Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Easy Petition to Help Stop Seal Slaughter

IFAW has a petition to Stop the Seal Slaughter on the Petition Site. They have a goal of 150,000 signatures and at last count had just over 147,300. If you have not signed already the petition, it only takes a minute to click and give a sig and comment if you choose.

IFAW was the one of , if not the first, group to dedicate itself to stopping the slaughter.


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/
370512755?z00m=23684&z00m=23684&ltl=1115307748

Monday, June 27, 2005

Help Put an End to Dancing Bears at Fair in Washington, Missouri

PLEAE CORRESPOND DIRECTLY WITH:

Megan McGee's - nora@meganmcgees.com

Hi -

I would appreciate any help in distributing the following information if
you feel it is appropriate for your mailing list. Time is of the essence -
the Fair starts August 3rd. Thank you for your consideration and do not
hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

The Washington Town & Country Fair Board in Missouri has selected Welde's
Dancing Bears to "perform" at this year's Fair. If you agree that this is
a very regressive decision for a community that likes to consider itself
progressive, please -

Check out the website - www.NoBearsAtTheFair.com
Sign the Petition,
Write Letters, and
Forward the Site to your enlightened friends!

Thank you for your help!

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Japanese, and those in Norway, Iceland and Greenland Love to Kill Whales

This also includes a box which shows the numbers of Whales estimated to be slaughtered every year. I bet it's higher, as many do not report full facts.

In essence, the Japanese, and those in Norway, Iceland and Greenland love to kill whales. Surprisingly, even those in the Caribbean - St Vincent & Grenadines - like to kill whales too.


Reform likely on whaling process
By Richard Black
BBC environment correspondent in Ulsan, South Korea

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4618763.stm

The International Whaling Commission's annual meeting has ended with the usual impasse between pro- and anti- groups.

Delegates in Ulsan, South Korea, could not agree on proposals to re-introduce commercial hunting, or on resolutions to reduce "scientific" whaling.

The latter will see whales killed at a higher rate in the next 12 months than at any time in the last two decades.

Support is now growing for a root and branch revision of the commission and the treaty which it administers.

Just about the only thing that unites pro- and anti-whaling nations is their frustration at the lack of progress on key issues, not only here in Ulsan but at previous annual meetings.

Constant conflict

The biggest issue of all is the Revised Management Scheme (RMS).

It is intended to be a comprehensive and globally accepted document establishing quotas and systems for all whaling fleets, making hunting sustainable, humane and policed.


[The convention] was adequate in 1946, but that's already about 60 years ago
Giuseppe Raaphorst, Netherlands whaling commissioner
Envisaged in 1992, it should, when introduced, bring to an end the current moratorium.

All members of the Commission might in principle support the RMS - the problem has been which RMS?

Japan, whose own version was rejected on a vote at this meeting, has been lambasted by conservation groups for preparing texts which, in their view, are weak on mechanisms to enforce compliance, come up short on animal welfare issues, and do not link RMS introduction to the end of scientific whaling, one of the principal loopholes in the current treaty, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

More conservation-minded nations have been equally determined in arguing that an RMS must cover these issues to a substantial degree.

Rune Frøvik, secretary of the High North Alliance, an umbrella group for fishermen and whalers in the Nordic countries, had harsh words for the IWC proceedings.

"They don't agree what should be on the agenda; it's just conflict all the time," he told the BBC News website.

"They say they want to continue with a process but in fact they are blocking progress.

"But when anti-whaling countries block the RMS, they are effectively endorsing whaling because legal whaling continues; it really says something about the IWC's relevance."

'Out of date'

The root cause of this situation, according to the whaling commissioner for the Netherlands, Giuseppe Raaphorst, is the convention itself; adopted in 1946, it was, he said, simply too old.

"It was adequate in 1946, but that's already about 60 years ago," he said.


THE LEGALITIES OF WHALING
Objection - A country formally objects to the IWC moratorium, declaring itself exempt
Scientific - A nation issues unilateral 'scientific permits'; any IWC member can do this
Aboriginal - IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food
"Now whaling has become very problematic for many countries - actually most countries want it to be stopped - it's important that you have more control mechanisms and sanctions."

New Zealand's conservation minister Chris Carter agreed.

"At that time (1946) New Zealand was a whaling nation as well, we had a whaling industry," he told BBC News.

"We've moved on from there now; science tells us, public opinion tells us, increasing extinctions tell us that special creatures on Earth are at risk."


CURRENT MAXIMUM CATCHES
Norway (objection) - 796 minke from the north Atlantic
Japan (scientific) - 935 minke and 10 fin whales from Antarctic; 220 minke, 100 sei, 50 Bryde's and 10 sperm from north-west Pacific
Iceland (scientific) - 39 minke from north Atlantic
Greenland (aboriginal) - 187 minke and 10 fin
Alaska & eastern Siberia (aboriginal) 140 grey and 67 bowhead
St Vincent & Grenadines (aboriginal) 4 humpback
Northern Hemisphere catches cover a calendar year; Southern Hemisphere figures span two calendar years
The Netherlands and New Zealand are part of a developing movement which wants to resolve the impasse by re-examining the convention and the commission charged with administering it.

They believe it might be possible at ministerial level to tie whaling to other issues, such as trade or Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Towards the end of this week-long meeting, the idea of a ministerial meeting was formalised in a resolution proposed by Ireland, Germany and South Africa.

It calls for further meetings of the IWC's RMS Working Group; and "...if appropriate, ministerial, diplomatic, or other high-level possibilities to resolve these issues among the Contracting Governments to the Convention."

Room for manoeuvre

The resolution was adopted by a substantial majority, and largely welcomed by conservation groups.

