Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tesco Shareholders Don't Back Improved Welfare Standards

It's too bad the vote failed, but I'm really excited about this article. I hadn't really thought about shareholder activism on animal welfare issues. I don't know why not...shareholders do things on other issues like human rights, corporate ethics, and environmental protection.

We are not big stock owners because most of our investments are in mutual funds. But I'm embarrassed to say that I don't really even know WHAT I own in those funds. Who or what exactly am I supporting?

Anyway, here's the article.
TV cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was leading the charge. He wanted investors to adopt new standards for rearing birds, but the plan got fewer than 10% of votes at its annual general meeting.

It's a start though.

Man Saves Bear From Drowing

That's right, a guy saved a bear from drowning.
WILDLIFE officer Adam Warwick stripped off and jumped into the sea to save the bear who bolted into the water after being hit by a tranquiliser dart.

The 26-stone black bear had bolted into the water in fright after being shot with a tranquilliser dart when it was found roaming a Florida beachfront neighbourhood.
The picture is pretty cool.

Travellers to Beijing Olympics Warned to Watch Out For Dog Bites

Remember Beijing residents will be eating a lot less dog since they closed all those restaurants for the games. So, there may be more dogs around to bite you if you go to the Beijing Olympics.

According to a report in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
, dog bites are a potential threat for those going to the games. China has the 2nd highest human rabies rate in the world. But, I'm sure they are cramming all those stray dogs into little cages as fast as they can. Here's a link to some cats crammed into cages about 8 inches high. They eat those too. No wonder they are so embarrassed to show this ugly side to the world.

Remember the barbaric treatment of these poor animals when the Chinese are proudly marching into that stadium during the opening ceremonies. I'll remember, but not while watching the games. I refuse to give them my time or attention.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Arkansas Mayor Faces Charges for Releasing Strays in National Forest

Helena-West Helena AR Mayor and noted mouth-breather James Valley decided to solve his animal shelter problem by releasing dogs into a national forest. Now there is a warrant out for his arrest for animal cruelty. It should also be noted that it is a federal crime to abandon animals in a national forest, although I doubt the feds will bring charges under this administration.

I understand that not every stray can't be sent off to a happy home. And, I understand that not every community has the resources and the space to run their own no-kill shelter. In cases like this, they need to have the animals put down in a humane manner. Abandoning them to slowly starve to death in a national forest is cruel and just plain bone-headed. I hope this guy gets what he deserves.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Contradictions of China and Japan

It's strange how much I really hate China. When I think of China, I think of animal abuse, human abuse, environmental degradation, religious intolerance, greed, authoritarianism, brutality...and the list goes on and on.

And yet, I love Taoism and Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. I've studied Chen Tai Chi for the past five years and really appreciate the philosophy behind this martial art. I'm also influenced by Buddhist thought which melded with Taoism and have tried for many years to develop my own meditation practice.

And yet....I really hate China.

The contradiction drives me crazy. Where is this gentleness and love of nature and balance? A friend of mine says that is Old China and we're now talking about New China. I don't know enough to say, except that I get very confused sometimes.

I have to say the same thing about Japan...although my anger is more focused on whaling and other marine issues. My yoga teacher is Japanese and she seems so in tune with the world and nature....what would she say to whaling though (I'm NOT asking!)

Urban Agriculture in America: Goats, Pigs and Chickens in the Back Yard?

Here is an article about people that have goats and chickens in an urban setting (the Bay area to be specific).

The wife has mentioned chickens or goats (and written about it on this blog). I don't think our yard is big enough.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sea Shepherd Announces New Campaign

Sea Shepherd has announced their new plan for stopping Japanese whaling in Antarctic waters. Called Operation Musashi, named after Japanese strategist Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi is famous for his strategy book called the Book of Five Rings.

The plan this year is to send 2 ships. Hopefully that will be a little more effective then just the one that they had in the last campaign (although it was quite effective, but faced limitations given Japan's refueling and support capabilities).

Whaling Commision Meeting: Big Yawn

I resisted the idea of doing some sort of in depth coverage of the Whaling Commission because I really didn't feel like reading about it every day. So, I thought I would do a summary at the very end. Here goes:

The meeting went from Monday of this week and wrapped up on Friday. That about covers it. Did I leave anything out?

