Friday, October 28, 2005

Progressive Animal Laws: Rome Bans Cruel Goldfish Bowls

A very progessive step. Good to see some countries are actually thinking this way. I wonder when the us will.

Rome bans 'cruel' goldfish bowls


ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.

The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs.

"It's good to do whatever we can for our animals who in exchange for a little love fill our existence with their attention," said Monica Cirinna, the councilor behind the by-law.

"The civilization of a city can also be measured by this," she told Rome daily Il Messaggero.

The newspaper reported that round bowls caused fish to go blind. No one at Rome council was available to confirm this was why they were banned. Many fish experts say round bowls provide insufficient oxygen for fish.

In July 2004, parliament passed a law setting big fines and jail terms for people who abandon pets and since then local governments have added their own animal welfare rules many of which will be difficult to police.

The northern city of Turin passed a law in April to fine pet owners up to 500 euros ($597.7) if they do not walk their dogs at least three times a day.

The new Rome by-law requires owners to regularly exercise their dogs, and bans them from docking their pets' tails for aesthetic reasons.

It also provides legal recognition for cat lovers who provide food for the colonies of strays which live everywhere from the city's ancient Roman ruins to modern office car parks.

Animal rights groups estimate that around 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chicago is One Step Closer to Banning Foie Gras!

From: Farm Sanctuary

If you know of any one in Chicago, pass this on! Great news. Foie Gras is a terrible practice that must be stopped.

Chicago is One Step Closer to Banning Foie Gras!

Today, October 25, 2005, saw the passage of the
proposed Chicago ordinance to ban the sale of foie gras [2]
through the Chicago City Council Committee on Health. This is a
key step in prohibiting the sale of foie gras in the city of

Compelling testimony highlighted the cruelty of foie gras
production, including a passionate statement by actress Loretta
Swit. Representatives of the foie gras industry were unable to
convince members of the committee that force feeding birds is
humane and the committee unanimously voted in favor of Alderman
Moore's proposal. The Committee on Health has carefully examined
the process of foie gras production over the past couple of

Dr. Holly Cheever, a veterinarian and expert on the foie gras
industry, and Gene Bauston, President of Farm Sanctuary,
provided information and testified in support of Alderman
Moore's proposal at hearings in September and October.

Next step: The entire Chicago City Council will be
voting soon on this proposed ordinance!

More exciting news! Similar foie gras state legislation
is also currently pending in Illinois and

What You Can Do

* To learn more about this cruel production method and see
what you can do to help, please visit:

* Chicago Residents: The Chicago City Council consists of 50
Aldermen, one representing each city ward. PLEASE CONTACT
YOUR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS NOW [6], asking them to please
support Alderman Moore's Proposal to Ban the Sale of Cruel
Foie Gras in Chicago.

For more information, please contact
or call 607-583-2225 ext 251.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Keep Your Pets (Campanions) Safe on Halloween - Some Tips to Follow

From the Humane Society of the US. Remember, too, that dogs and cats could dash out of the door in a split second, and with all the commotion during Halloween eve, they are sure to get spooked and run.

The tips are below. Also, check out this real life Halloween horror story. In essence, one story of what can happen to companions on Halloween. Title: A Tangled Web: Halloween Product Contributes to a Real-Life Horror

Link to full page:

1 Keep pets safely inside, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities.

2 Cats, especially black ones, may be the target of pranksters. Keep cats safely indoors. Go to for more information.

3 Be sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags, as frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape.

4 Keep candy out of your pet’s reach. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to cats, dogs, and ferrets.

5 Keep pets away from decorations. Candle flames can quickly singe, burn or set fire to a pet’s fur. Pets can become tangled in hanging decorations like streamers and can choke on some decorations if they chew on them.

6 Resist the urge to put your furry friend in costume. Most pets dislike the confinement of costumes and masks, and flowing capes can cause injuries if pets get caught on something.

7 Don’t bring the family dog along for trick-or-treating. Dogs may become difficult to handle during the noise and confusion of the festivities. A lost dog or dog bite will quickly end your Halloween fun.

Request for Katrina Animal Rescue Stories for New Book

From another group. Do you know of people who need to be recognized for putting their time and life secondary to saving the animal vicitims of Hurrican Katrina? If so, read on.....

Call for your rescue stories to be part of a very special book.

As I have returned home and contemplated all that I just experienced, and
am continuing to experience, of the animal rescue effort in New Orleans, I
have decided to write/edit a book.

It is a book that will honor 2 entities in particular.
It will honor all of you, the remarkable people who dropped everything (and
are even now continuing to do so) to go to unknown territory and save the
animals that so desperately needed your help.

And it will honor the animals; the innocent victims of this whole tragedy-
the ones that held on to life and even looked out for one another, until we
could get to them as well as the ones that we could not get to in time.

And it is a book that will essentially be written by all of you. The human
animals who were there, breaking down doors, cleaning stalls, offering
comfort, dispatching teams to critical animals, brainstorming new
strategies, crawling under houses.and risking everything.

I have seen many of you keeping blogs, exchanging e-mails and sharing your
experiences with one another- I want us to share these now with the world.
And I trust that this writing, recounting and sharing will somehow be
therapeutic for you as well- As a psychologist and one who participated in
and helped run the rescue effort, I know that we are each holding so much
pain within us.

I ask that you each take a few moments, before your memory fades, and
reflect on a particular rescue or instance that has affected you deeply.
It may start with an image you saw on television that prompted you to go
and it may end with a rescue that filled your heart.
It may recount you holding a starving dehydrated animals as he/she took her
last breath. It may be about having helped an elderly woman find the cat
that she feared dead- the one you rescued from the rafters of her attic.
It may be about the limping dog that led you to her sick companion, another
dog and then ran off having done his job to help the friend.

The stories are endless- and you are the ones to tell them. They do not
have to be dramatic or earth shattering. Just a sharing of what you saw,
what you felt, what motivated you, how it changed you.anything that feels
like it needs to be said.

You are remarkable, special unique individuals and your work will inspire
many, as it already has.

Your stories can be any length but ideally somewhere between 2 and 10
Poems and photos that might accompany these stories are welcome too.
As of now there will be no monetary compensation for the stories but
proceeds will go to a fund set up through for animal
rescue efforts in the future.
Each story will reflect that it was written by you and a brief bio of who
you are and what you do will likely accompany the story.
Obviously not all stories will be chosen for the book but maybe if there
are enough, we can publish more volumes.

After reading your stories, I may want to interview you more.

Please send stories to or

I would like to have them all by December 1 if possible.

Best wishes and on behalf of the animals I thank you deeply,

Pia Salk, Psy.D.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Starbucks coffee loves rodeos and the animal abuse that accompanies them.

Yep, Starbucks coffee loves rodeos and the animal abuse that accompanies them. Just see for your self at this link:

It just seems that Starbucks cannot stop supporting questionable practices. We all know about its past support of Rainforest and indigenous culture destruction. We also know about its support of corporate coffee plantations vs. fair trade. But who would have guessed that they'd turn their support to the cruel "sport" of rodeo? Not even I would have guessed that.

So, visit the page above, see the pictures of cruelty and follow the directions on how to contact Starbucks and let them know that the rodeo is just as cruel as rainforest destruction, indigenous culture destruction, and unfairly-traded coffee. Plus, could you ever really see one of the Seattle suits from corporate out at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming? Probably not.

Hipster starbuckers, please save your energy - no comments. Even if you do live in Seattle, your support of Starbucks contradicts with your supposed beliefs.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Starbucks' (coffee) Further Involvement with the Rodeo: They Love the Rodeo and its Cruelty!

From our friends at SHARK. Please pass on.

