News of Note

i Aug 13th by

Omak Suicide Race: Horse Drowns in Downhill Prelims, First to Die Since 2007, 23rd Since ’83
Breaking a four-year string without a death, a horse drowned in the Okanogan River after breaking its leg in a preliminary race on the steep, 220-foot Omak Stampede Suicide Race hill Friday. The mount, Little Big Man, was the 23rd to die in the last three decades, including three horses in 2004, leading to annual demonstrations at the world-famous race by members of PAWS and other rights groups .”What it is, is animal abuse, pure and simple,” says local PAWS spokesperson Mark Coleman as the Stampede prepares for its 79th annual running this weekend.


Meatless Mondays can be patriotic, too
Recently, the Texas commissioner of agriculture reacted with outrage to the fact that employees of the United States Department of Agriculture would dare suggest, in an internal newsletter on “greening” the Washington headquarters, that co-workers might consider practicing “Meatless Mondays” to reduce the environmental impact of their diet. “Last I checked,” blogged Commissioner Todd Staples, “USDA had a very specific duty to promote and champion American agriculture. Imagine Ford or Chevy discouraging the purchase of their pickup trucks. Anyone else see the absurdity? How about the betrayal?”  Staples went on to call the suggestion to forgo meat once in a while ”treasonous.” L’état, c’est boeuf. But there’s a bigger question: Is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s purpose, indeed, simply to promote the consumption of American commodities in the same way Ford tries to sell F-150s? Or is it instead to help agriculture work for the American public at large?

Lower Demand for Meat Weighs on Tyson’s Results
Tyson Foods, the nation’s biggest meat company, said Monday that its net income fell 61 percent in its most recent quarter, pulled down by hefty debt-related charges and lower consumer demand for chicken and beef.  The results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations and the company cut its full-year sales forecast, saying that it expected the difficult market conditions to affect its profit into its next fiscal year.


Vanderbilt team develops ‘microbrain’ in quest for life-saving drugs
A mechanical device as small as a grain of rice is about to replace the mice.  Instead of using laboratory mice to test new drug therapies, scientists will put human cells into microfabricated bioreactors that mimic how organs respond to experimental medicines. This new technology could speed up drug development, cut costs and curb false hopes.

Animal rights protesters stop in Abilene to picket Wal-Mart
Dark heavy clouds overhead lent somberness to the picketing outside Abilene’s southside Walmart. Phil Letten, national campaign coordinator for animal rights organization Mercy For Animals, and Nick Wallerstedt, an MFA intern, are on a three-month campaign aimed at Walmarts around the country. The plan is to educate people about the treatment of pigs by two suppliers of pork products to the chain.


India grapples with millions of stray dogs
Since 2001, euthanizing dogs has been illegal in India, resulting in an explosion in the stray dog population. It’s estimated that tens of millions of strays roam the country’s streets, biting millions of people with the human rabies toll reaching an estimated 20,000 deaths each year. Some health officials and animal advocates are promoting aggressive spay and neuter programs along with vaccinations, while others are calling for the use of a contraceptive vaccine and reinstating euthanasia.


Red Meat Tied to Stroke Risk
Eating red meat — including beef, pork, lamb, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon — may increase the risk of stroke, a meta-analysis showed.  Each one-serving-per-day increase in fresh, processed, and total red meat intake was associated with an 11% to 13% relative increase in the risk of all strokes, driven by an increase in the risk of ischemic stroke, according to Joanna Kaluza, PhD, of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland, and colleagues.