Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

Pigs Without Space: Smithfield Foods and Its Broken Animal-Welfare Promises
A Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigation at a Smithfield Foods‘ (SFD) pig farm in West Virginia should stand as a warning to meat companies that decide to ignore their own animal welfare promises — HSUS is watching you and has no trouble finding people willing to be paid to go undercover with hidden cameras, posing as one of your employees.

Animal rights group calls out Lipton Tea for testing on animals
With the cold months upon us what’s the harm in waking up with a warm cup of tea? Well if the tea is Lipton the harm could be plenty. PETA has called out Lipton Tea and Unilever, Lipton’s parent company, for causing the suffering and death of lab animals in an effort to advertise health claims for their tea.  In an article posted by PETA, details have come out shedding light on how the tea giant has caused animals to suffer and die for the sole purpose of making health claims.

Livestock in U.S. gobble up the antibiotics
The U.S.-raised animals we eat consumed about 29 million pounds of antibiotics in the last year alone, according to a first-ever Food and Drug Administration accounting of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry.  The release of the figures — in a little-noticed posting on the FDA’s website Friday — came in response to a 2008 law requiring the federal government to collect and disseminate antibiotic use in livestock as part of the Animal Drug User Fee Act.

Stop Humane Society now, Nebraskans urged
Is the Humane Society of the United States targeting Nebraska for a ballot initiative to halt certain livestock production practices?  Humane Society of the United States’ efforts to change animal welfare laws usually focus on poultry and swine production that uses cages and crates. Gov. Dave Heineman warned Nebraska Cattlemen last week that animal rights activists often start with poultry and pork, but then move on to cattle.

US foie gras industry has all its ducks lined up
Deliciously decadent or cruel and unhealthy? While the debate over foie gras rages around the world a handful of American farms are busily force-feeding ducks to satisfy growing appetites for the luxury liver pate.  Hudson Valley Foie Gras and neighboring farm La Belle in New York state and California’s Sonoma Foie Gras are the countries’ only three producers of the controversial gastronomic treat, known universally by its French name.

Goldman Sachs’ DC Office Hounded By Animal Rights Radicals
Animal rights radicals have been harassing Goldman Sachs employees in Washington, DC, according to a lawsuit filed in a DC Superior Court.  The radicals are members of two groups Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and Defenders of Animal Rights Today and Tomorrow (DARTT). They accuse Goldman of earning blood money and torturing puppies.

As Incomes Rise, So Does Animal Trade
Every one of these incidents, documented by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, took place within the past few months. They provide just a glimpse of the massive trade in endangered animals — and their bones, skins and other organs — that is taking place across Asia.  Yes, conservation projects have helped preserve individual species, but over all the trade in rare creatures has grown, not shrunk — thanks largely to rising demand from an increasingly affluent Asia.

Animal rehab centers still at work after BP oil spill, dozens of animals being treated
The animals are among thousands rescued since more than 200 million gallons of oil began gushing from the Macondo well about 50 miles southeast of the Mississippi River Delta, and among dozens still at Gulf Coast rescue centers five months after the well was capped.  Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, rescue officials say 2,079 birds, 456 sea turtles, some terrapins and two dolphins have been plucked from the oil.

NYC proposal to ban long outdoor tethering of dogs
It could become illegal in New York City for dogs to be tethered outside for more than three hours in a 12-hour period.  City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. proposed a new anti-tethering measure that would make it a violation punishable by fines. He said animals are “harmed mentally and physically” by being restrained for excessive periods of time.

New Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters
“Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters,” researched and written by 14 members of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians over two years, is hot off the press. This is the first document of its kind.  The timing of the release of the Standards is critical, as government funding for shelters is dwindling, and some shelters depend heavily on such monies.

Livestock protection dogs have long history
Livestock protection dogs are not herding animals, but rather full-time members of the flocks. The dogs choose to remain with the sheep because they have been reared from puppyhood with them.  Sheep and dogs were the first animals domesticated, scientists and researchers believe.  But scientists believe the use of dogs as herders to be a relatively recent phenomenon, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Pets more trustworthy than people: poll
The study revealed that 53 per cent of Canadians who own pets find them more reliable than people. Ninety per cent of Canadians talk to their pets and one-third have confided their deepest, darkest secrets to Fido or Milo or Hero.

