Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

Scott DeMuth Agrees to Plea Bargain in Midwest “Animal Terrorism” Case
Tuesday was supposed to be the beginning of a lengthy Green Scare trial in Davenport, Iowa, seeking to find Scott DeMuth guilty of conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism in relation to an Animal Liberation Front action at the University of Iowa. But on Monday afternoon in federal court, DeMuth agreed to a deal on a different charge–calling off the trial and leaving the FBI empty-handed on the 2004 animal experimentation facility raid.

New EU rules on animal testing ban use of apes
After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the European Parliament agreed to reduce the number of animal tests in Europe and enforce stricter rules for animals used in research.  Under the new legislation, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and “strict” restrictions set on the use of primates in general.


Are Criminal Animal-Abuse Charges Heading Toward N.C. Lab?
PETA has  filed a complaint with the USDA against a North Carolina lab used by Pharma companies that tests flea and tick pesticides. According to this AP story, local prosecutors and the company’s president are paying attention.  PETA referred videos of the abuse to local prosecutors, an increasingly common tactic animal rights groups are using. Local District Attorney Frank Parrish said his office is reviewing the case and will investigate to see whether or not criminal charges should be filed.

Leaked Photos Lead to Primate Lab Protest
The 50 or so demonstrators were fenced into a corner across from Primate Products, an importer of animals for experimentation and research. They held signs and chanted about what they call “shameless and reckless destruction of innocent life.”  The leaked photos that have created the furor depict bloodied, lifeless primates in a surgical setting, deep gashes on skulls, an open wound on an arm.

FWC Prohibits Chasing Foxes/Coyotes with Dogs within Enclosures
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  approved a final rule on Wednesday permanently prohibiting the chasing of foxes and coyotes with dogs within an enclosure in Florida.  The FWC has worked on this issue for more than a year, and the practice was temporarily prohibited in February.

Mapping Traffic’s Toll on Wildlife
“For some people the only contact they have with wild animals is when they run them over,” said Fraser M. Shilling, the lead researcher on the project. “This is the first time people have been able to record roadkill online and I think it will change our understanding of what our road system is really doing to wildlife.”

News of Note

Will Aging Chimps Get to Retire, or Face Medical Research?
Flo and the 185 other chimpanzees who live at the Alamogordo Primate Facility at Holloman Air Force Base have not been research subjects for nearly a decade — part of an agreement between the National Institutes of Health and the military, which prohibits using the animals for biomedical tests on the base.  But recently, the health institute decided it wanted to use the chimp colony for medical research again, primarily to help develop the elusive hepatitis C vaccine.
ALSO see
Animal rights groups face off with scientists over fate of chimps

Horse Advocates Pull for Underdog in Roundups
It is horse versus helicopter here in the high desert.  On one side are nearly 40,000 horses spread over 10 states, whose presence on the range is a last vestige of the Old West. On the other is a group of crusty cowboys whose chosen method of roundup involves rotors more than wrangling, using high-tech helicopters to drive galloping mustangs into low-tech traps.

Egg industry alarmed about efforts to limit cage sizes
Egg producers are alarmed by efforts to ban small cages for hens, a movement that has gained momentum in an increasing number of states.   The 550 million eggs recalled in connection with the salmonella contamination came from hens housed in industrial-style “battery cages,” in which birds are crammed against one another in a long battery of wire enclosures.

Food safety groups slam USDA egg graders at farms in recall
U.S. Department of Agriculture staff regularly on site at two Iowa egg processors implicated in a national salmonella  outbreak were supposed to enforce rules against the presence of disease-spreading rodents and other vermin, federal regulations show.  USDA regulations say buildings and “outside premises” must be free of conditions that harbor vermin, but the agency takes a narrow view of its responsibilities.

Federal government files complaint against West Mich. dairy farm
The FDA is seeking a permanent injunction against Scenic View Dairy of Hamilton. The FDA says the farm sold cows to be slaughtered with illegal traces of antibiotics in their systems.  The Justice Department filed a complaint Tuesday in Grand Rapids Federal Court.

