News of Note

McDonald’s, Target Dump Egg Supplier After Investigation
McDonald’s will be looking for a new source of eggs for many of its hugely popular Egg McMuffins.
The fast food company says it “will no longer accept” eggs from one of the country’s biggest egg companies, Sparboe Farms.  Undercover video taken over the summer inside Sparboe facilities in three states by an animal rights group, Mercy for Animals, that appears to show unsanitary conditions and repeated acts of animal cruelty was cited Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration for “significant…and serious violations” in the production of eggs.  Late Friday, another major retailer, Target, said it too had not only dumped Sparboe as an supplier, but was pulling its eggs off the shelves immediately.

Clearing the way to re-start horse slaughter in the U.S.
Advocates of horse slaughter as a way to manage horse populations, particularly on reservation lands and fragile grasslands, were cheering passage Monday night of a conference report on an appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture that for the first time since 2005 does not contain a rider that prevents the USDA from providing inspections of horse meat for human consumption at processing facilities.

USDA Brings HSUS to the Table
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is dismissing the suggestion that USDA takes its cues on animal welfare exclusively from the Humane Society of the United States.  Agri-Pulse obtained a copy of an internal USDA memo that recommends HSUS and other welfare advocacy groups be allowed to set the agenda for a proposed animal welfare scientific forum.  No mention is made of asking any agricultural organization or ag scientist for assistance in planning the meeting.  The omission has angered animal ag stakeholders.

Chimps Play Like Humans: Playful Behavior of Young Chimps Develops Like That of Children
Playful behavior is widespread in mammals, and has important developmental consequences. A recent study of young chimpanzees shows that these animals play and develop much the same way as human children.

Wildlife monitors says Asian gecko at risk after claims it can cure AIDS spark trade boom
Claims that a nocturnal Asian lizard can be used to help treat the HIV virus have led to a sharp boom in smuggling of the reptile, putting it at risk, a conservation group said Tuesday.  Demand for the Tokay Gecko has skyrocketed in recent years after online blogs, newspaper articles and wildlife traders extolled the consumption of the lizard’s tongue and internal organs as a miracle cure for HIV, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia said in a report.

Two dolphins who died after two-day techno party at marine park ‘were fed drugs by ravers’
Furious animal activists say they warned both the marine park and local planners – who gave permission for the rave – of the dangers before the event.  They had been concerned that the high levels of noise could damage the marine mammals sensitive sonar and hearing and harm their delicate immune system. ‘At this stage we don’t know whether they were poisoned or bludgeoned to death by the noise. But one thing is certain – two healthy dolphins don’t die within hours of each other for nothing,’ said one campaigner.

Animal rights group releases commercial about University
In a press release sent out early Tuesday morning, the animal rights activist group Stop Animal Exploitation Now! expressed its intent to air a commercial that would shed negative light on the University’s experimentation practices regarding nonhuman primates.

African elephant dies at Safari Park, possibly in attack by another
The 21-year-old elephant named Umoya was found lying on the ground Thursday morning with severe injuries and died before keepers could arrive to offer help. A post-mortem examination is expected to determine the cause of death.   Umoya was one of seven elephants brought in 2003 from the African nation of Swaziland to the Safari Park, which was then called the Wild Animal Park. The park has 18 elephants.

UW vet works to save horse
It wasn’t long ago when Tiger was a handsome gelding 16 hands high and presumably with a future as a race horse.  But after he failed to win on the track, he was left to starve on an Illinois farm before rescuers stepped in late last month and tried to save him.

Doing the Ethical Thing May Be Right, but It Isn’t Automatic
As much as we would like to think that, put on the spot, we would do the right — and perhaps even heroic — thing, research has shown that that usually isn’t true.  “People are routinely more willing to be critical of others’ ethics than of their own.

Hearty Holiday Main Courses for Vegans
A vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli, offers hearty vegetarian dishes packed with protein for diners who want to skip the turkey main course.

Sierra Club Leader Will Step Down
Mr. Pope, 66, stepped down as executive director last year after 17 years, turning the job over to Michael Brune, 40, who came to the Sierra Club from the Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace, younger and politically more aggressive groups. Mr. Pope has held the title of chairman since Mr. Brune arrived and will remain a consultant to the club until the end of next year.