Friday, July 25, 2008

Web Page from Group Shows Video and Photo Proof of Torture Primates Endure in a Variety of Settings: Can’t Argue with Images

I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of images. Well, this page - is no different. In it, you’ll be introduced to the proof of the horrors primates endure in a variety of settings. This includes in vivisection / animal testing facilities and bush meat.

Don’t be afraid to face the truth. View the videos and pictures that serve as proof to what occurs on a daily basis.

Again, that page is

Friday, July 18, 2008

Army Turns to Outdated and Cruel Practice: Will Shoot Live Pigs in Gunshot Wound Exercise

Need I really comment on just how ridiculous this is? And, of course, overly cruel.


Army to shoot live pigs for medical drill

By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer Fri Jul 18, 4:27 AM ET

HONOLULU - The Army says it's critical to saving the lives of wounded soldiers. Animal-rights activists call the training cruel and outdated.

Despite opposition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Army is moving forward with its plan to shoot live pigs and treat their gunshot wounds in a medical trauma exercise Friday at Schofield Barracks for soldiers headed to Iraq.

Maj. Derrick Cheng, spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division, said the training is being conducted under a U.S. Department of Agriculture license and the careful supervision of veterinarians and a military Animal Care and Use Committee.

"It's to teach Army personnel how to manage critically injured patients within the first few hours of their injury," Cheng said.

The soldiers are learning emergency lifesaving skills needed on the battlefield when there are no medics, doctors or facility nearby, he said.

PETA, however, said there are more advanced and humane options available, including high-tech human simulators. In a letter, PETA urged the Army to end all use of animals, "as the overwhelming majority of North American medical schools have already done."

"Shooting and maiming pigs is outdated as Civil War rifles," said Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department.

The Norfolk, Va.-based group demanded the exercise be halted after it was notified by a "distraught" soldier from the unit, who disclosed a plan to shoot the animals with M4 carbines and M16 rifles.

"There's absolutely no reason why they have to shoot live pigs," PETA spokeswoman Holly Beal said.

The bloody exercise, she said, is difficult for soldiers because they sometimes associate the animals with their own pet dogs.

Cheng said the exercise is conducted in a controlled environment with the pigs anesthetized the entire time. He had "no doubt whatsoever" in the effectiveness of the instruction, which he called the best option available at the base.

"Those alternative methods just can't replicate what the troops are going to face when we use live-tissue training," he said. "What we're doing is unique to what the soldiers are going to actually experience."

Cheng didn't have details about the number of pigs, how they were acquired or the weapons involved in the training.

The soldiers being trained are with the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which is deploying to Iraq this year.

"We understand (PETA's) concerns and point of view. At the same, the Army is committed to providing the soldiers with the best training possible," Cheng said.

Disappointed at the Army's decision, PETA on Thursday instructed its 2 million members to inundate the Army with calls and e-mails.

"We're hoping at the 11th hour here that we can have this stopped. We have to hang on to hope," Beal said.

PETA believes the U.S. military has conducted similar training at other bases using pigs and goats.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The European Commission, the Executive Branch of the European Union, will Meet to Discuss Prohibiting the Import of Seal Products

It’s not hard to see what such a monumental move would lead to. In short – the significant decrease in the horrible practice of baby seal slaughter from Canada and Namibia.

So, let’s hope compassion rules over the meeting. But, as with anything in which money is involved, don’t hope too much.

The group that is tireless in fighting this unfortunate spectacle of human cruelty is Sea Shepherd.

To follow their campaign and to support them in ending this ridiculously cruel and unnecessary annual slaughter fest, visit their site at:


Sealers brace for impact on industry as EU discusses import ban

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — For animal welfare activists, this week could mark the first step to ending the largest marine mammal slaughter in the world.

For Canada's commercial seal hunters, it could represent the triumph of emotion over reason.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, is expected to discuss legislation Wednesday that aims to prohibit the import of seal products.

What's decided in the Berlaymont, an ornate 14-storey office tower in Brussels, Belgium, could have a far-reaching impact on outports throughout Atlantic Canada.

"It's the epitome of hypocrisy," said Jim Winter, a long-time advocate of the sealing industry.

"It just goes to prove that the European parliamentarians and the European bureaucracy are owned by the animal rights groups, multimillion-dollar, American-based organizations that have been spreading propaganda in Europe now for decades."

His views are echoed by many sealers who accuse both levels of government of lacking the political will to defend their centuries-old industry and way of life.

"Our own governments have let us down immensely," said Jack Troake, who has hunted seals off the coast of Twillingate, N.L., since 1951.

"If the ban goes in place, it's going to be interesting to see what Canada is going to do, to see what kind of a stand they'll take. I suspect it's not going to be nothing."

A spokesman for federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn said the minister would not comment until the EU votes on the proposed ban.

