Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, December 31, 2010

Good News for the Alamagordo Chimps!

I received an alert from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The Alamagordo chimps will be allowed to remain in New Mexico for about two years while the NIH studies the issue of their transference. This gives animal rights activists some time to prepare further defense of the animals.

Good way to end 2010.

Here's the story as reported in NewsWest...
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) - Some 186 chimpanzees will remain at a federal facility in New Mexico for now.

The Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright story Friday that the National Institutes of Health informed Gov. Bill Richardson on Thursday the chimps will not be transferred to a San Antonio, Texas, facility until the National Academy of Sciences reviews policies on using chimpanzees in biomedical research.

Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia says that's expected to postpone the transfer for about two years.

A federal contract covering the chimps expires next year. The NIH proposed sending them to Texas to be used in research aimed at finding a hepatitis C vaccine.

Animal welfare activists protested the transfer.

The chimps have been free from testing at the Alamogordo Primate Facility at Holloman Air Force Base since 2001.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rats Taking Over from Mice in Labs

I recently fostered the sweetest little rat and I currently have two mice. Therefore, this Boston Globe article saddens me on both levels. And, of course, our old friend, Charles River Laboratories, will be a major supplier of lab rats.
Scientific advances over the last three years have now made it feasible to easily tinker with rat genes, creating the possibility of far better models of certain human diseases, and potentially shortening the time it takes to develop medications...

While both rats and mice have similarities to humans, rats win out in key areas.

Their blood system is much more similar, with a heart that beats four times faster than a person’s, instead of the mouse’s six times faster. Rat brains are far more complex than mouse brains, making them more likely to exhibit the behaviors of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and autism, among other disorders. Their liver enzymes are more similar so they metabolize drugs more like people do.

Rats are also simply larger, as are their cancerous tumors, making them easier to study and to operate on.

But these innovations won’t mean the end of the lab mouse.

“To what degree the rat will replace the mouse remains to be seen,’’ said Iva S. Morse, corporate vice president for research model services at Charles River Laboratories, a Wilmington company that started by breeding lab rats in 1947 and has become a major supplier of rodents for research.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Many blessings to you from Critter News!

From Ana, Patrick, Cleo, Che, Sonia, Jennie, TJ, and two mice.

Ellen Donates a Million Meals to Homeless Pets

Very cool of her to do this..

PETA Settlement over Shelter Records

Follow-up from the Utah scandal in which shelter animals were being sold for research purposes. For the full story, go to NECN.com...
The Davis County Commission has agreed to pay the legal fees of an animal rights group after settling a lawsuit over animal shelter records.

The Standard-Examiner of Ogden said Wednesday that the county will pay $17,732 to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The money will cover a portion of PETA's legal fees for a lawsuit the group filed in January about animals that had been sold by the county shelter for research purposes.

PETA will have access to the requested records. The settlement provides limited protections for the county from further litigation.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press on Friday, PETA's Associate Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman said the group filed the lawsuit to gain access to intake and transfer records for approximately 100 cats and dogs that were sold for research. They also requested any records of people who gave explicit permission for the animals to be sold.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Animal Cruelty at Texas Horse Farm

50 surviving horses were rescued.

For the full story, go here to KLTV.com...
The Humane Society of the United States, SPCA of East Texas and Humane Society of North Texas worked with the Smith County District Attorney's Office to rescue 50 horses from a Lindale property.

The District Attorney's office served a seizure warrant to the owner of the horses Tuesday, opening the door for the rescue team to begin removal on Wednesday.

Most of the horses on the 70-acre ranch are quarter-horses, and most showed signs of neglect and severe emaciation. Some even suffered from parasite infestation and overgrown hooves. The group also included pregnant mares and a few yearlings.

Rescuers also found several dead horses and numerous equine skeletons on site.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Musk Oxen Keep Dying at University of Alaska Research Station

This is kind of weird. Maybe nothing's wrong, but a review of the animal care program is being initiated.

Read the full story at Fairbanks Daily News-Miner....
The death toll for musk oxen at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station rose to nine after a school veterinarian euthanized two older bulls that never recovered from a suspected trace mineral deficiency that caused the deaths of seven other animals in September and October.

The seven musk oxen that died or were euthanized from mid-September to mid-October demonstrated similar symptoms, which Blake believes were the result of a mineral deficiency. All the animals were underweight and lacking in cobalt, copper and selenium, all of which are integral to the animals’ metabolism.

The deaths of nine of the school’s 36 musk oxen represent the biggest die-off since the herd was established at LARS in 1979.

....The die-off prompted UAF to hire a private consultant from the Lower 48 to do a full review of the school’s animal care program.

“We’re going to cover all our animal facilities, the whole program top down,” Blake said.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ghoulish Primate Experiment in South Africa

Warning! This is just horrible and sick, sick, sick. It's at a vomit level with me. From news24.com...
Johannesburg - A Bloemfontein man received a criminal record on Friday for a "backyard experiment" on a pregnant monkey, the NSPCA said.

The NSPCA in November 2008 charged Jordaan for his "merciless treatment" of a heavily pregnant vervet monkey. He had severed her spinal cord to paralyse her for a "backyard experiment.

"She had been captured from the wild... in the opinion of the NSPCA because she had been pregnant and therefore 'of use' for the pitiless treatment."

She said the monkey's infant was removed by Caesarean section on October 31. The procedure to sever her spinal cord had been performed the same day.

This paralysed the monkey from the waist down and made her incontinent. Her cage was “cleaned” with a hosepipe....

Kotze said Jordaan had apparently doing "stem cell research" to help people walk again after a friend of his had been paralysed in an accident.

Jordaan allegedly submitted a research application to the University of the Free State, but its animal ethics committee rejected it. He was told to rewrite and resubmit it. He was not prepared to do so and said he would continue the research on his own, Kotze said.

Legislative Victories for Animals in the US

Here's a summary from the ASPCA.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Australian Scientists to Study Animal Feelings

The purpose is to make them happier as livestock. I guess you have to decide for yourselves what you think about that.

The excerpt below is from the Sydney Morning Herald. Go here for the full article...
Australian scientists have set themselves the challenge of understanding the minds of animals and what they are feeling.

A team based at the CSIRO aims to use the study to reduce stress and pain in livestock.

"The challenge is to gain insights - in a scientifically rigorous way - into how animals' minds work," CSIRO scientist Caroline Lee said in a statement on Wednesday.

Advertisement: Story continues below "Ultimately, the outcomes of this research will expand on our understanding of emotional and cognitive functions of livestock and the impacts of farming practices on animal welfare."

The research is being funded by Meat and Livestock Australia

NASA Suspends Radiation Experiments

Received this today from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Excellent news!
We did it! For more than a year, we have worked to block NASA’s planned radiation experiments on live squirrel monkeys. We have just learned that the experiments have been cancelled. NASA has also announced its intention to “undertake a comprehensive review of the agency's current research and technology development plans to see how they align with the President's plan for human spaceflight,” the findings of which “will inform [its] decision making moving forward.”

NASA had planned to irradiate 30 live squirrel monkeys in a misguided attempt to learn the effects of deep-space radiation. Due to the basic anatomical, biological, and physiological differences between squirrel monkeys and humans, these experiments were destined to fail. PCRM has led the criticism of these experiments, working with members of Congress, former researchers, activists, and even a former NASA engineer who resigned her post in protest of this cruel and unnecessary use of animals.

Because of your hard work, these monkeys will not be irradiated or otherwise abused. Furthermore, we have sent a powerful message to all federal agencies that they must consider the interests of animals in the pursuit of research.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Positive Responses from Animal Testers?

I guess it depends on how much you believe them....

The article from UPI is below in its entirety.
Drug and chemical companies say they endorse a Europe-wide initiative intended to eventually end the use of animals in research and safety testing.

Experts from companies including drug giants AstraZeneca, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and cosmetics firm L'Oreal say that soon the safety testing of new drugs and chemical products will use new technologies, including cell cultures and computer models, rather than living animals, The Daily Telegraph in Britain reported.

A report published by a panel of experts from industry, academic institutions and regulatory bodies supports an initiative aimed at finding alternatives to animal research.

"Today we are at a new biological milestone, where we could, with sufficient international and political support, ... produce the means and the technology to test and assess the human and environmental risk of tens of thousands of chemicals per year without using animals," the report says.

