Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pets and Fireworks

Your July 4th obligatory pets and fireworks story. This is from Best Friends though, so it's worth checking out. In fact, their site is always worth checking out as they are one of the coolest animal groups out there.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Pet Store Goes Out of Business

This time it's Scamps, who used puppy mills as suppliers and sold sick animals to the public.

Good riddance.

Amy Goodman Interviews Former Animal Rights Prisoner

Here's a video and transcript of Amy Goodman's interview with Andrew Stepanian, an animal rights activist who was jailed at a secretive prison known as a Communication Management Unit, or CMU. He is believed to be the first prisoner released from a CMU.

He was jailed along with six other activists for violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act.

Texas Tech Allowed to Withhold Info on Animal Testing

The Texas Attorney General ruled earlier this month that the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center can withhold records of a committee that oversees the use of animals in training and research.

PETA was trying to get the information to find out why the university is buying cats and dogs from a West Texas animal shelter for university training or research.

I bet there's probably some ugly stuff in those records. From the Avalanche-Journal:

The university has purchased cats already scheduled for euthanasia from Odessa Animal Control since the 1980s, a shelter spokesperson, Cpl. Sherrie Carruth, told The A-J {Avalanche-Journal.}

Students training to save babies and small children in emergencies insert breathing tubes and needles into the cats, which are anesthetized during the training and then euthanized, according to HSC officials.

The university also purchased dogs from the shelter up until 2007, Carruth said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Clemson Researcher Investigates Impacts of Cages on Laying Hens

It's a study funded by the US Department of Agriculture.

One would think it would be elementary. Crowded and filthy conditions mean suffering for hens. But it's not just about the's about the money. How much suffering can and should they endure without significantly affecting the human pocketbook. Or corporate net income.

From the Clemson press release....

More is at stake than just the comfort of chickens, though the well-being of 284 million U.S. laying hens is no small matter. Nearly 95 percent of the 90 billion table eggs produced in the United States come from high-density cage systems. The value of all egg production in 2007 was $6.68 billion. In South Carolina egg sales tally about $90 million annually. Changing production conditions are bound to affect the bottom the line.

Northwestern University NOT Signing HSUS Pledge to Prevent Pain in Lab Animals

The Humane Society began a campaign in March 2008 to get 600 university presidents to sign a pledge to prevent severe pain and distress in animals used in research. So far only 37 presidents have signed it.

HSUS is now attempting to reach students through Facebook.

Here's a campus article about Northwestern University, one of the schools that have NOT signed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Animals Dying in Virunga National Forest

Lots of animals have died since the beginning of the year. From AFP...
Dozens of animals have been killed by armed groups at Africa's oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year, park officials and environmental groups said Tuesday....

"Four chimpanzees were killed last week in the central zone and 11 elephants since the start of the year," park director Emmanuel de Merode told AFP.

He added "a large number of game animals", including antelopes, had also been slaughtered.

Bantu Lukamba, from local environmental NGO Innovation, said: "At least 31 animals, including 11 migratory birds and three hippos were killed over 21 days."

They died between May 25 and June 16, he said.

Here's sobering statistic. In 1980, Lake Edward had a hippopotamus sanctuary with 27,000 animals. Now there are only 300.

More Info on Humane Society University

I came across this article in Inside Higher Ed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Animal Research Booming in State of Victoria

Animals for research purposes are coming from municipal shelters, breeders and the greyhound trade. Unwanted farm dogs are another source.

From the Herald Sun...
In 2007, 394 dogs died during procedures for canine and human research.

The fate of many others remains unclear. None of the animal shelters contacted by the Herald Sun have come across ex-research dogs in need of a home.

RSPCA state president Dr Hugh Wirth slammed municipal pounds for being involved in the research trade.

"The selling of dogs from the pound for this purpose is morally wrong. They are owned by somebody," he said.

Dr Wirth said animal testing was increasing, with Victoria doing more research than any other state.

Slow News Day at ALF?

