Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"No More Homeless Pets" Conference Scheduled for October

From a Best Friends email...
Join Best Friends Animal Society for the annual No More Homeless Pets National Conference, October 23-25, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each year, five million healthy, adoptable homeless pets are still being put down. This is the conference for people who want to make a difference. Three days of action oriented training, inspiration and, of course, fun with Best Friends. Make valuable new connections to make your work for homeless pets even more effective!

Not only will you meet like-minded people in a dazzling Vegas setting, but there will be a wealth of presentations to help all of our work for the animals thrive, even in this tough economy, including:

* Scott Goodstein, CEO of Revolution Messaging and director of External Organizing for Obama for America presents: Welcome to the 21st Century: Learn How to Activate Your On-line Grassroots Base

* Dog trainers from National Geographic’s DogTown TV show share their training secrets and answer question about designing a plan for your problem pooch.

* Best Friends 25th anniversary surprises including questions and answers with some of the founders of Best Friends. And because this year marks Best Friends’ 25th Anniversary, there will be special presentations by the folks who founded Best Friends – and a few anniversary surprises, too!

All Sea Turtles Finally Protected in the Bahamas

About time. Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species inhabit the Bahamas, and previously it was legal to kill any sea turtle species found there except one, the hawksbill. Now, they are all protected.

Good.

Pangolins Saved from "Harvesting" by Trafficker

I had no idea what a pangolin was, but, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know it's a scaly anteater.

And, surprise, their "harvesting" is tied back to ....CHINA!

From Red Orbit....
In its biggest seizures of pangolins this year, Malaysia’s Wildlife and National Parks Department confiscated 98 animals from a house in Alor Setar in the northern state of Kedah.

After about three weeks of surveillance and investigations, the department’s Wildlife Crime Unit raided the house early Wednesday morning and found the smuggled pangolins along with 6.5 pounds of pangolin scales..

"We believe the animals were destined to be sold to Asian countries for their meat, as well as their scales to be used as traditional medicine," the department's enforcement chief Saharudin Anan told AFP.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crime Gang Dealing in Rhino Horn and Elephant Ivory

This is big, scary business out there, not some struggling poor people trying to survive. Like in arms dealing and drug smuggling, we are talking dangerous and powerful criminals.

And where is the demand coming from? China of course!

But there are some really courageous people out there trying to expose this trade, including the author, a writer for the UK's Daily Mail. He's got a lot more guts than I have.

From the African Conservation Foundation....the story was actually published earlier in August, but still worth posting
A shocking undercover journey reveals that a poaching cartel known as ‘The Crocodile Gang’, led by Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, is slaughtering rhinos and elephants to fulfill ‘requests’ for horn and ivory.

Dubbed the Crocodile Gang, this cartel - whose existence can be revealed by the Mail today - is behind the ‘industrial-scale slaughter’ of black rhinos, prompting warnings that the species will be hunted to extinction in the region within two years.

And the “godfather” of the poaching cartel is said to be Emmerson Mnangagwa - known by locals now as “The Crocodile.” Also referred to as “The Butcher of Matabeleland”, he is the architect of Zimbabwe’s terrifying state security apparatus, creator of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Office (CIO) - and rumored to be next in line for president after Mugabe.

More on Bird Killings in UK

A lot of the killings are going on in Scotland.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Michigan to Follow California on Farm Animal Welfare?

It looks like Michigan's Big Ag is afraid they could end up with their own Proposition 2.

Ted Kennedy and Animal Welfare

Interesting article on Senator Edward Kennedy that highlights his little-known contributions to animal welfare. It's from the Humane Society.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is There Danger of Elitism in the Animal Rights Movement?

This post is inspired by a thought-provoking piece on the Provoked blog (clearly a good name for a blog!)

I believe that we have to be inclusive in the animal rights movement and attack the system using all kinds of methods in all sorts of fields. Economics, science, literature, film, politics, law, etc. I'm no sociologist or historian, but it seems like there has always been a variety of inputs involved in any kind of social change, even violence. Remember the impact John Brown and his failed raid on Harpers Ferry had on the abolition movement?

