“There are viable (and usually better) alternatives to the use of
animals for food, sport, clothing, & experimentation. I beg you to
discontinue any actions that might cause or condone animal torture,
abuse, or destruction. ”
Pigs Butchered In 'Ghastly' Manner In Illegal Florida Slaughterhouse
Bradenton Herald - By David Ovalle - dovalle@MiamiHerald.com - March 26th, 2014
At an illegal slaughterhouse in West Miami-Dade, pigs were shot, stabbed, beaten with sledgehammers and gutted and boiled while alive, authorities said Wednesday.
An undercover investigation, conducted late last year by the private group Animal Recovery Mission and Miami-Dade police, resulted in the arrest Wednesday of the slaughterhouse’s operator.
Raul “Freaky” Fernandez, 53, was charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty. The private investigators posing as customers captured the alleged abuse on hidden video just before Christmas in December, when demand for whole pigs for roasting is high.
The slaughterhouse was located on a rural property on the 17700 block of Northwest 137th Avenue.
“On video surveillance, pigs can be seen being dragged, hook-mouthed through the jaw, at distances of approximately 150 feet, all while the animals remain alive,” according to an arrest warrant.
In one example, a undercover operative agreed to buy a boar, which was then shot with a “small-caliber” rifle. The animal did not die, but instead thrashed and kicked for three minutes as it was dragged over 150 feet, the warrant said.
In another example, a pig – after being hammered and stabbed – was thrown into a vat of boiling water while still showing signs of life, the warrant said. An employee used a shovel to hold the pig under water, police said.
“No legitimate slaughterhouse operator or any self-respecting farmer would treat his livestock in such a ghastly manner,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.
Fernandez could not be reached. It was not clear on Wednesday if he had retained a lawyer.
Unlicensed slaughterhouses have become commonplace in western parts of Miami-Dade County, where authorities in recent years have busted offenders for illegally butchering and selling horse meat, pigs and chickens.
This is not the first local operation led by Animal Recovery Mission that has led to arrests.
In November, Hialeah slaughterhouse owner Rudesino “Rudy” Acosta pleaded guilty and accepted 10 years of probation after the mission’s founder, Richard Kouto, filmed the slaughter of some animals on the property in 2011.
Howard G. Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, donated $24 million to fight rhino poaching in South Africa, specifying that the money go mostly to ranger teams, sniffer dogs and other security measures. Buffett, who has made a name for himself as a businessman and investor, noted that the poaching problem is “an overwhelming issue.”
“We’re going to do it at a scale that hasn’t been done,” Buffett told
The Associated Press. The three-year program, which will occur in one-third of the vast Kruger National Park, will employ some of the same tactics used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, like aerostats and balloons with infrared cameras. The heightened security is meant to stop the many poachers who often enter the park from neighboring Mozambique.
4,000 rhinos live in Kruger National Park. So far this year alone, poachers have killed 172 rhinos, two-thirds of them in Kruger park. Last year, 1,004 rhinos were poached in South Africa -- three times as many as in 2010.
While the initiative does not address the demand for rhino horn as a traditional medicine in Asia that fuels poaching, Buffett said they will use cross-border criminal investigations and intelligence networks in order to learn “what works and what doesn’t work.”
Rejects Unreasonable Demand To Return To Widespread Buffalo Slaughter
EarthJustice - March 12th, 2014
Helena, MT — The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a lower court today, allowing wild bison room to roam outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. The ruling upholds a February 2012 decision by state agencies to allow bison seasonal access to important winter and early spring habitat outside the north boundary of the park in the Gardiner Basin area until May 1 of each year.
The ruling rebuffs demands by some livestock producers and their allies to require aggressive hazing and slaughtering of bison that enter the Gardiner Basin area from Yellowstone National Park in the winter and early spring in search of the forage they need to survive.
“Today’s state Supreme Court ruling represents a victory for all those who want to see wild bison as a living part of the Montana landscape,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, who defended the bison policy in the case on behalf of the Bear Creek Council (BCC), Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Now that the Court has rejected claims requiring bison to be slaughtered at the park’s boundaries, we can move forward to secure room for wild bison to roam outside of Yellowstone National Park over the long term.”
In two lawsuits filed in May 2011, the Park County Stockgrowers Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, and Park County, Montana, sought to block implementation of the new policy and require state officials to adhere to outdated plans for bison hazing and slaughter. Although the plaintiffs in the cases raised concerns about the potential for bison to infect cattle with brucellosis, the only two cattle ranchers operating year-round in the Gardiner Basin did not join the legal challenge.
Bison are the only native wildlife species still unnaturally confined to the political boundaries of Yellowstone National Park for any part of the year. As recently as 2008, more than 1,400 bison—about one-third of the current size of Yellowstone’s bison population—were captured and slaughtered by government agencies while leaving Yellowstone in search of food.
Jane Velez Mitchell - HLNtv.com Staff - February 27th, 2014
•Criticism rising against plans to build new facility that could house 3200 monkeys.
•ADI: company plans to build new monkey breeding facility in FL.
Animal Defenders International’s new undercover investigation reveals controversial plans to build a facility to breed and house thousands of monkeys for lab experiments in Hendry, Florida. ADI claims the company plans to import the monkeys from the island country of Mauritius and says they have hidden camera footage allegedly showing abuse inside a Mauritius breeding facility. Jane speaks with President of ADI Jan Creamer about these allegations.
Malibu Officially Declares That Dolphins Deserve Basic Rights
The Dodo - By Stephen Messenger - February 27th, 2014
Dolphins and whales have long been a favorite sight swimming off the shores of sunny Malibu, California. But now, in an historic move that aims to see those marine visitors’ status elevated, the seaside community has issued an official proclamation stating that they too deserve basic rights.
According to the statement, approved by the Malibu city council and signed by Mayor Joan House, whales and dolphins “are highly intelligent and emotional creatures... and therefore deserve the right to their own freedom and lives.”
While the proclamation, the first of its kind in the United States, may be largely symbolic, city council member Dr. Laura Rosenthal says it’s aim is to inspire others into “thinking about the issues in a deeper and more meaningful way and thus change behavior.”
Elsewhere, governments have already begun to change the way these animals are regarded. Just last year, officials in India offered a similar sentiment, declaring that dolphins should be seen as non-human persons. Closer to home, however, dolphins and whales are currently protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act -- a law that guards their existence, but which falls short of calling that existence an inherent right.
“I think most people can agree that dolphins deserve this right [to their own lives], but many remain unaware that dolphins are considered legal property. This needs to change,” says Laura Bridgeman from the International Marine Mammals Project.
The timing of the proclamation is not without significance. In recent months, humanity’s relationship with cetaceans has been cast into the forefront with events like Taiji’s infamous dolphin hunt, and the growing debate over the exploitation of captive animals at facilities like SeaWorld -- two noteworthy cases in which these animals are denied the rights Malibu contends they should be afforded.
The Dodo - By Melissa Cronin - February 28th, 2014
Despite vocal outcry, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho signed into law a bill that would make it illegal for journalists, activists and employees to footage animal abuse inside farms and slaughterhouse. The law was recently passed by the state’s Senate and House of Representatives.
Lobbied heavily by dairy farmers in the state, the bill came in response to footage released by animal rights group Mercy for Animals that showed workers at an Idaho dairy farm beating, stomping, dragging and sexually abusing cows in 2012, AP reports.
Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained the group used its videos not to curb abuse, but to unfairly hurt Bettencourt's business. Bettencourt operates dairies at numerous locations that include more than 60,000 cows and is one of the largest dairy companies in the U.S. Otter, a rancher, said the measure will help make agriculture producers more secure in their property and their livelihood.
"My signature today reflects my confidence in their desire to responsibly act in the best interest of the animals on which that livelihood depends," Otter said in a statement. "No animals rights organization cares more or has more at stake than Idaho farmers and ranchers do in ensuring that their animals are healthy, well-treated and productive."
Now, nine states including Idaho have passed these controversial laws -- Mother Jones has a handy map showing them and other states with pending and failed laws. In Idaho, anyone caught filming agricultural operations can face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Animal advocates say that not only is the bill a violation of the First Amendment, it also prevents people from exposing and remedying animal cruelty in slaughterhouses.
Mercy For Animals spoke out against Otter's signature, saying that it transforms Idaho into "a safe haven for animal abuse."
"Gov. Otter has failed Idaho and the American people," said the group's executive director, Nathan Runkle, in a statement. "By signing this bill into law, he has sided with those who seek to keep Idaho's corrupt factory farming practices hidden from public view and created a safe haven for animal abuse and other criminal activity in the state."
ACTION ALERT: Factory Farming
An increasing number of people are concerned about the industrial production of meat -- the environmental impact, the potential health drawbacks and the needless suffering of millions of animals. If you are interested in trying to find meat that has not been produced in a factory farm, try Sustainable Table’sEat Well Guide. The USDA provides this guide to finding local farmers markets.You can also shop products that have the Animal Welfare Approved sticker, or a number label from the Global Animal Partnership (5 is the hightest and best). The different labels can be confusing, though -- the HSUS created this helpful primer on the major ones. For humanely gathered eggs, we recommend this organic scorecard; for fish, the Monterey Aquarium’s Seafood Watch is a great guide. (Of course, the most humane meat is no meat at all -- here are some great tips on vegetarian and vegan eating.)
The Daily Mail - Mail Online - By John Hall - February 27th, 2014
See link below for very graphic photos!
Dogs, rats, bats and monkeys among the animals roasted WHOLE in Indonesia! Dogs are flamed-roasted whole at Tomohon Traditional market in Indonesia.
Before being killed by hanging from a tree, the dogs are kept in tiny cages. They are made to watch other dogs being killed, butchered and roasted. Elsewhere on the market, rats, cats, monkeys and bats are killed for meat
Dead animals are laid out on tables, with pained expressions on their faces.
These are the shocking images of a gruesome food market where dogs are strangled by rope for food and customers can purchase whole flame-roasted animals.
The Tomohon Traditional market in North Sulawesi, Indonesia sells whole monkeys, bats, cats, dogs, pigs, rats, sloths and even giant pythons laid out on tables with painful expressions still etched on their faces.
The macabre food stalls were witnessed by Oman-based photographer and blogger, Raymond Walsh, 44, who said it was easier to witness the dead and mutilated animals than it was to see the living dogs in cages awaiting their fate.
Mr Walsh said: 'It was typical of a lot of local markets in the developing world - lots of fruit, vegetables and fish. The only difference was the sheer number of dead animals for sale.' On his blog Man On The Lam, he describes the harrowing sight of dogs in cages with their dead counterparts lying on a table nearby. 'It was easier to stomach the entrails of monkeys, rats on a stick and decapitated pigs than it was to see those live dogs awaiting their fate,' he said. 'The other animals seem foreign but I have friends who have dogs.'
Although the market's dead dogs may be difficult for westerners to look at, Mr Walsh points to the different cultures and attitudes towards the animals in South East Asia. 'Put simply, Westerners see dogs solely as pets. Indonesians see them as both pets and as sources of meat - it's just how we're raised,' he said. In the photographs, many of the animals are stiff and completely black with a haunting pained expressions on their faces. 'After they are killed the animals are roasted over a fire, so the fur burns off, the skin tightens and peels back, causing that 'screaming' look,' Mr Walsh explained. 'How they are killed depends on the animal. Cats, monkeys, and sloths are shot. Bats and rats have their heads clobbered against a tree or table. Pigs are stabbed with a sharp piece of wood or metal,' he added.
'Wild boars are killed as they as they are trapped. Snakes are slashed with a knife or have their heads cut off. Dogs are strangled with a rope,' Mr Walsh went on.
When asked to describe the smell, Mr Walsh said: 'In a word, appalling. There's something about the air that changes when there's that much death around.' 'It hangs heavy and it made me queasy and light-headed at the same time... It's the first time I'd ever encountered anything like it,' he added.
An Oklahoma legislator has introduced a bill that would create a major exception to the state’s current animal cruelty laws, by allowing pet-owners to “dispose” of pets with the assistance of firearms. State Rep. Steve Martin, the bill’s sponsor, believes the new measures put forth in HB 2613 would merely legalize a method of “euthanasia” already in practice throughout the state.
“Euthanizing your own animal with a firearm in Oklahoma is done all the time,” Martin said. “People have animals that, for one reason or another, they’re either sick or old or for some reason, not suitable to go to a new home, and it is as painless to euthanize an animal with a firearm, if it’s done humanely, as any other method.”
The bill would remove protections for animals that, at present, can only be killed in cases of self-defense or defense of livestock. Additionally, HB 2613 would not require pet-owners to seek alternatives to shooting their animals to death, such as putting them up for adoption or bringing them to shelters, where pets who do require euthanasia can be put down using more humane methods. Martin’s bill also aims to reduce the penalties for a number of animal cruelty crimes, including “unnecessary” cruelty to an animal by neglect.
Animal welfare groups have already announced their opposition to the bill, citing various possible negative outcomes should HB 2613 be signed into law. Cynthia Armstrong, director of the Oklahoma Humane Society, said Martin’s bill is likely to lead to a number of unforeseen consequences.
“What if somebody tries to shoot an animal with a gun and kill it with one shot but they miss, or the animal moves?” Armstrong told NewsOK. “The unintended consequences of what he’s doing are greater than a ‘problem’ [Martin] is trying to solve.”
Salon News - By Scott Sonner, Associated Press - February 19th, 2014
RENO, Nev. (AP) — The government spent less than 1 percent of its wild horse management budget on contraception programs and more than 60 percent on horse holding facilities last fiscal year despite a pledge to step up use of fertility control as an alternative to controversial roundups of overpopulated mustang herds on U.S. rangelands, agency records show.
Wild horse advocates say the fiscal year 2013 budget numbers show the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has reneged on a commitment to fertility control as the best way moving forward to keep herd numbers in check when necessary in Nevada and nine other Western states.
Instead, the leader of the largest national coalition says she fears the administration is moving to align itself with a growing number of ranching interests urging an end to the ban on slaughter of horses at overflowing holding pens where costs are skyrocketing.
“The only explanation at this point is that the BLM is creating a crisis where slaughter of America’s wild horses is the only solution,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. She said the 509 mares that received fertility treatment last year were far short of the annual goal of 2,000 the agency set three years ago.
BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said Wednesday the critics’ claims are baseless, “anti-BLM propaganda.”
“It has been and remains the policy of the BLM not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.
Until recently, mustang advocates felt comfortable the slaughter ban would remain intact given public opinion polls showing widespread support nationally for what they say is an icon of the American West. But that’s no longer the case in places such as northern Nevada where ranchers and rural politicians are pushing for change, citing drought conditions and lack of holding space.
The Nevada Farm Bureau Federation and Nevada Association of Counties filed a federal lawsuit Dec. 30 seeking to force the BLM to use existing authority to sell older horses without the usual prohibition on resale for slaughter in cases where animals are deemed unadoptable. Earlier this month, a BLM resource advisory committee in Nevada also voiced support for some unconditional sales.
“It’s time to think outside of the box,” said Debbie Lassiter, chairwoman of the Sierra Front Great Basin Northeast RAC.
In 2012, the number of horses and burros at holding facilities (47,000) surpassed the estimated number on the range (40,000) for the first time since President Richard Nixon signed the Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
In a 451-page report highly critical of the BLM last June, an independent National Science Academy panel said the agency should invest in widespread fertility control of the mustangs instead of spending millions to house them. It concluded the BLM’s removal of nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the past decade is probably having the opposite effect of its intention to ease ecological damage and reduce overpopulated herds.
The BLM treated about 1,000 mares in 2012 but only about half that last year, records show, far short of the annual goal of 2,000 then-BLM Director Bob Abbey announced in February 2011.
Gorey said Wednesday that the BLM asked for $2 million in new contraception research and development in fiscal 2013, but Congress rejected that. As a result, the $76.1 million the BLM spent on its wild horse and burro program for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 included $559,560 related to fertility control — about seven-tenths of 1 percent.
By far the biggest chunk went to holding facilities — $30.9 million short term and $15.3 million long term — for a total of 61 percent. The agency spent 18 percent on support and overhead, 10 percent on the adoption program and 6 percent — about $4.8 million — on roundups.
At Least 840 Sheep Die Aboard Australian Vessel En Route To Israel
The Jerusalem Post - By Sharon Udasin - February 16th, 2014
A shortage of feed prompted by an extended voyage was the the main trigger for mortality, shipping company says.
At least 840 sheep have died on a ship carrying them from Australia to Israel, as serious mechanical failures caused travel delays near the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean.
The animals were among about 42,000 sheep and 6,000 calves that will soon arrive in the Eilat, with 20,000 of the animals destined for Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the rest for Jordan, according to the group Anonymous for Animal Rights. Due to engine failure about two weeks ago, the ship broke down near the Cocos Islands last week and then was delayed near the coast of Djibouti, before it began moving slowly again toward Israel.
The failures aboard this ship, the Ocean Drover owned by Wellard, constitute the third such incident to occur on animal shipment vessels from Australia to Israel in the past few months, Anonymous for Animal Rights said.
As a result of the situation, Wellard reported to the Australian Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department that the on-board sheep mortality rate was “exceeding the reportable threshold,” which will result in an automatic governmental investigation, the company said. The Australian Agriculture Department maintains that the “reportable mortality trigger for sheep is 2 percent,” meaning that in this case, at least 2% of the 42,000 sheep – or 840 animals – have died.
After the vessel stopped for repairs, it still needed to travel at 70% of its normal speed, and a change in feed prompted by the extended voyage has been the main trigger for mortality, a statement from Wellard explained.
“This result is extremely disappointing and unacceptable to our company,” said Wellard managing director Mauro Balzarini, in the statement.
Balzarini stressed that the Ocean Drover has consistently performed well, with a voyage success rate for the past 12 years of 99.32% for sheep and 99.82% for cattle.
“We strive for 100% success, so to exceed the reportable threshold on this voyage is unsatisfactory,” Balzarini added. “We will make changes as a result of this issue, but we need to thoroughly assess what they should be.”
A spokeswoman for Israel’s Agriculture Ministry said she had no comment about the situation, as the office “does not have control over what happens outside the country.”
The ministry stressed, however, that upon docking in Israel, all animals enter a quarantine facility and receive the appropriate veterinary attention as needed.
“Any delay worsens the already severe distress experienced by animals on this arduous journey,” a statement from Anonymous for Animal Rights said.
Such voyages typically last about three weeks, while the animals live packed together in their own excretions, the statement continued.
“We call upon the government to immediately stop the shipments of animals from Australia,” the organization said.
Fox News.com - Miami Herald - By Mary Ellen Klas - February 16th, 2014
Florida’s dog-racing tracks and racing kennels are now reporting the number of greyhounds that die on their grounds under a new state law that took effect last spring -- the first time in the industry’s 80-plus years in the state that such numbers are being publicly revealed.
The Miami Herald reports 74 greyhounds died at Florida’s 13 dog-racing tracks in the final seven months of 2013, or one every three days, according to an analysis of the newly mandated statistics.
“According to the death notices reviewed by Grey2K, a Massachusetts-based advocacy group committed to ending greyhound racing, a total of 31 greyhounds died or were euthanized for racing-related reasons -- from injuries, suspected heatstroke and unknown causes,” The Herald writes.
“Another 17 deaths appeared to be racing-related, based on the comments that the dogs fell, collided or were hit during the race.”
The Florida law mandating the industry to officially cite a greyhound’s death within 18 hours was reportedly passed in 2010, but still does not require tracks and kennels to notify the state of dog injuries, as is done, elsewhere.
There are now reportedly 21 greyhound tracks operating in the U.S., although The Herald writes the industry is currently suffering through a 25-year-long drawback in attendance, wagering and profits.
The newspaper cites Spectrum Gaming Group -- a New Jersey-based research firm hired by Florida officials to study the industry in the Sunshine State -- in writing the greyhound racing industry logged almost $1 billion in wagers in Florida in 1990, but that figure had fallen to just more than $260 million by 2012.
According to the Herald review, Derby Lane in St. Petersburg and the Daytona Beach Kennel Club logged the most greyhound deaths on their grounds over the period from May 31 to Dec. 31, 2013 -- 12 each.
The Florida Greyhound Association, an industry lobby, reportedly opposes extending the new law to the mandatory reporting of dog injuries, and instead favors state-mandated infrastructure improvements at dog-racing tracks that they say would ultimately improve safety for the animals.
Meanwhile, Cary Theil, Grey2K’s executive director, told The Herald, “In the states where we have passed greyhound injury reporting laws, the number of dogs euthanized has declined significantly.
"In Massachusetts, the number of greyhounds that were killed dropped by 43 percent in the first year after passage of an injury reporting law.”
Animal Defenders International Exposes Brutal Monkey Farm
Sending Animals to U.S. Laboratories
Plans to set up a monkey breeding farm in Labelle, Florida
Animal Defenders International - ADI - February 14th, 2014
An undercover investigation by Animal Defenders International (ADI) has filmed horrific treatment of monkeys at Biodia, a Mauritian monkey factory farm that supplies U.S. laboratories and whose monkeys could soon be behind bars in a new Florida breeding farm (1). The ADI findings come just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that monkey imports are on the rise (2). ADI is calling for the U.S. to stop the import of monkeys for experiments or breeding and for the U.S. to join the international move away from monkey experiments.
The ADI investigation took place inside Biodia, one of several Mauritian farms breeding long-tailed macaques for experiments. Findings include: Workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails; distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthetic; monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests; monkeys restrained and injected in view of other animals; animals captured from the wild and used as breeding machines; barren, crowded cages; animals killed and injured from fighting; stressful separation of mothers and babies; rough handling; monkeys wrenched from cages by their tails; netted animals slammed onto concrete floors; heavily pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down.
ADI President Jan Creamer said: "The poor U.S. regulations on primate experiments and imports are shameful, allowing unnecessary suffering, fear, pain and distress to intelligent and highly developed animals when alternatives already exist. U.S. primate imports also cause damage to wild populations and the wider environment. As other nations move away from primate research, the US remains in the scientific backwater, clinging to crude, outdated methods instead of advanced technology. This trade is cruel and unjustified."
