Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Too Cute

Despite the fact that they use a stupid slide show format, these are some really cute little kittens. Awesome photography.

DMX Sentenced

DMX was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a variety of offenses, including animal cruelty.
In addition to his three-month lockup, the minimum he could have faced as a result of last month's plea deal, the arrest-prone artist, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was placed on 18 months probation for his misdeeds.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama's Rules Freeze May Help Wolves

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

In one of his first presidential acts, President Barack Obama has ordered federal agencies to halt all pending regulations until his administration can review them....

Wildlife conservationists say the freeze will delay and possibly prevent the removal of gray wolves from the federal endangered species list in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and also in portions of Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says the pause will afford President Obama and his new Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar the opportunity to rethink the previous administration’s efforts to remove wolves from the endangered species list.

I really hope Salazar turns out to be a good guy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

PETA Commercial Makes it to "The View"

PETA knows how to get attention. Their Super Bowl ad was rejected by NBC, but now everyone's talking about it. Even "The View."

Ethical Beauty Website for Girls

Here is an online magazine for girls promoting and educating about cruelty-free beauty products.

Who is Jennifer Fearing?

I got curious today and googled "Jennifer Fearing," the woman who led the Yes on Proposition 2 campaign. It turns out that she was the former Humane Society Chief Economist. Pretty impressive bio (please note that the bio is from her time at HSUS). She used to head United Animal Nations too.

I couldn't find any information on her current activities. Probably taking a much needed break.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
--James Anthony Froude

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.
--George Orwell

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Extraordinary Growth in Mountain Gorilla Population

Surprisingly, the mountain gorillas have prospered under the rule of the Congo rebels. In contrast, the 2007 murders of 10 gorillas occurred under the Congolese government's control.

The population—made famous by a series of murders in 2007—has grown by nearly 13 percent in the last 16 months, despite having no protection from civil war or poaching for 15 months, park rangers said Monday.

"That the mountain gorilla population has increased in this environment is quite spectacular," said Emmanuel de Merode, head of the 680-strong Virunga ranger force.

The new tally brings the Virunga mountain gorillas to an estimated 211—including 10 babies born during the rangers' absence.

PETA's Veggie Commercial Too Sexy for NBC

NBC rejected PETA's Super Bowl ad because it was too sexual.

You have just got to see it and judge for yourself. It's quite memorable.

Demand for Palm Oil Threatens Orangutans

The demand for palm oil in the US and Europe, is threatening to wipe out orangutans in Indonesia.
The demand for palm oil is rising in the U.S. and Europe because it is touted as a "clean" alternative to fuel. Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, and prices have jumped by almost 70 percent in the last year.

But palm oil plantations devastate the forest and create a monoculture on the land, in which orangutans cannot survive. Over the years, Galdikas has fought off loggers, poachers and miners, but nothing has posed as great a threat to her "babies" as palm oil.

There are only an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia, said Serge Wich, a scientist at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Most live in small, scattered populations that cannot take the onslaught on the forests much longer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Palin Now Going After Endangered Whales

First wolves, then polar bears, now beluga whales. And those are just the endangered animals (remember the turkey being ground up during her tv interview?)

At issue is the population of {the Cook Inlet beluga) whales, which were put under the protections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act eight years ago, which scientists argue hasn't sped their recovery:

Palin begs to differ. Her administration argues that that the belugas are faring just fine under the protections in place, and the population is even beginning to show signs of recovering. For this reason, the state of Alaska contends that additional regulation is unnecessary. "The State of Alaska has worked cooperatively with the federal government to protect and conserve beluga whales in Cook Inlet," Palin said last week. "This listing decision didn't take those efforts into account as required by law."

At the heart of Palin's objections are concerns that additional safeguards will interfere with oil and gas development, among other lucrative projects. "I am especially concerned that an unnecessary federal listing and designation of critical habitat would do serious long-term damage to the vibrant economy of the Cook Inlet area," Palin said in 2007.

Gordon Ramsey's Food Empire in Trouble

Before I start, let me make it clear that I watch the British version of Kitchen Nightmares and I really enjoy it. I did NOT like Gordon Ramsey in the American show Hell's Kitchen, but in the BBC show, he actually comes across as a human being who sometimes cares about people and has a real love of food.

But, Gordon Ramsey disdains vegetarians, and that puts him on my hit list.