A canary liberated in Mexico!
With the desire to add ourselves to the call to action to carry out wild sabotage, we of the Frente de LiberaciĆ³n Animal-Comando Verde Negro (FLA-CVN) have not sabotaged any institution or company, however on the morning of June 15 we rescued a canary from a cage where he was kept captive in Mexico State; we have taken a prisoner from cells which had condemned him to live his entire life in captivity. When we had happened to be passing down the street and we saw a cage with this individual inside, we jumped the fence and we carried away the canary in his cage.
Get that? They "have not sabotaged any institution or company", but they did free a small yellow bird. Far be it from me to tell a group who's tactics I disagree with how to do things, but that isn't exactly "communique worthy".

National Animal Rights Conference in LA Starts July 16

You can sign up here. Some of the groups attending will be:

In Defense of Animals
Sea Shepherd
ACT Radio
Anti-Fur Society
E/Environmental Mag
Eko Zone
Healing Species
League of Humane Voters
Mercy For Animals
Stop Animal Exploitation Now!
Vegetarian Times
VegNews Magazine

The link came from ALF, but they aren't listed on the site. It sounds like they are participating in some form or another.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quote of the Week

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.
Havelock Ellis

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sea Shepherd Attends Whaling Conference

This makes for an entertaining read. First up, Paul Watson goes through Portuguese Customs:
At one point the officer came into the room and asked if I had ever been in trouble in Portugal and then added, “Something about a Dutch ship about 10 years ago?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know anything about a Dutch ship 10 years ago,” I answered.

A few moments later he returned and said, “Excuse me, did you do anything illegal in the 70’s in Portugal?”

“I don’t think so. I uphold laws I don’t break them,” I responded.

“Well, it appears that you did something in Northern Portugal in the 70’s,” He said.

“Oh, they’re probably referring to when I chased the pirate whaler Sierra into Lexioes Harbor and rammed it twice. I don’t think that was illegal, I was never informed of any charges. The Port Captain was going to charge me with gross negligence but I told him there was nothing negligent about it, I hit the ship exactly where I intended to hit it. He told me he could not determine who the owner of the Sierra was and that I was free to go.”

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Llama!

We're on vacation. As is this llama. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Huge Effort to Rescue 60 Elephants in Malawi

They are being moved to a wildlife sanctuary. There has been a lot of violence between the elephants and subsistence farmers (unfortunately, I think the violence is pretty one-sided.)

From Wildlife Extra News....
Rescuers have started evacuating the first of around 60 elephants that have been suffering in an ongoing human-elephant conflict in the southern African country of Malawi, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare - IFAW.

...IFAW has partnered with the government of Malawi to rescue the animals which are at the centre of fierce human-elephant conflict in an area populated mostly by subsistence farmers just south of Lake Malawi.

{Jason Bell-Leask, IFAW Director Southern Africa} said "For years the herd has been maimed by local villagers, sometimes using appallingly cruel methods to protect their crops and granaries from raids by the elephants. To bring this desperate situation into sharp focus, our team on the ground reports that one of the elephants darted this morning is missing the bottom portion of her trunk - probably as a result of a snare."

Humane Society University to Offer Courses in Fall 2009

Very cool! I've been looking for something like this for a long time.

From the Humane Society's press release....
Further advancing its leadership in human-animal studies, Humane Society University, an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, announced today that it has received a license as a higher education degree-granting institution by the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission. The HSUS is the first animal welfare organization to receive such authority and distinction.

Humane Society University is the first institution in the nation to offer bachelor degree programs in animal studies and the first in the world to offer a bachelor's degree in animal policy and advocacy. The degrees are designed to educate students to qualify them for employment with one of the more than 17,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations that seek to protect, provide services to or advocate for animals, and to advance scholarship in the field.

Undergraduate degrees and graduate certificates in animal studies, animal policy and advocacy, and humane leadership will begin in fall of 2009.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Uncovered Reports Show Three Research Labs Fined for Violations

Here's the Honor Roll from Fox News. These entities were all cited for violations by the USDA. Thanks to Stop Animal Exploitation Now! for finding them.

