Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, July 31, 2009

Possible New Sonar Rules to Protect Marine Life

The use of sonar is controversial because of its harmful effects on marine life such as whales. The Navy has been able to get away with using it for "national security" reasons. But there may be rules on their way to help mitigate the damage, at least in the Pacific Northwest.

From the Seattle P-I (yep, the online newspaper!)...
A new set of rules might be in the works for the U.S. Navy's use of sonar off the Washington and Oregon coasts. The goal is to decrease the harm that sonar does to marine mammals.

The National Marine Fisheries Service and Navy expect to make a joint decision on such measures by the end of the year, NMFS spokesman Peter Fischel said.

If approved, those measures would be in effect from 2010 to 2015 for the Navy's training area in the Pacific Ocean off the Washington, Oregon and Northern California coasts.
On the negative side...
Meanwhile, the Navy is also asking NMFS to allow incidental harm and fatalities to marine mammals from training exercises in a 122,400-square-mile section of the Pacific Ocean off the Northwest coast.

To Be Fair: An Argument in Support of Vick

I do not like Michael Vick and would pay to see him in a ring tied to a stake with some hungry bears inside. But, to be fair, I do want to highlight this very thoughtful piece by Raina Kelley at Newsweek. She doesn't defend what he did, but she makes an eloquent argument for second chances.

It's not good enough to sway me...but I admire the level of consideration and sincerity in her appeal.

Stupid Seattle Seahawks Fans Would Take "Sick Vick"

Sometimes I can't believe the stupidity and callousness of people. An informal poll shows that 51 percent of Seattle Seahawks fans would actually welcome Vick to the team.

Talk about desperation to win something at any cost. What a pathetic bunch.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Sick Vick" About to be Signed

"Sick Vick" is on his way to a new team. Who will it be?

Early rumors swirled around the Patriots or the Steelers. If it's the Seattle Seahawks, I may have to move.

Owly is Awesome!

I recently got one of the Google Owly cartoon themes on Igoogle. It reminded me of what an awesome comic it is. It's done by Andy Runton, and is done with no words. The only way Owly communicates with his little friends is through little pictures in the word balloons. It works brilliantly. And, while I suppose they are aimed at children, they have a certain zen quality that will appeal to adults.

You can read some of them here.
Click on the ones that say "Read It". We bought a couple a few years ago, and I'll probably get some more soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

"What do they know - all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka."

Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978 Nobel Prize Winner

Legal Efforts to Dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

I found this on the Twin Cities Indy Media blog....
On July 13th, defense attorneys for Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo (the AETA 4) presented oral arguments on their motion to dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The defense demanded that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) be struck down as unconstitutional before Judge Ronald Whyte of the United States District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose.

Here's a summary.

Patriots and Steelers Eye "Sick Vick" for Signing

Well, I know two teams I may not be rooting for next season. (Of course, I've disliked the Patriots ever since their coach was caught with filming other teams. And the Steelers? Not since they were handed the Super Bowl over the Seahawks. Worst officiating EVER!)

Plus, I personally have no room for forgiveness for Sick Vick. Others may, but I don't.

What do you all think about his upcoming work for the Humane Society? Pretty savvy on HSUS' part? Or are they trying to get publicity?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Palin: We'll Always Have The Laughter

My laughter, not hers. Bill Shatner reading Palin isn't really critter related, but since we've been covering her since before Tina Fey knew who she was, I think this deserves a posting.

The funniest part about her is that conservatives think that we "hate" her. I hate what she did as far as wolf hunting and a few other things. But as far as her national campaign, I'm her biggest fan. Hell, I'd contribute to her campaign if I knew she wouldn't blow it on something with rhinestones or PBR for the Toddster.

Listen and laugh.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Vick is Back

You can read about it here. He'll get to play in 2 preseason games and then will probably get to play after the 5th regular season again. I wonder which team will be desperate enough to pick him up...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seattle People Helping Protect Seal Pups

The group is called Seal Sitters and they protect baby seals who have been left on the each while their moms fish.