"We're certainly very pleased to be seeing an on-going process with the RMS," Philippa Brakes, science officer with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said.

"The resolution is nice and broad and incorporates the views of the entire commission; it moves us closer towards a higher-level diplomatic conference, which is a positive way to progress these issues."

I put the suggestion of a high-level conference to Joji Morishita, one of Japan's alternate (or deputy) commissioners, who retained his urbane poise throughout the week-long meeting in the face of some robust assaults from Australian and New Zealand delegates.

"This issue of whaling is so contentious that we don't like to extend that contention to other issues of international negotiations," he told me.

"But there might be some possibility by trading a different aspect of talks between countries.

"So it has a risk, but at the same time, technically, there might be some possibilities."

Comments from delegates here suggest that a high-level meeting is likely, but probably not within the next 12 months.

The urgency of the issue, though, is illustrated by the number of whales that will be killed, legally, over the same period.

The figure is likely to approach 2,500 - more than in any year since the moratorium was imposed in 1986.

Next year's IWC meeting takes place in St Kitts and Nevis, one of the Caribbean states that usually puts itself in the pro-whaling camp.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/4618763.stm

Published: 2005/06/24 10:00:48 GMT

© BBC MMV

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Help Stop Tiger Exhibition at Arizona Car Dealership

I can imagine the hell of traveling in cages through Arizona now when temperatures are well into the 100s.

In addition, don't car dealers already have a bad reputation for lying? Why continue it with this false plea to care for a type of tiger that actually was created through genetic manipulation? Don't they have any dignity?

HELP STOP TIGER EXHIBITION AT ARIZONA CAR DEALERSHIP

Avondale Hyundai is currently promoting an exhibition of white tigers at
their sales dealership, through Saturday, June 25.

An advertisement touts the event as "an exclusive opportunity for you to
get up close and personal with an endangered species that needs your
help", and that "photo opportunities will be available."

Tigers are an endangered species; only about 5,000 to 7,400 tigers are
left in the wild. However, white tigers are actually Bengal tigers that
have undergone genetic manipulation through captive breeding. Despite
health and behavioral problems caused by inbreeding, white tigers create
a popular draw for circuses and the exotic pet industry. The
"conservation" of white tigers is no more than exploitation.

What You Can Do

Please contact Avondale Hyundai at 623.388.5800. Tell them that
exploiting animals and using inbred tigers under the guise of
"conservation" is no way to sell cars. If you are planning to purchase an
automobile, let them know that you will look elsewhere as a result of
this promotion.

Thanks for your help!


Animal Defense League of Arizona
www.adlaz.org
To join or donate to ADLA, click here.

More Easy Steps to Stop Whaling

In addition to last post, these easy actions need to be done.

International Fund for Animal Welfare
June 21, 2005

Several weeks ago, you sent more than 10,000 letters to several key countries asking them to vote against Japan's proposal to reopen the hunt for humpbacks in international waters.

Your heartfelt activism has already made an impact: In South Korea, the city of Ulsan (where this year's International Whaling Commission meeting is being held) has declared they will abandon plans to build a proposed whale and dolphin meat processing factory.

We are also encouraged by the early voting of the Government of China, which is asserting its leadership for whale conservation instead of just following Japan as it has done in past years.


The fate of humpback whales hangs in the balance

But the most important whaling votes are yet to come, including a resolution criticizing Japan's humpback whaling proposal. We need to keep the pressure on to make sure the songsters of the sea never have to face the cruelty and suffering of explosive harpoons ever again.

So far, Japan's efforts to push forward their pro-whaling agenda have been thwarted at this year's whale meeting, but Japan is working furiously to fly in other registered pro-whaling countries to shift the balance before the end of the week.

We can't come close to matching the millions of yen Japan's government is spending to push through their whaling agenda, but with your help (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547667416387215890665), we may be able to ensure conservation-minded countries carry the day at this year's meeting, protecting whales and the commission set up to protect them.


Please Tell As Many As You Can

In response to Japan's horrific proposal to slaughter humpback whales in international waters, we've created a Stop Whaling Action Center (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547677416387215890665) to collect as many signatures as we can from around the world. But we need your help to let others know about it (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547687416387215890665).

Can you help us reach 50,000 signatures?

Once you've signed the petition (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547697416387215890665), please pass it along to friends, family and neighbors who care about making sure we don't lose the songs of the sea forever. Simply click here to tell your friends (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547707416387215890665).

It's not too late to stop the killing of humpbacks in the open ocean. But we must act now. The crucial vote could come at any day during this week's IWC meeting.

It's also very expensive to send our team to Korea to fight to make sure the result of the IWC is whale conservation, not killing more whales. If you can make a contribution to support IFAW right now (http://www.kintera.org/TR.asp?ID=M69547717416387215890665), it would be greatly appreciated.

If we tell as many others as we can about the unfolding tragedy about to occur in our oceans, we can win this fight.

Sincerely,

Fred O'Regan
President and CEO

Should the whaling ban be lifted? Is it acceptable to hunt whales?

Should the whaling ban be lifted? Is it acceptable to hunt whales?

Go to the link below and have your say - via the BBC Web Site

Have you say now. Of course, I hope it's no!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/4104044.stm

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Animal Rights Extremism a Priority for FBI

Do they know that not one person has been killed in acts by the ALF? But yet, how many anti-choice wackos have killed doctors or others? Who are the real terrorists? This seems to me based only on money.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050621/ap_on_bi_ge/biotech_conference

By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology WriterTue Jun 21, 1:53 AM ET

Violence by environmental and animal rights extremists against U.S. drug makers has increased so much in recent years that it's currently the FBI's top domestic terrorism issue, a top agency official says.

