Category Archives: News of Note

News of Note

Search on for sea lion shooter
Federal authorities are trying to find out who shot and killed a seal and at least four sea lions in Puget Sound, including one protected under the Endangered Species Act.  The carcasses washed up on various West Seattle beaches over the past week…Fishing activist and retired sport fisherman Frank Urabeck said the shootings could have happened because sea lions and seals often wait near fishermen and take their hooked fish.

Denmark’s Case for Antibiotic-Free Animals
CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric  reports how unlike industrial farms in the U.S., which use  antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease, farmers in Denmark use antibiotics sparingly, only when animals are sick.  The experiment to stop widespread use of antibiotics was launched 12 years ago, when European studies showed a link between animals who were consuming antibiotic feed everyday and people developing antibiotic resistant infections from handling or eating that meat.
Also see:
CBS Investigates Threat of Animal Ag’s Antibiotic Abuse

USDA organic program sets pasture requirement for livestock
For years, livestock farmers and organic activists have bickered about how much time dairy and beef cattle should spend in pastures to be certified organic.  The new rule, which becomes effective in mid-June, requires that organic dairy and beef cattle — along with other ruminant livestock like sheep and goats — spend at least 120 days a year in pastures.

Issue 2 countermeasure in works
Just three months after Ohioans approved a constitutional amendment regarding care standards for farm animals, the issue might be headed back to the statewide ballot with the backing of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Tyranny of Vegan Mondays
It’s been a rough week for climate change proponents as conservative pundits have been targeting everything from the months-old Climategate scandal to the East Coast blizzards as proof that climate change is little more than a liberal hoax. Now Joshua Rhett Miller at Fox News is whipping conservative bloggers into a furor, reporting that the Cambridge Climate Congress plans on instituting a variety of climate-friendly policies, so far that “going green will not be optional in Cambridge, Mass., if the Cambridge Climate Congress has its way. It will be mandatory.”

Also see:
http://www.thisdishisvegetarian.com/2010/02/0117fox-news-pundits-take-cambridge.html

To go vegan or not go vegan that is the question
In the 21st century going vegetarian has never been easier but why bother going that extra step further to become vegan?  On a few occasions I have gone that extra step and gone vegan and there is a huge difference in how good I feel as a vegan as opposed to vegetarian. I feel cleaner and have more energy

Temple Grandin:  Savant or Professional Killer?
Dr. Grandin never asks the only relevant question here: Is it right to do this at all?”  It seems odd that someone could become such a prominent ethicist without being able to grasp that question. It also seems odd that someone who loves animals and feels they can empathetically relate to the animal mind wouldn’t try to help them live and instead, ironically, designs their deaths for a living.

News of Note

February 8th, 2010

Controversial UTEP professor Steve Best risks much in fight for animal rights
People have judged Steve Best many ways during his 30 years in academia.  Some have called him a troublemaker, a radical, and even a domestic and international terrorist because of his vocal and often confrontational stance on animal rights.  He said it is his tenured position that has kept him on the payroll as a philosophy professor at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Judge rules that the Animal Liberation Front is not a gang
The Federal government indicted two animal rights protesters, 62-year old Faith Greene and 23-year old Richard Olliff, accusing them of being “gang members.” However, Judge David S. Wesley finding that the prosecution’s expert, Lt. Butte, had “misled the grand jury” ruled that the ALF did not meet the legal requirements to be considered a gang. Instead, Judge Wesley found that the ALF’s “primary goal is to save animals, not commit crimes.” Nevertheless, other charges remain against the two animal activists.

Heel. Sit. Whisper. Good Dog.
Although there is no reliable estimate as to how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can readily be found — but not necessarily heard — in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.  The surgery usually leaves the animal with something between a wheeze and a squeak. The procedure, commonly referred to as debarking, has been around for decades, but has fallen out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates.

If You Swat, Watch Out: Bees Remember Faces
Bees and humans both use a technique called configural processing, piecing together the components of a face — eyes, ears, nose and mouth — to form a recognizable pattern, a team of researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.   It is the same ability, Dr. Giurfa said, that helps humans realize that a Chinese pagoda and a Swiss chalet are both abodes, based on their components.