1) BioReliance Corp., Rockville, MD: A lab assistant reported a hamster running loose inside a walk-in refrigerator and a live hamster was found in a euthanasia bag inside the walk-in freezer. Another report said a lab assistant reported finding a dead hamster in a cage in June 2008 after the cage was removed from a sterilizer. "It is assumed the animal was alive prior to being placed" into the sterilizer, the report said...

2) Charles River Laboratories, Sparks and Reno, NV: Two primates undergoing surgical procedures were handled improperly. One subsequently had to be euthanized. A dog also had to be euthanized after a gauze square was left in its abdominal cavity during a previous surgery and caused an obstruction.

The USDA also entered an out-of-court $10,000 financial settlement with Charles River for a May, 2008 when too-hot temperatures led to the deaths of 32 primates.

3) Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA.: A 2006 USDA inspection report faulted the school for withholding anesthesia from piglets and lambs during procedures without adequate scientific justification for doing so. The report does not identify the procedures. School spokesman Tom Keppeler said it was castration.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: "We Have Conquered Nature"

As I was about to leave the office today, I could hear two of my male coworkers having some serious discussion about something "deep." I don't know what it was about exactly, but I had a feeling that I'd better stay out of it.

But I did overhear this comment from the younger one..."we have conquered nature, at least for now."

That's when I turned up my ipod. That was a conversation that I really needed to stay out of.

But I can't stop thinking about it. We have conquered nature? Are you kidding me?

First of all, clearly my coworker, who is a 28-year-old proud slacker male, does not have a yard to care for. Believe me, pavement is NOT forever. Otherwise, I wouldn't have to keep pulling up all those darn dandelions and grasses that keep breaking up and through concrete and brick. I don't know how it happens, but you can't keep them down. That's pretty impressive (and annoying!)

But seriously, I don't believe we've conquered nature at all. But we are so arrogant that we actually think we have. Or at least we think we can "manage" it. We have done so much to control and castrate the wildness of our land that we believe we are its masters. Not true. The wildness and danger are still there.

Why do I believe we have NOT conquered nature? Here are a few reasons.

1. We are not immortal. We can still die. That is the greatest natural process of all.

2. Earthquakes can still kill hundreds of thousands.

3. Hurricanes can still decimate cities.

4. Houses built on "controlled" flood plains are still flooded.

5. Viruses and bacteria are developing new strains that are resistant to previously effective drugs. Case in point is the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis that is rampant in developing countries. I thought we'd conquered that right?

I would highly recommend Jared Diamond's book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." Many other cultures and civilizations have assumed that they too were the masters of the land and the supreme being. But ultimately, nature conquered them because they took their environment and their place in it for granted.

We haven't conquered anything.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

University of Iowa Animal Lab Goes Underground

From the Des Moines Register.....
The Iowa Board of Regents approved $11.2 million for an underground vivarium that will house University of Iowa animal research laboratories.

The 35,000-square-foot facility would connect the Medical Education Research Facility and Carver Biomedical Research Building on the west side of campus. The links would mean researchers would never have to transport animals above ground, said Jordan Cohen, interim U of I vice president for research.

A Nov. 14, 2004, break-in at animal research laboratories in the U of I’s Spence Laboratories and Seashore Hall cost about $425,000 and temporarily stalled some research. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack, in which masked intruders trashed computers and other equipment and stole hundreds of laboratory animals.

I'm so sorry (actually, I'm not), but I have no patience for the sob story. Poor, poor long-suffering animal researchers. They only want to help they also get salary increases, patents, tenure and all the other perks.

How convenient that not only will this underground prison allow for "security," but it will also hide research "practices" completely from the public eye.

Vandals are not the greatest threat to animal researchers, it's transparency. And they know it.

The Stupid PETA Fly "Controversy"

Obama swats a fly, and the next thing you know, we hear of PETA is accused of "condemning" Obama. From what I understand, the media contacted them (how often does that happen?). Here is a part of the blog post from Alisa Mullins:
As we all know, human beings often don't think before they act. We don't condemn President Obama for acting on instinct. When the media began contacting us in droves for a statement, we obliged, simply by saying that the president isn't the Buddha and shouldn't be expected to do everything right—if not for that, we would not have brought it up. It's the media who are making a big deal about the fly swat—not PETA. However, we took the opportunity, when asked, to point out that we do offer lots of ways in which to control insects of all kinds without harming them, including the humane bug catcher we sent President Obama. There is even a chapter in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's book Making Kind Choices about how to rid your home of "uninvited guests."
OK? Nobody showed up at the White House in fly costumes so just let it go.

