Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are Published Animal Studies Skewed?

Here's an article in Nature about how many animal studies with negative or inconclusive results go unpublished. It raises the question of how useful animal research really is if we only see the studies that show relevant results. What about the ones that are negative because animals are not really representative of human biology? Or negative for whatever other reasons?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Film About Bullfighting Stars Adrian Brody

Too bad. I really liked Adrian Brody, but here he is showing up in a movie about a Spanish bullfighter. To the film's credit, though, it did spend a lot of money to avoid using real bulls.

The Conflict Between Animal Welfare and Agribusiness

This article pretty much sums up how the two agendas are simply at cross-purposes. Compassion is perceived to hurt profits.

It spotlights the Humane Society, but I think it's a pretty universal comparison.

Animal Study Shows Junk Food Can be Addictive

This is the perfect example of an UNNECESSARY animal study.
Come on. I could have told you it's addictive. How many more candy bars do I need to eat to become an expert?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Big Ol' Protest In Madrid Against Bullfighting

Thousands marched on Madrid to protest bullfighting and push for a ban.

I wish the Portuguese were this passionate about protesting bullfighting.

Primate Parts Still Being Used for "Medicinal Purposes"

It's not just tiger parts and elephant tusks that are being used for so called "traditional" medicinal uses. I didn't know primates were in demand too. I knew about bush meat, but not about this.
Will it ever end?

Another Critical Article Directed at CITES

The CITES irresponsible treatment of marine animals made it to Huffington Post too. This article is by the President of the Blue Frontier Campaign.

I'm glad others share my disgust with CITES and the UN. Hopefully, regular citizens will read this and not just other activists. (I forwarded an article about this to my book club members. Knowing them, I bet they were hoping for fish and chips instead!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Christian Science Monitor Calls for Endangered Species Hour

"Earth Hour" was held yesterday. People were supposed to turn their lights off for an hour. I like this opinion piece from the Christian Science Monitor which calls for an "Endangered Species Hour."

It's in response to the pathetic CITES conference which basically screwed marine animal protection. The Christian Science Monitor rightly points out that citizens and consumers need to get involved in endangered species protection, because at the CITES level, it's all about money and international politics.
Japan, which imports most of the tuna, led the fight against a proposed ban. Nations where livelihoods depend on fishing the tuna and on harvesting other marine species held sway over countries, including the US, that pointed to scientific evidence of drastically dwindling populations.

Commerce vs. conservation is often at the center of environmental battles, whether they involve global warming or the spotted owl.

Over the years, environmentalists have learned that arguing solely on behalf of other life forms is not enough. They’ve had to earn degrees in economics and sociology to learn to marry their causes with the human one – explaining, for instance, that humans depend on bats to pollinate or on coral reefs to support other marine life that is advantageous to mankind.

In Qatar, the concern about lost livelihoods during difficult economic times was particularly acute. But jobs that depend on harvesting endangered species will quickly disappear if those species are not protected.

British Veterinarians Have High Suicide Rate

Very interesting, and surprising, story about why veterinarians in Britain appear to be four times as likely as the general public to commit suicide. The article summarizes the results of a research paper by a PhD student in mental health.

While the research paper deals specifically with British veterinarians, there are apparently elevated suicide rates in this profession in other countries as well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Belgian Bill Calls for Pig Castration WITH Anesthesia

OK, I'm stupid as hell. They castrate piglets WITHOUT anesthesia. OMFG!

I hope this bill passes. But I post about so many legislative proposals, with so few actual passages. We'll have to wait and see.

Campaign Calling for Circus Ban in Britain

I hope they can do it. I absolutely despise circuses.

The campaigners claim polls show 90 percent of the public would support such a ban. Hmmmm....sounds awfully high to me. When they tried to ban circuses in Seattle about 10 years ago, there was this big outcry. It was actually pretty weird.

Canadian Seals In Big Trouble from Melting Ice

I've been hearing about this from the Humane Society, but haven't posted about it yet. Canadian seals are being screwed by an exceptionally warm winter and lack of ice. They are dying and starving.

And that's not even mentioning the hunters that are after them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Campaign Launched to End Bullfighting in Madrid

It's been banned in Catalonia. Now activists are trying for the big time...the regional government of Madrid. That will be even tougher.

