Wednesday, October 24, 2007
CNN Story Exposes Truth That Human Activity - Agriculture, Deforestation, Hunting, Trapping, Selling Of Endangered Animals - Contributes To Extinction
Normally I’m not a huge CNN fan. This story was decent in that it fully exposes the reality of Human activity, however, especially in the form of agriculture, deforestation, hunting and pollution, has reduced the numbers of species contributing to extinction. It is a significant issue as you’d imagine. Even more telling is that selfish acts such as hunting, trapping and the illegal selling of endangered animals is having a very large effect. Very sad and very unnecessary
As stated below: “According to a recent study by the Switzerland-based World Conservation Union (IUCN) human activity is threatening almost one-sixth of Europe's total land mammal population.
Among marine mammals the situation is even more grave, with some 22 percent of total numbers being pushed towards annihilation.
The IUCN's recently published European Mammal Assessment identified 17 European mammal species that are "vulnerable," seven that are "endangered," and six that are "critically endangered."
Some creatures great and small -- and disappearing
By Paul Sussman
Special to CNN
(CNN) -- Ever caught a glimpse of the secretive Iberian lynx? Or heard the croaking bark of a Mediterranean monk seal?
Arctic foxes are trapped and skinned for the pelts.
If not, and you want to do so, you had better hurry because pollution and habitat degradation have pushed both species to the brink of extinction.
According to a recent study by the Switzerland-based World Conservation Union (IUCN) human activity is threatening almost one-sixth of Europe's total land mammal population.
Among marine mammals the situation is even more grave, with some 22 percent of total numbers being pushed towards annihilation.
The IUCN's recently published European Mammal Assessment identified 17 European mammal species that are "vulnerable," seven that are "endangered," and six that are "critically endangered."
The Mediterranean monk seal population, for example, has now dwindled to just 350-450 individuals.
The outlook for the Iberian lynx is even worse, with only an estimated 150 still surviving, making it the most endangered cat species on earth.
Other species on the critically endangered list include the Arctic fox, Bavarian pine vole, European mink and North Atlantic Right whale.
"This new assessment proves that many European mammals are declining at an alarming rate," said IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre, a position echoed by the EU's Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
"The results of the report highlight the challenge we currently face to halt the loss of Europe's biodiversity," said Dimas.
"It is clear that the full implementation of the Habitats Directive (adopted by the EU in 1992 to safeguard Europe's endangered wildlife) is of the utmost importance to protect Europe's native mammals."
Europe is home to a rich diversity of native mammal species ranging from the small such as shrews and voles, to the large such as wolves and brown bears. to the enormous -- in the case of the 70-ton North Atlantic Right Whale.
Human activity, however, especially in the form of agriculture, deforestation, hunting and pollution, has reduced the numbers of these species, leaving many of them in danger of vanishing.
The aforementioned Habitats Directive -- a corollary of the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats -- introduced a range of measures aimed at protecting endangered species (including plants, birds and fish as well as mammals).
That directive has certainly had an effect, with a number of mammals that previously seemed destined to disappear from Europe now enjoying something of a revival.
The Alpine Ibex, for example, was almost hunted out in the 19th century, its population reduced to just a small group of survivors in Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park.
Thanks to extensive conservation and protection efforts, however, the species is once again flourishing and has been downgraded to the "least concern" category on the IUCN's "Red List."
It is the same story for the European bison, which was limited to just a few zoos before re-introduction programs across eastern Europe helped re-build the population to current levels of around 1,800.
"The fate of the European bison provides an example of the way in which a species may be brought to the brink of extinction in a very short time, and then saved only through great efforts," said Dr. Zbigniew Krasinski of Poland's Bialowieza National Park.
"The saving of the bison has been an undoubted success, although further action will continue to be essential."
Dr. Jean-Christophe Vie, Deputy Head of the IUCN's Species Program, agrees that significant progress has been made.
"In Europe we now have a network of protected areas, as well as strong conservation laws," he told CNN. "It is possible for species to recover even when their numbers drop to extinction level.
"Both the Alpine Ibex and European bison are recovering well because of appropriate conservation measures.
"The European beaver is another example. It was persecuted almost to extinction but has now been re-introduced and is colonizing all over the continent."
While there are positive stories, however, the overall picture remains a disheartening one, as the European Mammal Assessment demonstrates.
Commissioned by the European Commission and a year in the drafting, it is the first such overview of its kind and draws on the work of a Europe-wide group of scientists, zoologists and conservationists.
Its findings provide an unequivocal picture of biodiversity loss and species decline.
Habitat destruction, usually due to agricultural practices, is the key driver of that decline, although many other factors are involved, including pollution, disease and the introduction of invasive foreign species.
The case of the European mink, one of the IUCN's six critically endangered European mammals, is an example of how different elements can combine to drive a particular species to the brink of destruction.
Once found in great numbers across Europe from Spain to the Urals, the mink population has plummeted in recent years.
While hunting has certainly contributed to this decline, the main causes have been habitat loss and competition from invasive foreign species, according to Vie.
"The mink is freshwater dependent," explains Vie. "The more you damage its habitat by polluting rivers, or channeling them, or building dams, the more the population declines."
The introduction of the American mink into Europe for fur-rearing also proved disastrous, with some of those mink escaping from captivity, establishing their own colonies in the wild and setting up direct competition for food and resources with the native population.
The result: an 80 percent decline in that population in the last decade alone (in 1993 the IUCN only classified it as "vulnerable").
But experts say that species loss can be reversed.
"There is more and more perception across Europe that biodiversity conservation is crucially important," says Vie. "And we are seeing good recoveries in some species.
"The picture in the mammal world is not nearly as bad as, say, among freshwater fish, where the number of threatened species is far, far higher."
At the same time, the latest figures remain a source of considerable concern. At a time when so many conservation initiatives and laws are already in operation, the population of many European mammal species is in apparent free fall.
It is not simply the possibility of losing a particular species that worries experts, but also how the loss will affect the species' wider ecosystem
"The food web is extremely complex," says Vie. "If you lose one element that has a very specific role in that web, it has a knock-on effect and the whole system is threatened.
"It is very worrying. Some people think it is a disaster if a famous painting is lost in a fire, but that is just the work of a few weeks or months. These species and systems are the product of millions of years of evolution.
"I am biased, of course, but I think it would be an absolute tragedy if we lost these native species."
After Realization that Animal Abuse of Imported Animals Rampant in Other countries, New Zealand Looks to Prohibit Exports of Livestock for Slaughter
New Zealand May Prohibit Exports of Livestock for Slaughter
By Tracy Withers
Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand may prohibit exports of livestock for slaughter after a review into the treatment of animals in some countries.
The government will start talks with exporters and the farming industry on a interim order to gain tighter control on exports of sheep, cattle, deer and goats. Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News. It won't apply to exports for breeding or other purposes, he said.
Live animal exports were worth NZ$171 million ($129 million) in the year ended August, or less than 1 percent of total exports. Opponents of the trade have campaigned about animal deaths during shipment from New Zealand and Australia to the Middle East, China and Mexico.
New Zealand's decision follows a government review which ``addressed concerns about the treatment and handling of livestock, and slaughter practices in importing countries,'' Anderton said, without providing details. ``It concluded that the current policy didn't adequately manage the risks of ill- treatment and any economic consequences that might result.''
