Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Horror in Africa

African elephants being poached in unprecedented numbers.  They are disappearing from the continent as the poachers become increasingly militarized.

Full story here at the New York Times.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Portuguese Anti-Bullfighting City Forced to Host Bullfight

As a Portuguese-American, I find this just revolting.

For the whole story, go to Portugal News On-Line.
Prótoiro, the Portuguese Federation of Bullfighting Associations, placed an injunction again Viana do Castelo Town Hall this month after their refusal to allow the event to go ahead on municipal land.
Speaking to Lusa News Agency, Prótoiro President, Diogo Costa Monteiro said that the court “decided that the right to exercise a cultural right was being infringed” and therefore “allowed for the bullfighting ring to be set up.”

The event had also already been authorised last week by the Cultural Events Authority.

For Prótoiro, this ruling “has put an end to the illegal decisions made by town halls in what concerns bull fighting.”

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bullfighting to Appear on Spanish TV Again

From the Telegraph...
State-financed broadcaster RTVE said it would screen a bullfight from the city of Valladolid on September 5, overturning a ban imposed under the previous socialist government.  
In 2006, guidelines prohibited the showing of live bullfights because the "violent images" were unsuitable to be broadcast between 6 and 8 pm, during hours when children were most likely to be watching.

The policy change comes under the new conservative Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy which is widely seen as opposed to all attempts to curtail the national fiesta in Spain. 

The move immediately provoked anger from animal rights activists, who felt they were making headway against the spectacle after Catalonia banned bullfighting within its region last year on animal welfare grounds. 

"It is clearly a backward step for the welfare of animals in this country," said Silvia Barquero, spokesman for the animal defence lobby group

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mexican Town Opposes Bullfighting

From Latino Fox News......
Mexico's first "anti-bullfighting" town has signed a petition calling on the United Nations to approve a universal declaration on animal welfare.

More than 220 organizations, headed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, are collecting signatures worldwide to petition the United Nations to adopt the proposed Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Teocelo, a town of 15,000 inhabitants, last month became the first Mexican municipality to ban bullfighting and other events that involve animal mistreatment or cruelty.

The town on Thursday was honored by the London-based WSPA, one of the organizations most involved in efforts to abolish bullfighting worldwide

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Buenos Aires Zoo Not Doing Well

Unexpected article on the aging zoo in Buenos Aires.  Sounds like it needs some dire help.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Economic Troubles in Portugal Lead to More Abandoned Animals

From the Portugal News Online.....sad stuff.
Thousands of pets are being abandoned across Portugal, either being dumped at the gates of charitable associations or simply taken far from home and left behind, as owners struggle to make ends meet due to the continuing financial crisis.
Figures released by the National Veterinary Authority, Direção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária, show that in the Lisbon area alone, a total of 5,629 stray cats and dogs were caught last year, up from the 4,442 caught in 2010. Data for this year is not yet available, but signs are that this problem is not only continuing but also on the increase, everywhere, especially in the Portuguese capital.
Adding to the problem is the fact that Lisbon's municipal kennel is not collecting stray animals and is currently closed for refurbishment work but has no date for reopening, Lisbon's urban environment councillor, José Sá Fernandes told Expresso newspaper this week.
Animal associations around the capital are also struggling to make ends meet and pay the expenses of looking after other people's unwanted animals as the number of paid members has fallen, along with the number of animal adoptions.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

World Wildlife Fund Removes King Juan Carlos for Elephant Hunting

Good for them! What a hypocrite! It's not like Spain has enough problems now, it has to have an idiot king.

From EcoRazzi.....
King Juan Carlos may be the King of Spain, but he is no longer the honorary president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Spain due to his hunting and killing of elephants in Botswana, Treehugger reports.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Horse Deaths at Calgary Stampede

From Reuters.....
The debate between cowboy tradition and animal rights at the Calgary Stampede was reignited late Thursday when three horses were killed and a fourth seriously injured during a chuckwagon race at the huge annual rodeo and exhibition of Western Canadian culture

Friday, July 20, 2012

South Korea to Become 4th Nation to Hunt Whales

This announcement is considered a major blow to the campaign to end global whaling. It sucks big time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Humboldt Penguins in Chile Face Extinction

From the Huffington Post....
Invading rats with bodies up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) long have begun eating eggs and chicks, and some experts fear that unless the rats are eradicated, they could tip the Humboldt penguin toward extinction.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Orphaned Baby Bear Possible Endangered by Early Release into Wild

Canadian authorities want to release an orphaned baby bear into the wild at 6 months when mother bears usually push their children out at 18 months. Animal right groups are very angry and fear the baby might die by itself.