News of Note

Costco bans treatment of veal calves that industry calls typical
Costco Wholesale decried the treatment of veal calves by a supplier in Ohio, saying the company did not know about it before seeing video taken by the activist group Mercy for Animals.  The video shows calves chained by their necks in narrow pens, which Costco learned is common practice at some veal farms.

Federal agents descend on egg farms at center of recall for second time
Federal agents have descended for a second time on Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, the two Iowa farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak and massive egg recall.

Filthy conditions found at egg producers
Federal investigators report seeing chickens and rodents crawling up massive manure piles and flies and maggots ‘too numerous to count’ at two Iowa poultry farms that have recalled 550 million eggs.

Egg recall not first problem for DeCoster operations
Austin “Jack” DeCoster’s business has faced civil rights lawsuits, environmental fines, child safety issues and egg bans over the years. Local governments reaped economic benefits from his farms.

Greece: Fur farms raided, 50,000 minks set loose
Police say break-ins at two fur farms have set more than 50,000 minks on the loose in northern Greece.
A statement from local police says the break-ins occurred Friday and Saturday near the city of Kastoria, which is the center of Greece’s fur industry.

Food Justice is an Animal Rights Issue
Food justice, in addition to being a compelling civil rights issue on its own terms, is an animal rights issue: we cannot promote a vegan, plant-based diet without simultaneously trying to remedy the structural injustices that make such a diet nearly impossible for large portions of the country.

News of Note

Egg Industry Faces New Scrutiny After Outbreak
As it reeled from the recall of half a billion eggs for possible salmonella infection, the American egg industry was already battling a movement to outlaw its methods as cruel and unsafe, and adapting to the Obama administration’s drive to bolster health rules and inspections.

As egg producers consolidate, problems of just one company can be far-reaching
The largest egg recall in U.S. history comes at a point of great consolidation in the egg industry, when a shrinking number of companies produce most of the eggs found on grocery shelves and a defect in one operation can jeopardize a significant segment of the marketplace.

Oregon animal-rights protesters acquitted
A judge has acquitted two Oregon animal-rights protesters ordered to stay 50 feet away from the owner of a downtown Portland fur store, despite a police officer’s testimony that they were 4 inches too close.  The Oregonian reported police and prosecutors alleged protesters Justin Kay and Jeffrey Wirth were about 49 feet, 8 inches away from fur merchant Horst Grimm when a restraining order said they must stay at least 50 feet away.

Ahead of circus in Everett, PETA protests at elementary school
The animal-rights group sent a protestor in an elephant costume and two other PETA representatives to stand near Lowell Elementary School. The group was trying to hand out coloring books to students and discuss how they believe circus elephants are beaten and jabbed with spiked bullhooks.
Animal Welfare Activists to Protest Bullfighting in Spain
“We want to benefit from this major success in Catalonia to extend this ban to the rest of the Spanish territory,” said José Ramón Mallén Vargas-Machuca, a coordinator of the Bilbao event and a representative from Fundación Equanimal, an animal welfare association. “But we’re not trying to get into any debate about identity and nationalism and any of the arguments that are now being used by politicians that have nothing to do with animal rights.”

OSHA fines SeaWorld for worker safety issues following orca trainer’s death
According to OSHA, it found three specific violations in SeaWorld’s conduct, most notably one it classified as a “willful” violation for “exposing [SeaWorld] employees to struck-by and drowning hazards when interacting with killer whales. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

News of Note

Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals’ Close Quarters
Concessions by farmers Ohio to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and veal calves are the latest sign that so-called factory farming  — a staple of modern agriculture that is seen by critics as inhumane and a threat to the environment and health — is on the verge of significant change.

Debate Rages Over Proposed SF Pet Sale Ban
San Francisco officials considered a history-making ban on the sale of pets Thursday night that sparked a heated debate at a meeting of the Animal Control and Welfare Commission.  Advocates of the ban argued the first in the nation ban on pet sales within the city would prevent unwanted pets from being euthanized

Dairy Companies Face New Questions in China
Mounting questions about abnormal hormone levels in several Chinese infants who demonstrated early signs of puberty have again put a Chinese milk supplier and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. on the defensive about their products.

