Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Video Footage Exposes Truth Behind Slaughterhouses: Shows Violations of State and Federal Laws to Prevent Animal Cruelty and Protect Human Health

Violations Of State And Federal Laws that Keep Unhealthy Animals Such As Those With Mad Cow Disease, Out Of The Food Supply

Again, video show the truth. And as stated below, many things stand out as disturbing about this reality.

For proof, the video can be seen at: http://video.hsus.org/

The actions were illegal, “…all violations of state and federal laws designed to prevent animal cruelty and to keep unhealthy animals, such as those with mad cow disease, out of the food supply.”

“…The companies where these practices allegedly occurred are major suppliers of meat for the nation's school lunch programs.”

"These were not rogue employees secretly doing these things," the investigator said in a telephone interview on the condition of anonymity because he hopes to infiltrate other slaughterhouses. "This is the pen manager and his assistant doing this right in the open."

“The footage was taken at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, Calif. Hallmark sells meat for processing to Westland Meat Co. in Chino…Over the past five years, Westland has sold about 100 million pounds of frozen beef, valued at $146 million, to the Agriculture Department's commodities program, which supplies food for school lunches and programs for the needy, according to federal documents. “

So, one can come at this from many different areas. If from animal rights, the torture is evident and even illegal. If from health, there is risk of mad cow disease and other diseases ending up in school lunch programs.

The proof is in the video. The video can be seen at: http://video.hsus.org/

Article:

Video Reveals Violations of Laws, Abuse of Cows at Slaughterhouse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/
article/2008/01/29/AR2008012903054.html?
wpisrc=_rsshealth

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 30, 2008; Page A04


Video footage being released today shows workers at a California slaughterhouse delivering repeated electric shocks to cows too sick or weak to stand on their own; drivers using forklifts to roll the "downer" cows on the ground in efforts to get them to stand up for inspection; and even a veterinary version of waterboarding in which high-intensity water sprays are shot up animals' noses -- all violations of state and federal laws designed to prevent animal cruelty and to keep unhealthy animals, such as those with mad cow disease, out of the food supply.

Moreover, the companies where these practices allegedly occurred are major suppliers of meat for the nation's school lunch programs, including in Maryland, according to a company official and federal documents.

The footage was taken by an undercover investigator for an animal welfare group, who wore a customized video camera under his clothes while working at the facility last year. [ Warning - Graphic Video: View the video on the Humane Society Web site ] It is evidence that anti-cruelty and food safety rules are inadequate, and that Agriculture Department inspection and enforcement need to be enhanced, said officials with the Humane Society of the United States, which coordinated the project.

"These were not rogue employees secretly doing these things," the investigator said in a telephone interview on the condition of anonymity because he hopes to infiltrate other slaughterhouses. "This is the pen manager and his assistant doing this right in the open."

The investigator and Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, said the footage was taken at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, Calif. Hallmark sells meat for processing to Westland Meat Co. in Chino, according to Westland President Steve Mendell, who is also Hallmark's operations manager.

Over the past five years, Westland has sold about 100 million pounds of frozen beef, valued at $146 million, to the Agriculture Department's commodities program, which supplies food for school lunches and programs for the needy, according to federal documents.

In the 2004-05 school year, the Agriculture Department honored Westland with its Supplier of the Year award for the National School Lunch Program.

In an interview, Mendell expressed disbelief that employees used stun guns to get sick or injured animals on their feet for inspection.

"That's impossible," he said, adding that "electrical prods are not allowed on the property."

Asked whether his employees use fork lifts to get moribund animals off the ground, he said: "I can't imagine that."

Asked whether water was sprayed up animals' noses to get them to stand up, he said: "That's absolutely not true."

"We have a massive humane treatment program here that we follow to the n{+t}{+h} degree, so this doesn't even sound possible," Mendell said. "I don't stand out there all day, but to me it would be next to impossible."

California law and USDA regulations do not allow disabled animals to be dragged by chains, lifted with forklifts, or, with few exceptions, to enter the food supply, all of which happened at Hallmark during the investigator's time there last fall, he said.

Video images show those activities, as well as a trailer with Hallmark's name on it.

One reason that regulations call for keeping downers -- cows that cannot stand up -- out of the food supply is that they may harbor bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. It is caused by a virus-like infectious particle that can cause a fatal brain disease in people.

Another is because such animals have, in many cases, been wallowing in feces, posing added risks of E. coli and salmonella contamination.

The Humane Society and other groups have for years urged Congress to pass legislation that would tighten oversight at slaughterhouses.

Kenneth Petersen, assistant administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Office of Field Operations, whose 7,600 inspectors monitor the nation's 6,200 slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants for the Agriculture Department, said he had not seen the video. He added that he would have preferred that the Humane Society contacted the agency directly.

But he said use of a Hot Shot -- a brand-name electric device used to get dawdling cows to move along -- is "not allowed" as a means of getting a downer on its feet.

In the video, handlers repeatedly apply powerful shocks to the heads, necks, spines and rectums of immobile cows.

"That's certainly not a way to have them stand up or a correct way to move them," Petersen said.

Raising a cow on the prongs of a forklift is also not allowed, he said.

"We've made it clear that mechanical means to try to elevate an animal is not considered humane," Petersen said.

If he had evidence that the practices in the video were going on at a slaughterhouse, "I would immediately suspend them as an establishment," he said. "You're done. You're suspended. Everything stops. That's what we call an egregiously inhumane handling violation."

Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and an expert in slaughter practices, called the Humane Society footage "one of the worst animal-abuse videos I have ever viewed."

The investigator said a USDA inspector appeared twice a day, at 6:30 a.m. and about 12:30 p.m., to look at each cow to be slaughtered that day. The practices occurred before the inspector's appearance, he said, with the goal of getting the animals on their feet for the short time the inspector was there.

"Every day, I would see downed cattle too sick or injured to stand or walk arriving at the slaughterhouse," he said. "Workers would do anything to get the cows to stand on their feet."

USDA regulations say that if an animal goes down after it is inspected but before it is slaughtered, then it must be reinspected. But that rarely, if ever, happened, according to the Humane Society.

"They wanted to do whatever they could to get them into the kill box, including jabbing them in the eye, slamming into them with a forklift and simulating drowning or waterboarding the animals," Pacelle said -- all practices that can be seen in the video.

Mad cow disease is extremely rare in the United States, but of the 15 cases documented in North America -- most of them in Canada -- the vast majority have been traced to downer cattle. When the United States had its first case a few years ago, 44 nations closed their borders to U.S. beef, Pacelle said, costing the nation billions of dollars.

To sneak downers past inspectors, Pacelle said, is "penny-wise and pound-foolish."

Reality of Mortgage Scam Crisis and Foreclosures Lead to Abandoned Animals

Very sad story. Amazing that these people didn’t even have the sense to at least take them to a “shelter” or Human Society. Leaving them to die and be victims of a system-wide scam is just unconscionable.

As stated in the story below, these quotes show the sad reality:

"They see a pet as property, no different than a worn sofa tossed into the alley when the springs pop,"

"What we've always known is that when times are hard for people, they're hard for their pets," said Stephen Zawistowski, a vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”

Article:

Foreclosures lead to abandoned animals

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080129/
ap_on_re_us/foreclosure_pets

By EVELYN NIEVES, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 3 minutes ago

STOCKTON, Calif. - The house was ravaged — its floors ripped, walls busted and lights smashed by owners who trashed their home before a bank foreclosed on it. Hidden in the wreckage was an abandoned member of the family: a starving pit bull.



The dog found by workers was too far gone to save — another example of how pets are becoming the newest victims of the nation's mortgage crisis as homeowners leave animals behind when they can no longer afford their property.

Pets "are getting dumped all over," said Traci Jennings, president of the Humane Society of Stanislaus County in northern California. "Farmers are finding dogs dumped on their grazing grounds, while house cats are showing up in wild cat colonies."

In one such colony in Modesto, two obviously tame cats watched alone from a distance as a group of feral cats devoured a pile of dry food Jennings offered.

"These are obviously abandoned cats," Jennings said. "They're not afraid of people, and they stay away from the feral cats because they're ostracized by them."

The abandoned pets are overwhelming animal shelters and drawing fury from bloggers, especially as photos of emaciated animals circulate on the Internet.

The first people to enter an abandoned house, such as property inspectors and real estate brokers, have discovered dogs tied to trees in backyards, cats in garages, and turtles, rabbits and lizards in children's bedrooms.

No one keeps track of the numbers of abandoned pets, but anecdotal evidence suggests that forsaken animals are becoming a problem wherever foreclosures are climbing. Stockton and Modesto have some of the nation's highest foreclosure rates.

Despite months of warning before a foreclosure, many desperate homeowners run out the clock hoping to forestall an eviction. Then they panic, particularly if they are moving to a home where pets are not permitted.

The situation has become so widespread that the Humane Society urged home owners faced with foreclosure to take their animals to a shelter.

Shelters are trying to keep up, but the spike in abandoned pets comes at a time when fewer people are adopting animals. Home sales are plunging to their lowest level in decades, and new homeowners are often the most likely to seek a pet.

Even people who are buying homes are not adopting pets.

"People are not bringing home puppies because times are tough, and animals cost money," said Sharon Silbert, president of Animal Rescue of Tracy, a community near Stockton.

