Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

Large-animal veterinarians for farms on decline
The vast majority of veterinarians choose to take care of dogs and cats, not cows, pigs and chickens.  The trend has raised concerns among animal-health experts who worry that there won’t be enough farm veterinarians to fill the expected vacancies at key federal agencies responsible for protecting the nation’s food supply.

Prop B elicits strong emotions as vote nears
Proposition B would prohibit breeders from keeping more than 50 adult dogs for breeding. It would also impose stricter shelter and care requirements for those dogs. Among other things, it would require that all dogs be given constant access to the outdoors, be raised on solid — as opposed to wire — floors, have climate-controlled indoor kennels and be bred only twice every 18 months….Other criticisms of the initiative have come from some agricultural organizations that claim the initiative is the first step in a larger attempt by animal rights advocates to impose more legislation on farming and livestock breeding.

Clean Living in the Henhouse
In Henhouse No. 1 at the Hi-Grade Egg Farm here, the droppings from 381,000 chickens are carried off along a zig-zagging system of stacked conveyor belts with powerful fans blowing across them.  Controlling manure and keeping henhouses clean is essential to combating the toxic strain of salmonella that sickened thousands of people this year and prompted the recall of more than half a billion eggs produced by two companies in Iowa.

Organic farms debate letting chickens outdoors
Some organic chicken farms do not see it that way, and a fight is brewing over what exactly “access to the outdoors” means when it comes to chickens used for organic eggs and meat.  “There’s huge lobbying going on from industrial agriculture trying to force the NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) to get rid of the concept of any outdoor access,” said Goldie Caughlan, nutrition-education manager at PCC Natural Markets in Seattle and a former member of that board.

FSA threat to abattoirs who refuse to install CCTV
Abattoirs that do not install CCTV cameras could face additional inspection costs, under plans to be discussed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board on Tuesday.  The FSA board is being asked to endorse a proposal to encourage abattoirs to install CCTV as a tool to help protect animal welfare.  FSA director of operations Andrew Rhodes has recommended the policy in response to undercover filming by animal rights group Animal Aid, which has exposed breaches of animal welfare legislation at a number of UK abattoirs over the past year.

European research animal use holds steady
The number is similar to that of 2005, when the last statistical report was published. But the figures mask the impact of the gradual introduction of alternatives for safety testing of chemicals and drugs that use many fewer animals. And they have not yet been affected by the deluge of animal tests that stand to be carried out over the next decade or more as a result of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation, which requires safety testing of all chemicals marketed in the EU by 2018.

Group slams use of live pigs in training
Animal rights activists say the use of live pigs in trauma training by non-profit health system UPMC in Pennsylvania violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Animals Said to Have Spiritual Experiences
Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades.  Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain — areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own.

Inmates turn to farming to help zoo animals
The Folsom Zoo Inmate Garden Project was launched this year allowing level-one inmates at California State Prison, Sacramento, to harvest crops on the prison grounds to feed rescued animals at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary in a partnership between the prison, the zoo and Wal-Mart in Folsom.

‘Cow whisperer’ helps dairy farmers
Cumbrian “cow whisperer” Karen Lancaster has been helping farmers get to know their cattle for the past four years.  The 33-year-old former vet, who works for Dairy Co, says it is all down to learning to read their signals.  Ms Lancaster said the only way to understand them is to put yourself in their position.


Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board adopts State’s first standards: euthanasia
After months of discussing, debating and fine-tuning its language, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board yesterday (Oct. 5) adopted its first set of standards.  Twelve of the board’s 13 members were present, and voted unanimously in support of standards covering the proper methods and techniques of livestock euthanasia, including captive bolt systems, blunt trauma, gun shot, electrocution and various others.

Circuit court calls part of Ohio’s milk labeling law unconstitutional
Milk in Ohio can soon be labeled according to what is not in it, according to a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

D.C. initially backs bill on pest control
The D.C. Council gave tentative approval Tuesday to a bill to impose some of the nation’s strictest standards for _blankhow animal- and pest-control firms can remove raccoons, opossums, foxes, snakes and other nuisance animals from lawns, attics and basements.

Sea lion gets surgery for gunshot wounds on face
A California sea lion that was shot in the face underwent plastic surgery to fix his damaged muzzle Friday.

