Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, January 31, 2008

British Animal Abuser Goes to Jail-Again

This guy Roger Baker is a real bastard. He was just jailed for two six-month prison terms and may lose his home (good!). He's already received 12 jail sentences over the past 35 years for animal cruelty and violence towards Government officers and the police.

The most recent incident involves a pair of rams that were so badly infected with maggots that they had to be destroyed. Lots of other animals in the past also had to be put down due to their extreme suffering.

And get this.....

He was also jailed for holding Defra vet Susan Potter face-down in mud and manure, nearly drowning her, and attacking Cornwall County Council animal health inspector Jonathan McCulloch when they visited his site in February 2002.

What a bastard.

His barrister had asked for him to be given a suspended sentence or community service, but chair of the bench at Truro Magistrates' Court, Ian Hope, told him: "We have studied your long list of previous convictions which are of an abhorrent nature and make for truly appalling reading.

"We feel we have no choice but to impose the maximum sentence at our disposal."

Baker plans to appeal, of course.

Why is this bastard allowed to keep owning animals? Because the law didn't prevent him from doing so....until now.

...officials believe the new Animal Welfare Act 2006, which came into affect last year - too late to cover Baker's offences - will close a loophole which has allowed his cruelty to carry on because lifetime bans from keeping animals under the previous Protection of Animals Act 1911 did not exclude him from other activities, including owning, transporting or caring for animals. Under the new act - previously known as the Baker Bill, after the offending farmer - abusers can be banned from 'owning or looking after animals and either dealing or transporting animals'.

We'll see.

UK Sanctuary Rescues 88 Capuchin Monkeys

Thanks to Monkey World of Wareham, Dorset, for rescuing 88 capuchin monkeys from a Chilean laboratory.

The capuchin monkeys were liberated from solitary cages in Santiago, Chile, and flown to their new homes in Monkey World, Wareham, Dorset, yesterday.

Some of the monkeys, aged between two and 30, have spent 20 years confined in the cages, only taken out for medical experiments, without ever seeing daylight.

They will now be rehabilitated before being settled into social groups at the sanctuary’s Capuchin Lodge.

It is the largest primate rescue ever and it was done at the lab's request.

Photo by Flávio Cruvinel Brandão.

It's the Year of the Rat People!

Yes, it's coming on Feb. 7th. PETA Asia Pacific urges people to show kindness and respect to rats.

An animal rights group urged people Wednesday to welcome the Year of the Rat by treating the rodents with kindness and respect instead of trapping, poisoning and killing them. "Rats are intelligent, sensitive and friendly animals who bear the brunt of human fears and prejudices," said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the Asia-Pacific.

The group urged consumers to boycott companies that conduct "cruel experiments" on rats, mentioning several candy companies.

PETA cited studies showing rats are "fastidiously clean animals who groom themselves throughout the day." They naturally have a pleasant perfume-like smell.

They actually are very clean little animals. We used to volunteer on the critter team at the Seattle Animal Shelter, and they were always so cool.

Photo by Absolutwade

Japanese Begin Whale Slaughter

I suppose this was bound to happen eventually.

JAPANESE vessels killed a group of whales yesterday as the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, held talks on the issue with his Japanese counterpart, Masahiko Komura, in Tokyo.

A Government source last night confirmed that Japanese ships killed as many as five whales in the Southern Ocean about 3pm.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Downed Cows in School Lunches?

The Humane Society has done an investigation, and got it on film about nasty abuses at a California slaughterhouse.

A shocking undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States reveals widespread mistreatment of "downed" dairy cows—those who are too sick or injured to walk—at a Southern California slaughter plant.

The investigation at the Hallmark Meat Packing Co., of Chino, pulls open a curtain on the scandalous treatment of animals slaughtered to supply the National School Lunch Program and other federal aid programs.

Video evidence obtained by an HSUS investigator shows slaughter plant workers displaying complete disregard for the pain and misery they inflicted as they repeatedly attempted to force "downed" animals onto their feet and into the human food chain.

So, where the hell is the USDA in all this? Typical. I'm sure Bush put some industry hacks in place to "watch" over these companies and look at the result. Nothing surprises me about this miserable failure of President we have.

Japanese Coast Guard Follows Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd Steve Irwin is on it's way back for fuel. But that hasn't stopped the Japanese Coast Guard from tailing them.

We continue to be pursued by the Japanese vessel Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68,” said Captain Paul Watson. “This vessel has maintained a distance of 7 miles and has tailed the Steve Irwin since January 15th.”

According to media reports, the Japanese Coast Guard has admitted that there is an armed Japanese Coast Guard team in the Southern Oceans.

"Coast guards are there with a view to protect human lives and assets as they have suffered damage at the hands of activists," Japan Coast Guard spokesman Takashi Matsumori said on Tuesday, January 29th.

This is the first time since 1992 that the Japanese Coast Guard personnel have been sent to a non-Coast Guard vessel outside of Japanese territorial waters. The Coast Guard departed from Japan in December on a supply ship according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

Here is a link
to the She Shepherd press release.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wildlife Federation President Resigns Over Poaching

This is pretty funny.

The president of the Quebec Wildlife Federation, an organization that encourages outdoorsmen to be RESPONSIBLE, resigned yesterday after he was charged with POACHING.

Alain Gagnon is to appear in court in Roberval today {January 24} to face a charge of exceeding the limit on speckled trout when fishing with relatives north of Lac St. Jean, northwest of Quebec City, last July....

The 53-year old angler is also accused of interfering with the work of a wildlife enforcement officer by releasing the catch back into the water...

Gagnon was re-elected president of the Quebec Wildlife Federation in April 2007. The organization states on its website that one of its priorities is "TO PROMOTE AND ENCOURAGE FISHERMEN TO ACT RESPONSIBLY."


Photo by jpear34.

Horse Slaughter Debated in Canada

Now that the US has stopped slaughtering its horses for meat, they are being shipped to Canada and Mexico instead. This development has spurred a debate in Canada over whether the practice should be banned there too.

On the one hand, you have the animal rights people with some celebrity help from Bo Derek and Willie Nelson. Then you've got the slaughterhouse advocates who argue the same old, jobs, jobs.

Slaughter plant owners in Canada...bristle at suggestions their practices are unethical and are wary of attempts to draw the horsemeat business into the public eye.

They argue the international market for horsemeat is good business and creates valuable jobs.

"These people have a lot of money and a lot of time, and they create a lot of trouble," said Ken Piller, president of Natural Valley Meats in Saskatchewan.

"We're a plant. We just cut and process. To us, that's our job. If it's a chicken, or a turkey, or a horse, or a bison, or a cow, that's what we do."

Horse-slaughtering is definitely pulling in the dollars from the European market.

According to Statistics Canada, nearly $70-million worth of horsemeat was shipped to Canada's top 10 export countries in 2007, an increase of 20% over 2006. (The biggest buyers were France, Japan and Switzerland).

Photo by Pacific Matt.

PETA Pickets Cockfighting in Philippines

And the solemnity of the occasion was only broken by some guy in a chicken costume.

Animal rights activists on Tuesday picketed the venue of an international cockfighting derby in the Philippines, calling for a ban on the "cruel blood sport."The demonstrators from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were led by one member dressed in a yellow chicken costume. They held banners that read "Small Men Hurt Little Birds. Ban Cockfighting!"

