Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fearless Cat Faces Dog

This reminds me of the Monty Python Confuse a Cat sketch.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Elk Hunting For Idiots

From the Seattle PI:
The killing of about seven elk cornered in a farm pasture in eastern Skagit County has spurred state officials to close the elk archery season in the area and angered others who either witnessed or heard about the killings.
That's right, a herd of panicked elk were cornered in a cow pasture and a group of boneheads decided to "hunt" them. Even other hunters were disgusted:
"How can you call that hunting?" asked Bob Coombs, 70, of Mount Vernon. 'You pin some animals inside a barbed wire closure then allow people to come in there and take shots at them with arrows. Good Lord. That can't be called hunting. There are some fair chase rules that any ethical hunter subscribes to."

Sea Shepherd's New Vessel Arrives in Southern Ocean

Here is video of the Ady Gil:

Monday, December 28, 2009

EU Sends Inspectors to Portugal for Farm Animal Welfare

This happened earlier in the month, but I'm posting it anyway. The inspectors found nothing wrong, but at least they responded to the issues raised by Animal Angels, based in Germany.

My 2010 resolution is to try and track animal rights issues in the homelands of Spain and Portugal. Spain is much more advanced than Portugal in this area, but both need improvement (as do we all.)

December 26 Podcast Uploaded

This week's stories:

PETA demands that the National Institutes of Health take back grant money awarded to the University of Kansas;

The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums prepares to investigate the Calgary Zoo next year;

Convicted dog fighter Michael Vick receives an award in courage from the Philadelphia Eagles;

Canada tries to find a public relations firm to counter anti-seal coverage;

and a Washington State man is convicted of selling bear gall bladders.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Natalie Portman's Vegan Transition

Here's an October interview with Natalie Portman who recently went vegan. Been meaning to post it for a while...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Big Ag Fighting Back with PR

They are fighting back due to all the information and images that have made it to the public sphere. There are no happy farm animals, you liars. And people are seeing it. So, now you just try to spend more money to spread more lies.
"Clearly the animal rights community is much more emboldened and aggressive than they have been in the past," said {National Milk Producers Federation} spokesman Chris Galen. "We need to play offense."
This article has a good summary of the victories to which this industry is reacting.

Obama Gets B- on Animal Protection

The Humane Society gives President Obama a B- on animal protection. Not that great, but I no longer think of Obama as a progressive anyway.

It's probably still better than w.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jaguar Dies in Florida Zoo

A jaguar died during a routine procedure at the Brevard Zoo.

Washington Man Sentenced for Gall Bladder Trafficking

Good. This man is a meat-cutter from our home state of Washington. I'm not sure the sentencing is strict enough to keep him from doing it again. I hope he serves out his whole sentence though.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says Wednesday that William A. Page, a meat cutter from Curlew, was sentenced to a year jail in Ferry County Superior Court after being convicted on six counts of unlawful trafficking in wildlife.

Page, 63, was sentenced Dec. 18 and was also fined $3,000.

Investigators say Page admitted buying 35 gall bladders in 2007 and 2008, including 17 from undercover officers. Investigators say some believe gall bladders have healing powers and can draw thousands of dollars on the black market.

PETA Criticizes University of Kansas

We recently posted about the University of Kansas which, in response to USDA-cited lab violations, is spending about $1 million on lab renovations (although now I'm hearing it's more like $700,000.)

Now PETA is saying that the NIH (National Institutes of Health) should take back the grant money it gave the university.

Sorry for the cynicism, but....HAH! Good luck with that argument! The NIH doesn't take back grant money. This is economic development money...and Senator Sam Brownback would never allow it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Man Who Hung, Electrocuted and Beat Dogs to Death Given Courage Award by Philadelphia Eagles

Because poor Michael Vick has been through so much. Another reason to root against the Eagles. Sorry but after seeing the victims that he left behind on Dog Town, I still think he's slime.

It takes a special kind of callousness and brutality to treat dogs that way. This isn't a bar fight. It's not the mistakes made from being young. This is making dogs tear each other to shreds. This is watching a dog hanging from a rope getting strangled to death because he didn't make the grade. That kind of cruelty is beyond what most normal people can conceive. I can, for instance, understand how someone can get drunk and do something stupid. I can understand how an NFL player can get into a fight over a girlfriend or something like that. They may be acting stupid, but I can at least understand it. I cannot understand how someone could do what Vick did. It is so utterly cruel.

This man didn't just go to dog fights. He didn't just bet on them. He set up a clandestine business to participate in it. He painted buildings black so nobody could see his dirty business. He set his dogs loose on others that couldn't defend themselves so they could get the taste of blood. And he ran this business for years. A lot of stuff came out in the indictment, but think of all the stuff we don't know about. I bet there's a lot.

I doubt he has the courage to tell us all about all the other nasty things he did. Shame on the Eagles.

New Book on Michael Vick Case

A new book has come out about the Vick case. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UK Expects Spike in Christmas Poaching

Criminal gangs in the rural UK poach deer and salmon during the Christmas season. To curtail the rise and educate the public, the "Poachers Moon" initiative brings together the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Environment Agency, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the Deer Initiative.

Organized crime in England is really attacking wildlife lately. Recently, I've also read about wildlife being used for dogfight training. Perhaps this is nothing new to people who live in these areas though.

Ocean Advocacy and Animal Rights

We support two ocean protection organizations: People for Puget Sound (local) and the Ocean Conservancy.

I was reading Ocean Conservancy's magazine today. For the past couple of issues I've read, it has had a "sustainable seafood recipe." I understand that they are trying to encourage people to eat fish and other marine life that are not part of a collapsing fishery. The purpose is to protect ocean species as a whole. I'm not sure how this fits into my support of animal rights though. If you are eating a fish, you are still eating a living thing. I think that ocean life, with the exception of mammals, are often overlooked because they are not the sentient, communicating species that we identify with, like primates, dogs, cats, etc. I'm going to try and research other groups to see if there is a group that is more in line with the philosophy I'm trying to follow.

But I may not find one. And, at this point, I'd rather have oceans with healthy fisheries for the seafood industry than those without any fisheries left at all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stephanie Ernst Leaves Change.org

I work, volunteer, take classes sometimes, run a household and care for five animals and a husband, so I'm not as involved in the blog community as I wish I could be. However, I certainly tried to read Stephanie Ernst's posts at Change.org's Animal Rights blog. Now I find out from Digging Through the Dirt that Stephanie has left and started a new project called Animal Rights & Anti-Oppression.

Now, obviously I don't know what exactly happened, but it is interesting that her Animal RIGHTS blog is now replaced by an Animal WELFARE blog at Change.org. There is a huge difference in what each term conveys and the movement it describes.

Perhaps the new blogger is very good, but I think it's kind of lame to change the name of the blog in such an obvious way. It implies to me that they thought animal rights was too controversial so they wanted a safer, palatable alternative. If they'd kept the name, I may have kept following. But now I'm following Ms. Ernst to see what she's up to next.

Kansas University Tries to Correct Welfare Violations

Kansas University Medical Center was nailed by USDA inspectors for violations including improper treatment for sick animals, aging facilities and failing to provide appropriate enrichment opportunities for animals who appear to be under psychological stress.

Now they're bragging about spending over a million dollars to do what they should have been doing in the first place.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Applications for Humane Research Funding on the Rise

The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research is the UK’s largest charity funder of non-animal replacement research. It has just received a record number of applications for grants.

That is a very good thing. At least there is some interest out there. And it's fueled by one thing...research dollars.

Research dollars are what keep animal research alive in the US...and control of those research dollars may be the only way to eventually kill it too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/19/09 Podcast Uploaded

This week's stories...

*An agreement in principle on new rules for animal testing has been reached by the European Union;

*Ten laboratory chimpanzees retire to a Florida sanctuary;

*A Spanish province begins a discussion on banning bullfights;

*A record number of manatee deaths are recorded in the State of Florida;

*The last known dancing bear is rescued in India.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Never Assume Anything About Your Friends

In the unending quest to find a kindred animal rights soul amongst my current friends, I ventured into animal testing territory with three friends over lunch this week (two guys and a woman). One guy I already knew was pretty hopeless (as he always eats some au jus sandwich). But I had hopes for the other two because they both started up the lunch talking about how they both bawled over that book Marley and Me. (It's about a dog and his family and it was made into a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) The woman is a huge animal lover too who has five rescued horses and about four dogs.

