Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, April 30, 2010

And Obama STILL Wants Offshore Oil Driling?

What a mess.

And it looks like BP has some answering to do.

By the way, this mess is threatening the Breton National Wildlife Refuge at crucial breeding time.

Young Lowland Gorillas Released into Nature Reserve

The UN airlifted these guys into the nature reserve so they can coalesce into a group that can survive when released back into the wild. This action is to prevent them from being eaten or poached in the meantime. (Sounds like these guys were orphaned as a result of bushmeat and illegal trafficking activities.)

Frankly, with the rate these poor animals are being decimated, I wonder sometimes if they SHOULD be released back into the wild. Wouldn't they be safer in the reserve?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

US Retailers Investigate Mulesing in Australia

Sounds like they may roll over on the issue. I don't know, but I'm just not convinced the Australians are that committed to phasing out this practice. I'm just going by equivalent examples in the US. Big industry never wants to change anything that "works."

It's just too "hard."

Apple Rejects Idiotic Seal Clubbing Game

Designed by, who else, a Canadian! One who can't understand what all the fuss is about. It's just like all that clubbing you usually see in cartoons.

Idiot. Thanks to Apple for not accepting this game onto their app store.

PETA Testimony to US Congress On Marine Animal Captivity

Here is a link to PETA's testimony submitted to the US Congress regarding marine animals in captivity. There was a hearing held this past Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Congressional Hearing on Marine Animal Captivity

The hearing was held today (Tuesday.)

Chimpanzees Mourn Their Dead?

A couple of studies imply that chimpanzees may mourn their dead. I believe they do. I believe that great apes do have that capacity. I've read of the mountain gorillas in Virunga grieving over the loss of a silverback. Heck, even my cats visibly missed old Charlotte who died last August.

If you jump to the comments at the bottom, people took issue with the implication at the end of the article that Jane Goodall would somehow question this grieving behavior. This is because they quote some guy from the USC Jane Goodall Research Center who throws doubt on the premise. Commenters state that Jane Goodall herself witnessed mourning with the Gombe chimps.

I'm sure many will dismiss these studies regardless. It makes it even harder to subject chimps to experiments if you keep discovering these human similarities.

Charles River Labs Continues Expanding

Charles River Labs, a company which develops drugs and conducts contract animal testing, has an atrocious animal rights record, although they deny it of course. They recently moved into China two years ago where they established a toxicology and drug-testing facility in Shanghai. Now, they are continuing their plans to grow into a significant drug research company by acquiring WuXi AppTec Co, a Chinese pharmaceutical contractor.

I'm not surprised Charles River wants to move into China. The USDA here may be sadly wanting in its animal welfare oversight, but it is heaven compared to the vaccuum in China. Lord only knows what horrors researchers can commit over there with no accountability.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nice Story for the Week

A six-year donates his life savings to help sick sea turtles at the Florida Aquarium. It was only $53.50 (the kid's only six!), but I hope it's the first step to a long life of love and compassion for all living things.

Unintended Consequences for US Ban on Horse Slaughter

Unfortunately, a record number of horses are now going to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses, where there is no USDA control over animal welfare conditions.

I don't support the slaughter of any animal, but if an animal will die anyway, don't we want the best possible conditions? I understand what animal activists are trying to accomplish, but every time I read one of these stories, I wonder if this ban was the right thing.

I just don't know.

This article
also talks about my least favorite bastard chef Gordon Ramsey and the aftermath of his comments to eat horse. He's such a douchebag.

Congressional Hearing on Sea World Incident

So, remember the incident in which an orca whale attacked and killed its trainer at Sea World? Now there's going to be a Congressional hearing this week about it. I sincerely hope this leads to a change in law regarding animals in captivity. At a minimum, they should stop the captivity of orca whales.

We'll see. It may just be more Congressional hot air.

Friday, April 23, 2010

University of Utah Cited by Dept. of Agriculture

They received citations for animal welfare infractions, although apparently few of these infractions overlap with PETA claims from an undercover investigation.

The Salt Lake Tribune claims the infractions are only minor (interesting how different publications will provide different spins).

You decide.

From the Deseret News...
A kitten died from dehydration as a result of too much medication, individual primates were neglected for days at a time, mice and Guinea pig cages were found to be overcrowded, and calves may have been exposed to painful situations for too long, but University of Utah officials maintain that none of the most recent animal-testing violations, released Wednesday by the United States Department of Agriculture, were intentional.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thousands Offered for Primate Freedom

An animal rights activist has offered $30,000 to anyone who facilitates the freeing of primates, or the end of vivisection, at the University of Kansas, a place cited for numerous animal welfare violations. He does not condone violent or illegal acts.

Good luck.

Garbage Found in Dead Whale

It looks like the garbage didn't kill it, but still....just plain gross and unacceptable.

