News of Note

i Dec 19th by

 Task force to take closer look at Woodland Park’s elephants
Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant exhibit will be scrutinized by a panel of experts as part of a task force requested by Seattle City Council members who said they are concerned about the welfare and future of the zoo’s three aging elephants.


Doug Spink, Accused of Operating Sumas Bestiality Farm, Faces Animal Cruelty Charges At Long Last
By the sound of it, Douglas Spink, a man who once made a fortune selling fitness catalogues to gyms, didn’t think he’d have to worry about animal cruelty charges in Whatcom County.  This, despite the fact law enforcement there had collected piles of evidence to suggest he operated a bizarre bestiality farm out of Sumas, Wash, and has already convicted and deported one man because of it.


Constitutionality of Ohio’s new dangerous animal law challenged in court
The law bans ownership of certain dangerous animals as of January 2014. The deadline for owners to register their animals, with microchips, was Nov. 5, 2012. Further steps are required to maintain possession of the animals in 2014 and beyond.  The animal owners say the law is unconstitutional because it violates their property ownership rights. Under the new law, the state can seize an animal if it is not properly registered with a microchip.

Animal rights inroads
The top lobbyist for the National Turkey Federation thinks national standards for egg-laying cages won’t make it into a multi-year farm bill, and similar efforts may be “running out of steam.”  Damon Wells spoke at the North Dakota Poultry Industries convention in Fargo, N.D., on Dec. 13 and said he doesn’t see production mandates making it into the federal farm bill, currently stuck in Congress.  Wells said the “precedent-setting” of the farm bill cage restriction proposals is not likely to re-emerge. The proposals didn’t make it into either Senate or House versions of the bill.

America’s Milk Business in a ‘Crisis’
In an age of vitamin waters and energy drinks, the decadeslong decline in U.S. milk consumption has accelerated, worrying dairy farmers, milk processors and grocery chains.  The industry “is coming to recognize this as a crisis,” says Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc., a farmer-funded trade group that promotes milk products. “We cannot simply assume that we will always have a market.” Per-capita U.S. milk consumption, which peaked around World War II, has fallen almost 30% since 1975


Poaching is a national security issue, WWF study finds
Poaching of wild animals for ivory, horns, skins and other parts has been a dangerous business for animals for decades, but it’s evolved into a security threat as well, according to a WWF report. Elaborate criminal syndicates that protect and augment the trade have developed, the report found. “It is one thing to be worried about the traditional poachers who come in and kill and take a few animals, a few tusks, a few horns or other animal parts,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “It’s something else when you’ve got helicopters, night vision goggles, automatic weapons, which pose a threat to human life as well as wildlife.”