Australian Treasury Official to Rescue Wombats

Here's a man who loves wombats.

Australia's top treasury official is taking five weeks leave to look after endangered wombats.

Ken Henry, treasury secretary and animal conservationist, has warned that hairy-nosed wombats are "on death row".

But opposition politicians - and even wombat lovers - question if now is the time to be thinking about wombats.

Inflation is at a 16-year high, interest rates are up and fuel prices are rising. Mr Henry will also miss a central bank meeting.

Now, that's real commitment to a cause.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two Dogs and Two Cats Blogging

Here are some of our neighbor's pets we are looking after.

First up is Winston. Relaxing on the grass after a long day relaxing in the house.

And here is is Duncan the dog and Milo the cat (note how the cat has taken on the color of the dogs so to not be seen as well).

And last up is TJ. He spends most of the time in our yard because Duncan hates him.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Best Friends Still Saving Animals

Best Friends is still hard at work saving animals in flooded areas in Iowa.

Read about the rescue of some kittens and a cat here
(good pictures too).

Quote of the Week

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

~ George Bernard Shaw

Great Apes to Get Basic Rights in Spain

Spain's parliament is about to pass a law granting great apes the right to life and freedom. I wonder if the rest of Europe will follow suit. As a member of the EU, I wonder what effect this will have on Europe as a whole.

All of this is part of the Great Ape Project. Here it what it is:

1. The Right to Life
The lives of members of the community of equals are to be protected. Members of the community of equals may not be killed except in very strictly defined circumstances, for example, self-defense.

2. The Protection of Individual Liberty
Members of the community of equals are not to be arbitrarily deprived of their liberty; if they should be imprisoned without due legal process, they have the right to immediate release. The detention of those who havenot been convicted of any crime, or of those who are not criminally liable, should be allowed only where it can be shown to be for their own good, or necessary to protect the public from a member of the community who wouldclearly be a danger to others if at liberty. In such cases, members of the community of equals must have the right to appeal, either directly or, if they lack the relevant capacity, through an advocate, to a judicial tribunal.

3. The Prohibition of Torture
The deliberate infliction of severe pain on a member of the community of equals, either wantonly or for an alleged benefit to others, is regarded as torture, and is wrong.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Animals in Business Ethics

I'm taking a class this summer in Business Ethics and I just started chapter 1 of my textbook. It talks about the evolution of business ethics starting in the early 20th century.

One of the main issues in business ethics involves environmental protection. All the other issues cited either have to do with professional ethics or some sort of human condition. But nothing about animals. I'm guessing that animals are included in environmental protection, but really, the issue of animals is a separate issue than environmental protection. A lab can control its disposal of medical waste so as not to pollute streams while it's still testing its new cosmetic or drug on a rabbit's eyes.

And really, there are a lot of animal issues in the business world. Product testing on animals, products made from animal material, meat, eggs, dairy, fur, exotic pet trade, pet sales, pet supplies, veterinarian care, etc.

So, here's a another area of study that needs some prodding to address animal issues. I know they do it in medical it should be business ethics.

Bottled Water For Dogs

That's right, bottled water for dogs. It does have added supplements. I'm working on my own dog hydration system using something similar to this system.

Mutts, by the way, is a great blog.

Ringtones That Only Pets Can Hear

One of the things I find depressing about doing this blog is I have to read all those damn depressing animal stories. This isn't one of them. Unless you think the Japanese are depressing. I just think they're bizarre...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Japanese Man Robs Stores to Feed Pets

A Japanese man was caught after robbing stores because welfare didn't pay enough to feed his two dogs, five cats, five turtles, two snakes and an aquarium of tropical fish. And best of all, he wore a dog mask, earning him the nickname of Dogman. Woof!

His dog mask, unfortunately ended up being ripped up by his pet beagle. Ingrate.

Microsoft and Petfinder Team up to Defeat Bots

We've all had the experience of having to imput some blurry piece of text to prove to a website that we are human. They're called Captchas (Completely Automated Public Turing Test). Sometimes even this human can't tell if that's a "t" or an "f".

