Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cheney Targets Whales

Does anyone think he wouldn't kick a puppy or small child if it would benefit industry? Or even just for fun?

TPM has the latest from the Dark Lord.

The latest contribution to good government from Vice President Dick Cheney: preventing the implementation of rules to protect the endangered right whale.

This comes from a letter House sleuth Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent to the White House today, requesting that the administration quit delaying the rules, which would restrict the speed of ships near American ports. Faster moving ships hit the whales, causing injury or death, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say.

Check it out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cat Lady of Baghdad

The AP has a good story about a British security consultant who is doing what she can to help a few stray cats in Baghdad.
"Some people buy flash cars, others flash clothes. But it's my animals that float my boat," said Louise, a security consultant in Baghdad who moonlights as a one-woman animal rescue unit that may be the only such organized effort under way in Iraq.

Since Simba's journey three years ago, she has managed to send four more cats and two dogs back to her native England. The costs — which can run up to $3,500 per animal — are covered by donations and her "old stuff" sold on eBay.

"Collectibles, Cabbage Patch Kids, toys, the lot," said Louise, who asked that only her first name be published because of security worries.

Louise — a tall, blond and blunt-speaking former soldier with an accent as thick as Yorkshire pudding — also has private battles to wage with Iraqi bureaucracy. Completing mountains of paperwork, calls to countless officials and, on one occasion, bursting into tears at the airport have all been required to get animals out of the war zone.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote of the Week

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it... If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
--Saint Francis of Assisi (mystic and preacher)

Groups Sue Over Gray Wolf ESA De-Listing

Defenders of Wildlife and several other groups are suing the US federal govt. over after they took the gray wolf off the endangered species list. I think that's a good idea, as this administration never seems to base anything on stuff like "science". From the press release:


Twelve conservation groups are fighting for the survival of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. The groups today filed a federal court lawsuit challenging the federal government’s decision to remove the northern Rockies gray wolf population from the list of endangered species. Wolves should not have been delisted, the groups argue, because they remain threatened by biased, inadequate state management plans, as well as by the lack of connections between largely isolated state wolf populations.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s premature decision to strip the protections of the Endangered Species Act from the northern Rocky Mountains’ wolves promises to undo the hard-earned progress toward wolf recovery of recent years. State laws that guide wolf management in the wake of delisting betray the states’ continued hostility toward the presence of wolves in the region. While ensuring that wolves can and will be killed in defense of property or recreation, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana have refused to make enforceable commitments to maintaining viable wolf populations within their borders. The states have failed to keep track of recent wolf killings and also neglected to secure funding for essential monitoring and conservation efforts.


Photo by Dobak

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Big Fight at the Nova Scotia SPCA Meeting

And you thought your meetings were out-of control?
The annual meeting of the provincial SPCA descended into bizarre behaviour Saturday morning at a Halifax hotel.

The three-hour closed-door session, attended by about 120 members, was followed by name-calling and yelling at the meeting’s chairman in the hotel lobby. As well, the past president of the society bumped a Chronicle Herald reporter with a door, and an unidentified member shoved the reporter out of the meeting room.
It's a big fight over control and direction of the provincial SPCA. But the ending vote was 81-47 to support the current leadership.

Photo by Ron Lemise.

Catholic Bishop Says Animals to be "Used"

I came across this letter in the CalgaryHerald written by Fred Henry, Roman Catholic Bishop of Calgary. I can't tell if it's an Op-Ed or a letter, but it doesn't really matter.

He irritated me. As a former Roman Catholic myself, I don't mind saying it either.

He was writing in response to the outcry in the animal rights community over the Canadian seal hunt.

He focuses specifically on PETA and Sea Shepherd, Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer, and seems to overlook the broad range of outrage in the world. And he starts hitting below the belt.

Regrettably, most of the parties seem to be on parallel tracks and there isn't much chance of them finding common ground until all the parties begin to address the social movement which parades under the heading of "animal rights."

Parades under the heading of "animal rights?"

Oh, but it gets better. Then he brings in abortion and stem cell research and calls into question Ingrid Newkirk's pro-choice position.

And here's the kicker.

"Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

"It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons."

While we are called to respect all creation and must use it wisely, the key is "we can use it."


So we shouldn't show animals affection the way we show it to humans? Even though some animals may show certain people more love and acceptance than the humans in their lives? And don't give money to animal causes? I don't think that animal causes are swimming in money. There is plenty of money out there for human causes; in fact, the vast majority goes there. The problems contributing to human misery are derived from global economics and geopolitics. The small amount of money for animal causes is hurting no one.

