News of Note

i Feb 22nd by

Getting from A to Z: Why Animal Activists Should Support Incremental Reforms to Help Animals
Some animal rights activists, who call themselves “abolitionists,” argue that we shouldn’t work to improve conditions for animals. They argue that anti-slavery abolitionists did not work for “no raping of slaves,” but rather supported complete abolition, so we too should only work for a complete end of animals being abused for human purposes. One “abolitionist” recently offered a commentary on slavery by philosopher Slavoj Zizek to support this idea: “Remedies do not cure the disease, they merely prolong it. Indeed, the remedies are part of the disease. … The worst slave owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the core of the system being realized by those who suffered from it.”

Egg industry urged to act aggressively
California egg producers say their counterparts in Washington must be more aggressive in fending off a ballot measure certain to ban all cages in egg production there.  The Humane Society of the United States is one sponsor of a ballot initiative in Washington that would require egg producers to give hens enough room to turn around and extend their wings. Any eggs sold in the state would have to be produced in facilities meeting that standard.  A similar ballot measure, Proposition 2, was approved by California voters in 2008.

Animal welfare bill would limit abuse investigations
After waiting six hours to testify, animal lovers and ranchers finally squared off over a proposal to prevent non-profit organizations from investigating animal abuse cases.  And after another two hours of testimony, well past 8 p.m. Monday evening, lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee voted 12-1 to kill House Bill 1063.

Today’s Lab Rats of Obesity: Furry Couch Potatoes
Shiva belongs to a colony of monkeys who have been fattened up to help scientists study the twin human epidemics of obesity and diabetes. The overweight monkeys also test new drugs aimed at treating those conditions.  The corpulent primates serve as useful models, experts say, because they resemble humans much more than laboratory rats do, not only physiologically but in some of their feeding habits.

Good news, 20 years on, the BSE epidemic is finally over
The BSE epidemic cost us billions, and devastated the British farming industry. Now, that plague is at an end. A few days ago, in New Scientist, we described how just 17 cases were recorded worldwide in cattle last year.  So far, the human equivalent of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), has claimed 170 lives, mainly through consumption of BSE-infected beef. And because of the extraordinary incubation time of the disease, it is possible that many more cases may be waiting in the wings.

Animal-rights groups ready their cameras for Canadian seal hunt
Another showdown over baby seals is set to begin on a tiny island off the coast of Cape Breton.  The hunt for grey seals is expected to begin Monday and representatives of the Humane Society will be there to film the kill, standing the required 10 metres away as demanded by their permit from the Canadian government.

“Lone Wolf” animal rights arsonist sentenced to 5 years
An admitted arsonist known in militant animal-rights circles as “Lone Wolf” was sentenced on Friday to five years in federal prison for setting a fire that destroyed a Colorado sheepskin store.  Walter Edmund Bond pleaded guilty last November to setting the blaze that burned the Sheepskin Factory in suburban Denver to the ground on April 30, 2010.

Oklahoma panel approves program to assist retired and unwanted racehorses
The rule calls for some money from the Oklahoma Breeding Development Fund Special Account to be used to help pay for the retraining and care of Oklahoma-bred thoroughbred racehorses.  The Oklahoma Legislature still needs to approve the plan by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.  Retired and unwanted racehorses have become a serious problem in Oklahoma and other states, according to Oklahoma horse racing officials.

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