I can't blame the activists. This decision makes little sense to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Link Between Animal Welfare and Human Welfare

This is an interesting opinion piece about the link between animal welfare and human welfare in nations. From the Huffington Post....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Warning! Sad Story Ahead

This is such a sad story. A beagle rescued from a laboratory in Spain and brought to the Los Angeles has run off and his humans are trying to find him. :-(

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Horse Slaughterhouse Proposed in New Mexico

This article reaffirms my belief that it's more humane to slaughter horses in the US than to ship them for slaughter to Canada or Mexico. I don't like it either way, but one is better than the other for sure.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fur Stores in Vancouver Canada Vandalized

Four fur stories in the Vancouver, Canada, area were vandalized by animal rights activists who sprayed red paint on the windows and doors.  The four stores were Capilano Furs, Speiser Furs, Snowflake Canada and Pappas Furs.  Credit is being taken by ALF.

Read the full story here at the Vancouver Sun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Could California's Ban on Foie Gras Have a Domino Effect in the US?

Pro-foie gras chefs seem to think so. Here's hoping that they are right!

Read about it here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

China to Accept Non-Animal Testing Methods for Cosmetic Ingredients

From news! Click on the link for the full story.
PETA has been successful in pressing Chinese officials to adopt non animal testing methods as it announces the country is in the final stages of approving the use of its very first non-animal test method for cosmetic ingredients.

Monday, May 7, 2012

German Artist Wants to Kill Puppies to Protest Dog Killings

I had to read this twice before it sunk in. I wonder if he was just threatening to do this for the publicity. Bizarre.
An unidentified German actor has been stopped by Berlin’s administrative court, following his announcement that he planned to strangle two puppies with cable wires on stage to protest against the slaughter of sled dogs in Alaska and hunting dogs in Spain, with their death being accompanied by a funeral march music and loud gong. The performance, entitled “Death as Metamorphosis,” was to take place at a Berlin Theater in the Spandau District.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bob Barker Funds Space for HIV-Infected Chimps

As I've often said, Bob Barker is a good man. From The Washington Post...Retired game-show host and animal rights advocate Bob Barker is opening a new area for five HIV-infected chimpanzees at a sanctuary in northwestern Louisiana. The former host of “The Price Is Right” donated $380,000 to create space at the Chimp Haven near Shreveport.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

SAEN Files Complaints Against University of Washington Again

From the An animal-rights group that watchdogs research facilities across the country has filed a federal complaint against the University of Washington, citing multiple incidents in which animals were injured, escaped from their cages or were found dead. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates the care of research animals, will look into the complaint, said agency spokesman David Sacks. It’s too early to say whether any of the incidents violate the Animal Welfare Act, the yardstick for triggering enforcement action, he added.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Swedish King Wants to Cull Country's Wolf Population

Unfortunately, he's also one of the presidents of the World Wildlife Fund whose Swedish chapter supports the maintenance of the wolf population. D'oh! From Wildlife Extra.....
Wolves kill elk - But King Gustaf wants to kill the elk so he wants to get rid of wolves And why does he want to do that? Because every year the good king runs an elk hunt in Sweden, along with his son Prince Carl Philip. Despite the fact that some 100,000 elk are shot every autumn in Sweden out of an estimated population of 3-400,000, King Gustaf believes that the presence of 200 wolves might spoil his annual hunt, so has been advocating the culling of as many wolves as possible. Yet to hunt the elk, he himself uses hunting dogs.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dead Whale in Washington State Had Golf Ball in Stomach

It's just another sign of the garbage we throw into the oceans. There was also some plastic and pieces of rope, but there's no determination of what may have actually killed it. It was not emaciated so it's still a mystery as to whether what it consumed played a factor in its death. Full story here in Washington Post.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mad Cow Disease Appears in California