Besides, there are so many things to talk about when it comes to the Catholic Church. I am an atheist so I don't believe that somehow a God came along and told humans to use animals. We evolved into a predator species and we did it naturally. Because we can communicate, read and write, we can control information and design a society where we can justify our "use" of species. WE made that decision. Not a non-existent God. And, even if there were a God, I still don't believe that this point has been made clear to anyone.

History belongs to the victor. We are the victors in this case, at least for now. So, Bishop Henry, it doesn't surprise me that you will find any argument possible that will elevate your species and justify its "use" of others. The Catholic Church has done that so many times before, with other human groups, and "paraded" itself as speaking the word of God.

(By the way, Bishop Henry, tell me again why can't women be priests? Aren't all humans equally above animals?)

Activists Try to Ban Seal Products in EU

If they can't stop the Canadians from slaughtering seals, activists are trying to take the economic incentive away.

A coalition of animal rights groups used jarring, graphic and emotive images Friday in its bid to secure a European Union ban on seal products.

At news conferences across Europe, they showed clips of hunters clubbing and shooting young seals, skinning one of the shot animals shortly after it was hooked and tossed on a boat.

While the animal appeared lifeless, there was little indication that the hunter made great efforts to ensure the animal was dead.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wosley Saskatchewan Kills Poor Woman's Dogs

A town in Saskatchewan killed 3 dogs owned by a woman because they said she was too poor to take care of them. Dirty rats. They could have at least given them a new home (not that I think taking her dogs away was necessarily a good idea).

The mayor of a town that allegedly seized a woman's dogs, then killed them because she was on welfare, is getting an earful.

A human rights tribunal hearing is being held to determine if the town of Wolseley, Sask., discriminated against Jacqueline Nash.

Nash testified this week that her female German shepherd and three puppies escaped from her house in June 2005. Only one puppy returned home.


Here is contact information for the town if you want to voice your concern.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Obedience School for Pet Owners

Think mandatory spay/neuter laws are onerous? In Switzerland pet owners may have to take a class or two and pass a test to own a dog.

Animal lovers will have to sit an examination and undergo a practical test under rules to be introduced in September.

Initially, owners will have two years to follow courses on animal care but by 2010 it will be necessary to pass the theory exam in order to keep any kind of dog, from a Chihuahua to an Irish wolfhound.

Happy Friday

Have a kitten. Or nine...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emma's Story

OK, when I have a hard time finding things to post, I go see what other people are blogging about (of course giving them attribution for any stories I come across). I was looking at a story by LA Unleashed about the story before this one, and they had a link to a blog by Denise Flaim called Animal House.

So, after looking at that, I saw her post about Emma. Emma was a "bait" dog that was rescued (and is I believe in Long Island NY). It's very sad, but she is one of the lucky ones to have been rescued.

Read about it here.

PetSmart Gets Complaints for not Taking Pit Bulls in Dog Day Care

PetSmart won't take so called "bully" breeds in it's doggie day care. These include:

American Pit Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers or mixed breeds that have the appearance or characteristics of one of these breeds).

According to LA Unleashed, this has led to complaints about it from dog owners.

While I understand the concerns about certain breeds due to bad owners, I don't get how a whole breed can be classified as a member of a "bully" breed. Is there any data that they are more dangerous to other dogs?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

UCLA Gets Injunction Against Animal Rights Activists

The preliminary injunction prohibits them from getting near the homes of animal researchers, or posting information online about them. From the article:

According to UCLA, the preliminary injunction prohibits three groups and five individuals from coming with 50 feet of the residences of UCLA personnel involved in animal research during any demonstration and 150 feet at night. It also prohibits the posting of personal information about UCLA personnel on Web sties maintained by the groups and individuals.

The order was expanded to include those acting in concert with the already named individuals and groups. Those failing to comply with the injunction are subject to contempt of court charges.

The order remains in effect until a trial is held on whether to issue a permanent injunction. A Feb. 17, 2009, trial date is set.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Web Site for McKee Project

Well, it's not exactly a new address, but it's a friendlier, more engaging design.

They do great work in Latin America.


We are a US non profit 501(c)(3), with Foundations in Costa Rica & Panama. Mckee approaches the suffering of companion animals at the root, in the community. We do not use euthanasia, because it does not work, likewise, we do not spend limited community resources on shelters, which do not solve the issue of overpopulation and which are inhumane storage and killing facilities.

What Mckee does is build sustainable community solutions by teaching local veterinarians, governmental veterinarians & university veterinarians in advanced spay neuter techniques (safer for the animals and faster for high volume campaigns), and, also trains the respective community to be pro-active using spay neuter, and community support versus shelters and euthanasia (or massive poisonings – which has been developing nation’s governmental “solutions”).

