Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Profile of the Great Philosopher and Ethicist Peter Singer: A Must Read

Most of you may already know that Peter Singer is the authored of the book Animal Liberation. This is the book most look to when describing why animal rights and perhaps why they changed their lives. Please read on to learn more about this amazing man.

Article:

Profile: Peter Singer

http://www.smh.com.au/

By Lucinda Schmidt
May 31, 2006

The controversial philosopher on why it's a life of matter and death.

The furore over Peter Singer's appointment as professor of bioethics at Princeton University has died down, but even now, seven years later, he gets the occasional threatening email.

"My views are still quite controversial," the Melbourne-born philosopher and ethicist says with some satisfaction.

Best known for kick-starting the animal rights movement with his first book, Animal Liberation, published in 1975, Singer has since expounded views supporting abortion, euthanasia, infanticide for severely disabled babies and stem cell research using material from embryos. He's been accused of playing God, attacked by disability rights groups and compared to the Third Reich - despite having three grandparents killed by the Nazis.

The career academic, who lectured in philosophy at LaTrobe and Monash Universities before taking up the Princeton appointment, agrees that questioning the absolute sanctity of all human life gets him into more trouble in the neo-conservative US heartland than it does here, although he notes that he lives in New York, where only one in five people voted for President George W. Bush.

"The one thing you do notice is the place is a lot more religious," says Singer, 59. "You notice the influence of fairly conservative Christianity, even at Princeton. Things you can say here [in Australia] quite easily are seen as offensively hostile [in the US]."

He's now back in Australia for part of each year, lecturing in philosophy at Melbourne University. The second half of the year he will return with his wife, Renata, to New York and Princeton.

Singer's latest book, The Ethics of What We Eat, returns to his original concerns about animal rights, updating the approach of his 1980 book Animal Factories.

He says there has been a big increase in awareness of food ethics over the past 30 years. "In 1975, people didn't even know what vegan meant. And there was only one brand of soy milk in the UK [where he lived at the time]."

Still, he says, we have a long way to go. Part of the problem, he believes, is that most animal factory farms are highly secretive and do not allow visitors or video cameras.

The Ethics of What We Eat looks at a typical meal eaten by three families and traces the meals' ingredients back through the production process, examining the ethics of our everyday food choices, including animal suffering, child labour and environmental degradation.

One family favours meat, potatoes and fast food; another describes itself as "caring carnivores", eating meat only from animals that have been treated humanely; and the third is vegan, eating nothing that comes from animals.

Singer says that the first family was "a little disturbed" by what the book uncovered, while the family that took great care to check the treatment of animals was still making some "bad seafood choices" and not aware of some of the environmental issues.

"If you are going to eat seafood and meat, you need to be quite informed," says Singer, who describes himself as vegan when he has complete control over what he eats, although his frequent travelling means that he occasionally eats free-range eggs and is not really strict about avoiding all dairy products.

THE BIG QUESTIONS

Biggest break: Going to Oxford University as a 24-year-old, and coming across the issue of the ethics of how we treat animals.

Biggest achievement: Writing Animal Liberation [his first book, published in 1975, now translated into 18 languages]. There was not much around then and it brought me international prominence.

Biggest regret: I don't have any huge regrets. Both in my professional and my family life, I've been very fortunate. Some people think it's a pity I got into euthanasia - in terms of the effectiveness of my work in animal rights - and that's probably true, but I don't regret it. That's a debate we had to have.

Personal philosophy: Trying to live an ethical life is something I find really satisfying. Thinking about ethics and putting it into practice - that has been central to my life since I was an undergraduate.

Attitude to money: It's important to try and do things that will make a difference rather than buy more luxuries. [Singer donates 20 per cent of his income to charity].

Best investment: Education.

Bushmeat: This Despicable Practice Continues

Just despicable behavior from those associated with bushmeat. This article gives a slight introduction to it.

More information on bushmeat can be found at http://www.bushmeat.org/ - the website of the group mentioned below - Bushmeat Crisis Task Force

Here are some quick quotes from the article below:

"The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves for its flesh or skin, including snakes, big cats, primates and even hippos. Animals are sometimes used to create traditional medicines, particularly in south-east Asia.

Hunters also target wildlife to feed an increasing international appetite for bushmeat, as expatriates from the region resettle around the globe. A Liberian woman was arrested in New York City earlier this year on suspicion of importing smoked bushmeat, including monkey skulls, limbs and torsos.

"It's an enormous problem that is eliminating populations and whole species of wildlife across the continent," says Heather Eves, director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organization focusing on the illicit meat trade.

It's probably already too late for one primate species, known as Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey. The creature was declared extinct in 2000, although Eves says a few slaughtered monkeys have since shown up on the bushmeat market.”

Article:

Wild animals saved from 'exotic' menus

http://www.thestar.co.za/

San Diego, California - The four new swamp monkeys at the San Diego Zoo have good reason to be a little wary.

The last time they were in front of so many people, they were in a market in the Democratic Republic of Congo, destined for sale as exotic curiosities or else to be fattened up and eaten.

These four Allen's swamp monkeys, along with 30 other Congolese primates at five other zoos, will spend their lives in the US to highlight the illegal trade in bushmeat - wildlife slaughtered to feed hungry families in poor countries - which is decimating populations of many species in Africa and parts of Asia.

"All these little monkeys were bushmeat orphans, their parents and troupes had been killed for bushmeat," explained Karen Killmar, the zoo's associate curator of mammals, who, in an unusual move, bought the monkeys from a middleman who had acquired them at a market and hoped to make a profit by selling them as pets.

The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves, including snakes and hippos
Jane Ballentine, a spokesperson for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which helped to co-ordinate the adoptions, called the acquisition "the right thing to do for the monkeys. This is a one-time-only thing, and we don't want to perpetuate the trade at all."

At the San Diego Zoo, the shy young monkeys, greyish brown and about the size of a cat, took turns exploring their new surroundings. The biggest of the group, a female, emerged from the cover of a small bush and briefly checked out a nearby tree before returning with a pounce to the safety of her cohorts.

The monkeys, all less than two years old, debuted in early May in the zoo's Ituri Forest area, an enclosure named for the woods in the DRC where they are from. The remaining monkeys, representing various species, went to zoos in the Phoenix area, Denver, Houston, San Antonio and Tampa.

Signs to educate visitors about bushmeat will be displayed at each of the monkey enclosures.

It took 13 months and $400 000 (about R2,6-million) to cut through the red tape and import them.

The bushmeat trade will take almost anything that moves for its flesh or skin, including snakes, big cats, primates and even hippos. Animals are sometimes used to create traditional medicines, particularly in south-east Asia.

Hunters also target wildlife to feed an increasing international appetite for bushmeat, as expatriates from the region resettle around the globe. A Liberian woman was arrested in New York City earlier this year on suspicion of importing smoked bushmeat, including monkey skulls, limbs and torsos.

"It's an enormous problem that is eliminating populations and whole species of wildlife across the continent," says Heather Eves, director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organisation focusing on the illicit meat trade.

It's probably already too late for one primate species, known as Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey. The creature was declared extinct in 2000, although Eves says a few slaughtered monkeys have since shown up on the bushmeat market.

Further extinctions could follow. The impact of hunting on primate species is especially severe because monkeys and apes reproduce at a slow rate and produce fewer young, normally one baby at a time, so killing even a few individuals can hurt a population.

Killmar first learnt of the 34 animals last year when she received a call from a South African businessman who had bought them at a Congolese food market and hoped to make a buck reselling them as unusual pets.

He had exported the monkeys to South Africa and phoned Killmar to figure out how much he should charge for them. After many conversations and a trip with a vet to visit the animals in South Africa, Killmar decided to buy all 34.

"I checked out the story and found that these animals truly were taken out of the bushmeats market," she said.

"We had a unique opportunity to bring these animals into a much better situation here." - Sapa-AP

-----------------------------
More information on bushmeat can be found at http://www.bushmeat.org/ - the website of the group mentioned above - Bushmeat Crisis Task Force

Six Flags Marine World Target of Protest Due to the Unnatural Nature of their Training and Captivity

This movement targets not only the marine life, but also the elephants and others at the facility

“In Defense of Animals alleges that nearly 30 animals have died "premature, unnatural deaths" because of inhumane training and living conditions at the park, Kuba said. The group says it simply wants Six Flags to remove animals from Marine World and another park where it keeps wildlife.”

Article:


Animal rights activists protest after judge rules in their favor

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_3880626

By J.M. BROWN, Times-Herald staff writer

Vallejo Times Herald

After winning a federal court's nod, several animal rights activists demonstrated without incident in front of Six Flags Marine World over the holiday weekend, saying they met their simple goals of educating the public and exercising free speech.

Demonstrators said a few patrons asked them to explain their claims of abuse against elephants, dolphins and other animals. But others simply took the group's leaflets and left them for park staff to clean up.

"We were able to have good access," said Alfredo Kuba, a Mountain View man whose arrest last year on trespassing and assault charges sparked the lawsuit. "We respect those who don't want to take (the leaflet) and hear it."

Vallejo police Sgt. Herman Robinson said the demonstrations on Saturday and Monday were peaceful, although several officers were stationed outside the park in case of a disruption.

"There were no confrontations," Robinson said. "(The demonstrators) were on their best behavior."

The protest did not affect business on what is one of Marine World's busiest weekends, park spokesman Paul Garcia said. Attendance figures would be verified today.

"As far as I know, there no problems," Garcia said. "Everything went well for our operation."

A federal judge issued an injunction last week allowing Kuba and up to nine others from In Defense of Animals to protest over the weekend. The order superseded Marine World's company policy outlawing demonstrations on high-traffic times like Memorial Day weekend.