Trevor Taylor, acting fisheries minister in Newfoundland and Labrador, has called on the federal government to launch trade sanctions against Europe if the EU approves of a ban. He has complained that Ottawa has remained silent while animal rights activists in Europe rallied support for a ban.

"At the end of the day, the buck stops at the federal government level," Taylor said.

Premier Danny Williams and Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik wrote the prime minister in April, calling on him to ban the use of the hakapik from the annual hunt in the interests of defending its image.

Taylor, himself a sealer before entering politics, said his province has yet to hear a response.

In a brief statement on Friday after the federal government was criticized by Newfoundland and Labrador for not speaking up, Hearn said the federal government has shown its commitment to sealers on the international stage.

"We will continue to lead with a strong voice and strong actions on behalf of the sealers and the sealing industry," he said.

Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper also said he raised the seal hunt with European Commission president Jose Barroso, and told him that EU member nations should carefully consider any measure that would restrict the sale of seal products within their borders.

Over the past two years, the federal and provincial governments have joined forces to lobby the EU in the hope of thwarting any legislation that would close its borders to Canadian seal products.

"Big deal," retorts Winter. "What did you achieve?"

In January 2007, the province hailed the European Commission for refusing to draft a prohibition on seal products. But since then momentum has shifted in favour of animal rights organizations that have waged a decades-long fight to end the commercial seal trade.

The seal hunt, arguably the most politically and emotionally charged issue in Newfoundland and Labrador, did not always arouse such public interest.

Its roots run deep in the province, where the seal was once second only to cod as the most economically vital species to catch.

Fishermen have caught seals on the heaving ice floes of the North Atlantic since the 16th century. After the advent of the steam vessel in the 1800s - an era nostalgically known as "the Great Days of Sealing" - the seal hunt accounted for about a third of the province's exports, with an annual harvest often exceeding 500,000 seals.

But by the 1970s, animal rights groups focused their attention on ending the hunt, gaining celebrity support in the process.

In 1983, after public pressure grew, Europe banned the import of products from harp seals up to two weeks old - known as whitecoats - and hooded seals up to 16 months of age - called bluebacks.

Ottawa prohibited the hunt of those animals four years later, delivering a blow to some sealers for several years. But the industry rebounded in the 1990s, and with it so did the annual quota.

In the past three years, the total allowable catch has hovered between 270,000 and 335,000 seals.

"The seal hunt was a part of our history and I think it needs to be put in the history books where it belongs," said Rebecca Aldworth, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the United States.

For 15 years, Aldworth, a Newfoundlander, has campaigned for the end of the commercial seal hunt.

With a ban possibly in sight, the federal government should offer sealers a compensation package to ease their transition out of a dying industry, Aldworth said.

"It's a tremendous feeling to know that a solution is finally within reach and there may be hope for the seals next year," she said.

Some fishermen say they depend on the seal hunt for up to 35 per cent of their annual income, but that can fluctuate from year to year depending on a host of factors including quota allocation, the market for seals and the price of other fish stocks.

But according to a survey conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2004, considered to be a typical year for seal pelt prices, 17 per cent of sealing enterprises earned more than 20 per cent of their revenue from the hunt.

Troake puts it another way. He says during peak seasons, some crew members can take in $10,000 to $12,000 for 10 days of work.

"I doubt you're making that kind of money," Troake said in an interview.

But he said the hunt is also significant because it is the first harvest of the year, offering fishermen an opportunity to earn much-needed income after months of unemployment in the winter.

The proposal to ban seal products has not been made public, but EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has indicated its general thrust is to prohibit the import of products from seals that the EU determines have been killed inhumanely.

Any legislation would have to be unanimously approved by the EU's 27 commissioners. It would then go to the European Parliament and the EU presidency, France, to decide how to proceed with the matter.

It's difficult to determine the precise parameters of any ban the EU could adopt.

Rob Cahill, executive director of the Canadian Fur Institute, said the impact of a ban depends on the precise wording of the legislation. But he acknowledged that any ban would have a detrimental effect on the industry.

"Any ban, any sort of tainting of a product anywhere in the world, especially in a market the size and influence of Europe, is a negative influence," Cahill said.

"Many of the trends that are established and are in demand in Russia are established in Europe and if Europe is not allowing the seal products to come in, it could influence fashion in a negative way."

Another major concern for the sealing industry is that a ban would close critical shipment points such as Rotterdam, Holland and Hamburg, Germany, thereby forcing the seal trade to extend shipping routes to the bigger markets of Norway, Russia and China.

"If Europe is going to be able to pass legislation that is not based on good, sound science or good fact, then that is setting a bad precedent that we will fight right to the end," Cahill said.

eBay Finally Does Good Move: Bans Sale of Cat and Dog Pelts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland: Soon May Extend to France, Italy and Spain: Why Not US?

