Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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

From,
THE CRITTER NEWS TEAM

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weird Things Pets Eat

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

US Fish and Wildlife Offers Ivory Identification Guide

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

From the web page....

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

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

Animal Cruelty Database at Pet-Abuse.com

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

Great research tool. Amazing work.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Elephants Missing in Chad, Presumed Poached

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

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

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

Attempt to Recover Sumatran Rhino Species

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

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

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

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

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

Video of the Week

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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stray Dog Rescued in Mumbai

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

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

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

How To Care for Wild Babies

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

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pet Love Closes its Doors in Beverly Hills

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

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

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

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


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

Sea Shepherd Goes After Japanese Whalers Again

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Animal Legal Defense Fund Ranks States on Animal Protection

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

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

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

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

UK Animal Rights Activists Profiled

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at Critter News!

Efforts Being Made to End Eating Cats in China

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

Kudos to the many people in China that do care.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Should the Military Force Protect the Environment?

Thought-provoking article in the Boston Globe.

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

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

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

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

British Student Attacked by Portuguese Fur Shop Owner

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Investigation Reveals Cruel Treatment of Pigs in Europe

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

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

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

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


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

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

Quote of the Week

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

~ Henri Nouwen

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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

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

She supports medical research on animals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just cannot decide.

Critters in our yard


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

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Arctic Ice Melting at Stunning Rate

Bad news for those Arctic species.

Compassionate Cooks Worth Visiting

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

Bush Proposes Penguin Protection, Hell Freezes Over

Not perfect, but still, wow.

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

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

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

Holiday Vegan Recipes

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

Here are some tasty ideas for the holidays.

Are Thai Temple Tigers Drugged?

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

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

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

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

Humane Society Likes Obama's Animal Welfare Picks

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

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

HSUS is also happy about Lisa Jackson heading the EPA.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Activists Allegedly Use Computer Virus Against UC Berkeley Researchers

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Week

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

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

Alleged Police Spy Found in NZ

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Far, Mountain Gorilla Deaths Only from Natural Causes

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

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

Don't Eat Camel - Eat Schmeat!

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

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

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

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

Save the Planet - Eat a Camel!

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

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

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quantico Has No Compassion for Feral Cats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Whiskers" or "Frisky?"


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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Goin' to Portland

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Da Bears

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

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

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Humane Society Exposes Petland Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study Shows Shorter Life Spans for Zoo Elephants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rare and Strange Animals

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

DMX Back in Jail

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jamie Foxx: Something Stupid This Way Comes

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

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

"A pitbull," the entertainer said.

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

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

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

Kill the Sea Lions Before They Kill Again!

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

Let's pick the sea lions!


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

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

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


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

Thanks to Rose for the heads up.

Cool Vegan Website!

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

Study Claims Islamic Slaughtering More Humane

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

What an utterly grotesque project.

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

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

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bullfighting Ring Burned in Spain

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

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

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

F.L.A. (Frente de LiberaciĆ³n Animal)"

Wired's Top Ten Animal Videos

Not a bad list.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dogfighting Grows in Texas

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

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

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

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


Disgusting and disturbing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Portugal Deals with Same Issues Around Dogfighting

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

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

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

Debate Over Injured Dog Video

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

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


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

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

Pale Male in National Geographic

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

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

Agriculture Fears Possible "Cow Tax"

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

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

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

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

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

More Video

This time, a cute little hammie:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Year of the Gorilla Begins

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

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

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


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

Quote of the Week

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

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Holiday Gift Ideas From Peta

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

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cute Google Hamster Gadget

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Natalie Portman's Vegan Shoes Not Sustainable?

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

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

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

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

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

Documentary Spotlights Plight of Mexican Dogs

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

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

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


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

Monday, December 1, 2008

Support Animals Asia

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

In a nutshell, here they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Poverty Law Center on ALF

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