"There has been an increase in the use of incendiary devices as well as explosive devices," said John Lewis, FBI deputy assistant director in charge of counterterrorism. "There's a very clear indication that there's no move to slow down or stop — in fact, just the opposite is true."

The agency has about 150 open cases of arson, bombings and other violent crimes associated with militant environmental and animal rights activists protesting the experimental use of animals in medical research, he said.

Lewis made the comments Monday in an address to some of the 18,000 biotechnology executives gathered here at the four-day Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual convention.

Some of the same groups associated with the wave of violent attacks on biotechnology companies said they planned demonstrations outside the convention center Tuesday.

Though the protesters vowed to be peaceful, convention organizers and Philadelphia police were taking no chances.

Security was high inside and outside the convention center. A helicopter hovered over the National Constitution Center on Sunday night while police on the ground formed a corridor through a small smattering of jeering demonstrators to ensure the conventioneers could arrive unmolested to a party inside.

Meanwhile, as the attacks nationwide increase along with hits to companies' bottom lines and worker morale, industry leaders and their crisis consultants are advocating a radical shift in strategy. They are beginning to fight back aggressively.

Chiron Corp. of Emeryville, Calif., which was bombed in 2003 and is still the subject of actions that include credit card fraud against some of its employees, won a restraining order in a California court against a group allegedly involved in much of the activity. The company also refused to renounce its ties to the protesters main target: Huntingdon Life Sciences, a Millstone, N.J. laboratory that does animal experiments for biotech and drug companies.

"We believe if we just kept our heads down, it would go away," said John Gallagher, director of Chiron's corporate communications. "That was unrealistic."

Gallagher said the attacks have cost Chiron at least $2.5 million, much of it associated with heightened security at public company events such as analyst meetings.

"That money would have been much better spent on drug development," Gallagher said.

The FBI is searching for the fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego, who has been charged with the Chiron bombing and another at a Pleasanton, Calif. cosmetic maker. Neither bombing wrought serious damage or injuries.

San Diego has ties to several animal rights groups, including one called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, which is better known as SHAC.

SHAC and its adherents have waged a decade-long campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences. Some of the tactics used against Huntingdon and the companies it contracts with include the vandalizing of executives' cars and houses, harassing employees and their families and the posting of personal information on public Web sites.

Six SHAC members face federal charges of conspiracy and interstate stalking that carry maximum penalties of between three and five years, plus fines up to $250,000. They are charged under the federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a 1992 law that was expanded in 2002 and equates their alleged activities with domestic terrorism.

A judge in Trenton, N.J., declared a mistrial in the case Monday after the lawyer for one of the defendants was too ill to continue with the trial. The case is not likely to come to trial before September, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ban on Internet Hunting in TX

Ban on internet hunting in TX. Please pass on to those you may know in TX and
ask them to call the governor to sign the bill.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05159/517706.stm

Disney Loves Shark Finning

Tell Disney that you won’t patronize any of their parks until this stops, and that you will spread the word about this sellout of ethics for cash.

DISNEY SAYS – SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Shark Finning is Really, Really Bad, But We Want the Money Says Disney

In a bizarre and completely unacceptable move, Hong Kong Disneyland has offered to distribute a leaflet with every bowl of shark fin soup they plan to serve at wedding banquets at the Disneyland Hotel in Hong Kong. The leaflets will explain that sharks are threatened and that the fins are cruelly removed and the live sharks are sometimes tossed back into the sea to die an agonizing death.

A Disney spokesperson says that this will be an educational campaign. “If customers insist on shark’s fin soup we will agree to serve it to them but with a leaflet carrying information on shark fin harvesting,” Disney spokeswoman Irene Chan said.

Disney defended its policy saying to not serve sharkskin would be “unthinkable” in Hong Kong where the food is a delicacy and where, because of its high value, its consumption is considered a sign of affluence.”

Disney said it will serve shark fin in consideration of “local cultural sensitivities.”

Sea Shepherd asks: What next? Whale burgers at Japan’s Disneyland or how about doggie burgers for Filipino and Korean customers? Some cultures like cock-fighting and other cultures like monkey brains. If the profit is there, will Disney serve baby seal flipper pie?

Disney apparently believes that exploitation of threatened species and cruelty are justified if cultural demands are present and the price is right.

Disney also defended their plans by saying they will buy only from reputable shark fin dealers in Hong Kong. The problem is that there are no reputable shark fin dealers in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong is the largest entry point in the world for illegally obtained shark fins,” said Captain Paul Watson, president and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. “The entire shark fin market is polluted with contraband shark products. Disney must really believe that conservationists are stupid enough to accept their bogus ‘education and good faith package.’”

Sea Shepherd will not accept anything less than the complete removal of shark fin soup from the menus of any restaurant or hotel owned by the Disney Corporation.

“Forget about finding Nemo,” said Captain Watson. “In a decade we won’t be able to find a shark in the oceans and Disney will have contributed to that tragedy. Come on Eisner, you’ve got enough money, leave the sharks alone.”

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the U.S. Founded in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd’s mission is to defend, conserve, and protect marine wildlife and their habitats.

