting the same dilemma.

As outraged animal rights activists threaten to promote tourist boycotts, Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said Monday the government was left with no choice but to reintroduce culling "as a last option and under very strict conditions."

There would be no "wholesale slaughter," he promised.

"Our simple reality is that elephant population density has risen so much in some southern African countries that there is concern about impacts on the landscape, the viability of other species and the livelihoods and safety of people living within elephant ranges," he said.

Photo by Angela7dreams

Sunday, February 24, 2008

WA State Bill to Protect Pets from Domestic Violence

Let's hope it passes.

Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia, sponsored House Bill 2836, which would allow judges to grant exclusive care of an animal to one person in a domesticviolence protection order. The protection orders can force a suspected abuser to stay away from victims or their children.

The bill would help in situations in which the victim cannot take the pet with him or her by keeping the abuser from threatening to harm the animal, Williams said.


Photo by Sakanta Running Wolf.

Illegal Makah Whale Hunters Getting Easy Ride

Disappointing. Basically, it's a victory for the Makah whalers who conducted the illegal hunt.

Five Makah whalers will face fewer charges at their federal trial in April, a U.S. magistrate ruled Tuesday.

Gone is the count of violating the federal Whaling Convention Act, and with it a charge of conspiring to violate that same 1949 law.

Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold quashed the indictments after hearing oral arguments from Assistant U.S. Attorney James Oesterle and from Yakima attorney Jack Fiander, one of the defendants' lawyers.

What remain are charges of conspiracy to hunt a whale and of harassing and killing the gray whale Sept. 8 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Neah Bay, a violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Conviction on each count — a misdemeanor — could carry a $100,000 fine and one-year prison term.


Photo by ricardo.martins.

USDA Inspectors Missing in Action

The downer cow atrocity raises interesting questions. How much more of this crap is going on? And where are the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors? Food safety is supposed to be the most important mission of the USDA. Is it really?

Here's an interesting article that accuses the USDA of investing in a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for big business at the expense of the meat inspection budget for us little guys.

Nearly $150 million has been spent on promoting NAIS ....NAIS money is often spent to bribe non-government organizations into a Public/Private Partnership to promote the NAIS. The Future Farmers of America were paid $633,000 to encourage FFA kids to get their parents to register their property into the program. In fact, if an analysis of the not-for-profit organizations that are promoting NAIS were published, it would be a pretty complete list of where the USDA's $150 million in NAIS money went.

International agreements limit the export of meat from countries that do not have an electronic tracking system. Therefore, big packers need to have an electronic system in place – regardless of whether it works or not – to maximize their exports. The tag and reader manufacturers anticipate a windfall, and the State Departments of Agriculture – some of which have been known to sign up state residents without their knowledge or permission – and the USDA anticipate a "full employment act" like none other.


Photo by Farm Sanctuary.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bullfighting Exhibition Set for European Parliament

Are you eff-ing kidding me?

A bullfighting exhibition will be held at the European Parliament in June in Brussels in an effort to persuade lawmakers that the activity is acceptable, the Spanish organisers said Thursday.

The exhibit, called "between man and bull", will be staged for two days at the headquarters of the assembly beginning on June 4, said representatives of the main body which represents Spain's bullfighting sector, the Mesa del Toro.

The secretary general of the body, Eduardo Martin-Penato, said the event would be a "unique opportunity" to show the merits of bullfighting, which are traditionally held in Spain, Portugal and France, to those who are opposed.

I didn't realize that this was such an important issue in Spain, Portugal, and France (France?) that they need an exhibition to promote the stupid thing. And the EU Parliament will allow it?

This is not about culture. It's as much about culture as Japanese whaling. It's about ECONOMICS and money. It's about Spain's bullfighting sector concerned that it may get bad press and keep losing money at their events.

I can't believe it.

Photo by x_m_n_m_x.

Renewable Energy Push Threatens Portuguese Wildlife

I support the concern about climate change and global warming. I've had fights at work about it. But I believe that these issues have overshadowed the environmental agenda and become the cause du jour. In particular, it is overshadowing the increasing loss of biodiversity.

And here is another example.


The EU is investing in renewable energy in order to cut greenhouse emissions. This is important and I support that. But they are including hydropower as a renewable resource and I DON'T support that. As a resident of the Northwest, we get cheap power, but look at the damage done to our wildlife and salmon as a result of damming the Columbia and Snake rivers. Gargantuan impacts.

I'm afraid Europe is following the same mistaken path. And Portugal is a willing victim.

Portugal has long wanted to dam the Sabor, which runs from near the Spanish border to the Douro, the majestic river flanked by port vineyards. The 170 megawatt power station, costing €354m ($518m, £264m), is part of a €1bn hydroelectric investment by the Energias de Portugal power company.

While most EU countries have fully exploited hydro­electric potential, mountainous Portugal's is only half used. It is vital to meet the country's EU-assigned goal of lifting renewable generation from 20.5 per cent to 31 per cent in 2020.

But when the plans were unveiled a decade ago, environmental activists and 260 scientists opposed the move, fearing that western Europe's last wild river would be tamed. They brought a legal case, the European Commission backed them and work stalled.