It's a nice story to offset the cruelty of the dead baby tiger in Hanoi.

Baby Tiger Victim of Wildlife Trade

Sometimes I'm just embarrassed to be human...

From EcoWorldly...

...the frozen carcass of a baby tiger was found in the trunk of a taxi cab on its way to a buyer in Hanoi.

It was reported that two men were arrested for attempting to transport the baby tiger carcass - along with the bones of at least two tigers - and that the “case showed the possibility of larger-scale tiger trafficking in the country.” The baby tiger was between four and five months old.

UK Records Increase in Animal Testing

Bad news from the Guardian....
Nearly 3.7m experiments were performed on animals last year, a rise of 454,000 or 14% on the previous year, the Home Office said. The increase marks the greatest leap in animal use in medical research since 1986, when the government introduced new auditing procedures.

The growth in animal experiments reflects an expansion in biomedical research in Britain and is driven by advances in genetics and the development of new drugs that must be tested rigorously in monkeys before they are allowed to be given to humans. The experiments range from small procedures such as taking blood and tissue samples to invasive brain surgery and inducing incurable diseases such as Parkinson's and cancer. Substantial numbers of animals are used to test the safety of new drugs before they are allowed to be used in human trials.

Palin's Last Day: Good Riddance

Title says it all. And, unlike Nixon, I doubt we'll have this knucklehead to kick around any more. Laugh at possibly, but that's about it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Always Question a Scientist

...and an accountant and an economist and any other "expert" that uses their field to claim a moral authority.

This statement is mainly motivated by a recent conversation with someone who has a science degree (I think it's biology), but who actually works for a clinical testing company. She's a salesperson not an actual scientist, but she likes to claim she is one and people tend to cede authority to her. (She's always talking about Darwin and DNA testing.)

This exchange was part of a larger group discussion about Collapse by Jared Diamond. It's a book about societal collapses resulting from poor decisions about the environment, resource-use, etc. One of the issues raised by a member was that we need to listen to "science" more and that science will save us. I raised the point that science does not solve everything. Look at diseases that develop immunity to drugs already proven to defeat them. And someone did say that we really shouldn't and can't fight against nature. But I still felt like I lost the battle.

We as a society cede authority to scientists, accountants (I'm one!), economists, etc. because we don't understand what they do or what they talk about. And they know it. In fact, they love to use their technical language to establish authority. I don't understand how a cell splits or mutates, or how DNA functions or how chemicals react with each other and it's easy to feel intimidated by those that do.

This is one of the reasons why we are still on the losing end of the battle with animal researchers. We don't speak their language as well as they do and society at large tends to listen to those who sound like they are "experts." But we need to get past this and keep speaking out.

Science does not solve everything. Science itself is made of up of facts, but it is practiced and interpreted by scientists. And those scientists are humans with the same motivations and agendas as any other human.

Science is only as useful as the hands in which it lies. Are those hands good or evil? And who is making that subjective decision? Just because you can tell me that a cell mutates does not mean that you have the moral authority to tell me what kind of society I should live in. It doesn't mean that you have the moral authority to tell me that I must support animal testing because you know better.

Science is not democratic and it loves it that way. They bemoan the fact that they've been underground for all of the Bush years and, yes, there is a lot of good science out there, but we need to question these people. Especially if they claim to be acting in our best interests.

Friday, July 24, 2009

WA State Troopers Accused of Clubbing Seagulls

Right in my own home of Seattle. Most rednecks wouldn't be so cruel or so stupid. I hope the allegations turns out to be false.

African Activists Work to Save Gorillas

Bushmeat is horrific, especially the trade in apes. To me, eating apes of any kind is akin to human cannibalism.

At least there are activists in African countries themselves that are working to stop this practice. The Last Great Ape Organization in Cameroon is only one of them, but it's the only law enforcement nongovernmental organization in Africa.

