Monday, July 31, 2006

British Government Takes Part in Making US Laws: Lobbying Congress Now to Introduce New Animal Rights Laws: More Power than Average Citizen

This is outrageous. I wouldn’t care what the industry or cause is, I am against foreign intervention in the shaping of laws. Remember - they are not citizens and do not pay taxes! Unfortunately, it’s very common and just proves who has the real power – it’s not common citizens, rather, is moneyed interests. Ridiculous.


Britain helps US to protect animal labs

By Stephen Foley in New York
Published: 30 July 2006

The Government is covertly throwing its weight behind a campaign to introduce new laws against animal rights extremism in the US.

British Embassy officials in Washington DC are quietly lobbying congressmen, who are looking at possible new legislation. Officials are also understood to be passing on information about how the UK has dealt with "economic terrorism" aimed at shutting down animal testing companies.

One insider said: "This has been a major issue in the UK and is becoming an issue in the US, so we have been explaining to US interlocutors on the Hill about our legislation and the difference that it has made."

Animal rights protesters have widened their campaigns in recent years to include suppliers, financial advisers and shareholders of companies involved in animal testing. The tactic was pioneered by Shac, a group trying to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences. Attacks in the US have risen since HLS shifted its corporate headquarters from the UK to New Jersey in 2002. According to the American pro-vivisection group the Foundation for Bio-medical Research, there were 80 reported incidents in the US last year compared with 28 five years earlier.

A plan for HLS to list on the New York Stock Exchange last September was scrapped after the NYSE became nervous about threats to its property, staff and traders. HLS has raised funds privately, but its shares are still traded only on an over-the-counter basis.

The industry has been pushing for the US to adopt laws similar to those passed in the UK last year. The British police have been given powers to deal with protests outside homes, and a new offence of "interference with business contracts so as to damage an animal research organisation" has been introduced.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said last week that cases of protesters visiting employees' homes to cause damage and leave threatening messages have halved since a year ago.

Bills similar to UK legislation have been introduced to Con-gress, but their sponsors are unsure if there will be time to take a full vote before the mid-term elections towards the end of the year. But the British Embassy is optimistic that acceptable final bills could be published when Congress resumes in September.

Legislation is being promoted by the Republican Senator James Inhofe and Republican Congressman Thomas Petri, both of whom hope to garner cross-party support.

Whales and Seals Washing Up On Shores of New Jersey: Military Maneuvers Involving High-Frequency Sonar Deep In the Ocean the Cause?

It’s been long known that sonar exercises will disrupt and kill whales and other marine life. This story kind of glosses over it, but does mention it as the likely cause.


Whales, Seals Washing Up On Jersey Shores

BRIGANTINE, N.J. - There have been some strange sights at the Jersey Shore this week. Rescuers saved two whales that washed up on the beach and a seal was also stranded. The activity has been keeping the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine very busy.

"It was the biggest thing I ever saw come out of the ocean," said Bob Beckett.

An amateur video on Wednesday afternoon captured a sight many people are still talking about. A whale and her calf were stranded in the surf at Sea Isle City were finally freed, thanks to the help of dozens of beachgoers.

"It was such an amazing experience. I can't even describe it," Beckett said.

"We had two northern bottle-nosed whales, which is the first time ever we have recorded bottle-nosed whales in New Jersey waters. Even more amazing, it was a mother and calf," said Bob Schoelkopf, of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

Rescuers from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine responded to the Sea Isle City whale washup and also to Ocean City where a short-fin pilot whale showed up on the shore. The huge animal was in such poor condition, it had to be euthanized. Both types of whales are normally found at least 100 miles off shore. Experts said possible military maneuvers involving high-frequency sonar deep in the ocean could have something to do with the creatures coming to the New Jersey shore.

"This really messes up the hearing of the animal and they really have no clue where they're going," Schoelkopf said.

The center is also caring for a hooded seal, which became stranded with severe sunburn on Long Beach Island last weekend. In fact, other hooded seals have been appearing on beaches up and down the east coast, but experts said they belong in much colder waters.

"They're Arctic by nature and shouldn't be down here, but we have no clue why they are," Schoelkopf said.

A hooded seal was found Friday in North Carolina and was sent to the stranding center.

Heat Wave Leading To Death of Farm Animals: Next Problem – What To Do with Carcasses?


Heat Causes Pileup of Livestock Carcasses

By OLIVIA MUNOZ Associated Press Writer

The Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. The state's record-setting heat wave has killed thousands of dairy cows and other livestock, leaving farmers with piles of carcasses and creating a backup at factories that turn the dead animals into pet food.

A combination of sweltering temperatures, growth in the state's dominant $5 billion dairy industry and fewer plants to properly dispose of the animals have forced several counties to declare a state of emergency.

The declarations allow dead livestock to be dumped in landfills _ something usually outlawed because of health risks.

"But what can we do? We have to weigh the possible contamination to ground water versus piles of dead cows stinking and attracting flies," said Phil Larson, chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

The heat wave, with 10 straight days of 100-degree temperatures, brought the threat of more rolling blackouts and raised the number of suspected heat-related deaths to at least 56. Cooler weather was not expected until Wednesday.

Fresno County, which reached 113 degrees in recent days, was one of the first to declare an emergency when a plant that handles the bulk of the region's dead animals broke down earlier this month.

After the old carcasses began decomposing in the searing summer heat, county officials were forced to make the declaration _ the first in the county's history, Larson said.

"It wasn't any easy solution," he said. "It's not something we want to continue but we can't have piles of dead animals laying around."

Dairy farmer Brian Pacheco said he sometimes waits days before a rendering plant will pick up his dead cows.

"And when they do come, they only take the ones that died that day," said Pacheco. "I'm left with the old bodies."

Pacheco has spent thousands of dollars to build shade structures and install misters and fans in his barns to keep his cows cool, measures that have yielded higher milk production and fewer lost cattle than other area farmers.

But he said he still sees 15-20 cows die each year from the heat, and this year it could be more.

San Joaquin County, which also has declared an emergency, estimated that its dairy farms were losing a total of 120 cows per day from the heat. Individual dairy farmers could lose about 2 percent of their herd this year, according to industry experts. Hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys also have died.

The state Environmental Protection Agency issued guidelines earlier this month for farmers stuck with dead livestock.

Farmers can have them hauled to a landfill by licensed handlers or compost their animals on their property by burying them in manure, which is common in other states.

Usually, farmers in California take their dead animals to rendering plants, but many have closed amid odor complaints from growing communities nearby, accusations by environmentalists and lawsuits stemming from improper disposal.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Group in Lebanon Continues To Rescue Abandoned Animals: Now Saving Zoo Animals: See the Devastation Caused by the Invasion and their Heroic Efforts

This is an amazing group. As it ties in with the news, I have decided to post it. At least read what they’re doing and visit their site. If you can help, please do. They are facing incalculable odds.

You can find them at:

Here’s what they emailed out:

Animals in Lebanon need your help. Please visit



On July 25, 2006, one of BETA co-founders and a BETA volunteer managed to
get inside the southern suburbs of Beirut =AD the WAR ZONE =AD, literally
risking their lives, into a mini-zoo where the animals are being kept under
the horror of the attacks.

BETA got a clearance from the owner of the zoo to enter and rescue all the
animals. Some of the workers at this zoo are amazing kind people who stayed
at the premises for the sake of feeding the animals!! Both these humans and
animals are suffering the horror of the ongoing attacks.

The zoo contains the following animals: a camel, a donkey, some goats, some
rabbits, an owl, eagles, a lot of exotic birds, a lot of chickens, five
monkeys (one baby male baboon, one female macaque and a family of 3 velvets
a mother and two babies), and an alligator.

Also the zoo was surrounded by hungry and terrified adult kittens.

Due to the lack of time -as attacks were to start at any second onto the
area- the team managed to rescue the baboon, the macaque and 3 kittens.

On 26 July, 2006, our team is going back to the scene with more equipment to
hopefully rescue as many animals as possible.

temporary boarding for the farm animals and the chickens!

Below are some pictures of the scene: picture of a cage on truck, pictures
of the two rescued monkeys, pictures of the kittens at rescue and pictures
of them at BETA home.

The two primates and three kittens are now at a safe place with adequate
conditions. BETA will make sure that these animals are in the right place
with the right treatment.

For all the people who helped, for all the people who are thinking of us, we
thought to share our latest news with you!!