A quarter-pounder with statins on the side
Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The suggestion that the harmful effects of a junk food meal might be erased by taking a cholesterol-lowering statin tablet should not be taken literally.

News of Note

Judge Orders Protection for Wolves in 2 States
A federal judge ruled Thursday that gray wolves in Montana and Idaho must be given the same protections under the federal Endangered Species Act as their cousins in Wyoming.  Wolves in the two states were removed from protected federal status under regulations proposed during the Bush administration and put into effect after President Obama took office. Last season, about 250 wolves were killed in hunts in Montana and Idaho, and both states had increased the number of wolves that could be harvested in 2010.

Mexican Rodeo continues without steer tailing event
A Mexican rodeo went on as planned Sunday in Jefferson County, minus one event that caused a lot of controversy and resulted in charges of animal cruelty.  Promoters of the “steer-tailing” event called it off Friday after a public outcry about a July rodeo where sheriff’s deputies found the tails had been ripped off some cows and many had broken bones.  “Steer-tailing” takes place when a cowboy rides alongside a steer and tries to trip it to the ground using the steer’s tail.

At Vegans’ Weddings, Beef or Tofu?
As it turns out, the most political decision of Ms. Clinton’s wedding was not whether to invite James Carville. By choosing to have meat, she reignited a sensitive wedding-season debate among ethical eaters and the people who love them: To serve, or not to serve?

Chicken producers debate ‘natural’ label
A disagreement among poultry producers about whether chicken injected with salt, water and other ingredients can be promoted as “natural” has prompted federal officials to consider changing labeling guidelines.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture had maintained that if chicken wasn’t flavored artificially or preserved with chemicals, it could carry the word “natural” on the package.

California firm recalls 1 million pounds beef for e.coli
A  Modesto, California, meat company is recalling about one million pounds of ground beef patties and bulk ground beef after the meat was linked to seven illnesses from the e.coli 0157:H7 bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

USDA to Mandate Test and Hold
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon withhold the stamp of inspection until test samples come back negative…The new rule will apply to pathogens the agency defines as adulterants.

First Signs of Puberty Seen in Younger Girls
Increased rates of obesity  are thought to play a major role, because body fat can produce sex hormones. Some researchers also suspect that environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen may be speeding up the clock on puberty, but that idea is unproved.

News of Note

With some sea-lion populations in swift decline, feds call for closing Aleutian fisheries
Endangered Steller’s sea lions are faring so poorly at the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that the Obama administration is calling for emergency commercial fishing closures for two prominent species: Atka mackerel and Pacific cod.

Animal rights group wants zoo to release elephant’s records
An animal advocacy group filed a complaint yesterday with the US Department of Agriculture after the death of a beloved 36-year-old elephant at the Southwick’s Zoo, according to officials from the organization.  In Defense of Animals is calling for the Mendon-based zoo to publicly release the medical records of Dondi, who died Wednesday, said Catherine Doyle, the group’s elephant campaign manager.

Catalonia Bans Bullfighting
Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting on Wednesday, dealing the most significant blow so far to a tradition considered by many Spaniards to be an essential part of their cultural patrimony.

Feds may probe Southborough primate center after animal’s death
The federal government is weighing whether it will launch a formal probe into the practices of the New England Primate Research Center following the death of an animal there in June.  During a June 29 inspection, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services said it found the body of a primate on the floor of a cage that had been sent through a cage-washing system on June 9.

Obesity Rates Keep Rising, Troubling Health Officials
Americans are continuing to get fatter and fatter, with obesity  rates reaching 30 percent or more in nine states last year, as opposed to only three states in 2007, health officials reported on Tuesday.

News of Note

Meat lovers may pack on the pounds over time
People who eat a lot of meat are more likely to gain weight, even if they’re consuming the same amount of calories as their less-carnivorous peers.  Dr. Anne-Claire Vergnaud of Imperial College London in the UK and her colleagues found that people who ate more meat gained more weight over 5 years than those who ate less meat, but the same amount of calories.  “Our results suggest that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management,” they wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“The Biggest Loser” Trainer Bob Harper Offers Advice On Vegan Lifestyle
What can we say? Every since hearing that The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper went vegan last year, we’ve been so insanely impressed with his outspoken behavior.