Reduce Plastics in Order to Save Marine Life

I am one of those people that will pick up disgusting plastic bags just lying on the streets and throw them away. First of all, it's gross (find your own planet to dump your trash on), but it's also dangerous for animals. A lot of this stuff just gets swept into storm drains, rivers, lakes, streams, the oceans, etc. And who ingests them? Marine life. One of the worst pictures I've ever seen is of a seal with its stomach cut open and a mess of plastic inside.

There are so many fronts on the war for animal rights (and I'm increasingly believing that "war" is the right word for it) and often times it's hard to know what to do. The protection of marine animals may fall under "environmentalism," but these are artificial divisions. Anything to do with an animal's survival or well-being, whether a species or an individual, should fall under animal rights.

Here's a short opinion piece on plastics and marine life.

Vick May Be Allowed Back Into NFL

According to the Post, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering letting him in with a whopping four game suspension. This is just speculative at this point, but it sounds like he is leaning towards letting him play again. Of course, I wonder which NFL team will want him...
53. In or about March 2003, PEACE, after consulting with VICK about the losing female pit bull's condition, executed the losing dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal.
And then there's this:
83. In or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS and VICK executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in "testing" sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground.
Sounds almost like they were making a game out of it. I understand, as one sports columnist said, that the man has a right to make a living. I just don't think he should be in the NFL.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quote of the Week

Zoos are becoming facsimiles - or perhaps caricatures - of how animals once were in their natural habitat. If the right policies toward nature were pursued, we would need no zoos at all.
~Michael Fox, Sierra, November-December 1990

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Ending for a Rescued Sea Lion

A nice story for a change.

Malaysian Firm to Establish New Animal Testing Facility

The stupid project is in partnership with a French pharmaceutical company. Fortunately, there are Malaysian activists opposing it. But of course, the argument will be that the project is economic development, jobs and "for the good of humanity."

Sen. Franken to Introduce Bill to Increase Use of Service Dogs for Vets

Sen. Al Franken (suck on that Bill O'Reilly) has introduced a bill to increase the number of service dogs for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
My bill will help train a statistically significant number of dogs to measure the benefits to veterans with physical and emotional wounds. The program would be monitored and refined over a three-year period to optimize its effectiveness.

Frankly, I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much. But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This is win, win, win, win.
I wish he would work on more important things like flag burning and making sure that gay people that love each other can't get married.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sharp Increase in Rhino Poaching

It's the highest rate in 15 years, with an increasing market in Asian traditional medicines. Organized crime is also heavily involved in trafficking of rhino products and other endangered species'.

This statement in the USA Today article says it all...
"Rhino poaching is no longer used as a means of survival and sustenance,” says Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation, in a statement.

Britain and France to Support Ban on Bluefish Tuna Sales

This is a good thing. We've been overfishing the bluefish tuna to near-extinction along with many other species. I used to work for a seafood company and my current work still brings me in contact with the industry. Greedy, anti-government, and anti-regulation monstrosities.

Question Everything...Including Scientists

I occasionally read Scienceblog when there is mention of animal research issues. It's a site that, according to its own description, is half reader blogs and half press releases from research institutions.

Here's the first of an apparent series by a blogger on why we need to do animal testing....part 1 - drug discovery!!! Hooray!

I'm not going into why I do not support animal research. If you oppose it, then I'm preaching to the choir. If you support it, then chances are nothing I can say will change your mind. If you're not sure or simply choose to ignore the issue, as most people do, then I can only hope you learn about it and face the ugly facts, no matter what your final position is. These vile procedures are being done in OUR name.

Anyway, here's one particularly annoying paragraph from the post...
Testing drugs on animal is unpleasant. No one likes doing it. Do not be fooled into thinking scientists are using animals unnecessarily for perverse reasons. There is only one alternative to testing drugs on animals: testing them on humans. It is your decision which you value more. That said however, we can all agree that where possible we should reduce usage of animals for experimentation, and that research into ways of doing this should be well funded.

I urge you to read as much as you can on this subject, think for yourselves, and arrive at a rational, evidence-based conclusion. Question everything.