And, even though I sometimes want to smack people in the head because I am baffled at how little they care about, well, about ANYTHING, I am still practical enough to understand that there must be a mass change in thinking that involves a large number of people. This may take time and maybe lifetimes to build up to that tipping point, but we have to use everyone and every resource we can.

I do think that there is a real elitism in the movement, however. This is probably an unpopular view, but I think it's legitimate. Is a vegan's efforts at advocacy worth more than a vegetarian's or even a meat eater's if they happen to agree on the same issue? If a meat eater eats meat, but hates the factory farm system or animal experimentation, do we discount anything we can get out of them because they are not "pure." Or the vegetarian who still uses dairy? So instead of three votes, we alienate two, but still maintain our purity?

At the same time, do we have the time to wait for everyone to become vegan to enact laws that will at least allow more humane care in the short term. You can exhort people to go vegan, but if only vegans have legitimacy in the movement, then it's condemned to a very, very small voice and limited short-term impact.

Tiger Slaughtered in Indonesian Zoo

Tigers are not safe anywhere. A Sumatran female at the Taman Rimbo Zoo was drugged by poachers, slaughtered and harvested for her parts.

Just awful.

Greenpeace Appropriates Martha's Vineyard Times to Deliver Message to Obama

Greenpeace issued a document in Martha's Vineyard calling itself the "Martha's Vineyard Future Times" and distributed it on the streets there. It was made to look like the real Martha Vineyard Times, which was not too happy about it. You can read about their reaction here.

And, here are photos of them handing the flyers out (via Greenpeace I might add).

Canada Mink Breeders Association Annual Meeting in WI on August 31st

The Canadian Mink Breeders Association will be holding it's annual meeting in Madison WI. Here is a list of the attendees.

Here is the link to the CA Mink Breeders site, but it seems to be down.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Animal Activists Steal Ashes From Grave of Novartis CEO's Family

Yeesh. This happened at the end of July. Animal rights activists from a group called The Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Sciences went to a cemetery and dug up an urn belonging to the family of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella. They also splattered paint on the headstones. From Bite Back:
On the 15th of August, this message was sent to Daniel Vasella's email:

'Daniel Vasella,
Because of you there are thousands of animals dying unnamed in mass graves, but yours was all too easy to find. If you wish the urn that was taken from the grave to be returned then you need to publically finish with Huntingon Life Sciences immediately.
You have 2 choices Mr Vasella: lose HLS or LOSE THE URN.'

We kidnapped the ashes of one of his immediate family members in order to teach him that in life and death all beings are equal and deserve to be treated so. Until he can show some respect for the animals Novartis sends to slaughter then we see no reason to respect his dead. It could be either of his sisters, one who died of Lymphdrüsenkrebs or one who died in a car accident, or could it be his father who died unexpectectly after an operation when he was 13?

This time you've got the chance to receive back your family's urn in exchange for dropping HLS for now and for ever, Daniel, and if you don't act fast enough we can just empty the urn in the closest TOILET...

The Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Sciences"

Don't Buy Animals For Your Kid Because You Saw it in a Movie

The latest movie to prompt this kind of behavior is G-Force. The heroes are a pair of guinea pigs.

Here is a CBS article that at least explains basic care for guinea pigs.

Having cared for guinea pigs at the Seattle Animal Shelter, I can tell you that guinea pigs are certainly cute. They are also the messiest animals on the planet. And, they require a lot of care. Hopefully parents will think about that before they give in to the pleas of kids who see this movie.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Internet Exploits Cameroon's Primates

Illegal wildlife traffickers provide fake credentials to establish that primates are being legitimately offered for sale. Their ads claim that the primate comes with "veterinary health documents, a "permit" from CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and a year's health care guarantee. This is totally fraudulent, however, because CITES bans international trade and does not issues such permits.

And let's not even talk about all the internet sales of trophies and animal parts.