In late August, Brussels suddenly shelved its enforcement action after EdP produced mitigation plans. Within days José Sócrates, Portugal's prime minister, and António Mexia, EdP chief executive, visited Sabor to announce that work would begin.


Bárbara Fráguas, who studies Bonelli's eagles, said: "This is a very, very important area because it is the last wild river in Europe. It is like a giant corridor connecting the north of Portugal ... The dam will divide the animal populations and they cannot survive. EDP says they will build bridges for the wolves to cross but animals don't use bridges."

Vegetation would become scarcer, she says, reducing the number of small animals that some of the last 1,000 Bonelli's eagles in Europe rely on for food.

Ms Fráguas admits that local politicians and residents support the project. For generations the young people of Trás-os-Montes, the spiritual heart of Portugal, have left to find work.


Of course, they support this dam. I'm a Luso-American and I love my heritage. But Portugal is a poor country that had a glorious past. Right now, after so many years of religious and dictatorial oppression, it is still evolving in national conscience to appreciate and understand the environment, nature, and values other than money and the Church. Wildlife was always a nuisance, never a benefit. But it also wants to be taken seriously as a cooperative and progressive member of the EU. And they want the EU's money. Based on what I've seen of my trips there, they will do what they can to get it. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes this is bad.

In this case, it's bad.

Photo by PEstevao.

Where the Hell is Greenpeace?

So what's up with Greenpeace and this whole whaling thing? The Japanese are trying to kill whales right now, but you would hardly know it from the Greenpeace web site. Yes they have a few links to stories about it, but it hardly seems to be of much importance. This is what they are all about isn't it? Yes, I know they do other things, but don't you think they should be raising hell during whaling season. Am I missing something here?

I'll be honest, I'm more partial to Sea Shepherd's aggressive tactics. And not just because of the bad-ass t-shirt I bought. But, aside from the aggressive tactics, Sea Shepherd is trying to stop the whaling

Greenpeace raised a stink, chased them for a bit with the Esperanza and then went home while patting themselves on the back for delaying them for two whole weeks. Pah! What kind of crap is that? Use whatever tactics you want, but at least have some fire in the belly. A two week reprieve is all they're willing to give the whales? That hardly seems like much of a return on investment for anyone donating to save the whales. Paul Watson may be controversial, but at least you know if you give him money it will go to where the rubber hits the road so to speak.

Again, I don't ask that they adopt Sea Shepherd's tactics. But I do think they owe it to the whales to do more then delay a death sentence.

Sea Shepherd Again Chasing Japanese Whalers

Here we go again.

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin in hot on the tail of the Yushin Maru No.2 and is chasing the ship through a snow storm through an obstacle course of icebergs.

"We have them on the run," said Captain Paul Watson. "The Yushin Maru is only a mile in front of us and running at full speed. The Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 which carries armed Japanese Coast Guard officers is one mile behind the Yushin Maru and closing aggressively"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's Be Fair, Russians Kill Baby Seals Too

Canada is to seal hunting as Japan is to whaling. Neither is the sole actor in the massacres, but each has the highest profile. However, it is important that the spotlight be shared with the other perpetrators of these sad atrocities. They are just as guilty.

In other words, Russians kill baby seals too.

In Defense of Animals knows this and recently held a protest at San Francisco's Russian Consulate against hunts that take place in Russia's Archangelsk region.

Russia is the only country that allows seals less than 2 weeks old to be killed, organizers said.

Photo by perfil.

Saipan Trying to Find Site for New Shelter

Saipan's government and animal activists are wrestling with the question of where to site a new animal shelter. The island, an American commonwealth, has had serious problems with stray dogs and its treatment of them.

Saipan Mayor Juan B. Tudela maintains that the most appropriate site for an animal shelter is in Kagman and not the old prison facility in Susupe, as suggested by...Pet Assistance and Welfare Services president Katie Busenkell.

This is the shocking part.

Tudela said that since 1985, an animal shelter should have already been established. The animal shelter is long overdue, according to Tudela, and he wants to finish the project “before I leave this office in 2010.

They've had since 1985 to do this? I believe actions speak louder than words, but this IN-action yells volumes.

Photo by roenke47.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bizarre Animal Performance Acts in China

This article is so tiny, I'm just posting the whole thing.

I hope this is not a sign of things to come in the Olympic games' opening ceremonies....

A 30-STONE lion has been trained to ride a horse in a bizarre circus-style sideshow for zoo visitors.

The stunt is followed by a 35-stone tiger which jumps up to balance on the same horse during the performance at Xiamen, in south-east China.

The country's zoos have a history of controversy.

Campaigners against animal cruelty were outraged when pictures of bears riding bikes during an "Animal Games" in Nanjing were released two weeks ago.

Live animals are fed to tigers to entertain crowds at the Xiogsen Bear and Tiger Mountain village in Guilin, northern China.


Photo by Sara Gouveia.

China's Last Elephant Herd Dwindles

Did you know China still has an elephant herd? Efforts are underway to protect the remaining 400.

In rapidly developing China? Good luck.