I appreciate the statement about reducing the usage of animals, but I have to take issue with the writer's position.

Yes, I do question everything. That's why I truly wish someone would explain to me to me why humans are so unique and of such higher value than anything else. Isn't all life unique in its own way? If we are simply the most advanced step in evolution, doesn't that imply there are other steps ahead of us? Are there even more unique versions of humanity on their way? Once we are no longer so advanced, should we then be valued less and then subjected to experiments for this new and "unique" species of the future?

How about this? Why is a serial killer allowed to live out his days in peace while a chimpanzee with 98.6 percent of our DNA is tortured and isolated in a lab? Why are rapists and pedophiles given dignity and respect when animals, who are innocent, denied the same?

It's all effed up to me. But at least I'm following bluegenes' advice and questioning everything.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Southern Senator Stops Confirmation Over Animal Protection

Georgia readers should contact this Republican Senator and ask what's up.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) has put a hold on Cass Sunstein's confirmation as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. According to Michael Markarian from the Humane Society, Sunstein's confirmation is supposedly being held due to pressure from some agribusiness groups. Sunstein is a Harvard law professor who has written about animal protection issues. He is the co-editor, for example, of Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, which examines views both in favor and against animal law.

The position he's going for doesn't even deal with animal issues, but, if true, their corporate opposition shows the fear and the long reach of these greedy monsters.

Your Tax Dollars at Work Building Iraqi Feedlots

From our "good friends" at Agrilife News....
A recently established international partnership will focus on developing a “strong and viable beef and lamb feedlot industry” for Iraq, according to project participants.

The partnership between the Inma Agribusiness Program, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. and Iraqi governmental agencies, universities and agribusiness groups and individuals will bring new private-sector economic opportunities to Iraq, they said.

“Through a combination of technical and financial support, the partnership will work toward making Iraq a top beef and lamb producer within the Arab world,” said Dr. Ma’ad Mohammed, Inma project coordinator for the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture of the Texas A&M System, a key program participant.

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Something to Be Concerned About

Here's a short analysis of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act which makes me wonder if what we do on this blog could be construed as falling under it.

From Alternet.org...all CAPS are my emphasis

Under the law, an animal enterprise includes any business that deals in animal research or uses or sells animal products. This could be read as anything from a lab conducting medical research on monkeys to a gas station that sells beef jerky.

Terrorism under this law might be defined as anything from physical harm to a person, the threat of physical harm to a person, physical harm to property, or, most tellingly, A LOSS OF PROFIT -- OR ANY ATTEMPT OR CONSPIRE TO INTERFERE OR DAMAGE AN ANIMAL ENTERPRISE IN ANY WAY, EVEN IF NO ECONOMIC DAMAGE ACTUALLY OCCURS. To be charged under this federal law, like most federal laws, you have to have crossed state lines, used interstate mail, or used the internet in the commission of the crime. If you and a friend GO ON THE WEB AND RESEARCH THE COMPANY whose practices you plan to protest, you may have just become a terrorist.

Virgin Mary Found in Bird Dropping! Praise the Lord and Pass the Windex!

This is via LA Unleashed. A family in Byren TX are claiming they have found an image of the Virgin Mary in a bird dropping. I don't study bird droppings closely around here, although I do think I might have seen an image of St. Thomas Aquinas in a pile of dried dog doo.

Really, if you were the most powerful being in the universe, would you be sending secret signals through animal excrement and tortillas?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Becoming Sensitized to Animals in Books

I read a lot. A whole lot. Over the years, I've noticed that the role of animals jumps out at me in any book I read. It may be just a couple of pages or even a couple of sentences, but it's enough to make a lasting impression.

Here is one example. I read "Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World." It's a book by Tracy Kidder about Dr. Paul Farmer, an international health advocate who made his name from his work in Haiti and his fight against Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR). While his work is amazing, I personally believe he has a real martyr complex and a huge ego that is carefully hidden in the book, but that's another issue.

