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.