Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Podcast Uploaded for 01/30/10

In this week's podcast ending January 30, 2010:

**A Mercy for Animals video spurs calls for a ban on tail docking in the State of New York;

**Animal rights activists try to stop construction of a bullfighting ring in Beijing;

**A PETA protestor gets a pie in the face for protesting against the Canadian seal hunt;

**And legislation is proposed in China to ban the eating of cats and dogs.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

PETA Activist Pied in the Face

A PETA anti seal hunt activist was hit in the face with a pie in Newfoundland. This after a PETA activist hit Canada Fisheries Minister Gail Shae with a pie.

In other news, PETA received more publicity for their anti seal hunting campaign when one of their protesters was hit in the face with a pie. That's good, because I really hate Canada's odious seal hunt.

Tiger Farms in China

The BBC has an article about the spreading practice of "farming" tigers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eating Cats and Dogs Could Become Illegal in China

The legislation is only being drafted right now and there's a long way to go I suspect before such laws would pass. You can already read the excuses being cited in this article.

Horrible Tail Docking Video Spurs Call for Ban

Just awful.

More great undercover work though by Mercy for Animals.

Zambia Calls for Tougher Wildlife Crime Enforcement

Wildlife crime such as poaching and live animal smuggling is becoming increasingly sophisticated. This because it is being run by organized crime networks with professional and ruthless criminals. It's not just some guy with a gun and snare.

Zambia's Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources is calling for a greater cooperation between her country's agencies in dealing with this serious issue. The worst areas of wildlife crime appear to be in rhino and elephant poaching. Obviously, this is due to one word....ivory.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Moon Bears Rescued from Bile Farm in Vietnam

Ugh. It's great that they were saved, but they arrived at the rescue center in wretched condition. Moon bears are rare, which makes this all the sadder.

Please note that the illegal bile farm was Taiwanese-owned. Again, the China connection.

I can't read such stuff without being sickened by my species.

(Thank Animals Asia for the rescue. They are an amazing organization that we support financially.)

Europe's Pig Industry Mad about Undercover Investigation

Compassion in World Farming led an undercover investigation that showed illegal tail docking and poor attempts at pig enrichment on factory farms, in violation of EU law. Now the pig industry is mad and claiming bias (scroll down in article.)

Too bad! If you complied with the law, you wouldn't look like such jerks!

Wisconsin-Madison Cleared by USDA

The University of Wisconsin-Madison was cleared of animal welfare violations in a report released yesterday. It had twenty violations back in December 2009...
According to the ten-page detailed report from December, the USDA cited sanitation, ventilation and enclosure concerns within the Center’s facilities. In one case, a pen housing a large pig was constructed with slats that regularly caused the pig to fall when its feet fell through.

The report also noted a lack of cleanliness in some facilities. Dried blood, dust and floor stains were cited as deficiencies. Dirty air filters and an “excessive accumulation of flies” were also named as concerns.

Of course they passed the January inspection. They had to do so after the December report or heads would probably roll. But I find it hard to believe they won't let their standards fall again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sri Lanka Attempts to Establish Animal Research Guidelines

From the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka....
Last Monday (January 18, 2010), this country reached a milestone with regard to animal research when a booklet on the ‘Guidelines for Ethics Review of Research Proposals Involving Animals in Sri Lanka’, was launched at a simple ceremony held at the Colombo Medical Faculty presided over by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, the Dean of the Medical Faculty, Prof. Harsha Seneviratne and the faculty’s Ethics Review Committee Chairman Prof. Hemantha Senanayake.

The guidelines have been compiled by the Forum of Ethics Review Committees of Sri Lanka and the Ethics Review Committee (ERC) of the Colombo Medical Faculty after several sessions of consultations with a wide and varied group including academics from all universities across the country, government officials and animal welfare groups. The booklet has been sponsored by the World Health Organization.

The need for such guidelines was felt acutely when the National Bioethics Committee (NBC) of the National Science Foundation realized in 2003 that there was no legislation or nationally applicable codes of practice to ensure the humane treatment of animals used in research, states well-known animal lover, Dr. Malik Fernando in his ‘Background’ note.

WA State Man Loses Hunting License Over Elk Killing

This guy is a real piece of work. Click on the link and see the picture. It says it all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Podcast Uploaded for 01/26/10

In this week's podcast ending January 26, 2010:

**Animal rescue efforts are underway in disaster-stricken Haiti;

**A research study involving the burial of live pigs is halted;

**The blood sport of dogfighting enjoys a revival in Afghanistan;

**And a report by animal welfare organizations criticize pig farming in the European Union.

Sea Shepherd to Head to Mediterranean to Protect Tuna

Sea Shepherd will be sending the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker to the Mediterranean to help protect Bluefin Tuna.
Announcing their venture into the Mediterranean, the organisation's founder and president, Captain Paul Watson, said: "We need to bring to the attention of the international public that one of the most unique fish species in the world, the Bluefin tuna, is on the brink of extinction due to the illegal fisheries driven by Japan's insatiable demand for this expensive fish."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chimpanzees in Sanctuaries Reflect Widespread Smuggling

It makes sense. The chimpanzee population is decreasing in the wild, but their numbers are increasing in sanctuaries. There are more rescues because there is more smuggling.