News of Note

Egg farmer seeks court ruling on animal cruelty act
Exactly how much space is a chicken legally entitled to have in a California henhouse?  A Modesto farmer sued the state and the Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday seeking to answer that question, as egg producers begin overhauling their operations to meet an anti-cruelty measure that was approved by state voters in 2008.  The lawsuit, filed in Fresno County Superior Court by egg farmer J.S. West, is asking for a judge to interpret and clarify California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, known as Proposition 2.

Unhealthy living stays despite disease fear-study
People across the world continue to smoke, drink and avoid exercise even though they also fear their unhealthy lifestyles will lead to long-term chronic disease, an international study found on Tuesday.   When asked to name their biggest barrier to making healthier lifestyle choices, 24 percent of those surveyed cited lack of time, almost a fifth cited motivation and 14 percent blamed the expense.

State wildlife officials support delisting of gray wolf
Wisconsin wildlife officials say they support a third effort to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species’ list. The U.S. Fish-and-Wildlife Service said last week it would try again to de-list the wolf, after lawsuits from animal rights groups rejected the action twice before.

Pit bull laws have teeth, need braces
The study, published in the October edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, was written by Gary Patronek, Margaret Slater and Amy Marder. The conclusion is that breed-specific legislation does nothing to prevent dog bites.  Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Colorado and smaller jurisdictions, Patronek and his colleagues estimate that a community would have to ban more than 100,000 dogs of a targeted breed to prevent a single serious dog bite.

Some want state to ban exotic pets
A rescued lion living in an Albion animal sanctuary died this week of kidney failure, but his caretakers say his death could’ve been prevented if Indiana prohibited the ownership of exotic pets.  According to his caretakers, Kovu was at least 10 years old, and recovering from a number of health problems.  ” Lots of people own exotic animals like Kovu and many neglect them.” said Lori Gagen, director of the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary where Kovu was staying.

Proposal seeks to ban animal sales in Fort Collins pet shops
The sale of dogs, cats and other small animals at pet stores would be banned in Fort Collins under a proposal that might be headed to the April 2011 municipal ballot.  In addition to cats and dogs, the sale ban would apply to birds, reptiles, amphibians and animals such as mice, hamsters and ferrets.  The goal of the ban is to disrupt the business of puppy mills and kitten factories that breed large numbers of animals in inhumane conditions.

Breeders dump dogs before new laws begin in 2011
Strict new regulations for breeders are about to take effect in Oklahoma. That has many breeders handing their dogs over to rescue groups…many commercial breeders don’t believe they will be able comply with the regulations that have been proposed at part of the Commercial Breeders Act.

Domestic violence law should include pet abuse
Sixty-eight percent of battered women report violence toward their pets, and up to 40 percent say they feel they cannot flee their abuser out of fear for the safety of their animals.  “It’s one of the strongest manipulative tools of intimidation and anger,” said Jane Occhiolini, a retired victim advocate and friend of Cornwell’s who urged Fasano to file the bill. “This is the kind of thing we’re trying to fight.”

Sanctuary animals to get human pacemakers
An animal sanctuary about 20 miles east of Brighton could be making veterinary medical history.  The shelter will soon begin receiving donated pacemakers from humans to be implanted in animals.  The shelter’s now working with Johns Hopkins to receive donated, slightly used human pacemakers for animals.  The first arriving next week, from a family who just lost an elderly loved one with a new pacemaker.

Caged and bound for Britain: Factory-farmed monkeys are being shipped in their thousands to UK laboratories
Although experimenting on monkeys caught in the wild was banned in Britain in 1997, laboratories across the UK have begun exploiting a ‘loophole’ in the law that allows them to use the offspring of wild-caught primates

Scientists to study animals’ feelings
Australian scientists have set themselves the challenge of understanding the minds of animals and what they are feeling.  A team based at the CSIRO aims to use the study to reduce stress and pain in livestock.  “Ultimately, the outcomes of this research will expand on our understanding of emotional and cognitive functions of livestock and the impacts of farming practices on animal welfare.”

Revised Veterinarian Oath Recognizes Animal Welfare
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) last week announced the addition of the words “animal welfare” in the oath taken by new veterinarian graduates.  The concept of animal welfare is not new, but recognition by an organization that represents U.S. veterinarians is a huge step forward for animals.