So it was weird when we got on the subject of health care reform and pharmaceuticals. It was a natural progression for me to talk about how drug companies are basically out for profit, not to save people. Most of their testing is repetitive, useless, and/or designed to create clones of drugs whose patents are about to run out. I raised the example of how I thought there would be alternatives to animal testing by now if there would be profit involved. There's just no profit motive to encourage innovation.

Not a word from the woman. She is usually so passionate about these things, but nada. All I can think of is that her husband is a trauma nurse and maybe they've had this conversation before. Or maybe she disagrees with me. My male friend agreed, but chose to focus on the drug companies' business practices themselves for the rest of the conversation.

Oh, well. At least I tried....but, really, they cry over Marley and Me but not the real animal tragedies out there. Brother.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Anti-Fur Activists Strike in Russia

This is something I've never heard of.

From BiteBack:
"December 5, in Izhevsk two locks on the entrances of the fur shop were filled with glue with the help of syringe, and the key holes were plastered over with the cold welding. Two big billboards were slashed, walls and sign - pelted with paint bombs.

November 27, in Sochi at the billboard of the fur shop 'The furs of Scandinavia' a slogan 'Fur = murder!' was painted. The same inscriptions appeares near the fur shops in the centre of the city.

November 26, in Petrozavodsk two fur shops were attacked with the paint bombs. On the walls of the shops spray painted inscriptions appeared: 'Killers!', 'Fur is murder!', 'Give up wearing fur!'. Similar slogans were painted on the walls of buildings on the center of the city."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Calgary Zoo Set for External Review

Bowing under pressure, they are allowing an outside group of experts review their operations. But, of course, this is really all because of some extremists who want to close down all zoos.
In announcing the expert panel, zoo CEO Clement Lanthier also came out swinging Saturday, defending the reputation of his facility, calling much of the criticism “unsubstantiated or unfair,” and adding the review will reassure Calgarians about the quality of the institution.

“To continue their support for this institution, our community needs answers — no more accusations, no more allegations, no more irresponsible criticisms, but documented facts that will give them good reason to maintain their confidence in us,” Lanthier said.

...I think it’s an extreme animal rights organization that wants to close all zoos,” Steve Feldman {AZA spokesman} said. “They’re basically a bunch of ambulance chasers.”

The latter comment is in reference to Zoocheck Canada, a zoo watchdog demanding the independent investigation.

Since I agree that the excessive number of deaths at this zoo should be investigated, I guess I must be an extremist too.

British Student Kills Hamster for Fun

As a hamster lover who just adopted a new one today (still unnamed), I find this incident particularly reprehensible.

Thanks to animalblog.co.uk for the story.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dogtown Episode 2

Another episode of Dogtown done! This episode featured three young dogs: Johnny, the golden retriever that was considered too dumb to train; "Baxt" (I think) a puppy with a neurological problem; and Tuffy, the dog attacked and left for dead by other dogs.

Baxt and Tuffy were victims of a hoarder. The show's narrator mentioned that hoarders often start off as trying to save animals and then just get overwhelmed. I know it's more than that though...and I know it from an article in Best Friends Magazine itself.

After watching this episode, I think death is often a more humane end for an animal than to be trapped for a lifetime with an animal hoarder. And I think this case was probably edited for television.

We've posted about hoarders before, but animal hoarders are more than just overwhelmed rescuers. Many consider hoarding to be a real mental illness. There are numerous fact sheets about animal hoarding available from animal groups. Here's one from PETA and another from the Humane Society.

And here's a huge article from the Psychiatric Times in 2000. Truly fascinating reading, but a problem that has not been addressed adequately at all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Podcast Uploaded for Week Ending 12/12/09

I apologize for the audio quality of this episode...my sound engineer was on the Xbox!

Here are the week's stories.

The Calgary Zoo is under scrutiny for yet another animal death;

Convicted dog fighter Michael Vick is welcomed back to Atlanta;

New Zealand is being bombarded with international protests for what many consider to be a transition to “factory farming” in Mackenzie Country;

Russia bemoans that fact that it hasn't matched the US in transforming sea lions into military weapons;

and a German tourist is caught smuggling 44 lizards out of New Zealand in his underwear.

Care2 Vote For America's Best Animal Shelter

Go vote for Best Friends my little winged monkeys! Or not, but vote for someone so they can win $10,000.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Company Plans to Make Money from Recycling Animal Carcasses

Waste not, want not. The company is Biosphere Technologies and the patented technology is Biorefinex. It takes all the inedible parts of the animal and makes it into an ooze that can be used as fertilizer or converted into biogas. It also keeps carcasses out of landfills and incinerators.

Again, being marketed as good for the environment. And again, I ask, what about all the human corpses sitting in all these cemeteries. Aren't these cemetaries a type of landfill too? Shouldn't we keep carcasses out of them as well? They are just taking up space? Will such technology be applied to them at some point, to render the raw material more useful?

Vile all around. When profits are made from death, what do you get? More and more incentives for more and more death.

Questionable Practices at the Calgary Zoo

Another animal dies at the Calgary Zoo and more questions are being raised about their practices.

Look at all these incidents that have occurred there (listed in the Montreal Gazette article in the above link)...I don't track zoos, but this seems like an unusually high number of casualties.
The Calgary Zoo is again under scrutiny as details emerged Friday about how a capybara, a species of giant South American rodent, died after becoming caught in a hydraulic door last weekend as it was being moved from one area to another...

The fatality is one in a string of animal deaths in recent years. Incidents include a hippo who died in transport from Denver and a Turkmenian markhor, a species of wild goat, hung itself at the zoo after becoming trapped by a rope.

In April 2009, unseasonably cold weather froze two whopping crane eggs. They were a part of the zoo’s breeding program for the rare birds.

In November 2008, a virus killed a 15-month-old Asian elephant calf named Malti. She had been showing symptoms of the potentially lethal elephant herpesvirus, which leads to internal bleeding and heart failure.

In May 2008, 41 of the 43 rays at the Calgary Zoo’s 37,000-litre touch-tank died. The zoo blamed human error for the deaths, saying it didn’t have the expertise to manage the fish and that a lack of dissolved oxygen led to the deaths.

And an incident in June 2009, while it didn’t involve death, certainly drew controversy. Zoo patrons were shocked to see Barika, a western lowland gorilla, holding a knife and apparently pointing it at another primate in the enclosure. A zookeeper had left the knife behind in the exhibit. The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums has since cleared the Calgary Zoo in the incident.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dogtown: So Far So Good

I just watched episode 1, season 1, of Dogtown, the National Geographic Channel TV show about Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. We really enjoyed it. The first episode featured three dogs: Noche, a terrier who displayed food and people aggression; Willa, a puppy mill rescued Scottie with neurological problems and a cute wobble; and Wiley, a rescued dog who loses a leg because of a hit-and-run.

I learned a lot from this episode. My hands-on experience is with small mammals/critters and cats. I don't know much about dogs other than what I read. However, this episode featuring Noche just emphasizes my view that dogs should not be euthanized for being food-aggressive alone. I remember posting last summer about an abused pit bull mother who was euthanized by our animal shelter for being food-aggressive. Well, yeah, she was starving in a crack house....duh! I believe that a dog with food aggression can be rehabilitated. If we expend the money and energy on "rehabilitating" hardened criminals, then why can't we do so with animals. In many ways, they are probably easier to change because they don't have the same emotional baggage.

I think food aggression is just an excuse to make space for the next animal.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tourist Tries to Smuggle 44 Lizards in Underwear

You can't make these things up.

Another Fake Animal Welfare Group

I was browsing for some quotes when I came across this group - The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA). They had a page with quotes from animal rights activists, but as I was reading, I noticed that they were very unfavorable quotes from such activists as Wayne Pacelle and Ingrid Newkirk. The quotes seemed designed to show them as extremists and/or insincere liars.

So, I'm like, waaaaaait a minute. Who are these guys? And here's the answer....

The National Animal Interest Alliance is an association of business, agricultural, scientific, and recreational interests dedicated to promoting animal welfare, supporting responsible animal use and strengthening the bond between humans and animals. Our members are pet owners, dog and cat clubs, obedience clubs and rescue groups as well as breeders, trainers, veterinarians, research scientists, farmers, fishermen, hunters and wildlife biologists. The membership roster of NAIA includes some of America's most respected animal professionals, advocates and enthusiasts.....

Note: There is a related organization by the name of NAIA Trust (www.naiatrust.org), which has a similar mission and goals to those of the National Animal Interest Alliance but is separate from NAIA. It was created in order to focus more resources on influencing legislation and defending the victims of animal and environmental extremism. NAIA Trust is a 501 (c) (4) so contributions to it are not tax deductible.

