Monday, February 25, 2008

Cruel South Africa Revises 1994 Ban and will Allow the Killing of Elephants

What more can I say but how absolutely ridiculous, callous and plain stupid. Killing elephants for the flawed decisions of human encroachment on native elephant lands is just tragic.

As stated below, the only thing now to do is to boycott South Africa. Anyone who thinks they'll find a legitimate eco vacation in South Africa had better reassess that thought. Killing elephants proves that the government of South Africa cares nothing about wildlife.

Article:

South Africa to allow elephant killing

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080225/
ap_on_re_af/south_africa_elephants

Mon Feb 25, 7:01 AM ET

PRETORIA, South Africa - South Africa said it will allow elephants to be killed to control their population, reversing a 1994 ban and immediately drawing criticism from animal rights activists.

In a government statement given to reporters Monday, killing elephants is described as one way of managing growing populations.

The government in 1994 banned culling the elephant population, but since then, the number of the giant beasts in the country has ballooned from 8,000 to more than 20,000. The new policy becomes official Friday.

Animal rights defenders threatened to call for tourist boycotts and protests and to take legal action against the measure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kosher Jewish Method of Slaughter Known as “Shackle and Hoist,” Exposed For Its Inherent Cruelty: Illegal In the US, It Is Practiced Around Wo

Another religion that has absolutely no concern for animal welfare.

In the “shackle and hoist,” method, the animal is pulled up into the air by one of its hind legs and then dropped onto the ground before its throat is slit.

It should be noted that this method is illegal in the United States. Unfortunately though, Jewish rules dictate that the animal must be upside down when it is slaughter.

This cruelty is mandated (hence, strongly supported) by Israel’s chief rabbis (and hence, Judaism.)

Another sad example of how ignorance in religion leads to no concern for animal cruelty.

Article:

Widespread Slaughter Method Scrutinized for Alleged Cruelty

http://www.forward.com/articles/12666/

By Nathaniel Popper

Wed. Feb 13, 2008

Over the past few decades, kosher meat producers have learned what many others in the industry know: The broad expanses of rural Argentina and Uruguay have everything needed to make great beef, with a stable climate and seemingly endless pastures for grazing. The labor is cheap, and the open pastures on which the cows are raised mean that much of the meat can be marketed with those increasingly alluring tags of “natural” and “free range.”

As a result, a majority of Israel’s beef — and a large portion of America’s kosher meat — now comes from South America. In recent years, every major American kosher meat producer has set up a South American operation.

There is just one, big problem: the way the animals are killed. A majority of the South American slaughterhouses producing kosher meat use a method known as “shackle and hoist,” whereby the cow is pulled up into the air by one of its hind legs and then dropped onto the ground before its throat is slit. The method is illegal under most conditions in the United States, but remains popular among kosher producers elsewhere because it allows the cow to be upside down when it is slaughtered — as is required by Israel’s chief rabbis, the final authorities on kosher meat entering the Jewish state.

The method will be given a public airing this week with the release of a video taken by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. According to exclusive information given to the Forward, the video was shot in late October 2007 by an undercover investigator during two days of kosher slaughter at a plant in Uruguay. PETA has not yet released the video, but a copy was given to the Forward, which has been investigating the practice since last fall. In it, the animals can be seen hanging from a single leg, struggling in the air and bellowing. Once the animal is put on the ground, it is shown writhing and being restrained by multiple workers who step on it and prod it before the cut.

“It is in a category by itself for badness,” said Temple Grandin, an American animal rights expert who has advised many kosher meat companies, referring to “shackle and hoist.”

“It’s cruel to the animals and it’s dangerous for the employees,” Grandin added.

PETA raised controversy in the past with undercover videos from kosher plants, sparking some to accuse it of anti-Jewish bias — a charge PETA has denied. In this case, PETA appears to have come to an issue already being pursued behind closed doors by certain kosher authorities. Over the last year, the Forward has learned, America’s largest kosher supervision agency, the Orthodox Union, has been concerned enough about “shackle and hoist” slaughter to begin a quiet campaign to have the Israeli rabbinical authorities change it.