Basel Declaration defends animal research
Now, in a bid to reverse that trend, more than 50 top scientists working in Germany and Switzerland have launched an education offensive. Meeting in Basel on 29 November, they drafted and signed a declaration pledging to be more open about their research, and to engage in more public dialogue.

Dog dummy simulates crisis situations in safe environment for v
et students

To teach veterinary students how to handle emergencies without endangering a critical patient’s well-being, a Cornell veterinarian has designed a sophisticated “rescue dog” mannequin and software program — the first of its kind in veterinary medicine.

Program Provides Food For Pets Of Meals On Wheels Clients
Once a month, Sumbler stops by Independent Living’s kibble closet, loads up her truc, and makes one of the most important deliveries for the animal loving clients of the organization.  “Independent Living has started Kibble on Wheels in 2006 because we were noticing that some of our Meals on Wheels clients were feeding part of their meals to their pet,” said Independent Living’s Julie Christensen. “And that’s not good for the pet or for the senior.”

News of Note

N.J. judge rejects attempt by bear hunt opponents to expand protests
A New Jersey appeals court judge has rejected arguments by animal rights activists asserting that limits on their ability to protest New Jersey’s bear hunt, which began today, violate their Constitutional rights of assembly and free speech.

Perdue Farms Sued for `Humanely Raised’ Poultry Label
The Humane Society of the U.S. said one of its members sued Perdue Farms Inc. in New Jersey state court and accused the poultry producer of falsely advertising that chickens were raised humanely.  Perdue described its fresh and frozen chicken as having been raised humanely in order to profit from rising consumer awareness of the treatment of animals reared for meat production, Hemy said in the complaint filed yesterday in state court in Freehold, New Jersey.

Salmonella-hit egg company gets FDA OK for sales
The company at the center of the salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 1,820 people during the summer and led to the recall of 550 million eggs has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to begin selling eggs for the table again.

Concerns Grow Over Shortage Of Large Animal Vets
Farmers and ranchers across the country are complaining that there are fewer and fewer large animal veterinarians to care for their livestock. Many are retiring and new veterinary students are choosing to work with pets during office-hours rather than sick cow at three in the morning.

City officials back away from pit bull ban
Facing a mobilized and well-organized opposition, city officials announced Thursday that a plan to ban pit bull terriers is off the table.  Instead, current dog control codes will be overhauled to a two-tier system that will have more teeth and come with tougher enforcement.

Oregon to end exotic pet permits in 2011
Exotic pet permits are about to go extinct in Oregon.  The Oregon Department of Agriculture says that, beginning in January, the state will not issue any new permits while it phases out the old ones.  The agency is acting at the direction of the 2009 Legislature

State Making Sure Pet Dealers are Reputable
For the next five weeks, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be conducting a sweep of pet stores throughout the state.  It will be checking for compliance of regulations that protect purchasers.

Solving the Roadkill Problem With Wildlife Bridges
Gaining popularity over the past few years, wildlife bridges are now being reimagined by professional design and landscape architecture firms to be both pleasing to the eyes of passersby and to provide a safe method of passage for animals whose habitats have been disrupted by highways.

7-Eleven Adds Vegan Items to its Menu
Eight 7-Eleven stores in the New York area have begun a test run on selling vegan food items, the New York Daily News reported.  On the menu are vegan items that include artichoke spinach noodles, vegetable lo mein and two types of dumplings. All items are vegan which means no meat, egg or dairy; and each item is retailing for $6.

News of Note

Dog owner can’t forgive Michael Vick
Vick’s success is raising one of the most potentially costly and difficult perceptual questions in the history of American sports.  If he continues playing this well, he could end up as the league’s most valuable player.
And yet a large percentage of the population will still think Michael Vick is a sociopath. Many people will never get over Vick’s own admissions of unthinkable cruelty to his pit bulls — the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating.

Off with her head? Decapitation not always best, say researchers
A study published this month in the JAVMA suggests that decapitation, a method often employed in euthanizing or killing animals used in experimental and agriculture settings, might not be as painless as previously thought. According to the study, decapitated animals seem to exhibit conscious awareness that can persist for about 8 to 29 seconds.

Foie gras removed from upcoming Cambridge food benefit after activists protest
Foie gras items will be scrapped from the menu of a food benefit in Cambridge on Wednesday after an animal rights group protested on grounds of animal cruelty.

