Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rare Java Rhino Caught on Film

This is from the BBC. It's worth a look.

Oprah Goes Vegan for 21 Days

Oprah is trying a new 21 day "cleanse" diet and is eating all vegan foods. You can read about it in her blog here.

H/t to the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN).

Settlement in Pet Food Recall

Menu Foods and other manufacturers will pay $24 million.
The deal, worked out last week, resolves more than 100 lawsuits filed in the United States and Canada since an epidemic of sick pets began last year.

Lawyers said Friday that the country's leading veterinarian organization estimated 1,500 pets died from commercially sold food that contained tainted wheat gluten grown in China. Thousands more became ill.

Pet owners would be reimbursed for documented medical expenses and up to $900 for undocumented costs such as wages lost while caring for the animals and property damage.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Friday!

Now go outside and play.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Animal Welfare Supporter Edward Gorey

Any self-respecting Goth should know Edward Gorey, the famous artist. Lots of non-Goths should also recognize his work, most prominently featured on PBS's Mystery. He had such a macabre sense of humor, and yet....he was a big animal lover.

The Edward Gorey House and the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust support the Tufts Veterinary School, Bat Conservation International, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and the Xerces Society.

Here's a short article about him and here's a link to some of his work.


Jane Goodall Calls for Ban on Animal Testing in Europe

Jane Goodall recently spoke out against animal research in Europe.
World-famous primate expert Jane Goodall and other scientists appealed to the European Union Wednesday to end the use of animal testing in medical and other scientific research.

"We need to recognize at the outset that what we do to animals from their perspective certainly, and probably from ours, is morally wrong and unacceptable," Goodall said.

Goodall, the world's best-known observer of the behaviour of chimpanzees, is a longtime campaigner for animal rights.

She presented a petition bearing 150,000 names to legislators from the European Parliament. It called on both the parliament and the EU's executive office to find methods of testing that do not involve animals.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

California Bullfights Under Scrutiny

I've said here before that the bloodless bullfights in California were alternatives to the bloody versions in Spain and Portugal. But I was WRONG! Looks like animals are not being respected there either. So I've changed my mind...and admit I made a mistake.

I should have know it wouldn't be this easy.

"Bloodless bullfights" have been canceled for this year’s Portuguese festa, in part because of an ongoing investigation into animal cruelty charges against bull owners, organizers said, but mostly because of the host organization’s financial troubles.

At last year’s festa, the area’s largest Catholic celebration, police and animal-rights observers saw blood trickling from a bull’s eye and from its shoulder blades in the dirt arena during a bullfight billed as bloodless. From underneath a patch of supposedly protective Velcro, blood steadily streamed down the animal’s shoulder, staining its tan hide. One other bull bled from an identical injury on its back.

State law forbids animals to be bled for entertainment, and last year, on a tip from an anonymous informant, Tracy police and local animal-rights volunteers showed up unsolicited to the bullfights to see for themselves whether the standard was being met.

It wasn’t.

The bulls’ owner, Joe Martin, was charged with animal cruelty and ordered to stop using sharpened spears to aggravate the animals. Prods used in the fights are allowed only if they’re blunted. Those used on at least two of Martin’s bulls had metal barbs.

Thanks to Stockton's Delta Humane Society for their work on this.

Korea Clones Drug Sniffing Dogs

Korea has cloned seven drug sniffing dogs.
Seven dogs have been specially cloned to sniff out drugs at Korea's gateway, Incheon International Airport, where millions of overseas visitors come and go each year. Their super-sensitive schnozzles add an extra layer of security to the high-tech narcotics detection machines.

The project was led by Lee Byeongchun and his team of scientists at Seoul National University, the same team that succeeded in cloning the world's first dog back in 2005.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Challenging Job of Emergency Vets

This is an interesting article in the Washington Post about a vet who works in an emergency clinic in Vienna VA. She works at the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine. We've had experience with emergency care with our cat Charlotte at the Acces Clinic here in Seattle (and yes, it's spelled right). This kind of job isn't easy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu Foods Agrees to $24 Million Settlement

Good news. I hope this is a good chunk out of their profits.

Pet owners impacted by the massive Menu Foods tainted pet food recall of last year will soon be making a trip to their bank, provided a US $24 million dollar settlement offer is approved by the courts.

The pact was agreed to in principle back in April. However, on May 22nd came the signal that an agreement with all parties had been reached, subject to court approval, which is expected this Friday.

If approved, any and all pet owners impacted by the Menu pet food recall will be eligible for compensation for any, and all documented expenses related to the illness, or death of their pet—including veterinarian bills, or burial costs. Pet owners who may have been forced, or elected to take time off work could also expect compensation for time lost on the job. Burial expenses would also be covered.