The mortgage crisis showed few signs of easing Tuesday after a real estate tracking company announced that many homeowners started to fall behind on mortgage payments in the last three months, setting the stage for more foreclosures this year.

The San Joaquin Animal Shelter in Stockton is fielding more desperate calls from animal owners about to be evicted. Many call as a last resort after being turned down by various rescue groups with no room for more animals.

"They're usually breaking down on the phone," said Kathy Potter, a shelter dispatcher. "I'm quite direct with them that there's a 50-50 chance the animals might be put down."

Still, shelter operators say, half a chance is better than none.

"They may be euthanized at a shelter," said Stephanie Shain of the Humane Society of the United States. "But they'll be fed and have water and have a humane euthanization, as opposed to spending the last days of their lives eating carpet or wallboard."

Bloggers are furious with the "foreclosure pet" phenomenon, especially after seeing photos of emaciated animals on the Internet. Some critics say the pet owners have already proved they are irresponsible by buying houses they could not afford or mortgages they did not bother to understand.

"They see a pet as property, no different than a worn sofa tossed into the alley when the springs pop," says a posting about foreclosure pets on About.com.

The problem is exacerbated because most people grappling with foreclosure are returning to rental housing or moving in with relatives — two situations where it can be difficult or impossible to bring pets.

"What we've always known is that when times are hard for people, they're hard for their pets," said Stephen Zawistowski, a vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Abandoning animals is illegal in most states under anti-cruelty laws, but the laws are not rigidly enforced.

In Stockton, shelter workers recently reunited a family with two rottweilers they had left behind in their foreclosed house. The family was staying in a homeless shelter, the dogs being cared for by neighbors at the family's behest. Shelter workers were able to find housing for the family and their dogs.

But happy endings elude a majority of foreclosure animals.

"Their best shot is for the owners to plan ahead some," Jennings said. "But they didn't plan when they bought their house. I don't see that happening anytime soon."

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Medical College of Wisconsin Continues To Use Live Pigs in Teaching: Group Calls To End of Unnecessary and Cruel Practice

According to the article below, here are some key points:

Thirty-six pigs are to be opened, examined and killed at the Medical College at the end of February.

According to the physicians committee, which is based in Washington, D.C., the American College of Surgeons and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education support elimination of live animal laboratories and stress the use of alternatives, including human simulators.

More than 100 other medical schools, including Harvard, Yale and Cornell, have discontinued use of live laboratory animals.

Article:

Medical College urged to stop using live pigs in labs

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20080128/GPG0101/80128041/1206/GPGnews

By SUSANNE RUST

srust@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Jan. 27, 2008

Not satisfied with the decision by the Medical College of Wisconsin to stop using dogs as live teaching tools, an animal rights group is now calling on the school to stop using pigs.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is calling on the Medical College, as well as eight other U.S. medical schools, to get live animals out of the teaching curriculum.

Thirty-six pigs are to be opened, examined and killed at the Medical College at the end of February.

The group, which says the use of live animals is unnecessary and cruel, has erected a billboard on Highway 45 that calls on the school to stop.

More than 100 other medical schools, including Harvard, Yale and Cornell, have discontinued use of live laboratory animals.

This is the first year the Medical College has used pigs instead of dogs in its introductory physiology laboratory - a course designed for first-year medical students.

Although the physiology course began in January, the animal laboratory isn't scheduled until the end of February.

Richard Katschke, the associate vice president of public affairs at the Medical College, said the pigs come from local farmers and were not bred as laboratory animals.

He also said the American Physiological Society, the governing body for physiology education nationwide, endorses the use of animals in medical education.

"The definition of 'physiology' is 'the study of living systems,' " Allen Cowley, professor and chairman of physiology, said in an internal Medical College memo. "The Medical College's cardiovascular laboratory provides students with an exceptional learning experience."

He said it was the "only opportunity that students will have in their medical education to experience the cardiovascular function of a large animal with similar responses as humans before they begin clinical work with patients."

Katschke said the college has received 600 to 700 letters of protest about the pigs. About 50 of those letters came from residents of Wisconsin.

Other colleges still using live animals include the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the University of Minnesota Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Human simulators

According to the physicians committee, which is based in Washington, D.C., the American College of Surgeons and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education support elimination of live animal laboratories and stress the use of alternatives, including human simulators.

In 2005, the Medical College unveiled a $2.5 million high-tech clinical training and teaching center, which includes three human simulators - a man, woman and child.

Katschke said the simulators are also used in the course, and students uncomfortable with the live-animal laboratory are not required to participate.

As for the letter to the USDA, Katschke said he wasn't worried.

He said the USDA was at the school this month on a surprise inspection and the agency "gave us a clean bill of health."

The Newnan-Coweta Humane Society In Georgia Looks To Build A "No Kill" Shelter: Needs $50,000 Grant To Move Closer To That Goal

As stated below, they need $10 votes to get the grant. To vote for the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society, go to www.networkforgood.org . Near the top of the home page is a green rectangle with the word "donate" in it. Click on that box.

Article:

Humane society needs $10 votes for $50,000 grant

Published 1/28/08 in The Times-Herald

http://times-herald.com/

By W. WINSTON SKINNER

winston@newnan.com

The Newnan-Coweta Humane Society would like to operate a "no kill" shelter, and volunteers are hoping to get a $50,000 grant to move closer to that goal.

The society is only about 60 "votes" — at $10 each — from getting the grant. "We can do this. I know we can," said LouAnn Jones, NCHS vice president.

Most animal shelters — including the Coweta County animal shelter — euthanize animals after keeping them for a certain period of time. No kill shelters do not euthanize animals, and their costs for feeding, shelter and medicine are therefore higher than other shelters.

The society would also like to sponsor a spay/neuter clinic in Coweta County. The clinic and shelter would be "at one location," Jones said.

The society is hoping to get a $50,000 grant through the Network for Good/America's Giving Challenge program to get the facility started. People "vote" for the charity of choice on the Network for Good Web site. A vote requires a donation of $10 or more.

The vote is based on the number of people who contribute $10 or more to a specified charity. The top four U.S. groups and the top four international groups will get $50,000 each from the America's Giving Challenge project. The deadline to contribute is this Thursday, Jan. 31 at 3 p.m.

On Friday evening, the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society was in fifth place with 697 donations. "We are hanging precariously at number five," Jones said.

Ahead of the society were the Bubel-Aiken Foundation, a Raleigh, N.C. group that helps special needs children, 755 votes; the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, a Eugene, Ore. organization seeking a cure and treatment for Fanconi anemia, 1,096 votes; A Place To Bark, a no kill shelter in Portland, Tenn., 1,245 votes; and 11th Hour Animal Rescue, a no kill shelter in Rockaway, N.J., 1,390 votes.

To vote for the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society, go to www.networkforgood.org . Near the top of the home page is a green rectangle with the word "donate" in it. Click on that box.

When the next page appears, "find any charity" will be near the top of the page. Type "Newnan-Coweta Humane Society" under "Charity Name" and then click the orange "search" box. When the next page appears, click the green "donate now" icon and follow the directions for donating online.

The "America's Giving Challenge," which began Dec. 31 is jointly sponsored by Parade Magazine, Network for Good, the Case Foundation and SixDegrees.org .

Network for Good brings together donors, volunteers and charities online. The non-profit was founded in November 2001. Steve and Jean Case, excecutives with America OnLine, founded the Case Foundation in 1997 "to reflect their family's heartfelt commitment to finding lasting solutions to complex social challenges," according to the group's Web site. The foundation has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SixDegrees.org was founded by entertainer Kevin Bacon.

Jones said she hopes a local no kill shelter can be up and running within six months. She said the society will continue to work closely with the county's animal control program.

She said Fayette County now has a no kill program. County workers deal with animal cruelty cases and pick up strays, and the humane society there handles animals turned in by owners. "We definitely will continue a strong partnership with animal control," Jones said.

The society has already been awarded a grant that will cover rent for the shelter. The America' Giving Challenge would give NCHS funds to move ahead with the no kill shelter effort. Kennels, vaccines and supplies will have to be purchased.

The society already has partnerships locally that will provide pet food and veterinary care. "It's all about working as a team," Jones said.

She said the group's volunteers have worked hard to help get the $50,000 grant for the society. "We could not be any more proud of our volunteers," she said.

Now NCHS members are hoping the community will help push them into the winner's circle. Local caterer Jennifer Hanna, who is an enthusiastic NCHS supporter, said she hopes Coweta County's residents will come through.

"We absolutely need to be a no kill shelter," Hanna said. "We need to win this thing."

Video Proof Shows Hand-Held Electrical Devices Used To Prod Rodeo Horses at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado

The proof is in the video! Can’t argue with that. See the video proof at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Zj59ton9w

The National Western Stock Show says they’re investigating, but we all know how that goes.

Article:

Prods on broncs prompt complaint

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_8088925?source=rss

Stock show panel looking into matter

By Ann Schrader

The Denver Post

Article Last Updated: 01/27/2008 02:38:53 AM MST


In a video posted on YouTube.com by SHARK, an anti-animal-abuse group, men use what appear to be hand-held electrical devices to prod rodeo horses at the National Western Stock Show. (SHARK.com )
Jan 25:
Activist aims to jolt with rodeo video

Allegations that several saddle broncs performing last week in the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo were prodded by small hand- held electric devices are being investigated.

An animal-cruelty complaint was filed Friday with the Denver Animal Care & Control division by the group SHARK — Showing Animals Respect & Kindness.