From the Seattle Times....

A gray whale that died after stranding on a West Seattle beach had a large amount of trash in its stomach, ranging from a pair of sweatpants to a golf ball, said biologists who examined the animal.

Scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective said the examination did not immediately determine why the 37-foot near-adult male died, but it was found to be in better nutritional condition than other gray whales that died recently. Starvation was not considered a major contributor to its death.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Supreme Court Strikes Down Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act

The Supreme Court struck down a law that outlawed the depiction of animal cruelty.
The high court case stemmed from the arrest and conviction of a Virginia-based documentary producer named Robert Stevens who sold videos containing scenes of dogfights. Mr. Stevens said his videos were aimed at portraying the aggressive characteristics of pit bulls and the use of pit bulls in hunting. He argued that his documentaries were protected by the First Amendment.

A federal judge disagreed and a jury convicted him of selling banned depictions of dog fights in violation of the 1999 law. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

A federal appeals court overturned the conviction by declaring the underlying law unconstitutional. On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court also declared the law unconstitutional, but on different legal grounds.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Canadian Seal Hunt Ends Early

It ended early as a result of low demand for pelts (due to the European ban on seal products) and the lack of ice floes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vast Majority of Medical Schools Do NOT Use Animals To Teach Surgery

Only one of the interesting points in this opinion piece on animal research by Lee Schneider on the Huffington Post.
Only three accredited medical schools in the whole country use animals to teach surgery. According to PCRM, the schools are Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga campus. Dr. Pippin told me there's a good reason all the other 150-plus medical schools in the country don't use animals in surgical education: There are better ways to teach surgery. Surgical simulators and supervised operating room experience work just fine. Harvard and Yale don't see the need to use (or kill) animals, so why do those three schools still do it?

"They don't want to use the new methods because they're comfortable with the old methods. But we all have to change our beliefs when the science changes," Dr. Pippin told me. A paper published by the New England Journal of Medicine backs him up, asserting that simulators are effective training devices for medical residents.

Excellent Overview of Animal Testing Using Primates

From someone who actually worked in such research. I think the opening alone summarizes the dilemma.

From the Cap Times...

The controversy over primate research is not going away any time soon, due to the paradox of primate research -- the more similarities between monkeys and humans that are discovered, the more researchers will argue those similarities make it valid to use monkeys in research on human diseases.

Primate advocates will continue to ask: How like us need they be before primate research is considered to be unethical?

Celebrities Joining in Campaign Against Marine Animal Captivity

This article claims that Raul Julia's son is recruiting celebrities to help end the captivity of marine animals. Supposedly these celebrities include actors Johnny Depp and Wesley Snipes, singer Elton John and rapper RZA.

I'm sorry, but considering Wesley Snipes' serious tax problems, is he a help for the cause? But I would be thrilled if Johnny Depp signed on. He's one of my favorite actors.

Protest at Cambridge University

This protest against animal research happened last Thursday. Apparently, they were "disrupting university business" and security guards were called in. This link has a video.

"I Eat Lamb Because I Like Gyros"

That's what I got from my neighbor today. Gyros cannot possibly be made without lamb.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quote of the Week

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PETA Targets Live Octopus Meals...in New York!

Live octopus are apparently being served LIVE in some New York restaurants. Good grief! Octopus are highly intelligent creatures...not that ANY creature should suffer like this. PETA is arguing that this practice violates New York's anti-cruelty laws.

It's apparently a practice around the world. This link has a video with some examples.

At What Point Are American Tea Baggers Labeled "Terrorists?"

According to our government, the animal rights and environmental movements are the number one domestic terrorism threat in the United States. That's BS. What about militias? White supremacists? Was Tim McVeigh who blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building an animal rights/environmental activist? What about the nut who flew his plane into the IRS building in Texas? What about the nutty Tea Party members who threaten personal violence and have already committed some property damage by throwing bricks through Congressional field office windows?

This is absolutely unfair. Green is the New Red has another good post from a few days ago about this double standard.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Examples of FBI Tactics Against Animal Rights Activist

This post is from the blog Green is the New Red. It briefly discusses some of the tactics used by the FBI against Scott DeMuth, Carrie Feldman and Peter Young. These methods include diary reading, informants, a YouTube video, MySpace, LiveJournal, etc. Interesting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Protester Sentenced to Probation

I am a fervent opponent of animal research, but stalking, or any kind of threatening action, just doesn't work. It simply creates sympathy and bad pr for the rest of us. So, while I understand this protester's convictions, I vehemently disagree with her methods.

They do no good.

Man Convicted of Illegally Trafficking Live Deer

He was transporting them across state lines from Ohio to a hunting preserve in South Carolina. The deer were not tested for disease.