Research shows this is what's happening in Cameroon.

Serious Problems with Quality of Animal Research

The writer of this Guardian article supports animal research, but admits there are many problems with the research itself. His arguments are not based on humane treatment of the animals, but whether these studies are even properly conducted.

I ask if these studies are not properly conducted, then why do them in the first place?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Colorado State Cited for Animal Research Violations

Another university cited. The animal research supporter I know says "we can do a better job of treating lab animals."

Yah think?

The Issue of Dolphins in Captivity

This is a good argument from PETA for keeping dolphins out of aquariums.

(At my book club last week, someone actually admitted she craves fish and chips every time she goes to the aquarium! Shudder!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

All beings tremble before violence.
All fear death, all love life.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?


Burp-Less Sheep?

Apparently, Australian scientists think less sheep burping (and less methane releasing) would help with global warming.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update on Conditions for Haiti's Animals

Unfortunately, things are pretty uncertain, but I can only expect the worst.

Help Haiti's Animals

Here's a link to the Best Friends page to donate to animal rescue in Haiti. The organization is part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti.

Haiti...the only country where I believe human welfare is only slightly better than animal welfare.

That's really, really bad.

Animal Planet to Air Dogfighting Report

I received this from the Humane Society regarding a program to premiere January 25 on Animal Planet. It's the first episode ever of "Animal Planet Investigates: Dogfighting Exposed."

Unfortunately, I don't get Animal Planet, but I'm pleased to see them running edgier programming. Many people may not think this is all that edgy, but I'm still happy to see it, especially when it's easy in television to stick with softball, happy shows. They wouldn't try this topic if they thought their audience wouldn't go for it. To me, that's progress.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tests Involving the Burial of LIVE PIGS Are Halted

Well, there's always some unexpected nonsense to discover.

From USA Today....

An experiment in which anesthetized pigs were buried alive in snow to learn how humans live or die in avalanches was halted today in Austria after animal-rights groups denounced the research as cruel and useless.

The two-week experiment involving 29 pigs began Tuesday in the Western Austrian Alps. Some animals were being buried completely and suffocated, while others were covered up to their necks to freeze to death.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to kill these highly sensitive, helpless animals for such a useless experiment," said Johanna Stadler, director of Vier Pfoten (Four Paws).

Cherokee Man Imprisoned for Selling Gall Bladders

This culprit is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and is serving only 6 months for illegally selling 51 bear gall bladders.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Never Get in the Way of a Cat Riding Her Roomba

Animal Relief Efforts in Haiti

The Humane Society has information here. The ASPCA has a page too. I imagine like everything else, this is going to take a lot of hard work. Even under the best conditions, animals have a tough life in poverty stricken nations like Haiti. But, of course, we don't pay attention to Haiti unless the buildings all fall down.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Technology Still Trying to Replace Animals in Cosmetics Testing

When is this going to happen? It's proceeding at a snail's pace. There is NO EXCUSE or even argument for hurting animals in the name of a woman's vanity.

Here's an article on its progress from US News and World Report.

Psychiatrist Arrested for Trafficking in Gall Bladders

So, it's not just rednecks in Washington State who are doing this.

From the Seattle P-I:
A Japanese psychiatrist with a home in Seattle is facing poaching and gun-possession charges following allegations that he poached several black bears and tried to smuggle gallbladders back to Japan.

In charging documents filed in King County Superior Court, prosecutors contend Dr. Tohru Shigemura made repeated trips to Washington to hunt bear, taking animals out of season and on tribal lands. Shigemura, prosecutors claim, also amassed a collection of 11 firearms without the appropriate permits

PETA Suing Utah County

They're trying to get documentation regarding the 100 dogs and cats sold to the University of Utah for medical experiments.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Canada Promoting Seal Meat and Fur in China

Now there is a marriage made in heaven, two countries with atrocious records on animal issues have come together.
"The EU was a small market for Canada. Of course, we're disappointed in their actions," Ms. Shea said by telephone from China today. "That being said, there are many other markets out there. That's what we're doing in China. We're trying to expand on the market that's here."
Maybe they can start trading them for bear gall bladders and tiger parts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

University of Washington Allows Primate to Starve to Death

I went to graduate school at the University of Washington here in Seattle. I've been hearing nightmare stories about the Primate Center for years. The ineptness and cruelty continues, but all in the name of "putting people first."