Conservationists Try to Save Lynx in New Mexico

Another example of the US Fish and Wildlife Service screwing a species. But I'm probably in the minority when I say that this didn't just start with the Bush Administration. It's an ongoing problem that won't go away with a new administration, regardless of whose that is.

The federal government lists the elusive, furry cats as threatened in 14 states — but not in New Mexico.

"We've thought the Fish and Wildlife Service's position on lynx in New Mexico is very odd," said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that sued. "Once lynx cross from Colorado into New Mexico — which they have been doing — they're suddenly not protected anymore. We don't think that makes any sense."

The Colorado Division of Wildlife, which has released more than 200 lynx in Colorado since 1999, tracked about 60 of the animals into New Mexico's Taos, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties between 1999 and 2006, the lawsuit said.

Photo by artct45.

Russia Breeding Monkeys to Send to Mars

I don't know how they will survive a 520 day trip there and back, but the Russians want to send monkeys to Mars.

The macaques will be the first to experience the radiation that poses a big risk to astronauts - or Russian cosmonauts - on any flight to the Red Planet.

The Sochi Institute of Medical Primatology, at Vesyoloye near the Black Sea, has a proud history of involvement in the Russian - formerly Soviet - space programme.

"People and monkeys have approximately identical sensitivity to small and large radiation doses," explains the institute's director, Boris Lapin. "So it is better to experiment on the macaques, but not on dogs or other animals."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Anti-Dog Fighting Bill Introduced in Guam

Get this, though, it's to protect the HUMANS.

A bill that seeks to criminalize dog fighting on the island has been introduced. The measure’s author, Senator Ray Tenorio says he wants the law on the books to prevent attacks on children and adults from the animals. He says several sources have confirmed there are currently underground fighting rings.

AND he supports cock-fighting.
And while animal-rights activists nation-wide equate cockfighting and dog fighting, Tenorio doesn’t see the need to ban the local sport just yet, saying cockfighting is a cultural activity and the potential for dogs to attack is higher than roosters.


Photo by acberkheiser.

Meat From a Test Tube? PETA Puts Up Money to Develop it

PETA is offering a million dollar prize for someone to come up with a commercially viable in vitro meat.

The organization said it would announce plans on Monday for a $1 million prize to the “first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012.”

The idea of getting the next Chicken McNugget out of a test tube is not new. For several years, scientists have worked to develop technologies to grow tissue cultures that could be consumed like meat without the expense of land or feed and the disease potential of real meat. An international symposium on the topic was held this month in Norway. The tissue, once grown, could be shaped and given texture with the kinds of additives and structural agents that are now used to give products like soy burgers a more meaty texture.


Here is more information from Wikipedia
.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

~George Orwell, Animal Farm

Study from EWG Finds High Levels of Chemicals in Dogs and Cats

A new study by the Environmental Working Group has found high levels of industrial pollutants in dogs and cats. From the report:

Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic.

Of course this of concern not just for pets. That means we are all exposed to this kind of stuff. It's a long article, but definitely worth checking out.

Rodeo Sues Animal Activists over Matchbox Twenty Concert Cancellation

An animal welfare group that was able to convince rock group Matchbox Twenty to cancel a performance at a rodeo.

Omaha, Neb.-based Romeo Entertainment Group filed the lawsuit last week in federal court in Cheyenne against SHARK, which stands for Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, and its president, Steve Hindi.

The lawsuit accuses Hindi and SHARK, which is based in far west suburban Geneva, of using ''false and misleading information'' and ''threats of negative publicity'' to try to get entertainers to cancel their performances at the rodeo.


This sounds like baloney. Whether you agree with rodeos or not, I don't think they can win a suit against someone for convincing someone else not to perform. Sue the group for breach of contract if that's what they did.

Here is a link to Matchbox Twenty's site explaining their cancellation (click on the Cheyenne Frontier Days label).

Here is link to band member Rob Thomas' foundation Sidewalk Angels, that helps on animal and homeless issues. Warning, they have a flash intro screen. Sigh. Still it's worth a look.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Did the Orange Country Sheriff's Dept. Taser a Cat to Death?

I got this link from a Tony at the LA Times LA Unleashed blog about a cat that was allegedly tasered to death by an OC Sheriff's deputy. They are still investigating.

Sheriff’s officials were conducting a necropsy today to determine whether the dead cat was shocked with a Taser, said sheriff’s spokesman John McDonald. An unidentified person told sheriff’s officials that deputies used the Taser on the cat "a couple of weeks ago," McDonald said.


That's a great site if you live in the LA area and want to learn about animal happenings in the area.

Cane Toads Killing Dogs

Dogs and cane toads don't mix well.

Mike and Vicki Milton's west highland terrier Wallace was rushed to the clinic after he was found with a toad in his mouth at their Knuckey Lagoon home on Sunday night.

