Action Alerts

Ask South Korea to stop burying pigs alive
It sounds too horrific to be true, but officials in South Korea are piling pigs on top of each other in trucks, dumping thousands of them into mass graves, and burying them alive.
This atrocity is intended to control an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, but there is an inexpensive vaccine for the disease that the South Korean government inexplicably refuses to use. As many as 34,000 pigs have been killed in a single day. If this cruel slaughter is allowed to continue, the number of pigs killed could reach more than 1 million.
Please urge South Korean authorities to stop this massacre immediately. Send a polite e-mail to the ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the U.S., Han Duk-soo, telling him that you want the South Korean government to stop burying pigs alive and to use humane methods of controlling foot and mouth disease.

Contact the South Korea embassay through their online contact form

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News of Note

Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream
You’ve come a long way, vegan.  Once mocked as a fringe diet for sandal-wearing health food store workers, veganism is moving from marginal to mainstream in the United States.  The vegan “Skinny Bitch” diet books are best-sellers, vegan staples like tempeh and tofu can be purchased at just about any supermarket, and some chain restaurants eagerly promote their plant-only menu items. Today’s vegans are urban hipsters, suburban moms, college students, even professional athletes.

Doctors’ group sues USDA over vegetarian alternative to food pyramid
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated federal law by failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a simple, plant-based alternative — the Power Plate — as an alternative to MyPyramid, the USDA’s name for its food pyramid.

US scientists sound alarm over animal research
Scientists who use monkeys, mice and dogs for research on human diseases fear that the US government is restructuring the massive National Institutes of Health in a way that could slash their funding.  The NIH, which funnels $31 billion per year into medical research, is considering an advisory panel recommendation to create a new center for turning lab advances into practical health solutions for the public, also known as translational medicine.

USDA aims for more humane slaughterhouses
In the continuing fallout from the 2008 Chino beef scandal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will roll out new measures in 2011 to ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of cattle.  The measures aim to improve the handling of cattle, ranging from enhanced employee training to clearer guidance on existing rules, said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA undersecretary for food safety.

State veterinarian approves Smithfield’s pig handling
Smithfield Foods Inc. has been “very responsive and very responsible in how they’ve addressed the issues” raised by an undercover video at its Waverly farm, State Veterinarian Richard Wilkes said last week.  The video, released in December by the Humane Society of the United States, showed pigs being prodded, thrown by their legs and cramped in gestation crates. Several had sores and cuts, and one had blood dripping from its mouth.

S. Korea offers therapy amid massive animal cull
South Korean officials said on Monday they would offer therapy for workers traumatised by massive culling of animals as they battle the country’s worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.  The midwestern province of South Chungcheong said it would offer stress treatment to health officials, soldiers, police and farmworkers who took part in the culling of more than 90,000 cattle and pigs in the province so far.

Strickland bans owning wild animals
Buying or selling a big cat, bear, wolf, primate, crocodile or large constricting or venomous snake is now officially banned in Ohio.  And if you already have one of those critters and want to keep it, you’ll have to register it with the state by May 1 and annually thereafter, under terms of an executive order issued yesterday by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Report Examines Trade Effects of Antimicrobial Restrictions
Although antibiotic use in animals has not been a significant factor affecting U.S. trade in meat products to date, evidence suggests that country restrictions on the use of these drugs could become an issue in the future. The restrictions could affect U.S. export markets for livestock and poultry products, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

A Diet for an Invaded Planet: Invasive Species
There’s a new shift in the politics of food, not quite a movement yet, more of an eco-culinary frisson. But it may have staying power; the signs and portents are there. Vegans, freegans, locavores — meet the invasivores.

Trial of six eco-activists collapses as undercover policeman ‘goes native’
olice chiefs were facing serious questions after an undercover Met officer who “went native” triggered the collapse today of a key eco-activist trial.  Six environmental activists were due to go on trial accused of trying to shut down one of Britain’s biggest power stations.  But the case collapsed amid allegations that Pc Mark Kennedy, who had infiltrated the group to expose their activities, had switched sides.

Breeding Killers?
In 2009, there were 32 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Some of these “canine homicides” were random — consider the attack on a German professor and his librarian wife in rural Georgia by 11 dogs. But even a cursory glance at the reports confirms a pattern: victims were usually children, the dogs were usually intact males, the attack took usually place at home, and — most controversially — the offending canines were usually (75 percent of the time) either pit bull terriers or Rottweilers.

A retirement home for pets
The scene at Texas A&M University’s Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center could come straight from a 19th-century painter’s vision of the “peaceable kingdom” — lions, lambs, babes and bulls all lolling in blissful communion.  For 17 years, the center, adjacent to the university’s college of veterinary medicine, has been a cushy retirement home for pets whose owners have died or no longer are able to care for them.