So, it was with great interest that I saw that his empire of "everything dead on the plate" is in a bit of trouble. Most of it is economic and, of course, part of it is due to the absurd number of affairs he appears to have had.

So I guess no one is perfect. Even vegetarian-hating super chefs.

Bob Barker Donates $1.5 Million to LA Zoo

The donation is for helping Billy the elephant.
Along with about 200 Los Angeles Zoo employees, children and community members gathered today at City Hall, rock guitarist Slash pledged his support for completing the zoo’s Pachyderm Forest. But the opposition had its own celebrity endorsement, this one with a $1.5 million donation, courtesy of former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker.

The planned future home to 23-year-old Billy the elephant, the Pachyderm Forest is a $42-million, 6-acre proposal that began in 2006, but was put on hold a month ago. Some animal-rights activists said the area still would not provide enough roaming room, and Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas suggested that the zoo’s lone Asian elephant be sent instead to the Performing Animal Welfare Society, a sanctuary in San Andreas.
The donation will go towards moving Billy to PAWS.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Sunday

Some 4 letter words in this one, but it's really funny.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Former Vick Dog Prospers

Another happy little story from Best Friends about a rescued pit bull once owned by Michael "Sick" Vick. This story is about Cherry.

Right Whale Sighting in the Azores

A brief story with two subjects I love, whales and the Azores.

On 5th January 2009 a North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) was seen 5 miles south of Faial Island in the Azores by biologists from Whale Watch Azores and the University of the Azores (UA). Lisa Steiner of Whale Watch Azores and Monica Silva from UA were guided to the animal by a land based lookout and recorded the animal travelling in a westerly direction for just over an hour....

This sighting is the first confirmed sighting of a right whale in the Azores since 1888. The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species in the world with an estimated population of just 300 in the North Atlantic. They grow to a length of 11-18 metres (36-59 feet) and typically weigh 60-80 tonnes.

Puppy Mill Raids in Western Washington

What a mess. We live in Seattle, which is part of King County. Up north are Snohomish County and Skagit County where two puppy mill raids have led to the rescue of almost 600 pregnant dogs, about 80 percent of whom are pregnant. (We blogged about the Gold Bar, Snohomish County, raid last week). The woman who owns the Skagit County property is the mother of the one who owns the Snohomish property. Keeping abuse in the family! And, of course, they are all "designer dogs."

One of my coworkers is heavily involved in puppy mill issues. She says that northwest Washington is a refuge for puppy mills because regulation up there is particularly lax.

If the regulation in this area is worse than puppy mill regulation in general, it must be REALLY bad.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do a Name Search for an Animal Offender

You can do a name search on to see if there is any information in their database. But remember, "all individuals are innocent until proven guilty. This search is intended to be used only as a guide, and it should be remembered that there may be instances where two people live in the same town with the same or similar names."

Still, what an awesome resource. These people are amazing.

Wendy and Lucy, a Film about a Girl and Her Dog

This sounds very moving. I probably can't watch it though. Anything that involves a dog upsets me. Apparently, there's no Ol' Yeller ending, but it's still an intense film.

Here's one of the many good reviews it's received. Wendy is played by Michelle Williams, the mother of Heath Ledger's daughter.

Guy Who Trained Flipper Protests Dolphin Slaughter

I just read this story today.

The moment Flipper died in his arms, Richard O’Barry was transformed from a dolphin trainer into an activist determined to free captive dolphins around the world.

That was 39 years ago. Today, the man who trained Flipper for the popular 1960s TV series is crusading against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, captured by hidden cameras in a chilling documentary called “The Cove” that’s being shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

And here's a little snippet for Gretchen, the animal hater at work, who wears everything having to do with dolphins, but believes we pay too much attention to animals. She believes dolphins have "fun" doing shows.

Well, that's not true, b&*@.

O’Barry has been on a dolphin-protection crusade since the day in 1970 that Kathy, one of the dolphins that played Flipper, died in a steel tank at the Miami Seaquarium while he was holding her. O’Barry is convinced that Kathy was sick and depressed from being held in captivity and forced to do tricks for the TV show.

“Dolphins are extremely intelligent and they get bored to death when they have to do the same things over and over,” he said. “They have larger brains than their trainers and they’ve been around a lot longer than we have.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Canada and Greenland Defend Seal Hunting

Oh, yeah, I forgot about Greenland. They are testifying with Canada against an EU ban on seal products. Both claim that a ban would be devastating.