FOR MORE INFO contact us at

A Philippine-Based Activist Flies To Beirut, Lebanon to Organize a Team to Rescue Abandoned Pets Due To Israeli Invasion

Remember, many of those animals left behind were due to the US not allowing people to take them with them as they fled the Israeli invasion. You can read more about that here:


Animal rights activist flying to Beirut to save abandoned pets

Published: Thursday, 27 July, 2006, 01:16 PM Doha Time

MANILA: A Philippine-based animal rights activist was to rush yesterday night to Lebanon to organise a team to rescue abandoned pets in the strife-torn country. Jason Baker, Asia-Pacific director of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said he was leaving for Beirut by midnight to work for the evacuation of abandoned animals.

“PETA offices around the world have been flooded with calls on behalf of desperate evacuees in the battle-scarred region who are being forced by their government officials to desert their dogs, cats and other animal companions,” he said in a statement.

Baker said he would stay in Lebanon for at least 10 days to care for and evacuate hungry and terrified animals abandoned by their owners after two weeks of Israeli strikes in Lebanon.

He hailed the Russian government for making provisions for animal evacuations. “I urge the governments of all countries evacuating their people from Lebanon - especially powerhouses like the US, United Kingdon and Canada - to take Russia’s lead,” he said. “Let’s work to bring all to safety, animals as well as humans.” – DPA

House Committee On Agriculture Voted Overwhelmingly To Discharge A Bill To End The Option For Owners Of Unwanted Horses To Send Them To Slaughter

This is a separate bill from the Horse slaughter measure, but related. In essence, it would have prevented horses from even ending up in slaughterhouses to begin with. Hence, making horse slaughter for food not possible. But, of course, this was heavily defeated. You’ll notice that in addition to ranchers, organizations that actually are supposed to care for Horses opposed it! Care for Horses yet slaughter them?

For more on the related Horse slaughter legislation see


House Ag Panel Votes to Unfavorably Discharge Horse Slaughter


USAgNet - 07/28/2006

The House Committee on Agriculture voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to unfavorably discharge HR 503, a bill that seeks to end the option for owners of unwanted horses to send their livestock to processing plants. The vote was 37 to 3.

"This is the most important vote you will cast this year pertaining to livestock and the livestock industry and agriculture in this country," Stenholm told his former colleagues. "It has broad implications for the '07 Farm Bill, and its budget ramifications are tremendous -- more than $1 billion a year over the next five years."

According to testimony, only 6,000 spaces exist in the nation's unregulated patched network of horse rescue facilities, and the vast majority of them are already full. The bill offers no provision for what should happen with the anticipated 60,000 to 90,000 unwanted horses that currently are sent to processing every year. The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners and 60 horse, animal welfare, and agriculture organizations oppose the measure.

Former Ranking Minority Member Charles Stenholm (D-Texas) offered sharp criticism of the animal rights supporters of the bill, calling out their tactics.

Cruelty of Indian Leather Industry Causes Liz Claiborne to Commit to Not Using Leather from India


US retail giant to boycott Indian leather

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) American retail giant Liz Claiborne has said that it will not use leather from India because of the ill treatment of animals.

This decision by the retail giant, with annual sales touching $4.8 billion, was announced by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and is seen as a victory for animal rights activists across the country.

Another US retailer Kenneth Cole has also committed not to sell products made out of leather sourced from India, according to a press release.

When PETA US launched its original boycott of Indian leather in 2000, more than 40 major retailers around the world agreed to boycott Indian leather. This move resulted in a loss of $68 million to the Indian leather industry.

PETA India and its worldwide affiliates have re-launched a campaign to boycott Indian leather, which was put on hold when the Indian government and the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) promised to take significant steps to improve transport and slaughter horrors for cows and other animals used for leather. The promise, however, has been broken by both the government and the CLE, the release stated.

PETA India's campaign has gained the support of celebrities all over the world, including the Dalai Lama, Sir Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson and Jackie Chan.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Horse Slaughter Ban Proceeds: Clears House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday for House Vote in September

Great news though the House is notoriously big business. And, why wait until September? In the mean time, many horses will be slaughtered. We’ll see what happens.

For a summation of this bill see


Horse meat ban proceeds

Measure to bar slaughter moves closer to House vote

10:11 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – A bill that would shut down the U.S. horse meat industry cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, a milestone en route to a full House vote GOP leaders promised to hold in early September.

Slaughterhouses in Fort Worth, Kaufman and Illinois processed 90,000 horses into meat last year, mostly for customers in France, Japan and Belgium.

Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Ennis, said he opposes the bill but agreed to move it forward because most of the members of his panel support the ban.

No committee vote was held, but Mr. Barton's action paves the way for a vote by the full House.

Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate support a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption. Opponents warn that if owners can't sell horses for slaughter, they won't be able to dispose of unwanted animals.

"We're going to be up to our eyeballs in dead horses," said Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the top Democrat on Mr. Barton's panel.

The House agriculture committee may try to amend the proposal today.

Oakland Woman Charged With Felony Animal Abuse for Killing Her 6-Week-Old Puppy by Smashing Its Head into the Pavement

I’m so happy to see that in Oakland or Alameda County a person can be charged with a felony for animal abuse. This is just a fully disturbing story. What a sick person. If convicted, she’ll have that on her record for life.

It’s about time to look to animal abuse as worthy of a felony.


Felony charged in puppy's death

Woman kicked and smashed her dog's head; her motive unknown

By Robin Higgins

OAKLAND — An Oakland woman has been charged with felony animal abuse for killing her 6-week-old puppy by smashing its head into the pavement, authorities said Wednesday.

Animal rights advocates called the July 23 death of the dog one of the worst cases of abuse they have ever seen.

Oakland Animal Services shelter director Sgt. Dave Cronin said Wednesday that what happened to the dog "was a brutal, brutal thing to do. It was completely defenseless."

Police said the suspect, Bernadette Hutcherson, 19, was walking the yellow Labrador retriever on a leash with some friends Sunday in the 1700 block of 28th Avenue.

For some reason the dog angered Hutcherson, who began kicking it, causing it to flip over several times, police said. She then picked the dog up and slammed its head into the pavement at least twice, police said.

Officer Roland Holmgrem said a passerby tried to rescue the puppy, but it died a few minutes after being injured.

"You can't put a leash on a 6-week-old puppy," said Cronin. "It shouldn't have even been outside."

A necropsy on the animal determined that the skull was cracked, and the report stated that the "puppy could not have died from any other cause than a severe traumatic blow to the head," authorities said.

Animal cruelty charges can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In this case the Alameda County District Attorney's Office charged Hutcherson with a felony because of the incident's vicious nature and Hutcherson's intent to kill, authorities said.

Hutcherson does not have a prior conviction of animal abuse.

Hutcherson was still in custody Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More on US Horse Slaughter Legislation: Important Summations of the Bill

This article provides a few additional points about the proposed Horse slaughter legislation. In particular, it shows what it is and what it is not. For one, it is not an outright ban on slaughter or horses. Instead, it would ban horse slaughter for human consumption. It would also ban the shipment of horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

It also clearly shows how fierce the opposition is. And as would be suspected, this is mainly money and political interests who instead look to rhetoric and money as excuses to continue this horrifying practice.

Here are a few paragraphs taken from the article below. They provide a summation of the important points.

Pickens said nearly all thoroughbreds, Arabians, quarter horses and wild mustangs sent to the plants are healthy young horses that he said the USDA has said are in "good to excellent" condition. He questioned why the state allows foreign countries, that he said pay little taxes, to slaughter American horses for consumption abroad.

"They should slaughter their own horses, not American horses," he said.

Congress tried to end the slaughter of horses last year by overwhelmingly approving legislation eliminating funding of Agriculture Department horse meat inspectors. But USDA is offering inspections on a fee-for-service basis to the plants.

The proposed legislation does not ban the slaughter of horses outright. Instead it bans shipping, transportation, delivery, receiving, buying or selling or donating of horses for slaughter for human consumption, putting it under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill also would prevent sending horses from the U.S. to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered.

Sweeney said he took that route because the Agriculture Committee has sat on previous legislation seeking to ban the horse slaughter and not given it a hearing.

The full Energy and Commerce Committee's scheduled a vote on the bill on Wednesday.

The House Agriculture Committee plans to consider and vote on the legislation on Thursday.


Texas lawmaker ends support for ban on horse slaughter


Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Supporters of a ban on horse slaughter lost a valuable congressional ally today but hoped for a boost from Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens joining their cause.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, said in the first hearing on a proposal on the divisive issue that he no longer supports legislation aimed at ending the slaughter of horses in the United States for consumption overseas.

Barton said he previously supported the bill sponsored by fellow Republican U.S. Reps. John Sweeney of New York and Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, but dropped his support after learning more about it.

"The agriculture community and rural America just is totally against the bill," he explained in a hearing break.

Pickens, a major Republican contributor, chastised his own state for being home to two horse slaughter plants. The third is in Illinois.