D.C. restricts masked protesters
Wearing a mask while protesting outside a residence without telling D.C. police first could now get you arrested.   The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a strongly worded bill to deal with an animal rights group that has been known to wear masks and appear unannounced outside District residents’ homes

Animal CSI: Vets Learn How To Investigate Crimes
Demand for forensic veterinarians has been growing as many states have toughened their animal cruelty laws. And law enforcement agencies nationwide have increasingly recognized that those who abuse animals are likely to eventually commit crimes against people.

Wildlife belongs in wild: Arizona monkey bites owner, reinforces primates make bad pets
A pet rhesus monkey – on its way to be euthanized – bit its Phoenix owner on the hand last week, stirring up a renewed brouhaha about monkeys and other primates making bad pets.  It doesn’t take a zoological scientist to figure that one out.

News of Note

Animal welfare concerns Britons more than food safety
Britons seem more worried about the welfare of farm animals than health risks from food, an EU-wide survey revealed today. While concerns in the UK over pesticides, pollution, bird flu, BSE, GM foods, food additives and salmonella have all fallen significantly in the last five years, those over the treatment of livestock have risen.

New Ohio ag director will review animal care deal
Ohio’s next agriculture director plans to take a closer a look at a deal arranged by the outgoing governor and animal rights activists that would bring tougher laws governing farm animals.

Oregon Zoo and others across North America plan a three-year elephant-welfare study
Questions about zoo elephants loom larger than the beasts themselves: Are they healthy? Happy or depressed? Mellow or stressed? Do they get enough exercise? If they lived in larger groups, would they reproduce more reliably? If they were free to choose how they spend their days, and with whom, would it be better for them?

Fighting for animal rights in Lebanon
“There are so many Lebanese living in Africa that Lebanon has ended up being a hub for the smuggling of wildlife,” he explains. In the Middle East many individuals, especially in the Gulf states have private collections and want to own exotic animals, and that demand tends to be met illegally.  Lebanon is among a fraction of countries that are not signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), making it an easy transit point for wildlife smugglers.

Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets?
Do some people need to work a little bit harder to get adequate nutrition from a vegan diet? Sure.  But are there healthy people whose needs absolutely cannot be met on a vegan diet? Maybe; I certainly can’t say that this is 100% impossible. What I can say is that Tasha’s post doesn’t make the case for this. It’s too vague, filled with too many questionable observations about nutrition, and is too clearly indebted toThe Vegetarian Myth. I think there is a very good chance that she could return to a vegan diet and do well on it if she had appropriate nutrition advice.

Are Some People Not Fit to Be Vegans?
What to eat? It’s still a touchy subject, and posts about food choices here at TreeHugger tend to draw (at best) sprited debate and at worst, heated ire. So here’s more fuel for the fire – dedicated vegan food blogger Tasha at the Voracious Vegan has turned her back on 3.5 years of veganism, drawing support but also ire from her readers. Some people say veganism doesn’t meet the nutritional needs (especially for B-12) of its practitioners. Others, including medical expert Dean Ornish, swear that a low-fat plant-based diet is better for the body and for the planet.

Chicken abuse alleged at largest egg producer
The group said it had placed an undercover activist as a worker at an egg farm owned by Cal-Maine, which sells eight billion eggs a year and is based in Jackson, Miss. Cal-Maine was also one of the companies to voluntarily recall hundreds of thousands of eggs in recent weeks because of salmonella concerns.

Congress passes bill to stop ‘crush videos’
The Senate has followed the House in passing legislation to ban the selling of videos that depict the abuse and killing of animals.  The voice vote in the Senate sends the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Puerto Rico debates 12-year term for animal abuse
A 12-year prison sentence for a man who dragged a horse behind his truck has touched off a debate over whether a new animal cruelty law goes too far, when even homicide can result in lighter penalties.

Activist Relies on Islam to Fight for Animal Rights
It is never easy to be an animal rights activist in the Arab world. But on Id al-Adha, the annual Muslim religious holiday when the streets run red with the blood of slaughtered sheep, cows and camels, it is a nightmare.

New animal welfare rating system to roll out at Whole Foods
If the six-step, color-coded labeling system works as planned, it could allow American consumers at many supermarket chains unprecedented levels of specificity when it comes to choosing meat to match their principles. Developed by the Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit group made up of farmers, scientists, retailers, sustainability experts and animal welfare advocates, the rating system aims to address growing consumer concerns over the way animals are raised for food.