News of Note

Animal-welfare news sways meat consumers
News coverage of animal-welfare issues causes U.S. consumers to cut back on meat purchases and spend their money instead on non-meat items, a study indicated.  The university study, the first known examination of how news coverage affects U.S. pork, poultry and beef demand, found increased coverage of pork and poultry animal-welfare issues from 1999 to 2008 reduced consumer demand.

Our puppy’s keeper: Christianity and the care of animals
We must take off the blinders that allow violence to happen to other animals and confront these issues directly with active compassion. I believe that there is no way a person who proclaims, “I am Christian,” can be ok with the violence of factory farms.

US Senate bans creation, sale of animal ‘crush videos’
The US Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would ban the creation, sale and distribution of so-called “crush videos” — sexual fetish films in which small animals are maimed or killed.  The Senate passed the legislation late Tuesday. It now goes to the US House of Representatives, which passed its own version of the bill in July.  The Senate version goes further than the House legislation in that it specifically prohibits the creation of animal crush videos, not just their sale.

Marines want more Labrador retrievers to sniff for bombs
Marines in Afghanistan want to more than double the number of bomb-sniffing dogs at their disposal in the battle against record-setting attacks by insurgents using makeshift explosives…The new dogs will allow downtime at home for the veteran canines, some of them dragging tail after their fifth or even sixth deployment. The dogs come back “thinner, just like Marines” after a six- or seven-month combat tour, said Doug Miller, the Pentagon’s program manager for “working dogs.”

Food safety auditors are often paid by the firms they audit
Certainly the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which had staff on site at Wright County to inspect the size and quality of the eggs, has said its authority was limited. USDA regulations say buildings and “outside premises” must be free of conditions that harbor vermin. Under the USDA’s unwritten interpretation of the regulations, egg graders only look for vermin inside the specific processing building where they are based, said Dean Kastner, an assistant USDA branch chief in the poultry grading program.

Thousands March for Animal Rights in Colombia
About 5,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Bogota to commemorate World Animal Day, the date when Colombian activists concentrate their criticism of the government for its lack of interest in these living creatures.

Cancer risk can be cut with good habits such as exercise and healthful eating
According to the American Cancer Society, about a third of the 550,000 American cancer deaths each year are linked to obesity, poor diet and inactivity. Another third are due to smoking….”Forty percent of breast cancer cases in the U.S. – about 70,000 cases a year – could be prevented” by changes in behavior, says Susan Higginbotham, director of research for the American Institute of Cancer Research.


More meat eaters will require doubling of world livestock
With meat eating on the increase, livestock producers will have to double their output when the world population hits nine billion, experts attending the World Meat Congress said Monday in Buenos Aires.


Dairy farmer says food safety bill a raw deal
The food-safety bill would force the food growers and dairy farmers to undergo regular FDA inspections. They’d have to begin filing routine safety reports, and start using government-approved equipment and feed.

News of Note

Ohio man sentenced in videotaped cow cruelty case
An Ohio dairy farm worker accused of beating cows while unwittingly being filmed has pleaded guilty to six counts of animal cruelty.  A court clerk says 25-five-year-old Billy Joe Gregg Jr. was sentenced Friday in Marysville on the misdemeanors to eight months in jail. That was cut to four months because of time already served.

Farmer beware, some things to consider when hiring farm workers
For livestock farmers, hiring has become increasingly complicated as they must consider whether an applicant is actually an undercover animal rights activist, destined to put them out of business…Hiring an activist can spell disaster for your farm, as two Ohio operations found out this year. And it can happen at any farm, in any county.


Oklahoma cattlemen’s group concerned about new rule
An emergency rule that requires companies that perform reproductive services on animals in Oklahoma to have a veterinarian on staff could put the industry in a “real tailspin,” the head of a state cattlemen’s group says.

Coalition wants to see improper ‘puppy mills,’ ‘dog auctions’ regulated in Ohio
Improper “puppy mills” and “dog auctions” might be plentiful in some of Ohio’s Amish country areas, but apparently not in Geauga County, where many officials support a statewide initiative to ban all such mills and auctions.

DNA Is New Weapon In Fight Against Dogfighting
Scientists are hoping that a new DNA database for dogs will help track — and prosecute — people who breed dogs to fight. But advocates say there’s a risk that the DNA records could be used against the dogs, or against people who adopt them.