It’s about time! Can you imagine that it took this long to do such an obvious move? Yet, it stops short, as is stated below, “a move to do the same in the U.S., where eBay was founded, is being considered…”

So why would you not also extend the ban to the US? No sense at all.


eBay bans sale of cat and dog pelts in Germany, other European countries

The online marketplace eBay plans to ban the sale of dog and cat pelts on its German-language Web sites starting Tuesday.

Alexander Witt, a spokesman for eBay in Germany, said the ban was in response to protests from animal rights groups that believe clothing and other goods claiming to contain rabbit or mink fur are actually made illegally from cats and dogs.

"We want to forbid these dealers from our marketplace," he said, adding that the ban would encompass eBay's sites in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Witt said the ban would be extended to France, Italy and Spain, with more European countries to follow. A previous ban is already in place in the United Kingdom, Witt said.

A move to do the same in the U.S., where eBay was founded, is being considered, he said.

"That is a conversation, but no decision has been made yet," Witt said.

Peter Pueschel, a program leader with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in a statement that he welcomed eBay's decision as an important step in animal protection.

"We hope that others will follow worldwide, and that such products will be taken off the market," Pueschel said.

The online marketplace does not allow the sale of live animals on its Web site. Rules governing the sale of plants vary widely from country to country, Witt said, often depending on customs regulations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

PCRM Asks for Your Help Ending Live Animal Labs at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), the Only Military Medical School

As you’ll read below, the military (not surprisingly) uses live animals in labs in the medical school. As you’ll also read at many of the top medical schools in the country have long abandoned live animal labs. Please read on and see how you can easily make voice against the practice of live animal labs.

Ask the Military to End Live Animal Use in Medical Student Courses

We need your help to end the use of live animals for medical student training at U.S. military facilities. Live animals are used and killed in medical student courses at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md., and Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. PCRM filed a petition for enforcement with the Department of Defense (DOD) on July 2, 2008, asking for an end to this animal use. The Washington Post recently covered PCRM’s campaign.

USUHS is the country’s only military medical school. The teaching methods it uses impact medical student training at military facilities across the country. There are at least five live animal labs at USUHS. According to the school’s Web site and other documents obtained by PCRM, they include:

* A live pig lab offered to third-year medical students as part of a surgery rotation (this lab also takes place at Wilford Hall). At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.

* A physiology lab using live pigs, offered to first-year medical students. At the end of this lab, the pigs are killed.

* An intubation lab using live ferrets offered to third-year medical students (also offered at Wilford Hall). Ferrets can suffer fatal injuries during these labs.

* A parasitology lab using live gerbils, offered to students as a means of studying the disease filariasis. For this lab, the gerbils are killed.

* A medical zoology lab using live snakes.

Please call, e-mail, fax, or write a letter to USUHS president Charles L. Rice, M.D., and the dean of the medical school Larry W. Laughlin, M.D., Ph.D., and politely ask them to end the school’s live animal lab program. Being polite is the most effective way to help these animals. Send an automatic e-mail>

Charles L. Rice, M.D.


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

4301 Jones Bridge Rd.

Bethesda, MD 20814-4799

Phone: 301-295-3013

Fax: 301-295-1960

Larry W. Laughlin, M.D., Ph.D.


F. Edward H├ębert School of Medicine

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

4301 Jones Bridge Rd.

Bethesda, MD 20814-4799

Phone: 301-295-3017

Fax: 301-295-3542

A DOD directive renewed in 2005 mandates that nonanimal alternatives be used if they exist. There are nonanimal teaching methods that achieve the educational goals for all five animal labs mentioned above. Many of these alternatives are currently in use at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art simulation center operated by USUHS.

More than 90 percent of U.S. medical schools have eliminated live animal labs from their curricula altogether. Innovations in medical simulation technology, availability of alternatives, increased awareness of ethical concerns, and a growing acknowledgement that medical training must be human-focused have all facilitated this shift. Only eight out of 154 allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the United States still use live animals in their curricula.

Learn more about live animal labs and what you can do to help end them. If you have any questions, please contact me at or 202-686-2210, ext. 336. Thanks so much for your help!

Best regards,


Ryan Merkley

Research Program Coordinator

Monday, July 07, 2008

Horribly Cruel Practice of Eating Dogs Very Much Still Alive: Cruel Asian Counties Mostly to Blame

First, I’m sorry to have to post this, but this blog is about exposing the truth. Unfortunately, as you’ll read, Dogs are still eaten in many areas of Asia, including China, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam.

I’ve posted the most telling quotes from the story below. You really won’t believe the horrible cruelty behind eating dogs. Not only do they eat them, but they torture them prior to death. I say it once again, Asian countries are probably the cruelest on Earth, especially china.