Pa. woman convicted in pierced kittens case
A northeastern Pennsylvania woman who marketed “gothic kittens” with ear and neck piercings over the Internet has been convicted of animal cruelty.  A Luzerne County jury on Wednesday convicted 35-year-old dog groomer Holly Crawford of one misdemeanor count and one summary count of animal cruelty, but acquitted her on two separate counts.

Shrimp’s Dirty Secrets: Why America’s Favorite Seafood Is a Health and Environmental Nightmare
Americans love their shrimp. It’s the most popular seafood in the country, but unfortunately much of the shrimp we eat are a cocktail of chemicals, harvested at the expense of one of the world’s productive ecosystems. Worse, guidelines for finding some kind of “sustainable shrimp” are so far nonexistent.

Cattlemen fight EPA with ‘Climategate’
A national beef group is invoking the so-called “Climategate” controversy as it challenges a recent U.S. government ruling on climate change.  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has filed a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn the EPA’s recent greenhouse gas “endangerment” ruling.

Going vegan: Lessons learned during the first week

HSUS Marketing New Dog Food

News of Note

January 26th, 2009

Activists protest primate starvation
Six to seven angry protesters lined the sidewalk in front of the downtown location of the UW Primate Facility yesterday. The protest was led by Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) and the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN). The group of mostly graduate students and concerned community members held signs that read, “No federal money for torture,” and, “Cruelty is criminal.”

Got Milk? Got Ethics? Animal Rights v. U.S. Dairy Industry
Undercover videos produced by animal rights groups are fueling a debate over the need for new laws to regulate the treatment of American dairy cows.  The graphic videos include one made inside a huge New York dairy operation where cows never go outside, have the ends of their tails cut off in painful procedures without anesthesia, and are seen being abused by one employee who hits a cow over the head with a wrench when it refuses to move. An investigator for the group Mercy for Animals worked at the New York dairy farm, Willet Dairy, one of the largest in the state, for two months as a mechanic.

1-year sentences in puppy mill case
The couple accused of starving, dehydrating and suffocating at least six animals while working at a kennel in Gold Bar has been given the maximum sentence allowed. Jason and Serenna Larsen were each given a year in jail for each of six felony counts. However, they will be allowed to serve all six sentences concurrently, which effectively reduces their sentences to just one year each. And Serenna Larsen will serve her time on work release.

Man loses hunting licenses for killing elk in park
A Cowlitz County man has been placed on probation, fined $2,500 and stripped of his hunting licenses for three years for shooting a Roosevelt elk inside Olympic National Park in 2007.

NY dairy farmer kills 51 cows, commits suicide
State police in New York say an upstate dairy farmer shot and killed 51 of his milk cows in his barn before turning the rifle on himself.

The Rise of Dog Identity Politics
But we, or most of us, are a long way from the farm these days. What, though, should a dog’s rights be? Not to suffer is the basic one on which pretty much everyone is in agreement, and where dogs are concerned, the last four decades are mostly a story of enormous progress. Canine suffering has been criminalized across the board.

News of Note

January 19th, 2010

Technology aims to replace animal testing
Technology allowing cosmetic makers to test for allergic reactions to their products without controversial animal trials is in the works and could be in use by next year.  The technology developed by Hurel Corp., with funding from cosmetics maker L’Oreal, is designed to replace tests on mice and guinea pigs used to predict skin reactions from drugs and cosmetics. The device uses laboratory-grown human skin cells to simulate the body’s allergic response to foreign chemicals.

Five fatal flaws of animal activism
“I hoped to discover that the exploitation of animals for food and science had been reduced since the 1980s.  What I found, however, was more than disappointing – a complete absence of decisive progress. Austria with several new laws has come closest to meaningful change, but even there the number of animals suffering for human needs and pleasures is undiminished, and the industrialised exploitation of animals for food is spreading across the globe.”

In Praise Of (Mostly) Vegan Diets
Today’s blog is way, way off the topics I usually cover–politics, economics and markets. Instead I want to talk about diet and its relationship to health and fitness. If you’re desperate for a link to the usual topics of politics, economics and markets, then I would say that I’m offering America a health care plan of my own. (Also See: “Costs Of The ‘Silent Pandemic’.”)  My health care plan is a vegan diet.