Just another threat to already endangered primates.

Unacceptable Trade in Primate Research Animals

I'm so glad I have this blog and other web outlets to highlight these kinds of stories. If not for these outlets, I would have to sit in a slow simmer as none of my "friends" can handle or understand the outrage. I think they just want to live in happy denial. If they think about what's going on and their role in it, then they might actually have to care.

Here's a post on the Red, Green and Blue blog about the unspeakable trade in macaque monkeys as research subjects. Around 10,000 are bred and exported from Mauritius to the US, UK and Japan. They are considered an environmental pest because they are a non-native species that inflict ecological damage....but to deal with them this way is just unacceptable. Better to cull them than subject them to years of pain and loneliness in a lab.

PETA to Replace Offensive Billboard

PETA has decided to replace the billboard in Florida that compares overweight women to whales. They said they never meant to offend anyone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our Strange Relationship with Animals

I thought this was an interesting piece contrasting three different people and their relationships with animals. One is a meat-eating professor of animal welfare, another is an animal rights activist, and the third is an animal researcher.

This quote from the animal rights person is spot-on for me.
....[Maria's] strong opinions have made her somewhat of an outcast, even among old friends:

"Some of them think that I'm totally insane, and then there is people at work, some of them understand to a degree, but some of them think that I'm the craziest thing they ever met."

The article continues...
It's easy to look at somebody protesting outside a lab and think they are nuts, says Villanova ethicist Brett Wilmot:

Wilmot: We become very complacent when we're in an environment that for the most part reflects our sense of order, and justice and reasonableness, and then when other people are in that same environment and find it appalling and react that way, our first reaction is to think "wow - what on earth is wrong with them" when again, they may be simply exhibiting the same kind of reaction we would under different circumstances.

There Oughta Be A Law Contest

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is having a contest where you can submit your idea for a new law protecting animals. The winner will get a trip to Washington DC to lobby for it with HSLF staff.

Best Dog Blog Name Ever

Ohmidog!

PETA Goes After The Overweight

PETA put up a billboard in Florida that says "Save the Whales, Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian". On it, is an overweight woman standing on a beach. Feministing has a pretty angry post, with a lot of angry comments as well. I think they are right to be angry.

The billboard (which you can see on the linked page) is pretty clearly aimed exclusively at women, and plays into their worst fears about body image. If they want to play up the health aspects or weight loss aspects of vegetarianism, that's fine. But, when they start throwing around words like "whale" and "blubber", they're guaranteed to lose their potential audience on that one. And rightly so.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thanks to Everyone

Thanks to everyone who has sent us condolences about Her Majesty Charlotte the cranky cat who has returned to the circle of life. I can honestly say that if it weren't for Charlotte, there would be no Critter News and I would still be eating the big burger at Kid Valley.

She was one hell of a cat.

Mules Serve as Military Animals in Afghanistan

The US Marines are using them because they're good for hauling stuff. I think it's sad to force one more species to participate in another human war.

Lion Population Decreasing in Kenya

I've been reading a lot about threatened elephants and primate populations in Africa and wondered about lions. One rarely hears about how they are doing. But, unfortunately, they are in trouble too.

This article talks about the specific situation in Kenya. The storyline is all too familiar.
The national lion population has been falling by an average of 100 per year for the last seven years due to a combination of factors, particularly human-wildlife conflict, destruction of habitats, climate change, disease and increase in human population.

Kenya's lion population has dropped from an estimated 2,749 in 2002 to 2,280 in 2004 and probably just 2000 individuals in 2009.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

RIP Charlotte

That's her picture at the top. No more blogging today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Artificial Cats to Help the Elderly

Because, you know, real cats are so rare in this world.

Animal Cruelty and Richard Russo

Has anyone ever read Richard Russo's book "Straight Man?" He uses geese killing at a fictional university as a comedic subplot. I've googled this and can't find a single critique of the book that mentions that he is making a joke out of animal cruelty.