Microsoft has teamed up with Petfinder to come up with a new system called Asirra (Animal Species Image Recognition for Restricting Access). What it does, is present you with a series of adoptable animals, and tells you to pick out either the dogs or cats. Easy for us. Very hard for a computer or bot. And if you like one you see, you can click on a button and it will take you straight to Petfinder.

I'm a Mac user myself, but I have to give credit to Microsoft for coming up with a really neat idea.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Report Internet Animal Abuse

We hear about animal cruelty all the time, but animal cruelty on the Internet? Apparently so. Video postings of bestiality, remote hunting, and blood sport broadcasts.

If you see it, here's what to do.

**Immediately contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, at The website will direct you to the page where you can file your complaint. At first glance, it may appear that the website will only consider complaints of Internet monetary fraud. However, IC3 is the proper venue for all Internet crimes, including animal abuse.
**IC3 can best process your complaint if the information you provide is as detailed and complete as possible. This includes providing the complete URL (website address) for the website that displayed the suspected animal cruelty.
**Even if you are located outside the United States, IC3 will review your report as long as the suspected abuser is located in the United States.

The American Humane Association has more information.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pigarittaville Video

This video is very funny:

Jamie Glaser's site is here. Two dollars out of every purchase of his album Music For Pets and People will go to animal rescue groups.

Best Friends Helping Rescue Animals in Flood

I've seen news reports about the flooding in the mid-west, but haven't really paid much attention. Not so with Best Friends. As usual, they are doing fantastic work there. They are such an awesome group.

ALF Becoming Really Active in Mexico

I've noticed a ot more "communiques" on the ALF site that come from Mexico. Not sure what that means. Either they have a growing movement there or have some very active cell that just started up.

It's Saturday!

Time for lots of yard work. Go outside and play. Or send clumps of hair to the Olsen Twins.

World's Ugliest Dog

Animal Planet is having the World's Ugliest Dog contest. I remember the last one. That was one ugly dog. But very sweet. I'll try to post a picture if I can do so without being sued.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cockfighting Exists in Pacific Northwest

You can never overlook Washington State. It is known for its serial killers...why not cockfighting too?

Woo hoo!

The Snohomish County sheriff's office says 92 roosters, hens and chicks that were found sick and living in deplorable conditions had to be destroyed.

Det. Larry Cole says they were euthanized and cremated after a raid Wednesday on a farm near Snohomish suspected of raising game fowl for cockfighting.

The 46-year-old owner was released pending a decision from prosecutors on possible animal cruelty charges.

Deputies were tipped to the farm by the Humane Society of the United States that found the farm's Web site advertising birds "ready for the pit."

At the farm, Cole says, deputies found evidence that the birds were being given drugs and hormones to make them more violent.

How to Deal with a Global Warming Denier

Believe me, global warming deniers are everywhere. I have heard denials from even the people I would least suspect. They'll say global warming is "natural," it's just cyclical climate change. Or that humans really don't have that much of an impact.

Before you get into a shouting match, get prepared with this great web page on "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic." I am going to study it closely.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bush and McCain Say "F*&* U" to the Oceans

Dubya came out this week in support of John McCain's call for "environmentally friendy" offshore oil drilling.

President George W Bush has called on Congress to end a 27-year ban on drilling for oil in US coastal waters, to reduce dependence on imports.

Mr Bush said existing restrictions on offshore drilling were "outdated and counter-productive".

His move comes as US consumers are calling for action to tackle high oil prices that have pushed prices at the pump to more than $4 (£2) a gallon....

Republican John McCain favours offshore oil drilling, whereas his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, opposes it.

At least McCain is opposed to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but how long will that position last?

Animal Law Gaining Popularity in Australia

At least according to this article. I think it needs to be done. And, I'm not talking about whether a chimp, for example, should be declared a "person".

I think that in the wake of the pet food scandal in the US and Canada, there are issues that need to be worked out. Is a companion animal "worth" only the replacement value, or is there an additional value that can't be easily quantified? I think that and other issues need to be explored.