Once the prohibition was in place, individual shipments may still be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Anderton said.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Department Of Natural Resources in Indiana Seeks To Stop Cruel Practice of Trainers Using Coyotes as Live Bait for Hunting Practice
DNR wants to save coyotes from being sold as live bait
By Meagan Ingerson
Trappers catching coyotes during the off season may no longer be able to keep the animals alive and sell them to out-of-state hunting-dog trainers.
Coyotes (Canis latrans) are native to Indiana soil, but were considered rare or uncommon in Indiana until the early 1970s. Today, coyotes are found throughout Indiana.
Source: DNR Web site
The legislative Natural Resources Study Committee will next take up the issue at its Oct. 30 meeting. The Department of Natural Resources also will hold public meetings to discuss the proposed amendment. Dates for those meetings have not been set, although they should take place early next year.
Trainers use them as live bait for hunting practice, the Department of Natural Resources said. Animal-rights activists claim using a live, wild animal for bait is cruel, while trappers say the captive coyotes are well-treated.
Because of an ambiguous state rule, trappers who catch a live coyote out of season "think they can do anything with it," said Phil Bloom, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.
In "live bait" training, dogs track a wild animal that has been released in an enclosure. While some say trainers keep the wild animal from being caught, activists say the dogs often catch and kill the "bait," which includes raccoons, rabbits and coyotes.
Under a rule change preliminarily approved last month by the Natural Resources Commission, coyotes caught outside the normal trapping season must be euthanized within 24 hours.
The change was prompted by confusion over the existing rule, which states that during the trapping off season, a coyote could be "taken" from private land by the landowner or an authorized trapper.
Trappers argued that "taken" meant an animal could be kept alive and resold. The Department of Natural Resources said it meant an animal should be destroyed, Bloom said.
A live coyote can fetch as much as $200, he said, while coyote pelts sell for about $12.
The rules have been a problem since 1987, when a law was passed that allowed landowners to trap "nuisance" coyotes out of season, said Col. Mike Crider, director of law enforcement for the Department of Natural Resources. The coyote trapping season runs from Oct. 15 through Jan. 31.
Several years ago, the department altered the rule, stating that captured coyotes should be "promptly disposed of," Crider said, but the rule was still too ambiguous to enforce.
Veterinarian Rachael Jones, Valparaiso, said the practice of using "live bait" is inhumane. Jones is part of the Stop Live Dog Baiting group, which supports the rule change.
"There is no sportsmanship involved in setting packs of hounds upon disoriented, terrified and exhausted 'bait' animals that are penned," she wrote in a letter that is being circulated statewide.
Trappers, however, support any responsible use of captured animals, said George Hertz, treasurer for the Indiana State Trappers Association.
He said trappers sell the animals for collecting urine, not for use as dog-training bait. The urine is used to mask human scent when setting traps or is sold to trainers to help dogs learn tracking techniques.
But the DNR has seen evidence of trappers selling coyotes to groups that use them as bait, Bloom said.
It is illegal to use wild animals for such purposes in Indiana, but the coyotes are sold to states, including South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, where the operations are legal, Crider said.
Calls to several hunting dog operations were not returned Wednesday.
Wild animals caught in Indiana may be exported to other states, but most states outlaw importing wild animals, he said.
It is legal to sell coyotes during the normal trapping season, but several permits are required, Crider said. Trappers also often keep coyotes alive during the season to use their urine or to wait for their coats to fill out, making their pelts more valuable.
A total of 3,981 coyote pelts were sold in the 2005-06 hunting season, according to figures from the Department of Natural Resources.
Bill In Massachusetts Would Prohibit The Use Of Chains And Bull Hooks On Elephants And Impose A Maximum Fine Of $5,000 And Up To A Year In Jail
Bill to give animal cruelty the hook
By LaToya M. Smith, Eagle Boston Bureau
Thursday, October 18
BOSTON — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's elephant superstar, King Tusk, may have to give up his gilded robe and custom-built tractor-trailer the next time he treks to the Bay State if lawmakers pass a bill that stalled last year.
The bill would prohibit the use of chains and bull hooks on elephants and impose a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to a year in jail for each violation.
The bull hook is a club made of wood or metal with a sharp steel hook and metal poker at one end.
Similar regulations have been passed in Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, Provincetown and Revere, according to Scott Giacoppo, deputy director of advocacy for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"This is a weapon," state Sen. Robert L. Hedlund, R-Weymouth, told the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development yesterday.
"We had a hard time getting this in the Statehouse through security. That should tell you something right there. It's not a leash, it's not a tool or a guide, it's a weapon," he said.
Before the hearing, supporters of the bill demonstrated what they said was the cruelty attached to the bull hook. Archele
Hundley, a former Ringling Bros. employee, slowly bent her knees and got into a batting position. She stretched her arms far behind her head and swung the bull hook, imitating a trainer she said she witnessed beating an elephant.
"I've never seen such animal cruelty in all my life," she said. "What I have witnessed will remain with me for the rest of my life."
Hundley also said that she saw trainers punch horses in the face and saw elephants infected from standing in their own feces for long periods. She also breathlessly described seeing a trainer pull a hook down an elephant's ear canal until it began to shrill and bleed.
"This abuse happened on a daily basis," she said.
But opponents claim that the bill is unnecessary, calling the bull hook a harmless tool used to prod the elephants.
Bruce Read, an official with Feld Entertainment Inc., the owner of Ringling Bros., said the circus's animals are "healthy, thriving, vigorous and content."
"Each animal in our care is provided with full-time veterinary attention, nutritious meals and a clean, safe home," he said. "The use of guides, or bull hooks, and tethering elephants with chains are proven and humane management practices accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)."
Thomas Albert, vice president for government relations for Feld Entertainment, said the bill is discriminatory because zoos and fairs, such as Springfield's Big E, are exempt from the prohibitions of the bill even though they also use bull hooks.
"It appears that the exceptions were included in the legislation for no reason other than to attempt to overcome political opposition from the Big E and other local interest," he said.
Sen. Pamela P. Resor, D-Acton, said she is a strong advocate of animal rights but does not want to see some of the better circuses and zoos close.
"I don't think this bill is the route to take. We need special commissions, and we need to set up regulations for venues with large animals," she said.
The state Senate approved Hedlund's bill in 2006, but it never made it to the House floor for debate. Hedlund said he is optimistic that his bill will pass by December 2008 in both chambers.
"People's views and values are changing," he said. "Zoos have moved more toward educational values and replicating habitats, but the circus remains in this mindset that this is how you train animals, by making them do performances and acts that are unnatural to them with the use of the bull hook."
PETA, whistle-blower file animal-cruelty complaint against CU-Denver lab
Thursday, October 18, 2007
DENVER — A whistle-blower and an animal-rights group have accused a University of Colorado research lab of mistreating test animals, including inadequate anesthesia, unnecessarily painful procedures and substandard basic care, including a lack of food and water.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed two complaints Tuesday with the federal government using documents, photos and video footage from Karl Mann, a former animal care technician at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center.
They allege numerous violations of the federal law and guidelines that Mann said he witnessed between August 2005 and March 2007.
University spokesman Steve Krizman said animals used for research and education aren't mistreated.
"In order to get good research, you need to have well-cared-for animals," Krizman said. "We have a state-of-the-art facility. We have employees specially trained to care for the animals."
He said the university's standards are higher than what is required and complaints are investigated and corrections are made when necessary.
