News of Note

Woodland Park artificially inseminates elephant again
A 31-year-old Asian elephant at the Woodland Park Zoo was artificially inseminated this week in hopes of creating a “multigenerational herd,” zoo officials said Thursday.  Chai — whose popular 6-year-old calf, Hansa, died in 2007 from an elephant herpes virus — was inseminated first on Wednesday and again on Thursday, after she showed signs of ovulating, said Nancy Hawkes, the zoo’s general curator.

USDA fails to stop anal shocking and other abuses of slaughterhouse animals
The federal agency responsible for ensuring humane handling of animals in slaughterhouses does so inconsistently, resulting in continued “egregious” abuses, charges a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).  Testifying before congress this month, a GAO official described flawed enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978 (HMSA), which “prohibits the inhumane treatment of livestock in slaughter plants.”

USDA veterinarian testifies agency endangers public health
In testimony before the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Dr. Dean Wyatt testified as to how the agency supports unhealthy practices at the national slaughterhouses and endangers the nation’s meat food supply…Dr. Wyatt also testified that he was directed by his superiors to “drastically cut back” the time spent on ensuring that animals destined for food were treated humanely. In fact, according to Dr. Wyatt, he and other inspectors were chastised, reprimanded, and demoted for reporting violations. Dr. Wyatt was also threatened with termination.

Talks to Address Trade in Tuna and Ivory
About 40 proposals are on the agenda for the 12-day meeting of the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which could help determine the fate of species from rhinoceroses to polar bears, from hammerhead sharks to red coral.  A pronounced focus on marine creatures is evident in this year’s proposals, reflecting a growing awareness of the decimation of the seas, negotiators and conservation experts say.

Mega-dairies: Farming solution or big problem?
The plan for Britain’s first “factory farm” for cows has stirred up the debate on the future of farming in Europe.  Similar “feedlot” dairies are commonplace in the U.S., but plans for a complex housing up to 8,100 cows in England is the first proposal on such a large scale in Western Europe. It is still far from clear whether they will be accepted on a continent increasingly obsessed with where its food comes from.

Feds charge trendy sushi restaurant for serving whale meat
Federal authorities have charged a trendy Santa Monica sushi restaurant with serving whale meat — an investigation that was spurred by the team behind the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove.”

Vegan place coming to Broadway courtesy of the Squid and Ink folks
Howard Clark and Jarrod Ducat, the duo behind Georgetown’s famous vegan restaurant Squid and Ink, are bringing their vegan goodness to Broadway.  Highline will occupy the former Club Lagoon space at 210 Broadway East.  They are hoping to open by the beginning of May.

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