In Defense of Animals alleges that nearly 30 animals have died "premature, unnatural deaths" because of inhumane training and living conditions at the park, Kuba said. The group says it simply wants Six Flags to remove animals from Marine World and another park where it keeps wildlife.

Specifically, the group alleges elephants are abused by artificial insemination and poked with painful prods called bullhooks to force them into performing tricks. Orca whales, naturally social animals, suffer because they are isolated from relatives, the group claims.

"You can't make elephants do these things without fear and violence," demonstrator Deniz Bolbol of Redwood City said.

Animals are also upset by the noise of rollercoasters and other park rides, demonstrators said.

"It's not an adequate place to have animals," Kuba said, adding that animals suffer "constant beating to break their spirit."

Garcia says trainers follow all regulations regarding animal care. He declined to comment on the pending litigation, which is scheduled to be heard in December.

Upon seeing her protest sign, Bolbol said several park patrons told her they only come to Marine World for the rides - not the animals. She wishes company directors would listen to customers who are excited more by new rides than animal shows, she said.

"They are business people - this is not profitable," she said.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oxford University Wins Animal Rights Injunction: Free Speech Trifled: Animal Rights Victim in Government and Business Attempt to Increase Control

Well, here we go. The first win in the attempt of the Government and its twin, business to increase its control. The victim – well, at first glance, animal rights. But, overall, it’s free speech. I’m still wondering when Tony Blair will give up his claim to be from the Labour party.

Article:

UK's Oxford University wins animal rights injunction

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=
scienceNews&storyID=2006-05-26T114104Z_01_L26740
565_RTRIDST_0_SCIENCE-BRITAIN-OXFORD-DC.XML


Fri May 26, 2006 12:41 PM BST


LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Oxford University won a legal appeal on Friday to increase restrictions placed on animal rights activists to halt violent protests against a new research laboratory it is building.

The university went to the High Court last week to extend an exclusion zone round the 20-million-pound ($37 million) biomedical center to keep demonstrators away.

Some animal rights extremists, opposed to vivisection, have threatened violence against anyone involved with the university.

On Friday, a judge at the High Court in London increased the exclusion zone and handed down new rulings on the amount of noise protesters can make.

Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said the legal move had been designed to curb a "pattern of weekly disruption and loud noise by relatively large groups of people."

"What the university is seeking to stop here is the growth of a mood of violence and aggressive protest against the university and everyone associated with the university," he told BBC radio before the ruling.

Construction of the laboratory was suspended in July 2004 for 16 months when the building contractor pulled out in the face of a persistent campaign by animal rights group SPEAK.

Building work resumed late last year after the university obtained a limited injunction on protests near the laboratory. Demonstrations against the center have continued elsewhere in the city of Oxford.

SPEAK had said the university was seeking too broad an injunction against demonstrators.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair this month spoke out in favor of vivisection.

Animal Welfare Group Says the University Of Tennessee College Of Medicine Is Breaking the Law by Using Live Animals in Medical Training

The accusations actually have to do with the Federal Animal Welfare Act. So, very serious allegations.

Article:

Animal welfare group says UT illegally using live animals in medical research

http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=34762

The University of Tennessee College of Medicine is breaking the law by using live animals in medical training.

That's according to an advocacy group that's asking federal officials to investigate.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine contends that a UT Health Science Center policy allowing live animals to be used in surgery training for third-year medical students violates the federal animal welfare act.

On Friday, the Washington-based group asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look into the matter.

It said neither East Tennessee State University's James H. Quillen College of Medicine nor Vanderbilt University medical school uses live animals in medical education and training.

UT officials said in a recent letter to the group that the university is in compliance with regulations and guidelines regarding animal use and welfare.

Heather Mills, the Vegetarian and Estranged Wife of Former Beatle Paul Mccartney Inspires Paris Hilton to Quit Wearing Fur

Good news. We’ll see how long it lasts though.  My guess is that she'll start to have withdrawal from not wearing fur.  

Article:

Mills inspires Hilton to quit wearing fur

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/arc_Articles.asp?
Article=144910&Sn=WORL&IssueID=29071


HONG KONG: American heiress and TV star Paris Hilton, a recent target of animal rights activists for wearing fur, has turned her back on pelts, she says in the latest edition of a Hong Kong lifestyle magazine. The 25-year old millionairess said she underwent a conversion after meeting Heather Mills, the vegetarian and estranged wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney. "I am not going to be wearing fur anymore," Hilton told the June edition of Prestige magazine.

"I met up with (Mills) and she showed me videos of how badly the animals are treated," she added.

"It is just disgusting. I am an animal lover."

Hilton was bombarded with flour earlier this year by activist members of pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) after she appeared on London Fashion Week catwalk clad in fur.

Hilton's admission came in an interview in which she also revealed she is about to release her debut single, a reggae track that will be entitled Stars Are Blind, soon to be followed by an album and a tour.

"The whole album has so much different music on it," she told the magazine, revealing that she'd written the lyrics to "like, seven of my songs".

The album will also include a cover of Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy.

"The whole album has so much different music on it. I like all music. It's not like I only like pop or only rock. I want to have something for everybody," Hilton said.

Hilton said she wrote the lyrics to seven of her songs.

The world can expect to see a lot more Hilton in the near future, with a fifth season of her TV show The Simple Life planned as well as the launch of a new fragrance and a fashion line bearing her name.

Voice of "Peanuts"' Character "Lucy” Convicted In Animal Rights Protest

Article:

Voice of "Peanuts"' character convicted in animal rights protest

http://www.sddt.com/News/article.cfm?SourceCode=20060526ca

Friday, May 26, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An animal rights activist who was the voice of "Lucy" in several "Peanuts" television specials, was convicted Thursday of illegally demonstrating outside the home of a city animal services employee.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Alpha Male Shot and Killed and Eight Wolves Die in Arizona in Removal Effort: Idiocy at its Finest

Idiotic as usual. Just look at this quote:

“The alpha male of the 12-member Hon Dah pack was shot and killed Wednesday after efforts to capture it were unsuccessful. The wolf was shot by a member of the interagency wildlife team overseeing the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.”

The key part is the last sentence. Seems was actually killed by a member of a group that was supposedly working on recovery! Anyone else see the disconnect here? Shooting an alpha male is going to help the recovery cause???!!

And then they go on and lose the rest.

Damn idiots.

Article:

Eight wolves die in Arizona in removal effort

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/
20060525-1238-wst-wolfdeaths.html

By Arthur H. Rotstein
ASSOCIATED PRESS

12:38 p.m. May 25, 2006

TUCSON, Ariz. – The alpha male of a wolf pack that had been killing cattle on the White Mountain Apache Reservation has been shot and eight other wolves in the pack that were captured have died, including six pups killed by a surrogate parent wolf.

The alpha male of the 12-member Hon Dah pack was shot and killed Wednesday after efforts to capture it were unsuccessful. The wolf was shot by a member of the interagency wildlife team overseeing the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials had ordered the capture or removal of the entire pack of wolves April 19, at the request of the tribe.

Six pups were captured Friday and transported to the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro County, N.M., where they were placed with a surrogate pair of wolves that had a two-pup litter, in hopes the pair would care for the captured animals.

Although the adult male had been used successfully as a surrogate before, “in this instance the male killed the six in an instinctive effort to protect his own two pups,” said Victoria Fox, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman in Albuquerque

The alpha female was captured late Sunday and taken to an Alpine, Ariz., field office for the recovery program. She was monitored overnight and appeared healthy and alert but was found dead early Monday before a veterinary examination, the agency said.

One trapped male yearling also died. A second male yearling was trapped and taken to the Ladder Ranch wolf facility in New Mexico, while officials haven't located the third yearling, whose gender is unknown. The fate of a seventh pup is not known.

Fish and Wildlife said it would conduct an internal review of the circumstances surrounding the wolves' deaths.

“The loss of these wolves is a blow to the Mexican wolf recovery program and everyone who is working to recover wolves in the Southwest,” said Benjamin Tuggle, acting regional director for the agency's Southwest region.

According to Fish and Wildlife estimates, there are 32 to 46 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, not including newborn pups, in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

Philadelphia Councilman Introduces Proposal To Ban Foie Gras: What is Foie Gras?

Foie gras (translated literally from French as "fatty liver" and pronounced 'fwah grah') is produced by cruel and inhumane farming practices. At just a few months old, ducks are confined inside dark sheds and force-fed enormous amounts of food several times a day. A farm worker grabs each duck and, one by one, thrusts a metal pipe down their throats so that a mixture of corn can be forced directly into their gullets. In just a matter of weeks, the ducks become grossly overweight and their livers expand up to 10 times their normal size.

As a result, ducks raised for foie gras have difficulty standing, walking, and even breathing. Many of them die before the end of the force-feeding cycle, and the mortality rate for ducks raised on foie gras farms is among the highest in the farming industry. Necropsies performed on foie gras ducks have shown extreme obesity, impaction of undigested food in the esophagus, lacerations in the throat, and a proliferation of bacterial and fungal growth in their upper digestive tracts.

More information on foie gras can be found at: http://www.nofoiegras.org/

Article:

Philadelphia councilman introduces proposal to ban foie gras

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/
2006/05/25/state/n161035D36.DTL

Thursday, May 25, 2006

(05-25) 16:10 PDT PHILADELPHIA, (AP) --

A city councilman who believes foie gras is the result of cruelty to birds introduced legislation Thursday that would ban the sale of the delicacy in Philadelphia.

Councilman Jack Kelly's proposed ordinance comes on the heels of a similar prohibition adopted by the Chicago City Council last month.