More Drivel Out of CITES

As noted in another post, no protections for marine mammals. But plenty of drivel about improving law enforcement for wildlife protection.

Just more drivel out of a toothless organization.

No Marine Animal Protection from CITES

The opening line in this USA Today article says it all, "Every proposal to protect marine species at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in Doha, Qatar was voted down."

It's unfortunate, but true, thanks primarily to Japan and China.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sea Shepherd Goes on Mission to Protect Bluefin Tuna

Looks like they'll need to since nobody else wants to protect them.
In Qatar yesterday nations voted down a proposed ban on exporting Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Greenpeace says the New Zealand Government voted against the ban – spelling disaster for the future of the species.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully wasn’t available today to confirm how New Zealand voted.

But Mr Watson is unfazed by the outcome in Qatar.
“The fact is, they’re exceeding their quota limits in the Mediterranean and they’re doing that every year. Sea Shepherd doesn’t protest, Sea Shepherd intervenes against illegal activity. So it doesn’t affect our campaign,” he says.

UK Science Minister Says Public More Accepting of Animal Testing

According to this interview, he credits animal rights extremists for fueling the public backlash against animal protection.

Discouraging article.

Asian Countries Score Another Victory Over Marine Animals

Delegates to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) conference in Qatar voted down three of four proposals to protect sharks. This really sucks.

According to the New York Times..
China, by far the world’s largest consumer of the cartilaginous fish, for sharkfin soup, and Japan, which has battled to keep the convention from being extended to any marine species, led the opposition.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Japan Mad about Banning Bluefish Tuna Fishing

I'm not surprised considering their attitude about whale meat. Apparently, it's all "cultural imperialism." Considering Japan's history in East Asia, it is seriously ironic to me that they throw the word "imperialism" around. Give me a break. (The article's writer is a bit more objective about this than I am.)

By the way, the proposed ban was defeated. We'll see how long this fishery lasts before it too goes extinct.

UN Refuses to Re-open Ivory Trade

Zambia and Tanzania proposed re-opening the trade, but the UN said no.

Bush Meat, Trafficking Decimate Vietnam

Sounds just awful. But the problem is the high demand for these products.

From Vietnam News...
Dr Scott Roberton, head of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), said that hunting wild animals for meat and trafficking had been happening in many countries, especially developing ones.

In Viet Nam, hunting and trade in wild animals had been alarming, he said.

A WCS study conducted at 200 restaurants in the central region found they consumed nearly 2 million wild animals per year. Among them, stag and wild boar accounted for around 70 per cent of the consumed meat, followed by turtle, snake, fox and porcupine.

The study estimated the demand of wild animal consumption nationwide at nearly 4,500 tonnes per year....

Over the last two years, authorities have discovered 57 cases of trafficking in wild animals involving more than 7,612 individuals including monkeys and Tibetan bears and elephant tusks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Bold Native" is Film About Animal Rights

We received an email from Open Road Films with a link to the Bold Native website and trailer. The film looks really interesting to us and we are definitely going to check it out upon its re-release this summer. They will also be making the DVD available from their website.

Here's the trailer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Groups Seek Charges in Sheep Decompression Tests

You heard it right...sheep decompression tests. PETA and the Alliance for Animals are asking for charges to be filed against the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

From the Wisconsin State Journal....

They filed a petition Tuesday asking a judge to allow them to prosecute five UW-Madison officials and several researchers.

...In this case, the affidavit states, three sheep out of 303 died during studies in a hyperbaric chamber over the past 10 years and 23 others died within a day of having been removed from the chamber.

It is illegal in Wisconsin to kill an animal by means of decompression. The crime is a forfeiture violation, a maximum fine of $500 per violation, but rises to a misdemeanor if intent or negligence is shown.

Only violations that occurred within the last three years, however, can be prosecuted.

The university stopped conducting the experiments last fall when it learned that it may have been violating state law, said Eric Sandgren, who oversees animal research at UW-Madison. The research is an effort to prevent "the bends," or injuries to divers as they ascend from deep water.

PETA Files Complaint Against Michigan School

It's a flurry of activity out there in the animal research fight! This one involves PETA and Saginaw Valley State University.

Humane Society Cites Abuses at University of Minnesota

Ugh. All this stuff makes me sick. Don't give me that slop about universities being better than corporations. I don't care if they're supposedly working for altruistic purposes (they're not, but that's another story), they are allowing animals to suffer through negligent care separate from the excruciating experiments they must still undergo.