There used to be a blog about that kind of stuff called Animalblawg, but they are no more :-(.

PETA and Jessica Simpson: Together in Stupidity

1. Jessica Simpson wears t-shirt that says "Real Girls Eat Meat" to get back at ex-boyfriend dating vegetarian.
2. PETA objects!
3. Publicity for both because they get in the news!!!
4. ????
5. Profit??? Whatever...

UPDATE- Ladykat disagrees with me (see below post and her comment to this one). I stand by my snarkiness.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Speaking of Animal Sex

LA Unleashed has a story about a rare horse that got a reverse vasectomy. It took me a second to figure out what I was looking at in the picture. Legs, tubes and vet techs everywhere. Yikes.

Underage Elephant Sex

If there is one story that we have gotten more hits then anything else, it's the underage elephant sex story here. I don't know why. Really. I can't for the life of me figure out why. But, I assume this post will get lots of hits about it too.

Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex Underage Elephant Sex

Whaling Commission Meeting Next Week

The International Whaling Commmission is meeting next week in Chile. That should be interesting. There have been all kinds of rumors that the Rudd Govt. in Austraia is going to backslide on the ban (Sea Shepherd is among one of the main accusers). Rudd denies it.

Australia has certainly done a fantastic job in leading the charge to end whaling. They deserve a lot of credit for that. You don't hear a peep out of the US about it.

Sea Shepherd will be there. Nothing about this on the Greenpeace site, although I'm sure they will have someone there.

Blogging Boredom

We've been doing this blog since what? 1973 or something? Oh those heady days writing copy on the old Selectric while Lady Kat punched computer cards to feed into the old DEC.

I think we are gonig to do less linking, and more writing. We'll still be finding stories and stuff, but we'll do a little more commentary. That's not always easy when you have a day job. But, it's more interesting then saying "hey look at this!"

And, I want to try to expand on topics to do not just "news" but other animal related stuff on the interwebs (to be determined).

I don't know if people will like it, but then again, we're giving you this stuff as a big fat freebie! OK, you get what you pay for. Anyways, thanks for reading our blog, and I hope you continue to do so.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chickens Gaining Popularity in Seattle Area

Here's a great article about city families raising chickens in the Seattle area. It's written by our next door neighbor.

Interest in chicken-raising has boomed in the last three years, says Angelina Shell, city chickens coordinator for Seattle Tilth, a group that promotes organic gardening. “A big part nowadays is people wanting to be more self-sufficient and wanting to know where their food comes from,” Shell says.

....Each city has its own rules on how many pets people are allowed to have. Some allow chickens. Others don’t. Seattle allows three on a standard 3,000 square-foot lot, but no roosters because their cock-a-doodle-doos would violate noise ordinances. Bellevue permits up to six, and just this year, Renton started allowing residents to keep up to three chickens.

Fresh eggs are the obvious benefit of having your own chickens. As they roam their yards, they also often eat slugs and bugs that might otherwise munch away at any flowers, herbs or veggies growing in a garden. They also like worms, which some gardeners wish the birds would leave alone. Chicken droppings are rich in nutrients and can be added to gardens to enrich the soil.

Keeping chickens is relatively easy. Aside from chicken feed – a 50-pound bag costs about $20 – all the birds need is clean water and shelter where they can nest, hunker down in bad weather and hide from raccoons, hawks, stray dogs and other predators. Coops can be made on the cheap by hand or cost thousands of dollars for elaborate designs.

Before I learned about animal rights, I was not a fan of chickens. In fact, to my shame, I remember telling a vegan that I didn't really care whether chickens suffered or not because I thought they were stupid, annoying birds. To her credit, the vegan lady didn't yell at me. Instead, she just noted that chickens were actually very gregarious personalities once they were out of their cages and in their own natural habitat. Over time, I have learned that is true.

I would love to get a chicken or two now for our backyard, but that idea has been nixed by EVIL MR. BARKY!

Message to Cows: Eat More Nuts!

We here at Critter News follow developments regarding the methane-cow emission connection closely. The latest is that belching cows should eat more nuts!

The cast offs from snacking on cashews may help fight global warming caused by animals that belch methane.

