Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Military Dogs Play Roles in Iraq and Afghanistan

We chain them, use them for experiments, eat them in some countries and make them wear funny sweaters in others. But we also use them to fight our wars and intimidate our detainees.

The most famous example of military dogs is the Vietnam dogs who faithfully served American soldiers and then were abandoned to unknown fates after we left the country. But the grand tradition continues in Iraq and Afghanistan...

I don't like it. If humans insist on wars and invasions, we should keep them to ourselves and leave other species out of it.

Even better if we didn't insist on such activities in the first place.

Available Rescue Resources in North Dakota & Minnesota

Equestrian Mag has provided this information on rescue efforts going on in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Center for Tobacco, Alcohol and Restaurant Industries Resends Press Release About PETA

It seems like every 6 months or so, the Center for Consumer Freedom, a front group for the tobacco, alcohol and restaurant industries sends out a press release about how many animals PETA allegedly kills. You can read about these people here.

They are then dutifully printed in places like this KC Star blog, although I do see that the guy had the decency to print PETA's response. I'm glad he did that. Phil Defranco did the same thing on his youtube video. Hopefully he will realize his mistake as well.

There are plenty of reasons to not like PETA, but the "Center for Consumer Freedom" is an industry front group who's primary purpose is to attack PETA. And considering their glowing website post on Republican Leader Rush Limbaugh's show along with a quote from the notoriously unfunny "comedian" Dennis Miller, you can pretty well tell what kind of people they represent.

"Earthlings" Available as Audio Book

"Earthlings" is a film about animal abuse narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. I've never watched it, but heard it talked about on a vegan podcast. It's supposed to be so intense, it turns people into vegans (Ellen DeGeneres for one.)

For those who can't handle the visuals, now it's available as an audio book.
Earthlings is a feature-length documentary about how dependent human beings are on animals, primarily in five key areas: pets, food, clothing, entertainment and science. Earthlings is considered one of the most persuasive documentaries ever made for its frank, straightforward presentation of the day-to-day practices in some of the largest industries in the world. The film, which is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix and features music by platinum-selling recording artist Moby, would take another six years to complete because of the difficulty in obtaining footage within these industries.

Though the film was initially ignored by distributors, who told Monson that the film would “never see the light of day and should be swept under the rug,” today Earthlings has earned awards from film festivals both nationwide and internationally, the Humane Society of the United States uses Earthlings as a training film in their orientation for new volunteers and employees, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calls it “the most comprehensive documentary film ever produced about the correlation between humankind, nature, animals, and the economy.” The Earthlings trailer can be viewed at

Monday, March 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

How many meat-eaters would cut the throat of a cow themselves, and hack open its belly with a knife to empty its intestines? But the thousands of daily deaths of animals are hidden away and on the butcher's shelf meat looks innocuous, nothing like the living thing it was. It is odd: we prosecute anyone who is cruel to a cow - by beating it or giving it electric shocks, say - yet the connection between that fact and the dinner table is rarely made.

-A.C. Grayling

Don't Free Lobsters into Puget Sound

For all you Seattle-area residents who have thought of buying a live lobster just to free it into Puget Sound...don't do it.

Last summer, I spent a number of shopping trips walking by live lobsters with their claws taped up at the local Albertsons'. I felt guilty and angry and I hatched all sorts of plots on buying them and freeing them somewhere. By the time they disappeared, I finally decided that I was going to be ready for the next summer.

So, I started researching conditions around here for releasing lobsters. It didn't look like it was a good idea. So I contacted the Northwest Animal Rights Network for their opinion.

The answer was a gentle no. Lobsters are not native to these waters. Introducing a non-native species could have negative impacts on the ecosystem and the native species already here. Plus, even if you keep buying the lobsters, you're just creating fake demand which will lead to a larger supply. In other words, Albertsons' will just keep restocking.

So, the only thing to do is talk to people and convince them not to buy live lobsters. Much less exciting though....

Modern Day Cattle Rustlers

Here is an interesting article about cattle rustling.
Crashing through a gate in the dead of night, thieves using trucks and trailers recently robbed a farmer here of 53 Brahman crossbreed cows valued at some $50,000.

Known for a distinctive hump at the base of the neck, Brahman cattle are rare here and would be easily spotted at a local auction, leading investigators to think the rustlers already had a buyer — or a butcher — lined up.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Animal Rescue Operations During Fargo Flood

United Animal Nations is down there, among others, working with local groups.

Wild Chimpanzees Threatened in the Congo

Two of my favorite issues are chimpanzees threatened in labs and mountain gorillas threatened in the Congo. Let's combine the two and look at chimpanzees threatened in the Congo.