Testing a single chemical takes up to five years, involves 800 rodents and costs $3.8 million. Robotic alternatives could test 350 chemicals in less than a week at a fraction of the cost, the report says.

"Endorsement from cross-sector, independent experts provides a tremendous boost to European Union and international efforts to revolutionize the science of safety testing," Troy Seidle, director of research for Humane Society International, said.

"The fact that industry is prepared to come to the table to meet with regulators and say they are prepared to do development, invest resources and change the way we do things shows this is a real possibility that is not just pie in the sky."

Monday, December 6, 2010

FBI Discussed Ways to Discredit Animal Rights Activists

This from the blog Green is the New Red. Read the full post here.
The FBI and a previously-unknown informant in the animal rights movement discussed, among other topics, how to disrupt political activism, according to FBI documents. The topics discussed echo COINTELPRO-era tactics of the 1960s, including the possibility of discrediting activists through planting rumors.

The FBI file is dated May 12, 2005, by the FBI’s Johnson City Resident Agency, which is part of the Knoxville field office. It is based on conversations between an FBI agent and “Source,” who is only identified as someone who was involved in “direct actions” and is willing to share information with the government in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The result is an FBI agent’s notes that offer a rare glimpse of how the government is targeting its “number one domestic terrorism threat.”

Puget Sound Whale Found Dead

We'd posted last week that the injuries would probably be fatal and they were. It appears that it was hit by boat propellers. Horrible.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sad Fate for Rare Whale in Olympia, WA

This is really sad.

Full story at mynorthwest.com...
A severely injured whale off the shores of Olympia has little chance of survival, an expert said Thursday.

The animal is either a sei or Bryde's whale, said biologist John Calambokidis with Cascadia Research. "Both would be extremely rare. The sei is endangered and is rarely seen off the West Coast. The Bryde's is a more tropical species not usually seen north of southern California."

The 40-foot whale is suffering from a large, deep gash on its back, probably caused by a collision with a fast-moving boat. The injuries are making it difficult for the animal to surface normally.

"It almost looks like part of its back has erupted. There's ragged tissue around the edges of it," Calambokidis said.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Research Company Accused of Animal Mistreatment

For the full story, go here to outsourcing-pharma.com...
Animal welfare watchdog group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), has released documents which, it claims, provide evidence that CRO MPI Research has been operating in violation of the US Animal Welfare Act.

The documents, disclosed to OutsourcingPharma.com by Executive Director of SAEN, Michael Budkie, are said to have been released anonymously from a past or present employee.

They include reports on 16 incidences of fractures received by primates and one swine during handling between 2007 and 2009. Six of the primates and the swine are reported to have been euthanised as a result.

An Animal Welfare Concern Report, which appears to have been written by an MPI Research employee in 2004, describes the ‘ongoing incidences of lacerated fingers, toes and tails that occur during the removal of animals from the home cages for study functions’.

Technicians’ lack of experience with primates and excessive workloads are some of the risk factors for incidences suggested by the anonymous employee.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Jersey Bear Hunt to Continue as Planned

Despite efforts by animal rights activists to stop this hunt, it is scheduled to continue. That really sucks. It's a cull to "control the population."

From North Jersey.com...

New Jersey’s first bear hunt in five years is just a week away and set to go on as planned despite a last-ditch effort by several animal rights organizations to have the hunt postponed.

On Monday, Nov. 22, State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin rejected an appeal made by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) and the West Milford-based Bear Education and Resource (BEAR) Group to postpone the six-day hunt, scheduled for a seven-county region that includes parts of Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Passaic, Morris, Somerset and Bergen counties. The bear hunt, set to take place from Dec. 6 to 11, is authorized under the state’s recently adopted Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBMP).

"The facts are clear, we have an overpopulation of black bears in New Jersey, and we must address that issue," said Martin in a press statement. "A regulated black bear hunt is one important and necessary tool to deal with the growing number of bears, as part of the state’s overall, comprehensive approach to managing its black bear population."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Chimpanzees!

Here is a Thanksgiving video of the seven chimpanzees at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Very heartwarming.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Customs Officials Meet to Discuss China/Russia Smuggling

From TRAFFIC,
Customs officers from Russia and China met last week to strengthen international co-operation in tackling cross-border smuggling of Tigers and other wildlife products.

Representatives from the Federal Russia Customs, Far East Customs Directorate, Far East Operative Customs, Siberian Customs Directorate, General Customs Directorate of China, TRAFFIC Russia and TRAFFIC China met from 16–18 November in Vladivostok, through a programme supported by WWF Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.

During the meeting, participants carried out an analysis of the current situation regarding wildlife trafficking across the Russian-Chinese border, and discussed practical ways it could be addressed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SRI Denies Access to the Humane Society

If the incident is insignificant, then why deny access?

From the San Jose Mercury News...
A Menlo Park research facility Monday refused to allow a humane society representative to check up on a monkey that bit a female lab worker the day before.

SRI International officials said the lab worker is OK and because their facility is under federal oversight, the Peninsula Humane Society doesn't have to be given access to its research animals.

"The worker ... received a very minor injury to the finger, was treated onsite by emergency response personnel and then at a local medical facility," SRI said in a statement released Monday. "The worker is fine and returned to work on Monday."

Because an animal bite occurred, Menlo Park police alerted the Peninsula Humane Society, which is under county contract to follow up on such incidents. The organization is supposed to check whether an animal that bites a human poses a continued threat, is vaccinated for such diseases as rabies, and might need to be quarantined, said John Conley, deputy director of public health for San Mateo County.

....The humane society was rebuffed twice by the research facility, first on Sunday after the incident was reported and again on Monday when it sent a representative to see the monkey.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NASA May End Monkey Radiation Experiments

Not sure yet, but it could happen per this action alert from Physicians for Responsible Medicine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Change of Heart": New Book about Animal Activism

We received an email about a new book being released by Lantern Books. It's called "Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change." The author is Nick Cooney and he's the Director of The Humane League, an animal advocacy non-profit with offices in Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC.

In the author's words...
"Change Of Heart provides science-based answers to many questions that are hotly debated among animal activists. For example, why is it so hard for our family members and co-workers – many of whom have companion animals that they love – to cut cruelty from their diets and go vegan? What messages and techniques have been proven effective in getting people to make compassionate decisions like boycotting fur and adopting companion animals instead of buying them? And why do so many people say the oppose the cruel practices of factory farming, yet still eat meat, eggs and dairy products?

Change of Heart has received rave reviews from leading animal activists. Rory Freedman, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Skinny Bitch, proclaims “If you want to create a better world, read this book!” Gene Baur, Director of Farm Sanctuary, adds that “Change of Heart provides fresh, research-based insight into how non-profits and individuals can more effectively create social change.” Ingrid Newkirk, Director of PETA, raves that “This should be mandatory reading for everyone with a good heart and a good cause.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sobering Tiger Statistics

Very sad. I wish I could say something inspiring or hopeful, but it's hard to feel that way when you read these kinds of stories.

For the rest of the article, go to this TRAFFIC link...
Parts of at least 1,069 Tigers have been seized in Tiger range countries over the past decade, according to new analysis of Tiger seizures carried out by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

Reduced to Skin and Bones (PDF, 4 MB) shows that from January 2000 to April 2010, parts of between 1,069 and 1,220 Tigers were seized in 11 of the 13 tiger range countries—or an average of 104 to 119 animals per year.

Of the 11, India, China and Nepal ranked highest in the number of tiger part seizures, the report states, with India by far the highest number of Tiger part seizures at 276, representing between 469 and 533 Tigers. China, with 40, had the second highest number of seizures, or 116-124 Tigers, and Nepal reported 39 seizures, or 113-130 Tigers, according to the report.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mini-Pigs Identified by EU as Potential Lab Subjects

I guess their cuteness wore off too quick!

From myfoxny.com...
The mini-pig, darling of celebrities’ handbags, may have had its bacon Sunday after the EU earmarked it as the laboratory test animal of the future.

A research project into the feasibility of using miniature pigs in laboratories concluded they are better suited for testing toxins, drugs and chemicals than dogs and monkeys.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Election Victories for Animals

Two victories.

Proposition 8 passed in Missouri. It stops puppy mill abuses by establishing responsible standards for the proper care of dogs.

Also, Proposition 109 failed in Arizona. This proposition would have given the legislature exclusive authority over wildlife issues.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Increase in Dutch Animal Testing

From the DutchNews.nl...
Dutch researchers carried out 592,665 experiments on animals last year, a 2.5% increase on 2008, government inspectors said on Friday.

