News of Note

Animal welfare concerns Britons more than food safety
Britons seem more worried about the welfare of farm animals than health risks from food, an EU-wide survey revealed today. While concerns in the UK over pesticides, pollution, bird flu, BSE, GM foods, food additives and salmonella have all fallen significantly in the last five years, those over the treatment of livestock have risen.

New Ohio ag director will review animal care deal
Ohio’s next agriculture director plans to take a closer a look at a deal arranged by the outgoing governor and animal rights activists that would bring tougher laws governing farm animals.

Oregon Zoo and others across North America plan a three-year elephant-welfare study
Questions about zoo elephants loom larger than the beasts themselves: Are they healthy? Happy or depressed? Mellow or stressed? Do they get enough exercise? If they lived in larger groups, would they reproduce more reliably? If they were free to choose how they spend their days, and with whom, would it be better for them?

Fighting for animal rights in Lebanon
“There are so many Lebanese living in Africa that Lebanon has ended up being a hub for the smuggling of wildlife,” he explains. In the Middle East many individuals, especially in the Gulf states have private collections and want to own exotic animals, and that demand tends to be met illegally.  Lebanon is among a fraction of countries that are not signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), making it an easy transit point for wildlife smugglers.

Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets?
Do some people need to work a little bit harder to get adequate nutrition from a vegan diet? Sure.  But are there healthy people whose needs absolutely cannot be met on a vegan diet? Maybe; I certainly can’t say that this is 100% impossible. What I can say is that Tasha’s post doesn’t make the case for this. It’s too vague, filled with too many questionable observations about nutrition, and is too clearly indebted toThe Vegetarian Myth. I think there is a very good chance that she could return to a vegan diet and do well on it if she had appropriate nutrition advice.

Are Some People Not Fit to Be Vegans?
What to eat? It’s still a touchy subject, and posts about food choices here at TreeHugger tend to draw (at best) sprited debate and at worst, heated ire. So here’s more fuel for the fire – dedicated vegan food blogger Tasha at the Voracious Vegan has turned her back on 3.5 years of veganism, drawing support but also ire from her readers. Some people say veganism doesn’t meet the nutritional needs (especially for B-12) of its practitioners. Others, including medical expert Dean Ornish, swear that a low-fat plant-based diet is better for the body and for the planet.

Chicken abuse alleged at largest egg producer
The group said it had placed an undercover activist as a worker at an egg farm owned by Cal-Maine, which sells eight billion eggs a year and is based in Jackson, Miss. Cal-Maine was also one of the companies to voluntarily recall hundreds of thousands of eggs in recent weeks because of salmonella concerns.

Congress passes bill to stop ‘crush videos’
The Senate has followed the House in passing legislation to ban the selling of videos that depict the abuse and killing of animals.  The voice vote in the Senate sends the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Puerto Rico debates 12-year term for animal abuse
A 12-year prison sentence for a man who dragged a horse behind his truck has touched off a debate over whether a new animal cruelty law goes too far, when even homicide can result in lighter penalties.

Activist Relies on Islam to Fight for Animal Rights
It is never easy to be an animal rights activist in the Arab world. But on Id al-Adha, the annual Muslim religious holiday when the streets run red with the blood of slaughtered sheep, cows and camels, it is a nightmare.

New animal welfare rating system to roll out at Whole Foods
If the six-step, color-coded labeling system works as planned, it could allow American consumers at many supermarket chains unprecedented levels of specificity when it comes to choosing meat to match their principles. Developed by the Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit group made up of farmers, scientists, retailers, sustainability experts and animal welfare advocates, the rating system aims to address growing consumer concerns over the way animals are raised for food.

Activist admits setting fire to Colorado sheepskin store
A self-described animal-rights activist known on the Internet as “Lone Wolf” pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to arson in a fire that destroyed a local sheepskin business.  Walter Edmund Bond, 34, admitted in U.S. District Court to setting the fire that burned the Sheepskin Factory to the ground on April 30, 2010. The store sold sheepskin blankets, rugs and related products.

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