For anyone without documented expenses, consumers can expect to be reimbursed for up to $900.

Mexican Wolf Recovery-Screwed Again

This from the Center for Biological Diversity, not exactly a radical left-wing environmental group.

The House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Wednesday from retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David Parsons that political interference in management decisions was to blame for the low numbers of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild.

At the hearing, entitled “The Danger of Deception: Do Endangered Species Have a Chance?,” Parsons spoke about a “process within a process,” in which a 2005 public comment period on the five-year review of the Mexican wolf reintroduction program was interrupted by two private meetings between senior regional officials of the Fish and Wildlife Service and livestock interests, arranged at the request of Representative Steve Pearce, R-N.M.

After the Pearce meetings the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a conditional moratorium on releases of new wolves into the wild, despite the fact that the wolf population had dropped by 20 percent during the previous year. (The moratorium ultimately did not take effect, because a minimum number of breeding pairs did not exist.)

In addition, the suspect “process within a process” helped persuade the Fish and Wildlife Service to adopt its Mexican wolf control protocol, SOP 13, despite warnings by independent wolf scientists that federal shooting and trapping of wolves should be reduced and not increased in order to comply with the law.

As predicted by the scientists, SOP 13 increased mortality and undercut population growth. It has resulted in the stagnation of the endangered wolf population at around 50 animals. The wolf population was intended to reach over 100 animals by the end of 2006.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Honeymoon Period Can be Short for Pet Adoptions

If you've ever volunteered at a shelter, you'll understand this plea. If you plan on volunteering in the future, read this. Know about the honeymoon period and be prepared for animals who fall victim to it.

This discussion comes up pretty frequently when you volunteer with an animal welfare organization. It is one of the main reasons animals are returned to shelters in alarming numbers over and over again.

A honeymoon period can exist if you are 18 or 80, have children or don't, are married or not, and causes many round-table discussions among people who are committed to caring for these animals....

The truth is, these animals are not toasters to be traded in for a new model to fit in the new kitchen; not quite your style anymore, so you upgrade. This is my plea to you: Do your research. If you make a commitment to an animal, follow through. If you simply can't, please return the animal to the rescue you received it from. This will prevent heartache all the way around.

Singer Pink Supports RSPCA

I really like Pink. She is currently appearing in RSPCA ads in Australia. She also opposes KFC (the most evil fast food chain of them all).

International superstar Pink has lent her name to an RSPCA program that will help raise awareness among Aussie teenagers about being kind to animals.

The pop star agreed to be one of the key faces of a campaign that will be launched this year in NSW high schools and juvenile justice facilities.

Happy Sunday

Go outside and play.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New US Farm Bill Increases Animal Protections

Mark Markarian has a good roundup of some of the new provisions in the new Farm Bill passed over the veto of THE MOST UNPOPULAR PRESIDENT IN MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY.

Among the provisions (from Mark's blog):
One provision strengthens the federal law against dogfighting and cockfighting, and builds on the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act which was enacted last year. The new measure upgrades the federal penalties for animal fighting from three years to five years in prison. Importantly, it makes it a federal felony to possess and train fighting animals, and allows federal prosecutions of animal fighting rings regardless of whether those particular animals moved in interstate commerce.

...Another measure will crack down on foreign puppy mills by barring the import of young, unweaned puppies for commercial sale at pet stores and over the Internet.

...And finally, the Farm Bill upgrades penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act—which haven’t changed in more than twenty years—by quadrupling the potential fine from $2,500 to $10,000.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Greenpeace Alleges Corruption in Japanese Whaling Industry

I'll let the video speak for itself. It's about 2 and half minutes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Controversial Panda Moves Anger Activists

Well, China is at it again. This time it's angering animal activists with a couple of controversial panda trades.

First, to Scotland...
PLANS to move a breeding pair of giant pandas to Scotland have attracted criticism from animal rights campaigners and a small band of politicians.

The attraction is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which also runs Edinburgh Zoo which is set to become home to the pandas.

However, Green MSP Robin Harper has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament and Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock took a similar step at Westminster calling for the plan to be scrapped.

They believe the money saved to be used to protect the animals' native habitat in the bamboo forests of China.

Then, to Japan....
Animal rights activists on Wednesday urged Japan to reject visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao's offer of two pandas, saying the crowd-pleasing animals would be miserable in a zoo.

Hu, trying to reconcile with Japan on the first visit by a Chinese president to Tokyo in a decade, offered to lend a male and a female panda to replace Ling Ling, who died last week at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura urging Japan to halt the deal.

What is a totalitarian government to do to earn some love?