Potentially bad news for California Agriculture. Read the full story here at the LA Times.
The reemergence of mad cow disease, discovered in a California dairy cow, could have major implications for the state’s meat industry, even though officials have said that the human food supply is unaffected. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy hasn’t been found in U.S. since 2006 and was discovered in only three instances before then. But the disease has dealt a crippling blow to the industry in the past, especially when foreign countries refused to import American beef when mad cow was first uncovered in 2003. The U.S. Department of Agriculturetests about 40,000 cows a year in its effort to catch the disease. In California, private and public ranching takes up about 38 million acres, according to the California Cattlemen’s Assn. There are about 620,000 beef cows on 11,800 California ranches. The state also hosts 1.84 million dairy cows, according to information compiled by the California Beef Council. The sale of cattle and calves was a $1.82-billion industry in California 2008 and fifth among the state’s top 20 commodities. Beef cattle are raised in nearly every California county. Nationally, California ranks behind Texas, Kansas and Nebraska in total cattle numbers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fallout Continues Over Juan Carlos' Elephant Hunting Trip

What an idiot. Read the full story on this NPR page...
As Spaniards grapple with severe austerity measures and 24 percent unemployment, their king is dealing with a different kind of pain — extreme embarrassment over public outrage upon his return from an elephant hunt in Africa that cost nearly $60,000, or more than twice the average salary in Spain. And the Spanish public only found out about the trip because he broke his hip — hence the recent surgery — and had to be airlifted home. The Royal Palace confirmed that this is the first time a Spanish king has ever said he's sorry — at least publicly — for anything. But it's not enough for Rafa Lucia, a social worker smoking in the rain outside a Madrid library. He's been jobless for months. The government cut his local school's budget by 30 percent. And the Royal Palace's budget? "They cut just 2 percent. And now this. It's like, OK, so the government doesn't cut [their budget], and now he's spending the money in Africa killing elephants," Lucia says. Adding Insult To Injury Spaniards can't decide which would be worse — whether their king might have spent public money on his jaunt to Botswana last week, or whether it was paid for by an Arab businessman courting favor, as some reports say. Either way, there are calls for the king's abdication.

Friday, April 20, 2012

King Juan Carlos, Honorary Head of World Wildlife Fund Spain, Caught in Elephant Hunt

D'oh! From the Wildlife Extra News....
April 2012. King Juan Carlos of Spain, Honorary President of WWF Spain, is recovering in hospital after breaking his hip in Botswana where he was on an elephant hunt. Apparently it isn't the first time the King has been shooting big game in Africa, or elsewhere (Apparently he killed a bear in Russia a few years ago too). Whilst not illegal, it shows a complete disregard for his 'subjects' and total contempt for his role as 'Honorary President of WWF Spain'.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coast Guard Defends Medical Practice on Animals

I knew the military in general used animals for combat medical practice....hadn't thought of the Coast Guard though. PETA leads the charge against the Coast Guard.

For the full story, go here to the Washington Post.
The Coast Guard is defending its practice of using live animals in its combat medical training after an activist group released a video on Wednesday of a goat’s legs being removed with tree trimmers during what it said was training for agency personnel.

Live anesthetized goats have been used in Coast Guard training to treat combat wounds, but the agency could not verify if the video involved its personnel. The courses do involve “live tissue training using live animals,” Lt. Cmdr. Jamie C. Frederick, spokesman for the Atlantic Area, wrote in an email.

Frederick was responding after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Pentagon to stop the practice. A congressman also has introduced legislation that would phase out the use of animals by the military for such training.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hard for Russian Veterinarians to Use Anesthesia Due to Russian Drug Laws

...leaving them to sometimes do procedures with nothing to numb the animals' pain.

Read the full article in The Moscow Times.
After eight years of fighting a strict law that virtually bans an anesthetic essential for their work, Russia's veterinarians say they have nearly reached the end of their tether.

Ketamine has long been used for operating on animals throughout the world, but when it came in vogue as a party drug in the late 1990s, Russia's response was to ban the substance entirely in 2003. Outcry among vets ensued, and it was reinstated for veterinary use in 2004, but under such strict conditions that it is almost impossible to obtain.

"It was technically legalized but in reality rejected. In the last eight years, only 5 percent of vets have obtained licenses to be able to use it," says Irina Novozhilova, president of VITA, an animal rights group. "I thought that when it all started, it would be sorted out very fast because you can't just ban a profession. To work without anesthesia is to cut animals when they are conscious."

Oleg Aristov, who runs a veterinary clinic in St. Petersburg, said the alternatives are heartbreaking.

"It is really painful for your pets to undergo operations [without ketamine]," Aristov said. "It hurts them."