Tests in Japan have show that oil produced from the shell of the cashew nut may slash by 90 percent the methane emissions from belching cattle when mixed as an additive to feed, a spokesman for oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co said on Wednesday.

The firm's research division is working with Hokkaido University on Japan's northernmost island, on the project, with the aim of launching sales within four years, the spokesman said.

I can only imagine the experiments conducted in this research study!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jessica Simpson is a Meat Head

I don't spend time thinking about Jessica Simpson. And I certainly don't particularly care what she "thinks" (if one can call "thinking" whatever is going on above the brain stem in her cranium). But I think this is particularly stupid.

Jessica Simpson was photographed Friday at the LAX airport proudly sporting a “Real Girls Eat Meat” t-shirt.

This girl has no idea what she has on her chest (you know what I mean!) If she were making a political statement, I could at least be angry about it...but frankly, I don't know if that shirt means anything at all.

At least it got her bad publicity. And hopefully, PETA will go after her!

60 Penguins Die From Uruguayan Oil Spill

Sixty more victims of our love affair with oil.

The result of a collision last week between the Greece-registered bulk carrier Syros and another bulker of similar size, the Sea Bird, registered in Malta, was the death of some 60 penguins.

Another 34 penguins, covered in oil but alive, also appeared on the beaches of this South American nation’s southern coast, Richard Tesore of the SOS-Marine Life Rescue environmental group told local online news outlet Observa.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bullfights to Become Late Night TV in Portugal

This all happened due to a Portuguese law that prohibits violent programming from being shown that kids can watch.
RTP, Portugal’s state-owned TV station, has been ordered by a Lisbon court to cease, with immediate effect, the screening of early evening bullfights, in effect, bring bullfights on television on a par with programmes that contain extreme violence or sex.

The ground-breaking verdict states that the only opportunity people will have to watch a bullfight on television will be between 10.30 pm and 6am.

The court order follows action taken by Portuguese animal rights group ANIMAL.

This injunction was based on a general rule established in the Portuguese Law of Television which prohibits TV stations from broadcasting programmes which can be deemed to negatively influence the personality of children and teenagers.
Interesting. I saw quite a few early evening bullfights on RTP when we were in the Azores.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Vegetarians Making Inroads

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I still eat eggs and dairy.) Most of my friends and family are meat eaters, although some do draw the line at veal and lamb (only some). But what I find heartening is the slow change in society to include people who don't eat meat.

Just in the past week, I had a veggie burger at Burger King. And today I was at a wedding that had vegetarian burgers. Of course, it's still a meat-eating world, but I think that just being a vegetarian and asking for alternatives is having an impact. It is raising awareness that there are alternatives, even if people may not agree with them.

Change has to start somewhere. The constant question though is whether humans and animals have run out of time for the change to be complete.

Pandas in Danger Due to Earthquake

China's already endangered pandas face a tough time due to the recent earthquake there.
Nearly all of China’s endangered pandas are in jeopardy after the earthquake last month devastated the remote mountain corner that is their last remaining habitat.

Already boxed into these steep and thickly forested hillsides by the advance of Man, its numbers limited by a slow rate of reproduction and with its food supply threatened by the scarcity of its favourite arrow bamboo, the panda is now facing its most severe crisis in decades.

Chinese officials, usually reluctant to reveal the real extent of a crisis, have announced that the last 1,590 pandas living in the wild face a very uncertain future after the earthquake.

Yan Xun, an official at the State Forestry Administration, said: “Their living environment is completely destroyed. Massive landslides and large-scale damage to forests triggered by last month’s earthquake are threatening the existence of wild pandas.”

Friday, June 13, 2008

Does Religion Play a Role in Animal Welfare?

LA Unleashed has a good post about the role of religion (specifically Catholicism in this instance) and the treatment of animals.

Outsourcing Animal Testing to India and China

Western pharmaceutical companies are outsourcing their animal testing, along with other activities to China and India.
Through detailed interviews with executives of 16 pharmaceutical firms in China and India on their business models, value-chain activities, partnerships and technology capabilities, the researchers concluded that Indian and Chinese companies are making strides in most of the lucrative segments of global value chains.