He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. I hope he serves the whole term. The deer still got screwed because they ended up at the hunting preserve, but any kind of sentence for wildlife trafficking must be enforced.

More Criticism of Animal Research

More criticism of the quality of animal research. Here is the Editor of "New Scientist" who suppports animal research, BUT he points out the terrible quality of the research and reliability of the results.

It really hurts the scientific community's arguments that animal research saves lives. How can it when you can't rely on it?

Sounds like some researchers are just making a ton of money off this thing. It's more fuel for opponents.
How come so much animal research is second-rate? The reason so much poor quality research has endured for so long is down to politics.

The sad truth is that in the understandable scramble to present a unified front on animal research, the scientific establishment has been reluctant to be critical of its own troops in the face of vicious opposition.

Monday, April 12, 2010

PETA Exposes Horrible Practice of Reptile Skinning

The skins are being used for handbags and other products.

This link has a horrible photo and a worse video. Just warning you...

It takes place in Indonesia.

Irish Senator Complains of Animal Welfare "Cabal"

This complaint is the result of proposed legislation to ban puppy mills in Ireland. Legislators are being contacted by people around the world to support the legislation. They are blaming the dastardly Green Party whose leader proposed the legislation.
The dog breeding legislation, intended to outlaw “puppy-farming”, was prepared by Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley. The draft Bill proposes a new regime of annual inspections and fees for dog breeders.

Fine Gael and rural Fianna Fáil backbenchers have called for greyhound breeders to be exempt because the industry is already regulated by existing legislation. They also want an exemption for hunt kennels which do not breed dogs for commercial purposes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tiger Abuse at Chinese Zoos

Well, maybe these stories will have an impact on the Chinese public as they are really the only ones who can change things in this country.
It is an irony not lost on the Chinese public that the Year of the Tiger has not been good for the big cats. On Tuesday, state media reported that dozens of tigers and other endangered animals had died of malnutrition over the past two years at the Northern Forest Zoo in the Chinese city of Harbin. Workers, who later leaked the story to the media, buried their bodies in a 3-meter pit to hide the animals from authorities.

The report follows the news in March that 11 rare Siberian tigers had starved to death within a few months at the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in northeast China. The cases have shed light on the murky world of China's 12 tiger farms, which were initially set up by the state in the 1980s to preserve the numbers of animals in existence. They have also underscored changing attitudes toward animal rights in a country where exotic animals have often been treasured less for their rarity and more for their medicinal or culinary benefits.

More Federal Stimulus Money Used for Animal Research

It's really frustrating. Our country needs federal stimulus money and I was a big supporter of this initiative of President Obama's. But it disappoints and frustrates me to see it consistently used for purposes that I passionately oppose. To see an issue of such moral debate minimized to simply economic activity is just not right.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quote of the Week

Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved.

Jane Goodall

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Whales Losing the Will to Live?

I came across this British article from 2008. Very disturbing and sad hypotheses, especially in light of the unconscionable actions (or lack of) by CITES recently.

From the Daily Mail...
The steeply declining number of whales in the world's oceans is causing the remaining creatures to suffer loneliness and 'lose the will the live', a leading expert has claimed.

The psychological impact of over-hunting on the highly intelligent and sociable animals has been identified as the latest threat to the survival of the species...

But now a French scientist has said the majestic mammals - which can reach 80ft in length and weigh the same as a passenger jet - could also suffer from heartbreak.
Paris naturalist Yves Paccalet said: 'It may be that these intelligent animals are so exhausted from their combat with humankind that they have simply have given up the fight.

'And the psychological consequences of our aggression have compromised their will to live.'

Gruesome Photos of Japanese Whale "Processing"

Ugh. This is just yucky to look at.

There's a warning that this is not for the squeamish...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ezra Klein Bemoans Vegetarian Fare at Restaurants

This is an article that really hits the mark. Ezra Klein talks about the lack of vegetarian options at a restaurant he attended. Why do people assume that vegetarians eat nothing but vegetables? We eat LOTS of things. I find it very insulting that we are pigeon-holed in our food choices. But this is another example of the general ignorance displayed in restaurants and cooking shows like Top Chef. Real food only comes with meat. If you don't eat it, then you must not enjoy food that much. Have a carrot!

US Retailers Concerned Over Australia's Delay in Ending Mulesing

Ugh. Such an awful practice. But, as is typical with many large industries, there is a resistance to change unless there is a clear and immediate profit windfall. Why change for welfare purposes if there is no clear economic benefit? I think it's just another example of short-term vs. long-term thinking, to which all humans are victim.

From the Sydney Morning Herald...
Macy's, Gap and Liz Claiborne Inc are among the big names to warn of their ''growing alarm'' and frustration over the backdown by the marketing and research body Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) from its promise in 2005 to replace mulesing with a commercially viable alternative by the end of this year.