Photo by Renee Weppner.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers Eats Dog in China

Real nice. At least I'm not a fan of The Tudors (too over the top for me) or else I would've had to give it up.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has come under fire from animal rights activists after his latest co-star, Radha Mitchell, let it slip that he ate dog while filming in China.

he actress insists dining out in rural China, where she and Rhys-Meyers, shot new film 'The Children of Huang Shi' was a challenge - and her co-star decided to go native.

She says: "The challenge was ordering lunch and getting chicken claws, just these weird things that you don't expect and you're not used to so you're constantly adjusting.

"Jonathan did the dog's meat. We were in some restaurant and there was dog meat on the menu and there was someone next to us just sitting there with their Chihuahua in a handbag.

"I was thinking: 'That could've been dessert.'"

Photo by Caroline Bonarde Ucci.

More on the Fight to Have Chimp Declared Human

Activists have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to have a chimpanzee declared a human. I have a hard time with this. Don't get me wrong, I like chimps. And I think they deserve all the protection in the world. But, legal standing is a bit of a stretch. And Ladykat disagrees with me for the record.
Matthew Hiasl Pan isn't even a human, but that hasn't stopped his supporters from taking his case to Europe's top human rights court.

Austrian animal rights activists are fighting to get Pan — a 26-year-old chimpanzee — legally declared a "person" and they said Wednesday they have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

The Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories insists the chimp needs that legal standing so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests — especially if the bankrupt animal shelter caring for him shuts down.

"We appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, because everybody is entitled to a fair trial, even chimps," said Martin Balluch, the group's president.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Animals and Spirituality: A Hindu Perspective

Here is an interesting article in the Times of India about animals and spirituality.
The emotional bond between humans and animals is easily accepted. With its uncomplicated nature and unconditional love, an animal can expand the boundaries of the human heart. But are animals also deeply connected to the human soul? Like many philosophical systems, Hinduism gives animals prime of place.

One of its chief gods is elephant-headed and another is a monkey. Shiva and Vishnu have several animal incarnations. Anthropologically, animals were useful to humans; they were likely given the status of gods to impress their importance upon the general people. Moreover, since all creatures are considered manifestations of the same paramatma, animals necessarily gain a position of equality with human beings.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Got Nothing

I give you another chapter in the epic Cat vs Robot Wars

Monday, May 19, 2008

Greyhound Stadium to Close in UK

One down, many more to go. This is an awful sport where unwanted animals are thrown out like so much trash.
One of the finest greyhound racing stadiums in the country is to be closed down.

Walthamstow Stadium will be sold to developers after its owners could not halt falling profits. It will close in August after 75 years, leaving only two greyhound stadiums in London - Wimbledon and Romford.
Here is a link to Greyhound Action in the UK (warning, some pictures are unpleasant on the site).

Losing Race Horses Euthanized in Puerto Rico

Race horses who lose in Puerto Rico are likely to be put down.
More than 400 horses, many in perfect health, are killed each year by lethal injection at a clinic tucked behind the Hipodromo Camarero racetrack, chief veterinarian Jose Garcia told The Associated Press after checking clinic log books going back seven years.

Unlike on the U.S. mainland, where many former racehorses are retrained for riding or sent to special refuges, the animals have few options in this U.S. Caribbean territory. Owners say caring for and feeding a losing racehorse is too expensive....

The killing of so many racehorses in Puerto Rico isn't happening because they have suffered a serious injury, like Eight Belles, the filly euthanized after breaking both front ankles racing in the Kentucky Derby on May 3. Here, even when a second home is available, veterinarians say that some owners want losing horses executed anyway _ some to save money, others to have revenge.

"You'll get a few owners who get so upset, they just want the horse dead," said veterinarian Shakyra Rosario.

Photo by rfatoday.

Horrific Conditions Continue in Puerto Rico

This is horrific testimony from Steve McGarva, a man who moved to Puerto Rico when his wife went to work for Amgen there. Conditions are terrible for dogs in the country, particularly those strays on the beaches.

The details are disgusting and disturbing. Please support his rescue organization Island Dog Inc. which also works on animal welfare in the Virgin Islands.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

60,000+ Sturgeon Congregate in Large Numbers by Bonneville Dam

A huge ball of sturgeon has been found near the Bonneville Dam.
When sonar surveys spotted a vast pile of rubble in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam late last winter, officials suddenly worried part of the dam structure was eroding into the river.

"Everybody said, 'Oh my gosh, we need to get divers out there right away,'" recalled Dennis Schwartz, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the dam.

What they found below the spillways in February was not a giant pile of rock at all, but a humongous pile of thousands upon thousands of sturgeon - some of them 14 feet long or longer - lounging together in frigid water at the bottom of the river.
Sturgeon ball

British PM Backs Human-Animal Embryo Research

Gordon Brown has a son with cystic fibrosis, which explains why he might be more open to this type of research. It remains fairly controversial.
Gordon Brown today gave his unequivocal backing to the creation of human-animal embryos, insisting the controversial research could save millions of lives.

