New of Note

i Dec 19th by

Animal rights activists sue to challenge federal law that they say is chilling legal protest
A group of animal rights activists sued the U.S. government Thursday to challenge the constitutionality of a rarely used law they say treats them like terrorists if they cause a loss in profits for businesses that use or sell animal products.

Elevation of the Chimp May Reshape Research
When Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, announced Thursday that the government would halt all new grants for research on chimpanzees, it was, in one sense, a familiar Washington moment. …So, while it would be wrong to make too much of Dr. Collins’s stance, it would be a mistake to make too little. The moratorium on grants is real, and the public recognition of a lab animal as a relative carries weight. Public words have political effects. Consider the ways officials describe other humans — as freedom fighters, terrorists, allies, enemies, evildoers. No other species parses its public utterances as closely as we do.

Alternatives to Medical Testing on Chimpanzees

Aside from the small African country of Gabon, the U.S. is the only nation in the world that still conducts research on chimpanzees. Last Thursday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced new guidelines stating that most chimp research is not medically necessary.

Animal Research’s Changing Equation
Gavels and courtrooms are replacing placards and bullhorns, says the biomedical research community, as determined legal eagles work to increase animals’ rights and possibly even grant them “personhood.”
This is the first of several stories exploring the contentious relationship between the scientific community that insists animal research is essential to medical progress and the animal rights activists working to abolish animal experimentation. In part two, we examine the push to grant animals “personhood.”

Russian ban ‘spells the end of Canadian sealing,’ activists say
Canada’s biggest market for seal skin has closed its doors, saying it will no longer accept the pelts in any form – a move animal-rights activists say heralds the end of this country’s commercial seal industry.  Russia, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan, have informed the World Trade Organization that, effective last August, they have banned the import and export of raw, tanned and dressed fur skin of harp seals and their pups.

USDA: Horse Slaughter Not Expected to Resume Soon
Horse processing at U.S.-based plants is not expected to get under way soon according to a statement posted on a White House petition website this week. In her statement Hagen said, “While Congress has technically lifted the ban, USDA does not expect horse slaughter to resume in the near term as a number of federal, state, and local requirements and prohibitions remain in place. Furthermore, there have been no requests that the department initiate the authorization process for any horse slaughter operation in the United States at this time.”

Santa Ana Zoo Ends Elephant Ride
Today’s city of Santa Ana announcement that it is ending elephant rides at Santa Ana Zoo was cheered by animal rights activists.

14 Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Found Dead
A dog-training company claims an animal transport service killed 14 of its bomb-sniffing dogs who “were en route to Afghanistan to support U.S. military operations,” by leaving them overnight in an unventilated, sealed truck.
also see
Bomb-sniffing dogs’ Houston deaths spark lawsuit

How do you inspire others to go vegan?
When I first transitioned into my meat-free diet five years ago, I was on a mission to convert everyone around me. I wasn’t persuaded by a friend, I just stumbled across a video of a slaughterhouse one day, then started doing more research. I had finally learned the ugly truth and I felt that it was my duty to spread my newfound knowledge.  Parading around and telling my friends and family they were horrible people for consuming animals did not help the cause at all. After a couple weeks, I realized that my tactics were doing more harm than good. Nobody wants to be shamed into new eating habits and nobody likes a snobby vegan. If I wanted to make any difference, I needed to find new ways to convince people.

Animal of the Year: The 2011 Distinction That Really Matters
Sure, TIME unveiled its Person of the Year, The Protester, on Wednesday. But isn’t the whole Person of the Year concept a little, well, species-ist? Being the animal lovers that we are at NewsFeed, we couldn’t help but take a moment to recognize the non-human accomplishments of 2011.

Man who cares for abandoned animals in Fukushima zone refuses to leave home

Every day, Matsumura spends several hours walking around the town, feeding wandering animals with food sent by humane societies. The animals include dozens of dogs and cats, around 400 cows, and even escaped ostriches. “It’s what I can do, having returned to the town,” says Matsumura
How Many Vegetarians Are Out There?
Among the highlights of survey, methodology for which appears below, approximately 5 percent of the country said they never eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry. About half of these vegetarians are also vegan, meaning that they also don’t eat dairy or eggs.

Oklahoma man loses more than 40 pounds by leaving meat, dairy behind
Ryan had lost weight and eliminated his diabetes medication by following a vegan diet recommended by New York Times best-selling author Dr. Neal Barnard, after finding another diet too tough to handle.

Nebraska meatpacker recalls ground beef in 16 states over concerns of E. coli contamination
A Nebraska meatpacker recalled more than 40,000 pounds of ground beef products distributed in 16 states after a test confirmed the presence of E. coli, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

Texas Drought Takes Cow Numbers Down by 600K
Since Jan. 1, the number of cows in Texas has dropped by about 600,000, a 12 percent decline from the roughly 5 million cows the state had at the beginning of the year, said David Anderson, who monitors beef markets for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service…Oklahoma, the nation’s second-largest cattle producer, also saw about a 12 percent drop in cows, Oklahoma State University agriculture economist Derrell Peel said..The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that beef prices will increase up to 5.5 in 2012, in part because the number of cattle has declined. That follows a 9 percent increase in beef prices in the past year.