"Our goal is not to knock out rodeos," said Steve Hindi, president of the Illinois-based group. "We just want them to follow their own rules and stop certain practices."

Video shot by Hindi at three National Western rodeos shows handlers leaning into the bronco chutes and touching the horses' necks or hips with the cellphone-sized devices.

The horses then bolted and bucked out into the arena and

The National Western's animal care and use committee also is looking into contentions that "hot shots" were used.

"We're not taking this lightly," said National Western spokeswoman Kati Anderson.

In a statement released Thursday, Anderson said the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association allows the use of livestock prods to get an animal to move safely.

The PRCA rules state: "Standard electric prods may be used only when necessary and may only touch the animal on the hip or shoulder area," and "The use of prods and similar devices is prohibited in the riding events unless an animal is stalled in the chute."

"The livestock prod is powered by nine-volt batteries and allows for harmless encouragement of the horse to leave the chute," the statement said.

PRCA spokeswoman Cindy Schonholtz said a prod is used only when the judge, the animal's owner and the contestant agree.

There are no specifications in the PRCA rules about the types of prods. Schonholtz said the judges, who receive training as part of their PRCA certification, must approve the device. She did not know what type of prod may have been used.

Hindi said the device resembles the Hot-Shot Power-Mite, which runs on two nine-volt batteries and delivers a 4,500-volt charge.

An official with Miller Manufacturing, which makes the Hot-Shot Power-Mite, said Friday that it was designed to move cattle and hogs.

"We don't condone the use of this on horses and not in rodeos," said Miller marketing director Amy Scheel.

The Hot-Shot Power-Mite produces a shock that "feels like a slight tingle, a little jolt," Scheel said.

Temple Grandin, an animal science professor at Colorado State University, said the "hot shot" sensation for horses would be like getting shocked on an electric fence.

"It doesn't burn them. There is no damage to the hide of the horse," Grandin said.

Grandin, a well-known animal behavior expert, watched the SHARK video posted on YouTube.com. She confirmed the prods were being used at the National Western rodeo.

"I'm surprised they were doing it," Grandin said. "They might need to be used when you're first training them."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bush Goes Around Court Decision and Puts Whales in Danger: Gives OK to Allow Navy Sonar Training Exercises Linked to Whale Stranding and Deaths

Not surprising at all.

Article:

Bush decision on sonar a blow for whales

New Scientist

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/us/
mg19726403.200-
bush-decision-on-sonar-a-blow-for-whales.html

IT'S not quite full speed ahead and damn the whales, but this week President Bush has given the US navy special dispensation to use sonar in training exercises off the southern California coast, in spite of restrictions imposed by a district court judge to protect marine mammals.

At issue are mid-frequency sonars, which have been linked to whale strandings and deaths, but which the navy considers essential for spotting ultra-quiet diesel-powered submarines. Earlier this month, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper imposed restrictions on sonar training missions in a case filed by the National Resources Defense Council and the California Coastal Commission.

Navy officials appealed to President Bush, who last week exempted the training exercises because of their importance to national security. At the same time, the administration's Council on Environmental Quality allowed the navy to operate without an environmental impact statement. The judge temporarily dropped the two restrictions the navy considered most troublesome - to shut down sonars when marine mammals come within 2 kilometres of the transmitters, and when conditions allow sonar pulses to travel long distances.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hollywood Superstar Natalie Portman to Launch Vegan Footwear Line: Ethical Vegan Sticks by Beliefs

Amazing that in this age there are still some superstars who live by an ethical conviction. Much respect to Natalie Portman for staying strong in the land of Hollywood.

Article:

Portman To Launch Vegan Footwear Line

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=23550

Natalie Portman has collaborated with a fashion firm to launch a line of vegan footwear.

The Natalie Portman Collection -- made in partnership with specialty shoe retailer Te Casan and the actress' stylist Kate Young -- will feature 20 pairs of limited-edition, hand-crafted designs that are completely animal-friendly, with a price tag of $200 each.

The star says, "As a vegan, I don't wear leather, fur or feathers. Shopping for clothes hasn't proved too difficult, but finding chic footwear has definitely been a challenge."

Yaniv Shirazi, Te Casan president, adds, "We met with Kate and Natalie to discuss what Natalie was looking to do and it was immediately clear that this would be a fantastic collaboration.

"There are so few animal-free collections out there, and Natalie's ideas were really great, in terms of style."

The line will debut in stores February 1 with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting The Nature Conservancy, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment.

A Report by European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies States Speaks Against Use of Cloned Animals in Food

Group Claims that Negative Effects Should Keep Products Off the Market

Finally a statement not put out by industry.

Article:

Europe’s Ethics Panel Says Cloning Harms Animals

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/business/
worldbusiness/18clone.html

Thomas Terry/Associated Press

By JAMES KANTER

Published: January 18, 2008

Just days after being told that milk and meat from cloned livestock were safe for human consumption, Europeans were warned Thursday that cloning causes suffering to the animals.

A report by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies says that the risks of negative effects were grave enough to keep cloned products off the European market.

There are “doubts as to whether cloning animals for food supply is ethically justified,” the group said in a statement. “At present,” the group said, it does “not see convincing arguments to justify the production of food from clones and their offspring.”

The group’s assertions come after a separate preliminary report by the European Food Safety Authority. That group, which advises members of the European Commission and governments, said last Friday that cloned products appeared to be safe for human consumption. The food authority’s definitive report is expected in May.

“Both studies are important, and you can’t say we will favor either one of them,” Nina Papadoulaki, the commission’s spokeswoman on health issues, said Thursday.

The group on ethics consists of 15 experts appointed by the commission and reports directly to its president, José Manuel Barroso. Its mission is to examine ethical questions arising from science and new technologies and to advise on possible legislation to govern those realms.

The group said that surrogates carrying cloned embryos could suffer and that the clones themselves experienced a high rate of disease and other health problems that include increased weight, malformations, respiratory problems, enlarged livers, hemorrhaging and kidney abnormalities.

In cattle, the group’s statement said, about 20 percent of cloned calves do not survive the first 24 hours after birth and an additional 15 percent die before weaning.

Ms. Papadoulaki said the commission would weigh the opinions it had received so far and would soon open a period of public comment. But she was unable to give a time frame for a commission decision on cloned food, or to say whether legislation would be necessary.

Cloning remains expensive, so consumers will be unlikely to find cloned products on supermarket shelves anytime soon, she said. “We don’t believe that someone would make a clone just to slaughter it and make it into steaks,” she added.

The dueling opinions in Europe are circulating as the Food and Drug Administration in the United States has determined such products are safe.

The European authorities are at a more preliminary stage than their American counterparts in assessing cloning and are looking at a broader spectrum of issues before making a decision, Ms. Papadoulaki said.

In its statement Thursday, the group on ethics said assurances about animal welfare, product tracking, public acceptability and steps to preserve domesticated breeds were required before food from cloned animals could be made available in Europe.

The group also recommended further research on species of farm-raised animals, in addition to those covered in the report by the European Food Safety Authority, which dealt only with pigs and cattle.

Police Find 12 Dead Dogs Inside Animal Shelter Managed By Benton County, Tennessee Mayor Jimmy Wiseman: Calls Made For Resignation

And it doesn’t stop there. As stated below, “a veterinarian had to euthanize 25 more puppies because of sickness.”

Let’s hope the calls work.

Article:

Protesters Call For Mayor's Resignation

http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=7738948

Posted: Jan 17, 2008 09:34 PM
Protesters Call For Mayor's Resignation
Shannon Dykstra

CAMDEN, Tenn. - Police in Camden plan to make an arrest Friday in connection with the discovery of sick and dead animals at the Benton County Animal Shelter last week.

Police found 12 dead dogs inside the animal shelter managed by Benton County Mayor Jimmy Wiseman.

A veterinarian had to euthanize 25 more puppies because of sickness.

A concerned citizen told police that animals at the shelter hadn't been fed or watered in days.

Police also found dozens of hungry dogs and animal waste throughout the facility

On Thursday, activists picketed the county courthouse, calling for Wiseman's resignation.

Protesters blamed Wiseman for problems at the shelter.

"I'm not going to resign because I was elected by the people of Benton County to do a job and the majority of the people are behind me," Wiseman said. "They know I'm truthful."

Protesters are collecting signatures for a petition to remove Wiseman from office.

They said he was fully aware of the problems at the animal shelter and failed to improve conditions.

Investigators said the animals were living in horrible conditions.

"It was hard," said Shannon Dykstra of West Tennessee Animal Rescue. "It was really hard to walk in there and know with the amount of feces, seeing the animals that were laying there dead. Little Miracle Myrtle, who was barely able to breathe, that was very hard to handle."

"I don't think it's right to put those dogs in cages," said one resident. "If the county ain't going to take care of them, they don't need people out there trying to take care of them. If you do that to a dog you'd do it to a kid."

Wiseman said all of the animals were removed to a safer facility.

Police did not disclose whether animal abuse charges would be filed against Wiseman or the woman who ran that facility.

Wiseman said he fired Jackie Boyette, shelter director.

Protesters plan to rally Friday morning.

Ingrid Newkirk Arrested During Protest in India to Raise Awareness to Cruel Sport of jallikattu

Ingrid was successful as she raised awareness to an act that many didn’t know existed.