As is the case with practices such as the bull run in Spain, tradition and practice do not excuse cruel behaviors. A great writing that disucess this notion can be found at

Here are a few telling quotes form the story below:

Various breeds are reared but many farmers prefer St Bernards for their rapid growth, bulk and flavour.

Farmed dogs endure short, cramped, miserable lives. Brutal death awaits them. Many are said to be tortured or bled to death slowly. This results in adrenaline-rich meat which, according to folklore, makes men who eat it more virile.

Dog meat dealers also exploit the myth that eating dogs increases male virility. Over two million dogs are killed yearly on the basis of this widespread belief.

When preparing the dog for food, it is said that the fur may be burned off with a blowtorch, often while the animal is still alive. Many dogs are subjected to a cruel, slow death due to the superstitious belief that the more the animal suffers, the better the meat tastes.

Despite South Korea’s economic success, this cruel practice is still carried out till this day.


Appetite for dog meat



Where in Asia do people eat dog meat?


THE Chinese are said to have eaten dogs for at least 7,000 years. Dog meat is said to be favoured for its flavour and supposed health benefits, including the belief that it warms the body during winter, according to the website One.

The report states that even today, dogs are eaten throughout China, except in Hong Kong where eating dog meat has been illegal since 1950.
A South Korean woman cutting dog meat for students from France in one of the best restaurants in Seoul, as part of a course on Korean culture.

In recent times, the bulk of dog meat has been produced commercially by dog breeding farms. Various breeds are reared but many farmers prefer St Bernards for their rapid growth, bulk and flavour. Today, however, they appear to have fallen from favour because of their substantial feeding costs.

Farmed dogs endure short, cramped, miserable lives. Brutal death awaits them. Many are said to be tortured or bled to death slowly. This results in adrenaline-rich meat which, according to folklore, makes men who eat it more virile.

China’s clean-up of Beijing ahead of the summer Olympic Games has also resulted in the closure of many dog meat restaurants. But in cities across China, roadside restaurants specialise in dishes made from every conceivable part of the dog, including the head, legs, testicles and innards.

South Korea

The practice of dog-eating may have originated during times of famine when people killed and ate their dogs ( However, this practice was viewed with disgust by the community.

Those who eat dogs cite superstitious beliefs to justify their acts. Some claim that keeping an old dog brings disaster to the household and a woman who is too fond of dogs may become infertile.

Dog meat dealers also exploit the myth that eating dogs increases male virility. Over two million dogs are killed yearly on the basis of this widespread belief.

When preparing the dog for food, it is said that the fur may be burned off with a blowtorch, often while the animal is still alive. Many dogs are subjected to a cruel, slow death due to the superstitious belief that the more the animal suffers, the better the meat tastes.

Despite South Korea’s economic success, this cruel practice is still carried out till this day.

Vietnam The dog-eating custom, which developed as a result of poverty, originated from then-North Vietnam. In the north, dogs were the cheapest source of protein. As the people didn’t have anything to feed them, the dogs became scavengers and were later picked up off the streets.

The owner of Ho Chi Minh City’s thriving Hai Mo dog restaurant insists that the dogs served at the restaurant are not pets or strays, but are from breeding farms in the countryside.

The restaurant’s menu features 10 dishes, including steamed dog, minced and seasoned dog wrapped in leaves, fried intestines, spare ribs and fried thighs. A sour dog curry with fermented wine is served with noodles for variety while the most expensive dish is bamboo-shoot dog soup.

Though dog-eating has come under fire in South Korea, where dog restaurants were officially banned during the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and criticised by Fifa during the 2002 World Cup, the practice of eating dogs has gone unchallenged in Vietnam. The country has no animal welfare organisation and no laws to protect animals from cruelty. Opinions on dog-eating are divided although many Vietnamese see it as unsavoury.

The south’s plentiful food supply and Buddhist influence will probably ensure that dog-eating will never become popular.

From Tragedy and Cruelty to Hope: Pit bulls Rescued from Michael Vick's Fighting Hell Show Progress in Rehabilitation

What really sticks out here is the realty behind these dogs. As you’ll see by the following two quotes, only 1 was deemed to vicious to save. So, the other 48 were dogs worth saving. Also, I really like the Judge’s order to evaluate each dog individually. He was aware the stereotyping each dog is illogical and wrong. Thankfully he had a brain and a heart.

“Instead, the court gave Vick's dogs a second chance. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ordered each dog to be evaluated individually, not judged by the stereotype of the breed. And he ordered Vick to pony up close to $1 million to pay for the lifelong care of those that could be saved.

Of the 49 pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized. (Another was euthanized because it was sick and in pain.)”

What you’ll also notice from the pictures is just how loving these dogs naturally are. It’s only thugs and scum like Michael Vick who make them into “fighters.” Also, this story does justice to looking at the breed in an objective light.