"While other countries have banned cockfighting or are cracking down on the cruel bloody sport, the Philippines' image is being tainted internationally for allowing animals to be tortured in the name of sport," PETA said in a statement.

Enough with the costumes already. I know it gets attention, but it just seems silly.

Now the Spaniards, they protest buck naked
. But don't get your hopes up, the link is to the Catholic World News.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dog Thefts a Concern in Quebec

Valuable dog breeds in Quebec are being stolen, possibly by unscrupulous dog breeders.

A police spokesman said there is no indication the dog thefts are occurring more frequently than usual, but Jennifer Montague, with the Western Quebec SPCA, disagrees.

"Dogs are stolen all the time. Unspayed females and unneutered males, they're a prime target if they're a purebred dog."

...The trend is largely fuelled by the unscrupulous segment of Quebec's dog breeding industry, which generates $600 million a year in the province, Ms. Montague said. "There's huge money, especially in the province of Quebec where we have absolutely no laws protecting (animals)."

..Dog breeders do not even need a licence to operate in Quebec, which has become a haven for so-called puppy mills, say critics of the province's lax animal welfare laws.

Photo by minna883.

The Rise of Animal "Rights" in the US

USA Today has a long article on the rise in popularity of animal welfare issues. Or is it animal rights? One of the things that bugs me is when people throw these terms about without thinking about it.

Is trying to stop dog fighting animal rights? Or stopping puppy mills? And I don't mean to disparage the concept of animal rights, whatever that may be. I just think that when we are looking at public attitudes, we need to define these concepts clearly.

I suppose one could write an essay on this whole thing, but I'm just too tired. These people are much better at that kind of thing then I am.

The USA Today article above is still a fairly good article by the way.

Navy to Kill Coyote in Discovery Park in Seattle

This is just wrong.

Less than one week after the city of Seattle intervened to remove coyote traps from Discovery Park, a plan is afoot to kill the animal.

The Navy, concerned about the safety of residents in military housing within the park, has made a decision to have the coyote "euthanized," said Rick Huling, spokesman for Naval Station Everett.

He would not specify a time frame or manner of killing, but area residents have been mobilizing to look for a "shooter" in the park.

"We got an anonymous tip that they are going to shoot the coyote," said Julia Allen, a retired veterinarian, who is on the board of Friends of Discovery Park. She is urging anyone who spots someone with a firearm in the park to call the police.

Safety of residents? I can see Discovery Park from my backyard. Unless you leave a baby on your back deck unattended and soaked in beef broth, I seriously doubt any human beings are in any danger. It's a coyote for crying out loud. Can't the animal be moved somewhere else?

UPDATE - Now they appear to be holding off on that decision for the moment.

Photo by Emdot

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New California Law Tougher on Pet Stores

Good for California (my home state!)

The state's pet store industry has come under attack by citizens and legislators, with California stepping up regulation and the Humane Society of the United States tracing problems to Midwest puppy mills.

In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1347, the Pet Store Animal Care Act, which imposes stricter standards for the daily care of all animals sold in stores, not just cats and dogs.

The new law also gives enforcement officers the power to ticket store owners for violations. In addition, veterinary care is required for illness or injuries, and procedures for euthanasia are spelled out for the first time.

Photo by the wretched.

10 Worst American Zoos for Elephants

Sorry to be behind on these zoo-related topics, but here's another one worth noting.

In Defense of Animals has released its list of the 10 worst zoos in the US for elephants. The accompanying pictures say a lot.

Here's the list...

1. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, CA
2. Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA (hey, that's our zoo!)
3. El Paso Zoo, El Paso, TX
4. Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR
5. Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, NY
6. Dickerson Park Zoo, Dickerson, MO
7. (Tie) Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, CA and San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX
8. St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, MO
9. Disney's Animal Kingdom, FL/Riverbanks Zoo, SC
10. Maryland Zoo, Baltimore, MD

Photo by The Spinosaurus

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Should be Evaluated

This article is from about a week ago and it talks about how inspectors from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will be visiting the now infamous San Francisco Zoo. But what drew my attention was the discussion about the AZA itself and how effective, or ineffective, it really is as a monitoring group.

Advocates call the organization a sophisticated support network helping to save species that might otherwise become extinct. Critics describe it as an old boys' club that wields tremendous power over zoos yet is often ineffectual....

"I was very deeply involved with the AZA," Schobert said. "But I became disenchantedas the organization changed. It was an opportunity for many of us in the dark ages to compare notes and get to know people face to face. There are a lot more women now, but it's still the old boys' club. If you have a reputation for being a maverick, you'll never see your name surface as being a director."

Although zoos have made great advances in nutrition and veterinary medicine, Schobert said, concern for animal welfare has decreased as preoccupation with species survival has grown.

"The AZA tries to position itself as the No. 1 conservation organization in the United States, but they're entertainment-oriented - getting people through the gate has been the main focus of zoos," he said. "Their priorities are wrong. Zoo directors will probably say they're not so concerned with individual animals as with the species. That sounds really lofty until you break it down: The species is made up of individual animals..."

Nine zoos have lost accreditation in the past five years including the New York State Zoo, the Tracy Aviary in Utah, the Lake Superior Zoo in Minnesota and Boston's New England Aquarium, which regained its status in 2006.

However, while the AZA accredits zoos and aquariums, it does not REGULATE them. That duty belongs to the US Department of Agriculture.

"The AZA is dictating to zoos what's in the best interest of zoos, but if these are important recommendations for standards, how come they're not mandatory?" Schobert asked. "Accrediting is not a bad idea, but the people doing the accrediting are peers from other zoos."

Photo by chuqui.

Sea Shepherd Blasts Greenpeace for Not Releaseing Whaler Coordinates

I've said it many times, but I'll say it again. I think it's lame that Greenpeace won't cooperate by giving out the position of the Japanese whale killers.

Sea Shepherd is accusing Greenpeace of "protecting" them.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has stopped chasing the Japanese whaling factory ship the Nisshin Maru and is heading back to New Zealand.

Sea Shepherd 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt called Greenpeace Campaign Leader Karli Thomas on the Esperanza to request the position of the Nisshin Maru. She responded by saying that it was not necessary for Sea Shepherd to have the coordinates for the Nisshin Maru because the Oceanic Viking would continue documenting the activities of the factory ship to carry on the work that Greenpeace has been doing.

In other words, asked Mr. Hammarstedt, “You aren't interested in Sea Shepherd preventing the killing of whales now that you've left?” Ms. Thomas responded by saying that Greenpeace had no intention of cooperating with Sea Shepherd and then hung up.

They would rather have whales die while the Oceanic Viking "bears witness" to the slaughter then cooperate.

Are Humans Giving Viruses to Chimpanzees?

They are according to research findings in Current Biology.

Eco-tourists and researchers are inadvertently killing the same wild chimpanzees they are aiming to protect, by giving them colds.

These new findings, released in Current Biology, confirms what has long been suspected, that in getting ‘up close’ with gorillas and chimpanzees, humans are close enough to spread respiratory viruses. Up to half the apes in ‘habituated’ groups have died after showing respiratory symptoms.