Article:

PETA founder held in India over bullfight protest

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080118/
ts_nm/india_peta_bulls_dc_1

Fri Jan 18, 7:26 AM ET

CHENNAI, India (Reuters) - Police arrested the head of the animal rights group PETA for a breach of public peace and insulting religious feelings while protesting against a bullfighting festival in south India, officials said on Friday.

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was held on Thursday after she blindfolded a statue of Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi to protest against cruelty towards bulls in the ancient sport of "jallikattu."

Organized as part of the January harvest festival of "pongal," jallikattu is India's version of the running of the bulls which takes place every year in the Spanish city of Pamplona.

Fighters and muscular wild bulls -- often pepped up with large amounts of homemade liquor -- dash after each other in the streets of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Unlike the Spanish version of the sport, the aim is not to kill the bulls but to dominate and tame them, and pluck away bundles of money or other treats tied to their specially sharpened horns.

Police said Newkirk was held on charges of breaching public peace, hurting religious sentiments and damaging statues after she entered a park in Coimbatore town and put a cloth around the eyes of Gandhi's statue.

She then hung a placard saying: "Reject cruel sport jallikattu." She was released on bail.

Newkirk told Reuters she did not mean any disrespect to Gandhi but blindfolded his statue to symbolically shield him from the cruelty of the sport.

"In the name of taming of the bull, 10, 20, 50 people torment the animal and thousands cheer," she said. "You can see fear and confusion in the eyes of the animal as it tries to flee."

India's animal welfare board has also criticized the festival saying men beat the animals and throw burning chilli powder in their eyes, ears and mouth to enrage them.

India's Supreme Court banned jallikattu last year, saying it was cruel and not in keeping with what it described as the country's non-violent traditions.

But that ban was watered down this month, and the court said the popular sport could be held under strict government vigil.

Fighters and spectators have been gored or trampled to death, and the number of injured fighters has often run into the hundreds. The festival has been marketed as a tourist attraction in recent years.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anti-Whaling Activists from Sea Shepherd Conservation Group Board Japanese Whaling Ship to Bring Awareness to it’s Illegal Whaling

Very brave act and it seems to have worked. Awareness has been raised as to the continual illegal whaling by Japan.

As stated below,

“Japan sent ships to Antarctica in November to kill about 1,000 whales under a program that skirts an international moratorium on whaling because Tokyo says the kill is for scientific purposes. The program is widely condemned as a front for commercial whaling.”

For more about the Sea Shepherd conservation group see http://www.seashepherd.org/

Article:

Anti-whalers seek release of activists

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080116/
ap_on_re_as/antarctica_whaling_5

By HIROKO TABUCHI, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 16, 5:48 AM ET



TOKYO - Japan's whaling fleet in the Antarctic halted its operations Wednesday and scrambled to arrange the turnover of two activists who boarded one of its harpoon ships after a tense, high-seas chase, accusing the Sea Shepherd conservation group of piracy.

The captain of the activists' ship, meanwhile, told The Associated Press the two were "hostages" and vowed to continue to harass the fleet.

"We will only accept an unconditional release," Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson told the AP by satellite phone from the anti-whaling ship Steve Irwin. He said he wanted action immediately.

"We're going to chase them until they stop their hunt," Watson said. "As long as we're chasing them, they're not killing any whales."

The Japanese Fisheries Agency said it told the anti-whaling group to pick up the two activists, who boarded a harpoon ship on Tuesday to deliver a protest letter. The agency said its only demand was that the Sea Shepherd promise not to mount any attacks during the rendezvous.

Watson, however, said Japan was also demanding the group end its harassment of the whaling fleet as a condition of securing the pair's freedom.

Glenn Inwood, a spokesman for Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research, which organizes the hunt, accused Sea Shepherd of stalling to get publicity.

"It is completely illegal to board anyone's vessel ... on the high seas," he said. "So this can be seen as nothing more than an act of piracy by the Sea Shepherd group."

Australia criticized both sides for behaving in a potentially dangerous way in a region that is thousands of miles from the nearest help in case of an emergency.

Australian Benjamin Potts, 28, and Briton Giles Lane, 35, boarded the Yushin Maru No. 2 after chasing it in a rubber boat, and were tied up on deck while other Sea Shepherd activists threw bottles of acid onto the deck, Japanese officials said.

Watson said the activists wanted to deliver a letter demanding an end to the whale hunt and then leave, but were roughed up and held against their will.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australian officials had twice contacted their Japanese counterparts to press for the release of the two activists, and were assured this would happen.

He urged both sides to work together to urgently bring about the "safe and speedy" return of the men to the Steve Irwin.

"From the very first day, I urged all parties in this matter to exercise restraint," Smith told ABC radio, referring to previously known plans for the environmentalists to chase the whalers. "It's quite clearly the case that restraint hasn't occurred here."

He warned later at a news conference: "We're dealing with the great distance of the Southern Ocean. The capacity for adverse incidents is high, and the capacity for rescue or assistance is low."

In Tokyo, Japanese Fisheries Agency official Takahide Naruko told reporters the whalers decided to release the activists because they had done no damage to the ship, but Sea Shepherd had not responded to efforts to arrange the handover.

Whaling has been halted until the two are handed over, Naruko said.

Hideki Moronuki, a spokesman for the Japanese Fisheries Agency's whaling section, said it sent safety instructions for the hand-over, but attached no further conditions in terms of Sea Shepherd's activities.

But Watson said Japan was demanding Sea Shepherd stop harassing, filming or photographing the whalers, and that the transfer of the pair be conducted by small boat, 10 nautical miles from the Yushin Maru.

"I find it very strange that people who are holding hostages are calling us the pirates," Watson said.

The event was a rapid escalation of the annual contest between the fleet that carries out Japan's controversial whale hunt in the ocean at the bottom of the world and the environmental groups that try to stop them.

Smith said Australian Federal Police were evaluating whether any laws had been broken.

Naruko said whalers briefly tied up the two activists near the bridge of the Yushin Maru, and later moved them to a cabin.

Japan sent ships to Antarctica in November to kill about 1,000 whales under a program that skirts an international moratorium on whaling because Tokyo says the kill is for scientific purposes. The program is widely condemned as a front for commercial whaling.

Under intense international pressure, Japan abandoned its plans to include 50 humpback whales in this season's hunt, which is due to run until April.

__

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Austria Court Rules that Chimp Is Not a Person

An unfortunate decision for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious. The second, as stated below, is that “Donors have offered to help support him, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.”

Hopefully other ways of funding will come forth.

Article:

Austria Court: Chimp Is Not a Person

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i8zJPVs
WkbZyzlqCSCChgL40-WWwD8U6INCO1

5 hours ago

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — A chimpanzee cannot be declared a person, Austria's Supreme Court has ruled, activists said Tuesday.

An animal rights group had sought to have the chimp, Matthew Hiasl Pan, declared a person in hopes of gaining guardianship of the animal.

The shelter where Matthew has lived for 25 years is going bankrupt, threatening to leave him homeless. Donors have offered to help support him, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

The Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories sought to have him declared a person and petitioned to be appointed Matthew's trustee.

But the high court upheld a September ruling by a judge in the town of Wiener Neustadt rejecting the petition, the group said Tuesday.

The rights group said it would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Matthew and another chimp at the shelter, Rosi, were captured as babies in Sierra Leone in 1982 and smuggled to Austria for use in pharmaceutical experiments. Customs officers intercepted the shipment and turned the chimps over to the shelter.

Organizers said they may set up a foundation to collect donations for Matthew, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years.

But they argue that only personhood will ensure that he isn't sold outside Austria.

The Food and Drug Administration Gives Go to Allowing People to Eat Cloned Animals

What really can I say about this? Scary…yes. Strange…yes.

Unbelievably, “There are an estimated 650 live clones in the U.S., mostly cattle produced by closely held ViaGen Inc., based in Austin, Texas, and Trans Ova Genetics, of Sioux Center, Iowa. ViaGen charges about $13,500 to copy a cow.”

There was a concerted effort to not allow this to happen. Unfortunately though, when you have such big donors such as Smithfield Foods for it, there’s little hope for it not to be accepted.

Article:

Cloned Animals Are Safe for U.S. Food, Agency Says (Update7)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a1wQUkg_c3c8&refer=home

By Catherine Larkin and Beth Jinks

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring are safe to enter the U.S. food supply, regulators said over protests from lawmakers, consumer groups and worried eaters.

The Food and Drug Administration backed the use of cloning in livestock after a seven-year review found no special risks associated with the technology. The Agriculture Department said it plans to keep in place a 2001 voluntary moratorium on the sales of such products until industry and consumer groups can agree on labeling and marketing restrictions.

The FDA received 30,500 comments on its initial proposal in 2006, and Congress urged more research. The agency's decision to move ahead anyway benefits closely held companies that have already cloned hundreds of elite animals. Food producers, including Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat processor, and Dean Foods Co., the biggest dairy distributor, said they won't use cloned foods anytime soon.

``It will likely be a long time before such animals would even be available for market,'' said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson in an e-mail today. ``Whatever measures we ultimately take will be guided by government regulations and the desires of our customers and consumers.''

Cloned products may not reach the U.S. market for years, said Bruce Knight, the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programming, at a press conference.

Equally Safe

``We conclude that meat and milk from cattle, swine, and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day,'' said Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a statement today. Authorities lack the authority to require labeling of products from cloned animals, Sundlof said.