UPDATE - and this non-story has made it to the top of Reddit. Well, I suppose if you will do anything to get publicity, people will start to believe you will do anything to get publicity. And it's the number 4 item on Twitter right after #iranelection, AT&T and iphone. Wow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quote of the Week

"...prejudices die hard, all the more so when they are insulated by widespread secular customs and religious beliefs, sustained by large and powerful economic interests, and protected by the common law. To overcome the collective entropy of those forces against change will not be easy. The animal rights movement is not for the faint heart."

--Tom Regan

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

PETA Goes After Canada's Seal Hunt

PETA has launched a spoof site for the Vancouver Olympic Games over seal hunting. I criticize PETA a lot, but in this case I think they are right on the money. I hate the seal slaughter. I think it's barbaric and should be ended. You can go on and on about tradition, but just because something is old doesn't make it good. Slavery used to be a tradition in some societies.

I like Canada. I'm an American, but I grew up seeing Noltan Nash, the Beachcombers and Hockey Night in Canada on the TV. I think in cases like health care and good government, they do a better job then in the US. On environmental and animal issues, not so much. Whether it's dumping raw sewage out of Victoria BC into Puget Sound, to their lenient treatment in animal abuse cases, I just don't agree with some of the policies they have. Seal hunting is just plain wrong.

Here is a link to the site. Warning, they have video of seal clubbing (and it starts automatically when you go to the site).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Future Serial Killer in Training?

I read an article last week about a series of cat killings and mutilations (20 total) in south Florida. Just awful.

Now they've arrested an 18-year-old suspect named Tyler Hayes Weinman. He's charged with 19 counts of animal cruelty, 19 counts of improperly disposing of an animal body and four counts of burglary.

ALF Spray Paints Bomb Threat in the Netherlands

ALF activists spray painted a bomb threat at Wageningen University in the Netherlands because they do animal research. Never heard of that approach.

From Bite Back:
"In the morning of June the 15th the ALF went back to the Wageningen university. For more than a year this university has been warned about their meaningless experiments on various animals and especially pigs (obesity research).

But the Wageningen university decided to do NOTHING and even sent the police after us! We are trying to help you!

So we painted the messages: Danger Bomb, Warning Bomb and Stay Away.

We also busted a window through which we supposedly gained
entrance to plant a bomb. But we didn't and took off."

Whale Wars is Quite the Hit

We'll be watching episode 2 (season 1) of Whale Wars tonight. As I am sure many of you know, it's already on to Season 2. I was kind of wondering how that makes Greenpeace feel (and I say that as someone who thinks they do a lot of good things).

I would bet they aren't happy. Here is Paul Watson with his own show just like American Chopper or Mythbusters getting all the publicity he could ever want. All courtesy of Discovery Communications. I searched for Sea Shepherd on Twitter. I get words like "Awesome" "Gangsta" etc. I look for Greenpeace, and I get mundane tweets about meetings and a bunch of stuff in Spanish (maybe they're saying they're awesome, I don't know).

Again, this is not to belittle what Greenpeace does. They work on whaling issues, rain forests, and a host of other good causes. But Sea Shepherd wins in the coolness factor. I suppose that seems shallow, but image and marketing work.

Anyways, you can read about the show here (started on June 5th)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Continue Blogging or Not?

Well, this is post number 1982, and I guess we're sort of suffering a crisis of confidence. Do we keep going or give it up? A blog is a voracious beast (or critter!) that needs to be fed constantly.

We've been at this for a long time, and just wonder what the payback is. Not as in financial, but just in a sense of wondering if it does any good. We both work full time, so it's not like we have time to go out and do original reporting. So, we obviously rely on The Google to find the stories we post. Sometimes we have time to comment, sometimes we don't. That then raises the question of whether there's any value added (Ana does a much better job at that then I do, because she's more committed).