Monkeys are snatched from the wild on Mauritius to stock breeding farms. Babies are torn from their mothers prematurely so that the mothers can breed again. The young monkeys born on the farms will be locked in tiny boxes & flown 10,000 miles to U.S. laboratories. During the grueling journey some become sick and can even die (3). Air France & China Southern are the last remaining passenger airlines to fly monkeys destined for laboratories.
Monkey imports are on the rise with nearly 20,000 primates imported each year (2). The top importers are controversial Covance, Charles River and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. Mauritius is the second largest monkey supplier after China, supplying 2,842 animals to the U.S. in 2013, with Biodia supplying 300-600 monkeys each year. Imported monkeys are either sent directly to laboratories for cruel experiments, or are used to breed babies who will end up in laboratories. ADI's investigation has revealed that Biodia's U.S. trading partner Prelabs has plans to "establish the first Mauritius breeding colony in the U.S." in Labelle, Florida (1).
Over 70,000 monkeys are used in cruel experiments in the U.S. each year (4). These intelligent, social animals are force-fed chemicals, injected with potentially poisonous substances and electrodes are implanted into their brains. They cry out as they are strapped into restraint chairs to immobilize them for cruel experiments; some experience such extreme fear and distress when being restrained that they suffer rectal prolapses. In experiments studied by ADI, monkeys were killed after suffering blocked lungs, trembling, collapse and bleeding. Terrified monkeys awaiting experiments self-mutilated and one animal chewed his finger to the bone (5, 6).
Most monkeys are killed at the end of the experiments, but others are forced to endure years of deprivation in barren cages, with nothing to interest them; fights often occur and monkeys under attack cannot escape due to restricted cage space. Many have been seen performing abnormal behaviors associated with psychological damage.
International regulatory bodies, scientists and governments around the world are moving away from monkey experiments and adopting the advanced alternatives which are available. The European Union, made up from 28 countries, has ended the use of apes and wild caught monkeys, placed restrictions on monkey experiments and is phasing out the trade in monkeys born to wild caught parents (7).
There are a number of alternatives available to replace monkey experiments, including: microdosing, where tiny amounts of new drugs are safely given to human volunteers - significantly more accurate at assessing the way a product is absorbed, broken down and passed through the body than primate models (8); biochips, which mimic human organs on USB-sized chips "providing comprehensive toxicity data very quickly and cheaply" (9), 3-D tissue engineering using human cells; and QSAR which predicts the toxicity of drugs through comparison with similar substances.
1. Animal Defenders International's investigation revealed Biodia's close link with PreLabs, and obtained documents showing that PreLabs has been looking to "establish the first Mauritius breeding colony in the U.S." and "Purchase land in Hendry County, Florida."
2. U.S. primate import figures for 2013 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014)
3. "The International Air Transport Association Live Animals Regulations allow macaques to be transported in crates that are too small for the long journeys currently endured, and animals have died as a result." (Alternatives To Laboratory Animals, 2004)
4. Annual report animal usage 2010 (US Department of Agriculture, 2011)
5. Huntingdon Life Sciences investigation (NAVS, 2006-2008)
6. Primate testing in Europe report (Animal Defenders International, 2009)
7. Declaration of the European Parliament on primates in scientific experiments (European Parliament, 2007)
8. Microdosed Clinical Investigations are Valid and Cost-Effective (Xceleron, 2013)
9. "Biochip Mimics the Body to Reveal Toxicity of Industrial Compounds" (Rensselaer, 2007)
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogotá, Animal Defenders International campaigns to protect animals in entertainment; replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. ADI-gathered evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them. http: ADI
46 Nations Pledge “Urgent Action” To End Wildlife Trafficking
The Dodo - By Melissa Cronin - February 14th, 2014
After two days of closed-door discussions in London, high-level representatives from 46 countries pledged to take “decisive and urgent action” to end wildlife trafficking. The declaration includes action to end the market from illegal wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement efforts and promote alternative, sustainable livelihoods in communities.
Conservationists praised the so-called “London Declaration” -- Heather Sohl, Chief Species Advisor at WWF-UK, said:
“Governments signing the London Declaration today sent a strong message: Wildlife crime is a serious crime and it must be stopped. This trafficking devastates species populations, but also takes the lives of rangers, impedes countries’ economic development and destabilizes society by driving corruption.”
The illegal wildlife trade, which is worth about $19 billion, has been the focus of international policy lately -- first, with the announcement of a pledge from the Obama Administration to ban the ivory trade in the U.S., and next with the UK conference wrapping up in London, which was attended by Prince Charles and Prince William.
Among the countries that signed were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya and Tanzania -- four nations that are at the center of the poaching epidemic. Other countries who signed like Togo, the Philippines and Malaysia and China are major hubs and (in the case of China) sources of demand for illegal ivory.
And the illegal trade in rhino horn was not forgotten -- South Africa and Mozambique, where many rhinos live, signed -- along with Vietnam, a major source of demand. Lastly, countries that see a problem with the illegal trade in tiger parts signed too: Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia and China.
“The illegal wildlife trade is a global problem and it matters deeply to all of us gathered here today,” said UK Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday. "We need to show the world our political commitment at the highest level across the globe to addressing this before it is too late."
ACTION ALERT: Wildlife Trafficking
Every year, wildlife traders reap a collective $10 billion to $20 billion in profits from poaching and trading products like rhino horn, ivory, alligator skin, tiger paws, eggs, bushmeat, live animals used as pets, and much more -- not to mention illegal live animal sales. HSI has developed this guide to help avoid buying products made from this illicit trade. Born Free USA has this helpful state-by-state guide on which animals are illegal to own (many because they are illegally obtained). For more information, or to become more involved in this issue: WWF’s anti-trafficking campaigns,
Save The Rhino, and
UN Security Council Declares War On Ivory Poachers, Traffickers
Yahoo News - AFP - By André Viollaz - February 3, 2014
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United Nations Security Council is cracking down on ivory hunters and traffickers who finance armed groups in Africa in a new initiative that has been welcomed by conservationists.
Two resolutions adopted by the council last week -- one relating to the Central African Republic, the other to the Democratic Republic of Congo -- stated that the trade in illegal wildlife was fueling conflicts in the region and bankrolling organized crime.
Under the resolutions, the council can slap sanctions, such as freezing assets or restricting travel, on any individual found to be involved in wildlife trafficking.
The resolutions were primarily designed to target a number of armed rebel groups operating in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The UN also suspects the Lord's Resistance Army run by the ruthless warlord Joseph Kony uses the illegal ivory trade as a source of generating finances.
Other groups believed to benefit from the illegal wildlife trade include Somalia's Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group and Sudan's fearsome Janjaweed militia.
"This is the first time that a United nations Security Council sanctions regime has targeted wildlife poachers and traffickers," said Wendy Elliott, species programme manager at the World Wildlife Fund told AFP. "It should act as a deterrent."
"There is no silver bullet to end this traffic, this is not going to solve the problem instantly but a year ago wildlife trafficking was not seen as a criminal issue, just an environmental one," Elliott added.
The resolution means that traffickers can now be targeted by officials from different government agencies such as interior and finance ministries, as well as customs.
Since 2009, the trade in poaching has escalated to near industrial levels, with more than 500 kilograms of ivory seized worldwide, threatening elephants and rhinos with extinction despite the existence of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
An estimated 60 elephants are slain each day in Africa, where the total numbers of the animals has plummeted by half since 1980 to just 500,000.
Lucrative criminal trade
In February 2012, traffickers from South Sudan massacred more than 300 elephants in the Bouba N'Djidda National Park in northern Cameroon.
In May last year, taking advantage of the chaos embroiling the Central African Republic, poachers armed with Kalashnikov assault weapons killed at least 26 animals in the fabled "village of elephants" the WWF said, a reserve set up Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site.
If the slaughter continues at the same rate, Africa will lose 20 percent of its elephant population over the next decade, according to projected estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife is the fourth most lucrative revenue stream for criminal gangs in Africa after drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking. Ivory can fetch up to $2,000 per kilo on the black market in Asia, it's most common destination.
The UN and conservationists want a twin-pronged approach, targeting both producers of ivory in Africa -- including countries such as Gabon, Kenya, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Uganda -- and consumer countries such as China and Thailand. Transit countries on ivory smuggling routes, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Malaysia and Vietnam, would also be targeted.
"It's a simmering issue," a UN diplomat told AFP. Two international conferences to address the subject had already taken place in Botswana and France last December, the diplomat noted.
British Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile has convened a summit on the trafficking of endangered species from February 12 and 13.
"The idea is to get the highest level of political commitment from the countries involved (in the London conference)," Elliott said.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) - February 7th, 2014
ADI’s undercover investigation exposing horrific treatment of monkeys at Biodia, a Mauritian monkey factory farm that supplies US laboratories, has also revealed that many of these monkeys could soon be behind bars in a new breeding farm in Florida. ADI’s findings come just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that monkey imports are on the rise. ADI is calling for the U.S. to stop the import of monkeys for experiments or breeding and for the U.S. to join the international move away from monkey experiments.
The ADI investigation took place inside Biodia, one of several Mauritian farms breeding long-tailed macaques for experiments. Findings include:
Workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails
Distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthetic
Monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests
Monkeys restrained and injected in view of other animals
Animals captured from the wild and used as breeding machines
Barren, crowded cages; animals killed and injured from fighting
Stressful separation of mothers and babies
Rough handling; monkeys wrenched from cages by their tails
Netted animals slammed onto concrete floors
Heavily pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down
3000 monkeys a year are imported from Mauritius to American labs, and hundreds from Biodia. ADI’s investigation has revealed that Biodia’s US trading partner Prelabs has plans to “establish the first Mauritius breeding colony in the US” in Labelle, Florida.
ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Floridians will be horrified to hear about plans to set up a new monkey farm on their doorstep. Female monkeys will be locked in tiny boxes and flown thousands of miles from Mauritius to breed babies for experiments if these plans go ahead. The poor U.S. regulations on primate experiments and imports are shameful, allowing unnecessary suffering, fear, pain and distress to intelligent and highly developed animals when alternatives already exist. U.S. primate imports also cause damage to wild populations and the wider environment. As other nations move away from primate research, the US remains in the scientific backwater, clinging to crude, outdated methods instead of advanced technology. This trade is cruel and unjustified.”
'Land's End' Bans Use Of Angora Fur After Watching PETA Video
Huffington Post Green - By Hunter Stewart - February 4th, 2014
Lands' End has agreed to stop making clothes using Angora fur after company executives saw disturbing footage showing cruel treatment on Angora rabbit farms.
"We take the treatment of animals very seriously at Lands' End," company spokesperson Michele Casper told The Huffington Post. "We have made the decision that we will not be sourcing or developing any new merchandise at Lands' End that includes Angora."
Angora fur is valued for being lightweight, warm and silky to the touch. It is plucked or shorn from Angora rabbits about once every three months, and is used to make clothing items like sweaters, scarves and earmuffs.
But a troubling video filmed undercover by animal rights activists at nine Angora fur farms in China last summer has raised questions about how Angora is sourced. The video, which was filmed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), shows rabbits screaming while their hair is torn out by workers. Several rabbits are also seen being left alone in dirty cages afterward.
Lands' End made its decision after seeing the disturbing footage, PETA Corporate Liason Anne Kellogg told HuffPost on Monday. PETA announced the news in a press release Monday morning.
A number of major retailers, from H&M and The Gap to Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, have suspended Angora production until they can verify that the farms they contract with are not engaged in abusive treatment of animals.
UPDATE: More Major Retailers Drop Angora Wool - By Paula Moore - February 4th, 2014
More good news on our angora campaign: Retail giant Lands’ End and television home-shopping company QVC, Inc., have made the kind decision to stop stocking angora wool products. We applaud these companies for taking a stand against cruelty to animals.
Last update posted on January 27, 2014:
Following an appeal from PETA, retail giant Gap Inc., which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta, said that it has “no plans” to obtain angora wool. PETA is urging the company to take the next logical step and permanently ban products made with angora, as dozens of other kind retailers—including Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, Limited Brands, Mango, H&M, Lands’ End, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger—have already done.
Last update posted on January 13, 2014:
Following an appeal from PETA, Columbus-based men’s and women’s retailer Express, Inc., confirmed that it has banned products made with angora wool, saying, “We will no longer use angora and have already found some great alternative yarns.” Thanks, Express!
Originally posted on January 8, 2014:
Retail giants Forever 21 and Eddie Bauer are the latest companies to confirm that they are permanently banning products made with angora wool. The move comes after PETA released undercover video footage showing how workers on angora farms violently rip the fur out of rabbits’ sensitive bodies. U.K.-based New Look also announced that it has banned angora.
A PETA Asia undercover investigator visited almost a dozen angora rabbit farms in China, the source of 90 percent of the world’s angora fur, and found rabbits screaming and writhing in pain as workers ripped the fur out of their skin. Rabbits endure this terrifying ordeal every three months for two to five years before being killed. After they have been plucked bald, the rabbits lie motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages, stunned and in shock. There are no penalties in China for animal abuse on rabbit farms and no standards that regulate the treatment of animals.
So far, more than a dozen kind companies have completely banned angora, including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, H&M, Limited Brands, Marks & Spencer, and more.
What You Can Do
You can help animals by banning angora wool (and other cruelly produced fashions) from your closet. For help putting together a fabulous, animal-friendly wardrobe, check out PETA’s How to Wear Vegan shopping site.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Merck & Co. is joining two dozen other pharmaceutical companies and contract laboratories in committing to not use chimpanzees for research.
The growing trend could mean roughly 1,000 chimps in the U.S. used for research or warehoused for many years in laboratory cages could be "retired" to sanctuaries by around 2020.
That's according to Kathleen Conlee of the Humane Society of the United States, which seven years ago began urging companies to phase out all chimp research.
The trend is driven by improved technology, animal alternatives and pressure from animal rights groups, the National Institutes of Health and Congress.
Last June, reacting to an Institute of Medicine study Congress had requested that concluded nearly all chimp research is unnecessary, the NIH announced it would retire and send about 90 percent of government-owned research chimps to the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, La. It's now home to about 160 chimps, with nearly 60 more to arrive soon.
After several years, the NIH plans to decide whether the remaining chimps in government labs can also be moved to sanctuaries. Roughly 450 other chimps are owned by private labs that do research under contract for drugmakers and other companies.
"It's been a long road in trying to end the use of chimpanzees in research, and we're now at a turning point," Conlee told The Associated Press Thursday. "We're going to keep on (advocating) until the chimpanzees in laboratories are all in sanctuaries."
Merck spokeswoman Caroline Lappetito said the company, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., decided late last year to stop research on chimpanzees and switch to alternative types of testing.
"The science has advanced, and we don't really need it," Lappetito said.
Merck, the world's third-biggest drugmaker, is the largest to make the switch.
Companies that develop medicines and consumer products such as cosmetics have long used animals to test safety and effectiveness. In the case of experimental medicines, drugmakers must test on animals before the Food and Drug Administration will let them do the human testing needed for approval of a new therapy.
Nearly all animal experiments in the U.S. involve mice, rats and guinea pigs, although some are done on dogs and great apes, almost always chimpanzees.
But animal research, particularly on primates and pet species such as dogs and rabbits, has long drawn criticism from animal rights groups, including protests outside laboratories and at annual shareholder meetings. Besides calling the practice inhumane, activists often have alleged — and sometimes proven — that animals were being abused.
Many companies previously said it was necessary to test potential medicines and vaccines on nonhuman primates because they needed an animal in which the anatomy and disease course were very similar to that in humans.
That thinking changed as technology allowed researchers to do initial testing via computer simulations, in bacteria or cells, and in animals as small as fish. Many drugmakers also found ways to do testing on far fewer animals and to limit the discomfort of experiments by using painkillers and tranquilizers. And many of the companies pledging not to use chimps in the future never did so.
British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC was one of the first to stop research in chimps, back in 2008.
"Research we did on nonhuman primates was kept to a minimum" even before that, said spokeswoman Melinda Stubee.
Because chimpanzees used for commercial medical research generally are confined in the labs of contract testing companies, Conlee said the Humane Society is trying to convince them that there's no longer enough demand to continue warehousing chimpanzees for potential future work. She hopes they'll pay to support those chimpanzees in one of five U.S. accredited sanctuaries for former research chimps
The Dodo - By Stephen Messenger - January 31, 2014
Conservationist group Sea Shepherd say that they have "shut down" Japan's annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean -- announcing that no whales have been killed for the past seven days as the whaling fleet has been thrown into disarray.
Sea Shepherd's Peter Hammarstedt, captain of The Bob Barker, says that the aim of their activities, targeting the whaling fleet's mothership Nisshin Maru, has been successful in curbing the slaughter.
“The primary strategy of our Antarctic Whale Defense Campaigns is to secure the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, and allow no dead whales to pass into this floating abattoir: We have achieved this goal. We will continue to block the slipway of this poaching ship, relentless in our mission to protect the whales and the sanctity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
All told, Sea Shepherd's three anti-whaling ships have prevented whalers from capturing whales for 14 days in January, typically the most deadly month of the hunt. The group estimates that around 350 whales were saved due to the disruption.
"2014 has been a great year for the whales so far," says Adam Meyerson, captain of The Sam Simon. "Now that Sea Shepherd has a small navy, it gives us flexibility to use our ships to keep the whaling fleet on the run and out of the hunt indefinitely."
Mass Slaughter of Vulnerable Shark Species in China, Wildlife Group Sa
The New York Times - Sinosphere - By DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW - January 28th, 2014
Tipped off by a Chinese wildlife protection group that a “shark slaughterhouse” of vulnerable species, including the whale shark, was operating in a town in Zhejiang Province on China’s eastern seaboard, the activists Alex Hofford and Paul Hilton traveled there to take a look.
What they saw shook them – whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world, a tropical species the size of a bus (they can grow to 12 meters, or about 40 feet, long) butchered by hand on a slippery floor. The sharks are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning they are within the “extinction risk” category.
“It’s a lot of carnage in one place, a lot of damage. It was pretty overwhelming,” said Mr. Hilton, describing the scene at the factory that he and Mr. Hofford visited three times, posing as buyers, in an undercover investigation that began in 2010 and concluded last December. “We walked into the courtyard, and there were shark fins everywhere. I didn’t think it would be so blatant.”
Said Mr. Hofford: “It was shocking. You go in there and they were laid out on the floor, all chopped up. You nearly want to vomit. When you have swum with them, it’s very upsetting.”
In a report released this week, the two men allege that about 600 whale sharks are being slaughtered annually for their stomach, lips, cartilage, oil and fins at the China Wenzhou Yueqing Marine Organisms Health Protection Foods Company, in Puqi township near Wenzhou.
Basking and great white sharks were also being “industrially processed,” said the two members of the nongovernmental organization WildLifeRisk in the report, titled “Planet’s biggest slaughter of whale sharks exposed in Pu Qi, Zhejiang Province, China.”
All three species are protected in China, which means it is illegal to hunt them without a special permit granted by the government, the report says. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a quarter of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction.
CITES, the intergovernmental Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, lists the whale and basking sharks as Appendix II animals. CITES describes Appendix II animals as “species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.” There is international pressure to put the great white shark on Appendix II as well.
Several attempts to contact the company failed to elicit comment. Asked if it was processing whale sharks, a woman who answered the telephone said, “Who said this? I don’t know.” She declined to transfer a call to her manager or to others in the factory and hung up.
The company’s website advertises several different shark products, including shark floss, cartilage and stomach, neatly packaged in colorful bags. It’s not clear what kind of shark they come from.
Fins were generally kept in China and flesh was sold as food, while the skins were sold into the bag industry, the new report’s authors said. However, the oil often was exported overseas, including to the United States and Canada, as health supplements or for the cosmetic industry, they said.
A manager at the company, whom they identified as Li Guang, said shark products were being labeled as tilapia, a commonly farmed fish, Mr. Hilton said in an interview.
May Mei is the China program manager of WildAid, a nongovernmental organization based in the United States and China, whose public representative is the former basketball star Yao Ming and which campaigns to stop people eating shark fin soup. She called the report “pretty shocking” and “convincing.”
“Their photographs, the detail, the amount of time they spent doing it, the specific names they have, it seems very concrete,” said Ms. Mei.
“Domestic Chinese media are pretty shocked, too,” she said, but added that in terms of overall shark processing, China was not thought to be the biggest location any longer; Indonesia was.
Still, she said, “Our control system just isn’t good enough. And we have to teach fishermen what’s a protected species and what’s not. Supervision at all levels has to improve, including at customs departments.”
The sharks are believed to be caught by fishermen along migratory routes from western Australia past the coast of China, Mr. Hilton said. A single whale shark – it’s considered a gentle creature and feeds on plankton – can be sold for around $31,000 at port.
“Opportunistic fishermen based in fishing ports of all sizes up and down the eastern seaboard of China, from Guangdong Province in the South to Shandong Province in the North, are catching whole whale sharks either as by-catch, or as targeted by-catch (intentionally),” the report said.
Oil from the livers – basking sharks were particularly fruitful, Mr. Li reportedly told the men – was sent to another processing plant, on China’s Hainan Island, Hainan Jiahua Marine Products Bio-Pharmaceutical Company, they wrote.
A person who gave her name as Pan Pingman answered the telephone in the Hainan company sales department and denied it was doing anything illegal. She said she had not seen the report.
“In Hainan the oil is blended with other types of shark liver oil in preparation for export to the United States and Canada in contravention of the internationally-binding CITES agreement,” the report said. The activists identified one company they said was receiving the product: Omojo, based in Washington State.
The company’s website says, “We control quality from end to end, ensuring 100% traceability — and 100% accountability.” Efforts to reach the company were not immediately successful.
