News of Note

Probing the link between slaughterhouses and violent crime
Sinclair’s abattoir labourers get so desensitized to violence that rates of murder, rape and brawls among them rise. The book cemented the link between slaughterhouses and crime for decades to come — long before pig farmer and serial killer Robert Pickton haunted headlines.  More than a hundred years later, a University of Windsor researcher may have proven the literary classic right. Criminology professor Amy Fitzgerald says statistics show the link between slaughterhouses and brutal crime is empirical fact.

Biodiversity in Peril, the U.N. Warns
Among the causes of biodiversity loss are habitat changes like converting land to agricultural use; excess exploitation of resources, like overfishing; pollution from agricultural nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous; the arrival of invasive species; and climate change (shrinking Arctic ice and ocean acidification, for example).

Latin America wants to end ‘lethal research’ on whales
The Buenos Aires Group said that beside the lethal research loophole, they would also bring up at the June meeting of the 88-nation IWC other dangers to whale populations around the world, including “climate change, marine pollution and incidental capture.”  Marquieira, a Chilean, told the Latin American group on Wednesday that whale hunting has not stopped despite the 1986 moratorium and that his plan would save 4,000-5,000 whales over the next ten years.

An unusually meaty menu at skid row shelter
On Monday night’s dinner menu at the Union Rescue Mission: tacos made from elk, deer, sheep, wild pig, black bear and antelope. For pescatarians, there were yellow tail, tilapia and tuna tacos. Vegetarians were out of luck. About 250 pounds of fresh game meat was donated for the feast, sponsored by the Sportsman Channel as a part of its national “Hunt. Fish. Feed.” initiative.

The Fight to Save Small-Scale Slaughterhouses
For small meat businesses in America, catastrophic events result from changes high up in the regulatory food chain that make it very difficult for small plants to adapt. The most recent extinction event occurred at the turn of the millennium, when small and very small USDA-inspected slaughter and processing plants were required to adopt the costly Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety plan. It has been estimated that 20 percent of existing small plants, and perhaps more, went out of business at that time. Now, proposed changes to HACCP for small and very small USDA-inspected plants threaten to take down many of the ones that remain, making healthy, local meats a rare commodity.

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Action Alerts

Urge Senators to Support The Safe Chemicals Act
Tell your Senators to SUPPORT S. 3209, The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010. Urge them to ensure that this legislation invests in more efficient, effective, and humane testing (1) by requiring non animal methods be used and (2) by providing funding to develop and validate alternatives as quickly as possible.

Find your Senators here

for more information on the bill, see here:

Oppose Removal Of 1,000 Wild Horses From Nevada’s Great Basin Region
Oppose the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tuscarora Field Office (Nevada) proposal to round up 1,438 wild horses and permanently remove approximately 1,000 horses from more than 480,000 acres in northeast Nevada.
The BLM decided that only 337-561 wild horses are allowed to live in this 750-square-mile area. Meanwhile, the BLM allows private ranchers to graze thousands of livestock in the same area. The BLM issued a preliminary Environmental Assessment and refused to give serious consideration to alternatives to the roundup. The Obama Administration is intent on continuing business as usual when it comes to the BLM’s wild horse and burro program.
Contact:

President Obama c/o Executive Office of the President, Council on Environmental Quality
email  FN-CEQ-OpenGov@ceq.eop.gov

David Overcast, Tuscarora Field Office manager
3900 E. Idaho Street
Elko NV 89801
phone (775) 753-0200
fax (775) 753-0255

Bruce Thompson
Elko District Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
phone (775) 753-0286

for more information see here

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News of Note

USDA beefs up school meat safety program
Come fall, the ground beef used in school lunches will be as safe as ground beef sold to the nation’s fast food chains — a major improvement, critics say.  The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Friday that it will require all ground beef purchased for the National School Lunch Program to adhere to new safety standards after July 1. The program supplies ground beef, chicken and other food for more than 31 million schoolchildren.

Chicken, turkey may sicken 55K fewer under new USDA rules
Under the new standards, only 7.5% of chicken carcasses at a plant would be allowed to test positive for salmonella, down from 20% allowed since 1996. Salmonella levels in chickens were tested at 7.1% nationally in 2009, says Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council.