“It’s not the kind of system that we want to have, that we would be proud of,” Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division, told the Forward.

The Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism passed a ruling in 2000 calling the “shackle and hoist” method a “violation of Jewish law.” In anticipation of the new revelations, the organization reiterated its opposition at a meeting earlier this week.

The plant shown in the PETA video is located in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo. According to Orthodox Union authorities, the kosher plant in question produces meat for Israel. The Orthodox Union’s top expert on South American meat, Rabbi Seth Mandel, says that even within the problematic realm of “shackle and hoist,” the new video shows an unusually bad case.

“Not only is it unusual — this would not be allowed to go on in plants [slaughtering] for the U.S.,” said Mandel.

Despite the concerns of the Orthodox Union, the organization still certifies kosher plants in South America that use “shackle and hoist”; indeed most kosher meat entering the United States from South America is produced using the method, according to Genack. Genack said change has been slow to come because the Israelis are the major market force in South America and thus dictate the standards of meat production in the region.

“This will not succeed unless we have the support of the Israeli companies, and that requires a push from the chief rabbis there,” Genack said.

The willingness of the Orthodox Union to continue to allow “shackle and hoist” has already drawn fire from PETA.

“I think it’s shameful,” said Aaron Gross, a PETA consultant who has worked on the organization’s projects involving kosher slaughter. “Anything they’ve been doing to improve the situation, I applaud. I just wish they would do it more publicly.”

Over the last year, Genack said, he has had numerous private talks about this issue with both Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, and Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi. In late 2007, Metzger and Amar convened a meeting of rabbis in Israel to discuss the issue, according to people involved. Afterward, Genack said he received a letter in which he was assured that the Israeli chief rabbis were looking to change the practice. Just last week, Genack said he spoke with Metzger on the phone about pushing for change.

Partially at Genack’s insistence, the chief rabbis invited a veterinarian who specializes in kosher slaughter, Rabbi I.M. Levinger, to attend their meeting last fall. Levinger told the Forward that the issue was discussed, but that the chief rabbis were hesitant to commit to anything.

“They want to see what they can reach with recommendations,” Levinger said. “I feel that this will not be much, I am afraid.”

PETA has said that they have tried to speak with the Israeli chief rabbinate in the past, but have not heard back. When reached by the Forward on Tuesday, the head of the Israeli chief rabbinate’s import division, Rabbi Ezra Harari, said he was not familiar with the issue and declined to comment.

Rabbinical authorities say that the chief rabbis mandate that cows be upside down because the blood drains faster and the animal cannot fall on the knife.

The current PETA campaign builds on the publicity the group garnered with an undercover video released in 2004 from America’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, AgriProcessors, which is located in Iowa. AgriProcessors is the only kosher meat producer in America that is certified to export meat to Israel. The company uses what is known as a rotating pen to meet the Israeli standard that the animal be upside down when it is slaughtered.

AgriProcessors’ use of the rotating pen was criticized in 2005. Ironically, it is the rotating pen — a mechanized corral that holds the animal while it is flipped over — that many animal rights activists see as the best alternative to the “shackle and hoist” method in South America. In fact, in South America, AgriProcessors has led the way, being the first and only kosher company to install a rotating pen in its slaughterhouse, according to the Orthodox Union. This has earned it praise from PETA.

“I think it’s great that AgriProcessors has taken that step,” said PETA’s Gross. “It shows you how bringing this stuff out in the open motivates change.” AgriProcessors did not respond to requests for comment.

The kosher rush into South America began in 1950, according to the Israeli chief rabbinate. Today, close to 60,000 tons of meat come into Israel each year from South America.