Saving Michael Vick's dogs

Pit bulls rescued from fighting ring show progress in rehabilitation effort

Leslie Nuccio, left, holds up Hector, a pit bull that was seized from Michael Vick's property, as he meets Johnny, another dog taken from Vick, held by Jennifer, right, during a good citizen-dog training class in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008.

By Brigid Schulte

updated 7:33 a.m. MT, Mon., July. 7, 2008

When football superstar Michael Vick pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to run a dogfighting operation, we knew he had kept about 50 pit bulls on his 15-acre property in rural Surry County, Va., on a road named Moonlight. We knew the dogs were chained to car axles near wooden hovels for shelter. And we knew the dogs that didn't fight were beaten, shot, hanged, electrocuted or drowned.

But we didn't know their names. Headlines described the nameless dogs as "menacing." Some animal rights groups called for the "ticking time bombs" to be euthanized as soon as Vick's case was closed and they were no longer valuable as evidence. That's what typically happens after a dogfighting bust.

Instead, the court gave Vick's dogs a second chance. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ordered each dog to be evaluated individually, not judged by the stereotype of the breed. And he ordered Vick to pony up close to $1 million to pay for the lifelong care of those that could be saved.
Of the 49 pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized. (Another was euthanized because it was sick and in pain.)

More than a year after being confiscated from Vick's property, Leo, a tan, muscular pit bull, dons a colorful clown collar and visits cancer patients as a certified therapy dog in California. Hector, who bears deep scars on his chest and legs, recently was adopted and is about to start training for national flying disc competitions in Minnesota. Teddles takes orders from a 2-year-old. Gracie is a couch potato in Richmond who lives with cats and sleeps with four other dogs.

Of the 47 surviving dogs, 25 were placed directly in foster homes, and a handful have been or are being adopted. Twenty-two were deemed potentially aggressive toward other dogs and were sent to an animal sanctuary in Utah. Some, after intensive retraining, are expected to move on to foster care and eventual adoption.

Understanding the breed
How can this be? Reports of gruesome pit bull maulings make international news. Pit bulls are one of the few canine breeds thought to be so dangerous that they are banned in some places.

The answer, says Frank McMillan, a veterinarian who is studying the recovery of some of the Vick dogs, is that we don't know. "We've assumed all pits are the same, and we've never let this many fighting dogs live long enough to find out. There are hardly ever studies, because these animals don't survive," he said.

Classic fighting pit bulls, part bulldog and part terrier, were bred to be friendly to people and aggressive with other dogs. Their ability to withstand great pain and keep fighting is a quality prized as "gameness."

But with an explosion in urban street fighting, some pit bulls are being trained to go after animals and people. Evaluators said that when they walked into the kennels where the Vick dogs were being held in the fall, they weren't sure what to expect.

"I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I'll be happy," said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "If we had to euthanize the majority, then we could at least say we'd tried."

Instead, they found dogs with behaviors that ran the gamut. Some would lick human hands but lunge at other dogs. Some almost immediately went into play mode with other dogs, wagging their tails and crouching down on their front legs in a play bow. "Some actually perked up and developed more confidence only around other dogs," said Rebecca Huss, a law professor and animal law expert who was appointed by the court to oversee the evaluations and determine the dogs' fates. "They actually seemed happier around other dogs."

Some of the dogs were scarred. All were sick and malnourished. Once it became clear that the dogs might be allowed to live, evaluators gave them names.

Iggy, Zippy, Cherry Garcia, Hazel, Little Red, Uba, Squeaker, Big Fella, Handsome Dan, Ginger, Ernie, Alf.

"One of the things that struck us immediately was that these dogs were more like the dogs we see rescued from animal hoarding situations," Lockwood said. "Their main problem was not aggressiveness but isolation." Loud noises startled them. A light coming on made them jump.

All that the dogs seemed to know about people was that they were to be feared.

Witness Sweet Pea, a compact cinnamon-colored dog with a pleat of wrinkles above her eyes who was hiding under the desk of the Frederick animal acupuncturist trying to treat her for anxiety. Fred Wolfson dimmed the office lights. Soft Native American flute music wafted through wall speakers. Wolfson held out his hand for Sweet Pea to sniff. When she would not budge, he sat on the floor and took his bowl of needles to her.

Sweet Pea began to pant.


Dog’s new life
June 17: A pit bull rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting stable finds a new life in California. KNTV’s Marianne Favro reports.
NBC News Channel

"She pants when she's nervous," said Stacy Leipold, who volunteers with the Baltimore-based animal rescue organization Recycled Love and is fostering Sweet Pea in her home. "I thought for a very long time she was just a hot dog."