"This is a black eye on our state and nation that demands action," Pickens, of Dallas, told the panel.

Pickens said nearly all thoroughbreds, Arabians, quarter horses and wild mustangs sent to the plants are healthy young horses that he said the USDA has said are in "good to excellent" condition. He questioned why the state allows foreign countries, that he said pay little taxes, to slaughter American horses for consumption abroad.

"They should slaughter their own horses, not American horses," he said.

Congress tried to end the slaughter of horses last year by overwhelmingly approving legislation eliminating funding of Agriculture Department horse meat inspectors. But USDA is offering inspections on a fee-for-service basis to the plants.

The bill has 201 co-sponsors. Republican leaders have scheduled a vote for Sept. 7.
But opposition is fierce. The hearing on the bill stretched over about three hours and had to move to a larger room because of interest. Witnesses' comments were met with applause and gasps from some attending the hearing.

"This legislation is woefully inadequate, emotionally misguided and fails to serve the best interest of the American horse and horse owner," said Virginia Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee.

Dick Koehler, vice president of Beltex Corp., owner of a Fort Worth-based horse slaughter plant, urged lawmakers not to eliminate an entire industry, "just because animal rights activists find the product of this law abiding, tax paying legitimate business to be distasteful."

The proposed legislation does not ban the slaughter of horses outright. Instead it bans shipping, transportation, delivery, receiving, buying or selling or donating of horses for slaughter for human consumption, putting it under the jurisdiction of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill also would prevent sending horses from the U.S. to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered.

Sweeney said he took that route because the Agriculture Committee has sat on previous legislation seeking to ban the horse slaughter and not given it a hearing.

The full Energy and Commerce Committee's scheduled a vote on the bill on Wednesday. The House Agriculture Committee plans to consider and vote on the legislation on Thursday.
Divisions in the issue are not neat. They split members of the same party, horse associations, veterinarians and others and create unusual coalitions such as in the case of Pickens, who is on the same side as animal rights activists.

Supporters of the ban said horses are mistreated and abused when they are sent to horse plants by being shipped in inhumane conditions and are sometimes alive when they are being slaughtered. In addition, they say horses in this country have iconic status and are not raised for food.

"Would we ever serve a bald eagle in this country?" Sweeney asked.

But opponents say horses are euthanized humanely before they are slaughtered, their transport is heavily regulated and would suffer a worse death of starvation and neglect if slaughter was eliminated.

"Where do you get the money to foot the bill?" asked U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.

Brave Group Stays to Care For Animals Left Behind In Lebanon Due To Israeli Invasion and Bombing

Thankfully one group is courageous enough to stay behind while others flee the invasion. Yet, only those taken to the shelter or lucky to be picked up were saved. Many more are still living in the bombing zone (which I suppose is almost the whole country). Unfortunately, they’ve only taken in under 100. So, there are still thousands roaming the streets.

As stated in the article below:

“She said volunteers were going into northern towns and cities to feed abandoned animals. There "are thousands of dogs and cats roaming the streets without anyone to care for them," More said.”

“The dogs were moved by volunteers from a shelter in Beirut's southern suburbs to an abandoned pig farm east of the capital -- and might be considered lucky compared to pets left to fend for themselves by foreign and Lebanese owners fleeing the Israeli bombardment.”


Fleeing owners strand animals

Groups in Israel and Lebanon strive to help thousands of dogs, cats abandoned in attacks.

Donna Abu-Nasr / Associated Press

Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals co-founder Joelle el-Massih feeds dogs at a farm east of the city. The group has taken in 133 dogs.

MONTEVERDE, Lebanon -- The howls of 133 canine refugees echoed Tuesday through the pine-and-oak-covered hills above the Lebanese capital -- crowded into cages but safely away from airstrikes against Hezbollah strongholds in the south.

The dogs were moved by volunteers from a shelter in Beirut's southern suburbs to an abandoned pig farm east of the capital -- and might be considered lucky compared to pets left to fend for themselves by foreign and Lebanese owners fleeing the Israeli bombardment.

The group spearheading efforts to save the animals is BETA, Lebanon's first animal welfare and rescue organization, established two years ago.

On Saturday, BETA -- which stands for Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- made an appeal for donations on its Web site "to get the animals through this period."

In Israel, volunteers were also trying to save animals abandoned by owners fleeing their homes in the north to escape Hezbollah rocket attacks.

"We took in about 200 animals, mainly dogs and cats," said Tamara More, general manager of the rescue organization Ahava.

She said volunteers were going into northern towns and cities to feed abandoned animals. There "are thousands of dogs and cats roaming the streets without anyone to care for them," More said.

Animal rights activists have received scores of calls from Lebanese and foreigners asking what to do with their pets when they evacuate. They are referred to commercial kennels.

Hani Rayess said he has taken in about 45 dogs. He charges their owners $100 a month.

"Some owners asked me to meet them as they headed to their ships," he said. "A couple of Westerners told me they would not leave Lebanon because they had nowhere to place their pets."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Texas Oil Billionaire T. Boone Pickens Supports Legislation By Rep. John Sweeney from NY That Would Bar Horse Meat Production at Three U.S. Plants

Horse slaughter is just too blatantly wrong that even billionaires are helping to stop it.

For more on the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act see


Oil billionaire Pickens campaigns for horses

Mon Jul 24, 5:22 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Making a killing in the oil business is a proper American pastime but slaughtering horses and eating them is not, legendary Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens said on Monday.

The 78-year-old oil trading legend will testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday on what he calls America's "dirty little secret" -- that slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois kill about 100,000 horses a year and the meat ends up on dinner tables in Europe and Japan.

"It's not any different as far as I'm concerned than if you killed dogs and sent them to France and Japan," Pickens told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It's just plain un-American."

Pickens said he supports legislation backed by Rep. John Sweeney (news, bio, voting record), a New York Republican, that would bar horse meat production at three U.S. plants.

Pickens, who racked up a reported $1.5 billion in profits last year by placing bullish bets on crude oil prices, describes himself as an animal lover.

But he said he would not peg himself as a cowboy, even though he's from Texas. "I'm not a roper myself," he said.

Editorial Exposes Politics Behind Obstruction of Implementing Ban on Slaughter of Horses in US

A great fact-filled editorial that does much to bring to light the reasons why a common sense bill supported by most Americans is having trouble seeing light. The answer again – money and politics. As you’ll see in the next article this is becoming more transparent, as even billionaires are lining up to support the end of slaughter of horses.


Stop horsing around

July 25, 2006

If horse slaughter is ever banned in the United States, it won't be for lack of obstruction on the part of supporters of this barbaric practice. The latest maneuver in this ongoing tragedy is Rep. Bob Goodlatte's attempt to hold up a floor vote on Rep. John Sweeney's bill to ban horse slaughter. Without getting into specifics, Mr. Goodlatte essentially hijacked the regular committee process by invoking a fuzzy parliamentary procedure whereby his Agricultural Committee would be allowed to consider the Sweeney bill before it can go to the floor.
It is only the latest in a long list of anti-democratic abuses employed by opponents of the ban to keep them in good standing with their rancher buddies, who for inexplicable reasons view the campaign to end horse slaughter as somehow threatening to their cattle interests. It was last year, for instance, when an amendment to ban horse slaughter for one fiscal year passed in the House, 269-158, and in the Senate, 69-28. But despite this overwhelming bipartisan majority, an effort ensued to kill the amendment in conference committee. When that failed and President Bush signed the amendment into law, the horse slaughterers staged a legal battle with the Department of Agriculture to waive the law. Amazingly, the Agriculture Department agreed, citing in its own legal analysis that the amendment "does not prevent horse slaughter at all." Having thus ignored the will of Congress, the department went on to perform some hilarious legal acrobatics to make their ridiculous assertion square with the law.
All the while, the three European-owned plants went on slaughtering horses and continue to do so to this day. Now we have Mr. Sweeney's bill with its 199 cosponsors to -- once again -- ban horse slaughter. So it's no surprise that Mr. Goodlatte and the rest are doing what they can to thwart the will of Congress. At this point, let us say that while we hardly align ourselves with the animal-rights lobby, what we've seen from the cattle ranchers and their legislators is nothing short of a perversion of democracy. Whether one particularly cares about the slaughter of horses, every American should care deeply when lawmakers and agencies obstruct the lawmaking process or choose to ignore the law all together. And for what? The self-interest of a few Belgian and French horse eaters.
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on the Sweeney bill. As a witness for the committee, Mr. Goodlatte will have the opportunity to explain why a bill that maintains bipartisan support in both houses is bad for the country. But at least he'll be doing it the democratic way, which constitutes a nice departure from the ethically challenged practices of the ban's opponents.