###

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Very easy petitions for you to sign - takes 2 minutes

AnimalVoicesAlert
5 PETITIONS
Source: Carolyn Mullin at mullin@newsguy.com

06/14/05 Puppy sexually assaulted dies by a 17 year old
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/299937547

06/14/05 URGENT! Puppy mill - 92 English springer spaniels seized
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/944361766

06/14/05 Trevor Allen McKinley dragged horse behind truck
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/468052910

06/14/05 Salvador Rodriguez Dog stabbed and hanged dog
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/174281168

06/14/05 Vigorous prosecution and jail time needed for three teens if
convicted
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/981027960

Monday, June 13, 2005

Why Conservatives Should Care About Animal Cruelty, By Matthew Scully

An amazing read. It's long, but worth it. Good to see that someone believes that these issues should not be politicized. In essence, it is an issue all humans should be concerned about. It's important to note his credentials.


Amazingly, (be ready for a shocker) he "...served until last fall as special assistant and deputy director of speechwriting to President George W. Bush." Wow, not that is something I never expected.

Torture on the Farm:
Why Conservatives Should Care About Animal Cruelty
The American Conservative
By Matthew Scully
May 23, 2005 issue

A FEW YEARS AGO I began a book about cruelty to animals and about factory

farming in particular, problems that had been in the back of my mind for
a
long while. At the time I viewed factory farming as one of the lesser
problems facing humanity—a small wrong on the grand scale of good and
evil
but too casually overlooked and too glibly excused.

This view changed as I acquainted myself with the details and saw a few
typical farms up close. By the time I finished the book, I had come to
view
the abuses of industrial farming as a serious moral problem, a truly
rotten
business for good reason passed over in polite conversation. Little
wrongs,
when left unattended, can grow and spread to become grave wrongs, and
precisely this had happened on our factory farms. The result of these
ruminations was Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and

the Call to Mercy. And though my tome never quite hit the bestseller
lists,
there ought to be some special literary prize for a work highly
recommended
in both the Wall Street Journal and Vegetarian Teen. When you enjoy the
accolades of PETA and Policy Review, Deepak Chopra and Gordon Liddy,
Peter
Singer and Charles Colson, you can at least take comfort in the diversity
of
your readership. The book also provided an occasion for fellow
conservatives
to get beyond their dislike for particular animal-rights groups and to
examine cruelty issues on the merits. Conservatives have a way of
dismissing
the subject, as if where animals are concerned nothing very serious could

ever be at stake. And though it is not exactly true that liberals care
more
about these issues—you are no more likely to find reflections or exposés
concerning cruelty in The Nation or The New Republic than in any journal
of
the Right—it is assumed that animal-protection causes are a project of
the
Left, and that the proper conservative position is to stand warily and
firmly against them. I had a hunch that the problem was largely one of
presentation and that by applying their own principles to animal welfare
issues conservatives would find plenty of reasons to be appalled. More to

the point, having acknowledged the problems of cruelty, we could then
support reasonable remedies. Conservatives, after all, aren’t shy about
discoursing on moral standards or reluctant to translate the most basic
of
those standards into law. Setting aside the distracting rhetoric of
animal
rights, that’s usually what these questions come down to: what moral
standards should guide us in our treatment of animals, and when must
those
standards be applied in law? [text cut]

We don’t need novel theories of rights to do this. The usual distinctions

that conservatives draw between moderation and excess, freedom and
license,
moral goods and material goods, rightful power and the abuse of power,
will
all do just fine. As it is, the subject hardly comes up at all among
conservatives, and what commentary we do hear usually takes the form of
ridicule directed at animal-rights groups. Often conservatives side
instinctively with any animal-related industry and those involved, as if
a
thing is right just because someone can make money off it or as if our
sympathies belong always with the men just because they are men.

I had an exchange once with an eminent conservative columnist on this
subject. Conversation turned to my book and to factory farming. Holding
his
hands out in the “stop” gesture, he said, “I don’t want to know.”
Granted,
life on the factory farm is no one’s favorite subject, but conservative
writers often have to think about things that are disturbing or sad. In
this
case, we have an intellectually formidable fellow known to millions for
his
stern judgments on every matter of private morality and public policy.
Yet
nowhere in all his writings do I find any treatment of any cruelty issue,

never mind that if you asked him he would surely agree that cruelty to
animals is a cowardly and disgraceful sin. And when the subject is
cruelty
to farmed animals—the moral standards being applied in a fundamental
human
enterprise—suddenly we’re in forbidden territory and “I don’t want to
know”
is the best he can do. But don’t we have a responsibility to know? Maybe
the
whole subject could use his fine mind and his good heart. [text cut]

Treating animals decently is like most obligations we face, somewhere
between the most and the least important, a modest but essential
requirement
to living with integrity. And it’s not a good sign when arguments are
constantly turned to precisely how much is mandatory and how much,
therefore, we can manage to avoid.

If one is using the word “obligation” seriously, moreover, then there is
no
practical difference between an obligation on our end not to mistreat
animals and an entitlement on their end not to be mistreated by us.
Either
way, we are required to do and not do the same things. And either way,
somewhere down the logical line, the entitlement would have to arise from
a
recognition of the inherent dignity of a living creature. The moral
standing
of our fellow creatures may be humble, but it is absolute and not
something
within our power to confer or withhold. All creatures sing their
Creator’s
praises, as this truth is variously expressed in the Bible, and are dear
to
Him for their own sakes. A certain moral relativism runs through the
arguments of those hostile or indifferent to animal welfare—as if animals