Activist admits setting fire to Colorado sheepskin store
A self-described animal-rights activist known on the Internet as “Lone Wolf” pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to arson in a fire that destroyed a local sheepskin business.  Walter Edmund Bond, 34, admitted in U.S. District Court to setting the fire that burned the Sheepskin Factory to the ground on April 30, 2010. The store sold sheepskin blankets, rugs and related products.

News of Note

State plans to tighten oversight of big livestock farms
State regulators have proposed tightening oversight of large livestock facilities, a move environmentalists worry doesn’t go far enough while some farmers fear it goes too far.  The changes could affect every livestock farmer in Illinois, but aren’t likely to have an impact on a controversial proposal for the largest dairy farm in the state, near Galena.

Vegan Universe
A conglomeration of like-minded businesses has created a small universe of high-functioning idealism, where those who abstain from animal products can feast with abandon and all creatures of the world can live without fear of being milked, filleted, or made into wallets.

Pet euthanasia: A political debate on methods of animal control
Every year thousands of animals come through the doors of animal shelters – and, because of the out-of-control pet population, many end up with a death sentence.  But there is a political debate going on in Michigan and around the country concerning the most humane way to euthanize.

Petitioners pushing to ban Ohio dog auctions
Ulyssa Kunze is among those people who hopes animal lovers get enough voter-signed petitions to get an issue on the statewide ballot next year to ban all “puppy mills” and auctions in Ohio.  The Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions hopes to get the required 120,600 such signatures by Dec. 1 in the group’s first round of petition circulating to meet the final Dec. 31 deadline for such filings.

Scientists: Beak deformities increase in Northwest
Scientists have observed the highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations in Alaska and the Northwest, a study by two federal scientists said.  The U.S. Geological Survey study on beak deformities in northwestern crows in Alaska, Washington and British Columbia follows a trend found earlier in Alaska’s black-capped chickadees.  “The prevalence of these strange deformities is more than 10 times what is normally expected in a wild bird population,”

Researchers find that beached dolphins are often deaf
New research into the cause of dolphin “strandings” – incidents in which weakened or dead dolphins are found near shore – has shown that in some species, many stranded creatures share the same problem.  Researchers are unsure what is causing the hearing loss: It might be old age, birth defects or a cacophony of man-made noise in the ocean, including Navy sonar, which has been associated with some marine mammal strandings in recent years.

Biggest egg seller recalls eggs after salmonella found
Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), the nation’s biggest egg seller and distributor, said it is recalling 288,000 eggs the company had purchased from supplier Ohio Fresh Eggs after a test showed salmonella at the Ohio farm.

Study on companion-animal welfare under way
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is gathering public input for a study of companion-animal welfare.  The General Assembly authorized the study during the 2010 legislative session. The study will focus on current laws and regulations pertaining to the welfare of dogs and cats; the oversight of public and private animal shelters; the state’s spay/neuter program; the scope of commercial breeding operations; and the protection of consumers who purchase companion animals.

Does New Jersey do enough to protect your pet? Lawmakers, advocates struggle to prevent cruelty
Ten years ago, the State Commission of Investigation reported the state’s animal-welfare laws were completely inadequate, and the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which is tasked with enforcing those laws, was running unchecked.  Since then, laws have been changed and the SPCA has been reorganized.

Outcry after loss of measures to protect animals is revealed
Campaigners pledged to step up the fight for animal welfare yesterday aftter The Independent highlighted the way in which the Coalition has scrapped or stalled a series of initiatives since taking power.

50 Years of Chimpanzees
A conversation with Jane Goodall

News of Note

Lawmaker already has list of changes he’d like in puppy-mill
When the Missouri Legislature reconvenes in January, Rep. Ed Schieffer of Troy has a list of changes he would like to see made to Proposition B, the so-called puppy mill measure narrowly approved by voters last week.

OLCSB hears multiple veal proposals, favors two production ‘concepts’
In an eventful meeting, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board approved two “concepts” related to veal production they plan to use in forming the standards for veal, and potentially the standards for other types of livestock.

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales
Dairy Management, whose annual budget approaches $140 million, is largely financed by a government-mandated fee on the dairy industry. But it also receives several million dollars a year from the Agriculture Department, which appoints some of its board members, approves its marketing campaigns and major contracts and periodically reports to Congress on its work.  The organization’s activities, revealed through interviews and records, provide a stark example of inherent conflicts in the Agriculture Department’s historical roles as both marketer of agriculture products and America’s nutrition police.

