Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

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

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

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

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

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

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

News of Note

BP Faces More Complaints Over Wildlife Injuries
Do wildlife victims of the Gulf oil spill have legal recourse?  Not really, was the short answer.  But that has not stopped some folks from trying.  Attorneys general in 10 Atlantic Coast states, including New York, Maryland, and North Carolina, have sent letters to BP complaining about the potential effects of the oil spill on birds and marine life along their coasts.

Animal rights activists target BP
Animal rights advocates are pushing prosecutors to go after oil giant BP with a new weapon: animal cruelty charges.
Animal rights and human wrongs
In the U.S. alone, we are responsible for the torture and slaughter of more than 25 million animals EVERY SINGLE DAY. While many may be astounded by the numbers and not believe them, others will simply say, “So what?” “Why should we care?” “They are only animals?” The reasons to care are many, and I will try to address a few.
As demand grows for locally raised meat, farmers turn to mobile slaughterhouses
Along with mid-size and small farms, the number of federally inspected slaughterhouses has been dropping, from 1,627 in 1980 to 1,051 in 2010, according to the USDA. Today, four corporations slaughter 80 percent of the cattle in the United States. In Wyoming, for example, where cattle ranching is so iconic that license plates carry an image of a cowboy, there is no longer a single slaughterhouse inspected by either the federal or state government.
3rd Circuit Turns Down Animal Activists’ Appeal
The full 3rd Circuit won’t reconsider a panel decision upholding the convictions of six animal-rights activists who used their website to incite threats and vandalism against researchers in a New Jersey lab.

Chimps, Too, Wage War and Annex Rival Territory
Chimpanzee warfare is of particular interest because of the possibility that both humans and chimps inherited an instinct for aggressive territoriality from their joint ancestor who lived some five million years ago. Only two previous cases of chimp warfare have been recorded, neither as clear-cut as the Ngogo case.

News of Note

Animal rights activists accused in UC Santa Cruz researcher attack move to dismiss case
Four animal rights activists accused of taking part in a violent demonstration at the home of a UC Santa Cruz researcher are fighting to have the federal indictment filed against them dropped…attorneys, in court papers filed in April, argue that the descriptions of what the activists are accused of are so vague, it’s impossible for them to determine what allegations they’re supposed to defend themselves against.

Former DeCoster Egg Farm Agrees to Settle Animal Cruelty Case
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson cited Maine Contract Farming with ten civil counts of animal cruelty for depriving hens of necessary sustenance and proper shelter. The farm agreed to pay $2,500 dollars in fines for each count; to reimburse the Animal Welfare Board more than $9,000 for the cost of its investigation; and to make a one-time payment of $100,000 to the Maine Department of Agriculture for ongoing monitoring of hen treatment at its facilities as well as those of other egg farms around the state.

Manure smells like trouble at 2 Oregon CAFO dairies owned by New Seasons’ founder
If Oregon has a pioneer of the local food movement, it is Chuck Eggert. Co-founder of Portland’s enviro-chic New Seasons grocery chain…Eggert’s Mayfield and Rock Ridge dairies have repeatedly mismanaged the manure that 700 milking cows produce, racking up 20 manure-related violations and $35,000 in state fines. A $20,000 fine this month was the largest ever by the state’s Confined Animal Feeding Operation program.

USDA Grant To Put Fruit, Veggies In Wyo. Schools
A U.S. Department of Agriculture program will make it easier for Wyoming youngsters to heed their mothers’ advice by eating veggies during the school day.  State Superintendent Jim McBride announced Wednesday that 90 Wyoming elementary schools have been chosen to receive USDA fresh fruit and vegetable grants for next school year.

The Freegan Establishment
Freeganism is a bubbling stew of various ideologies, drawing on elements of communism, radical environmentalism, a zealous do-it-yourself work ethic and an old-fashioned frugality of the sock-darning sort. Freegans are not revolutionaries. Rather, they aim to challenge the status quo by their lifestyle choices. Above all, freegans are dedicated to salvaging what others waste and — when possible — living without the use of currency.

Deputies Hope Cockfighting Bust Sends Message
Officials said several concerned citizens tipped them off to the fighting.  At the home, they found what the Humane Society of the United States calls one of the biggest cockfighting rings in South Carolina…deputies hope that this bust will send a strong message to people in Greenville County  that cockfighting will not be tolerated.

Those scientists – working hard to make farming more profitable and easing the minds of people concerned about animals…:

Effects of Feeding Elevated Concentrations of Copper and Zinc on the Antimicrobial Susceptibilities of Fecal Bacteria in Feedlot Cattle
Cattle are fed elevated concentrations of copper and zinc for growth promotion. The potential mechanisms of growth promotional effects of these elements are attributed to their antimicrobial activities, similar to that of antibiotics, in that gut microbial flora are altered to reduce fermentation loss of nutrients and to suppress gut pathogens. Copper and zinc fed at elevated concentrations may select for bacteria that are resistant not only to heavy metals but also to antibiotics.