Foie gras, which means "fat liver" in French and is pronounced "fwah GRAH," is created by force-feeding birds — usually ducks or geese — until their livers are several times the normal size.

"Force-feeding birds to make an expensive appetizer is cruel and unnecessary, and it should not be condoned in our society," Kelly said in a statement.

The measure was supported by the Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization based in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Some Philadelphia-area restaurateurs have already stated their opposition to Kelly's legislation. Joel Assouline of Assouline & Ting, who supplies foie gras to about 400 restaurants, has said a ban would force him to lay off five or six of about 25 employees.

More than a dozen countries, mostly in Europe, have banned foie gras production. Several states have considered the measure, and California will end the force-feeding of birds to produce the gourmet product by 2012.

Kelly's bill, if approved, would take effect 90 days after its passage.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Seeking Nominations for Annual Golden Carrot Awards for Outstanding School Food Service in Schools

PCRM is a group of individuals – some doctors – that tackle animal related issues via its health side. Check them out at www.pcrm.org. A great website and a great group.


If you know of a school worthy of the Golden Carrot, please visit http://www.HealthySchoolLunches.org.

Article:

Sugarhouse: School daze

http://sltrib.com/sugarhouse/ci_3864709

STUDENT HEALTH

Doctors honor food-service pros

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is seeking nominations for its third annual Golden Carrot Awards for outstanding school food service professionals. The grand prize winner will receive $1,500 and a $3,500 check made out to her or his school or school district. Up to four additional awards will be given, with $500 going to the food service professional and $500 to benefit the school food service program.

"We want to recognize schools tackling the link between childhood obesity and the high-fat, artery-clogging food typically served in the lunchroom," says PCRM nutritionist Dulcie Ward. "School lunch programs that serve high-fiber, low-fat entrees such as bean burritos or veggie burgers, along with fresh fruit, vegetables and other vegetarian foods will help children reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some forms of cancer."

The Golden Carrot Awards honor food service professionals in public and private schools. Schools will be evaluated based on how well they provide children with healthy vegetarian entrees and nondairy beverages, incorporate plant-based commodity foods into their menus, promote these healthy choices and offer nutrition education programs.
Parents, teachers, principals, fellow food service workers and community members are encouraged to nominate professionals who make a difference in their schools. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 18. An entry form and a more detailed explanation of the award criteria are available at http://www.HealthySchoolLunches.org.

Winners of this year's contest will be announced in time for National School Lunch Week, Oct. 9-13, 2006.

Animal Smuggling from Iraq to Iran on the Rise

You can imagine the hell these animals endure when stolen and forced across a boarder. Sick stuff.

Article:

Animal smuggling on rise

http://www.tradearabia.com/tanews/newsdetails.asp?
Ref=S&Article=105508&Sn=&Cnt=31

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Missan

So many animals are being smuggled from southern Iraq into Iran that the price of meat has doubled, spurring officials in the southern governorate of Missan to call for tough anti-smuggling measures.

'We'll lose our animal resources within the next two or three years unless the government imposes tough measures and punishes smugglers,' Dr Abdullah Hussein of the Missan Veterinary Hospital said in remarks published in an IRIN report.

According to Dr Juma'a Sharhan Mohamed, director of the Missan agriculture and animal research centre, the governorate has lost some 60 per cent of its animal resources since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq due to smuggling, mostly to Iran.

'We've lost 20 per cent of our cattle, 30 per cent of our sheep and 10 per cent of our goats,' said Mohamed, who added that these animals were highly prized in neighbouring countries for their traditionally low prices and high caloric value.

Yashber Rahim Rajab, a butcher in Missan, said rampant smuggling had served to double the price of these commodities.

'We were paying about $350 per cow, but now these are worth around $700,' said Rajab.

'And prices for sheep have increased from about $75 to about $200,' Rajab said in the IRIN news service report.

Locals, meanwhile, complain bitterly that the trend has made meat prohibitively expensive. 'It's about ID10,000 [about $7] per kilo of beef, and I can't afford that,' said Hammad Ali, a school guard.

According to Dr Sabah Ali of the local health directorate, however, the current lack of red meat will not seriously impact the health of residents, given the plentiful supply of alternate sources of protein such as fish, chicken and birds.

Border officials, meanwhile, say they need more resources to stem the smuggling.

'We can't secure the entire border 24 hours a day,' said one border officer.

'Some of these gangs have more weapons than we do, which makes it difficult to confront them.'

Thursday, May 25, 2006

If You See An Animal Confined To A Vehicle In Hot or Warm Weather, Please Consider It An Emergency. Please Do The Following

From another group.

A quick reminder to look out for this during this summer (and every season for that matter). Also included are crucial tips to follow if you do see a dog or cat or even child in a hot car. You will also find a flier to print out to give to people and to remind you what to do in that situation.

Save Dogs from death in hot cars - keep your eyes open and PLEASE speak out for them.

It's time again to be on the lookout for dogs and other animals left unattended in vehicles. As you all know, the inside of a parked car heats up extremely quickly. On a warm day, in a matter of minutes--even with the windows slightly opened--the temperature inside the car can reach more than 160 degrees! The normal body temperature of a dog is about 100 to 102 degrees; heat stroke and heat prostration can occur if the animal's body temperature rises to around 106 degrees. At 107 to 109 degrees, cellular destruction begins. With only hot air to breathe, dogs can suffer irreparable brain damage and even die. Every year, dogs die horrible, agonizing deaths of heatstroke in cars. Last July, a dog was found near death in Newport News. His guardian had left the animal in the car "for just a few minutes," where temperatures quickly reached 120 degrees F.

If you see an animal confined to a vehicle in hot weather, please consider it an emergency. Please do the following:

1. Write down or memorize the make, model and license plate of the vehicle.

2. Go into the store right away, ask to speak with a manager about an emergency situation

3. Nicely and calmly explain to Ms. or Mr. Manager that there is an animal confined to a vehicle in the parking lot, that he or she could perish in a matter of minutes, and that you would like to have the owner paged without further delay. Follow manager around until this is done, please; they get grabbed by others left and right and may forget about you. Be pesky!

4. Stay around and wait for the owners of said vehicle to show up, smile and be friendly, explain if you have to that a relative of yours just lost their dog in this hideous way, and that you are so worried about their dog, he looks terribly hot, is panting heavily, could they please run out to the car, and so on. People may get defensive or nasty, just stay nice, calm, hey--even cry if you have to (after all, you were attached to that poor dog of your relative's). Again, be pesky.

5. If the owners don't show up, or if they show up and they are useless and digging their heels in just because, call the emergency number in the appropriate jurisdiction (locals, see AC agency guide; remotes, please have these in your car) and make clear that this is an emergency. Be ready to call 911, please. Animal control may tell you they have no one to send, can't be there for an hour, whatever. If that's the case, call 911. An animal's life may depend on it!

6. Don't leave the scene until the situation has been resolved. Don't believe anyone who says "we'll be right out," etc. Make sure they do!

6. Of course: be sure to carry these leaflets, see: http://www.helpinganimals.com/pdfs/hotundercollar.pdf#xml=
http://www.petasearch.org/texis/search/pdfhi.txt?query=hot+under+
collar&pr=default&prox=page&rorder=500&rprox=500&rdfreq=
500&rw
freq=500&rlead=500&sufs=0&order=r&cq=&id=446005c83a

These are available in the literature dept. But they won't save anyone if you leave them on the vehicle and traipse away, so please follow above steps without fail.

Print this out and carry it around with you if you need to, and please let me know if you have any questions. Please don't allow yourself to be shy about these situations. I know they can be uncomfortable, but the animals depend on us to be firm and do what's right. Thank you!

Australia’s Biggest Live Sheep Export Company Will Face Trial in a Landmark Animal Cruelty Case Regarding it’s Shipping of Sheep to Middle East

This is great. As you all remember, recent video was shown regarding the horrors of the Australia to Middle East live animal export industry. Shocking footage showed various abuses of sheep and cattle during the long journey over and even more when they got to those horrific locations. Here is the link to the video and story -
http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/03/
unbelievable-video-exposes_08.html

Let’s hope this goes through. This would have serious implications for the live export industry.

Article:

Sheep exporter on cruelty charges

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,
19252835-1245,00.html?from=rss

25-05-2006
From: AAP

THE nation's biggest live sheep export company will face trial in Perth in a landmark animal cruelty case.
Emanuel Export and two of its directors, Michael Stanton and Graham Daws, were charged last year with breaching the West Australian Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Daws and Mr Stanton did not appear in court today, when it was announced that a date for the trial would be allocated on July 26.

Last month, Mr Daws and Mr Stanton pleaded not guilty in the Perth Magistrates' Court to the ill treatment of animals contrary to the state Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Daws has also denied being the person in charge and that he did not provide sufficient food and water to the sheep.

The company has said it will vigorously defend the charges.

It also said the landmark case could have serious implications for the live export industry.

Emanuel will argue on the validity of the WA charges under section 109 of the Australian Constitution, arguing the industry is controlled by Commonwealth laws and therefore state laws have no jurisdiction.

The charges arose after Animals Australia laid a complaint that more than 1000 sheep had died and others had been injured during a journey from Fremantle to Kuwait on the MV Al Kuwait in November 2003.

The animal rights group first complained to police in 2003 before the WA Government and the state solicitor both investigated, which led to charges being laid.

Rhode Island Could Become the First State to Require Cat Owners to Spay or Neuter Their Pets

Great idea and would be landmark. The little loophole for breeders though seems to be detrimental to the mission.

Article:

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/

R.I. to order cat owners to spay, neuter

M.L. JOHNSON
Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island could become the first state to require cat owners to spay or neuter their pets under legislation passed Wednesday by the General Assembly.

