News of Note

Wash. bans sale, trade of shark fins
Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed legislation that prohibits the sale, trade or distribution of shark fins or derivative products in the state of Washington.

Cash Cows
Is the Woodland Park Zoo Mistreating Its Elephants?
Chai lives with two other female elephants—Bamboo and Watoto—in the Woodland Park Zoo’s one-acre elephant enclosure, whimsically named the Thai Village. You get there by following the Trail of Vines past the swimming grotto and through the Elephant Forest. But the exhibit isn’t as idyllic as its Candy Land–ish name portends: The enclosure consists of grubby fields, a concrete pool, and the Elephant Barn, where Chai, Bamboo, and Watoto hide out when temperatures dip below 40 degrees.

Seoul Tells Fendi No Fur On The Cat Walk
South Korea’s capital city has told Italian fashion house Fendi to remove all fur items from a show of its Fall/Winter collection due to complaints from animal rights  groups, officials said Monday.

Meat Without Slaughter
Michael Specter provides a fresh look at the prospect of growing meat in labs instead of feed lots and pastures.  Specter acknowledges there is “ghoulish” aspect to “lab meat,” but notes that industrial-scale livestock husbandry is ghoulish, as well.

Documentary argues virtues of a vegan diet
Despite the educational tone of the film, it’s not as dry as it sounds. Bolstered by two American doctors’ decades of separate research, “Forks Over Knives’’ offers compelling evidence that a diet heavy in animal protein and dairy leads to an increase in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other severe illnesses. The film delivers a concise history of Western eating habits, with graphs and charts punctuated by entertaining real-life experiences.

Alarm Over Rural Veterinarian Shortage
Today, more than 1,500 counties in the U.S. are without a single veterinarian to treat animals, estimated by the AVMA. That amounts to 44 states with at least one shortage area, designated annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The shortage is most acute in states with the most food-producing animals, such as cows, chickens and pigs.

Agrichemicals cause problems for animals
Decades of using agricultural chemicals and pesticides has created a toxic legacy for animals.  “The alarming thing is that exposure to just miniscule amounts of agrichemicals can affect the capacity of animals and people to reproduce and develop normally,” he said in a statement ahead of his presentation.

Japan to cull livestock in nuclear zone
Japan will start culling thousands of cattle and other livestock in the 20km evacuation zone around its stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, the government said.   More than 10,000 cows — once the pride of Fukushima prefecture, prized for their marbled beef and rich milk — were left behind in the scramble to escape, many of them locked in sheds where they starved to death, farmers have said.

Scientists Find MRSA Germ in Supermarket Meats
MRSA, a bacteria resistant to common antibiotics, has been discovered in supermarket meats, and the germ is apparently being introduced by human food handlers, a new study reports.

PACs give animals a voice
Animal lovers in Delaware and Maryland have created state Political Action Committees to support candidates who stick up for animals.  Other states with animal-friendly PACs include California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Meat is murder? More like suicide, argues Planeat film
Eating animals and their products is bad for our health and our planet, according to a subtle new polemic…In the end, the argument made is pretty simple. Global population is growing, meaning more mouths to feed, even if the dreadful inadequacies of existing food distribution is overcome. So we need more food, but meat has a very heavy impact on the planet, both directly and via greenhouse gases. So if we all want to sit down to eat without killing ourselves or the planet, we in the west will need to eat less meat and dairy.

The Dogs of War: Beloved Comrades in Afghanistan
The classified canine that went on the Navy Seals’ raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound last week has generated a wave of interest in military dogs, which have been used by the United States since at least World War I. Now, more valued than ever, they are on their own surge into Afghanistan.

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