Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PETA Asks Cambodia Not to Open KFC Restaurants

Um, yeah. Good luck with that PETA.

An international animal-rights organization has urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to prevent the U.S.-based fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) from opening in Cambodia, claiming that it threatens Cambodian culture, people's health and leads to animal abuse, local media said Wednesday.

In a letter to Hun Sen dated Tuesday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said tourists do not come to Cambodia to eat at international fast-food chains, the Cambodia Daily newspaper said.

Such outlets "erode culture, as they make one country resemble every other country," PETA Asia-Pacific Director Jason Baker wrote in the letter.

Photo by Brent and MariLynn

Prince Harry Questioned in Death of Protected Birds

Hmmm, they were hunting on the family's estate at the time. Oh I'm sure it must have been someone else.

British newspapers reported Wednesday that Prince Harry and a friend were shooting on the royal family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk last week when witnesses saw two hen harriers being shot.

The Times quoted sources saying the prince and his friend were the only two people known to be shooting on the estate when the birds were killed.

A spokeswoman for Clarence House confirmed Harry and his friend were in the area at the time and that police had been in contact with them. She said police asked them if they had any information about the alleged incident, but she said the prince and his friend replied they had no knowledge of it.

Yeah right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mink Mess in Germany

About 17,000 mink were released from a German fur farm by animal rights activists. About a third have been recaptured, but the rest are roaming about the wild, trying to survive and impacting the existing ecosystem.

German enviromentalists are pissed.

Thomas Pietsch from animal conservation group "Vier Pfote" (Four Paws) agreed, describing the move as "silliness".

"These American minks are going to upset the balance of the eco system. They will not be able to survive because they have not learnt to hunt and will end up crushed by cars," he told AFP.

Photo by Doug Lloyd

ALF Targets Another UCLA Researcher

Apparently they broke a window and put a hose in the woman's house to flood it.

An FBI spokeswoman said Monday that the agency is investigating the claim that the Animal Liberation Front used a garden hose to flood the house of professor Edythe London on Oct. 20 in an attempt to stop her animal experiments.

The FBI, along with UCLA and Los Angeles police, are treating the vandalism as a case of domestic terrorism and are probing possible ties to a June incident in which an incendiary device was lighted, but did not explode, next to a car at the home of a UCLA eye disease researcher, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

In a press release distributed to the media Monday, an underground entity identifying itself as the Animal Liberation Front said it broke a window at London's house and flooded the residence with a hose. The announcement said the group considered starting a fire there, but did not want to risk igniting brush fires that might have harmed animals "human and non-human."

Here is a link to the full text of the press release by ALF

Here is UCLA Chancellor Gene Block's response

Professor London does research on addiction, which involves testing on monkeys (and sometimes results in their deaths). Here is a link to her profile at UCLA.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Zealand SPCA Announces "List of Shame"

Yikes. It's a nasty list coming out of New Zealand and some sobering words about what it all means.

The List of Shame covers cases that occurred or came to light during the first nine months of 2007. It is not a comprehensive list of all the cruelty incidents reported during this period but includes some of the worst cases, as well as a representative sample of incidents investigated by the SPCA....

"This year's list makes particularly gruesome reading, with many atrocious examples of the savage wounding and killing of animals. There is an undeniable link between abuse of animals and abusive behaviour towards people. I believe the stabbings, shootings, poisonings and other cruelties listed are reflective of the appallingly high and escalating rate of violence in New Zealand society," the SPCA's national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said.

"Cruel and callous behaviour on the part of children and teenagers is particularly disturbing because of the warning it gives about the future. We have to do more to educate our young people about the importance of kindness and responsibility to both animals and humans.

Photo by Zopidis

Port Authority in NY to Kill Stray Cats

Looks like most will be trapped and euthanized.

Authorities at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport began rounding up wild cats and kittens on Monday as part of a plan to get rid of them, despite an outcry by animal rights groups.

Professional animal handlers started to trap cats living near the airport's cargo area, said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. The cats will then be handed over Animal Care & Control, a city agency that put to sleep nearly 12,000 unwanted cats in the past year.

An estimated 75 cats live at the airport, feeding mainly on rats and scraps of food provided by airport workers. The food in turn attracts a variety of animals including birds, which especially create a hazard for jet engines, the Port Authority says.

Justin Timberlake Donates Money to Zoo Wildlife Warriors

He donated 100,000 Australian to Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. That's a lot of money.

Accepting the check was Wes Mannion, Chief of Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide and close friend to Steve and Terri Irwin.

Justin said, "The last time I was in Australia I had the pleasure and honour of visiting Australia Zoo. I was taken around on a private tour by none other than Steve, Terri, Bindi and Bob.

"It dawned on me on that trip that there is no other country in the world that cares about wildlife more than Australia."

That may not get as much publicity as crying on a talk show, but you know, that means something.

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vegetarian Harrassed by Canadian High School Authorities

Jennifer at Animalblawg has a fascinating post about a student at Churchill High School who made a presentation and was hounded out of the school by administrators. From Animalblawg:

Unfortunately, one of the classes didn’t want to hear their presentation, and the students started heckling the advocates. No one has explained why the teacher didn’t intervene to make the kids behave. The harassment continued over the next several days; says McMahon, “In the halls after, there was a lot of screaming at us.”

However, not all the kids were adverse to the advocates’ message, and, two days later, parents of other students who had heard the presentation became irate when their children were refusing to eat meat. These parents called the school to complain about the success of the advocates’ presentation.

Rather than remind the parents that a school is a place of learning, the administration turned on the advocates. According to McMahon’s mother, “They talked vaguely: ‘This will be a mark against you,’” and threatened to not allow the advocates to go on a class field trip later in the year, as punishment.

The harassment and unfriendly administration has led McMahon to leave the school altogether, and she will be home-schooled for the rest of the school year.

What kind of crap is that?

Photo by Zanastardust

Pandemic Threat from Exotic Pets

Another example of how the treatment of animals is linked to human well-being. Here, the exploitation of "exotic" animals increases the exposure of humans to infectious diseases.

Dorothy Crawford, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, said that the risk to people from zoonoses – animal-borne microbes – had never been greater, and that there was a need to reexamine our relationship with wild and domestic animals....

Professor Crawford highlighted the example of a consignment of giant Gambian rats, which were flown from Ghana into the US as exotic pets. The rats carried monkeypox virus, which transferred to prairie dogs that were sold in the same pet shop. The prairie dogs then passed the disease to their human buyers. The chain of infection was only terminated after the microbe had infected 71 people. In another instance, crocodiles being farmed in Papua New Guinea to provide luxury items for the West had been infected by a virus from wild pig meat, which crossed to their keeper.

Professor Crawford, whose new book Deadly Companions was published last week, said that it was “only a matter of time” before the growing tourist demand for bush meat in Africa led to a new epidemic from microbes jumping from their primate host. She said that common sense could be as helpful as scientific advancement in preventing pandemics. “Microbes are always going to be one step ahead of us. Their generation time is 24 hours, ours is 30 years. They mutate, they change, they will find a way. They are amazing opportunists,” she said.