The measure would require pets older than 6 months to be spayed or neutered unless owners pay $100 for a breeder's license or special permit. Violators would be fined $75 a month.

The Senate previously passed the bill, and with House approval, it now goes to Gov. Don Carcieri. The governor was reviewing the legislation, spokesman Jeff Neal said.

Democratic Rep. Charlene Lima, the legislation's main sponsor in the House, said she hopes Rhode Island will lead the nation in instituting a spaying requirement.

Supporters say the bill could save thousands of cats from being killed each year and ease crowding in animal shelters.

But some animal rights advocates worry the bill could prompt cat owners to abandon their pets rather than risk a fine or pay several hundred dollars for the birth control procedures.

The bill has a provision for low-income pet owners to receive subsidies for low-cost spay and neuter surgery. It also exempts farmers.

East Providence, Pawtucket and Warwick already have similar municipal ordinances

High-Fiving Men Kick and Poke Drugged Ringneck Pheasants So They Would Take Flight to Be Targeted By Arrows and Killed

Wow, I always knew that hunting isn’t much of a sport, but this is horrible. To actually drug birds to make it easier to shoot them is beyond cowardice. And then they actually laugh about it. Sick stuff.

Article:

http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/
20060524/FRONT01/60524004

Animal-rights activist: Group drugged pheasants then shot them

By TOM BALDWIN
GANNETT NEW JERSEY

1:23 p.m.
TRENTON -- An animal-rights activist today played videos of laughing, high-fiving men kicking and poking allegedly drugged Ringneck pheasants so they would take flight to be targeted by fusillades of arrows and killed.

"We are hoping the state will prosecute," said Stuart Chaifetz of Cherry Hill, director of what he says is a 3,000-member Animal Protection PAC, short for political action committee.

Chaifetz, a longtime opponent of hunting, said he was turning the video over to the New Jersey Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA.

"There was no chase. They basically just sat there until they were forced to move," said Chaifetz, who added that "the cruelty is in the kicking."

He said state law is not precise but generally holds it to be illegal to conduct target practice on live animals.

The videos, which Chaifetz said he copied from Internet sites focused on outdoors activities, showed men in wintry hunting clothes kicking and poking the reluctant birds, hiding as they were on a grassy field.

The pheasants then took to the air, whereupon the men loosed arrows at the fugitives, killing each, except for one that got away.

The men cheered one another and slapped palms as a bird dog pounded on the fallen fowl.

Chaifetz said the shooting took place Feb. 18 of this year on private land in Sussex County, under auspices of a group called United Bowhunters of New Jersey.

Chaifetz said the group told on its Web site how the shooters had drugged the birds so they would not flush until the hunters were right upon them.

The SPCA, the state and hunting groups did not immediately comment.

For more on this story, see Thursday's Courier News.

from the Courier News website www.c-n.com

Singer Prince Declared This Years World’s Sexiest Vegetarian

Right on. I love it when artists actually stand for something. The rest are all just myopic, narcissistic brats. Right on Prince.

PRINCE GETS A NEW CROWN: Animal rights group PETA declares the singer “world’s sexiest vegetarian.’

http://eurweb.com/story/eur26529.cfm

May 24, 2006

*Prince’s 1992 song “Sexy MF” suddenly describes the eating habits of the singer, who was voted “world’s sexiest vegetarian” in an online poll by animal rights group PETA.

The 47-year-old singer shares the distinction with actress Kristen Bell, the 25-year-old star of TV’s “Veronica Mars.”

In Prince’s 1999 album, "Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic," he writes in the linear notes about the ills of wool production, and closes the disc with a quote from Mohandas Gandhi: "2 my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being."

Runners-up in the poll, which PETA said Monday received over 40,000 votes, include Natalie Portman, Nicollette Sheridan and Joaquin Phoenix.

Last year, Coldplay singer Chris Martin and "American Idol" Carrie Underwood were picked as the two "sexiest vegetarians." Other previous winners include Andre 3000, Tobey Maguire, Josh Hartnett, Alicia Silverstone, Lauren Bush and Shania Twain.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Despite Protests and the Law, Japan Launches New Whale Hunt

  Here we go again. Again defying the international law and the sense of compassion and killing whales. All to satisfy a desire for whale meat. Sick as their neighbors.

Article:

Despite protests, Japan launches new whale hunt

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=
2627&ncid=2627&e=5&u=/afp/20060523/sc_afp
/japanwhalingenvironment_060523171955


Tue May 23, 1:19 PM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan has launched a new whale hunt that has been opposed by environmentalists ahead of an international meeting which Tokyo hopes will end a ban on commercial whaling.

Environmentalists have long fought to stop Japanese whaling, saying the mammals are endangered and point to a glut of whale meat on the Japanese market.

But Japan says the number of whales is on the rise and that the meat is part of its traditional diet.

Five government ships left for northwestern Pacific waters to kill 260 whales, a fisheries official said.

The latest hunt comes ahead of a meeting of the
International Whaling Commission starting on June 16 in the West Indies, where Japan is due to make its latest push to legalize commercial whaling.

Australia, which strongly opposes whaling, has accused Japan of using financial aid to poor countries in exchange for their votes on the commission.

Japan officially stopped whaling in the 1987-1988 season and reluctantly accepted an international moratorium supported by Western countries. Norway is the only country that explicitly defies the ban on commercial whaling.

But Japan uses a loophole that allows the killing of whales for "research," even though the meat usually ends up in grocery stores and restaurants.

The latest hunt is necessary to study whales' behavior, their role in the environment, feeding patterns and how they may be impacted by pollution in the ocean, the government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research said.

Japan last year doubled its annual kill to about 850 minke whales and extended the hunt to other species considered to be endangered.

It has studiously ignored international protests, including Greenpeace and other environmentalists who dogged the Japanese fleet in the Antarctic from December.

In a rare victory for activists, fishing giant Nissui and four other firms recently donated their shares in a whale company to the government after Greenpeace launched a pressure campaign targeting the companies' products.

But Japan has also launched a new marketing drive which aims to encourage more people to eat whale by selling it at cheaper prices to hospitals, bars, restaurants and schools.

Smithfield Foods Transport Truck Carrying Between 180 and 200 Pigs Crashed In Suffolk, Virginia: See the Hell Endured By the Pigs

Just horrible. Again, no concern at all for the welfare of the pigs. Simply treat them like brainless meat. The film footage is below.

Article and footage:

Almost 200 Pigs Trapped, Many Injured Following
Smithfield Foods Accident

To see the video of the truck crash copy and paste
link below:

http://www.goveg.com/f-smithfields.asp

On May 12, 2006, a Smithfield Foods transport truck
carrying between 180 and 200 pigs crashed in Suffolk,
Virginia. This was at least the sixth such crash in
southeastern Virginia in just over two years. The
accident threw the animals to one side of the
double-decker truck, where they lay trapped on top of
each other in the sun for more than three and a half
hours-some struggling to breathe and others with their
legs sticking out through the slats of the truck's
aluminum side. The truck had reportedly broken down en
route to a slaughterhouse, and because it arrived
after the kill floor had closed for the day, the
driver was told to turn around. The pigs-animals who
are extremely sensitive to heat-spent several hours on
the crowded truck with no water.

The pigs' piercing screams could be heard above the
rush of traffic on the busy street and numerous idling
police vehicles and fire trucks. Local firefighters
attempted to relieve the extreme heat in the truck by
spraying the pigs down a few times, but the screams
and bellowing intensified as hours passed.

After company officials attempted to unscrew the side
of the truck with a drill, the loud noise terrifying
the pigs inside, firefighters used the "Jaws of Life"
(massive metal cutters that can cut through steel
bars) to pry open the top of the truck. The pigs were
pulled, pushed, kicked, and prodded down a slippery
ramp and into a holding pen. They were terrified and
didn't know where to go; many were pulled and dragged
by their ears in order to get them to move.

One pig, unable to move, sat on the ramp for more than
11 minutes and was trampled by her peers as they
struggled to get off the truck in full view of
workers. Workers attempted to push her down the ramp,
lift her up by her back legs, and kick her to make her
move, but she was unable to stand. After the other
pigs on the top level of the truck were unloaded, a
worker kicked her again and pushed her down the ramp.

PETA staff members-alerted about the crash by
concerned passersby-pleaded with officials for hours,
to no avail, in an attempt to ensure that injured
animals were examined and put out of their misery.

After the truck was righted-with many of the panicked
and injured pigs still in it-the pigs on the truck's
bottom level were taken to a nearby holding facility.
None were seen being examined by any company officials
or a veterinarian, and their screams continued as the
truck carted them away. Five hours after the crash,
those left in the makeshift pen were reloaded onto
another truck. Workers slapped and kicked many of the
pigs to get them back on the truck; one animal's head
was slammed against the bottom of the metal ramp as a
worker tried to force her up. Another pig repeatedly
fell on the loading ramp; she was forced onto the
truck, where she fell again.

PETA continues to engage in dialogue with prosecutors
in a neighboring county about a possible criminal case
stemming from an October 2005 Smithfield accident. We
have been and will continue to work with area law
enforcement agencies to minimize animal suffering at
these crashes.

The only true way to ensure that you are not
supporting such cruelty is to adopt a vegetarian diet.
Request a free vegetarian starter kit filled with
recipes and information to help you make the
transition to a cruelty-free diet today!

Wildlife Agents Fatally Taser a Bear After it Was Found Hiding Under a Porch

Very disturbing. Again, big tough guys with guns resort to a measure they probably knew would kill the bear. Of course, they see nothing wrong with it.

Video:

http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/
index.html?url=/video/offbeat/2006/05/21/lane.
bear.tasered.affl


Indian Tribe in Wyoming Seeks Greater Freedom to Kill Eagles for Religious Purposes

Ridiculous. Religion again is used to justify killing.

