News of Note

i Jan 3rd by

Michael Vick, Racial History and Animal Rights
When the abuse and oppression of an entire group of people is justified as acceptable because they are defined as animals, then it stands to reason the society is suggesting that abuse and oppression are acceptable ways to treat animals. Michael Vick committed horrendous acts of cruelty. I have had dogs as pets for my entire life. I am sickened by his actions. At the same time I recognize that he is one individual in a larger society that is profoundly complicit in the abuse and mistreatment of animals.  Ideologies of white supremacy have particular culpability in that attitude toward animals because it was part of the governing ideology of slavery and segregation.

Plan would treat animal abusers like sex offenders
People convicted of felony animal cruelty offenses would have to register just like sex offenders do under a proposal being pushed by Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander.  Alexander is one of the advocates hoping lawmakers take time to focus on animal welfare in the upcoming legislative session.

USDA toughens rules on sick cattle
The U.S. Agriculture Department is telling slaughterhouse veterinary inspectors to ensure that cattle are euthanized when they are too sick or injured to stand.  The directive issued Wednesday is meant to keep potentially contaminated meat out of the food supply. It alters current rules that allow so-called downer cows with treatable conditions to receive veterinary care and then be slaughtered for meat.

States Nip at Dog Breeders
Pushed by animal-rights activists, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have enacted restrictions on dog breeders in the past two years.  The rules vary but most require that dogs have space to stretch and time to exercise; some also regulate air quality, temperature and even noise levels inside kennels.  This fall, the animal-rights movement scored its biggest victory yet, as the top puppy-producing states in the nation, Missouri and Oklahoma, moved to enact some of the toughest standards anywhere.

FDA trying voluntary restrictions on antibiotics
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to get pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop providing antibiotics to promote livestock growth.  In a recent meeting with consumer advocates, the agency indicated it is negotiating with one company to remove growth promotion as a labeled use for one antibiotic.

PETA sues University of Utah for animal research records
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a lawsuit against the University of Utah seeking information about the school’s animal research programs.  In November 2009, PETA requested documents from the U. including animal requisition records, research protocols and veterinary care reports.

After years of declines, reports of sea lion shootings on the rise again in Calif.
The weak and woozy California sea lion found on a San Francisco Bay-area beach in December with buckshot embedded in its skull has become an all-too-common sight for wildlife officials. Wildlife officials have seen a slight rise in the shooting of ocean mammals in recent years, and investigators often struggle to find a culprit. There are few witnesses to such shootings, making it nearly impossible to bring a case.

Environment in crisis – Dangers to species and their habitats mount
Evidence suggests that many of the planet’s marvelous offspring will have a harder time surviving in 2011. Though a segment of the human population is, for reasons unknown, unable to see, let alone set limits on, the damage being done, theirs is the species that’s largely to blame.  Some of this strikes close to home, last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil and seafood fiasco notwithstanding.

As white-nose syndrome wipes out little brown bats, groups petition for emergency protection
More than one million bats have been killed by the deadly fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) since the condition first turned up in 2006. One of the hardest hit species, the once-common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), might now face extinction as a result of the disease. As a result, scientists and conservation groups filed an emergency request on December 16 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect the little brown bat under the Endangered Species Act.

Abandoned Horses Are Latest Toll of Drug Trade
Found tottering alone in the desert with their ribs visible and their heads hung low, horses play a backbreaking, unappreciated role in the multibillion-dollar drug smuggling industry.  Mexican traffickers strap heavy bales of marijuana or other illegal drugs to the horses’ backs and march them north through mountain passes and across rough desert terrain. With little food and water, some collapse under their heavy loads. Others are turned loose when the contraband gets far enough into Arizona to be loaded into vehicles with more horsepower.

Northwest tribes seek solutions to unwanted horses
Horse people hope the new year will bring a solution to an old problem: too many horses.  A horse summit planned for the first week of the year is expected to draw to Las Vegas representatives from Northwest tribes, federal agencies and conservation groups, as well as wildlife advocates, and horse people vexed by too many horses with no market to cull the herds.

Demand grows for ‘animal law’ expertise
Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

Cockfighting Outfits Evade the Law, and Continue to Prosper
It is not the biggest cockfighting ring these Dallas officers have seen. Mr. Muñoz, a senior Dallas animal-cruelty officer, said it only was a “medium-sized” ring. And it is far from the biggest one in Texas, where the blood sport of cockfighting thrives despite having been illegal for decades.  After a year-and-a-half investigation, the Humane Society of the United States says it has uncovered nearly two dozen cockfighting rings throughout the state.

Veteran reunited with dogs given up for adoption
Since they parted in 2004, Raymond Behrens, 24, served as a Navy Seabee in Japan, Iraq and twice in Afghanistan. When he enlisted, he begrudgingly gave up the two dogs, which he got when he was 16.  Six years later, he has his dogs back.  The reunion came about because earlier this week Behrens looked at some animal adoption ads online. He was done with his military service and thought it was a good time to get another four-legged friend.

Shelters taking in exotic pets, too
Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets you’ll find at an animal shelter these days. More exotic creatures are being taken in, too. Some are surrendered by owners hit hard by the tough economy. Others were gifts that just didn’t work out.  Veterinary experts and shelter officials report that in addition to puppies and kittens, other popular holiday pet gifts include domesticated mice and rats, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, snakes, iguanas and rabbits.

ASPCA Study Stresses Role of Dog and Cat Cruelty Investigations
The ASPCA released a research study this month that stresses the critical role of nationwide dog and cat services and dog and cat cruelty investigations. The study also highlights the obstacles that law enforcement professionals face in responding to dog and cat abuse.

There are two species of African elephant
Scratch a little deeper, and the African bush elephant lives by destroying its environment and moving on to new areas, where it destroys that environment, cycling back to the original region over generational time; Both African and Asian elephants can be trained; and there are three, not two species of elephant in this world: Asian, African Bush, and African Forest. Once again, everything you know is wrong