Vick’s Courage Award Sparks Controversy
“Baltimore is the focus of a nationwide controversy, all because of a decision by Michael Vick’s teammates.  The Ed Block Foundation just formally announced they will give Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick–who has been convicted for dogfighting–their Courage Award.  Vick’s teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles selected him for this honor and they’re not backing down.”

Saved avalanche pigs get chop
Pigs saved from the chop after public protests stopped them being buried alive in snow by scientists are to end up as sausages, say researchers conducting the tests.  Animal rights campaigners have demanded that the Austrian scientists hand over the 19 pigs so they can be re-housed at a refuge.

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons’
Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

A Gentleman Enforcer Turns His Focus to Haiti
“Laraque is one of a handful of N.H.L. players of Haitian descent. He is also one of the most remarkable enforcers to have played the game: a celebrity spokesman for animal rights advocates; a vegan..Laraque is already famous in Canada for his animal-rights work.”

Council gets down to some monkey business
“The future of Rafiki, a tiny marmoset monkey who has lived nearly all of his eight years on Bainbridge Island with his adopted family, depends on a decision facing the Bainbridge Island City Council Wednesday evening…She admits she wouldn’t do it again, “because I’m a strong believer that this animal should not be a home pet,” she said. “It’s a lot for families to commit to, so I don’t support it now. But he’s a member of our family just like anyone else. He’s a real fun character.”

News of Note

January 12th, 2010

UW monkey starved to death in lab last year
Staff at the University of Washington’s National Primate Research Center allowed a monkey to starve to death last year.  A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report says the male pigtailed macaque had lost a quarter of his body weight, and had not been weighed regularly as required by the university’s own protocols.  The death is the latest blow for animal research programs at the UW, which is one of the nation’s top institutions in terms of biomedical funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Farmers Fight Back Against Animal Rights Groups
It’s little wonder that farmers fret about the future of the livestock industry. In the past two years, feed costs skyrocketed, pork and dairy prices plummeted, and animal rights groups stepped up efforts to improve living conditions for farm animals.  Some farmers are hoping to strike back with proactive efforts to ward off unwanted legislation and boost the struggling industry.

Goodnight, Nocturnal House: Woodland Zoo will close night exhibit
The shut-down of the exhibit will save Woodland Park $300,000 a year, at a time of significant budget problems for the zoo. Despite near-record attendance last year, Woodland Park has suffered from a decline in charitable gifts and revenues. It has already cut staff, started furloughs and eliminated its Wildlife Adventures travel program.  Some people have wondered why the zoo recently opened a new penguin exhibit during an economic crisis. They’ve also asked why the zoo is unveiling a new meerkat exhibit and entry way for visitors this summer, at a time of staff cuts and exhibit closures.

Three Views of Violent Clash Over Whaling
There is now a third video viewpoint on the collision between the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling speed boat Ady Gil and the Shonan Maru No. 2, which is described as a security boat in the Japanese whaling fleet. Sea Shepherd contends that this vantage point clearly shows that the Japanese ship was intent on closing with and ramming the protesters.
Whale defenders send message to Tokyo
The Sea Shepherd conservation group will not be changing tactics when it comes to its clashes with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, a group leader said at an Auckland protest yesterday.

The New Age Cavemen and the City
The caveman lifestyle, in Mr. Durant’s interpretation, involves eating large quantities of meat and then fasting between meals to approximate the lean times that his distant ancestors faced between hunts. Vegetables and fruit are fine, but he avoids foods like bread that were unavailable before the invention of agriculture. Mr. Durant believes the human body evolved for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and his goal is to wean himself off what he sees as many millenniums of bad habits.

Gluten-free vegan diet helps rheumatoid arthritis
Eating a gluten free vegan diet may help patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a study in Arthritis Research & Therapy has suggested.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease which affects multiple joints of the body. The vegan diet was found to be atheroprotective and anti-inflammatory.