It's not funny at all. Why wasn't it noted by someone somewhere?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quote of the Week

We fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of fear and pain.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Canadian Prime Minister Eats Seal Meat

He's doing it to show his opposition to the EU's ban on seal products. Canada plans on appealing to the WTO.

Stay classy Harper!

Oklahoma Editorial About "Rising Animal Rights Terrorism"

This editorial in the web version of the Oklahoman denounces animal rights terrorism; however, it finishes off by supporting medical research on animals. What about the terror and violence involved in that? (But they do try to cover themselves by pointing out they oppose cosmetics research.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Woman Who Posted Picture of Herself Holding Two Dead Wet Rabbits Denies Drowning Them

Right. They died from heart disease.
The image, posted on Carlisle's Facebook page, appears to show her holding a soaked and drowned small black rabbit in each hand. Carlisle is seen smiling in the photo and a comment on the social Internet site says the animals were euthanized through drowning.
She's claiming it's all a big mistake. Not an easy defense when you're dumb enough to post a picture of yourself afterwards on Facebook.

ALF Activists Burn Down Dog Racing Clubhouse in Sweden

ALF activists in Sweden burned down a greyhound racing clubhouse in Sweden. They took a picture of it burning too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Alan!

This is hysterical.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Tough to Report about OHSU's Primate Lab

Sounds like there can be a whole lot of drama surrounding the Willamette Week's attempts to report about this place. Here's an example. I wish the Seattle weeklies would at least try to cover the University of Washington's Primate Center.

Smugglers Go to Extremes with Argentinian Parrots

They are dying them to look like Amazonian species which are more valuable on the black market.

Why I Have a Hard Time with Human Beings

It's because of behavior like this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why the Rush to Forgive Michael Vick?

I just don't understand it. Even some people who think he behaved horribly want to give him a second chance. They say it's the only fair thing to do, everyone makes mistakes, he's served his time, it's only the "Christian" thing to do, blah, blah, blah.

What if, instead of hanging and drowning dogs, Sick Vick were involved in hanging and drowning people? Would we be in such a hurry to forgive and forget? Following that logic, why were we so quick to condemn Jeffrey Dahmer? He did some sick things, but the poor guy couldn't help himself! Perhaps he deserved a second chance. Wouldn't it have been Christian to just release him and hope he could redeem himself through a high-profile, lucrative contract? Perhaps he just needed a mentor or, even better, a hug!

Of course not. We can't compare the two. Because he killed humans and only humans matter in this world remember?

Central London Shop Raided for Illegal Wildlife Products

Not surprisingly, they raided a shop selling Chinese traditional medicines.

From the Telegraph...
Detectives seized 200 products believed to be made from endangered animals including musk deer, leopards and tigers.

The store in Lisle Street, at the heart of London's Chinatown, specialises in traditional Asian medicine.

The raid took place on the day an amendment to the law controlling illegal trade in endangered species came into effect.

The regulations closed a legal loophole which enabled traders to pretend animal products came from countries with lower levels of protection.

PETA Protests Military's Testing on Pigs

I'm late on this one. The protest happened on Wednesday. But it's worth noting that someone out there took some action on this gruesome story.

And that's what I like about PETA and why I recently became a member for the first time. They are fast, organized, committed and they get attention.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marines Still Using Pigs for Medical Training

They claim the animals are asleep during the procedures and feel no pain. The Marines also claim that using live pigs and inflicting wounds on them is the only way to approximate real-life situations in combat. It's the best way to train medical personnel.

Read and decide for yourself.

Malaysia is One of the Centers of Wildlife Trafficking

Malaysia is a transit hub, a supply source, and a consumer hub for endangered wildlife. A deadly combination.

Vick Signs with the Philadelphia Eagles

I used to like this team. I'll never root for them again. I guess someone did want a dog killer on their team.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Place to Look For Animal Research News

I stumbled across this site called FiercePharma that has all kinds of news about the drug industry. If you go to the very top, there are tabs for FierceBiotechResearch and other topics.