Eff that. This is why I avoid Games Night at some acquaintances.' They have a friend that works at this vile place.

From the student newspaper The Daily
A monkey allowed to starve to death was just one of the complaints noted in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on the UW National Primate Research Center in September.

The primate, a 3-and-a-half-year-old pig-tailed macaque, “had been found dead due to malnutrition resulting in a loss of 25 percent of its body weight,” the report said. The death occurred last April.

This incident can be traced to a failure to weigh the animal at regular intervals. The facility requires that primates be weighed at least monthly, but in this case, the macaque hadn’t been weighed for about two months prior to its death, according to the report.

...In addition to the macaque, the USDA took issue with the unsanitary conditions of the animals’ food storage and with the discovery of expired and unlabeled drugs in the facility. They also found two baboons enclosed in a cage that did not allow them to sit upright, due to 2-inch-high implants in their heads.

Charles River Laboratories Closes a Facility

Good riddance as far as I'm concerned. Here's the brief announcement from the Boston Business Journal in its entirety.
Charles River Laboratories International Inc., which provides mice and other animals for scientific research, is suspending operations at its facility in Shrewsbury indefinitely and laying off 300 people, the Boston Business Journal reports.

CEO James Foster said consolidation in the biotechnology industry, an overall slowdown in research and budgetary constraints has led to a decrease in demand for the company's services, the BBJ reports.

PETA Pulls Ad With Picture of First Lady

Not a good idea. Unless...Maybe just maybe they could get some publicity out of all this.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Animal Diseases Poised to Spread to Humans

And people actually believe we've conquered nature?
The world is facing a growing threat from new diseases that are jumping the human-animal species barrier as a result of environmental disruption, global warming and the progressive urbanisation of the planet, scientists have warned.

At least 45 diseases that have passed from animals to humans have been reported to UN agencies in the last two decades, with the number expected to escalate in the coming years.

Dramatic changes to the environment are triggering major alterations to human disease patterns on a scale last seen during the industrial revolution. Montira Pongsiri, an environmental health scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, says that previous transitions in human history have had a devastating impact in terms of the spread of disease.

Volcano Threatens Endangered Chimpanzees

A volcano near Virunga National Park has erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 700 remaining mountain gorillas are safe because they are out of the lava's path, but about 40 endangered chimpanzees and other animals living in the area are directly threatened.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Podcast Uploaded for 01/09/10

News from last week:

*A US Federal Judge rejects claims that Ringling’s Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus mishandles endangered Asian elephants;

*A primate at a Charles River laboratory facility dies from being run through a commercial washer;

*Miss Newfoundland defends the Canadian seal hunt;

*Cambodian prosecutions of illegal logging and wildlife smuggling have increased;

and Sea Shepherd files piracy charges against a Japanese research vessel.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Top Ten Animal Stories of the Decade

A list compiled by the Humane Society...

Are Dolphins Like Human Children?

Scientists at Emory University think so.

Do PETA's Tactics Make a Difference?

My husband and I disagree over PETA's effectiveness. I think this opinion piece does a good job arguing in favor of PETA. I think that they are effective and, while I don't always agree with them, we would sorely miss them if they disappeared from the animal rights community. They have an energy and edginess that is fundamental to the movement. They keep people on their toes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ringling Brothers Wins Court Case Over Elephant Abuse

Pretty heavy blow.
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan signed the December 30 ruling in favor of Ringling's owner, Virginia-based Feld Entertainment Inc. (FEI) at the outset of a nine-year-old suit brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that culminated in a six-week trial in March.

The ASPCA, Born Free USA (Animal Protection Institute), Animal Welfare Institute, Fund for Animals along with former Ringling animal trainer Tom Rider had accused the circus of shackling, confining and striking elephants with bullhooks, which have a sharp steel hook at one end.

Sullivan dismissed the star witness's testimony, saying Rider lied about receiving payments from animal activists and about his personal attachment to the giant animals.

"The court finds that Mr Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony," Sullivan wrote in his ruling.

"Mr Rider's self-serving testimony at trial about his personal and emotional attachment to these elephants also is not credible because he did not begin to make complaints about how FEI treated its elephants until after he began accepting money from animal activists."

Primate Death at a Charles River Laboratories Facility

The macaque was not removed before the cage went through the commercial cleaners.

Bad stuff.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sea Shepherd Boat Rammed and Sunk

Frankly in looking at this video, I think Paul Watson just wasted a good boat. Might be good publicity, but seems like an expensive way to do things.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Zealand, Australia to Conduct Whale Research Too

Good news! It's non-lethal.
New Zealand and Australia are joining forces to carry out research on whales using non-lethal methods, in an attempt to challenge Japan's hunting programme.

Eighteen scientists will set sail for Antarctica next month to study minke, humpback and blue whale populations.

They will also be assessing the impact of climate change on the whales.