This has left vets between a rock and a hard place, with two contradictory laws condemning them whichever way they turn.

"If a vet uses ketamine, that is a violation of Article 228 for the distribution of narcotics, whereas if they operate on conscious animals, it is a violation of Article 245 for cruelty to animals. So a vet is faced with the choice of which law to break," Novozhilova said.

In a worse case scenario, under the current laws, vets face a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison just for doing their work. But they are left with few options.

"The best medicines are believed to be opiates, but they are completely banned in Russia, so ketamine is our only choice," Novozhilova added. "Measures other than ketamine absolutely do not give the desired effect."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Is Meat Now "Pink Slime?"

We actually watched a report about this on Stephen Colbert's show of all places. It was nauseating and I don't even eat meat. Blech.

If you eat meat, read this article from the Huffington Post.

Monday, April 9, 2012

TV Shows and Movies that Hurt and Killed Animals

Here's a horrible listing of films and shows that resulted in the abuse or killing of animals, starting with an elephant execution in 1903. Disgusting and stomach-turning.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grey2K Looks at Macau Racing Course

There is only one greyhound racing course in Asia and that is in Macau which now belongs to China. American organization Grey2K visited it and expressed concerns about treatment of the greyhounds both during their racing careers and once they are over.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chinese Dogs Rescued En Route to Butcher

These dogs were rescued by Chinese activists before they could be slaughtered for meat. According to this article from the NPR site, such rescues are occuring more regularly as dogs are increasingly becoming pets. A good story from China for once.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Happy Cows" Campaign in California Under Fire

California dairy farmers have an ad campaign that cows are just darn happy on their factory farms. PETA is not convinced.

This article about the situation appears in the Merced Sun-Star which is from my home county of Merced!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Canada Okays Matching Seal Quota

This despite a dry market for seal products and a warming climate that is hurting the species?

Really, Canada? Really?

For the full article, go to The Globe and Mail here....
The market for Canadian seal pelts has gone dry but the federal government will still allow sealers to kill 400,000 of the marine mammals when the annual hunt opens next Monday.

The quota, announced in a release issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Tuesday, ignores the advice of one of the government’s own scientists who urged that fewer harp seals be taken this year because of waning sea ice.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Supporters Still Trying to Keep Bullfighting in Spain

I was disappointed that Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa was one of those that signed a petition to keep this cruel and unnecessary torture of animals around. I guess I won't be reading his books!

For the full story, go here to latino.foxnews.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking for Books about Animal Experimentation

I've finally decided to take the plunge and really learn about animal experimentation. It's a horrible topic and I post news articles about the abuses from time to time. But I want to be able to argue about it intelligently, citing science, not just morals. Apparently, there is a lot of argument out there than animal experimentation is even good for humans. Many times tests fail. A drug may work on an animal, but fail miserably on a human. Or vice versa. Drugs are not always predictable from human to human even. And how can one expect an animal with a human disease to react the way the human body does? It's essentially a crap shoot.

And, in this day and age, do we really need to be stuck with this archaic and barbaric method of research? Isn't there anything better?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Northern Arapahoes Given Right to Kill Eagles for Religious Purposes

From the Seattle PI....
A federal government decision to allow a Wyoming tribe to kill two bald eagles for a religious ceremony is a victory for American Indian sovereignty as well as for long-suppressed religious freedoms, the tribe says.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted a permit March 9 to the Northern Arapaho Tribe allowing it either to kill or capture and release two bald eagles this year.

While no one questions the religious sincerity of Northern Arapaho tribal members, spokesmen for some conservation and animal rights groups question why the tribe can't meet its religious needs without killing wild eagles. They say the tribe could raise captive birds, or accept eagle feathers or carcasses already available from a federal repository that collects birds killed by power lines or other causes.

The Northern Arapaho share the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. The Northern Arapaho decline to say specifically what they will do with the eagles the federal permit allows them to kill.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feds Approve Killing Sea Lions in the Columbia River

The Federal government has approved the killing of California Sea Lions in the Columbia River, blaming them for killing and eating endangered salmon. Never mind the main reasons for the problems with the salmon: hatcheries, human harvest, hydropower and the destruction of habitat.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Halal Slaughter Causing a Furor In Quebec

Quebec is not known for its animal welfare concerns or laws. I think the issue stems from this being an Islamic practice and the fear of contaminated meat, not concern for the animals.