As Wolfson rubbed the dog's head and felt along her spine for the proper relaxation points, Leipold explained that Sweet Pea was little more than a lump when she came to her home in December. She rarely left her crate. If she did, it was to hide under a desk. She had to be carried outside to do her business. Over time, with Leipold meticulously tracking her behavior, Sweet Pea began to pace in a circle and wag her tail when she realized it was time for a walk. And she seemed to take comfort in Leipold's other dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a Great Dane. Still, one of her favorite places is the landing on the basement stairs. That way, up or down, she has two routes of escape.

Five needles and 12 minutes later, Sweet Pea stopped trembling.
Jane, Homicide, Jade, Bandit, Miami, Mike-Mike, Big Boy, Magic, Tiny, Too Short, Seal, Chico.

Sweet Pea is not what Vick, who is serving a 23-month prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kan., called this dog. We don't know what he called her, or whether he had a name for her at all. One of the few names that appeared in court papers was Jane, one of the first pit bulls Vick bought in 2001 to start Bad Newz Kennels. The Humane Society of the United States found results for some of Bad Newz's dogfights in underground magazines. They show that Vick's Homicide lost to Maniac. Vick's Bandit lost to Red Rover. And Vick's Mike-Mike lost, after fighting for three hours and five minutes, to Dragon. Out of 10 fights recorded, Vick's dogs lost seven.

But no one knows who most of these dogs are, or whether they are even alive. Jane is. She is now called Georgia. Her jaw is crooked, having been broken at least once, and her tongue sticks out. She is covered in scars, and her teeth have all been pulled. By court order, she will live out her days in Dogtown, at the Best Friends Animal Society's 3,700-acre sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. So will Lucas, a tail-wagging, 60-pound dog who evaluators suspect was Vick's grand champion fighter.

They are two of 22 dogs who were deemed worth saving but who showed enough animal aggression that they could be held only in a tightly controlled sanctuary. At Best Friends', McMillan, the veterinarian, has developed a "personalized emotional rehabilitation plan" for each dog and measures how they exhibit such traits as aggression, fearfulness, calmness or friendliness. True to their "people soft" nature, all but two of the Vick dogs are on "green collar," meaning they are open and friendly to human visitors. About nine have begun to have supervised play dates with other Vick dogs.

The remaining 25 Vick dogs were given to seven animal rescue organizations across the country, which placed them in experienced foster homes. A number have since passed the American Kennel Club's 10-part Canine Good Citizenship test. Many are in the process of being adopted.

Sharon Cornett, a member of the Richmond Animal League's board, agreed to foster Gracie and is now adopting her. "I adore this dog. She is just a love bucket. She loves people and animals unconditionally," Cornett said. She has four other dogs. All of them sleep together at night. "Gracie is not what the public perception has been of a fighting pit bull."

Still, Cornett and other pit bull rescuers say that they never leave the dogs unsupervised with other animals. And rehabilitating a fighting pit is not for everyone: You have to know what you're doing, they say.

'No simple answers'
John Goodwin, a dogfighting expert with the Humane Society and a proponent of euthanizing fight dogs, is skeptical of the emerging reports of the Vick dog recoveries. Fighting is in their blood, he said. Retrievers retrieve. Shepherds herd. And fighting pit bulls fight. "The behavior is bred into them," he said. "These groups are not rehabilitating these dogs. They're training them to behave in a more socialized manner. But these pit bulls should never be left alone with other dogs, because you never know when that instinct to fight another dog is going to surface."

Tim Racer, one of the founders of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls (BAD RAP), who, before taking in 10 Vick dogs, had evaluated and retrained 400 pit bulls over the past 10 years, disagrees. Yes, there are pit bulls who have fought, attacked and mauled other animals and people. But so have other breeds. And incidents almost always have been traced to negligent or abusive owners, he said.

Racer said it is not surprising that many of the dogs get along so well with other dogs. Just as the urge to fight is in their blood, so, too, is the need to get along. "You have 150 years of man trying to produce an aggressive dog. But you have tens of thousands of years of Mother Nature preceding that," he said. "Dogs are pack animals. They survived because of their pack. . . . It's hard-wired into their genes that they do no harm to each other."

Indeed, long before a glowering pit bull came to symbolize tough guy vogue, pit bulls, or American Staffordshire terriers, were the all-American dog. In the Civil War era, they were known as nurse dogs because they were so good with children. Pit bulls sold war bonds, earned medals in World War I and starred in such TV shows as "The Little Rascals."

All the more reason, Racer and other rescuers say, to look at each dog individually. "Every thoroughbred is not a great racehorse. Every pit bull, even if it's of fighting stock, is not an aggressive dogfighter," said Steve Zawistowski, an animal behaviorist with the ASPCA who helped assess the Vick dogs. "There are no simple answers."