The increase was largely due to new EU rules on chemical compounds, which have led to an increase in testing on rats, the inspectors said.

More than half the experiments were carried out for academic research and one third of those were for medical research.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

South Dakota Governor Wants Livestock Research Facility

This looks like its for farming of livestock, not medical research, but that's bad too. Research on animals is research on animals.

From the High Plains Journal...
Gov. Mike Rounds wants a biotech animal research facility built in South Dakota.

The Argus Leader reports that Rounds announced Sept. 28 his intentions to build such a facility in the state during the Livestock Biotech Summit at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

The summit on genetically engineered animal technologies drew about 200 people from as far as South Korea and New Zealand.

Rounds says a biotech facility is important in creating disease-free animals.

Rounds says the proposed project is in the conceptual phase. He asked industry experts at the conference to give their input on how the center should be developed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Animal Rights Activists Jailed in Europe

They are members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). I support their cause, but am uncomfortable with their tactics.

From Reuters...

The group had targeted about 40 firms as part of an international conspiracy to force the closure of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), an animal research laboratory based near Cambridge. The members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) posted hoax parcel bombs to staff and offices, carried out criminal damage, threatened violence and made abusive phone calls, Winchester Crown Court was told.

The campaign also used tactics such as false allegations of paedophilia against managers of the supply companies, and posting sanitary towels to their homes saying the blood was contaminated with the AIDS virus.

Some employees from firms in Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland had "puppy killer" and "scum" daubed on their houses.

The cost of the damage and increased security measures amounted to 12.6 million pounds, the court heard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Humane Method of Killing Chickens?

I realize that the most humane method of treating chickens is to not kill them for food...BUT, as long as there is still a demand for their meat, PETA is advocating "Controlled-Atmosphere Killing" as an improvement over current methods of electric immobilization.

Per PETA...
Controlled-atmosphere killing is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved slaughter method that is currently used to kill 75 percent of turkeys and 25 percent of chickens in the United Kingdom and 10 percent of all birds in the European Union. CAK removes oxygen from the birds' atmosphere while they are still in their transport crates. The birds are not "gassed" (i.e., asphyxiated); they die from lack of oxygen, or anoxia, which is a painless process. CAK eliminates the numerous animal welfare, economic, and worker-safety issues associated with electric immobilization:

* With CAK, birds are dead before they are removed from their crates, shackled, bled, and scalded in defeathering tanks. Accordingly, these stages do not hurt the birds, damage or contaminate their carcasses, or pose a risk of injury to workers.
* With CAK, workers never handle live birds, so there are no chances for abuse. Worker ergonomics and safety are vastly improved. Lights can be kept bright, the air stays clean, and workers do not need to struggle with flapping, scratching, defecating, and vomiting birds.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Protest Against the Oregon National Primate Research Center

From Oregonlive...
Animal rights activists stretched a 60-foot banner across the Hawthorne Bridge {Saturday} morning targeting the Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU.

In support of National Primate Liberation Week, the Portland Animal Defense League hung a banner that read "OHSU: Stop Killing Monkeys Now!" for morning commuters to see.

...The sign -- removed by authorities shortly after it went up -- is the latest in an ongoing clash between activists and the Primate Research Center, which houses about 4,200 primates and is one of eight national primate research centers. In June, demonstrators blocked the entrance to the lab, and police arrested five activists for obstructing traffic.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio-based animal rights group, recently ranked the lab at Oregon Health & Science University as the nation's sixth worst animal lab out of 44 others. The group and Animal Defense League say 259 primates at the research center have been abused or deprived of food and clean cages, citing an annual report that the primate center files with the USDA.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sea Shepherd Gets New Vessel

It replaces the Addy Gil which was sunk. Nice pictures. Still unnamed though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hen Harriers Persecuted in Britain

These birds of prey are being seriously threatened by shootings, poisonings and other attempts to disrupt breeding on grouse moors, probably by gamekeepers on estates. (Grouse are a bird species which the hen harriers hunt and their population is also declining. There is a great deal of controversy as to the effect of the hen harriers on the grouse. Some say they are a factor in the declining numbers.

From the Guardian...

One of Britain's most threatened birds of prey, the hen harrier, is being almost entirely eradicated from grouse moors because of systematic persecution, a new report has found.

A study by bird of prey experts has estimated that only 1% of the naturally occurring number of hen harriers are successfully breeding on the UK's grouse moors, because a large majority are poisoned, shot or disturbed to protect stocks. The study's results, described as "deplorable" by one senior conservationist, were published by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Harvard Medical School Facility Accused of Improper Research Reporting

Sounds awful. Again, work by SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now.)

From the MetroWest Daily News...

An Ohio-based animal rights organization has filed a complaint against Harvard Medical School, alleging that the school's New England Primate Research Center in Southborough did not properly report its experiments on animals.

The federal Animal Welfare Act requires the facility to report experiments involving the use of animals that receive "unrelieved pain or distress" and explain why it did not administer pain relievers, said Michael Budkie, co-founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now in Milford, Ohio.

Two Harvard research projects allow primates to experience unrelieved pain - one subjects them to electric shock and one purposely stresses animals who have already been diagnosed with self-injurious behavior, according to the complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act.

Harvard Medical School has not listed those primates as receiving unrelieved pain or distress, Budkie said.

The school has not listed any non-human primates in this category from 2005 to 2009, according to the complaint.

Monday, October 18, 2010

EU Backing Cloned Animal Products

It's bad enough having to deal with the welfare of normal farm animals, but what about the welfare of cloned animals? If they are cloned solely for the products they provide, will it be more difficult to argue for their welfare as living creatures?

From the Daily Mail...

Concerns surround the ethics of the process, the welfare of the animals and a lack of research on food safety. However, a leaked report to be discussed by the EU’s College of Commissioners today comes out in favour of food from the offspring of clones...

If this policy is adopted, European farms could be populated by cloned supersize animals used as breeding stock for cows, pigs and sheep that are reared for food.

Clones themselves can suffer a range of painful conditions, including malformed organs and gigantism. Many die in the womb or soon after birth.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

At Least Five Dead Whales Around Bay Area

Really sad. It looks like they are getting killed by ships as they try to eat krill.
A bountiful crop of krill and busy shipping lanes are to blame for a rash of dead whales that have surfaced around the Bay Area within a few short months, according to scientists.

At least five dead whales have been sighted or have washed ashore around the region since late July, not including a male fetus found near its 80-foot-long mother in Pescadero on Oct. 2.

..."We're definitely seeing an increase in ship strikes - it's awful," said Mary Jane Schramm, spokeswoman for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Researchers say the animals appear to be following abundant swarms of krill - the tiny, shrimp-like creatures that make up whales' favorite food group - right into the path of ship traffic. Last year's krill population was also large, but it did not bring the same cluster of whale deaths.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tensions Mount over University of Florida Animal Research

Things are getting a little tense. Not sure I agree with posting the researcher's photo. Wonder if that could get activists into trouble under AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.)

This is a long article from the Gainesville Sun...
Animal rights activists are targeting a University of Florida researcher for his role in experiments on primates — even though he says he doesn't personally conduct animal research.

Wildwood-based activist Camille Marino runs the "Negotiation is Over!" website, where she posted the researcher's address and a picture of his home. She's accusing him of being a "monkey mutilator" and plans protests with other animal-rights activists at the UF football game today and at the researcher's neighborhood in the coming weeks.

Interpol Makes Arrests in Tiger Smuggling

From the PR Newswire...
A coordinated international law enforcement operation has led to the arrest of 25 individuals suspected of taking part in the illicit trade of tigers, one of the world's most endangered species.

The two-month operation involved national enforcement agencies in six tiger-range countries (China, India, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam) and was coordinated by INTERPOL's Environmental Crime Program at its headquarters in Lyon, France. "International collaboration in wildlife crime enforcement is critical to protecting species like tigers that are on the brink of extinction," said Fred O'Regan, President and Chief Executive Officer of IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Investigation Demanded for Southwest Lab

Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) is calling for an investigation of Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, TX.
SAEN says previous USDA reports revealed primates have died at the Texas lab from dehydration and hypothermia, while others have simply been "found dead" -- possibly without veterinary care -- after suffering from serious disease conditions that include temperatures up to 105 degrees.