can be of value only for our sake, as utility or preference decrees. In
practice, this outlook leaves each person to decide for himself when
animals
rate moral concern. It even allows us to accept or reject such knowable
facts about animals as their cognitive and emotional capacities, their
conscious experience of pain and happiness. Elsewhere in contemporary
debates, conservatives meet the foe of moral relativism by pointing out
that, like it or not, we are all dealing with the same set of
physiological
realities and moral truths. We don’t each get to decide the facts of
science
on a situational basis. We do not each go about bestowing moral value
upon
things as it pleases us at the moment. Of course, we do not decide moral
truth at all: we discern it. Human beings in their moral progress learn
to
appraise things correctly, using reasoned moral judgment to perceive a
prior
order not of our devising. C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man calls this
“the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are
really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe
is
and the kind of things we are.” Such words as honor, piety, esteem, and
empathy do not merely describe subjective states of mind, Lewis reminds
us,
but speak to objective qualities in the world beyond that merit those
attitudes in us. “[T]o call children delightful or old men venerable,” he

writes, “is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own
parental
or filial emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which
demands a
certain response from us whether we make it or not.” This applies to
questions of cruelty as well. A kindly attitude toward animals is not a
subjective sentiment; it is the correct moral response to the objective
value of a fellow creature. Here, too, rational and virtuous conduct
consists in giving things their due and in doing so consistently. If one
animal’s pain—say, that of one’s pet—is real and deserving of sympathy,
then
the pain of essentially identical animals is also meaningful, no matter
what
conventional distinctions we have made to narrow the scope of our
sympathy.

If it is wrong to whip a dog or starve a horse or bait bears for sport or

grossly abuse farm animals, it is wrong for all people in every place.
The
problem with moral relativism is that it leads to capriciousness and the
despotic use of power. And the critical distinction here is not between
human obligations and animal rights, but rather between obligations of
charity and obligations of justice.

Active kindness to animals falls into the former category. If you take in

strays or help injured wildlife or donate to animal charities, those are
fine things to do, but no one says you should be compelled to do them.
Refraining from cruelty to animals is a different matter, an obligation
of
justice not for us each to weigh for ourselves. It is not simply unkind
behavior, it is unjust behavior, and the prohibition against it is
nonnegotiable.

Proverbs reminds us of this—“a righteous man regardeth the life of his
beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel”—and the laws of
America and of every other advanced nation now recognize the wrongfulness
of
such conduct with our cruelty statutes. Often applying felony-level
penalties to protect certain domestic animals, these state and federal
statutes declare that even though your animal may elsewhere in the law be

defined as your property, there are certain things you may not do to that

creature, and if you are found harming or neglecting the animal, you will

answer for your conduct in a court of justice. There are various reasons
the
state has an interest in forbidding cruelty, one of which is that cruelty
is
degrading to human beings. The problem is that many thinkers on this
subject
have strained to find indirect reasons to explain why cruelty is wrong
and
thereby to force animal cruelty into the category of the victimless
crime.
The most common of these explanations asks us to believe that acts of
cruelty matter only because the cruel person does moral injury to himself
or
sullies his character—as if the man is our sole concern and the cruelly
treated animal is entirely incidental. [text cut]

Whatever terminology we settle on, after all the finer philosophical
points
have been hashed over, the aim of the exercise is to prohibit wrongdoing.

All rights, in practice, are protections against human wrongdoing, and
here
too the point is to arrive at clear and consistent legal boundaries on
the
things that one may or may not do to animals, so that every man is not
left
to be the judge in his own case. More than obligation, moderation,
ordered
liberty, or any of the other lofty ideals we hold, what should attune
conservatives to all the problems of animal cruelty—and especially to the

modern factory farm—is our worldly side. The great virtue of conservatism
is
that it begins with a realistic assessment of human motivations. We know
man
as he is, not only the rational creature but also, as Socrates told us,
the
rationalizing creature, with a knack for finding an angle, an excuse, and
a
euphemism.

Whether it’s the pornographer who thinks himself a free-speech champion
or
the abortionist who looks in the mirror and sees a reproductive
healthcare
services provider, conservatives are familiar with the type. So we should

not be all that surprised when told that these very same capacities are
often at work in the things that people do to animals—and all the more so
in
our $125 billion a year livestock industry. The human mind, especially
when
there is money to be had, can manufacture grand excuses for the
exploitation
of other human beings. How much easier it is for people to excuse the
wrongs
done to lowly animals. Where animals are concerned, there is no practice
or
industry so low that someone, somewhere, cannot produce a high-sounding
reason for it. The sorriest little miscreant who shoots an elephant,
lying
in wait by the water hole in some canned hunting operation, is just
“harvesting resources,” doing his bit for “conservation.” The swarms of
government-subsidized Canadian seal hunters slaughtering tens of
thousands
of newborn pups— hacking to death these unoffending creatures, even in
sight
of their mothers— offer themselves as the brave and independent bearers
of
tradition. With the same sanctimony and deep dishonesty, factory-farm
corporations like Smithfield Foods, ConAgra, and Tyson Foods still cling
to
countrified brand names for their labels—Clear Run Farms, Murphy Family
Farms, Happy Valley—to convince us and no doubt themselves, too, that
they
are engaged in something essential, wholesome, and honorable.

Yet when corporate farmers need barbed wire around their Family Farms and

Happy Valleys and laws to prohibit outsiders from taking photographs (as
is
the case in two states) and still other laws to exempt farm animals from
the
definition of “animals” as covered in federal and state cruelty statues,
something is amiss. And if conservatives do nothing else about any other
animal issue, we should attend at least to the factory farms, where the
suffering is immense and we are all asked to be complicit. If we are
going
to have our meats and other animal products, there are natural costs to
obtaining them, defined by the duties of animal husbandry and of
veterinary
ethics. Factory farming came about when resourceful men figured out ways
of
getting around those natural costs, applying new technologies to raise
animals in conditions that would otherwise kill them by deprivation and
disease. With no laws to stop it, moral concern surrendered entirely to
economic calculation, leaving no limit to the punishments that factory
farmers could inflict to keep costs down and profits up. Corporate
farmers
hardly speak anymore of “raising” animals, with the modicum of personal
care
that word implies. Animals are “grown” now, like so many crops. Barns
somewhere along the way became “intensive confinement facilities” and the

inhabitants mere “production units.”