Bird Dies Excruciating Death: Left In Hot Car While Person Goes In To See Movie

Blue ribbon award for the idiot of the week. What? Did she actually think sitting in a hot car is different for a bird vs. any other animal? Or did she not care? Either way, the death that bird suffered would have been slow and painful. Even 12 months in prison will not be enough for this crime.


Bird dies in hot car while owner in movie

Patrons see cockatoo suffering, Regal employee calls police; woman could get 12 months.


Date published: 7/25/2006


It's not clear whether a 25-year-old bird owner enjoyed the movie she watched Saturday in Fredericksburg.

But it is clear, police said, that her pet cockatoo didn't enjoy waiting for her to watch it.

The bird died after being left in a hot car outside Regal Cinemas in Central Park, police spokesman Jim Shelhorse said.

The owner, Donia Monique Brooks of Stafford, was charged with cruelty to animals, a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a potential 12-month jail sentence.

According to Shelhorse, moviegoers spotted the bird in distress as they were going into the theater. They told an employee, who came outside, saw the bird and called police about 5:20 p.m.

When an officer arrived, Shelhorse said, the cockatoo was lying in a cage in the back seat. The officer quickly got the car door open, but the bird was already dead.

Shelhorse said the temperature at the time was 90 degrees and the heat index was 97. The windows in the car were all rolled up except for the driver's window, which was open about an inch.

The owner returned to her car shortly after 6 p.m. and acknowledged that it was her bird, Shelhorse said. She was given a summons and released.

City police officer Tom Worthy, the city's chief animal control officer, said people regularly leave animals in hot cars during the summer months. Worthy said he's already testified in four cases this summer.

"We get these kinds of cases all summer long," Worthy said. "How long would you like to sit in a car with no air conditioning and no trees around?"

Jockey in England Vents His Anger at His Horse by Head Butting Him

Ah yes, the idiocy of mimicry. Didn’t he learn how freaking stupid this looks and how cruel it is?


Jockey caught head-butting horse

NDTV Correspondent

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 (New Delhi):

Clearly Zinedine Zidane's infamous head butt has inspired people in all the wrong ways.

A jockey in England decided to vent his anger at his horse by head butting him.

Jockey Paul O’Neill was caught on tape head butting his horse "city affair" before the start of the race on Sunday.

The incident happened during a race was being shown live on the race channel. O’Neil had apparently been thrown off by the horse the moments earlier.

The RSPCA or the Royal Society of Prevention for Cruelty to Animals has said that the incident was quote "totally stupid and irresponsible."

The RSPCA has also said that it hopes that appropriate action will be taken against the jockey.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Numbers from England Show That Animal Testing Hits a 14-Year High: Even With Viable Alternatives to the Use of Animals

These numbers are from England but it points to a general trend. Astonishing numbers when you fully consider it. Astonishing also after the years of work that have gone into slowing it down.

For information on the many alternatives to animal testing, see


Animal testing hits a 14-year high

Activists' backlash expected as number of experiments rises to 2.9 million,,1827041,00.html

Robin McKie and Mark Townsend
Sunday July 23, 2006
The Observer

The number of scientific experiments on animals has risen to a 14-year high, the Home Office will announce tomorrow.

Scientists carried out thousands more tests on animals last year, with the total reaching 2.91 million laboratory experiments, the highest since 1992. Despite bitter opposition from animal rights protesters, almost 60,000 more experiments were carried out during 2005 compared with the previous year.

The government will defend the 2 per cent increase by insisting that such tests are vital for medical advances.

The latest Home Office figures reveal that most of the tests were on mice, rats and other rodents. Most of the remainder involved fish and birds, with only a fraction on dogs, cats and primates. However, the figures are expected to show an increase in experiments using genetically modified animals. Home Office Minister Joan Ryan will argue that the figures demonstrate the government's transparency over the controversial issue. She will add that Britain has some of the strictest regulations for animal testing in the world.

However, the latest rise is certain to spark a backlash from animal rights activists, who believe other methods should be used. A 'funeral procession' of humans dressed as 'mourning animals' will gather outside the Home Office before the statistics are released.

The government spends £10m a year on research into alternatives to scientific procedures involving animals, but says they cannot be wholly replaced.

This week's disclosures will be made just as anti-vivisection campaigners launch a judicial review in the High Court that will attempt to overturn the government's ban on political advertising on broadcast media. Animal Defenders International (ADI) will claim that under human rights legislation it has a right to promote its views on radio and television.The Observer has discovered that at the same time as this group of anti-vivisectionists press for these rights, the Advertising Standards Authority will heavily criticise them for promoting misleading information in their pamphlets. On the cover of one of its leaflets, the National Anti-Vivisection Society, which is part of the same organisation as the ADI, claimed that laboratory animals suffer 'terribly' at every stage of their lives. The pamphlet displayed pictures of rabbits and monkeys in distress.

The Research Defence Society (RDS), an organisation set up by scientists to defend the use of animals in experiments, challenged the claim and the advertising watchdog has upheld the complaint.

This decision has been welcomed by Simon Festing, the RDS's director. 'Over the last 15 years, 65 complaints about leaflets and advertisements by anti-vivisection organisations have been upheld by the advertising authorities,' said Festing. 'These groups make all sorts of unsupportable claims about animal experiments, how evil they are and how little good they do, but they can never substantiate them. Yet now they want to use human rights legislation to promote these ideas on television and radio.'

These criticisms were rejected by Jan Creamer, the chief executive of ADI. 'The case is about the exercise of free speech, which there is no justification in prohibiting,' she said.

Ridiculous Internet Hunting Banned in Rhode Island

Yes, as we’ve posted before, this actually exists. And, as it sounds, people actually shoot from a computer. Lazy is the first word that comes to mind. Many others follow. Luckily, this ban now makes 22 states.


Internet hunting, a 'shooting gallery,' banned in R.I.

Animals are trapped in a pen that has a camera and rifle nearby. Computer users click their mouse to make the gun fire.

01:00 AM EDT on Monday, July 24, 2006


Journal Staff Writer

Don't put away your camouflage or faux moose antlers yet.

The General Assembly, joining a growing national movement, has banned Internet hunting, prohibiting the shooting of live animals by computer users remotely operating a digital camera, live ammunition and a rifle positioned on a ranch.

The Humane Society of the United States has called the practice the "latest fad in Internet animal cruelty" and is vigorously campaigning to stamp it out. But the activity is so rare that even the chief sponsor of the Rhode Island legislation concedes it might never have occurred in the state.

Many avid hunters have not heard of the activity. Under pressure from groups nationwide, the only company known to have sponsored an online hunt, LIVE-SHOT, has replaced captive deer with silhouettes of Osama bin Laden posted on a Texas ranch, fired on by .22-caliber rounds. The Web site no longer exists.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Raymond C. Church, D-North Smithfield, says he learned of the practice from a volunteer at a local animal shelter. "I thought she was confused. I thought this was a video game," he said. "I was flabbergasted."

Joseph C. Castellone, who operates Cranston Firearms, travels to Maine and New Hampshire to shoot deer. He said he never knew he could bag a deer using a laptop in his living room.

"This is the first time I've heard of it," he said recently. "What will they think of next on the computer?"

Still, animal rights advocates are celebrating the legislative victory, calling Internet hunting a barbaric practice that now will never take hold in Rhode Island.

The campaign against Internet hunting began in earnest early last year when a Texas entrepreneur named John Lockwood set up LIVE-SHOT, charging a $14.95 monthly membership fee for the chance to discharge a Remington rifle using a computer mouse.

The ranch that hosted Lockwood's business, outside San Antonio, immediately became a symbol of high-tech cruelty to animals.

The few hunts that took place via the Web spawned a rare alliance of animal rights groups and hunters, who called it a violation of hunting ethics and fair play. Fifteen months later, Internet hunting, a previously unheard of pastime, has been made illegal in at least 22 states, including Maine, New Hampshire and Texas.

In Rhode Island, the House voted June 22 to ban remote-control hunting. The Senate concurred two days later. The bill became law July 14 without Governor Carcieri's signature.

"This could happen in a lot of states overnight. It's very easy to set up," said Dennis Tabella, director of Defenders of Animals, who testified in favor of the bill.

The Internet makes it impossible to enforce state hunting rules, including restrictions on children and criminals, and hunters cannot be sure injured animals are not left to slowly bleed to death, he said.

The animals are lured by food toward a pen. With a mounted rifle nearby it is slain via a computer joystick. Later, the animal's head arrives by mail and the trophy is mounted in the home of a hunter whose chase began and ended in a cushioned, swivel chair.