Because they are in serious trouble there too.
(Warning: Heartbreaking pictures in this link.)
Poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) threaten the existence of the largest remaining continuous population of chimpanzees in the world. This conclusion is drawn by Cleve Hicks, based on observations made during his 2007-2008 survey of towns, villages and forests in the Buta-Aketi region of the DRC. Hicks, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), describes the plight of the apes and other forest creatures in a new e-book to be released this week. Together with colleagues, Hicks was able to take in five orphaned chimpanzees who will soon be sent to a sanctuary in eastern Congo....

Locals have told Hicks that up to a few years ago there was very little poaching (except for elephants) in the area, and that it is the mining of diamonds and gold that has lead to the current slaughter of wildlife. Sadly, there is evidence that the bushmeat trade is spreading rapidly into the Bili and Rubi-Tele protected areas, both of which have been recently invaded by illegal miners. Since Hicks left in November 2008, his colleagues Laura Darby and Adam Singh have observed another seven chimpanzee orphans and 3 carcasses.

Are Women More Compassionate Than Men?

It's an intriguing question that would probably get quite a response at any dinner party.

Frankly, I don't know. All I know is that the majority of vegetarians, ex-vegetarians, animal rights supporters, animal rescuers, animal shelter volunteers, and feral cat colony stewards that I know are women. Not all, but the majority. And I find that in conversations, women are more likely to listen and think about what I say than men, who often brush me off as an emotional female. That doesn't mean that I don't know thoughtful men who think about these issues, just that I've noticed the tendencies are definitely lopsided.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

German Court Bans PETA "Holocaust" Campaign

PETA wants to run a campaign that compares factory farming to the Holocaust. Touchy subject there in Germany.
The German constitutional court has ruled that animal rights organisation PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) must end its campaign in which it draws a comparison between the Holocaust and industrial farming. The court ruled that the PETA campaign, called The Holocaust on your Plate, violated human dignity: "In Germany, the word Holocaust will long remain synonymous with a very specific crime which is beyond any comparison, let alone any attempt to market it with a view to a publicity campaign."

Friday, March 27, 2009

EPA Wants to Rely Less on Animal Testing

It's not a move based on compassion, but efficiency. I'll take what I can get though, even if it's not an immediate eradication of a despicable practice.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reducing its reliance on animal testing to assess human risk of chemical toxicity and will instead focus more heavily on the tools made possible by advances in molecular biology, genomics and computational modeling.

The move is part of the EPA's effort to find better, cheaper and faster ways to screen thousands of chemicals for human risk, including the ways in which toxicity occurs, the impact of long-term exposure to various chemicals, and how chemicals effect genetic variations of the population....

It expects the new approach will yield significant savings. For example, companies may have to pay upwards of a half-million dollars to perform an endocrine disruption screening on individual chemicals, as may be required by the end of the year for chemicals that include food use pesticides, but the new approach may trim the cost to about $20,000.

The EPA will still use animal testing for the foreseeable future, but in smarter ways, Kavlock said. "For a long time there will be a need for animal testing," he said. "They've served their purpose well. The only way we can study some things is in animals."

Kavlock expects the testing strategy to be fully deployed within 10 years but believes useful applications will be released within two years.

New Iberia Inspection Documents Available

I found them here.
What the documents show

# A USDA inspection on Feb. 18 focusing on allegations by Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) found the center in compliance.

# A routine USDA inspection in September 2008 found the center in compliance.

# A May 23, 2007, USDA inspection revealed several problems with drainage and waste disposal operations, and peeling paint in primate housing areas.

# A 2006 inspection found no problems.

# USDA inspections dated July 19, 2005 and Dec. 7, 2004, found numerous problems.

The State of the Animal Rights Dialogue

This opinion piece is from the Christian Science Monitor in 2002. It may be almost 7 years old, but I think it is as relevant now as it was then.

Worth reading
and, I think, some reflection....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PETA Says Vick's Brain Should be Scanned for Psychopathy

Oh PETA, my PETA....
PETA is demanding that Vick be barred from the league unless he has a brain scan to prove he’s not a psychopath. It has written a letter to Goodell to press its case and is urging supporters to write e-mails to Goodell.

From the PETA Web site:

Vick’s behavior seems to fit the American Psychiatric Association profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD). People with APD are commonly referred to as “psychopaths”. They are usually male, often charming, prone to lying and manipulation, and incapable of genuine remorse. They can also take pleasure in inflicting cruelty.

Before the NFL even considers the possibility of allowing Vick back into the League, where he will be in a position to influence many fans, including countless children, PETA wants the League to require him to undergo a brain scan, coupled with a structured, standardized test (e.g, the Psychopathy Checklist, approved by the American Psychiatric Association). If Vick emerges from these examinations without evidence of psychopathy, this may mean that he has the capacity to express true remorse. If he is a psychopath, the chances of recidivism are great and remorse is virtually impossible.