In addition to sharing a border – and the Mekong River – with Laos, Yunnan province also shares China's last herd of Asian elephants, which in recent years has dwindled to only 400 elephants. The herd lives in nature reserves near the border between China and Laos.

This week the Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department met with their counterparts from Laos in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture to discuss ways to protect the endangered Asian elephant, which falls under China's grade-one protection for endangered animal species.

Photo by wynjym.

UCLA Sues Animal Activists

The suit, aimed at ALF and other groups, is to stop what they say are "terrorist and violent" attacks against researchers.

UCLA administrators are taking on some animal rights activists. The university has gone to court to get a restraining order against some animal rights groups.

Activists are accused of harassing UCLA researchers who conduct experiments using animals.

Lawyers for UCLA say that the harassment has become violent in recent years and wants it to stop. A lawyer for the animal rights activists say they haven't been doing anything illegal.


I'm not sure how that "we haven't been doing anything illegal" thing will fly
.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Critter of the Week - Shy Doris

Shark Blood Sport in Massachusetts

We've pointed out in the past that the cruelest and most bizarre blood sports in the US tend to be in the Southeast. Well, here's one that doesn't fit that mold...it's in MASSACHUSETTS of all places.

Although the Humane Society article I quote is from 2007, the event is alive and well and set for 2008.

Each summer, entrants in the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament hook sharks; bleed, suffocate, or repeatedly gaff them; and string them up on docks in gruesome, sometimes mocking displays—all for prizes and gory glory. In the 2005 tournament, some 240 boats hooked approximately 2,500 sharks and killed 46 sharks in the span of 3 days. In the 2006 tournament, stormy weather provided a partial reprieve; 26 sharks were killed.

Proponents of shark killing tournaments claim that such contests serve science because biologists can study the dead sharks, leading to greater understanding of the animals’ populations. But because shark tournaments target large sharks, studies of the victims of contest kills are highly inaccurate indicators of shark abundance and population dynamics.

The truth is that shark tournaments exist because killing these unparalleled and at-risk animals is "sport" for some and "entertainment" for others.

In 2005 and 2006, ESPN broadcast the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. Many in the nation, including The Humane Society of the United States, were appalled and called on ESPN to stop aggrandizing the event. The network refused.


Stupid. Who are the real monsters here?

Photo by sgt99999.

Alley Cat Allies' Anti-Cruelty Center

I love Alley Cat Allies. We first got involved with animal issues back in 1995 as the result of a feral cat colony in our apartment building's parking lot. We received no support or encouragement from our local nonprofit shelter nor our municipal shelter. Fortunately, we tapped into a group of "underground" cat rescuers who gave us advice and helped with placement (five of those placements are lounging around in the house as I write!)

The one organized group we encountered was Alley Cat Allies and they are still growing. They are a leader in the field of managing feral cat colonies and rescue work.

I see that they now have an anti-cruelty web page and I want to encourage you to check out the group's site and this useful page.

Photo by dawnkua.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Harsh Critique of Congressmember's Animal Welfare Record

Here's an Op-ed from Michael Markarian. He's president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the author of the blog "Animals & Politics" online at www.michaelmarkarian.org.

He is not a fan of U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Ninth District.

Michigan readers take note. It's worth learning more.

According to the piece,

**He has time and again opposed efforts to halt the slaughtering of America's horses for export to Europe and Asia so the animals' meat could be consumed as a delicacy.

**He sought to continue processing "downer" cattle -- animals who are too sick or injured to walk to slaughter, and are often dragged with chains, ropes, bulldozers, and forklifts

**Last year, he voted to allow wealthy American trophy hunters to shoot polar bears in the Arctic -- where they face threats from global warming and vanishing ice floes -- and bring their heads and hides back across the border to America.

**He voted to use your tax dollars to promote the trophy hunting of elephants in Africa, and to give a $2 million annual subsidy to the luxury mink coat industry.


Photo by jimbowen0306.

Mobile Cat Clinic To Help in New Zealand

Another example where a mobile cat clinic is called in to help with cat population control. This time it's in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The clinic, run by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), will be free for pet owners who hold a community service card.

The mobile clinic already had reduced stray and unwanted animal populations when it toured the North Island.

Canterbury SPCA shelter manager Geoff Sutton said stray cat numbers were "ridiculously high" in Christchurch.

"We hope this will result in an immediate reduction in the numbers of stray and unwanted animals around the region this year.


Photo by h . m a n s.

Underage Elephant Sex in Australia

Wow, there's quite a few articles out there about the underage elephant pregnancy in Sidney Australia. There's a story in Environmental Grafitti, the Washington Post, BBC News, and the Times Online.

Little elephant does seem awfully young, but then I'm not an expert....

Sydney's Taronga Zoo has been reprimanded by animal rights activists for letting an Asian elephant fall pregnant even though she is only nine years old.

The zoo, famed for its views over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, proudly announced today that Thong Dee was five months into a 22-month pregnancy and should become the first captive elephant in Australia to give birth. It even released ultrasound images to confirm what it called an "historic event".

