News of Note

Long quest to conceive baby elephant in Seattle
A Seattle zoo’s 20-year quest to use artificial insemination to make a baby elephant has been called cruel by some critics who say more than 50 unsuccessful attempts was enough.
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Woodland Park Zoo on long quest to make a baby elephant

Animal experiments increase again
The number of animal experiments carried out in the UK rose by 3% last year, according to government figures.  The rise was largely due to an increase in the use of genetically modified (GM) and mutant animals, a trend that shows no signs of abating.  The news comes as campaigners warn a new EU directive threatens standards of welfare for UK lab animals.

Ballot measures scuttled
Both sides are carefully calling the agreement between the nation’s egg producers and HSUS leadership a “victory.” For industry, that means that two ballot measures set for November that would have asked Oregon and Washington voters to ban the use of cages in egg production will now be withdrawn.  Why? Mostly because the odds of victory were looking less certain for HSUS.

Montana: New Deal Reached on Wildlife Protection
The Obama administration on Tuesday struck a new deal with wildlife advocates that would require the Interior Department to consider greater protections for hundreds of imperiled animals and plants. The agreement was filed in Federal District Court in Washington by lawyers from the government and the Center for Biological Diversity.


Pro-Whaling Countries Delay Sanctuary Vote
So what exactly did the International Whaling Commission’s meeting accomplish? Not much. The main issue — the creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic — has been postponed until next year. Representatives of pro-whaling countries stormed out of the meeting in order to prevent a vote on the whale sanctuary from taking place.

No more monkey business for senators
A group of lawmakers is seeking to put the kibosh on transporting primates in the exotic pet trade.  Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are standing up for our genetically similar, hairy friends by introducing the Captive Primate Safety Act. The measure would make it illegal to move monkeys, apes and other non-human primates across state lines in order to sell them.

Facing initiative threat, Idaho cattle group backs making 3rd animal cruelty offense a felony
Under threat of a voter initiative, an Idaho cattle group says it supports legislation to punish third-time animal cruelty offenders with a felony.  Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states without felony animal cruelty penalties.

The foundations of empathy are found in the chicken
The study is the first to demonstrate that birds possess one of the important attributes that underpins empathy, and the first study to use both behavioural and physiological methods to measure these traits in birds.

Real testimonies: Rewarded for being vegan
For many people, the transition to being vegan begins with the obvious shift toward eliminating animal-based foods, and the adoption of a plant-based diet. Since animal products are so toxic to the human body, many people report that their health drastically improves as a result.

Adventures of a Vegan: More Than ‘Meats’ the Eye
When you hear the word “vegan,” what comes to mind? For most of us, at least in Morris County, vegan is not exactly normal. We think of hippies or celebrities; people who want nothing to do with regular society or who can afford personal chefs. We don’t think of the girl next door.  This weekly column will track my adventures as a normal girl attempting to stick to my normal life, despite shirking the normal American diet.

On the Menu: Viva vegetarian!
Vegetarian and vegan diets have gained mainstream acceptance in recent years. While the percentage of the population that strictly follows such diets is small, a growing number of Americans are reducing the amount of meat in their diet to improve their health.

Banned From the Barn
Iowa’s ag-gag law failed to pass before summer recess last week: a good thing. The ridiculous proposition, which died along with similar ones in Minnesota, Florida and New York, would have made it illegal to videotape or photograph in the agricultural facilities that house almost all of our chickens and pigs.  Sadly, a lack of idiocy is not the same thing as a presence of wisdom, and the demise of ag-gag won’t give us a clearer view of food production.

Amidst Animal Cruelty Accusations, Ringling Bros. to Host Charity Performance
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will host a charity performance of their circus show on July 21 to benefit a children’s organization. Charity is a great thing, but Ringling Bros. has long been questioned as to its treatment of animals.

Carrey & Sandler targeted in animal rights letter campaign
Activists were appalled to see real creatures in films like Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Zookeeper alongside computerised doubles and now they’re appealing to the stars in person, asking them to boycott films that feature performing animals.  Letters have been sent to Carrey and Sandler as well as Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller – all of whom have starred in and/or produced films that featured wild animals.Carrey & Sandler targeted in animal rights letter campaign.
A “Bones” star’s controversial vegan pregnancy
Emily Deschanel talks about staying on the vegan path even as she prepares for motherhood, explaining, “Saying no to meat makes me feel stronger inside; I feel aligned with my morals and ethics. I still have to defend myself because people don’t understand it.


Beehives stop elephant crop-raids in Kenya, Africa
Innovative beehive fences have helped a community in Kenya to successfully protect crops from elephants, according to research.  Scientists found the hives to be a very effective barrier; elephants turned away from them in 97% of their attempted raids.

Food Companies Act to Protect Consumers From E. Coli Illness
The federal government has spent years considering whether to take steps to help keep dangerous strains of E. coli bacteria out of the food supply, a question that has become even more urgent in the face of a deadly wave of E. coli sickness that swept through Europe and raised alarms on both sides of the Atlantic.  Now, two major American companies, Costco Wholesale and Beef Products Inc., have gotten tired of waiting for regulators to act.