Michael "Sick" Vick should not be allowed back into the NFL, but he doesn't have to be diagnosed as a psychopath first. What he did revealed the kind of person he is. It says enough.

But I suspect some team will pick him up....controversy fills seats.

Shelter Strays Used as Lab Animals

I thought it was an urban myth that animal shelters would actually turn over unwanted animals to laboratories for research, but apparently not.
Montcalm County has taken a step towards ending its relationship with an animal research facility.

The county has a contract with R&R Research in Howard City to euthanize the county's unwanted animals. In return, the company can use some of the unwanted dogs for animal research.
The animal shelter committee voted to end the contract, but it goes before the County commissioners in April.

The Ex-Vegetarians Among Us

Of my current circle....

I have two friends who, before I knew them. were vegetarians for years before switching back to meat-eating. I recently found out that a male coworker was also a vegetarian for eight years before reverting back to meat. That's three people that I know who are ex-vegetarians.

Not counting myself, I only know one other vegetarian/vegan.

That's a ratio of three ex-vegetarians to one practicing vegetarian (in a very non-scientific survey.) It makes me wonder how many other ex-vegetarians are out there.

I haven't asked these people why they went back to eating meat. My two friends, both female, are sensitive animal-lovers. I've gathered that it was because of "health reasons" and I suspect one was advised by a doctor to eat meat for protein reasons.

Being a vegetarian is more than just a diet choice. It's a statement of values, whether one wants it to be or not. People don't usually become vegetarians because they don't like that case, they just don't eat it.

It's hard not to be disappointed in people who became vegetarians and then went back. Particularly when it's for "health reasons." There are many other sources of protein, iron, etc. out there that do not have to be dependent on meat. I think it shows a weakness of principle and conviction. I hate to say it, but I have more respect for people who have always eaten meat than those who make the vegetarian choice for years and then just give up.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And I Thought Our Cats Were Strange...

Usually I post youtube videos when I can't find something else to post about. Not this time.

Chinese Give Gerbils Contraceptives to Cut Population

Weird, but I give them credit for doing the humane thing. And I don't give the Chinese much credit in this blog.
Forestry officials are leaving pills by the gerbils' burrows to try to cut back the rodents' exploding numbers.

The gerbils, officials say, are threatening the fragile desert ecosystem in the vast Xinjiang region.

PETA Criticizes Michael Jackson

The disfigured pop star Michael Jackson has been criticized by PETA for his use of exotic animals.
Animal rights group PETA have condemned Michael Jackson's apparent plans to ride an elephant on stage at his forthcoming London residency.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some History on the New Iberia Research Center

Here's some background on the New Iberia Research Center, target of the Humane Society investigation showing alleged chimpanzee abuse.

Trophy Hunters Imperil Polar Bears

I have no sympathy for trophy hunters. They are not hunting for food or for any subsistence whatsoever. It's all about the thrill of the hunt and, sorry to say it, the thrill of the testosterone surge. Perhaps there are female trophy hunters out there too, but I suspect they are in the minority.

Therefore, to me it's a slam dunk as to whether trophy hunters should continue to hunt polar bears. If a species' very survival is threatened, then it is impractical to hunt it for mere entertainment. Every member counts. And I don't believe the argument that Inuit villages will collapse without the revenue from these hunts.

The cost of a trophy hunt can start at $35,000.

FL Animal Control Conducts Bizarre Experiment

News of the Weird

Owners claim dog died from being in non-ventilated Animal Control vehicle. How should Animal Control evaluate their claim? Stick another dog in the same situation and see if it dies too!

It was an "experiment" you see, even though they are just Animal Control, not a research facility.

Clay County violated five federal animal welfare regulations in a in September 2008 experiment that involved putting a dog in a non-air-conditioned truck for an hour at midday, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigative report. The incident prompted complaints to be filed with the Clay County Sheriff's Office and State Attorney's Office, both of which declined to file any charges. In addition, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with the USDA.

....The dog’s owners said the dog was in the truck too long; a necropsy was inconclusive, but one pathologist said heat and dehydration were likely contributing factors.

To re-create and measure the environmental conditions, Animal Control staff put a dog from the pound, of similar size and weight to the dead dog, in the same holding cage for an hour. Weather conditions were also similar. The temperature did not exceed 86 degrees, the dog was closely monitored and suffered no ill affects, they said.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seal Slaughter Stopped by Russia. Canada? Not So Much.

Kudos for Russian leader Vladimir Putin for stopping the slaughter of seals. Maybe Canada can learn something from the former KGB agent and avid hunter about compassion.
The ministry said: “This is a serious step forward to protect Russia’s biological diversity. This decision was made largely thanks to public environmental organisations which took an active position on this issue.” Conservation groups have staged protests in 20 Russian cities this week, demanding an end to the slaughter. Activists accused Norwegian companies of encouraging the killing because seal hunting was no longer allowed in their own country.