Church likens it to a "shooting gallery." Katenna Jones, an animal behaviorist at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, calls it "appalling."

Maine and Vermont banned Internet hunting last year. In April, it became illegal in New Hampshire. This month, the staff at the New England office of The Humane Society plotted strategies for promoting a ban in Massachusetts.

In April, U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-Va., submitted legislation to ban Internet hunting nationwide.

"A lot of legislators will stay very far way from any hunter bills. But this is an issue many hunters oppose as well," said Joanne Bourbeau, the New England regional director for The Humane Society. "They want to stop this practice dead in its tracks, pardon the pun."

In Rhode Island, only three lawmakers opposed the bill. Sen. Daniel DaPonte, D-East Providence, said he thought the legislation sought to ban a video game. Sen. Joseph M. Polisena, D-Johnston, opposed it. Rep. Nicholas Gorham, R-Coventry, said enforcing the law would require monitoring Web usage and dispatching detectives to distant prairies.

"How are we ever going to determine what they were shooting at, where it was and whether they hit it?" he asked. "What is the crime in Rhode Island?"

But his vote was the sole nay in the House and it carried no support from the state's major gun-rights group.

Donn C. DiBiasio, secretary of the Rhode Island State Rifle and Revolver Association, said the bill was unnecessary and pushed by people hostile to all hunting. "It's not needed," he said, "but we get the anti-hunters up in arms ready to make a national statement."

But after winning some concessions, the group, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, opted not to fight to preserve remote controlled hunting.

Warmer Waters Due To Global Warming Disrupt Pacific Food Chain Threatening Entire Marine Ecosystems

Essentially, it comes down to this – “global warming could be undermining the coastal food supply, threatening…entire marine ecosystems.”

Please read on for why scientists believe this is happening.


Warmer waters disrupt Pacific food chain



FARALLON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Calif. -- On these craggy, remote islands west of San Francisco, the largest seabird colony in the contiguous United States throbs with life. Seagulls swarm so thick that visitors must yell to be heard above their cries. Pelicans glide.

But the steep decline of one bird species for the second straight year has rekindled scientists' fears that global warming could be undermining the coastal food supply, threatening not just the Farallones but entire marine ecosystems.

Tiny Cassin's auklets live much of their lives on the open ocean. But in spring, these gray-and-white relatives of the puffin venture to isolated Pacific outposts like the Farallones to dig deep burrows and lay their eggs.

Adult auklets usually feed their chicks with krill, the minuscule shrimp-like crustaceans that anchor the ocean's complex food web.

But not this year. Almost none of the 20,000 pairs of Cassin's auklets nesting in the Farallones will raise a chick that lives more than a few days, a repeat of last year's "unprecedented" breeding failure, according to Russ Bradley, a seabird biologist with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory who monitors the birds on the islands.

Scientists blame changes in West Coast climate patterns for a delay in the seasonal upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean's depths for the second year in a row. Weak winds and faltering currents have left the Gulf of the Farallones without krill, on which Cassin's auklets and a variety of other seabirds, fish and mammals depend for food.

"The seas are warmer. And the number of krill being produced is lower," said Bradley as he held a Cassin's auklet chick, the only one from a study of 400 nests he expected to survive.

"Normally we would have hundreds," he said.

The failure of last year's Pacific upwelling killed seabirds from California to British Columbia. Scientists had hoped the change was just a natural temperature fluctuation in what is known as the California Current.

But the return of higher ocean temperatures and scarce food resources this year has scientists wondering whether last year's erratic weather was not a fluke but the emergence of a troubling trend.

"How many years in a row do you see this before you start raising your eyebrows?" said Frank Schwing, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Pacific Grove.

Climatologists describe global warming as a worldwide rise in temperatures caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses thought to trap heat in the atmosphere. Predictions of global warming's effects include rising sea levels, fiercer storms, more wildfires and warmer oceans.

Without long-term data, scientists have so far found it difficult to make direct links between specific natural events and global warming.

But the Farallones present a special case. Researchers have kept Cassin's auklet counts there every day since 1967. Never before have they seen such a drop-off in numbers. That decline comes as California ocean temperatures hover three to five degrees above average.

"One of the things that the climate models predict is that we're going to have unpredictable weather, extreme weather, that the whole seasonal cycle of events will not be what we expect," said Bill Peterson, a NOAA oceanographer in Newport, Ore. "We aren't seeing normal patterns."

Perhaps nowhere is this ecological disruption felt more than here on the Farallones, a 200-acre island chain often described as California's Galapagos. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service keeps the national wildlife refuge closed to visitors except for a small group of scientists and volunteers who live there year-round.

The krill-dependent whales and salmon that inhabit the surrounding waters have not appeared to suffer from the changes in food supply. But during a visit to the islands this summer, scientists pointed to other species feeling the consequences.

The absence of krill has led to a collapse of the juvenile rockfish population. This is the main food source for young of the common murre, a bird that resembles a flying penguin. Though the murre has made a dramatic comeback recently, with about 200,000 adults nesting on the islands this year, nearly three-quarters of murres breeding this year are not expected to raise chicks that survive.

"At this point it's way too late in the season for the birds to initiate another attempt at breeding," said Peter Warzybok, a Farallones-based biologist with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. "They'll just have to wait around for next year and hope that it's better."

Significant drops in murre and Cassin's auklet numbers occurred during the El Nino years of 1983 and 1992, when warmer Pacific waters near the equator upset weather patterns worldwide.

A January conference of more than 40 climatologists, oceanographers, and wildlife biologists issued a report describing last year's altered coastal climate as El Nino-like conditions in a non-El Nino year. Some researchers have given the new climate shift its own name: "El Coyote."

The report said a "ridge" of winter air blocking winds from the Gulf of Alaska lingered more than two months longer than normal in 2005, which delayed the upwelling until well past the birds' breeding seasons.

"It's not just a local effect," Schwing said. "It's related to global-scale changes in atmospheric circulation."

But it could take researchers another decade to determine whether global warming caused those changes. Some climatologists warn against drawing overly broad conclusions from only two years of unusual weather.

Definitive results are "not around the corner," said Nick Bond, a research meteorologist the University of Washington who has studied the upwelling's failure.

"We just don't know how much the deck is stacked" by the effects of global climate change, Bond said. "It's hard to tell from just a deal or two."

But whatever the cause, the ecological outcome if the trend continues is already clear, according to scientists.

The Cassin's auklet is unlikely to adapt to the sudden loss of its main food source. And other animals could follow, Schwing said.

In the worst case, he said, "we could see a great depression of the entire ecosystem."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Study: Tigers on the Brink of Extinction: Many Already Extinct

No surprise here. Of course, humans have not learned at all from the loss of tiger species. As the article states, “[o]f the six tiger sub-species, the Javan tiger, Caspian tiger and Bali tiger have already become extinct.”

Not a good sign.


Tigers on the brink of extinction,,1825711,00.html

• Study finds massive drop in key habitat areas
• More protection urged to save wild populations

James Randerson, science correspondent
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian

Tigers, among the planet's most iconic and secretive creatures, have been near the top of the endangered list for some time. But yesterday, a landmark study by leading conservationists warned that their plight is even more serious than previously feared.

The big cat, the report warns, is close to extinction and the area in which it lives has been nearly halved in the last 10 years.

The area occupied by tigers is 41% smaller than 10 years ago and is just 7% of its historical "range" before habitat loss and hunting slashed its numbers, according to scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, the World Wildlife Fund and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington. Tigers once ranged across Asia from eastern Turkey to the Russian far east.

In India, for example, where 60% of the world's tigers live, the population fell from 100,000 in the 19th century to 3,600 now. Many researchers believe the true figure is less than half the official estimate.

"The current trajectory will surely cause wild populations to disappear in many places, or shrink to the point of 'ecological extinction' - where their numbers are too few to play their role as the top predator," the authors write. "Now more than ever, tigers need homeland security." This grim prediction will come true in 20 years, the authors estimate, unless urgent action is taken.

The study is a follow-up to similar work carried out in 1995. It draws together satellite data on habitat type, information on poaching in different regions and data on tiger numbers.

Counting tigers is notoriously difficult because they are extremely secretive and very spread out. Data is collected either by counting paw prints or setting camera traps which snap unsuspecting tigers on their nightly prowl.

The study, paid for by the Save the Tiger Fund, identifies 76 "tiger conservation landscapes" - places with habitat which has the best chance of supporting viable tiger populations. Half would be able to support 100 tigers or more.

The grim headline figure is not simply a measure of how much tiger habitat has been destroyed since 1995, although much has been lost. The data take into account whether habitat that has become fragmented would be big enough to support a tiger population. The cats are reluctant to cross open areas and so need well connected forest. Also, it takes into account whether heavy poaching of the tigers' prey means that there would not be enough food for females to raise cubs.