Ah. By the way, it's not only the name, but the web site is also designed to be deceiving with pictures of cute animals and strong human/animal relationships.

Clever bastards.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rumors Circulate over Cancellation of Anthrax Project

Research supporters are going crazy over Oklahoma State University stopping anthrax testing on baboons. In addition to the threat of animal "extremists," they are also blaming T. Boone Pickens' wife Madeleine, whose husband is a big donor.

Serial Poachers Devastate Montana

This article describes the devastation being inflicted on Montana's wildlife by serial poachers. It's also an insight into how serial poachers think. I would have thought serial poaching and serial killing were essentially the same, with the difference being the species, but this article says there is a difference.
Brian Golie, FWP game warden in Wolf Creek, .....classifies serial poachers as people who target trophy animals and will do anything to kill them. Serial killers, on the other hand, are people who kill everything they see and simply want to run up a tally. In some instances people kill an animal and cut off its head for the antlers. Others take the entire animal and still others leave the dead animal, although Golie said he's seen people come back months later after poaching an animal to try to recover the antlers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Polar Bear Supporters Lose Court Case

Another story from last week, but worth mentioning. From KTUU in Anchorage...
A federal appeals court made a final decision Wednesday on whether Fish and Wildlife could allow oil companies to interfere with polar bears.

The complaint is that the government isn't doing enough to protect marine animals from the effects of oil and gas development...

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit because it felt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service wrongfully issued authorization for oil companies to work in areas that could potentially hurt the bears.

They claimed Fish and Wildlife failed to consider effects of climate change and had a false idea of how many polar bears would be affected.

But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue its own regulations on incidental take.

Incidental take, in this case, is the killing or harassing of polar bears resulting from oil and gas operations on the Beaufort Sea coast.

Yikes! Two TONS of Snakes & Tortoises Seized

Yes, that's right. TWO TONS. In Cambodia. Luckily, they were alive and released back into the wild.

From the AP last week...
Cambodian police confiscated two tons of live snakes and tortoises and arrested two men trying to smuggle the slithering cargo up a river from Cambodia to Vietnam, authorities said Thursday.

Acting on a tip, police intercepted the boat Wednesday on the Bassac River in southeastern Cambodia just before it crossed into Vietnam. They found 3,640 pounds (1,655 kilograms) of snakes, mostly pythons, and 263 tortoises that weighed a combined 697 pounds (317 kilograms), said Col. Chan Savouen, deputy police chief of Kandal province.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Podcast Uploaded for 12/05/09

Finally, this thing is up.

Lush USA Charity Pot Supports Animal and Environmental Causes

Lush USA has a program where they sell hand and body lotion that supports a variety of animal and environmental groups. Called the Charity Pot, they donate 100% of the retail price minus taxes to a group you can designate. I found this through Sea Shepherd, which is one of the groups that you can donate to through the program.

They also sell a variety of other bath and cosmetic products that are hand made and not tested on animals.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Protest To Stop Pointless Radiation Experiments

PETA organized protests to stop these stupid radiation experiments on spider monkeys. The purpose is to determine how astronauts would fare on the way to Mars.

To Mars? We can't even get out of Afghanistan and we're going to Mars. When? Next year? Give me an effing break.

Best Opinion Ever on Humans and Nature

At least to me. Read it yourself as I can't do it justice. It's by a Ugandan political scientist.

I'm sure it will make a lot of people angry. But it crystallizes the conclusions I've been heading towards for the last 40 years.

By the way, if you ever read Jared Diamond's Collapse, you'll understand why I also think this is the perfect response to his book. He wants to save the planet for humans alone. I believe we have not earned that privilege.

(Bea, I tried to email this directly to you, but your email kicked it back!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Huge Ivory Seizure in Africa

From the Environment News Service...
More than two tons of illegal ivory have been seized and more than 100 people have been arrested in the largest international operation targeting wildlife crime across Eastern Africa, the Kenya Wildlife Service and INTERPOL announced today.

Meat Grown in a Petri Dish?

From an opinion piece in the Times of India....
Scientists at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands have grown in-vitro meat, using cells from a live pig to replicate growth in a petri dish. They haven't been able to actually taste
the pork they've grown because of lab rules. Nevertheless there's potential here for two giant breakthroughs. It could mean not only an end to killing animals for food, but also significantly aid the fight against climate change.
This would be great. But what is this drive to eat the flesh of a living creature? Why this stubborn disconnect from the fact that we are eating corpses? Why is that my husband won't eat bones with fat on them because they are "gross," but will eat burgers and processed meat? They come from the same source right? Or is it because one is so much cleaner and antiseptic than the other? You can forget who you are eating when it's processed so cleanly.

So many people I know get really guilty when they hear about conditions at factory farms, but then just keep eating the same things. Da da da da! It's like...hello?!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quote of the Week

There are, in fact, only two categories of doctors and scientists who are not opposed to vivisection: those who don't know enough about it, and those who make money from it.

--Dr Werner Hartinger, MD

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oklahoma State Stops Anthrax Vaccine Testing

It's too controversial because the baboons involved would have to be destroyed after the testing.

From Bioprepwatch.com...
Administrators at OSU decided not to let the project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, commence as the primates being used would be euthanized. An internal faculty committee spent more than a year preparing protocol for the care and use of the primates...

OSU administrators said in a statement that, "this research was not in the best interest of the university. The testing of lethal pathogens on primates would be a new area for OSU that is controversial and is outside our current research programs.

"OSU is focused on enhancing and expanding its existing research strengths including our ongoing programs in bioterrorism research. The proposed work would have distracted from those efforts.”

I think this is the first time I've personally heard of a University pulling away from primate research due to controversy.

Primate Breeding Facility Generates Controversy In Puerto Rico Itself

Good! I come down hard on Puerto Rico, ever since the scandal in which dogs were being thrown off bridges by an animal control company. Plus, the horrible pictures I've seen of strays in Puerto Rico. Plus the fact that I personally know the Latin attitude towards animals. Plus, well, you get this picture.

They've been planning to build a facility to breed research monkeys in Puerto Rico for some time. Hey, it's a chance for some jobs for the young folks. I'm sorry, but this is not the way to create jobs. Horrible things like the slave trade created jobs. That didn't make it right.

I'm glad this is sparking a dialogue in Puerto Rico. People such as Jane Goodall and Benicio del Toro have also voiced their opposition.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Worst Opinion Piece from Thanksgiving

I was reading this nasty, mean-spirited "opinion piece" in the Detroit News and thinking, "Wow, what asshole is this guy?" Then I found out it's a representative from the Center for Consumer Freedom, a "a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices."

Enough said.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Marmoset Smuggler Escapes in India

Unfortunate.

From the Times of India...
Sher Singh, one of the kingpins of the countrywide wildlife trafficking racket involved in stealing eight common marmosets from Alipore Zoo on August 9, walked off a train in the wee hours of Friday. A three-member team of Orissa police that was bringing him back to Kolkata was fast asleep when Sher Singh made good his escape.

The Orissa police team did not bother to inform their counterparts in Kolkata immediately and merely lodged a complaint with Government Railway Police at Kharagpur station.

Sure doesn't sound like these guys take wildlife trafficking very seriously. Now this guy gets to commit more crimes against animals.

Utah's Shelters Providing Strays to Labs for Research

Thanks to PETA's undercover investigation of University of Utah labs for bringing this issue to media attention.

From the AP...
Scores of abandoned dogs, cats and livestock from Utah animal shelters become subjects of laboratory research at the University of Utah each year.

That's because of a little-known state law that requires government-run pounds to turn animals over to researchers if asked.

The practice gained wider publicity after the animal rights group PETA said earlier this month that 1 of its agents spent eight months working undercover at University of Utah research facilities.

University officials say they only collect animals from shelters willing to participate and pound animals are steered toward nonlethal experiments.

They say cats and dogs at the lab get excellent veterinary care and survivors are placed into a volunteer-run adoption program.

Support Island Dog Inc.

I really like this group and donate to them. Puerto Rico's animal welfare is pathetic. It's not that different from the rest of Latin America, but Puerto Rico is part of the United States. There's no excuse for them not to be on par with at least the worst US state.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Light posting this weekend. Have a kitten.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pork Industry Tries to Deal with Public Image

Every time I get depressed about animal issues (every other day it seems like), I see an article like this. Now, it may see like it would add to more depression, but it actually makes me feel a little better.