In less lucrative segments such as preclinical testing, animal experimentation and manufacturing, Chinese firms appear to be more prevalent while India is a more mature venue for chemistry and drug-discovery activities.
I can't think of a better way for western companies to hide this kind of activity. Given China's horrendous record on animal welfare, I imagine conditions for these animals are that much worse.

Baby Panda!

Unlike LadyKat, I have no qualms about posting cute videos. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tales from the Animal Rights Trenches 1.3

I've been completing a Cost Accounting class and haven't had much time for blogging. Thanks to Mr. Barky for picking up the slack.

On some days when I could have blogged, I discovered that I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just couldn't bring myself to look for a story about animals. The prospect was just too depressing at that moment.

Now, I know that I could just post something happy or maybe a cute picture. But then I feel like that just doesn't seem *substantive* enough. And if I did that every time I didn't want to post about animals, we might as well have a slide show of hamster pictures.

There aren't that many blogs by private citizens about animal issues. Most of the blogs are by large organizations and their paid staff. It's tough to do this on a volunteer basis because the subject matter is so intense. You don't realize how much bad news is out there until you actually start looking for it. It's all over the place, although you may not see it in your particular news outlet.

This is a whiny post I suppose, but it's not meant to be. It was just an observation about myself and also a real eye-opener about those people who actually work on these issues every day in their jobs. If I get depressed from just reading the news each day, I really have to admire the people who live with it and work on it every day.

Arkansas Town Abandons Strays in National Forest: Animal Control for Morons

You have to be dumb as a sack of hammers to think that stray dogs are better off left in a national forest to fend for themselves. But, that's what the mayor of an Arkansas town did.
[Town mayor James] Valley said the city street director released about 10 dogs into the forest Wednesday after the animals were fed and watered. About three dogs were kept to be put down by a veterinarian, he said.

"They are better off free," the mayor said Thursday in a telephone interview.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service said the agency was not contacted by the city before releasing the dogs, and does not condone releasing animals into the forest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hong Kong Poultry Slaughtered Due to Bird Flu

Health officials ordered the slaughter of all live poultry in Hong Kong's street markets on Wednesday after detecting one of the largest outbreaks of the bird flu virus in years.

The action comes after tests showed four markets had poultry infected with the H5N1 virus. It was unclear how many birds would be killed or how many were infected, but around 3,500 chickens were for sale by nearly 470 retail vendors citywide as of Tuesday night.

I understand why they are doing it and, really, the chickens were on their way to a dinner plate anyway.

But still...poor chickens.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chimp Sanctuary to Open in Cle Elum WA

A new sanctuary for chimpanzees will be opening soon in Cle Elum WA. The first 7 new residents are set to arrive in a few days.
Seven chimpanzees from a medical laboratory in Pennsylvania are making a cross-country trip by truck to their new home at the nonprofit Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, an 18,000-cubic-foot facility on 26 acres near Cle Elum, about 70 miles southeast of Seattle.

The six females and one lucky male - Annie, Foxy, Jamie, Jody, Missy, Negra and Burreto - range in age from 24-34. In captivity, chimpanzees can live into their 60s, but generally their life span is 35-50 years old.
Here is a link to their web site.

Aussie Wool Producers Fight Back Against Anti-Mulesing Campaign

PETA has been waging a campaign against mulesing by Australian Wool producers. Mulesing, according to Wikipedia is this:
Mulesing is the surgical removal of strips of wool-bearing wrinkle skin from around the breech of a sheep.[1] [2] Mulesing is common practice in Australia as a way to reduce the incidence of flystrike on Merino sheep in regions where flystrike is common.
Now, Australian wool producers agree that there should be alternatives, and have agreed to phase it out. PETA, however, has continuued its boycott campaign. Australian wool producers are pushing back.
Mr Perry, along with rugby league star Nathan Hindmarsh, Myer, country music singers Gina Jeffreys, Shannon Noll and John Williamson want PETA to stop attacking wool farmers.

Mr Perry, the judge of Australia's Next Top Model, said executives sitting in offices overseas like New York should not be making a decision to boycott goods without all the facts.