More Perils of Ground Meat
About eight years ago, a company called Beef Products Inc. had the novel idea of injecting its ground beef with ammonia to kill deadly E. coli and salmonella. The Agriculture Department pronounced the idea effective and exempted Beef Products Inc. from routine tests. The company’s beef began appearing regularly in grocery stores, fast food restaurants and school lunch programs. It turned out the beef was not safe.

Are Zoos Prisons? Habeas Corpus Filed for Chimp
Jimmy is a 26 year old chimpanzee who has spent several years alone in a cage, where he’s on exhibit at a zoo in Niterói, Brazil, just outside of Rio de Janeiro. Just last week, animal protection groups filed a motion to have Jimmy released on grounds of Habeas Corpus, arguing that he is being denied his rights to freedom of movement and to a decent life, in Rio’s Criminal Court.

News of Note

January 4th, 2010

Judge rules in favor of circus in lawsuit over treatment of Asian elephants
A federal judge sided with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in a legal fight in which animal rights activists accused the circus of abusing its Asian elephants.  U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said a former Ringling employee, Tom Rider, and the Animal Protection Institute did not have legal standing to sue the circus under the Endangered Species Act.

also see:  http://tinyurl.com/y8fvtzk

Federal animal welfare inspectors find 20 violations at UW-Madison
Depressed and vomiting dogs, a dirty operating room and expired medications were among 20 violations found at UW-Madison by federal animal welfare inspectors during a surprise visit last month…Investigators told Sandgren that the university is not likely to be fined for any of the offenses. University officials are working to fix the violations and prevent new ones, Sandgren said.  One major finding is that in five studies, UW-Madison researchers did not show that they tried to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals.

Down on the Farm, an Endless Cycle of Waste
Wildcat Dairy produces about 200 million pounds of manure every year.  Proper handling of this material is one of the most important tasks faced by a dairy operator, or by a cattle feedlot owner, hog producer or other farmer with large numbers of livestock. Manure has to be handled in an environmentally acceptable way and at an acceptable cost.

Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture
Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has led to a plague of drug-resistant infections that killed more than 65,000 people in the U.S. last year — more than prostate and breast cancer combined. And in a nation that used about 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent of the drugs — 28 million pounds — went to pigs, chickens and cows. Worldwide, it’s 50 percent.

Animal welfare groups propose ballot measure to tighten rules for Missouri dog breeders
Under the proposal, dog-breeders could only have 50 breeding dogs and would be required to feed animals daily, provide annual veterinary care and not breed animals more than twice every 18 months. Breeders also would have to follow rules for the dogs’ living space and house animals indoors with unfettered access to an outdoor exercise yard.

News of Note

December 27th, 2009

Landmark Investigation Announced: “The Blueprint”
After five months of research and investigation, I am announcing the release of a landmark document: The Blueprint – the largest update of fur farm addresses in nearly 15 years.

Foie gras given away
“French producers have given away 14 tonnes of foie gras to charity after hugely overestimating the demand for the delicacy this Christmas.  After a decade of growth, sales of foie gras stagnated last year but production levels rose, leading to a surplus, according to Les Marches, a French food trade magazine.

Animal welfare victories force farmers to use PR
The suffering cow covertly taped by the Humane Society of the U.S. prompted the biggest beef recall in U.S. history and contributed to sweeping legislation over the past 13 months designed to improve the lives of farm animals. But more important for farmers, it awakened the masses to the stark reality for many animals raised for food.

Bow hunters shoot elk in Wash. pasture
The herd would run from one end of the pasture to the other, led by the ranking elk cow. A few of the animals had arrows embedded in their hides and were bleeding but were still upright and running…The state wildlife agency declared an elk hunting season in an area roughly bounded by Highways 9 and 20, east to the intersection of 20 and Cape Horn Road.

Controversial roundup of wild horses underway
Mustangs are herded into corrals as Bureau of Land Management begins a two-month operation to capture 2,500 of Nevada’s wild horses. Equine activists say the action is unnecessary.  A controversial roundup of 2,500 wild horses from public and private lands in Nevada began on Monday amid protests from activists who call it needless and inhumane.

Racehorse’s plight shines light on illegal slaughter farms
Freedom’s Flight’s racing career ended before it had even started…That “worst” farm in America turned out to be an illegal slaughter farm in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Couto, working for the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, participated in a raid on the farm and rescued Freedom’s Flight.