Breaking News: Slaughterhouse Suspended for Torturing Babies
By Matt Rice - The Mercy For Animals Blog - January 27th, 2014
A new investigation by The Humane Society of the United States has uncovered horrific animal abuse at Catelli Bros., a calf slaughterhouse in New Jersey. The USDA suspended operations at the facility after reviewing the hidden-camera footage showing sick and injured "downer" calves being kicked, shocked, lifted by their tails and ears, and dragged by chains in an effort to get them to the kill floor.
Although it is illegal under federal law to slaughter adult downer cattle, there is no such legal protection for calves who are often killed for veal in some of the most horrific ways imaginable. This legal loophole means that countless baby animals are routinely tortured before they are killed. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact the USDA to urge them to close this loophole and protect baby calves from this kind of needless suffering. Click here to take action.
Sadly, this type of cruelty and violence runs rampant in the animal agriculture industry. MFA's own investigations at
Buckeye Veal Farm in Ohio and at
E6 Cattle Company in Texas documented stomach-churning animal abuse, including baby calves chained by their necks, locked inside tiny crates unable to turn around, and having their skulls bashed in by workers with pickaxes and sledgehammers.
These horrors will continue as long as consumers support the animal agriculture industry by buying meat, dairy or eggs. The best way for people to help end the needless suffering of animals is to adopt a humane vegan diet. Visit
ChooseVeg.com to learn more.
Mercy For Animals Blog - By Ari Solomon - January 27th, 2014
In a victory for farmed animals across the nation, the reviled King Amendment was dropped from the House Farm Bill Monday, stopping the provision dead in its tracks.
Sponsored by the notoriously anti-animal Representative Steve King of Iowa, the King Amendment would have wiped out virtually every state law protecting farmed animals from even the most horrific cruelty.
The King Amendment was proposed to nullify the few state laws that do provide protection to farmed animals, such as laws banning cruel crates and cages, prohibiting the force-feeding of ducks, and forbidding horse slaughter and shark finning.
The measure also threatened laws governing environmental protection, worker safety, and more. Its failure means that laws such as California's groundbreaking Prop 2 get to stay on the books where they belong.
Mercy For Animals would like to thank everyone who wrote letters and made phone calls to their members of Congress. This victory proves that a small handful of committed activists can make a huge difference.
To learn more about what you can do to help animals who are suffering on factory farms, visit MFA's Action Center today.
269Life Israel - Taking Over The Egg And Poultry Board
Published on Jan 27, 2014 - By 269LIfe
At noon, of the 21st of January, activists from 269life Israel movement, entered the premises of the Egg and Poultry Board. The activists hanged a huge banner which read "Here are those responsible for the Final Solution of 15,000 baby chicks a day", they used a public address system which played Agi Mishol's song "Baby Chick", they sprayed synthetic blood inside the premises and confronted the employees with the lifeless bodies of the day old chicks from Nordia hatchery.
The 269life movement was founded at October 2, 2012 in Israel and ever since then has been expanding and growing globally. Nowadays there are activists operating all over the world in the name of the movement.
For more information and updates: see Website @ 269life.com
For more recent updates and information, look for us on Facebook @ 269life Israel
'Chilling Cruelty, Unspeakable Suffering And Corporate Denial':
Is this the TRUE cost of the season's must have fur-trimmed Canada Goose coat?
Daily Mail - By Laura Collins -January 23rd, 2014
US sales of Canada Goose expected to top $30million this year
Company President Dani Reiss views America as the market with the 'greatest potential in the world'
Family founded business says it provides vital support to North Canada communities where trapping has been practiced for 300 years
But animal rights campaigners slam company's practice of trapping Coyotes for their fur as inhumane
Claim their efforts to address allegations have been stonewalled and have this week appealed for the brand to stop its use of fur
They have made America their new frontier, forging into the US clothing market to become one of the season’s most recognisable brands with sales of Canada Goose outerwear expected to top $30million this year alone.
In a high profile year in the States, Kate Upton has appeared on the front of Sports Illustrated in one of their fur trimmed, down jackets and nothing much else.
It isn't the only firm to market such coats, yet Canada Goose has rapidly established itself as the label of choice for the well-known and the well-heeled braving the frigid weather blown in on the polar vortex.
But today MailOnline can reveal that allegations of chilling cruelty and unspeakable animal suffering have been repeatedly levelled at this family business turned multimillion dollar concern.
According to animal rights activists, behind every fur trimmed hood and down stuffed coat is a brutal reality of Coyotes trapped and left to suffer in the wilderness.
Many of today's ethically aware consumers would never dream of buying a full length fur. But in an odd quirk of the current trend for this style of garment those same shoppers pull on a coyote trimmed coat without a moment's concern for the origins of that little flurry of fur.
Lindsay Rajt, Director of Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: ‘Canada Goose uses exclusively Coyote fur on the trim of their coats and those animals are trapped in a way that is just inherently cruel.’
As a company founded and grown in Canada, Canada Goose makes much of their support of North Canadian communities in which, their publicity states, Coyote trapping has been ‘a way of life for hundreds of years.’
According to a spokesperson for the firm: 'The trapping of fur-bearing animals is strictly regulated by the provincial and territorial wildlife departments in Canada.
'We purchase coyote furs from certified Canadian trappers, never from fur farms or endangered animals.
But PETA has dismissed the standards as ‘window dressing.’
Mr Rajt said: ‘The company’s reference to AIHTS standards is meaningless and a way of placating and silencing people with valid concerns.
‘Leg hold traps are still legal in Canada. Mother animals will chew off their limbs in order to get back to their young. The trapped animal might be there for days before the trapper comes and finds them, they are frightened and starving and in pain during that time. And then they’re bludgeoned or strangled to death or shot.’
Ms Rajt revealed that PETA is this week appealing to Canada Goose to abandon their use of fur in favour of synthetic alternatives and to dump their use of real down stuffing.
She said: 'PETA is reaching out to Canada Goose to urge the company to switch to innovative, synthetic fur like their top competitor Helly Hansen, which has been fur-free for many years.
'Additionally, we are asking that Canada Goose dump down and opt for revolutionary synthetic technology like the one recently developed by The North Face - Thermoball, which mimics down but offers superior versality.'
Ms Rajt claimed: ‘We have been trying to meet with this company, we’ve been trying to engage with them since 2006.
‘The CEO originally agreed to meet with us in 2008 to discuss trapping policies and methods but just never confirmed that meeting and then failed to make himself available to any of our follow ups.
'It is a challenging company for us to work with.'
But according to a spokesperson for the company: 'We've corresponded with PETA on numerous occasions and it quickly became evident that they were not interested in a constructive conversation.'
Canada Goose was founded in 1957 and has enjoyed remarkable success and rapid growth across the past decade when it started marketing it’s ‘truly Canadian’ ethos to Europe.
Today the company employs more than 1000 people and sells its products in more than 50 countries across the world.
It continues to manufacture its coats in Toronto and Winnipeg but recently opened its first US Headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Last year it became the official sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival and US Equity firm, Bain, recently bought a majority stake in the hitherto entirely Canadian enterprise.
Canada Goose President Danni Reiss is very clear in his assessment of the importance of the US market to his brand. He said, ‘The States is a market with one of the greatest potentials in the world. The US is growing faster than the overall company.’
Speaking in a corporate video Mr Reiss explained: ‘We use Coyote fur for a number of reasons. Number one, Coyote fur works – it’s functional, it provides warmth around the face in a way no synthetic fabric can. It does that in the coldest places on earth and it is important to realise that sometimes urban centres and cities can feel like the coldest places on earth.’
Coyote fur doesn’t freeze, doesn’t hold moisture, retains heat and is biodegradable. Ms Rajt dismissed the necessity of real fur saying: ‘They actually do have some faux fur trim products and there’s a market for that. There’s no reason why they couldn’t switch completely.’
A spokesperson for Canada Goose said: 'We understand PETA's concerns and we respect the right of people to choose not to wear fur, however, we know PETA does not respect our ethical, responsible use of fur so further conversation won't be productive.'
But Ms Rajt insisted: ‘I just don’t believe that half the people wearing these coats understand what’s really involved in the making of them. And I just don’t believe that they would make that same choice if it was an informed one.'
Greece Upholds Ban on Captive Dolphin Performances
One Green Planet - News - By Aisling Maria Cronin - January 21st, 2014
Good news, Green Monsters! After their 2012 decision to ban captive animal performances was recently challenged by the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, Greece, the Greek parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favor of upholding the ban!
Attica Zoological Park, which exhibits a wide variety of exotic animals, had tried to convince members of the parliament to amend or weaken the ban on captive dolphin shows on the basis that such performances are “educational.”
However, as Mark J. Palmer, associate director of the International Marine Mammal Project, put it, “Such tricks are not natural behavior – they are instead trained to do the tricks using food deprivation. If they don’t perform the trick, they don’t eat. In addition, exposing the dolphins to the stress of having to perform in front of yelling crowds (they can hear well both in and out of the water) and having the dolphins push trainers on their sensitive rostrum hardly qualifies as exercise or educational.”
Articles twelve and thirteen of Greece’s animal protection Law 4039/2012 expressly forbids the use of animals in “recreational games, car racing platforms, musical concerts, exhibitions, fairs or other artistic or entertaining festivities/events.”
Palmer said that when these articles were originally introduced, “world leaders and animal activists took note and praised the courage and morals of the Greek government as it took a stand in a difficult situation.”
On the country’s decision to uphold the ban in spite of the pressure they were facing, he added, “The Greek Parliament is to be congratulated for their support for the welfare of dolphins and refusal to accept what are essentially circus acts with dolphins as being ‘educational.’”
With this latest piece of good news and the U.K.’s soon-to-be official ban on the use of all animals in circuses, it looks as though awareness is slowly but surely growing that exploiting animals for the sake of human entertainment is NOT okay. Now, if only we could get SeaWorld to end their dolphin and orca performances too.
Dog Fighting: Taskforce Arrests 34 Suspects in Georgia Raid,
Seizes 27 Vehicles Including Catering Truck
Opposing Views - By Phyllis M Daugherty - January 22nd, 2014
A multi-agency taskforce in west Georgia arrested 34 people and seized 27 vehicles, several guns and over $28,000 in cash in a Saturday- night raid on an alleged dog-fighting operation in Meriwether County reported Sheriff Chuck Smith.
Numerous officers converged at a location on Callaway Rd., off Happy Hollow Drive, at approximately 10:30 p.m., reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
An "emaciated, bleeding, crippled female pit bull terrier" was found inside a large fighting pit. Both she and another dog were rescued, the sheriff said.
"Animal Control Officer Beth Miller advised that she was hopeful that the dog found in this pit could be saved. I'm appreciative to her for assisting us," Sheriff Smith stated in a press release.
“Our narcotics unit has worked on gathering intelligence on the event and at a moment’s notice they rallied up and met at the training center where a briefing was conducted,” Smith wrote in an e-mail to the AJC.
Meriwether Sheriff Chuck Smith said that officers from local agencies, bolstered by helicopters from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Natural Resources, took part in the raid.
“When the helicopter pilots hit their target with spotlights, participants and spectators ran into the arms of waiting officers holding a perimeter around the event,” Sheriff Smith said.
In addition to the cash and vehicles, authorities confiscated , five guns, two generators, lighting equipment and scales used to weigh dogs before fighting.
Some of the individuals are local. Several others are from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Michigan, Sheriff Smith said. One of the offenders is wanted by the U.S. Marshals for a federal indictment related to dog fighting.
"I am saddened by what I saw at this crime scene; however, I am very proud of all these law enforcement officers that were involved. We know in the dog fighting world, these events carry the highest potential of being extremely dangerous.
All officers displayed the highest level of professionalism while showing 'armed' force to minimize the risk of getting hurt or hurting others," said Sheriff Smith.
Agencies involved in the raid include: Meriwether County Deputies & Investigators, the Meriwether Narcotics unit, Woodbury Police, Greenville Police, DNR Rangers with the Department of Natural Resources, Spalding County Sheriff's Deputies, Coweta County Sheriff's Crime Suppression Unit, the Coweta County Sheriffs and Department of Natural Resources Aviation Units.
Those arrested face various charges, including gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft-by-receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit or promote dog fighting, the AJC reports.
A large “Express Wings” catering truck was set up to serve fried chicken and fish to spectators, instead it was seized as evidence.
Up to a $5,000 reward is offered by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Callers’ identities are protected.
Government Wants To Remove Remaining Protections For Wolves
The Dodo - By Dan Nosowitz - January 20th, 2014
A new proposal from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service would remove protections for the rare grey wolf across most of the continental United States, according to a Canadian report. It’s one more step by the USFWS to leave wolves vulnerable to hunting and hovering around their absolute minimum number needed to survive.
Though in the early part of the century the grey wolf ranged all across the northern half of the lower 48 states, from coast to coast, by the 1960s it was down to a tiny, dying population in a remote pocket of Minnesota. With the help of protections from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), its population grew to 1,700, spread out among the northern Rocky Mountain areas in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon. And the renewed presence of wolves began to help the ecosystems return to a healthy balance, according to the Sierra Club.
Since 2011, the USFWS has been trying to strip the wolf’s protections and keep its population as low as possible while not technically being at risk of extinction. A population of 1,700, said Jamie Rappaport Clark, the president of Defenders of Wildlife, to the New York Times, “is really an unfortunate low bar for endangered-species recovery in the United States.” In 2011, a rider stripped protections for the wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains; now, the USFWS is mulling a proposal that would finish the job.
The chairman of the USFWS says, “[The grey wolf] is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction. The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible.” The government would like to leave the continued monitoring of the wolf’s population up to state and local authorities. But those authorities can be more easily swayed by local interests, like ranchers, who tend to overestimate the impact of wolves on livestock (it is minimal, nationwide). Removing protections would leave the wolf vulnerable to hunting.
Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says of the proposal:
It makes it very unlikely that wolves will recover to places like the southern Rockies of Colorado and Utah, the Sierra Nevada in California and the Adirondacks in New York, all places that scientists have identified as having sufficient habitat to support wolves. It means that wolves will continue to occupy just a fraction of their historic range and at populations near the minimum needed for viability.
Dept. of Environmental Conservation Hatches Plan to Kill Mute Swans
East End Beacon - Posted by Beth Young January 18th, 2014
While the sight of swans swimming peacefully in pairs that mate for life attracts romantics throughout the East End, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) doesn’t see anything romantic about them.
The DEC announced a draft plan last Thursday to kill or capture all of New York’s free-ranging mute swans, the type of swan most commonly seen on Long Island, by 2025.
Mute swans aren’t native to North America. They were imported here in the 1800s from Europe and Asia because people thought they were beautiful.
But, according to the DEC’s proposal, “mute swans can cause a variety of problems, including exhibiting aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation.”
If the plan is approved, the DEC would allow property owners to oil, puncture, shake or freeze mute swan eggs; destroy their nests,;sterilize the birds; shoot them; or capture them and take them to be euthanized or turned over to people licensed to keep the birds in captivity.
The plan would also allow for DEC-licensed people to capture free-ranging swans and keep them in captivity. Currently, there are some commercial breeders who sell juvenile mute swans for ornamental purposes for up to $1,500 a pair. Swans would no longer be allowed to be bred in captivity in New York.
The plan calls for the state to ban the importation of swans into New York and prohibit the release of captive swans.
Concern about the proposal has begun to grow on the East End. After the Stony Brook Southampton Coastal and Estuarine Research Program posted information about the proposal on their Facebook page yesterday, a chorus of people chimed in in opposition.
“Our school system is stressed from lack funds and our tax dollars are going to killing swans,” said April Hannan. “This is embarrassing. Where are the priorities? If our politicians can’t answer with a simple yes or no to supporting this, I won’t be voting for them.”
“It’s the Canadian Geese leaving fecal matter in the parks, schoolyards and playing fields. Canadian geese involved in air strikes bringing down planes,” said Kathleen Vize Schoendorf. “Canadian Geese defecating in ponds, creating hypoxic conditions. Canadian geese who are no longer migratory. Tens of thousands of Canadian geese are the problem, not the 2,200 swans in NYS.”
“Kill the swans. They are a natural predator of the North Pacific Tree Octopus which have been declining in numbers over the last few years,” joked Mike DeGeorge.
The DEC is accepting written comments on the draft mute swan plan through February 21, 2014 at NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to email@example.com. Type “Swan Plan” in the subject line.
CNN PRODUCER NOTE - Martha Brock is an environmental attorney and activist in Georgia. She posted this iReport after learning about the alleged trapping of more than 250 bottlenose dolphins in Taiji, Japan, through the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. Brock said she watched a SCCS live stream of dolphins being corralled into a trapping cove and was horrified by what she saw. “There are activists around the world that are calling the embassy and the press, but I knew I couldn't do much, so I wrote this iReport."
The 2009 documentary “The Cove” depicted the annual butchering of the sea creatures near the Japanese coastal town of Taiji, and has sparked an international campaign against dolphin hunting. Brock said she hopes to bring awareness to activist groups like SCCS that document the hunts in Taiji. “They are there to bring daylight to this dark secret. If they were not there no one would know about this," she said.
CNN was unable to reach anyone at the Taiji town office or the local fishermen's union for comment.You can read more about this story on CNN.com.
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
On January 17, 2014, over 250 bottlenose dolphins were herded into a small trapping cove in Taiji, Japan, made infamous by the Academy Award-winning film, The Cove. The dolphins will be held until the brutal process of selection for the aquarium industry begins, which could begin as early as sunrise January 18.
Among the captives in this community is a young albino bottlenose dolphin, an extremely rare child, and one which is likely to be among those kidnapped. The considerable monetary value of this albino and the other dolphins taken captive is established by aquariums and marine parks, modeled generally after the U.S. aquarium industry, that make millions from using dolphins as entertainment. The incentive to drive these dolphins is made lucrative by this monetary incentive more than any other.
The fate of those not taken to perform in dolphin shows and exhibits is either death-by-spike or a process of being “driven” back to the open ocean by the same horrific cacophony generated by the “banger boats” that corralled them in The Cove. Those so driven will now be but a fractured remnant, without the youth of the next generation and likely without many of the elders to guide them. Those who escape capture or slaughter and are left to fend for themselves without their community are less likely to survive and thrive. With this process of capture/kill/drive the remnant, entire communities of dolphins who migrate along this coast of Japan are being decimated.
The unrelenting drive by the Isana Fishermen's Union to capture and kill dolphins is matched by a commitment of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians to document the truth of this hunt for a public who is largely ignorant of this horror. While The Cove brought the world's attention to Taiji, the hunt has continued till the present.
Photo courtesy of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians
9 Countries End Cruel Animal Labs, Thanks to PETA and TraumaMan
PETA.org - By Michelle Kretzer - January 13th, 2014
Nine countries, three continents, and thousands of animals’ lives saved.
PETA has helped medical training programs in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Mexico, Mongolia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago to stop cutting apart and killing animals in surgery courses and instead start using life-like human-patient simulators. How? We purchased 64 state-of-the-art TraumaMan surgical simulators and donated them to the programs.
Until now, limited budgets have prevented these programs from teaching Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses with the same modern simulation equipment that’s standard in the U.S. and many other nations. As a result, trainees at dozens of hospitals and universities were required to cut holes into the chests, throats, abdomens, and limbs of thousands of live dogs, goats, pigs, and sheep.
In partnership with TraumaMan manufacturer Simulab Corporation and with financial support from the McGrath Family Foundation of San Diego, our members, and PETA Germany, PETA was able to end these crude animal laboratories and provide thousands more doctors each year with access to the sophisticated TraumaMan simulator. This lifesaving training tool replicates the anatomy and physiology of a real human torso, including realistic layers of skin and tissue, ribs, and internal organs.
The TraumaMan simulators better represent human patients, allow trainees to repeat difficult procedures until mastered, and have been shown to teach lifesaving procedures better than cutting into animals does.
As we’ve said before, moving science and medicine away from archaic animal use benefits doctors, their patients, and animals. And this program is a case in point.
ABC NEWS - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - By JERI CLAUSING - January 14th, 2014 (AP)
State and federal lawsuits that have repeatedly delayed the opening of horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri could be moot if the budget bill up for a vote in Congress this week passes without changes.
The spending bill released Monday night would effectively reinstate a federal ban on horse slaughter by cutting funding for inspections at equine facilities.
Opponents of attempts to resume domestic horse slaughter applauded the measure.
"Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse slaughter industry," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "We don't have dog and cat slaughter plants in the U.S. catering to small markets overseas, and we shouldn't have horse slaughter operations for that purpose, either."
Proponents, however, contend domestic slaughter is the most humane way to deal with a rising number of abused and abandoned horses. Currently, unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Some Indian tribes support a return to slaughter, saying exploding feral horse populations are destroying their rangelands.
"It is certainly disappointing that Congress is returning to a failed policy at the urging of special interest groups while failing to provide for an alternative," said Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo. " The result is more waste and devastation of the range and the denial of access to an export market that would have created jobs and positive economic impacts to rural agriculture communities that desperately need these opportunities."
Animal rights groups and the Obama administration have been lobbying for the funding cut, as well as outright bans on horse slaughter in the United States. Congress cut funding for inspections at horse slaughterhouses in 2006, but reinstated the funding in 2011, four years after the last of the domestic plants closed.
Valley Meat Co. has been fighting since then to convert its cattle operations to horses. The Department of Agriculture finally issued the company and two others permits last year after Valley filed a lawsuit, but the agency made it clear it was doing so only because it was legally obligated and it has joined animal protection groups in lobbying for the funding inspection cuts as well as an outright ban on horse slaughter.
Shortly after the permits were issued last summer, the Humane Society and other groups were able to block their opening with a federal lawsuit challenging the permitting process. After a federal judge threw out that suit and a federal appeals court declined to keep a temporary order against the plants in place, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King won a temporary restraining order against Valley while a judge hears his claims the plant would violate state food safety and environmental laws.
State District Judge Matthew Wilson said he will issue a written decision Friday on King's request for a preliminary injunction that would keep Valley from opening.