Let the Bloodbath Begin: Canadian Seal Hunt Resumes

The Canadian government has authorized the killing of 280,000 harp seals. I won't even bother asking the Canadians to stop this barbaric practice. The only way it will end is if the market for this product in Europe dries up. The US already has such a ban in place. From the article, animal activist group Equanimal is working on it from the European end. Here is a link to the Google translated page of this group (it's in Spanish).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nesting Eagle Killed in Portugal, Another Brilliant Move

I come from a Portuguese family and I have no problem dumping on the Portuguese.

This makes me angry. It has nothing to do with poverty, just stupidity.

March 2009. Portuguese environmental groups - including SOS Lynx, A Nossa Terra and Almargem - have denounced the deliberate shooting of the country's only nesting male Iberian Imperial Eagle. The shooting occurred sometime between 21 and 23 February in the Vale do Guadiana Natural Park, close to the country's south-eastern border with Spain...

Miguel Rodrigues, spokesperson for SOS Lynx, stated: "Irrational attitudes constitute one of the main barriers to predator conservation in Spain and Portugal. If predator persecution cannot be adequately controlled, the future recovery of many important predator species will be in doubt".

Irrational attitudes? That's a diplomatic way of saying that it's ignorance, pure and simple.

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Supports Congo Communities

I strongly support conservation organizations that work with and support surrounding human communities. These communities are integral to protection of the environment and its animal inhabitants. It's important to understand that environmental degradation is often tied to poor people simply trying to survive. Treating them as villains only creates enemies and alienates them. It's the local people who are the strongest advocates and most effective guardians of these wild areas. They are also the most logical.

Here's an example...the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund "Coins for Congo" program. These guys are a great group and I've been a member for several years. The mountain gorillas have a special place in my heart (awwwwww!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

4th Dog Dies in Iditarod

I hate blogging about blogs, but LA Unleashed has the rundown so I don't think I can improve on what they have.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Animals Before Embryos?

Now here's a controversy!

Pork Industry Moving into Defensive Mode

It's in response to the HBO film "Death on a Factory Farm."
The Pork Board has planned delegate meetings at the {annual Pork Industry} forum to discuss quality assurance rules including animal handling, and how much money to allocate to promote animal welfare.

"Our Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance Programs are designed to demonstrate the care we are giving to our animals everyday on our farms," Cunningham said.

"It's not as much about what the animal rights activists are saying about how we are raising pigs as opposed to us demonstrating that we do care and we are giving the best possible care" she said.

Uh huh. I have a hard time with the logic of that statement. The pork industry does not make money from happy pigs, but from dead carcasses. There is no economic motivation to treat them well or to care about their wellbeing. The only real concern comes from the spread of illness to humans from eating diseased meat, but they only need to provide minimal care to avoid that.

Undercover Animal Rights Investigator Interviewed

Really interesting interview with an animal rights undercover investigator. This is very important work and an enlightening, though short, piece.

I admire these people tremendously, whether they go undercover on a factory farm or a research institute. I could never do what they do. I don't have the guts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quote of the Week

A civilized society is one which never ceases having a discussion with itself about what human life should best be.

-AC Grayling

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Selena Gomez Auction For the Dogs of Puerto Rico

We've blogged quite a bit here about the poor conditions for stray dogs in Puerto Rico. Here is a documentary on Youtube narrated by actress Selena Gomez. She is currently having an auction to benefit Island Dog Inc. I'm glad that this will get more publicity for the issue. This will not only get people involved, but may also force the govt. there to spend some resources to deal with the problem in a humane way.

Here is Island Dog's site.

Manila Zoo Sounds Like a Nasty Place

PETA is trying to prevent more animals going to the Manila Zoo. They are working with local animal welfare groups on this issue.

Joining PETA as the petition’s signatories are the Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc. (Philippines), Animal Welfare Coalition, Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA Welfare Phils), International Monitoring Program (Philippines), International Wildlife Coalition Trust, LovePets, Network For Animals, Palawan Animal Welfare Association and Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

Good for them. Opponents like to think that animal welfare is only an issue in developed countries amongst the white middle class. That's not true. There are activists in every country of the world. Only the number may vary, but not the commitment.

Help Release Chimps from Medical Research

Visit this site. Project R&R is a campaign of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society.

Wolf Killng Begins in Alaska

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game hopes to kill up to 328 wolves in order to protect caribou calves. The LA Times Greenspace blog has the story.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jane Goodall Quote on New Iberia Research Center

“But in no lab that I have visited have I seen so many chimpanzees exhibit such intense fear. The screaming I heard when chimpanzees were being forced to move toward the dreaded needle in the squeeze cages was, for me, absolutely horrifying.”