Documents show discrepancies in reporting to two different regulatory agencies, suggesting fraud within the lab, SAEN claims.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anti-Vivisection Activists Address Scottish Parliament

This event was scheduled for today, October 5.

From indymediascotland.org....

Scotland for Animals have arranged for two of the worlds leading experts on non-animal research to speak at the Scottish Parliament {on October 5}.

Dr Ray Greek, President of Americans for Medical Advancement and consultant Dr Andre Menache will be joining the animal charity in asking MSP's and the Scottish Government to take urgent action to end the use of animals in experiments.

Scotland for Animals spokesman John Patrick: "Our country has a disproportionately high number of animals used in experiments when compared to the UK total. We requested data from the Home Office on animal experiments in Scotland and the figures are grim."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Funny Cat Video

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's funny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

University of British Columbia Has Extensive Animal Research Program

The writer is from Stop UBC Animal Research, so there is a bias. But, still, an informative overview.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Research Animals Rescued from North Carolina Lab

Awful story, but this is the reason I support PETA, even when they do wacky things sometimes. Their investigations produce results.

From the PR Newswire...
An enormous victory was achieved for animals this week when nearly 200 dogs and 54 cats were rescued from a North Carolina animal testing facility that closed its doors after an undercover investigation revealed apparent abuse of the animals by workers at the facility. Quick work on the part of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), in partnership with the Humane Society of the U.S. and more than a dozen animal shelters and rescues[1] succeeded in placing all of the rescued animals, offering hope that they will find loving homes and solace after their ordeal.

"This event serves as dramatic testament to what can happen when the humane community comes together to oppose cruelty," says AWI President, Cathy Liss. "We applaud the dedicated efforts of animal welfare advocates who stepped up to take in these animals, and hope that the exposure of this situation will underscore the need for stricter enforcement to protect animals in research facilities."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted the initial investigation[2] that exposed the apparent cruelty at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, an inconspicuous rural lab funded by large pharmaceutical companies to test insecticides and other chemicals used in companion animal products. For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover at the facility, and shot video showing animals in excruciating pain from procedures, as well as employees kicking, throwing, and dragging petrified dogs, violently slamming cats into cages, and screaming obscenities at the animals for showing fear and being uncooperative.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DeMuth Agrees to Plea Bargain

From the Science Insider...
Scott DeMuth, a sociology graduate student at the University of Minnesota charged last year with felony conspiracy under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act agreed yesterday to a plea bargain. DeMuth was originally charged in connection with a 2004 lab break-in at the University of Iowa that caused more than $400,000 in damage. His plea agreement does not mention the Iowa break-in. Instead, DeMuth will plead guilty to conspiring to damage a Minnesota company that breeds ferrets. (The Quad-City Times reports that DeMuth admitted to releasing ferrets and causing damage to computers and records in a 2006 break-in.) According to the plea agreement, the damage totaled less than $10,000.

DeMuth was arrested and charged in November 2009 after refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the Iowa break-in. DeMuth studies radical activist groups, and he argued that forcing him to break confidentiality agreements with his subjects would constitute a violation of his academic freedom.

He faces a maximum of 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5000.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Silent Auction to Benefit Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

This is now one of my favorite organizations. The silent auction is set for October 1, 2010, and details are here.

You can donate too even if you can't attend the auction.

September 14th update - Auction is sold out! They are working on an online component that you can participate in. Good for them!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Celebrities who Disappoint

This is an interesting article that reveals some stuff I didn't know about celebrities I like.

**Angelina Jolie used to be a vegan. She went back to red meat because she said the vegan diet almost killed her and was aging her hands. (I just don't believe she tried all that hard or was very firm in her convictions. To go all the way back to red meat? She could have just become vegetarian if she had to do so.)

**Carrie Underwood, a vegetarian, is a spokesperson for Olay Skin Care, owned by Proctor and Gamble which perform animal testing.

**Hugh Jackman promised to become a vegan and still has not done so.

Disappointing, but, as the article asks, is it fair to hold celebrities to a higher standard?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

EU Bans Use of Great Apes in Animal Research

Some may disagree, but I think this is a huge victory. I wish we could do the same here in the US, but I highly doubt it...especially considering that Congress may go Republican in November.

From the AFP...

Europe banned the use of great apes in animal testing Wednesday as part of drastically tightened rules to scale back the number of animals used in scientific research.

After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the new limits, updating regulations from 1986, were adopted by the European Parliament despite objections from Green MEPs.

Under the new legislations, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and "strict" restrictions set on the use of primates in general.

Members of the 27-nation bloc, who are given two years to comply with the rules, also need "to ensure that whenever an alternative method is available, this is used instead of animal testing."

And they must work at "reducing levels of pain inflicted on animals."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Unique Sea Horse Species Threatened

We still have a long way to go until we find out the true and complete impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

This is from the University of British Columbia's "Project Seahorse."
A species of seahorse unique to the waters of the Gulf Coast could face extinction because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, warns marine conservation organization Project Seahorse. Without careful intervention, the dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) could virtually disappear within a few years, while many other fish populations, including several other species of seahorse, face a similarly bleak future as cleanup continues.

“We’re very worried,” says Assoc. Prof. Amanda Vincent, director of Project Seahorse at the University of British Columbia and a leading expert on seahorse conservation “All of the seahorse populations in the area will be affected, but the dwarf seahorse is at greatest risk of extinction because much of its habitat has been devastated by the spill.”

Monday, September 6, 2010

Write to Your Congressional Representatives to Help the Almagordo Chimps

Here is the text we sent to Congressman Jim McDermott and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. It's based on the suggested text we saw on the web site for Physicians for Responsible Medicine.
Dear Senator Murray,

I have read articles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times about the chimpanzees at Holloman Air Force Base. I am deeply troubled and angry that the National Institute of Health wants to move almost 200 chimpanzees from this facility to a laboratory in Texas where they may be subjected to testing.

Please ensure that the chimpanzees stay in Alamogordo. These highly intelligent animals should be PERMANENTLY retired and a PERMANENT sanctuary created for them.

This is a matter of human compassion to prevent the further suffering of animals that have already served this species in prior experiments. They deserve better and we are capable of providing them with better.

Sincerely,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Smuggled Boa Constrictors Bust Out of Luggage

Bizarre.

From USA Today...

A Malaysian man has pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling after his luggage packed with 95 live boa constrictors broke open on a conveyor belt at Kuala Lumpur International airport.

Almagordo Chimp Story Hits the Los Angeles Times

Story continues to gain media attention.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Almagordo Chimp Story Hits the New York Times

Here's hoping this poignant story will stir more public outrage and pressure on the NIH. These aging chimps deserve to retire permanently and NOT be subjected to more medical research.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help the Almagordo Chimpanzees

Here's an action alert from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
"Since 2001, chimpanzees have been housed at APF, where they cannot be used for research. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to move the chimpanzees—many of them at least 30 years old—to the Southwest National Primate Research Facility in San Antonio, Texas, where they can be used in painful, invasive experiments."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Humane Society Puts Pressure on South Carolina's Bear Baying

Ugh, this is barbaric and right out of the dark ages.

From the AP...
A declawed, defanged bear is chained to a stake as hunting dogs bark and snap, trying to force the bear to stand on its hind legs. The training exercise called bear baying is intended to make the bears easier to shoot in the wild and it's only allowed in South Carolina.

Armed with new undercover video of four such events, the Humane Society of the United States is pressuring state officials to explicitly outlaw the practice, which the organization says is effectively banned in every other state. Animal rights advocates say it's cruel to the nearly defenseless bears and harms them psychologically.

Hunters say the exercise popular in the state's hilly northwestern corner helps them train their dogs on what to do when they come across a bear during a hunt.

State law on the issue is murky. Statutes banning animal fighting have a specific exemption for dog training. And while South Carolina's attorney general says animal cruelty laws prohibit bear baying, he hasn't prosecuted any cases.

Monday, August 23, 2010

PETA Enters Alamagordo Primate Controversy

Here's an opinion piece from Ingrid Newkirk arguing to stop the transfer of 202 "retired" chimpanzees to a Texas facility where they may be subjected to more experimentation. The Governor of New Mexico has already met with the National Institutes of Health to try and stop this transfer with no apparent success.