He used Australian wool in his recent winter collection and vowed to continue to use it in the future.

"Wool is a huge export and the rest of the world gets our best, but PETA goes to the extreme and it doesn't understand how it impacts on our industry," he said.
Looks like PETA just convinced Adidas to join the boycott.

Monday, June 9, 2008

China Continues to Defy International Law on Selling Tiger Parts

The Chinese authorities have continued to ignore the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) by selling ground up tiger bone in an alcoholic "tonic". Maybe they can come out with a commemorative Olympic bottle.
Staff at two "safari parks" a few hours from the capital Beijing offered to sell undercover investigators wine made from the crushed bones of tigers that died in captivity at the sanctuaries.

The wine, which it is claimed, helps to cure conditions including arthritis and rheumatism, is advertised openly and sold at the parks.

The revelations that the parks are breaking the law are embarrassing for the Chinese government which is trying to promote a positive image of the country in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.
Yes, I'm sure they are very embarrassed. Just like they're "embarrassed" about all those restaurants that serve dog meat that will probably re-open right after the Olympics.

The Chinese government has been pushing for years to get the trade lifted on tiger and endangered animal parts. This is what they want. Why would they be ashamed of this?

PETA Supporters to Send Clumps of Hair to Olsen Twins

In their campaign against the Olsen Twins use of fur in their fashion line, PETA supporters are going to send them clumps of their own hair. From the press release:
As the Olsen twins prepare to celebrate their 22nd birthday this Friday, they'll be getting some unusual "gifts" in the mail—locks of hair from countless young people who object to cruelty to animals. The hairy birthday greetings are being sent at the request of peta2--the world's largest youth animal rights organization--which posted a "mission" on its highly trafficked Web site,, urging young people to send the fur-wearing twins snippets of their own hair along with a note that reads, "Please, use my hair instead of the animals'. Happy Birthday."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Police in Iceland Kill Polar Bear

The bear swims all the way from Greenland, and gets shot and killed for it. Bastards. The video is pretty graphic.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Egyptian Zoo Workers Killing Animals to Supplement Income

This is fairly disturbing.
In most zoos, employees feed and care for the animals. At Egypt's Giza Zoo, police say, workers have been turning them into dinner or selling them as pets.

When two Moroccan camels were butchered in August, the perpetrators left behind only the hide and hooves. A police investigation found that a zookeeper had slaughtered the animals and sold the meat to supplement his monthly wage.

More than 400 animals, including foxes, zebras, a black panther and a giraffe, have vanished from the government-run menagerie in the last three years, according to police documents. Zoo conditions have grabbed headlines in a country where people criticize President Hosni Mubarak for everything from crumbling schools and hospitals to the low wages and rising food prices that have sparked violent protests.
Stuff like this can make it hard to write an animal blog every day. Especially when I'm on vacation.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Still Light Blogging

We are still in the San Juans. We saw a couple deer. I've seen a couple bald eagles too. That's about the only critter news I have. Weather stinks though. 50 degrees and raining and it's June. Oh well, it's still nice to look out over the water here.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Michigan May Allow Hunting of Albino Deer

Because, you know, it's hard enough when it's just you, your high powered rifle, and that damned brown deer. What's up with that? It's like they blend in with everything.
Michigan wildlife officials may drop a rule that forbids killing albino deer, partly because of a legal squabble with a Michigan man who shot a mostly white deer four years ago.

Reversing the moratorium on taking albinos is among several changes in hunting regulations the state Natural Resources Commission is scheduled to consider during a meeting Thursday in Lansing.

A law protecting all-white deer was enacted during the 1980s at the request of an Upper Peninsula legislator and later became part of the state's wildlife conservation code.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Light Blogging Ahead

We'll be going to the San Juan Islands here in WA State, so blogging will be a little sketchy. We'll try to post as much as we can.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brigitte Bardot Fined for "Inciting" Racial Hatred

I'm sorry but I have a hard time with this.
The French screen icon was convicted by a Paris jury this morning of provoking discrimination and racial hatred over a letter she published claiming that Muslims were destroying France, her fifth race-related conviction in the past 11 years.