Minn. Area Loses Hundreds Of Dairy Cows To Economy
Schell isn’t the only area farmer abandoning his dairy cattle. A rocky market has forced sellouts or retirements of at least a dozen 100- to 250-cow dairy herds in the Winona County area in the past six months, said Tom Anderson, a farm business management instructor for Riverland Community College in Plainview, Minn.

Red meat linked to esophageal, stomach cancer risks
Red-meat lovers may have a greater likelihood of developing certain cancers of the throat and stomach than people who limit their intake of steaks and hamburgers, a new study suggests.

The virtues — and volatility — of eating vegan
No meat, no dairy, no problem.  Or at least that can be the case if you know what you’re doing, according to nutrition experts. Health and nutrition experts say it’s certainly possible to keep a proper diet and take in all the required nutrients and vitamins to stay healthy without eating meat or dairy. Studies show that vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower-than-average risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other preventable conditions.
Stern co-host Robin Quivers finishes New York City Marathon, credits vegan diet
Quivers credits her switch to a vegan diet in 2007 for helping her shed 80 pounds and giving her the strength and energy to run the race.

Smoking chimp rescued in Lebanon, sent to Brazil
A 12-year-old chimpanzee was heading to a sanctuary in Brazil on Monday after animal rights workers discovered him smoking cigarettes to entertain visitors at a Lebanese zoo.
Pennsylvania airport with feral-cat problem announces plans to trap, neuter and release cats
An airport in eastern Pennsylvania that is dealing with a feral cat problem has announced plans to trap the felines and send them to a farm — not euthanize them.  Lehigh Valley International Airport has reached an agreement with the Allentown group No Nonsense Neutering.

Fulton commission won’t let elephants off the hook
Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe argued Wednesday that nobody loves animals more than him — he cries when he puts his dogs down — but he said there is a place for cattle prods and bullhooks.  The commission went along with Lowe, voting 4-3 against a proposed ban on the use of bullhooks by circus elephant trainers.

State senator looking at animal abuse laws
State Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, is looking at ways to strengthen the state’s animal abuse laws and wants to make sure authorities have the “best tools possible to prosecute the abuse of innocent animals.”

News of Note

Vote for Animal Rights Election Day 2010
We’re in a last push with coalition partners to spread our critical message to voters in Arizona, California, Missouri and North Dakota about important statewide citizen’s initiatives on the ballot. Every one of these races is competitive, so nothing can be taken for granted.

Giving Thanks for Vegetables, Not Turkey
Everyone knows the best foods at Thanksgiving are the side dishes. Why fill up on turkey when you can gobble down the best fruits and vegetables of the fall harvest?

State ban on exotic pets still on hold
Ohio lacks an exotic-animal ban nearly four months after Gov. Ted Strickland promised to enact one in a deal with the Humane Society of the United States.

New technology aims to produce “stress-free” chickens
Two premium chicken producers, Bell & Evans in Pennsylvania and Mary’s Chickens in California, are preparing to switch to a system of killing their birds that they consider more humane. But telling them about it presents a marketing challenge.  “Most of the time, people don’t want to think about how the animal was killed,” said David Pitman, whose family owns Mary’s Chickens.

Fear of a Vegetarian Planet: Why the Beef Industry Is Freaked Out By a Kids’ Contest
In hopes of casting a more healthful glow on the much-maligned school lunch program, the USDA, along with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, has launched a contest encouraging people to come up with creative vegetable, bean and whole grain recipes for kids. A fun, harmless PR exercise, right? Not to the beef industry, which is up in arms over the exclusion of meat in the recipe categories.

New study says raw milk not panacea for the lactose intolerant
As for the new study, conducted earlier this year, participants went through three eight-day phases during which they consumed pasteurized milk, raw milk, and soy milk. Gardner notes that “the severity of the symptoms was virtually identical for the raw vs. pasteurized milk, while the symptoms of the soy milk were quite a bit, and statistically significantly, lower.”