Puerto Rican Animal Groups Working to Change Attitudes

OK, I've been a little harsh on the Puerto Ricans lately. There are many people that care about animals and work for groups like Hands for Paws, Amigos de los Animales, and Island Dog. These are people truly on the front lines.

Reader Ginny, who works with Hands for Paws pointed out that they are working hard to change cultural attitudes and prevent animal overpopulation. After going to the Azores and watching my wife's cousin beat the crap out of his dog to "make him a better guard dog", I know that cultural attitudes can be a huge obstacle. Her cousin said he loved his dog and considered himself an animal lover. The dog was kept chained in the yard all the time.

I hope that the negative publicity Puerto Rico has received over the animal deaths will do something to change public policies (meaning government policies) in a meaningful way. And this is a problem worldwide. I'm fortunate to live in a city like Seattle that's been relatively successful in breaking out of the old Dog Catcher mold. But, there are many communities in the US that don't have such an enlightened outlook.

London Ontario Residents Biggest Chickens in Canada

According to a study, they are most afraid of aggressive dogs. They wet themselves 73 percent faster then other Canadians when approached by a dog. I kid. I kid because I love. From the article:

That was but one of the findings of a recent survey by Ipsos Canada at the Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies, released Thursday (Oct. 18).

The survey, which found most community members polled from across the country believe that an animal's upbringing plays a bigger role than breed and size when determining dangerous behaviour, noted that 73 per cent of those polled in London felt threatened when approached by a dog they viewed as threatening, topping all other Canadian communities surveyed.

What a strange story.

Photo by Alan Light

Oldest Animal Found Off the Coast of Iceland

It's a clam. They estimate it was born around the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between 405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity.

Researchers from Bangor University in Wales said they calculated the clam's age by counting rings on its shell.

Now that's cool. H/t to Metafilter.

Canada Increases Habitat for Mountain Caribou

After much lobbying by environmental groups, the BC Government is adding 380,000 additional hectares of protected land.

The chunk of land is twice the size of Jamaica.

A cull of the mountain caribou's natural predators in the region is also planned, officials said.

The decision by the British Columbia government follows three years of lobbying by 10 environmental groups concerned about the animals' fate.

British Columbia Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell told AFP he received 15,000 emails from citizens pleading with him to save the endangered species.

Mountain caribou, represented on the Canadian quarter coin since 1937, are cousins of the woodland caribou found mostly in northern Canada and parts of Alaska.

Only a dozen mountain caribou herds live in steep mountain ranges in southeast British Columbia and parts of the US states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, using their huge hooves to cross deep snow at higher elevations to escape wolves and cougars in winter.

Photo by Alka3en

Lobsters Break Out of Supermarket in Germany

In a daring escape involving a helicopter...ok they didn't use a helicopter. But, a bunch of lobsters did manage to escape an Asian supermarket in Germany, and were seen crawling down the street.

"The breakout was successful," Katrin Brandeis, spokeswoman for the Stuttgart police, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Passers by alerted the police at 1:45 a.m. reporting a large number of the animals heading down the street."

The escape may have saved their lives. "These animals weren't ever going to be pets," Brandeis said. "Now they've been taken to an animal home. The supermarket hasn't got in touch with us."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wildfire Info via the Kitty Liberation Front

I saw this link on TMZ. The Barbi twins are really active in animal welfare issues and have their own website. Right now they have a ton of information on shelters in CA for people caught in the wildfires there.

The site is really slow right now, but that could be because they are getting a lot more traffic then normal from TMZ. The animated gifs don't help. It's definitely worth checking out though, as they have a lot of information there.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More Bad Dog News From Puerto Rico

Show me a place with a beach named "dead dog beach" and I'll show you a place that has issues with animals. No wonder they're starting to worry it might have an effect on tourism. They better get their act together.

Here's a link to In Defense of Animals for those that want to know where to send their complaints.

Dealing with Pets in the Wake of the Wildfires

The LA Times has an article about the emotional stress for pet owners. Among the tips:

* Remember to keep animals fed and hydrated. They can suffer from smoke inhalation too. Cats and smaller dogs usually have sensitive respiratory systems, so they may need medical attention if they are coughing irregularly.

* Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered, and your pet may become confused and lost.

* Keep calm if a pet's behavior changes for a bit after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive.

Photo by Richard D/s

Cage Free Eggs on the Rise

More egg producers are going cage free, although it will probably never be a majority.

Egg farms are increasing their production of cage-free eggs, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convert barns by tearing out cages, installing new floors, reconfiguring feed and water lines, and changing ventilation systems.

"It's a growing market," said Jerry Knapke, operations manager for Fort Recovery Equity, the nation's ninth-largest egg producer. "We see a slow, steady growth."

Knapke doesn't expect cage-free to ever make up the majority of eggs produced in the U.S. However, he projects that 5 percent of the 6.5 million birds raised by the company's 60 contract farms will be cage-free within the next six months.

United Egg Producers estimates that 5 percent of U.S. egg production is either cage-free or organic, up from 2 percent three years ago. Organic eggs are produced by cage-free chickens that have access to the outdoors and are fed only organic feed.

Burger King began asking its suppliers for cage-free eggs in March and hopes they account for at least 2 percent of the restaurant chain's egg volume by the end of the year. The Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food chains said in September they would begin buying cage-free eggs and planned to have them account for 2 percent of their egg purchases by July.

Photo by Protohiro

Thursday, October 25, 2007

BBC Squirrel Shenanigans

The BBC is being criticized for refusing to broadcast scenes of gray squirrels being killed and eaten, even though it is allegedly responsible for the killings in the first place.

The criticism came from Robert Page, chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust, as he accepted his new role as patron of the Save Our Squirrels (SOS) charity.

BBC executives pulled a section of The One Show last week, saying that squirrels ‘could not be seen to be losing their lives for entertainment purposes’.

Mr Page, however, claimed that eating grey squirrels was an effective way of controlling the population and safeguarding the UK’s red squirrel population.

He said: “It was remarkable. The BBC had three grey squirrels shot to be eaten, as that is one sensible way of reducing the grey population.

"...Grey squirrel is widely eaten in the USA – it is a good, nutritious, white meat and so eating grey squirrel could be an important contribution to saving the reds. Obviously partisan BBC executives are incapable of understanding this.”

...The charity is campaigning for more measures to control the population of greys, and save the red squirrels from extinction.

Well, to kill one species to save another....? I understand the sentiment and I have heard that gray squirrels do compete with the reds for habitat, but is this the only way?

By the way, gray squirrel is widely eaten in the US? Really?

Photo provided by Beedle Um Bum

Plan to Kill Badgers in Britain to Stop TB Meets Opposition

Animal activists have criticized the Governments chief science adviser, Sir David King, for recommending that badgers be "culled" to control the spread of tuberculosis.