But Mann, who left the lab in March after five years on the staff, said he contacted PETA last fall after his complaints to supervisors didn't change anything. He said he used hidden cameras to photograph and videotape lab conditions, animals being prepped for surgery and having blood drained.
"It really sort of surprised me that no one was willing to do anything about it within the lab," said Mann, 42, who previously worked at the Denver Zoo.
The complaints were filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.
USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said he hadn't seen Mann's allegations. He said the agency looks into all complaints from private citizens or groups.
"We certainly take them seriously," Rogers said.
NIH spokesman Joe Balintfy said the agency investigates all allegations but doesn't discuss specific complaints or ongoing investigations.
PETA's complaint alleges the university and an oversight committee violated federal law and NIH's guidelines by giving inadequate veterinary care, failing to respond to Mann's complaints, failing to require procedures to minimize pain and distress and failing to ensure that workers were properly qualified and trained.
Among PETA's allegations:
In August 2005, a veterinarian did not arrive at the lab until four hours after Mann reported a bonnet macaque monkey had a prolapsed colon, and the veterinarian didn't euthanize the monkey until more than an hour after that.
Earlier this year, Mann reported that cats being prepped for back surgery didn't appear to be fully anesthetized, and that the anesthetic used was inadequate. Video footage submitted to the federal agencies shows a cat lying on its side and making running motions. PETA added that using cats to study lower back injuries in humans isn't necessary because research is being done on humans.
Krizman said the school's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which includes outside veterinarians, investigated a complaint from PETA in July about back-injury research on cats. The committee determined that proper anesthesia was used and the running motions videotaped were a reflex that didn't occur during surgery.
Mice and rats, the majority of the lab animals, were kept in crowded cages, some of which were dirty. Some rodents drowned when their cages were flooded by malfunctioning water bottles.
Rodents sometimes went without food and water, and seven rats died in February when their cage wasn't correctly connected to the ventilation system.
Kathy Guillermo, PETA's research director, acknowledged that her organization opposes research on animals. She said even if people believe the research is worthwhile, the way it's being done raises questions about its effectiveness.
"There are laws and guidelines in place to protect these beings who have essentially no rights other than those written in the law," Guillermo said.
Dr. John J. Pippin, a Dallas cardiologist who works full-time for a group that advocates alternatives to animal research, said animal experimentation is "inhumane and cruel" despite the best intentions of researchers.
"The PR departments of schools and other facilities that do this research have a standard response to all such complaints: They take animal welfare issues very seriously, they follow the law and so on," Pippin said. "Any time you take a close look, that's not the case."
Pippin works for the Washington-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The group isn't participating in the complaint against the CU lab.
Pippin said he used to conduct research on dogs but stopped about 20 years ago after deciding it wasn't ethical or scientifically sound. He said breakthroughs in medicine and science typically happen after research with humans because most of the results in animals don't transfer.
"I do believe that most people on the research side of things believe in what they're doing," Pippin said. "I also think, by and large, that looking at the big picture, they have tunnel vision."
The CU Health Sciences Center, which recently moved from Denver to a new campus in Aurora, has come under fire in the past for its treatment of monkeys and use of live dogs in physiology labs.
The monkeys were transferred last year to Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and the school quit using live dogs in 2003 because of budget cuts.
Canada Moves to Trample On Free Speech: Tries To Make Example of Five People Who Recorded the Cruel March 2006 Baby Seal Slaughter
Ottawa vs. anti-sealing film crew in Quebec hunt case
In a case that a prominent Canadian civil-rights lawyer says could have a chilling effect on free speech, Ottawa is taking a group of animal-rights activists to court for coming too close to a sealer while filming the hunt.
The five activists face charges in Quebec for allegedly violating federal marine mammal rules that restrict coming within 10 metres of seal hunters.
Federal prosecutors have already dropped an earlier charge accusing them of obstructing the hunt.
The defendants — all of whom are with the Humane Society of the United States or the Humane Society International — appeared Thursday in a courtroom on Isles de la Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
They have all pleaded not guilty.
After having dropped the charge of interfering with the hunt, the remaining charge carries a maximum fine of $100,000.
Ruby, one of Canada's most prominent defence lawyers, is acting as counsel for the activists.
The five were recording the controversial March 2006 seal hunt in the southern Gulf, near the Cape Breton coast, hoping to capture images of animal cruelty for a campaign to stop the slaughter of seals, he said.
Clayton believes Ottawa is attempting to restrict the rights of his clients.
"It really is about whether the government can continue to keep people from getting photographic images and putting them around the world so that the whole world knows what we do," Ruby told the Canadian Press in an interview.
The Marine Mammal Regulations outlining the 10-metre buffer around sealers is not meant to be a "restriction on observation," Fisheries Department spokesman Phil Jenkins said.
The government continues to hand out observer permits annually during the mid-March seal hunting season, he added.
The defendants are Canadians Rebecca Aldworth and Andrew Plumbly, Americans Chad Sisneros and Pierre Grzybowski and British citizen Mark Glover.
In a news release, Humane Society International said Wednesday the charges "are part of an effort by the Canadian government to close the curtain on this gruesome enterprise."
For information about how to adopt a dog from Puerto Rico, go to amigosdelosanimalespr.org or call 787-313-5653.
Central Florida groups help find new homes for Puerto Rico stray dogs
Jeannette Rivera-lyles | Sentinel Staff Writer
October 19, 2007
News that more than 50 cats and dogs were thrown to their deaths from a bridge in Puerto Rico last week circled the globe and horrified many. Christine Driscoll's reaction was no different. She felt sick to her stomach, angry, frustrated and helpless.
But not surprised.
When Driscoll moved to Puerto Rico 13 years ago, she planned to teach English at a private school. But she was overwhelmed by the thousands of stray cats and dogs on the island and by the authorities' failure to enforce animal-cruelty laws. In response, Driscoll, now a resident of Baldwin Park in Orlando, founded Amigos de los Animales (Friends of the Animals).
For information about how to adopt a dog from Puerto Rico, go to amigosdelosanimalespr.org or call 787-313-5653.
Street Dogs, a book by photographer Traer Scott, records some of Amigos de los Animales' success stories.
All proceeds go to Amigos and other animal-protection groups.
Visit Ann Hellmuth's Animal Crazy blog
The organization, which she runs from her home office, rescues and rehabilitates stray cats and dogs in Puerto Rico and finds them homes in Florida and other states.
On Thursday, Driscoll joined forces with the SPCA of Central Florida to find homes for dogs through its shelters. Initially, an official with the agency said, it will take 30 to 50 dogs from the island.
"In the future we might be able to take more," said Jake White, senior vice president of the SPCA of Central Florida.
Driscoll has adopted two dogs of her own from the island -- Paloma and Ally -- and recently placed a dog with an Orlando couple.
Initiatives such as this one are the only chance many of the island's strays have, she said.
"There are just a handful of shelters in Puerto Rico and they are overwhelmed," said Driscoll, 40. "So we don't have another choice. It's either adoption here or euthanasia."
The U.S. commonwealth is at the center of an international controversy over how it deals with an estimated 300,000 stray cats and dogs as well as animal-cruelty incidents. The issue was brought to the fore last week when a private animal-control company seized dozens of cats and dogs from a public housing project and hurled them off a bridge. "Pet Massacre in Puerto Rico," read the headlines from Australia to Latin America.
Animal-rescue groups across the country as well as those on the island quickly denounced the killings, while pointing out that it was not an isolated incident. Animal abuse, they say, is rampant in Puerto Rico, and one animal-rights group is calling for a tourism boycott.