Some of the animals are 60 years old and veterans of the US space program.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sandpiper Species Heading Towards Extinction

Really sad.
The Spoon-billed Sandpiper, one of the world's most threatened birds, is rapidly heading towards extinction because young birds are being targeted for human consumption.

Spoon-billed Sandpipers nest only in the far north-east of Russia. In 2000, around 1,000 breeding pairs were known, but by 2009, the number had plummeted to just 120–220 pairs, a decline of 88%.

During that time, adult survival appeared unchanged and breeding success was reasonable, but the recruitment of young birds back into the adult population was zero in all but one of the years studied.

Now an international team of scientists has discovered the apparent reason behind the dramatic decline and why young birds are particularly at risk.

...In both 2009 and 2010, the team located around 200 Spoon-billed Sandpipers—the majority of the world population—wintering in Myanmar, most of them in the Bay of Martaban where local people target wading birds for food.

“The unintentional targeting of young Spoon-billed Sandpipers during the summer months explains the lack of recruitment of new birds into the breeding population,” said Zöckler.

To prevent the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s extinction urgent action is needed, both to find ways to give local people economic alternatives to hunting birds and to persuade hunters to release any sandpipers they catch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Mexico Governor Opposes Chimp Transfer

From the AP...
Gov. Bill Richardson is asking to tour a former medical research lab in southern New Mexico that houses more than 200 chimpanzees.

Richardson made the comment Tuesday after meeting in Bethesda, Md. with officials of the National Institutes of Health, which contracts with a private company to care for the chimps.

The contract expires next year and Richardson opposes a plan by the agency to transfer the chimps from the Alamogordo Primate Facility, where they are no longer used for medical testing.

Richardson said NIH appeared to be "holding steadfast" to its plan and he vowed to continue opposing it. The animals can be used again for medical experiments if transferred to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ligers in China

A private zoo operator in Taiwan cross-bred lions and tigers, resulting in three "liger" cubs. One died and the other two were seized for sheltering at a research institution. Both species are endangered and it is illegal to cross breed them.

From Focus Taiwan...
The Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) said Huang, who possesses an array of wildlife, should be dealt with harshly to deter others from copying the behavior.

"Cross-breeding two protected species is completely against nature. We are urging the Council of Agriculture (COA) to seize the two cubs immediately and bring Huang to real justice. A fine of NT$50,000 is a mere slap on the wrist, " said Lin Tai-jing, an EAST researcher.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Illegal Puma Skin Sent to India

It was sent from North America to India and confiscated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. It was labeled as a "rug" and the only reason they searched was because of a tip.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steps Towards Ending Factory Farming?

Well, maybe, although I think there is still a long way to go. Last week there was a slew of articles about the agreement in Ohio between the farm industry and animal welfare activists to expand cage sizes for calves (veal), hens and pigs. This concession was to avoid a November ballot vote a la California's Proposition 2. This New York Times article argues that it could lead to other states following suit.
A recent agreement between farmers and animal rights activists here is a rare compromise in the bitter and growing debate over large-scale, intensive methods of producing eggs and meat, and may well push farmers in other states to give ground, experts say. The rising consumer preference for more “natural” and local products and concerns about pollution and antibiotic use in giant livestock operations are also driving change.

The surprise truce in Ohio follows stronger limits imposed by California voters in 2008; there, extreme caging methods will be banned altogether by 2015. In another sign of the growing clout of the animal welfare movement, a law passed in California this year will also ban imports from other states of eggs produced in crowded cages. Similar limits were approved last year in Michigan and less sweeping restrictions have been adopted in Florida, Arizona and other states.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fur Free Fashion Show Winners Announced

Received this press release yesterday....

Make Room Project Runway:

Winners of 2nd Annual Fur Free Fashion Competition Announced by Born Free USA and Celebrity Judges

August 9, 2010, Washington DC - - To shine a spotlight on talented emerging fashion designers who believe in the ethical and environmental benefits of shunning fur fashion, Born Free USA (BFUSA), the nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, created the Fur Free Fashion (fffashion) Competition, now in its second successful year. Winners were announced today by Born Free CEO Will Travers, after a celebrity judging panel made their final choices.

Travers said, “We created this competition to boost fashion careers and honor independent designers who have compassion for animals and for the ethical and green fashion movement. This has become an extraordinary opportunity for emerging fashion stars to showcase their talent and contribute to a critical global issue. Our hope is that these talented participants will help pave the way for a more ethical fashion industry in the future.”

This years’ judges for the competition were: Sophie Uliano, author of New York Times bestseller Gorgeously Green; Summer Rayne Oaks, model, spokesperson, and expert for Discovery Network's Planet Green; Brita Belli, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine; and Josh Dorfman, author and host of The Lazy Environmentalist on Sundance Channel's The Green.

Winners

First Place: Tammy Apostol, an independent designer in Miami, FL, for her “Green Organic Cotton Gown,” a strapless mermaid silhouette gown with a back train. Apostol said “It is the responsibility of us, the designers and manufacturers, to bring environmental awareness to the consumer by providing more and better sustainable products and style.”

Second Place: Valerie Mayen, an independent designer in Cleveland, Ohio, for her “Cherry Snap,” a two-tiered skirt with a textured high waistband, adjustable to size with varied snaps, designed to accessorize any basic ensemble in a unique way. Mayen said "I have always been very persistent when it comes to integrating sustainability into my work.”

Third Place (The Student Award): Kyle Ramirez, a design student at The Art Institute of Dallas, for his “Cotton Candy Dress” that creates the illusion of something “soft and weightless like fur and cotton candy” but uses cascading ruffles, antiqued satin fabric, artificial flowers and beads, to achieve that illusion. Ramirez said “Change in fashion represents our world’s change. It does not have to be harmful to our planet. I am eco-conscious about my designs.”

The Green Award (for the most environmentally friendly design): Moe Donnelly, an independent designer in Ashville NC, for her “Traveling Soiree Dress and Bolero Jacket,” an aesthetic of “Edwardian Era elegance” transformed into something practical. Donnelly made the bodice from an unfinished blouse she found at a thrift store and paired it with cotton blend fabrics from a local NC fabric store and lined it with recycled fleece. She made the jacket from a reassembled men’s suit and the arm-warmers were recycled from a velvet blazer which she then lined with material from a thrift shop sweater. “I try to use antique, vintage and thrifted fabrics to create one-of-a-kind pieces.”

“Compassion for animals is part of the planet’s social and environmental equation. Fashion designers, retailers, and consumers must realize that fur has no place in ethical consumerism. Simply put, fur is not in style, is not cool, and is not fashionable in any sense of the word,” Travers explains.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets”, trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. BFUSA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation”, the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation. Born Free Foundation was established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Military Dogs Experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

I had read about military dogs who, after serving in a war zone, actually experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. Here is a profile of one such dog who served in Iraq.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Welsh Report Shows Increased Animal Research at Cardiff University

Here's an article about an increase in animal experiments at Cardiff University in Wales. According to a Wales on Sunday investigation, the number of animals used at Cardiff has risen by 13 percent since 2006.
In four years it experimented on 157,839 mice, 17,324 rats, 11,096 fish, 1,941 birds, 1,253 guinea pigs, 933 pigeons, 884 frogs, 207 cats, 54 rabbits and 18 tree shrews from the tropics of south-east Asia.

By comparison, Bangor University used 1,464 mice and 664 fish, Aberystwyth used 289 cattle, 153 mice and 102 sheep and Swansea used 1,208 fish.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ex NASA Employee Joins PETA Protest

April Jean Evans was a NASA engineer, but resigned her position in protest over radiation experiments on monkeys. That takes a lot of courage and conviction. She's living with her brother now and falling into debt, but she is dedicated to working with PETA and other organizations to try to ban primates in experiments.

It was a PETA protest outside her work location that alerted her to the experiments in the first place...showing that any action in defense of animals may have impacts on people that we don't even realize.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are Females More Prone to Animal Hoarding?

This weird little blog post on MSNBC says yes. It claims that one reason women may hoard animals more often is because we’re biologically hardwired to take care of things. It makes sense to me.

There's a whole slew of articles out there in relation to hoarding in tangent with the new Animal Planet series about the problem.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catalonia is First Region to Ban Bullfighting

Yay! I hope it withstands any challenges. This is really big news.
The independence-minded region of Catalonia on Wednesday became the first on the Spanish mainland to outlaw bullfighting, a move some say is as much about nationalist politics as animal rights.