I don't think we're ready to quit. But, I suppose we're trying to think about where to go from here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chinese Authorities Seize Bear Parts

I suppose it shows they are making some effort, but it's still a huge problem.
The load included 173 bear paws, one python skin and the carcass of a pangolin — a type of sticky-tongued, toothless, nocturnal anteater that is a menu item in southern China.

Bear paws are also considered a delicacy in southern China where exotic animals are favored by diners despite the impact on populations of endangered species.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Your Friday Moth to a Flame

PETA wants to buy the clinic owned by slain Dr. Tiller.
"We want to take a building that has been a flashpoint for conflict on one moral issue and turn it into a place of dialogue on another one," said Bruce Friedrich, vice president for policy at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gordon Ramsey Apologizes for a Change

I used to be a big fan of Gordon Ramsey. I was fooled by his slick Kitchen Nightmares show into thinking he may be a decent fellow. But then I got really mad by his ongoing insulting comments about vegetarians. (Look, if I don't want to eat meat, then it's really none of your business so just shut up.) Then I learned about his weird affair with some professional mistress. Then I learned that the business acumen that he flaunts in the show is actually not that great...his empire is struggling mightily.

So, now I think he's actually quite a jerk. So I was glad to see that he had to apologize to an Australian journalist for offensive remarks about her appearance. He claimed that his mother made him do it, but rumors are flying that his mother never said a word to him about it.

The guy just needs to keep his big mouth shut sometimes.

Financial Resources for Cat Care

Thanks to Alley Cat Allies, one of my favorite groups, for posting this web page with financial resources for people struggling to care for pets or feral cat colonies.

These guys are just awesome.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quote of the Week

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
- Anonymous

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SPCA Supervisor Arrested For Animal Cruelty in Texas

I hope this woman rots in jail, but I doubt that will happen in Texas.
Authorities found the dog, a German shepherd mix named Bruce, in a small crate on March 18. They arrived after neighbors complained of a strong smell emanating from Martin's apartment in the 2800 block of Townbluff Drive in Plano.

The crate was in a dark closet that functioned as a laundry room and had flooded, according to the affidavit. Police say Bruce was emaciated in a puddle of water and his own feces. They described the stench as "overwhelming."
Apparently she was running out of money so she left the puppy in a crate in her laundry room to slowly starve to death. Oh, and when they shut the electricity off, she moved into a hotel room without the dog.

Read an Analysis of Slate's Animal Research Series

Animal Person, someone who is clearly smarter than me, has a great analysis about the recent "Pepper" series in Slate about animal research. I have to admit that I wasn't as critical of it as others. Perhaps I was blinded by the brutal honesty of the writer. At least he didn't try to make me feel happy or warm and fuzzy about animal research. I'm not saying he was the most compassionate person in the world, and I'm not saying that I admire or like him, but at least there was some self-criticism and, yes, some guilt there that I find lacking in the animal researchers I've encountered. I think that people who are pro-animal research would come away with something to ponder, definitely the sense that this is not a pretty or sanitized practice.

Animal Person points out this comment made by Daniel Engber, the author...
Bring on the PETA hotties! Actually, I didn't quit neuroscience as a result of the experiences described, but I did quit working with animals. By the end of my time as researcher, I was performing behavioral experiments on humans. But that's neither here nor there -- I'm very supportive of animal research in principle. The point of my series was to introduce some of the difficult questions that don't often get asked within science, precisely because of what Alina has so aptly described as the "climate of fear" that pervades the lab. It's one that's brought on, no doubt, by the acts of vandalism and intimidation of radical animal-rights groups, but I think it also serves to insulate the research community from any responsibility it might otherwise have to increase transparency and public engagement with the work. I'm sure we could do a much better job of ensuring the humane treatment of our laboratory animals--but at this point it's very difficult even to start the discussion.