It is thought that fatalities are caused by the bacterial infections that accompany the viruses. When zoo chimps get these viruses, they also get antibiotics to kill bacteria.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Veterinarian Calls for Canine Control in Guam

Guam, a US territory, has a population problem with unsterilized dogs and its Territorial Veterinarian Thomas Poole is calling for an aggressive sterilization program.

The problem is three-fold....

1. Feral Dogs. Feral dogs have experienced little socialization with humans. They hide by day and come out at night to forage. They often form packs of a dozen animals or more. While generally shy around adults, they can work together to attack other animals. Rarely, but devastatingly, they sometimes attack children....The presence of nearby jungle over much of the island provides harborage for feral dogs. The jungle also compounds the difficulties associated with capturing dogs.

2. Socialized strays. Well-socialized dogs who reside in a neighborhood and are fed leftovers or dog chow by the people of that neighborhood. Some people feed out of compassion; others because they desire loyal watchdog services...The dog does not have to forage for food, and the person avoids the expense and responsibility of maintaining a pet. But the dogs receive little or no veterinary care and are able to breed at a rate that approaches the maximum for the species.

3. Traditional Pets. Owned dogs that are either fenced or kept indoors much of the time. Sometimes these dogs are allowed out to run in the neighborhood. These animals receive more veterinary care and constitute the smallest component of the stray animal problem.

I think that it's great to have a spay/neuter program. My only concern with the op-ed is that there is no mention of basic animal welfare or compassion. Instead, the article focuses on the danger of dog bites and the spread of rabies to the human population. He also calls for catching more of these dogs. Unfortunately, it's easy to imagine the fate of these future "captures."

Photo by roenke47.

Greenpeace Esperanza Returning to Port Due to Low Fuel

I suppose it was only a matter of time. The Japanese have been re-fueling at sea.

From the Greenpeace crew blog:

It is with mixed feelings I see the Nisshin Maru disappear at the horizon. Every morning these last couple of weeks we've seen this big black floating whale butchery ahead of us. I will not miss her. But right now I wish more than anything that we could stay with her until the end of the whaling season.

We have spent more than two weeks successfully preventing the Japanese whaling fleet from hunting, ever since we found the whaling factory ship. We have pursued the vessel for 4300 nautical miles, at high speed, and we are now running low on fuel and have to return to port.

The Australian government ship Oceanic Viking is still here. Maybe the presence of the Australian surveillance vessel makes a difference, since the Japanese government seems to want to avoid exposure of their "scientific whaling" at all cost.

They have a campaign going on right now to get the president of Canon to sign this statement:

"Canon is committed to building a better world for future generations, and does not support the hunting of endangered or threatened species with anything other than a camera. Canon believes the lethal whaling research programme in the Southern Ocean should be ended, and replaced with a non-lethal research programme."

You can email him here (they make it easy for you).

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

Protests in Turkey Over Animal Killings

At least according to this article, most of the the protesters aren't Turkish.

A group of animal lovers, mostly foreign residents, will hold a protest march Saturday in Marmaris in the Muğla provice to protest animal killings in the region.

Many stray cats and dogs, as well as chickens and birds, have been poisoned in the last one-and-half months. Those responsible for distributing the poisoned food remain unidentified.

A 40-person animal lovers group that includes Turkish, English, Irish and Dutch volunteers, has organized a petition and a protest march to make their voices heard to the municipality.

They've organized a petition, and have about 1000 signatures so far. Marmaris Turkey is a big tourist destination, so maybe the bad publicity will force them to look into this.

I found this post about Marmaris on Care2's web site that I thought was interesting.

Hello! I'm new to Care2 and the group so I will introduce my self. My name is Daniela, I'm 36 yrs old and I'm from Holland. I have 7 cats, all of them have a "story" and I have 2 (stray-) guinnea pigs. The love for animals comes from my grandmother and mother. My sister and I grew up surrounded by all kinds of animals. Twice a year I go to Marmaris in Turkey and work in the shelter up in the mountains. The shelter is run by Jeannie Thirkill. She single handed put animal welfare on the agenda in Marmaris. In the shelter are appr. 300 cats, 2 dogs and a donkey. Jeannie also undertakes action to get the street cats neutered and spayed. During the winter she feeds the street cats of Marmaris. It is great to work in the shelter. I just love animals and to be surrounded by 300 cats is heaven for me. For some cats we find new homes in the UK, Holland, Germany, Belgium and Finland. This year I will be a foster mum for the cats who will go the UK. This is because of the quarantaine rules of the UK. I hope that we can make a positive change for all those animals in need!

Kindest regards,


Here's a link to the shelter.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Quote of the Week

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.

~William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays, 1922

Bush Administration Doesn't Allow Someone to Wreck Public Lands. Wow.

If you want to wreck our public lands, you'd better have the right connections. And these people don't.

Federal agents seized more than 100 cattle and jailed a 66-year-old woman who owns some of them in the first U.S. criminal or civil enforcement action in five years against Nevada ranchers accused of trespassing livestock on public land.

Bureau of Land Management rangers began impounding the cattle across a 10-mile stretch of the high desert rangeland in north central Nevada on Monday. They said Inger Casey and Larry “Dudley” Hiibel had been grazing cattle on BLM land without a permit for more than three years and failed to comply with federal court orders this fall demanding they keep them off U.S. land.

I think it's nice that they did this. But honestly, I think if Dick Cheney had a friend that wanted to fry up a bald eagle on public lands they would try to find a way to allow it.

Instead we get these token prosecutions.

Speaking of the Dept. of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife closed their office at the Seattle airport today. They still have an officer there, but they have been forced into a small corner in the Customs Office. You see, they've been cutting the budget quite a bit.

It's been a while since I've said this:

Worst. President. Ever.

Whew. I needed that.

I For One Welcome Our New Animal-Human Hybrid Overlords

Or maybe not...

A Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. Senate have combined their efforts once again in an attempt to prevent unethical research involving human-animal hybrid embryos.

Sens. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., and Mary Landrieu, D.-La., have renewed their call for a ban on the creation of human-animal hybrids after a British agency approved such research. The senators had introduced the Human-animal Hybrid Prohibition Act, S. 2358, in mid-November.

Here's the text of the legislation

If this thing passes, I would suggest you leave your small child to be raised by wolves. I know, it's not a real wolf-boy, but it will have to do. Woof!

Photo and Art Direction by I'm Fantastic

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ireland to Protect Threatened Otters

Otters are disappearing in Ireland and the government is concerned enough to implement protection measures to help them. It also passed measures to help a rare spotted slug (not as cute, but just as important!)

Survey work found {otter} numbers had declined by 18 percent in the last 25 years mainly as a result of water pollution, the loss of riverside habitats and roadkills.

Otters are already a protected species and a new conservation plan involves 29 additional protection measures over five years aimed at returning the population to its pre-1980s level.

New conservation measures are also aimed at protecting the so-called Kerry slug which is now only found in some woods and bogs in Counties Kerry and Cork in the south-west of the country.

Photo by Up the Banner.

Europeans Concerned about Biodiversity

Amazing survey showing European concern about the global loss of biodiversity. In contrast, here in the US it seems that all the talk is about global warming while biodiversity loss is grossly overlooked.