They spoke before a hearing on the proposed ban.

Greenland Fisheries Minister Finn Karlsen, dressed in a traditional white Inuit sealskin jacket, insisted such a ban would “have severe and negative consequence for hunters and their families.”

“Our culture and our economy are at stake and it’s something I cannot accept,” he told lawmakers.

Canadian fisheries ministry representative Garry Stenson said the hunt “is humane, well regulated and sustainable” and that new rules for the hunt were under review to strengthen inspections, monitoring and enforcement of animal welfare rules.

Canada has said a ban could violate trade rules and it threatened action if a ban was introduced. It said a ban would decimate isolated east coast communities that are heavily dependent on the annual hunt.

The article does say that the Inuit communities would have special exemptions.

I'm not sure it will pass though. This proposal would require all 27 EU nations to approve it.

Preparing for the End

This is a really good web page about what happens when your cat is reaching the end of their days. I read this when I thought Charlotte's time was short. Very informative.

DMX is Pretty in Prison Pink

Rap singer DMX is currently serving a jail sentence for animal cruelty, drugs and fraud. And things are even worse for him because his prison wardrobe is (gasp!) pink!

Looks like Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has come up with the cure for DMX's addiction to jail. The hip-hop star and repeat offender, like all of Arpaio's other inmates in the Maricopa county jail, must wear pink t-shirts, underwear and socks.

The girlie wardrobe colors caught DMX by surprise. "This is ridiculous, this is disrespectful," DMX said with a sarcastic laugh during an interview with My Fox Phoenix. "Why the pink?"

Arpaio told Fox & Friends he has had the pink policy in place for 10 years with success. He said the inmates were stealing the white underwear so he dyed them pink.

I support anything that makes this guy's time in jail as unpleasant as possible.

HSUS Offers Reward in Grizzly Poaching Case

The Humane Society is offering a 2500.00 reward for the poaching of a Grizzly in Idaho.
The Humane Society of the United States and The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of a grizzly bear found dead in Ashton Reservoir near Ashton, Idaho.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obituary for Shinda the Silverback

This from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund website.

Shinda had been observed to be unwell for about two weeks when, on Nov. 22, our trackers could not find him within his group, probably because he was too weak to catch up with them. The field team began patrolling the area around the group and finally found him on the morning of Nov. 24, but he had already died.

Since 2007, Shinda had been observed on other occasions to be very weak and remained behind the group. However, in all those episodes he was always able to recover, as well as to maintain his dominance. We were all hoping that he could do it this time too.

Shinda was 31 years old and still the dominant silverback of his group. He had led the group since it was formed in 1993 (after the split of an older group, called Group 5). He was observed at birth by Dr. Dian Fossey in 1977 and later grew to become a large, handsome adult with strong leadership skills. In 1993, when staff returned to Karisoke following an evacuation due to the civil war, they found that Shinda’s brother Ziz, who had led Group 5 since the death of Beethoven, was dead. Some of the females had followed Shinda, while the others remained with Cantsbee and Pablo in what came to be known as Pablo’s Group. Shinda maintained dominance of his group until his death and presided over its growth. He had his tender side as well, and was often observed spending hours grooming his favorite female, the elderly, one-eyed Pandora.

Lame News Story!

So, I click on this story because the link says no pets were lost on the US Airways flight that went down in the Hudson. Great, right? Makes it sound like they were rescued right? Well, no pets were lost because there were no pets on the flight in the first place.


The miracle US Airways flight that went into the Hudson River has another feel-good story: The airline says no pets were lost on the flight.

US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant says no pets were on the plane, either in the cabin or in the cargo. The airline does not accept pets in the cargo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Buddhists Go to the Birds

This is a nice story about the care of abused birds at a Washington, DC, Buddhist temple.

Monday, January 19, 2009

California's Ag Industry Worried that State Committee will Focus on "Emotion"

Basically, it sounds like the ag committee will be including food safety and animal welfare concerns in their discussions. The ag industry does NOT like this.

There is definitely a new tide in California, post Proposition 2.

In a move that elevated the anxiety level among grower-shippers, Darrell Steinberg, the new president pro-tem of the California state Senate, overhauled the body’s agriculture committee.

The panel is now known as the Food and Agriculture Committee, and the new chairman is Dean Florez, Steinberg revealed at a news conference Jan. 13. Several environmental groups were represented at the news conference, during which Steinberg said the changes would usher in a new era in California agriculture policy....

