News of Note

i Jan 7th by


Sea otters victorious in decades-long struggle with U.S. government
The long war between otters and the U.S. federal government is finally over, and the otters have won.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has abandoned its plan to relocate otters from coastal waters reserved for commercial fisherman.  For the past 25 years, the government agency had been working to relocate the otters, but was finally forced to admit the program had been a failure.


Seizures of Illegal Ivory Are Rising in Hong Kong
Customs officials in Hong Kong announced on Friday their third large seizure of smuggled ivory in less than three months, saying they had intercepted 779 elephant tusks weighing 2,900 pounds in a container originating from Kenya. Demand from an increasingly affluent Asia and improved international trade and transport links have caused the trade in ivory and other wildlife products to soar in recent years, pushing many species to the brink. At the same time, enforcement and penalties remain weak in many countries, constituting little deterrent to smugglers and poachers, conservationists say.


Alarming sight: thousands of shark fins drying on Hong Kong rooftop
The number of shark fins set out to dry like the morning laundry on a Hong Kong factory building rooftop is staggering. To look at the accompanying images and video, revealing perhaps 10,000 fins, and to grasp that sharks are being slaughtered at a furious pace so their fins can be used to make soup, one cannot help but wonder how many years will pass before at least some shark species are banished to extinction.


136 pets left unclaimed after Sandy face uncertain future.
The New York City shelter housing 280 pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy must shut down and, with nearly half the animals still unclaimed, cannot rule out euthanizing any left behind. An uncertain future lies ahead for 52 cats and 84 dogs who remain in the Brooklyn emergency boarding facility run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, spokeswoman Kelly Krause said on Thursday.

Animal cruelty a key in later violent behavior
Can we predict who will abuse animals and who might commit heinous crimes, including mass murder? Quite possibly. Researchers feel confident that animal abuse is an early indicator of future violence toward other humans. For example, in a study of 314 inmates published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect (1997), University of Iowa professors Karla Miller and John Knutson found that a high percentage of the subjects charged with violent crimes, including murder, initially engaged in various types of animal cruelty.

Vegan’s religious accommodation case can proceed
A federal district court in Cincinnati has refused to dismiss a case in which a hospital customer service representative who was fired for refusing to get a flu shot contended she was entitled to religious accommodation because of her veganism.


Smithfield progresses toward transition away from gestation crates
Pork producer Smithfield Foods announced its progress in 2012 toward ending the practice of keeping pregnant sows in small metal crates on Thursday.  Company owned hog-raising facilities in the U.S. are 38 percent converted from the gestation stalls to group housing, according to a news release, which puts Smithfield on pace for being fully switched over by 2017. The company also said its international operations in Mexico and Europe would be fully converted by 2022.


Steve-O goes vegan
You know him as one of the stars of “Jackass” and the host of “Killer Karaoke” but now, Steve-O is speaking out on a much more serious topic. Steve-O teamed up with Farm Sanctuary in a new documentary called “What Came Before”.  The documentary, narrated by Steve-O, profiles three animals who either escaped or were rescueD from factory farms.


A Vegan Resolution
If one of your goals for 2013 is more healthful eating, the Recipes for Health columnist Martha Rose Shulman can get you started. She has proposed five delicious vegan meals for the New Year that may also save you some money.

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge
Did you consume more than your fair share of turkey, roast beef and spiral ham this holiday season? Perhaps it’s time to consider The Thirty-Day Vegan Challenge, a multimedia online program, created by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, featuring written, audio and video content to give you everything you need to jumpstart your body back into action.


Animal rights advocate claims horses mistreated on cancelled HBO series ‘Luck’
Barbara Casey’s lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles claims underweight, sick and drugged horses were used to film the series focused on the horse racing industry.  The series starring Dustin Hoffman was cancelled in March after four horses died while in production.  Casey was working for the American Humane Association overseeing the well-being of the horses and says she was wrongfully fired after complaining about inhumane conditions on the show.