From JTA, the Global News Service of the Jewish People....
Two political parties in Quebec are speaking out about the ritual slaughter of animals, but a Jewish advocacy group is confident that kashrut is not being targeted.

The opposition Parti Québécois and the Coalition For Quebec's Future declared their concerns about halal meat, which comes from animals that are slaughtered according to Islamic law.

A Parti Québécois legislator said Wednesday that slaughter for halal meat is an affront to animal rights and runs counter to the values cherished by Quebecers. The pro-independence party said it was worried that mainstream companies are selling halal meat without labeling to unsuspecting consumers. It wants to know how many companies are involved in producing halal meat and the number of animals are being slaughtered annually under Islamic ritual.

"This type of slaughter slams directly against Québécois values," the Parti Québécois said in a statement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Animal Welfare Concerns May Be Influencing UK Animal Research

This article in the Herald Tribune claims that animal rights is winning out over animal research. I would take the article with a grain of salt. I've read the same on the other side. It depends on who's writing the article of course...I think it's still a long, long fight. But perhaps these are positive signs. In a very depressing fight, every sign is worth something.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


No one in the world needs a mink coat but a mink.

~Murray Banks

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Washington Town to Become Horse Slaughter Capital?

Stanwood is right near where we live in Seattle and, sadly, home to Pigs Peace Animal Sanctuary which rescues all kinds of animals. I can only imagine how they feel.

From the Sky Valley Chronicle....
A new report in the Staug News of St. Augustine, Florida doesn’t mince any words when it comes to what’s afoot in the Stanwood area.

The story, by author and animal rights activist Ernest Dempsey calls Stanwood, Washington “Death Row for horses” because of the location not far away of a “major buying station, collection point and feedlot for U.S. horses destined to die and be butchered in one of Canada’s equine slaughterhouses for human consumption abroad.”

Dempsey says if rumblings of a new plan by the giant Canadian horse meat packing company Bouvry Exports-Calgary to reopen the Florence Packing plant on Florence Road for equine slaughter are true, Stanwood soon might become better known as the region’s “Butcher Shop for Horses”.

The rumor mill has it that Bouvry wants to reopen the plant to service more inexpensively developing markets for its product in Russia, China and other Asian nations.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Second Time Bears Declared Extinct in Austria

Why is so much wildlife news so frigging sad?! From Wildlife Extra News....
For the second time in recent history, brown bears have been declared extinct in Austria. "Unfortunately there are no bears left in Austria, in the Northern Limestone Alps. The last bear, known as ‘Moritz', an Austrian born bear, has not been seen since 2010. . This sub-population is now deemed to be extinct." said Christian Pichler of WWF Austria

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wolfgang Puck Sends Letter Supporting End to Foie Gras Sales

Although his gastronomic reputation has, let's fact it, been marred due to his frozen food and canned soup lines, Spago founder and chef Wolfgang Puck still has some pull. So, he penned an open letter to California restaurants still serving foie gras. And the letter, sent by Puck in February, was intended to sooth the frayed nerves of chefs who don't like being told what they can and cannot serve at their spoons. (As you know, foie gras will be banned at the start of July this year.) Vegansaurus' wonderful Laura Beck (by way of SF Weekly) got her hot hands on the letter. Check it:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pale Male and Lola Fan Arrested - Again

He was arrested some years ago when Pale Male's nest was destroyed. Now, he's been arrested for actions surrounding the death of Pale Male's latest mate Lima.

He is very passionate about these hawks and I've followed his blog and beautiful photography for years. But he apparently took the dead bird to his place illegally. Read the story here and decide for yourself.

Too much this time?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pale Male's Mate Lima Dies Mysteriously

The New York City red-tailed hawk has had a traumatic year and it's still February. He lost his long-time mate Lola and ended up with new mate Lima with whom he had chicks. Now, she was found dead and the question is whether she was somehow killed by toxic herbicides used in Central Park.

Awful. Warning....graphic photos.

Monday, February 27, 2012

California Legislators Call for Wildlife Official's Resignation

The wildlife official in question is the President of the California Fish and Game Commission. He is a proponent of trophy hunting and was photographed with a dead mountain lion in Idaho. Full story here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

CA Wildlife Official Photographed with Dead Mountain Lion

What was this idiot thinking? The full story is below and it comes from
Outcry is growing against one of California’s top wildlife officials after a photo of him holding a dead mountain lion surfaced online last week.