“My concern is that decisions, laws, regulations, what have you may be based on emotion rather than on sound science, solid data and good facts,” said Jim Bogart, president and general counsel for the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, Salinas.

Pig Castration in Europe - An Animal Welfare Concern

Ugh. They castrate piglets in Europe for sanitary purposes (to avoid taint in the meat), but the methods are not terribly humane.

This year, the European Commission will issue a research contract, worth up to €1 million for a study into alternatives to the castration of pigs and dehorning of cattle.

A New Generation of Vegetarians?

A recent federally funded study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in 200 American adolescents are vegetarians. Is this a long-term trend? Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Puppy Mill Busted in Gold Bar, Washington

This story comes out of Gold Bar in Snohomish County, north of Seattle (where we latte-sucking liberals live.)

Officers rescued 155 dogs and several other animals found living under ghastly conditions in a puppy mill operation so horrific that it shocked even veteran animal control officials.

...After obtaining a search warrant, deputies and officers raided the property, where they found many of the dogs stuffed inside small crates and pens overflowing with urine and feces.

Several dead puppies also were found in a freezer, and two dead dogs were found elsewhere on the premises. Eighty-seven of the dogs were living in a converted attic.

Adult dogs and puppies were found living in crates and small pens filled with large accumulations of feces and heavily soiled shavings, said Vicki Lubrin of Snohomish County Animal Control Services.

Cat vs Puppies

Funny. Very much like that scene in the Matrix when Neo is fighting hundreds of copies of Agent Smith.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vegan Cosmetics Available

Alternative Outfitters sell vegan cosmetics.

ASPCA Groups Galore

This site is overwhelming. It's all the ASPCA Online communities you can join. Yikes, there's a ton!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Funny Video

Here is how to make a weather report exciting.

Neko Case Promotion on Myspace to Benefit Best Friends Animal Society

Neko has a promotion running with Myspace where she will donate $5.00 to Best Friends for every user that adds a song from her upcoming album Middle Cyclone. Neko Case and Best Friends are both awesome and worthy of your support.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."

~ Thomas Edison, American Inventor and Scientist

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Unintended Consequences of Predator Control

The intent was to protect birds by removing one of their predators: cats. What happened was something that hurt the birds worse.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.

But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.

Mountain Gorilla Ranger Slain in the Congo

Protecting mountain gorillas in the Congo is dangerous work. Just last week, a 33-year-old ranger was killed by Mai Mai rebels.

Mai Mai rebels are described as community-based militia groups frequently involved in banditry. Another ranger was wounded in the attack and a rebel was captured. That arrest has resulted in several leads in the investigation.

"The Mai Mai are seeking to wear down the rangers because they don't want the park to exist. They want to cultivate and poach in the park," said Samantha Newport, communications director for the refuge.

The ranger's name was Safari Kakule, and he was called "exceptional." Here is a brief Youtube video of him. He left a wife and three children.

Find Out How the Vick Dogs are Doing at Best Friends

Just got this update from Best Friends on two of the former Michael "Sick" Vick dogs (now named Little Red and Handsome Dan.) All the Vick dogs at Best Friends have their own web page if you want to check up on them.

McKee Project Expands Work into Guatemala and Other Latin American Countries

This is a great group that I've spotlighted before. At the end of 2007, the World Society for the Protection of Animals selected the McKee Project to work on spay/neuter programs in Guatemala. Although they are best known for their work in Costa Rica, they also work in Mexico and Panama.

I recently subscribed to their newsletter which comes out in both Spanish and English versions.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres Goes Vegan?

Well, where have I been? This apparently happened in OCTOBER.

Animal Welfare Supported in Islam?

Huh. Thanks to NARN for pointing out this short piece printed on the internet edition of the Saudi Gazette.

Chinese Dogs Die From Imported Food

The food in question is from Australia.
A local distributor of a popular brand of dog food said Monday it had suspended sales of the product following reports that dogs who ate it had died from aflatoxin poisoning.

A customer service manager at Shanghai Yidi Pet Co. said the company stopped selling Optima brand dog food last week and notified its customers not to feed it to their pets after receiving complaints that dogs became sick after eating it.