Animal-rights activist pleads guilty to contempt charge
The founder of an animal-rights group pleaded guilty Tuesday to contempt of court for refusing to testify about attacks on mink farms.  Jordan Halliday admitted he disobeyed an order by U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell to testify before a grand jury.  Prosecutors say Halliday either responded with “no comment” to most questions or involved a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to innocuous questions.


Traveling circus with history of animal rights abuses meets with ire in Okanagan
An American travelling circus troupe with a long history of animal rights violations is being criticized by B.C. animal lovers on the eve of its multi-stop tour through the Okanagan.  Opposition to the Jordan World Circus, billed as one of North America’s premier acts, has been particularly strong in Penticton, where residents have torn down signs ahead of the Aug. 1 show.

California dairy owners promote benefits of camel’s milk despite federal ban on sales in US
Gil and Nancy Riegler, owners of the nation’s largest camel dairy near San Diego in southern California, said the extra work pays off with milk that is therapeutic, nutritious and delicious.  It also is illegal to sell in the United States.   “If we could sell camel’s milk right now, we would have to charge $40 to $60 a litre,” said Nancy Riegler, who lives with her husband on their 34-acre (14-hectare) dairy in Ramona, northeast of San Diego. That is because there are only a few thousand camels in the United States, mostly at zoos and wild animal parks, and few of them are breeding, which makes camel milk a rare commodity.

Farm, food service jobs tied to heart disease risk
Americans in certain lines of work, including transportation, food service and farming, may have a relatively high rate of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, a new study finds.

Recall issued for chicken nuggets sold at Walmart
Perdue Farms is recalling  nearly 92,000 pounds of chicken nuggets because of concern that a small number of them may contain pieces of plastic.  The nuggets are sold under the Great Value brand in Walmart stores in the United States.

Octopus discovery could lead to new drugs
Dr Fry’s team travelled to the Antarctic aboard the Australian Antarctic Division’s flagship Aurora Australis, collecting 203 octopuses over more than six weeks.  They then genetically profiled each specimen to identify the species and collected venom to analyse in the lab.  “There are minor differences which allow them to work and we still don’t know what those differences are.  “So we’re comparing them to octopus venom with similar enzymes from other species like the tropical blue-ringed octopus.”

US seeks to garnish wages of man who freed mink
Federal prosecutors are hoping to garnish the wages of a prominent animal rights activist who freed mink from Midwestern fur farms and has earned money giving speeches about the case.

Mike Tyson Tweets About Vegan Energy On Twitter
Iron Mike Tyson, or should we say Veggie Mike Tyson, recently joined Twitter and used the social networking service to tweet about the energy he is receiving from his vegan diet.

News of Note

Animal activists freed from terror charges
A federal judge has thrown out terrorism charges against four animal-rights activists who allegedly threatened researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, saying prosecutors filed a vague indictment that failed to specify any illegal acts.

Horse deaths have many questioning Stampede Chuckwagon races
A chuckwagon driver fears the demise of his sport in the face of mounting pressure from animal rights groups and urbanites shocked at the deaths of horses at the Calgary Stampede.  Six horses died in the first nine days of the 10-day Stampede and four of them were chuckwagon horses. There were no reports of more deaths at the conclusion of the chuckwagon finals Sunday night.

Animal-rights advocate could resolve contempt case.
An animal-rights activist charged with contempt of court for allegedly refusing to testify about mink releases at Utah farms could be pleading guilty in the case.  The U.S. District Court docket shows a change-of-plea hearing scheduled on July 27 for Jordan Halliday, founder of the Animal Defense League of Salt Lake City. Those hearings generally are set after a defendant has struck a plea bargain with prosecutors.  A government brief alleges that Halliday refused to take an oath at an initial appearance on Feb. 18, 2009, and responded with “no comment” to almost every question

Hauled to court, forced to pay £1,500 and branded a criminal…for drowning a grey squirrel
When a bird lover managed to trap one of the grey squirrels raiding his nut feeders, he decided that drowning would be the most humane way to dispose of it.  However a vet said the process would have taken three minutes, so Mr Elliott was taken to court accused of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.  The landmark case sets an important precedent for killing grey squirrels, which are classified as a non-native invasive species, and could pave the way for hundreds of other prosecutions across the country.