Just a day before MPs vote on the Human Fertility and Embryology Bill, the Prime Minister gave his most vociferous support yet and said developing “hybrid” techniques was an “inherently moral endeavour”.

He said MPs had a duty to themselves and “future generations” to permit the use of human-animal hybrids, which could be used to tackle diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Photo by Jeff Sandquist

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kangaroo Cull Begins in Australia

Authorities in Australia have begun a cull of kangaroos near a defense base.
Sickened animal lovers dashed to kangaroo grazing fields last night when they learned that marksmen had been given orders to begin a cull of the animals - despite earlier promises it would not happen.

Marksmen slipped under the fences of land owned by Australia's Defence Department near Canberra in a "search and destroy" campaign to fire tranquilliser darts at the 600 panic-stricken kangaroos which have lived there for decades.

The plan is to take whatever animals they hit with the darts to a "culling pen" where they will be humanely killed with a lethal injection.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Makah Tribe Decides Not To Prosecute Illegal Whalers

So can someone explain to me why they should be entrusted with legal whaling? They said they would prosecute them. Now they decide they can't figure out how to do that. Disgusting.
A Makah tribal judge has deferred prosecution for five tribal members who killed a gray whale last September in an unsanctioned hunt off the Washington coast.

Wednesday's decision came months after the Makah Tribal Council had publicly promised to prosecute those responsible and had called the hunt "a blatant violation of our law."

Tribal Judge Stanley Myers had called more than 200 potential jurors but was unable to seat a jury since most either had strong opinions on the case or were related to the defendants, said one of the five, Wayne Johnson.
Again, why should they be trusted with legal whaling if they are INCAPABLE of enforcing their own regulations and laws on whaling? And these were the people complaining about outsiders regulating their so-called whaling culture.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meat "Made in China" Any Worse than Meat "Made in the USA?"

Good article about meat in the US. It points out that the US Olympic team is bringing its own food to China due to health concerns. But what about the crap that shows up in the US supermarkets which they will be buying anyway? How much better are American meat-packing plants than Chinese ones?

After reading this article, I'm glad I don't eat meat any country.


Animal Activists Arrested For Violating New Utah Law

3 animal rights activists were arrested for picketing an animal researchers home.

The protesters were released from jail the same day but plan to file a lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department for violating their First Amendment right to peacefully protest. Attorney Brian Barnard will represent the protesters in their case.

One protester requested arrest instead of a citation, said Jeremy Beckham, founder of Utah Primate Freedom, an organization at the protest.

"He basically said if you're serious about taking away my First Amendment rights, I'm not going to go down quietly," Beckham said.

The arrested protesters were three of 16 individuals picketing around the home of a researcher from the U's Moran Eye Center, whose research includes testing monkeys to study how the brain receives stimuli from the eye.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Elderly Australian Abusers Flee the Law

Sad, and weird, story.

Australians have been told to be on the lookout for a couple who are on the run with dozens of abused and mistreated dogs in a trailer.

Joseph Higham, 66, and his wife, Margarete, 73, fled a court in Adelaide, South Australia, last week, after being found guilty of 11 counts of animal cruelty.

They were convicted in their absence after failing to attend court and are said to be chronic "hoarders" of pets, keeping so many dogs that they cannot possibly care for them all....

They were believed to be driving south into neighbouring Victoria, or possibly New South Wales, with an enclosed metal trailer containing up to 100 dogs. Police have issued a warrant for their arrest....

The couple suffered from an unusual form of mental illness, she said. "Like people hoard things in their garage, they hoard dogs.”

The RSPCA said the couple had previously been convicted of 123 cruelty offences in New South Wales and an unconfirmed number in Queensland.

Australian Town to Cull Feral Cat Colony

Kill them! Kill them all!
STRATHFIELD Council has decided to put down the colony of feral cats in Homebush's Powell St, despite strong opposition from animal rights activists.

At last Tuesday's meeting, the council voted unanimously in favour of a one-off cull of the stray colony.

A spokesman for Strathfield Council said the cats would be killed by injection.

"For the protection of people and other animals that frequent the area, the feral cats will be caught and euthanased humanely, consistent with section 32 of the Companion Animals Act 1998," the spokesman said.

Photo by The Naked Artisan.

Chicago Lifts Foie Gras Ban

After a short two years, Chicago lifts its ban on foie gras. Here's why.
Mayor Richard Daley had called the ban the "silliest ordinance" the city council ever passed and said it made Chicago "the laughingstock of the nation."
Please. I highly doubt that.
"I thought it was us sticking our nose in something we probably shouldn't have even been in," Alderman Dick Mell told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, adding that veal calves and chickens also suffer in confinement.
"There's some cruelty out there, folks."
Really? How nice of you to point it out....and not care.