Dr Monaghan said when the five-year-old arrived he was in a "bad way'' and they did not hold much hope of him surviving.

She said his mouth was clamped shut, he was having seizures and his eyes were flickering.


They've had 5 cases recently in the NW Territories in Australia.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Animal Welfare in India Labeled "Divisive"

We don't always post articles we agree with, but it's important to draw attention to different points of view.

Here is an article calling animal welfare "divisive" in India.
Specifically, it cites the attempts to stop ‘jallikattu’ or the taming of trained bulls in Tamil Nadu.

The impassioned author raises the stakes by invoking British colonialism....

The resentment among the people in Tamil Nadu against the unnecessary imposition of other peoples’ values is somewhat similar to what happened 40 years back. Leaders like GB Pant and Seth Govind Das were passionate about kicking out ‘colonial and foreign’ English and making Hindi reign supreme all over India. Tamil people considered these people to be Hindi fanatics. When New Delhi tried to impose the language, the constitution was burnt at several places on Republic Day. Violence exploded and almost divided the country.

If India is to survive as one entity, it is necessary to first recognise that it is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society to the extent of being multi-national. It is dangerous to impose the opinions of one section of people, whatever justification or clout they may have, on other sections – particularly their traditional practices.


Photo by Stuart Photography.

Gorillas Need Ebola Vaccine

Ebola is taking its toll on the critically endangered western lowland gorilla. There is hope that the vaccine for humans may be the answer, but there are some tough challenges involved.

Even if researchers find the vaccine effective in preliminary trials, it will be tough to vaccinate enough gorillas to make a difference. The gorillas are spread out throughout the Republic of Congo, Gaban, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, and they are notoriously difficult to find. For those reasons, shooting large numbers of them with dart injections of the vaccine could be a challenge. But if scientists try to hide oral vaccines in some of gorillas' favorite fruits, individuals could hoard them or other animals may get to them first.

"I think we're going to be able to protect particular populations, but not every gorilla," said William Karesh, vice president and director of wildlife health services at the Wildlife Conservation Society. "The urgent thing is to make sure we get some animals protected. That might buy us time to figure out some other strategies and mechanisms to protect them from going extinct."


The article does briefly note that the western lowland gorilla is thriving in zoos. It's the gorillas in the wild that may go extinct.

Photo by Tut99 (Roger).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hamster Kills Man?

A woman is suing PetSmart because she caught a virus from a hamster that then killed her husband.

Nancy Magee, from the US, claims PetSmart Inc should have warned customers the rodents carry lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a viral infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

They have a picture of an adorable hamster on the linked page. I don't think that's the "guilty" party though.

Here's more on the virus from the CDC.

Only 1 percent that get it die. Geez, are they supposed to put warnings about the Plague too?

Good Article on Feral Cats From Fox

I guess the Republican party hasn't taken a position yet on feral cats, because Fox actually has a decent article about the problem. No really. Go read it or the terrorists will have won.

Plan to Cull Ape Population in Gibralter Meets with Resistance

A plan to kill 25 Barbary apes out of a population of 200 has been condemned by the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS). From AFP:

"Our policy is that culling can be a population management solution but only in extreme cases when there is no other more suitable option," GONHS general secretary Dr. John Cortes said on Tuesday.

"We would only ever recommend a cull after very careful assessment of the situation from a veterinary and a genetic point of view."

However, Environment Minister Ernest Britto said a licence has been issued for the cull and two of the apes have already been given lethal injections.

Here is some info about Barbary apes from the BC SPCA.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bridgette Bardot Cited For Racial Hatred in Fighting for Humane Animal Treatment

In France you can be as brutal as you want to animals as long as you are an ethnic minority.

In December 2006, Miss Bardot, 73, now an animal rights activist, wrote to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, then the interior minister, criticising the Muslim practice of slaughtering sheep without first stunning them.

In the letter published by the magazine Info-Journal and handed out to members of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, she wrote: "We're fed up with being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts".

Several French anti-racism groups filed for charges of "inciting discrimination and racial hatred" against Muslims.


That's odd. I didn't realize being a Muslim automatically meant you are a different race.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Horse and Donkey Abuse in Tel Aviv

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel (ISPCA) is fighting against the overwork, neglect and abuse of work horses and donkeys in Tel Aviv.

The difficulty is mainly legal. The horses in the city pass from hand to hand. In order to confiscate an animal, it is necessary to prove that its legal owner is the one who has harmed it and not some other drayman. Moreover, in order to convict the abuser in court, there is a needed to prove that he is the legal owner of the horse.