There were various brief descriptions of the poor animals of Haiti. How thin the donkeys were and how their backs were ravaged from the loads they carried. The cockfights that are so popular in Haiti. These brief descriptions are less than 1 percent of the book, but they meant something to me because I've become sensitized to them.

There was one story that took up less than one page that is the animal legacy of the book to me. When Paul Farmer was a medical student, he had to do a vivisection. He was disturbed by it. He had to take a life to save humans. He was staying with a Catholic priest who talked to him all night about it. The next morning the priest made a joke of the whole thing by waking Farmer up the next morning by pretending to be a dog and scratching at Farmer's door.

I thought that was a truly vile thing to have occurred. It wasn't funny and I was disappointed that the writer made no statement about that. It's stuck in my mind and tainted the book. But I wonder how many other readers would remember it, unless they are especially aware and concerned about animals themselves.

Nom Nom Nom - Hey, We Can't Always Be So Damn Serious

Friday, July 17, 2009

When Is a Dog Unadoptable?

I rejoined my local animal shelter's volunteer program a few months ago (long story as to why I quit in the first place). One day while I was volunteering I met a little pit bull puppy who was recovering from a spaying. Very sweet and gentle animal (I have a soft spot for pits....and pugs!)

The puppy seemed too thin to me so I asked about her story. Apparently, she, her mother and seven siblings had been confiscated from a crack house. Someone had called in an animal cruelty report. All eight of the puppies were in foster care. When I asked about the mom, I was told that she was put down because she was food aggressive and, therefore, "unadoptable." The tone of the answer implied that I'd better not argue it, so I didn't. But the answer just didn't sit well with me and I keep thinking about it.

I had a couple of dogs when I was a kid, but I mostly grew up with cats. I have a lot of patience with cats. I don't believe that any cat is unadoptable, even feral cats. I believe that a feral may never be a lap cat and they may never even let you pet them. But you can earn their friendship and companionship. To me, that means a lot. They deserve life, even if it's on their own terms. (There are also many "feral" and "food-aggressive" personality types in humans, but we don't put them down.)

But I'm no dog expert. I'd like to hear what others think. Is this a legitimate reason to put a dog down or is this just BS? Are food-aggressive dogs dangerous or is that just a convenient myth?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ALF Continues Campaign Against UC Irvine

From Bite Back:
On July 10, 2009 3 vehicles and the home of a UC Irvine vivisector were hit by the ALF. 1 of his cars (the fanciest of the 4 in front) was doused with paint stripper. 2 others had red paint poured all over them. More red paint was splattered across his driveway, and "KILLER" was spray painted in huge red letters across his garage door so that all his neighbors could see what a cruel, sick person they live near.

Firefighter Who Killed Dogs Fired

Good riddance. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quote of the Week

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”
- Jane Goodall

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pet Airways

Here is a new concept in aviation. There is now an airline devoted to just flying pets. Here is their Youtube commercial:



Interesting concept. I hope they've done their market research...

PETA Has a Food Blog

I guess I kinda sorta knew that already. I just never blogged about it. The pesto portobello sandwich looks really good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Biggest Dogfighting Raid in US History

It happened about a week ago with up to 350 dogs seized in 5 states. About 30 people were arrested.

Demand for Wildlife Products on the Rise in China

The Chinese want them for exotic foods and for medicine.

From the China Daily...
The trade in TCM {Traditional Chinese Medicine} products has also been growing at an annual rate of 10 percent, which has seriously impacted medicinal plant and animal populations, though more than half of plants and animals being used by TCM are from artificial propagation or captive breeding. Up to 20 percent of these are now considered threatened.

Eating wild animals is also a traditional practice in southern China. The consumption of wild animals, which slowed amid the SARS epidemic in 2003, has once again gained popularity, a WWF survey has found.

Profit from illegal trade can be up to 10 times the cost, with restaurant operators offering the exotic dishes usually aware of the violation but lured by the gains, Xu {Hongfa, director of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) TRAFFIC East Asia China Program} said.