Photo by Farm Sanctuary.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pandas in China OK After Earthquake

Giant pandas at the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center in Sichuan are safe according to the Chinese.
Authorities confirmed Tuesday that captive animals in two of China's major panda reserves were alive, according to Xinhua, China's official news agency.

The Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center in southwest Sichuan province is home to about 86 giant pandas, who were reported safe Tuesday.

Staff and critters at neighboring Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center were also reported safe, according to a spokesperson for the Atlanta Zoo, which has two pandas on loan from the wildlife reserve.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Turlock Egg Company Says Animal Activists Made Them Abuse Animals

Gemperle Farms was video taped allegedly abusing animals. Well, here is what they say about it in the Modesto Bee:
We have reviewed the video images claiming to represent our practices, and find the accusations to be a staged, vicious attack on our reputable company," Gemperle Farms said in a statement.

"We are continuing to investigate and now know our employees were coerced by the activist to engage in behavior that is against our high standards for hen welfare for the sole purpose of filming a sensational video."
That's right, they are claiming animal rights activists coerced them into abusing animals. That is such a bizarre boneheaded defense I don't really know what to make of it.

Kittens Attack Coca Cola Box

Happy Monday. OK, there's no such thing. Unless you're a kitten with a Coca Cola box...

Kittens-Coca Cola Box - For more of the funniest videos, click here

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Estonians Tax Cow Farts

I wasn't expecting to write a headline like that when I got up this morning, but there you go. The Estonians are taxing cow farts. From RIA Novosti:
Estonian farmers have received tax notices for methane emissions from their cattle, the country's opposition party, the People's Union of Estonia, said on Thursday.

Ruminants produce large quantities of methane gas through belching and flatulence when they digest grass, which accounts for about 15-25% of overall gas emissions, according to different estimates.

A single cow produces on average 350 liters of methane and 1,500 liters of carbon dioxide per day.

Rapper DMX Arrested on Animal Cruelty and Drug Charges

Rapper DMX (real name Earl Simmons) has been arrested on animal cruelty and drug charges. This all started last August when sheriff's deputies were called to his house about several dogs that were allegedly mistreated. He had denied any wrongdoing, and blamed it on a caretaker he left in charge of the dogs while he was out on tour.
According to sheriff's deputies, five pit bull mix puppies were taken from the rapper's home by an animal control unit and will be taken to to a jail where they will be cared for by female inmates.

In August, deputies raided DMX's home and seized 12 pit bulls and pit bull mixes after receiving a report that the animals were being abused. No arrests were made at the time; authorities said that some of the dogs had apparently not been fed or watered but that there was no evidence of dogfighting.

The carcasses of three dogs were found partially buried on the property in August, and one of the dogs may have been burned, the sheriff's office said.
Dead dogs partially buried? This man should not be allowed to have animals.

Portuguese Soccer Star Accused of Killing Black Cat

Oh Mrs. Barky won't be happy to hear about this one. She's Portuguese, and has a black cat (although the cat in question has more of a fatal attraction type thingy for me.

Portuguese soccer star Luis Figo
is accused of running down a black cat believing it brought him bad luck. This according to the Italian newspaper Libero (you can see their awful website here). Figo denies the charge.
Figo denied killing the cat in a statement released on Inter's website on Saturday.

"It's is completely untrue. I want them to apologise otherwise I will be obliged to take legal action," he said.

Inter claimed that Figo was "gravely offended on a human level" by the false accusation.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Killing Greyhounds for Animal Research

One of the uglier aspects of greyhound racing is the fact that dogs that don't make the grade are simply killed. That's right, healthy animals are killed because it's cheaper and easier then getting them adopted out. There are groups like Greyhound Rescue in the US and a variety of groups in the UK that try to help, but it's an uphill battle.

Here is an interesting article in the Times about a breeder who sells greyhounds for animal research.
The largest breeder of greyhounds in Britain is offering to sell healthy young dogs to be killed and dissected for research, an investigation has found.

Charles Pickering told an undercover reporter that his breeding programme continually throws up dozens of “fit and healthy” dogs that are “just a bit too slow for the tracks” and therefore a financial burden to him.

Pickering, who offered to sell them for £30 each, said he was helping to supply dogs to the animal teaching hospital at Liverpool University.

He provides yearling greyhounds to Richard Fielding, a greyhound trainer, who gives his older dogs for free to university veterinary staff, who put them to sleep and remove organs for teaching and research.
What a sad sick industry.

Photo by

Aussies Resume Live Cattle Exports to Egypt

Australia will again be exporting live cattle to Egypt. Shipments were halted recently due to allegations of animal cruelty.
Agriculture Minister Tony Burke, who planned to announce the agreement later Friday, told Fairfax newspapers that resumption of exports will be subject to strict conditions, including the cattle being handled according to international standards and slaughtered only at a new "high-quality" facility.