The scientists hope their research will help to disprove Japan's claims that whales have to be killed if they are to be properly studied.

The six-week voyage will start in Wellington in early February.

Bob Barker Donates $5 Million to Sea Shepherd

Holy sh**!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trafficking Should be Crime Story, Not Wildlife Story

Interesting. This piece is in the Huffington Post, and it's by Bryan Christy, author of The Lizard King. He says inflated wildlife smuggling numbers are hurting the fight against the crime. I myself had no idea that the numbers were inflated.

He makes a lot of sense.
In other words, puffing wildlife smuggling to sell stories hurts efforts to fight crime.

Recall any wildlife smuggling story you've ever read or watched in the past 20 years. Now, substitute the word "cocaine" for whatever wildlife is featured in the story. Chances are you'll see a bizarre overemphasis on cocaine and how it grows and who sells it on street corners and little attention on major traffickers, their national and transnational syndicates, and the government regulators and prosecutors who failed to stop the trafficking. You will see no names beyond the lowest level traffickers. You would demand more in a narcotics trafficking story, and you would hope for more in a child trafficking story, but you won't see more in a wildlife crime story because too often wildlife crime stories are little more than eco-tourism pieces with sad endings.

In the past few years, the U.S. Justice Department's lead environmental crimes prosecutors have been making the pitch both here and abroad that investigators, prosecutors, and judges should pursue wildlife criminals as traditional criminals, charging them with smuggling, money laundering, etc. Reporting on wildlife crime likewise should treat the matter as a crime story not a wildlife story. More time should be spent on paper and money trails, less on jungle adventures. Choices count. With paltry government resources allocated to fighting international wildlife crime, journalists are often nature's best hope against smugglers. Weak reporting kills wildlife.

China Calls for Tiger Protection

From the Economic Times (part of the India Times, I think)....
India’s newfound partnership with China on environment issues has yielded results in the area of tiger protection as well. In what could be seen as a new year’s gift for the Indian tiger, China’s State Forestry Administration has issued a directive calling for the protection of tigers, especially the need to step up action against illegal trade in tiger parts and products.
I don't trust the Chinese government on any issue. whether it be animal rights or human rights. What kind of protection do they really mean? You can put tigers on a farm for legal parts harvesting and still call it "protection."

I'm too, too cynical.

Dogtown Episode 3 - The Vick Dogs

This final episode in the three-episode Season 1 disc was about the Vick dogs taken in by Best Friends for rehabilitation. (Be warned, there were some dog-fighting clips in the episode.) But I'm glad I watched it because I learned a lot.

Rescuing the Vick dogs was a controversial move by Best Friends and some animal groups, most notably PETA, did not agree with it. I'm a dues-paying member of both groups but, while I support euthanasia when it is CLEARLY an act of mercy, I come down pretty hard on Best Friends' side here.

I think that the Vick dogs are a high-profile case that gets attention. And the dogs deserve a happy life after all the suffering they have been through (two of them have already been adopted.) Plus, it was Best Friends' decision to take the dogs and the issue is between them and their donors.

True, there are adoptable animals who do not get a spot at Best Friends because the Vick dogs are there, but I'm not of the opinion that just because you can't save all of them, then you shouldn't try to save any of them.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

McKee Project Helps Latin America's Strays

This is a good group. Check them out.

01/02/09 Podcast Uploaded

In this week's podcast ending January 2, 2010:

**The USDA and National Institutes of Health find animal welfare violations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;

**the Catalan Parliament in Spain finally votes to ban bullfighting in the region;

**the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, CA has a record year for marine life suffering from illness and human violence;

**2010 marks the Year of the Tiger with less than 3,500 individuals left in the wild;

**and Carrie Feldman remains in prison under AETA charges while her lawyers file an appeal for her release.

Happy New Year

A cat, drawn by me on my ipod. I didn't do the red stamp. That was just a stamp thingy that the app has.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Oregon Man Charged with Letting Dog Freeze to Death

I can't even comment on this, the anger is too intense.

Happy New Year {insert sarcasm here!)

2009 is the Year of the Tiger

With only 3,200 tigers left in the wild.

Record Year for Sick Seals in San Pedro,CA

From the Contra Costa Times...
Each one of the sleek, whiskered sea lions recovering at the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro has its own story.

Some are visibly struggling for life and lie listlessly near in-ground pools. Others swim, play and jostle with one another.

But they are all seriously ill with malnutrition, gaping wounds from fishing line injuries, broken and scarred fins, busted jaws or brain damage from domoic acid poisoning.

Some of the damage was caused by humans who shot, clubbed or threw so-called seal bombs at the mammals. The explosives are tossed into the water to scare away seals from fishing areas. Other injuries come from predators or disease.

Even though it has been a record year for sick harbor seals, sea lions and elephant seals, experts say it could get much worse.
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