The recommendation by Sir David King contradicts a report earlier this year by the Independent Scientific Group (ISG), that said a cull would be ineffective and overly costly. In June, the ISG concluded assessing the results of a nine-year experiment analysing whether culling would slow or stop the disease being spread.

It found that badgers did play a role in spreading TB, but such extensive culling would need to take place in order to take effect, that it would be too expensive. It also found the disease can spread to adjacent farms from those involved in a cull, shifting the problem rather than resolving it.

But Sir David yesterday concluded a cull was the "best option available at the moment to reduce the reservoir of infection in wildlife," in areas where there was a "high and persistent" level of the disease in cattle.

His advice, to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), was based on the ISG research that used randomised badger-culling trials in 30 areas of England.

Sir David's report said culling would be designed to reduce but not entirely remove badgers in the affected areas – within 100 sq kim – and must be done humanely and "within conservation considerations".

Photo by Lawrie Phipps

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rare Amur Leopard Captured For Medical Exam

There are only about 30 of these leopards in the wild in Russia.

Representatives from a group of organizations, including the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biology and Soils, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) captured the female in a remote location in south-west Primorye as part of their work to save the critically endangered leopard. The animal was tranquilized and an extensive and high-tech medical examination undertaken by the veterinary team.

There are still about 130 of them in zoos, but I suspect the days of wild Amur leopards are numbered.

Photo Wildlife Conservation Society

Air Force May Fly Elephant From Alaska to California

They would be using a C-17 Globemaster to fly Maggie the elephant to an animal sanctuary.

The Air Force is looking at a request to fly an elephant aboard a C-17 Globemaster from Alaska to California.

The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage needs to move Maggie, an 8,000-pound pachyderm from the zoo to Northern California where Maggie will take up residence at an animal sanctuary.

The zoo has asked if the Air Force would fly the mission. As of Tuesday, the request was still under consideration, an Air Force spokesman said.

I hope they do it. If nothing else, it's good PR.

Photo by Beige Alert

Puerto Rico Worried Animal Control Methods Will Hurt Image

You bag up live animals and throw them off a bridge and they tar you for life.

Puerto Rican tourism officials are apparently worried that a recent incident of animal abuse could turn off potential tourists. Last week the Puerto Rican Tourism Co. and the government of Puerto Rico issued a news release saying they were ''appalled'' by the acts ``that by no means are representative of the strong values of the Puerto Rican people.''

The response came after dozens of dogs and cats were seized from three public housing projects, injected with something, then thrown off a bridge. Locals told the Associated Press that some of the animals were still alive and tried to crawl from the ravine. Officials are blaming a contractor, Animal Control Solution, hired to enforce a no-pet policy in the buildings outside San Juan.

Government officials pledged to investigate and said they planned an education campaign on proper pet care and on reporting abandoned animals. No mention, however, on what animal rights activists consider a major problem: the lack of spaying and neutering programs on the island.

Photo by Oquendo

Finding Shelter for Animals in San Diego Wildfire

Pets are being kept outside Qualcomm stadium. Some domesticated animals are being kept on area beaches.

Outside the Qualcomm stadium in San Diego - where about 10,000 people are using the Chargers' home turf as a wildfire shelter - there are all sorts of animals in the parking lot with their owners, waiting out the crisis with access to food and water.

In Del Mar, the clubhouse at the 70-year-old racetrack is also being used as a shelter. Hundreds of people are watching television sets blaring reports from the fire lines and damaged neighborhoods, half hoping to see a glimpse of their homes - and half not - fearing what's left may be only a ruin. Others are dozing on cots, with their pets penned in nearby, in temporary fencing.

"We're going crazy trying to get back into our apartment just to see what kind of damage we've got," said Tim Harrington, who arrived at the track with his wife, son and their two pet rats. "Then we'll pick up the pieces from there."

Just outside the clubhouse, barns that usually house thoroughbred race horses sheltered a variety of large animals.

Those that need assistance can call Pet Evacuation Assistance at 619-236-4250 and select "1"

Photo by Tree_trunks

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Latest from the San Diego Humane Society

This is from their website:

Oct. 23, 2007 - The San Diego Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Reserve (ARR) team is currently working with the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS) to evacuate domestic animals and livestock threatened by the Harris and Witch Creek fires with first priority being given to evacuation areas in Rancho Bernardo.

Over the last two days, officers, staff and volunteers have evacuated more than 400 animals and are actively assisting more than 1,000 animals at our shelter locations throughout the county. However, experts estimate that between 10,000 to 15,000 animals have been displaced countywide.

Currently we are not able to assist or escort individuals into burned areas to check on pets. All resources are active at this time in areas needing immediate evacuation.

If you have animals or livestock that you cannot evacuate yourself or that need to be rescued, call (619) 236-4250 and press "1" for emergency services.


More on Wildfires, Pets and Livestock

This is from CNN on the San Diego Dept. of Animal Services.

For the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, it's nonstop work to save as many lives as possible, said Lt. Daniel Desousa.

"We're doing the best we can to keep ahead of the flames and pull the animals out," he said Tuesday. "Are animals going to be killed? Yes. But we're doing the best we can."

With help from Los Angeles and the Humane Society of the United States, the county's 30 animal services officers have been answering calls from people who left their pets and livestock behind as well as those who have seen animals left in evacuated areas.

Photo by Tree_trunks

Humane Society Helps out in California Wildfire Disaster

The Humane Society has sent people there not just to rescue pets, but also horses and livestock.

As wildfires continue to engulf Southern California, The Humane Society of the United States, at the request of the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, is assisting in the rescue efforts for the thousands of animals who are in harm's way.

"The situation has become menacing for the residents and animals in the area," said Melissa Rubin, vice president of field services for The HSUS. "Many residents were able to take their animals with them as they evacuated. Unfortunately, it is much harder to evacuate horses and farm animals. When San Diego Animal Control reached out to us for assistance, we quickly agreed to devote considerable resources to this monumental rescue effort."

After seeing what happened with Katrina, I'm sure this will be a huge problem. Hopefully things will be a little better now that people know more about the issue.

California has taken steps to take animals into account in disaster planning. But, this is fairly new.

Photo by Tree_trunks

Monday, October 22, 2007

Netherlands to Ban Seal Products

The Netherlands has told Namibia that it will be banning all trade and imports in seal products by the end of this year.

Canada and Namibia are the only two countries killing and "harvesting" seals.

Baby seals in Namibia are clubbed to death, while bulls are shot in the head.

The US and Mexico has maintained their ban on Cape fur seal imports, as Belgium and Germany did recently.

Man Sues Idaho Fish and Wildlife For Slander Over Bear Killing

Wildlife photographer Tom Holman alledges he was only feeding deer which end up attracting a grizzly bear that was shot out of fear that it would endanger humans.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating whether a wildlife photographer who put out food for animals violated a federal law that protects endangered species.

The question is whether the food provided by Tom Holman resulted in the killing of a grizzly bear that became habituated to the handouts.