But Erica Martin, who heads the Asia Pacific office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said that allowing such a young elephant to get pregnant was the equivalent of allowing your 12-year-old daughter to become pregnant”.


Photo by Paul84.

Monday, February 18, 2008

PETA to Tamil Tigers: If You Blow Up Women and Children, Can you Please Make Sure No Animals Get Killed

When I first saw this story, I had my doubts. I still do, but this is what the AP is running:

An international animal rights group called on Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers to "leave animals out" of the armed conflict, two weeks after a grenade attack blamed on rebels at the island's main zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a letter dated Feb. 15 to Velupillai Prabhakaran, the reclusive rebel leader, that "the explosive device that was set off near the zoo's bird enclosures terrified many animals at the zoo."

PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk pleaded with the rebel leader "to leave animals out of this conflict," the letter said.


That's right. Next time you toss a few grenades in a public place, how about a pre-school instead? But watch out for Nibbles the hamster in the back of the classroom. He gets very jumpy when grenades go off near his cage. Or maybe they can use these?

Real smart way to publicize the cause of humane animal treatment there Ingrid.

Photo by Mckaysavage

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Deaths Halt Bengal Tiger Tracking

The mysterious deaths of two Royal Bengal tigers have halted a tracking program supported by the US. Both tigers were fitted with radio transmitters.

The first tiger was found dead in 2006, while the second is missing but reported to have "become frail after the fitting of a radio collar," according to top forest official A.K.M Shamsuddin.

"We have ordered a probe into the deaths. But in the meantime, we have suspended the project as some experts said the fitting of the radio collar could have hastened their deaths," he said.

Photo by roblind.com.

USDA Issues Biggest Beef Recall Ever

It's amazing that we don't have more meat recalls in this country considering the vast number of animals being slaughtered on a daily basis. Too many animals, too many slaughtering plants, not enough inspectors to go around regularly.

These kinds of stories make me happy to be vegetarian. It's one less thing to be worried about.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the recall of 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef from a troubled Chino meat-packing company, deeming it unfit for human consumption because of lapses in required inspections.

The cattle "did not receive complete and proper inspection," according to a news release issued by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington. Information received by the federal agency shows that Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. "did not consistently contact the FSIS public health veterinarian" as required when cattle became non-ambulatory after being inspected, the release said....

Problems at the plant first went public following the release of a video showing treatment of animals at the plant between Oct. 11 and Nov. 9.

The video, taken surreptitiously by the Humane Society of the United States, led to schools nationwide pulling beef suppled by the company from cafeterias.

In the video, a manager is shown using a paddle to hit a non-ambulatory cow in the face and eye, in an attempt, authorities said, to get the animal to its feet to be taken to slaughter.

By law, cattle that cannot walk are banned from the human meat supply...

Photo by bellabellinsky.

David's Story: Working at Tyson Meatpacking

Daily Kos has an interesting article about a man named David who worked at Tyson. It's more a story about how he was treated rather then the animals, but it's worth reading to see what kind of companies these are. It's worth a read.

160,000 Chickens to be Killed in Bangladesh due to Bird Flu

All of this is from a single farm.

Livestock authorities in Bangladesh began culling around 1.6 lakh chickens at a major poultry farm in the capital after the detection of bird flu, which has spread to 42 of the country's 64 administrative districts since its detection in March last year, officials said on Sunday.

Officials said they would need at least two days to cull the entire flock in the farm.

"This would be the highest number of poultry birds to be culled at a single farm since the outbreak of the avian influenza," chief livestock officer Dr Salahuddin Khan told PTI.

So far, more than six lakh chickens have been culled in various affected areas of the country, he said.


A lakh is equal to 100,000 in the Indian numbering system.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Puerto Rico Pet Killings Go to Trial

A judge in Puerto Rico has ruled that the owner of an animal control company and two of his employees must all stand trial for animal cruelty charges relating to the deaths of around 80 pets last year.

Local officials had hired Animal Control Solutions to remove cats and dogs from housing projects and have claimed that they thought the animals would be taken to shelters.

"I will no longer do any animal-related business in Puerto Rico," the owner of the company, Julio Diaz told the Associated Press. "We are the only ones who have been blamed. We are innocent."


Good! You shouldn't do business ANYWHERE, idiot.

Photo by andyipics.

Lion Cubs Exploited in Some "Conservation" Parks

Some African wildlife parks that tout their lion conservation efforts are actually exploiting their animals.

It's a vicious cycle. Lion breeders remove cubs from their mothers in order to induce a new breeding cycle. They rent the cubs to tourist parks that offer visitors the chance to handle or be photographed with the cubs. But these cubs are often declawed and lacking teeth in order to be harmless. They are subsequently sold to big game hunting reserves for "canned hunts."

Antelope Park, in Zimbabwe, charges about £20 for a 90-minute lion encounter it describes as “not just a very privileged photo opportunity, [but] the chance for you to become a conservationist”.

The Sunday Times, however, has learnt that, far from being released into the wild, as many as 59 lion cubs raised at Antelope Park have been sold to big-game-hunting operations to be shot for sport.

