News of Note

i May 2nd by

Study ranks food pathogens by cost to society
Of the food pathogens that cost society the most money — in terms of medical care, lost days of work, long-term chronic health problems or deaths — half are found in poultry, pork, beef and other meat products, according to a study due for release Thursday.

Tiny frogs source of salmonella outbreak from Oregon to Massachusetts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the outbreak was traced to a single breeder in California. But federal officials have been helpless to do anything about it.  “What’s frustrating is that we don’t seem to have the tools to stop these sorts of outbreaks,” Keene said. “If it’s a food source, it’s regulated. They recall the product. They shut down the facility. But there’s never been any recall of (the frogs). The company hasn’t even been publicly identified.”

Vegans and vegetarians say plant-based diets are healthier – and a growing number of experts agree
Vegans and vegetarians are buoyed by a growing consensus that, followed with care, such diets can be healthful, even beneficial. In 2010, they won outright endorsement for the first time in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary pyramid, considered the standard of healthful eating.

Lab-Grown Synthetic Skins Could Replace Animals in Cosmetics Testing
Animal testing by the cosmetics industry may seem downright barbaric, but it could also be obsolete, as well. Synthetic skins are now good enough to mimic animal skins in lab tests, according to research that will appear in the June 5 issue of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. Bharat Bhushan, a professor at Ohio State University and Wei Tang, an engineer at China University of Mining and Technology used atomic force microscopes to observe the responses of pseudo and rat skins to a generic skin cream.

Vivisection Or Death: Part V, Conclusion
This is the last essay in a five part series examining the position that experiments on animals are necessary for life-saving breakthroughs; that without vivisection humans would die.

Maine Bill To Protect Lab Animals
Animal testing causes extensive physical and emotional suffering for the laboratory animals, but even without banning testing altogether, much of the worst pain could easily be avoided if proper care was given to the animals. New Maine legislation has been put forth to protect lab animals from severe suffering. While this legislation, if passed, is a small step in the right direction, it would only protect vertebrate animals from the worst suffering, not all pain.

American Veterinary Medical Assoc. condemns cruelty to calves at Texas facility
n a statement just released by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Gail Golab, director of the Animal Welfare Division, after viewing the undercover video released by Mercy for Animals, an animal advocacy group, condemned the cruelty and issued a call for stricter adherence to humane animal handling standards. Golab called the treatment of calves at E6 Cattle Company barbaric, inhumane, and unacceptable.

Animals, Cruelty and Videotape
The animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals sent an undercover investigator to E6 Cattle Company in Texas, where he filmed calf abuse over a two-week period.  To prevent such whistleblowing, several states have passed so-called “Ag-gag” laws that would make it illegal to clandestinely film inside slaughterhouses, sparking what animal rights activists fear will be a nationwide trend.

Priced Off the Menu? Palau’s Sharks Are Worth $1.9 Million Each, a Study Says
Sharks can be worth far more when they are swimming around the reef than when they are in a bowl of soup — as much as nearly $2 million each, in fact, according to the results of a study released Monday.

Calling animals ‘pets’ is insulting, academics claim
The call comes from the editors of then Journal of Animal Ethics, a new academic publication devoted to the issue.  It is edited by the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, a theologian and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, who once received an honorary degree from the Archbishop of Canterbury for his work promoting the rights of “God’s sentient creatures”.

Controversial greyhound races in steep decline
Despite their disagreement on conditions for the dogs, there is no disputing this: Greyhound racing is in a steep decline. Racing fans blame the economy and competition from instant gambling like slot machines. Activists say it’s time to end the races altogether.

FBI kicks off agroterrorism symposium
Bennett said Al Qaida and other groups have expressed interest in using chemical and bio-weapons. “They have provided different attack scenarios.” Fortunately, she noted, to-date any intentional incidents have not involved terrorists, but disgruntled employees, animal rightists, or they have been proven to be hoaxes.

Animal activists score victory against foie gras with major hotel
A campaign to ban foie gras around the world is sizzling up after a major hotel chain’s Maui location succumbed to pressure from animal rights groups and pulled the French delicacy off its menu last week.

Migrating Sea Turtles Pick Up More Pollution
One of the many threats loggerhead sea turtles face is man-made pollution, but the extent of the risk is a question. To begin to look for the answer scientists have measured contaminants in the blood of a group of adult male turtles and tracked their migration along the Atlantic Coast.