Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

Animal rights groups slam Canada-China seal deal
Canada, which failed in a public-relations campaign to convince Europe that the seal hunt is humane, will also flop in its “insulting” attempt to find consumers in China, animal rights groups said yesterday.  Chinese animal welfare groups have accused the Canadian government of “racist bias” and “cultural imperialism” for selling their country seal products that have been banned by the European Union.

Conspiracies Don’t Kill Birds. People, However, Do.
At the beginning of this month when about 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky in one night in Arkansas, biologists were called on to put a damper on public speculation about pesticides and secret military tests by reminding everyone how many birds there are and how many die. They often do so as a result of human activity, but in far more mundane and dispiriting ways than conspiracy buffs might imagine.

Animals suffering in Brisbane flood crisis
It is not just people who have been affected by floods swamping Queensland – animals too are suffering terribly.  Domestic pets, wild animals and commercial livestock have all been caught up in the disaster.

Penguins Harmed by Tracking Bands, Study Finds
Bands attached to penguins’ flippers have helped scientists track their movement and migration for 50 years. The small identification tags are visible to researchers through binoculars from 100 feet away. Now, a new study reports that the seemingly innocuous bands have a significant effect on penguin mortality.

Bill would make torturing dog or cat felony offense
A Mississippi legislator has introduced a bill that aims to make cruelty against cats and dogs a felony in the state. The measure, which seeks to impose up to a $10,000 fine and a maximum five-year prison term on first-time violators, would not apply to hunting, farming and other practices. Similar legislation failed to advance in the state last year.

Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!
Chaser, a border collie who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., has the largest vocabulary of any known dog. She knows 1,022 nouns, a record that displays unexpected depths of the canine mind and may help explain how children acquire language.

Bill sheds light on equine industry issues
The introduction of a state bill that could pave the way for the reopening of horse processing plants in Nebraska has led to increased awareness about some of the issues currently plaguing the equine industry.  The struggling economy has left many people unable to afford the luxury of owning a horse. The result is that horse owners are often left at a crossroads – find the horses a new home or have them euthanized.


Utah bill would permit shooting feral animals
A Utah legislator wants to change the state’s animal cruelty law to make it legal to shoot and kill feral animals.  Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, doesn’t think feral animals should be protected by a state law that makes animal cruelty a felony.  Under House Bill 210, the humane killing of feral animals, pests and rodents would be exempt from that law.

Chef bows out of Winterlude over foie gras fiasco
A famous Quebec chef has bowed out of Ottawa’s winter festival in defiant defence of one of his staple dishes: foie gras.  The Winterlude furore stems from an ongoing debate over the ancient delicacy, now increasingly threatened by calls for it to be banned because of its alleged cruelty to animals.   Organizers say they and the event sponsors faced instant pressure by animal-rights activists over the potential use of foie gras on Picard’s menu.

Joint Replacements Keep Dogs in the Running
Joint replacement has helped larger working dogs return to hunting, aiding the blind and assisting in search-and-rescue missions and other police activities, not to mention relieving the pain of beloved pets. Although hip-replacement surgery for bigger dogs has been performed since the mid-1970s, micro-hip replacement for cats and dogs weighing 6 to 30 pounds began in the last five years.

Walgreen to bring fresh food to “food deserts”
Walgreen Co plans to add more fresh food to about 400 stores in areas where access to produce and other goods is scarce, as it tries to position itself as a one-stop shop for health and daily needs.  The drugstore chain has already added fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and a variety of other fare to 10 stores in parts of Chicago where grocery stores are hard to find.

News of Note

Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream
You’ve come a long way, vegan.  Once mocked as a fringe diet for sandal-wearing health food store workers, veganism is moving from marginal to mainstream in the United States.  The vegan “Skinny Bitch” diet books are best-sellers, vegan staples like tempeh and tofu can be purchased at just about any supermarket, and some chain restaurants eagerly promote their plant-only menu items. Today’s vegans are urban hipsters, suburban moms, college students, even professional athletes.

Doctors’ group sues USDA over vegetarian alternative to food pyramid
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated federal law by failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a simple, plant-based alternative — the Power Plate — as an alternative to MyPyramid, the USDA’s name for its food pyramid.

US scientists sound alarm over animal research
Scientists who use monkeys, mice and dogs for research on human diseases fear that the US government is restructuring the massive National Institutes of Health in a way that could slash their funding.  The NIH, which funnels $31 billion per year into medical research, is considering an advisory panel recommendation to create a new center for turning lab advances into practical health solutions for the public, also known as translational medicine.