So-called “canned hunting”, where rich trophy-hunters pay thousands of pounds to shoot big game in fenced enclosures, is big business in southern Africa. The price of shooting a lion bred in captivity ranges from about £9,000 to £16,000, and the breeders who supply the trade are struggling to keep up with demand.


Any place that offers an opportunity to "hang out" with lions sounds suspicious to me. These are not preserves for wild animals, but petting zoos instead.

Photo by WildImages.

Bush Administration Does Something That Doesn't Hurt or Kill More Animals

The NIH and EPA have agreed to find alternate to animals in the testing for toxicity. Wow. I wonder if Halburton gets a contract out of this.

Rodents and primates around the world can breathe a little easier. Ditto animal rights activists who have long opposed testing drugs and conducting other experiments on animals. Top officials from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday announced a five-year deal promising to share technology, information and other resources that will improve the toxicity testing of chemical compounds used in food, medicine and other products using robots rather than lab animals.

Shocking. Does Dick Cheney know about this? Where's the fun in torturing robots?

Cloning Fluffy

The Korean firm RNL Bio is offering to clone your pet for $150,000. How dumb is that? Here's an idea: go adopt an animal at your local shelter and drop of that check for 150 grand. I'm sure they could use the money and the world would be a better place.

The world's first pet cloning service is to offer animal lovers the chance to recreate their dead companions, it was announced today.

South Korean company RNL Bio will work alongside scientists who created the first cloned canine.

A company spokeswoman said it was already working on its first order from an American who wanted a clone of her dead pit bull.

The client, Bernann McKunney, of California, was very attached to the pet because it had saved her life during an attack by another dog.

Kim Yoon said that ear tissue from the dog had been preserved at a US biotech laboratory before its death.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Indian Rhino Dies After Horn Poaching

Another story that just makes me want to punch the wall in futility.

A female Indian rhino and her calf have been killed for their horns in Kaziranga National Park, India.

The female survived for 35 hours after the attack, but slowly bled to death after her horn was sawn off and she was shot twice by poachers.

The region's rhinos had recently featured in the BBC's natural history series Saving Planet Earth.

Despite best efforts by conservation groups, and increased funding, poaching has recently escalated in the region.

Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, from Aaranyak, a conservation charity based in India, told BBC News: "The vet tried to save her but it was not possible.


....

Animal ambassador David Shepherd said: "Can man, the most lethal animal on the planet, sink any lower in depravity just to make money?

"In 50 years of conservation, I have seldom seen such a sickening example of wildlife abuse. I love rhinos and they deserve a better fate than this."


Agreed.

Photo by BoazImages.

Too Little Too Late to Save India's Tigers

India is going to open eight new sanctuaries in the next five years to protect its tiger species, especially its Royal Bengal Tiger. But the population just keeps falling and I'm afraid it's just too late to stop the inevitable.

Although tiger hunting is illegal worldwide, people in impoverished parts of India poach as a means of livelihood, thus the country has earned the ire of animal welfare activists worldwide for failing to stop tiger poaching.

The problem is the demand for tiger parts. Unless you cage these animals in a veritable fort with highly paid armed guards, they are vulnerable. They are worth more dead than alive (unless they are being bred for the market of course...kind of like factory farming.) They are so valuable that people will find a way to kill them and sell them for the money. And the more that are killed, the smaller the supply. And with no decrease in demand, the price keeps going up and up. It's all a vicious economic cycle that won't end until the last tiger is "harvested" or penned up in a barn.

Sorry to be a downer....

Photo by wbeem.

Johns Hopkins Med School Uses Live Pigs

Johns Hopkins Medical School still requires its students to perform live surgery on pigs.

Humane treatment? Necessary practice? You decide.

"[The animals] are treated remarkably well," explained Diana Scorpio, assistant professor and clinical veterinarian at Hopkins.

"They are under very deep anesthesia ... and then they are humanely euthanized."

Scorpio emphasized that very few of Hopkins's animals are used for medical instruction, and that the medical school has taken steps to reduce the number of animals used for teaching.

"Less than one percent is used in teaching and training ... 99 percent is used for research," she said.

In defense of using live animals to instruct medical students, Scorpio stressed that students who have experience with live animals "are much more proficient at understanding anatomy, and how to manipulate tissue in surgery."

...In a December 2007 letter addressed to Dean Edward Miller of Hopkins's School of Medicine, Executive Director of the National Center for Animal Law Laura Ireland Moore expressed the organization's dismay at the University's use of live animals in medical training. Moore accused the medical school of bending if not breaking the law.

"The use of animals in classrooms violates the spirit and letter of the Federal Animal Welfare Act," Moore wrote. "In light of the availability of superior, non-animal alternative technologies in medical school education, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine arguably violates the principles set forth in the Animal Welfare Act by using pigs in its classrooms."

Photo by bigbird3.

40,000 Livestock Dead in Mongolia

Bad weather has hit Mongolia killing 40,000 animals.

More than 40,000 head of livestock have been killed in harsh winter weather which has left around 90 percent of Mongolia buried under a blanket of snow.