Animal rights group posts video of country star Troy Gentry killing bear
An animal rights group has posted a video of country music star Troy Gentry killing a captive, tame black bear in Minnesota.  The group SHARK — Showing Animals Respect and Kindness — obtained the video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, and posted it on YouTube

Even turtles and wasps need a little play time
Gordon Burghardt, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has discovered that many animals-not just dogs, cats, and monkeys-need a little play time.  Burghardt is one of the first researchers to define “play” in people and also in species not previously thought capable of play, such as fish, reptiles and invertebrates.

Call me ‘owner’ — but ‘mom’ is fine, too
Are you your cat’s owner? Your dog’s mom? Guardian? Caretaker? Pet parent?  There’s been something of a revolution in how we describe the relationship between people and the dogs and cats who share their homes. The once-common term “owner” has fallen out of favor — maybe not so much in newspapers, where it still seems to reign supreme, but in just about every other arena, including the legal one, “owner” is increasingly rare.
Costs go higher at UGA lab
Dozens of researchers and students already conduct research in the building, many working on developing vaccines or therapies for dangerous diseases such as SARS, avian influenza and tuberculosis.  But until the large-animal part of the high-tech AHRC is deemed safe by federal inspectors, the researchers won’t be able to use it for experiments such as testing how well an experimental vaccine works in horses.

News of Note

Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China’s Rise
Twenty years ago, there were hardly any dogs in Beijing, and the few that were here stood a chance of landing on a dinner plate. It remains possible even today to find dog-meat dishes here. But it is far easier to find dog-treat stores, dog Web sites, dog social networks, dog swimming pools — even, for a time recently, a bring-your-dog cinema and a bring-your-dog bar on Beijing’s downtown nightclub row.

‘Puppy mill’ proposition divides state
Missouri has become a battleground over the issue of dog cruelty.  Supporters of Proposition B, dubbed the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act,” have poured more than $3 million into the state to launch a campaign that includes heartrending advertisements and celebrity endorsements.  The ballot initiative is backed by the Humane Society of the United States, which says Missouri has become the “puppy mill” capital of the nation and the epicenter of bad breeding practices.

Put down the bacon! Report emphasizes cancer-fat links
There is more evidence than ever that a person who weighs too much is more likely to develop cancer, a landmark report said Wednesday.  And forget eating bacon, sausage and lunchmeat. No amount is considered completely safe, according to the analysis from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.

Meat-Monopoly Rule May Cut 104,000 Jobs, Group Says
A U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to boost competition in meat processing may eliminate 104,000 jobs and boost retail costs by 3.3 percent, a meatpacker lobbying group said….About 30,000 jobs would be lost among farmers, processors and other groups directly related to the meat industry, while 74,000 jobs in “supplier and ancillary industries” will be cut, according to a study released today by the American Meat Institute.

EU Nears Ban on Animal Cloning
The European Union moved a big step closer toward a ban on cloning farm animals and a prohibition of imports of cloned livestock and their meat and milk, which would be another stumbling block for the powerful U.S. farm biotechnology industry.  EU food and agriculture policies designed to keep out so-called Frankenfoods have continuously thwarted U.S. biotech firms.

Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board approves civil penalties
The penalties document authorizes the Ohio Department of Agriculture to assess a civil penalty of up to $500 for the first minor offense, and up to $1,000 for each subsequent minor offense.  Major offenders can be fined $1,000-$5,000 for a first-time offense, and $5,000-$10,000 for subsequent offenses.

A New Set of Wheels Can Improve a Dog’s Life, Too
Dogs and sheep and chickens are going around on wheels; cats not so much. Since people consider pets part of the family, they are ever more willing to spend money making life more pleasant for those laid up with injuries and illnesses….Spin is in a select but growing cadre of animals that use wheelchairs to get around. Developed for dogs with joint diseases and other complaints, wheelchairs are used to help everything from ferrets to llamas and goats.

Board OKs pilot program to protect livestock from wolves
The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board voted 7-0 Monday to set aside $4,750 for a pilot program to test the effectiveness of measures that deter wolves from killing livestock. Among the deterrents are guard dogs, “range riders” and fencing…Defenders of Wildlife, which previously ran a similar program, has said that prevention efforts are critical in breaking the cycle of livestock losses followed by the killing of wolves for killing the livestock.

State group to start registry for equine rescue facilities
Horses throughout Arizona will get a second chance at life thanks to a program from the Arizona Department of Agriculture.  The department announced late last week that it started processing the first application for a certified equine rescue facility.