Illegal trade in tiger meat and bones is also alive, continuing to threaten the extinction of an already depleted species, he said.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Puerto Rico Plans Huge Primate Breeding Facility to Supply Researchers

I'm behind on my email and only just read this action alert from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Another crass attempt at primate slavery for money wrapped in "we put people first" robes."

From the ALDF action alert page....
Less than one year ago, Puerto Rico enacted a landmark animal protection law, based in part on a set of model laws drafted by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The sweeping set of reforms provided for in Act 154 (P S. 2552) place Puerto Rico among the top tier of U.S. states and jurisdictions with regards to the strength of their laws protecting animals. This new law provides specific guidelines for experimentation on live animals: specifically, scientific research on animals at universities is allowable only when it meets criteria deeming it “absolutely essential;” any other experiments are prohibited for educational purposes at the elementary, intermediate and higher education levels, and completely banned in facilities outside of university research labs. The proposed primate breeding facility would violate both the letter and the spirit of Puerto Rico’s progressive new law, which strictly limits the use of animals in experimentation.

In addition to troubling questions about its legality, such a facility would also place Puerto Rico behind the curve in the current context of scientific debate about laboratory research involving live animals. In 2007, the National Academy of Sciences published a report calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to make a fundamental shift in its toxicity testing strategies away from testing on mammals and focusing increasingly on new, more accurate—not to mention, more ethical—in vitro toxicity testing.

Almost One-Third of Japanese Whale Kill Was Pregnant

Leave it to the Japanese. Always classy.

From Wildlife Extra....

Of 679 whales reported to have been killed during the 2008-2009 whale hunt in Antarctica, 304 were female. Four of the female whales were lactating, and 192 were pregnant at the time of death. The Japanese government's "Cruise Report" gives gruesome details on the foetuses killed. The four lactating females would each have had a dependent calf that would inevitably have starved to death.

Another Dead Mountain Gorilla

A post-mortem is being conducted on Bariyanga, a mountain gorilla found dead in Virunga. There are now only five members left in her group.

This link takes you to a picture of her.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Master Poacher is...a Woman!

Well, here's a first for me. In India, another head of a tiger poaching ring is behind bars. And it's a woman!

Sounds like she ran a pretty vile operation too.

American Veterinary Medical Association Makes Despicable Decision

Unfathomable.

From Veterinary News....
An AVMA resolution was quietly killed this afternoon that would have revised its policy on use of random-source dogs and cats for research, testing and education.

The controversial resolution, submitted by the AVMA’s House Advisory Committee, called on the association to oppose the use of live animals “procured from animal shelters or the use of live animals procured from dealers” for use in veterinary education.

Without a word, the House of Delegates scuttled the resolution during a voice vote. In June, the organization’s Executive Board sided against proposed revisions to the policy statement.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Boston Zoo May Close and Kill Animals

I'm not a fan of zoos on principle. But I know there are good zoos and bad zoos. Unfortunately I think there are way more bad zoos than good ones.

But even for a bad zoo, this is awful. From the Boston Globe online....
The Franklin Park Zoo, a Boston institution that has drawn generations of city and suburban families, might be forced to close its doors and possibly euthanize some of its animals as a result of the deep budget cuts imposed by Governor Deval Patrick, zoo officials said Friday.

Without more state funding, those zoo officials said, they will run out of money by October and have to close both the Franklin Park Zoo and its smaller counterpart, the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. They would lay off most of their 165 employees and attempt to find new homes for more than 1,000 animals, the officials said.

The zoo officials, in a written statement that echoed a letter sent earlier to legislative leaders, said they would be unlikely to find homes for at least 20 percent of the animals, “requiring either destroying them, or the care of the animals in perpetuity.”

Isn't the fact that they'd mention euthanizing a mockery of the vaunted principles upon which zoos are always promoting themselves? That they care for the species and animals? Examples like Franklin Park's just create cynics among us.