South America’s biggest draw is its cheap labor, which is also a primary reason that companies opt for the “shackle and hoist” method. The technique relies on little technology but a comparatively large number of laborers to restrain the cattle.

Most American companies use their South American product for processed meats like salami and bologna — a choice driven in part because the cows are raised on grass, which does not make the meat as fatty as corn-fed American beef. Recently, though, grass-fed beef has taken on its own allure with the explosion of demand for free-range meat. Both kosher authorities and animal rights activists say that before the slaughtering begins, conditions in South America make for more pleasant living conditions than in America, where most cattle are confined to feed lots for their entire lives.

“In Uruguay, the animals are blessed,” said Mandel, the rabbi who oversees meat production in South America. “They are lolling outside — plenty of grass to eat. There is nothing to mistreat them — until the day they are loaded on a truck.”

That final step — the “shackle and hoist” — was common in America in the early 20th century, when labor was cheaper and before Congress passed the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act.

In American kosher slaughterhouses today, the Orthodox Union mandates standing slaughter, which it promotes partially for humane reasons.

The Israeli animal rights group, Concern for Helping Animals in Israel, has recently written to both chief rabbis questioning whether the South American practice could be compatible with Jewish law.

The letter, which was written by Rabbi Adam Frank, an activist with the organization, asked: “Since less painful and more humane methods of animal restraint and treatment exist and are used in the kosher slaughter process, is the Shackling & Hoisting of a conscious animal an unnecessarily cruel practice, thus defining it as prohibited under Jewish law?”

Officials with Frank’s organization said they have not heard back from the chief rabbinate.

Two Employees of Hallmark Westland Meat Packing Company Charged for Felony Animal Cruelty: Company Supplies School Lunch Program

Last week we posted on this disturbing story. In it, you will see video proof of egregious animal torture.

We posted on this at: http://geari.blogspot.com/2008/01/video-footage-exposes-truth-behind.html

The video proof can be seen directly at: http://video.hsus.org/

Very glad these charges were brought. However, torture of animals is still very rampant in slaughterhouses. These people were just unfortunate to be caught. The government has not added enough investigators to look at every operation in the country. As such, these crimes of abuse will go on.

Article:

Animal Cruelty Charges Filed

http://americanagriculturist.com/index.aspx?ascxid=fpStory&fpsid=32291&fpstid=8

Compiled By Staff


February 17, 2008

On Friday, two former employees of the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company were charged by the San Bernadino District Attorney for felony animal cruelty. On Sunday, USDA announced additional actions as a result of the ongoing investigation.

"USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has evidence that Hallmark/Westland did not consistently contact the FSIS public health veterinarian in situations in which cattle became non-ambulatory after passing ante-mortem inspection, which is not compliant with FSIS regulations," says Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. "Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall."

Operations at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing remain under suspension by FSIS. The products destined for the Federal food assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, will now be removed from schools and other holding facilities and destroyed.

"We applaud state and federal actions to investigate and correct the situation it found in this single plant among the thousands that work every day to deliver our high-quality, nutritious and safe beef products to consumers in this country and around the world," says Dave Bateman, chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "The beef checkoff remains committed to doing what it can to maintain these high standards."

The Office of the Inspector General and the Food Safety and Inspection Service continue the investigation. We will respond immediately if further findings warrant. Details about this recall and USDA actions are available at www.usda.gov/actions.

Mercury in Dolphins may be only Issue that Stops Cruel Annual Japanese Dolphin Slaughter

Unfortunately, the Japanese were not going to see the obvious cruelty in the horrible dolphin slaughter. Perhaps the presence of mercury in their meat will be the only thing that does.

To see video proof of the horror of the annual Japanese dolphin slaughter see our posting on it at http://geari.blogspot.com/search?q=dolphin+japan

Article:

Mercury risk poses threat to Japanese dolphin hunt

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/20/
asia/dolphin.php

By Martin Fackler

Published: February 20, 2008

TAIJI, Japan: For years, Western activists have traveled to this remote port to protest the annual dolphin "drive." And for years, local fishermen have ignored them, herding the animals into a small cove and slashing them until the tide flows red. But now a new menace may succeed where activists have failed: mercury.