Dunn said a vote by Congress to cut the funding "likely renders the AG's case moot going forward, assuming it was not already moot on jurisdictional grounds," but he said it will not stop efforts to reverse the effects of what he calls "defamatory and tortious actions" from the state attorney general and animal rights groups.
Opponents Will Protest East Hampton's Planned Sharpshooter Deer Cull
East Hampton Patch - By Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) - January 6th, 2014
An East Hampton group opposing the sharpshooter deer cull program will take to the streets in protest later this month. The East Hampton Group for Wildlife, which already filed suit against the town, village, and town trustees, has organized a "No Cull" rally and demonstration on Jan. 18.
"We want to express, in a visible way, the depth of opposition to the deer cull," said Bill Craine, a Montauk resident and the founder for the East Hampton Group for Wildlife. "Every day I receive emails from East Hampton residents who say they are 'appalled' and 'sickened' by the plan to use sharpshooters to kill hundreds of deer. They ask, 'How can I help stop this?'"
The Long Island Farm Bureau secured $200,000 in grant funding to embark upon the United State Department of Agriculture's sharpshooter program to reduce the number of deer on the East End and in the Town of Brookhaven. The goal is to eliminate 2,000 to 3,000 deer in one of the largest government deer removals ever undertaken.
The program was estimated to cost about $500,000, with towns and villages agreeing to participate and provide additional funding. Riverhead Town is the only town so far to opt out of the program, though the Town of Southampton is still undecided.
Craine said there has there has been much enthusiasm for the demonstration so far.
"Public officials have talked about a 'deer emergency' and 'epidemic,' but the available data suggest that the East Hampton deer population may well be declining," he said, pointing to a ground survey his group commissioned in 2006 that estimated there were 3,293 deer. The town-commissioned aerial survey counted 877.
"Despite different methodologies, the surveys point to population reduction. It’s possible that a cull could devastate the deer population in our town," Craine said.
Those who want to speak out against the deer cull planned in East Hampton will gather at the Hook Mill in the village on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. and march in single file along the sidewalks to Herrick Park, where they will stand for 20 to 30 minutes facing Newtown Lane.
Craine knew of no other rallies planned on the East End, as he said he has only heard from one resident outside of East Hampton.
Do you plan on attending the rally and demonstration? Tell us in the comments below.
Hoosier Lawmakers Bringing Back Controversial Ag Gag Bill
Muncie Voice - By Kyle Wolfe - January 6th, 2014
Indiana General Assembly to Start 2014 with Disappointing Return of Ag Gag Bill
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indiana Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee will start its 2014 hearing schedule with a bill that faced wide opposition last year and now includes even more harmful language to prosecute environmental and animal rights watchdogs who expose dangerous and unethical practices at factory farms.
Senate Bill 101, which is expected to be heard by the committee upon adjournment of session Tuesday, is being introduced by Senator Travis Holdman (SD 19). It allows owners of industrial livestock operations to post signs on their property that list whatever the owner determines are criminal activities – “crimes” which could include videotaping, photography, or reporting observations of abuse to law enforcement officials or the press. Violators of these operator-defined “crimes” will be considered to have committed a level 6 felony.
Last year Ag-Gag was defeated because it clearly violated free speech protections by criminalizing whistle-blowing activities at factory farms.
“This bill is even worse”, said Kim Ferraro, staff attorney and water and agriculture policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council. Kim also said:
“In attempting to side-step First Amendment implications, the meat industry is now proposing to let private citizens and corporations prohibit photographing and videotaping by posting a sign. This insidious maneuver, however, is an unconstitutional delegation of the General Assembly’s legislative power to decide what constitutes a felony. To allow private citizens to individually decide not only what conduct will constitute a felony, but how such conduct will be described and identified, is a recipe for abuse and antithetical to a system of justice that seeks uniformity of justice, equal protection and due process under the law.”
The Hoosier Environmental Council has joined a coalition of organizations publicly opposing the bill. You can see a list of coalition members and the coalition statement at:
Utah Law Preventing Journalists Reporting Inside Slaughterhouses...
Attack On First Ammendment, Opponents Say
Fox News - December 10th, 2013
Animal rights and a freedom of speech group are set to file a court challenge against a Utah law that bans journalists from reporting from the inside of a slaughterhouse, The Public News Service-UT reported.
The lawsuit was filed by PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is not mentioned in the suit, but will file a "friend of the court" brief and offer its opinion on the matter to the two groups.
"We came in to say it also affects journalists when the people who want to act as their sources when their conduct is criminalized," Gregg Leslie, a legal defense director from the group, told the agency. "People have the right to know how their food is handled."
"People have the right to know how their food is handled"- Gregg Leslie
According to the report, the so-called gag law states, "A person is guilty of agricultural operation interference if the person records an image of, or sound from, an agricultural operation under certain circumstances, obtains access to an agricultural operation under false pretenses; or obtains employment at an agricultural operation under certain circumstances with the intent to record an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation."
There are instances where recordings from inside these venues have led to improved conditions for animals and in some cases closures.
In 2012, federal regulators shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving undercover video showing dairy cows -- some unable to walk -- being repeatedly shocked and shot before being slaughtered.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects meat facilities, suspended operations at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, Calif., which slaughters cows when they lose their value as milk producers.
The USDA received hours of videotape from Compassion Over Killing, an animal welfare group, which said its undercover investigator was employed by the slaughterhouse and made the video over a two-week period in June.
The case is reminiscent of a 2008 undercover operation by the Humane Society of the United States at the Hallmark slaughter plant in Chino, Calif., that led to the largest-ever recall of beef and the conviction of two people found to have treated the cows cruelly. In that case, video showed downed cows being prodded with a folk lift.
Standard humane slaughter involves the cow being rendered unconscious by a single shot to the head from a pneumatic gun that fires a bolt through the skull to pierce the brain, according to federal regulations.
The New York Times - Science - By James Gorman - December 9th, 2013
Who Is a Person?
“Beings who recognize themselves as ‘I’s.’ Those are persons.” That was the view of Immanuel Kant, said Lori Gruen, a philosophy professor at Wesleyan University who thinks and writes often about nonhuman animals and the moral and philosophical issues involved in how we treat them.
She was responding to questions in an interview last week after advocates used a new legal strategy to have chimpanzees recognized as legal persons, with a right to liberty, albeit a liberty with considerable limits.
The Nonhuman Rights Project, an advocacy group led by Steven M. Wise, filed writs of habeas corpus in New York last week on behalf of four captive chimpanzees: Tommy, owned by a Gloversville couple; two at Stony Brook University; and one at the Primate Sanctuary in Niagara Falls. The lawsuits were dismissed, but Mr. Wise said he planned to appeal.
He believes that the historical use of habeas corpus lawsuits as a tool against human slavery offers a model for how to fight for legal rights for nonhumans.
His case relies heavily on science. Nine affidavits from scientists that were part of the court filings offer opinions of what research says about the lives, thinking ability and self-awareness of chimpanzees.
Mr. Wise argues that chimps are enough like humans that they should have some legal rights; not the right to vote or freedom of religion — he is not aiming for a full-blown planet of the apes — but a limited right to bodily liberty. The suits asked that the chimps be freed to go to sanctuaries where they would have more freedom.
Richard L. Cupp, a law professor at Pepperdine University in California who opposes granting rights to nonhuman animals, described the legal strategy as “far outside the mainstream.” He said in an email, “The courts would have to dramatically expand existing common law for the cases to succeed.”
Lori Marino of Emory University, who studies dolphins and other cetaceans and is the science director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, said it “is about more than these four chimpanzees.” Mr. Wise, she said, “sees this as the knob that can turn a lot of things. It’s potentially transformative.”
She said she was under no illusion that rights for animals would be easy to gain. “It may not happen in anyone’s lifetime,” she said.
The science of behavior is only part of the legal argument, though it is crucial to the central idea — that chimps are in some sense autonomous. Autonomy can mean different things, depending on whether you are talking about chimpanzees, drones or robot vacuum cleaners, and whether you are using the language of law, philosophy or artificial intelligence.
Dr. Gruen sees it as a term that is fraught with problems in philosophy, but Dr. Marino said that for the purposes of the legal effort, autonomy means “a very basic capacity to be aware of yourself, your circumstances and your future.”
Science can’t be decisive in such an argument, as Dr. Gruen points out, but what it can do is support or undermine this idea of autonomy. “If you form the right kinds of questions,” she said, “there are important answers that science can give about animal cognition and animal behavior.”
Dr. Marino said that science could “contribute evidence for the kinds of characteristics that a judge may find to be part of autonomy.”
Dr. Gruen, Dr. Marino and Mr. Wise made presentations at a conference, Personhood Beyond the Human, at Yale over the weekend. They spoke in interviews related to the court case during the week before the conference.
The kind of science that supports the idea of chimpanzees as autonomous could also support the idea that many other animals fit the bill. There are affidavits related to cognitive ability, tool use, social life and many other capabilities of chimpanzees, but there are questions about how pertinent each line of evidence is.
“Is that important for being a philosophical person — tool use itself?” Dr. Gruen asked.
The issues of self-awareness and of awareness of past and future strike to the heart of a common-sense view of what personhood might be. Chimps, elephants and some cetaceans have shown that they can recognize themselves in a mirror.
But the rights project is claiming more, saying that for chimps, as Dr. Marino put it, “you know it was you yesterday, you today, you tomorrow,” and “you have desires and goals for the future.”
There is plenty of evidence that chimpanzees and other animals act for the future. Some birds hide seeds to recover in leaner times, for example.
One affidavit is from Matthias Osvath, of Lund University in Sweden, who studies the thinking ability of animals, particularly great apes and some birds. He cites a number of studies of chimps that support the idea they have a sense of the future, including resisting an immediate reward to gain a tool that will get them a larger reward.
In one well-known piece of research by Dr. Osvath, he reported on Santino, a chimp at a zoo in Sweden who stockpiled and hid rocks he would later throw at human visitors. Dr. Osvath argued that Santino had the capacity to think of himself making future use of the rocks he saved.
Science cannot prove what went on in Santino’s mind. But Dr. Marino said the cumulative evidence could be used to ask a judge, “If you look at all the evidence in total, then what kind of being could produce all that evidence?”
Not all proponents of animal welfare are convinced that calling for rights for animals is the best way to go.
Dr. Gruen said that she had misgivings about the rights approach, philosophically and politically. “My own view is that it makes more sense to think about what we owe animals.” Progress on that front in 2013, particularly for chimpanzees, has surprised and delighted many activists. The National Institutes of Health is retiring most of its chimpanzees. And the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed changes that would classify all chimps, even those in laboratories, as endangered, a move that would raise obstacles to experiments on privately owned chimps.
One point to remember is that personhood does not mean being human. Robert Sapolsky, a primatologist and neuroscientist at Stanford University who was not associated with the lawsuit, said, “I think the evidence certainly suggests that chimps are self-aware and autonomous.” That still leaves a vast gap between chimps and humans, he said. Chimps may look ahead in hiding food for later, or planning “how to ambush monkeys they are hunting.” Humans, he noted, could think about “the consequences of global warming for their grandchildren’s grandchildren, or of the sun eventually dying, or of them eventually dying.”
Shocking Video Of Dogs Having Their Teeth Pulled Out....
In The Name Of Medical Testing Before Being Put Down Sparks Outrage
Mail Online - By Ashley Collman - November 29th, 2013
Shocking video of dogs having their teeth pulled out in name of medical testing before being put down sparks outrage. The Humane Society released a video last week showing dogs being used as test subjects in dental experiments at Georgia Regents University.
Undercover video shows the dogs having their teeth pulled, replaced with implants and then euthanized to harvest jaw bone samples. While legal, the Humane Society says that the experiments are unnecessary.
Georgia Regents University is drawing criticism from animal rights activists who claim the school is euthanizing dogs in 'unnecessary' dental experiments.
The Humane Society posted a video last week, taken as part of a three-month undercover investigation, which shows dogs having their teeth pulled, replaced with implants and then euthanized to test bone samples.
Two days after the video was released, activists organized a protest on the campus calling for the end of animal testing, waving signs that said 'Humanity: not just for humans' and 'Dogs should not die for dentures', according to the Augusta Chronicle. Another demonstration is scheduled for December 7.
The undercover video, narrated by actress Kim Basinger, focuses on a dog named 'Shy Guy' used as a test subject. Shy Guy and others, Bassinger says, were bought from 'unscrupulous dealers' and put through 'unnecessary suffering'.
The emaciated dog shakes as Bassinger says you need only 'look into their eyes' to understand just how painful it is to have their teeth pulled and then replaced by dentures.
Another dog is shown at the end of the research process, having been euthanized so that researchers could pull a little piece of jaw bone to sample.
Humane Society spokesman Stephanie Twining says that researchers use the bone sample to compare GRU's own dentures to that of a competitor.
While using dogs for this kind of research is legal, the activists believe it is still a moral breach.
The video also points out that GRU gets its dogs from a dealer that is under investigation by the USDA.
The USDA did in fact file a complaint against the university's dealer - Kenneth H Schroeder - in September saying he improperly obtained dogs, impeded an inspection of his operation in Wells, Minnesota and provided substandard care for dogs there.
Mr Schroeder is a random-source class-B dealer which means he can get dogs from auctions, 'free to a good home' ads, animal control, and even shelters to resell to research facilities.
From 2005 to 2012, GRU obtained 186 dogs from Mr Schroeder. The six used in dental experiments were obtained in November 2012, operated on in March and euthanized in May. However, there are no allegations that the dogs obtained by the university were improperly obtained.
And NBC News points out that GRU is far from the worst offender when it comes to using dogs in experimental research.
Taking a stand: GRU pre-veterinary student Hannah Kellems now plans on transferring schools after seeing the video.
Taking a stand: GRU pre-veterinary student Hannah Kellems now plans on transferring schools after seeing the video.
Central Carolina Community College used 50 dogs in its programs in 2012, twice as much as the 22 GRU reported.
And that's nothing compared to the 1,158 Duke University used in 2011, including 101 defined as 'Column D' - to be used in 'experiments...involving accompanying pain or distress to the animals for which appropriate anesthetic, analgesic, or tranquilizing drugs were used.'
GRU has since responded to the video, saying that dogs are used 'infrequently' in university research, and that all received anethesia during surgery and pain medication afterwards.
'The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people,' said Dr Mark Hamrick, GRU's Senior Vice President of Research in a statement.
The investigation has so upset one GRU undergrad, she plans on switching schools. Pre-veterinary science student Hannah Kellems said it took her about two hours to be able to watch the video start to finish without looking away.
Seeing the whole video straight convinced her and another student to transfer schools. 'What kind of veterinarian would I be if I stuck at a school that was potentially abusing animals? That goes against everything I'm for,' Ms Kellems told the Aiken Standard.
CTV News - November 25th, 2013 - Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
The federal government plans to appeal a ruling by the World Trade Organization that a European Union ban on seal products undermines international trade obligations but is justified due to “public moral concerns” over the animals’ welfare.
The ruling was hailed by animal rights’ activists but panned by advocates of Canada’s seal hunt, saying the ban contravenes trade regulations and discriminates against Inuit peoples.
On Monday, the WTO issued its ruling in the years-long dispute, saying that while the ban largely conforms to international trade rules, it does contain inconsistencies that need fixing.
For example, exceptions for aboriginal hunts are “not equally available to all Inuit or indigenous communities” and are “not designed and applied in an even-handed manner.”
But the WTO also found that the ban “fulfills the objective of addressing the EU public moral concerns on seal welfare to a certain extent, and no alternative measure has been demonstrated to make an equivalent or greater contribution” to that goal.
Canada has 60 days to file an appeal, and a statement issued by the office of International Trade Minister Ed Fast Monday morning said Canada “will appeal to the WTO Appellate Body any findings that would allow this unfair ban to continue.
“The WTO panel confirmed Canada’s long-standing position that the EU ban is discriminatory and treats Canadian seal products unfairly. However, the panel also took the view that such a ban can be justified due to some of the public’s concerns regarding seal harvesting.”
The statement went on to say that Canada “remains steadfast in its position that the seal harvest is a humane, sustainable and well-regulated activity. Any views to the contrary are based on myths and misinformation and the panels’ findings should be of concern to all WTO members.”
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea stood in the House of Commons Monday afternoon to confirm the government’s decision, saying the ban is “unfair and discriminatory towards Canada.”
“We call on the Liberals and the NDP to support the government’s decision to appeal this unfair and incorrect ruling,” she said during question period.
The EU ban exempts seal products from hunts by Inuit and other aboriginal communities. Canada’s Inuit leaders also released a statement Monday to express their “disappointment” at the WTO ruling, although the statement noted that the WTO still found the exemption for aboriginal hunts is not fairly applied.
“Inuit have always maintained that the so-called Inuit exemption is an empty box. But our goal from the beginning has been to overturn the ban itself, not merely to modify the terms of the exemption,” Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said in the statement.
“The ban runs contrary to principles of fair trade, and it is truly inexplicable that the WTO did not dismiss outright the EU’s Orwellian ‘moral grounds’ justification of this outrageous trade impediment.”
Meanwhile, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released a statement to say it is “pleased” with the WTO’s decision.
"This decision is welcomed, and it is significant in that the World Trade Organization is recognizing animal welfare as a public morals concern that can be legitimately protected through measures such as trade bans." said Sheryl Fink, director of IFAW's Seal Campaign.
“The WTO ruling should send a strong message to the Canadian government and sealing industry. Concerns over the way seals are killed in commercial hunts are found to be justified, and countries may protect their consumers from these concerns by regulating trade in seal products." Fink said.
The ruling came from a 2009 decision by the EU to ban all seal product imports, with an exception for products resulting from Inuit and aboriginal hunts. The ban came into effect in August 2010.
Canada and Norway appealed the ban to the WTO, which convened a trade dispute panel to review the ban and the challenge.
Canada’s appeal will likely be heard early next year.
Canada is among a handful of countries that has a commercial seal hunt, including Norway and Greenland. Last spring’s commercial seal hunt off the coast of Newfoundland netted about 91,000 harp seals, far fewer than the federal quota of 400,000.
The chair of the Seals and Sealing Network said Monday afternoon he “condemns” the WTO report.
“The decision to uphold the current ban on seal products throughout the European Union both threatens the livelihood of people in coastal communities and jeopardizes wild fish stocks in Canada and in other jurisdictions around the world,” Dion Dakins told reporters.
Dakins said the report is “particularly hypocritical, given that Canada has the highest standards for our animal welfare practices in the world.”
Dakins also warned that the WTO’s findings on seal products could impact other food industries.
“The decision to uphold the ban should be taken very seriously by all sustainable use industries, as it may particularly have broad and unintended impacts for other trade sectors in Canada,” he said.
“Where do we draw the line on right versus wrong or good versus bad when it comes to the products of living resources?”
Chinese Animal Rights Campaigners Lambcast Cat And Dog Meat Trade
eNCA.com - November 22nd, 2014
BEIJING - Animal rights campaigners have launched a poster campaign urging Chinese diners to turn down cat and dog dishes, with the group calling for the creatures to be considered "friends not food".
The 279 adverts were put up in 14 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Hong Kong-based campaign group Animals Asia said.
Cat and dog meat are not widely eaten in China but can be found at some restaurants, particularly in the south, where they are sometimes considered specialities.
But as the country has grown wealthier pet ownership has increased, and more than 30 million households now keep a cat or dog, according to research group Euromonitor.
Animals Asia appeared to be trying to tap into that growing demographic of pet owners.
One poster showed a small girl sitting with two dogs while a human hand aimed a pair of chopsticks at one of the animals.
"What you just put into your mouth could have been a child's partner in growth," the advertisement read.
"Be healthy. Say no to cat and dog meat."
On its website Animals Asia said the posters, announced earlier this month, aimed to inform the public of health risks from eating cat and dog, and were intended "to prompt people to re-evaluate why they'd eat animals they might otherwise consider friends not food".
China does not have any laws to protect non-endangered animals.
The animal rights movement in the country remains small but it is growing, with volunteers banding together to mount rescues of dogs and cats from trucks transporting them to restaurants where they are served as meat.
Around 600 cats stuffed into wooden crates and on their way to such a fate were rescued after a truck crash in January.
A convoy of trucks carrying about 500 dogs to be sold as meat was stopped by volunteers on a highway in Beijing in 2011 and the animals retrieved.
Irene Feng, dog and cat welfare director for Animals Asia, highlighted the uncertainty that accompanies eating such meat.
"The truth is, if you eat dog or cat then you have no idea where that meat is coming from or how safe it is," she said on the website.
Numerous abandoned cats and dogs are taken from the streets while pets are stolen and taken to "horrific meat markets", Feng added.
"We believe that, faced with this knowledge, most people would find such a meal entirely unappetising."
(Picture below - Animal rights activists protest against eating dog meat outside a dog meat restaurant in Yulin, southwest China's Guangxi province on June 21, 2013.)
Undercover Investigator Charged With Animal Cruelty
For Videotaping Farm Abuse
Green Is The New Red - By Will Potter -November 22, 2013
An undercover investigator for the animal protection nonprofit Compassion Over Killing is being charged with animal cruelty for filming animal abuse of newborn calves in Colorado.
Taylor Radig worked at Quanah Cattle Co. in Kersey, Colorado, and covertly filmed calves, some so young they still had umbilical cords attached, being kicked, thrown, and slammed onto trucks. Video footage was released by the group on November 13th, and on November 15th criminal charges were filed against three men shown abusing the animals.
At the time, Sherriff John Cooke said ”We still have work to do. We want to make sure we have identified all the suspects and all the parties to determine if we need to make other arrests.”
Today the Sherriff’s department announced additional charges were filed against the young woman who filmed the abuse and turned over the footage to the police.
In a press release, the police admit as much: “The video footage was eventually provided to law enforcement by representatives of Compassion Over Killing approximately 2 months after Radig’s employment ended with Quanah Cattle Company… Radig’s failure to report the alleged abuse of the animals in a timely manner adheres to the definition of acting with negligence and substantiates the charge Animal Cruelty.” Radig is also accused of participating in the abuse.