The result is a world in which billions of birds, cows, pigs, and other
creatures are locked away, enduring miseries they do not deserve, for our

convenience and pleasure. We belittle the activists with their radical
agenda, scarcely noticing the radical cruelty they seek to redress. [text

cut]

Conservatives are supposed to revere tradition. Factory farming has no
traditions, no rules, no codes of honor, no little decencies to spare for
a
fellow creature. The whole thing is an abandonment of rural values and a
betrayal of honorable animal husbandry—to say nothing of veterinary
medicine, with its sworn oath to “protect animal health” and to “relieve
animal suffering.” Likewise, we are told to look away and think about
more
serious things. Human beings simply have far bigger problems to worry
about
than the well being of farm animals, and surely all of this zeal would be

better directed at causes of human welfare. You wouldn’t think that men
who
are unwilling to grant even a few extra inches in cage space, so that a
pig
can turn around, would be in any position to fault others for pettiness.
Why
are small acts of kindness beneath us, but not small acts of cruelty?
[text
cut]

For the religious-minded, and Catholics in particular, no less an
authority than Pope Benedict XVI has explained the spiritual stakes.
Asked
recently to weigh in on these very questions, Cardinal Ratzinger told
German
journalist Peter Seewald that animals must be respected as our
“companions
in creation.” While it is licit to use them for food, “we cannot just do
whatever we want with them. ... Certainly, a sort of industrial use of
creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a
liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just
caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity
seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that
comes
across in the Bible.” [text cut]

Those religious conservatives who, in every debate over animal welfare,
rush
to remind us that the animals themselves are secondary and man must come
first are exactly right—only they don’t follow their own thought to its
moral conclusion. Somehow, in their pious notions of stewardship and
dominion, we always seem to end up with singular moral dignity but no
singular moral accountability to go with it. Lofty talk about humanity’s
special status among creatures only invites such questions as: what would

the Good Shepherd make of our factory farms? Where does the creature of
conscience get off lording it over these poor creatures so mercilessly?
“How
is it possible,” as Malcolm Muggeridge asked in the years when factory
farming began to spread, “to look for God and sing his praises while
insulting and degrading his creatures? If, as I had thought, all lambs
are
the Agnus Dei, then to deprive them of light and the field and their
joyous
frisking and the sky is the worst kind of blasphemy.” [text cut]

Of the many conservatives who reviewed Dominion, every last one conceded
that factory farming is a wretched business and a betrayal of human
responsibility. So it should be a short step to agreement that it also
constitutes a serious issue of law and public policy. Having granted that
certain practices are abusive, cruel, and wrong, we must be prepared
actually to do something about them. [text cut]

We need our conservative values voters to get behind a Humane Farming Act
so
that we can all quit averting our eyes. This reform, a set of explicit
federal cruelty statutes with enforcement funding to back it up, would
leave
us with farms we could imagine without wincing, photograph without
prosecution, and explain without excuses. The law would uphold not only
the
elementary standards of animal husbandry but also of veterinary ethics,
following no more complicated a principle than that pigs and cows should
be
able to walk and turn around, fowl to move about and spread their wings,
and
all creatures to know the feel of soil and grass and the warmth of the
sun.
No need for labels saying “free-range” or “humanely raised.” They will
all
be raised that way. They all get to be treated like animals and not as
unfeeling machines.

On a date certain, mass confinement, sow gestation crates, veal crates,
battery cages, and all such innovations would be prohibited. This will
end
livestock agriculture’s moral race to the bottom and turn the ingenuity
of
its scientists toward compassionate solutions. It will remove the federal

support that unnaturally serves agribusiness at the expense of small
farms.
And it will shift economies of scale, turning the balance in favor of
humane
farmers—as those who run companies like Wal-Mart could do right now by
taking their business away from factory farms. In all cases, the law
would
apply to corporate farmers a few simple rules that better men would have
been observing all along: we cannot just take from these creatures, we
must
give them something in return. We owe them a merciful death, and we owe
them
a merciful life. And when human beings cannot do something humanely,
without
degrading both the creatures and ourselves, then we should not do it at
all.


Matthew Scully served until last fall as special assistant and deputy
director of speechwriting to President George W. Bush. He is the author
of
Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to
Mercy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Twentieth Annual International Compassionate Living Festival

"The Power of One"
conference in Raleigh/Durham, NC October 7-9. Registration information
at www.animalsandsociety.org/conference05.htm.


Ø Tony Banks, who as a member of the British Parliament led the
successful passage of the Hunting Act 2004 that outlawed fox hunting. He
is now a member of the House of Lords.

Ø John Mackey, vegan CEO of Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading
natural and organic foods supermarket and a driving force behind higher
standards in animal welfare.

Additional speakers include Ingrid Newkirk, PETA; Jill Robinson, Animals
Asia; Steven Wise, author, Rattling the Cage; Karen and Michael Iacoobo,
authors, Vegetarian America, a history; Patrick Kwan, Student Animal
Rights Alliance; Lt. Sherry Schlueter, Special Victims & Family Crimes
Section, Broward County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office; Carol Buckley, The
Elephant Sanctuary; Tom Regan, author, The Case for Animal Rights and
Empty Cages; and Kim W. Stallwood, co-executive director, Animals and
Society Institute.

For your copy of The Power of One conference brochure, please call (410)
675-4566; email ias@animalsandsociety.org; or visit
www.animalsandsociety.org.