This town of 3,500 residents on a majestic, rocky stretch of coast is fiercely proud of its centuries-old tradition of hunting dolphins and whaling. Residents are used to the international scorn that accompanies the dolphin drive, almost as much an annual ritual as the drive itself, and have closed ranks in the face of rising outrage - until now.

Dolphin meat is a prized local delicacy, served raw as sashimi or boiled with soy sauce. But in June, laboratory tests showed high levels of mercury in dolphin and pilot whale, a small whale that resembles a dolphin, caught and sold here. At the urging of two town council members, schools promised to stop serving pilot whale for lunch, and some local supermarkets removed it and dolphin from their shelves.

Rather than embrace the changes, this tight-knit community has been divided, with most local officials and the fishermen's union insisting that the mercury threat is being overblown, while a minority here has begun to question a tradition.

"We are not against whaling," including the dolphin hunts, said Junichiro Yamashita, one of the council members, who paid for the mercury tests himself after the town refused to pay. "This is a small town,

The problems are not limited to Taiji. Japan is one of the world's largest consumers of whales and dolphins, yet the Health and Agriculture ministries, as well as the media, have said little about the growing mercury levels in whale and dolphin meat.

Indeed, the whaling industry seems to enjoy a protected status here, mainly as a symbol of tradition, defended against foreign interference.

"There is a real danger in whale and dolphin meat, but word is not getting out," said Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido and an expert on mercury in sea animals.

Japan kills 1,000 minke and other great whales every year in controversial research whaling off the coast of Antarctica and in the northern Pacific. Japan calls the hunt "research" in order to avoid an international ban on commercial whaling, but then sells the meat to supermarkets. One hundred more whales and 21,000 dolphins are killed annually in coastal waters, according to Japan's Fisheries Agency.

Still, the meat is hardly a vital food source: only a minority of Japanese eat whale, and dolphin is even less common, consumed in a handful of rural areas and regional cities like Osaka.

Taiji is the best known source of dolphin meat, partly because it kills the most animals, about 2,000 annually, in a season that runs from September to April. In Taiji, fishermen use a method called oikomi, or "the drive," in which they bang on metal poles to create a wall of sound that pushes panicked dolphin and pilot whales into a cove for killing.

Gruesome photos of the blood-filled cove, and protests by mostly Western environmental groups, seem to have only strengthened the town's resolve to hold fast to its customs. According to the town's whaling museum, the people of Taiji have hunted coastal whales for 400 years. With few other sources of livelihood, whaling is a mainstay of the local economy.

"We are a whaling community, and we don't want to lose that," said Katsutoshi Mihara, chairman of Taiji's town council. "Here, all boys grew up dreaming of hunting whales." (The Japanese word for whaling, hogei, also encompasses hunting dolphins.)

The mayor and most town leaders point to a Health Ministry report that said the meats are safe in moderation.

Strong proponents of whaling like Mihara say they fear that the mercury scare may damage the popularity of dolphin meat, which accounts for about a third of the town's $3 million fishing industry, according to the fishermen's association. Dolphin also fetches higher prices than other locally caught seafood: in a Taiji supermarket, a pound, or about half a kilogram, of frozen dolphin meat recently sold for about ¥1,500, or $14, roughly the price of sashimi-grade tuna.

Taiji's mercury debate comes amid rising worldwide concern over mercury in other, more globally accepted types of seafood, particularly tuna. Like tuna, dolphins and small whales are predators that appear to be accumulating mercury as they feed on fish in the world's increasingly contaminated oceans.

In fact, dolphins can build up far more mercury than tuna because dolphins live to about 40 years, versus a decade for large tuna species, said Endo, of the University of Hokkaido.