- Dr. Jane Goodall responding to the Nightline special detailing the mistreatment of hundreds of chimpanzees and other primates at New Iberia Research Center.

How Much is Your Animal Worth?

Here is an article about the high cost of vet care and the ethical questions of how much do you spend. I measure our cat Charlotte (pictured above in the masthead) in 42" HDTV's. She's at about 3 at the moment. Maybe 4 with all the meds and followup visits.
Do you ask the vet to euthanize the animal? Do you pay for the cat's medical treatment? If you decide to treat the cat, how much are you willing to pay? $100? $500? $5,000? Whatever it takes?
No more HDTV's for her.

Polar Bear Hunters Face Battle Over Extinction Worries

Native and sport polar bear hunters may be facing more restrictions due to increasing threats to bear populations.
A limit on the hunting of polar bears by sportsmen and native Arctic people will top the agenda at an international summit in Norway tomorrow, seen as vital to the survival of the predator. Although few people outside the Arctic realise it, there is still a major legal hunt for the animals in four out of the five states that host the bears: Canada, Greenland, Alaska in the US, and Russia. In Norway, stalking is banned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

USDA Issues Warning Letter to Oregon National Primate Research Center

PETA has filed complaints about this place for years, but it's the first warning they've actually generated.

In December, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a warning letter to the primate center for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which regulates treatment of many commercial animals from pet kittens to laboratory guinea pigs. The warning cited three errors in veterinary care, including a serious 2007 incident where a pregnant monkey died when a researcher failed to notice she was having a troubled labor. The two other incidents involved a sponge being left in a monkey after surgery and a surgery performed on the wrong monkey.

The lab reported the incidents to the National Institutes of Health, said Jim Newman, a spokesman for Oregon Health & Science University, which runs the center. And the center added training and banned one researcher from animal contact in response.

Two Blogs, Two Views on Experimenting on Chimps

This blogger, Earle Holland at Oregon State University, doesn't seem to believe the allegations coming out about the New Iberia Primate Center in Louisiana. He is the assistant vice president for research communications in the Office of University Relations.

Here's his post about it.

Here's a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania with an interesting post about the same issue, wondering how much we really need to experiment on chimps.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting a Kitten from Kansas

I am no fan of breeders, I'll admit it. I think there are many disreputable breeders, I think they are increasing a bloated supply of pets, and I think there are many purebreds already available from shelters. Are there good breeders out there that care for their animals and run their business out of pure love of their work and the animals? Sure, but I just don't think it helps the problem of pet overpopulation.

I also know there are people who want to buy from a breeder and no one else. Here's a story from the demand side.

My division director loves Norwegian Forest Cats. She has had two for the past ten years, one she bought and had shipped from a breeder in Utah, the other from a breeder in Virginia. In February she had to put one down because of illness. The other is also quite ill and will probably not last out the year.

Friday she showed me the new kitten she will be purchasing. It's a two-week old kitten from Kansas. The breeder will only ship her when she is old enough to be separated from her mother.

Now, this kitten will have an excellent life with my division director. The woman still gets teary-eyed over a cat she lost 10 years ago to illness and these animals are like her children. But I can't help wishing she'd go to a shelter and save a cat that needs a family and a home. She could try to find a purebred that's been left at a shelter because that frequently happens. It would be so much cheaper than flying a cat in from another state.

From discussions with people who buy from breeders, I understand the reasoning behind getting a purebred dog when it comes to the hunting or working breeds. There are certain characteristics that an owner may practically want.

But a cat?

I'm sorry, every cat I've ever seen pretty much eats, sleeps and uses a litter box. The best mousers are not of any particular breed. I suppose you can get certain temperaments, but different is a mellow pure-bred from a mellow mix?

But of course I didn't tell my deputy director that. I may be passionate, but I'm not stupid!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Simple Economics of Pet Overpopulation

It seems to me that the root of the problem in pet overpopulation can be expressed simply in economic terms. The supply of pets is way, way greater than the demand for them. What we need to do is reach an equilibrium where the supply for pets equals the demand.

Many groups and individuals are working very hard on this by trying to decrease the supply. The primary tool for this is spaying and neutering to decrease the population. A second strategy is limiting the number of breeders out there who simply keep adding to the supply for their own personal profit.

Some may argue that we should also increase the demand, but I think the demand for pets, such as it is, is actually artificially high. Many people don't want animals...they want toys. They want something they can take home for their kids or something they can use as an accessory for a while. Then, when the work sets in, they dump the animals....pumping them back into the supply chain.

Gobal Smuggling Ring Uncovered in Brazil

Thanks to for this big story.
Brazilian federal police arrested 72 people on Wednesday on suspicion of running an international smuggling ring that traded half a million wild animals, including jaguars and monkeys, each year.