USDA aims for more humane slaughterhouses
In the continuing fallout from the 2008 Chino beef scandal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will roll out new measures in 2011 to ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of cattle.  The measures aim to improve the handling of cattle, ranging from enhanced employee training to clearer guidance on existing rules, said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA undersecretary for food safety.

State veterinarian approves Smithfield’s pig handling
Smithfield Foods Inc. has been “very responsive and very responsible in how they’ve addressed the issues” raised by an undercover video at its Waverly farm, State Veterinarian Richard Wilkes said last week.  The video, released in December by the Humane Society of the United States, showed pigs being prodded, thrown by their legs and cramped in gestation crates. Several had sores and cuts, and one had blood dripping from its mouth.

S. Korea offers therapy amid massive animal cull
South Korean officials said on Monday they would offer therapy for workers traumatised by massive culling of animals as they battle the country’s worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.  The midwestern province of South Chungcheong said it would offer stress treatment to health officials, soldiers, police and farmworkers who took part in the culling of more than 90,000 cattle and pigs in the province so far.

Strickland bans owning wild animals
Buying or selling a big cat, bear, wolf, primate, crocodile or large constricting or venomous snake is now officially banned in Ohio.  And if you already have one of those critters and want to keep it, you’ll have to register it with the state by May 1 and annually thereafter, under terms of an executive order issued yesterday by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Report Examines Trade Effects of Antimicrobial Restrictions
Although antibiotic use in animals has not been a significant factor affecting U.S. trade in meat products to date, evidence suggests that country restrictions on the use of these drugs could become an issue in the future. The restrictions could affect U.S. export markets for livestock and poultry products, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

A Diet for an Invaded Planet: Invasive Species
There’s a new shift in the politics of food, not quite a movement yet, more of an eco-culinary frisson. But it may have staying power; the signs and portents are there. Vegans, freegans, locavores — meet the invasivores.

Trial of six eco-activists collapses as undercover policeman ‘goes native’
olice chiefs were facing serious questions after an undercover Met officer who “went native” triggered the collapse today of a key eco-activist trial.  Six environmental activists were due to go on trial accused of trying to shut down one of Britain’s biggest power stations.  But the case collapsed amid allegations that Pc Mark Kennedy, who had infiltrated the group to expose their activities, had switched sides.

Breeding Killers?
In 2009, there were 32 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Some of these “canine homicides” were random — consider the attack on a German professor and his librarian wife in rural Georgia by 11 dogs. But even a cursory glance at the reports confirms a pattern: victims were usually children, the dogs were usually intact males, the attack took usually place at home, and — most controversially — the offending canines were usually (75 percent of the time) either pit bull terriers or Rottweilers.

A retirement home for pets
The scene at Texas A&M University’s Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center could come straight from a 19th-century painter’s vision of the “peaceable kingdom” — lions, lambs, babes and bulls all lolling in blissful communion.  For 17 years, the center, adjacent to the university’s college of veterinary medicine, has been a cushy retirement home for pets whose owners have died or no longer are able to care for them.

Will Game-Playing Cats Now Dream of Electric Mice?
A growing number of apps are being created for cats — not cat owners. Seriously. (Do a YouTube search for “iPad and cats” or “cat plays with iPad” and you’ll see some amusing examples.) The apps do for pets what they generally do for people: help them fight boredom while also letting them look cool.

News of Note

Michael Vick, Racial History and Animal Rights
When the abuse and oppression of an entire group of people is justified as acceptable because they are defined as animals, then it stands to reason the society is suggesting that abuse and oppression are acceptable ways to treat animals. Michael Vick committed horrendous acts of cruelty. I have had dogs as pets for my entire life. I am sickened by his actions. At the same time I recognize that he is one individual in a larger society that is profoundly complicit in the abuse and mistreatment of animals.  Ideologies of white supremacy have particular culpability in that attitude toward animals because it was part of the governing ideology of slavery and segregation.

Plan would treat animal abusers like sex offenders
People convicted of felony animal cruelty offenses would have to register just like sex offenders do under a proposal being pushed by Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander.  Alexander is one of the advocates hoping lawmakers take time to focus on animal welfare in the upcoming legislative session.

USDA toughens rules on sick cattle
The U.S. Agriculture Department is telling slaughterhouse veterinary inspectors to ensure that cattle are euthanized when they are too sick or injured to stand.  The directive issued Wednesday is meant to keep potentially contaminated meat out of the food supply. It alters current rules that allow so-called downer cows with treatable conditions to receive veterinary care and then be slaughtered for meat.