SHARK Update

Starbucks Continues to Tow the Rodeo Line

October 18, 2005


Dear Friends,

By now I guess most of you who wrote to Starbucks about its giving
advertising money to the Rodeo Mafia have gotten the company's response,
such as it is. For those of you who did not get a response, here is the
company line that you are expected to swallow:

"Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

Starbucks is deeply committed to our Mission Statement and Guiding
Principles. One of our six principles is "contributing positively to our
community" and one of the ways that we contribute is by supporting events
that are important to the local communities that we serve.

As a part of the Cheyenne, WY community, we wanted to show our support for
the Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration; a large event which includes art
shows, Native American cultural events, parades, amusement rides, a rodeo
and other activities. We showed our support by taking out taking out a $250
advertisement in a Cheyenne Frontier Days brochure, inviting those who
attended the festival to enjoy a Starbucks beverage at our local store
before or after the event.

We value and appreciate your feedback, and we will continue to look for
ways to support our local communities in a responsible way."


A terrified calf at the same rode that Starbucks supported and says is
"contributing positively to our communities."

Learn and see

Their above statement says much about Starbucks Coffee. First it is obvious
that those of us who have for years felt good about buying from Starbucks
Coffee because they were a "progressive company" have been suckered
big-time. Here is a company that, upon looking at this situation, merely
needed to say something like this: "This should not have happened, and you
may rest assured that it will not happen again." A "progressive company"
would have recognized in a heartbeat that supporting animal abuse was in no
way a responsible way to support the local community.

If Starbucks wasn't educated about the rodeo issue when it shelled out
company dollars for ad support, that could have quickly and easily be
remedied by way of the Internet. On SHARK's site alone
Starbucks decision makers can view pictures and video clips. They would
have learned that no legitimate humane society condones rodeo because of
the abusive treatment of its nonhuman victims. In fact, the company would
have learned that many humane organizations worldwide have taken a strong
stand against rodeo animal abuse. Obviously Starbucks wasn't interested in
the facts.

An appropriate Starbucks response to a request for ad money from the
Frontier Days producers would be, "Starbucks would love to support your
affair. Please let us know when you have dropped the rodeo." Of course, the
rodeo is what the Cheyenne Frontier Days is all about. Everything else is
just window dressing. There are multiple rodeo events every day for over a
week. Injured and dead animals were regularly dragged off the arena floor.
Starbucks claims that the Frontier Days "festival" (that's the first time I
have ever heard it called that) "includes art shows, Native American
cultural events, parades, amusement rides, a rodeo and other activities."
The company makes it sound like the rodeo performances are a small part of
the whole. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and Starbucks knows it.

What's really a hoot is that when first contacted, the company insinuated
that SHARK's claim of an ad in a rodeo program was a work of fiction. After
all, this was the progressive and enlightened Starbucks! As it turns out,
we were right on the money, and now Starbucks is claiming it just doesn't
matter. After all, it was JUST two hundred fifty dollars, according to
Starbucks. Starbucks should be appalled that even one dollar from their
company goes to the pockets of an animal abusing industry. All the company
had to do was promise to not do it again, but it refused.

Starbucks is taking its customers for fools. I guess the company figures
that it has done such a great job of green-washing itself that none of you
will be sharp enough to see through that nonsensical statement it is
putting out. Starbucks' form E-mail tries to make its ad in the Cheyenne
rodeo program seem like a small matter, and when you really look at the
whole Starbucks picture, I guess it is. After all, Starbucks' true support
of rodeo, and its partners in crime in supporting the Rodeo Mafia makes the
ad in Cheyenne look like nothing at all!

Well, that's not exactly the way it is. Starbucks apparently forgot to
mention at least one other connection it has to rodeo, one that we just
discovered. Starbucks was a proud sponsor of an affair called Miss Rodeo
Washington. You can see that Starbucks is listed as a sponsor by going to
. But you'll see so much
more. Not only was Starbucks a sponsor, but so was the Ellensburg Rodeo,
the Kitsap Stampede (a rodeo in Kitsap, Washington), the Colville Rodeo,
the Othello Rodeo, the Beard Rodeo Company, and last but certainly not
least, the Washington State Trappers Association. YEE (as they say) HA!

Here's the bottom line, folks. I know a lot of people like Starbucks
products. But some of your Starbucks money is going to the Rodeo Mafia. I
hope you will seriously consider this before spending another penny at
Starbucks--and then telling the company WHY.

What You Can Do:

-Unfortunately for them in this case, Starbucks are everywhere! We don't
have to trek all the way to their headquarters-they bring their businesses
to us. Some dedicated and creative advocates have already taken the
initiative to copy or download the photos
of animal abuse
at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, and have taken these images into their
local Starbucks to educate the management. This is something everyone can
do and Starbucks can't hide from it!

-If you have not already, please contact Starbucks. They have now been
caught supporting at least two rodeo-related events, and most likely more
than that. Please tell them that you will not be a Starbucks' customer as
long as one penny of their money goes towards animal abusing industries. As
one customer wrote, "I hate rodeos and animal cruelty more than I like soy

Starbucks Retail Customer Relations

(800) 235-2883, Press 0

Mon - Fri 5 AM - 6 PM (PST), Sat - Sun 6 AM - 3 PM (PST)

Starbucks has a comment page on their website: ct_forms.asp?nav=3f

Please stay tuned for news of upcoming Starbucks protest efforts. SHARK is
expanding our Starbucks site, which graphically exposes the cruelty with
which Starbucks is involved, to include more photos, footage, and updates.
Watch for to launch anyday! Until then, please continue
to tell your friends and family about

Thank you for all your efforts,

Steve Hindi and your SHARK Team


phone: 630-557-0176


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New deal just signed means eight million fewer battery eggs per year (31,000 fewer battery hens)

Good news. Any progress IS progress overall.

Today, food service provider Bon Appetit announced that after talks with
HSUS, it is ending its use of eggs from caged birds. This means that over
the next year alone, Bon Appetit will purchase at least eight million
fewer battery eggs than it did in the previous year, and all of the eggs
it replaces them with will be from cage-free producers who are
successfully audited by Humane Farm Animal Care.

You can read more about this on the HSUS web site: Below is today's Wall Street Journal's article
on this.


The Yolk of Oppression: Eggs Are Latest Front In Humane-Food Wars
October 18, 2005; Page D1