Police said it was the biggest single operation in the past decade against rampant illegal wildlife traffic in the South American country. Brazil is one of the world's hotspots for animal smuggling because of its rich diversity of animals.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

HBO Documentary on Factory Farm Premiers March 16th

Called Death on a Factory Farm, the documentary shows animal cruelty on a hog farm in Ohio. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zoo Chimp Shows Ability to Plan Ahead

He was storing hundreds of stones to throw at visitors at the Furuvik Zoo.

Keepers at Furuvik Zoo found that the chimp collected and stored stones that he would later use as missiles.

Further, the chimp learned to recognise how and when parts of his concrete enclosure could be pulled apart to fashion further projectiles.

The findings are reported in the journal Current Biology.

There has been scant evidence in previous research that animals can plan for future events.

Connecticut Oil Company President Illegally Owns Primate

I'm starting to wonder about Connecticut. It's the same state where the Travis incident occurred.

However, this time the owner is an oil and gas company president, not some eccentric woman on Xanax.

Six weeks before a 200-pound chimpanzee nearly mauled a woman to death, state officials were cracking down on the owner of a 14-pound siamang that was still wearing diapers made for infants.

Pierce Onthank, the president of an oil and gas company, was charged in January with illegal possession of a primate for keeping a siamang, a type of gibbon that is native to rain forests in Malaysia and Indonesia and can weigh up to 30 pounds and stand 3 feet high.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection says he never had the required permit

Is Medical Research on Animals REALLY the Only Way?

I responded to a post on animalblog that cited a recent article in the journal "Proceedings" of the National Academy of Sciences. The article discusses how scientists are infecting monkeys with a surrogate HIV virus that does not even lead to AIDS, begging the question of why infect them in first place if there's no real simulation of what happens in humans?

Here's my response on medical research in general.

I recently had a discussion about medical research using animals. He said he didn’t know what his opinion was because he didn’t know all the facts. Perhaps it was a necessary “evil.”

This was disappointing for a variety of reasons.

1. There is more and more evidence that animal testing is NOT necessarily the best route to take. This story on HIV research is one example.

2. Even if there are certain situations in which animal testing is the only option, ie. a “necessary evil” does that mean we are stuck in that static stage? Do we just sit down and say, oh well, that’s the best we can do and never try to find alternatives?

3. If you don’t know about something, then LEARN about it.

Many people feel very uncomfortable with animal testing, even scientists I think, which is why they often get so emotional and defensive about their research. In my opinion, if we can send a man to the moon and create weapons to kill everything on the planet, if we can shove massive computing power into tiny chips and reattach human organs, we can certainly develop the means of replacing animal testing 100 percent of the time.

It’s just a question of WILL.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Horse Rescue Group Blogging from Marysville, WA

I've received so many donation requests from "People Helping Horses" that I finally decided to send a donation. I've never been around horses much, but a friend of mine who has 3 horses and 2 burros (!) told me that horse groups have been hit particularly hard with the economy. Not only have horses been dumped or starved due to owner finances, but the price of hay has risen sharply all around.

I came across this lovely blog by who I think is one of the group's volunteers. The blog is only updated about once a month, but the postings are very heartfelt and genuine. There's such a special passion surrounding horse lovers and rescuers and I think it comes across very nicely in this blog. One also learns a great deal about what's going on in the horse world from the rescue stories shared.

Definitely one I want to follow.

Doris Day Animal League is Part of the Humane Society?

I just recently became a member of the Doris Day Animal League. Checking out their website, I came across this page saying that they merged with the Humane Society in 2006.

The live link takes me to an announcement in 2006 about the merger. I also learned that the Humane Society merged with the Fund for Animals in 2005.

So now I'm a contributor and member of all three...without even realizing they were related!

It's Tax Time!

Before you report those charitable donations, make sure the organizations really do have tax-exempt status.

Go to this IRS website and punch in their name.
Just because they do good work doesn't mean you can deduct your donations.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Kenny Glenn's Victims Removed from Home

Here is a video showing the cats. Dusty is the gray cat we saw being abused in the shower.

They are healthy and will be going to new homes.

Ontario Animal Welfare Law Goes Into Effect

It is now law as of March 1.

The provincial government says it's gone from "worst to first" and Ontario is now the only jurisdiction in Canada with special protections for law-enforcement animals like police dogs and horses.

The legislation also imposes new rules on the province's dozens of roadside zoos, giving the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the right to inspect them.

Veterinarians are now required to report any instances of abuse or neglect.

And a new section of the act makes it illegal to cause an animal distress, train an animal to fight, or have structures or equipment used in animal fights.