Bardot was also fined $23,345 for the letter, which she wrote to then Interior Minister, now President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which she stated, "I've had enough of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts."

Last time I checked, Islam was not a race. She was speaking about this in the context of the way Muslims slaughter sheep, not about a particular racial or ethnic group. Does this mean she can only criticize Christian religious practices because it's mainly white people? I understand the push against stupid xenophobic tendencies towards immigrants etc. But this is about a animal welfare issues involving a religious practice, not racism.

Is the RSPCA Weak on People Skills?

According to this article in the Times, they're not very good at dealing with potential animal adopters.
The lady looked up at me sourly. “You're ten minutes too late”. They said it would be OK, I pleaded; ten past three - I did ring to check. You see, it's quite hard to find the time and I don't know when...

“3pm”, she said sharply. “There's no one available to speak to you now.”

I looked at the bevy of staff loitering around behind the desk, doing nothing much. One woman caught my eye sympathetically. “You can have a quick look round”, Ms Timetable said. “Then come back another time.”

And then what? “Then you fill in a form.” Could I do that now?

“No, because there's no one available to interview you.”

Monday, June 2, 2008

Austrian Animal Activist on Hunger Strike

Dr Martin Balluch, the President of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories, has been on hunger strike after being arrested by Austrian authorities.
Ten Austrian animal rights campaigners have been held for two weeks without charge after draconian raids on the 21st May. One has been on hunger strike since then and is becoming very weak. We urgently need international support to exert pressure on the Austrian authorities and media, who are painting the prisoners as terrorists without having produced any evidence.

Twenty-four homes and offices were raided by the elite WEGA police force, guns were held to suspects' heads. Lawyers for the ten detained activists have not been given full access to the prosecution papers and no clear charge has yet been pressed. Other human rights violations have included forcibly taking DNA samples and restriction of visiting hours.

Here is part of Dr. Balluch's statement.
I have been in prison for 7 days. No charges have been made against me.

As a result of this human rights violation, I have embarked on a hunger strike while being on remand. I have not eaten since Tuesday May 20th, 2008. My condition is deteriorating.

On May 21st, 2008, a group of men in black masks demolished the door of my house early in the morning and stormed into my bedroom. They held a gun against my head while I was still in bed and forced me to get up naked. My brother, who was sleeping next door, was ordered to raise his arms. A gun was pressed against the back of his head. For the next six hours, the men raided my house. They confiscated computers, books and writings. I have been on remand ever since.

I am on a hunger strike because nobody has informed me why I have been arrested and held in custody. After many days without food I feel very weak and dizzy. But, I still have confidence in the rule of law in this country; that we here in Austria cannot be treated in this way without good reason. And that’s why I will continue on hunger strike until I am either given a reason or released.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chinese Olympic Animal Cruelty Trinkets

Chinese vendors are selling live goldfish in little plastic key rings. The goldfish don't last very long before they suffocate. Disgusting.
In the last miserable hours of its life it has just about enough room to turn around.

Its flimsy plastic home offers the goldfish no protection as it is carried through bustling streets, and can easily be pierced.

The keyrings – aimed predominantly at children – are already selling fast in markets in Qingdao, the city that will host the sailing events for this summer’s Games.

The figure on the front is of the five Olympics mascots.

I will not watch the games. Not one minute. Nobody in China will care, but then again, I have no interest in their spectacle. Animal cruelty happens in all countries. I understand that. But China has no laws against it, and in fact uses the power of the government to perpetuate the misery of so many animals.

KFC Canada to Work More on Animal Welfare

KFC Canada has come to an agreement with PETA with will end the group's "Kentucky Fried Cruelty".
The Canadian Press has learned that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has agreed to call off its Canadian "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" campaign, which featured high-profile actress Pamela Anderson among others, following a signed agreement with the company.

Among other things, the deal obliges KFC Canada to begin buying from suppliers who use gas to kill their chickens painlessly, considered to be the least cruel method of slaughter.

The company is also promising to insist on other "animal-welfare friendly" measures relating to how the birds are kept, including a maximum on crowding and phasing out non-essential growth-hormones and other drugs.
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