It's getting easier to make a politically correct omelette.
In a move that signals the increasing importance of animal-welfare issues
to the food industry, a large food-service company is expected to
announce today that it will buy eggs only from hens that have not been
confined in cages.
The action by Bon Appétit Management Co., which operates 200 cafeterias
in colleges and corporate campuses, comes on the heels of similar
bird-liberating pledges by retailers and colleges around the country.
In January, Whole Foods Market Inc., which has 177 stores nationwide,
began selling only eggs and foods that include eggs from hens not raised
in cages. Wild Oats Markets Inc., with 80 stores, adopted a similar
policy last spring.
The policies promoting cage-free eggs are the latest examples of how
animal-welfare issues have moved into the mainstream. Last year,
California passed a law banning the force-feeding of birds to create foie
gras; a number of states have similar bills on the table. And several
restaurants around the country only serve veal from calves raised in a
less-confined environment.
Some food companies are marketing their products as not only more
wholesome than conventional fare, but also ethically superior. Products
are promoted as being free of genetically modified crops or "local," that
is, produced by farmers close to the area where products are sold. Many
companies, from Smithfield Foods Inc., a major pork producer, to
McDonald's Corp. have announced new antibiotic policies that limit the
amount or kind of the drugs they will allow producers to use. Eggs
reflect particularly well the plethora of claims now on the market:
Today, many cartons are plastered with language including organic,
free-range, "pastured," omega-3-enriched and antibiotic-free.
But in Europe, as a result of the threat of avian flu, some chickens are
losing certain freedoms. In late September, the Netherlands adopted new,
temporary standards for the management of free-range birds. Because of
concerns that these chickens could come into contact with wild, migratory
birds that could be disease carriers, outdoor areas must now be equipped
with nets and shields to protect the chickens from wild birds and their
The movement toward cage-free birds has been a boon for some egg
companies in the U.S. At Egg Innovations in Port Washington, Wisc., which
sells only cage-free eggs, sales are up 20% so far this month over the
same period last year; Eggland's Best in King of Prussia, Penn., which
sells a variety of egg styles, says its total sales are up 10% through
September over the same period last year, and its cage-free egg sales are
up 49%.
Several companies and schools say they started buying cage-free eggs
after being lobbied by the Humane Society of the United States, which
began a campaign in January to halt what it calls abusive "factory
farming" methods. "Caged birds suffer so immensely," says Paul Shapiro,
manager of the factory-farming campaign at the Humane Society. Critics
say the cages are cruel because they do not give birds enough space to
flap their wings and express other natural bird behavior.
Some scientists disagree. Jeff Armstrong, dean of agriculture and natural
resources at Michigan State University, was asked by the United Egg
Producers, a trade group for the egg industry, in 1998 to oversee a panel
of scientists and recommend new animal-welfare guidelines. He says that
nearly twice as many chickens die when they are raised without cages,
because they peck each other and suffer from more diseases.
"Cages are a humane way to raise hens, as long as some changes are made"
to the system, says Mr. Armstrong. The new guidelines he helped develop,
since adopted by about 80% of U.S. egg farmers, call for an average of 62
square inches per bird, up from 48, and increase to as much as 76 square
inches over the next few years as the plan is phased in. Farmers must
also remove chicken manure continually from the cages.
There are three basic methods of raising laying hens: caged, cage-free
and free-range. The vast majority world-wide -- about 98% -- are caged.
Cage-free birds do not spend any time in cages; instead, they roam the
floor of a hen house. Free-range birds are those that are allowed to
spend at least some portion of their lives in the outdoors, though not
necessarily on grass, while hens that are set out on grass are known as
Egg farmers use cages to separate birds from each other and to help
maintain cleanliness, which reduces disease, says Julian Madeley,
director general of the International Egg Commission, a trade group for
egg farmers around the world.
Eggs from caged and noncaged birds taste the same and have the same
nutritional profile, but cage-free eggs typically sell for as much as
three times more than regular ones. In September, the average price for
regular, large grade-A eggs was $1.28 a dozen.
The only eggs with a nutritional difference are those that come from
"pastured" hens, says Michael Hamm, a professor of sustainable
agriculture at Michigan State University. Their unique diet yields eggs
higher in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Only a tiny percentage of
eggs come from birds raised this way, and are usually sold at farmer's
This fall, Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, began purchasing only
cage-free shell eggs and liquid eggs at a cost of an extra five to six
thousand dollars a year. Since April, George Washington University in
Washington, D.C., has sold only cage-free eggs in its student grocery
store, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., says it plans to start
serving only cage-free shell eggs, pasteurized egg whites, liquid eggs
and all other egg products in its food-service operations within three
Bon Appétit -- a unit of U.K.-based food-services giant Compass Group PLC
-- buys about eight million shell eggs a year, as well as an unknown
quantity of liquid eggs, which are not currently included in the
cage-free pledge but may be in the future, says spokeswoman Maisie
Write to Katy McLaughlin at
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 17, 2005

Unexpected downside of wind power

Man, even wind power has a downside. Well, it seems the lesson is to plan better. And duh, don't put wind towers in path of migrating birds! Wow, that was a hard one to figure out!

The inhumane exploitation of bears for traditional Asian medicine. Also, how it relates to bears in the US.

A disturbing situation. It's amazing that there are still people who see these practices as ok. Also, a great amount of information on how it relates to bears in the US. Please read

The inhumane exploitation of bears for traditional Asian medicine

Week of Oct. 15, 2005; Vol. 168, No. 16 , p. 250

A Galling Business

The inhumane exploitation of bears for traditional
Asian medicine
Janet Raloff

As a consultant to the International Fund for Animal
Welfare, Jill Robinson walked onto her first bear farm
12 years ago. At this facility in southern China, she
found each bear standing not on a solid floor but on
bars in a cage too small for the animal to take even
one step. Although the Asiatic black bear is normally
a solitary and clean animal, these cages were crowded
together in buildings that could only be described as
"filthy," Robinson reports.

Worst of all, she says, was the bears' evident
suffering. Many had gnawed at the bars of the cages
until their teeth cracked. Some repeatedly banged
their heads against the bars, and most had open

The purpose of these farms was to supply bear bile—a
prized ingredient in many traditional Chinese-medicine
therapies. In powders, pills, and liquids, it's used
to treat conditions including eyesight problems and
what Chinese practitioners call "liver fire."

Traditional medicine has been driving an active trade
in bear bile and gallbladders, which produce it. Sales
flourish despite a longstanding, near-global ban
administered by the United Nations on international
trade in bear parts and products.

In China, wild Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus)
are protected as endangered. However, it's legal there
to sell bile from bears on licensed farms.

Animal-protection groups have estimated that about
half of the world's Asiatic black bears reside in
cages on farms, primarily in China, Vietnam, and
Korea. Some farms have just one bear;
others—especially in China—can have several thousand.
Each bear is milked regularly for bile in a painful
and physically harmful procedure, or the bear is
killed and bile is extracted from its gallbladder.

On subsequent farm visits, Robinson witnessed the
staff extracting bile from bears by unplugging metal
catheters that had been permanently inserted into
their gallbladders. The bile dripped into collection
pans beneath the cages. Seeing such "inhumane" animal
treatment, Robinson recalls, "changed the course of my

Within 5 years, she had set up the Hong Kong–based
Animals Asia Foundation. It operates a 25-acre
sanctuary at Chengdu in China's Sichuan Province that
currently houses 168 bears rescued from farms that
have shut down. Robinson is also working to find
places for additional bears expected to become
available in the near future.

Vietnam is a major bear-farming nation, despite laws
that forbid the practice. Recently, an animal-welfare
group negotiated with that country to enforce its laws
and phase out bear farms. New technologies are being
developed for policing this agreement and the
international-trade ban. These tools are expected to
come into use within the next year.

In North America, hunters kill American black bears
and sell the gallbladders illegally. Although these
bears aren't considered endangered, special agent
Allen Hundley of the Fredericksburg, Va., office of
the Fish and Wildlife Service notes that any time an
unregulated market "puts a price on the head of
wildlife," as it has on bears for their gallbladders,
the future of that wildlife is in serious jeopardy.

Bear facts

Estimates remain sketchy, but wild populations of
Asiatic black bears seem to have dropped to about
15,000 animals throughout all of Asia, says Dave
Eastham of the World Society for the Protection of
Animals (WSPA) in London.

Trafficking in bear parts is largely responsible for
this decline, according to the Gland,
Switzerland–based World Conservation Union. The group
concludes that this species faces "a high risk of
extinction in the wild in the medium term."

Heavy poaching prompted China, 25 years ago, to move
some bears to licensed facilities. The resulting farms
were expected to supply all the bile needed to fulfill
traditional medicine's demand—then about 500 kilograms
of bile per year—says Eastham.

However, traditional medicine's bile consumption has
now reached 4,000 to 5,000 kg per year worldwide, he
reports. China's farmers manage at least 7,000 bears,
and Vietnamese farms harvest bile from an estimated
4,000 bears.

Another 1,800 bears are caged in South Korea, but they
aren't milked for bile. Instead, when they turn 10
years old, they're killed and their gallbladders
harvested, Eastham says. In the wild, Asia's black
bears can survive to nearly 30 years old.

Today, supplies of farmed and poached bear bile exceed
demand for bile used in Asian medicine, perhaps by up
to 2,000 kg per year, Eastham's group reports. So, a
luxury market in Asia now offers consumer products
that brag of their bear-bile content. They run the
gamut—from hemorrhoid creams to shampoos to wines.