"The last decade has been catastrophic for tigers and they simply can't afford another one like that," said Eric Dinerstein, chief scientist with WWF and one of the study's authors. But the news is not all bad, he said. "Like the Dow Jones, there are some stocks that are up while the rest are down."

The tiger population in the Russian far east, for example, has increased over the past half century from around 50 to 500. Also, the survey shows that targeted conservation efforts can pay off. "Just by applying a little bit of protection, they can rebound dramatically," said Dr Dinerstein. Tigers breed quickly for a large mammal and do not require pristine habitat to survive, so preventing poaching can lead to a rapid recovery of a local population. Apart from physical habitat destruction, the main threat comes from hunters. A tiger skin can fetch more than £5,000 and the penises, used in traditional Chinese medicine, are worth £14,000 a kilo.

"A lot of money is involved and a lot of people are involved," said Tito Joseph with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Criminal gangs with links to drugs and arms trading smuggle tiger parts from India to China and Tibet. Skins are popular as garments called chubbas, and are also traded to collectors in the west.

Contrary to popular belief, tiger penises are not used as an aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine, but in cures for fevers and rheumatism. The Chinese government and NGOs are working with traditional medicine sellers to promote alternatives. The bones of a common mole rat called the sailong are now often used.

"There is cause for optimism," said Sabri Zain, advocacy and campaign director of Traffic, an NGO that combats illegal wildlife trade. "In terms of trade there is an appreciable reduction in demand for tiger bone-based medicine."

The authors of the report - Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers 2005-2015 - advocate a "tiger summit", involving the heads of state of the 13 countries which still host the species. They believe this would galvanise political will and raise funds for conservation. To safeguard the remaining animals, the report says increased protection of the 20 most important tiger habitat areas should be a priority. Of the six tiger sub-species, the Javan tiger, Caspian tiger and Bali tiger have already become extinct.

University of Hawaii Fined For Deaths of Dolphins at Lab

It’s amazing to me that given our knowledge of the intelligence of dolphins that humans would still enslave them.


UH Fined For Deaths Of Dolphins At Lab

HONOLULU -- The University of Hawaii is facing a big fine from the federal government for allegedly mistreating four dolphins that died at its dolphin lab within two and a half years, KITV has learned.

UH is still deciding whether to pay the fine or appeal, sources said.

For nearly 30 years, animal activists have complained that UH's dolphin lab at Kewalo Basin was too small and unsanitary for the dolphins.

All four dolphins at the university's Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory died between late 2001 and early 2004. Two 27-year-old dolphins died of cancer, another died of an intestinal infection at age 16 and a fourth died of liver problems at age 20. Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins like those can live well into their 30s and 40s, officials told KITV.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined UH $65,000 for violating U.S. regulations about the care and protection of animals.

"Even though it won't bring the dolphins back, there is some justice in seeing the university having to pay a fine for violating federal law," said Cathy Goeggel of Animal Rights Hawaii.

"We are deciding how to respond," UH spokesman Jim Manke told KITV said. He noted that UH could pay the $65,000 fine or appeal it, which would involve hearings that would cost the university a lot of time and money.

The dolphin facility at Kewalo is abandoned now. It closed down after the last dolphin died about two years ago. The state plans to demolish it as part of revitalization of the Kakaako waterfront area.

"It's like fining me for taking great care of these animals and giving them love, and all my students are the same way," UH's dolphin lab head, Louis Herman, said.

Herman is UH psychology professor.

"I feel perfectly innocent of anything of that kind. We've given nothing but the best of attention and care to our dolphins all through many, many years that they were with us," Herman said.

"It will make people think seriously about why these animals would be kept in a small tank," Goeggel said.

A vet who worked at the dolphin lab has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against UH, claiming she was fired in early 2004 after she repeatedly raised questions about the sanitation and health of the dolphins.

Teenagers in South Africa Who Calculatingly Tortured Mouse Charged With the Crime

This is a follow up from an article I posted yesterday regarding the calculating sickness of these teens. See it here -

Glad to see this but hope the sentence matches the horrific, calculating crime.

"The recording goes on to show the mouse running around inside the box as it is being sprayed with an aerosol, and then set alight with a pocket cigarette lighter," Roberts said.

The "snuff movie" also included the sound of juvenile girls shrieking with laughter as the small animal was tormented. He said the mouse, bought at a pet shop, was confined in a cardboard box.


Teenagers charged for 'snuff movie' of mouse

July 21 2006 at 04:58AM

Criminal charges have been laid against three Randburg teenage girls and a boy who allegedly tormented a mouse with a lit cigarette before spraying it with aerosol and setting it on fire.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals laid charges of cruelty to animals under sections of the Animal Cruelty Act on Thursday, SPCA Senior Inspector Phillip Roberts said.

The group was caught after a cellphone video recording of the incident arrived at the SPCA offices in Randburg.

"The national council of the SPCA was horrified and disgusted to see the torture of an animal recorded on the cellphone of a 15-year-old female," Roberts said.

Sound of juvenile girls shrieking with laughter

The "snuff movie" also included the sound of juvenile girls shrieking with laughter as the small animal was tormented. He said the mouse, bought at a pet shop, was confined in a cardboard box.

"The recording goes on to show the mouse running around inside the box as it is being sprayed with an aerosol, and then set alight with a pocket cigarette lighter," Roberts said.

He added that the mouse was still alive when the recording ended.

"Investigations continue. There is no way that this incident can be excused, condoned or overlooked in any way.

"The footage of the torture of a defenceless animal - purchased from a pet shop specifically for this purpose - was a calculated and callous action," Roberts said.

The teenagers face a fine of up to R20 000 or four months' imprisonment if they are found guilty. - Sapa

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Follow Up From Post on US Military Forcing Evacuees to Leave Companion Animals: Website Tells How You Can Help

Please check out this website for who to contact to get the US government to reverse its ridiculous policy. Of course, it would be good to make a reference to the horror that this policy inflicted on families and companions after hurricane Katrina. So, definitely add “Remember Katrina?” to your correspondence. I’ll post more as I know it. And, as we’ve seen, we unfortunately can only hope they will listen. Very likely though, they will not.

Here is the website:

US Military Orders Evacuees from Lebanon to Leave Dogs, Cats, Birds and Other Companion Animals Behind to Die

No surprise here. Remember Katrina?! As usual, the US doesn’t learn its lesson. Now, countless innocent will suffer. Interesting to note that France made arrangements for it’s people to take their companions.


Let pets out of Lebanon: rights group,10117,19850320-23109,00.html

From: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Washington

July 20, 2006

THE US military ought to let those evacuating Lebanon bring their pets, an animal rights group said today.

Unlike the French, which made provisions for animal evacuations, US military commanders are ordering evacuees who brought their dogs, cats, birds and other pets to leave them behind, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said.

"Apparently French generals are able to deal with a child holding a five-pound rabbit and the US military is not," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said.

In a letter to the evacuation operation's commander, PETA said its office had been flooded with calls on behalf of "desperate" Americans in Lebanon.

"Even elderly residents – who, in some cases, have suffered amid the rubble for days, just so that they could safeguard animals whom they consider to be members of their families – are being told that they must leave their animals behind to starve to death," the letter said.

"People are upset enough without this complication. And America can surely do better."

PETA said policy on animal evacuations was supposed to have changed after Hurricane Katrina, when scores of people refused to evacuate New Orleans without their pets and thousands of forcibly abandoned animals died.

The US government recently reversed its policy of charging evacuees for repatriation costs amid a public outcry.

The Government has come under criticism for the speed of its response, which has lagged behind that of European nations that evacuated their citizens without charge.

Idiocy Bureaucracy: European Union Rules Prevent Animal Rights Legislation from Being Easily Passed: Famous Actress Threatens To Leave France

Here is a summation of the EU rule. Totally backwards and ridiculous.

“Because of free market regulations within the EU, all proposed animal rights legislation is sent to the Commission, where other EU member states are given three months to examine the material. If no objections are raised, the legislation can be passed by the country concerned.”

Due to this, France was able to actually block a proposal to improve treatment of minks in Sweden, from being voted on by the Swedish parliament!

What?! This sounds just ridiculous. So France can determine another countries laws? Very backward.


Brigitte Bardot may move to Sweden over animal rights

Wed Jul 19, 10:49 AM ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - French film star
Brigitte Bardot has told Sweden's prime minister that she may move to Sweden because she was ashamed of her native France's efforts to stop a Swedish law aimed at improving conditions on the country's own mink farms.