A special Scholarship Fund has been established to underwrite attendance
by full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students will be
awarded half-price registration on a first-come, first-served basis,
based on the fund available. Funds are presently available for more than
50 scholarships! Scholarship applications are available at
www.animalsandsociety.org.

The Power of One is the Twentieth Annual International Compassionate
Living Festival and is co-produced by the Culture and Animals Foundation
and the Animals and Society Institute. The Power of One is at the
Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Raleigh-Durham, North
Carolina from Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9. The Sheraton
offers free transportation between the hotel and Raleigh-Durham
International Airport.

The Power of One is made possible by the Animal Protection Institute,
Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States, Lantern Books,
and the American Anti-Vivisection Society.

Book early and save money at the Power of One Conference, and at the same
time take advantage of summer airfare sales to Raleigh-Durham
International Airport for even further savings!

Save $30! Conference registration is only $129 per person if postmarked
by August 31, 2005 -- after that, the price is $159. Registration
includes the conference program, exhibit hall and bookstore, and five
vegan meals: the Friday evening welcome buffet, breakfast on Saturday and
Sunday, lunch on Saturday, and the keynote dinner Saturday night.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bear Farming in China

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4608269.stm

(the website has photographs)

Sanctuary calls for end to bear farms

A kilo of bear bile can fetch up to $1,000 in the Chinese market
A bear sanctuary in China has called on the Chinese government to come
up
with a "strategic plan" to eliminate the practice of bear farming in
the
country.
Around 7,000 Asiatic black bears are currently being farmed in China
for
their bile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

But charity Animals Asia - founded by British woman Jill Robinson - has
long campaigned for the practice to end, and in 2000 established a
sanctuary for farmed bears, with government approval, in Chengdu in
Sichuan Province.

Now the charity has called on the government to co-ordinate a permanent
end to the farms.

"If the government really came out with a strategic plan tomorrow to
end
bear farming, we could put an enormous amount of work and effort into
this," Ms Robinson told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"We don't have to build sanctuaries all over the place - although it
would
be nice - [but] you can at least enrich a bear's life, make a bear
happy,
on site.

"We could use many of these farms, where they have breeding areas, to
turn
these bears out into the enclosures they already have, and provide
far-reaching enrichment programmes, to keep them busy and happy
throughout
the rest of their days."

Ending bear farming

The official China Wildlife Conservation Association has in the past
said
it will "achieve the final objective of terminating bear farming", but
has
admitted there are "many imperfections".

So far, Animals Asia's bear sanctuary has taken in 185 bears.

They are housed in eight compounds, one of which is for disabled bears.

Bears progress from the quarantine block to a forested area once they
have
recovered from their injuries and are able to socialise with other
bears.



I almost feel like my life began when I found the bears
Jill Robinson
Ms Robinson founded Animals Asia in 1993 after observing the conditions
in
one bear farm.

She said the bears she saw "could hardly move" and were unable to do
anything but put their arms through the bars of their cages.

"I knew nothing about the practice of bear farming," she added.

"As I was walking around this horrible basement and looking at this
catalogue of injuries to these animals, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I
turned around and there was a female bear with her paw stretched
thorough
the bars of the cage... I took her paw, and instead ripping my arm from
my
shoulders, she squeezed it rhythmically.

"It was something that I've never forgotten, and really set me on a
path
towards ending bear farming in China."

Ms Robinson, who described herself as a "frustrated non-vet," had been
involved in animal welfare since leaving school.

Initially she began trying to help the bears by building relationships
and
negotiating with government departments. But in 2000, the Chinese
authorities agreed to the establishment of the Chengdu sanctuary.

"We were incredibly lucky," she added.

A philanthropist friend, based in Hong Kong, gave her the money to set
up
the sanctuary properly.

"He invited me to come along for breakfast, and within half an hour of
meeting him, he said, 'I pledge you your first million dollars.'

"I nearly fell off my chair. I'd never been offered anything like that
before."

Funding

This money gave Robinson enough funds for the first two years of the
sanctuary.

It has expanded dramatically since then and now employs 70 local
workers.

One is Wu Guo Jen, a former local furniture maker, who told Outlook he
was
"so impressed, I decided to quit my job and start here".


The bears often arrive having suffered horrific injuries
However, the centre needs large amounts of money just to keep going.

With wages, veterinary costs, feed and bear care, the monthly cost of
the
sanctuary exceeds $60,000; each individual enclosure for 48 bears needs
$200,000 to build.

And every bear needs surgery to remove the steel or plastic tubes that
had
been inserted to remove the bile, meaning they all need at least one
operation.

Meanwhile, Ms Robinson has pledged to spend the rest of her life
looking
after the bears.

"I couldn't think of a nicer place to end my days," she added.

"I almost feel like my life began when I found the bears. We grow as a
foundation and I grow as a person."

Friday, June 03, 2005

Lobbyists square up over whaling

Lobbyists square up over whaling
By Helen Briggs
BBC News science reporter


Greenpeace activists are occupying the site of a proposed whale meat factory in Ulsan, South Korea, ahead of talks on the state of the world's whale stocks.

Read it here - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4582495.stm

USDA concludes Nevada university mistreated research animals

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/05/30/neglect.investigation.ap/index.html

USDA concludes Nevada university mistreated research animals

RENO, Nevada (AP) -- A seven-month federal investigation has concluded
that a Nevada university mistreated research animals, and the school has
agreed to pay an $11,400 fine to settle the case.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the University of Nevada, Reno,
for 46 federal animal welfare violations between May 2004 and March 2005.