Dan Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, is shown in the photo, holding a mountain lion he reportedly hunted and killed in Idaho, according to Western Outdoor Press, which published the photo.

Hunting mountain lion is legal in Idaho, but illegal in California.

On Monday, some animal rights advocates said Richards appears to be sending a message about his feelings on California law: The photo, marked "courtesy" appears to have been provided by either him or one of his hunting companions to the Western Outdoor Press.

KCRA 3 could not reach Richards for comment.

The Humane Society of the United States, whose members are outraged over the photo, are exchanging thousands of Facebook and Twitter posts and plan to urge California State Assembly members and Senators to vote to have Richards removed from the commission.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Amazon Sells Whale Bacon?

And it is, of course, on Amazon's Japan website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surprising NYTimes Editorial about National Egg Production

Surprising to me at least. The editorial advocates a national standard that establishes humane standards in all parts of the country.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

McDonalds Makes Positive Move to Help Sows

I'm no fan of McDonalds, but any little bit of help is progress.

Here's an excerpt. For the full story, check out this link to the New York Times article.
The McDonald’s Corporation said on Monday that it would begin working with its pork suppliers to phase out the use of so-called gestational crates, the tiny stalls in which sows are housed while pregnant.

Animal rights advocates have singled out the crates, known as sow stalls, as inhumane, and several states have moved to ban or restrict their use not only in pork production, but also in the production of eggs and veal.

“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future,” Dan Gorsky, senior vice president for supply chain management for McDonald’s North America, said in a statement. “There are alternatives we think are better for the welfare of sows.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Siku the Danish Polar Bear

I don't usually post anything cute, but I have to do this at least once.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

PETA's Orca Lawsuit Dismissed by Federal Judge

Well, it's still historic and precedent-setting. Here's hoping we see more of these legal challenges. Full story posted on Global Animal and from the Huffington Post.

Do whales deserve constitutional protection against slavery? On February 8, a federal judge said ‘no,’ stopping a historic case filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against SeaWorld for violating the 13th Amendment on slavery. Five orcas were listed as the plaintiffs.

PETA filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in San Diego last October, complaining that the whales “were forcibly taken from their families and natural habitats, are held captive at SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld Orlando, denied everything that is natural to them, subjected to artificial insemination or sperm collection to breed performers for Defendants’ shows, and forced to perform, all for Defendants’ profit. As such, Plaintiffs are held in slavery and involuntary servitude.” PETA went on to request that the whales be freed and released to a habitat better suited to their needs.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller dismissed the case, writing in his ruling that “the only reasonable interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s plain language is that it applies to persons, and not to non-persons such as orcas.”

Before the ruling, PETA’s attorney Jeffrey Kerr told HuffPost that the animal rights group’s argument was based on the belief that “slavery doesn’t depend upon the species of the slave, any more than it depends upon the race, gender or ethnicity of the slave. SeaWorld’s attempts to deny [orcas] the protection solely based on their species is the same kind of prejudice used to justify any enslavement. And prejudice should not be what determines constitutional rights in this country … Because they can suffer from the prohibitive conduct of being enslaved, the 13th Amendment protection against that conduct should be extended to them.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Anti-Bullfighting Protest in Mexico City

Yay!!!!! It happened last Saturday the 4th of February.

Mexico often has such an abominable attitude towards animals that it's easy to paint all citizens that way. I'm glad there are exceptions like these protesters.

Monday, February 6, 2012

US Judge Asked to Hear Case about Orcas

We'll see how it goes. Even when we lose these battles, the fact that they are heard at all is an important step. Barriers are broken and precedents are set for the future. I'm tired of being a pessimist all the time.

Excerpted from the Sydney Morning Herald....
A federal judge for the first time in US history has heard arguments in a case that could determine whether animals enjoy the same constitutional protection against slavery as human beings.

US District Judge Jeffrey Miller called the hearing in San Diego after Sea World asked the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that names five orcas as plaintiffs in the case.

PETA claims the captured killer whales are treated like slaves, forced to live in tanks and perform daily at its parks in San Diego, California and Orlando, Florida.

Advertisement: Story continues below "This case is on the next frontier of civil rights," said PETA lawyer Jeffrey Kerr, representing the five orcas.

Sea World's lawyer, Theodore Shaw, called the lawsuit a waste of the court's time and resources. He said it defies common sense and goes against 125 years of case law applied to the American constitution's 13th amendment, which prohibits slavery between humans.