{Dr. Zvi Galin, the Tel Aviv municipal veterinarian} relates that when the municipality began taking action against the carters, they raised a huge outcry: "They demonstrated outside the ISPCA and then they came to our shelter in the north of the city and claimed that we were harming their livelihood," he says.


Photo by PensEye.

Bill Introduced in CA Legislature Targets Animal Activists

The University of California has gone to the legislature to push for legislation to specifically punish animal rights protesters, and to forbid them from posting information on the internet about people that do animal research.

The prohibited online information would include the researchers' names, home addresses and photographs.

The measure, AB2296, also would outlaw activities targeting corporate researchers.

Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-San Mateo, agreed to submit the legislation at UC's request after months of harassment, threats and vandalism at the homes and offices of university researchers.

"Several campuses have experienced incidents which are just shocking," said Chancellor George Blumenthal of UC Santa Cruz during a telephone news conference Monday. Protesters in February are accused of trying to break into a UC Santa Cruz professor's home and attacking her husband.


Here is a link to the text of the bill
. Some highlights:

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

AB 2296, as amended, Mullin. Animals.
Animals: Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

Existing law establishes various causes of action, including
actions for damages and injunctive relief, for the enforcement of
various rights.

This bill would provide that no person, business, or association shall knowingly publicly post or publicly display on the Internet a
home address, home telephone number, or image of any employee of an
animal enterprise or other individuals residing at the same home
address of the employee of an animal enterprise, as specified. The
bill would authorize a victim of a violation of those prohibitions to
maintain an action for damages and for injunctive relief, as
specified.


Existing law, subject to exceptions, generally provides the
disclosure of public records, as specified.

This bill would exempt from disclosure, information relating to
animal research activities when there is a reasonable basis to
conclude that public disclosure of the records would result in
harassment of individuals involved with the research. The bill would
state findings and the intent of the Legislature in this regard.

Existing law establishes various offenses in connection with
obstruction of, or interference with, among other things, places of
business.

This bill would provide that every person who commits any of certain acts for the purpose of injuring, intimidating, or
interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise, as defined,
or with a person connected, as specified, to an animal enterprise, or who damages or destroys property because of its connection to an
animal enterprise, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor
. The bill would provide alternate punishments depending on the elements of the offense of up to 6 months imprisonment in a county jail and a fine
of up to $2,000, or up to one year in a county jail and a fine of up
to $25,000
. Fines would be increased for subsequent offenses and
other circumstances, as specified. The bill would also authorize
actions for damages and civil penalties, and for restraining orders
in connection with violations of the prohibitions, as specified.

By creating new crimes, this bill would impose a state-mandated
local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.

Japanese Kill Less Whales Due to Activists

The Japanese whaling fleet has returned to port, and has only killed about 60 percent of what they set out to kill.

The mother ship of Japan's whaling fleet has returned to port with a catch of 551 - just about 60 per cent of its target.

The Nisshin Maru docked in Tokyo on Monday, having caught all minke whales and no fin whales.

It had hoped to kill 900 overall, including 50 humpback whales.

The mission had faced a series of violent protests and harassment by animal rights activists in the Antarctic Ocean.


Ah what the Japanese have to put up with for their phony research.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Animal Protection in China

There are Chinese animal protection groups out there. Here's some information about the the Chinese Animal Protection Network

The Chinese Companion Animals Protection Network (CCAPN) was launched in 2004, it is a cooperation network of groups, individuals working for companion animal protection from Chinese communities . By August 10th 2007, there are 40 groups and more than 500 individuals within this network. CCAPN supervise and support the animal protection work of our member groups, it also faciliate the exchange resources and information between groups and individuals.

Check them out. They have information in English and Chinese.

Is it Possible to Boycott Chinese Goods?

It's a good question. I've decided that I want to boycott more than just the Olympic games, but, damn, LOTS of stuff comes from China. It's worrisome for me as an American....we are losing our manufacturing base. How can a country be strong economically without it?

Oh, yeah, stocks, mergers, derivatives, etc....non-tangibles. That's a sturdy basis for an economy.

This BBC News article is a good overview of the challenge of boycotting Chinese products. Electronics is particularly problematic.

Photo by edans.

Don't Let Cultural Respect Stop China Criticism

This is an excellent opinion piece by Ian O'Doherty from the Irish Independent. He points out that we should continue pointing out animal and human rights abuses by China, regardless of the issue of "cultural respect." There is a sad story about a collie befriended by a Salon reporter while in China, PLUS a graphic description of a dog being slaughtered, so be warned.

The only point of disagreement I have with the writer is that he says farm animals and companion animals are not the same and we are idiots for saying otherwise. I disagree completely (tell me the difference between a pig and a dog in terms of intelligence and emotion.)

Photo by boazlimages.