Exports were halted abruptly in 2006 after the previous government reacted to a television documentary showing cattle having their tendons slashed and their eyes poked out by Egyptian cattlemen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Friday

Watch this hamster snarf up the nuts and veggies.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Vodafone Pug at Center of Controversy

The Animal Welfare Board of India says Vodafone committed animal cruelty by forcing its pug mascot to chase a bus for a commercial.
In its notice sent April 25, Chennai headquartered AWBI said: "The pet dog was made to run, gallop and chase the school van for a long time on a public road. Thereby, the dog was made to undergo severe pain and suffering due to the exhaustion caused by chasing (the bus)."

AWBI lawyer SR Sundaram said: "The final film should strictly follow the script submitted at the time of pre-shoot permission for the animal performances. It is also directed that the performing animals should not be subjected to any cruelty, failing which the AWBI will initiate legal proceedings under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960."

Vodafone denies the charge.

Photo by Swami.

Vets Rescue Animals From Chilean Volcano

A team of vets is helping rescue pets left behind from a volcano.
Armed with cans of food, the vets scoured the town as the volcano spewed ash for a sixth day on Wednesday in its first eruption in thousands of years.

"We are collecting pets from backyards of houses and taking them to the municipal gym, where it will be easier to feed them," said Macarena Zanelli, head of the veterinary faculty of the University of Saint Thomas in the southern town of Puerto Montt, where many evacuees are being sheltered.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quote of the Week

We are the living graves of murdered beasts, slaughtered to satisfy our appetites. How can we hope in this world to attain the peace we say we are so anxious for?
--George Bernard Shaw (Living Graves, published 1951)

Badgers Seen as Possible Cattle Killers in UK

Interesting article about badgers possibly infecting cattle in the UK with bovine tuberculosis. Some people want to cull the badger populations.

As usual, this battle pits animal rights against agricultural interests.

Photo by Bryan26.

I Won't Watch The Olympic Games in Beijing

I will not be watching the Olympic Games this year because of the rotten treatment of animals in China. I won't bother linking to any videos of the wretched conditions of dogs, cats and other animals in this post. That's easy enough to find on Youtube. I think it's fairly clear that animals are treated horribly there and that the government does very little to stop it.

This is China's time to shine. I can't do much about that other then to turn my back on this spectacle. A spectacle made "clean" I might add by scooping up and butchering every stray animal they can get their hands on in Beijing. That seems to be their way. I know the Chinese could care less if I choose to tune them out, but that's OK. I could care less about their Olympics.

So, while the athletes are competing, I'll be thinking and blogging about dogs and cats stuffed into cages too small to even stand, let alone turn around. And about children throwing live chickens into lion cages to be ripped apart for the amusement of the crowd. And about all the other cruel acts inflicted, not by criminals mind you, but either by the government itself, or with their blessing.

I hope others tune them out too. Turn off the games.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mercy For Animals Goes After Turlock CA Poultry Farm

LA Unleashed has the story here.

Here is footage taken at the farm:

Trap, Neuter and Release

USA Today has a great roundup of efforts to promote Trap, Neuter and Release programs for feral cats.
Feral cats — nearly invisible and often reviled — have prowled into the spotlight.

The free-roamers with an aversion to humans have grabbed headlines this spring because of a bounty on their heads in Iowa, a threatened roundup and disposal in Fairfax County, Va., and other elimination plans across the country.

But the cats also are receiving attention of a different sort.

Grass-roots groups and animal-welfare organizations are directing money and energy toward helping the tens of millions of feral cats that skulk about college campuses, cluster around back-alley trash bins, swarm among the rocks at beach communities and colonize the nether-reaches of suburban parks, military installations and abandoned barns and fields.

Memorial Planned for Katrina's Animal Victims

I think this is wonderful.
On Aug. 29, 2008, representatives from American Humane and other animal welfare and animal rescue organizations -- and many others -- will take part in a memorial service in New Orleans commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The ceremonies will include the unveiling of a statue honoring the many animals that were lost in the storm and its aftermath.

Sponsor the Katrina Pet Memorial Statue

Humane organizations and individuals may also wish to sponsor this historic statue. Names of donors and organizations that give over a certain level will be engraved on a plaque alongside the statue, on permanent display. To inquire about the levels of sponsorship available, email Jeff Dorson, director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, at

Donate to Ongoing Care of Animals Homeless by Katrina

The Humane Society of Louisiana still cares for more than 100 animals made homeless by Hurricane Katrina. To help these wonderful animals, please send donations to:

Humane Society of Louisiana, P.O. Box 740321, New Orleans, LA 70174
Or donate via the Humane Society of Louisiana’s PayPal account at:

Photo by gadget.