What BS.
( - The Humane Society of the United States has obtained government reports showing that the University of Minnesota has violated federal standards of care for animals in laboratories. Violations included failing to properly administer pain-relieving medicine, failing to provide adequate veterinary care and failing to properly euthanize animals. The improperly euthanized animals remained alive but were discarded as if they were dead.

The HSUS learned of the violations through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's online inspection reports and documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

"The public doesn't want animals to suffer gratuitously in research laboratories," said Martin Stephens, Ph.D., vice president of animal research issues for The HSUS. "University of Minnesota should publicly affirm its commitment to minimizing the suffering of animals in its research labs."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Humane Society Calls for Refuge for 9 Chimps

These chimps are currently at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Center. This is the same place that was nailed by a Humane Society undercover investigation. Videos showed mistreatment of the lab animals.

The Humane Society wants 9 chimps that are not being "used" as part of experiments to be released to a sanctuary. I just love the language used by the Research Center's spokesperson.
{Dr. Jeff Rowell, NIRC director, in an e-mail Wednesday} "said the nine remaining animals are being housed as a family group at the center with access to indoor-outdoor caging.

“The animals have not been and are not currently being accessed for biomedical research,” Rowell said."
"Accessed?" Interesting. Let's make this as clinical as possible. It's irrelevant that these chimpanzees share 98.6 percent of our DNA. They may as well be centrifuges or test tubes to these people.

Lots of Deaths in Animal Research Facilities

Even I didn't realize how bad it was until I read this article from the Associated Press. The spotlight is on Charles River Laboratories.

This article lists some of the universities and private corporations with violations.

FBI Serves Search Warrant to ALF Supporter

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen...
The FBI served a search warrant Monday on a Salt Lake City home occupied by a supporter of the Animal Liberation Front.

Peter D. Young, 32, said at least eight FBI agents arrived about 11:30 a.m. The agents took computers, papers and other items it thought to be related to "animal enterprise terrorism," Young said, reciting language from the warrant.

"It's important to highlight the fact that I am being targeted just because I am a public figure on the subject" of animal rights, Young said in an interview Tuesday.

A federal judge in Iowa issued the warrant. Law enforcement there has a long-running investigation into animal releases at a University of Iowa laboratory.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote of the Week

There's about as much educational benefit studying dolphins in captivity as there would be studying mankind by only observing prisoners held in solitary.

--Jacques Cousteau

Monday, March 15, 2010

Great Video About a Dog Rescue

This is 5 minutes long, but a great one to watch.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoroughbred Dealer Convicted of Animal Cruelty

This guy sounds like a real jerk. He didn't know how his horses were being treated on his own farm? Come on, that's a Michael Vick defense that didn't work with him either. Plus, this is the guy's BUSINESS. And he didn't know? Yeah, right.

From the Associated Press...
Prominent New York thoroughbred breeder and owner Ernie Paragallo was convicted Wednesday of mistreating dozens of malnourished horses on his Hudson Valley farm.

A judge convicted Paragallo of 33 of 34 misdemeanor animal cruelty counts in a nonjury trial in Greene County.

The 52-year-old Long Island resident was charged after state police and animal welfare investigators raided his farm in Coxsackie in April and seized 177 malnourished horses. He could face up to two years in jail and $33,000 in fines, $1,000 for each count.

Most of the horses were eventually adopted by other horse farms around the nation, but several were in such poor shape they had to be euthanized.

Paragallo, who testified last week that he didn't know the horses on his farm weren't being fed enough, had no comment as he left court.

Animal Rights Lawyers Continue to Emerge

Interesting article in the Gazette, a Canadian publication.

Animal Research Grants a Waste of Taxpayer Money

I like this letter which appeared in the Brandenton Herald (FL)...
President Obama promised to eliminate wasteful government spending; funding for animal research is one area that is overdue for reform. As billions flow into this waste, 44 million Americans lack adequate health care coverage.

Each year, millions of cats, dogs, non-human primates and other animals suffer and die in research laboratories. Please do not advertise to sell your pets.

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 17-24) exposes their plight and the broken federal research funding system that perpetuates outdated animal experiments at the expense of modern and more humane technologies. Animal research is not necessary to promote human health despite claims from vested interests.