It's an article about the pork industry having to address the increasingly positive media image of pigs as intelligent creatures that could be someone's pet. The fact that this discussion warrants an article in the Des Moines Register means that there is some movement on this front and and it causes the pork industry concern.

On Wednesday, I almost lost my temper with some people in our customer service unit who wondered why anyone would want a turkey to have a good life before death...."it's just a turkey." And, of course, this view of farm animals is the norm. But small cracks like those hinted at in this article give me tiny room for an almost imperceptible pause.

Smithsonian Magazine Spotlights Wildlife Trafficking

HUGE article in the Smithsonian Magazine about wildlife trafficking out of Ecuador.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Whenever people say, ‘We mustn’t be sentimental,’ you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, ‘We must be realistic,’ they mean they are going to make money out of it."

-- Brigid Brophy (1929 – 1995), English-Irish novelist and playwright.

PETA Undercover Agent Also Worked in Oregon

The PETA activist who worked undercover at the University of Utah, and collected video footage of alleged mistreatment of lab animals, was also involved in an operation at the Oregon National Primate Research Center.

I say "good for her!" She has a lot more guts than I do.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Animals as Raw Material

I came across this article in USA Today entitled "Waste not, want not: Companies find uses for leftover animal parts."
From plastics made from feather protein to diesel fuel made from fat to organic fertilizer made from poultry litter, the USA's top meat producers are developing new uses and markets for the animal parts that humans won't eat, says Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association in Alexandria, Va.

For years, those parts have ended up in cosmetics, soap, pet food and animal feed. Now, meat companies are putting more resources into sustainability programs, says Paul Rutledge of the American Meat Institute's sustainability committee.

At Clemson University, such products are being tested at the South Carolina school's Animal Co-Products Research & Education Center, says center Director Annel Greene.

Greene says there are a number of uses for the leftover materials that have yet to be discovered. "It's fascinating to see everything that can be done," Greene says.

I suppose most people will think this is great. What an efficient use of every bit of raw material possible. And all to help save the planet.

But that's the problem...these are not raw materials. These are living beings. To me, they are not some input that gets "rendered" and used to the utmost degree. And I don't care about the term "sustainability." I don't care if dead animal fat is being used for biodiesel (a terrible, wasteful fuel anyway....but that's another story) or plastic, etc. It's all about profiting from death.

Let's change the subject a little bit. What about all the dead humans taking up space in cemeteries? That's useless material...isn't there some use we could put them to as well? Once you're dead, you're dead. Can't that carcass become a raw material too? It's pretty gruesome when you apply the thought to dead humans, but not so much to dead animals....they're both dead though right?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

PETA Leads Anti-Animal Research Protest at University of Utah

This protest comes after an undercover PETA investigator collected evidence of alleged animal abuse in the University laboratories.

Cockfighting Rings Busted in South Carolina

They've charged three dozen people in one of the largest cockfighting busts in years.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Minnesota Activist Indicted for Animal Terrorism

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune...I don't see any mention in this article (or in this one from the Chicago Tribune) about threats to human life in this incident. Straight vandalism and economic loss. Is this a valid prosecution? Is it terrorism?
Scott DeMuth, who is being held in jail in Davenport, is scheduled to make his first appearance in U.S. District Court Friday.

According to the indictment, unsealed today, DeMuth committed "animal enterprise terrorism and cause[d] economic damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000" between Nov. 9 and Nov. 20, 2004.

The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalizing two labs and three offices at the University of Iowa on Nov. 14, 2004.

DeMuth and Carrie Feldman, another activist from Minneapolis have been jailed since Tuesday for refusing to answer questions before the federal grand jury in Davenport.

They were found in contempt of court by U.S. District Judge John Jarvey after they were offered limited immunity for their testimony before the grand jury to compel them to talk.

Activists Hit Max Mara Managers in Italy

From Bite Back:
Redecorated with paint and oil the opulent houses of Luigi and Ignazio Maramotti in Albinea (Reggio Emilia). Locked the main entrances. Redecorated with paint also the house of the sister Maria Ludovica located in Reggio Emilia. All these people represent the top management of Max Mara Fashion Group, they torture and kill animals for profits of their company.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

HSUS Video about Feral Cat Rescue

I've been way overworked and stressed lately. Haven't been into deep posts at all. So here is a nice story and video about a HSUS rescue of a California feral colony. It makes me want to get back into animal rescue, which is where my animal rights activism started.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Week

What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?

-Henry David Thoreau

Thai Police Arrest Ivory Traffickers

Police arrested two Thai nationals for trafficking in African ivory. Unfortunately, if they are found guilty, they would face a maximum of only four years in jail. The fines could be up to 40,000 baht (1,150 dollars).

The dollars part doesn't seem like much to me either, but it could be a fortune in Thailand. Anyone know?

Monday, November 16, 2009

An End to Japanese Whaling?

I seriously doubt it, despite the Greenpeace report in Wildlife Extra News.. It's too much a matter of international pride. (I know, I know, I'm always a pessimist....but I'm so good at it!)
A major review of Japanese government spending could spell the end to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, according to Greenpeace, after the review committee proposed massive cuts in subsidies to a body which funds the so-called scientific research programme.

The Spending Review Committee recommended that the Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Fund (OFCF), which gives loans to the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) to run the discredited science programme, have all of its funding revoked, except monies needed for loans in 2010.

PETA and IFAW Plan 24 City Tour of Canada

Both groups will be protesting the seal hunt using the Olympic torch ceremony as the backdrop.
PETA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are holding a joint news conference this week, and I would like to offer you an exclusive advance scoop on it.

Crowds gathering across Canada to watch the Olympic torch pass through their towns will also be greeted by a 12-meter-tall baby "seal." The inflatable mascot will bear a banner demanding an end to the commercial seal slaughter and will be accompanied by animal advocates who will enlist people to call on their representatives in Parliament to support legislation that would end the slaughter. Plans will be unveiled at a news conference in Halifax in advance of the Olympic torch's arrival.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Animal Researchers' Emotional Blackmail

Here's a succinct letter to the editor that summarizes the emotional blackmail propogated by animal researchers.

From the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA...
The million dollar ad campaign by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (“Critical research,” Nov. 10) is public relations at its worst.

It is designed to prey on our fears. It is all about convincing us that a cure for everything is just around the corner as long as we keep funding their animal research gravy train. They want us to keep on funneling billions and billions of taxpayer dollars to the drug companies, the research universities and the suppliers of the animals and the animal testing equipment. How stupid do they think we are?

Unfortunately, we may not be stupid, but most of us are willfully ignorant.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

PETA Busts University of Utah Research Lab

An undercover PETA investigator shot hours of footage of alleged mistreatment of animals. A University representative denied any mistreatment: "None of the things she alleges are substantive," said Tom Parks, the U.'s vice president for research. "It's a remarkably banal list of ordinary events in an animal-care facility."

Per the Salt Lake Tribune,
these are some of the allegations....
*Failed to ensure that experiments minimized discomfort, distress and pain to the animals. In one case, up to 17 kittens from three litters died or were euthanized -- with no experiment data generated -- after injections to induce hydrocephalus.

» Discouraged the filing of health status reports to staff veterinarians -- "even when animals were clearly in distress.''

» Failed to provide adequate housing and management for animals that, in some instances, led to unnecessary stress, pain, injury or death.

» Failed to provide minimal enrichment for animals -- companionship for monkeys, balls for pigs, paper towels for mice -- to reduce emotional stress.

Certainly a case to follow.

Man Busted for Bear Gall Bladders in Washington State

This happened in my own State of Washington. We allow hunters to shoot bears, but not to sell their parts. Note the Asia connection again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Wolves are very resourceful. All they need to survive is for people not to shoot them."

— Bob Ferris

Europeans Continue to Search for Alternatives to Animal Research....Why Not Americans?

I just don't understand it. Is there a different culture regarding animals in Europe? They have drug companies that are just as powerful as those here. Is public outcry greater? Are animal rights organizations more effective? Are politicians more willing to act? What gives?

From Cordis News...
At a conference in Brussels, Belgium on 6 November, European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, and Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik restated the EU's commitment to the reduction of animal testing.

Industry representatives were also present at the conference, which was held as part of the European Partnership on Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA). The EPAA was created in 2005 and is an unprecedented collaboration between science and industry to reduce animal suffering in scientific tests.

The aims of the EPAA are based on the '3Rs' of replacement, reduction and refinement. To enable this new approach to be developed, the European Commission and companies that are members of the EPAA are working hard to initiate novel methods of research and technology transfer that will reduce the need for animal testing.