An overwhelming majority of Europeans believe that the loss of biological diversity is a serious problem, according to a Eurobarometer survey on attitudes to biodiversity. The survey highlights the concerns of Europeans regarding the decline and extinction of animal and plant species, natural habitats and ecosystems...

Pollution and man-made disasters seen as the biggest threats by Europeans....

For 93% of Europeans, preserving biodiversity is a moral obligation affecting current generations as stewards of nature.

Most surprising to me was that the concern is greatest in Greece, Portugal and Romania. Relative to other European countries, these are poor nations. Conventional wisdom would say that they would be among the least concerned because they would have more economic worries.

Photo by Don Gru.

London Police Arrest 14 Year Old Anti-Whaling Protester

Sophie Wyness and her father were arrested after tying themselves to a bannister inside the Japanese Embassy in London. Just the kind of publicity the Japanese need for their barbaric practice.

The pair was charged with criminal trespass and will appear in court on February 6.

"I honestly think that me having a criminal record is not a big price to pay when what the whales are going through is so much worse," Sophie said, according to the British Press Association.

The teenager took action after watching a film about the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza - which is disrupting the activities of the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

Photo by KK+

In Saipan, It's OK to Beat Dogs to Death

Saipan apparently has no animal protection laws, and doesn't look like there will be any time soon.

According to Pet Assistance and Welfare Services president Katie Busenkell, “Saipan is the only territory that doesn't have a law protecting animals from abuse or neglect.”

A male resident reported that he has witnessed some Asian men on the third floor of the Shakier II building in Chalan Kanoa beating dogs to death and disposing of the bones in the alley.

“More than a year ago I saw two [men] killing a dog with 2x4 wood. About since then, I would smell some bad odor everyday 'til now. I always saw the [men] throwing large trash bags from the roof of Shakier Bldg II. My wife said that she even saw cats,” he said.

How barbaric. And this is a US Territory.

There are some people on the island that do care
. I just can't fathom why there isn't a law on the books at the very least.

Update: Here's a comment from the president of PAWS Saipan. I thought I'd post it in full on the front page:

This is PAWS President Katie Busenkell. We are asking the local community AND the international community to please send letters/emails to our legislature urging them to pass the PAWS version of the Animal Protection Act.

We have been trying for years to get a law on the books, and believe it or not, some legislators just do not see the need to protect animals from abuse and/or neglect.

As an island community, our economy depends on tourism. As members of the international community - people Saipan would ideally target to visit our island - we ask that you write to our legislature and intelligently and logically discuss how and/or why the absence of an animal protection law affects your decision to travel to Saipan.

Send your emails to:

You may also wish to visit our blog at:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Whale Strandings in New Zealand

As the international media follow the exciting Japan/Australia/Greenpeace/Sea Shepherd drama, New Zealand is the site of a whale tragedy.

Fifteen pilot whales died today after being stranded on a beach in New Zealand, and more were still at risk.

The dead whales were found beached in two areas of Farewell Spit, a strip of sand on the country's South Island.

Rescuers managed to refloat another 15 of the mammals and are monitoring their progress toward safer waters.

Scientists are unable to explain why whales strand, but some believe it is caused by disorientation in their sonar sounding systems.

Photo by ahisgett.

India Launches Anti-Poaching Task Force

India has some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world. This and many other factors (like not enough money to battle this lucrative trade) means they have a tough fight. But they try to do what they can.

India has opened a national wildlife crime control bureau to curb poaching of tigers and other endangered species, officials said Wednesday. The federal forests ministry said the agency, a multi-disciplinary force comprising of experts from the police, environmental agencies and revenue department, will aim to "reduce the demand for wildlife and its products."

"The bureau would also aim to strengthen the enforcement at international trade exit points since the major demand for the wildlife and its products lies in overseas markets," said Forests Ministry spokeswoman Kalpna Palkiwala.

"It is also mandated to advise policy changes, based on the information or data on wildlife crime," she said, adding that the announcement for the opening of the bureau was made on Tuesday evening.

Besides tigers, the anti-poaching force would help check smuggling activities of endangered species like leopards and Tibetan antelopes as well as endangered medicinal plants and herbs.

Photo by Babasteve

PS Go look at Babasteve's other pictures. The guy is amazing.

RIP Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was a member of the Sea Shepherd Advisory Board. I did not know that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

US Mortgage Disasters Hurt Family Pets Too

This is a very sad and overlooked consequence of the subprime lending scandals.

Authorities around the country in recent months have reported numerous findings of cats, dogs, birds, horses and other animals at foreclosed houses and farms. Among the more notorious cases, animals were found in large number -- three dogs and 20 birds in a house in Lorain, Ohio; 24 horses on a farm in Bixby, Okla.; and 63 cats in a house in Cincinnati. It was too late when authorities got to a foreclosed house in Bradford, Pa., to discover the bodies of 21 Great Danes. The owner on Thursday pleaded guilty to 21 counts of animal cruelty....

With these numbers in mind, the Humane Society of the United States issued a public statement this month that it's worried about the situation.

"This isn't the first time we've seen people abandoning their pets; it's a problem throughout the year, when people move and can't take their pets," said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Washington-based humane group. "But with this increase in foreclosures, we're going to see more of it."

Photo by antipax.

Greenpeace Tries and Fails to Block Japanese Whalers From Refueling

Pretty exciting video, but I understand they only delayed it.

Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd is furious that they failed

The Japanese whaling fleet has moved one step closer to the resumption of killing the whales with the failure by Greenpeace to prevent the refueling of the Nisshin Maru by the Panamanian registered Oriental Bluebird.

"Greenpeace had the opportunity to prevent the refueling. They were there and they allowed the refueling to proceed," said Captain Paul Watson. "That is unforgivable. The reason they gave for backing off was that is was too dangerous. Of course it's dangerous. Stopping the whaling fleet is not a game. If Greenpeace is not willing to take the risks they should at least cooperate with those who are willing to take such risks."

Twice before the Oriental Bluebird has broken off refueling just at the approach of a Sea Shepherd ship.

"We could have been there to stop the refueling but Greenpeace refused to supply the coordinates. This caused us to fall behind a day. We could have had them and we could have stopped them," said Captain Watson. "This refusal by Greenpeace to cooperate with Sea Shepherd is going to get a lot of whales killed and that is unconscionable. It's a disgrace."

Ouch. I don't think that will convince Greenpeace to copperate.

Native Dog Breeds at Risk in UK

Looks like fancy foreign breeds are taking the place of native breeds.

Registrations of certain traditional British dogs, such as the fox terrier, have been dropping as their foreign breeds grow in popularity.

The fox terrier is one such dog which now features on the Kennel Club's list of native vulnerable breeds.

Hugely popular before the Second World War, registrations of the breed have dropped, by nearly 100 in the past two years, to a level that is only a fraction of the figure of 60 years ago.

The Kennel Club's list, first produced in 2003, records all British breeds which have less than 300 puppy registrations each year. This is thought to be the minimum the breed needs to maintain it.

The Kennel Club aims to highlight the plight of these native breeds in order to raise awareness of the joys of owning these dogs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Japanese Send Ship to Tail Sea Shepherd

The Japanese have sent a fishing vessel just to follow the Steve Irwin.