"Rather than supplying existing bile demand," Eastham
argues, "farming actually increased it."

The chemical of interest is ursodeoxycholic acid,
which has been found only in bear bile. At least a few
scientific studies of the compound have supported
traditional Chinese medicine's claim that bile
products benefit the liver, according to TRAFFIC North
America, a joint program of the World Conservation
Union and the Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund,
which studies international trade in threatened and
endangered species.

An April 2002 report by the group TRAFFIC North
America cites research finding that ursodeoxycholic
acid has some effect against autoimmune hepatitis,
viral hepatitis, and other liver diseases. The bile
agent also appears to improve immunity and prevent
colon cancer, TRAFFIC North America notes.

Although the compound can be synthesized from other
sources, many traditional healers still recommend the
bear version, Eastham's group has found.

Prices for bile and gallbladders vary dramatically.
Asian smugglers have told U.S. Fish and Wildlife
agents that gallbladders can fetch $10,000 apiece.
WSPA cites market studies indicating that bile powder
can cost as little as 24 cents a gram at bear farms in
China but as much to $28 a gram in Taiwan and $250 a
gram in Japan, two places where bear bile is illegal.

Cruel and unusual

International animal-protection groups have taken on
the issue of farmed bile because of the heavy price
that the bears pay. The Animals Asia Foundation has
documented that price among the bears that it has

Most of the animals lack wilderness-survival skills
after having spent most or all of their lives in
captivity. Moreover, most carry substantial injuries:
missing teeth, missing limbs, and severely damaged
internal organs.

More than 85 percent of rescued bears suffer abdominal
adhesions that bind organs to one another and to the
abdominal wall, says Kati Loeffler, the veterinarian
at the foundation's sanctuary in Chengdu. Some 10
percent of bears also have liver tumors.

Shortly after the animals enter the sanctuary, they
have their gallbladders surgically removed. "We do
this," Loeffler explains, "because those gallbladders
are just a horrible mess." Nearly all these have
polyps, and many contain old, pus-filled abscesses,
which are "an indication of long-term trauma and
infection," she says.

These health conditions reflect repeated trauma, such
as from nonsterile surgery to insert a catheter or
repeatedly piercing the gallbladder to drain bile,
Loeffler says. In one such technique, Robinson notes,
Chinese farmers stitch the gallbladder to the
abdominal wall, pierce it, and then prevent the wound
from healing. For each bile extraction, the
gallbladder is repunctured—sometimes twice a day,
without anesthetic.

These animals are amazingly tough, Loeffler says:
"Only a bear could handle such trauma. Any other
species would have died."

Stung, twice

An illegal trade in bears and their parts exists even
in the United States. During the past year, federal
prosecutions were brought against three hunters in
Alaska for killing 10 bears to harvest their
gallbladders for sale in Korea. Biologists surveying
salmon runs uncovered the kills (see "Snaring
Poachers," below).

But the Alaska haul pales in comparison with the 118
gallbladders—now frozen and in federal custody—that
were purchased from a single person as part of an
earlier sting. The major undercover program—Special
Operation to Uncover Poaching (SOUP)—investigated
illegal trafficking in bear parts in the Mid-Atlantic

Run cooperatively in the late 1990s by the U.S. Park
Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, SOUP
found that bear parts traded in the region came
largely from animals taken in Virginia, where bear
hunting is legal.

However, because the state prohibits the sale of bear
parts, these hunters marketed the animals'
gallbladders and paws—a delicacy used in some Asian
soups—to a broker in West Virginia, where trade in
bear parts was then legal. That broker, in turn, sold
the gallbladders and paws to Asian buyers living in
the United States.

The most satisfying aspect of SOUP, Hundley says, was
that "we exposed West Virginia as a laundering haven
for bear gallbladders that were acquired illegally
elsewhere." Shortly afterward, in 1999, West Virginia
closed this loophole by outlawing the sale of paws and
organs of even legally killed bears.

Yet that didn't end the region's bear poaching, notes
Skip Wissinger, a Park Service special agent in the
Shenandoah National Park's Elkton, Va., office. Using
information acquired in SOUP, his team and state
officers set up a second, more complicated sting
operation. Undercover agents opened a sporting-goods
store in Elkton. Under the counter, however, they
provided bear parts from road kill, previous busts
such as SOUP, and a federal forensic lab in Oregon.

For 3 years, each gallbladder sale was recorded on
tape. Unlike SOUP, which focused on hunters and
wholesalers, this sting—Operation VIPER, for Virginia
Interagency Effort to Protect Environmental
Resources—targeted consumers.

The agents had expected most of the bear parts to be
exported. The "surprise," Wissinger says, was that
"well over half of what we sold went to a domestic
market" of traditional Chinese- and Korean-medicine
distributors, largely along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Growing sales to U.S. consumers have created a local
black market in bear parts that "appears absolutely
insatiable," Wissinger told Science News. "We just
couldn't begin to keep up with what we had been asked
to supply."

>From VIPER, hundreds of felony charges were leveled
against some 80 defendants for trafficking in bear
parts. In the 40 cases that have been settled in
Virginia state courts, all the defendants were found
guilty, Wissinger says. The other cases are still
wending their way through federal courts, where
prosecution is more difficult and cases take longer,
but where the penalties may be greater.

Still, Wissinger adds that he's certain that his
team's sting didn't end the local black marketEthough
we might have slowed it some."

Tech support

Although bear farming in Vietnam has been illegal for
years, Eastham notes that the government turned a
blind eye to most of these mom-and-pop operations,
which have only one or two bears apiece. But this
year, WSPA—on behalf of its 500 member
societies—brokered a deal with Hanoi officials for
Vietnam to enforce its laws.

Vietnamese officials will prevent the sale of bile,
but will permit farms to keep the bears they now own.
The officials plan to implant microchips, whose
purchase may be partially subsidized by WSPA, in the
shoulders of all bears on farms.

Similar to the identification chips implanted in many
pet dogs, these chips would give each bear a unique ID
number, record when the tag was implanted, and carry
the farm's address. Monitoring agencies could send
people around every 6 months or so to scan bears and
generate readouts of their implanted data. This
procedure would prevent the farms from replenishing
their stock when a bear died.

The government is "being pragmatic" in letting farmers
keep their bears for now, Eastham says, since it's a
violation of international law to kill the endangered
animals and sanctuaries can't spring up overnight to
absorb several thousand bears. Moreover, the program
should finally end Vietnam's rampant problem with
capture of wild bears for farming, he says, since the
monitoring agencies would prosecute anyone harboring
bears without a chip.

Eastham told Science News that currently, in South
Korea, "we're in negotiations with government
officials to see if they won't go down the same road
as Vietnam."

Last year, Kate Sanders, a herpetologist in Adelaide,
Australia, who works with WSPA, came up with the idea
for another antipoaching technology. Inspired by snake
venom-detection kits, she says, she suggested a tool
to enable customs officials and other law-enforcement
agents to test for the presence of bear proteins in
suspicious materials within just 5 minutes.

Geneticist Rob Ogden of Wildlife DNA Services in
Bangor, Wales, is managing the assay's development. It
will employ the dipstick technology typical of
pregnancy-test kits. The assay contains antibodies to
characteristic proteins found only in bears. These
antibodies are attached to a dye. If they contact a
bear protein, they will bind and create a telltale
blue line.

Ogden says, "We hope to have the kits ready for
testing by June 2006."

Yet another WSPA program is fashioning a decidedly
low-tech program aimed at stemming demand for bear
bile and gallbladders. Susan Sherwin in the group's
Framingham, Mass., office is working with Eastham to
compile a list of plant-based products that some
traditional Asian-medicine practitioners prescribe in
place of bile. Among the dozens of materials that
they've turned up so far: aloe vera, ash bark,
dandelion, and honeysuckle flowers. The alternatives'
activity depends on chemicals other than
ursodeoxycholic acid.