Who would they euthanize? It doesn't say. It could be a ploy to pressure the State government, but still...that's not just not something you should pose as an option or throw around as an idle threat. It's contemptible and shows you for who you really are.

PS. Look at the comments at this. A lot of the comments are just about keeping zoos open for families and children. "Where will our kids go to see the animals?" Uh, your kids will at least be alive while the animals are the ones who die. That kind of sucks for the animals, don't ya think?

So I'm from the New Appalachia?

This is not totally animal-related, but I'll share anyway.

I grew up in the Central Valley of California and my mother owns a home there in Gustine. Today I came across this strange article from NPR about the area.

I've always known that the Central Valley is one of the poorer areas of California. It's not as well-educated, sophisticated, healthy or well-off. There is definitely a problem with gang violence, especially in Fresno. We grow a great deal of vegetables and fruit for the world, but don't consume that much for ourselves. But this article seemed a little over the top to me. And my husband thinks so too, and he's from Seattle.

Apparently, the Central Valley has been called the new Appalachia. And there are towns where packs of dogs are roaming about and keeping people indoors.

Really?

I didn't grow up with money, but I've visited a lot of places in my life and I just find this article to paint a pretty extreme picture of a place I know well. Maybe I'm just used to it so I don't have the surprise of an outsider. But I just can't see it as the new Appalachia. That's an extreme description of poverty that I find hard to accept.

On an animal note, I will say that the treatment of animals is very bad in the Central Valley. It mirrors the lack of education and enlightenment of a generally poor area. It's farm country and you have a lot of farmers and ag types who treat companion animals as little better than livestock. Lots of "guard dogs" outdoors for their entire lives, etc. And of course, let's not discuss factory farms down there. Truly it's a peasant culture in many ways. But I really do believe, if true, that wild dogs roaming around frightening people is an extreme and unusual case, rather than the norm. But, of course, highlighting that story grabs attention.

A weird take on my home region.

Best Friends to Celebrate 25 Years of Helping Animals

Starting July 19, Best Friends will be having a celebration of their 25th anniversary.
It’s a celebration befitting 25 years of drastically reducing the euthanasia rate around the country, improving the lives of animals around the world, and setting the stage for a time of No More Homeless Pets. From July 19 to 25, Best Friends will be hosting a weeklong 25th anniversary party at our sanctuary in Utah to celebrate all of those achievements and more.
You can read about organizing local events on their site linked at the top.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cruelty Free iPhone App

There is a new iPhone app via Hot Frog and PETA that allows you to search for products that have not been tested on animals.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quote of the Week

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.
~Bill Vaughn

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Camels to be Culled in Australia

There are camels in Australia? Apparently so and they are considered feral pests...you know what that means.

Animal Testing Debate Continues in New South Wales

It's good to know that these issues are being fought in places other than just the US and the UK. This particular animal research controversy is occurring in New South Wales (Australia).

From the online Sydney Morning Herald.....
Welfare groups are calling for an urgent public debate on animal testing amid claims millions of creatures are being killed or maimed every year in Australia in the name of science.

New figures published by the NSW government's advisory body, the Animal Research Review Panel, show the number of animals killed in NSW experiments rose by more than 1,000 to 8,813 during 2006-2007.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said the figures were not surprising, and that compliance with international standards meant the number of animals affected was unlikely to fall.

The Australian Association for Humane Research estimates more than six million animals are used in medical and pharmaceutical trials in Australia annually, with at least 100,000 of those animals dying.

Ivory Bigger than Drugs in Africa

Sad, sad, sad. Why doesn't this greed ever end? Ivory means NOTHING. It's just a material. There is no magic, no power, NOTHING to it. And even with all the public education and media attention, there is just no abatement in demand. It's just so frustrating!

From the AFP...
Trafficking in ivory and game meat has become one of the most lucrative illegal trades in Africa due to rising demand in Asia, experts said on Friday.