Local media said Friday that animals had died due to a lack of food caused by the adverse weather.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cruel Kosher Slaughter Practice

Did you know this?

American rabbis and animal rights groups oppose the practice known as "shackle and hoist," in which a cow is strung up by a hind leg and then dropped on the ground before its throat is slit.

The practice is common among kosher meat producers because Israel's Chief Rabbinate requires cows to be upside down when they are slaughtered.

Yikes.

Photo by rasputina2.

Ranchers and Environmentalists Finding Common Ground in Cattle Country

Here is an interesting article about younger ranchers finding they have things in common with environmentalists.

Seth Nitschke spent his early 20s working at the country's biggest feed lots before he returned home to start a business raising beef cattle fed on the grasses of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Nitschke, 31, who makes his living herding heifers through pastures near Yosemite National Park, would never call himself an environmental activist, though he's planting saplings to protect nearby streams and runs a light herd to let his pastures breathe.

Unlike some of his conservative counterparts in traditional livestock production, he and a new crop of cattlemen are quietly working to minimize their industry's ecological footprint, and are forging unlikely alliances with environmental groups.


It's a start I suppose.

Photo by Pikaluk

Moscow State Ag Academy Halts Animal Dissections

Looks like now they will find alternatives to cutting up animals.

"Computer programs and videos of professionally carried-out experiments on different animal species will help us avoid problems with students who refuse to experiment on animals for ethical reasons," TASS reported Tatiana Blokhin, a representative of the academy, as saying.

However, a representative of InterNICHE told The Moscow News that the agricultural academy seemed to be drawn to their products and software "more for pedagogic and economic reasons than concerns about animal rights."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Germany to Ban Seal Trade

The German government has decided to forward the draft bill for a national trade ban on all seal products to the EU Commission. All the Commission has to do is verify that the bill is in compliance with European legislation and with global commercial law. Germany's ban will join similar measures in Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia and Slovenia, Mexico and the US. Similar legislation is expected in Austria and Italy.

Germany’s national ban on seal products comes just one month before Canada’s commercial seal hunt is set to begin off the east coast of Canada. Last year, more than 224,000 harp seals were killed, 98.5% of which were under 3 months of age.

I had no idea so many of the dead were just babies.

Barbaric.

Photo by Dave Ward.

British Navy to Stop Goat Experiments

Last March, the British Navy stopped deep-sea diving experiments on goats that involve inducing decompression sickness.

The animals were used to see what the likely risk of "the bends" would be following escape from a submarine at varying depths under water.

The information would help crews judge whether it would be safer to abandon a stricken vessel or wait to be rescued...

However, the tests were suspended in March 2007 while a review committee of six experts examined alternative methods, such as computer-modelling techniques to simulate the effects of the "bends".

Now the {Ministry of Defense} says there is no further need for the animal testing.

Goats were used because their respiratory physiology is said to closely resemble that of humans.

Photo by Rendiru.

Primate Testing to Continue in EU

Another attempt to stop the use of non-human primates in medical research.

In September 2007 a record number of European parliament members (MEP) (433) signed a written declaration put forward by an animal welfare group based in the UK called Animal Defenders International. Currently round 12 million animals are used per year for experiments in the EU and of these, around 10, 000 are non-human primates.

The declaration has called for a timetable to be established for the phasing out of non-human primate use in animal experiments. Some MEPs and animal rights campaigners have called for an immediate ban believing that the primate's genetic proximity to humans and their highly developed social skills raise very important ethical issues. If this were to go ahead other arrangements would need to be made to support vital research into cancer and AIDS for which the European parliament is calling for additional research to be carried out.

The European Commission has basically refused to support the declaration. However, it will supposedly look at "significant revisions" to Directive 86/609/EC, which is the basis for regulating animal research across all European countries.

One can only hope that the changes will truly be significant. Either way, the EU is leagues ahead of the US in even debating this issue in a governing body.

Photo by deadeyebart a.k.a Brett.

Sea Shepherd Set to Resume Hunt for Whalers

The Steve Irwin has refueled and is ready to go out looking for the whalers.

The environment group Sea Shepherd's ship, the Steve Irwin, is to resume its anti-whaling campaign in the Southern Ocean free of legal action by Australia.

Despite Japanese Government calls to act against the hardline environmentalists, the Australian Federal Police is yet to formally interview any Sea Shepherd crew who spent two weeks in port.

Its captain, Paul Watson, said the ship would leave Melbourne today, refuelled and with fresh crew. He was confident of finding the Japanese fleet again with another month left in the season. "If we can get them on the run again for three weeks that could almost put an end to their season," he said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CRITTER OF THE WEEK

This was our first non-dwarf hamster adoption....KRUSTY RUSTY! As you can see, he was very old when we got him, but he lived another whole year.

Bush Administration Tries to Weasel Out of Agreement to Protect Grouse

I'm counting the days until we're done with the Worst President Ever.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has asked a federal judge to allow it to withdraw from a recent agreement concerning a timeline for deciding whether sage grouse should be listed as an endangered species across much of the Rocky Mountain West.