Compassion Over Killing said in a statement that the prosecution is retaliatory: “The charge against our investigator is unsupported by the law and it reeks of political motivation fueled by an agribusiness industry that is once again lashing out in desperation to stop undercover investigators from exposing the truth.”
The prosecution of a whistleblower who exposed animal cruelty in this way is unprecedented.
However, the agriculture industry has been campaigning heavily for “ag-gag” laws that would make it illegal to photograph or videotape animal abuse on factory farms. In Utah, the first ag-gag prosecution was against a woman who filmed a slaughterhouse from the public street.
The latest versions of these bills require investigators to turn over video footage to law enforcement immediately, and some of them would prohibit investigators from speaking with the press.
These so-called “mandatory reporting” requirements — which are strikingly similar to what is at issue in this case — are intended to stop national animal welfare groups from documenting patterns of abuse. Such legislation was introduced in New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, Tennessee, California, and North Carolina this year — and failed in every state.
Colorado is not an “ag-gag” state, but this is clearly part of that trend, and could indicate ag-gag legislation about to be introduced in Colorado.
Prosecuting animal welfare advocates for exposing animal cruelty is clearly an attempt by Big Ag to send a chilling message to anyone who not only records abuse, but comes forward and turns over that footage to the police.
$123M Wasted on Underground Animal Testing Lab for ‘Better Conditions
One Green Planet - Alexis Croswell - November 20th, 2013
Proponents of animal testing just can’t seem to get the big picture. Public interest is becoming more aware of how lab animals are treated, and the advances in humane alternatives that exist. Yet, despite all this, the regents at University of Washington recently approved a new $123 million dollar animal research facility without discussion, according to KUOW.
At this point in our history, there is nothing new and exciting about expanding an animal research facility. If a university really wanted to get noticed, to be on the cutting edge of medical science, they would invest in future technology that has potential to be more accurate, like stem cells, 3D printing, and other human analogs.
KUOW reports that the lab will be underground to avoid blocking views of Portage Bay. It’s not a huge leap to also speculate that having an underground research facility conveys some sort of shame for what is taking place inside.
The Seattle Times reports the following grim additions that will take place in the new facility:
•Space for an additional 280 monkeys (they currently have 650)
•Increase the number of rodents 10 – 20 percent
•Nearly double the current number of pigs
Orin Smith, the UW Board of Regents Chair, said to KUOW that “he hopes the UW will have more alternatives to animal research in the future.” Perhaps he could have helped that goal by providing $123 million to fund animal testing alternatives, instead of an underground animal research facility.
+972 Magazine - By Haggai Matar - Published November 9, 2013
The last week has been action packed for Israeli animal rights activists, offering further proof of the movement’s growing influence over Israeli society.
It started last Friday, when members of an animal rights group stood silently in the center of Tel Aviv. Each member held a dead chicken in his or her hands, wearing t-shirts that read “Their lives are in your hands.” On Tuesday, about 20 activists from several different groups showed up at the Soglowek slaughter house in Shlomi (a small development town near the Lebanese border), chained themselves to the gates of the factory and the approaching bird-carrying trucks. Three were arrested.
On Thursday, another animal rights group held a protest inside a major supermarket in Tel Aviv. The activists poured fake blood all over the poultry section and called upon shoppers to take responsibility for what they buy and eat. One was arrested and held over night in detention before being released the next day. Another quiet vigil took place in the city of Ramle on Friday, where three activists were detained for handing out leaflets which included information on animal rights.
The actions come in the wake of an investigative story aired on the primetime Channel 2 show Kolbotek. The story included a film recorded by activists, which showed the brutal conditions under which chickens are held and slaughtered in the Soglowek Shlomi factory. The show also recently aired a similar story about Tnuva’s cattle slaughter house.
The increase is activism coincides with notable rise of veganism and animal rights discourse in Israel. Up until two years ago the movement was extremely small, and although dedicated activists were putting in a lot of hard work and pushing through positive laws in Knesset (like the ban on Foie Gras), the general public and political discourse was oblivious to the issue. The last few years, however, have seen a rise in the movement, especially since American activist and vegan guru Gary Yourofsky visited the country in September 2012. Yourofsky’s famous Hebrew-subtitled YouTube lecture has nearly 700,000 views, and more and more public figures – including prominent journalists, academics, politicians and athletes – have been calling on people to watch the lecture and go vegan, or at least adopt a model of “Meatless Monday.”
Furthermore, new vegan restaurants have opened in Tel Aviv and elsewhere, and a new NGO called “Vegan Friendly” has begun awarding restaurants with special label if they have sufficiently varied vegan options on their menus (and all this in a country that has always been vegetarian friendly by nature). At the same time, a new activist group by the name of 269 was created, characterized by its members’ symbolic choice to tattoo or burn the number onto their skin as a mark of solidarity with calfs who are branded before slaughter. As Haaretz reported, the group became the heart of an international movement of the same name.
And so Israel, or at least a significant part of the Israeli elite, has become a center for animal rights discourse. With animal rights activism on the rise, Yourofsky is about to make another highly-anticipated tour throughout the country. But the current push toward animal rights does not go without criticism, even from the left wing, human rights activists of the movement. I explore these criticisms in a separate post.
For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.
China Bans Ancient Dog-Eating Festival After Online Uproar
Posted by Xiao Kang on November 8, 2013 - Vegetarian Friend
China has banned a dog-eating festival that dates back more than 600 years after a Chinese internet uproar over the way dogs are slaughtered, the official Xinhua news agency reports.
Dogs are butchered in the streets of Qianxi township in coastal Zhejiang province to prove the meat is fresh during the ancient festival, which is usually held in October.
The festival marks a local military victory during the Ming dynasty, in which dogs in Qianxi were killed so they would not bark and alert the enemy, state-run Xinhua says.
After the victory, dog meat was served at a celebratory feast, and since then local people have eaten dog meat at temple fairs held during traditional Chinese holidays, Agence France-Presse reported.
"The ancient fair was replaced by a modern commodity fair in the 1980s, but dog eating has been kept as a tradition," Xinhua says.
More from GlobalPost: Can eating dogs be done humanely?
"However, vendors began to butcher dogs in public a few years ago to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers' worry that the meat may be refrigerator-preserved or even contaminated."
Thousands of Chinese internet users criticized the dog-eating festival on social networking sites, and called for the local Qianxi government to intervene.
"The government's quick response should be encouraged. I hope eating dogs will not be a custom there anymore. It's not a carnival, but a massacre," wrote an internet user named "Junchangzai" on a Chinese micro-blogging website, in a post that was "re-tweeted" 100,000 times, Xinhua says.
While dog ownership was banned in China during the Cultural Revolution as a bourgeois habit, it has become increasingly popular with China's growing middle class and one-child families, Reuters says.
Brazil Lab Which Used Dogs For Drug Testing Shuts Down
Straitstimes - Breaking News World - November 7th, 2013
SAO PAULO (AFP) - A Sao Paulo state laboratory which was recently invaded by animal rights activists to free 200 dogs used for drug testing shut down on Wednesday, ending 10 years of research.
The Instituto Royal lab said in a statement that the shutdown resulted from "high and irreparable losses and the damage caused by the October 18 invasion which led to the loss of all the animals and 10 years of research."
On that day, activists stormed the lab in Sao Roque, 60km from Sao Paulo, and freed some 200 Beagle dogs used for drug testing.
Most of the animals had their skins shaven and one was found dead, frozen in liquid nitrogen and with signs of mutilation.
Part of the lab installations were vandalized and a subsequent demonstration outside the lab degenerated into clashes between protesters and police.
The institute stressed that the resulting security crisis had "endangered the physical and moral integrity" of its 85 employees who had to be laid off.
Animal testing for scientific research is legal in Brazil and is regulated in line with international norms.
India Declares Dolphins & Whales As ‘Non-Human Persons,’ Dolphin Shows
Collective Evolution - By Alanna Ketler - September 17th, 2013
It was a great day for animal rights activists around the world when India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests agreed to ban the use of dolphins and other cetaceans such as whales and porpoises for public entertainment and forbid them from being held captive anywhere in India.
This decision was made after India had decided to open up several parks featuring aquariums with dolphins and whales. Activists began protesting and trying to explain how dolphins and whales are in fact much smarter than we may have thought and their cognitive abilities are quite impressive. A lot of information was given in favour of these mammals to showcase just how intelligent they really are. The notion was given that it was entirely inhumane to keep these animals in captivity.
The movement for dolphin and cetacean rights really took off and gained some ground in 2011 when the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a meeting that included conservationists, environmentalists, philosophers, and animal behaviorists. They began to gather support for the Declaration of Rights For Cetaceans from the scientific community. The declaration states (1):
1. Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
2. No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
3. All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
4. No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
5. Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
6. Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
For many, it has been long known that dolphins and whales are extremely intelligent creatures. This is probably why they were being locked up in aquariums and zoos and being forced to do tricks in the first place. Dolphins have been known to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, give each other distinct names, solve puzzles, they even have their own culture and hunting practices.
In the video clip below you will see some smart dolphins in action as they assist fisherman. A tradition that has been going on for 150 years, has been passed down through generations of fishermen, but even more generations of dolphins.
So, the question remains… is it fair that only dolphins and whales receive this title of ‘Non-Human Persons?’ Or should we include other intelligent animals as well? Where do we draw the line? Why shouldn’t all animals have equal rights? And especially, the right to life?
By Mary Cella - September 6th, 2013 - HLNTV.com - Jane Velez Mitchell
Thousands of hens were rescued from certain death and flown across the country in a private plane to start a new life of freedom. A California group called
Animal Place rescued 3,000 egg-laying hens about to be killed at a commercial egg farm. Rescuers say these hens are what the egg industry calls "spent hens" and are routinely killed when they’re only 2-years-old.
Decades-Long Campaign Ends Animal Use At Milirary Medical Schools
September 3rd, 2013
Dear PCRM Supporter,
"For more than 20 years, the Physicians Committee has pushed the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences—the country's only military medical school—to stop using animals to train medical students. On Sept. 3, 2013, the university agreed."
"Live animals are no longer used for training in the undergraduate medical curriculum," confirmed USUHS dean John E. McManigle, M.D., F.A.C.P., in an e-mail to John Pippin, M.D., director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee.
"We could not have succeeded without your support!"
"In the mid-1980s, the university made headlines in announcing plans to shoot beagles in a medical training exercise. A public outcry aborted the experiments. However, the university conducted other experiments on dogs as part of its routine medical curriculum. Medical students contacted PCRM, asking for help. Given their military obligation, they could not refuse to participate nor could they transfer out of the school."
"In 1991, at PCRM's request, eleven members of the House Armed Services Committee, including Pat Schroeder on the left and Bob Dornan on the political right, signed onto a letter asking the university to look into alternatives to animal laboratories and to respect students’ choices about participating. But the university refused to budge. Records obtained in 2007 through the federal Freedom of Information Act confirmed three separate live animal laboratories in the curriculum."
"The Physicians Committee filed a petition with the Department of Defense asking for an end to this animal use based on a 2005 DOD mandate that nonanimal alternatives be used when available. Dr. McManigle's recent e-mail confirms that USUHS joins the vast majority of medical schools in the United States and Canada that have moved away from animal use to ethically and educationally superior human-based instruction."
"The Physicians Committee continues to work with the four medical schools that continue to use live animals to help then transition to nonanimal methods: the University of Mississippi, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Oregon Health and Science University".
"Help us keep this momentum going and put pressure on the University of Mississippi to be the next school to move to nonanimal teaching methods."
"Thank you! Without you, PCRM would not be able to secure victories like this both for animals still used in medical education and for the future patients of today’s doctors in training."
By Jill Robinson MBE, Dr.med.vet. h.c. -
Founder and CEO, Animals Asia - August 29th, 2013 - Huffington Post Green
In August Animals Asia celebrated 15 years of working to end cruelty toward animals in Asia. On the very day of the anniversary, at a ceremony in Chengdu, China, 150 Chinese drugstores announced that they would no longer sell bear bile products. The event was organized by Animals Asia China Director Toby Zhang as part of the organization's "Healing without Harm" campaign.
More than 10,000 bears -- mainly moon bears, but also brown bears -- are kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 moon bears (and some sun bears) in Vietnam. The bears are milked regularly for their bile, which is used in traditional medicine. Bile is extracted using various, intrusive techniques, all of which cause massive trauma and infection to the bears. Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages. In China, the cages are sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. The bile is used in traditional medicine despite the availability of many herbal and synthetic alternatives.
Launched to focus predominantly on the plight of bears, dogs, and cats, Animals Asia is as true to its promise today as it was 15 years ago -- to work until the very last bear bile farm has closed, until bears can wake with the sun on their backs and without fear in their hearts, and when dogs and cats can be celebrated as our friends, not food.
The growth and development of the animal welfare movement in China since that special day has been explosive, and Animals Asia is at the forefront of significant progress in both China and Vietnam. Bear bile farming is now a major issue among the public and media in both countries, and while it is illegal in Vietnam, it is also looked upon with contempt from a massively growing number of the Chinese population.
Having relentlessly exposed bear bile farming cruelty in China for all of these years, we are seeing a massive upsurge against the industry today. Last year there was an unprecedented peak of outrage from the Chinese media and public, with the issue dominating news headlines for weeks. As the most prominent group working to end bear bile farming, Animals Asia was featured in over 8,300 Chinese-language press articles in February alone.
It's not easy sometimes for the West to gauge the huge Chinese opposition to bear bile use but it is immense. We are talking millions of people right here, right now championing the bears. In terms of public support this is not a divisive issue, the Chinese people have made their thoughts entirely known. Over the years, the campaign against bear bile farming has often been a sensitive one, but today it is clear that the issue is finally mainstream and even schools are engaged and involved, with support and numbers growing all the time.
The massive movement among the people of China is reflected by the support of pharmacies throughout the country who are taking a stand against the bear bile industry.
On our 15th anniversary, after exhaustive preparation by Toby Zhang and our team, we joined with the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) community in a celebration of harmony with nature, and "Healing without Harm" at a hotel in Chengdu.
Growing from four pharmacy chains and 33 individual TCM shops in 2010, the "Healing without Harm" campaign today sees a total of 11 pharmacy chains and 260 pharmacies proclaiming that they will neither sell nor prescribe bear bile to their customers. Their courage is particularly impressive as it is not always easy for those in the medical profession to stand up and make their feelings about this issue known. At the ceremony renowned Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, Professor Liu Zhen Cai told the assembled pharmacists,
"You love people and you love animals. Traditional Chinese Medicine was always called a kind practice, so we should be kind. 'Healing without Harm' is a campaign that is named very properly. It is not proper and it is not humane to hurt animals unnecessarily while treating people."
Because of the kindness and support of those in the medical community standing up against the use of bear bile we believe we are reaching a turning point, and we are calling on more professionals in the medical field in this campaign to end bear bile farming once and for all. It is simply the right thing to do--for the bears and for the good of people's health. "Healing without Harm" shows the true harmony between traditional Chinese medicine and nature.
The Times Of India - By Arun P. Mathew - August 8th, 2013
COIMBATORE: Animals will be totally banned from circus shows, said S Umarani, secretary, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). "Animals used in circus are treated brutally. They are kept hungry and cruel treatment is meted out to them. Hence, there is widespread demand for the ban of animals in circus shows," she said. In the city to inaugurate the animal welfare club at CMS Matriculation School on Wednesday under the aegis of Animal Rescuer's, an animal welfare organisation, Umarani said they plan to remove the use of animals from circus shows completely within a year.
Wild animals including tigers and lions have already been banned from the shows for more than 10 years. However, animals including horses, camels and dogs are still being used. The board plans to ban these animals too.
However, this decision has not gone down well with those part of the circus industry. "Given this ban, we will have to concentrate more on acrobatic performances," said Shrihari Nair, a media co-ordinator of various circus groups including Gemini and Jumbo Circuses.
Treehugger - By Stephen Messenger /
Science / Natural Sciences - August 2nd, 2013
What the tropical nation of Costa Rica lacks in size, it more than makes up for in a wealth of biodiversity. Despite occupying just 0.03% of the planet’s surface, the region's lush forests are home to an incredible 500 thousand unique organisms -- representing over 4% of all the known species on Earth. For the hundreds of animals held captive in the country's zoos, however, that hotbed of life had been replaced by the cold bars of a cage.
But now, in a remarkable push to restore natural order for all its animal inhabitants, the Costa Rican government has announced plans to close its zoos, freeing creatures from their long captivity.
“We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way,” said Environment Minister René Castro. “We don't want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.”
The closures will take effect in March 2014, when the government's contract with the organization that operates its two zoos is set to expire -- a move that Castro says reflects "a change of environmental conscience among Costa Ricans." The facilities which now house captive animals, Simon Bolivar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center, will be then transformed into urban parks or gardens where wildlife can visit and live freely if they so choose.
As for the many birds, mammals, reptiles and insects on display today, the government is working to find them more appropriate homes. It is believed that many of these animals will be able to be relocated within the nation's vast forest preserves, with those deemed unsuited for release being sent to live out their days under the care of wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centers.
Costa Rica's move to shutter its zoos comes on the heels of other recent legislation aimed at protecting animals from a life in captivity. Earlier this year, India became the largest nation to ban the exploitation of dolphins, joining the ranks of Costa Rica, Hungary, and Chile. In the United States, the keeping of captive chimpanzees will soon be strictly limited as they are likely candidates for protection from the Endangered Species Act.
Still, despite the efforts of some animal-right groups which see zoo life as inherently inhumane, zoo closures in other parts of the world still seem a long way off. Quietly though, a paradigm shift may already be underway as popular thinking begins to consider a kinship and our shared fate with the natural world around us and not merely a dominion over it.
India Declares Dolphins "Non-Human Persons", Dolphin shows BANNED.
July 30th, 2013 - By Jason Scott Hackman - Daily Kos
Amazing, overlooked news from several months ago out of India.
India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to forbid the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country.
In a policy statement released Friday, the ministry advised state governments to reject any proposal to establish a dolphinarium “by any person / persons, organizations, government agencies, private or public enterprises that involves import, capture of cetacean species to establish for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition and interaction purposes whatsoever.”
“Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,” the ministry said.
I was surprised to read about this the other night, since it happened back in May and somehow escaped worldwide attention and the 24 hour media hoopla. The effort to re-categorize Cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises) as non-human persons has been gathering steam since a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 where a group of philosophers, conservationists, and animal behaviorists attempted to gather wide support for a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans from the scientific community.
1. Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
2. No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
3. All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
4. No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
5. Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
6. Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
And what does it mean to say an animal has "rights"?
Unlike[...] positive rights, such as the 'right' to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone. It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer.
Seems reasonable enough. Considering dolphin intelligence has been long been established, this declaration doesn't seem to be a particularly radical move. They exhibit self-awareness, use tools, cooperate to solve tasks, don't vote Republican, and very recently it was found that they possibly communicate to each other using individual names. The major real world implications of declaring them non-human persons would be the closing of dolphin and orca shows at marine parks, setting them free from aquariums and zoos, and a prohibition against kills, such as the one documented in Academy Award winning movie The Cove.
Of course, the biggest implication is the whole idea of creating a new category of non-human persons. Do we stop at dolphins and whales? And, if not, where do we draw the line? Once we give rights to some animals how do we justify our continued exploitation of others?
India is the first country in South Asia to ban the testing of cosmetics and its ingredients on animals.
Alokparna Sengupta, Humane Society International (HSI)/India’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign manager, said: “This is a major victory for countless animals who will no longer be made to suffer, and it is a proud moment for India as it becomes the first country in South Asia to end cosmetics cruelty.”
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Cosmetics Sectional Committee, chaired by the Drugs Controller General of India and is in line with the European Union's stand.
The decision follows appeals from various quarters, including that from the National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and campaigner for animal rights Maneka Gandhi, to prevent cruelty to animals.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, India, has also been campaigning to end the testing of household products and their ingredients on animals.
Any cosmetic product which carries out animal testing will face action as per provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Animal Cruelty Act. Violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by any person or corporate manager or owner is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3-10 years and shall also be liable to fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000, or with both.
The use of modern non-animal alternative tests also becomes mandatory, replacing invasive tests on animals. This means that any manufacturer interested in testing new cosmetic ingredients or finished products must first seek the approval from India’s regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organisation. A manufacturer will be given approval to test only after complying with the BIS non-animal standards.
More than 1,200 companies around the world have banned all animal tests in favour of effective, modern non-animal tests, but many still choose to subject animals to painful tests.
Member of Parliament Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda said, “This is a great day for India and for the thousands of animals who will no longer suffer, yet more work must be done. Our government must go a step further by banning cosmetics products that are tested on animals abroad and then imported and sold here in India. Only then will India demonstrate its commitment to compassion and modern, non-animal research methods and truly be cruelty free.”
Israel and the 27 countries that make up the European Union have implemented both testing and sales bans to bring an end to cosmetics animal suffering in their respective jurisdictions, and HSI is leading the campaign to persuade India to become the next fully cruelty-free cosmetics zone. A sales ban will prevent companies from outsourcing testing and importing animal-tested beauty products back into India for sale.
Horse Slaughterhouse In New Mexico Gets Go-Ahead From USDA Officials
By JERI CLAUSING - 06/28/13
Huffington Post - Green
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Federal officials cleared the way Friday for a return to domestic horse slaughter, granting a southeastern New Mexico company's application to convert its cattle facility into a horse processing plant.
In approving Valley Meat Co.'s plans to produce horse meat, Department of Agriculture officials also indicated they would grant similar permits to companies in Iowa and Missouri as early as next week.
With the action, the Roswell, N.M., company becomes the first operation in the nation licensed to process horses into meat since Congress effectively banned the practice seven years ago.
But the company's attorney said on Friday that he remained skeptical about Valley Meat Co.'s chances of opening any time soon, as the USDA must send an inspector to oversee operations and two animal rights groups have threated lawsuits to block the opening.
