News of Note

Sponsors drop hens initiative after accord with egg producers
The sponsors of a Washington initiative to give egg-laying hens better living conditions called it quits Thursday after reaching a national deal with commercial egg producers to pursue federal legislation.  The backers of Initiative 1130 said they’d already collected more than 350,000 signatures.

Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages
Two groups that are usually squawking at each other — egg farmers and animal welfare advocates — announced an unusual agreement on Thursday to work together to seek a federal law that would require larger cages and other improved conditions for the nation’s 280 million laying hens. The industry said the changes, in most cases, would be phased in over the next 18 years at a cost of $4 billion.  It is far from clear whether such a law could be passed. One potential obstacle is opposition from other poultry or livestock farmers, who may be worried that similar laws could some day apply to them.

Agreement Raises Hopes & Fears for Egg-Laying Hens
Many animal advocates fear that any effort to reform agribusiness practices will placate the public with illusions of “humane” treatment of farmed animals having no basis in the reality of actual production practices. They fear that advocacy for a compassionate vegan diet is undermined by campaigns that seek to mitigate some of the cruelest abuses of an inherently animal abusing industry. They fear that whatever welfare reforms are enacted into law will not be enforced regardless, and that all or most efforts to reform animal agribusiness are a betrayal of the animal victims and amount to deals with the devil.

Undercover Video Brings Justice To Lab Animals
Four former workers at a North Carolina testing lab have been indicted on felony animal cruelty charges, following an animal rights group’s undercover investigation that captured video images of animals being hit, kicked and thrown, officials said Wednesday

PETA Protests at ‘Zookeeper’ Premiere Over Abuse Allegations
A group of animal rights activists protested at the premiere of the movie Zookeeper on Wednesday in response to allegations of animal abuse and the death of a giraffe that appeared in the film.

New law sets standards for livestock care
Virginia has legally-mandated standards for the care of agricultural animals, such as cows and horses.  The new law complements existing animal cruelty laws, which don’t allow charging livestock or poultry owners with neglect if the situation if not serious enough to meet the threshold of cruelty. The legislation will allow for earlier intervention in cases of animal neglect.


Fewer pets killed because of spay, neuter programs
It took years of campaigning to change thinking about sterilizing pets, but it has paid off. This year fewer than 4 million unwanted dogs and cats will be euthanized, down from as many as 20 million before 1970.  There are several reasons: Aggressive adopt-a-pet campaigns are carried out every day in cities all over the country and breed rescues save many dogs. But animal experts believe spaying and neutering has played the biggest role in saving so many lives.

Some Humans and the Chimp They Loved and Tormented
Nim, thrown from one home to another, vulnerable to cruelty and neglect and dependent on the kindness of strangers, resembles the titular hero of a Dickens novel, an orphan buffeted by circumstances whose biography is also a fable of individual virtue and social injustice.

What Do You Think of Vegan Living?
I asked two Merokean males in their mid-twenties about their thoughts on veganism.  Both are educated, successful young men who I’ve always found to be open-minded omnivores. One is in the political arena and the other is a corporate type. Their responses were great kindling for this week’s fire of conversation.

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