News of Note

i Nov 13th by

Chimps may be out as lab animals, pets
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is contemplating classifying all chimps, captive or wild, as endangered. The agency is collecting opinions from the scientific and medical-research community, private industry and the public on whether such a change is warranted.  If all chimps gain that protection, the estimated 1,000 chimps held by U.S. private and government labs could no longer be used in medical testing. They also would be barred from use by the entertainment industry, and forbidden from being kept in private zoos or as personal pets.

US circuses circle wagons against elephants law
US circuses are circling the wagons against a proposed law in Congress that would ban using elephants under the big top, a tradition that animal rights activists say causes terrible suffering.  The bill, introduced this month in the House of Representatives by Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, aims directly at traveling circuses by seeking to outlaw exotic or wild animals from performances if they have been traveling within the previous 15 days.  That would mean an end to the days of elephants balancing on stools, tigers and lions jumping through fiery hoops, monkeys on wheels, or other popular staples of the ring.

Calif animal welfare laws evolve, face challenge
Since then, the California legislature has passed or altered 30 laws to improve the lives of animals — from sharks to dairy cattle, even animals hunted for sport. And it has banned the butchering of downer livestock — animals too sick or too weak to walk — a measure the justices seem inclined to overturn.  With a hand in nearly all of it is Jennifer Fearing, the animal group’s Harvard-educated California state director who guided Prop 2 to victory then asked to stay on. In three years since moving from Washington DC, she has channeled an election about chicken rights into a successful series of HSUS-directed policy changes that have made the Golden State a U.S. leader in animal welfare legislation.  “Of all the animal organizations, HSUS has the money and the political savvy to be problematic for my clients going forward,” said Michael Boccadoro, a poultry industry lobbyist.

Toronto Zoo separating two gay penguins in hopes they mate
Two penguins who appear to be in love are being separated by officials at the Toronto Zoo.  Zoo officials tell Global News that the penguins are being separated and put with a potential mate because the penguins are endangered and part of a breeding program.  Animal rights activists though believe the animals shouldn’t be separated. Barry Kent MacKay, Director of ZooCheck and the Canadian representative of Born Free U.S.A., says “Its treating them like numbers rather than individual animals with their individual self-interest and needs… and if these two penguins get along with each other, then so be it.”

Soy Diet Is Cruel and Unusual, Florida Inmate Claims
A Florida inmate is suing the Department of Corrections, arguing that the prison’s soy-based turkey dogs and sloppy Joes amount to cruel and unusual punishment.   Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said inmates can choose an alternative vegan meal if they do not want soy. “We have a constitutional obligation to feed them healthy, nutritious food, but we don’t have an obligation to feed them beef,” she said.

The Rising Cost of Companionship
Mounting pet costs come at a time when many pets are being abandoned and left in the streets. In south-central Idaho, it’s not uncommon to find shelters filled to capacity with abandoned animals.  “Really, it’s the lucky ones getting pampered,” said Debbie Blackwood, director of the Twin Falls Animal Shelter. “It’s alarming the number of owners getting rid of their animals.”

Protection for the Ocean Food Chain
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, representing 15 eastern states and the federal government, has now moved to protect the menhaden.  This is a victory for consumers and for conservationists like the Pew Environment Group, which for years has been sounding alarms about the menhaden’s decline and its consequences for the ocean ecosystem. The only possible loser is Omega Protein, a Virginia-based company that catches several hundred million pounds of menhaden a year along the Atlantic Seaboard — about 80 percent of the total catch — then grinds them up for fertilizer and feed for livestock on factory farms.

Only 51% of Americans Adamantly have “No Problem” Eating Meat & Dairy
The study’s analysis notes that 51 percent strongly agree that they have “no problem” eating meat and dairy. It’s still a majority, but the number is down a full 12 percent since 2007. The trend suggests that by 2012, less than a majority of consumers will strongly agree that eating animals or animal products is okay. Are Americans getting ready to let their vegan flag fly? Maybe not, but it’s promising that consumers are even thinking about the question carefully.

Can You Bake a Vegan Pie?
Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is associated with warm home-baked pies. For many vegetarian diners who don’t eat dairy or eggs, though, the holiday pie is off limits. But home cooks will soon discover that they don’t have to sacrifice flavor when baking a vegan pie. Traditional fruit-pie fillings often meet the requirements of a vegan diet anyway; mashed bananas, silken tofu and almond milk add plenty of creaminess to a pudding or cream pie. And traditional pie makers will be wowed by the flavor and flakiness of an olive-oil crust.

Monkey calls give clues to language origins
Scientists may be a step closer to understanding the origins of human language.  Two studies suggest that the ability to combine sounds and words to alter meaning may be rooted in a species of monkey. A team found the Campbell’s monkey can add a simple sound to its alarm calls to create new ones and then combine them to convey even more information

Future Farmers Look Ahead
Although the nation has shifted ever further from its agrarian roots, the organization is thriving. Begun 83 years ago and now known simply as the F.F.A., it is the largest vocational student group in the country, with more than half a million members and still growing.

While Staying Alert to Hunting Dangers Beware of Anti Hunting Groups
While hunting can have unexpected dangers such as tripping over roots and rocks as you trek, the real dangers facing hunters these days is the animal rights lobby who are trying to stop hunting and trapping all together.  While you’ve been hunting and scouting for deer or other animals, these groups have been scheming, developing, and working to pass legislation, and to win political favors and public opinion, to prevent you from ever hunting again.