News of Note

i Feb 20th by

Vegan campaigners savour test tube burger breakthrough
Prof Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, yesterday announced the world’s first test tube hamburger would be served up in October. Heston Blumenthal, the experimental chef, will cook the patty grown in a lab from a cow’s stem cells. Each portion will cost £220,000, but Prof Post hopes if the burger is a success he can develop the technology on an industrial scale.

Animal rights group releases pig farm video
An animal rights organization released a video Wednesday documenting the conditions for pigs at a farm in northern Iowa.  Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing, presented the video documenting the conditions at a news conference. The video came from Leland-based Hawkeye Sow Centers, a producer for Hormel Foods, she said.  Meier cited a bill currently proposed in the Iowa Legislature that would make such investigations illegal. The bill passed in the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

Butterball Workers Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges
Six workers at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina face criminal charges after an undercover video revealed alleged animal abuse, and a state employee who tipped off Butterball before a police raid on the farm has pled guilty to obstruction of justice.

Animal rights group calls for state ag official’s firing
The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services should have fired an official who tipped off Butterball to a criminal investigation of one of its turkey operations in Hoke County, an animal rights group said Thursday.  Dr. Sarah Mason, director of animal health programs in the department’s Poultry Division, pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor counts of obstruction of justice and resisting, delaying or obstructing officers. She was placed on probation for a year.

Avon, Estee Lauder And Mary Kay Allegedly Testing Makeup On Animals
Turns out that currently, the Chinese government requires animal testing for beauty products sold in China, and PETA reports that while Mary Kay has been trying to work with the government to come up with new testing solutions for cosmetics that don’t involve animals, Estee Lauder and Avon have gone along with the government requirements without complaint. Since the companies are all currently doing animal testing, none of these companies’ products can bear the “cruelty free” designation (indicated by the leaping bunny logo), and have been removed — after long standing — from PETA’s “Don’t Test on Animals” list to the “Do Test” list.

280,000 animals used for testing in 2010
THE number of animals used for experimentation in Irish laboratories has rocketed 800% in five years, raising serious concerns among welfare groups.  Figures from the Department of Health show 280,000 animals were used in live experiments in 2010, up from just 38,000 in 2005. More than 80% of the animals were used for experiments conducted by “commercial establishments”. The remainder were spread across universities and colleges, hospitals, agriculture and veterinary institutes, fish farms and fisheries research institutes.  The Irish Anti-Vivisection Society said the figures were “unprecedented” and “disturbing”. It also said Ireland has one of the highest levels of animal testing in Europe.

Millions of animals spared from chemical safety tests
Tens of millions of animals will be saved from use in chemical safety tests over the next eight years after Europe’s chemical regulator gave the go-ahead to a new streamlined study to assess the safety of substances.  European Union (EU) legislation requires companies to test the safety of the chemicals they produce in two generations of animals to assess the effects on their reproductive systems.  A proposed new test would allow just one generation of animals to be used, with additional tests on a second generation required only if the first round raised concerns.

Senate considering bill regulating ownership of exotic animals
The state Senate will vote later this week on a bill to regulate the possession of exotic animals.  West Virginia is one of just eight states that does not regulate possession of non-domestic animals.  While lawmakers had been considering regulations for years, the widely publicized incidents that followed the release of dozens of wild animals from a refuge in Zanesville, Ohio, last year refocused attention to the subject.

South Carolina May Regulate Exotic, Reptile Ownership
South Carolina is considering legislation that will ban the acquisition of “exotic” species as of July 1, 2012, and establish regulations for certain reptiles, notably large constrictors, venomous reptiles and crocodilians.  Senate Bill 1204 would allow possession of “exotic” species, as defined in the legislation, only if the owners possessed the animal sprior to July 1, 2012; are granted a personal possession permit for each animal in their possession; and register with local law enforcement.

Senate Panel OKs Felony For Repeat Animal Cruelty
Repeat animal cruelty offenders could face a felony under a livestock industry-backed bill that the Idaho Humane Society supports but believes could go even further to curb animal torture. The bill won the Senate Agriculture Committee’s 8-1 backing Tuesday. It makes a third animal-cruelty conviction within 15 years a felony crime punishable with jail time.

Activists’ outcry sinks comeback of diving horses
Anthony Catanoso, owner of the Steel Pier amusement park, who scrapped plans for a comeback of the Jersey Shore high-diving horses attraction in response to an outcry by animal rights advocates.  Catanoso said he was reacting to protests over revival of the stunt, in which a horse climbs to the top of a 40-foot-tall platform that tips, plunging the animal and its rider into a 12-foot-deep water tank.  “We’ll honor the memories of the past in another way,” Catanoso said.

North Face jackets made from feathers of force-fed geese
The North Face, an American company favoured by everyone from Barack Obama to BBC reporters, has previously claimed that its down-filled coats were ethically produced.  But animal rights campaigners found that the source of the clothing firm’s supplier was in fact Hungarian farms where geese are artificially fattened in order to make pâté de foie gras from their oversized livers.
Nearly 300 elephants slain in Cameroon for ivory, government minister confirms
Poachers in search of ivory in northern Cameroon have slaughtered nearly 300 elephants for their tusks since mid-January, according to the country’s minister of forestry and wildlife.  Minister Ngole Philip Ngwese backed up a claim by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) that an armed gang of Sudanese poachers had killed the free-roaming elephants in the Bouba Ndjida National Park, on Cameroon’s border with Chad.

The Lasso Tightens Around America’s Wild Horses
To wild horse advocates, the ones who fret daily over the worsening plight of the American mustang, Montana’s Republican former senator Conrad Burns holds a special spot in the pantheon of enablers, cynics, scoundrels and villains who have conspired for generations to endanger the health and safety of the herds. In November 2004, at the last minute, it was then-Senator Burns who inserted into a 3,300-page budget appropriations bill a single-paged rider that amended the 1971 Wild Horse Protection Act so it was legal, once again, to slaughter wild horses.