Blogging About Critters Since 2007

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.