WSPA is currently surveying traditional-medicine
practitioners worldwide about the conditions and
circumstances under which they prescribe these plant
materials. Over the next year, WSPA plans to begin
publicizing the results to traditional Asian healers
in hopes of encouraging more of them to substitute
herbal products for bile.

One thing working in his favor, Eastham notes, is that
the plant products all "are a lot cheaper than bile."

Snaring Poachers: It's Often the Hard Part

Feds prosecute Alaskan bear poaching

In September 2002, biologists under contract to
ExxonMobil Corp. repeatedly visited a small stream on
heavily wooded Chenega Island in Alaska's Prince
William Sound. Their goal: to tally spawning pink
salmon. At this time of year, creeks are normally
"thick with bears," which fatten up on those salmon in
preparation for winter hibernation, notes Shawn
Haskell, now at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. His
team therefore had anticipated spying the powerful
predators at virtually every stream.

Instead, during three successive visits to this
island, some 50 miles off the mainland town of Seward,
the biologists found snares suspended along bear paths
and the nearly intact carcasses of bears missing only
their gallbladders and the occasional paw.
State and federal investigators would later find the
animals' gallbladders in coolers aboard a boat
anchored just off the island.

Although Alaska permits hunting of its native American
black bears, a license permits the taking of only one
bear, and a hunter must bring home its coat and skull.
When caught at Chenega Island, the boat owner Kwan Su
Yi and his two hunting partners had five gallbladders,
11 paws, a bear head—and no fur skins, notes Special
Agent Jill Birchell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in Anchorage. Search warrants turned up still
more gallbladders in Yi's home freezer.

Yi admitted to federal investigators that he and his
companions intended to smuggle their booty to Korea,
where a single gallbladder can fetch $3,500 from
purveyors of natural medicines. Despite a host of
herbal alternatives, many traditional Asian healers
continue to prescribe bear bile, which can be obtained
from the gallbladder, to treat a range of health
conditions. This market has been driving an active
trade in bear products despite a longstanding
near-global ban on international trade in bear parts.
The vast majority of medicinal bile comes from farmed
bears in China and Vietnam. Organs plundered from
North American bears supplement this source.

Over a 6-month period ending last March, the three
poachers—all Korean immigrants—pled guilty to felony
violations of the Lacey Act. This federal law
prohibits trade of wildlife that was acquired in
violation of local state law and also transported
across that state's border. The law also covers the
intention to carry out such trade.

Yi was sentenced this past March to a year in jail, to
be followed by 3 years probation. He forfeited his
22-foot boat, a rifle, and a 40-caliber handgun. Over
the next 4 years, he cannot apply for a hunting
license or possess any bear parts. His brother-in-law,
James Ho Moon, who was part of the bear-hunting party,
received no jail time but some $1,600 in fines and
fees, 3 years probation, and must do 160 hours of
community service.

The final participant in the Chenega Island bear
plundering incidents was Tae Won Ro. Birchell says
that Ro "admitted that it was sort of his idea to get
these other two men involved [in the venture], having
learned the [snaring] technique from another
individual." With a prior criminal conviction for
domestic violence, Ro proved willing to cooperate with
Birchell's team on piecing together various elements
of this case.

In the end, he gave evidence that showed that his team
had killed 16 bears during five separate trips to the
island. Ro's sentence: 9 months house detention with
electronic monitoring to be followed by 3 years
probation. He was also assessed roughly $5,000 in
fines and fees.

Such convictions are rare, Birchell notes. The U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service has just 219 agents
nationally, which includes managers and supervisory
staff, to investigate potential incidents affecting
any type of wildlife. Moreover, bears tend to inhabit
extremely remote locations. Finally, even when someone
is found with bear parts, such as gallbladders,
Birchell points out that it's daunting to prove that
they were both acquired illegally and intended for
sale across state boundaries.

Indeed, she told Science News, the relative ease with
which her team mounted a case against these men
reflected their ignorance of the law. "They assumed
that they were maybe going to get a ticket for a game
violation," she says. If they had realized that their
actions constituted a federal felony, she notes, "they
might not have been so forthcoming when we interviewed

Gruesome encounter

In a state as big as Alaska, "it would be very easy to
get away with this snaring," Haskell says. It was just
the poachers' bad luck that they chose to plunder
their prey on one of four streams being surveyed every
4 days by wildlife biologists.

Haskell's group spied the first snared bear some 200
yards inside the tree line on Chenega Island. The bear
had a noose of wire around its neck that was cabled to
a small, nearby tree.

Respectful of the frightened animal's power, the
biologists shot at the wire anchoring the snare.
Suddenly, the bear snapped the frayed wire and bounded
away, the noose still tightly cinched around its neck.

When the biologists next returned to the island, they
found that the poachers had preceded them. Along the
stream they encountered carcasses of snared bears.
Each animal had a slit down its abdomen, several cut
ribs, a missing gallbladder, and snaring gear still
attached to a nearby sapling.

Team leader Bill Wilson, now with the North Pacific
Fishery Management Council in Anchorage, recalls one
of those visits to Chenega Island, a day dreary with a
heavy downpour that dogged their trek. While counting
fish, he and his partner, geneticist Matt Cronin, soon
came upon one dead bear on its back with a small area
of its belly sliced open. Later that day, the pair ran
across carcasses of two older cubs, also missing their

Cronin collected tissue samples so that that DNA might
later be used to identify any gallbladders found on
the black market.

In fact, Birchell notes, such tissue samples helped
seal the federal convictions that the bear parts found
in Yi's possession came from the illegally poached
Chenega Island animals.

The biologists alerted state troopers about the
snares. Those state wildlife officers arrived and
confirmed the bear poaching. A few days later, using a
seaplane, those state troopers found Yi's boat
anchored near the headwaters of the little salmon
stream. Almost immediately, they called in federal
officials to help them investigate the extent of the

No national bear-protection law

The nation's black bears currently number between
300,000 and 400,000. Of these, roughly one-third roam
Alaska's wooded terrain, notes Adam Roberts of Born
Free USA in Washington, D.C.

Protection for these animals varies widely by state.
For instance, Idaho, Maine, New York, Vermont, and
Wyoming all permit an unrestricted trade in bear gall
bladders, he notes, whereas 34 other states prohibit
trade, sale, or commercialization of any bear parts.
The remaining states—most of which have few wild
bears—permit the sale of gall bladders if the organs
come from animals harvested outside their borders,
Roberts says.

The problem, he notes, is that without DNA to tie a
particular gall bladder to a carcass, no one can know
for sure in what state it was collected. The only way
to arrest the problem, Roberts says, "is to enact a
national prohibition on trade in bears."

About a decade ago, he helped draft legislation to do
just that. However, despite having had considerable
bipartisan support in the Congress—for instance, it
won Senate passage several times—it has yet to pass
the House of Representatives.

Roberts hopes to see the bill reintroduced in the next
year or two. At present, he says, this legislation is


If you have a comment on this article that you would
like considered for publication in Science News, send
it to Please include your
name and location.


2005. Vietnamese government to phase out bear farming.
World Society for the Protection of Animals news
release. March 11. Available at

2004. Six Anchorage residents charged with illegally
snaring black bears and trafficking in black bear gall
bladders/Air taxi charged with illegal operation in
refuge. United States Attorney's Office news release.
Feb. 21.

1999. Enrolled-Senate Bill No. 525 (By Senators,
Dittmar, Schoonover, Helmick, Anderson, Love, Ross,
Ball, Hunter and Sharpe). March 12.

1999. SOUP delivers federal indictments: U.S. Attorney
ready to prosecute. Federal Wildlife Officers
Association news release. March 11.