Coral Reefs Threatened by Oil Spill
Marine scientists are concerned about the future of the Gulf’s coral reefs because of the unknown effects of dispersants, mixed with oil gushing from the ragged remnants of British Petroleum’s decimated deepwater offshore oil rig.  “The oil companies are making a judgment call on a trade-off on which ecosystems to sacrifice: the shoreline and surface animals or the water column,” Sandra Brooke, coral conservation director for the Marine Conservation Biology Institute of Bellevue, Wa., said

Animal-rights activist pleads guilty to violating a court order
Miller organized several demonstrations against the efforts of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District to shoot more than 300 deer in Shawnee Mission Park.  Michael Meadors, the district’s director, filed a petition Oct. 30 for the protection order.  In that complaint, Meadors stated that Miller’s web site — BiteclubKC.com — advocated violence in certain circumstances to end the violence against animals.


Vegan Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek Sets New Record At World Championship Race

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Action Alerts

Help Save Chimpanzees: Support the Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA)
Please take a moment to help the more than 1,000 chimpanzees forced to live in laboratory research settings in the United States. Recently, ABC’s Nightline exposed the abuse of hundreds of chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. Unfortunately, these individuals are not alone in their suffering.
The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) has just been reintroduced in Congress. This legislation would end invasive research on the chimpanzees remaining in laboratories, release federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuaries, and end federal funding for the breeding of federally owned chimpanzees.
Take Action
Make a brief, polite phone call to urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor The Great Ape Protection Act.
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
Then, send an e-mail to your representative to follow up.


Help Get Elephants to Sanctuary
The fate of Tina, Jewel and Queenie, three elephants confiscated from the abusive Davenport Circus, was finally decided. Rather than being sent to a sanctuary to live out their lives in peace after years of being forced to perform for the amusement of humans, they were sent to zoos. Queenie was sent to the inhumane San Antonio Zoo – rated the worst US zoo in 2009 by IDA (In Defense of Animals)!

The Senate Agricultural Committee is considering holding a hearing to review how the USDA and the AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) may have colluded so that confiscated elephants stay in the entertainment industry by going to zoos instead of a sanctuary.

Please call or email to ask that the USDA be required to do what’s best for the elephants – let them be retired to a sanctuary:

Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (AR) Chairman:
Phone: 202-224-4843
EMAIL: http://lincoln.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm (use topic Agriculture)

Saxby Chambliss, (GA), Ranking committee member:
Phone: 202-224-3521
EMAIL:
http://www.chambliss.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email (use topic Agriculture)


Ask your Representative to Make Sale of Crush Videos Illegal Again
On April 20, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in U.S. v. Stevens that the “Crush Act,” a 1999 federal law banning the creation, sale and possession of materials depicting genuine acts of animal cruelty, is unconstitutional and overbroad in its scope.
“Crush” fetish videos (also called “squish” videos) generally depict a woman’s feet as they crush to death small animals such as rodents and kittens. The Crush Act was intended to stop the creation and sale of these horrific videos depicting live animals being intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed.
The day after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Representative Gallegly (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5092, a new bill designed to overcome the Court’s decision to strike down the Crush Act. The new bill amends the Crush Act to give it a much narrower focus, but would still prohibit selling or offering to sell any depictions of animals being crushed, drowned, impaled or burned where such actions are illegal.
H.R. 5092 will help ensure that the crush video industry is not revitalized in the absence of any enforceable federal law. The original Crush Act was passed with little opposition—help us get this revision passed quickly, too.
Take Action
Please email your representative to urge him or her to support H.R. 5092.
http://www.house.gov/

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News of Note

Why I protest animal research
In the name of science, animals are routinely injected with or forced to consume toxins, addicted to drugs, intentionally inflicted with disease, subjected to invasive surgeries and procedures, burned, shocked, starved, deprived of water, isolated and immobilized for hours, weeks, even months on end. How is it that they don’t suffer?

