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.