For three days the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has been tailed by a mystery ship. It’s not part of the whaling fleet but it is on a mission to keep on the tail of the Steve Irwin to report every movement of the Sea Shepherd ship.

The Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 is a large drag trawler. It’s a fast ship and can easily stay out of reach of the Steve Irwin and never comes closer than 7 miles. The Sea Shepherd helicopter has flown over the ship and it is not equipped with any fishing gear that can be seen. No crew can be seen. There is evidence of electronic surveillance gear.

What is clear is that this ship has been commissioned by Japan for the sole purpose of tailing the Steve Irwin. There have been reports of armed Japanese police or military being placed on a ship and sent down to the Southern Oceans. It would make sense that they would do so covertly rather than openly. Sea Shepherd suspects that this is a government vessel or a vessel chartered by the government specifically as a defense support vessel for the Japanese fleet.

Photo courtesy of Sea Shepherd.

SPCA Action over South African Puppy Sale

The SPCA staff in South Africa is not kidding about illegal breeding and puppy sales. No incident is too small.

Three men have been released from police custody with a warning after selling puppies packed into a shoebox in Tokai. The incident comes after the SPCA called for harsh penalties to be imposed on people caught breeding dogs without a permit.

SPCA trainee inspector Moyo Mqabuko said he had been alerted on Sunday night by a member of the public and had responded immediately. He found the men trying to sell a litter of seven puppies in a shoebox, outside a restaurant.

Mqabuko said the puppies were shivering and had no water or food. He demanded that the men give up the puppies in accordance with the Animal Protection Act. "They refused, which is when I contacted the police," he said.

Photo by animalrescueblog.

Monkey Overpopulation in Puerto Rico

The growth of patas monkey populations has reached the point where they have become a "nuisance" to Puerto Rico agriculture. They have become such a problem that they have to be caught and sent to other facilities or face being euthanized.

One such facility is the Florida Teaching Zoo in Bushnell, FL.

“Bringing in the monkeys is nothing new for us,” said veterinarian Mark Wilson, who operates the {Florida Teaching Zoo} in Bushnell. “We’ve been working with the National Zoo in Mayaquez, Puerto Rico, for years, developing a breeding program to protect and expand the gene pool.”

On one hand, the patas monkeys, which are native to Africa, are losing ground every day because they are hunted for food. But in Puerto Rico, their uncontrolled numbers are causing major problems for agriculture.

They live in the mountains, but during the day they venture out, cross main highways and have a field day in the fields of pineapples, plantains or whatever crop is convenient and appeals to them that day. The problem has accelerated to the point that the animals must be caught and removed, according to Wilson.

Wilson makes sure the monkeys he brings in never go to research laboratories or are sold as pets

Photo by fiznatty.

Idaho Lacks Felony Animal Cruelty Provisions

According to the Humane Society, the State of Idaho is one of the seven states in the US lacking felony animal cruelty convictions.

State lawmakers in Idaho are crafting a bill that would make dog fighting a felony, but there is nothing in the works to toughen animal cruelty penalties.

Right now, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty is a year in jail and up to a $9,000 fine.

Sen. Kate Kelly, (D) Boise, is working on an animal cruelty bill, with the aim of making the law clearer by specifying that even a person who does not own the animal involved can be charged.

She thinks there should be felonies for animal cruelty, for example if an animal is tortured and killed.

"It's something we need to look at, certainly," Sen. Kelly told CBS 2 Eyewitness News. "It is concerning. We're seeing more incidents of animal cruelty, we're seeing a raising public consciousness about cruelty issues."

The other members of the Shameful Seven are Alaska, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Mississippi.

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Japan Releases "Eco-Terrorists" Then Whines When Australia Releases Said Same

I mean WTF? if these people are "terrorists", why did they release them into the custody of Australia in the first place. What did they think they were going to do, put them on trial?

JAPANESE whalers have accused the Australian Government of supporting eco-terrorism by returning two Sea Shepherd activists to the protest group last week.

Japanese Fisheries Agency chief of whaling Hideki Moronuki said today the Australian Government had been wrong to support Sea Shepherd in any way.

An Australian customs vessel last week helped resolve a tense stand off in the Southern Ocean, after two protesters from the hardline Sea Shepherd Conservation Society boarded a Japanese whaling ship.

Photo by Bbaunach

China Orders Mandatory Rabies Vaccinations

Looks like rabies is becoming a fairly big problem.

Chinese authorities have ordered all dogs to receive a mandatory inoculation against rabies as the country fights a rising number of human rabies cases, the ministries of Health and agriculture said in a circular on Friday.
By the end of November, China reported 3,010 rabies cases compared with 3,279 in 2006, 2,537 in 2005, and 2,651 in 2004 during the same period, the Ministry of Health figures showed.

Between 2004 and 2006, rabies claimed 8,403 people, accounting for 30.1 percent of the total deaths from infectious disease in the same time period.

"With the increasing number and density of dogs in some cities and rural areas, less than 10 percent were vaccinated against rabies," the circular said.

Oh, and the Host country of the 2008 Olympic games likes to club thousands of dogs to death to deal with this type of problem. From a 2006 article:

Chinese officials killed 50,000 dogs the other day. Just walked along the streets and lured them out of their homes and bushes and doghouses using whistles and firecrackers and then clubbed them to death with giant sticks, right there in the residential streets, tossed the bodies into big dump trucks and drove on.

It was a particularly horrific scene, seemingly unimaginable in our "enlightened" age, a fully sanctioned slaughter ordered up by the local Chinese government in response to the recent deaths of three local people felled by rabies. Without some sort of action, more people could die, the government deduced. Solution: Kill all the dogs. Problem solved, right? Well, not quite.

Now another Shanghai prefecture has ordered the slaughter of all its dogs, too, in response to the rabies-related deaths of 16 people in the past eight months. This particular region has an estimated 500,000 dogs. No word yet on how it plans to kill them all, but the strolling-and-clubbing thing might be the only way, given how even Chinese citizens tend to be slightly uncooperative when it comes to giving up their pets for random government massacre in front of their very eyes.


Colorado May Ban Dick Cheney From Hunting in Their State

No more canned hunts, if State Representative Debbie Stafford has her way. Ah the joy of getting tanked and blasting away at tame animals. This ought to keep one "hunter" out of the state.

I guess he'll have to go back to flushing live goldfish down the toilet when he's in Colorado.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Aussie Enviros Call for Wild Horse Killing

Another example of the conflict between the rights of the individual animal and the perceived need to manage its species.

Environmentalists called Wednesday for hundreds of wild horses to be shot dead to prevent a unique Australian national park becoming a "horse paddock," with little room for native species.

Around 1,700 feral horses -- known in Australia as 'brumbies' -- have caused havoc in the Kosciuszko National Park, according to the National Parks Association of New South Wales state.

They are increasing in numbers by as much as 300 a year, the conservation group said, but the state has banned shooting of the animals from helicopters, widely considered the most effective way of controlling them....

The association suggests culling more than 1,000 horses in the first year, with most of those left killed in the second year to stop the population growing again through breeding.

Photo by Dr Snafu.

Animal-Human Research? Where's Dr. Moreau?

Now, I don't like this one bit. Where's Dr. Moreau (or Dr. Hibbert if you're a Simpsons fan)?