Easing the pain of bovine mastitis
“It is easy to underestimate how much pain cows may experience in even mild cases of mastitis and that’s why many cases are not seen as being painful when in fact they are. This means not only is cow welfare being compromised so too is production because the cow may be less likely to eat.”

News of Note

 

Animal Rights On The March
Animal rights, circa 2010, is a sophisticated, well organized, mainstream movement — with far-reaching implications for ordinary Americans and American businesses. So far, the movement’s greatest successes have come at the state level, but activists have now firmly trained their sights on Washington.  De minimus rights for the millions of animals on so-called factory farms are but one prong of an ambitious agenda.

 
Plaintiffs With Fins? The Legal Rights of Oil Spill’s Animal Victims
Do the wildlife victims of the current oil spill in the Gulf have any legal rights?  The short answer: not really.  There are no laws that exist simply to protect animal interests. U.S. law protects animals as property. That means laws designed to protect animals exist only to protect the interests of their owners or the public, say animal activists who specialize in animal law. And some animals are entirely exempt from the laws.

 

$100,000 bond set in dairy cruelty case
Gregg appeared in a video released late Tuesday by Mercy For Animals, an animal-rights group based in Chicago that promotes a vegan lifestyle. The group sent an undercover employee into Conklin Dairy Farms on Rt. 42 near Plain City and recorded over the past three weeks what it says is about 20 hours of footage showing Conklin employees – mainly Gregg – viciously beating and abusing what appear to be otherwise healthy cows and calves.
Also see this story

 

 

Otter that survived Exxon Valdez is euthanized
For years, Nuka had struggled with immune-system problems, poor skin and fur, and seemed unable to groom herself properly, which meant she ate more than normal to avoid hypothermia. While no one could say what caused her problems, they were consistent with early exposure to petroleum.  Nuka came to represent the kind of risks BP’s oil spill poses for marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

In E. Coli Fight, Some Strains Are Largely Ignored
Although the federal government and the beef and produce industries have known about the risk posed by these other dangerous bacteria for years, regulators have taken few concrete steps to directly address it or even measure the scope of the problem. For three years, the United States Department of Agriculture has been considering whether to make it illegal to sell ground beef tainted with the six lesser-known E. coli strains, which would give them the same outlaw status as their more famous cousin. The meat industry has resisted the idea, arguing that it takes other steps to keep E. coli out of the beef supply and that no outbreak involving the rarer strains has been definitively tied to beef.

 

Meatless Mondays, a movement that has legs
Batali is one of the movement’s latest and most high-profile supporters. But on the vegetable front, he is hardly a pioneer. Baltimore City Public Schools launched meatless Mondays for its 82,000 students in October. Thirty-two U.S. hospitals have signed on to the Balanced Menu Challenge, a commitment to reduce meat purchases by 20 percent. This spring, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling on schools, restaurants and stores to offer meatless options, and the state of Michigan held a one-day “Meatout” during which residents were encouraged not to eat meat.

 

 

 

 

News of Note

Probing the link between slaughterhouses and violent crime
Sinclair’s abattoir labourers get so desensitized to violence that rates of murder, rape and brawls among them rise. The book cemented the link between slaughterhouses and crime for decades to come — long before pig farmer and serial killer Robert Pickton haunted headlines.  More than a hundred years later, a University of Windsor researcher may have proven the literary classic right. Criminology professor Amy Fitzgerald says statistics show the link between slaughterhouses and brutal crime is empirical fact.

Biodiversity in Peril, the U.N. Warns
Among the causes of biodiversity loss are habitat changes like converting land to agricultural use; excess exploitation of resources, like overfishing; pollution from agricultural nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous; the arrival of invasive species; and climate change (shrinking Arctic ice and ocean acidification, for example).

Latin America wants to end ‘lethal research’ on whales
The Buenos Aires Group said that beside the lethal research loophole, they would also bring up at the June meeting of the 88-nation IWC other dangers to whale populations around the world, including “climate change, marine pollution and incidental capture.”  Marquieira, a Chilean, told the Latin American group on Wednesday that whale hunting has not stopped despite the 1986 moratorium and that his plan would save 4,000-5,000 whales over the next ten years.

An unusually meaty menu at skid row shelter
On Monday night’s dinner menu at the Union Rescue Mission: tacos made from elk, deer, sheep, wild pig, black bear and antelope. For pescatarians, there were yellow tail, tilapia and tuna tacos. Vegetarians were out of luck. About 250 pounds of fresh game meat was donated for the feast, sponsored by the Sportsman Channel as a part of its national “Hunt. Fish. Feed.” initiative.

The Fight to Save Small-Scale Slaughterhouses
For small meat businesses in America, catastrophic events result from changes high up in the regulatory food chain that make it very difficult for small plants to adapt. The most recent extinction event occurred at the turn of the millennium, when small and very small USDA-inspected slaughter and processing plants were required to adopt the costly Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety plan. It has been estimated that 20 percent of existing small plants, and perhaps more, went out of business at that time. Now, proposed changes to HACCP for small and very small USDA-inspected plants threaten to take down many of the ones that remain, making healthy, local meats a rare commodity.