News of Note

Judge Orders Protection for Wolves in 2 States
A federal judge ruled Thursday that gray wolves in Montana and Idaho must be given the same protections under the federal Endangered Species Act as their cousins in Wyoming.  Wolves in the two states were removed from protected federal status under regulations proposed during the Bush administration and put into effect after President Obama took office. Last season, about 250 wolves were killed in hunts in Montana and Idaho, and both states had increased the number of wolves that could be harvested in 2010.

Mexican Rodeo continues without steer tailing event
A Mexican rodeo went on as planned Sunday in Jefferson County, minus one event that caused a lot of controversy and resulted in charges of animal cruelty.  Promoters of the “steer-tailing” event called it off Friday after a public outcry about a July rodeo where sheriff’s deputies found the tails had been ripped off some cows and many had broken bones.  “Steer-tailing” takes place when a cowboy rides alongside a steer and tries to trip it to the ground using the steer’s tail.

At Vegans’ Weddings, Beef or Tofu?
As it turns out, the most political decision of Ms. Clinton’s wedding was not whether to invite James Carville. By choosing to have meat, she reignited a sensitive wedding-season debate among ethical eaters and the people who love them: To serve, or not to serve?

Chicken producers debate ‘natural’ label
A disagreement among poultry producers about whether chicken injected with salt, water and other ingredients can be promoted as “natural” has prompted federal officials to consider changing labeling guidelines.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture had maintained that if chicken wasn’t flavored artificially or preserved with chemicals, it could carry the word “natural” on the package.

California firm recalls 1 million pounds beef for e.coli
A  Modesto, California, meat company is recalling about one million pounds of ground beef patties and bulk ground beef after the meat was linked to seven illnesses from the e.coli 0157:H7 bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

USDA to Mandate Test and Hold
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon withhold the stamp of inspection until test samples come back negative…The new rule will apply to pathogens the agency defines as adulterants.

First Signs of Puberty Seen in Younger Girls
Increased rates of obesity  are thought to play a major role, because body fat can produce sex hormones. Some researchers also suspect that environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen may be speeding up the clock on puberty, but that idea is unproved.

News of Note

With some sea-lion populations in swift decline, feds call for closing Aleutian fisheries
Endangered Steller’s sea lions are faring so poorly at the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that the Obama administration is calling for emergency commercial fishing closures for two prominent species: Atka mackerel and Pacific cod.

Animal rights group wants zoo to release elephant’s records
An animal advocacy group filed a complaint yesterday with the US Department of Agriculture after the death of a beloved 36-year-old elephant at the Southwick’s Zoo, according to officials from the organization.  In Defense of Animals is calling for the Mendon-based zoo to publicly release the medical records of Dondi, who died Wednesday, said Catherine Doyle, the group’s elephant campaign manager.

Catalonia Bans Bullfighting
Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting on Wednesday, dealing the most significant blow so far to a tradition considered by many Spaniards to be an essential part of their cultural patrimony.

Feds may probe Southborough primate center after animal’s death
The federal government is weighing whether it will launch a formal probe into the practices of the New England Primate Research Center following the death of an animal there in June.  During a June 29 inspection, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services said it found the body of a primate on the floor of a cage that had been sent through a cage-washing system on June 9.

Obesity Rates Keep Rising, Troubling Health Officials
Americans are continuing to get fatter and fatter, with obesity  rates reaching 30 percent or more in nine states last year, as opposed to only three states in 2007, health officials reported on Tuesday.

URGENT: Ask the Seattle City Council not to increase the limit on Urban Chickens

(Note: the vote on this measure takes place at 2:00 pm Tuesday, August 3rd)

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is proposing code changes to support and encourage urban agriculture.

Please help local chickens by asking the Seattle City Council not to raise the limit on the number of chickens that may be kept in Seattle, and not to ban roosters. Animals—especially those viewed as a disposable food source—suffer terribly and needlessly at the hands of an ever-increasing number of inexperienced “urban farmers.”

Seattle Animal Shelter already takes in 20-30 unwanted roosters and some hens per year, and local area veterinarians are dealing with an increase in surrendered, sick urban hens from people who don’t want to pay vet bills for “food animals.” Approximately 80% of coop owners are already above the current limit. Raising it further may cause more over-population problems.

Let’s help the Seattle City Council keep compassion for animals in mind as they help improve the options for urban farmers in Seattle. (More information below.)

Please be sure to mention that you do not support raising the fowl limit from 3 to 8.

Contact:
Richard Conlin
richard.conlin@seattle.gov
Seattle City Council

You can learn more about the full measure at this link:
http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/UrbanAgriculture/Overview/

Issues:

  • Pens are often not predator proof: Dogs and raccoons will attack chickens, and raccoons can eat parts of them alive through wire fencing, without even entering the pen.
  • Feed attracts rodents: Poisoned rodents can in turn poison wildlife that eats them (such as birds).
  • Yard safety: Many yards are not fenced, allowing predators in and allowing chickens to roam the neighborhood
  • Health problems: Chickens can develop a number of health problems: feather mites, egg-laying issues (which may cause prolapse or infection), eye and head injuries (from pecking), foot infections (such as septic arthritis or bumblefoot, from poor surfaces or improper perches), pneumonia (from unclean or poorly ventilated coops).
  • Lack of veterinary care: People often buy chickens for eggs or meat to save money. When the birds get sick, their keepers are less willing to pay for expensive vet care.
  • Poor Feed: There is currently bad chicken feed circulating in Seattle, which has caused an increase in egg-laying issues in hens. Local farm coop feed is likely to blame–it is not nutritionally balanced for chickens, and it is not properly formulated into a pellet to provide even nutrition in every bite. (Bad feed is also being sold at Bothell Feed Center.)
  • Unwanted Roosters: Roosters are noisy, but they make up 50% of all eggs that are hatched. Hatcheries toss live male baby chicks into grinders to get rid of this “problem”, as most people only want hens. Banning roosters will only increase their suffering.