Experiments to create Britain’s first embryos that combine human and animal material will begin within months after a government watchdog gave its approval yesterday to two research teams to carry out the controversial work.

Scientists at King’s College London, and the University of Newcastle will inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows to create embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids, which are 99.9 per cent human in genetic terms....

The experiments are intended to provide insights into diseases such as Parkinson’s and spinal muscular atrophy by producing stem cells containing genetic defects that contribute to these conditions.

While the HFEA was deliberating, the Government proposed a ban on the creation of human-animal embryos, also known as “cybrids”, but retreated after a revolt by scientists...

I am all for any kind of scientific advancement that will lessen the occurrence of live animal experimentation. But, again, the pace of technology is outstripping the development of ethics.

I look forward to the reaction from the "animals are inferior" crowd. Are they okay with mixing the animal and human cells together? Isn't there something sacrilegious going on?

Photo by SuperlativeQuip.

Bush People Say Oil and Polar Bears DO Mix

Yeah, and cigarettes are actually GOOD for you....

US officials defended plans for oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska, telling lawmakers that it would not harm polar bears, already threatened by global warming.

Randall Luthi, director of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, which sells oil drilling rights, told Congress Thursday that the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act provides adequate safeguards to polar bears from oil exploration accidents such as oil spills.

In addition, he said, contracts with oil companies include measures to minimize the impact such activities can have on the polar bear population.....

A US government expert on polar bears said that the melting of sea ice due to global warming would cause a two-thirds drop in the world polar bear population by 2050, and named the Chukchi Sea as one of the most threatened polar bear habitats.

Photo by reso438k.

Great Feral Cat Organization

We've talked about the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project before on this site. They are located in the City of Seattle and are an effective, innovative group. They also post information about their clinic model.

Take a look at them. They are leaders in the field and a role model for similar groups.

Photo by WashHumane.

Tales from the Animal Rights Trenches, 1.1

Yesterday, I had a very distressing encounter at work (note to self: don't take breaks and leave work on time.)

First of all, I was getting ready to leave for the day when a couple of co-workers began a discussion about who was going to become President. No big deal, we had been discussing this before....sort of like who's going to win the Super Bowl.

Then I was foolish enough to ask another co-worker their opinion. It was fine until that co-worker decided to attack global warming as a bunch of lies. Then he said, quite emphatically, that he didn't care if the spotted owl went extinct because that showed that it couldn't adapt and compete so it SHOULD go extinct. Then he got into the issue of the worth of animals. According to him, people are better because "they're people." He said it three times in a row and then admitted that it's because PEOPLE have a spiritual core. He kept attacking me because he wanted me to admit that humans have a special "something" that makes them want to save others, like why else would you save your buddy on the battlefield if it's obviously going to endanger you. According to this gentleman, unless you've actually risked your life to save someone, you can't say a word about humanity and its motivations. You certainly can't say you read about such stuff in a BOOK!

He got all choked up and walked away with tears in his eyes. I later learned that the gentleman was a Vietnam War vet who saw a lot of death on the battlefield. This is what the argument was fundamentally about.

I hate these kinds of encounters. But it underscores what the resistance to animal welfare and species preservation is all about. It's about the individual opponent, their life experiences and their value system.

Is it that our opponents really love the human race or is it because they feel individually threatened by the views that they are here by means of evolution? That they are not "special?" That they are simply very fortunate to be at this end of the evolutionary path and that they are extremely lucky that dinosaurs were wiped out, opening the path for mammalian evolution?

People like this obviously have very deep issues about themselves, but they project it onto an argument on behalf of humanity. No, it's not about humanity, it's about you.

We as humanity are blessed to have higher intelligence so that we can look at ourselves, be critical, and improve our behaviors. We can learn from our mistakes. But if we aren't willing to have the humility to look at ourselves, our impact on the planet, and our impact on animal life, we can never fully understand the context and consequences of the choices we make so we can truly evaluate them.

Finally, the irony of this gentleman's arguments lies in his implied statement that he has no compassion for animals. Where is that special "spiritual core of humanity" that makes you reach out to a helpless being because it's right and not simply in your own interests?

You can't segregate compassion between sexes, races or species. Sorry, it hasn't worked well so far and it won't as we move forward and try to survive.

Animal Cruelty Database has a fantastic searchable database for animal cruelty cases. And, it covers the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

It's definitely worth checking out.

Greenpeace Still Refuses to Cooperate with Sea Shepherd

OK, I suppose Sea Shepherd has managed to get most of the publicity despite Greenpeace being the first to find the whaling fleet, but I still think they ought to say where the fleet is.

But, they won't.

After picking up the two Sea Shepherd crewmembers from the Yushin Maru No. 2 the Oceanic Viking notified the Steve Irwin to head for a rendezvous point a few hours away. This was unusual considering that the Yushin Maru No. 2 was only about ten miles away at the time. The Steve Irwin was forced to stop tailing the Yushin Maru No. 2 to meet up with the Oceanic Viking. This allowed the whaler to head off in an unknown direction to rejoin the factory ship Nisshin Maru.

After dropping off Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane, the Oceanic Viking headed off in a direction away from the Japanese fleet. The fleet then apparently changed course and has now been lost from Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace tagging along with the Nishin Maru has reported that the catcher boats have met back up with the main fleet.

Although Sea Shepherd has been relaying the position of the catcher boats to the Greenpeace ship Esperanza for the last three days, Greenpeace refuses reciprocate and refuses to reveal the present location of the fleet.

“With “allies” like the Australian government and Greenpeace, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep the Japanese fleet from killing whales,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Australian Customs deliberately led us away from the fleet and Greenpeace is guarding the coordinates like the crown jewels to prevent us re-locating the fleet.”

Anti-Whaling Activists Admit to Throwing Stink Bombs

OK, they've admitted to throwing acid, but what we are talking about is butyric acid. It smells nasty, but it's not going to do any real harm.

So, when you hear about Sea Shepherd throwing "chemicals" and the like. We're talking about this:

Butyric acid, (from Greek βουτυρος = butter) IUPAC name n-Butanoic acid, or normal butyric acid, is a carboxylic acid with structural formula CH3CH2CH2-COOH. It is found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and vomit, and has an unpleasant odor and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste (similar to ether). Butyric acid can be detected by mammals with good scent detection abilities (e.g., dogs) at 10 ppb, whereas humans can detect it in concentrations above 10 ppm.

Butyric acid is a fatty acid occurring in the form of esters in animal fats and plant oils. The glyceride of butyric acid makes up 3% to 4% of butter. When butter goes rancid, butyric acid is liberated from the glyceride by hydrolysis leading to the unpleasant odor. It is an important member of the fatty acid sub-group called short chain fatty acids. Butyric acid is a weak acid with a pKa of 4.82, similar to acetic acid which has pKa 4.76.[1] The similar strength of these acids results from their common -CH2COOH terminal structure.[2] Butyric acid has density 0.96 g/cm3 and molecular mass 88.1051; thus pure butyric acid is 10.9 molar.

Boo frickin' hoo. What they have to suffer for their research.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tiger Mauling Victims Accused of Taunting

It's inexcusable that the tiger was able to get out, so I don't think they should be blamed. Were they acting stupid? Sure. But, that's part of being a teenager.