Animal MASH: Fort Carson welcomes veterinary unit
Its animal care component – with eight veterinarians and seven vet technicians – will care for bomb-sniffing dogs, help native populations with animal husbandry and health care and, presumably, assist with any lions in the combat zone.  The unit is one of eight deployable veterinary detachments in the Army.

Building a Better Goat
No transgenic animal has yet been approved for use as food anywhere in the world. The FDA is currently weighing its first application, by AquaBounty Technologies, to commercialize a variety of transgenic Atlantic salmon engineered to grow twice as quickly as unaltered salmon. However, the genetically modified salmon, dubbed “Frankenfish” by opponents, have generated substantial controversy in the United States.

County toughens its puppy mill law
The changes to the county’s animal control ordinance have been debated for months. Some animal advocates said tighter regulation of breeders is necessary to crack down on animal cruelty. But a number of legitimate breeders said they felt the new laws would make it harder for them to operate.

News of Note

Suffolk approves animal abuse registry bill
The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to create a law establishing a county registry for animal abuse offenders, the first of its kind in the nation.
also see
Minnesotans Debate Animal Abuse Registry

Hunters Exchange Fire Over What’s Fair Game
On Nov. 2, North Dakota voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would do away with these ranches. What’s surprising is that the battle over Ballot Measure 2 doesn’t pit hunters against their natural adversaries, animal-rights activists, who have long opposed the ultimate blood sport. Rather, the debate is dividing hunters themselves.

Arizona Rethinking Open Range Laws
Free-range cattle roam widely across the West, protected by centuries-old laws that give them the right of way while grazing and force landowners to fence them out. But as urban sprawl has extended into what used to be seemingly endless pasture land, cow-friendly open range laws are under fresh scrutiny, criticized as anachronistic throwbacks to the Wild West days before Interstate highways and tract homes.

Let coyotes, not hunters, control Valley Forge deer, animal-rights advocates say
Animal-rights advocates are arguing that the number of coyotes in Valley Forge should be encouraged to grow, as a way to provide a predatory check on the deer and eliminate any cause for gunfire.  “It would serve as a natural form of population control,” said Matthew McLaughlin, director of the Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals.

Dog days of greyhound racing?
Iowa is one of seven states that offer live greyhound racing. When Grey2K started its mission in 2001, there were 50 tracks. There are now 23, 13 in Florida, as once prosperous facilities have failed.  Iowa’s industry has remained solvent because of subsidies from the state and the casinos that operate the tracks. Harrah’s, which owns Bluffs Run in Council Bluffs, Iowa, lobbied hard to end the subsidies and live racing during the last legislative session.

Rescued fighting dog now a therapy pooch
A pit bull named Hector, rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting operation in 2007, is now a certified therapy dog that makes visits to hospitals and nursing homes. In the case of the 51 dogs saved from Vick’s illegal fighting operation, Yori said 47 were either sent to rescue sanctuaries or adopted instead of being euthanized.

Hope for horses? Pickens buys ranch to help wild horses
Madeleine Pickens, the wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, has bought a sprawling Nevada ranch to serve as a wild horse sanctuary that would keep mustangs on the range instead of in government-funded holding facilities.  If approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the move would mark the first time the government has released a large number of mustangs to such a facility.

Morals Without God?
If we consider our species without letting ourselves be blinded by the technical advances of the last few millennia, we see a creature of flesh and blood with a brain that, albeit three times larger than a chimpanzee’s, doesn’t contain any new parts. Even our vaunted prefrontal cortex turns out to be of typical size: recent neuron-counting techniques classify the human brain as a linearly scaled-up monkey brain.[2]  No one doubts the superiority of our intellect, but we have no basic wants or needs that are not also present in our close relatives.

Changes in medicine, mindsets spurring acceptance of disabled pets
Pets with disabilities ranging from spinal injuries to deafness still struggle more than healthy counterparts, but their futures are no longer as grim as before. An industry catering to owners of disabled pets has sprung up, offering everything from carts to chiropractors specializing in canine spines.

FDA Chief Focuses on Antibiotic Resistance
The Food and Drug Administration is intensifying its focus on problems caused by antibiotic resistance among humans and feed animals through the widespread use of those drugs over the past several decades, said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.  The drugs have been almost routinely used in recent years for common colds and ear infections in children, and have become fairly standard additions to feed in chickenhouses and for livestock, which are then eaten by consumers.