Recent published studies document that an old boys network in the federal grant award process keeps “aging cash cows” afloat while leaving younger, innovative investigators struggling.

The result: antiquated, unnecessary and ridiculous experiments like those identified recently by In Defense of Animals, including studies of cocaine-addicted quail, nipple preference in nursing infant monkeys, toy preference in young monkeys, and effect of high-fat diets on mice (it made them fat and sleepy).

As billions flow into this waste, 44 million Americans lack adequate health care coverage.

Gundl Bhutani


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saving Marine Animals that Are NOT Cute

We hear about the problem with charismatic land species. It's those species that either have a powerful personality or a cute face that endear people to them and garner news attention. Examples include panda bears, wolves, elephants, tigers, etc. It's easier to motivate people to save them as opposed to other species that are vital, but either boring or ugly.

It's the same problem with marine life.
People want to save the dolphins and the sea otters, but what about the bluefin tuna? Or cod? They don't invoke the pathos of the tragic salmon or the merriment of a playful porpoise.

So what happens to them?

Marine Life Top of CITES Meeting Agenda

Oh look, more meetings.

From Al Jazeera...
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or Cites that opened in the Qatari capital on Saturday will be discussing 42 proposals during the next two weeks.

Apart from issues like combating elephant poaching for ivory in Africa and banning trade in polar bear skins, those focusing on sharks and tuna are likely to be among the most contentious.

On its agenda is Monaco's proposal to have a complete ban on the international commercial trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna.
Australia and Japan are among the countries refusing to back a total ban.
Interesting to see Japan and Australia united on some issues, in contrast to their conflict over whaling.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It's book club night, so have a bunny.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Orcas Have Some Pretty Big Brains

They have the second largest brains of all marine mammals. That's pretty impressive and demands a deeply introspective review of how we treat them.

Scottish Judge Implies Wildlife Crime Not That Important

Lots of jerks in the news lately.
One of Scotland’s top sheriffs is under pressure to quit his leading role in combating wildlife crime after allegedly telling a former police officer concerned about the soft sentences given to those convicted to “get a life”.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond is claimed to have told a police conference on wildlife crime last month that offences against animals were not even “on the second page” after serious crimes such as robbery and assault.

His remarks left delegates, including wildlife crime investigators, shocked and bewildered. They said Mr Drummond was no longer fit to be involved in the Scottish Government’s Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW), and demanded that he quit.

The row comes ahead of new government figures which are expected to show the incidence of illegal poisoning of animals in Scotland reached a record high in 2009. The figures are to be published within two weeks.

Mr Drummond, who sits as a sheriff in the Scottish Borders, is chairman of PAW’s legislation, regulation and guidance subgroup. He has run mock trials for the Government to help train police and procurators fiscal how to handle wildlife offences.

Weird Opinion Piece Re: Animal Abuse Registry

I can't tell whether this Phil Bronstein is just being a jerk. Here's a link to his opinion piece on the proposed animal abuse registry in California.

My first impression is that he's being an a#$#le, but maybe I'm overeacting because I don't agree with him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sea Lion Euthanized at Bonneville Dam

Sorry, another Washington State story.

Sea lions are killed here for eating salmon. About 60 have already been identified as nuisance animals with the possibility of future trapping and euthanization.

It really makes me angry. We all know that it's not the sea lions' fault that the salmon runs are either threatened or endangered. It's the humans' fault through overharvesting, the use of fish hatcheries, hydropower dams (like Bonneville) and the decimation of habitat.

But we don't euthanize humans for that, do we?

Senator Maria Cantwell Receives Award for Animal Welfare Work

She is a US Senator from our home state of Washington. My husband worked for her years and years ago, when she was just a State representative.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) received the Humane Society’s Legislative Leader award for her leadership in protecting animals. The Humane Society of the United States cited Senator Cantwell’s efforts to improve marine mammal rescue capability, including such challenges as disentangling marine mammals from fishing nets. The Society also noted Cantwell’s work on climate change.

$10 Million Euros in Smuggled Wildlife Seized

From the AFP...
Police seized tiger bones, anteater scales and bear gall bladders in an international operation against the use of endangered plants and animals in traditional medicine, officers said Friday.

Illegal animal and plant products with a retail value of 10 million euros (13.6 million dollars) were seized in a month-long drive carried out by forces around the world, the global law enforcement agency Interpol said.