"My image, my international identity, is still associated with France. ... I might leave France to spend my last years in Sweden because today I feel far closer to Swedish sensibilities than French insensibilities," Bardot wrote in an open letter to Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson, a copy of which was obtained by AFP Wednesday.

The longtime animal rights activist was protesting a move by France to block, by way of the European Union, a Stockholm initiative to improve conditions on Swedish mink farms.

Because of free market regulations within the EU, all proposed animal rights legislation is sent to the Commission, where other EU member states are given three months to examine the material. If no objections are raised, the legislation can be passed by the country concerned.

France objected to the Swedish mink farm proposal on June 14, preventing it from being voted on by the Swedish parliament before its summer recess.

Parliament will reconvene on October 1, after a September general election that may see the current government removed from power. Thus the proposed legislation may never see the light of day.

"I am ashamed by my government's intervention, ashamed to be French," Bardot said.

Between 1.3 million and 1.4 million mink are killed in Sweden every year for their fur, according to Swedish animal rights group Djurens Raett.

South African Teens Torment Mouse with Lit Cigarette Before Spraying It with an Aerosol Can and Setting It on Fire. Record Torture on a Cell Phone

Luckily this malicious and disturbing act is being taken seriously. Besides the obvious, it is well documented that those who abuse animals in their youth will likely move onto commit violent crimes against humans. In fact, these teens actually bought the mouse for this purpose. So, malicious and calculated cruelty. A sign of some sick people. Here is a quote from the article below:

"This most recent event encapsulates and demonstrates what the SPCA movement refers to as 'first strike'... the scientifically-proven theory that those who abuse animals, especially in their youth, are likely to go on to other violent crimes committed against the vulnerable in our communities,"

Here are a few articles on the connection between animal abuse, mental problems and future abuse of humans.

Here’s an article on kids and animal abuse:


SPCA investigates teens for mouse 'snuff movie'

Vivian Mooki | Johannesburg, South Africa

20 July 2006 07:53

Three Randburg teenage girls and a boy are being questioned by animal anti-cruelty authorities after they allegedly tormented a mouse with a lit cigarette before spraying it with an aerosol can and setting it on fire. The group was caught out after a video recorded on a cellphone landed at the offices of the the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Randburg.

"The national council of the SPCA was horrified and disgusted to see the torture of an animal recorded on the cellphone of a 15-year-old female," SPCA senior inspector Phillip Roberts said.

"The 'snuff movie' also included the sound of juvenile girls shrieking with laughter as the small animal was tormented with a lit cigarette and set alight."

He said the mouse, bought at a Northgate pet shop, was confined in a cardboard box.

"The recording goes on to show the mouse running around inside the box as it is being sprayed with an aerosol, and then set alight with a pocket cigarette lighter," Roberts said.

"As the mouse is being burnt, a female voice is heard on the footage saying: 'I'm filming.'"

He said the mouse was still alive when the recording ended.

"Investigations continue but it is confirmed that criminal charges will be laid against the girls. There is no way that this incident can be excused, condoned or overlooked in any way," Roberts said.

He said the SPCA believed it would be failing in its duty to society if it didn't lay charges. It also appeared the teenagers had tortured another mouse just before buying the one they filmed.

"The footage of the torture of a defenceless animal, purchased from a pet shop specifically for this purpose was a knowing, calculated and callous action. At any point, any one of them could have stopped what was happening, but the sound effects reveal they egged each other on to further and greater cruelty," Roberts said.

He said investigations into the family backgrounds of those involved in the abuse will also be conducted.

"Liaison is taking place with psychologists and psychiatrists as well as educational authorities."

They faced a fine of up to R20 000 or four months' imprisonment if they were brought before a court and found guilty.

"The public prosecutor still has to decide whether to prosecute them or not, and it will then be up to the magistrate to impose a sentence if found guilty."

Roberts said the "horrific" abuse of a defenceless animal was not the first carried out by "legal minors".

"In 2005 there were several serious cases of animal abuse by young adults attending schools or places of learning.

"This most recent event encapsulates and demonstrates what the SPCA movement refers to as 'first strike'... the scientifically-proven theory that those who abuse animals, especially in their youth, are likely to go on to other violent crimes committed against the vulnerable in our communities," he said. - Sapa

HSUS Draws Attention to Massive Shark Killing Tournament in Oak Bluffs Massachusetts

This isn’t just a few people out fishing; this is a massive, officially-sanctioned killing.


Humane Society steps up protest of shark tourney

By Nelson Sigelman - July 20, 2006

The 20th annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament begins today under the critical gaze of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The country's largest animal rights group is waging a national campaign to pressure Oak Bluffs selectmen to end a contest that it claims "undermines the Island's values and its reputation."

That campaign moved into high gear this week with an HSUS national e-mail alert. The "take action" message sent by the society encourages its members to e-mail and call local and state officials to protest the tournament. It specifically targets two of the four Oak Bluffs selectmen, even providing their home telephone numbers.

This week the Humane Society is teaming up with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and other local supporters to get their anti-shark tournament message out to the public in a variety of ways. According to a press release that effort will include posters, pins, petitions directed at selectmen, ads, T-shirts and an aerial banner towed by an airplane on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons.

The expressed goal is to convince the Oak Bluffs selectmen to stop providing a venue for the popular fishing contest. With the exception of selectmen Kerry Scott, other board members have generally been satisfied by the efforts of tournament organizers to limit the number of fish brought to the weigh station, to distribute shark meat, and to provide opportunities for fisheries researchers to collect data.

The HSUS says the tournament is about greed and cruelty. Participating fishermen say it is about competition, fishing excitement, and fun.

Steven James, president of the Boston Big Game Fishing Club, which organizes the tournament, said the controversy has not hurt the fishing contest. "I don't think anyone cares what the Humane Society is doing," said Mr. James. "It looks like we are going to hit 275 boats."

Mr. James said that HSUS is misleading people across the country and pointed to a web site,, that he said provides a revealing look inside the nonprofit. "They are no more a humane society than I am," said Mr. James.

At a meeting with selectmen in April, Mr. James and representatives of ESPN, which films the tournament, described the efforts they would make to respond to some of the concerns selectmen had about the tournament. They also emphasized their working relationship with Greg Skomal, a state Division of Marine Fisheries marine biologist and shark expert, who samples the fish brought in for research purposes.

The popular cable sports network turned what had been a mostly regional tournament into a big-time fishing event when it made the contest the subject of a four-part ESPN television special in 2004. Last summer, the 19th annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament attracted a record number of 245 participating entrants willing to pay the entry fee of more than $1,000 per boat.

Over the course of the 2005 event boats brought in a total of 46 sharks to the weigh station located in the Our Market parking lot on Oak Bluffs Harbor where large crowds gathered each day to watch the fish be weighed in. The most impressive fish caught was a 1,191-pound tiger shark.

Unfortunately the fishermen who caught it arrived six minutes after the weigh-in deadline and missed first place but attracted national media attention. It also got the attention of the Humane Society, which called on ESPN not to broadcast the show and mounted an effort to oppose the tournament. The Oak Bluffs selectmen's unwillingness to cancel the tournament spurred this week's high-profile campaign.

HSUS has deep pockets and considerable resources to bring to the fight. Based on the most recent 2004 tax information available, HSUS had $74 million in income and assets worth approximately $111,021,000, according to Charity Navigator, an organization that profiles nonprofits.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, John W. Grandy, HSUS senior vice president, equated the monster shark tournament to banned sports such as cock fighting and dog fighting. Mr. Grandy said that the amount of money involved in the tournament is "shocking" and washes away any notion that the tournament has any scientific foundation.

"This is just about greed and profit," said Mr. Grandy, who was less specific regarding other popular tournaments. "We do not take a position on fishing per se, but what we have done is look at the cruelty and suffering involved in this and on merit it is horrific."

Referring to sharks specifically, he said the animals are "systematically made to endure horrendous suffering for little more than greed and recreation."

In news releases HSUS links the tournament to global studies that show dramatic worldwide declines in shark populations. The press release makes no mention of commercial shark fishing operations, which are responsible for most of that decline, and says the Vineyard effort is part of a nationwide campaign to end "shark-killing contests."

Fishy politics

Oak Bluffs politics is not for the queasy, but few town leaders expect to find themselves in the crosshairs of a national campaign. However, HSUS has taken direct aim at selectmen Duncan Ross and Gregory Coogan for refusing to put the question of the tournament on the ballot of an August 8 special town election that has been called to fill the seat vacated by former selectman Michael Dutton, who was appointed town administrator last week.

