News of Note

i Apr 1st by


Animal rights group targets ULL research center for primate deaths
Deaths from trauma of 11 primates at the New Iberia Research Center may indicate negligence, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should investigate, an animal rights activist said Tuesday.  Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!, said federal authorities should take a closer look at those primate deaths at the center operating as part of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


Photos of hunted-down wolves stir tensions in West
Photos of dead and maimed wolves have pervaded the Internet in recent weeks, raising tensions in the Northern Rocky Mountains over renewed hunting and trapping of the once federally protected animals. Escalating rancor between hunters and animal rights activists on social media and websites centers on pictures of wolves killed or about to be killed.


Ferrets are flooding area shelters, which struggle to provide adequate care
An economic downturn, combined with the increasing availability of the animals at retail pet stores, has resulted in large numbers of the small mammals being relinquished at shelters.  Compounding the problem is that it’s difficult to find a shelter that will take the small mammals.


Social media turn up heat on food industry
Battle against ‘pink slime’ demonstrates growing power of online consumer activism
Americans enjoy the cheapest food supply in the world, spending the smallest share of their income on groceries of any country.  But as activist groups continue to pull back the curtain on the techniques that make this cheap food possible, Americans are raising their eyebrows and voicing their concerns to surprisingly powerful effect.  This week, Beef Products Inc. announced the temporary shutdown of three of its four plants that produce an inexpensive, chemically treated recovered beef product the government calls “lean finely textured beef” but opponents have dubbed”pink slime.”

Cork circus elephants hit headlines again after worker suffers crush injuries
A circus currently performing in Cork has been hit by another elephant mishap – days after one animal escaped from his quarters.  A circus worker is in hospital after another of the three elephants at Courtney’s Circus fell on top of him.   Animal Rights Campaigners complained about conditions at the circus after Baby broke out of her enclosure and ran 200 metres through the crowded car park of an adjoining retail park.


Nobody Minds Dyeing the Egg, but the Chicken Is Another Story
A problem with newborn chicks that are dyed in brilliant colors — neon, Fruity Pebbles, pastel, Crayola box — to serve as festive Easter gifts. The dye is either injected in the incubating egg or sprayed on the hatchling, and while poultry farmers say it is harmless, many people object, saying it turns live birds into holiday playthings that are quickly discarded.  About half the states and a scattering of municipalities have laws against the practice, but in Florida last month, the Legislature passed a bill to overturn a 45-year-old ban on dyeing animals.


300 pit bulls saved from dog fighting ring
An animal rights group in the Philippines says it has helped police bust a South Korean syndicate operating a massive dog fighting ring and rescue 300 pit bulls.  Two South Korean nationals and several Filipinos were arrested in the Friday raid at a two-hectare farm in the city of San Pablo, just south of the capital Manila, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) said.

Wisconsin man suspected of slaughtering 100 deer in ‘thrill kill’
A Wisconsin man, who along with his three friends is suspected of illegally slaughtering as many as 100 deer in what prosecutors call an unprecedented “thrill-kill” spree, faces up to six months in jail.


Frappuccino’s colorful ingredients bug some vegetarians
When Starbucks changed its Frappuccino mix a couple years ago, it made sure the new ingredients were dairy free. But no one said anything about being bug free.  Turns out the strawberry sauce used in strawberries-and-crème Frappuccinos contains cochineal extract, which is made from the bodies of ground-up insects indigenous to Latin America.  A vegan barista who works for Starbucks sent a picture of the sauce’s ingredient list to a vegetarian blog site called, which posted it earlier this month.

The Vegan Challenge: Week 3
As much as Dante seems to dislike this month-long challenge, I am glad he is taking part in it.  Unlike me, Dante jumped into this thing cold turkey, and went from eating chicken one day to completely cutting out all animal products the next. I started out as a pescitarian – which means the only meat I ate was fish – then I moved up to being a vegetarian with no meat at all and, after plenty of research, tryouts and slip-ups, I finally decided to commit to veganism.

New Evidence that Our Insecticides are Killing Off the Bees
We’ve all heard that bee populations are dwindling. Far less clear, however, is what’s actually causing the slump. Now, two studies have provided some of the most compelling evidence to date that a popular class of insecticides may be contributing strongly to the collapse.


In Israel, a battle to save the ancient Canaan dog
Pricked, pointy ears and almond-shaped brown eyes. A tan or black-and-white coat and a tail that curls upward. For many in Israel, this is the description of a pesky stray that feeds on garbage. But for a passionate few, it is a cultural treasure that should be preserved.  Meet the biblical dog.  In recent decades, scores of Canaan dogs were destroyed in rabies eradication programs, and now only a few hundred subsist in the Negev desert, often living at the edges of Bedouin camps. But as Bedouins increasingly settle in cities, the Canaan dogs either are left to fend for themselves or lose their breed’s traits by mating with urban dogs.  And now the Israeli government is threatening to close the operation that has been helping preserve the breed by collecting rare specimens in the desert, breeding them and shipping their offspring to kennels around the globe.

Bottlenose dolphins: ‘Gangs’ run society, scientists say
his latest study reveals that these highly intelligent marine mammals live in an “open society”. Rather than males guarding a specific territory, groups have what Dr Connor described as a “mosaic of overlapping ranges”.



New institute to probe human-animal interactions
A new institute aimed at studying human-animal interactions has opened in Austria.  The institute will be dedicated to investigating human-animal interactions, taking into account the underlying sciences of ethics, comparative medicine and animal cognition and behaviour.