Article:

Indian Tribe in Wyoming Seeks Greater Freedom to Kill Eagles for Religious Purposes

JACKSON, Wyo. -- The Northern Arapaho Tribe and a man accused of shooting a bald eagle on the Wind River Indian Reservation say the federal government should make it easier for American Indians to apply to kill bald eagles for use in religious ceremonies.

The tribe has filed a brief in the case of Winslow Friday, who allegedly shot the eagle without a permit in March 2005, and planned to make its arguments before U.S. District Judge William Downes on Monday.

The case moves forward as the federal government considers removing protections for bald eagles as a threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public comments on the proposal through June 19.

Federal law allows enrolled tribal members to get a permit to kill bald eagles in certain cases. But Friday and the Northern Arapaho say there is no clear way to apply for the permit. They also say the bald eagle population in Wyoming and other states has grown large enough to enable some of the birds to be killed with little harm to the species.

In the federal government's response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Healy said allowing people to shoot eagles without permission would undermine the current balance between preservation and religious freedom.

Healy argued that there was no evidence Friday was selected to hunt an eagle or that he had purified himself prior to shooting the eagle. Purification is said to be necessary for the eagle to be used in a ceremony, Healy wrote.

Also, also noted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a repository in Denver of eagles shot illegally or killed by cars or power lines. Friday and the Northern Arapaho say relying on the eagle repository results in long delays and that those eagles can't be used in some traditional ceremonies.

If convicted, Friday faces up to a year in jail and a fine up to $100,000.

Bald eagles were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978. They were reclassified from endangered to threatened in 1995 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now estimates that more than 7,700 nesting pairs of bald eagles inhabit the lower 48 states.

Even if bald eagles were removed from Endangered Species Act protection, they would continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tony Blair, England, Oxford and Their Battle to Protect Corporate Interests While Taking Away Rights: Animal Rights Supporters the First Target

Many of you may be following this story. It’s become such big news in England that even Tony Blair is in it now, saying he’ll gladly sign an online petition to support animal testing. I have a strange feeling that England will soon resort to full draconian measures to protect their friends in business. That’s Tony Blair for you.

Just like in the US, over there, they’ve suddenly waged war on peaceful animal rights activist, all while ignoring the true terrorist groups. Again, here is the link to an article that shows clearly that no one has ever been killed in an animal rights movement, but that many have been killed in right wing movements -
http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/05/
article-points-out-mislead-obsession.html

Article:

May 19, 2006

Oxford Seeks More Curbs on Protests to Aid Animals

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/19/world/europe/19animal.html


By ALAN COWELL

LONDON, May 18 — If animals have rights to escape cruelty, and humans have rights to study in tranquillity, where does that leave the civil rights of avowed animal lovers who want to protest loudly with bullhorns in one of Britain's supposedly hushed groves of academe?

In a case that could determine which set of rights takes precedence, Oxford University petitioned Britain's High Court on Thursday to extend curbs on protesters trying to thwart the construction of a biomedical research center in the city.

In response, animal rights protesters warned that further legal restrictions on them could force some of them into what one of their leaders, Mel Broughton, called "a process outside the law." He said his right to protest was under attack.

But it was not simply a matter of colliding definitions of entitlements. The case further sharpened the lines between animal rights advocates, accused of using intimidating tactics, and an increasingly vocal array of adversaries including academics, leaders of the pharmaceutical industry and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"The appalling details of the campaign of intimidation — which include grave-robbing — show the depths to which the animal extremists are prepared to stoop," Mr. Blair wrote in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend.

He even said he would sign a petition in support of testing pharmaceutical products on animals. Richard Barker, the leader of a pharmaceutical industry advocacy group, said the debate over animal rights activism had reached a "tipping point."

Mr. Blair's words followed a disclosure last week that activists had sent letters to investors in the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline warning them that their identities would be revealed on the Internet unless they shed their shares.

At Glaxo's annual meeting on Wednesday, Jean-Pierre Garnier, the chief executive, said his company had no plans to leave Britain because of the protests and urged other businesses to resist pressure from the animal rights movement. "This is not the time to flee the battlefield," he said.

In recent weeks, the long-running skirmish has sharply revived. This month, four Britons were jailed for waging a six-year campaign against the owners of a guinea-pig farm where animals were bred for medical research.

In court on Thursday, Charles Flint, a lawyer acting for Oxford, urged the extension of restrictions on the animal rights advocates, who are able under existing court orders to protest for four hours on Thursdays, using a megaphone for only one hour.

Oxford, Mr. Flint said, was urging the creation of a four-square-mile exclusion zone, extending a smaller zone near the construction site. He also said protesters should not be allowed to use a bullhorn.

But Mr. Broughton, the animal rights advocate, said the university's effort to curb the protest "goes way beyond what's necessary."

"What they're seeking is in fact an attack on the right to protest," he said.

Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone Park: The Cycle Continued At its Highest Rate in Nine Years

An interesting quick summary of the issue of Bison in Yellowstone Park. Of most note are the numbers: “…the number of bison shipped to slaughter this past winter totaled 899. For the bison, that's the deadliest winter since 1,084 were killed nine years ago.”

The author goes on to point out that their ok with this slaughter. Of course, we don’t agree with this.

The author also points out thought that the stated reason for the slaughter - brucellosis – has never been demonstrated to pass from bison to cattle.

So, the real reason for the slaughter is money. I wrote about this here: http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/03/
political-and-economic-reasons-lead-to.html

Article:

It's time to break the cycle, solve bison problem

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20060523/OPINION01/605230311
&SearchID=73245429062937

It's the regular cycle of news:

Rivers dry up or flood; hurricanes pummel coasts; fires scorch forests and grasslands; tornadoes pound the Midwest; politicians pontificate; and bison wander from Yellowstone National Park, often fatally and controversially.

With a predictability that rivals any cyclical news event, the continuing dispute over how to deal with Yellowstone's overpopulation of bison spans three decades, and by some measures the issue sometimes seems to get no closer to resolution.

The latest cycle of the running story made a bigger blip on the news radar because the number of bison shipped to slaughter this past winter totaled 899.

For the bison, that's the deadliest winter since 1,084 were killed nine years ago.

We don't have a problem with that. In fact, we'd suggest that if previous range managers' estimates of the optimal herd size are correct, then the number shipped to slaughter should have been closer to 2,500.

That's because the park's bison population going into winter was estimated at 4,900, roughly double the size of herd that managers say the range in the park can comfortably support.

In any case, Gov. Brian Schweitzer is right to want to convene a meeting of the many state and federal agencies with a stake in the fate of the bison.

The issue has been a thorn in the side of at least four Montana governors, the Park Service, wildlife managers, animal rights groups and livestock organizations.

In addition to the fate of individual, wooly symbols of the American West, the brucellosis-free status of Montana's cattle herd also is thought to be at stake.

That's because many of the park's bison carry the disease, and while no one has demonstrated that brucellosis passes from bison to cattle, the fear that it canis everpresent.

Everything should be on the table at such a multijurisdictional meeting, including the possibility of buying out the relative handful of cattle-grazing leases in the area right around the park.

Although news stories about the bison issue seem repetitive from year to year, there has been progress.

A number of details remain to be sorted out — including large ones such as financing.

But if agencies and landowners agree, maybe, finally, we can break the regular cycle of this news story.

Originally published May 23, 2006

Cockfighting and Louisiana: Editorial Tells the Story of Corrupt Lawmakers Who Surprisingly Want to Protect this Disgusting Practice

Yep, believe it or not, some people actually support cockfighting. Even worse, they tend to be those who have the power.

Article:

EDITORIAL: Outlaw an outrage

http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/editorials/i
ndex.ssf?/base/news-2/114424530648660.xml

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cockfighting is an ugly blot on this state's image, and Louisiana doesn't need any baggage that makes us look backward and especially not barbaric while we're trying to convince the rest of the country that our storm-battered state is worth saving.
Advertisement


Unfortunately, lawmakers who want to get rid of this violent holdover from the past are running into the same entrenched support that has protected cockfighting from previous efforts to outlaw it.

Sen. Art Lentini's bill to outlaw cockfighting should have been assigned to Senate Judiciary C Committee, the committee that deals with matters of criminal law. Instead, it was sent to the Senate Agriculture Committee, the same legislative slaughterhouse that has killed previous efforts to outlaw cockfighting. A similar effort on the House side has already been defeated in the House Agriculture Committee.

Sen. Mike Smith said the Agriculture Committee, which he chairs, deals with farm matters and animal regulation. But according to that logic, Sen. Lentini said, a bill to increase the penalties for cultivating marijuana would have to go through Agriculture.

Unfortunately, logic and sense don't matter to lawmakers intent on protecting cockfighting. Sen. Smith sounded more like a cockfighting apologist than a champion of agriculture. "We kill 500,000 chickens a day in Louisiana," he said. "At least the chickens in this bill have a fighting chance."

That's an absurd argument. There's not a state in this country that bans eating chicken. But there are only two states where it's legal to watch roosters hack one another to death for amusement: New Mexico and Louisiana.

Most people here can't stomach cockfighting. A poll sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States found that 82 percent of Louisiana residents want cockfighting banned.

That's not surprising. Louisianians don't want their state to be defined by a brutal diversion that most other states banned in the 19th century. It's time for the Legislature to ban it here, too.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Director Richard Linklater Taking on the American Meat Industry with Movie Based On Book - Eric Schlosser's 2001 Bestselling Exposé, Fast Food Nation

This will be an incredible film. For those who haven’t read Fast Food Nation, you better do it soon. It’s a real life look at our fast food culture, from slaughterhouses to the board rooms of the giant fast food chains. The film will be based on the book though, as you’ll read, in order not to get sued by the corporations they are talking about, they had to not use the corporate names in the film. Good to see that this kind of film can get mainstream.

