Category Archives: News of Note

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.

News of Note

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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