European regulators came to the same conclusion as the FDA in a draft assessment of cloning released Jan. 11. The European Food Safety Authority is taking comments until Feb. 25 on its proposal to allow meat and milk from cloned animals.

Cloning has stirred public fascination and ethical debate since Scottish scientists announced in 1997 that they had produced a cloned sheep named Dolly. Concern that eating products from such animals may be unsafe -- and that the animals themselves are needlessly exposed to more health problems -- increased after Dolly, suffering from an incurable lung disease, was euthanized at an early age.

The FDA said today that there isn't enough data to support the safety of food from cloned sheep.

650 Live Clones

Cloning allows ranchers to replicate a prize-winning animal or replace one that is injured or aging. There are an estimated 650 live clones in the U.S., mostly cattle produced by closely held ViaGen Inc., based in Austin, Texas, and Trans Ova Genetics, of Sioux Center, Iowa. ViaGen charges about $13,500 to copy a cow, and it expects the clones to be used exclusively for breeding bigger, stronger and perhaps tastier herds.

``The number of cloned animals in the barnyard today is minuscule compared to the size of the total livestock population,'' ViaGen President Mark Walton said today in an e- mailed statement. ``In addition, clones are to be used as breeding animals, not for consumption.''

Surveys show that many American consumers are reluctant to eat animals produced through biotechnology, although artificial insemination and other reproductive technologies are often used on ranches. A third of adults said they would never buy milk or meat from cloned animals even if the FDA determined it was safe, according to a poll released in 2006 by the Center for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy, at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's biggest pork processor, said it would avoid sales of products from cloned animals while reviewing the science, rules and public opinion.

``We will continue to monitor further scientific research on this technology,'' while focusing on ``careful selective breeding and genetic research,'' Smithfield, of Smithfield, Virginia, said today in a statement. The company already has an agreement with ViaGen for genetic research.

Dallas-based Dean Foods won't use milk from clones, though it hasn't reached a decision on their progeny, spokeswoman Marguerite Copel said on Jan. 7.

ViaGen and Trans Ova have pledged to register all of their livestock clones to ensure that food manufacturers can exclude the animals if they choose. The program won't apply to the natural-born offspring of replicated animals because they are considered impossible to track or identify through tests.

Industry groups, including the American Meat Institute, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, have said they support registering clones as a way to ease public queasiness.

Rodeo Horses, Bucking Bulls

About 80 percent of ViaGen's animals so far have gone into the entertainment business as rodeo horses, bucking bulls and show cows. The rest went to ranchers betting the FDA would repeal the voluntary moratorium on sale of food from clones and their offspring.

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat who has raised objections to cloned food, sent a letter in December to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach telling him not to ``pull a fast one'' by acting on cloned foods without conducting additional studies sought by lawmakers.

``The FDA has acted recklessly and I am profoundly disappointed in their rush to approve cloned foods,'' Mikulski said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Senate included an amendment that would have required more study of cloning in a $286 billion farm bill that awaits negotiation with the House. Congress earlier added language urging the FDA to delay action in an omnibus spending measure signed by President George W. Bush.

Call for Hearings

``Congress should hold hearings on the animal-welfare, ethical, and environmental implications,'' said Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group, in an e-mail today. ``FDA is charged with assessing the safety issues surrounding animal cloning. It is not the agency's job to address other objections that make cloned animals controversial.''

To produce clones, scientists grow copies of cells from the original animal in a lab dish, and then extract genetic material. The DNA from the animal to be cloned is inserted into an egg whose nucleus has been removed, and the resulting embryo is implanted in an animal that will serve as the clone's surrogate mother.

Supporters say the technology isn't a big leap from artificial insemination or genetically modifying rice and corn, tools that are now widely used on cattle ranches and farms.

``This is an additional technology that will find a place to contribute to an increased food supply and a safer food supply,'' said Jerry Baker, chief executive officer of the Federation of Animal Science Societies in Savoy, Illinois, in a Jan. 7 phone interview. The group represents more than 40,000 scientists in animal agriculture around the world.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

European Union Ban on Keeping Laying Hens in Small Battery Cages Confirmed To Begin 2012

2012 is a long time away. Yet, nice to see these changes will be made.

Article:

EU confirms 2012 date for ban on raising hens in small battery cages

http://www.pr-inside.com/eu-confirms-2012-date-for-ban-r376460.htm

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A European Union-wide ban on keeping laying hens in small battery cages will come into force as planned in 2012, the European Commission said Tuesday.

The commission pointed to a new report showing the ban will benefit animal welfare benefits without significantly harming farmers' incomes.

«There is scientific and economic support for
the ban on conventional battery cages,» said EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. «We are maintaining the deadline of 2012.

EU nations agreed in 1999 to phase out the cages by Jan. 1, 2012, after lengthy campaign by animal rights groups who claimed that farming hens in small cages was cruel.

After the deadline, laying hens will have be raised in the open air or barns, or be kept in cages of at least 750 square centimeters (116.28 sq. inches) per bird equipped with a nest, litter, perch and clawing board.

In a statement, the European Commission cited a report which said that cost of switching to the so-called «enriched cages» could be less than 1 percent per egg. The EU's executive branch said improving conditions for hens could boost sales, as consumers are increasingly concerned about animal welfare.

Animal rights campaigners welcomed the statement.

«This is the right decision for the welfare of millions of hens kept for egg production across Europe,» said Sonja Van Tichelen, director of the Eurogroup for Animals.

The Brussels-based federation of animal welfare organizations said some battery hens are currently kept in wire cages no bigger than a sheet of typing paper.

Some leading supermarket chains in Britain announced last week they were planning to phase out sales of eggs from battery hens before the ban.

Famous Chefs Joining Effort to Raise the Standards of Chicken Production

An important move. Let’s hope that celebrity status will help lead to the change they seek.

Article:

Inside the battery chicken sheds

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7178254.stm

By Chris Impey

Farming Today, BBC Radio 4

Farmers have defended their poultry farming techniques

A concerted campaign to raise the standards of chicken production has been launched by celebrity chefs, the RSPCA and the animal rights group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).

They're trying to persuade shoppers that intensively-reared chicken meat and eggs affect animal welfare, and must be changed.

Broiler chickens are birds that have been selectively bred and reared for their meat rather than eggs.

The industry began in the late 1950s. About 75% of the world's food animals are broiler chickens and some 200 billion are produced annually - 800 million of them in the UK.

Windowless sheds

This huge demand for poultry has meant that over the last 60 years commercial breeding has grown in scale.

The farming takes place in large and usually windowless sheds, often containing tens of thousands of birds which have been bred to grow more quickly: typically a broiler reaches a finished weight of 2.5kg within nine weeks. It's sold in the shops for a price of around £2.50.

I hope it will stimulate the industry in[to] being more pro-active in getting over what we're doing better to the consumer

Charles Bournes
NFU

Animal welfare lobbyists argue that as a result of a lack of space and quick growing, the birds are prone to lameness as well as heart and respiratory problems.

CIWF claims that one in 20 broilers dies because of a heart attack. And, they say, birds can be left to go hungry, suffer stress and unsanitary conditions.

There's also been fierce criticism of battery egg production, where producing birds are housed in small cages.

An EU regulation due in 2012 will see the banning of such practices with larger cages such as a perch and litter being introduced.

Many supermarkets have already banned or are about to ban battery eggs from their shelves.

'Misleading the public'

But British farmers have fiercely defended their farming methods in the wake of such criticism.

The British Poultry Council says it believes the campaign will mislead the public and maintains that its own standards are high, and protect animal welfare.


Chef Jamie Oliver is raising awareness of chicken production

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme, poultry producer Nigel Joice, who with 800,000 birds runs one of the country's largest indoor operations, was adamant that his poultry were well cared for.

With seven staff employed to monitor the birds, he said welfare was the number one consideration on his farm and that the CIWF figure of one in 20 deaths being caused by heart stress was "absolute rubbish". He said the mortality rate of his flock was just 1%.

But the poultry spokesman for the National Farmers Union, Charles Bournes, believes the campaign is actually a wake-up call for the industry.

He told Farming Today: "I hope it will stimulate the industry in[to] being more pro-active in getting over what we're doing better to the consumer, and to let the public know that if [it] wants improved breeding systems, then it's going to have to pay for it."

Lyon County Near Reno, NV Puts Forth Amendment To Prohibit Certain Acts And Conditions Related To Animals, Especially In Relation To Rodeos

An important move. As stated below, these include, "The additional paragraphs (M-Q) deal with fighting of animals (instigated or baited), injury and overwork, enclosures and restraints, cruel and unusual uses and horse tripping (intentionally trip or fall any equine animal by the legs for entertainment or sport).”

Article:

Prohibited acts regarding animal cruelty proposed to be added to Lyon ordinance

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080109/FERNLEY01/801090347/1306/BIZ01

KEITH TROUT

RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL

Posted: 1/9/2008
An amendment to Lyon County Code to prohibit certain acts and conditions related to animals was proposed at the Jan. 3 Board of Commissioners meeting.

Commissioner Larry McPherson, who requested the agenda item, proposed the amended ordinance, which adds five paragraphs regarding treatment of animals to Title 7, Chapter 1 (Animals and Animal Services), subchapter 5 (prohibited acts and conditions).

The additional paragraphs (M-Q) deal with fighting of animals (instigated or baited), injury and overwork, enclosures and restraints, cruel and unusual uses and horse tripping (intentionally trip or fall any equine animal by the legs for entertainment or sport).