San Antonio Zoo Accused of Elephant Mistreatment

In Defense of Animals has taken up the cause of Lucky the elephant, the only elephant at the San Antonio Zoo, alleging poor conditions and emotional distress.

What amazes me is Lucky's age...49 years old. She has been at the San Antonio Zoo for 47 years.

Is this right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Book Looks at Humanity's Role in the Next Extinction

Another book I want to read! I'm a glutton for depressing punishment!
Nevertheless the subject of eradicated species has become publishing hot property after a bidding battle in the US saw Henry Holt, a publisher, beat its rivals to buy The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert last week. According to the New York Times, a "mid-six-figure advance" has now been agreed between writer and publisher.

"The idea of mass extinctions as the next step after talking about the perils of global warming is the most crucial subject," said Gillian Blake of Holt, after completing the deal with Kolbert, a writer for the New Yorker on environmental issues. Her last book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, outlined evidence collated from sites across the planet showing how global warming is changing the world. The book was well reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic, with the Observer praising it as "a superbly crafted, diligently compressed vision of a world spiralling towards destruction".

Now, Kolbert is to focus on humanity's impact on the animal world, and in particular will look at the species that are today being rendered extinct by men and women. Scientists say the number of species being lost is approaching levels reached during five pivotal extinction events that have swept the planet over the past 600 million years. Among these catastrophes was the event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Kolbert's task will to be show whether or not humanity – with its spiralling population, widespread habitat destruction, over-fishing and global warming – is rivalling these.

Nepal is "Poachers Paradise"

Ugly stuff happening in Nepal.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is Shelter Appreciation Week a Sham?

Nathan Winograd has an interesting piece in the Examiner about the recent HSUS Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. It's not that he's unappreciative of people that work with animals, but rather the state of many of the shelters that are being appreciated.
HSUS’ latest public relations gimmick is part of a larger attempt by the very animal control officers responsible for this neglect and abuse to reform their image from one of “dog catcher” to “humane law enforcement.” They are trying to change the image of their agencies from “pounds” to “shelters,” from “animal control” to “animal care and control,” even while they refuse to reform their regressive and abusive practices which—were they to end—would naturally lead to the respect and gratitude they claim to be seeking.
The article documents a number of recent abuses nationwide, as well as the difficulties reformers have faced in trying to stop abuse at shelters.

Nathan Winograd is an advocate for no-kill shelters (and is the author of several books on the subject). You can read about his background here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blue Whales Reappearing Again

And here's some good news for today.
BLUE whales, the world’s largest animals, are reappearing in parts of the oceans where hunting once wiped them out, signalling that they may finally be returning from the brink of extinction.

Marine scientists have recorded the animals roaming migratory routes and feeding grounds in the Pacific from which they had vanished for much of the past six decades.

Research also suggests that the Antarctic population of blue whales may now be growing at 6% a year. In the Atlantic, sightings are also increasing.

“The overall numbers are still tiny compared with the original populations before whaling started, but the trend is at last in the right direction,” said John Calambokidis, a marine scientist whose research on whale movements and populations has just been published in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

Another Wildlife Trafficking Ring Busted

In India this time. They seized tiger skins, tiger bones and otter skins.

Where could those tiger bones be going but to Asian countries to make tiger bone wine?

NASA Funds Radiation Experiments on Monkeys

Another animal experiment I would not support as a US taxpayer. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are calling attention to it.
The research project, led by Jack Bergman of McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate in Belmont, Mass., was one of 12 awarded radiobiology research grants through NASA's Human Research Program, the space agency announced October 27. In Bergman's study, according to Discovery News, 18 to 28 squirrel monkeys would be subjected to radiation and periodically tested to gauge how exposure affects performance in a variety of learned tasks. Stellar and galactic radiation would bombard astronauts on missions to Mars, but the health effects of such a trip are not well known.

Trips to Mars? I am so sorry, but the likelihood and necessity of trips to Mars are immeasurably low right now. Of what benefit is this to humanity in the here and now? This is so frigging frivolous. If we are going to subject animals to great suffering (radiation for heaven's sake), don't let it be for something like this. We are nowhere near that.

To be honest, I like science fiction and find the universe fascinating, but I do not support NASA funding. I believe that money to explore space can go to help an impoverished nation. Or better yet, to protect and cherish the planet WE CURRENTLY LIVE ON.

There's nothing to currently do on Mars, but plant a flag and play with some rocks.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Trip to an Animal Lab

Well, kind of. It wasn't a full-fledged tour, but disturbing nonetheless.

I can't really talk about what I do except that I work in government. In a brief tour of a particular biotech research company, I was taken to the animal lab. They did not experiment on primates (I asked!), but did experiment on mice and guinea pigs. Interesting that many of the grants this place gets specifically say they can't experiment on any domesticated animals (cats and dogs I guess.).

Anyway, I couldn't enter the actual rooms where the animals were kept because I would have had to wear a bio-hazard suit. But I did get to walk around the floor. It was a rather grim place. There was a poster in the lunch room with four cute animals (a dog, cat, rabbit and something else.) It reminded me of an adoption poster at the animal shelter. But when I got closer, I read, "Animal research opens minds." It was a jarring moment. This adorable poster that draws you in to the sweet faces of these animals basically proclaims that it is a good thing to use their bodies for medical research, which almost always leads to pain and death. It was an incongruous message.

Then, heading out, I noticed three little knitted mice. My tour guide was a little uncomfortable and said, "Yeah, that's a little morbid. One of the employees' moms knitted those."

One knitted mouse had a little sign that said, "I want my mommy."

The other had a sign that said, "RIP."

Now I'm way more morbid than most people in my tastes and sense of humor, but even I found this to be very disturbing. It certainly doesn't fill me with confidence in these people's skills in compassion and humane care.

Weird, weird, weird. Just thinking about it makes me crave a shower.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quote of the Week

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

~Elwyn Brooks White, Essays of E.B. White, 1977

Paul Watson on the South Park Spoof

He takes the right attitude:
I could not care less how I was personally ridiculed, lampooned, and insulted. Hell, being ridiculed, lampooned and insulted on South Park is a declaration to the world that Sea Shepherd and Whale Wars are effective and have cracked through to the other side of the media culture curtain. Yes sir, we are now on the same carnival sitting duck gallery as my old buddy Sean Penn, and Nicole Kidman’s ex-husband Tom Cruise and the Scientologists.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's Up with the UK and Soaring Wildlife Crime?

I don't get it. The Brits are known for their animal rights activism, but there's been a rise in wildlife crime against all animals. Apparently they are seen as nuisances. Badgers are being caught for dog-baiting. Bats are being targeted. A bird species is near extinction.

WTF.

2010 Declared the Year of the Tiger...So What?

The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop declared 2010 to be the Year of the Tiger. The intention is to focus on saving the tiger species which is being decimated. I say so what? It's just lip service. When China won't support a ban on tiger farms, nor will it work to curb the ridiculous demand for tiger products in its own country, what's the point? China is the single biggest threat to the tiger and it won't participate seriously in its protection. So what if the tiger gets its own year? It's just fuzzy wuzzies and PR.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New podcast

You can listen on the sidebar or subscribe in Itunes to Critter World News.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Book on Ethics of Meat-Eating

Sounds pretty powerful. I'm trying to come up with a book for my book club about animal rights. What do I choose? All of them are meat eaters, two because their "doctors" told them they had to eat meat. One is a huge supporter of animal research. I don't want anything too radical and was thinking about Dominion by Matthew Scully. But now we have "Eating Animals,"by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Farm Animal Welfare Fight Heats Up in Ohio

Issue 2 in Ohio would create 13-member state board to oversee the care of farm animals in the State. The Humane Society and other groups oppose it as a power grab by big agriculture to prevent another Proposition 2 (the initiative passed last year in California to improve standards for farm animal care.) And, of course, this board would be dominated by big ag's people, so I think they're right. There may also be unintended consequences. Would such a bill lead to jurisdiction over puppy mill breeders as well?

It's an issue to follow though. If it passes, it will encourage other states' ag industries to go on the offensive to protect their "raw materials."

Groups Urge FDA Ban on Feeding Chicken Feces to Cows....Wait, WHAT???

Well, you learn something new every day...
A coalition of food and consumer groups that includes Consumers Union and the Center for Science in the Public Interest has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban the practice. McDonald's Corp., the nation's largest restaurant user of beef, also wants the FDA to prohibit the feeding of so-called poultry litter to cattle.
Yeesh. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Elizabeth Kucinich and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Cool! She's the new Director of Public Affairs and she's already started lobbying for the Great Ape Protection Act, which would phase out invasive medical research on chimpanzees. (For you international readers, she's Dennis Kucinich's wife. He's a US Congressman who has run for President twice.)