As with any celebrity case, the legacy of the Vick bust has been far-reaching. Dogfighting raids across the country have tripled in the past year. Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been trained to detect the signs of underground rings. And, in some cases, officials have asked pit bull behavior experts to evaluate seized fighting dogs rather than automatically euthanizing them. But most dogfighters don't have the kind of money that Vick did. So even those deemed worthy of a second chance don't always get one.

Charlie, Denzel, Halle, Oscar, Sox, Ray, Frodo, Aretha.

They, it turns out, are the lucky ones.

Cockfighting Ban in New Mexico Holds, but Cruel Tradition Lives On

Again, thank you to New Mexico for passing this law. It has done much to end this cruel tradition. I post this article to remind people though that the tradition still lives on. With time, we can hope that cultural views change.


A Ban on Cockfighting, but Tradition Lives On

Bruce Berman for The New York Times

A New Mexico state law passed last year made it illegal to conduct cockfights. The birds are maintained in case the law is overruled.


Published: July 6, 2008

CHAPARRAL, N.M. — After two weeks of preparation, 150 officers, backed up by a helicopter, slipped into this sleepy desert town. Their focus was not illegal immigration or drug smuggling, but a less pressing crime: cockfighting.
But when they raided what was billed as the Christmas Cockfighting Derby in December expecting to find 300 cockfighters, they found fewer than a dozen people. The cockfighters had been tipped off, the police said, and the officers issued tickets for four misdemeanors before seizing 12 shrieking roosters.

Last year, New Mexico became the 49th state to make cockfighting illegal. (Louisiana will become the last state when a ban there takes effect in August.) The state has devoted vast resources to ending the sport, but with only one misdemeanor conviction thus far, it continues unabated in hidden venues, cockfighters and law enforcement officials say.

And light penalties — a first offense is a petty misdemeanor — have not only failed to stop the fights, they continue to attract cockfighters from four of New Mexico’s five neighboring states, where the sport is a felony.

“It seems they’re always one step ahead of us,” said Robyn Gojkovich, who in May became the state’s first full-time animal control investigator.

Ed Lowry, 51, a paunchy rooster breeder from Chaparral, agreed.

“They ain’t shut nothing down,” said Mr. Lowry, who has not been charged, even though his truck and computers were seized in the December raid.

Mr. Lowry, who still possesses his prized bloodlines, said he constantly turns down invitations to fight. As a director of the New Mexico Gamefowl Association, a nonprofit cockfighting advocacy group, he has taken up fighting in the courts, where appeals claiming tribal, religious and cultural sovereignty have failed to win exemptions from the ban.

“A gamecock shows me what an American should be like,” he said. “You defend to the death.”

To avoid the police, law enforcement officers say, promoters have relocated the fights from large arenas to clandestine sites on sprawling properties. Lookouts are stationed atop dusty mesas, and speakers, which in the past blared mariachi music, now carry feeds from police scanners.

But law enforcement officials are not giving up. They insist their aggressive operations — the raids, the full-time investigator, a special cockfighting task force — are sending a message in a war of attrition.

Nationally, though, it appears that animal rights advocates are winning that war, and they have been helped by a high-profile case. The conviction of the football star Michael Vick in a dogfighting operation in 2007 has pushed animal cruelty cases to the fore.

Circulation of the country’s largest trade magazine for cockfighting, The Gamecock, has fallen to 8,000 from about 14,000 over the last decade as states strengthened penalties for animal cruelty. And the wider cockfighting community, once an $80 million industry in the state, is suffering. In New Mexico, profits at feed stores and hotels in cockfighting strongholds are down as much as 70 percent, owners said.

Some police officers in this state say the pressure for stepped-up enforcement from the animal rights lobby has become so intense that resources are being diverted from more serious crimes, like drunken driving and amphetamine abuse.

For years the state’s governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat, avoided the issue. In 2006, Jay Leno ridiculed him on the “Tonight Show,” for saying there were strong arguments on both sides of the issue. At that time, the sport was already a felony in 33 states. But in March 2007, Mr. Richardson signed the measure outlawing the sport. He was widely criticized as only getting behind the legislation because he was then running for president.

“You can’t go on the national stage and have people find out you have no problem with a bloody sport,” said Sheriff Darren White of Bernalillo County, where officers issued citations for two cockfighting misdemeanors in a raid on June 21.

Mr. Richardson’s office said he would not be available to discuss the issue.

Sheriff White, a Republican who is running for Congress, said the ban has transformed public opinion on animal cruelty issues. Animal rights advocates agree.

“New Mexico is on the verge of having a modern culture,” said Heather Ferguson, the legislative director for Animal Protection of New Mexico, an animal-rights lobbying group. Ms. Ferguson said a newly established animal cruelty hot line was receiving about 90 calls every two weeks.