The proposed ordinance will be advertised and a public hearing will be conducted, likely at the first meeting in February.

Bob Rubis of the Tri-Counties Rodeo Association, which puts on rodeos at the arena at the Dayton Valley Events Center, spoke at the meeting to say the Mexican rodeos conducted at the arena don't involve "horse tripping", which involves roping a horses's hind legs. He said, "We've never done it in the past and we don't plan to in the future."

Commissioner Bob Milz asked about something he'd heard about involving grabbing a cow's tail and flipping it.

Rubis said "steer tailing" is done at the Mexican rodeos sponsored by Tri-Counties at the Dayton Valley Events Center and explained it is done by following a cow along a fence and see who can flip the steer by grabbing its tail in the shortest length. He said money isn't won at these rodeos.

Rubis said some think all rodeos are cruel and added, "If we damage a horse, we lose money," up to $600 per animal. He also added three other arenas in Lyon County have Mexican rodoes, including one in Mason Valley and the steer flipping wasn't more cruel than events at professional rodeos.

McPherson told Rubis the proposed ordinance didn't mention cow flipping.

Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill said the term "target" in paragraph P under cruel and unusual uses could include calf roping or steer wrestling where the steer's head is twisted but she was told by District Attorney Bob Auer this proposal wouldn't include traditional events now conducted at sanctioned rodeos.

Asked who defines cruel and unusual punishment, McPherson said Lyon County Animal Services had reviewed the proposal and would make that determination.

McPherson in a separate interview said he'd been approached by several people about such an ordinance, noting they have them in Clark County and several counties in California, that he hadn't brought up this proposal on his own. McPherson said he was given extensive paperwork including other ordinances and he had given it to the District Attorney's Office, which had written the draft ordinance.

He said among those who spoke to him about it included deputies, with at least one who had been upset by what he had seen at a rodeo in Dayton and word of animal injuries had been a spark and this was something he wasn't aware of before being contacted.

Milz said the county hadn't seen a necessity for such a rule before and just because a deputy thought something was cruel, didn't mean it was so. "What is cruel?"

McPherson, a horseman who has ridden with the Pony Express rides and was a leader in that organization, said the idea was that the ordinance amendment not be too specific and that it "covers a lot of territory."

Eventually Auer halted the discussion and questioning, saying such discussion was what the public hearing was for.

Animal Rights News Year End Round Up for 2007 from DawnWatch

What better site to offer such an important synopsis.

Article:

DawnWatch Animal News year end round-up – 2007

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/07/18470939.php

by karen dawn

Monday Jan 7th, 2008 10:15 PM

DawnWatch Animal News year end round-up -- 2007

It's Christmas morning. Before I shut down my computer until January 3, 2008, I will enjoy fulfilling what has become a DawnWatch tradition -- a scan of the media stories of the year. Because I feel so blessed to do this work, Christmas morning seems the most perfect time to sum up a year of it.

For dogs, 2007 was the year of "fake fur" coats made from real dog fur, of the Menu pet food crisis, of celebrity pet store blunders, and the year of Michael Vick.

In February the Humane Society released a report telling us it had tested garments being sold at popular outlets and had found many garments labeled faux but containing real fur. Also, fur labeled as raccoon was sometimes from wild dog, or domestic dog, including a German shepherd-collie mix. The story got widespread media play, even in People magazine. While animal advocates may dislike the suggestion that dog fur coats are more repugnant than others, the dog angle got the media. The widespread coverage reminded the public that all fur coats were once live sentient animals.

On March 16, Menu Foods announced a recall of 91 pet food products sold under some of the country's best known brands. Early coverage reported 10-15 cats and dogs dying after eating canned and pouched foods. Sadly, that number was widely repeated by the media even when it became clear that it only included the cats and dogs who died in Menu's test lab -- not the true number of animals, which is estimated to be in the thousands. A superb piece published on the San Francisco Gate website, by Christie Keith, told us "Nearly one month passed from the date Menu got its first report of a death to the date it issued the recall. During that time, no veterinarians were warned to be on the lookout for unusual numbers of kidney failure in their patients. No pet owners were warned to watch their pets for its symptoms. And thousands and thousands of pet owners kept buying those foods and giving them to their dogs and cats." We have since learned, from the Toronto Globe and Mail, that the
chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund sold nearly half his units in the pet food maker less than three weeks before the massive recall. He called the timing a "horrible coincidence."


This year the media occasionally featured Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Falling into that focus were their purchases of puppies from a Bel Air pet store. For years, with limited success, animal folks have been trying to get the media to cover the horror of the puppy mills that supply pet stores. The Britney and Paris hook did the trick. The story gained momentum throughout the year, with Entertainment Tonight, in October, airing a puppy mill segment recorded for PETA by Charlize Theron some years ago. On the Saturday before Christmas, the biggest puppy buying day of the year, actorvist Carole Davis led others such as Law and Order's Richard Belzer and comedian Carol Leifer, in a protest outside the usually celebrity stocked pet store, and closed it down for the day. The protest got some great media, and you can watch the fun original video covering the event at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyZdkCi-JzQ


In 2007, the hideous practice of dog fighting finally got massive media attention when Michael Vick was arrested for it. There were reports that he was involved in many dog deaths including the electrocution of a dog after she lost a fight. After failing polygraph tests while denying he killed dogs, Vick finally admitted to hanging a dog and eventually owned up to another dog killing. He was sentenced, in December, to twenty-three months in prison. The dogs taken live from his property have been retired to the Best Friends sanctuary. For a short time there was so much media ,Vick seemed to be the new Britney.


The scandal inspired a storyline on the hit drama series CSI, detailing the cruelties of dog fighting. It aired December 13 under the title "Lying Down With Dogs."

That brings us to the remarkable coverage this year of animal issues on mainstream television, in hit drama and comedy series:

In January, on the popular show "Veronica Mars," Veronica was hired to investigate the disappearance of a monkey stolen from the campus lab. We learn that while the animal rights kids were suspected, the monkey, Oscar, was actually taken by a science student who couldn't bear the thought of the monkey being euthanized, which was Oscar's fate at the lab. Thus millions of American teenagers learned the fates of monkeys who die in laboratories for trivial purposes. Of course, Veronica decided not to turn in the science student for his act of compassion.

Also in January, ABC's Boston Legal took a look at animal testing. Bethany defended Matthew, accused of harassing a woman named Bella who owned a cosmetic company that tested its products on animals. Matthew's organization had been protesting outside the business and saying it kills and tortures animals. When Bethany cross examined Bella, she said: "The truth is, you do kill and torture animals, do you not?...Your company uses rabbits..You lock them in stocks so that just their heads stick out. You clip their eyelids open and poor chemicals into their eyes while they are left there for two weeks to experience ulceration, bleeding, and massive iris deterioration. Do you not subject these animals to excruciating pain?...Sometimes the rabbits break their own necks trying to escape."


Later in the year, in December, David Kelly and Boston Legal took on meat and the environment. In one episode, the head of an environmental organization was distressed to see massive energy waste at the law firm's offices. He sued, claiming that the firm had misrepresented itself as green. Cross examining the head of the green group, the lawyer asked if he eats meat, and explained, "I only ask because studies show eating meat contributes more to greenhouse gases than driving a car. Denny says you two often have rib-eye together. Is that true?" When the defendant said he didn't believe eating meat is worse for the environment than driving a car, the lawyer responded, "It is. Contaminated runoff from slaughterhouses is a major source of water pollution. Livestock itself contributes 18% of greenhouse gases just from, pardon me, farting. That's more than all the planes, trains and automobiles put together."


Boston Legal takes its storylines from current affairs. How wonderful that this year both animal testing and the impact of meat diets on the planet were current affairs deemed important and topical.


Even on comedy shows, serious animal issues were tackled. In April, on The King of Queens, Doug found a live chicken for whom he developed affection. He and the audience were treated by his neighbor to a film about slaughterhouses. Doug went veggie. By the end of the episode he could no longer withstand the onslaught of the fast food advertising campaigns; he gorged on burgers. But the issue was portrayed in such a way that Doug's lack of will power, while funny, was also sad. In fact the topic of animals and meat was handled with surprising sensitivity throughout the episode.


The boys on HBO's Entourage rescued a racehorse who was bound for "the glue factory," reminding viewers of the fate of the losers.


And even reality TV got into the act. On Fox's "The Two Coreys," one Corey supported PETA and invited a PETA representative over to show slaughterhouse footage to the other.


HBO, known for its superb documentaries, this year aired "I am an Animal," about Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA. If you missed it, you can get it "On Demand" or on Netflix. It is a fascinating documentary, which includes animal cruelty information everybody should know - and which, thanks to HBO, quite a few people now do know.

The Wall Street Journal covered Smithfield's announcement that it will phase out sow gestation crates. Those are individual cages in which sows spend much of their lives. They are too small for the animals to turn around or lie down in with legs outstretched. The phase-out will be over ten or twenty years, so we continue to push for bans. This year Oregon became the first state to pass a legislative ban on the crates. In 2008 we hope to make California the third state to do so by ballot initiative. The initiative will include bans on restrictive cages for calves raised for veal, and for laying hens.


Even Wolfgang Puck went welfare, announcing early this year that he would no longer sell foie gras, and that he would introduce animal welfare standards for the meat prepared in his food empire. He also vowed to introduce more vegetarian dishes.