Article:

'I've never been in the firing line like this before'

Director Richard Linklater is known for his gentle, Gen-X movies. Now he's taking on the American meat industry with Fast Food Nation. He talks exclusively to Xan Brooks

http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/
interviewpages/0,,1780445,00.html

Monday May 22, 2006
The Guardian

'It's like it's a felony to say something bad' ... Richard Linklater (left) with Eric Schlosser. Photograph: Laurent Emmanuel/AP


Richard Linklater's film Fast Food Nation ends on the killing floor, as cattle march placidly up a ramp to be slaughtered. We see them shot and shackled, sliced and diced. Grey loops of intestine come sweeping down the conveyor belt like some demented version of The Generation Game. Inside the cinema at Cannes, the audience groaned and covered their eyes.

Fast Food Nation is Linklater's filleted, fictionalised take on Eric Schlosser's 2001 bestselling exposé. The director worked with Schlosser on the script and then shot it at speed, with A-list actors (Bruce Willis, Greg Kinnear) camped out in a motel, and a Mexican slaughterhouse doubling for the abattoirs of Colorado. An outside bet for the Palme d'Or, the film marks the latest twist in a freewheeling career that has carried Linklater from the fringes of Austin, Texas to mainstream Hollywood and back again.

We are hiding out in the dark corner of a hotel bar. Linklater and Schlosser flew into Cannes a few hours earlier and are eager to hear how the press screening went. What did the audience make of that final scene? Did anyone run out screaming? The director is keyed up, excited about the prospects of a movie that dares lock horns with the giants of America's cheap meat industry. "I've never had a film that's been in the firing line like this before," he confesses. "I mean, I've made films that people have liked or disliked, but never anything like this. It's kind of fun, actually."

Schlosser strikes a more cautious note. "You say that now," he says gloomily. "Wait and see how you feel when the movie comes out." At home the author has been targeted by a website bankrolled by the food lobbies, and routinely finds his book readings disrupted by protesters. "Rightwing nuts," Linklater calls them.

It remains to be seen whether the film of Fast Food Nation will ruffle as many feathers as the book did. Undeniably, it does a fine job of converting Schlosser's source material into a multi-strand drama in the style of Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, covering all aspects of food production, from the impoverished migrants who work the packing plants to the grinning executives in their sun-drenched boardroom. But the film is essentially a drama, not a documentary. Linklater suggests that this makes the message easier to swallow, arguing that an audience will respond better to a human story than a thicket of facts and figures. "Characters take you beyond the politics. You can watch a movie and like it without necessarily agreeing with what the director is saying." Schlosser concurs: "This is a fictional film, but the plot elements are all taken from real life," he says. "All of this really happened at one stage or another."

Even so, some major changes have been made. The star of Schlosser's book is McDonald's, but in the film the corporation has been relegated to the role of background artist, a name to be dropped in business meetings. Instead, the action focuses on a fictional fast-food chain called Mickey's, which we are led to believe is a little bit like McDonald's, except (of course) for the fact that it exploits its workforce and specialises in hamburgers that contain a high "faecal content".

Linklater and Schlosser insist that there is no way they could have found a bigger role for McDonald's. The fact that the brand crops up at all, they explain, is only down to their own perseverance. "It's one of the most frustrating things about making a film," says Linklater. "Out in the real world there is no avoiding these companies; they're shoving themselves down your throat every waking second. Then suddenly you make a film and you can't even put them in the background, or you could get sued."

If the film is at all critical, the situation is harder. "These days we can be sued for disparaging an industry. It's like it's a felony to say something bad." Linklater shakes his head. "I think they should make it a felony to criticise a film product. Particularly my film product. It's anti-American. I'd like to see people get sued if they wrote a bad review of my movie. If you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all."

"We're joking about this, but it's true," says Schlosser. "You can't criticise these big corporations. If you do you're an anarchist, socialist, whatever."

I suspect, though, that Linklater has always relished his role as an anarchist-socialist-whatever. This is the man who name-tagged a generation with his 1990 breakthrough Slacker and who has since steered a wild, iconoclastic course through American cinema. His films are airy, loquacious, full of warmth and wit. One thinks of those star-crossed chatterboxes, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise, or the criss-crossing interactions of the teenage revellers from Dazed and Confused. "My plan B has always been to make a film about people who talk a lot," Linklater explains.

Now, at the age of 44, he is able to mix mainstream crowd-pleasers such as School of Rock with more ambitious projects. Such is his rate of productivity that he has two films showing at Cannes this year: A Scanner Darkly, his Philip K Dick adaptation, screens later this week.

Inevitably, our conversation circles back to the killing floor. Linklater tells me how Mexican abattoirs are much the same as American ones, except cleaner; how the workers in the US are all Mexican anyway - the only thing they had to change was the language on the signs. But there is something preying on his mind. With its twitching carcasses and yellow mounds of fat, the last scene of Fast Food Nation appears expressly designed to put the viewer off meat for life. The problem is that for Linklater, a vegetarian since his 20s, it nearly had the reverse effect.

"It was the craziest situation," he says. "So many of the crew came out saying, 'I will never eat meat again.' But maybe it was all the smells. The warm blood. I swear to God it must have activated some long-dormant enzymes in my stomach, because I came out smelling a medium-rare steak, straight off the grill."

He pauses to chew metaphorically over the implications. "And wouldn't that have been the ultimate failure of this film? If it turned me into a meat eater." By this point he is looking alarmed. "I wouldn't have eaten the steak," he insists, as much to himself as to me. "But for a second there I almost could have."

Cruel Citizens in Lisbon, Portugal Join Spain in Celebrating Bloody and Cruel Bullfighting

It had been six years since cruel Lisbonites last watched a bull be teased, abused and then killed. Unfortunately, it’s happening again.

For more on the realities of bull fighting, see the descriptions and accompanying videos below. They will blow your mind. You cannot believe how cruel bullfighting is. Absolutely disgusting. These people all need to be tried for animal cruelty. If someone did this on a farm, they certainly would be. They are all found at: http://www.sharkonline.org/indexbullfighting.mv


Article:

Bulls charge again at Portugal's legendary ring

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2631&ncid
=2631&e=71&u=/nm/20060519/ts_nm/bullfight_dc_1

By Axel BuggeThu May 18, 8:12 PM ET

Lisbonites saw their first bullfight in six years on Thursday as Iberia's only bull ring with a shopping center and cinema opened its gates. Outside, protesting animal rights campaigners said it was a sad day.

When the first bull charged into the ring, aficionados cheered the bullfighters and legendary "forcados" -- the groups of men who face the bull head-on in Portugal's version of the sport.

"This is so beautiful, I never expected to live to see this day," said 84-year-old Guillerme Pereira who first fought bulls on the same site 60 years ago. "This is a great show."

The opening of the Campo Pequeno ring comes after weeks of excitement by enthusiasts at the prospect of getting back Lisbon's bull ring that had been neglected and left in near ruins for years before a decision to restore it in 2001.

"We missed the Campo Pequeno ring," said Pedro Cabral, 25, who has been a bullfighter for a decade, as he waited on the side to jump into the ring. "The pressure is greater here, I am a bit nervous."

Bullfighting has been going strong in Portugal's rural regions despite Lisbon's bull ring being out of action for the last seven years.

Well-to-do Lisbonites were out in force for Thursday's show, happy to pay between 35 euros ($45) and 75 euros to get a seat to watch the show, which is different to neighboring Spain's tradition in that the bull is not killed in the ring, but afterwards. All 7,000 seats were taken.

But the enthusiasts were met at the entrance by about 1,000 animal rights campaigners, banging drums and waving banners reading "No to Torture."

"This is a sad day because after six years of no bullfights we are taking a step back," said Carla Carvalho, an animal rights activist. "Spain and Portugal still practice this brutality, the elites like this kind of show."

NOT A NORMAL BULL RING

Campo Pequeno in its revamped version is no normal bull ring.

The unique "neo-Arab" structure -- the only one of its kind in Portugal -- harks back to the Iberian palaces and forts of the Moors with their arches and elaborate decorations. Its four turrets and curving walls are made of distinctive red bricks.

Apart from having a shopping center and eight-screen cinema underneath it, the ring can be completely covered in three minutes by moving glass panes on the roof, said a spokeswoman for the project.

That should ensure that the ring can stage other shows than bullfights during rainy winter months, which was part of the plan to make the refurbishment financially viable.

Investors hope the ring will stage everything from rock concerts to operas. When the shows finish, spectators can go downstairs to the bars, restaurants and hamburger joints.

Two Portuguese investment groups spent 12.5 million euros on the bull ring alone and the whole project cost 50 million euros.

"Now they are trying to hide bullfighting behind a shopping center," said Carvalho.

But the ring that still smelled of fresh paint appeared to get the thumbs up from the crowds, who threw roses at the parading bullfighters as trumpets blared.

Using modern materials, the ring is as true a copy of the original as possible, but it has windows in the arches that run around its exterior.

The original ring was inaugurated in 1882. But humidity and lack of maintenance had left it in such a poor state that Lisbon city inspectors ordered that it be closed in 1999 because of risks that it would come crumbling down.

When the sixth bull charged into the ring, its nostrils snorting and stamping its hoofs, Cabral was in no doubt that bullfighting was as strong as ever in Portugal.

"This tradition is strong, even more so now with Campo Pequeno," he said. "Let them protest outside, they can't even tell the difference between a bull and an ox."