"We don't want to bring anybody down," said Ginny Cornett, founder of Hands for Paws, the Palm Beach-based group calling for the boycott. "But if this is what it will take for the Puerto Rican government to pay attention to the problem, so be it."
The negative publicity has caught the attention of some government officials. On Tuesday, Puerto Rico tourism secretary Terestella Gonz�lez-Denton called for a meeting with Driscoll and representatives from animal-protection groups to discuss possible solutions.
Hands for Paws and Amigos work together, rescuing dogs from an isolated beach in Yabucoa, a coastal town in eastern Puerto Rico that is a frequent dumping ground for unwanted pets. Among the locals, the stretch of sand is known as "dead dog beach" because the strays are frequently tortured, mutilated, beaten to death and even shot, Driscoll said.
Dr. Rafael Ramos, a veterinarian who treats many of Amigos' rescued animals in his San Juan office, says he frequently sees gruesome cases of abuse.
"There's a sector of our society that has lost respect for life," Ramos said. "Animals are not seen as living beings. Strays are seen as pests."
Most of the dogs that Amigos rescues are flown to U.S. shelters once they are nursed back to health, sterilized and vaccinated. Last year, the organization brought more than 800 dogs to the mainland. Many went to the Humane Society of Broward County in South Florida.
"We get a lot of puppies from Puerto Rico, and those are adopted quickly," said Cherie Wachter, a spokeswoman for that organization. "And that fills a need because if people don't find what they want in a shelter, they'll go to a pet store."
Wachter said her shelter takes puppies only when they have available space and said no animals are euthanized there. The SPCA of Central Florida has a similar policy. Amigos' animals also go to shelters in New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Driscoll is hopeful that things will take a turn for the better on the island.
"We finally have the attention of people that ignored us for the longest time," Driscoll said. "Something good has to come out of this."
Ridiculous and Cruel 15-Day Annual Religious Festival Dashain in Nepal Marks Beginning Of Slaughter of Thousands of Goats, Chickens, Buffalo, Ducks
“Visible in the Kathmandu traffic among all the shoppers are youths walking with herds of goats; motorbikes with live chickens dangling from the sides; and trucks crammed with buffaloes arriving from India.
On Friday and Saturday, and especially during the night in between, known as "Kal Ratri" or the "Dark Night", thousands of these animals as well as sheep and ducks will be slaughtered across the nation.”
Revulsion over Nepal animal slaughter
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu
A goat offering is a holy act for Hindu devotees
The people of Nepal are celebrating their biggest national festival, Dashain.
The 15-day annual religious feast marks the victory of the Hindu goddess Durga over a feared demon and symbolises the triumph of good over evil.
There are a wealth of rites in the goddess's name, and sacred grass is being grown in special pots all over the country to be used as a blessing this Sunday, the 10th and most important festival day.
Every Hindu home has been cleaned and decorated to welcome the goddess. The markets have been heaving as shoppers seek out new clothes and foodstuffs, and many thousands are returning to their home villages from the cities and from foreign countries to spend time with their families.
But increasingly voices are being heard questioning what takes place on its eighth and ninth days - this Friday and Saturday - when hundreds of thousands of animals are ritually slaughtered as a sacrifice for Durga.
The Dashain festival is a time of great merriment
Visible in the Kathmandu traffic among all the shoppers are youths walking with herds of goats; motorbikes with live chickens dangling from the sides; and trucks crammed with buffaloes arriving from India.
On Friday and Saturday, and especially during the night in between, known as "Kal Ratri" or the "Dark Night", thousands of these animals as well as sheep and ducks will be slaughtered across the nation.
Animals are killed in the smallest villages or in cities like Kathmandu, where the courtyard of the Taleju Temple, opened just once a year, will end up flowing with blood.
It will yield a feast of meat. But it is also said to have a religious meaning - the killing being a sacrifice to honour the goddess and prevent her anger in the year ahead.
The new dissenters are questioning both the scale and the methods of the killing.
An article in the Nepali Times weekly says most buffaloes, like smaller animals, are decapitated but the bigger ones are battered to death with a heavy hammer on the forehead.
A respected botanist, Dr Tirtha Shrestha - writing in the same paper - says that in Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu, pigs are skinned alive and their beating hearts offered to the temple, while in a nearby village people tear apart a live goat.
He asks what kind of people take pleasure in such cruelty, even suggesting that a society which treats animals so brutally will be brutal to human beings too.
"Decapitating a bleating buffalo or goat should not be the symbol of the Nepali civilisation," he says. "Why are we exhibiting such cruelty, and how does this reflect on our society?"
The festival is a time when families get together
Dr Shrestha accepts that to eat meat, animals must be killed.
"But why do we have to inflict such pain before we do so? This is not just inhuman, it is also against the law in many countries. It is morally wrong to torture fellow creatures under any circumstances, but to do so in the name of religion is a sin."
Another Nepali man, Arun Poudel, sending a mass email, picks up on this last theme.
He says people should stop killing animals in the name of Hinduism's respected goddesses and gods.
"Maybe the deities will start wanting human blood soon," he muses grimly.
Such sentiments are spreading. Although animal rights are not a major concern in Nepal, an animal protection group recently held a rally in the capital against the yearly tradition of animal sacrifices.
And, speaking to the BBC, one Nepalese journalist who has been a vegetarian for many years said he was delaying his visit to his village to avoid the killing.
"I can't stand the slaughter," he said. "If a goat is killed, I run away. When I was a small kid, I'd hide indoors all day or go to the jungle."
He believes about 1,000 animals will die in his small village in the hills where, he says, certain men have taken up the "hobby" of Dashain slaughtering and will provide the service for many households.
The Kathmandu Post newspaper reports on another group of dissenters. It says two entire villages in Gorkha, in west-central Nepal, have shunned sacrifices for as long as 90 years and gone largely vegetarian as they believe in non-violence.
At the moment, however, these voices are still few and far between.
Nepal is a country where most people are too poor to eat meat regularly and regard it as a great treat. There is not as strong a tradition of vegetarianism as there is in neighbouring India, which also has a Hindu majority.
For the time being at least, The feast-day spilling of animals' blood looks set to continue.
Animal-rights group requests federal investigation of MPI
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
BY ALEX NIXON
MATTAWAN -- An animal-rights group has asked the federal government to investigate the way Mattawan drug-testing company MPI Research treats the animals it uses.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, said at a news conference Monday morning that it was contacted a month ago by an employee of MPI Research regarding allegations that MPI's treatment of animals used in drug testing violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.
``Some of the violations revealed by the whistleblower include inadequate veterinary care and inadequate observation of the animals,'' Michael Budkie, executive director of Milford, Ohio-based SAEN, said in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's animal-care division.
Budkie refused to disclose the identity of the MPI employee because, he said, that person fears reprisals. He also would not say if the person was a current or former employee.
MPI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Parfet said the 1,500-employee company is ``vigorously'' inspected by both the USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
``We take it seriously,'' Parfet said of the allegations. ``But we don't believe that there's been any wrongdoing.''
Parfet said MPI would cooperate fully with any inspection or investigation by regulators, but he said he didn't know if or when that would happen.
USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said the agency follows up all complaints. As of Monday afternoon, he said, the animal-care division had received SAEN's complaint but hadn't contacted MPI about it.