It's the last line that grabs me. At least he admits that a better job of humane treatment could be done and that there should be a discussion about it. I don't agree that lack of discussion is due to "animal terrorism" though. As in any field, it's due to established hierarchy, conventional wisdom, and fear of rocking the boat.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sheriff's Deputy Demoted for Helping Animals

A deputy sheriff in North Carolina was demoted for getting involved in animal abuse cases without involving the local animal control officers.
Sergeant Michael Lewis was demoted after he helped rescue malnourished horses in the Hampstead area.

Monday, Sheriff Smith cited two other incidents where he claims Lewis took over animal abuse cases without informing animal control.
Seems a bit harsh. Were the cases valid, or was he abusing his authority?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Reluctant Vivisector

For all of you who think there are no moral quandaries to vivisection and animal research, read this. At least someone who has conducted animal research has a conscience and is willing to write about it....

In fact, read the whole 5-part series in Slate. Read it and tell me that the end, or even the simple limitation, of animal research is nothing more than "darn government regulators! They just want to take away our rights to research!"

Animal research proponents are starting to sound like the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the US.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is PETA Its Own Greatest Enemy?

I recently became a member of PETA because I admire their investigative arm and their ability to get media attention. And I think that, yes, there is a place for shock value in the animal rights movement. Sometimes you have to have a "bomb-thrower" (figuratively speaking!) in order to always push the boundaries of debate for other groups to then follow.

But sometimes, well, PETA does overdo it. A lot.

This editorial in the Advocate does an excellent job of articulating the problem with PETA. (In fact, I think it also articulates Mr. Barky's problems with PETA as well.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Will Animal Research Ever End?

Some scientists say it could end in a generation if we pursue the creation of "virtual humans" and living cell banks as research replacements.

I think we could change things even sooner, but I just don't see the will or the interest in most of the scientific community.

I just don't understand why.

Do Animals Laugh?

There are researchers out there who say that they do. I certainly think they can laugh and have fun. I've seen it. And the link below takes you to an article with the cutest orangutan baby enjoying himself.

From Cosmiclog at MSNBC...

How do you graph the evolution of a laugh? Researchers tickled babies and six different kinds of apes, quantified their giggles, and found that the patterns fit a classic evolutionary tree.

Those patterns hint at the ancient origins of human hilarity and suggest that other social species - including apes, dogs and rats - really, truly laugh as well.

"What we can say is that laughter goes back at least 10 to 16 million years," said University of Portsmouth primatologist Marina Davila Ross, one of the researchers behind the study published online today in the journal Current Biology. "It could go farther than that."

A prominent researcher in the specialized field of animal laughter, Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University, said it definitely goes farther back than that. "I personally think that a credible laughter concept can, and already has been, extended to mammalian species as lowly as the rat..."

40 Ways to Help Lab Animals

Thanks to Patty at Animal Rights-Do Whatever is Necessary for reposting this list of 40 ways to help lab animals.

I especially like these suggestions.....

The better informed you are, the greater the impact you can make, so read everything you can. When you read stories in major newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Newsweek, be wary of simplification, bias, and a tendency to support traditional views indifferent to animals’ interests. A well-referenced book is probably your best source of reliable information. There are many excellent books on issues related to animal research.

10..Know Your Adversary

Part of being an effective activist on animal research issues is knowing the arguments in support of animal research. Do not limit your knowledge and your effectiveness by reading only those materials with which you agree; read articles and books reflecting a range of opinions. You will make yourself a much more effective advocate if you learn the arguments used by those who support the continuing use of animals in the laboratory— and how they might be countered.

11..Get On-Line

The world is a web and you are its spider. The World Wide Web is growing at a rate of thousands of new users per day. With it comes more information to access (see Action 12), more places to express your opinions, and more people to brainstorm with via e-mail or chat lines.

Always be aware that the Web is a free and easy cyberspace where any opinion or “fact” can be found. It is not only a good place to locate people and information; it is also a major source of misinformation. Be cautious in repeating claims you find on the Web, especially those made by members of chat groups.

12..Find the Databases

Databases are loaded wit information relating to animal use in laboratories! CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects), for instance, is a federally funded database available free of charge; it can be accessed on the Internet at Using CRISP, you can access basic information about any scientific study receiving federal money. This information includes research topics, funding amounts, types of animals used, and the number of years the project has been funded.