"This is very far from over," attorney Blair Dunn said. "The company is going to plan to begin operating in July. But with the potential lawsuits and the USDA – they have been dragging their feet for a year – so to now believe they are going to start supplying inspectors, we're not going to hold our breath."
The company has been fighting for the permit for than a year, sparking an emotional debate over whether horses are livestock or domestic companions.
The decision comes more than six months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying the process because the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter.
The Justice Department moved Friday to dismiss the case. Dunn said he would fight to keep it open until all issues, including attorneys' fees, are resolved.
Valley Meat Co. wants to ship horse meat to countries where people cook with it or feed it to animals.
The plant would become the first horse slaughterhouse to operate in the country since Congress banned the practice by eliminating funding for inspections at the plants. Congress reinstated the funding in 2011, but the USDA has been slow in granting permits, citing the need to re-establish an oversight program.
The USDA said it also expects to issue permits next week for Rains Natural Meats in Missouri and Responsible Transportation in Iowa.
"Since Congress has not yet acted to ban horse slaughter inspection, (the agriculture department) is legally required to issue a grant of inspection today to Valley Meats in Roswell, N.M., for equine slaughter," USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said.
"The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. Until Congress acts, the Department must continue to comply with current law."
The Obama administration's budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year eliminates funding for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, which would effectively reinstate the ban. And both the House and Senate agriculture committees have endorsed proposals that would cut the funding. But it is unclear when and if an agriculture appropriations bill will pass this year.
A return to domestic horse slaughter has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country's horse overpopulation and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.
The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue said they would follow through on plans to file suit to try to block the resumption of horse slaughter.
"The USDA's decision to start up domestic horse slaughter, while at the same time asking Congress to defund it, is bizarre and unwarranted," Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the humane society, said in a statement. "Slaughter plants have a history of polluting their communities and producing horse meat that is tainted with a dangerous cocktail of banned drugs. We intend to hold the Obama administration accountable in federal court for this inhumane, wasteful and illegal decision."
Proponents of a return to domestic horse slaughter point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have been increasing since slaughter was banned in 2006, leaving fewer humane options for horse owners who can't afford to care for or euthanize their animals.
They say it is better to slaughter the animals in humane, federally regulated facilities than have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or sold at auction houses that then ship them to inhumane facilities in Mexico.
The number of U.S. horses sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since 2006, the report says. Many humane groups agree that some of the worst abuse occurs in the slaughter pipeline. Many are pushing for a ban on domestic slaughter and a ban on shipping horses to Mexico and Canada.
Gov. Susana Martinez, a horse lover, said "creating a horse slaughter industry in New Mexico is wrong and I am strongly opposed."
New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell, a veterinarian, called on local, state and federal leaders to "work together to create solutions and provide sustainable funding to care for or humanely euthanize these unwanted horses. Continuing to ignore the plight of starving horses, creating a new horse slaughter plant, or exporting unwanted horses to Mexico won't solve this problem."
The Yakama Nation in Washington state applauded the USDA's decision. Tribal Council Chairman Harry Smiskin said "we hope that such a plant can also open somewhere in the Pacific Northwest to assist us in dealing with over 12,000 feral horses that are severely damaging our homelands."
In a news release, he said the horses have overgrazed the land, leaving some valleys and hillsides without grass or plant life.
AUSTRALIA TO SLAUGHTER 1500 KANGAROOS STARTING TONIGHT! Photos representing hundreds of slain joeys have been placed in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly to protest Canberra's annual kangaroo cull.
Canned Lion Hunting Report Suggests South African Business Booming
After Regulations Lifted
The Huffington Post / By Meredith Bennett-Smith - 6/05/2013
An investigation into the growing South African industry of hunting lions bred in captivity has reignited a long-running controversy among hunters, captive breeders and animal rights advocates.
The Guardian's Patrick Barkham investigated the practices of some of the 160 South African farms that legally breed lions and other wild animals -- many of which, animal advocates argue, will end up being shot by hunters who pay big bucks (sometimes close to $38,000) for the experience. This is the practice known as "canned hunting," and its popularity has increased significantly in the past few years. The South African Supreme Court in 2010 even struck down a law restricting the practice after lion breeders challenged the legislation.
"In the five years to 2006, 1,830 lion trophies were exported from South Africa," Barkham notes in his in-depth report on canned lion hunting. "In the five years to 2011, 4,062 were exported, a 122 percent increase, and the vast majority captive-bred animals."
Lions bred for canned hunting are generally kept in cages and released a few days before the hunt, according to Bloomberg. They are then killed by hunters using rifles or crossbows, as is the case in a graphic video (below), posted to YouTube in April, apparently showing a canned lion crossbow hunt.
The footage is shot from the perspective of a hunter who, perched in the bed of a vehicle, stalks a lioness, fires an arrow at her, hits her and watches her writhe in pain until she stops moving.
Pieter Potgieter, chair of the South African Predator Breeders' Association, defended the canned lion hunts as a perfectly acceptable business.
"The principle that you breed wild animals for economic exploitation is an international norm. It takes place everywhere in the world," Potgieter told the Agence France-Presse. "The problem is with the lions because the image has been created in the minds of people that the lion is the king of the animals. Walt Disney with his Lion King and all these things, they have created that image."
Today, more than half of South Africa's approximately 8,000 lions live in captivity rather than the wild, according to the AFP. Globally, there are around 32,000 African lions, a number which has seen a "substantial decline" and has earned them a "vulnerable" classification by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
While breeders claim their business is legitimate, animal rights advocates at Humane Society International argue the practice is inhumane, unethical and bad for South Africa's image.
The Campaign Against Canned Hunting calls for a ban on canned hunting in South Africa. Chris Mercer, one of the organization's founders, said in an email to The Huffington Post that the industry benefits from unsavory practices, such as the renting out of baby lion cubs for unwitting tourists to pet and cuddle.
"This enriches the canned hunting industry and allows lion farmers to externalise much of the cost of rearing the lionstock to huntable age," Mercer told HuffPost. "Tourists are deceitfully assured that the cubs will be released back to the wild. All of these cubs will eventually be killed by canned hunters."
Breeders may also capture wild lions -- sometimes from neighboring countries -- and smuggle them onto the farms, Mercer told Eye Witness News.
"This toxic industry is going to poison the conservation of wild lions," he told the site.
June 2nd, 2013 - By Patrick Barkham - The Guardian
"Canned hunting is a fast-growing business in South Africa, where thousands of lions are being bred on farms to be shot by wealthy foreign trophy-hunters.
They are adorably cute, with grubby brown fur so soft it seems to slip through my fingers like flour. It is only when one of the nine-week-old cubs playfully grabs my arm with its teeth and squeezes with an agonising grip that I remember – this is a lion, a wild animal. These four cubs are not wild, however. They are kept in a small pen behind the Lion's Den, a pub on a ranch in desolate countryside 75 miles south of Johannesburg. Tourists stop to pet them but most visitors do not venture over the hill, where the ranch has pens holding nearly 50 juvenile and fully-grown lions, and two tigers.
Moreson ranch is one of more than 160 such farms legally breeding big cats in South Africa. There are now more lions held in captivity (upwards of 5,000) in the country than live wild (about 2,000). While the owners of this ranch insist they do not hunt and kill their lions, animal welfare groups say most breeders sell their stock to be shot dead by wealthy trophy-hunters from Europe and North America, or for traditional medicine in Asia. The easy slaughter of animals in fenced areas is called "canned hunting", perhaps because it's rather like shooting fish in a barrel. A fully-grown, captive-bred lion is taken from its pen to an enclosed area where it wanders listlessly for some hours before being shot dead by a man with a shotgun, hand-gun or even a crossbow, standing safely on the back of a truck. forHe pays anything from £5,000 to £25,000, and it is all completely legal.
Like other tourists and daytrippers from Jo'burg, I pay a more modest £3.50 to hug the lions at Moreson, a game ranch which on its website invites tourists to come and enjoy the canned hunting of everything from pretty blesbok and springbok – South Africa's national symbol – to lions and crocodiles. After a cuddle with the cubs, I go on a "game drive" through the 2,000 hectare estate. Herds of blue wildebeest, red hartebeest and eland run from the truck, then stop and watch us, warily: according to the guides, the animals seem to know when visitors are not carrying guns. At the far end of the property is an abandoned farm, surrounded by pens of lethargic-looking big cats. One pair mate in front of us. Two healthy looking tigers tear at chicken carcasses rapidly rotting in the African sun.
The animals look well cared for. But Cathleen Benade, a ranch assistant who is studying wildlife photography and is devoted to the cubs, reveals that they were taken away from their mothers just an hour after birth and bottle-fed by humans for the first eight weeks of their life. After dark, as the lions roar in the cages below the pub veranda, Maryke Van Der Merwe, the manager of Lion's Den and daughter of the ranch owner, explains that if the cubs weren't separated from their mother – by blowing a horn to scare the adult lion away – the young lions would starve to death, because their mother had no milk. She says the mother is not distressed: "She's looking for the cubs for a few hours but it's not like she's sad. After a day or two I don't think she remembered that she had cubs."
Animal welfare experts disagree, however. They say breeders remove the cubs from their mother so that the lioness will quickly become fertile again, as they squeeze as many cubs from their adults as possible – five litters every two years. For an animal that is usually weaned at six months, missing out on the crucial colostrum, or first milk, can cause ill-health. "These breeders tell you they removed the cubs because the mother had no milk; I've never seen that in the wild," says Pieter Kat, an evolutionary biologist who has worked with wild lions in Kenya and Botswana. "Lions and tigers in captivity may kill their young because they are under a lot of stress. But the main reason breeders separate the young from their mother is because they don't want them to be dependant on their mother. Separation brings the female back into a reproductive position much faster than if the cubs were around. It's a conveyor-belt production of animals."
South Africa has a strong hunting tradition but few people express much enthusiasm for its debased canned form. It is still legal to bring a lion carcass back to Britain (or anywhere in Europe or North America) as a trophy, and much of the demand comes from overseas. Trophy-hunters are attracted by the guarantee of success, and the price: a wild lion shot on a safari in Tanzania may cost £50,000, compared with a £5,000 captive-bred specimen in South Africa. Five years ago, the South African government effectively banned canned hunting by requiring an animal to roam free for two years before it could be hunted, severely restricting breeders and hunters' profitability. But lion breeders challenged the policy in South Africa's courts and a high court judge eventually ruled that such restrictions were "not rational". The number of trophy hunted animals has since soared. In the five years to 2006, 1,830 lion trophies were exported from South Africa; in the five years to 2011, 4,062 were exported, a 122% increase, and the vast majority captive-bred animals.
Demand from the Far East is also driving profits for lions breeders. In 2001, two lions were exported as "trophies" to China, Laos and Vietnam; in 2011, 70 lion trophies were exported to those nations. While the trade in tiger parts is now illegal, demand for lion parts for traditional Asian medicine is soaring. In 2009, five lion skeletons were exported from South Africa to Laos; in 2011, it was 496. The legal export of lion bones and whole carcasses has also soared. "It's definitely a rapidly growing source of revenue for these canned breeding facilities," says Will Travers of the charity Born Free. "The increase and volume are terrifying."
Breeders argue it is better that hunters shoot a captive-bred lion than further endanger the wild populations, but conservationists and animal welfare groups dispute this. Wild populations of lions have declined by 80% in 20 years, so the rise of lion farms and canned hunting has not protected wild lions. In fact, according to Fiona Miles, director of Lionsrock, a big cat sanctuary in South Africa run by the charity Four Paws, it is fuelling it. The lion farms' creation of a market for canned lion hunts puts a clear price-tag on the head of every wild lion, she says; they create a financial incentive for local people, who collude with poachers or turn a blind eye to illegal lion kills. Trophy-hunters who begin with a captive-bred lion may then graduate to the real, wild thing.
"It's factory-farming of lions, and it's shocking," says Miles. She began working to protect lions after watching a seminal documentary about canned hunting. "The lion all around the world is known as the iconic king of the jungle – that's how it's portrayed in advertising and written into story books – and yet people have reduced it to a commodity, something that can be traded and used."
An alternative use for the captive-bred lions might be tourism. We go for a "lion walk" with Martin Quinn, a conservation educator and lion whisperer. This involves strolling through the veld with three adolescent white lions, which have been bred on Moreson ranch and trained by Quinn and his assistant, Thompson. These striking white lions (which tend to be very inbred, say animal welfare groups) bound around us, rush on, and then lie in the grass, ready for an ambush. Armed only with sticks, Quinn and Thompson control them, while warning us that they are still wild animals. It is an unnerving experience, but Quinn hopes this venture will persuade Moreson ranch that a live lion is worth more than a dead one.
He claims that since he began working with lions at the ranch in January, the owners have not sold on any lions to be hunted. He hopes the ranch will eventually allow the offspring of its captive animals to grow up in the wild. (Breeders sometimes claim their lions are for conservation programmes but examples of captive-bred lions becoming wild animals again are vanishingly rare; even the most respectable zoo has never established a successful programme for releasing captive-bred lions into the wild.)
Pieter Kat, who founded the charity Lion Aid, says the lion walks are simply another income stream for breeders before their lucrative charges are sold on. Van Der Merwe is doubtful that Quinn's lion walks could replace the income the farm receives from selling its lions: "We keep them up until six months for attractions for the people so they can play with them and then we sell them to other lion parks," she says. She insists her ranch's website is wrong, and it does not hunt lions: "We sell them to other people who have the permit for lions. What they do with the lions is up to them. So we don't know what they do with the lions, but we don't do the canned hunting."
Three hours' drive from the ranch is Lionsrock, a former lion breeding farm transformed into a sanctuary for more than 80 abused big cats since it was bought by Four Paws. Some come from local breeding farms, but Four Paws also rescues animals kept in appalling conditions in zoos in Romania, Jordan and the Congo. Unlike in the lion farms, the animals here are not allowed to breed, and instead live within large enclosures in their natural prides, family groups of up to 10 lions.
Lionsrock can rehouse another 100 lions but does not have space for every captive-bred lion in South Africa. Four Paws and other charities working in South Africa want a moratorium on lion breeding because they fear that if lion farms were abruptly outlawed thousands of lions would be dumped or killed. After its high court defeat, there is little sign that the South African government will take on the powerful lion breeders again any time soon. "If we can stop people supporting those industries in the first place and make them aware of what's actually going on and what the life of a [captive-bred] lion is actually like, I believe there will be an outcry," says Miles. "There's far more value for a live lion long-term."
Lion breeders such as Van Der Merwe are not so sure. She says her caged lions have little to do with canned hunting, but admits that if the authorities banned canned hunting, "it would probably not be good for us … There's a lot of people from overseas coming to shoot lions. All the people know you come to Africa to shoot the lion or have a mount against your wall to say 'I've shot a lion'. They surely bring some money into South Africa."
She sees nothing wrong with hunting lions or keeping them in captivity. In fact, she says, she is part of a family of animal lovers: "We grew up with them, so it's nice. It's like babies in your house – when they are really small they walk around in your house and they follow you."
Bob Barker speaks out about Pennsylvania's infamously cruel live pigeon shoots. Please get involved - Pennsylvania Residents: Please contact your local State legislators and ask them to support SB510 (Senate Bill 510)
To find out who your state Senator and Representatives are, please click on this link: legis.state.pa.us
Says Dolphins Should Be Seen As ‘Non-Human Persons’
By Stephen Messenger - May 21st, 2013 - TreeHugger Science
"Dolphins have long been one of our favorite ocean-going animal counterparts, blurring the line that separates human intelligence and emotion from the wildness of nature. Sadly, though, this attraction has resulted in dolphins around the world being exploited for our entertainment, subjected to a life in captivity.
But now, in a bold move to protect the well-being of dolphins, India has moved to ban dolphin shows -- a push that helps elevate their status from creatures of mere curiosity to one that borders more closely to that of personhood.
Late last week, India's Minstry of the Environment and Forests released a statement banning "any person / persons, organizations, government agencies, private or public enterprises that involves import, capture of cetacean species to establish for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition and interaction purposes whatsoever.”
In so doing, India became the largest of four countries to ban the practice -- which includes Costa Rica, Hungary, and Chile. But the ministry didn't stop there; their thoughtful reasoning behind the ban seems squarely aimed at the dozens of countries across the globe, like in Europe and the United States, where dolphin shows are big business.
“Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,” reads the ministry's statement.
In the U.S., similar efforts on the part of animal rights organizations have failed to gain traction in courts, leaving the door open for both dolphins and orcas to be held in captivity and paraded for our entertainment. The stark realities of this life, held in small pools on the grounds of marine parks, can best be seen from overhead -- as with this facility in Florida, a stone's throw from animals' vast ocean habitat.
It's no wonder then, that India's move to abolish captivity for dolphins is being looked upon, among animal rights supporters, as a big step in the right direction.
“This is a huge win for dolphins,” says Ric O’Barry of the Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project. "Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins – as thinking, feeling beings rather than pieces of property to make money off of.”
By Will Potter - April 29, 2013 - Green Is The New Red
"This Utah woman filmed a slaughterhouse from the public street."
"Amy Meyer wanted to see the slaughterhouse for herself. She had heard that anyone passing by could view the animals, so she drove to Dale Smith Meatpacking Company in Draper City, Utah, and from the side of the road she could see through the barbed-wire fence. Piles of horns littered the property. Cows struggled with workers who tried to lead them into a building. And one scene in particular made her stop.
“A live cow who appeared to be sick or injured being carried away from the building in a tractor,” Meyer told me, “as though she were nothing more than rubble.”
As she witnessed this, Meyer did what most of us would in the age of smart phones and YouTube: she recorded.
When the slaughterhouse manager came outside and told her to stop, she replied that she was on the public easement and had the right to film. When police arrived, she said told them the same thing. According to the police report, the manager said she was trespassing and crossed over the barbed-wire fence, but the officer noted “there was no damage to the fence in my observation.”
(Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont are all considering similar bills right now.)
Meyer was allowed to leave. She later found out she was being prosecuted under the state’s new “ag-gag” law. This is the first prosecution in the country under one of these laws, which are designed to silence undercover investigators who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms. The legislation is a direct response to a series of shocking investigations by groups like the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing that have led to plant closures, public outrage, and criminal charges against workers.
Even the most sweeping ag-gag bills, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council model legislation, don’t explicitly target filming from a roadside. But Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont are all considering bills similar to the Utah law right now.
Pennsylvania’s bill criminalizes anyone who “records an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation” or who “uploads, downloads, transfers or otherwise sends” the footage using the Internet.
North Carolina’s bill doesn’t specifically mention factory farms or slaughterhouses: it is called the “Commerce Protection Act,” and it includes investigations of any industry. It was introduced on the same day a fifth employee of Butterball pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after an undercover investigation showed workers beating turkeys.
Tennessee’s bill has already passed and is awaiting signature from the governor. In response to calls for a veto from the Humane Society and Carrie Underwood, one state representative compared undercover investigations to rape and sex-trafficking.
California’s ag-gag bill recently failed, after a massive public backlash. One newspaper editorial said “the cattlemen have committed the worst PR gaffe since New Coke.” The bill was a response to an undercover investigation by the Humane Society that showed “downer” cows, too sick to move, being pushed by tractors (much like what Amy Meyer recorded in Utah). It led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history.
The public backlash against these bills, including recent editorials by the New York Times and Washington Post, has relied on hypothetical examples of how they could be used. The AFL-CIO and Teamsters say they could put workers at risk. The ASPCA says they could shut down lawful investigations by animal protection groups. The National Press Photographers Association says they could wrap up journalists.
The first ag-gag prosecution should be a warning that these aren’t hypothetical concerns. These bills have one purpose: keep consumers in the dark. Rather than respond to video footage of animal cruelty with across-the-board reforms, the industry is trying to turn off the cameras.
It’s telling that the owner of the slaughterhouse Amy Meyer filmed happens to be Darrell H. Smith, the town mayor. (Mayor Smith, the meatpacking company, and the local prosecutor did not return phone calls for comment). If that’s shocking to you, it shouldn’t be. In Iowa, for example, the nation’s first ag-gag law was sponsored by Rep. Annette Sweeney, who is the former director of the Iowa Angus Association.
In Utah, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Mathis, called undercover investigators “animal rights terrorists” and said video recordings of animal abuse are “propaganda.” In his opening remarks at a legislative hearing on the ag-gag bill, Mathis said: “It’s fun to see my good ag friends in this committee… all my good friends are here.” Ag-gag supporters couldn’t be any more transparent in their financial motivations for censorship.
It was prescient that, as the Utah bill was being considered, the Utah Sentencing Commission warned that it could be used against anyone who merely takes a photograph of a farm or slaughterhouse. At the time, Rep. Greg Hughes of Draper replied: “Who would really pursue that in terms of prosecution?” Now, the first ag-gag prosecution is for precisely that, in his own district.
Most people won’t ever find themselves in the position of Amy Meyer, of course. Few of us actively seek out information about how our food is produced. (Do you know the location of a factory farm, if you wanted to?) The animal products just arrive at the supermarket, without investigation or thought.
With ag-gag bills, the industry is trying to keep it that way. These bills are not just about animal activists from national organizations going undercover. They are about people like Amy Meyer, who have seen how animals are being treated, and who want you to see what they have seen.
Most importantly, ag-gag bills are about you — the millions of Americans who might see this footage, be sickened by it, and demand a change."
Hundreds Of Dogs Rescued Before Being Smuggled As Food
Posted: April 26th, 2013
Source - (CNN) - Over 680 dogs are rescued from smugglers in Thailand's northeastern provinces of Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom while being smuggled for consumption in Vietnam.
Animal control officers and army rangers found 550 dogs in a makeshift den built in an abandoned farmland in Sakon Nakhon's Kusuman District Thursday night.
The place is intended to keep the dogs before smuggling across the Mekong River to Laos and to a final destination in Vietnam. Officials said the smugglers fled before they arrived.
Most of the dogs are in good health. However, they will be taken for treatment at an Animal Quarantine Office in nearby Nakhon Phanom province.
