News of Note

i Mar 26th by


UW medical school stops using ferrets in training
The University of Washington School of Medicine has discontinued the practice of using live ferrets to train medical students in emergency procedures on babies and children.  The school was pressured to stop using ferrets by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which argued that the procedure violated a federal animal-welfare law.


Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat: A Contest
Ethically speaking, vegetables get all the glory. In recent years, vegetarians — and to an even greater degree vegans, their hard-core inner circle — have dominated the discussion about the ethics of eating…In response, those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say. They say, of course, that, well, they love meat or that meat is deeply ingrained in our habit…But few have tried to answer the fundamental ethical issue: Whether it is right to eat animals in the first place, at least when human survival is not at stake.
The rights of dolphins, chimps, and other nonhuman persons
Science fiction scenarios aside, some scientists, philosophers, legal scholars and others are beginning to wonder whether the laws need to change for the benefit of dolphins, chimpanzees, and other highly intelligent animals. Should the law recognize a category of nonhuman persons with rights comparable to (but not necessarily identical to) those of human beings? If so, what would be the consequences and implications, not just for these animals but maybe also for humans?


Animal rights group targets Kohl’s
An animal-advocacy organization is trying to use stockholder leverage to press Kohl’s Corp. into swearing off fur.  The Humane Society of the United States has placed a shareholder proposal on the agenda of the big retailer’s annual meeting. The resolution asks shareholders to encourage the company to develop a policy by the end of the year to prohibit the sale of products that use animal fur.


The vegan with the bacon tattoo: confessions of a temporary vegan
Back to Forks Over Knives. I had long since polished off my eggs and bacon and was a few beers deep by the end of the movie. When it was over, I sat there, mouth agape, wondering what to do with my life. I had been inundated with studies and proof that animal protein of any kind is really, really terrible for us. It’s hard for me, as a reasonably intelligent person, to look at what I consider to be relatively credible data and turn a blind eye to it.
The Meatless (and Less Meat) Revolution
This year, the average American will eat 165.5 lbs. of beef and poultry. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a 12% decline compared to 2007, when an annual intake of 189 lbs. of meat per person was standard. This week, chances are pretty good you’ll be hearing about the financial and health benefits of eating less meat, during “Meatout” events scheduled around the country.


Bad news for red meat is bad news for chickens
Red meat has a bad PR problem. Two recent meta-analyses—one published in 2009 and one in 2011—linked red meat consumption to increased colon cancer risk. In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund reaffirmed conclusions from an earlier comprehensive report, saying that the evidence for a relationship between red meat and colon cancer is “convincing.”


State zoos back exotic-animal bill, but with some reservations
While the other zoo officials agreed with Hanna in general, they took exception to certain provisions of the bill sponsored by Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville. Specifically, they objected to Zoological Association of America (ZAA) members being exempted from the ban and to liberal rules permitting owners to keep and breed most snake.
Getting Excited About Fake Meat
For years, food writer Mark Bittman was repulsed by the plant-based fake meat he was offered, like flavorless hot dogs. Tofu and bean burgers were one thing, pretty good in fact, but the plant-for-meat substitutes? No go. Now, after consuming soy-based fake chicken, Bittman has changed his mind.


Helping a Species That Leaves Few Feeling Warm and Fuzzy
Dr. Graham’s subjects lack the all-but-human charms of Dr. Goodall’s chimps. As the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program, Dr. Graham must overcome deeply held fears and prejudices in her efforts to outlaw fishing of various shark species, including the whale shark, a playful and friendly creature that migrates to the western Caribbean every spring.


Citizen biologists monitor wildlife – dead or alive – on I-90
Langley and other members of the I-90 Wildlife Watch Program are keeping their eyes peeled for animals and road kill on I-90 to help agencies learn how best to design freeways to help drivers and animals avoid each other…The I-90 Wildlife Watch Program is designed to see if it will reduce encounters on the freeway while increasing a free flow of animal traffic below.
Tennessee considers bill to allow horse slaughterhouses
The Tennessee legislature is considering a bill that would “encourage” the location of horse slaughterhouses and processing plants in Tennessee.  The bill would also make it difficult for citizens who live near the proposed slaughterhouse sites to challenge them in court.


The Ag Gag Laws: Hiding Factory Farm Abuses From Public Scrutiny
HF 589 (PDF), better known as the “Ag Gag” law, criminalizes investigative journalists and animal protection advocates who take entry-level jobs at factory farms in order to document the rampant food safety and animal welfare abuses within. In recent years, these undercover videos have spurred changes in our food system by showing consumers the disturbing truth about where most of today’s meat, eggs, and dairy is produced. Undercover investigations have directly led to America’s largest meat recalls, as well as to the closure of several slaughterhouses that had egregiously cruel animal handling practices.


Wendy’s commits to gestation-stall-free pork
The Wendy’s hamburger chain has joined the ranks of foodservice providers that will require its U.S. and Canadian pork suppliers to make plans to phase out the use of gestation-sow stalls. McDonalds was the most significant company to step forward last month, giving its suppliers until May to develop and deliver their plans.