Tuan, H.C. 2005. Memorandum of Understanding:
Phase-out of bear farms in Vietnam. World Society for
the Protection of Animals. February.

Williamson, D.F. 2002. In the Black: Status,
Management, and Trade of the American Black Bear
(Ursus americanus) in North America. Washington, D.C.:
TRAFFIC North America. Available at and

Further Readings:

2005. Bear gallbladder sting leads to arrest in Mac.
McMinnville, (Ore.) Daily News-Register. June 18.
Available at

Joling, D. 2005. Anchorage man sentenced in bear
poaching case. Anchorage Daily News. March 2.
Available at

Phillps. T., and P. Wilson, eds. 2002. The Bear Bile
Business: The global trade in bear products from China
to Asia and beyond. London: World Society for the
Protection of Animals. Available at

Raloff, J. 2005. A fishy therapy. Science News
167(March 5):154-156. Available at

______. 2002. Clipping the fin trade. Science News
162(Oct. 12):232-234. Available at

______. 1999. Rarest of the rare. Science News
156(Sept. 4):153-154. Available at

______. 1999. Chinese supplement lowers cholesterol.
Science News 155(April 17):255. References and sources
available at

______. 1999. Red-yeast product is no drug, court
says. Science News 155(Feb. 27):199. References and
sources available at


Jill Birchell
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Division of Law Enforcement
605 West 4th Avenue, Room 57
Anchorage, AK 99501

Dave Eastham
World Society for the Protection of Animals
14th Floor
89 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7TP
United Kingdom

Shawn Haskell
Texas Tech University
Department of Range, Wildlife & Fisheries Management
Mailstop 42125
102 Goddard Building
Lubbock, TX 79409

Allen Hundley
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Division of Law Enforcement
4900 Quality Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Kati Loeffler
Animals Asia Foundation
P.O. Box 374
General Post Office
Hong Kong

Rob Ogden
Wildlife DNA Services
9th Floor, Alan Roberts Building
University of Wales
Bangor, Wales LL57 2UW
United Kingdom

Adam Roberts
Born Free USA
P.O. Box 32160
Washington, DC 20007

Jill Robinson
Hong Kong Head Office
P.O. Box 374
General Post Office
Hong Kong

Kate Sanders
South Australian Museum
15 Noble Street
Ovingham, Adelaide, SA 5082

Susan Sherwin
World Society for the Protection of Animals
34 Deloss Street
Framingham, MA 01702

TRAFFIC North America
c/o World Willdlife Fund-US
1250 24th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037

Bill Wilson
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99502-2252

Skip Wissinger
Shenandoah National Park
22591 Spotswood Trail
Elkton, VA 22827

Friday, October 14, 2005

Are You a Computer Sleuth?? Volunteer to find owners of Katrina pets online

Very cool. And hey, you don't even need to leave your computer and you can still help!

WANTED: Computer sleuths. Join stealthvolunteers to
help an animal find his or her family.

JOIN stealthvolunteers:

Your computer.

Group for people who would like to search online to
help reunite Katrina
evacuees with their pets. (Previously finding
two-legged family members.)

This is a group for people who would like to search online to help reunite Katrina evacuees with their pets. (We previously were finding two-legged family members.)

WE ARE ONLY LOOKING FOR OWNERS! We can not help you if you are looking for a pet. We wish you luck, but this is not the right place for you.

It is only for people who are VERY comfortable with a computer and who are willing to call all over the country chasing down leads. You will be assigned to an animal with *some* ID and you will attempt to track the owner based on that ID. (IF you can't call people for some reason, we do have a Phone Buddy where other people make your calls.)

This is a working list, not a lot of chit-chat although you are welcome to discuss search techniques and websites. NO 0ff-topic discussion. Our topic is finding evacuee owners. Basically I will assign an animal to you and you take it from there. It is primarily dogs as cats don't often have collars. You can learn about the methods on our website

You need to be approved to join only as a precaution against spammers. If you join, I will approve you. Everyone will be approved. As soon as you join, you will get a Welcome document. This is a set of instructions which you must read or you will be hopelessly confused!

GO TO to see how to handle cases.

Update: Trader Joe's still defending battery cage eggs

Have a Trader Joes in your area? I know you Portlanders do. Well, get on them then. They don't have to support "battery cage hens." Options exist and they should be supported.

From: Humane Society of the United States

Many consumers are in the dark about how most egg-laying hens are
treated—but as the word gets out, there is a growing cry to free these
birds from the cruel "battery cages" where millions of them spend their
As you may know, The Humane Society of the United States is working to
persuade the grocery store chain Trader Joe's to sell only cage-free
eggs, and tens of thousands of people have already asked the chain for a
change of policy. Unfortunately, unlike their competitors Whole Foods
Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplaces, Trader Joe's continues to sell
eggs from hens crammed into overcrowded cages. Each of these birds is
allotted only 67 square inches—far less space than a sheet of
letter-sized paper.
Please take action now by asking Trader Joe's to end its sales of one of
the most abusive products of modern factory farming.
For months, The HSUS has attempted to discuss the issue with Trader
Joe's, but the company has refused even to meet with us, choosing instead
to post defensive and misleading messages about the issue on its web

The company has defended battery cages by stating that it only buys
so-called "Animal Care Certified" eggs. But the Better Business Bureau
ruled that the marketing of this voluntary industry program is misleading
because it implied humane care. And just last week, the United Egg
Producers, the trade group behind the logo, dropped the bogus "Animal
Care" language at the urging of the Federal Trade Commission.
Today, we placed the full-page ad shown at right in the Los Angeles
Times. Designed to reach company officials at their California
headquarters, the ad graphically shows readers the meager amount of space
"Animal Care Certified" hens live in, and encourages readers to ask
Trader Joe's to change its policy.
And that's why I'm writing to you today—to update you on our campaign and
to ask you to take two actions to help the hens suffering in battery

1. Ask Trader Joe's for a cage-free egg policy
Trader Joe's needs to hear that its customers don't want the company to
continue supporting battery-cage cruelty. Please send a letter to Trader
Joe's at the address below, and click here for more ways to help.
Dan Bane, Chairman and CEO
Trader Joe's Company, Inc.
800 S. Shamrock Ave.
Monrovia, CA 91016

2. Spread the word
If you live near a Trader Joe's store, please join the hundreds of
committed animal advocates who are handing out our new "Why Won't Trader
Joe's Give an Inch?" brochures near stores. Request 50 free brochures to
distribute, and we'll get them out to you right away.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of laying hens and other animals.

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Geee, Fish Feel Pain. Can you Imagine That?! (Sarcastic)

Great article. Good for those times you run into those people that for some odd reason insist that fish don't feel pain. I've never understood that as they clearly have nerves and a brain! Perhaps a case of rationalization. Amazing too that they can actually speak for the experience of a fish.

The article is listed below, but there are pictures via the link.

What Fish Feel

Researcher Stephanie Yue of the University of Guelph in Canada shares her
teams surprising findings on fish sentience and ponders the ethical

It is not uncommon to find a variety of whole fish displayed on ice at any
average grocery store. Yet practically every other type of meat is cut
into portions and wrapped in clean packages that bear no physical
semblance to the animal from whom they came. While most people in our
Western culture would find it disturbing to see whole cows and pigs on
sale for meat, most have no problem with the sight of a large salmon laid
out in a similar manner.

A case of classical conditioningcued by a blue light signal, a trout swims
through a door into an adjacent chamber in order to avoid an oncoming
plunging dip net. photos: Stephanie Yue


Our emotional distance from fish may stem from the general feeling that
they fall below the phylogenetic line where sentience begins. This may be
because our present knowledge of assessing suffering in fish is
inadequatein part because fish do not typically display traditional and
obvious signs we are familiar with in other animals. They are not capable
of facial expression, nor can most species of fish vocalize; given their
general anatomical structure, changes in body posture are extremely
limited. Consequently, their use in scientific experimentation, in place
of birds and mammals, is seen as ethically acceptable.