Holman, who lives near Nordman, in northern Idaho, said his putting out corn for deer had nothing to do with the killing of the bear, a member of an endangered species. He also said that setting restrictions on residents putting out food violates private property rights.

Holman, who sells wildlife photos on his Web site, said he has retained an attorney and intends to sue the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Wildlife Service for slander. The Idaho department was called in to kill the 2-year-old male grizzly on Oct. 4 out of concern it might attack someone.

"I was not luring the bear in," Holman told The Spokesman Review newspaper of Spokane.

Photo by Shellie Raney

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deputy Mayor of Delhi Killed by Monkeys

OK, this sounds a little strange.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.

The High Court demanded the city find an answer to the problem last year...

One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

The city has also employed monkey catchers to round them up so they can be moved to forests.

But the problem has persisted.

Photo by 13Bobby

Greenpeace and its Kangaroo Complex

I first heard about Greenpeace promoting the substitution of kangaroo meat for cow meat on a Jay Leno monologue so I had hoped it was a joke. But since I knew that some Australian scientist was advocating the same thing a while back, I got a little worried.

Well, it's true. It all goes back to the story we posted last week about how cattle contribute to greenhouse gases. Kangaroos don't do this, see, so we should essentially factory-farm them instead of cows.

Greenpeace, Greenpeace, Greenpeace.

In the US, Greenpeace seemed to go underground for a long time under the current anti-environment regime. Now, it's back in the spotlight with canvassers on our City streets and silly comments like these.

This is silly for two reasons.

One is that it is an about-face for Greenpeace. Here is what Sea Shepherd says on their web site.

The one consistent thing these days about the Greenpeace Foundation is its inconsistency. Back in 1986, Greenpeace produced a film about the commercial slaughter of the kangaroos in Australia. The film was called Goodbye to Joey, and it denounced the wholesale slaughter of kangaroos. According to Australian Greenpeace spokesperson Trevor Daley, Greenpeace opposed the commercial trade of kangaroo products on ecological and moral grounds and stated that, "on a purely moral basis, we find it nauseating."

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder and President Captain Paul Watson was also a co-founder of Greenpeace. "I feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein, having helped to create this green mean monster. There can be no justification for this insane proposal." Al Johnson, who founded Greenpeace USA and was a member of the film crew in 1984 that made Goodbye to Joey was shocked when he heard this proposal. "This is inexcusable. How can we produce a passionate film denouncing the horrific kangaroo slaughter and then advocate the mass slaughter of kangaroos a few years later?"

"It is interesting that Dr. Diesendorf {from the University of New South Wales] does not mention vegetarianism as a solution to global warming, nor does he mention the need to reduce human populations or to curb our excessive consumption of fish," said Captain Watson. "Instead, he has chosen to become Dr. Death for the 'roos and is advocating the mass slaughter of a wild native animal that has been a positive member of the Australian ecosystem for tens of thousands of years. And he dismisses those who disagree with him as a 'small subset of environmentalists."

Why substitute one animal for another? It won't change the problem. Substitute kangaroos for cows and there will still be factory farming. There will still be waste management issues. There will still be big agriculture. There will still be big coal and oil. There would still be a demand for graze land. It doesn't solve the problem, but only shifts the overwhelming human desire for meat onto another animal.

Look, I understand that people want to eat meat, but the goal is to eat LESS meat or develop meat alternatives. Or not bother with it at all.

Photo by Jennifrog

Bullfighting in South Korea?

I certainly didn't expect it, but it's true. There is bullfighting in South Korea. But it's very different from the blood sport we see in Latin countries in Europe and South America.

Think bullfighting and images of capes, swords and death -- usually for the bull, rarely for the bullfighter -- spring to mind.

But in South Korea, which hosts several bullfighting festivals a year, a longstanding agricultural tradition views fatalities in the ring as a waste of good bull.

South Koreans have adapted the public show associated with Spain and Portugal into a horn-to-horn battle between two bulls who are matched by size and weight.

Some bulls walk out, some leave running, but all leave alive....

"If the bull does his best and wins, people celebrate, but if their bull does not succeed people are understanding of the circumstances. The spirit is the same as that of the Korean people. We celebrate victory but don't dwell too long on defeat when it comes," said Lee.

Photo by Oli R

Pets and the Billions We Spend on Them

The newest trend? Selling pet products through direct marketing. I suppose it's no surprise that we spend a lot of money on our pets.

One of the hottest new concepts in Critterland is the home pet party, a gathering of animals and the people who are willing to open their wallets for them. The events are ringing up revenues for companies like Shure Pets, based in Chicago, and, Andersen hopes, for individual sellers like herself.

"The pet economy is on fire," says Andrew Shure, president and founder of Shure Pets.

"Our society is more affluent, people are marrying later and maybe not having kids, and they tend to treat their pets like their children," says Shure, whose mixed-breed dog, Caillou, comes to work with him most days. "We want to pamper them."

Shure launched his company in 2003 and has seen revenues increase every year, he said. Shure Pets has 1,600 "independent pet consultants" throughout the country, in all 50 states. "We're growing, though we're still a tiny company," he says.

On average, parties ring up about $400 in sales, says Shure, and consultants such as Andersen earn 25% commission. Party hosts earn credits toward merchandise.

Photo by Andrew F. Johnson

Animal Sacrifice Still Going On

Often we think of animal sacrifice as something that went on thousands of years ago. But, it still goes on in places like India. I don't mean to pick on them, as this goes on in many parts of the world still (including practitioners of Santaria here in the US).

Over 200 animals were sacrificed to Shakti, one of the Hindu gods.

Local politicians besides the cops allegedly joined the native residents in offering animals sacrifice as part of Dussehra rituals with en masse slaughtering of nearly 200 animals at three prominent Shakti shrines in this coastal district during midnight hours on Friday.

According to reports reaching here, the gory ritual was performed as the yelling of the animals rented the air in Satabhaya Panchuvarahi, Osaranga Maa Jagulai and Badagaon Maa Matia Shakti shrines.

Besides a buffalo which was put to gallows in Satabhaya, about 194 goats and sheep were slaughtered en masse at the three shrines. The ritual continued till the wee hours of Saturday.

The devotees of these prominent Shakti Peethas paid scant regard to the laws meant for prevention of cruelty to animals.

Law took the back seat as tradition was allowed to prevail due to covert patronage extended to this superstitious practice by local politicians, police and revenue officials, charged Bijoy Kabi, an animal rights activist.

"We are deeply shocked to note that quite a few politicians besides the local PRI members offered sacrificial goats to the deities. The first sacrificial goat butchered at Satabhaya shrine was in fact offered by the Rajnagar police," he alleged.

Photo by Aditi Pany

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bush: We Need to Preserve Animals So We Can Eat 'Em

Our fearless leader has been speechifying about the need to protect animals for the hunting and fishing set.