At a selectmen's meeting on June 13, selectmen Roger Wey and Kerry Scott split with selectman Gregory Coogan and chairman Duncan Ross on a motion by Mr. Wey to place a nonbinding tournament referendum on the special election ballot.

Mr. Wey and Ms. Scott took the view that it would be best to present the issue while it was fresh in voters' minds. Mr. Coogan and Mr. Ross said that they were not opposed to gauging voter sentiment but that the annual town meeting was a more appropriate venue to discuss a serious issue before the largest number of voters.

In full-page ads and press statements HSUS has criticized selectmen for keeping the question off the ballot. Mr. Grandy dismissed the view that the two selectmen were acting in the best interests of the voters and the town's political process. "I have talked to people who were there and who know and who assure me that my interpretation of this is correct," he said. "They don't want it put to the ballot when they are in the immediate wake of the cruelty and suffering that everybody will see and be reminded of."

Tuesday Mr. Coogan, a veteran Tisbury schoolteacher, said The Humane Society has taken the vote out of context to further its media campaign and portrayed it inaccurately. He said that there was no objection to a vote, only the timing. He said there was no ulterior motive beyond maintaining the town's tradition of bringing up important issues at the annual meeting.

Mr. Coogan said the selectmen had discussed the tournament for hours at several meetings prior to giving the go ahead this year. He said that it would be wrong for the selectmen to cancel the event simply based on their personal views, or in response to pressure from one powerful interest group.

Ring, ring, ring

This week, the HSUS campaign targeting the two selectmen was the subject of a nationwide e-mail alert.

Titled, "Take action, give the hook to the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament," the alert asked recipients to contact the board of selectmen, the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, "to tell them that Martha's Vineyard should be renowned for its natural beauty, not the man-made ugliness of the Oak Bluffs Shark Tournament."

The alert asked members to "make a brief, polite call to one or more" of the contacts listed and provided the home telephone numbers of Mr. Coogan and Mr. Ross and an office number for Alice Butler, administrator of the office of the selectmen. The alert asked members to follow up with an e-mail form provided.

Both selectmen said they had received numerous calls at home this week. Mr. Ross estimated at least 25 calls. He said he spoke to one man calling from California.

But Mr. Ross has managed to retain his sense of humor. When asked what he thought about the society urging people to call him at home, he said, "Well, I don't think it's very humane."

Mr. Ross said he thinks that it would be more appropriate in this instance to contact public officials through the selectmen's office, although he would not want to discourage local residents from calling him at home.

Mr. Coogan said he could not understand why he was suddenly receiving telephone calls from people around the country about the shark tournament, until he asked one of the callers, a woman from Connecticut. She explained that it was in response to an e-mail request. After speaking with Mr. Coogan, the woman said she had been misinformed about the tournament and the selectmen, and she suggested that the town do more to counter the HSUS misinformation.

"I told her we are just a little town and have other things to do," Mr. Coogan said.

Also maintaining a sense of humor, Mr. Coogan has added the theme song from the movie Jaws to the greeting on his answering machine at home.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Site Provides Summation of Animal Rights News in England

I could go ahead and post all the stories from the past year or so that has related to animal rights, but hey, my help to do so is limited. Please check out the following link. There are many good articles. Yes, one or two are not fitting with the focus, but overall, great information. And, even though written in England, the relation to issues over the world is clear.,,687263,00.html

US Heat Wave Killing Even Farm Animals: A Battle to Even Stay Alive

Always good to remember that farm animals face serious challenges just staying alive. A horrible death I'm sure.


Heat wave taking toll on crops, farm animals

Published Tuesday, July 18, 2006

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Harvey Heier checked his dryland fields and watched helplessly as his corn plants withered under the unrelenting heat wave. The plants along the edge of his fields are brown.

Before the scorching temperatures hit his farm, it looked like he might have a decent corn crop thanks to scattered rains earlier in the season. But now he figures he’s losing bushels off his production every day.

"It is like the death of a loved one," he said.

Fierce heat blanketed the nation from California to the Northeast yesterday. Scores of communities reported temperatures of more than 100. Redding, Calif., about 160 miles north of Sacramento, reached 110 degrees. Parts of Oklahoma hit 109.

Temperatures at Heier’s farm reached 100 or 101; a day earlier it was 106. No relief was forecast until the weekend.

In Kansas, the state Agricultural Statistics Service reported that the high temperatures continued to stress row crops.

Corn condition has deteriorated, with the agency rating 12 percent of the crop as poor to very poor. About 34 percent remained in fair shape, 45 percent was rated as good and 9 percent was rated as excellent.

"Corn lucky enough to be in places that received beneficial rains last week are probably positioned as good as it can be for this time. They are not immediately under as much drought stress," said Jere White, executive director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

In California, the United Farm Workers union launched a radio campaign to educate farm workers throughout the state about their right to drinking water, shade and breaks - rules developed after five farm workers died of heat-related deaths last year.

The heat also has taken its toll on livestock. In rural Doniphan County in northeast Kansas, cattleman Jerry Boos lost 32 head of cattle in Sunday’s extreme temperatures. Veterinarians are urging farmers to water pens frequently and keep their livestock under shade coverings to help farm animals beat the heat.

It was the largest loss his family has seen in the 50 years it has raised cattle, said Boos, who operates a 450-head cattle herd.

"I came out Sunday morning, and there they lay," Boos said. "There’s just not enough air moving and too much humidity."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Group in Seattle Makes Reasonable Request to Have the Woodland Park Zoo Retire and Send to Sanctuary the 39-Year-Old Asian Elephant Bamboo

This simply makes sense. The Woodland Park Zoo has already proven that it has serious care issues. Bamboo has served her time. The following quote succinctly sums up what is just reasonable and logical:

"We would like Bamboo to spend her golden years in a sanctuary where she has 24-hour access to ponds, fields and the ability to roam freely," Fortgang said. "That is 2,200 acres as opposed to sharing 1 acre with three other elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo."


Protesters push for retirement in Bamboo's 'golden years'
Animal rights activists target zoo fundraiser


About 80 animal rights activists and community members protested outside a Woodland Park Zoo fundraiser Friday, asking that the 39-year-old Asian elephant Bamboo be moved to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.

Protesters young and old stood at the north entrance of the zoo, passing out fliers to donors, holding signs and chanting, "Tell the zoo, to free Bamboo."

The zoo, which closed to the public at 3 p.m. for Woodland Park's largest fundraiser of the year, became the site for protesters to inform the more than 900 guests about Bamboo's plight. Seattle police bike patrols were on the scene to ensure that the rally was peaceful.

In June 2006, the Northwest Animal Rights Network filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court accusing the zoo of failing to provide Bamboo space for roaming, foraging and bonding with other elephants.

Jay Fortgang, media coordinator for the Free Bamboo campaign, said that Bamboo has outlived her years in captivity and that she should spend her remaining years in an elephant-friendly environment.

"We would like Bamboo to spend her golden years in a sanctuary where she has 24-hour access to ponds, fields and the ability to roam freely," Fortgang said. "That is 2,200 acres as opposed to sharing 1 acre with three other elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo."

Jim Bennett, communications and marketing director of Woodland Park Zoo, handed out free passes to "Free Bamboo" supporters urging them to visit the exhibit and talk to Bamboo's keepers.

"We care deeply about the animals and so do they," Bennett said. "The zoo is really the best place for Bamboo; she has bonded really well to humans, more so than your average elephant perhaps."

Fortgang, however, said the grass-roots movement to free Bamboo is going strong with supporters growing by the thousands. He said in the end Seattleites should determine the fate of Bamboo.

"The people of Seattle have spoken. I think it is the zoo's responsibility to listen to what Seattle residents have said," Fortgang said. "We will continue protests, legal maneuvers, anything necessary so Bamboo can gain her freedom."

Hell Freezes Over: US House Approves Polar Bear Protection Treaty

I’m still in shock that this issue even came up! Especially in the US House. Good steps and very surprising. Yet, they must realize that unless this is coupled with tackling global warming eventually it will not matter. As the last paragraph states, the biggest threat to Polar Bears is global warming. So they must also act on this issue if they truly are sincere about the survival of Polar Bears.


House approves polar bear protection treaty

CAPITOL HILL The ice-cold habitat of polar bears was a hot topic on Capitol Hill today.
The House has approved a treaty with Russia that would help protect the big white bears from overhunting and other survival threats. The Senate has already approved its own version of the treaty endorsement.

The treaty limits polar bear hunting by native populations in the U-S and Russia and it sets up a bilateral commission to figure out how best to protect the bears' habitat.

The World Conservation Union figures the Arctic polar bear population at near 25-thousand, but nearly a third could die out over the next 45 years. Climate-warming that is melting the bears' icy home is considered the biggest threat.

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