Scientists use pig embryo to create stem cells
So far human embryonic stem cell research has not actually found its way into the human body.  Most of the research is still in mice.  But mice aren’t the best animal models to get more accurate data on how a treatment may affect a person.  For example, mice hearts beat four times faster than a human heart and mice don’t get atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) – but pigs do.  That’s why pigs are much better animal models says Stice. “Physiologically, pigs are much closer to a human,” he says.

Non-lethal solution for troublesome sea lions
The community took a unique stance to solve their sea lion problem – a problem that had also seen a downturn in tourism. Local fishermen, both sport and commercial, developed the Curry County Sportfishing Association and collected donations to support a three-pronged approach that included a comprehensive, seven-day-a-week hazing program.  Todd Confer, an ODFW Fishery Biologist, said the three-pronged deterrent worked. There have been fewer sea lions in the bay during peak periods of the salmon runs. As a result, the local community did not kill one sea lion.

Solutions to sea lion problem debated during town hall
A town hall in Oregon City hosted by House Speaker Dave Hunt was billed as a way to come up with solutions, but many said they don’t think the recent hazing is enough.  “The only thing that works is killing them,” said Art Israelson with the The Association of Northwest Steelheaders.

Ringmaster Kenneth Feld runs the show, and more
But the last few years have been especially challenging, with the closing of Feld’s long-running Las Vegas magic/exotic animal act Siegfried & Roy and the death of Ringling’s star talent scout. The economic downturn has put a pinch on people’s entertainment dollar. His circus is under regular assault from animal-rights activists.

American Family ‘Vegan Style’ or, Our Vegan Month
It started out as a birthday gift to our turning 16 year old daughter Nicole. She has been vegan since August, immediately after having returned from our ‘Month of Meat’ in Africa. Not the easiest place to be a vegetarian, where game is served with every meal. A few books and films on the food production industry later, she became a confirmed and committed Vegan.

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News of Note

Got milk? Only if it comes from a cow, group argues
Got milk? The National Milk Producers Federation says you don’t, not if what you grab from the dairy case today is soy, rice or almond milk.  For the second time in 10 years, the federation has written to the Food and Drug Administration asking that the term “milk” be reserved for cow’s milk, although it’s OK with also using the word for goat, sheep or water buffalo milk — any of the various “mammalian lacteal secretions.”

Fur back in business and in trouble
In a drab conference room in a nondescript Renton warehouse last spring, an auctioneer took a podium beneath huge photos of supermodels in mink coats and fur lingerie. He turned on his microphone and began soliciting bids.  This is the American Legend auction, the largest remaining fur market in the United States, where $100 million in business is transacted in a few days.  Much as they have for more than a century, merchants from all over the world come to Western Washington to pick over silky skins of North American mammals on behalf of garment manufacturers.

Whitfield asks for update on racing safety, medication
Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, has joined Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., in calling for an update on the horse racing industry’s progress in addressing safety and medication concerns raised at a congressional hearing two years ago.  In letters to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club and the Association of Racing Commissioners International released on Friday, Whitfield and Udall asked nine questions related to animal welfare, jockey safety and the sport’s integrity, including whether current state regulation is sufficient.

Gamble Sours for Many Kentucky Horse Breeders
The for-sale signs on horse farms are as common as the bluegrass and the limestone fences here, and breeders have grown accustomed to sending horses through the auction ring and feeling fortunate when they fetch half of their asking price — or anything at all. The run-up to the Kentucky Derby is normally an exciting time for lawyers playing matchmaker between deep-pocketed clients and owners of can’t-miss stallion prospects.  No more.


The Problem with Factory Farms
If you eat meat, the odds are high that you’ve enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm (also known as a CAFO). According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. But even if you’re a vegetarian, the health and environmental repercussions of these facilities may affect you.

Global bake sale is ‘sweet’ vegan activism
The second annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. More than 120 groups across six continents are holding vegan bake sales from April 24 through May 2.Each group decides where to direct the proceeds of its own bake sale. While the money is not required to go to any specific type of organization, many opt to donate to nonprofit groups.  Two events in Seattle, Washington, last week raised $1,770 for Pigs Peace Sanctuary, where Edgar, a potbellied pig, is being treated for a broken leg.

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