In Nakhon Phanom's Tha Uten, a patrol unit spotted a pick-up truck loaded with 130 dogs on the bank of the Mekong River. The driver of the truck, stacked high with dogs stuffed into tiny cages, was nowhere to be seen.
Officials believe the dogs would have been loaded onto a boat to Laos, destined for Vietnam where dog meat is considered delicacy with medicinal benefit.
For many years, dogs in Thailand have been sent across the border in a lucrative business despite a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a fine of up to $670. Traffickers are known to round up stray dogs in rural Thai villages, and sell them for up to $33 per dog in Vietnam.
No Monkeying Around: Harvard Closing Primate Research Center
By Ed Silverman - April 24th, 2013 - via Pharmalot
In a move hailed by animal-rights activists, Harvard Medical School will close its New England Primate Research Center sometime over the next 12 to 24 months due to the difficulties in obtaining research funding. Consequently, a five-year federal grant from the US National Institutes of Health will not be renewed (here is the statement).
The decision comes after Harvard began investing to correct problems that resulted in the deaths of four monkeys between June 2010 and February 2012, which prompted an investigation by the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA probe cited Harvard for violations of animal welfare rules, which was a huge embarrassment for the school.
The primate center currently houses approximately 2,000 monkeys, including rhesus macaques, crab-eating macaques, common marmosets, squirrel monkeys and cotton top tamarins. But school officials say the closing is unrelated to the violations.
“The decision that we made was a strategic, long-term decision and not based in any way on the problems we had over the last several years,” med school dean Jeffrey Flier tells The Boston Globe. “The school would have had to make considerable investments. Those are investments that would not have been able to go in other directions. And when we looked at everything, including the more difficult external funding environment that we all face,” this was the right decision. The school estimates it would have to invest at least $25 million over the next five years.
Nancy Haigwood, director of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, tells the paper that the decision would slow down the pace of research into diseases that affect human health and might lead scientists to leave the Boston area to pursue their projects. The Harvard center is known for research into AIDS and Parkinson’s, among other ailments.
Deborah Kochevar, dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, tells the paper she was very surprised after chairing a panel of outside specialists who last year reviewed operations at the primate center and issued a report suggestings improvments, which Harvard seemed committed to pursuing.
Animal-rights activists, meanwhile, were ecstatic. “Harvard’s decision to close the New England Primate Research Center is a significant, positive development. As an organization, we advocate for better investment of research dollars. Moving away from the use of these highly intelligent animals is another step in that right direction. Our government should prioritize alternatives that will provide better, faster and more relevant results for human health,” says Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues at The Humane Society of the United States.
“Harvard wants the public to believe that this closure is due to economics,” says Michael Budkie, who heads Stop Animal Exploitation Now. “That is simply not true. The only way Harvard could quash this scandal is to close the primate center, because even last year’s resignation of the Center’s Director could not end their ineptitude.”
"A new Animal Equality investigation reveals shocking torture to lambs raised for their meat in Italy. For over a year, undercover investigators have captured shocking footage never seen before by the Italian public.
Every year, in Italy during the Easter Holidays, over 4 million lambs, sheep and goats are slaughtered. This is due to the consumption of this meat being a tradition to celebrate the holidays. The extortionate number of lambs killed every year is horrifying and forms part of a cruel massacre. This figure is even greater if we consider sheep and goats, which are exploited equally during this period of the year. The overall number of slaughtered animals prior to Easter totals approximately 800.000."
Starting the day in handcuffs is generally not considered ideal, but for Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell, it was a good way to spend the morning.
Cromwell, along with a PETA protestor named Jeremy Beckham, was arrested Thursday at the University of Wisconsin after interrupting a Board of Regents meeting.
The two protestors burst into the meeting to protest the university’s policy of using cats as lab animals. According to Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the pair held signs featuring a large photo of Double Trouble, a lab cat with metal implanted in her head.
“This is not science! This is cruel! Shame on you!” Cromwell admonished the board. Beckham echoed the sentiment, saying, “This is the reality of what happens to cats in labs. Take a look at the photograph. This is the pride of the university here.”
Cromwell and Beckham were unaware that the meeting was being streamed online, a fact that Cromwell considers a bonus, since it garnered more exposure for the protest. You can check out the video here.
“People saw us and heard us, and if we’d known, we would’ve gone up to the cameras, but I think a lot of people got out their phones and took photographs,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll go viral, and that’s why I’m here.”
Both Cromwell and Beckham were arrested by university police and brought to the Dane County jail. They were charged with disorderly conduct and have a court date next week. Cromwell said that they were treated courteously, and that being cuffed is “always fun.”
According to a PETA release, “Thirty cats a year at UW-Madison are starved, deafened and decapitated for brain research that hasn’t done accomplished its goals of improving human hearing. (Warning: That link leads to graphic and heartbreaking images of lab cat Double Trouble.)
However, a spokesman for the school emailed the Journal Sentinel to say that PETA’s claims are false. “Today’s events are just another attempt by these outside activists to get attention,” he said. “They have attacked and distorted this line of research, which has very real benefits for people who are deaf, from every angle, and they are getting no traction with the public.”
The research may benefit humans, but if the images in the PETA link are any indication, these cats are not treated humanely, a sentiment that Cromwell agrees with. “These photographs were very powerful,” he said. “It is something that can be seen that does affect people outside the scientific community and raise their ire, as it should.”
According to PETA, after Double Trouble was no longer useful as a live test subject, she was euthanized and decapitated for brain study. PETA has set up a petition to help other cats like Double Trouble; head over to the site to take action.
Cromwell has been an animal rights activist since his work on the movie “Babe,” when PETA reached out to him to save pigs from slaughter.
Factory Farm Abuses to be Considered "Act of Terrorism"
If New Law Passes /Jan 24th, 2013
AlterNet / By Katherine Paul, Ronnie Cummins
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.
How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products.
And who better to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the corporate-funded and infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012. The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah. But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.
In all, six states now have Ag-Gag laws, including North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, all of which passed the laws in 1990-1991, before the term “Ag-Gag” was coined.
Ag-Gag laws passed 20 years ago were focused more on deterring people from destroying property, or from either stealing animals or setting them free. Today’s ALEC-inspired bills take direct aim at anyone who tries to expose horrific acts of animal cruelty, dangerous animal-handling practices that might lead to food safety issues, or blatant disregard for environmental laws designed to protect waterways from animal waste runoff. In the past, most of those exposes have resulted from undercover investigations of exactly the type Big Ag wants to make illegal.
Wyoming’s HB 0126 is the perfect example of a direct link between an undercover investigation of a factory farm and the introduction of an Ag-Gag law. The bill was introduced mere weeks after nine factory workers at Wheatland, WY-based Wyoming Premium Farms, a supplier to Tyson Foods, were charged with animal cruelty following an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS activists videotaped workers kicking live piglets, swinging them by their hind legs and beating and kicking mother pigs. Charges were filed in late December. In January, State Rep. Sue Wallis and Senator Ogden Driskill introduced Wyoming’s Ag-Gag bill which would make it a criminal act to carry out investigations such as the one that exposed the cruelty at Wyoming Premium Farms.
Wallis and Driskill both have ties to Big Ag. Wallis was the subject of a conflict-of-interest complaint filed in 2010 by animal welfare groups. The groups accused her of improper and fraudulent abuse of her position as a legislator after she introduced a bill allowing the Wyoming Livestock Board to send stray horses to slaughter. At the time she introduced the bill, Wallis also was planning to develop a family-owned horse slaughter plant in the state. Both Wallis and Driskill are members of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association. Driskill has accepted political contributions from the livestock industry and Exxon Mobil, a member of ALEC.
Most of the Ag-Gag laws introduced since 2011 borrow the premise, if not the exact language, from model legislation designed by ALEC. ALEC’s sole purpose is to write model legislation that protects corporate profits. Industry then pushes state legislators to adapt the bills for their states and push them through. The idea behind the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act is to make it illegal to “enter an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.”
Australian Sheep 'Clubbed, Buried Alive' In Pakistan
Sept. 27th, 2012
At least 10,000 Australian sheep sent to Pakistan have been slaughtered, with Pakistani newspapers reporting a video which they say shows some of the animals being clubbed to death and others buried alive.
Karachi-based PK Meat and Food Company bought the sheep after authorities in Bahrain rejected the shipment on the grounds the animals were infected.
Authorities in Karachi then ordered the boatload of 20,468 sheep be killed because of the disease risk, but PK Meat and Food obtained a court order which temporarily stopped the killing.
The Pakistani court has now adjourned until Friday its decision on the remaining sheep stranded in Karachi.
But disturbing vision has surfaced which shows the brutal way in which 10,000 sheep were killed by local authorities.
The ABC has not seen the footage but Steven Meerwald, managing director of Wellard, the company that exported the sheep, has confirmed seeing it.
"One of the staff members at the facility took that vision during the culling, at some risk to themselves to be able to get evidence," he said.
Several Pakistani media outlets have also reported on the cruel footage.
The News International said the sheep had been stabbed, clubbed to death and buried alive.
The Express Tribune, another Pakistani paper, says nearly half of the 20,000 Australian sheep at the Karachi feedlot are either dead or missing.
Kazim Alam is the journalist with the Express Tribune who visited the feedlot where the sheep are being held.
"Along the boundary of the pen, I could see the dead sheep with flies buzzing around and the smell was absolutely - I just could not bear it," he said.
He says he was also shown a video by the importer showing some of the animals being destroyed by inexperienced butchers.
"The images were horrible. I could clearly see an animal which was evidently alive," he said.
"The animal was clearly alive, I could see the animal breathe, and yet, the animal was lying on a pile of recently slaughtered sheep. So it was very, I should say, cruel and inhumane."
Lyn White from Animals Australia raised the local media reports with the Government this morning and an investigation is now underway.
"There is no happy ending here. These sheep are either going to be culled or they're going to be killed for human consumption. Either way, they'll be slaughtered while fully conscious," she said.
She says Australian authorities have little control over what happens to the sheep once they are exported.
But she says it was not until the animals lost their commercial value in Pakistan that people became concerned about their welfare.
Audio: Listen to Sabra Lane's interview (The World Today)(See link below to website.)
"As soon as they seemingly lost their commercial value in Pakistan and the cull was ordered, we were so concerned about how they'd be treated," she said.
"When they had commercial value they are slaughtered in a manner that is unacceptable in Australia, let alone when they have none."
While Ms White concedes that the Middle East is Australia's largest market for sheep exports, she says Australia needs to draw a line.
"A question has to be asked, when is enough profit enough and when do ethics kick in here? And we keep these animals in our care, under our protection," she said.
The Federal Agriculture Department's acting deputy secretary Paul Morris says the exporter of the sheep, Wellard, could be held responsible for their treatment in Pakistan under the new export supply chain assurance system.
"There's a range of conditions that can be placed on future exports if they're found to be in breach of those requirements and ultimately there is a penalty of removing their licence if severe compliance problems are found," he said.
In a statement the Fremantle-based exporter said "we are concerned by the slaughter method because it is inconsistent with Wellard's animal welfare ethos".
Wellard says its stockmen were forced to leave its export partner's accredited abattoir by local police, and local livestock department officials then undertook a cull.
Stephen Meerwald is quoted in the International News report as saying he has not eaten or slept since seeing the "gruesome" footage.
"Regardless of whether they were healthy or not, the way they were killed or buried alive is neither humane, nor Islamic," he said.
The Agriculture Department says it and Australia's High Commission in Pakistan continue to be "actively involved" in matters relating to the sheep in Karachi.
By Giornale Di Brescia - April 28, 2012 | DGR News Service
They broke through or climbed over the gate networks. They made their way inside the farm and opened the cages, taking away puppies, pregnant mothers, and all the little beagle puppies they could find. It was a raid organized by Occupy Green Hill to demand the closure of the mill.
The procession started at the parking lot of PalaGeorge, and was attended by about 1000 people from all over North Italy and also from the center. By way of the action Sepentone deflected, and instead of going towards Via San Zeno, the main road leading farm where he was deployed the cordon of police, groups of protesters cut through the fields and the lanes, coming close to the fences.
From then on, the situation has become confused with groups of demonstrators who tried to open gates in the perimeter and teams of mobile riot police and police deployed to contain them. On the side of the gates, however, the protesters opened a breach in the fence and broke into the farm, going into the sheds and taking away at least thirty dogs.
By the end of the day, police had arrested 12 people from the local police station Montichiari, and transferred them to Desenzano. Some protesters said they had suffered violence by officials.
Green Hill 2001 is a company located in Montichiari (Brescia), which breeds beagle dogs to vivisection labs. From this farm, more than 250 dogs each month end in the enclosures, in the hands of vivisectors and on operating tables. Dogs there are born to die and sentenced to suffer.
After the collapse of the other Italian breeder of laboratory beagle dogs, the Morini Stefano di San Polo d’Enza, it is likely that Green Hill has had a greater demand, expanding and becoming one of the main breeding dogs in the European market research animals.
Inside the Green Hill 5 huts are locked up to 2500 adult dogs, plus several litters. A lager made of animal shelters closed, aseptic, without open spaces without natural light or air. Rows and rows of cages with artificial lighting and ventilation system are the environment in which these dogs develop before being loaded onto a truck and shipped to hellish laboratories.
Among the clients of Green Hill, there are university laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and renowned trial centers as the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences in England, the largest animal torture laboratory in Europe.
Who derives profit from this pain?
For some years now Green Hill was acquired by an American firm called Marshall Farms Inc. Marshall is a name infamous throughout the world as it is the largest “factory” dog lab in existence. The Marshall beagle is actually a standard variety.
Marshall’s dogs are shipped by air all over the world, but with the purchase of Green Hill as the European headquarters and the construction of a huge farm in China, Marshall is pursuing a plan of expansion and market monopoly.
In this it must also be seen that the expansion project includes the construction of other shelters in Montichiari, which would provide Green Hill with 5,000 dogs, making it the largest beagle dog breeder in Europe.
For a price from $600 to $1200 you can buy dogs of all ages. Those willing to pay more can also buy a pregnant mother.
Green Hill Farm and Marshall also offer its customers surgical treatments on demand, including the cutting or removal of the vocal cords.
For Green Hill and Marshall Farm animals are just merchandise, objects to breed and sell, without the slightest scruple about pain and suffering – mental and physical – that they will suffer.
By Penny Tilton - Kansas City Animal Advocacy Examiner
April 28, Montichiari Italy, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) of Italy, protested Green Hill, a facility that breeds and raises Beagles for animal testing. Dozens of ALF protesters infiltrated one of the breeding kennels that housed the female dogs and their puppies. Once inside the facility the protesters managed to release 1 adult female beagle and 25-30 puppies, before the police intervened and arrested 12 of the protesters. Allegedly this has set off a cyber attack from Anonymous called SD fur.
At 16:15 a group of ALF protesters hurled stones at the first building of kennel, they then climbed over the fence to reach the cages where the animals are locked up. As the Police were trying to get past the blockade of outside protesters, a dozen other ALF protesters came out carrying handfuls of puppies and one adult female beagle. The protesters started lifting the dog and puppies over the fence to the ALF protesters on the other side. The ALF protesters managed to release some 25-30 puppies before police broke through the barricade of protesters. The police eventually arrested 12 of the protesters and seized 7 of the puppies. Some protesters said they “experienced violence by some of the officials.”
Each year in the UK around 4 million animals of various species are killed in vivsection labs.....and over 100 million worldwide! In the 21st century there is no place for animals to be used and killed when there are many alternative methods that benefit hmuans and animals alike.
Broad Spectrum of National Interest Groups Sign On to Oppose "Ag-Gag"
Feb. 23, 2012,
NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire -
Twenty-seven national groups representing a wide spectrum of public interests have signed on to a statement opposing proposed "ag-gag" legislation that is being considered in states around the country. These bills seek to criminalize investigations that reveal animal abuse and could suppress critical information about the production of animal products on agricultural facilities.
The statement, which is being provided to lawmakers who are currently reviewing ag-gag legislation, was organized by a coalition of national animal welfare organizations that have come together to collectively combat these harmful proposals. These organizations include the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Compassion Over Killing, Farm Forward, Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), In Defense of Animals and Mercy For Animals (MFA).
The statement reads in part:
"These bills represent a wholesale assault on many fundamental values shared by all people across the United States. Not only would these bills perpetuate animal abuse on industrial farms, they would also threaten workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. We call on state legislators around the nation to drop or vote against these dangerous and un-American efforts."
In addition to the aforementioned animal organizations, the following groups representing civil liberties, public health, food safety, environmental, food justice, legal, workers' rights and First Amendment interests signed on to the statement: A Well-Fed World; Brighter Green; Center for Constitutional Rights; Center for Science in the Public Interest; The Cornucopia Institute; Earth Policy Institute; Earth Save; Food and Water Watch; Food Empowerment Project; Government Accountability Project; National Freedom of Information Coalition; National Press Photographers Association; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Consumers Association; Slow Food USA; T. Colin Campbell Foundation; United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; Whistleblower Support Fund; and Youth for Environmental Sanity.
In a recent poll commissioned by the ASPCA, it was revealed that 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on industrial farms and 64 percent oppose making such efforts illegal. Additionally, 94 percent of Americans feel that it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat, and 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.
Some of the horrific cruelties committed on industrial farms have been exposed by investigators from such animal welfare groups as The HSUS, MFA and Compassion Over Killing. These include newborn piglets screaming in pain at breeding facilities in Oklahoma, workers kicking and stomping on turkeys at a Butterball facility in North Carolina, dairy calves being stabbed repeatedly with pitchforks on an Ohio dairy farm, and ducks being tortured at the nation's largest foie gras factory farm.
Undercover farm investigations have also led to the disclosure of crucial health and welfare information and many groundbreaking reforms, including a ban on cruel confinement systems in California, the closure of a massive slaughterhouse that was shipping meat from sick animals to public schools, and the development of humane slaughter protocols.
This year, ag-gag legislation is being considered in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah. Ag-gag proposals were also being considered as part of two bills in Florida, but lawmakers in January decided to remove the controversial language after pressure from constituents and animal protection groups. In addition to industrial farms, these bills have the potential to shield slaughter plants and puppy mills from legitimate investigations.
About the ASPCA®Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org .
About Compassion Over KillingCompassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal protection organization based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Since 1995, COK has worked to end the abuse of animals in agriculture through undercover investigations, public outreach, litigation, and other advocacy programs. COK is on the web at COK.net.
About Farm SanctuaryFarm Sanctuary promotes legislative, policy, and individual lifestyle changes to help farm animals. Farm Sanctuary's shelters in New York and California provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals. For more information, please visit farmsanctuary.org.
About In Defense of AnimalsIn Defense of Animals (IDA) has been in the forefront of protecting the rights, welfare and habitat of animals since 1983.
About Mercy For AnimalsMercy For Animals is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies. MFA works to fulfill its mission through education campaigns, undercover cruelty investigations, legal advocacy and animal welfare corporate outreach. For more information, visit www.MercyForAnimals.org .
We are delighted to announce that the Greek Government has banned the use of all animals in circuses following a campaign by ADI and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), backed by over 50 local animal protection groups across Greece. The new animal protection law also addresses a number of important issues concerning stray animals.
Tim Phillips of ADI, who launched the Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Greece in 2006 said: “In circuses in Greece we saw horrific suffering. I remember a hippo living in a small, filthy cage on the back of a lorry with a stinking pool barely bigger than a bath tub to wallow in. This is a great day for animal protection in Greece and indeed Europe. We applaud the Greek Government for taking a strong, unequivocal stand against animal suffering in circuses.”
Evgenia Mataragka of the GAWF, based in Athens said: “We are delighted that Greece has said no to cruelty in the name of entertainment. We have witnessed terrible suffering of animals in traveling circuses here and these animals often have to endure long journeys by sea from Italy. Many municipalities have already banned animal circuses in Greece, so we believe that this will be a popular with Greek people.”
Greece is the second country, behind Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Europe to ban all animals from circuses. Austria and Croatia currently have bans on wild animal acts, and several European countries including Portugal and Denmark have measures to ban or phase out wild animals in circuses.
Bolivia was the first country to ban all animals from circuses and, in February 2011, ADI completed an enforcement operation with the Bolivian authorities closing down and rescuing every animal from circuses defying the law. This included relocating 29 lions to the USA as well as rescuing primates and horses.
ADI and GAWF have said they are committed to assisting the Greek Government with enforcing the ban.
In July 2011, Peru banned wild animals in circuses following an undercover investigation and campaign by ADI. It is clear now that the days are numbered for keeping animals in travelling facilities and forcing them to do tricks in the name of entertainment. Legislation is currently being considered by the Governments of the USA, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador.
The UK will now be under considerable pressure to implement a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, which was called for by an overwhelming vote by back bench MPs last year. The British Government had cited a legal challenge to Austria’s ban on wild animal acts as a reason for not implementing a UK ban. However, in December the Austrian Constitutional Court in Vienna announced that it had thrown out the application by Circus Krone to overturn Austria’s ban.
Two animal-rights activists were arrested on Saturday at a protest of the University of Florida's use of primates in research.
Camille Marino and Lisa Grossman, part of the animal rights group Negotiation is Over, were protesting outside the Gator Gala awards ceremony at Emerson Alumni Hall. Gainesville police arrested Marino on an out-of-state warrant and Grossman for a suspended driver's license.
Marino, 47, is being held at the Alachua County jail and awaiting extradition to Michigan. The warrant stems from a case in which she posted the home address, phone number and other information online about a researcher at Wayne State University in Detroit. The researcher obtained a court order for the information to be removed.
Marino was held in criminal contempt for failing to do so and ordered to pay more than $6,281 in his legal fees.
Grossman, 50, of Jacksonville, was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for presenting police with a suspended driver's license. Gainesville police spokesman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said that it's against the law to have a suspended driver's license even if the person isn't driving.
Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an animal rights group working with Negotiation is Over on the primate campaign, questioned the motive for the arrests.
“It's my opinion that these arrests took place at the protest in a concerted effort to stifle dissent against the university,” he said.