PETA's Anti-KFC Ad Under Investigation

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority is investigating an anti-KFC ad being run by PETA.

The advertising watchdog is investigating an ad by animal rights group Peta that shows KFC's Colonel Sanders spattered in blood and about to knife a chicken, after a complaint that it was offensive and could distress children.

The ad, on the front cover of a leaflet that Peta distributes across the UK, is part of a campaign the animal rights group is running against the fast food chain under the title "KFC Cruelty".

Personally, I have no problem with this. How is it offensive? It's the truth. And as for distressing children, of course it's distressing. I find it distressing and I'm an adult. Pictures of the Holocaust and other horrible events in human history are upsetting too...but certain truths should be known. I think children need to know where their food comes from. If they still want to eat it, then they are making an informed decision. And how many children are actually being handed PETA flyers anyway?

KFC is the worst of the whole bunch in my opinion.

Photo by meganpru.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Vermont High Court Considers Non-economic Damages for Lost Pets

The Vermont Supreme court is taking on the issue of whether pets have a value over and above their economic one.
Vermont's Supreme Court will hear a case about whether a pet owner has the right to compensation for the emotional pain and loss of companionship when the animal dies as a result of negligence.

Sensing the importance of the case, veterinary associations—including the AVMA—animal rights groups, and other interested parties are weighing in. Although limited to the state of Vermont, the court's decision has the potential to reshape animal jurisprudence in this country as well as the practice of veterinary medicine.

The plaintiffs, Robert and Susan Goodby, were having their two cats treated for hypertension in December 2002. The veterinarians had prescribed 1.25 mg amlodopine chew tabs, which had been dispensed by a veterinary pharmacy to treat the condition. The concentration of the drug dispensed was allegedly much higher than the labeled dosage, which the plaintiffs claim caused their pets to become ill and die within days of one another.

In 2005, the Goodbys filed suit against the veterinarians and the compounding pharmacy, citing breach of contract and negligence as well as loss of companionship and society, severe emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Christian Bale Supports Gorilla Survival

You may know that Sigourney Weaver is the honorary chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, but did you also know that Christian Bale is on the Board of Trustees?

Here are some other facts....
A devoted animal lover, Christian has two dogs [Mojo and Ramone] and three cats [Miriam, Molly, and Lilly], which are all strays that he found.

Christian is active in many organizations, including Ark Trust, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Foundation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Redwings Sanctuary, and the Happy Child Mission, and a school for street kids in Rio De Janeiro.

Photo by Chopiana.

Politics and Mutts

As I type this, a black cat is sitting in my lap. Here is a story about another black cat whose story is in Shelter Stories: Love Guaranteed by Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell. This gives me a chance to link to two things I like: Mutts, and to Mike Markarian's excellent blog Animals and Politics. His black cat was rescued from a busy road and is featured in the book. Our cat was rescued from behind our apartment building.

That's Cleo the Cat at left. The gray cat is her son Che.

Feeding Animals to Chickens Causes Outrage in Europe

Does feeding pigs to chickens sound strange? Well, this is something that's done. The practice was banned in Europe due to mad cow fears. Now they want to start doing it again to save money.
In 1994, at the height of the BSE crisis, the EU banned the use of animal remains for farm feedstuffs but under its transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) road map, published in 2005, outlined proposals that in future some bans might be relaxed. Since then costs of cereals - the basis of poultry feed throughout Europe - have risen dramatically. The EU proposal to mix pig remains with cereals and use them for feeding chickens is linked to these price rises.

Only poultry feed would be exempt from the current ban on the use of animal remains. Chickens are omnivores that eat both vegetation and meat, usually by pecking for worms, officials point out. The practice of feeding the remains of ruminants, mostly cows and sheep, to other ruminants - a process linked to the spread of BSE (mad cow disease) - would still be outlawed.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Random Thought about Scientists

During a conversation with a friend last Friday, I had the following realization.

Scientists have done a lot to help animals lately. They've conducted research proving that animals, especially primates, have their own language, culture, ability to use tools, emotions, etc. They've provided a lot of proof for the animal rights cause.

And yet, at the same time, they are the primary proponents of taking the same animals and exploiting them in barbaric, unnecessary experimentation. Scientists are also among the strongest advocates of animals being less than humans.

A true view or simply a justification for their livelihood and research?

Anyway, just an observation of how relying on scientists is a double-edged sword.

Knut the Bear Is Growing Up

Poor Knut, the young polar bear at the Berlin Zoo. He's not so tiny and cute anymore. And he's not getting the attention from zoo visitors that he's learned to enjoy.

Here's an update on his development.
The old worries about the effects of being raised by humans have resurfaced.