MPI is a 12-year-old company that conducts early-stage drug-development trials for pharmaceutical companies. Rogers said it is inspected once a year by the USDA and was investigated once in 2005. No violations were found in connection with that inquiry, he said.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
New York City is Underground Capital of Professional Dog Fighting - And Home to One of the Most Notorious People in Violent World
DOGFIGHT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
By ELIZABETH WOLFF
October 14, 2007 -- New York City is the underground capital of professional dogfighting - and home to one of the most notorious figures in that dark and violent world.
Under the kennel name Big Apple, Bronx breeder Ralph Reyes is behind the most successful fighting dogs on the underground national circuit, according to animal rights activists.
They say his stable includes grand pit bull champion Demon and Georgia Girl, an animal who won a notoriously bloody, nearly five-hour match in 2006, the longest on record - and a fact the kennel proudly advertises on an industry Web site that posts dogs' pedigrees, photos and wins.
Reyes "watched his favorite pet kill himself for his owner's approval," said an informant for the Humane Society of the United States, who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity.
"He's the No. 1 most prominent dogfighter in New York City, and in our top 20 most notorious professional dogfighters in the U.S.," said John Goodwin, manager of the HSUS National Animal Fighting Task Force, which monitors and investigates animal fighting and helps spur arrests.
Goodwin's team of investigators and informants identified Reyes as the head of Big Apple kennel, which operates illegally out of a basement apartment of a three-story multifamily walkup on Valentine Avenue.
The Big Apple kennel - neither a legal kennel nor a business entity, even though it has boarding and training facilities throughout The Bronx and elsewhere - remains virtually untouchable so far, investigators say.
No one is sure how many dogs Big Apple has sent into the ring to their deaths, though 26 top-level Bronx bulldogs are on the industry Web site. Two have made the cover of underground dog-fighting magazines that circulate widely.
While dog owners schedule an official fight at least two months in advance to allow for the dogs' conditioning, the mega-shows, which occur in the five boroughs, are months in the planning.
Fighters come from as far as Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas to match their dogs with purses ranging from $300 to $300,000 for prized fighters and crowds swelling to 500, sources have told The Post.
"The Super Bowl of dogfighting shows come to New York City," Goodwin said.
And Demon is certainly one of the hands-down superstars of the circuit. The dog's five wins in 2006 earned him the cover of the Sporting Dog Journal this summer - and a national following of bloodthirsty fans.
The ruthless Reyes, whose pit bull tattoo covers his left bicep, also helped train a predecessor to Demon - Haunch, whose brutal fight to the death put Big Apple on the map and caught the attention of the HSUS. According to a story submitted by Big Apple to Game Dog Quarterly, Haunch was prepped for the 2004 grand champ title after he'd already retired and was a house pet and breeding dog.
"Haunch was never in control, losing an eye, and his muzzle crushed, he still tried to dig the chest and did some damage . . . Haunch was still biting hard in the chest and hurting the dog . . Veteran dog men were there saying it will be a long time coming before you ever see that again," the magazine story reported.
Haunch was victorious, but mortally wounded, according to Goodwin, who confirmed the account through interstate informants and monitoring Web chatter.
When approached by The Post, Reyes - about whom little is known outside his rep on the circuit - denied he owned Demon or was behind Big Apple kennels. He has no arrest record.
"No, that's another guy, Big Sexy . . . He got Demon," said the mechanic-by-day, who's missing his two front teeth.
The HSUS said the person nicknamed "Big Sexy" is actually Reyes' second-in-command.
Reyes told The Post he rents out a basement apartment where he gets paid to care for other peoples' pit bulls. He nervously admitted he was currently caring for two, "Lucky" and "Lady."
He then went on to brag about a dog "I'd only feed eggs and spinach. He was great. . . I had him pulling me on a skateboard down to 138th [Street], stopping in the red [lights], and back in two hours."
That diet and exercise perfectly matches a description Big Apple provided to a dogfighting magazine about Haunch's training. Reyes first claimed the dog died, then said it had gone to Texas.
Graying and overweight, Reyes said he was a tired man with gout, a wife, and a young child, and lived around the corner.
"I can't drink . . . I don't smoke . . . I wish I could help you, but Big Apple's not me," Reyes said.
According to Goodwin, New York authorities have virtually turned a blind eye to the illegal activity.
"[The city is] at the center of organized dogfighting because of the lack of enforcement," he said. "Building cases takes time, and it requires the cooperation of local officials."
The HSUS has given up its New York City investigations because it doesn't get the support they need from officials who would be responsible for making the arrests, Goodwin complained.
"We haven't had the enthusiasm from law enforcement that we needed" to pursue probes and raids here, he says.
And as a result, "New York City is the capital for dog fighting," he claims - an assertion that belies the popular notion that, as the case against former Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick case illustrated, dogfighting is a phenomenon more common in the rural South.
A spokeman for the ASPCA, which has the authority to make arrests for animal cruelty, said the HSUS told them of Big Apple's existence in 2006, but gave no address or leads.
"If they're reporting this to the ASPCA and we're not following through, I don't understand why they're not speaking out to other law enforcement organizations in the city," said Assistant Law Enforcement Director Joseph Pentangelo.
"The NYPD is duty-bound to investigate. We're not a government agency."
Task force targets Southland dog fights
October 14, 2007
By Emily Udell, Staff writer
In the wake of several high-profile dog-fighting busts in the Southland, a regional task force to combat the illegal sport in the Chicago area is up and running, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
The task force was created to streamline communication among the county, the Chicago Police Department and the state's attorney's office. The group also recently has enlisted the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dart said.
"The nature of this type of crime is one that clearly goes across jurisdictional lines," he said.
Dart said dog fighting is on the rise, and his department has seen the most activity in the southern part of the county.
According to the sheriff, recent crackdowns by law enforcement can make it more difficult to ferret out offenders.
"The last month or two since we've turned up the heat so much, it's driven this crime more underground," Dart said.
In July, authorities seized from a South Holland barn 37 dogs covered in excrement and found without food or water. It was the largest seizure of dogs in Cook County history.
Kevin Taylor, 29, was charged with one felony count of dog fighting and 37 counts of animal cruelty, as well as one misdemeanor each of possession of dogs by a felon and owning sport fighting dogs in connection with the bust.
In the same month, 12 dogs were seized at a Burbank gas station from two men who were charged with dog fighting and animal cruelty. Two other men were charged with dog fighting-related offenses after a raid on a Ford Heights home in August.
Sgt. Eldon Urbikas, of the Animal Crimes Unit of the Chicago Police Department, equated dog fighting to the rave culture, an underground party scene that emerged in the '90s. He said participation in the sport can wax and wane, depending on the popularity of various breeds of dogs.
"Right now we're at the pit bull cycle," said Urbikas, who added that portrayals of pit bull terriers and dog-fighting culture in rap music has fueled interest in the breed.
Animal abuse, including dog fighting, can be an indicator of other types of criminal activity. Urbikas said there is a link between animal crimes and domestic violence.
Ann Chynoweth, director of the Washington, D.C.-based organization, said the society has been working with Chicago police to develop a multifaceted program to combat the problem that can spread to other cities.
"Chicago doesn't have a monopoly on dog fighting, but it is a significant issue in Chicago," she said.
The humane society has presented workshops to police officers, collaborated on a training video and offered the organization's $5,000 reward for tipsters who provide information leading to conviction.