Will Game-Playing Cats Now Dream of Electric Mice?
A growing number of apps are being created for cats — not cat owners. Seriously. (Do a YouTube search for “iPad and cats” or “cat plays with iPad” and you’ll see some amusing examples.) The apps do for pets what they generally do for people: help them fight boredom while also letting them look cool.

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Give vegan cooking a kickstart!

With the start of 2011, NARN has rolled out a new campaign that we are excited about, the Vegan Mentor Program. Much effort has been made by many people to spread information and increase the awareness of the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, but there has to date been very little done to ensure that once people go vegan, that they stay vegan. So that’s where the Vegan Mentor Program comes in; once you pledge to be vegan, we will match you up with one of our Vegan Mentor volunteers who will give you personal one-on-one support on the practicalities and principles of veganism. They will give advice, lend an ear, and give you direction to resources that will help you overcome the inevitable hurdles along the way. Through this blog, we will also offer other hints and tips to help you stay vegan as well. They will be filed under the category “Vegan Mentor Program” to the right, so you can go through all the other posts we will create.

Now, obviously, the first concern of people who are new to veganism is what to make. In the kitchen, you’re likely accustomed to certain recipes, techniques, and habits, and cooking vegan meals may seem hard to plan for. Well, some of the hard work of figuring out what to make has been done for you! The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has a 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program with easy recipes, shopping lists, and tips that you can use so you don’t have to fret about what to make each day. After the 21 days, you will have acquired a new routine of cooking vegan meals and you can be more confident branching out with planning your own meals, trying out new recipes, and experimenting more with a wider array of ingredients you’ve never had before. So check it out, and have fun in the kitchen!

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Action Alerts


Should Michael Vick Be Trusted With Another Dog?

President Obama recently praised the Philadelphia Eagles football team for giving Michael Vick a “second chance.” Now Vick wants to be allowed to take custody of dogs again. Do you agree or disagree?
Please personalize and submit the sample letter on IDA’s page to send a Letter to the Editor of your community’s newspapers. Use their talking points or come up with your own. Be sure to enter a valid US zip code, as your zip will be used to direct your letter to your community’s newspapers.

Keep Pressure on USDA to Get Nosey to a Sanctuary
Please urge the USDA to immediately suspend Liebel’s license and to confiscate Nosey and send her to a natural-habitat sanctuary where she would receive the specialized care she needs after a lifetime of solitude and abuse in the circus.  Yet another complaint has been filed with the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging immediate action to save a 29-year-old African elephant named Nosey from a miserable life with the Liebel Family Circus.

CONTACT
Chester Gipson
Deputy Administrator, Animal Care
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal Plant and Inspection Service
USDA-APHIS-AC, Rm. 2D13
4700 River Road, Unit 97
Riverdale, MD 20737
email   chester.a.gipson@usda.gov

Tell District Attorney to End Pigeon Shoots
Please contact District Attorney John Adams and demand that he allow Pennsylvania Humane Police Officers to prosecute this animal abuse.
Abandoning and neglecting wounded pigeons to die slow, painful deaths clearly falls within the purview of Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws, as it would for any other animal.

John Adams
Berks County District Attorney
633 Court Street
Reading PA 19601
phone (610) 478-6000
fax (610) 478-6002
email da@countyofberks.com

For information and talking points, check out this link


Tell Needham MA to Let Beavers Live
Tell Needham MA to find a compassionate, workable alternative to their plan to trap and kill beavers and remove their dam.

Kate Fitzpatrick, Town Manager
1471 Highland Avenue
Needham MA 02492
(781) 455-7512
online email

Sandra Cincotta, Town Manager Assistant
1471 Highland Avenue
Needham MA 02492
(781) 455-7500
online email

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
Needham to trap beavers, take down dam
The Town of Needham will remove the beaver dam on Anthony Cefalo’s property in order to prevent potential drainage problems for the entire town. The beaver will be trapped and destroyed.
By Scott Wachtler
http://tinyurl.com/2dcbyog

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News of Note

Michael Vick, Racial History and Animal Rights
When the abuse and oppression of an entire group of people is justified as acceptable because they are defined as animals, then it stands to reason the society is suggesting that abuse and oppression are acceptable ways to treat animals. Michael Vick committed horrendous acts of cruelty. I have had dogs as pets for my entire life. I am sickened by his actions. At the same time I recognize that he is one individual in a larger society that is profoundly complicit in the abuse and mistreatment of animals.  Ideologies of white supremacy have particular culpability in that attitude toward animals because it was part of the governing ideology of slavery and segregation.

Plan would treat animal abusers like sex offenders
People convicted of felony animal cruelty offenses would have to register just like sex offenders do under a proposal being pushed by Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander.  Alexander is one of the advocates hoping lawmakers take time to focus on animal welfare in the upcoming legislative session.

USDA toughens rules on sick cattle
The U.S. Agriculture Department is telling slaughterhouse veterinary inspectors to ensure that cattle are euthanized when they are too sick or injured to stand.  The directive issued Wednesday is meant to keep potentially contaminated meat out of the food supply. It alters current rules that allow so-called downer cows with treatable conditions to receive veterinary care and then be slaughtered for meat.