"With all due respect, the court does not have the authority to even consider this question," Shaw said, adding later: "Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the 'We the people' ... when the constitution was adopted

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stupid Bull Tradition Catches Someone By Surprise

The title says it all....."Bull rampaging in Mexican streets gores man right in the crotch."

Maybe they should BAN this practice......

Full article in the Mirror.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dead Sea Lions in Puget Sound - Again

This has happened before. I don't know whether these are disgruntled fishermen or regular jerks. Here's the whole story from the Washington Post National.

Washington wildlife officials say eight sea lions have been found dead in the Puget Sound region in recent weeks — all apparently shot.

KING-TV reports that both the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are investigating the deaths.

The bodies of seven sea lions with bullet wounds were recently found on the Nisqually River.

On Monday, a sea lion was found dead on West Seattle’s Lincoln Park beach. The animal protection group Seal Sitters says a necropsy showed that the sea lion had suffered a shark bite and had twisted intestines in addition to a bullet wound.

Investigators say they do not know who is responsible.

KING says one of the Nisqually casualties was a Steller sea lion, protected under the Endangered Species Act. The one found in West Seattle was a California sea lion, protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mexican Activists Staged Protest Early this Month

Late on this story. I copied the full article from the Latin American Herald Tribune.
MEXICO CITY – Animal rights activists staged a protest against the sale of pets in Mexico City, urging residents to adopt dogs and other animals instead of buying them.

Twelve activists took part in the demonstration organized by the AnimaNaturalis group Tuesday at the iconic Juarez monument on one of the capital’s main streets.

Two of the activists, one painted to look like a dog and the other like a cat, stood in gift boxes holding signs that urged people not to view animals as toys and to adopt pets instead of purchasing them.

The protest’s goal was to make “society aware” of the fact that animals “need time, love and lots of care,” AnimaNaturalis said.

“Trade in animals considered objects or toys grows alarmingly” during this time of the year, “and when they grow or are kept for a time, they are discarded,” AnimaNaturalis Mexico director Maria Teresa Menendez told Efe.

Parents and children should be “conscientious and take responsibility for raising pets and, in any case, it is better to adopt, neuter and care for domestic animals,” Menendez said.

Eight of every 10 dogs sold in Mexico end up in the streets, with most of them having been family pets at some point, official figures show.

Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities, has an estimated 3 million street dogs that end up being killed in shelters or the victims of human cruelty. EFE

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

EU Bans Battery Cages

To offset yesterday's crappy news about California, here's good news from the EU!

Full article on Food Safety News....
As of Jan. 1, 2012, egg-laying hens across many European countries will live with fewer discomforts: The European Commission has officially implemented its ban on battery cages, the notoriously cramped cages used by many egg farmers and criticized by animal rights proponents and veterinarians who call them cruel and harmful to the birds' welfare.

The law, finalized in 1999, comes after a 12-year "phase-out" period meant to allow egg farmers time to implement the costly transition away from battery cages. According to the Scotsman newspaper, replacing battery cages with more-hospitable "enriched" cages has alone cost U.K. egg producers an estimated £400 million ($613 million).

Most farmers in participating countries have opted for the enriched cages, installing roomier enclosures that allow hens to stretch their wings, roost on an elevated platform and nest in a designated nesting area. Others have arranged for barns or other free-range systems, but the law now clearly reserves hens a seat at a nest.

That opportunity to properly nest will do the most to improve hen well-being, said Ian J.H. Duncan, Ph.D., Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph in Ontario and the President of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada. Duncan has been studying the effects of battery cages on hens since the early 1970s, when he worked at the Poultry Research Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Terrible News. US Supreme Court Strikes Down California "Downer Cow" Law

Clearly a win for the damn livestock industry. It was a question of federal vs. state authority. Sucks. And it was a unanimous decision.

Read the full story at CNN....
A state law mandating "humane treatment" of downed livestock headed for the slaughterhouse was unanimously overturned Monday by the Supreme Court.

At issue was whether federal regulations dealing with inspection of domesticated animals about to be killed, processed, and sold for human consumption preempted -- or nullified -- California Penal Code 599f.

Several justices had earlier noted the good intentions behind the state action, but all now agreed that it went too far into the traditional federal arena.