Note - this company has a lot of industry news sites on a wide range of topics, so they do more then just drug company news. I've never heard of them before.

Novartis CEO Has Lodge Burned Down by Animal Rights Activists

ALF activists burned the hunting lodge of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella. From Bite Back:
60 litres of petrol was concentrated in two places around the house - the roof sheltering the front entrance was packed full of petrol bombs with most of the petrol containers placed under it by the door to catch the wood inside, and around the side the wooden garage door and angled roof supports were targetted with the second group of devices.

It hasn't been your week has it, Daniel? Understand this: This will continue until you sever all ties with Huntingdon Life Sciences. We will attack your private life wherever possible. If you think it's fun killing animals in your own forest in Austria and bring them to your hunting estate, we will destroy it. Have you got any more hobbies Daniel? We will destroy them. We will destroy your life. Just remember one thing, dealing with HLS means dealing with US.
You can read about it from Reuters here. Indymedia has a picture of the place actually burning.

Quote of the Week

"The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you angry."

Anonymous

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canadian Poacher Sentenced to Jail Time

I understand this is precedent-setting, but it still seems light punishment to me. The guy had 13 prior convictions....that's a lot!

From Eco-Worldly...
A man in Toronto with 13 prior wildlife crime convictions will serve time after being busted with “a plethora” of poached wildlife.

In a “precedent-setting” sentence, The Star has reported that Toronto-based Pak Sun Chung has been sentenced to 106 days plus an additional nine months in jail for two federal offenses under the Species at Risk Act. The judge also banned him from hunting or fishing in Ontario.

Repeat offender Chung was found this time with what is described as “a plethora of wildlife, alive, dead, and quartered.” He also reportedly has $27,000 in fines related to the 13 prior convictions. Chung was previously arrested twice for the same turtle poaching crime in less than six weeks during 2007.

Critter News Is Now On Facebook

We now have a group on Facebook. As of yet, I am the only member. Oh well. We've got to start somewhere to get anywhere on the Interwebs and all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cat Blamed for Porn Download

We are NOT making this up.

Exposing the Pharmaceutical Industry's Interest in Animal Research

In the United States, we are in the midst of a health care debate in which the pharmaceutical industry disguises itself as a champion of the people. It is funding stealth organizations that support "patients' choices" and that assist in organized mob disruptions of town hall meetings. This is all a big charade to keep our health care system unchanged and their pharma profits high.

Big pharma is also involved in promoting animal research for its own benefit. It claims that it must research on animals in order to save people, but then charges such high costs for drugs to these same people that many, even in the rich country of the US, must forego them and risk their lives. But I thought people came first with these guys.

But animal research is necessary, they also claim, because there are simply no other alternatives. Come on, does big pharma really want to spend the money on alternatives to animal research? That would cost money and eat into their profits. It's so much cheaper to buy, use and dispose of a bunch of voiceless chimpanzees and thousands of rats than to invest in alternative R&D.

Here's an opinion piece in the Guardian that is another good refutation of pro-animal research arguments. The author also accuses Understanding Animal Research of being a UK front group for the pharmaceutical industry.

Greenpeace Drops Boulders in Fishing Grounds to Halt Trawling

Very action oriented for them. Are they trying for their own Animal Planet show?

Ways to Effectively Lobby Congress

Mark Markarian has a great post on how to effectively lobby Congress on animal issues. All I can add, as a former Legislative Correspondent and Legislative Assistant is to put in a good word for Medicare and Social Security. Creakers vote more then any other demographic group. You don't have to say you're old. Just give them the impression that you are. Make them work for the response instead of spitting out one form letter. If they don't answer your questions, call the local office and complain (in a nice way). You wrote on x, y and z, and they only answered x.

And another thing, if you want to know whats going on in congress, go to Thomas.gov. It's a great resource. Ask about their opinion on specific legislation. Ask them to co-sponsor bills you support.