News of Note

Dec 22nd, 2009

Eco-prisoner Jeff “Free” Luers Released from Prison
“Jeff Free Luers, political prisoner and environmental activist, was released from the Columbia River Correctional Institution this morning after serving nine and a half years. Luers was originally sentenced in 2001 to twenty two years and eight months for the politically motivated arson of three SUVs at a car dealership in Eugene, OR.”

Dog sanctuary houses the worst of the worst
“The Olympic Animal Sanctuary caters to the worst of the worst: dogs that would be euthanized or turned away at any other shelter, dogs with records so bad no humane society would consider adopting them out…The sanctuary’s most famous inmate is Snaps, a mixed breed who made headlines south of Seattle in September when he attacked two women on the command of his owner, a 15-year-old girl.”

Catalan Parliament passes landmark vote to ban bullfighting
“Catalonia voted yesterday to ban bullfighting, a move that campaigners claim could mark the beginning of the end of Spain’s most controversial sport…Though the ban will put an end to bullfights, it will not prohibit street fiestas in which bulls are tormented, sometimes with balls of fire attached to their horns. “

Sorry, Vegans: Brussels Sprouts Like to Live, Too
“But before we cede the entire moral penthouse to “committed vegetarians” and “strong ethical vegans,” we might consider that plants no more aspire to being stir-fried in a wok than a hog aspires to being peppercorn-studded in my Christmas clay pot. This is not meant as a trite argument or a chuckled aside. Plants are lively and seek to keep it that way.”

PETA, Ringling Bros. at odds over the treatment of baby circus elephants
“Sammy Haddock started working with elephants when he joined the circus at 20, in 1976, a young man’s dream. He walked them, groomed them, cleaned up after them. More than once, he later confessed, he beat them.  Over time, his feelings about elephants grew more tender, especially toward the babies.”

Animals Get Legal Status
“Europe has legally recognized animals as sentient beings according to the Lisbon Treaty, which went into effect December 1.”

News of Note

New Mexico Dairy Pollution Sparks ‘Manure War’
http://tinyurl.com/ye95v3j (npr)
“The picture on many milk cartons shows cows grazing on a pasture next to a country barn and a silo — but the reality is very different.  More and more milk comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where large herds live in feedlots, awaiting their thrice-daily trip to the milking barn. A factory farm with 2,000 cows produces as much sewage as a small city, yet there’s no treatment plant.”

77 percent of European pigs are castrated without anesthetic
http://tinyurl.com/ybggwzk (eurekalert)
“The castration of pigs prevents the “boar taint” smell in the meat and allows them to contain more fat. However in practice this can be very different. Now, for the first time, a scientific team has collected information on the conditions of castration on European pigs. The main conclusion of the study, that forms part of the PIGCAS project, is that these animals are castrated directly by the livestock farmers, without anaesthetic and in some cases, without respecting the European legislation.”

Mice holding back muscular dystrophy research
http://tinyurl.com/ycwt5s7 (press release)
“Humans and mice have previously unknown and potentially critical differences in one of the genes responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology have found that two major features of a key DMD gene are present in most mammals, including humans, but are specifically absent in mice and rats, calling into question the use of the mouse as the principal model animal for studying DMD.”

In Birthplace of Local Food, Fish Imports Take Over the Menu
http://tinyurl.com/y8kwl88 (nyt)
“San Francisco’s situation is part of a national phenomenon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last year that more than three-fourths of the fish Americans eat comes from other countries, mostly China. Yet the trend has special resonance around San Francisco. Robert E. Ross, executive director of the California Fisheries and Seafood Institute, a trade group, estimated that Bay Area residents eat, on average, about double the amount of fish consumed annually by most other Americans.”

Greyhounds chasing rabbit for last time in Mass
http://tinyurl.com/yctfmap (ap)
“Greyhound racing has been a form of entertainment in Massachusetts for 75 years, but not for much longer. The last card at Raynham Park is expected to be Dec. 26, and the state’s other dog track, Wonderland in Revere, stopped racing earlier in the fall.  It may, in fact, be the last time greyhounds run anywhere in New England.”