Lawmakers in Catalonia's regional parliament approved the controversial ban, 68-55, with nine abstentions, after emotional speeches that mixed expressions of support for preserving tradition with denunciations of bullfighting as institutionalized cruelty. The ban will take effect in the region, of which Barcelona is the capital, in 2012.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Canadian Council Says Mouse Pain Study Was Ethical

I understand that, per the researcher's words, you have to create pain to study pain, but was this study really necessary? There's just something that sits in my gut and says this is wrong...

From CBC News...
The research in question took place over many years and involved inducing various degrees of pain in mice using methods such as dipping their tails in hot water or injecting them with mustard oil or vinegar. The faces of the mice were then photographed to understand how they express pain.

"No one likes putting animals in pain," said Mogil, who holds a Canada research chair in the genetics of pain. But he said in the case, the pain was necessary and scientifically justified.

....However, Leslie Norins, the publisher of the newsletter that led to the council's investigation, questioned Mogil's research methods.

"Mice were purposefully subjected to intense pain without anesthesia," said Norins. "In our reading of the national guidelines, this came very close to a violation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mexican Male Caught Smuggling Titi Monkeys

Caught at the airport in Mexico City, he had 18 of these monkeys and two of them were dead.

Oil Spill in China

China is currently experiencing its biggest oil spill ever too.

From Today Online...
China's largest oil spill has spread to 430 square kilometers (166 square miles) hundreds of clean up workers struggle to cope.

The official news agency Xinhua says 40 oil-skimming boats and about 800 fishing boats are being used to clean up the spill, and a 15 kilometers (9 miles) oil barrier has been set up to try to stop the slick spreading.

Huang Yong, deputy bureau chief for Dalian, China Maritime Safety Administration, told Dragon TV on Wednesday, "The oil spill will pose a severe threat to marine animals, and water quality, and the sea birds."

The oil slick started spreading five days ago when a pipeline at a busy northeastern port exploded.

China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons of oil has spilled.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Depressing Oil Spill Story!

It's the "gift" that keeps on giving.

From the Khaleej Times Online/AFP...
Scientists studying the massive BP oil spill fear a decades-long, “cascading” effect on marine life that could lead to a shift in the overall biological network in the Gulf of Mexico.

With some 400 species estimated to be at risk — from the tiniest oil-eating bacteria to shrimp and crabs, endangered sea turtles, brown pelicans and sperm whales — experts say the impact of oil and chemical dispersants on the food chain has already begun, and could grow exponentially.

“A major environmental experiment is underway,” Ron Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, told AFP.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TRAFFIC Says Malaysian Raid Proves Organized Crime Link

From the Malaysian Insider...
A police raid that uncovered 42 stolen vehicles and a mini-zoo of exotic animals in Taman Wahyu here yesterday is proof that wildlife trafficking is linked to organised crime, said wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC.

Police said the vehicles were stolen from impound yards and were worth nearly RM1 million while at least two Birds of Paradise found in the warehouse in Taman Wahyu were said to be worth RM1 million each on the black market.

British Activist Jailed for Petrol Bombs

A British animal rights activist is starting a prison sentence after being found guilty of (I think) conspiracy to commit arson. He planted petrol bombs at Oxford University to protest plans to build an animal research laboratory.

I agree that the animal research lab sucks, but anything that threatens harm does not help the cause.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

San Francisco Considers Banning Pet Sales

Pet sales would be banned altogether, except for the sale of pet fish. All companion animals including dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, and lizards would be considered as pets. If it passes, San Francisco residents would have to go to a shelter or rescue group to adopt an animal.

Sounds good, but I just don't believe this will pass. It would set a national precedent, even if it is San Francisco. I can't believe the pet industry would allow such legislation without a fight.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

AETA Charges Dismissed

This is very good news from July 13, reported in Action for Animals Austin.
A U.S. district court judge today dismissed federal charges against the AETA 4, four activists charges with acts of terrorism under the Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act. In his ruling the judge stated that federal prosecutors did not show how any of the supposed activities these activists were engaged in amounted to crimes. In fact, he said their activities were protected free speech.
Here is a good analysis that appeared in Huffington Post.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Montreal Bans Pamela Anderson Ad as Sexist

I didn't realize they were such prudes in Montreal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paul the Octopus Picks World Cup Winner!

I'm totally disappointed that Spain won the World Cup. That really sucks. The only cool thing is that Paul the "psychic" octopus was right again.

For those of you who would prefer a more sensible explanation to his abilities, this article provides a more real-world explanation.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Cute story about a woman and her "retarded" dog. Apologies in advance to all those who may be offended...

Conklin Farm Owner Will Not Face Charges

From the Columbus Dispatch...

A Union County grand jury has decided the owner of a Union County dairy farm caught in an abuse scandal should not face criminal charges.
...on the tape {from an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals,) Conklin is shown kicking a cow that is lying down.

{County Prosecutor David} Phillips said the portion of the tape shown publicly was spliced together and that Conklin's behavior was taken out of context. The Union County sheriff's office said it had four veterinarians with experience in large-animal care review the tape.

"In context, Mr. Conklin's actions were entirely appropriate," Phillips wrote in a news release this morning. "The veterinarians told law enforcement that cows who remain down are at risk of injury or death. A cow's muscles may atrophy. Once that happens, the cow may never get up and may suffer or die."
Interestingly enough, AETA has been dragged into this whole mess even though it's a case where animal abuse was probably committed by another employee facing charges.
The criminal investigation isn't over, however. Phillips said threats of violence and murder made by animal-rights activists against the Conklins are still under review and information may be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible charges under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Beagles Rescued from Bankrupt Lab

Good news!

From ohmidog! a site for dog lovers....
One hundred and twenty beagles who faced lifetimes being used in medical research experiments have been freed — just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

On Friday, the beagles — owned by a research facility in New Jersey whose parent pharmaceutical company went into bankruptcy — were released to the care of animal rescue groups that, after socializing them, hope to adopt them out as family pets....

Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah, and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, based in Middletown, N.Y., and Elmsford, N.Y., worked together on rescuing the beagles, who had been left locked in the facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J.

ALF Activist Receives 21-Month Sentence

Alex Hall released 650 mink from McMullin Fur farm in South Jordan, Utah in 2008. He received a sentence of 21 months under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA.)

Hall is expected to serve the rest of his sentence in Davis County Jail, rather than be shipped to a federal prison. He is expected to be released in two or three months.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ag's Reaction to Ohio Deal with Humane Society

Yesterday, I raised the issue that some may think the Humane Society copped out by making a deal with Ohio agriculture and NOT bringing new animal welfare regulations to the ballot. Well, it looks like, on the other side, big agriculture and others of that ilk feel like Ohio ag itself made a deal with the devil by entering this agreement.

Interview with VP of PETA's Laboratory Investigations

Interesting short interview with Kathy Guillermo.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Unexpected Farm Animal Deal in Ohio

To me, it's another example of the Humane Society's growing savvy and clout in the US. I know many will disagree with me and say it's a cop-out, but I'll take what I can get.

From the Associated Press...
Animal welfare groups led by the Humane Society of the United States have agreed to abandon a fall ballot issue against animal cruelty as part of a deal with state farm groups brokered by Gov. Ted Strickland.

...The deal calls for Strickland, the Humane Society, the Ohio Farm Bureau and their partners to join forces in favor of tougher laws governing farm animals, including provisions that ban certain crates and cages and the use of strangulation as a form of euthanasia.

It also calls for setting felony-level penalties for cock fighting, cracking down on puppy mills and promoting a ban on future exotic pet purchases.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Humane Society's Explanation for Working with Michael Vick

Found this piece from May 2009. It's the Humane Society explaining why they teamed up with Michael Vick on his community service work. I'm still torn about that, although I certainly understand their logic.

FDA Recommends Banning Antibiotics from Feed

Not the solution or end to factory farming, but if big ag can't rely on antibiotics, then they may have to rethink the filthy conditions of factory farms. Animals would get sick much easier, possibly affecting the bottom line of profit above all. It could effect some small amount of improvement...maybe. If the FDA's recommendation is accepted.

From Opposing Views.com....
Citing research showing that feeding antibiotics to animals on factory farms in order to promote growth "is not in the interest of protecting or promoting public health," the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that farmers stop routinely mixing antibiotics into animal feed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Wars in the Pacific Northwest

Silly piece in a way about the battle between people who want urban chickens and those who don't.