But times change, cubs grow up and those experts may have been on to something after all. “With Knut, it’s clear that he has imprinted on humans, and when neither his keeper nor visitors are there he cries out,” said Thomas Pietsch, a biologist and expert on wild animals for the animal-welfare group Four Paws in Germany. Peter H. Arras, a zoologist and animal-protection advocate put it more succinctly: “He’s a psychopath addicted to human attention.”

That attention has fallen off significantly. Knut is now too large and too strong to play with Mr. Dörflein. And the largest crowds of spectators have moved south. In the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, a new young cub named Flocke, or Snowflake, claimed the crown of cuteness when she was introduced to the public earlier this month. A third cub in Stuttgart, named Wilbär, is being brought up the old-fashioned way, by his mother.

There are legitimate concerns (except for the newspaper that worried he may be gay. Oh, and the charge that he "senselessly murdered live carp - he is a BEAR, ya know.) But I still don't agree with those who thought he was better off dead.

Photo by davidoo750.

Animal Rights Protesters Arrested in Salt Lake City

Three protesters were arrested in Salt Lake City for violating a new ordinance that requires that they maintain a distance of 100 feet from residences.

They gathered in the middle of the night on a residential street, their faces covered with bandannas, holding candles and chanting slogans against what they believe is unnecessary abuse of primates in the name of science.
A series of protests Sunday outside a University of Utah researcher's home resulted in the first arrests under a new Salt Lake City ordinance requiring picketers to remain at least 100 feet from a residence.
Salt Lake City police booked into jail three animal-rights activists who were quickly released on their own recognizance.
The targeted scientist, whose research uses monkeys to study the way the brain receives stimuli from the eye, declined to be interviewed. U. administrators, however, denounced the demonstrations as intimidation.
A group called the Primate Freedom Project has singled out for pickets at least four U. scientists, providing photos and addresses on its Web site. The group did not organize Sunday's protests, which likely spun off from a conference the group held last weekend, spokesman Jeremy Beckham said.

Thius is the group doing the picketing.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Random Ten

Hey just because I blog about pets doesn't mean I can't do the old blogger random 10 from the Ipod. Or am I just stealing this idea from Tbogg?. Oh well. Without further adieu:

1. Green Day - Platypus (I Hate You)
2. Jimi Hendrix - Hey Baby
3. Beirut - Brataslava
4. Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart in San Francisco
5. Eddie Cochran - C'mon Everybody
6. Dropkick Murphy's - Firestarter Karaoke
7. Pink Floyd - Childhoods End
8. NEU! - Im Gluck
9. Elvis - It's a Matter of Time
10. Inkubus Sukkubus - Starchild

Happy Weekend.

Happy Friday

Have a cat. The end is the best part.

Spitzer Outlaws Animal Electrocution in NY

Before Elliott Spitzer left office, he signed into law a bill that outlaws electrocuting animals by fur farms. From LA Unleashed:
Spitzer in March signed into law a ban on the electrocution of animals in a particularly gruesome way to harvest their fur, making New York the first state in the nation to combat the practice, the Associated Press reports.

It looks like no one took notice until now. (Maybe the New York press had other things to cover).

The law bans the practice of anal and genital electrocution of fur-bearing animals, including mink, foxes, chinchillas and rabbits. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail.
More on that here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two Beef Processors Hit With Humane Violations

Looks like someone forgot to contribute to the Bush Library.

Two of the nation's largest beef processors were slapped with humane handling violations during a government review of meat providers to the National School Lunch Program, records show.

One of those companies' violations was rescinded after the company appealed, and the other company's appeal is pending.

Audits by the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service resulted in "noncompliance" determinations for a National Beef Packing Co. plant in Dodge City, Kan., and a Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fresno, Calif., according to information obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request.

South Africa Lifts Ban on Elephant Culls

The elephant population in South Africa has increased significantly. As a result, the South African Govt. lifted a 13 year moratorium on elephant culls.

The South African government earlier this year authorised the killing of elephants from May 1 as a last resort in limiting the numbers of the African elephant that have more than doubled since culling was halted in 1995.

Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the issue of population management of the animals had been "devilishly complex" after a long and emotive public debate over plans to reduce elephant numbers.

"Our department has recognised the need to maintain culling as a management option, but has taken steps to ensure that this will be the option of last resort that is acceptable only under strict conditions," he said at the time.

However animal rights activists who feel the new guidelines for elephant management are flawed, are taking the matter to court while rallying the international community to boycott tourism in South Africa.

Frankly, I don't think that's the right answer. SA has done a better job then most in both managing elephant and rhino populations, as well as combating the ivory trade. What other options are there? And for anyone that comes up with the tranquilize and move scenario, they have to come up with specific plans as to where they should go if they want to be credible.
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