News of Note

Group faults UW use of ferrets in medical training
A national physicians group has filed a federal complaint against the University of Washington, saying its use of ferrets to train medical residents in emergency procedures on babies and children violates a federal animal-welfare law.

Growing number of farm animals spawn new diseases
A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fuelling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report released on Friday.
Why Aren’t More Blacks Advocates For Animal Rights?
But for many African Americans, who continue to struggle immensely to prove their own humanity, there is a sentiment that the suffering of animals evokes more empathy from white folks than does the suffering of black people. Moreover, the history of oppression that our ancestors faced has been hijacked to promote an agenda, which seems to reinforce the notion of just how trivial our humanity remains to the rest of society.

Oprah Takes on Veganism, Harpo Studios Institutes Meatless Mondays
With guests Kathy Freston and Michael Pollan, Oprah dedicated her full show yesterday to veganism and meat production. She and her staffers went vegan for a week, some of them have decided to continue the diet (or go “veganish”) even after the challenge was over, Veganist author Freston took people shopping for vegan groceries and showed up in their homes to offer cooking advice, and Lisa Ling visited a slaughterhouse to see where meat really comes from.

The Real Vegan Challenge Won’t Be Televised
It’s been said that “As Oprah goes… so goes the nation.” And in case you missed it, last week Oprah, and almost 400 of her staff, went vegan. Last Tuesday’s show documented her “vegan challenge,” and a segment of the broadcast focused on a slaughterhouse run by Cargill. Journalist Lisa Ling was allowed a polished guided tour inside, and filmed cows being processed for food.

Kathy Freston, a vegan on a jet-fuelled mission
She is the Vegan Queen who presents herself as Everywoman – in other words normal, not cultish – a gradual convert to the plant-based, no-animal-protein diet whose latest book, Veganist, Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World, vaulted to No. 1 on Amazon last week, days after its release and a segment on Oprah.

State voters may be asked to decide fate of caged chickens
Chickens are descended from the junglefowl and in captivity have a lifespan about 60 months to 120 months. In a large-scale egg operation, the lifespan of a laying chicken — one specially bred to produce the most eggs over a short period — is about 22 months to 25.5 months.  The hens, depleted from intensive laying, are killed to make processed food or animal feed. Most males from egg laying stock (about 320 million annually in the United States) don’t make it beyond the fuzzy chick stage because they are killed as soon as their gender is determined.

F.D.A and Dairy Industry Spar Over Testing of Milk
Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.  But the testing plan met with fierce protest from the dairy industry, which said that it could force farmers to needlessly dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for test results

Terrorism act muzzles animal rights movement
In 2006, six animal activists of the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were convicted of terrorism under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act and sent to federal prisons across the United States.  Did they kill anybody? No. Did they cause physical harm to anybody? No.  What they did was apparently more dangerous:  they caused a significant loss of profits to a powerful laboratory at which nonhuman animals are subjected to horrific experiments which test household products, pharmaceuticals, foods, and other products.

UK soccer stadium bans sale of red meat
Director Dale Vince, owner of Forest Green Rovers, (a soccer team in the Blue Square Premier league in the UK), has banned the sale of burgers, sausages and cottage pies at the stadium.  The ban had previously only applied to the meals served the players and staff, but will now extend to concession stands for those attending matches at the team’s 5,200-capacity New Lawn Stadium in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Whole Foods implements new animal-welfare rating system
The five-step rating system, enacted in coordination with the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, uses a tiered system starting at step 1 (animals aren’t kept in cages, crates or crowded) to the highest tier, where animals spend their entire lives on the same farm. Color-coded tags will let shoppers know how various products are rated.

Wild salmon sea lice linked to B.C. fish farms
Young sockeye salmon from B.C.’s Fraser watershed are infected with higher levels of sea lice after swimming past salmon farms, a new study has found.  And those salmon carry an “order of magnitude more” of the parasites than salmon that don’t swim past salmon farms, said a study published in PloS One this week.

Mo. House panel backs proposal placing a right to raise livestock in Mo. Constitution
A Missouri House committee has endorsed a proposal to place the right to raise livestock in the state Constitution.  The proposal would declare a right to “raise livestock in a humane manner without the state imposing an undue economic burden on animal owners.” If passed by the House and Senate, the proposed constitutional amendment would be submitted to Missouri voters, likely in November 2012.

North Dakota Considers Bill Allowing Police, Vets to Seize Animals
Legislators in North Dakota have introduced a bill that would allow police and veterinarians to seize animals they believe are being treated inhumanely. A public hearing on the measure is set for Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.  As introduced, Senate Bill 2365 would grant a law enforcement officer or licensed veterinarian the right to take custody and control of an animal if there is “reasonable cause to believe” that the animal has been subjected to activity prohibited by state laws pertaining to the humane treatment of animals.

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