Tiger Dies from Poaching Injuries in Malaysia

Sad. Another tiger lost.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Animal Researchers Use Billboards to Promote Themselves

The "brave" animal researchers are taking their argument to the public and bypassing animal right activists.

Here's an example...a billboard funded by the Foundation for Biomedical Research.

"Ever had leprosy. Thanks to animal research, you won't."

I for one welcome them coming out of the woodwork and forcing animal research into the public forum. Let's discuss the research. Let's talk about what they do, and why, and how. Let's talk about the redundancy, the waste, the pain. Let's see the pictures. If we can't outlaw the practice, perhaps researchers will become more transparent. Then we can finally stop the horrific abuses that they perpetrate within their windowless ivory towers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

OUCH!
Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

---Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tigers To Go Extinct in 15 Years? Thanks China!

It's not only China, but all Asian countries that are playing a major role in reducing this beautiful animal's number. As this article points out, tigers are worth more dead than alive if you use humanity's flawed accounting system.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mean Lady Hates Pet Bereavement Groups

Here's a random story.

I was standing near the information desk at the library for no particular reason when a pear-shaped woman in her fifties with frizzy perm-damaged hair stopped by. Apparently there was an announcement at the desk for a pet bereavement group.

She shook her head and said to the librarian at the desk, "Well, is there anything they won't do? A pet bereavement group. What a waste. Now I've seen everything."

I was pretty shocked and just stared at her.

The librarian responded "Well, some people really need it. I just lost my five-year-old dog and it was very hard."

The woman responded (I think a little embarrassed by now by what the librarian said and the fact that I was kind of staring at her), "Well, we had a cat once and it was so sick and the best thing we could do was put her down. It really was for the best."

The librarian said, "Uh huh."

The woman walked right past me and I just stared at her. I was THIS CLOSE to saying something really nasty. But instead, I went to the librarian and said, "I just want to counter what that woman said. I think pet bereavement groups are really important and I think that's a horrible thing to say. I don't want you to think that everyone feels that way."

The librarian was totally cool and talked about how devastated she was when her dog died, who was only five years old and her baby.

That incident has stuck with me because I thought it was so mean-spirited and I really regret not saying something. No one has any right to criticize a person's grief. People grieve for all kinds of things that mean something to them. I also suspect that this woman would not have the same criticism of people who grieve for an inanimate object like a lost wedding ring or other keepsake. She seemed to have an issue with animals.

Nasty woman.

Bugs!

Here are some seriously cool up close pictures of bugs. H/t to Andrew Sullivan.

New Pocast Up

You can listen in the sidebar there, or better yet look for Critter World News on Itunes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

UC Davis Named in Criminal Complaint for Mistreatment of Lab Animals

From the Los Angeles Chronicle...
The University of California, Davis is the focus of a major federal complaint charging it and two other nationally known university research centers have killed dozens of primates through traumatic injuries, veterinary negligence and other violations. The others are the University of Michigan and University of Louisiana/New Iberia.

A protest will be held today at the UCD Quad (1 Shields Ave.), sponsored by SAEN {Stop Animal Exploitation Now}, an Ohio-based animal research watchdog group.

SAEN said UC Davis is responsible for the deaths of at least 14 monkeys over an 11-month period from June of 2008 to April of this year, and that the deaths violated federal law. The primate center at UC Davis has been cited several times after monkeys were killed in preventable lab mishaps.

Farmed Fish Are No Easy Solution

Many believe that the solution to our wild fish problems is to promote farmed alternatives. But, as with any kind of mass production, this is filled with all kinds of risks.

Here's an article spotlighting farmed fishing in Chile.

It's really damned if you do and damned if you don't. Eat wild runs and cause their extinction. Eat farmed fish and create other environmental perils.

Best not to eat either.

Bo Celebrated Birthday with Veal

Ugh. Bo Obama celebrated his birthday with a doghouse cake made out of veal. When I was still a meat-eater, the two foods I would not touch were veal and lamb. Veal is especially cruel, even for factory farming, although now I think foie gras is a strong competitor.

Certainly disappointed in the Obamas for such a poor choice of "cake."

Boo!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two Examples of Mice Experiments - Valid or Not?

I came across these stories about two different medical experiments using mice.

In this experiment,
scientists tested whether lighting can cause depression. They used different lighting situations to see how they affect mice moods. One of the conclusions? That children who watch television late at night could be “more likely to develop depression."

I'm not convinced that I as a taxpayer would approve funding of this project. Aren't there better things to research? You would need to be watching television late at night regularly in order for the lighting to have an impact. Children shouldn't be regularly watching television late at night for many reasons other than depression. Like they should be sleeping! Are parents who are not paying attention to their kids suddenly going to send them to bed because they might get depressed? Plus, are mice comparable to kids (although I would prefer mice subjects to primates who are so much more sensitive)?

Whether intentionally or not, the title of the article catches the frivolity of the research...."Don't let your mouse watch TV."

Please.

Here's another experiment
using mice to determine whether stress and chemicals in plastic is leading to messed up male genitals and, therefore, infertility. The mice are exposed to certain chemicals to see the impacts. But see the qualifications in the article....

....The animal research has offered one explanation for the rising number of babies born with these conditions. However, it involved exposing rats to chemicals at levels that humans are usually not exposed to. This means the conclusions should be treated with caution.

....As this study was mainly about the effect of high doses of a chemical called phthalates on the number of rats born with undescended testicles, it is premature to report that stress has a part to play in reducing fertility in men.


So, why put the animals through this if it's not even a reflective experiment. Sounds like they did it because they could and who cares if you destroy a few carcasses for the hell of it.

Dogs and Cats Bad For Planet?

Two authors in New Zealand claim that the carbon footprint of pet animals are the same as owning a car.
New Zealand-based authors Robert and Brenda Vale base their findings on the amount of land needed to grow food for pets ranging from budgerigars to cats and dogs.

They say an average Collie eats 164kg of meat and 95kg of cereals a year, giving it a high impact on the planet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cat Got Some Skills

Our cats just whine and throw up on the carpet...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paul Watson Gets His Australian Visa

Ecorazzi has the story. Sea Shepherd is gearing up to go out again.

Japanese whaling continues, with 59 Minke whales killed off Kushiro. The stunning conclusion from their "research": Minke whales eat krill, pollack and anchovies. Wow, whales eat krill? Who knew?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Thin Green Line" Surveys Wildlife Crime in UK

Here's another book I'll need to add to my list.

Aussies Deny Foot-Dragging in Sea Shepherd Visas

The Australian government has denied accusations that they are delaying Visa applications for Sea Shepherd crew.
In response, Australian immigration has stated, “our standard procedure is to follow-up certain matters disclosed to the department in a visa application, and that’s what is occurring.”

The department went on to state that the delay may be linked to the fact that Watson is applying to enter Australia on a short-term business visa, rather than a tourist visa, with which he previously entered the country.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Michael Vick Refuses to Visit Victims

Coward.

Appeal Denied for Six Activists Convicted Under AEPA

It was a 2-1 decision by the US Court of Appeals.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer...
Six members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty were convicted at a 2006 trial in New Jersey of conspiracy to violate the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The law, since revised, aimed to protect animal research laboratories from illegal, sometimes violent protests.

The group was formed to protest the activities of Huntingdon Life Sciences in Franklin Township, N.J. The company had been a target of animal activists since video footage surfaced on television in the 1990s depicting animal abuse at its laboratory in the United Kingdom.

Huntingdon used mostly mice and rats , but also some dogs, monkeys, fish and guinea pigs , in its research in New Jersey.

The activists posted the home addresses of Huntingdon officials and contractors on the group's Web site, and harassment, vandalism and violence sometimes followed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Book Shows Mark Twain an Early Advocate Against Animal Cruelty

A new book by author and Stanford professor Shelly Fisher Fishkin reveals that Mark Twain was an early advocate against animal cruelty. Called Mark Twain's Book of Animals, the book contains a number of his writing about animals. From the review:
Twain writes about cruelty to animals in a range of contexts, criticizing, for example, the insensitivity involved in the exploitation of animals for sport or entertainment. Twain may have been the first American to call attention to the brutality of the so-called sport of cockfighting, which he describes in graphic detail.