U.S. Supreme Court rules on health care challenge| GPS tracking

"The Federal Meat Inspection Act regulates slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of non-ambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process," wrote Justice Elena Kagan. "California's (law) endeavors to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place -- except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempts such a state law."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Air Canada To Stop Shipping Lab Primates

Excellent news! Animal advocacy groups have been lobbying for this for a while.

Thank you Air Canada! The announcement below comes verbatim from the Pacific Free Press.....they still need approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency though.
Today, more than 40 animal advocacy organizations across Canada praised Air Canada for its recent decision to stop shipping non-human primates into the country for use in research laboratories.

The coalition – the Canadian Coalition Against Animal Research and Experimentation (CCAARE) which includes the Calgary Animal Rights Effort, Stop Animal Testing at Dalhousie University, and Stop UBC Animal Research among many others – also urged the Canadian Transportation Agency to approve Air Canada's new policy.

Airlines in Canada must obtain approval from the CTA to revise their shipping guidelines. Unfortunately, the CTA is requiring Air Canada to continue shipping primates to laboratories while it considers the issue.

"We applaud Air Canada for wanting to get out of the monkey business," said Brian Vincent, Coordinator of the CCAARE and Director of Stop UBC Animal Research. "We urge the Canadian Transportation Agency to immediately approve Air Canada's new, compassionate policy."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Humane Society Ranks States on Animal Welfare

Here's a way to find out how your state ranks.

California is #1 again....yay! Washington State, where I currently live, is #6!

At the bottom....(drum roll please) South Dakota!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beef Farm's Trucks Burned by Activists

I don't support the destruction of property or any physical threats against people who harm animals whether through medical testing or through conventional agriculture. It does nothing but make the targets more wedded to their positions and it garners sympathy from the general public. And, this happened in Fresno County which is in the San Joaquin Valley of California. I grew up there. Believe me, they are NOT helping their cause at all.

Full story here at the Fresno Bee.....
Animal rights activists are behind the burning of cattle trucks at Harris Farms in western Fresno County early Sunday, according to a statement released by a clearinghouse for activists.

The statement purports to describe how the fire, which heavily damaged 14 tractors and several cattle-hauling trailers, was set and says the attack was aimed at "the horrors of factory farming."

Harris Farms CEO and Chairman John Harris said in an email Tuesday that he and others with the ranch are "appalled by this senseless, but very alarming attack." He called it a terrorist action.

"I had suspected Animal Liberation Front may have been involved and now they are in fact claiming responsibility for it with multiple details," Harris wrote.

The clearinghouse that distributed the statement claiming credit for the arson is the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which says it has no direct dealings with underground groups or illegal activity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Alleged Abuse at Butterball Turkey Farm

Once again, the wonderful Mercy for Animals provides footage of possible abuse of turkeys at a Butterball farm in North Carolina.

The full story is at CNN.

Monday, January 9, 2012

University of Florida Must Relinguish Primate Records

This is good news, at least in my opinion.

Full article in the Gainesville Sun....
An Alachua County Circuit Court judge has ordered the University of Florida to provide an animal rights activist with records on primates involved in research.

Camille Marino of Wildwood, who founded the group Negotiation is Over, received the records last week. She said she plans to use them to continue a campaign against animal research at UF, which recently included the online posting of the layout of UF laboratories and university spokeswoman Janine Sikes's cellphone number.

“They could not do what they do if they didn't do it behind a wall of secrecy,” Marino said. “This is about tearing down that wall.”

Sikes received more than a dozen calls, including a death threat that UF police are investigating. She said UF resisted releasing the records out of concern about the safety of researchers.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yikes! Feds Want to Castrate Wild Mustangs!

It's a proposal for population control. Read the whole story here.
Federal wildlife managers are fighting in court to take the unprecedented step of castrating 200 wild stallions in Nevada, in an effort to control surging populations of wild horses across the West.

Animal-rights activists oppose the plan, which they contend would strip the wild stallions of their fighting spirit and change herd dynamics. A coalition of horse advocates last month filed suit to block the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from castrating the stallions, also known as gelding. In response, the agency agreed to postpone the castration until a federal court in Washington, D.C., can hear arguments later this year

Federal scientists contend they have no choice but to try dramatic steps such as castration because the wild horse population is out of control—and costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year. Mustangs have few natural predators, and herds can double in size every four years. "We're on an unsustainable path," said Tom Gorey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management.
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