President George W. Bush visited a Maryland wildlife refuge and went fishing in the Chesapeake Bay to highlight his concept of ``cooperative conservation'' to protect fish and migratory birds.

Bush, a frequent target of criticism by environmentalists on such issues as global warming, made his trip a day after unveiling several proposals for wildlife preservation. He also devoted his weekly radio address today to the subject.

``My administration is committed to protecting the environment that our sportsmen depend on,'' Bush said in his radio speech today. ``To meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century, we must bring together conservationists, fishermen, sportsmen, local leaders, and federal, state and tribal officials in a spirit of cooperation.'

Frankly I don't know why he even bothers. When it comes to raping the environment and turning over the reigns of government to industry, these people are second to none. They make Reagan and James Watt look like amateurs. All we can hope for is that they don't screw things up beyond repair before this knothead goes back to clearing brush on his "ranch".

Worst. President. Ever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Animal Trafficking and Terrorism

An Indian animal welfare activist alleges that the trafficking in wildlife is being used to fund terrorism.

Frankly I don't doubt it. If you wanted to raise a little illegal cash, what would you rather deal in, deer musk and bear gall bladders, or heroin? The penalties are obviously very different if you get caught. And the weight to value ratio is probably similar.

The ceaseless demand for exotic animal food and animal skin luxury goods continue to fuel the trafficking of animals, and money from this illegal trade is being used to fund terrorism activities, according to Maneka Gandhi, an ardent animal activist in India.

She cautions that the heinous crime continues, with minuscule efforts taken to curb trafficking of wildlife -- making it the world's third largest crime after drugs and arms smuggling.

"Animal trafficking is exceeding arms trafficking and drugs trafficking. In fact, the same criminals who are doing drug trafficking are doing wildlife trafficking as well.

"And the money that comes from wildlife (trafficking) is going into guns and terrorism, that's the frightening part of it.

"We have recorded (statements) from people who have actually taken panther skin from here (India) to Nepal and exchanged it for guns and bombs, and I have no doubt it is a worldwide phenomenon," Maneka, founder of the popular People Against Animals movement that campaigns for animal rights, told Bernama in an interview.

Photo by PrASanGaM

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Angola Vaccinates Over 3000 Pets Against Rabies

OK, this won't make any headlines in the US (or even page A20 of any paper). But, I think it's important to not just pay attention to Africa when something bad happens.

The department of veterinary services in Kuito district, central BiƩ province, has vaccinated some 3,500 domestic animals against rabies, including dogs, cats and monkeys, said Thursday the head of department of the institution, Domingos da Cruz.

According to the official, the immunisation campaign runs satisfactorily as animal breeders flocked to vaccination posts.

Domingos da Cruz also quoted an average 200 to 300 animals as being immunized on daily basis, with the majority being dogs.

Photo by Erik Kristensen

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Death Threats in DeGeneres Dog Fight

It looks like the mouth breathers are fully involved in the fight over Iggy the dog. I think the animal group Mutts and Moms handled things poorly. Yes, Ellen may have broken whatever rules they have. But, the whole point of this is to get dogs into good homes, and by all accounts, Iggy ended up in a loving home. I understand that groups like that have policies in place to make sure the animals don't get dumped back into the shelter system. But, I think it would have been better to at least try to work with the parties involved before just taking the dog back.

Ellen is clearly pretty mad, and she's capable of getting them a lot of negative attention.. Everyone meant well (save the idiots calling in death threats). But in the end, I doubt anyone will be happy with the outcome.

Photo by Alan Light

Pet Positive, Animal Assisted Therapy in Malaysia

Here is an article about a group that does animal assisted therapy in Malaysia.

NOT many may know this but World Animal Day is observed on Oct 4 every year. On this special day, everyone is encouraged to reflect on the unique bond of friendship that animals share with human beings.

I believe the disabled, the elderly and the sick appreciate the wonderful companionship that animals provide more than anyone else.

Whilst all animals are capable of providing animal-assisted therapy, no animal does this better than dogs. Canines are non-judgmental, highly trainable, obedient and totally devoted to their human companions.

Here is their website

Law Professor to Decide Fate of Vick's Dogs

A law professor from Valparaiso will decide if they live or die.

Should Michael Vick's pit bulls live or die?

That is a decision that will be made in part by Rebecca Huss, a Valparaiso University law professor and expert in animal law, who left the school Tuesday to begin evaluating four dozen pit bulls rescued from an animal fighting operation on property owned by the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

Late Monday night, a federal judge appointed Huss to be the guardian and special master in the case, which has captured national attention.
Huss, who teaches at the Northern Indiana university's law school, will make recommendations to the court on which dogs can be placed with an adoption agency and which should die.

The process could take a few months, according to a spokesman for the law school, but she will continue to teach classes, traveling back and forth. Her expenses will be paid by Vick as part of his plea agreement.
"My goal, and the court's goal, is to find the best possible future for the dogs and the humans and other animals with which those dogs would come in contact," Huss said in a prepared statement.

"As someone whose academic endeavors focus on the legal status and value of animals in our lives," Huss said, "I am honored to represent the interests of those at the heart of this case -- the dogs."

Here's a link to her profile.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brit Faces Huge Fine for Filming Seal Slaughter

Mark Glover of Respect for Animals faces a $100,000 fine for "breaching" a seal exclusion zone.

Mr Glover said: "The Canadians were getting fed-up with the level of cruelty we were filming."

He added: "The word went out and we were all arrested. The regulations are very straightforward, you cannot go within 10 metres of sealers killing seals.

"There was no reason for us to be within 10 metres and we weren't."

Hmmm. Seems more like a seal slaughter zone that they were excluding them from.

Here is the website for Respect for Animals

Frankly, I don't know why they still do this. Canada has always been more liberal then the US in many ways, but seems to lag behind on environmental issues (and I don't say that the US has a particularly good record either).

I suppose I expected their more enlightened views on issues like guns, gay rights, and other issues to spill over into areas like environmental protection.

OK, I'm generalizing. BC is as different from Newfoundland as Washington State is from Georgia. Then again...

Photo by Minette

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cow Farts: the Silent Killer Among Us

Nobody will get the Nobel Prize for giving speeches about cow farts. But, according to research by the UN, cows provide 18% of all greenhouse gases worldwide.

The above link is to a very interesting and thought producing article on the effect that meat eating has on the environment.

It's a silent but deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector, yet politicians almost never discuss it, and environmental lobbyists and other green activist groups seem unaware of its existence.

That may be because it's tough to take cow flatulence seriously. But livestock emissions are no joke.

Most of the national debate about global warming centers on carbon dioxide, the world's most abundant greenhouse gas, and its major sources -- fossil fuels. Seldom mentioned is that cows and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, are walking gas factories that take in fodder and put out methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases that are far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Methane, with 21 times the warming potential of CO2, comes from both ends of a cow, but mostly the front. Frat boys have nothing on bovines, as it's estimated that a single cow can belch out anywhere from 25 to 130 gallons of methane a day

Here is a link to the UN FAO report
should you wish to enhance your cow flatulence knowledge.