"In terms of monetary value, ivory trade has surpassed drugs and is now one of the most thriving illegal trade in the continent," said Karl Karugaba, the head of a panel from the Lusaka Agreement Task Force.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Settlement Forces Animal Research Facilities to Disclose More

This would be awesome. Now, I know it doesn't solve everything, but it's another chink in the armor. I worry it won't pass the DC district court for some wacky reason. I don't like to celebrate until I'm sure of something.

From the LA Times....
Animal research facilities will be required to disclosee more information online about their experiments under a court settlement signed Wednesday by the Humane Society of the United States and the Agriculture Department.

According to the Humane Society, the settlement will require the Agriculture Department to post annual reports from those facilities, including what they call "pain and distress information," on its Web site. The two parties settled in a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group four years ago after the group were unable to obtain information they requested.

The settlement will now be submitted to the federal district court for the District of Columbia for final approval.

More on Bubbles the Chimp

This article has more info on Bubbles the chimp and the other exotic pets Michael Jackson had. (Dig the bizarre figurine of MJ and Bubbles.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

And a special shout out to Sarah Palin for resigning to make this even better. And just so you know, we've been covering her awful policies long before Rich Lowry was seeing starbursts from that winking moron.

Good riddance.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bubbles the Chimp Resurfaces

I had forgotten all about Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles whom he rescued from a research facility. Apparently, Bubbles is now 26 years old and living at an animal sanctuary. He got too aggressive to live with Jackson's kids.

This is not surprising. Chimpanzees, like Travis the chimp who mauled the woman in Connecticut, are not meant to be family pets. They are wild creatures and their psychology must suffer from these abnormal arrangements.

Well, supposedly there's a film and book deal pending. Who will benefit from all this? His new trainer? But I thought he was at an animal sanctuary? He should just be left alone.

Another piece of the Jackson mess.

San Francisco Zoo Struggles After Tiger Attack

Things have been tough at the San Francisco Zoo after Tatiana the Siberian tiger attacked those three people in 2007. Here's an article that explains the hard times the Zoo has faced since then.

It's a long list. From the San Francisco Chronicle....
The attacks led to intense scrutiny from the city and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which threatened to yank the zoo's accreditation. Supervisor Chris Daly made an unsuccessful attempt to force the zoo to become a rescue facility, legislators questioned the zoo's management, and the zoo's director was ousted. Animal experts descended for investigations of their own, and employee morale sank to an all- time low.

The zoo's budget fell into the red as it tried to recover. Now, facing a $2.2 million budget shortfall, the zoo is considering layoffs and cutting back hours. The zoo made major changes to its emergency-response procedures, including raising the wall of the tiger grotto, found to be about 4 feet shorter than what national standards recommend.

Insurance companies and the city settled lawsuits in conjunction with the fatal mauling and a 2006 attack of a zookeeper who was assaulted by the same tiger during a public feeding. The Dhaliwals were awarded $900,000. The other settlements were confidential.

The lion house, which provided sleeping cages for all the zoo's big cats, was shut down. It reopened two weeks ago with $250,000 in safety upgrades, but without the public feedings.

The bad publicity resulted in $430,000 in canceled memberships and a loss of $1.2 million in corporate and individual donations. Attendance dropped by 20,831 to 904,000 in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, said Wayne Reading, the zoo's chief financial officer.

The zoo is projecting a $17 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, down $3 million from the current budget.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quote of the Week

To go from the chicken (Gallus gallus) to the Chicken McNugget is to leave this world in a journey of forgetting that could hardly be more costly, not only in terms of the animal's pain but in our pleasure, too. But forgetting, or not knowing in the first place, is what the industrial food chain is all about, the principal reason it is so opaque, for if we could see what lies on the far side of the increasingly high walls of our industrial agriculture, we would surely change the way we eat.

--Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma

Operation Pancake: Are Vegan Restaurants in LA Really Vegan?

Here is a long post from Quarrygirl.com about an investigation they did into some LA restaurants to find out if they are actually vegan. I'd comment on it but I haven't read it yet! But I will tonight. From the looks of it, they did some serious investigative work.