"It's upsetting to see so many dogs getting sick from the food. There must be some serious problems," said Gu, who gave only his last name as is common with many media-shy Chinese.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Some Portuguese Are Just Like Me

I like reading the blog for ANIMAL, the animal rights group in Portugal. I have no idea how big or effective they are, but it's nice to know that there are people in Portugal who feel the same about animals as I do. I'm Portuguese-American, which is obviously different, but I have yet to meet ANYONE in this ethnic group, hybrid or not, that agrees with me.


Low Prosecution of Bird Crime in Scotland


New figures show that in the past decade just 26 out of almost 300 cases of illegal poisoning and other crime directed against birds of prey in Scotland has resulted in a successful conviction.

And furthermore, not a single jail term has been imposed since custodial sentences were introduced in 2004 for such crimes, which are having a grave impact on the populations of some of Scotland's most iconic yet vulnerable species, including golden eagles, red kites and hen harriers.

Scientist Advocacy Group Oppose Some Animal Testing

Here's a group I've never heard of. I found a link to them on ANIMAL's blog (ANIMAL is a Portuguese animal rights group.)

These scientists are NOT an animal rights group. They do support some animal-based studies (which sucks); HOWEVER, they acknowledge that much animal research is useless. (Remember animal research doesn't just create reports, it creates CAREERS as well.)

I'll let them describe their positions in their own words.

Americans For Medical Advancement (AFMA) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes biomedical research and the practice of medicine based on critical thinking and our current understanding of evolutionary and developmental biology, complex systems and genomics.

Our primary concern is the advancement of investigative methodologies that lead to effective cures and treatments for human diseases. As such, AFMA is opposed to research modalities that have been shown to be scientifically invalid—specifically, the use of animals as predictive models (also known as causal analogical models) for humans relative to drug and disease response.

While an immense body of empirical evidence has supported this conclusion for decades, new knowledge about genes, gene regulation, gene expression and gene networks—gained in large part as a result of the Human Genome Project—has significantly increased our understanding of why animals cannot be used to predict human response to drugs or the pathophysiology of human diseases.

Despite the development of an all-encompassing theory as to why animals are not predictive, there remains—much to the detriment of human health and medical progress—extraordinary resistance to abandoning the use of animals as predictive models.

The goal of AFMA, therefore, is to educate the scientific community, as well as the general public, of the urgent need for a move away from the ineffective animal model to research modalities that truly reflect the enormous strides we have made in our knowledge of living systems.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The brute animals have all the same sensations of pain as human beings, and consequently endure as much pain when their body is hurt; but in their case the cruelty of torment is greater, because they have no mind to bear them up against their sufferings, and no hope to look forward to when enduring the last extreme pain."

Thomas Chalmers, Scottish Religious Leader

Battle for Control of the Arctic Looms

WONK ALERT! The Arctic, and foreign claims to it, are discussed in this dense piece by It will probably make your head spin. Suffice to say that untapped oil reserves are at stake. AND the Arctic is getting even more accessible due to global warming (knew it would be good for something!) Canada, Russia, the US, Denmark [via Greenland] and Norway want a piece of it.

Will control of the Arctic become another national security issue? And how will this new "cold war" affect the wildlife there? Will they become just another resource to exploit (even more so than now?)

Stay tuned and stay aware.

Book Chronicles History of Animal Rights

The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA by Norm Phelps came out in 2007. Worth a look.

In a brisk, readable narrative, The Longest Struggle traces the campaigns of animal rights pioneers like Henry Spira, Alex Hershaft, and Ingrid Newkirk, as well as leaders who have come more recently on the scene like Heidi Prescott, Karen Davis, and Bruce Friedrich.

Always grounding his story in its historical setting, Phelps describes the counterattack that the animal abuse industries launched in the 1990s and analyzes the controversies that have roiled the movement almost from the beginning, including "national groups vs. grass roots," "abolitionists vs. new welfarists," and activists who favor arson and intimidation vs. those who support only peaceful, legal forms of protest. The Longest Struggle concludes with an overview of current campaigns and tactics, and an assessment of the state of the movement as we enter a new century, including the threat represented by an overzealous "war on terror".

Thoroughly researched and annotated, The Longest Struggle reflects its author's two decades as an animal rights activist and his access to movement leaders who have shared with him their personal stories of campaigns that made animal rights history. At once an accessible history of animal protection thought and a revealing narrative of campaigns for animal rights, The Longest Struggle is must read material for everyone who wants to understand the most radical social justice movement of our time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Arkansas May Enact Tougher Animal Cruelty Laws

They are one of only 5 states that doesn't have a felony animal cruelty law. A task force is now looking into changing that.