Police believe that a fatal tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo was in part prompted by the victims provoking the animal into escaping its enclosure and mauling them, investigators said in court documents.

One of the three victims was intoxicated and told another victim's father that they were standing atop a railing and yelling and waving at the tiger shortly before the Christmas Day attack, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle late Thursday.

Photo by Chadh

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tyson Foods Investigates Animal Abuse Charges

Tyson Foods has been accused of animal abuse and unsanitary conditions by PETA.

The Springdale, Ark.-based company started the investigation after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a nonprofit that promotes vegetarianism and animal welfare, sent an undercover investigator into both plants last fall. PETA put grainy video shot by that investigator online this week, contending it shows plant workers urinating near processing lines, throwing chickens and condoning animal abuse.

"Some of the videotaped activities we've seen online do warrant investigation; however, others are being misrepresented and sensationalized by PETA," Tyson said in a statement it released on Thursday.

Here is a link to PETA's page on this

Here is their video

Japanese Whalers Release Sea Shepherd Crewmen

Japanese whalers have handed the crewmen of the Steve Irwin over to Australia.

Japanese whalers are praising the Australian government for its help to resolve a stand-off with militant conservationists in the Southern Ocean.

The whalers handed over the Australian and British protesters to Australian officials overnight. The activists from the anti-whaling group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had been detained since Tuesday, when they boarded the Yushin Maru to deliver a letter of protest.

It will be interesting to see what the next event in the whaling saga will be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Congratulations to Israeli Animal Group

Congratulations to Beersheba Loves Animals for receiving government support for spay and neuter work. Every effort to help an animal in this world should be applauded.

The Municipality of Beersheba has approved a budget for a street cat spaying and neutering project. Tens of thousands of shekels will be invested in the project in 2008 in three Beersheba neighborhoods.

The project was initiated by a small NGO, Beersheba Loves Animals, made up of students. The association, operating for some four years, is committed to animal welfare in Beersheba and to increasing resident awareness of the subject by means of educational workshops on the prevention of cruelty to animals, promotion of laws and norms on animal welfare and finding foster homes for cats and dogs.

Here's their contact information.

Beersheba Loves Animals
The Association for Animals in Beersheba and Vicinity Mail: Schreiber Family 70/30 Beersheba 84451 Israel

The Only Good Thing From the Vick Case

There is some good that came from the Vick case. Although it came at a high cost. And we have to see if it's sustainable.

State houses are looking at dogfighting and animal cruelty legislation.

The Virginia General Assembly, which began its legislative session last week, is considering more animal protection bills than in past years, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

”The members of the General Assembly had a tendency not to take bills regarding animal welfare seriously,” Robin Starr, chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA, told the newspaper.

In Ohio...legislation was introduced last month to increase the penalty for fighting animals and allow items seized to be used to pay for caring for the abused animals. In Georgia, lawmakers are seeking to boost penalties for dogfighting.

Photo by MNkiteman.

It's True! Cloned Products May Come to US

An earlier story we posted about the European Food Safety Agency stated that the US was expected to introduce cloned animal products onto its supermarket shelves later in the year.

I had to verify this. And here it is.

The FDA is saying it's safe, but that we still have three to five years before the product hits the stores.

The Food and Drug Administration ruled Tuesday that animal products from cloned animals is safe for consumption, yet the product will not hit store shelves for three to five years. The ruling comes a year after the FDA sought public comment as to whether the products should be available to consumers. "After reviewing additional data and the public comments in the intervening year since the release of our draft documents on cloning, we conclude that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day," said Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.~~ The cloning industry has voluntarily said they would register cloned animals so their products could be segregated once they enter the food supply.

Their reluctance may partially stem from the statement at the bottom of this article.

Gallup Polls report more than 60 percent of Americans think it is immoral to clone animals, and the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology found that a similar percentage say that, despite FDA approval, they won't buy cloned milk.

Photo by Annie's Homegrown.

Austrian Court Rules That A Chimp is Not a Person

This came as a result of a lawsuit dealing with the guardianship of a chimpanzee.

An Austrian animal rights group’s hopes to have a chimpanzee declared a person have been dashed, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that apes cannot be considered people.

The decision comes in response to a plea made by a local animal rights group requesting to be granted guardianship of chimp Matthew Hiasl Pan, after the shelter where he has lived in for 25 years, declared bankruptcy.

Matthew, according to the group, was at risk of being left without a home, reports the Scotsman.

Is the Aussie Govt. Backpeddling on Anti-Whaling Stance?

It would seem so. According to this article, the Rudd government seems to be having second thoughts.

THERE is a note of hesitation - even flakiness - creeping into the Rudd Government's approach to Japanese whaling.

The new Government's concern about upsetting the trade and business relationship with Tokyo has begun to colour its judgment.

While there can be no more solid aspect of Australian public opinion than the national abhorrence towards whaling, the resolve Kevin Rudd's team showed in vowing to increase the pressure on Japan to stop the practice is nowhere near as evident as it was before the election.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Greenpeace Video of Fleeing Japanese Whalers

Here is a recent Greenpeace video of the Japanese whalers.

Two Sea Shepherd Crewmen Climb Aboard Japanese Whaler, Get Taken Prisoner

Things are heating up in the whaling dispute.

The battle of wills between Japanese whalers and environmentalists in the Antarctic took a dramatic turn yesterday when two members of the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd were detained by the crew of the harpoon ship they had climbed aboard.

Their detention came hours after a federal court in Sydney ordered Japan to end this year's kill of almost 1,000 whales, ruling the hunt illegal because of it being conducted in Australia's exclusive economic zone.

Giles Lane, a Briton, along with Benjamin Potts, an Australian, were held after boarding the ship named Yushin Maru No. 2, in the Southern Ocean. Their intention was to deliver a letter calling on the fleet to end its "illegal" hunt. Lane, 35, wrote in the letter: "It is my intent to deliver this message and then to request that you allow me to disembark from your vessel without harm or seizure."

Now the Japanese are allegedly demanding that Sea Shepherd no longer interfere with their whaling operations in exchange for release of the two crewmen.

From Sea Shepherd's web site:

The Institute of Cetacean Research, the front group for the illegal Japanese whaling operations are making demands for the release of the two Sea Shepherd crew being held hostage onboard the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 2.

The whalers said they will return the hostages in return for Sea Shepherd agreeing to no longer interfere with their whaling operations.

“The Institute of Cetacean Research is acting like a terrorist organization,” said Steve Irwin’s 1st Officer Peter Brown. “Here they are taking hostages and making demands. Our policy is that we don’t respond to terrorist demands.”

Lots more on Sea Shepherd's website.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Aussie Court Says Japanese Whalers Breaking Law

An Australian Court said that Japanese whalers are breaking the law by killing whales in an Australian Whale sanctuary. This should make things interesting.

The Federal Court has ruled that the Japanese whaling fleet is breaking Australian law, and has issued an injunction to stop its activities.

The court says it is satisfied that the Japanese whaling fleet, controlled by Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, has contravened numerous sections of the Environment Protection Act by killing and injuring Antarctic minke and fin whales in the Australian whale sanctuary.