Several pieces express Twain’s contempt for the idea of hunting for sport, including a memorable passage from a sequel to Huckleberry Finn in which Huck shoots a bird and feels immediate remorse and shame (“Huck Shoots a Bird”). Another text in the book--from an unpublished piece of autobiographical writing -- makes it clear that Twain based this account on an experience he had himself as a child (“Assassin”).

Twain wrote a searing account of an English earl’s behavior on a buffalo hunt (in “Man’s Place in the Animal World”) and wrote an impassioned anti-bullfighting novella (A Horse’s Tale).
Interesting. The book also contains writings by Twain against vivisection.

You can buy it here.

Factory Farming and Latin American Devastation

Here is an interesting 10 minute documentary about the effect of growing cheap animal feed in Latin America for European factory farms and how it effects the environment and people.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Man Kills Goldfish in Domestic Violence Attack, Gets Probation

Wow. I'm posting the whole article because it's so short. Another example of how animals (even goldfish!) become victims of domestic violence.

I know some people may think it's just a goldfish and this punishment is too much, but he wasn't just stabbing the goldfish, he was symbolically stabbing his girlfriend. A lot of times the perpetrator is simply taking out his anger against the victim by attacking something she cares about. Who knows what the next step could be?

I hope she has some kind of protection against him.

From Pets News...
PORTLAND, Ore. — A 27-year-old man who attacked his ex-girlfriend and killed her pet fish has been sentenced to two years probation and a psychological evaluation. Court documents say Donald Earl Fite III wanted to reunite with the woman in July, but she wasn’t willing. Fite shoved her against a wall and tossed her against a bathtub. The woman fled, then returned to find her fish on the floor with a knife through it.

Court documents said Fite told an officer, “If she can’t have me, then she can’t have the fish.”

The Oregonian newspaper reported Fite declined comment Tuesday. His attorney, Tom Macnair, said stabbing the fish was “a very low point” in his client’s life.

Fite pleaded guilty to animal abuse and domestic-violence assault.

Why No Fuss About Michael Vick?

Michael Silver, some Yahoo Sports guy, has a column about why Michael Vick's return to the NFL has turned out to be so anticlimactic (I was wondering the same thing myself recently.)

These are his thoughts....
I know plenty of people still detest Vick for what he did, but if there are protesters at his games or outside the Eagles’ training facility, I haven’t heard about them. And in his cameo appearances in the two games since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell lifted his suspension, Vick hasn’t done anything to cause a commotion, either.

It’s now clear that the odds of Vick starting a game for the Eagles are roughly equivalent to those of coach Andy Reid being named Mr. Universe. McNabb has played brilliantly in his two starts, reaffirming his status as The Man. During the two games McNabb missed with a fractured rib, third-year backup Kevin Kolb repositioned himself as Philly’s quarterback of the future, throwing for more than 300 yards in each of his first two career starts, something no NFL passer had ever accomplished....

It’s starting to look like the Eagles’ signing of Vick was essentially a courtesy to a fallen star, a chance to let him transition back into the league and break a slight sweat on Sundays without figuring in anything important.

The Eagles are probably good enough to afford that luxury. I’m not so sure how good Vick is anymore, or whether he’ll ever get another chance to be an NFL starter. Those are questions that, barring a dramatic change of events, will be answered in another city in another season.

I don't understand why there hasn't been more outrage or rowdiness. Certainly, he's on his best behavior and the Humane Society is using him to battle dog-fighting rings. But where's PETA? I don't get it.

If the Eagles offered a courtesy to this guy by signing him, I'd say that the $1 million contract he received would be charity best spent elsewhere.

Nike Reaches Non Agreement with Michael Vick

Nike does not have a contract with Vick!
"Nike does not have a contractual relationship with Michael Vick," Nike said in a statement yesterday. "We have agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike."
Right. They just want to give him free stuff. But that doesn't mean, like, they endorse a guy who hung and electrocuted dogs to death. Geez, they just want to give him some free stuff so people will see him wearing the stuff on TV!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Student Researcher Says "Hooray for Animal Research"

This kid is a biochem major at the University of Southern Mississippi. He's helping to investigate possible drug cures for obesity.

Listen to this...

Freeman says that the most difficult thing he has encountered so far in his research comes not from the lab, but from people’s attitudes about animal testing. He said this research, along with other research that could vastly improve human quality of life, could absolutely not be done without animal testing, and wishes more people understood that “animal research is not cruel or inhumane, it benefits us all.”

Interesting that animal research is not cruel or inhumane because it benefits US. Does it benefit the animals? Why do humans always have to get everything we want and we have to do it at the pain and expense of animals?

And by the way, I can tell you the cure for obesity. Diet (eat less!), exercise (walk more!) and counseling to ease off the psychological dependence on food. Drugs are not the cure for everything, although they are very profitable for whoever licenses them.

Another young person indoctrinated by the animal researchers.

Burning Bunnies in Sweden

In Sweden, the way they deal with rabbit problems is to shoot them and burn them for fuel.
The targeted rabbits are the unwanted inhabitants of capital Stockholm's parks, which are culled to protect the shrubs and trees which they gorge on.

Many of them are domestic pets released by uncaring owners which then go on to breed.

Six thousand were killed last year, frozen and their cadavers sent to a special heating plant in Karlskoga, central Sweden.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Animal Researchers Promote Sob Stories

I don't support animal research and I have no sympathy for animal researchers. I don't believe they are working for human welfare. I don't believe they want an honest dialogue about what they are doing to animals. I do believe they want prestige, tenure, royalties and patent rights. I believe they want to be gods in the laboratory. I don't believe they are "brave" for "standing up" to animal rights activists. I think they are clever cowards who use extremists to hide their work and to obfuscate the truth about what they do to animals and whether it is truly necessary.

I would never advocate violence against a researcher. It's not effective and it earns them undeserved sympathy. Plus it's hypocritical to take one life to save another. But as far as they are concerned, I am still an animal rights terrorist for the mere fact that I disagree with them.

I almost quit a book club a year ago because one of the members is a proponent of medical research. She is a data tech for a clinical testing company (for profit by the way.) I posted on this blog about quitting because of the New Iberia scandal in Louisiana in which the Humane Society found primates being abused. I got no support from my book club "friends" on this matter and I was going to leave in a huff.

Then I realized that if I left, then no one would ever challenge anything she said. The other women wouldn't. They're too busy eating their pot roasts, reading chick lit, and chasing after babies. I had to stay in that group because she must be challenged. All of this BS by medical researchers must be challenged. Otherwise, they portray themselves as the real victims and the rest of us as violent terrorists.

The title of this article
is "Researchers to animal-rights activists: We are not afraid."

I'm sorry, but I am not moved.

Activist Indicted on Contempt Charges

I'm late on this one. The article is from October 5.

Fox 13 Now reported...

A federal grand jury has indicted an animal rights activist who refused to testify about the release of thousands of mink from Utah ranches. Jordan Halliday, 22, served several months in jail for contempt of court after he said he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. When he was released in June, he was handed a federal grand jury indictment for contempt.

European Military Exercises May Threaten Dolphins

According to the BBC....
The moving of Europe's biggest military exercise to the outer Moray Firth poses a threat to bottlenose dolphins, conservations have claimed.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) said noise from warships' sonar could harm the animals.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10000 Mink Released in Denmark

Animal activists released 10 thousand mink from two fur farms in Denmark.
Media in Denmark have reported that more than 10,000 mink were released from cages at Danish fur farms this week. During the night of October 6, 6000 mink escaped from a farm near Søndervig after cages were opened and fences surrounding the property were destroyed. Then, early on October 9, 5000 mink were freed from cages at a farm in Fousing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Bo Obama!

Today was his birthday, dada dadada!!

Enjoy!

Why is Reuters Putting News Releases From the United Egg Producers on Their Site as "News"?

The United Egg Producers issues a press release claiming that egg prices will rise 25% if animal welfare advocates get their way. All according to a study by some agribusiness related consulting firm. Reuters dutifully puts it on their website, which then gets picked up on my Google news page. Nice.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What if the Public Truly Probed Animal Research Funding?

This is a great short column by Martha Rosenberg. It's in response to the arrest of Yale animal technician Raymond Clark for the murder of Annie Le, but makes some important points about animal research.
There's a reason for the security that keeps Beagle burn videos from surfacing like egg farm videos. Animal research is too lucrative for the university/government/pharma complex to risk macaques on YouTube and the public judging the asinine and repetitive experiments many researchers know they live on.