Graphic Photos of Baby Elephant "Taming"

This is a new blog I came across called Paws4Life, The Reality of What Humans do.

This post has three graphic pictures of a baby elephant allegedly being "trained" for the entertainment industry. I'm thinking it's India?

Animal Rights Activists in Spain Bare All...and More!

The article asks whether nude activism for animal rights has lost its effectiveness. The reason I post a link though is for the photos. They are pretty intense, especially the one in which the activists are clothed and holding dead animals.

Panda Bites Tourist in China

The tourist was trying to retrieve his child's toy. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

It's the third visitor the panda has bitten.

Maybe the Beijing Zoo should start protecting the panda more so it doesn't have to protect itself from these idiots.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Walmart Canada Pulls Rabbit Fur Slippers

The Animal Defence League of Canada got Walmart to pull slippers containing real rabbit fur off its shelves. Walmart (of all places) has a no-fur policy.

The slippers are called Tender Tootsies. DON'T BUY THEM!

Puppy Mills Still Flourish in Quebec

Here's a Montreal Gazette article on the vile proliferation of puppy mills in Quebec.

Bush Earns Some Praise for Ocean Protection

This blog pounds on George W. Bush a lot. So, to be fair (and balanced!), here's one person who thinks he's done some good stuff for the oceans. Namely, he established three national marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean.

This opinion comes from Andrew Sharpless, the CEO for Oceana. would be churlish not to give credit where it is due, and President Bush certainly deserves credit for acting when there was no political benefit to be gained; even his own vice president opposed creating the monument. When you add the roughly 335,000 square-mile-area in the Pacific that is now protected from virtually all fishing to the nearly 700,000 square miles he closed to bottom trawling, the most destructive kind of fishing gear, this president has given future generations an ocean gift nearly the size of Texas and Alaska combined.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Working Animals Face "Firing Squad" in Developing Countries

Ugh. Horrible story. Fortunately the donkey was rescued by the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA).

Here's what they say about "the Firing Squad," a horrible method of "treating" wounded work animals.

We don’t really mean that they will be lined up and shot. No, their suffering will be far more drawn out. They will be ‘fired’ with a red hot iron in the mistaken belief that it will cure a wound.

Humar, pictured on the right, is just one animal to have suffered this traditional, yet ineffective treatment, to horrifying effect.

For many years, Humar had carried heavy loads for his owner and was now suffering from arthritis. Although there are medicines that would have eased his pain and reduced the inflammation, Humar was forced to struggle on. He needed time to rest and recover. Unfortunately, this is far from the treatment he got.

Like many poor people in Morocco, Humar’s owner had little chance of being able to afford a vet – or even find one close by. So he turned to a ‘traditional cure’. This involved repeatedly laying a hot iron onto Humar’s shoulder. His suffering didn’t stop there. Predictably, the ‘cure’ failed and he then later poured boiling hot engine oil all over Humar’s coat.

Sydney Morning Herald Spotlights Mountain Gorillas

Good long article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the mountain gorillas in Virunga.

Farm Sanctuary Wary about Tom Vilsack for USDA

While the Humane Society was pretty happy with Vilsack as Obama's pick for the Department of Agriculture, the Farm Sanctuary is wary.

This is a December 18 post from Gene Bauer's blog pointing out some concerns about Vilsack. Bauer is the president and co-founder of the Farm Sanctuary.

Barack Obama has picked Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, to be the next Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). He’s certainly not the best choice; however, I think Vilsack may be a choice holding forth a reasonable hope of significant change. I’m glad that Obama didn’t select Charles Stenholm, a former Texas congressman with a long history of defending animal abuse, who had sought the position with support from the factory farming industry.

As Iowa’s Governor, Tom Vilsack took steps to protect animals, including vetoing a bill that allowed dove hunting. He has a mixed record on policies affecting industrialized agriculture. He vetoed a bill, which would have prevented Iowa from establishing stronger environmental standards for factory farms than the federal government, but he has also compromised with big agriculture, supporting weak environmental protections and genetically modified foods.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ag Industry Looks Ahead to More Animal Welfare Issues

It's a small mention in this Ag Week article about issues coming up in 2009, but worth noting.

Another big issue gaining momentum is animal welfare. The recent passing of a proposition in California to strictly manage how laying chickens are kept serves notice, he says.