A valuable new resource has recently entered the information superhighway. Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, in collaboration with a number of government agencies, has established AltWeb, the Alternatives to Animal Testing Web site. This rapidly growing site is to be a global resource on alternative methods, the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement), animal ethics, and animal care, with hyperlinks to related Web sites and databases. Check it out at

13..Search the Libraries

A good library is one of your best sources of information on the whos, whats, whens, wheres, and whys of animal research. For sleuthing on animal experimentation, you will want to visit a library with good science holdings. A university library will usually serve you well.

14..Collect the Numbers

As an advocate for animals, you never know when you’re going to find yourself engaged in a discussion with someone about animal research issues. It never hurts to have a few facts and figures up your sleeve.

15..Get FOIAed Up!

It is not a free country for animals in laboratories, but it is a comparatively free one for you. One such freedom is provided by the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed in 1966. The FOIA entitles you to information on how the government is spending your tax dollars. FOIA allows you access to information on federally funded animal research projects and to documents of various departments of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration, and Public Health Service (PHS). FOIA can provide you with such information as the amount of money spent yearly on a specific project, the research methods used, and internal correspondence related to the project.

Dogs Slaughtered in Yangxian Co. in China

From China Smack (link has dead dogs picture):
2009 May 31, an indiscriminate massacre was carried out throughout the entire 3206 square kilometer county of Yangxian in Shaanxi province — the target of the massacre were dogs! No matter whether it has a license, whether it was vaccinated, whether it was leashed, whether it was owned, they were all given the death penalty on May 31.

After Heilongjiang province’s Heihe city’s plot to become a dog-less county failed, Yangxian has become the first dog-less county in the entire country.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's the Difference Between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights?

Here's one perspective....

(See if you can figure out when the author starts talking about PETA. She doesn't mention it by name, but who else could it be?)

Group Pursues Investigation of US Labs

I predict they'll get nowhere.

From UPI...
Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed the complaint with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging a probe of 50 U.S. researchers for allegedly filing fraudulent documents and performing nearly identical experimentation in violation of federal regulations, the organization said in a news release.

"The animal research industry is just as unregulated as Wall Street was before the current economic crisis," said Michael A. Budkie, SAEN executive director. "If this system is not overhauled, the next meltdown will be in research laboratories."

European Union Screws Apes Used in Medical Research

Here are the results of the EU flirtation with restricting research on primates. It's from a Reuters article from last May...I will try not to smash my computer screen in frustration.
Researchers can continue most experiments on mankind's closest relatives -- chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans -- after European Union lawmakers watered down proposals to restrict testing.

The EU's executive Commission last year proposed a range of measures to improve the welfare of the 12 million vertebrate animals used in experiments each year, mostly mice and rats.

The European Parliament backed plans for an upper limit on the level of pain animals should endure and to increase EU efforts to develop non-animal alternatives, with 540 votes in favor and 66 against....

The Commission had also proposed scaling back experiments on the 12,000 primates used each year, so they could only be used if the survival of their species was at stake or during an unexpected outbreak of life-threatening disease in humans.

The European Parliament said its members had rejected that part of the proposal as it would hinder research into some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

They also called for a feasibility study before agreeing to a ban on capturing wild primates to use in laboratories.

Drug industry group EFPIA said the parliament had managed to balance the protection of animals, the reality of biomedical research, and the needs of patients.

Nothing, nothing makes me angrier than animal researchers. They have no qualms about what they do. At least show me that you people have some conscience and at least feel bad about this. Oh, but if you actually FEEL something, you might actually THINK about what you are doing. Maybe you'll feel some guilt about it.

How lucky for you that your "subjects" can't speak. How lucky for them that there may be an upper threshold for their PAIN!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quote of the Week

Personally, I rather look forward to a computer program winning the world chess championship. Humanity needs a lesson in humility.

-Richard Dawkins

Now We Have Glow-in-the-Dark Monkeys!