The agency, in documents filed in U.S. District Court here, said it "inadvertently" entered into the agreement without proper review, and that the agreement could delay its decision about whether the chicken-sized grouse deserves federal protection.

Such a declaration could lead to new restrictions on residential, oil and gas and agricultural development.


Apparently, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is about to release a report about the grouse that contains something called "science". Since the Bush Administration is faith based, they don't want something like rational thought to interfere with their decision making process. So, they wanted to ram this through ahead of time. Otherwise they would have to take into account the scientific conclusions of the Association. We can't have that interfere with Dead Eye Dick and his buddies now can we?

These people are just evil. There is no other word to describe them. They will do or say anything to screw over the planet for future generations. Evil.

Hamsters Becoming Popular in China. Poor Hamsters

If they treat hamsters in China like the rotten way they treat other aninals, then I feel sorry about all those hamsters. And I'm not talking about the individuals who keep them. I'm talking about the people selling them.

Pet shop owners have reported huge demand for the little critters since the new year began on Feb 7. Stocks are running low and prices are climbing as children pester their parents for their very own furry piece of good luck.

According to the Chinese media, hamster prices have tripled to about 30 yuan (£2.10) each.

The animal is considered to be a more acceptable pet than other rodents, such as rats and mice, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Humane Society Praises Safeway Policies

This is some impressive stuff. Good for Safeway.

In a letter to {Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Humane Society's factory farming campaign} dated Feb. 7, Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling said his company is attempting to increase the amount of poultry products it receives from suppliers that use controlled atmosphere stunning, considered a more-humane form of slaughter by animal welfare advocates.

Dowling said Safeway is also seeking to buy more pork products from suppliers that are phasing out use of "gestation crates" that restrict the movement of pigs, and purchase more eggs from suppliers that don't use battery cages to confine egg-laying hens.

He said the retailer now offers 12 regional and national cage-free brands of eggs for sale in its stores, including its own in-house Lucerne brand.

Safeway became the first major grocery retailer to establish a committee of employees and outside experts to look into ani
mal welfare issues more than two years ago, Dowling said.

Safeway is receiving praise from PETA too which worked with the company on its new policies.

Photo by Paula Wirth.

Calls to Revoke Grant After Botched Autopsy

The kind of story that gives you nightmares.

The incident happened in April 2006 at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research {in Texas} when a worker did not check to see if the baboon was dead following a lethal injection, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In its report, the USDA noted that while the lab worker did administer the injection, "a significant program deficiency" led to the baboon's dissection while still alive.

Now, animal rights groups are calling for the National Institute of Health to revoke the foundation's research grant, which is worth several millions dollars, according to the activists.

Here's the foundation's website. Supposedly, they have the world's largest colony of baboons for research purposes.

Photo by wokka.

Activists Seek to Ban Export of Live Animals for Slaughter

The campaign is being launched by the Handle With Care organization.

A worldwide campaign aimed at banning the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter has been launched in London.

Animal charity workers shot secret film footage during a two-year long investigation of the global trade in live animals which they say is cruel and unnecessary.

The Handle With Care coalition is using shock pictures of animals being shipped around the world in overcrowded and filthy conditions before they are finally slaughtered

EU Condemns Japanese Whaling

Good. Now if they can just bring the pressure on Norway and Iceland that would be nice as well.

The European Commission on Monday urged EU governments to take a united stand against whaling.

Referring to recent footage of Japanese whalers, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement "the graphic images on our television screens bring home the reality of whale hunting. This shows that more than ever the EU needs to be united in opposing whaling."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

R. Dale Hylton Dies, Who the Heck Was He?

He was a guy that cared about animal welfare long before you were probably born!

He was hired in 1964 as an investigator and was part of a long-running Humane Society effort to bring federal regulations to the laboratory animal trade. He went to Pennsylvania posing as an animal buyer for a hospital's experimental program and documented unofficial auctions of animals.

He later wrote of discovering animal dealers who preferred "to trade truckloads of dogs with dealers across state lines with the primary purpose of frustrating any owner's attempt to trace any owned pet that had disappeared."

The society turned over its information to state and federal authorities, which led to the federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the act is the only federal law to regulate the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport and commerce.


1966? Wow. Seems almost like a Rachel Carson for the Animal Rights movement...

UK Stamp Honors Working Dogs

This is cool. And, it's from a blog called Mutts from the Baltimore Sun.

The United Kingdom is honoring its working dogs with a new series of stamps illustrating the vital roles they perform.

The issue commemorates two events -- 2008 is both the Year of the Assistance Dog and the 100th anniversary of police dogs in Britain.

PETA Concerned They Don't Look Stupid Enough, Protests Kentucky Honoring Col. Sanders

I'm sorry, but this is just plain dumb. And I don't say this in defense of KFC, but this is a good example of PETA pissing off everyone, and making animal activists look like kooks.

"If the state legislature moves forward with this one, then they should change Kentucky's state bird from the cardinal to the debeaked, crippled, scalded, diseased, dead chicken," said PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich.

PETA has been involved in a longstanding battle with KFC, and even began a push two years ago to have a bust of Colonel Sanders removed from the Capitol. Sanders became recognizable worldwide after he began marketing his fried chicken.