Photo by Fiskfisk

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Prince William's Girlfriend: The Deer Slayer

I'm not a big fan of hunting, particularly for sport. But, I think it's a little much for groups like PETA and League Against Cruel Sports to go after Prince William's girlfriend, Kate Middleton because she went hunting with him.

Kate Middleton last night found herself at the centre of a public row over her decision to go deerstalking with the Royal Family.

Prince William's girlfriend - now hotly tipped again as a future royal bride - chose to join a shooting party in Scotland at the weekend, much to the anger of anti-blood sports campaigners.

"It is shocking and abhorrent that she is engaging in blood sports.

"Kate is obviously trying to endear herself to the Royal Family and her decision will do her no favours whatsoever," said a spokesman for campaign group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Oh please. If you want to condemn sport hunting, fine. But go after the real targets here. Charles and William are the culprits. If she starts organizing hunting parties then by all means go after her. But in this instance, they come off looking like a bunch of kooks picking on a woman trying to impress her boyfriend.

Photo by Jon's Pics

Animal People vs Environmentalists: A Breed Apart?

As readers of this blog, you may have noticed that we cover animal issues and environmental issues. We feel that the two are inextricable. However, we do make a real effort to focus on environmental issues relating to wildlife or with an animal component. Otherwise, the scope would be too wide.

Some might there a difference between environmental issues and animal rights issues (or for that matter, is there a difference between animal rights and animal welfare, but that's a different post)? Here's how I understood it years ago.

I became politicized about animal issues back about 1995-1996. Around that time, there was an E Magazine article called The Agony of Animals (Part 3) about the very question of animal rights vs. environmental issues. This is the way the article defined the difference...

A few years ago, wildlife officials in South Africa's Pilanesburg National Park received an interesting proposition: A wealthy American, bent on shooting something impressive, offered to pay $500,000 to kill one of the park's rhinos. The officials had a candidate, a past-his-prime bull too old to breed. The money could finance the struggling park for a year, and the viability of the endangered species wouldn't be affected. But according to one South African conservationist, fear of a public outcry from beyond the nation's borders quelled the plans.

The bull was saved. But in the conservationist's eyes, an opportunity had been lost to what he called a radical fringe - a fringe that included animal advocates who he felt lost sight of the big picture by focusing on the well-being of a single animal.

I have never forgotten this article because of that trenchant illustration. Some people will be up in arms over the puppy burned to death by its owners while others will be up in arms about the mountain gorillas species nearing extinction. Some will be upset about hunting and killing that one deer, while others are okay with that as long as the deer population is healthy. What matters? The individual or the species?

We here at Critter News believe that the unifying principle is the respect for non-human life. Whether the groups disagree on the means, the values are the same. One could argue that's not the case in the deer example, but there is still the implicit belief that there is a value to the species and that it deserves a place on our planet. We humans are stewards and need to share the space with the nonhumans.

Whether it's the individual or the species, the two battles intertwine and complement each other. The real foes are the corporations and the materialists who only think of immediate profit and pleasure regardless of the consequences of their actions. They are willing to create untold destruction for an immediate pleasure because they don't think, contemplate the consequences of their actions or have the humility to realize that they share the world with others and they as a whole are not that important.

The achievement of a humble human species is really the key to saving this planet, its species and their individual members.

Photo by Ngsbrown

Life in the Green Zone for Stray Cats

Here is a good article by NY Times correspondent John Burns about the lives of stray cats in Baghdad.

Cat populations in the wild expand arithmetically with the supply of food, and ours multiplied rapidly, with as many as two or three litters at a time out in the shrubbery of our gardens, or beneath our water tanks.

Soon, our compound was home to as many as 60 cats at a time, their numbers carefully tallied by Younis and Saif, the enthusiastic young Iraqis who prepared heaped platters of rice and lamb and beef — and, as a special treat, cans of cat food trucked across the desert from Jordan, over highways synonymous with ambushes, kidnappings and bombings. As The Times’s bureau chief, part of my routine was to ask, each night, how many cats we had seated for dinner. In a place where we could do little else to relieve the war’s miseries, the tally became a measure of one small thing we could do to favor life over death. The American military command has a battery of “metrics” to gauge progress, and the nightly headcount of the cats became my personal measure, my mood varying as the numbers went up and down. Sometimes they went sharply down, during winter epidemics of cat flu, or after attacks by the compound’s two dogs (war refugees themselves) that proved, as they grew beyond puppies, to have a feral antipathy to cats programmed in their bones.

Times Book Review: Blood Sport by Ema Griffin

This looks like an interesting book. It's history of blood sports (fox hunting etc) in Britain.

Emma Griffin’s social history of hunting dates the onset of sport as a divisive force to 1066. While the chase has a much older pedigree, it was the Normans who made it explicitly the privilege of the rulers to kill deer and boar for their pleasure, and created an elaborate code of conduct that was refined through succeeding centuries. Ever since, sport has mostly been about class. “The par force hunt was an ostentatious demonstration of wealth, power and prestige,” writes Griffin, a lecturer in history at East Anglia University, “not a utilitarian search for food .. . [Hunting in Britain] is not a timeless, peasant tradition, but an endless, and often artificial, attempt to protect huntable ‘wild’ animals in an ever more cultivated land.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Canada Providing Sanctuary to Right Whale

Good news from Canada!

Canada Wednesday said a safe haven has been set aside in the Atlantic Ocean where the endangered North Atlantic right whale can feed and socialize without fear of colliding with large ships.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has designated the Roseway Basin, some 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, as an "Area to be Avoided" by commercial shipping, on a seasonal basis, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

On the endangered list since 1935, the right whale is on the verge of extinction, with scientific estimates putting its current total population at less than 400.

Now let's try to do something about that seal hunting.

Photo by Marc Eschenlohr

Nightmare in Mountain Gorilla Country

More trouble in mountain gorilla country. It just seems to get worse and worse.

Renegade troops in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to forcibly enlist park rangers charged with protecting rare mountain gorillas, an animal welfare charity charged Sunday.

Forces loyal to cashiered general Laurent Nkunda, a powerful local leader, took control of the gorilla sector in Virunga national park as they fought with government troops, Wildlife Direct said.

Wildlife Direct chief Emmanuel de Merode urged the feuding sides to pull out of the park, warning: "They (gorillas) are not a target, but can so easily get caught in crossfire and shelling...."

Lucy Fauveau of the London Zoological Society said security situation was "appalling" and made it "virtually impossible" to work with the gorillas.

When fighting flared up late August, Nkunda's men attacked ICCN gorilla patrol posts and looted weapons, ammunition and communication equipment.

A subsequent UN-mediated armistice unravelled, pushing fighting from the displaced countryside to the dense park.

Ten mountain gorillas have been killed and two have gone missing in Virunga national park since January. These slaughters, some blamed on Nkunda's men, have sparked outrage among conservationists....