Penalties for individuals under the act include fines between $1,000 and $60,000 and jail time between 30 days and two years.

Pet owners convicted of a crime under the act can also be barred from owning any animals for life.

King County, WA to Consider Law Against Continuous Dog-Chaining

This article was actually on the first page of the soon-to-be-exclusively online Seattle PI. While I know that sometimes people have little choice when it comes to keeping their animals outdoors, you can still tell when the animal is cared for. They have proper shelter, a generally clean environment, room to move, perhaps a leash tied to a runner so they don't get tangled when they run, etc.

The dog spotlighted in this article just doesn't seem to fit that "cared for" criteria.

And he is simply one of many.

Tiger Kills Chinese Man Who Jumped into Enclosure

Another Darwin Award nominee. He and some friends were trying to take a shortcut and climbed over a fence with signs warning of predatory animals. They didn't believe the signs because they couldn't see any.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Support the Great Ape Protection Act

End the use of chimpanzees in animal experiments.

It's unconscionable.

When You Have to Make a Choice About Your Beliefs

I've decided to quit my book club, which I dearly love, because of a member who works in medical research and supports animal experimentation.

This has been a very difficult decision for me, because I have such good friends in the group. I thought I could stay with the group because she does give me fodder for the blog. And like I said, I love the other people in it.

Then I read more about what's happening at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. Here's a post from Animals and Politics.

Here's my email to my closest friends in the group....

I think the time has come for me to leave the book club.

I want to give you three a heads up about this. For at least a year, I have had a serious problem with XXXX and, specifically, her position on animals. I won't go into the list of problems I have with her, but I don't think I can be in the same room with her for much longer.

This is a link to a recent scandal at a primate center in Louisiana. I don't want to go into details, but it's bad. And it's only one of the few we know about.

She supports this. She has no issues with vivisection either. And researching the company she works for makes me wonder whether the clinical trials she sells actually include animal experiments. I understand the realities of medical research, and I have recently audited companies in which non-human primate studies are a "cost of goods sold," but the lack of interest in pursuing an alternative and the coldness of her reasoning makes me sick to my stomach. I am a hypocrite to my beliefs by associating with her.

These are core issues to me that are an integral part to who I am as a human being. I can be friends with Republicans and fundamentalists (and I am!), but not with this. I can't tell her what I think of her because of respect for my friends in the group whom I dearly love.

I am so sorry because I do enjoy the group and you three are so dear to me. But there comes a time in life when you must be true to your principles, even at a painful cost. And I can't do it anymore...


Friday, March 6, 2009

Body Shop Not Performing Well for L'Oreal

The Body Shop is causing some headaches for L'Oreal right now.
The Body Shop said that 150 UK jobs are at risk after the French-owned cosmetics retailer announced a restructuring drive.

The company said it was consulting employees about proposals to reduce its global workforce by 275 jobs to make the business more efficient. The retailer is streamlining operations in certain office-based areas, but the reorganisation will not affect store staff.

...The Body Shop recently revealed that like-for-like sales dipped 0.9% to 249.5 million euros (£223 million) in its last quarter.

Parent L'Oreal said the difficult economic climate hit Body Shop sales in Britain, Spain and North America.

I was stunned when Anita Roddick sold the Body Shop to L'Oreal a few years ago. I had read one of her books and had often pointed to her company as an example of a successful marriage between ethics and business. When she sold to L'Oreal, with its questionable history and animal testing, it was a real betrayal of the company's practices and principles (in my opinion.) I know she thought the Body Shop could change L'Oreal, but, come on, how naive can one be...

But it's better than believing she just wanted the money.

Puerto Rico Ships Monkey to....Baghdad?

The Baghdad Zoo rakes in some more animals. Puerto Rico is using it as a dumping ground for "nuisance" monkeys.

Puerto Rico is eager to rid itself of the estimated 2,000 patas and rhesus monkeys that have taken a toll on wildlife and agriculture in the Lajas Valley since escaping from nearby research centers 30 years ago.

"We will give them all the monkeys they want," said Sgt. Angel Atienza, a ranger with the department. "We don't have a problem with that."

Unlike rhesus monkeys, patas are not considered desirable for research, and there has been little demand for either from zoos — until now.

I am no fan of zoos, especially in an unstable country like Iraq. So, I actually agree with PETA in this case....

"In the middle of the war, animals are the least of anyone's concern," said Lisa Wathne, spokeswoman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "It's just reckless and insensitive to send these monkeys, who will be caged, helpless and completely dependent on humans to survive, to such a hazardous area."

Russian President's Dogs Win It Big!!!

Two of President Dmitry Medvedev's dogs won top prizes in the Eurasia 2009 dog show! Hooray! I thought he would be too busy writing best selling novels, composing award winning operas or ruling Russia to enter his dogs in contests and stuff.