Again, I'm not saying there aren't serious issues with the way chickens at KFC are treated. But, you have to ask yourself, how is their action going to be perceived by the average Joe. Is this going to accomplish anything? Is anyone going to listen to them?

PETA has done great investigative stories, especially on factory farming. But, when they do this kind of publicity hounding, I think people just tune them out, and don't take what may be major issues seriously.

Photo by Bren and MariLynn

Actvists Protest Hare Coursing in Ireland

Hare coursing in Ireland is being protested by activists there.

Animal rights activists are planning a major protest in Co Tipperary today as the country's largest annual hare coursing event gets underway in Clonmel.

The Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports says the demonstration will mark the first time in 12 years that pickets have been placed on the meeting.


I'd never heard of hare coursing before this. From Wikipedia:

Modern hare coursing is practiced using a number of sighthounds: mainly Greyhounds but also Borzois,[3] Salukis, Whippets,[4] and Deerhounds[5] that were registered with a governing body (such as the National Coursing Club or Kennel Club in Great Britain, the Irish Coursing Club or currently NOFCA in the US). The objective of coursing is to test and judge the athletic ability of the dogs rather than to kill the hare.[6]

Most legal hare coursing is open coursing, that is, it takes place in the open (as opposed to Irish coursing which takes place in an enclosure with an escape route). There are two forms of open coursing. In driven coursing (such as the Waterloo Cup), hares were "driven" by beaters towards the coursing field. As they enter the field, a person known as a slipper uses a slip with two collars to release two dogs at the same time, in pursuit of the hare which is given a head start (known as 'fair law'), usually between 80 and 100 yards (70–90 metres). In walked-up coursing, a line of people walk through the countryside and a pair of Greyhounds are released when a hare is disturbed.[6]

The chased hare will then run at 40-45 km/h[7] The object of hare coursing is to test pairs of dogs, not to kill the hare; and the greyhounds which pursue the hare will, being faster, start to catch up with it. Since the Greyhounds are much bigger than the hare, and much less agile, they find it hard to follow the hare's sharp turns, which it makes as the greyhounds threaten to reach it. This agility gives the hare an important and often crucial advantage as it seeks to escape.

Under National Coursing Club rules, the dogs are awarded points on how many times they can turn the hare, and how closely they follow the hare's 'course'. The contest between the Greyhounds is judged from horseback.[6]


In Ireland, they have muzzled the dogs since 1993, but that hasn't kept hares from being killed.

Anti Whaling Fashion Shows?

Well I suppose any support is good.

The runway is a long way from the slipway, but the fashion industry has come out in force against whaling.

Kathy Ward, the director of Chic Model Management - home of Miranda Kerr - has confirmed talks were in place between modelling agencies and fashion labels about anti-whaling themed runway shows at this year's Australian Fashion Week.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Witnesses Testify in Puerto Rico Dog Massacre

Sad testimony in the Puerto Rico dog killings where animals were thrown over a bridge to die. (Scroll down to read the story half-way down the page).

The company's owner had denied responsibility, but it looks like he lied.

The owner of an animal-control company told petowners he took responsibility in the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats that were seized from public housing projects and thrown from a bridge last year, a witness testified Tuesday.

Julio Diaz, owner of Animal Control Solutions, told an Oct. 12 meeting at the Hector Ruiz project in the town of Barceloneta that he was the "person in charge" and would fire workers for the pets' deaths, tenant Carmen Agosto said.

"He offered a pet to the children, but they said they would not take it," Agosto testified at a preliminary hearing in the animal cruelty case.


Another witness, Angelica Vargas, described the shock of seeing her dog "Yoli," one of the animals who survived the fall, on a television news broadcast after the animals were rounded up.

"I cried, because at that moment I could do nothing," she said. Yoli's back legs will need to be amputated, due to injuries he suffered when he was hurled from the bridge, she said.


Photo by smiteme.

Year of the Rat Starts Badly in Guam

The USDA plans on poisoning hundreds or even thousands of rats on the Cocos Island (off the southern tip of Guam) in order to create a reserve for the endangered ko'ko bird, commonly known as the Guam rail.

Concern has been raised about the method of extermination.

Barrigada resident Viqui Gayer has collected 50 signatures against the use of the poisons, which she worries will spread through rodent predators to the oceans, and eventually to humans. Gayer said she started researching the poisons on the Internet after her dog died from eating a poisoned rat.

"It was a horrible way to die. I wouldn't even wish it on a rat," she said.

"These poisons are unnecessary. ... It kills animals, and whatever eats those animals also gets poisoned. It never ends. Once it's in the ecosystem, it stays there. ... What we need to do is stop people from bringing this poison to our island -- period."

Gayer suggested placing poisonless traps on Cocos as a safe alternative, but {USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Assistant State Director David} Vice said traps would be ineffective.

"The thing about rodent eradication is if you miss one, you've failed," he said. "Trapping alone -- given all we've learned about rodents -- won't get rid of all the rodents."


The public has until March 1 to comment on the plan.

Photo by KiriS.