Oh yay.
Viral DNA was used to introduce a gene for a green fluorescent protein into monkeys, creating a new line of "glow-in-the-dark" transgenic primates for drug research work. Researchers involved in the instantly controversial project say this is the first time that a monkey has been genetically engineered so that a new gene entered into its DNA and was passed down to its offspring.

...Now scientists say this new approach will be able to develop a line of primates that can be genetically orchestrated to more closely match humans. That would give drug makers a better animal model for preclinical studies as they try to determine a drug's chances of working in people.

Personally, I don't like messing with anyone's genes. The ethical questions are obvious. You can argue that anything is good for humanity in the short run, until it gets into the wrong hands in the long run.

Hey, why don't we just start planning for glow-in-the-dark children in the future? That way you can always find them in the dark!

(Oh, by the way, drug researchers love this. Of course! Possibly better research, more drugs, more sales!!!)

California Budget Woes May Lead to More Shelter Deaths

This sucks.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's new budget is calling for the euthanization of animals after only three days. Currently, it takes six days before they can be euthanized.

I understand that budgets are an issue, but, again, these are lives we are talking about. It's not the animals' fault that they have found themselves in this situation. It's the constant and conscious culture of killing animals in this society that I absolutely hate.

Thanks to LA Unleashed for the story.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PETA Latches On To Tiller Murder For Publicity

Like a moth to a flame. From the article:
A national animal rights group plans to erect billboards in Wichita urging people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian.

One version of the billboard says, "Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian." The other says, "Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian." Both feature a photo of three baby chicks.
Stay classy there PETA.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Identify Signs of Animal Cruelty

Here is a link to a PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) web page with signs of what to look for. It's a Washington State organization, but the information is still useful anywhere.

"Zoo from Hell" Owner Convicted in New York

And people wonder why I'm so disappointed by humans...

A farm-animal breeder who ran what a prosecutor called "the zoo from hell" was convicted Tuesday of animal cruelty.

A jury in West Haverstraw deliberated less than two hours before convicting Robert Everle of all 13 charges of torturing, injuring and starving animals.

State police raided Everle's property, 30 miles north of New York City, in July, and witnesses testified that they found several animals dead, many malnourished and dozens living in unsanitary conditions. The animals included ducks, chickens, guinea hens, rabbits, sheep, dogs and cats.

At the time of the raid, Rockland County prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri described the property as "kind of like a petting zoo gone out of control" and "the zoo from hell."

Vile Practices at Tulare County, CA Animal Shelter

I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and am familiar with Tulare County. That's why this action alert from the Animal Legal Defense Fund strikes a cord with me.

From the ALDF blog....

Arrested in June 2007, Michael J. Sargeant, William R. Harmon, and Ron C. Cookson were accused of participating in an “off the books” arrangement wherein Harmon and Cookson carried out unauthorized mass euthanasias at the Tulare County, California shelter – reportedly using nonstandard and painful methods – by falsifying records to cover their actions.

Sargeant, doing business as Sargeant’s Wholesale Biologicals, buys carcasses from animal shelters and sells them to research facilities such as UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine. According to an investigative report by the Sheriff’s Office, Sargeant admitted that he had not had an official contract with Tulare County Animal Control since 2002 and that contract had allowed him to take only feline carcasses, yet he had continued to acquire dog and cat carcasses frequently from the shelter whenever Harmon called to tell him that euthanized animals were ready for pick up. The report further stated that Sargeant’s company purchased $1000 worth of gift certificates to a fancy restaurant and gave them to Harmon in 2005. He used a company check to purchase another $1,000 gift certificate, which he gave to Harmon in 2006.

Michael Sargeant was originally charged with two felony bribery charges, but on May 13, 2009, he pled no contest to one misdemeanor count of engaging in anti-competitive practices. He was sentenced to two days in jail (already served), three years of formal probation and a $150 fine. That's all.

ALDF is asking that you send a letter to the USDA asking that Sargeant's Class B license-which allows him to round up dogs and cats from animal shelters, auctions, private individuals and other "random sources," and then sell them for experimentation-be revoked.
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