Protesters Greet Visitors at One of Canada's Largest Rodeos - The Annual Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia

Article:

Rodeo spurs animal-rights furor

Groups call for end to popular Surrey event

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/
story/LAC.20060520.BCRODEOS20/TPStory/National

EVA SALINAS

VANCOUVER -- One of Canada's largest rodeos opens its gates this weekend, but while cowboys wrestle bulls in a Surrey arena, animal-welfare groups are asking for the show to be put down for good.

An estimated 100,000 people are expected to flock to the annual Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair, where the world's top cowboys and cowgirls will compete through Monday. Along with the support of bucking enthusiasts, though, comes criticism from groups that say the rodeo should be phased out, citing abuse of show animals and society's dying interest in rodeos.

The rodeo -- which marks its 60th anniversary this year -- is going ahead despite objections from the Vancouver Humane Society and the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

On May 8, Surrey city council heard from the two groups. In a letter, the SPCA asked the city to consider phasing out the rodeo completely in favour of an expanded fair. Representatives from the humane society asked that some events -- such as tie-down calf-roping and wild-cow milking -- either be changed or discontinued. Council didn't agree to either request.

Still, the groups are undeterred.

"It definitely is a lot calmer than it used to be because they [rodeos] are under a microscope here in Greater Vancouver," said Debra Probert, executive director of the Vancouver Humane Society. A wild-horse racing event was phased out a few years ago, to the organization's approval. "In spite of that, animals are hurt all the time," Ms. Probert said.

Yesterday, protesters carrying photos of animals in the rodeo ring demonstrated outside the Surrey fairgrounds; they represented Liberation BC, an animal-protection group that boasts 500 members across the Lower Mainland. "Let's make the 60th year the last," said Ashley Fruno, the group's campaign organizer.

Operators of the Cloverdale Rodeo, which is based in Surrey, counter that it is a world leader in its treatment of animals and that with events so popular they have to turn people away, there are no plans to make any changes, let alone stop operating.

Laura Ballance, spokeswoman for the rodeo, said animal injuries at the rodeo are extremely rare. Last year, with 19,000 "exposures" -- essentially, times when an animal is in the ring -- there were no fatalities and about 40 incidents of injury, she said.

Surrey Councillor Linda Hepner, who is a board member of the Lower Fraser Valley Exhibition Association, which owns the fairgrounds, said the rodeo and fair is a huge financial benefit for the area, generating an average $3-million each year.

But when asked about photographs Ms. Probert displayed at the council meeting two weeks ago, which were of animals during a Cloverdale rodeo event, Ms. Hepner said they "were not pretty pictures."

She said council is now looking at how animals are treated at rodeos in other cities.

Sign Of the Times and Of Things to Come: Radio-Frequency Chips Coming To Cattle

Just like non-alive items in the store, cows are treated as simple items to be methodically tracked.

Article:

Radio-Frequency Chips Coming to Cattle

http://localnewsleader.com/jackson/stories/

Staff and agencies
22 May, 2006

By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer Sat May 20, 8:46 PM ET

TULSA, Okla. - After growing up on a cattle ranch, John Hassell became an electrical engineer specializing in wireless technology. So he feels doubly qualified to offer this warning about the system taking shape to track cattle across America: It won‘t work.

The system isn‘t expected to be fully online until 2009, but already it‘s clear that in the sprawling U.S. beef and dairy industries — home to 100 million cattle — many producers will automate data gathering with radio-frequency chips attached to cattle ears.

Those chips — based on the same radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology being integrated for inventory control by large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — are known as "passive" tags that broadcast identifying numbers for only a short range, generally just a few feet.

Hassell is so convinced that he‘s launched his own company, ZigBeef Inc., to sell long-range tags. The name is a play on the "ZigBee" wireless standard employed by his tags.

That makes Hassell sound like many other startup technologists — pooh-poohing a rival standard at the expense of his own. But something makes this situation a bit unusual: Even beef producers who are using the passive flavor of RFID don‘t seem thrilled with it either.

That‘s because the thousands of cattle that go through his facility wouldn‘t always naturally line up and orderly proceed past devices that can read electronic ID tags at short range. Most often, cattle quickly move through his yard in groups.

These factors are big because human contact and other stresses can hurt a cow‘s ability to gain or maintain weight. That‘s costly because beef is, after all, sold by the pound — and generally with slim profit margins.

Even so, he and other people in the industry figure that passive tags will carry the day.

And perhaps most importantly, most of the estimated 5 percent of cattle owners who are using RFID have passive tags. Changing that would be hard, since it‘s important for all players along the complex chain of cattle ownership to be on the same technical page.

Still, Hassell holds out hope for ZigBeef. While he‘s not the first to suggest active tags for livestock, he‘s encouraged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has funded the company with an $80,000 grant. Soon he will be eligible for a $300,000-plus extension.

That makes this a crucial year. He has to attract potential customers while still fine-tuning his system. Part of his pitch is that while active tags cost more, their readers can run as low as $50, instead of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for passive RFID. The active readers‘ range could be dialed up or down to register multiple cows or just one at a time.

Hassell says his tags‘ batteries can last five to seven years, well beyond the 15-month life of typical beef cattle. And he asserts that most of the cost of the tags comes from their plastic housing, not their circuitry — so ZigBeef tags could easily include both passive and active chips, soothing producers‘ fears about choosing the wrong technology.

There are still other methods for recording that an animal crossed a certain link in the food chain, including retinal scans for identifying cattle. And there are a spate of old-school record-keeping practices, which often rely on brands, veterinary papers or visually spotting numbers on plastic ear tags and writing them down.

Many producers would love to stay that course, fearing the added cost of more detailed tracking. Some also fear that new databases would reveal private business information to rivals, regulators or animal-rights activists.

Meanwhile, pork and poultry producers tend not to have such worries. Pigs are unlikely to need RFID because the nation‘s 60 million hogs generally remain in large, easily identifiable lots, said Bobby Acord, a former USDA administrator who chairs the Swine Identification Implementation Task Force. Chickens follow a similar pattern — and are too numerous to tally individually, anyway, with 9 billion in the U.S. alone.

Early adopters of RFID in cattle have done so largely to better track sick animals and to document organic, grass-fed or other high-value beef and dairy. But holdouts note that premiums for RFID-equipped cattle would likely vanish as more cows get the tags.

Because of such hesitation, the cattle industry widely expects that the database system — which is technically voluntary for now — will become mandatory to ensure widespread participation.

Once that happens, old methods simply could become too difficult, said Allen Bright, animal ID coordinator for the National Cattlemen‘s Beef Association. For example, he notes that people are prone to error as they write down ear-tag numbers. It‘s not exactly easy in auctions teeming with 10,000 head of cattle.

"Just from a practicality standpoint, you need to automate those tags," said Bright, who owns a feed lot in Nebraska.

Kevin McGrath, chief executive of Digital Angel Corp., which has sold 6 million passive RFID tags for livestock in North America, contends that the U.S. beef industry has lost more than $3 billion because Japan and other Asian markets have been closed since the nation‘s first mad cow scare in 2003. If an automated ID system can persuade officials in those markets to resume accepting American beef, the technology would more than pay for itself, he argues.

Even so, McGrath says he understands the skepticism. Consequently, Digital Angel plans to test other tag frequencies in hopes of making the chips easier to read on moving animals.

"I think we still have to convince the industry that this is the right solution," McGrath said. When it was suggested to him that cattle RFID seems an experiment in progress, he agreed. "And it will be for a long period of time."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Commentary: Logic on the Side of Those Against Animal Testing: Don’t Believe Me? Just Read This: An Absolute Must Read

Amazing, just amazing. You see, I love logic. It tends to dispel any wrong and pushes us on our way. Well, this piece, written by a professor of philosophy does just that. It literally dissects the issue of animal testing based on logic and shows that the arguments for animal testing are fallacious. Please read on. This is an absolute must read. I’ve put in a quick quote from the commentary to get an idea of the argument and of the article:

“A list of benefits is not enough. Since there are two main properties animal tests are wanted to determine -- therapeutic value and dangerous side-effects, there are four kinds of possible mistakes to be concerned about. There are the therapeutic false positives -- drugs that are promising with test subjects, but useless with human beings -- and therapeutic false negatives -- substances that would have been beneficial for human beings but for which no benefit was found in animal tests. And there are also false positives and negatives in tests for dangerous side-effects -- false positives, where a drug is dangerous to test subjects, though not to human beings -- and false negatives, where the drug is safe for test subjects, but not for human beings.”

Commentary:

Why the Pro-Testers Won't Win (in a Fair Debate)

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/
viewArticle.asp?articleID=9221

Robert Bass, Ph.D. His website: http://personal.bgsu.edu/~roberth/

Robert Bass, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Coastal Carolina University. He specializes in ethics and game theory, and is especially interested in moral questions relating to the environment and our treatment of animals.

May 8, 2006

You do not settle if an experiment is justified or not by merely showing it is of some use. The distinction is not between useful and useless experiments, but between barbourous and civilized behavior. Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expence of human character.

- George Bernard Shaw

In a provocatively titled piece in Spiked, "Animal rights protesters: don't ban them, beat them," James Panton makes a powerful and effective point in favor of free speech. Rightly, he argues that the only way to really defeat the animal-rights demonstrators is to win the debate. Suppressing them, making protest impossible or illegal will only rouse public sympathy, focus attention on their cause and case, and generate resentment at the unfair tactics. Moreover, though Panton doesn't mention it, legal suppression may be self-defeating, for it may attract support to the few extremists who argue that violence is the only recourse when one's cause is systematically denied a hearing.