OpenCRS is another great resource
. The Congressional Research Service issues reports on everything from the political situation in Moldova to environmental policies related to hog farming. This is what members of congress rely on when they vote on issues. If OpenCRS doesn't have it, your local representative can actually get the report for you if you ask for it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Response to Jesse Jackson's Vick Offensive

Jesse Jackson is just a nut I think. This is a great response to his recent complaining that the NFL is colluding against Vick and his insulting comparison of Vick to Jackie Robinson, the African American who broke the race boundaries in major league baseball. The defense is not from an animal rights perspective, but it's still good, especially in exposing the lame attempt to make this a civil rights issue.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SeaWorld Upset by Dophin Slaughter Film "The Cove"

It is not a favorable portrayal. They are basically portrayed as benefiting from the horrific hunting and capture of dolphins in Japan.

AVMA Reveals Itself As Apologist for Animal Research

It should be no surprise that the American Veterinary Medical Association is an apologist. They have paying members that are part of the animal research industry itself.

Here's the organization's defense of its primate veterinarian members. Cleverly, they also emphasize how many "animals" are saved by animal research. Wouldn't Fluffy die without all the benefits of animal testing?

US Groups Fight to Save Polar Bear Hunts

Now that the species is listed in the US as "threatened," hunters can't import the dead body parts (aka hunting "trophies") in from Canada. Supposedly, environmentalists and animal rights activists have "unfairly made the polar bear into 'the panda bear of North America.'"

Waaaaaaa! (insert crying baby picture here.)

Here's the article from the Globe and Mail.

The Rehabilitation of Michael Vick Continues

Jesse Jackson says that the NFL is keeping Sick Vick out of the NFL just like baseball kept out Jackie Robinson. I hardly think the two situations compare.

Reverend Jackson, Jackie Robinson was a good man, but Michael Vick is not. This is not a civil rights issue. Stop trying to make it into one. It is an issue of character.

Oh, and a preview of things to come...a Michael Vick web site.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Profile of Peter Young, Animal Rights Activist

From the San Jose Mercury News. Fascinating spotlight on an activist known for freeing imprisoned animals. He was himself eventually imprisoned for two years as a result.

Pollution Leads to Cancer in Marine Animals

Humans are already responsible for marine animal habitat loss and overhunting. We are now responsible for another problem...disease. Marine animals are getting cancer as an indirect result of our pollution of the oceans.

"The Cove" Continues to Disturb

We posted about this film a while ago, but it is still inspiring news coverage. Clearly, it is disturbing enough to provoke some real discussions about the ethics of dolphins in amusement parks.

Whenever I read about dolphins in places like Sea World, I think of an ex-co-worker named Gretchen who admitted she had "issues" with animals. However, she really liked dolphins because she thought they were so cute in their shows. She actually told me that they looked like they were enjoying themselves. (I'm sure Anna Paquin would agree...check out the picture on the story.)

How I wish she could watch this film. I haven't and probably won't because it would disturb me too much (this blog serves that purpose already), but then again, I'm already convinced.

From MSNBC....
The affecting cloak-and-dagger documentary “The Cove,” which documents a brutal dolphin hunt off the Japanese town of Taiji, is putting would-be amusement park visitors in an ethical bind and park owners on the defensive.

The film’s protagonist, Ric O’Barry, who trained the animals that played TV’s Flipper before he had a change of heart, indicts businesses like Sea World as being either overtly or tacitly complicit in the cruelty. “The captivity industry keeps the slaughter going,” O’Barry charges in movie. If he has his way, the gruesome images of bloody dolphins will keep you from buying a ticket to a marine park, or stepping into a pool of one of those “dolphin encounters” at a tropical resort.

Park owners, on the other hand, are crying foul, insisting they have nothing to do with dolphin slaughter and that buying a ticket helps support valuable education and environmental work.

