News of Note

i May 9th by

Video shows animal star of film Water for Elephants being abused to learn tricks
An animal rights group has released disturbing video footage that it says shows elephant star Tai being hit with large metal hooks and stunned by electric shocks.

Animal testing: Meet director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing
“We spend billions of dollars on biomedical research in animals that too often doesn’t give us much real information about how a chemical or device will behave in people,” Hartung said..Testing one new substance in rats costs roughly $1 million and takes about 4 years to get results.

Animal testing alternatives for China
Julia Fentem, vice-president of Unilever’s Safety and Environment Assurance Centre, believes the move away from animal tests is mainly a result of scientific progress and future research priorities. ‘We need to better understand how chemicals interact with human biology,’ Fentem told Chemistry World. Andresen’s colleague Zhang Qiang agrees: ‘Animals are different to humans. How can we be confident enough on the safe dosage that is drawn from the dosage used in animal testing?’

State Legislatures Take Up Bills Barring Undercover Videos of Confined Animal Feeding Operations
Bills aimed at blocking the release of videos taken by activist groups of conditions in confined animal feeding operations are being considered by state legislatures in Iowa, Minnesota and Florida…Both sides are focusing their efforts on Iowa, which has the nation’s largest concentration of egg and pork operations. What happens in Iowa, they say, could be a bellwether for other states.

The Kentucky Derby Must Kick Its Drug Problem
But the U.S. and Canada are among the very few countries where horses can receive injections of furosemide, a diuretic also known as Lasix, or Salix, up to four hours before post time…Race-day drugs present all kinds of problems. Start with the horse. The sport itself already exerts tremendous pressure on the animal. So is it humane to stick needles in horses just four hours before the start of a race? Drugs also mask the weaknesses in racehorses.

Plan to exclude veal from drug tests draws opposition
The Center for Science in the Public Interest Wednesday urged the Food and Drug Administration to reject a proposal by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments to exclude tests of veal as a basis for investigating improperly administered drugs at dairy farms.

Soul Food, Vegan Style
A tale of two doctors, many cows and a multitude of human ailments, Lee Fulkerson’s “Forks Over Knives” makes a pedantic yet persuasive case for banishing meat and dairy from the dinner table.

Dog-bite study renews debate on breed-specific bans
Researchers at University Hospital in San Antonio studied 15 years of dog-bite data and found that pit bulls were more likely to be the culprits in more severe attacks, some of them fatal. Opponents of breed specific bans including former AVMA President Bonnie Beaver calls the research and its conclusions flawed. “These are serious injuries to humans, and I do not mean to belittle the seriousness of the problem seen at the hospital. However, the dog-related data is seriously flawed, and are used at will to try to prove a specific point of view.”

Ban on puppy mill sales proposed in Los Angeles
A Los Angeles councilman introduced a motion Friday that could prohibit the sale and purchase of pets bred in puppy and kitten mills.  Some pet stores purchase animals from puppy and kitten mills or large-scale breeding operations with unsanitary and overcrowded conditions and inbreeding.  “By being customers, we perpetuate the problem,” Koretz said.

Lawmakers Pass Animal Cruelty Bills
State lawmakers have passed two bills to crack down on animal cruelty, including one proposal known as the “Peacock Bill,” in response to the beating death of a peacock in Makaha…Another bill that passed would make it a felony for anyone to attend a dog fight in Hawaii.

Monkeys’ Memories Can Stretch Beyond What’s in Front of Them
Monkeys can recognize an object they have seen before, but now scientists have shown that they are also capable of a much more sophisticated form of memory: They can hold in mind an object without actually seeing it.