As a member of the Oxford-based group, Pro-Test, whose punning name indicates their support for animal research, Panton is confident the animal-research advocates would win in open and honest debate. That may be more difficult than Panton imagines. If we look at the real arguments rather than at sound-bites and T-shirt slogans, the Pro-Testers need to win on three fronts at once:

1. They need to win the scientific debate: animal research must provide results that can reliably be applied to human beings.

2. They need to win the moral debate: there must be no serious moral objection to animal testing.

3. They need to win the funding debate: animal research needs to be a reasonable use of available funds, especially when those monies are being contributed by taxpayers.

These are independent issues. If animal research does not yield results that apply to humans, the Pro-Testers' main argument falls by the wayside. Why do the animal testing if it won't do any good? Second, if there are serious moral problems with the animal research, it would not matter how useful the research might otherwise be. We would be no more entitled to those benefits at that moral price than Nazi doctors were entitled to make medical progress at the expense of concentration camp victims. And third, if there are wiser, more effective, allocations of the funds available to support and enhance human health as well as to treat or prevent human disease, then the animal research should neither be supported nor carried out, even if it is both scientifically useful and morally unproblematic. If the Pro-Testers lose the debate on any front, then they lose, period.

Can the Pro-Testers win on all three fronts? Panton seems confident that the science is on his side, that the moral debate is an easy victory and doesn't think to mention the funding debate. In fact, however, it is doubtful that the Pro-Testers can win any of the key debates, much less all three of them.

Consider the scientific argument. Reasons for doubt are legion. Panton does not, for example, explain just what U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt got wrong when he announced in a January 2006 press release that "nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies."

Moreover, if we are going to consider the scientific value of animal research, we have to do the accounting correctly. That means we have to consider benefits minus costs. A list of benefits is not enough. Since there are two main properties animal tests are wanted to determine -- therapeutic value and dangerous side-effects, there are four kinds of possible mistakes to be concerned about. There are the therapeutic false positives -- drugs that are promising with test subjects, but useless with human beings -- and therapeutic false negatives -- substances that would have been beneficial for human beings but for which no benefit was found in animal tests. And there are also false positives and negatives in tests for dangerous side-effects -- false positives, where a drug is dangerous to test subjects, though not to human beings -- and false negatives, where the drug is safe for test subjects, but not for human beings.

Any honest accounting of the human costs and benefits of animal research must estimate the human benefits after subtracting the losses from ineffective treatments that looked promising on animals, the losses of those denied beneficial treatments that flunked an animal test, and the losses of those whose harmful treatments passed the animal tests. The real benefits to human beings are bound to be a lot less than it appears in pro-animal-testing propaganda, and we really have no good idea how great they are, or even if there are any at all, because the detailed accounting is almost never done.

An indication of how little accounting is done appears in the title question of a recent BMJ (British Medical Journal) article, "Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?". The authors explain that

[c]linicians and the public often consider it axiomatic that animal research has contributed to the treatment of human disease, yet little evidence is available to support this view. Few methods exist for evaluating the clinical relevance or importance of basic animal research, and so its clinical (as distinct from scientific) contribution remains uncertain. Anecdotal evidence or unsupported claims are often used as justification -- for example, statements that the need for animal research is "self evident" or that "Animal experimentation is a valuable research method which has proved itself over time." Such statements are an inadequate form of evidence for such a controversial area of research. We argue that systematic reviews of existing and future research are needed.

Plainly, if systematic reviews are needed to overcome the weakness of merely anecdotal evidence and unsupported claims, the matter is not already settled. Certainly, it is not settled by proclamations that the serious debate is already over.

But this is only the beginning. Even if the debate over the usefulness of animal testing were to turn out as Panton hopes, the other two debates would also need to be won. Consider the moral debate. Here, the problem is causing death and suffering to animals for the sake of benefits they don't understand, have no reason to care about, and are not able to consent to. On the face of it, that seems hard to justify. Certainly, anyone trying to justify it has the burden of proof.

There's only one way I know to make it look easy. The Pro-Testers could pretend to believe that the animals have no conscious awareness, no feeling or capacity to suffer, but this is the kind of position that could be adopted only in a desperate attempt to save a theory. It is true that if lab animals were insentient beings, incapable of experiencing the world or caring what happened to them, then it would be hard to see what moral importance their lives, in or out of the laboratories, would have. But that view of animals, however conveniently it might rationalize ignoring their suffering, flies in the face, not only of common sense, but of the combined weight of evidence from several sciences, including ethology, neurophysiology, and evolutionary biology. It is not an option that can be taken seriously by people who claim to be on the side of science.

That means the Pro-Testers must shoulder the burden of proof. They must say what justifies causing the suffering and death of at least tens of millions of animals in laboratories every year. Realistically, they have only a single option. They cannot suppose that animal lives are as important as our own, or even nearly so, for then they would have to join the animal-rights camp. They would be as horrified at the thought of imposing lifelong, involuntary incarceration and poisoning upon a sensitive, feeling being like a dog as they would at imposing similar suffering and death on handicapped children. The Pro-Testers must think that animals have some value that we ought to consider. Their lives may not be as valuable or as important as human lives -- but they are not mere zeros that we can do anything we like with. They count, they matter -- and responsible people will consider animal lives, well-being and suffering in their decisions.

If it is given that animal lives and well-being matter, how can the Pro-Testers justify making experimental subjects of them, making them the unconsenting tools of our research? Only one answer is at all plausible, that the human benefits outweigh the animal suffering. But that is dubious on at least three counts.

First, much animal testing takes place for the sake of what we already know are only minuscule human benefits. Much testing is of commercial products like cosmetics and oven cleaner. Even if we didn't have other ways to test their safety and effectiveness than (say) putting them into rabbits' eyes for a week to see how much damage they do, it's hard to believe that there's really a pressing need for another brand of oven cleaner. And the fact is -- which makes the animal testing even less defensible -- we do have other ways to test.

Second, there are the considerable doubts already discussed about whether there are any net human benefits to be weighed. Even if human benefits can, in principle, outweigh the animal costs, we are comparing doubtful benefits to a certain cost, the suffering and death of many millions of animals a year. Until the doubts about the scientific value of animal research are laid to rest, the moral argument from outweighing benefit can't get off the ground.

Third, once we have acknowledged that we must take animals into account, that their lives matter in their own right and not just for what they can do for us, even a clear showing of human benefit will not necessarily be enough to justify animal experimentation. What would have to be shown is not only that there is some net human benefit but also that the benefit is enough to outweigh the harm and suffering that comes to the unconsenting animal test subjects.

Apart from the serious issue of when or whether we may impose harms upon others for our own benefit – which sounds disconcertingly like a definition of selfishness – any attempt to do the moral accounting will have to say something about how animal interests are to be weighed. We’re supposing that animals and their lives have some value -- not as much as humans, but some. Let’s suppose their value is very small -- say, each of their lives a thousandth the value of a human life, and each case of human suffering a thousand times as important as the same amount of animal suffering. That seems safely distant from any extremes of animal-human equality.

That may make it permissible to kill a thousand laboratory animals to save a single human life, permissible to cause terrible suffering to a thousand animals to save a single human being from similar suffering, and so on. But we cannot stop there. If the ratio is a thousand-to-one, we will also have to draw the consequence that it is not worth sacrificing 1001 animal lives to save a human life. Virtually all medical experimentation on animals will be ruled out. A conservative estimate gives seventeen to twenty-three million as the number of animals sacrificed annually in the U.S. for research, but no one seriously thinks that animal experiments save seventeen to twenty-three thousand human lives a year. Thus, even on a generous accounting, heavily weighted in favor of human interests, medical research on animals looks nearly impossible to justify.

Even that nearly impossible justification, if it could be provided, would not be enough to win the funding debate. Let us suppose the unlikely has happened. Somehow, it is known that there will be human benefit from some animal study. Some number of human lives will be saved. Also, somehow, it is known that the human benefit will outweigh the animal costs. There's still a moral question to be raised -- in addition to the important one raised by the fact that the detailed harm-versus-benefit justifications are rarely actually offered: The animal study will cost something, so-and-so many millions of dollars to save however many lives it is. Before concluding that we’ve gotten a good deal, we need to ask if we couldn't have achieved as great or greater gains for the same money, spent some other way.

Suppose the animal study can be expected (after all uncertainties are taken into account) to give an extra fifteen healthy years to a thousand cancer patients over the next ten years. That would be a substantial gain. On the other hand, even scientifically conservative organizations like the American Cancer Society peg dietary and lifestyle choices as the cause of 30-40 percent of cancers. Could the so-and-so many millions of dollars be spent on nutrition and lifestyle education instead, with equal or greater impact? Or on something else that would add as many healthy years? There isn’t an a priori answer, but it seems that often the answer will be Yes -- and when it is, the lives and suffering of the animals used in the experiments will be entirely wasted. They need not have been sacrificed at all for that human benefit. Responsible funding agencies will take that fact into account in deciding what projects to fund. Any agency that does not take that kind of possibility into account is not being responsible with the funds, often collected from taxpayers, that have been entrusted to it.

These are the reasons the Pro-Testers are unlikely to win a fair debate. They have to win every one of three key debates -- and they're not likely to win any. Does that mean the Pro-Testers won't win? Unfortunately, it doesn't, for they might well win the one debate that will make all the difference: They might win the political debate. Appealing to popular prejudice and ignorance, with support from deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists and corrupt politicians, they might very well get their way, even if the lose all the key intellectual, moral and public policy debates. That is the Pro-Testers' best shot at winning -- but they should be ashamed of winning that way.

Robert Bass, Ph.D, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Coastal Carolina University. He specializes in ethics and game theory, and is especially interested in moral questions relating to the environment and our treatment of animals.

http://personal.bgsu.edu/~roberth/

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