Overcoming Taboo

Its not surprising then to see that, according to statistics provided by
the Canadian Council on Animal Care, there is a rising trend in the use of
fish in research. In Canada, there was a 463 percent increase between 1975
and 2002, resulting in over 600,000 fish used for scientific research in
2002. Fish consumption has also risen steadily, mostly due to increased
interest in a healthy alternative to traditional protein sources such as
beef, chicken and pork. Huge numbers of fish are used by humans on a
regular basis.

However, recent anatomical, physiological, neuropharmacological and
behavioral studies suggest fish can suffer in ways similar to "higher"
vertebrate animals. Considering the large numbers of fish we use, these
findings should be enough of a reason for us to consider their welfare as
a serious matter. In addition, animal welfare should be defined by how an
animal "feels"not just by how well it physically copes with environmental
conditions such as absence of disease, lack of injury and good growth.
Since sentient creatures have the capacity to subjectively and consciously
experience things, it makes sense to investigate the fishs capacity to

This is the project our fish welfare group at the University of Guelph is
currently undertaking. It is not a trivial endeavor, for whether fish even
possess the neuroanatomical structures that generate the phenomenon of
consciousness is still a subject up for debate. The topic of consciousness
has had a tumultuous history itself, and it has been less than a couple
decades since words like "consciousness" and "sentience" have reappeared
in scientific animal literature. We are only slowly overcoming the taboo
of studying conscious thought processes and voluntary behavior.

From our studies on highly domesticated rainbow trout, we have seen these
fish show behavior that is much more flexible and complex than was
previously acknowledged. We have found that trout have some cognitive
capacity that rivals that of mammalian laboratory animals, like rats. They
not only show the ability to learn, but they also have memory of the
things they learnedso they can anticipate events and adjust their behavior
accordingly. This means some of their behavioral repertoire is
"purposeful" and lends evidence toward "conscious" behavior.

Analyzing Fear

Not unlike a rat who will press a lever for a food pellet, the trout in
this photograph presses a pendulum for a food reward during a recent
investigation of fear responses in rainbow trout.


Most of our experiments delve into the phenomenon of fear. We try to tease
apart which responses to negative stimuli (in our case, an oncoming dip
net) are likely to be reflexive and which are deliberate. These
experiments often require fish to be trained in tasks ranging from simply
swimming away from an area where an aversive stimulus resides, to highly
artificial and relatively sophisticated tasks such as pressing a lever in
order to obtain a reward.

We found that trout follow similar behavioral patterns when frightened, as
do other animals like mice. Mice show avoidance, fleeing, freezing, and
scanning of their environment and general decrease in activity followed by
gradual resumption of normal behavior. Mice are deemed sentient animals
with the capacity for a range of subjective experiences. Why then should
these same behavioral patterns, when seen under similar experimental
paradigms, not be employed as evidence toward the possibility of
subjective experiences in fish?

There is more evidence that fish do have some level of consciousness than
there is evidence against it, and it is logically more likely that fish
are sentient animals than they are not. What level of consciousness they
possess, however, remains to be determined. We still have much to learn
before we can properly generate guidelines specifically tailored to the
needs of different species of fish kept in captivity. Yet we are moving in
the right direction by entertaining the notion that fish may indeed be
worthy of more moral consideration than they have had in the past.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bear Bile Farming: Man Who Tortured Bears for Years Eaten by Those he Tortured


Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:34 AM BST

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man who raised bears to tap them for their bile, prized as a traditional medicine in Asia, has been killed and eaten by his animals, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Six black bears attacked keeper Han Shigen as he was cleaning their pen in the northeastern province of Jilin on Monday, Xinhua said.

"The ill-fated man died on the spot and was eaten up by the ferocious bears," it said, citing a report in the Beijing News.

In practices decried by animal rights groups, bile is extracted through surgically implanted catheters in the bear's gall bladders, or by a "free-dripping" technique by which bile drips out through holes opened in the animals' abdomens.

More than 200 farms in China keep about 7,000 bears to tap their bile, which traditional Chinese medicine holds can cure fever, liver illness and sore eyes.

Bear farming was far more widespread before the cruelty involved came to light and Beijing introduced regulations to control the industry in 1993.

Animal welfare groups have called on China to completely ban bear farming, arguing that traditional herbal medicines can serve the same purposes as bear bile.

Xinhua said police sent to the scene of Monday's killing injected one of the bears with tranquillisers "but failed to tame the mad animal".

Police then threw meat into the bears' pen to distract them so they could recover Han's remains, it said without elaborating.

New Orleans Rescue Update - Can you help with these simple issues?

New Orleans Rescue Update - Can you help with these simple issues?

From another group.

From: Jane Garrison
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 22:36:54 =AD0400 (7:36PM PST)

Unbelievably, we rescued 2 more animals from inside homes yesterday (2
separate homes). Both of these animals were found alive in the attics of the
houses...both completely skin and bones but alive and THRILLED to see our
rescuers! As this point, we have about 600 addresses still on our list. This
is the list of people who asked for their animals to be rescued. We believe
that at least half of these addresses can be eliminated by calling the
people prior to going to their homes to see if they have already gotten back
into New Orleans or had someone else rescue their animals. All remaining
addresses must be visited to see if there are still animals alive. We owe
that to the animals who may still be alive inside those homes.

Therefore here is what we need:

1. We need a few people to help call the people on the list and then remove
those who no longer need rescuing from the database.

2. People to go to New Orleans and check the remainder of the
addresses---animal control officers or experienced rescuers are preferred at
this point.

3. Vets and techs willing to assist us and Best Friends as many of the
animals we are rescuing from the streets (and the few from within homes) are

We are still operating out of a trailer at Lamar Dixon Expo Center in
Gonzales, LA but this will change after the 15th. Once we have to leave
Lamar Dixon, we will meet outside the spay/neuter clinic of a local rescue
group we have connected with. This clinic has also agreed to have animals
stay at the clinic throughout the day prior to being sent to Best Friends
temporary shelter (where we have been bringing animals since HSUS closed
Lamar Dixon). This group is also helping us locate a warehouse or storage
unit in New Orleans where we can store dog and cat food. We hope to have all
of this worked out by Wednesday afternoon.

One of the most important things we need at this point are people willing to
feed the animals on the streets in New Orleans. There are literally
thousands of animals who have absolutely no access to food and water. One
week after the hurricane, I noticed these animals were looking horrible. The
next day I came across 11 dead cats on one street. These cats had not died
from the flood or the storm---they looked as though they died from
starvation or dehydration. In an effort to prevent any other deaths, I
quickly developed and instituted a city-wide feeding program. Within a few
days the animals on the streets started looking so much better. We have
since been sustaining these animals by putting out hundreds of feed and
water stations each week (which takes quite a few people) and rescuing the
animals we are able top catch. However, with so many rescue groups leaving
New Orleans these animals won't have a chance of surviving. In fact, we are
now already starting to see a decline in their health. The local animal
people are willing to help but most of them lost their homes and are busy
trying to get their own lives together. If you are willing to come to New
Orleans to feed and water please let me know. We will assign you a section
of the city that you will be responsible for while you are here and we will
provide all the food and bowls you will need.

Until the 15th we are advising people to stay in the fema tent at the Lamar
Dixon Expo Center. After the 15th you may still be able to stay there in
your own tent but we are working out those details. I will keep you informed
on this situation.

We will need dog/cat food donated and will let you know where to send it
once we have a warehouse/storage unit in downtown New Orleans. Please let me
know if you are willing to go to New Orleans to help. The animals on the
streets need you!!!

Thank you for all your support!