As public support rises, so do costs. The Chaparral raid cost the four counties involved more than $25,000, officials said. And several high-ranking police officers, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to reporters, said that while they oppose cockfighting they are frustrated at how politicians are disproportionately emphasizing the crime.
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Bruce Berman for The New York Times

Doors in a restaurant in southern New Mexico with a design of fighting birds. Such fights were once common in the area.
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Bruce Berman for The New York Times

Ed Lowry and “The Old Man,” which he says was a 10-time winner.

“We don’t even investigate misdemeanors on other crimes,” one officer said. “We laugh at these investigations.” Of one cockfighting raid he said: “We wasted $10,000 on a recent misdemeanor. I’d rather use that for a D.U.I. checkpoint and take 20 people off the road in the three hours and save lives over chickens. I feel good when we save chickens, but whoop-de-do, a misdemeanor?”

Others defended the raids, citing ties between cockfighting and other criminal enterprises, like illegal gambling.

“You aren’t going to take down a cockfighting ring with two or three people,” Sheriff White said. “This is not a friendly card game. There’s a lot more going on.”

Ms. Ferguson said she would like to see even more legal action on the issue. She is seeking $200,000 in additional state money to finance positions like a full-time prosecutor for animal cruelty cases. In addition, she is working to make cockfighting a felony in New Mexico. Over the next year, Animal Protection of New Mexico will lobby for about $1.1 million for three new animal custody facilities that would be completed by 2010.

For 16 years, Richard and Louisa Lopez operated a 310-seat cockfighting arena at their farm in Luis Lopez, N.M. The $30,000 they earned annually from the operation helped subsidize their farm expenses, and send their children to college. Last month, they used the arena for their family reunion and a baby shower.

“We don’t have money to buy diesel sometimes,” Mr. Lopez said. “And this is the place that kept my farm going.”

In January, the courts dismissed a suit by the New Mexico Gamefowl Association claiming economic devastation. Ms. Gojkovich, the animal control investigator, was hardly sympathetic.

“You need to go find a job at Wal-Mart,” she said.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management Proposes Euthanasia of Wild Horses: Horse Advocates Point out Cruel and Shortsighted Nature of Proposal

Strange how they say Horses are overpopulating public lands when humans have been encroaching on them for years.

Sad to see the government again looking to shortsighted methods to deal with a non-issue.


Proposal to euthanize wild horses spurs debate
By MARTIN GRIFFITH – 8 hours ago

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Animal rights activists and ranchers are clashing over a federal proposal to euthanize wild horses as a way to deal with their surplus numbers.

Horse advocates will mount a campaign against the proposal announced late last month by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute based in Washington, D.C.

Federal officials said they're faced with tough choices because wild horses have overpopulated public lands in the West and they no longer can afford to care for the number of animals that have been rounded up.

But Heyde maintained the agency is seeking a "magic bullet" for budget problems caused after it began rounding up the mustangs at an unprecedented rate in recent years.

He said the roundups left too many horses for the public to adopt, requiring the agency to contract for more private long-term holding facilities.

The proposal "is killing pure and simple to balance the books for an agency whose reckless management has caused immeasurable harm to a national treasure at considerable cost to the American taxpayer," Heyde said.

Ron Cerri, of the Rebel Creek Ranch in Orovada and president-elect of the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, said ranchers would prefer horses be adopted but euthanasia may be necessary to keep their numbers down.

"Unfortunately, it's something they'll have to consider," Cerri said. "I don't know of another solution."

Cerri criticized the federal agency's proposal to stop roundups of wild horses to save money. Ranchers view mustangs as competition for forage on the range.

"That would be really unfortunate," he said. "We're starting to get close to what's called `appropriate management levels' of wild horses on the range. If we stop the roundups, that number will blow up again."

There are an estimated 33,000 wild horses in 10 Western states. About half of those are in Nevada.

The agency has set a target appropriate management level of horses at 27,000. About another 30,000 horses are in holding facilities, where most are made available for adoption.

Last year about $22 million of the entire horse program's $39 million budget was spent on holding horses in agency pens. Next year the costs are projected to grow to $26 million with an overall budget that is being trimmed to $37 million.

Lacy Dalton, president and co-founder of the Let 'Em Run Foundation horse advocacy group, urged the agency to consider alternative solutions.

They include efforts to step up birth control and legislation to provide tax breaks to large landowners willing to let horses roam on their property, she said.

"The American people have spoken — they want to preserve these wild horses," said Dalton.

"They are symbolic of the wildness and freedom and independent spirit of the West. We need to find ways to save them without being a burden on taxpayers," she added.

Agency officials said they stepped up the roundups in recent years because of ongoing drought that has left dwindling forage and water for the mustangs. Horse advocates insist the action was taken to placate ranchers.

The Bureau of Land Management's announcement marked the first time the agency publicly has discussed the possibility of putting surplus animals to death. Congress unanimously passed the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to protect the animals.
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