His third dog only got 2nd place, and will probably be assisting border guards near the Republic of Georgia or some other exciting place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

~ Anatole France

USHS Alleges Animal Abuse at the University of Louisiana New Iberia Research Laboratory

Actually, it's more then allegations. They have video.
The video footage shows monkeys biting themselves and slamming against the bars of small cages. Other scenes show a newborn chimpanzee being taken from its mother and an adult screaming as a lab worker aims a tranquilizer gun before the animal falls sedated from a shelf to the floor.

The Humane Society of the United States released the video scenes Wednesday, saying that’s only part of the documentation of what it claimed were 338 violations of federal law and policy at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Laboratory. It is the nation’s largest primate research lab that studies chimpanzees.

“This is a story of inhumane treatment and a story of psychological torment for these animals,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based animal rights group, said at a news conference Wednesday.
Here is a link to the Humane Society. I couldn't get the video to work for some reason.

Mmmm Cow Urine!

You'll have to go to India for this one.
A new soft drink made from cow's urine may be launched in India by a hard line Hindu group known for their opposition of Western food imports.

The manufacturers say small quantities of the liquid produced by Hinduism's revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases.
Revered or not, that's pretty nasty.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Idiot Smokes Bong with Cat Inside

In the WTF department.

He wanted to mellow out his hyper cat Shadow.

Schomaker told deputies 6-month-old Shadow was hyper and he was trying to calm her down. The contraption she had been stuffed inside was 12 inches by 6 inches. Shadow was timid but in good condition Monday at the Capital Humane Society, executive director Bob Downey said....

Schomaker, who was released from jail after paying a $400 fine on the arrest warrant, faces drug and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. He did not immediately respond to phone messages left Monday seeking comment.

This is pretty cruel, but apparently these MSNBC reporters thought it was pretty funny. What a bunch of....

Canadian Group Wants to Free Captive Porpoise

The Vancouver-based animal rights group Lifeforce wants the Vancouver Aquarium to free Daisy the porpoise.

Here is a video from the group.

Seal Import Ban Passes EU Committee


But the bill still needs the the approval of the entire EU assembly and EU governments in order to become law.

It will be tough.

Nordic EU countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland have opposed such a ban, and EU legal experts say it could violate world trade rules.

Canada and Greenland have warned the EU that they could challenge such a ban before the World Trade Organization.

Obama Overturns Last Minute EPA Rule Change Made By America's Worst President

President Obama overturned a last minute Bush regulation that would have allowed agencies to skip consulting with govt. scientists when reviewing EPA rules. Because science, like facts, have a liberal bias.

I am so glad this dim-witted moron is back in Texas. It will take a generation to clean up the damage he has done to this country.

Monday, March 2, 2009

No-Kill Conference Already Sold Out

The National No-Kill Conference scheduled for May 2-3 in Washington, DC is ALREADY sold out.


Zambian Police Officers Caught in Ivory Trafficking

ZAMBIA Wildlife Authority (Zawa) yesterday arrested four people, including two police officers, in Kafue for trafficking in ivory and rhino horns worth more than K1 billion.

Zawa director general, Lewis Saiwana said in Lusaka yesterday that the suspects were arrested for trafficking in 72 pieces of elephant ivory and five pieces of rhino horns.

...For such huge ivory, Dr Saiwana said the poachers killed 36 elephants but, however, said it was suspected that the animals were killed from neighbouring countries and not in Zambia.

36 elephants? That's a huge slaughter in my opinion.

Economic Conditions Make People Eat Less Steak

...but don't get excited. They're just eating chicken instead.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

EU Establishes Website To Track Alternative Testing Methods

The EU is so far ahead of the US when it comes to developing alternative testing methods, it's embarrassing. It has gone so far as to establish a website for tracking the development of methods to replace, reduce, and refine current animal testing in EU nations. It's called TSAR (Tracking System for Alternative test methods Review, Validation and Approval in the Context of EU Regulations on Chemicals).

I need to study the site myself. I'm no scientist, and it requires additional research, but I'm getting involved in these issues more. I'm frustrated and angry with the arrogant, holier-than-thou scientific community that claims "people come first" when it comes to animal testing, but "profit comes first" when it comes to actually caring for the public's health and providing them with affordable drugs.

They talk out of both sides of their you-know-what.

575 Project Sends a Difficult Message

Best Friends co-founder and artist Cyrus Mejia learned that 5 million animals are put to death each year in US animal shelters. He calculated that this equaled about 575 animals per HOUR (thanks to Andrew at Good Honest Dollar for the catch!)

He helped organize the 575 Project in which artists honor the animals who have died. Each piece is a memorial to that nameless animal.

A book is now available.


Jackie and Dunlap on the Obama Dog Story

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