Do you think Northwestern University--or the National Institutes of Health (NIH)--want to acknowledge that every year from l978 through l985 Associate Professor Dr. Charles Larson fused monkeys' necks to their skulls and deprived them food five days per week to make them cry out in a specific manner according to Concerned Citizens for Ethical Research? At a tax payer cost of $472,370? To "gain insights into some of the neurological disorders affecting vocalization?" Even as his colleagues scoffed?

...No, for animal researchers the bigger fear from Le's murder than technicians like Clark is the public seeing the heaps of unsupervised government pork behind their Plexiglas curtain. No wonder the research community wraps a "saves lives" cloak around its work whether falsified journal articles or Larson's "speech" studies.

It keeps the public from saying YOU'RE FUNDING WHAT? For how many years? With what results? about its tax dollars.

Sucks to be a Walrus Nowadays

Global warming is screwing walruses over...and it could get worse as their ice disappears.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quote of the Week

"When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble."

--Buddha Siddhartha Gautama

Vick to Get Own Reality Show on BET

Looks like BET will have a new reality show based around Michael Vick. Wonder if he'll talk about the dogs he helped hang and electrocute to death. He'll get paid to tell everyone what a wonderful person he is. Sorry, but I think someone who kills dogs like he did can't just change. That kind of lack of compassion and cruelty is just too cold blooded.

Shame on BET.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stupid TLC Show Called "My Monkey Baby"

Thanks to Chimpanzee Information for pointing this travesty out.

It's a TLC show about humans that adopt monkeys and treat them as their children. This is seriously weird stuff.
Monkey business is big business in the United States, where some people pay up to $5,000 to adopt a monkey of their own, often a capuchin monkey, which can grow up to 22 inches and 9 pounds. There are hundreds of videos on the Internet of proud parents enjoying their monkeys, and an estimated 15,000 monkeys live with humans as pets or surrogate children in the United States.

And in some cases, monkey babies are more than pets: They are sons and daughters. These families dress their monkeys, feed them at the dinner table and treat them like any other member of the family.

I don't care how much these people love their "babies," these are wild animals that should be with their own kind. They are not humans and it's not psychologically healthy for them to be treated that way. Remember Travis? Second of all, this exploitative show only encourages people to make stupid impulse purchases or adoptions. Who suffers? The individual primate and the species that is depleted for this "trade."

Stupid TLC. Where is the "learning" in that name?

Southwest Primate Center "Celebrates" 10 Years

This place is celebrating its 10th year with ground-breaking research into what makes us all fat. How? By destroying the health of baboons with fast food. (Fast food is bad for you? Really?)
After more than 50 years of studying the ways a fatty diet contributes to heart disease in San Antonio baboons, it might seem there wouldn't be much left to learn. Then Anthony Comuzzie started feeding them soda pop.

Comuzzie, a nationally prominent obesity researcher and geneticist at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, recently induced metabolic syndrome — risk factors associated with the human epidemic of diabetes and heart disease — by making the baboons' high-fat diet tastier and adding a sweet drink flavored with high-fructose corn syrup. The baboons tended to guzzle several liters of the stuff with their meals.

“Without giving away the name so we don't get sued, we modeled the diet after a fast-food value meal,” Comuzzie said Thursday at a 10th birthday celebration for the Southwest National Primate Research Center, which maintains the foundation's massive colony of baboons, monkeys and chimps.

And let's not forget the required sanctimonious quote from an animal researcher
“Our primates are essential partners in medical progress, as are mice, rats, guinea pigs and opossums. Without them we would be stripped of the very tools we need to open new paths of discovery and to challenge old dogma.”

Oh brother.

Cookie and Coco: Anatomy of an Internet Chain Email

We are once again getting a lot of hits over the saga of Cookie and Coco. They are two dogs that once needed to be adopted. They eventually were (in 2007, I believe.) But, the story won't die. You can read about our coverage of it here.

People keep forwarding this chain email around. Since our site comes up number two in Google, they find out the story from this website. Or at least a version of it. Someone told us it involved Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. Snopes has it originating in California. Either way, the story is OLD.

So, next time you see one of these "forward this to everyone you know" emails, don't. Chances are, it's either a hoax or is so old it effectively is a hoax. Now if you get one from the brother-in-law of the recently deceased Finance Minister of Nigeria, that's probably real...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Benicio del Toro Writes Letter Opposing Monkey Breeding Facility in Puerto Rico

Actor Benicio del Toro has written a letter to the governor of Puerto Rico opposing a new monkey breeding facility.
The Puerto Rican actor has penned a letter to the governor of Puerto Rico urging him to halt the construction plans for Bioculture's massive monkey-breeding facility. As you might remember, Bioculture—a company that supplies primates to laboratories—plans to capture monkeys from their homes in Mauritius, hold them captive in Puerto Rico, and then sell thousands of their babies for use in painful and deadly experiments around the world.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Australia Starts to Crack Down on Sea Shepherd Leader

The Australian government appears to be cracking down on Sea Shepherd at the request of the Japanese. Earlier this year they seized records and videos from the Steve Irwin, and are now holding up Paul Watson's visa requests.
The Federal Immigration Department has cracked down on Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson, demanding to know the anti-whaling group leader's police and court records as it reviews his visa.

Until now, authorities had let Captain Watson, who holds a US passport, come and go from his Australian-based ship on a tourist visa.

The department has told him he must satisfy exhaustive new good-character requirements to get a business visa.
I expected better from the Rudd government. Maybe the Japanese have something on him...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kenyans Seize Huge Amount of Illegal Ivory

Kenya seized almost 700 kilograms of ivory worth millions of dollars in a night-time raid at the country's main airport. Elephants are being screwed by Asian demand for ivory. It's a mess.

From the BBC....

Officials say the sales have fuelled demand for ivory in Asian countries, especially China, contributing to a sharp increase in elephant poaching.

So far this year poachers in Kenya have killed 128 elephants for their ivory; last year 98 were killed.

In July, Kenyan authorities intercepted 16 elephant tusks and two rhinoceros horns being illegally exported to Laos from Mozambique.

Some wildlife experts have attributed the increase in elephant poaching to the presence of Chinese workers in Africa.

With demand for ivory products increasing back home, some Chinese workers on low salaries in Kenya are reported to have become middlemen in the ivory trade.

Sad About World Farm Animals Day

World Farm Animals Day was today. Perhaps it's because of gloomy October or maybe it's because I'm getting over the flu, but I felt very sad. There was a picture on the bus commemorating the event with a picture of a cow looking, dare I say it, noble and long-suffering.

But I just kept wondering if anyone besides me on that bus cared? How depressing.....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

US Considers Removing Humpback Whales from the Endangered Species List

I don't feel too comfortable about this. Seems a little premature, even though the population has been recovering well.

Dolphins Threatened by Australian Oil Spill

The World Wildlife Fund has reported that dolphins and other marine life have been swimming around in an oil spill off the coast of Australia. There have not been many deaths yet, but the toxicity could lead to long-term health effects for the animals.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

World Farm Animal Day is October 2

Lest we forget their suffering.

Quote of the Week

"Animals and humans suffer and die alike. If you had to kill your own calf before you ate it, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the calf scream, to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from its momma, and to see the look of death in the animal's eye would turn your stomach. So you get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you."
Dick Gregory ("The Shadow That Scares Me")

PETA Uncovers Horrible Conditions at Land O'Lakes Supplier

Not a pretty picture. From PETA's site:
A new PETA undercover investigation inside a Land O'Lakes supplier facility in Pennsylvania has revealed routine neglect and cruelty to cows who are milked for the Fortune 250 company's products. Over the course of several months, the investigation documented deplorable, filthy conditions for cows on the farm, such as pens that were filled with deep excrement (see video and photos), and cows who suffered from ailments and conditions so severe that they collapsed and became "downers" but were not put out of their misery or given veterinary care in a timely manner, if at all.

And the disturbing video:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Judge Clears Way for HSUS Suit Over Fur Advertising

A federal judge has issued a ruling that clears the way for a lawsuit against Macy's, Saks Fifth Ave., and several other retailers over alleged false advertising over "faux" fur products.
The lawsuit, filed under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, alleges that the companies "misrepresent" the characteristics of the fur-trimmed garments by (1) advertising and labeling products as "faux fur," when they are, in fact, derived from real animal fur or (2) advertising and labeling products as common raccoon, fox or rabbit fur when they are, in fact, made from the wholly distinct species of raccoon dog—a member of the dog family. The complaint also alleges violations of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act and Federal Trade Commission Act, which also prohibit the false advertising and mislabeling of any fur product.