"National wildlife enforcement authorities, police, customs and specialised units from 18 countries across all five continents worked together as part of Operation Tram which ran from 1 to 28 February," Interpol said.

Operation Tram "revealed a large amount of medicines either containing or marketing the use of illegal ingredients such as tiger, bear and rhinoceros," according to the French-based international coordinating body.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

VERY IMPORTANT POST! Humane Society Launches Whistleblowing Line for Chimpanzee Research

This is important. Pass it around.

From the Advertiser...
The Humane Society has launched a confidential whistleblower hotline for employees of chimpanzee research laboratories to anonymously report alleged abuses.

In the areas surrounding the seven remaining U.S. chimpanzee research laboratories, Humane Society newspaper advertisements and billboards urge anyone with information about poor treatment of chimpanzees or other animals in research facilities to call The HSUS’ confidential hotline: 1-866-293-HSUS.

Animals Should Kept in the Wild

Nice argument for animals to be kept in the wild, not in captivity. It's from a Malaysian news site.

West Virginia University to Build Animal Research Lab

Thanks to your tax dollars, federal stimulus money is being used to build a $14.5 million dollar research lab. It is the largest grant thus far under the stimulus package. It will house rodents for use in experiments.

Why would this West Virginia University project be the recipient of federal stimulus money? Because it will create JOBS! And research for drug development, which means more MONEY and JOBS!

From West Virginia Metro News...
The laboratory will be used to study human diseases and treatments.

“Setting up experiments to try and develop new insights that would be even before the drug development phase. It would be looking at biomedical or cellular mechanisms that are changed, for example in heart disease, and get insights into what might be a target for drug development.”

...The new facility is expected to result in 253 additional permanent jobs on the WVU campus, including 13 directly in the animal quarters and 240 in biomedical research laboratories around the Health Sciences Center. During construction, the project will add 113 jobs to the local community.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Are Micro Pigs the Next Stupid Pet Trend?

Great. This lady is breeding tiny pet pigs that can live up to 11 years. People are buying them like crazy, which means...eventually people will start dumping them like crazy. And who will suffer? The animal shelters who have to find them homes at the expense of other animals.

Thanks lady! And, yes, she plans on making money from these animals by franchising.

All for the love of animals right?

Yale Animal Researchers Complain About Paperwork

Yale animal researchers complain that all these darn regulations for animal welfare are creating too much paperwork.

Oh waaaaa! (insert crying baby here)

PETA Wants Knut Castrated!

We're talking about Knut the polar bear. He was the cute little polar bear whose birth at the Berlin Zoo was so controversial because his mother rejected him. He was raised by a trainer.

PETA Germany's position is that he should be castrated so he doesn't mate with his cousin Giovanna. She's here temporarily for companionship, but the group is concerned.

Check out a couple of the pictures in this story. How suggestive!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

PETA Attacks Jack Hanna

Sea World has hired him to defend the use of captive whales. PETA calls him an animal pimp "entertainer." You can read some pretty strong words from PETA here.

"Year of the Tiger" Simply Means "Year of More Summits"

I like this opinion piece in the Huffington Post. It's the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar and there's plenty of talk and meetings going around. But what does it really mean if you and I don't engage in saving this beautiful animal?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spanish Woman Leave $3M Euros to Save Lynx

Specifically, the near-extinct Iberian Lynx. I know people will whine about why she didn't leave the money to human causes, but I'm proud that she did it. I'm especially proud that she is Spanish.

I get so tired of people calling for money to human charities. Humans control the frigging WORLD. They run the governments, they run businesses, they run everything. And they still don't have enough money! That's a problem with humans as a species, not with specific people like this woman. They are a tiny minority. Stop blaming general human selfishness on people like her.


Labour Urges New Zealand to Support Australia's Call to End Whaling

I hope they do it. We just need to end this useless practice of whaling.

Orca Whale Article Appears in Salon

Informative article with one expert saying captivity can drive orcas insane.

I'm not surprised. They are used to miles and miles of ocean. The argument that they have "plenty of room" has been made about elephants too. In fact, the animal research supporter in my book club said that very same thing.

(By the way, she works for a company that does clinical testing for drug companies. Animals are commodities for her. So why should I be surprised at her elephant comment?)
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