“There are people who are saying, ‘This is just ridiculous,’ but that’s not how the general public sees it,” {Washington agricultural correspondent Jerry} Hagstrom says. “This is a very difficult issue to deal with in the general public. You may hate to hear about this, but I do think that the animal-raising industries are going to have to reach some compromises with the Humane Society of the U.S. and other advocates.”

He adds that this is more than just a matter of voter education, given the $8 million spent by the California poultry industry fighting the proposition.

“What seems to be working better for the industry is to reach some kind of compromise before the issue goes on a ballot,” he says.

Ottawa to Lobby EU Against Seal Ban

They must really be nervous.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said Monday that Canadian officials will meet with EU politicians in a bid to convince them that Canada's commercial seal hunt is humane and should be exempt from a proposed seal import ban.

...A ban could deliver a devastating blow to Atlantic Canadian fishermen who rely on the annual hunt as a source of income, shutting down critical shipment points, including Holland and Germany.

The meeting is scheduled for January 21.

Japanese Whaling Crewmen Falls Overboard

A crewmen from the Kyoshin Maru is missing and believed dead.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

PETA Among Groups Spied on by Maryland State Police

According to the Washington Post, PETA was one of many groups the Maryland State Police considered a security threat.
PETA was labeled a "security threat group" in April 2005, and by July police were looking into a tip that the group had learned about a failing chicken farm in Kent County and planned on "protesting or stealing the chickens." A "very casually dressed" undercover trooper attended a speech by PETA's president that month and waited afterward to see whether anyone talked about chickens. Nobody did.
Very casually dressed must mean cotton dockers and an off white shirt.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year, Old Cat

So, Charlotte the Cat Queen is an ongoing saga. In 2007, she was diagnosed with pyothorax and was hospitalized for almost a week. Then in April 2008, we were told she had terminal cancer. So we waited for her to die for about 8 months.

In December, she had serious trouble breathing so we rushed her to the emergency vet again. They determined that she was not terminal because 1) she was still alive and 2) she had no weight loss. Without cutting her open though, all we could know was that she had limited lung capacity due to something, whether scar tissue, a tumor, or an infection. We chose not to cut her open and take our chances.

We brought her home and on New Year's Day (of course!) she came down with the same breathing problems. It was a horrible night, but she made it through the night and recovered at our regular vet's.

Now she is on THREE medications that seems to work and that cat is HELL to medicate. She is on Clavamox, Prednisolone, and Terbutaline. For a sick ratty old cat, she is very strong and stubborn. It takes two of us to wrastle that gator to the ground.

So, the saga continues.........

Prince Edward Investigated for Animal Abuse

The RSPCA is investigating whether Prince Edward beat his dogs while hunting. Here is a link to the Daily Mail, complete with pictures. He alleges that he was merely trying to break up a fight between the two dogs.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Canada Up to Its Old Seal-Killing Tricks

Here they go again. Trying to put a humane face on a barbaric practice.

The amendments to the Marine Mammal Regulations, which include strengthened federal enforcement, come just over a month after newly appointed federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said Canada is "going straight ahead for the 2009 hunt. We're proceeding as usual."

"No person shall use a club or a hakapik to strike a seal older than one year unless the seal has been shot with a firearm," states one of the new rules, posted Saturday in a government publication but not on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website.

However, this rule will have little effect because fewer than than one percent of the seals killed during the annual hunt are older than a year.

...Under the new rules, the existing "blink test," used to check whether seals are unconscious before skinning is being eliminated because it is unreliable. The sealers must now feel the seal's cranium to make sure it is broken. Sealers must bleed the animals for 60 seconds before skinning.

...Yet, it is still legal to shoot seals in the water, where none of the new rules can be followed.

Silverback Gorillas in Virunga

Cool. See silverback gorillas stalking each other in Virunga.

Quote of the Week

"I watched prairie dogs every day, rise before the sun, stand with their paws pressed together facing the rising sun in total stillness for up to 30 minutes," says Williams. "And then I watched them at the end of the day take that same gesture 30 minutes before the sun goes down they would press their palms together in perfect stillness. I don't mean to anthropomorphize, but when you look at a creature that has survived over the millennium begin and end each day in that kind of stance, it causes one to think about one's own life and speed and rapidity in which we live."

Terry Tempest Williams, (an environmentalist committed to showing man's impact on the land.)
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