Last year there was much news about elephants; this year some of it turned good. Los Angeles's Ruby was retired to the PAWS sanctuary in Northern California. And Maggie, the lone elephant in Africa for years, has just joined her. The Alaskan zoo finally agreed to let Maggie go after she collapsed in her barn twice in a week, unable to stand without the help of local firefighters. We thought we were going to lose her but she is now safe at the sanctuary.

While we continue to spread the word about the animal cruelty of circuses, unfortunately the widely watched Bachelor took a group date to one this year. But we see other signs of light. Last weekend, as Ringling arrived in Florida, the Palm Beach Post published a searing indictment by Florida radio host Duncan Strauss. You can read it at http://tinyurl.com/ywpr44

The Bachelor also swam with dolphins. The UK Independent did a piece in January focusing on the link between dolphin slaughter and the use of live dolphins for human entertainment -- such as in swim with dolphins programs. It told us that thousands of dolphins are chased and killed, with a few of the best specimens being sold live to the highest bidders, for tens of thousands of dollars each. Only a celebrity ensures coverage in America, and this year, during Japan's annual dolphin slaughter in November, the dolphins got Hayden Panettiere, the young star of Heroes. She accompanied Ric O'Barry to the Taiji killing beach. The media went mad. Shows such as "E" and "The Insider" covered the story. Even though they needed the celebrity hook, the coverage was not fluff. The Insider included horrifying footage and pointed viewers to http://www.savejapandolphins.org/ to get involved and try to help bring the annual slaughter to an end.


Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd's work for the whales was featured in a lengthy New Yorker story, and in an interview on NPR's Diane Rehm Show with the author of Whale Warriors.


Efforts to ban horse slaughter remained in the news through 2007. We learned from a Houston Chronicle front page story that the closure of US slaughterhouses has led to mass trucking of unwanted horses on long journeys to Mexico for slaughter - in facilities where no humane laws apply. The American Horse Slaughter Prevent Act, which would ban not only US horse slaughter but also the transport of horses to slaughter elsewhere, is now needed more that ever. At https://community.hsus.org/campaign/FED_2007_horse_slaughter3 you can send letters to your legislators urging their support.

Animal issues also got indirect but important coverage this year as those who refuse to eat or wear animals hit the trendy mainstream. 2007 was the year of Vegan Chic. We saw Today Show coverage of Vegan accessories, a piece in The Boston Globe on a professional image consultant whose specialty is vegan fashion, an article in Forbes magazine on a high-end vegan shoe-designer, and leading papers publishing articles such as "Style goes vegan."

The New York Times Dining Section featured vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz on its cover, in an article titled, "Strict Vegan Ethics, Frosted With Hedonism." Newsweek broached marriages between vegans and omnivores. And, astounding to many of us, this year Gourmet Magazine announced that it would start running regular vegetarian features, and editor Ruth Reichl wrote "how much more food there would be if we all ate vegetables instead of feeding the plants to the animals and eating their meat." She also wrote, "It is becoming increasingly clear that we ought to change our ways. We live in a society that consumes more meat than any other group in history. There are currently more than three billion domesticated cattle, sheep and goats in the world - and that number does not include the 100 million pigs or the 9 billion chickens that we consume every year in this country alone. Livestock grazing and feed production now use 30 percent of the surface of the planet, and that takes
a toll on the environment. Eating so much meat takes a toll on us as well: Most health professionals agree that we would be better off if we consumed less meat and more vegetables."

The same magazine, in June, covered chicken slaughter, sharing gruesome details of standard practices. Gourmet!
Veganism's move to the mainstream got a push from Skinny Bitch, a vegan diet book that sold well from the start, but which hit the number one spot on the New York Times best seller list after Victoria Beckham was spotted with a copy. 850, 000 copies are now in print!

Vegan fighter Mac Danzig won Spike TV's "Ultimate Fighter" championship.

And the New York Times Magazine section's "7th Annual Year in Ideas" included "Vegansexuality," the term for those who seek intimate partners who share their compassionate lifestyle.

Perhaps vegetarianism saw its hottest mainstream spike when vegan actress Alicia Silverstone promoted vegetarianism in an advertising campaign - naked. If you missed the spot you can still see it at http://www.peta.org/feat/alicia_psa/index.asp.

And check out Jimmy Kimmel's monologue from his September 20 show. It includes a spoof on the ad that is well worth watching. The monologue is on line at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYOVELcTnu4 and you can skip to 7:50 to watch the Alicia segment.

This year, at Thanksgiving, there were so many articles on vegetarian feasts that DawnWatch couldn't possibly cover them all. I had to "settle" for the New York Times Thanksgiving Day front page article on turkey rescue!

Activists taking the animal protection message into faith based communities made news with a lead article in The Los Angeles Times. The article noted the work of Best Friends, and of the new "animals and religion" program at HSUS, and of Bruce Friedrich from PETA. The Los Angeles Times also covered PETA's undercover investigation of a hen farm run by a Trappist Monastery in South Carolina. We learned that the monks were raising the hens under standard industry conditions, and learned the cruelty of those conditions. Just before Christmas the monastery announced that it will halt its egg farming business.

Also late this year, Foxnews.com published two groundbreaking pieces about shocking cruelty at a pig slaughterhouse - just in time for the Christmas ham season.

We wish Gretchen Wyler had been alive to see them - and all of this years' amazing coverage. In May we lost the Golden Age Broadway star who founded the Genesis Awards, an award show as glamorous as she was, which honors animal friendly media. We will miss her but know that her legacy, the Genesis Awards, is stronger than ever. What a media selection there will be to choose from this year!

I have been working on DawnWatch for eight years. Every year, as I look back and see the immense increase in the amount and depth of coverage of animal issues I get a little weepy. We are getting somewhere. I thank all of you who care. This year I particularly thank the many of you who made my job easier and helped out everybody, by sending me media tips and links when I could not find the time to dig them up. Many of you know I have spent most of the year writing and putting together a book. It is called "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals," and will be published by Harper Collins in March. I so look forward to readings and to meeting some of the thousands of wonderful activists behind the email addresses I see on my screen. Your care and commitment is changing the world.


Wishing us all joyous holidays that renew our strength for the compassionate campaigns of 2008,
Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn


(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

22 Of The 47 Surviving Pit Bulls From Michael Vick Dog Fighting Abuse Case Headed To Best Friends Animal Society

An excellent place for them to end up after their lives of hell.

Article:

Vick Dogs Go To Utah Sanctuary

http://www.wtkr.com/Global/story.asp?S=7568007&nav=ZolHbyvj

The last of the dogs taken from suspended NFL star Michael Vick's dog fighting operation in Virginia have been sent on their way to a sanctuary.

Twenty-two of the 47 surviving pit bulls boarded a charter flight today to the Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill sanctuary in Utah.

In all, eight rescue organizations took the animals. Some will remain at sanctuaries, others will be trained for possible adoption by the public. One of the seized animals was euthanized for medical reasons.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback and three co-defendants raised pit bulls and trained them for fighting behind his home. Several dogs that did not perform well were killed.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Veterinarian in Iraq Risks Life to Care for Sick Animals

Now here is an example of a human who knows the meaning of sacrifice. Thankfully he continues his work in such a dangerous place.

Article:

Baghdad vet risks all as he tends to sick animals

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gKBRVI20a7vXNdNlmZJVxez-TTew

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Nameer Abdul Fatah has shrapnel holes in his vehicle and wounds in his leg suffered during hazardous trips across conflict-ridden Baghdad to treat injured and sick patients.

But Fatah is not an ambulance driver. His patients are animals that receive expert care thanks to one Iraqi veterinarian who is determined to keep on working.

Treating all creatures great and small, from pure-bred poodles to fierce guard-dogs, parrots and even tigers, Fatah has been on duty in Baghdad for 26 years.

Since the US-led invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, he has continued to tend to needy animals in the violent and chaotic times that have engulfed the city.

"People in Baghdad still want to look after animals despite everything," he told AFP during a short break in his daily round of house calls.

"More Muslims keep dogs as pets than is generally believed," Fatah said, despite Muslim tradition that holds dogs are unclean and discouraged as pets.

"There are many expensive dogs like Pekinese in the city. People keep them inside at home and don't take them for walks because of the danger."

Fatah, 46, who qualified as a vet in Baghdad before specialising in small animals while training in the former East Germany, rushes around the Iraqi capital with a large case crammed with surgical instruments and medicine bottles.

"It was very difficult to get the right drugs under Saddam because taxes made it impossible to travel and UN sanctions difficult to import anything. Now I can buy the medicine I need privately from abroad," he said after injecting an adopted stray cat with antibiotics and vitamins to help it recover from a road accident.

He said he had worked with police dogs during the rule of the ousted dictator, but like many Iraqis he declines to talk in detail about his career during those years.

Fatah said that since Saddam's fall, which triggered sectarian violence that has claimed thousands of lives, he has had many near-misses from shootings, rockets and mortar attacks.

"The windows of my car were blown out once when I was driving to examine a client's dog, and another time I got bad wounds in the leg from shrapnel.

"But I was never the target, and I would never stop because of the dangers."

Just days after US troops arrived in Baghdad, he was trying to visit clients in Baghdad's southern Dora neighbourhood when a gunfight broke out around him.

"The Americans blocked the road and said I couldn't go forward. But I had to go, so I took the risk and drove straight on. I got through to treat the animal."