Only about 700 critically endangered mountain gorillas remain in the wild, all of them in the mountain forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the eastern DRC.

DRC is also home to chimpanzees, forest elephant, rhinos and bonobos -- pygmy chimps whose population has been decimated over the past 15 years.

Photo by Futureatlas

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vick May Have to Pay Falcons Back $20 Million

Ouch. Looks like Vick might be giving up more then his job and freedom.

Michael Vick has already paid a heavy price for his role in a gruesome dogfighting ring: a brilliant career on hold, the possibility of prison time, the loss of lucrative endorsement deals.

He might have to tack on another $20 million to the cost.

The disgraced quarterback lost the first round in his financial battle with the Atlanta Falcons when an arbitrator ruled Tuesday that Vick should repay most of the bonus money he got while secretly bankrolling the long-running operation.

The case is far from over. The NFL Players Association said it will appeal the ruling by Stephen B. Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and special master who oversaw last week's arbitration hearing in Philadelphia.

The Falcons argued that Vick, who pleaded guilty to federal dogfighting charges, knew he was in violation of the contract when he signed a 10-year, $130 million deal in December 2004.

The team said he used proceeds from the contract to fund his illicit activities and sought the repayment of $19,970,000 in bonuses he was paid over the last three years.

Photo and artwork by Futternut

CSI: Animal Abuse

Animal abuse science is new, and this team works on forensic evidence to get convictions in animal cruelty investigations.

Forensic crime-scene investigations are no longer limited to human victims. Many of the very same techniques brought to public awareness by the popular CSI television series are being used to make cases against those who have harmed or killed cats, dogs, horses or other animals.

Applying forensic science to animal victims is a specialty still so new that it's fairly rare. But two self-taught experts who make up the recently formed Veterinary Forensics unit of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are writing book and chapter (three how-to tomes so far) and sharing their knowledge almost as quickly as they develop it.

Melinda Merck is a veterinarian who ran an Atlanta-area cat clinic for years before becoming intrigued with forensic science in the '90s. Randall Lockwood has a doctorate in psychology and has developed expertise in cruelty and violence. They travel the country to investigate crimes against animals (including the Michael Vick dogfighting case and a notorious Atlanta puppy-torture case last year).

How cool is that?

"Animal cases are similar to crimes against young children who can't speak for themselves," says Merck. "You have to use every resource and every investigative tool to attempt to put together the pieces of the puzzle."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Primarily Primates Turns on the Charm

As a former donor under the Wally Swett regime, I am still on the mailing list for Primarily Primates. The sanctuary was taken over by the State of Texas due to poor conditions for the animals and questionable use of funds. It was placed in the hands of a receivorship headed by a wildlife activist. This lasted from October 2006 to May 2007. There was a bitter fight in the courts with Priscilla Feral from Friends of Animals fighting to get the sanctuary restored to a "restructured" board. The State of Texas settled and the sanctuary returned to its previous directors, minus Wally Swett.

So, now I receive a letter from Priscilla asking for my renewed financial support of the refuge. While it sounds great, I am still mistrustful and wary. Can anyone validate all the "progress" they are claiming?

Here is the letter I received, with interesting lines in bold.

Dear Friend of Primarily Primates,

What's new at Primarily Primates? A lot of good things.

Today, everywhere you look there's new construction and renovation. Workers, donors, and volunteers have been busy since early May on projects from basic cleaning and lock repair to very exciting ideas for a comprehensive psychological stimulation package for the apes.

New living spaces are nearly completed for seven chimpanzees formerly used in a lab at Ohio State University supported with funding from the school. Shade trees are being planted in their area and also around the gibbons' space, which is being expnded in both length and height. Additional shading is being built in the areas where former Air Force chimpanzees reside. The capuchin monkeys, guenons, macaques, the baboons, and the lemur groups too will get a new, grass-based living space. Squirrel monkeys and lemurs will get new sleeping areas!

It was late April when the Texas Attorney General settled litigation over Primarily Primates, North America's pioneering primate refuge. From last October to May of this year, the site was managed under a receivership based on a number of charges on which the refuge sought and obtained acquittals. The Attorney General, with agreement of the probate judge in Austin, believed that the best interest of the state of Texas, of the refuge, and of the animals who live there would be advanced by enabling Primarily Primates to move ahead with a restructured board. Priscilla Feral, the newly appointed president, will help direct future policy and administration of the sanctuary. Stephen Tello, who has worked with the animals since 1986, was named as the sanctuary's new executive director.

My understanding is that Priscilla Feral and Stephen Tello were already involved with Primarily Primates before the seizure by the State of Texas. In fact, I thought Stephen Tello worked with Wally Swett. Why wasn't a renovation of the refuge happening before? And, as far as the State of Texas acting in the best interest of the animals, please, with all due respect, it is Texas. I think it just didn't want to be bothered with contentious animal advocates so it settled and dropped all charges.

The first priorities for Priscilla and Stephen are to assure the health and safety of the animals and workers, and to move forward on construction tasks interrupted by earlier litigation. Caregivers who know the animals, plus new hires and Dr. Valerie Kirk, Primarily Primates' staff veterinarian, were in place within the first week of May. Within a few weeks, all the living spaces were clean and the animals were enjoying the warmth and fresh air of summer. The goal is to ensure that the sanctuary is consistently tidy, well-run, communicative and a place advocates can be proud to support.

Before the receivorship, the sanctuary relied on about 18,000 donors to generate the funds needed to run a large sanctuary. In this respect, nothing has changed. Primarily Primates still depends on loyal donors, especially now, as we embark on improvements and new construction.

Why don't Patricia and Stephen explained what happened with the donations during the Swett regime instead of just ignoring it?

Under control of the receivorship, the sanctuary's website was unfortunately used to disparage the refuge – alas, exactly the wrong way to keep public support for a charity. The site is now run by the professional staff at Friends of Animals and is updated with new and exciting information and videos showing all the work in progress.

I never visited the sanctuary, but I watched videos taken right after the receivership came in. The videos were devastating. Those people were shocked at the condition of the sanctuary and they wanted to draw attention to it.

New septic systems are being installed for more efficient waste water treatment, new pressure washing systems are being put into place and a walk-in refrigerator will keep produce cool and fresh for primates, birds, foxes, and other refuge animals. Soon a major effort will begin that will expand exercise and recreational equipment for the apes and monkeys.

All in all, the refuge has more than thirty projects now underway and planned for the years ahead. A sleeping area is being designed for the leopard, as well as new housing for Arrell the African Lion. The mountain lions will have new areas to dine and sleep.

Arrell lost a ton of weight under the Swett regime. We saw a picture of him. Where were Feral and Tello then?

The refuge will relocate and redesign marmoset and tamarin housing, and build new spaces for the kinkajous – nocturnal mammals of South America who love fruit.

Etc. Etc.

I just hate it when issues are swept under the rug and, after feeling sorry for Wally for all these years (donations fell due to 9/11, etc), I don't know who to believe.