Phoenix Restaurant Serves Lion Burgers

No, I'm not making this up.

From the Associated Press....

A restaurant owner who put lion burgers on the menu in honor of the World Cup has felt a roar of anger from outraged animal rights activists.

Cameron Selogie, owner of the Il Vinaio restaurant in Mesa, served burgers made with African lion this week as a nod to the tournament in South Africa. Reservations sold out, with a waiting list 100 long.

But the burgers also attracted international attention and the scorn of animal rights activists, who picketed outside the restaurant. Selogie has even received some death threats.

And now Selogie himself is questioning whether the meat was fair game.

"I was led to believe they were not hunted, they were not shot, they were not abused," Selogie said. "I feel I was misled by this."

Serving African lion meat is perfectly legal, said Michael Herndon, a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration. Game meat such as lion can be sold as long as the species isn't endangered, and the CDC hasn't prohibited importation of African lion, although its Asiatic cousin is on the endangered list.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Microchip Simulates Human Lung

According to technewsdaily.com, this "lung on a chip" imitates the inner workings of a lung and could help lessen the need for animals as research subjects.

Man Arrested with Frozen Tigers and Panther in House

This happened in Vietnam. The guy was clearly trafficking in illegal parts as there were about 50 kg of bones belonging to other tigers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sad Orangutan Trade

Very, very sad picture of baby orangutan. Be warned.

Malaysia Approves Controversial Research Lab

The investigation cleared the animal lab.

From Straits Time...

MALAYSIA will not shut down a controversial British-funded animal testing lab after investigations showed that the animals were not exposed to torture, a senior official said on Thursday.

The veterinary services department launched a probe this month after animal rights campaigners accused the Progenix Research lab based in the northern state of Penang of cruelty to animals.

The lab, which is run by the Britain-based Alpha Biologics, uses monkeys, dogs, rodents and rabbits for toxicology testing. Veterinary services department director Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin said there was no evidence that Progenix abused animals and that it would not order the facility to be closed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Funny BP "Commercial"

I thought this was kind of funny. From "Barely Political"...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whales Share Some Human Traits, Study Shows

From the AFP...

As the future of whales once more comes under global debate, some scientists say the marine mammals are not only smarter than thought but also share several attributes once claimed as exclusively human.

Self-awareness, suffering and a social culture along with high mental abilities are a hallmark of cetaceans, an order grouping more than 80 whales, dolphins and porpoises, say marine biologists.

If so, the notion that whales are intelligent and sentient beings threatens to demolish, like an explosive harpoon, the assumption that they are simply an animal commodity to be harvested from the sea.

Calgary Zoo in Big Trouble

We've written about the Calgary Zoo here before. Not a stellar reputation. Now, the results of a long-awaited audit shows that this place truly sucks and needs a lot of improvement.

From eCanadaNow.com...
To many people, the number of animal fatalities at the Calgary Zoo in newer years seemed very high. A hippo passed away following a long, horrible transfer from another zoo. Over forty stingrays died following somebody messing up the oxygen levels in the tank. A huge spiral-horned goat got trapped in a toy rope and choked.

A study released by the associations that accredit zoos across North America said that the occurrence of deaths was not a fluke. It reported that human error surrounded more deaths than at any other zoo and forced immediate plans be taken to make sure of the animals’ safety. Woodyer wanted Lanthier to quit and for the zoo’s accreditation to be taken away. She additionally announced the City of Calgary to quit funding the zoo unless it could demonstrate the issues have been resolved.

The audit, created a picture of aging, crumbling institutions and outlined vital communication problems between staff and managers. For example, there was a higher-than expected number of bats passing away each year between 2004 and 2008, but the zoo didn’t do anything to decide why. Instead, it brought a new bat species into the exact place in the year 2009 — twenty-five of those creatures also passed away. There were also reports that the zoo may have concentrated too hard on enhanced visitor experiences without being sure that exhibits were up to par — something that could have led to many of the deaths.

The stingrays passed away right after an interactive display opened that let visitors put their hands on them. The study reported that the zoo was not properly able to handle the marine animals. The audit was requested after a capybara, a giant central American rodent, was pounded to death when a staff member shut a hydraulic door.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interview with PETA re: Captive Orcas

This is an interview with Lisa Wathne from PETA regarding captive animals in aquariums. It's from MacLean's.

Marine Animals Trying to Escape from Oil Spill

From ShortNews.com....literally, short, short news!
Like forest creatures trying to escape a fire, marine animals such as dolphins, sharks, mullets, crabs, rays and fish are congregating in surprisingly shallow waters off the Florida coast line as they flee the encroaching oil spill.

Meanwhile, oil-covered birds crawl deep into swamps and don´t come back out. Scientists say that these animals wouldn´t behave like this if their normal habitat had not been destroyed, and now they may compete for oxygen in close quarters.

Rare Tortoises Found in Luggage

I've finally started getting email updates from Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network. Here is one of their stories about tortoises being smuggled in luggage....note the drug connection.

Enforcement agencies discovered 300 tortoises from Madagascar bound and packed in two suitcases that also contained drugs at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last week.

The bags contained 285 Radiated Tortoises Astrochelys radiata, 14 Spider Tortoises Pyxis arachnoides and a single Ploughshare Tortoise Astrochelys yniphora, one of the rarest tortoise species in the world.

The tortoise- and drug-filled bags had come in on 1 June on an Air Mauritius flight and were discovered by Customs officers at the airport.

The tortoises, all still alive, have been handed over to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) which is making arrangements for their return to Madagascar, news reports said.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sea Turtle Breeding Threatened by Oil Spill

Each day, I'm having a harder and harder time wrapping my mind around the enormity of this disaster and its ecological impacts.

Here's an article about the potential impacts on sea turtles, many starting to show up dead or sick.

Why I Question Animal Testing 2.2

I particularly question the use of chimpanzees in medical research. From what I recall, chimpanzees share at least 95 percent of human DNA, although the number that floats around the most is 98.6 percent.

The following is from The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan....
If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do they not have what until now has been described as "human rights"? How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing him constitutes murder? What further properties must he show before religious missionaries must consider him worthy of attempts at conversion?

I recently was escorted through a large primate research laboratory by its director. We approached a long corridor lined, to the vanishing point as in a perspective drawing, with caged chimpanzees. They were one, two or three to a cage, and I am 80 percent sure the accommodations were exemplary as far as such institutions (or for that matter traditional zoos) go. As we approached the nearest cage, its two inmates bared their teeth and with incredible accuracy let fly great sweeping arcs of spittle, fairly drenching the lightweight suit of the facility's director. They then uttered a staccato of short shrieks, which echoed down the corridor to be repeated and amplified by other caged chimps, who had certainly not seen us, until the corridor fairly shook with the screeching and banging and rattling of bars. The director informed me that not only spit is apt to fly in such a situation; and at his urging we retreated. I was powerfully reminded of those American motion pictures of the 1930s and 40s, set in some vast and dehumanized state or federal penitentiary, in which the prisoners banged their eating utensils against the bars at the appearance of the tyrannical warden. These chimps are healthy and well-fed. If they are "only" animals, if they are beasts which abstract not, then my comparison is a piece of sentimental foolishness. But chimpanzees can abstract. Like other mammals, they are capable of strong emotions. They have certainly committed no crimes. I do not claim to have the answer, but I think it is certainly worthwhile to raise the question: Why, exactly, all over the civilized world, in virtually every major city, are apes in prison?

For all we know, occasional viable crosses between humans and chimpanzees are possible.* The natural experiment must have been tried very infrequently, at least recently. If such off-spring are ever produced, what will their legal status be? The cognitive abilities of chimpanzees force us, I think, to raise searching questions about the boundaries of the community of beings to which special ethical considerations are due, and can, I hope, help to extend our ethical perspectives downward through the taxa on Earth and upwards to extraterrestrial organisms, if they exist.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anti-Research Advocacy in Madison

Interesting article on anti-animal research advocacy in Madison, WI. Madison is a key battleground because it is one of only 8 cities with primate centers in the country.

Monday, June 14, 2010

British-Funded Lab Under Investigation in Malaysia

Malaysia, under pressure from animal rights activists, is going to investigate Progenix Labs.
Malaysia is considering shutting down a controversial British-funded animal testing lab if there is evidence of cruelty there, the goverment's top veterinary official said on Sunday.