Mulesing, in which woolgrowers surgically remove parts of merino lambs' rears to prevent potentially fatal flystrike, has sparked demonstrations and litigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The American retailers are worried that Australia's ditching of its own 2010 deadline to end the practice may reignite protest: ''We are concerned about what future action PETA may decide to launch if the issue remains unresolved,'' the vice-president and international trade counsel of the National Retail Federation, Erik Autor told the Herald.

More Alleged Abuse At Iowa Egg Farms

Another undercover video from the Humane Society.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Excellent Analysis of AETA

This is an excellent analysis of the potential impacts of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. It appeared in the McNair Research Journal. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Animal Rights in the Middle East

Interesting article on the challenges faced by animal rights activists in the Middle East. Even though they are often met with condescension, the fact that they are out there means a lot. Hell, I'm met with condescension in my own country and my own home. And I'm in a "progressive" environment.

Sea Shepherd Activist Could Face Jail Time in Japan

Pretty serious stuff.
Japan is formally charging Sea Shepherd Captain Peter Bethune with trespassing, carrying a knife, damaging property, forcible obstruction of business and one charge of causing injury. Japan has accused Bethune of illegally boarding (trespassing) the Japanese ship, Shonan Maru II, which is where most of the charges stem. The latter charge arises from an accusation that Bethune threw a jar of butyric acid onto the deck of a Japanese whaling ship, causing an injury to a crew member. This is a very serious charge, and if found guilty, Bethune could face up to 15 years in Japanese jail.

Animal Testing Center to Open in Malaysia

Caution on this story. Disturbing picture of monkey being injected.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Salmon Threatened by Humans, Not Sea Lions

Here's someone else who agrees with me that sea lions are not the true threat to salmon. She highlights dams, but that is only one of the four H's (hydro, harvest, habitat and hatcheries) that are obliterating this beautiful creature.

I think this opinion is pretty wide-spread. It's just easier to kill sea lions that to break down dams.

LA Times "Rodent of the Week" Simply PR for Animal Research

Here's a weird little piece I came across. "Rodent of the Week" supposedly highlights the "good things" that come out of animal research. Clearly, a PR instrument. But even this peppy little piece discusses the weaknesses of animal research.

So why not just end it?

Utah Ends Forced Pound Seizures

Now animal shelters have the right to refuse to release animals to the University of Utah for animal research. Previously, they were required to allow these "pound seizures." Davis County Animal Shelter, a key supplier to the University of Utah, has already ceased this practice.

Good. I wish the whole practice had been outlawed, but at least now shelters can respond to public pressure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quote of the Week

If we do not do something to help these creatures, we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice.

--Jane Goodall

Thursday, April 1, 2010

UK May Require Microchipping of Dogs

From the AP...
The government's proposals are aimed at tackling the growing problem of aggressive canines being used to harass, attack and even kill. In a country where guns are tightly controlled and even carrying a kitchen knife can result in a prison sentence, animal rights experts and politicians say street thugs have turned to dangerous-looking dogs to cow their victims.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the number of complaints about dog fights had soared tenfold between 2004 and 2008, the last year for which figures were available. In 2009, London Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse called for action on what he called "weapon dogs."

His opposition Conservative Party says hospital admissions and court cases relating to dangerous dogs have soared.

Missouri Legislature Attacks Horse Activist

Now this is just juvenile. Missouri is going to vote on allowing horse slaughterhouses back into the State. An activist organized an appeal in which people from around the country and the world could contact the legislators in opposition to the bill. This is very common and occurs to local, state and federal representatives. People will often send communications to representatives for areas in which they don't live. The representative can choose or not choose to heed these communications (my husband used to work for the US Congress so I know.)

Well, apparently Missouri is better than everyone else. Some of the legislators started harassing the horse activist. Really mean tactics.
Shoss received calls at her home from offices in the Capitol, taunting her and making "neighing" voices into the phone. One caller sang a version of the theme song from "Mr. Ed." A number of the calls came late at night.

Some legislators programmed their e-mail systems to forward any message containing the word "horse" to Shoss. And some told the activist that they would consider passing the bill out of spite.

"I would think that some people who voted against it previously might change their vote," said Rep. Michael Frame, D-Eureka.

The response of elected officials has left the experienced activist dumbfounded. Even when her organization got involved in the high-profile animal abuse case of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, she had never seen such a vitriolic reaction.

The late-night, anonymous phone calls led Shoss to file a harassment complaint last week with the University City Police Department.

The calls stopped, she said, after the Post-Dispatch started asking lawmakers about them.

Singapore a Transit Hub for Trafficking

Seems like every other month I post an article about some SE Asian country being a "hub" for wildlife trafficking (eg. Vietnam, Malaysia.) How many more are there?