Scathing report on hunting industry
A damning report by Animal Rights Africa (ARA) criticising hunting in South Africa has labelled the industry “a bloody mess”.  ARA said the report, which was released earlier this month, gave an in-depth look at hunting activities in the country and included a call for an urgent and comprehensive public investigation into the industry.  But the hunting lobby has hit back, saying the report was inaccurate and badly researched.

“Old Spice Man” Goes Vegan
Perhaps impressed by the likes of manly men Mac Danzig, Jake Shields, and Rich Roll, Old Spice Man (aka former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa) has embarked on a vegan cleanse. It’s a dangerous voyage, fraught with all the perils that come along with really great food that contains no hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol, or arsenic, but we are confident that OSM is not one to back down from a challenge that is, well, not really all that challenging.

News of Note

Suit filed over treatment of zoo’s elephants
A civil lawsuit filed against the city of Seattle on Tuesday argues that “inhumane and unlawful” treatment of the Woodland Park Zoo’s three elephants violates local anti-cruelty laws.
Suit: Stop funding zoo’s ‘cruel’ elephant treatment
Two women have sued the city of Seattle in an effort to stop their tax dollars from funding what they call “cruel, inhumane and unlawful” treatment of elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo.

‘The Cove’ to screen in Japan despite protests
“The Cove,” an Oscar-winning film about a dolphin-hunting village in Japan, will be shown in the country from next month, despite pressure from nationalist groups that caused several theaters to cancel screenings.

Tuna’s End
Appetites continued to outstrip supply. Global seafood consumption has increased consistently to the point where we now remove more wild fish and shellfish from the oceans every year than the weight of the human population of China. Fishing has expanded over the continental shelves into the international no-man’s territory known as the high seas — the ocean territory that begins outside of national “exclusive economic zones,” or E.E.Z.’s, usually 200 nautical miles out from a country’s coast, and continues until it hits the E.E.Z. of another country. The high seas are owned by no one and governed by largely feeble multinational agreements.

Antibiotics in Animals Need Limits, F.D.A. Says
Federal food regulators took a tentative step Monday toward banning a common use of penicillin and tetracycline in the water and feed given cattle, chickens and pigs in hopes of slowing the growing scourge of killer bacteria.  But the Food and Drug Administration has tried without success for more than three decades to ban such uses. In the past, Congress has stepped in at the urging of agricultural interests and stopped the agency from acting.

Ag Must Learn From Ohio’s Disappointing Outcome
Ohio’s agricultural leadership has succumbed to pressures from the Humane Society of the United States, a national animal rights group that has effectively undermined the authority of the newly-established board by imposing restrictions that mandate the way that producers can care for their animals.  HSUS agreed to withdraw its pending initiative from the ballot this fall after the producer organizations agreed to meet certain important stipulations – including the phasing out of scientifically-based housing systems that will affect many producers in the state. A moratorium will be placed on the installation of new conventional cage systems used for laying hens and gestation stalls for pregnant sows. In HSUS’ most far-reaching deal yet, the demands also included the Governor’s agreement to encourage increased penalties for cockfighting, “puppy mills,” and humane euthanasia to the state legislature.

Day 12: Making The Vegan Movement Mainstream
If the UN wants the entire world to go vegan, I figured I should test the waters.  Who’s a better candidate than a life-long carnivore raised in Indiana, where agriculture, dairy farming and hamburgers reign supreme? So far, I’ve accomplished one of my goals, which was to expose that veganism is not as hard as you might think.  There are so many ways to adjust your diet that will satisfy you as much, if not more, than the animal products you’re used to.  I didn’t foresee myself loving vegan products as much as I do.