News of Note

Liberty, the last battery hen in Britain, is set free
A chicken named Liberty – described as ‘Britain’s last battery hen’ – is to be given a new home in Devon ahead of the EU-wide ban on keeping chickens in cramped cages.  From January 1 egg suppliers will be required by EU law to provide environments with space for hens to spread their wings, perch and move around, as the old ‘battery’ style cages are finally banned.

A Tighter Leash on Exotic Pets
The man raised a tawny ball of fluff above his head, its black button eyes seeming to widen as it took in the audience surrounding the ring.  “Baby cougar! Bottle-fed!” the auctioneer at the Lolli Brothers Livestock Market announced on a morning in early December, launching into his rat-a-tat call for bids over the loudspeaker. But there was not a hand in sight in the audience of about 100.   The starting price dropped, to $200. The cougar’s owner, standing in the ring, shook his head. It was too low. No sale.  It has been an uncertain time for people who sell and breed exotic creatures since an episode in October when the police in Zanesville, Ohio, killed 49 exotic animals.
Where is the legal line drawn in animal rights activism?
A federal courthouse in Boston and a ranch in California’s San Joaquin Valley present competing faces of the animal rights movement.  One side is peaceful. The other, decidedly, is not. Both can feel the weight of the law and the sting of being called a terrorist.

Farm orgs. ablaze over apparent animal rights arson
Farm organizations across the country are condemning what appears to be an animal rights-led act of arson against Harris Ranch, located in Coalinga, Calif.  An organization called Animal Liberation Front forwarded an anonymous email in which unnamed animal rights activists take credit for fires set to 14 cattle trucks Jan. 8.

Animal Researchers: How Do They Do It?
Animal experiments are designed and often conducted by individuals who are highly educated and have other career options. In addition, the experiments conducted on these animals are atypical, and are not written into our culture’s idea of what is ‘necessary’ or ‘normal’ in the way of animal abuse. Further, the animals used are often those that are highly valued in our society—companion animals such as dogs, cats, and rabbits or animals thought to be “like” humans, namely primates.

Animal-Rights Activists Like Me Aren’t Terrorists
I was three weeks away from taking the Law School Admissions Test in 2004 when I was arrested and charged with domestic terrorism.  I hadn’t hurt anyone or vandalized any property. In fact, the indictment didn’t allege that I’d committed any independent crime at all, only that I’d “conspired” to publish a website that advocated and reported on protest activity against a notorious animal testing lab in New Jersey.

Bill would remove downer animals from food supply
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., has reintroduced the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act to permanently prohibit all downed livestock from entering the nation’s food chain.  The act (H.R. 3704) would require all unhealthy livestock unable to walk because of disease to be humanely euthanized, according to a news release from the congressman.

Animal rights group sues Live Oak poultry hatchery, alleging animal abuse
A Washington, D.C.-based animal rights group has filed a lawsuit against a Live Oak hatchery alleging numerous examples of animal abuse.  Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit animal advocacy organization focused on cruelty to animals in agriculture, contends that Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc. routinely abused animals at its facility, and seeks to stop the alleged abuse. The suit stems from an investigation in 2009, in which an employee of Compassion Over Killing secretly documented the treatment of chickens and ducks with a hidden video camera.

Meatless in the Midwest: A Tale of Survival
After the first three dinners in my new hometown, where I moved from New York to cover the Midwest for this newspaper, even this veteran vegetarian was flagging.  Even though the region boasts some of the finest farmland in the world, there is a startling lack of fresh produce here. This is a part of the country — and there’s no polite way to put this — where the most common vegetable you’ll see on dinner plates is iceberg lettuce.

USDA says it will close 259 offices to save $150M million
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday.

Veterinary Q&A: Chocolate, rat poison, slug bait, marijuana and antifreeze are common toxins for pets
Dr. Joe Musielak, an emergency-care vet at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, says five dog and cat toxins are most commonly seen in our area: chocolate, rat poison, slug bait, marijuana and antifreeze.

Dutch nursery cares for slew of orphaned seal pups
Storms that have lashed the Dutch coast this year have created a wave of orphaned baby seals — some so young their umbilical cords are still attached — wrenched from their mothers and washed up on beaches and dikes.  An existing seal nursery near the northern city of Groningen has been so inundated with pups and older seals in recent weeks it has erected a temporary tent to house them in tanks and baths while they are nurtured back to health. They will eventually be returned to the wild.

Vet hospital treats snowy owl
Bird is one of ‘unprecedented’ number in U.S.
A snowy owl that flew thousands of miles from its home only to collide with a car west of Spokane, Wash., is being treated at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. His presence here is part of a phenomenon nationwide unlike anything ever recorded, according to a world-renowned snowy owl expert.

Why Is Everyone Going Vegan?
(not the best article for veganism, but it appeared in the fashion mag Glamour)