States Nip at Dog Breeders
Pushed by animal-rights activists, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have enacted restrictions on dog breeders in the past two years.  The rules vary but most require that dogs have space to stretch and time to exercise; some also regulate air quality, temperature and even noise levels inside kennels.  This fall, the animal-rights movement scored its biggest victory yet, as the top puppy-producing states in the nation, Missouri and Oklahoma, moved to enact some of the toughest standards anywhere.

FDA trying voluntary restrictions on antibiotics
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to get pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop providing antibiotics to promote livestock growth.  In a recent meeting with consumer advocates, the agency indicated it is negotiating with one company to remove growth promotion as a labeled use for one antibiotic.


PETA sues University of Utah for animal research records
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed a lawsuit against the University of Utah seeking information about the school’s animal research programs.  In November 2009, PETA requested documents from the U. including animal requisition records, research protocols and veterinary care reports.

After years of declines, reports of sea lion shootings on the rise again in Calif.
The weak and woozy California sea lion found on a San Francisco Bay-area beach in December with buckshot embedded in its skull has become an all-too-common sight for wildlife officials. Wildlife officials have seen a slight rise in the shooting of ocean mammals in recent years, and investigators often struggle to find a culprit. There are few witnesses to such shootings, making it nearly impossible to bring a case.

Environment in crisis – Dangers to species and their habitats mount
Evidence suggests that many of the planet’s marvelous offspring will have a harder time surviving in 2011. Though a segment of the human population is, for reasons unknown, unable to see, let alone set limits on, the damage being done, theirs is the species that’s largely to blame.  Some of this strikes close to home, last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil and seafood fiasco notwithstanding.

As white-nose syndrome wipes out little brown bats, groups petition for emergency protection
More than one million bats have been killed by the deadly fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) since the condition first turned up in 2006. One of the hardest hit species, the once-common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), might now face extinction as a result of the disease. As a result, scientists and conservation groups filed an emergency request on December 16 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect the little brown bat under the Endangered Species Act.


Abandoned Horses Are Latest Toll of Drug Trade
Found tottering alone in the desert with their ribs visible and their heads hung low, horses play a backbreaking, unappreciated role in the multibillion-dollar drug smuggling industry.  Mexican traffickers strap heavy bales of marijuana or other illegal drugs to the horses’ backs and march them north through mountain passes and across rough desert terrain. With little food and water, some collapse under their heavy loads. Others are turned loose when the contraband gets far enough into Arizona to be loaded into vehicles with more horsepower.


Northwest tribes seek solutions to unwanted horses
Horse people hope the new year will bring a solution to an old problem: too many horses.  A horse summit planned for the first week of the year is expected to draw to Las Vegas representatives from Northwest tribes, federal agencies and conservation groups, as well as wildlife advocates, and horse people vexed by too many horses with no market to cull the herds.

Demand grows for ‘animal law’ expertise
Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

Cockfighting Outfits Evade the Law, and Continue to Prosper
It is not the biggest cockfighting ring these Dallas officers have seen. Mr. Muñoz, a senior Dallas animal-cruelty officer, said it only was a “medium-sized” ring. And it is far from the biggest one in Texas, where the blood sport of cockfighting thrives despite having been illegal for decades.  After a year-and-a-half investigation, the Humane Society of the United States says it has uncovered nearly two dozen cockfighting rings throughout the state.

Veteran reunited with dogs given up for adoption
Since they parted in 2004, Raymond Behrens, 24, served as a Navy Seabee in Japan, Iraq and twice in Afghanistan. When he enlisted, he begrudgingly gave up the two dogs, which he got when he was 16.  Six years later, he has his dogs back.  The reunion came about because earlier this week Behrens looked at some animal adoption ads online. He was done with his military service and thought it was a good time to get another four-legged friend.

Shelters taking in exotic pets, too
Dogs and cats aren’t the only pets you’ll find at an animal shelter these days. More exotic creatures are being taken in, too. Some are surrendered by owners hit hard by the tough economy. Others were gifts that just didn’t work out.  Veterinary experts and shelter officials report that in addition to puppies and kittens, other popular holiday pet gifts include domesticated mice and rats, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, snakes, iguanas and rabbits.

ASPCA Study Stresses Role of Dog and Cat Cruelty Investigations
The ASPCA released a research study this month that stresses the critical role of nationwide dog and cat services and dog and cat cruelty investigations. The study also highlights the obstacles that law enforcement professionals face in responding to dog and cat abuse.

There are two species of African elephant
Scratch a little deeper, and the African bush elephant lives by destroying its environment and moving on to new areas, where it destroys that environment, cycling back to the original region over generational time; Both African and Asian elephants can be trained; and there are three, not two species of elephant in this world: Asian, African Bush, and African Forest. Once again, everything you know is wrong

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.”