"Chicago was a good place to try a model program because there were so many good people already working on the issue," Chynoweth said.
She said street fighting, which is more spontaneous than organized fighting, is of particular concern in Chicago.
The organization estimates that about 40,000 people nationwide make high-stakes bets in organized rings and about 100,000 participate in more informal, less lucrative dog-fighting events.
"There's a crisis in Chicago and a few other inner cities throughout the nation," said Tio Hardiman, who works with the Humane Society on preventing street-level fighting in Chicago.
Hardiman and a team of about 15 people strive to dissuade young men and boys from participating in dog fighting by stopping fights as they happen and distributing information about the law and how to care for animals.
Sheriff Dart said the new task force provides the increased communication and cooperation among different levels of law enforcement needed to make a significant dent in dog fighting in the region.
"I'm not naive enough to think we can squelch it completely, but we want to make it very, very difficult," he said.
Emily Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 633-5969.
n The lowest tier of dog fighting typically involves teenagers fighting dogs on street corners or in yards for $20 to $100 or a pair of gym shoes, according to an expert.
n Second-tier fighters are more organized, fighting dogs in isolated areas, such as abandoned buildings. They wager $500 to $5,000 a contest.
n High-stakes fighters like disgraced NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who pleaded guilty to federal dog-fighting charges, are the most organized and covert. Their stakes typically range from $15,000 to $100,000.
Experts said there is little evidence of sophisticated rings in the Chicago area because they are hard to operate in dense, urban areas.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Bills Allowing the Purchase of Dead Kangaroo Products and Semi-Automatic Pistols
Governor allows kangaroo products in flurry of bill actions
By Kevin Yamamura - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 4:36 pm PDT Saturday, October 13, 2007
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed bills legalizing the purchase of kangaroo products and requiring new semi-automatic pistols to include an identifying microstamp, and he vetoed a proposal to provide college financial aid to illegal immigrants, his office announced Saturday.
The gun legislation, Assembly Bill 1471 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, will make California the first state in the nation to require manufacturers to include technology in semi-automatic pistols that stamps the make, model and serial number on each cartridge fired. The requirement takes effect in January 2010 and was largely backed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans in the Legislature.
"While I appreciate and understand that this technology is not without limitations, I am signing this bill to provide law enforcement with an additional tool for solving crimes committed with semi-automatic handguns in California," Schwarzenegger wrote in a signing message.
The Republican governor vetoed Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, which would have given undocumented immigrants access to community college fee waivers and other financial aid. The bill excluded those students from the state's competitive grant program after Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar proposal last year.
But in his veto message, Schwarzenegger again said he is concerned the proposal would place an "additional strain" on the state budget. He also noted that undocumented students already qualify for an in-state tuition rate.
The kangaroo proposal, SB 880 by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, drew intense opposition from animal rights organizations who decried the manner in which the Australian marsupials are killed. But California retailers selling kangaroo soccer shoes said they faced a disadvantage because online firms based in 47 other states can legally sell such products.
Though he does not own kangaroo shoes, Schwarzenegger is an aficionado of animal-skin boots, such as those made from alligator or crocodile, which he also removed from a state list of banned animal products last year.
"Many good products are made from kangaroos harvested legally under Australian law and the federal Endangered Species Act and those products should be allowed to be on the California market," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. "Importantly, this bill allows California to continue to prohibit the sale of products made from species of kangaroos that are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal endangered species act."
Schwarzenegger signed SB 490 by Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose, to ban trans fats from foods sold in vending machines or cafeterias at public schools in California starting in July 2009.
The governor also took action on several consumer bills. He signed SB 220 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, requiring bottled water companies to cite the origin of their product. Another signed Corbett bill, SB 250, will allow consumers to receive the cash value for gift cards with balances less than $10.
But he vetoed AB 779 by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, to restrict businesses from storing sensitive payment data. The bill also sought to require companies to give consumers extensive information when a security breach occurs. It came as a response to the 2005-06 theft of more than 45 million credit card numbers from a T.J. Maxx and Marshall's database.
"Big business, hackers and ID thieves won today and consumers and common sense lost," Jones said in a statement. "I'm shocked and disappointed that the governor thinks our personal information should be left out in the open for identity thieves and hackers to pilfer."
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger wrote that the credit card industry has already established security protocols for the storage of payment data.
"This issue and the data security requirements found in this bill will drive up the costs of compliance, particularly for small businesses," Schwarzenegger added.
Makah Tribal Members Illegally Kill Another A Gray Whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Face Charges Of Conspiracy, Unlawful Taking Of A Marine Mammal
As the story below states:
“A federal grand jury in Seattle last week indicted the group on five misdemeanor charges of conspiracy, unlawful taking of a marine mammal and unauthorized whaling. Each man could face up to a year in jail and fines of $100,000 if convicted.”
Not-guilty pleas in whale hunt
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
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ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Wayne Johnson, the group's leader, said he is not guilty of charges brought forth by an illegal hunt of a gray whale last month. "Of course I'm not guilty," he said before the hearing in Tacoma. "I have a treaty right."
TACOMA — With a courtroom packed with supporters from Neah Bay, five Makah tribal members appeared in federal court here Friday to plead not guilty to charges in their illegal hunt of a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca last month.
Wayne Johnson, Frankie Gonzales, Andrew Noel, Theron Parker and William Secor all offered no other comment to Chief Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold as they entered their pleas. A trial was set for Nov. 27. The men then left the courthouse free on bond.
A federal grand jury in Seattle last week indicted the group on five misdemeanor charges of conspiracy, unlawful taking of a marine mammal and unauthorized whaling. Each man could face up to a year in jail and fines of $100,000 if convicted.
The men also face separate prosecutions in tribal court, where they could be sentenced to up to a year in jail; pay up to a $5,000 fine, and have their treaty rights to fish suspended for up to three years.
The Makahs who arrived in Tacoma to support the five whalers were defiant of the federal court.
Johnson, the group's leader, repeated his position that they had a right to hunt the whale under terms of a 19th-century treaty between the U.S. and the Makah tribe.
"Of course I'm not guilty," Johnson said before the hearing. "I have a treaty right."
Asked whether he had any regrets, he shook his head. "This is a lifelong struggle."
Outside the courthouse, several Makah grandmothers carried signs that said "Broken trust."
"We're here to support the young people," said Gail Adams, 67. "They shouldn't have to pay a fine. They shouldn't have to go to jail. It's like a bad dream."
Arnie Hunter, vice chairman of the Makah Whaling Commission, agreed that the whalers did nothing wrong.
"It's something the rest of us wished we could have done," he said outside the courtroom. "It's what we grew up with. It's our songs. It's our dances. It's who we are. We are whale hunters, and our forefathers reserved that for us in the treaty."
On the other hand, Hunter said, rules are rules. Still, he said he felt sad to see the whalers in court.
The Makah are the only tribe in the country with an explicit treaty right to whale. However, because of a 2002 court decision, the tribe needs a waiver from the federal government before it can legally whale again. The waiver has been stalled in federal review.
Meanwhile Friday, animal-rights activists said they are glad prosecutors have filed the strongest charges available under federal law.
"We are pleased this is being taken seriously," said Kitty Block, vice president of the Humane Society International in Washington, D.C., which opposes any Makah whale hunting. "This has to happen, or the whale's life would have been taken for nothing."