Animal rights campaigners have accused the Progenix Research lab, which uses monkeys, dogs, rodents and rabbits for toxicology testing, of poisoning the animals to death.

Veterinary Services director Abdul Aziz Jamaludin said the company will be ordered to shut down if his department finds animals were subject to abuse, the Sunday Star newspaper reported.

"If animal testing cannot be conducted in the United States or Europe, I see no reason why they should be allowed here," Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying.

Mountain Goats Accidentally Killed in Study

From the Daily Interlake....
A mountain goat study in Glacier National Park has been suspended following the deaths of two goats after they were shot with tranquilizer darts.

The University of Montana study, aimed at exploring the effects of climate change on mountain goats, got under way this month with preliminary field work in the Many Glacier Valley.

A 6-year-old male mountain goat died Tuesday after it was darted in the Ptarmigan Lake Trail area near Mount Altyn by Dr. Robert Moore, a Wildlife Conservation Society veterinarian....

The cause of death later was determined to be respiratory arrest because the tranquilizer dart punctured the goat’s ribcage.

After meeting with park managers on Wednesday, researchers were allowed to resume their field work.

However, a second male goat died after it was darted on Thursday. Its cause of death has not yet been determined.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why I Question Animal Testing 2.1

This is a continuation of an earlier post about why I question animal testing.

Oftentimes, scientists seem to think that they just need to waive their PhDs and research projects in everyone's faces and we should all shut up and bow our heads to their great wisdom. But universities and scientists are not always there working for pure learning or the improvement of humanity. There may be a business component there as well. Now, some people may be just fine with that, but my point is that universities and their scientists are not necessarily being motivated by pure, altruistic purposes.

I read the following in a book about the pharmaceutical industry by Marcia Angell (the first woman to serve as the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and currently a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Medical School) called The Truth about the Drug Companies. It is about the Bayh-Dole Act and it has really stuck with me....
{The Bayh-Dole Act} enabled universities and small businesses to patent discoveries emanating from research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the major distributor of tax dollars for medical research, and then to grant exclusive licenses to drug companies. Until then, taxpayer-financed discoveries were in the public domain, available to any company that wanted to use them. But now universities, where most NIH-sponsored work is carried out, can patent and license their discoveries, and charge royalties. Similar legislation permitted the NIH itself to enter into deals with drug companies that would directly transfer NIH discoveries to industry.

Bayh-Dole gave a tremendous boost to the nascent biotechnology industry, as well as to big pharma. Small biotech companies, many of them founded by university researchers to exploit their discoveries, proliferated rapidly. They now ring the major academic research institutions and often carry out the initial phases of drug development, hoping for lucrative deals with big drug companies that can market the new drugs. Usually when a patent held by a university or a small biotech company is eventually licensed to a big drug company, all parties cash in on the public investment in research.

.....The Reagan years and Bayh-Dole also transformed the ethos of medical schools and teaching hospitals. These nonprofit institutions started to see themselves as "partners" of industry, and they became just as enthusiastic as any entrepreneur about the opportunities to parlay their discoveries into financial gain. Faculty researchers were encouraged to obtain patents on their work (which were assigned to their universities), and they shared in the royalties. Many medical schools and teaching hospitals set up "technology transfer" offices to help in this activity and capitalize on faculty discoveries. As the entrepreneurial spirit grew during the 1990s, medical school faculty entered into other lucrative financial arrangements with drug companies, as did their parent institutions. One of the results has been a growing pro-industry bias in medical research-exactly where such bias doesn't belong. Faculty members who had earlier contented themselves with what was once referred to as a "threadbare but genteel" lifestyle began to ask themselves, in the words of my grandmother, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Medical schools and teaching hospitals, for their part, put more resources into searching for commercial opportunities.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Bad News for Birds in the Gulf

Here's an article exploring whether it's pointless to try to rescue oiled bird in the Gulf.

This article states that most of the oiled birds probably won't even show up before they eventually die, so we'll never know how many have actually been killed.

Four Mountain Gorillas Die

There are only 380 left in this particular Virunga population so the loss of four is pretty devastating percentage-wise.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Unregulated Wildlife Trade in Baghdad

Here's an article in the Times Union about the wildlife trade in Baghdad. It's unregulated and there are many exotic pets being sold, like primates and lions.

Awful.

The Unknown Costs of the Oil Spill

This post on Mongabay.com discusses whether we'll ever know the full extent of the oil spill's impact on wildlife. There are many animals that are "charisma species" that capture our attention, like pelicans and turtles, but what about the animals farther down on the food chain that we don't see. They may not be cute and charismatic, but they are the ones that support those that are.

In Defense of Animals Decries Another Captive Orca Death

Taima, a 20-year-old orca at Sea World died Sunday while giving birth to her stillborn calf. In Defense of Animals is calling for the the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to create regulations to prohibit captive breeding and phase out the public display of orcas.

I wish them luck.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Obama to Reopen Offshore Oil Drilling in Shallow Waters

He is going to add new safety regulations, but I don't like off-shore oil drilling AT ALL! At least BP will hopefully get nailed with lots of penalties. Although it doesn't really matter because those dead animals will never get their lives back and who knows if the habitat will ever fully recover.

From the Wall Street Journal....
The Obama administration, facing rising anger on the Gulf Coast over the loss of jobs and income from a drilling moratorium, said Monday that it would move quickly to release new safety requirements that would allow the reopening of offshore oil and gas exploration in shallow waters.

Gulf Coast residents, political leaders and industry officials said delays in releasing the new rules, along with the administration's six-month halt on deepwater drilling—both issued amid public pressure—threatened thousands of jobs.

Well-owner BP PLC, meanwhile, faces penalties "in the many billions of dollars," for the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster that has been spewing an estimated minimum 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf, said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The costs of the spill will "greatly exceed" the amount BP could recoup by selling any of the captured oil on the market, he said Monday.

Why I Question Animal Testing 2.0

I'm updating this rant from a few years ago regarding why I question animal testing. I'll probably do this in a series of posts because I just can't seem to sit down for long periods of time to write.

I get frustrated when people accept a scientist's opinion in support of animal testing simply because that person is a scientist. I think one should try to understand that scientist's motivations. For whom do they work? Do they work for a drug company that tests on animals? Is their job therefore dependent on that company's success? Or do they work for a university which is dependent on grant dollars for research involving animals? It's very difficult to buck the system when your livelihood is at stake.

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Moose Poaching Video

Posted on Youtube.... Graphic.

Is BP Hiding Dead Animals?

That is the issue raised by this blog post.
A CBS News crew was threatened with arrest when it tried to photograph the spill, and a BP representative in Louisiana told a Mother Jones reporter that she couldn’t visit the Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge without a BP escort. TP has the story in this repost.

On Monday, journalists from the New York Daily News were also “escorted away from a public beach on Elmer’s Island bycops who said they were taking orders from BP.” However, they managed to get a covert tour of the Queen Bess barrier island from a BP contractor who is fed up with the oil company’s attempt to cover up the disaster:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

PETA Buying Corporate Stock

I'm sure this is old news, but PETA keeps buying corporate stock to gain influence in corporate decision-making. I think this is a great strategy.

From the AP....
Companies don't always change their policies, but Byrne said the effort has paid off. After PETA bought stock, Safeway grocery stores and restaurant companies Ruby Tuesday, Sonic and Burger King agreed to give purchasing preference to suppliers that abide by what the group says are more humane rules, such as not confining chicken and hogs in small cages, she said.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Malaysian Official Says God Made Animals for Testing

This is pretty vile in my opinion.

From the AP....
A Malaysian government official defended an Indian company's plans to build an animal testing medicine lab in his state, saying Monday that God created monkeys and rats for experiments to benefit humans.

The plans by India's Vivo BioTech Ltd. to set up a biotechnology center in southern Malacca state has come under fire by activists because it will conduct tests on dogs and primates to make medicines. The activists say Malaysia has no regulations on animal research, which could lead to test subjects being abused.

But Malacca Chief Minister Mohamad Ali Rustam said the lab had received state approval, and animal testing was necessary to make drugs. The project is still in the planning phase.

"God created animals for the benefits of human beings. That's why he created rats and monkeys ... We cannot test on human beings," he told The Associated Press. "This is the way it has to be. God created monkeys, and some have to be tested."