Animal Rights Book Without Being Heavy Handed

Here is a review of a new book out about animal rights that takes a different tack.

The book is colorful, illustrated with cartoons and photos, easy to read, and insightful. If you have ever wondered what exactly are the animal rights issues that get people so emotionally involved, this book gives an overview and lets you decide for yourself what to think and believe.

Dawn writes in the book that her intention is "not to fight with my readers and win the battle for animals rights, and not to force my values on others. The idea, rather, is to tell you everything you wanted to know about animal rights but were afraid to get into a fight about, and to let you weigh that information against your own values. You can decide what practices you find acceptable or not, and how you might avoid supporting what you cannot condone."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Two Sea Shepherd Officers Appear in Court

Two officers from the Sea Shepherd Faley Mowat face charges for being too close to Canadian seal pup killers.

Captain Alexander Cornelissen and First Officer Peter Hammarstedt are alleged to have broken rules that prohibit anyone from coming within 900 metres of the hunt unless they have an observer's permit.

Cornelissen has also been charged under the Fisheries Act with obstruction or hindrance of a Fishery Officer or inspector.

If convicted, the two men could be jailed for up to one year, fined up to $100,000 -- or both.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Watch Out for Pet Food Prices

Food prices are rising fast. Just google "rising food prices" and you'll get a ton of articles re: how prices are rising, food security is at risk, the sky is falling, we're doomed, etc.

Here's an article about how pet food prices are rising too....in Hong Kong.

Panic over food supply shortages and rising prices have spread to pet owners who are facing 20 percent hikes to feed their pets.

Pet food prices have soared 10 to 20 percent since February.


But many people will bite the bullet for their animals.

What we find amazing time and time again is that pet owners would rather sacrifice buying food for themselves than food for their pets," said Peter de Krassel, director of Pets Central, which has four outlets in the city.

If only this love of animals could spread throughout the rest of China....

Photo by lisacat.

Japan May Leave Whaling Commission

Japan is threatening to leave the International Whaling Commission if it doesn't straighten itself out. Meaning if it doesn't ultimately let Japan do what it wants.

The Commission sounds screwed up anyway.

Now the Washington-based Pew Charitable Trusts is leading an effort to fix the IWC for the first time since its founding in 1946. "The member nations need to think seriously about modernizing the IWC," says J. Charles Fox, a whaling expert with the Pew Charitable Trusts' environment group. In the past year, Pew officials have brought the opposing camps together to discuss ways to overhaul the IWC. They have done so in two special, closed-door meetings—in New York last April and in Tokyo at the end of January.

Most agree that the IWC is dysfunctional. Its worst failing: It lacks the power to resolve disputes. And countries can simply opt out of the ban, as Norway did in 1993, to resume commercial whaling. The hard part is figuring out what a new commission should look like.


I still don't understand why Japan is so hell-bent on whaling. Read this....

Japanese consumers' demand for whale meat peaked after World War II, when protein was in short supply; it has declined steadily since, although whale meat is still considered a traditional food. The country's research whaling program only began in the 1990s. It spends $60 million a year on the hunts and defrays the costs by selling 5,000 to 6,000 tons of whale meat annually to wholesalers. The stated aim: To use data collected from the hunts to show that whales are plentiful.

So, they are researching just to show that whales are plentiful. Sixty million is a lot of money just to prove a point. There are so many better uses of this money. It's simply a matter of stubborn pride and economic support of the flagging whaling industry.

Stupid.

Photo by Greenpeace_Flor.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Slaughterhouse Gets Billed for Recall

The slaughterhouse recently involved in a meat recall has been billed $67 million by the federal government.

The USDA billed the plant $67.2 million on April 4 for more than 50 million pounds of beef the government purchased for the National School Lunch Program, said Craig Morris, deputy administrator of the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

Further bills for the cost of destroying the beef and resupplying affected schools could cost up to $50 million more, Morris said.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kill the Toads!

Australia being urged to plan for a massive cane toad killin'.

Queensland MP Shane Knuth called for a cane toad equivalent of Clean Up Australia Day, an annual event in which Australians scour the countryside for litter.

The fast-spreading cane toads are the country's most disliked introduced pest, their poisonous skin accounting for the deaths of millions of birds, crocodiles and other predators each year.

Volunteers taking part in the 'Toad Day Out' would be encouraged to kill the creatures by placing them in plastic bags and dropping them in the freezer.


So freezing them to death is the most humane way of managing this species? I'm not a biologist, but is this because they are amphibians? I don't get it.

It is not the first time {Knuth} has demanded a war on cane toads. Last year he suggested that children should be encouraged to hunt them down and paid a bounty of 40 cents (20p) per animal, dead or alive.

Photo by williewonker.