Just a month ago the stocky and energetic Fatah saved the life of a German Shepherd dog that had been punctured with 20 pieces of shrapnel after a mortar landed near it in Baghdad's western Yarmuk neighbourhood.

The dark-haired vet, who has a small clinic equipped with an operating theatre, said many of his clients are wealthy families or diplomats but that his main concern is for the animals.

"This is how I have survived. I go to big houses but I don't ask questions. I keep myself away from politics."

Having such clients has meant that he has been called on to deal with an exotic menagerie, including rare birds, bears, monkeys and even tigers and lions.

"Only recently I had to remove a bullet from a bear that was shot," Fatah said, adding that Iraqis keep large animals in cages as prize possessions -- although US troops have confiscated most lions and tigers from private owners.

The vet prefers to treat smaller domestic animals and often looks after seriously ill pets in his clinic overnight if they need constant supervision.

"Sadly I can't have my own pets because during the day I am out of the house for 15 hours," said Fatah, who believes he is one of only two vets in the whole of Iraq specially trained to treat small animals.

He said he has turned down prestigious and highly paid job offers in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt because he prefers to continue working in Baghdad.

Fatah's seven-year-old son wants to become a vet and often accompanies his father on his rounds -- giving hope that in the future there will at least be one more person to care for Baghdad's much-neglected animal population.

Illinois Law Include Animals in Orders of Protection In Relation To Domestic Violence

This law was passed in May, 2007. Incredible steps as typically, those who abuse non-human animals are likely to abuse human animals

Article:

Law takes pets under its wing

http://www.kcchronicle.com/articles/2008/01/02/
news/local/doc477c722d4fd38014309818.txt

By AMELIA FLOOD

GENEVA – People are not the only victims of domestic abuse.

A new law that went into effect Tuesday aims to protect pets and animals from domestic violence.

Under the new law, Illinois judges can include animals in orders of protection, just as they would a human being. The bill was passed unanimously in May 2007.

Those working with domestic-violence victims say animal abuse often is a sign of more severe abuse.

“It’s just a short step between animal and person,” said Gretchen Vapnar, executive director of Crisis Community Center, a shelter for domestic-violence victims.

The animal abuse seen at the Crisis Community Center ranges from neglect to direct threats against the animal.

Anna Meier, coordinator for the center’s Batterer Intervention program, said that both victims and abusers reported incidents involving pets.

Often, Meier said, abusers ordinarily would not focus on animals at all.

“It’s generally not a thing where they’d just want to go out and hurt an animal,” Meier said. “It’s part of that power and control.”

Because it has handles situations cases with pets, Crisis Community has an agreement with Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin to house the pets of those at the crisis center.

One drawback to the agreement, Meier said, is that the animals can’t be kept indefinitely.

“They’re overcrowded, too, and they can’t always hold the pets,” Meier said.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, was one of the sponsors of the bill.

She supports animal rights and said it had become more of a hot-button issue since the recent Michael Vick case.

“You have to protect everybody,” Chapa LaVia said.

Vick, the former member of the Atlanta Falcons football team, was sentenced in December 2007 to 23 months in prison in a case involving animal cruelty and dog fighting.

“Some people may think that’s ridiculous but some people consider their pets members of the family. It’s my job to protect everybody.”

As far as the Kane County Sheriff’s Office is concerned, it doesn’t matter who is included in the order of protection.

“However it’s written up, we have to enforce it,” said Lt. Pat Gengler, spokesman for the department.

Goat Raped and Killed Leads to Push for Bill that Would Outlaw Bestiality in Florida

We can only hope this occurs. Amazing that in this day bestiality is not illegal. Says a lot.


Article:


Goat abuse sparks outcry

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/366527.html

The case of a goat who was raped and killed has prompted a push for a bill that would outlaw bestiality in Florida.
Posted on Thu, Jan. 03, 2008Digg del.icio.us AIM reprint print email
BY MARC CAPUTO
mcaputo@MiamiHerald.com
Related Content
Document Read the proposed bill
After a goat was raped and killed in a Panhandle town, animal activists, police and citizens were almost as shocked to find out that bestiality isn't a crime in Florida.

But it might be soon.

A Sunrise state senator and a St. Petersburg representative have filed legislation to make it a first-degree felony to have sex with animals or promote or advertise bestiality.

''It's true. It's sick. There needs to be a law,'' said Democratic Sen. Nan Rich, a longtime crusader for children and animal rights. ``There are 30 states that make this a crime. Florida isn't one of them.''

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who called the situation ''unbelievable,'' said Thursday he would sign the bill into law if it made it to his desk.

Rich said she was as shocked as she was disgusted when she learned of the rape and asphyxiation last year of a family pet goat named Meg -- who was pregnant with twins -- in the town of Mossy Head in rural Walton County.

A suspect in the case, a 48-year-old man, is serving an 11-month, 29-day jail sentence on animal-theft charges in connection with the attempted abduction of another goat in a separate case, according to Walton County Assistant State Attorney James Parker.

Parker said he couldn't prosecute the suspect in the death of Meg because DNA samples taken with a sheriff's office rape kit were inconclusive.

Parker said he asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement last week to retest the evidence.

But even if there's a DNA match, Parker said the suspect could only be charged with misdemeanor trespassing and animal cruelty, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Parker said the suspect could not be arrested for bestiality because it isn't a crime. The prosecutor added that the man is ''definitely a suspect'' because he was arrested trying to take another person's goat Feb. 3 shortly after Meg was choked to death from her collar that had been tightly held around her neck.

Parker said it was the suspect's second livestock-theft charge. Dee Thompson-Poirrier, of Okaloosa County Animal Services, said Meg the goat was once featured at a 4-H Club, and had been given to a family with small children by a neighbor who had suspected an area man -- she wouldn't say who -- of abusing the animal.

Thompson-Poirrier said she was called in to handle the case because Walton County locals believed it would best be handled by someone outside the county. She said Meg's owner heard a suspicious noise the night of the incident and only later learned that someone had set her dogs free and had left dog biscuits near the fence to lure the animals away from Meg.

While the rape and killing were shocking, Thompson-Poirrier said so was the fact that bestiality isn't even a crime here. ''I found out far more about goats and bestiality than I ever wanted,'' she said.

Rich said the prohibition against bestiality is important because studies show that those who abuse animals may also abuse children. She expects the legislation that she's sponsoring with Democratic Rep. Frank Peterman to pass during the spring lawmaking session, though they might reduce the first-degree felony charge calling for a maximum 30-year prison sentence for committing, promoting, abetting or possessing pornography of bestiality.

Otherwise, the bill is too little, too late.

''The fact that this happens is unconscionable,'' Rich said. ``And it should be illegal.''

Thompson-Poirrier says her PAWS society spent about $5,000 investigating the case and having the suspect's DNA analyzed.

The odd local publicity helped bring back about $300, when a man from nearby Crestview made a series of $10 goat T-shirts for sale.

One shirt depicts a goat saying ``Baaa Means No!''

Nation's Largest Cockfighting Bust in Arkansas Leads to Pleas

Good news. We’ll hope this ripples.

Article:

Animals Celebrate as Pleas Are Entered in Nation's Largest Cockfighting Bust

http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=807205

Last Chance for Animals to Observe Proceedings

VAN BUREN, AR--(Marketwire - January 4, 2008) - On Monday, January 7th, in connection with the nation's largest cockfighting bust, thirty-nine people will appear in Crawford County Circuit Court to enter pleas. Judge Gary Cottrell ordered the mandatory appearance of the cockfighters. Last Chance for Animals, responsible for undercover investigation leading to bust, will also be in court, to observe the pleas of the cockfighters.

Last May, with information provided by Last Chance for Animals' Special Investigations Unit, county law enforcement officials, along with Arkansas State Police and FBI agents raided a crowded and popular cockfighting arena, operating on Shiloh Road near Cedarville. The raid resulted in 127 arrests, with both federal and misdemeanor charges. Those not represented on Monday have appeared before Crawford County Court or in Van Buren District Court.

"I will be in court on Monday to look these degenerate cockfighters square in the eye. They have been getting away with horrific acts of animal cruelty for far too long. Last Chance for Animals speaks on behalf of all the animals that have been abused and killed; we must take a tough stance against animal cruelty. Dog fighting has garnered much attention this past year, let's make sure we don't forget about the scum that cockfights," stated Chris DeRose, President and Founder, Last Chance for Animals.

The raid came after several months of surveillance, which included infiltration of the group by undercover officers. All of those in court face unclassified felony charges of keeping a gambling house and misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals. Twenty of the group faces additional charges of criminal use of property or laundering criminal proceeds and 21 face added charges of engaging in a continuing criminal or gang organization or enterprise.


Where: Crawford County Circuit Court -- Division I
300 Main Street
Van Buren, AR 72956

When: 8:30 AM, Monday, January 7th
Scheduled Time for Cockfighters to Arrive in Court

Who: Chris DeRose, President and Founder, Last Chance for Animals
Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a national non-profit animal rights organization based in Los Angeles, has been active for almost 25 years. Founded and led by animal expert, author and actor, Chris DeRose. LCA fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty. Visit www.LCAnimal.org.

Contact: For media interviews with Chris DeRose, call Eileen Koch & Company at 310-441-1000 . For all other information, contact Lisa Beal, LCA Campaigns Director, (818) 681-3672 , lisa@lcanimal.org

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