States Nip at Dog Breeders
Pushed by animal-rights activists, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have enacted restrictions on dog breeders in the past two years.  The rules vary but most require that dogs have space to stretch and time to exercise; some also regulate air quality, temperature and even noise levels inside kennels.  This fall, the animal-rights movement scored its biggest victory yet, as the top puppy-producing states in the nation, Missouri and Oklahoma, moved to enact some of the toughest standards anywhere.

FDA trying voluntary restrictions on antibiotics
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to get pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop providing antibiotics to promote livestock growth.  In a recent meeting with consumer advocates, the agency indicated it is negotiating with one company to remove growth promotion as a labeled use for one antibiotic.


PETA sues University of Utah for animal research records
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a lawsuit against the University of Utah seeking information about the school’s animal research programs.  In November 2009, PETA requested documents from the U. including animal requisition records, research protocols and veterinary care reports.

After years of declines, reports of sea lion shootings on the rise again in Calif.
The weak and woozy California sea lion found on a San Francisco Bay-area beach in December with buckshot embedded in its skull has become an all-too-common sight for wildlife officials. Wildlife officials have seen a slight rise in the shooting of ocean mammals in recent years, and investigators often struggle to find a culprit. There are few witnesses to such shootings, making it nearly impossible to bring a case.

Environment in crisis – Dangers to species and their habitats mount
Evidence suggests that many of the planet’s marvelous offspring will have a harder time surviving in 2011. Though a segment of the human population is, for reasons unknown, unable to see, let alone set limits on, the damage being done, theirs is the species that’s largely to blame.  Some of this strikes close to home, last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil and seafood fiasco notwithstanding.

As white-nose syndrome wipes out little brown bats, groups petition for emergency protection
More than one million bats have been killed by the deadly fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) since the condition first turned up in 2006. One of the hardest hit species, the once-common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), might now face extinction as a result of the disease. As a result, scientists and conservation groups filed an emergency request on December 16 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect the little brown bat under the Endangered Species Act.


Abandoned Horses Are Latest Toll of Drug Trade
Found tottering alone in the desert with their ribs visible and their heads hung low, horses play a backbreaking, unappreciated role in the multibillion-dollar drug smuggling industry.  Mexican traffickers strap heavy bales of marijuana or other illegal drugs to the horses’ backs and march them north through mountain passes and across rough desert terrain. With little food and water, some collapse under their heavy loads. Others are turned loose when the contraband gets far enough into Arizona to be loaded into vehicles with more horsepower.


Northwest tribes seek solutions to unwanted horses
Horse people hope the new year will bring a solution to an old problem: too many horses.  A horse summit planned for the first week of the year is expected to draw to Las Vegas representatives from Northwest tribes, federal agencies and conservation groups, as well as wildlife advocates, and horse people vexed by too many horses with no market to cull the herds.

Demand grows for ‘animal law’ expertise
Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

Cockfighting Outfits Evade the Law, and Continue to Prosper
It is not the biggest cockfighting ring these Dallas officers have seen. Mr. Muñoz, a senior Dallas animal-cruelty officer, said it only was a “medium-sized” ring. And it is far from the biggest one in Texas, where the blood sport of cockfighting thrives despite having been illegal for decades.  After a year-and-a-half investigation, the Humane Society of the United States says it has uncovered nearly two dozen cockfighting rings throughout the state.

Veteran reunited with dogs given up for adoption
Since they parted in 2004, Raymond Behrens, 24, served as a Navy Seabee in Japan, Iraq and twice in Afghanistan. When he enlisted, he begrudgingly gave up the two dogs, which he got when he was 16.  Six years later, he has his dogs back.  The reunion came about because earlier this week Behrens looked at some animal adoption ads online. He was done with his military service and thought it was a good time to get another four-legged friend.

Shelters taking in exotic pets, too
Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets you’ll find at an animal shelter these days. More exotic creatures are being taken in, too. Some are surrendered by owners hit hard by the tough economy. Others were gifts that just didn’t work out.  Veterinary experts and shelter officials report that in addition to puppies and kittens, other popular holiday pet gifts include domesticated mice and rats, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, snakes, iguanas and rabbits.

ASPCA Study Stresses Role of Dog and Cat Cruelty Investigations
The ASPCA released a research study this month that stresses the critical role of nationwide dog and cat services and dog and cat cruelty investigations. The study also highlights the obstacles that law enforcement professionals face in responding to dog and cat abuse.

There are two species of African elephant
Scratch a little deeper, and the African bush elephant lives by destroying its environment and moving on to new areas, where it destroys that environment, cycling back to the original region over generational time; Both African and Asian elephants can be trained; and there are three, not two species of elephant in this world: Asian, African Bush, and African Forest. Once again, everything you know is wrong

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