Violations included repeatedly leaving 10 research pigs with inadequate
water and housing, poor sanitation at animal care facilities, lack of
veterinary care, and failure to investigate complaints of animal neglect.

School officials agreed to pay the fine Friday but said they disagree with
some of the agency's findings.

University President John Lilley said in a statement that the school has
addressed the USDA's concerns and is "firmly committed to the appropriate
treatment of animals under our care."

The investigation began shortly after associate professor Hussein S.
Hussein, an internationally known animal nutrition researcher, alleged
abuse of research animals in complaints to the USDA last summer.

The Reno Gazette-Journal later reported that 38 pregnant sheep died in
October 2002 while they were inside a locked gate without food or water
for three days.

Hussein has filed two lawsuits in federal court against the university,
Lilley and other administrators accusing them of reprisals and trying to
fire him since he complained. Both lawsuits are pending.

Wild Oats Gives Chickens Something To Crow About: No More Cages

Great News!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wild Oats Gives Chickens Something To Crow About: No More Cages
Natural Foods Retailer Is First National Chain to Commit
Exclusively To
Cage-Free Eggs For Its Approved National And Regional
Product Lists

WASHINGTON (May 31, 2005) – Today, The Humane Society of the United
States (HSUS) and Wild Oats Markets, Inc. announced an historic victory
in the effort to combat intensive confinement systems in animal
agribusiness. After multiple discussions with The HSUS, Wild Oats, one of
the nation’s largest natural foods retail chains, agreed to avoid the
sale of eggs from caged birds in all of its 75 Wild Oats Natural
Marketplaces, located in 23 states.

While some U.S. companies, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s,
have asked their egg suppliers to increase cage space, this announcement
makes Wild Oats the nation’s first major chain to formally implement a
cage-free corporate policy for eggs. Wild Oats sold 1.6 million cartons
of eggs in 2004.

"Demand for improving the welfare of farm animals has never been higher,”
said Perry Odak, President and CEO of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. “We are
hopeful that our decision not to approve egg farmers who use caged birds
for our national and regional product lists will encourage the egg
industry to move in the direction of phasing out its use of battery
cages, and shifting toward cage-free methods that take the animals'
welfare into account."

Approximately 98 percent of eggs sold in the United States come from
birds confined in barren “battery cages” so small they can’t even spread
their wings, let alone engage in other natural behaviors such as nesting,
foraging, perching, and dust bathing—a practice that 86 percent of
Americans surveyed by Zogby International find unacceptable. Despite
this, battery cage egg production has increased over the last 50 years
and bears no resemblance to the idyllic barnyard setting of children’s
storybooks.

According to HSUS Factory Farming Campaign manager Paul Shapiro, “Birds
in battery cages suffer immensely. Wild Oats has taken a bold step by
avoiding the sale of eggs from caged birds, and we enthusiastically
applaud their efforts to help reduce animal suffering.”

This historic announcement also supports The HSUS’s No Battery Eggs
campaign, which is designed to encourage the egg industry to move away
from caged egg production. To date, The HSUS has already enjoyed
substantial success through its efforts to encourage university food
service providers to switch to an exclusively cage-free egg supply.
George Washington University has stopped selling battery cage eggs in its
school store, and food service providers AVI and Bon Appetit are testing
cage-free egg sales on campuses they serve.

Despite increasing regulation on the treatment of laying hens in the
European Union, virtually no laws exist in the United States to protect
these birds. Egg-laying hens are exempted from the federal Animal Welfare
Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and most states’
anti-cruelty statutes either explicitly exempt common farming practices,
no matter how abusive, or aren’t ever applied to farm animals.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal
protection organization with more than nine million members and
constituents. The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active
programs in companion animals and equine protection, wildlife and habitat
protection, animals in research and farm animal welfare. The HSUS
protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation,
legislation, advocacy, and field work. The non-profit organization is
based in Washington and has field representatives across the country. On
the web at www.hsus.org.


-30-

Media Contact:
The HSUS, Rachel Querry, 301-258-8255, rquerry@hsus.org
Wild Oats, Sonja Tuitele, 720-562-4984, stuitele@wildoats.com

AlternativeOutfitters.com: high quality, cruelty-free fashion and beauty products

From Farm Sanctuary

Make a Fashion Statement
AlternativeOutfitters.com is where stylish vegans go for high quality, cruelty-free fashion and beauty products. If you have ever had trouble finding vegan shoes in the past, your troubles are over. Alternative Outfitters carries non-leather vegan shoes, handbags, wallets, and belts. They also offer other trendy animal-friendly accessories and apparel from t-shirts to cell phone pouches. Cruelty-free cosmetics and beauty products are also available. Alternative Outfitters is also proud to be a Farm Sanctuary supporter. So, make a fashion statement and shop with compassion at AlternativeOutfitters.com.
http://www.AlternativeOutfitters.com

NY Residents: Bill to Ban Force-Feeding - Easy Action

Bill to Ban Force-Feeding Flies Through Committee!
Humane legislation in New York to ban the cruel force-feeding of birds for foie gras passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee by a vote of 16 to 1! While similar legislation has been introduced for a number of years previously, this is the first time the bill has ever moved forward and represents a very positive development. Assembly Bill 6212 will now move to the Assembly floor, and it is critical for New York citizens to contact their Assembly representatives.
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/campaign/NY_foiegras.htm

Dog and Cat Fur petition - Easy Action

Message from Heather Mills McCartney:

Please take the time to sign the online Dog & Cat Fur Petition to EU
Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, urging him to implement a ban on the
trade of dog and cat fur from Asia to Europe.
http://www.heathermillsmccartney.com/petition.php
Forward widely!

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