It has ordered that it be restrained from continuing whaling.

The fight is on!

Yum! Time for Some Cloned Steak!

Oh, yay. More meat.

Meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption, according to a new report from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

The draft report, which considers data on animal health and food safety, was submitted to EU Commissioners last week, opening up the possibility for cloned animals to be allowed to enter the food chain....

Cloning has not been approved for food products in Europe or elsewhere, but the latest report, written at the request of EU Commissioners could lead to legislation being drawn up on the issue.

The US is expected to allow food from cloned animals onto supermarket shelves later this year whilst reviews are currently underway in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The US will be allowing cloned animal food onto supermarket shelves? Can't we just get replicators instead and skip the whole living animal thing?

Photo by dpcafe.

Mixed Signals from Jamie Oliver

Last week, we posted a story about Jamie Oliver's work in exposing the terrible treatment of factory chickens. (Jamie Oliver is the Naked Chef). That was a good thing. But, now, he's doing some weird stuff.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has electrocuted a chicken and suffocated male chicks on television, outraging animal rights groups.

The slaughter will appear on British television {as part of his show Fowl Dinners}, and is apparently designed to highlight the brutality of battery farming....

"I don't think it is sensational to show people the reality of how chickens live and die at the moment. It may be upsetting for some people, but that's how things are...."

The 32-year-old has become a target for animal rights groups after he cut the throat of a lamb on TV....

Yikes. Are live demonstrations of animal cruelty really necessary? Isn't there enough existing footage out there that you can show instead of creating new scenes?


Photo by Radio 5 live.

Sentence Increased for UK Animal Rights Activist

A UK Court of Appeals has found an 8 month sentence for convicted blackmailer Deborah Morrison to be too lenient. She has had her sentence extended to a period of 2 years.

The judges said the original sentence had been "unduly lenient".

Over five years Morrison sent dozens of emails and letters - some containing white powder - to individuals and companies which had, or used to have, connections with animal research organisations.

One firm she targeted had links with Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, which bred guinea pigs for research until January 2006.

In total Morrison pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted blackmail, three charges of interference with a contractual relationship so as to harm an animal research organisation, and two charges of attempting to interfere with contractual links to animal research organisations.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Does Mike Huckabee Eat Horsemeat Too?

Mike Huckabee is the gift that keeps on giving. If his alleged statement is true, I'd like to know if there ANYTHING or ANYONE this man won't eat!

United Animal Nations(UAN) today asked presidential candidate and Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabeeto educate himself about horse slaughter and reconsider consuming a Dutch horsemeat dish, which he recently described as tasting "like chicken."

According to Washington Wire, a blog from The Wall Street Journal's Capital Bureau, Huckabee made the comment on December 21, 2007, when speaking with a group of reporters in eastern Iowa. The blog entry suggested that Huckabee was perhaps pandering to the Dutch Iowan vote when he mentioned several of his favorite Dutch foods, including one made from horsemeat.

Photo by lauren victoria burke.

UK Horses Also Slaughtered for Human Consumption

It's a dirty little secret in Britain that horses are being slaughtered there for human consumption. You won't find locations of horse slaughterhouses on the Food Standards Agency's web site, although slaughterhouses for other animals are identified.

...the Government refuses to advertise the location of horse abattoirs and...the abattoirs themselves are none to keen on publicising this particular speciality.

Whenever they have in the past, they have found themselves targeted by animal rights activists who have fought an aggressive campaign to have the trade outlawed....

Andrew Tyler, the director of Animal Aid, the country's largest animal rights group, claims that every year more than 2,000 unwanted racehorses are killed for meat in this way.

"The figures we have assembled suggest that there are 17,000 thoroughbreds born each year and only about 5,000 make it to race," he says.

Horses must be slaughtered in Britain because the live export of horses for meat is banned. This prevents them from suffering the transport conditions other animals are subjected to in Europe. However, the horsemeat export from the UK is growing.

We currently source about 5 per cent of our meat from Britain," a Paris horsemeat dealer told me. "This figure amounts to around 89 tons of meat a year, but it is growing.

"Imports from Belgium, South America, the U.S. and Canada are all strong, but Britain is catching up."

Photo by RainPacket.

Greenpeace Drives Whalers out of Antarctrica

According to Greenpeace, the factory ship Nisshin Maru has fled past 60 degrees latitude taking it out of Antarctic waters for now.

Greenpeace have claimed to have driven Japan's controversial whaling fleet out of Antarctic hunting grounds after a dramatic, 24 hour chase through thick fog and rough seas.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza located the six Japanese whalers on Saturday after 10 days of scouring the icy reaches of the Southern Ocean.

The environmental group plans to harass the fleet and disrupt its plan to kill nearly 1,000 minke and fin whales by placing volunteers in inflatable boats between the whales and the whalers' harpoon guns.

After confronting the fleet, the Esperanza pursued the main factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, until it crossed the 60 degrees latitude boundary - the limit to southern whale hunting grounds.

According to Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd,
they are not far behind as well.

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace

Saturday, January 12, 2008

News Video on Efforts to Stop Whaling

Al Jazeera English has their own channel on Youtube. It's worth subscribing to. They post excellent stories and programs every day with news you won't get elsewhere (at least in the US).

To our non-US readers, the nightly news here is about 22 minutes long when you take out the commercials. That leaves about 6 or 7 minutes of US and international news, with rest filled by breakthroughs in hemorrhoid research, buildings burning down and human interest stories. And unless there's an American involved, you can pretty much forget the "international" part. That helps to make ignorance the default setting on pretty much all the people that live here.

But enough of my media bashing rant. Watch the video.

US Horses Inhumanely Slaughtered Across the Borders

On January 8, I posted about the rise of horse neglect in the United States. The second half of the post contained a quote bemoaning the loss of horse slaughterhouses in the United States.

I didn't agree with this sentiment, but now, a new article is making me rethink this opinion.

This article appears in the New York Times
and talks about the inhumane conditions of horses slaughtered in Canada and Mexico.

Amid pressure from animal rights groups, horse slaughter virtually ended in the United States last year, as courts upheld state laws banning it in Texas and Illinois, home to the nation’s last three horse slaughterhouses.

But there have been unintended consequences, including more grueling travel for tens of thousands of horses now being sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, where, animal advocates say, they sometimes face more gruesome deaths....

The American slaughterhouses killed horses quickly by driving steel pins into their brains, a method the American Veterinary Medical Association considers humane. Workers in some Mexican plants, by contrast, disable them by stabbing them with knives to sever their spinal cords, said Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

“My worst nightmare has happened,” Dr. Grandin said. “This is an example of well-intentioned but very bad unintended consequences.”

Supporters of the ban on US slaughterhouses believe that horse owners should euthanize their animals humanely. Some opponents argue this is an expensive option because it could cost $140 or more to euthanize and disposs of the carcass. $140? How often have you spent less than $140 on a tune-up for your car? I have no sympathy for this lame argument.

But it concerns me that owners who refuse to euthanize these animals are making them suffer even more from inhumane slaughtering practices across the border. I don't want horses slaughtered for food, but if they have to be, I don't want them to suffer.

In the meantime, federal legislation that would forbid the sale and transport of horses for human consumption is awaiting action in both houses of Congress.
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