Negotiation is Over's campaign against animal research at UF has included posting the personal information of university employees online and seeking public records on research involving primates. Marino sued UF for failing to provide records, leading to an Alachua County Circuit Court judge ordering last month for them to be released.
Marino and Grossman were protesting in December 2010 at a fundraiser at UF when they were issued trespass warnings by university police. Grossman was later charged with trespassing for violating the warning by distributing fliers on campus offering a $100 reward for information on students involved in research.
The warnings don't apply to the sidewalk outside Emerson Alumni Hall, located on University Avenue across from the main campus.
Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE HELP CAMILLE MARINO! She needs both our financial and moral support. Every dollar helps....
PayPal address for donations for Camille Marino: log-in to your PayPal account and make a cash donation to: email@example.com
Canada Moves One Step Closer to Ending the Seal Slaughter
(taken from PETA.org website)
I'm happy to share some terrific news on PETA's global fight to stop Canada's annual baby-seal slaughter. Ryan Cleary—a member of Parliament from the Canadian province where much of the seal slaughter is scheduled to take place—has now gone on the record stating that it may be time to end the massacre for good as the market for seal skin dwindles as a result of animal rights campaigns. This is terrific news and an indication that PETA's vigorous efforts are beginning to change the minds even of politicians from regions where the seal slaughter takes place.
Cleary's statement comes after a string of victories against the seal slaughter. Thanks in part to the help of thousands of caring members and supporters like you around the world, the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.) have banned seal imports, and just last month, Russia—which buys 80 percent of Canada's seal pelts—took steps to ban imports as well. This move came after Pamela Anderson made an international appeal to Vladimir Putin on PETA's behalf. In just the past year, Iggy Pop and Ke$ha starred in PETA's edgy "Canada's Club Scene Sucks" ads, Sarah McLachlan and Joan Jett penned letters urging Canada to give up its challenges of the E.U. ban, and Canada native William Shatner led our Canadian Tax Day campaign to show citizens and lawmakers that millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars are propping up the dying annual massacre. At last, after all these efforts, national media outlets across Canada are exposing the wasteful slaughter for what it is.
We have finally reached a tipping point in this campaign—the time is now to call on Canada to end the slaughter once and for all. Please take a few minutes and click here, to urge Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop this annual massacre.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to these animals.
Senior Vice President,
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Animal-Rights Activist Wins 15G In Leafleting-Arrest Lawsuit
January 25, 2012| - By Vinny Vella
EDWARD COFFIN said yesterday was "bittersweet," even though he ended it $15,000 richer.
The city agreed to pay Coffin, an animal-rights activist, that sum as a settlement. He sued the city last year with the help of the state's branch of the American Civil Liberties Union after he was illegally arrested during a supermarket protest in 2009.
"The money is appreciated, but my ultimate goal was to get better First Amendment training for Philadelphia police officers," he said. "I think I've made some progress, but it's still a major problem."
City police officers are not trained on activists' rights and instead are told to refer problems involving them to the department's Civil Affairs Bureau, according to the complaint filed in the lawsuit.
That wasn't the case with Coffin, who was arrested by Sgt. Dominick Cole in 2009 for handing out pro-vegan fliers outside the Whole Foods Market on South Street near 10th. Cole charged Coffin with handbilling without a permit, an offense that applies only to commercial literature.
When Coffin pointed this out to Cole, he charged him under an ordinance that requires a permit for parades and assemblies. But that ordinance applies to groups of 75 or more, and Coffin was joined by only one other person.
The charges against Coffin later were thrown out, but he was determined to make an example of his situation.
"I felt extremely violated that I was arrested for handing out leaflets, a First Amendment activity," Coffin said. "I was afraid cases like mine would have a chilling effect and convince other protesters that it's not worth it."
Although Coffin's personal battle is over, Paul Messing, one of the attorneys who represented him during the lawsuit, said he would continue to pursue the issue, with additional lawsuits if necessary.
"The problem is not resolved by this settlement," he said. "We will continue to talk to the city about necessary changes in Police Department procedures to ensure that fundamental First Amendment rights are being protected."
Truck With 1,500 Dogs Bound for Chinese Restaurants Intercepted By Lib
January 19th, 2012
Daily Mail UK
The class between Old and New China reaches another dramatic pitch as yet another bold interception occurs in broad daylight by Chinese animal liberators — a tactic that activists in the US and other nations would do well to emulate!
Starving, exhausted and crammed into tiny cages, they were just hours away from being killed for restaurants.
These shocking pictures were taken after more than 1,500 dogs were found piled one on top of another inside a truck bound for the slaughterhouse.
Manyof them would not even have survived the 22-hour journey.
Animal welfare volunteers and police in Chongqing, south-west China, discovered the malnourished and dehydrated animals loaded inside cages so small they couldn’t stand up.
Theytook them to a nearby farm where they were given food, water and emergency medical treatment, but many were too frail to survive.
Xiao Lu, of the Chongqing Animal Protection Association, said: ‘When [the dogs] saw us they were groaning, but some were so exhausted and dying that they didn’t even have the strength to make a sound.
‘The dog peddler said his truck was only loaded with 700 dogs, but there are at least 1,500.'
The harrowing photographs of the suffering animals were posted on the internet by the blogger who was behind the rescue operation.
After spotting the truck carrying the animals, he posted a plea on the web, begging for help in saving the dogs’ lives.
It was answered by animal welfare volunteers, and with the assistance of the police, they intercepted the vehicle at a toll gate. Many of the dogs, which were being taken to Guangdong province, in the far south of the country, were saved.
Eating dog meat in China dates back thousands of years. It is also consumed in countries including Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, but is illegal in most Western countries.
Restaurants serving dog are common in many Chinese cities, but particularly in Guangdong province, where some locals think it has medicinal properties.
Despite proposals to ban the consumption of dog last year, and growing international opposition to the practice, the meat has continued to be sold.
Alan Knight, chief executive of International Animal Rescue, said: ‘The transport is disgusting. They cram them into small wire cages, with no food or water, and take them across the country and kill them in inhumane ways.
Kung Pao Nightmare - China Consumes 4 Million Cats Yearly
January 14, 2012 - By Robert Slattery
Animal Rights – China is currently in debate about the morality of eating cat meat, a tradition for some, and a vile practice for others. Regional paper Nanfang Daily reported an estimated 4 million cats are eaten in the country a year, and the number may be rising due to economic hardships.
Cat isn’t eaten as widely as prejudicial conjecture might have one think, but it does appear in a few traditional dishes, eaten largely by rural eldery populations. In addition, it is eaten to supplement diets in the cold winter months.
Cat meat is not popular with youth though, suggesting a paradigm shift regarding the animal. Mei Zhigang, a professor at Central China Normal University explains that for many now, the cat is no longer simply an animal, but “part of human civilization.” This has resulted in new laws regarding animal welfare and consumption. In fact, trade in cat meat is illegal.
While the issue is grotesque for many Western readers, the consumption of cats solves a significant problem China has with feral cats. In Bejing alone, it is estimated that there is over 200,000 stray cats. These kind of numbers can affect the health of the animals, as well as create a significant environmental impact.
Beyond the moral issue at hand, China’s changing view toward protecting and regulating animals is a good sign in a country known for severe lapses in animal and human rights.
1. Mercy For Animals’ undercover investigation into E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas, received so much press and public attention it actually impacted the market price of cattle futures. One of the nation’s best investigators gained employment at E6, where he observed and recorded workers bashing in the skulls of calves with hammers and pickaxes, among other horrors. (The facility specializes in raising female calves until they are old enough to be impregnated and turned into milk machines.) The American Veterinary Medical Association, not known for opposing agribusiness, even issued a statement condemning E6’s behavior. For a short time, the undercover video was banned by YouTube – a bad PR move on their part – and news of the ban reached the sizable audience of consumer tech websites, so the video received even more views. For many Americans, watching this footage was the first time they had ever considered the cruelty inherent in dairy products.
2. West Hollywood became the first fur-free city in the U.S. and one of only a handful in the world. This small independent city, surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles like Vatican City is by Rome, voted in September to ban the sale of fur apparel after a time interval to allow retailers to phase out inventory. “Fur Free WeHo” received national media attention. Although largely a symbolic gesture in terms of its impact on fur-bearing animals, the legislation drafted will serve as a model for other communities. Similar campaigns in other cities are already underway.
3. Congress introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA), now HR 3359, which would effectively shut down traveling circuses such as Ringling Bros. in the U.S. Animal Defenders International led the charge after successful circus bans in other countries, with assistance from experts from the Performing Animal Welfare Society, exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, philanthropist Bob Barker, and actress/activist Jorja Fox, all of whom testified before Capitol Hill staffers in early November. The announcement of the bill received huge media coverage and offered a platform for ADI to discuss the ethics of animal circuses.
4. Beagle Freedom Project’s rescue of 40 beagles from an animal testing laboratory in Spain (soon joined by three more) was the third rescue by the group. Coverage on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams two nights in a row, as well as the Today Show, catapulted the group to national and international attention. In the process, people worldwide learned for the first time about the horrors of animal testing, and were motivated to shop cruelty-free. The video of BFP’s second rescue in June of this year racked up over three million YouTube views because of the interest in the rescue.
5. Another investigation by Mercy For Animals into Sparboe Egg, the fourth largest egg producer and a key supplier to McDonald’s, resulted in what was undoubtedly the biggest economic hit to a factory farm in history when the fast-food chain, and several other major retail customers, cut ties with Sparboe. To add insult to injury, MFA filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for Sparboe’s false and misleading claims about its animal care standards.
6. Stop Animal Exploitation Now released a comprehensive report on the use of non-human primates in federally regulated animal testing labs in October. The report, based on USDA documentation, included the little-known “exemptions” to welfare laws that mean animals can be deprived of enrichment, food, and water; that permit severe confinement; that deny anesthesia for procedures; and that even allow cages to go weeks without cleaning. Although this story did not receive nearly enough attention from news media, SAEN’s research into the issue was validated when in December the National Institutes of Health announced that it would temporarily stop funding chimpanzee research, and Harvard University’s primate lab was found committing five violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
7. Compassion Over Killing announced a class-action lawsuit on behalf of consumers alleging a price-fixing scheme by dairy industry trade groups representing 70 percent of the market. The suit relies on the common practice of “dairy herd retirement” in which cows are killed, thus reducing dairy supplies and inflating prices. This is another story that received little major media attention, and we hope that developments in the case will allow it to come into the spotlight in 2012.
8. HSUS announced it would end state-based campaigns for egg-laying hens in favor of working with agribusiness trade group United Egg Producers, and UEP agreed to dump battery cages in 18 years and replace them with “enriched colony cages” featuring tiny perches and plastic strips for nesting. The agreement struck a blow to animal rights organizations such as United Poultry Concerns, the leading advocacy group for hens, who said “Unfortunately, victories for organizations do not necessarily translate into victory for animals, and this is how we view the current deal. We dissent from the view that HSUS’s agreement with United Egg Producers is ‘a step in the right direction.’ We will continue to educate our members and the public to understand that the only true way to animal welfare – to animals faring well – lies in eliminating the demand for animal products in favor of vegan food.”
9. The 11-minute video “Farm to Fridge,” narrated by actor James Cromwell, hit with a bang in Spring 2011. The compilation of footage included pigs, egg-laying hens, chickens, turkeys, dairy cows, beef cows, and fish. It was a wake-up call for omnivores all over the world, and was viewed online by millions. Mercy For Animals also sponsored a 42-city, 12,000-mile tour where “Farm to Fridge” was shown on giant TV screens on a specially designed truck that parked in conspicuous areas like shopping and dining districts. The tour earned massive press coverage in each city, from TV news to college papers and everything in between. The success of the tour and of “Farm to Fridge” has inspired numerous “pay per view” events where people are offered a few dollars to watch a video about where their food comes from.
10. Humane Research Council released its research report Humane Trends, after compiling years of data across 25 different categories to evaluate the status of animal protection in the U.S. Although not a top public or media story by any means, the information, like all HRC’s work, is illuminating and of value to activists. Incidentally, the U.S. received a score of 34 out of a possible 100 for its treatment of animals based on data on companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used in science and entertainment. HRC also released an illuminating report on all USDA food recalls of animal products from 2006-2010 that should be of great interest to food safety advocates.
750 Smuggled Dogs Rescued From Slaughter By Thai Navy Patrol
January 12, 2012 - Posted by ADMIN in Dog News
Just two weeks after a similar raid that saved 300 dogs bound for Vietnamese restaurants, Thai authorities say they have intercepted another shipment of dogs before it could cross the Mekong river into Laos.
And in this case, they say the stakes were much higher. Officials found nearly 800 dogs packed into rusty cages when a river Navy patrol unit headed by by Captain Thirakiart Thong-aram intercepted the shipment in the Ban Paeng district of Nakhon Panom province. The traumatized canines were being held in a truck parked on the banks of the Mekong as it prepared to transfer its cargo to boats waiting to shuttle the dogs out of Thailand.
The Mekong flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, making for convenient transport of smuggled goods, and Thai authorities have stepped up river patrols to counter the booming dog and drug smuggling trades.
A 37-year-old villager was arrested, but the remainder of the smugglers evaded capture. Navy officers found approximately 100 empty cages at the scene – a sad indicator that as many as 2,000 dogs may have already been sent to their deaths.
The dogs were being shipped to Vietnamese restaurants, where demand and prices have escalated due to recent efforts to curtail the illegal dog meat trade. In fact, in recent months, the cost of dog meat has doubled, from 500 baht ($16) each to 1,000 baht.
Learn more about the illegal dog meat trade in the following video from Pailin Wedel: Southeast Asia’s Dog Meat Mafia.
Long Awaited Legislation Outlaws Puppy Farming In Ireland
By CATHAL DERVAN - January 2nd, 2012
Puppy farming has been outlawed in Ireland – with harsh penalties now imposed on anyone who breaks the country’s new laws.
Legislation banning puppy farms came into effect on New Year’s Day as the government looks to clean up the country’s act.
The move comes after Ireland became known as the Puppy Farm of Europe.
Campaigners have fought for years to protect puppies from unscrupulous breeders.
Now two laws - the Welfare of Greyhounds Act and the Dogs Breeding Establishments Act - have been introduced to control dog breeding and force breeders to look after their animals properly.
The new anti-puppy farming legislation makes it impossible to produce hundreds of puppies in grim conditions.
Local authority vets also have the right and obligation to inspect all breeding locations.
They can immediately shut down any kennels where animals are not being properly cared for.
All Irish puppies will be micro-chipped and can now be traced back to the breeder.
Breeders will be allowed to keep large numbers of animals, but only under strict conditions and standards set down by the new regulations.
All breeders must also be registered with their local authority to comply with the new rules.
Police have encountered several harrowing cases in recent times.
Last autumn, a Midlands owner escaped charges after a raid on a puppy farm where 50 dogs were rescued from ‘filthy and overcrowded’ kennels. Officers described the premises as ‘deplorable’.
Major Victory As Russia Bans Trade In Harp Seal Skins!
By Sheryl Fink - Posted December 19th, 2011
I’m thrilled to tell you that the door to one of the largest markets for seal products has now been slammed shut – the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation has banned the import and export of harp seal skins. It’s the biggest victory in the campaign to end commercial sealing since the European Union (EU) banned non-Inuit seal products, and we could not ask for a more wonderful holiday gift for everyone who has fought so hard with IFAW to protect seals.
According to the Government of Canada, Russia receives up to 90% of Canada's exports of seal pelts. In 2009, the same year that the EU banned non-Inuit seal products, Russia ended its own hunt for harp seals in the White Sea and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called it a “bloody industry” and something that “should have been banned years ago.”
IFAW’s campaign efforts have a history of successes in Russia, beginning with our efforts to end the slaughter of whitecoat seal pups by helicopter in the White Sea. Our teams observed and documented the Russian harp seal hunt in the White Sea in 1995 for the first time, and we were the first organization to campaign to end the Russian seal slaughter. Documentaries of the White Sea hunt were produced and widely shown on Russian television, along with photos and news articles. Thanks to IFAW, the Russian seal hunt could not remain hidden, and this cruel slaughter soon became public knowledge. IFAW’s exposure of subsidies to the Russian seal hunt, and the growing lack of demand for whitecoat seal products, added further strength to the campaign.
In 2008, ongoing IFAW support of aerial surveys and scientific research began to reveal an alarming decrease in the harp seal population in the White Sea, and IFAW was quick to bring our concerns to the attention of Russian public, media, and policymakers. In 2008 our campaign reached a tipping point as IFAW delivered petitions signed by 400,000 people to the Russian government. In 2009 anti-sealing protests were held in Moscow and 25 other Russian cities, and Russia ultimately ended its commercial harp seal hunt. At the time, Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources Yury Trutnev said, “The bloody seal slaughter, the killing of the defenseless animals, which can’t be even called a ‘hunt,’ is now prohibited in Russia as it is in most developed countries. It is a serious step towards the conservation of biodiversity in Russia.”
The Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russian trade ban is a significant victory that should be celebrated by all concerned with animal welfare and wildlife conservation. The full implications of this ban, with Russia’s recent accession to the WTO, remain to be seen. With the Russian market closed to harp seal fur products, and a long-promised deal to export seal meat to China at risk due to concerns over food security, the future looks bleaker than ever for the dying Canadian sealing industry. The time has come to acknowledge that the world does not want, nor need, cruel seal products. It is time to stop commercial seal hunting once and for all.
Timeline of shrinking markets
•1972 US Congress passes Marine Mammal Protection Act, which bans the importation of seal products.
•1983 IFAW helps win crucial ban in Europe on importation of “whitecoat” harp seal and blueback hooded seal products.
•1987 Canadian Government bans commercial hunting of whitecoats and bluebacks in Canadian waters.
•1990 With IFAW’s involvement, South Africa ends the hunt for Cape fur seals.
•2006 Mexico bans the import and export of marine mammals, including seals.
•2007 IFAW campaigns result in Belgium and the Netherlands adopting national bans on the import of seal products.
•2009 Russia bans the killing of harp seal pups under 12 months of age.
•2009 European Union bans the import of all seal products, with an exemption for Inuit-derived skins.
•2010 IFAW continues its fight to protect the EU ban, and continues to expose the cruelty of commercial hunts to governments around the world.
•2011 Deal between Canada and China to allow export of seal meat products postponed.
•2011 Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation ban the import and export fur skins of harp seals and their whitecoat pups.
China has banned animal circuses and warned its zoos they must stop abusing animals or face closure.
Live animal shows and circuses are hugely popular in China, and draw around 150 million visitors a year at 700 zoos. However, animal rights campaigners have repeatedly complained that the shows should be stopped.
“A zoo in my city had a show where they forced an adult lion to stand on the back of a horse for a sort of animal acrobatic performance,” said Xiao Bing, the chairman of the local animal protection association in the southern city of Xiamen.
“I also saw one entertainment park where the monkeys seemed to have wounds all over their bodies. The manager told me the monkeys got hurt during live monkey-fighting shows,” he said.
Other cases of abuse include beating lions to make them jump through rings of fire and forcing bears to walk across tightropes, said Hua Ning, at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Chinese circuses have defended their shows, saying that the animals are well fed and that teaching them tricks can help them become “stars”.
However, the Chinese government has now issued a total ban, which came into force on Tuesday across the 300 state-owned zoos which are part of the China Zoo Association.
“We are hopeful it will have an effect,” said David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director at Animals Asia. “I visited Chongqing zoo before Christmas and their circus was clearing out, and Kunming zoo has also said its circus has been closed.”
Other zoos, however, said they had received no notice of the new rules. “We will help police the ban and report any cases we find to the government,” vowed Mr Neale.
The ban will also force zoos to stop selling animal parts in their shops and zoo restaurants will have to stop serving dishes made out of rare animals, another widespread practice.
Similarly, zoos will no longer be able to pull the teeth of baby tigers so that tourists can hold them and will have to stop attractions where live chickens, goats, cows and even horses are sold to visitors who can then watch them be torn apart by big cats.
A spokesman for China’s State Forestry Bureau said a three-month investigation last year had uncovered more than 50 zoos where animals were suffering severely because of abuse.
However, the closure of the shows could push some zoos towards bankruptcy and may leave many animals with an uncertain future. “In some cases, I am not sure where the animals will go,” said Mr Neale.
“In some cases I would recommend euthanasia, since there are animals in a very bad way after a few years of being in these performances.”
Legendarily bold film director Oliver Stone is no stranger to the horrors of the battlefield, both as an Army combat veteran of Vietnam and from depictions of that war in his films Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Heaven & Earth. Now Stone is shining a light on another disturbing side of U.S. military operations by narrating PETA’s video exposé.
Leaked video footage shows a recent Coast Guard trauma training drill in which instructors are seen breaking and cutting off the limbs of live goats with tree trimmers, stabbing the animals, and pulling out their internal organs. The goats moan and kick during the mutilations—signs that they had not received adequate anesthesia. One instructor is heard cheerfully whistling as he cuts off goats’ legs and a Coast Guard participant callously jokes about writing songs about mutilating the animals. Following official complaints from PETA about this disturbing video footage, which showed Tier 1 Group instructors failing to provide adequate anesthesia to goats who were stabbed and cut into, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited and issued an official warning to Tier 1 Group for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Military regulations require that animal laboratories be replaced with humane non-animal methods whenever possible, and some military facilities have already replaced the archaic and violent use of animals for this training—which costs 10,000 animals their lives each year—with more modern and effective human-patient simulators and other non-animal methods. A recent study by PETA and military medical experts also revealed that 22 of 28 NATO nations use only non-animal methods for military training.
The evidence of the superiority of these state-of-the-art simulation methods is so overwhelming that Congress has introduced legislation to phase out the use of animals in military trauma training in favor of modern and humane methods that save animals’ lives and improve training for our country’s brave service members.
Please join Oliver Stone and PETA now by calling on the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to do right by both animals and military personnel by replacing animal-based trauma training with superior, 21st century non-animal methods.