Tennessee Looks at Making Cockfighting a Felony

Right now, cockfighting is just a misdemeanor. Hopefully that will change with a new bill before the legislature.

The cockfighters want the legislature to maintain the existing misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. It seems they have no problem paying a small fine when they get caught; to them, it's simply the cost of doing business. On the other hand, a strong felony law would actively deter people from cockfighting and put them out of business.

Lets hope they do the right thing.

Quote of the Week

Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don't vote.

Paul Harvey

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Global Fight Against Animal Cruelty

Short, interesting article about Les Ward with the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust and the international work he's done to fight animal cruelty. He's seen some really heartbreaking instances of animal cruelty and, like my no-good cousin Antonio, the perpetrators don't realize that anything they are doing is wrong.

The article spotlights two other groups doing international work - Vets Beyond Borders and Worldwide Veterinary Service.

Photo by J&DP.

One of the Worst Animal Abuse Cases in New Zealand

Sad story out of New Zealand.

Drought and a negligent owner led to the confiscation of 30 sick and starving horses in South Auckland. Many were euthanized because they were too sick or wild for rehabilitation.

The elderly owner, responsible for the carnage, is ill and failed to have a drought plan in place for when the grazing dried up.

"Help could have been called for, should have been called for - wasn't," says Bob Kerridge of the SPCA.

The 73-year-old breeder is severely ill with cancer and as a consequence the SPCA has decided not to pursue a prosecution against him despite being acutely aware that they could come under public criticism.

But the SPCA says the animals are its top priority and they have been able to get the breeder to sign the animals over to them, which is what the SPCA wanted.

More on Canada's Weak Animal Welfare Laws

Here is an editorial on the lack of strong animal welfare laws.

A few years ago in Edmonton, two young men tied a dog to a tree and beat it to death with a baseball bat. Because the vet testified that the dog died instantly on the first blow, the men could not be convicted of causing unecessary pain and suffering. They walked. Are you appalled? You should be. Now do something about it!

The Other Economic Value of Whales and Dolphins

Whales and dolphins have economic value as living things, not simply when dead and on a plate.

Whale and dolphin watching is one of the fastest growing industries in the Pacific region, injecting millions of dollars into the small island nations’ economies, Radio New Zealand reported Thursday. The radio quoted a report released Wednesday by the NGO International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) that whale watching is worth 26.7 million New Zealand dollars ($21 million) a year to Pacific nations.

The number of people in the region watching the marine mammals has jumped an average 45 percent each year. The figures exclude data on New Zealand and Australia.

The report said there were just 10,309 whale and dolphin watchers in Pacific island nations in 1998 but that figure had risen to 110,716 in 2005.
Xinhua


Photo by raphie.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two Chickens Break up Bunny Fight

This is funny. Two bunnies are fighting when two chickens run up and break it up. Hat tip to The Daily Bunny for that piece of fun.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Still Trying to Get that Elephant in a Bubble

This stupid trick is still being planned. It's the one where some idiot is going to encase an elephant in a bubble. Now, it will be held in an undisclosed location because of "animal rights extremists."

Bubble artist Fan Yang's earlier plan to perform the world-record-setting feat at the Santa Ana Discovery Science Center's Bubblefest fell apart when the science institution came under fire from animal-rights groups for using a critically endangered species in a "trivial and sensationalist manner...."

"We didn't think it was fair that a group of animal-rights extremists were using this to push their agenda of taking elephants out of human care," Johnson {the owner} said. "Nothing about putting Tai in the bubble would cause her any harm. The elephants like the bubbles, especially the babies they touch and walk after them."

The elephant Tai is a stunt elephant. 'Nuff said. We see how her owners earn their living.

Photo by oddharmonic.

Lambs Still Sacrificed for Passover

If you wondered whether this kind of thing still goes on for Passover...well, it sure does. But in this century, animal rights advocates can raise their voices in protest.

If he exists, what satisfaction would God really get from the sacrifice of a lamb? Wouldn't world peace or even an act of kindness carry more weight?

Anybody?

Photo by Mountain Mike.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Update on Charlotte the Cat

Our cat Charlotte has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Essentially, she has a mixture of cancer, abnormal pneumonia, scar tissue in her lungs resulting from pyothorax, and a collapsing lung.

She's home now and we'll keep her comfortable until the end comes.

Duck Gets Restraining Order

How cool is this!

A pet duck named Circles, shot and wounded by a neighbor with a pellet gun, has received an order of protection to keep it safe, the first duck in New York state's Suffolk County to benefit from such an order.

Circles was in its owner's backyard on Long Island -- long known as a habitat for wild waterfowl -- when it was shot by a neighbor through the neck, said Michelle Auletta, prosecutor at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

In 2006, former New York Governor George Pataki signed into law a provision to include pets in orders of protection.