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Animal Legal Defense Fund Asks For Help in Fighting Veal Calf Abuse: Case Against Mendes Calf Ranch for Violation of California Animal Cruelty Laws
Normally I don’t post emails I receive, but this is an important issue.
Please read below and offer your support.
It’s easy and worth it.
Video footage that stands as proof to the necessity of this case can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfGkfUz2j5k
For proof as to the cruelty of veal (abuse baby cows) including video proof see http://www.noveal.org
Greetings, We need your help.
As you know, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is committed to protecting the lives of animals everywhere.
But you may not know that we have filed a lawsuit against Mendes Calf Ranch for its violation of California animal cruelty laws.
The ranch is a facility that dairy producers use to house and raise newborn calves while their mothers are milked. The babies are taken soon after birth and shipped away to live in Mendes’s cramped, filthy crates with barely enough room to move.
Day after day, these calves live by themselves in crates so small they can’t even turn around or lie down naturally.
They must contort their bodies even to stand in the small space, which is often covered with their own excrement. (Video footage at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfGkfUz2j5k)
While our lawsuit to stop this cruel practice is pending in court, there is more we can do for these animals right now. We need to reach Mendes through the people they’re most likely to listen to: their clients.
Major dairy producers Land O’Lakes and Challenge Dairy get their milk from calves confined at Mendes Calf Ranch. It’s time to let dairy corporations know that these practices are unnecessary — and unacceptable.
We’re launching the Free Baby Mendes campaign to mobilize consumers and animal lovers to sign on to a letter we’ll deliver to Land O’Lakes and Challenge Dairy. We hope that you can help us spread the word.
Would you be willing to post something on your site and/or email your list about the campaign?
Information about the campaign can be found at www.FreeBabyMendes.com. Also available are Free Baby Mendes banners for your website at http://www.aldf.org/content/mendes.php?pid=231.
Together, we can make a difference for these cows—as we work to make sure that animal cruelty laws are taken seriously. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
170 East Cotati Avenue, Cotati, CA 94931
Phone: (707) 795-2533 • Fax: (707) 795-7280
E-mail: email@example.com • Web: www.aldf.org
Luckily the state finally decided to pursue him.In addition, luckily, the Falcons are fighting to have 22 million in bonus money returned to them.
Let’s hope that happens.
As stated below, “The Falcons want Vick to return up to $22 million in bonus money, arguing his guilty plea to a federal dogfighting charge violated his 10-year, $130 million contract…”
Trial date for suspended Falcons QB Vick on state dogfighting charges will be set on Nov. 27
By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports WriterOctober 3, 2007
AP - Oct 3, 10:33 am EDT
SUSSEX, Va. (AP) -- Michael Vick moved one step closer to being tried on state dogfighting charges Wednesday at a hearing to make sure he has legal representation.
An attorney for the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback appeared in Surry County Circuit Court and was asked to return Nov. 27 to set a trial date.
Vick, who did not attend the hearing, is in the midst of a big week. On Thursday, representatives from the Falcons, the NFL management council and the NFL Players Association are scheduled to meet in Philadelphia for a contract arbitration case.
The Falcons want Vick to return up to $22 million in bonus money, arguing his guilty plea to a federal dogfighting charge violated his 10-year, $130 million contract. The NFLPA is expected to argue Vick already has earned the bonus money.
Vick, who faces up to five years in prison, is to be sentenced Dec. 10 on the federal charges.
He and three co-defendants, all of whom already have pleaded guilty to the federal dogfighting charges, are not expected at the Nov. 27 hearing, Surry County prosecutor Gerald G. Poindexter said Wednesday.
Poindexter said he hopes to have the trial begin as soon as possible.
"All the good citizens of Surry County I am sure would like to see an end to this, along with a lot of other good people," the prosecutor said outside the courtroom.
Virginia Beach attorney Larry Woodward, who will represent Vick on the state charges, said Vick turned himself in last week in the rural county for pretrial processing and bonding. Vick has been charged with two state felony counts -- beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Surry County is where the dogfighting enterprise known as Bad Newz Kennels operated since 2001 on 15 acres of land Vick owned.
Woodward's appearance in court was brief, and he made the long walk to his car afterward without saying a word as about 30 reporters peppered him with questions.
Vick's lawyers have indicated they will fight the state charges on the grounds he can't be convicted twice of the same crime. In pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Aug. 27, Vick admitted helping to kill six to eight dogs, among other things.
Vick, suspended indefinitely by the NFL without pay, tested positive last month for marijuana, a violation of U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson's order that he stay clean in exchange for being allowed to be free.
After that positive test, Hudson ordered Vick confined to his home address between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with electronic monitoring and random drug testing.
Associated Press Writer Sonja Barisic contributed to this report.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Yerkes - National Primate Research Center of Emory University Fined $15,000 for Animal Care Problems Linked To the Death of Monkey
Here we go again with the cruel Yerkes.
As stated below, “The macaque — a short-tailed monkey — died from emphysema and from an absence of gas in the lungs... The death was related to incorrectly assembled anesthesia equipment…”
Unfortunately, Yerkes is “… one of eight federally funded national primate research centers [and] has about 3,400 primates at two locations.”
USDA Fines Animal Lab After Monkey Death
By MIKE STOBBE – 13 hours ago
ATLANTA (AP) — An animal research center was fined $15,000 for animal care problems linked to the death of a monkey, federal authorities said Monday.
Yerkes National Primate Research Center, part of Emory University, denied any willful wrongdoing, but agreed last week to pay the penalty, said U.S. agriculture department spokeswoman Jessica Milteer.
A Yerkes spokeswoman noted the research center reported the monkey's death, and said the center is committed to humane care for animals. "We deeply regret that an animal died," said the spokeswoman, Lisa Newbern.
Yerkes, one of eight federally funded national primate research centers, has about 3,400 primates at two locations. Its scientific contributions include new understanding of monkey and chimp behavior and development of an experimental AIDS vaccine.
The fine stems from findings from two inspections. The USDA reported unsanitary conditions during a January inspection of its 117-acre Lawrenceville field station.
A July inspection confirmed inadequate training and veterinary care at its Atlanta campus, after the macaque died there.
The macaque — a short-tailed monkey — died from emphysema and from an absence of gas in the lungs, Newbern said. The death was related to incorrectly assembled anesthesia equipment, she added.
The equipment has been relabeled, staff members have been retrained, and sanitary conditions at Lawrenceville have been improved, she added.
The fine is not enough, said Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio-based animal rights organization.
Yerkes received about $40 million in 2006 in federal animal research funds. "Why should Emory care about a $15,000 fine?" Budkie said.
One of the Largest Animal Research Facilities in the Country Will Open in Truckee Meadows near Reno, Nevada
As stated below, “The Reno Planning Commission approved Charles River Laboratories' new 450,000-square-foot [facility].
Animal testing lab's move to Reno spurs outcry over planning
SUSAN VOYLES RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL DUNN/RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
Heather Singer, left, Kathy Parker and Florence Abel on Monday protest the nearly completed Charles River Laboratory on Maestro Drive at Longley Lane.
One of the largest animal research facilities in the country will open this fall in the heart of the Truckee Meadows, and the only planning approval required -- a special use permit -- did not go to the Reno City Council.
The Reno Planning Commission approved Charles River Laboratories' new 450,000-square-foot, preclinical research center at 6995 Longley Lane adjacent to residential property in February 2006.
Since no one filed an appeal, that stood as the final decision. The same thing occurred when a new minor league baseball stadium was approved in downtown Reno in August.
Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza, who fought for a new regional animal control center, said projects of a certain size should trigger a City Council hearing. Sferrazza lives within a few miles of the research lab but didn't learn of it until last week.
"We're the elected body. I respect the planning commission for what they do," Sferrazza said. "But it should come up to the council for review."
Mayor Bob Cashell agreed.
"There are special occasions," he said. "It's something we should look at."
Councilwoman Sharon Zadra said there was more discussion about parking than animal testing when two neighborhood groups reviewed the project in January 2006. No one seemed to be alarmed about the project, which lies within her ward, she said, noting that the council can't favor some legal businesses over others.
"You can't make judgment calls," she said.
The Reno facility will be among the five largest labs in the country, said Greg Beattie, the center's executive director for operations. Charles River is a public company with headquarters in Wilmington, Mass.
The company is relocating from Dunn Circle in Sparks to Reno and will be phasing in employees to the new facility over the next six months.
Sparks city officials, health officials, company officials and animal rights advocates say the plant has operated in the Sparks industrial area without incident for 15 years. Beattie said the 6995 Longley Lane site was chosen because it is closer to where its employees live.
Beattie said the company will greatly reduce research involving macaque monkeys at the Reno facility. In Sparks, he said the monkeys made up the "vast majority" of its research.
He said that means most of the research in Reno will involve rodents and a small percentage of dogs and monkeys. He said the federal government requires nonrodent testing before new drugs can be released on the market.
Animal rights protesters have been at the Reno site in recent months.
"I'm totally against it because of the animal testing they do," said Tania Tavcar, who lives nearby. "Every day I drive by that place, I feel like I'm driving by a pet cemetery. I may move. But I'm going to stay here and fight for a while."
"I don't think people realize what's happening in the middle of town," said Florence Abel, 78, a resident of the Quail Manor Court senior complex, northwest of the building. "I don't think what they are doing is illegal, but it's immoral."
Beattie said research will continue to involve testing new drugs on animals to find any side effects. A new drug for HIV, for instance, would be tested to see whether it causes tumors or other side effects.
Initial testing to see whether the drug is effective against the HIV virus would be done elsewhere, Beattie said.
For the company to handle deadly substances, he said, the building would have to be rebuilt to higher standards. At other locations, Charles River has done preclinical testing for drugs to counter anthrax, nerve gas and the sometimes fatal Dengue virus, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The new Reno laboratory building is rated as a Biosafety Level 2 facility, the same rating given to hospitals.
Charles River purchased the former State Farm building on Longley Lane and has spent $107 million renovating it, city and county records show. Millions more have been spent on lab equipment.
Animal research will be done on the 50,000-square-foot second floor and a large chemical laboratory will be on the first floor, Beattie said.
Beattie said the Sparks center employs 400 people who will be transferred to Reno. And the Reno lab will to grow to 900 employees over the next several years. Half of the jobs require a college degree, he said.
'No environmental hazards'
The plant, he said, will not create any environmental hazards, and the building did not flood in either the 1997 or 2005 floods. Inside the plant, a pretreatment tank will dissolve acids from the laboratories before the waste enters the sewer system. A station is set up for city officials to monitor that, he said.
Beattie said the only thing coming out of the large vents on the rooftop will be air. He said the plant will have no incinerator, and carcasses are hauled away to approved sites, which he did not want to specify.
Records show the labs are built with one-hour fire safety walls and fire officials have lists of the chemicals used and amounts that will be on site.
Coral Amende, a founder for Reno Outreach for Animal Rights, contends the government doesn't have enough inspectors to oversee the laboratory, contending the U.S. Department of Agriculture has only 101 inspectors for 13,000 laboratories.
The facility is inspected by the USDA, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Beattie said.
Beattie said inspectors from these agencies have been through the facility dozens of times and have reported only a few "housekeeping" items. He said the last inspection was about a month ago. The company prides itself on maintaining higher standards than the federal government requires, he said.
He also said the lab is monitored by an institutional animal care and use committee. It includes a local resident, but he declined to name that person.
John Hester, Reno community development director, said the city does not regulate the care of animals in the facility. That's up to the federal government.
He said it's up to the council to change the city's code to require special use permits for larger projects.
The council in 1995 gave the planning commission the final say on special use permits unless there's an appeal. The practice is the same in Sparks and has been since 2000.
Questions were raised about animal testing at a joint meeting of the southwest and south ward neighborhood advisory board on Jan. 5, 2006. Notices were sent to residents within 750 feet, and the company also sent a letter to the Quail Manor Court, a senior citizen housing project next door.
All of that, city officials said, goes beyond legal requirements.
Bob Fulkerson, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada executive director, said major projects that affect citizens should go before the city council.
The staff report reviewed by planning commissioners included a single mention of testing on animals on its fourth page.
Fulkerson said the city should consider requiring a summary statement of a project in common language "so people know what the heck is going on."
A case against Charles River Laboratories is pending before the New Mexico Supreme Court. The case was dismissed by a lower court that said its chimp facility was exempted from the state's animal cruelty law. The facility was included in an exception for the practice of veterinary medicine.
The criminal charges related to two chimpanzees that died overnight when only security guards were on duty. One was injured by other chimps and bled to death and the other didn't regain consciousness after being anesthetized for an exam.
Amende said researchers can find other ways to find cures without doing research on animals.
"Out of every 100 drugs tested, we get just one that is safe and effective," she said.
Beattie said testing on animals is required by the federal government before new drugs are allowed to be put on the market. "There's not a single medical advance for humans or animals that has been done without this kind of research."
Groups Gather to Remind World that Novartis Supports Animal Testing and the Cruel Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS)
Anti-vivisection demonstrators target Novartis
Activists accuse Novartis headquarters in Nyon of collaboration with animal-testing company
Fifteen activists demonstrated in front of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in Nyon on Monday afternoon denouncing animal-testing methods. Participants carrying placards saying “Animal Murderers” or “No to Vivisection” gathered for three hours. Although animal-testing is not conducted at the Novartis factory, the demonstrators accuse Novartis of collaborating with British company, Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), which they claim uses “cruel and doubtful” animal-testing methods.
The aim of the activists, who call themselves “Stop Huntingdon Animal cruelty”, is to force business partners to discontinue dealing with the British lab. “We have already managed to make them lose SFr90 million since 1999,” says one demonstrator.
According to Paul Herling, head of research for Novartis international, animal experimentation is a useful support for in-vitro methods. The pharmaceutical company says it regularly scrutinizes partner companies and established the Novartis Animal Welfare service two years ago to assess the treatment of animals during experimentation.
Catwalk call to ban snake and crocodile skin fashion
ANIMAL-rights campaigners yesterday criticised the use of snake and crocodile skins in designer fashion.
It follows the appearance of exotic animal skins in recent catwalk shows.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched an anti-exotic animal skins advert which shows a reptile carrying a handbag. Several fashion designers included snakeskin in their recent bag, shoe and clothing collections.
PETA's Europe director, Poorva Joshipura, said the use of exotic skins in fashion was putting the animals in danger of extinction.
"Anyone who wears exotic skins is giving money toward unimaginable cruelties such as alligators and snakes being whacked on their heads with hammers or machetes, and then skinned while still conscious," she said.
"Beautiful synthetics are plentiful and used by progressive designers like Stella McCartney and Marc Bouwer. It's easy to choose faux and have a look that kills without killing animals."
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