Animal Rights Group Claims More Product Tampering

A group identifying itself as the Animal Rights Militia has again claimed to have tampered with products made by Novartis. Novartis uses Huntingdon Life Sciences for research, and they in turn have been targeted because they do animal testing.

From the group's latest anonymous communication:

Over the last three months members of our cell have been inserted into various positions throughout the operations of numerous high street stores and supermarkets such as Superdrug and Tesco. These agents have once again tampered with bottles and tubes of Savlon. This time the tubes of Savlon were infected with sodium hydroxide that had been mixed with a large amount of Savlon in advance.

However, we have not stopped there, we have also tampered with numerous other Novartis products including, but in no way limited solely to, Lypsyl and Lamisil. Firstly the Lypsyl outer packaging was carefully removed and then the tamper-evident packaging on the tube itself was very easily removed, finally the Lypsyl was removed from the tube and then dunked into the contaminated savlon and replaced. The packaging was then glued back in place.

As members of the cell have now infiltrated numerous parts of the supply chain of these stores they were able to not only place the tampered with products on the shelves but also inside the boxes of products in the warehouse and depots ensuring a constant supply of tampered with product since the 1st of October when we began our operation.

The Animal Rights Militia has a long history, including grave robbing.

Here is a Wikipedia article on them

Here is a fact sheet from ALF, which outlines how they have made these announcements in the past and have been hoaxes.

IFAW Campaigns Against Using Elephants in Safaris

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is trying to halt the practice of capturing elephants and using them for riding around in safaris.

Government must heed concerns over the capture and use of elephants in the safari industry, says the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"The plight of elephants in captivity, particularly the safari industry, has been forgotten in the second draft of the government’s latest version of legislation regarding the management of elephants in South Africa," it said in a statement today.

IFAW has been campaigning against the removal of elephants from the wild, and particularly their being used for elephant-back safaris.

A government workshop to review the second draft of its National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa, is set to take place in Pretoria tomorrow.

Photo by Steven Parker

Monday, October 8, 2007

Call for Compassion in Cyprus

Here is an editorial that appeared in the Cyprus Mail, a daily newspaper, regarding the treatment of animals in Cyprus.

Truly sad statement of animal cruelty in this country, although not necessarily unique. Much larger and richer countries have the same problems.

Good to know there are people who notice and care.

Do Naked People Save Animals?

Last week, some activists in Paris protested animal skin designs by taking off all their clothes and painting their bodies like animals.

This is a common technique for animal activists. Is this effective? I don't know. Sounds entertaining though!

Strange Discovery: Hamsters on Viagra Recover From Jet Lag Quicker

The 2008 Ig Nobel Awards have been announced.

Winning this year in the category of Aviation
are Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek for their research on hamsters, Viagra and jet lag. Apparently they get over the effects of jet lag quicker when given the drug.

I don't see a lot of people gobbling that down in airports any time soon...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

DMX Animal Cruelty Police Report Released

The police report on DMX involving allegations of animal cruelty have been released. The TMZ article has a story and a link to the actual report.

Here is a summary:

On 8/3/07, the Maricopa Co. Sheriff's office received an anonymous complaint about dogs not being cared for properly at the home of Earl Simmons (DMX).

On 8/7, officers arrived to find 7 dogs tied in various locations in 110 degree heat with no food or water. Nobody answered the door. They smelled decaying flesh and found areas that looked freshly dug. They took photographs, gave the animals water, and left a notice on the door.

On 8/8 officers received a message from Earl Simmons' attorney Scott Mason. They were able to contact him at 10am on 8/10, and were told that Mr. Simmons had heard about the notice from his caretaker, and was concerned about the animals. The officer told the attorney that the animals had been left out in 110 degree heat without food or water. The attorney told them that Mr. Simmons had problems hiring caretakers, but would have his current caretaker correct the problem.

The officer showed up at 5pm that day to check on the animals. None had food or water. He again gave them water.

On 8/15, the officer again went to the house and saw Mr. Bradley Blackwell giving the dogs water. Mr. Blackwell said their were also 4 dogs in kennels in the house. He also said that he was not given enough money to care for the dogs, and had to pay for dog food out of his own pocket. He stated that there were dogs buried in the yard, which might have either died from valley fever or from the heat.

On 8/21, the office checked again on the animals and found they had no water available. He gave them water, took photographs, and left.

On 8/22 he arrived again with another officer. 2 dogs in a kennel on the south side of the house had no water. 2 other dogs were tied to an awning with no shelter from the sun.

On 8/24, all the dogs were seized.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Animal Trophies Gaining Popularity in Wales

Looks like some are decorating their homes with stuffed animals to get that "vintage" look.

FORGET minimalism – the new trend for our homes will be antique furniture, ostentatious wallpaper and even stuffed animals, an interior designer claimed last night.

The lost art of taxidermy is coming back from the dead as homeowners tire of the minimalist look in their houses, according to auctioneers who have reported a surge in sales of such items to fuel a demand for decor with a more vintage look.

In Victorian times stuffed animals were so popular that every town had a taxidermist.

But the rise of the animal rights movement and vegetarianism made taxidermy as unpopular as fur coats, and thousands of stuffed birds and mammals were discarded.

Photo by Equality

A Chimp Shot Dead

Is shooting a chimpanzee moral when they try to escape?

Johnny was shot dead on Saturday, in the green meadows of Whipsnade. Here, north of London, he lived with his friend Koko, and five other companions. Johnny, in his 40s, was "a bit of a thug", according to some. Was this a reason to kill him? He wasn't attacking anyone, and had no gun. Surely whoever pulled the trigger was arrested, and the shooting investigated?

Not so. For Johnny was a chimpanzee, not a human. He was not a member of the privileged club that enjoys basic moral rights. In fact, he was an object, an item of property under the law. That's why he could be deprived so lightly of his life. That's why he had been for decades deprived of his freedom. The wildlife park was his prison; and when he did what any of us would have done in his place - escaped - he was shot dead.

Photo by Arkansas Lad

Friday, October 5, 2007

ProAnimal Coalition: They Like Animals...With Peas and Carrots

This is an article in the Tribune Chronicle (in Ohio) about the efforts of farming groups trying to "get their message out", so to speak.

Joe Cornely from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation led the discussion about the seriousness of the problem and possible approaches to telling the facts about animal agriculture.

As he pointed out, farmers must tell their own story, with help from their various groups. Farmers do have credibility and must get organized, stand up and speak out, he said.

Cornely further pointed out that animal rights groups don’t play by the ordinary, respected rules. Truth means nothing to them. They try to make people feel like ‘‘victims,’’ claiming farmers abuse their animals, and that animal products are not healthy.

Goals of the Humane Society of the United States, a well-funded group, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are the same — to destroy animal agriculture, take all animal products off our tables, stop all hunting and fishing, close all zoos and stop all human research using animals.

UPDATE: Eric at An Animal Friendly Life wrote a rebuttal of this article here.

Photo by weardale one
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