Jane Garrison

Monday, October 10, 2005

Russian animal rights group protests Japanese dolphin slaughter

We know so much about them now, including their incredible intelligence. No one can argue to me that their desire for the taste of dolphin flesh out weighs the suffering and environmental issues involved. The same goes to making them captive for the "entertainment" of humans.

Russian animal rights group protests Japanese dolphin slaughter

MOSCOW. Oct 8 (Interfax) - The Russian animal rights protection center Vita has urged the Japanese government to impose a ban on the catching and slaughtering of dolphins.

In connection with Japan Dolphin Day, internationally observed on October 8, Vita sent an appeal to Japanese Ambassador in Russia Issei Nomura, calling on Japan "to stop one of the major dolphin slaughtering campaigns in the world, conducted annually near the Japanese coast."

The dolphin hunt near the Japanese coast is "carried out in the cruelest way," the appeal says.

Japanese fishermen approach the migration routes of dolphins and other whales on small boats, Vita said in the document. "Once dolphins find themselves near the boats, fishermen surround them, put metal pipes underwater and start banging. Dolphins, hypersensitive to sound, lose their orientation, panic and try to escape the noise. They are so directed into a shallow bay. Then fishermen wound several dolphins with a knife or a spear, knowing that dolphins never abandon their wounded fellows. After that, the entire shoal is locked in the bay with nets, and they are killed with spears and knives the next morning," the document says.

"The dead and dying dolphins are thrown into the boats and later cut into pieces for sale at Japanese supermarkets and restaurants, often under the guise of meat of larger whales, which is more expensive. A number of dolphins are left alive for sale to dolphinariums in different parts of the world," the appeal reads.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Europe's thriving ivory retail market is threatening an increase in elephant poaching, conservationists have warned.

No one can argue that the death of an elephant is less important than some mans/womans' vanity!

Europe is 'fuelling ivory trade'
By Zoe Murphy
BBC News


Europe's thriving ivory retail market is threatening an increase in elephant poaching, conservationists have warned.

More than 27,000 ivory products were found on sale in five major European countries where investigators went: the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Global conservation groups Care for the Wild and Save the Elephants say an active ivory market spurs poachers on.

Elephant populations in Africa were halved in the 1980s, after more than 500,000 animals were slaughtered.

Although the ivory trade has shrunk in Europe since the 1989 ban passed by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), the groups' investigators found a worrying number of artefacts on sale.

We mustn't forget that every item represents a dead elephant
Barbara Maas, Care for the Wild
German and UK markets now rival East Asian giants such as China and Japan, they claim.

Their report also warned that all ivory, even if legally sourced, contributed to the slaughter of elephants.

Care for the Wild's chief executive, Barbara Maas, said the trade in Europe was predominantly in old ivory.

"Although technically legal, we mustn't forget that every item represents a dead elephant."

Poor record

Co-author of the report, Dr Esmond Martin, said he was shocked at the scale of the UK's ivory market, which was believed to be relatively small.

Despite having one of the harshest penalties in Europe for trading illegal ivory, he found that the UK had the poorest law enforcement record of the countries surveyed.

Dr Martin also found that many dealers did not bother with the mandatory EU and Cites documentation, claiming it was too much red tape.

Illegal ivory out of Africa is now bypassing Europe and being shipped to East Asia where high demand is inflating prices, according to the report authors.

China has an unregulated ivory market and they warned that unless something is done to control demand, nothing would change in Africa.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, head of Save the Elephants, said that in unstable countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, the demand was fuelling "a poaching holocaust".

Mammoth problem

As Europe's legal ivory stocks dwindle, some craftsmen are using mammoth tusks as a substitute. The tusk is brittle and discoloured but prized by collectors.

Another co-author of the report, Dr Dan Stiles, said that in north-east Siberia the permafrost was melting as a result of climate change and exposing large numbers of mammoth remains.

"There is no way of quantifying stockpiles but we found 3,424 mammoth ivory pieces in Germany and France alone," he said.

The mammoth is an extinct species and requires no documentation for trading - a fact already being exploited.

In order to disguise items carved from the ivory of recently killed elephants, some retailers are said to be colouring it - passing it off as mammoth ivory.

Dr Martin said: "Illegal products are coming in that are being mixed up with the antique stuff.

"People don't know whether what they are buying has come from poached elephants."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/09/28 15:00:42 GMT

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This url gives a good idea of what is occurring in animal rescue in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.

This url was posted in the last post, but I encourage you all to visit it
as it gives a good idea of what is occurring in animal rescue in New
after hurricane Katrina. Also, see prior post about how to
help them in their efforts.

In addition to prior post, here is another group to work with in regard to animal rescue and the current situation in New Orleans.

In addition to prior post, here is another group to work
with in regard to animal rescue and the current situation in
New Orleans.

From another poster:

Current information as of 10-4-05

Folks, your help is needed at the Pasado Safe Haven
temporary shelter in Raceland, Lousisana. Jane
Garrison's rescued animals have been moved here and
people are desperately needed to take care of them
animals. I am sending this alert on her behalf.
The physical address of the property is:
3515 Hwy. 308
Raceland, La
I understand this is someone's ranch or farm.


I understand the New Orleans airport is closest.

There is a campground nearby and it is my
understanding that people can still stay at the
Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. I do not know
the Raceland area at all...perhaps there are motels
nearby. I will not be able to answer questions
about tranportation, etc. Please do your own research.

Please check out Pasado's website for additional
information. Jane suggested sending donations there
as well.

Personal current account of animal rescue in Louisiana after hurricane Katrina

From someone in a local group. Really helps you to understand what is going on in Louisiana in regard to animal rescue....still!

Hello everyone, I thought I would share with you all how it was in LA. I just came back from a week in Monroe LA. I was working with EARS (United Animal Nations - Emergency Animal Rescue Services) they have a shelter in Monroe.
It was an intense experience that I really can't even begin to describe. We had 130 dogs when we got there on Sunday but then got 100 more on Wednesday.
My husband went with me and I can tell you we have never worked harder in all our lives. We worked from 7 or 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day in 100 + degree weather with 100+ humidity.
I have to say that I grew to hate people more and at the same time love people.....
The stories attached to some of these dogs, emaciated big black Shepard that came in whose records said, "found in locked pen in backyard with another dead dog inside...." his ears almost all gone, eaten by flies.... The fact that 98% of the dogs were un-neutered or un-spayed (and in heat) and the fact that so many of them had late stage heart worm, which means it did not just happen after Katrina.... All the Pit Bulls with old fighting scares on them....these things made me dislike people.
All these dogs were young dogs and it made me wonder why we did not have any older dogs...? Do they all die of heartworm at an early age and then the people just get new ones????
But the good in people also came out. We had people there from all walks of life and from all over the country. People who gave up there vacations and spent a lot of money to get there. We had a beautiful lady who just got over her 2nd time of chemo there doing what she could.
The people there were great, we all worked so hard and at the end of the day could barely walk, we had blisters and pains.... But we kept going and it was worth it to see the dogs do so well after just a week of us taking care of them. Most came in as skin and bones but by the end of my time they had gained weight and were having fun with us in an out door "off leash" play area my husband and I built for them.
I miss them all and wish I could bring them all home with me.
It is my feeling (and that of all the people that were there) that this was a mixed blessing for most of these animals. They will now go to homes like they have never had, homes that will love them and take care of them.
If anyone has the time to go down, help is desperately needed. This shelter will be open until at least October 15th. They are trying to get the dogs released by then. They need all kinds of help so if you can not do hard physical labor, there is still a need for you.
At this time you do not have to be an "official" EARS volunteer to go. This is not search and rescue work, just shelter work. All of the big projects are done, like building fences and setting up kennels and pens, so now it should be just taking care of the dogs.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This blog has been getting spammed!

So if you see any weird postings, that is what is happening. I hope I finally fixed it.

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