The Meat Eaters
Our own form of predation is of course more refined than those of other meat-eaters, who must capture their prey and tear it apart as it struggles to escape.  We instead employ professionals to breed our prey in captivity and prepare their bodies for us behind a veil of propriety, so that our sensibilities are spared the recognition that we too are predators, red in tooth if not in claw (though some of us, for reasons I have never understood, do go to the trouble to paint their vestigial claws a sanguinary hue).  The reality behind the veil is, however, far worse than that in the natural world.  Our factory farms, which supply most of the meat and eggs consumed in developed societies, inflict a lifetime of misery and torment on our prey, in contrast to the relatively brief agonies endured by the victims of predators in the wild.  From the moral perspective, there is nothing that can plausibly be said in defense of this practice.

The costs of cheap meat
The majority of this cheap protein is delivered by “factory farms” that house thousands of animals in confinement. These concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, produce mass quantities of food at low cost.

Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries
It’s been a busy week for vegetables….Both efforts, high and low, are aimed at the same thing: getting America to eat its vegetables.  Good luck. Despite two decades of public health initiatives, stricter government dietary guidelines, record growth of farmers’ markets and the ease of products like salad in a bag, Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables.

Egg farms with violations need scrutiny, Markey says
Representative Edward J. Markey is planning at today’s congressional hearing to ask federal regulators to prioritize inspections at egg farms that have a history of violations and at producers — including three in Maine — that have ties to these farms.

To Label or Not Label Lab-Spawned Salmon
Consumer groups urged the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of genetically modified salmon Tuesday, while industry representatives called on the FDA to stick to current rules the agency says prevent such labeling.

Pets help people cope with their troubles
“An animal can provide a non-threatening relationship and can easily establish trust, especially to those who have learned to not trust, talk or feel,” Slayton said.

News of Note

Appellate court overturns conviction in 2001 UW arson
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for accused Earth Liberation Front (ELF) arsonist Briana Waters, saying her conviction for the May 2001 arson at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture was riddled with judicial errors.

NC lab halts work after PETA video
A North Carolina lab has stopped doing research and is surrendering all of its animals a week after an undercover video showed what activists allege were workers cruelly treating dogs, cats and rabbits, federal regulators said Wednesday.  U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Dave Sacks said officials are trying to find new homes for more than 200 animals that were at Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc. He said it was the company’s decision to give them up and stop research

US Senate urged to ban sale of animal ‘crush videos’
The US Senate was urged on Wednesday to ban the sale of so-called “crush videos” — sexual fetish films in which small animals are maimed or killed.  The US House of Representatives voted 416-3 in July to bar the sale or distribution of such videos with fines or up to five years in prison….The House bill explicitly exempts the sale or distribution of videos showing hunting, trapping, fishing, or any typical veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices.

Dog breeder admits to killing 90 sick dogs
A dog breeder in upstate New York is facing animal cruelty charges after killing more than 90 sick dogs through carbon monoxide poisoning.

Animal protection attorneys are pushing the law to treat animals more like humans
Despite the massive potential for death and damage to wildlife, animal welfare lawyers say current laws limit the legal options available to those who are seeking to protect wildlife. “The oil leak represents an example where tremendous pain and death are brought to individual animals,” says David S. Favre, a professor at the Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing who is active in the animal law field. “The law presently has no easy way to deal with these individual deaths, so we can only look to environmental law for remedies.”  It’s something they’d like to change.


Of Resistance and Fighting for the First Amendment
No group has seen its First Amendment rights erode more quickly and dramatically than those of us who are vegan and agitate for Animal Rights and the Earth. In 2005 John Lewis, deputy assistant director of the FBI, declared that, “The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement.”


President Bill Clinton “experiments” with near-vegan diet
Just a few weeks after Angelina Jolie decided that her vegan diet nearly killed her, President Bill Clinton revealed that he has adopted a plant-based diet to save his life. In a Huffington Post interview, he said that he is eating a near-vegan menu because he wants to be here to enjoy his future grandchildren.

Human rights valued over animal rights
After recent articles in The Daily Gamecock and the recent discussions in our nation regarding stem cells, I think it is time for some raised consciousness in regards to how we treat animals…If you were to pause and reflect on the poor and often cruel treatment of animals present in our daily lives, I would hope that you would be as appalled as I am.
Studying the Big-Brained Dolphin

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.