....Long notorious for its brutality, the Taiji slaughter is a so-called “drive hunt,” during which fishermen in a string of boats use clanging sounds to herd dolphins into small coves. Once penned, some dolphins are picked out by dolphin trainers and animal brokers for purchase and transport to amusement parks and resorts. The rest are killed with spears, knives and clubs in an orgy of cruelty. As the film graphically shows, the sea water churns into a bloody froth. The cries of the dolphins are pathetic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."
Malcolm X

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Virunga Wildlife Rangers On the Offensive Against Militias

The Congolese rangers protect the wildlife in Virunga National Park, the most famous inhabitants of which are the 700 remaining mountain gorillas. These rangers are very brave people with possibly the most dangerous jobs in the world. And they don't get paid very much at all.

They've just launched an offensive against the militias that are destroying habitat in order to get charcoal. One of these militias was involved in the Rwandan genocide.

From the official website of Virunga National Park.

The Congolese National Park Authorities have sent the biggest ever deployment of armed rangers to strike at charcoal-making operations run by armed groups deep in the forests of Virunga National Park in Eastern DR Congo. The move, undertaken in collaboration with the UN peace-keeping forces MONUC, follows a report by the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo identifying charcoal from Virunga National Park as a major source of revenue for illegal armed groups. These include the FDLR, the Rwandan militia whose members are held responsible for the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

Journalists Arrested During Namibian Seal Hunt

Ugly stuff in Namibia, the country with the seal hunting that no one talks about because so few know about it (I mean who thinks about seal hunting in Namibia?)

From Wildlife Extra News...
Secret footage smuggled out of Namibia has revealed the brutal reality of the Namibian seal hunt - and the subsequent attack on British journalist Jim Wickens and South African cameraman Bart Smithers.

The dramatic film shows seals being killed by hunters during a hunt at the Cape Cross Reserve in Namibia and hunters armed with clubs running towards film maker Bart Smithers and Jim Wickens, from the UK's Ecostorm agency. The journalists, who were working on assignment with Dutch lobby group Bont voor Dieren were violently attacked by seal hunters before being detained by police.

The pair were subsequently held by the Namibian authorities before being freed after agreeing to pay a fine for "entering a protected marine area without a permit."

Music Video Directed by Heath Ledger to Be Released

A video by the band Modest Mouse, directed by the late Heath Ledger, will be released to benefit Sea Shepherd.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SCLC to Celebrate Michael Vick Day

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is sponsoring a Michael Vick celebration in Newport News. Whether you think he deserves a second chance or not in the NFL, I find it a little strange that they are sponsoring this. What exactly are they celebrating? His release from prison?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Blood Sport Involves...Canaries?

From the WTF files...and reported by the Associated Content news site.
Canary fighting is the new blood sport in Shelton, Conn. Aficionados range in age from 26 to 62, and it is more widespread than you think.

Channel 8 News raised more than a few eyebrows when it reported on a Shelton canary fighting ring that caused 150 birds to be placed into protective custody and thrust 19 suspects with their first and last names into the public eye. This blood sport was so popular that it actually attracted audiences from Boston and New Jersey. It is alleged that attendees would gamble on the outcome of the canary fights, put down their money, and then place two birds in a cage to see which would emerge the victor.

India Takes More Steps to Protect Tigers

But is it enough? From the Press Association...
India is to amend its wildlife crime laws to protect the country's tigers, a government minister said.

Environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh said that speeding up justice as well as hefty fines are needed to strengthen the Wildlife Protection Act.

He added that the forest ministry, state governments and a separate authority on the management of tiger reserves had agreed to work together to ensure conservation of the endangered animal.

Nearly 80,000 to 100,000 families inhabiting core areas of tiger reserves will be relocated and given £12,500 each as part of the measures.

The minister said that nearly six million hectares of land will be brought under green cover within the next six years, since funds to create more forests had recently been released.

This will increase the habitat area for tigers, who prefer to live and hunt in thick vegetation.

EU Bans Seal Imports

The New York Times reports that the ban will still allow seal products from traditional hunts by the Inuit people, also known as Eskimos, in Canada and Greenland. And Canada is going to appeal the decision at the WTO.

But still...a victory for now.