Photo by busymonster.

CATA Says Air Canada Has to Allow Pets to Fly With Passengers

The Canadian Air Transportation Agency says that Air Canada can no longer force passengers to ship their pets on cargo planes.

In its decision, the agency called Air Canada's policy unreasonable because it favours the air carrier while exposing pets to harm.

The airline has until May 5 to comply with the ruling and allow animals and their crates, with a combined weight of less than 31 kilograms, to be transported on all flights.

Photo by WestendRaider

Friday, April 4, 2008

Posting Today

Well, we found out today that our cat Charlotte may have cancer. So, I don't feel like posting today.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Irish Animals Sent Abroad for New Homes

This is too bad. Almost 40 per cent of rescued animals in Ireland are being sent overseas because Irish animal sanctuaries cannot find homes for them. They are going to European countries such as Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic and England.

Miriam Anderson, the spokesperson for {the animal rights group} Anvil, which was set up to ensure the protection of animals under Irish law, has said the findings highlight the need for proper legislation to control the production and care of animals in Ireland.

"Without the UK we would be absolutely paralysed but it's not a long-term solution to the problem. Since 2005 we've been waiting for the introduction of legislation to control kennelling establishments."

"There also needs to be greater owner responsibility. It is irresponsible owners and the Irish attitude to companion animals that is contributing to the problem," added Ms Anderson.


Photo by cutestmidget.

84 Cows Put Down in West Virginia due to Rabies

Cows that were infected by a rabid skunk had to be put down due to the spread of rabies.

"This many cattle is abnormal, but it just so happens all of these animals were in close confinement on feed,” said Douglass. "The skunk did get in and went through every one of the pens. I guess it was quite a smell they had kicked up there."

Douglass says there has been an alarming rise in the number of wildlife cases of rabies in the region. He's advising all pet owners to make sure vaccinations are up to date on dogs and cats. There is also a vaccination available to protect livestock herds.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Quote of the Week

There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties... The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.

-- Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

British Circus Industry is Struggling?

Interesting article about how the circus industry is supposedly struggling in Britain. The article claims that rising costs, complex licensing and animal rights campaigns have contributed to its decline.

I'm skeptical though. According to the article, the number of circuses have declined by only 5, falling from 32 to 27 over the past 30 years or so. Seems like it is merely natural attrition in a technological world where video games and tv are more immediately gratifying.

Either way, if circuses insist on wild animal acts, then I have no problem seeing them go.

Photo by peta2flickr.

The War on Animal Research From a Researcher's Perspective

Here is an interesting article by an animal researcher about what it is like to have groups like ALF after you. It's long, but is an interesting read (even if you oppose this type of research).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vick's Dogs Enjoying Life at Best Friends

Twenty-two of the rescued Michael Vick pitbulls (now known as the Vick-tory dogs) are enjoying life at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. For an update on their adventures, check out the website of this wonderful organization and its blog.

PETA did not agree with the rescue of these animals.


PETA argued that dogs trained for fighting should be destroyed because they are unsafe and unserviceable. PETA said the Vick money would have been better spent spaying and neutering, as well as providing care for more suitable and less well-known adoption candidates.

Being a pragmatic accountant, I can understand the cost-benefit argument that PETA makes. But I've seen the pictures that Best Friends has posted on their web site. In my honest opinion, these pictures are a powerful testament that PETA is wrong on this one.

Canada's Weak Animal Protection Law to Get Slightly Less Weak

I would think that Canada would be a little more enlightened when it comes to something as basic as animal welfare. But, they aren't.

There is a proposal to strengthen the animal cruelty law
, but it is still weak.

They said the legislation simply raises the penalties in cruelty cases, but doesn't tighten up the laws.

"Bill S-203 is merely 1892 legislation adjusted for inflation," said Shelagh MacDonald, program director for the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. "It leaves all the gaping loopholes and the offences unchanged.

"There is really very little value in increasing penalties when less than one per cent of animal abuse investigations result in a conviction."

For example, she said, the law requires proof of "wilful neglect" and that wording makes convictions extremely difficult.

She said Michael Vick, the disgraced NFL quarterback jailed in connection with a dog fighting scandal in Virginia, might have gone scot free in Canada.


Well, maybe I was wrong. Maybe Vick will be playing for the Grey Cup in a year or two...

Mulesing From a Farmer's Perspective

Australia has faced boycotts of wool products over a practice called Mulesing, which involves cutting a patch of skin on lambs to prevent flystrike.

Here is a site from an Australian farmer
that explains why they do what they do, and what the alternatives can be. Faced with boycotts, farmers will have a tougher time going with the more expensive alternatives to the practice.