When consumed by humans over an extended period, mercury can cause birth defects, brain damage and death. In fact, the world's worst case of mercury poisoning occurred in Japan in the 1950s, when thousands were killed, made ill or crippled in the city of Minamata from mercury dumped into the sea as industrial waste.

Endo participated in the studies that first brought mercury risks in dolphin to light. Since 2000, he has tested hundreds of samples of dolphin and whale meat around the country. In dolphin and pilot whale, he has typically found mercury levels ranging from 10 to 100 parts per million, far above the Japanese government's advisory level of 0.4 parts per million.

The most contaminated sample he ever found was from the internal organs of a pilot whale sold in a Taiji supermarket - 2,000 parts per million.

Despite the extreme sensitivity to mercury poisoning in Japan because of the Minamata case, the Health and Agriculture ministries have done little to inform the public about mercury in whale and dolphin meat, say Endo and other biologists. While the Health Ministry has done its own surveys of dolphin and pilot whale that show mercury levels of 10 to 50 times the advisory level, the only warning it has issued is for pregnant women.

Ministry officials say broader warnings are not needed because the higher levels are not a health risk for most people if they eat the meat infrequently, giving the body time to discharge the mercury. But critics accuse the government and media of ignoring the mercury issue, including the dispute in Taiji.

The same wall of silence exists in Taiji, many residents said. Yamashita and the other council member who raised the mercury issue, Hisato Ryono, said local newspapers had not written about their warnings, and city hall has said little in public about mercury.

To get word out, the two paid to have 1,900 fliers printed and sent to locals.

Several residents said they were shocked and alarmed when they read the fliers last summer. They also said they were angry at the town government's failure to address the concerns over mercury, adding that they no longer ate dolphin meat.

The residents refused to give their names for fear of being ostracized by their neighbors. "The flier is all I know about the mercury issue," said one 42-year-old woman, who said she was worried because her third-grade child had eaten pilot whale meat at school.

Older residents dismissed the mercury fears, saying they had eaten dolphin all their lives without ill effect.

Such generational differences may be what finally ends the dolphin hunt. Most of those under 40 no longer eat the meat, according to many residents.

"We're not saying that consumption of dolphin should disappear, but I think it's inevitable that it will," said Ryono, the council member. "As the older generation disappears, so will demand for dolphin meat."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yellowstone Bison Still Victims of Ignorance – Even Calves (babies) Sent to Slaughter

This story really points out the true reality of Bison in Yellowstone. For one, anytime they even slightly stray from the artificial boundaries they have to face, they are harassed. Two, the only solution the government ever comes up with is slaughter. Sadly, this happened again, and will include putting 17 calves (babies) to slaughter.

As stated below, “…under a controversial program to limit contact between bison and cattle, state and park officials were sending another batch of 40 captured bison, including 17 calves, to a slaughterhouse, in a move further inflaming the passions of animal rights campaigners.”

Article:

Yellowstone’s Departed: Bison Calves Head to Slaughter, a Long-Lost Hare

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/a-vanishing-from-yellowstone-and-bison-calves-head-to-slaughter/

By Andrew C. Revkin


A biologist proposes reintroducing the long-vanished white-tailed jack rabbit to Yellowstone National Park. (Credit: Joel Berger, WCS)So-called wildlife is ever less wild these days, it seems, and ever more managed, something like props on a stage. Here’s a brief update on the comings and goings of some mammals in Yellowstone National Park, where a new study finds there was a mysterious vanishing long ago of the white-tailed jack rabbit, not only from the sprawling park but the greater Yellowstone ecosystem all around. Some biologists seek its reintroduction. In the meantime, the park’s expanding herd of bison is finding itself in harm’s way once again.

First, the rabbits. Joel Berger, a University of Montana researcher and biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society (who was just interviewed in Science Times), scoured records back into the 1800’s and found that the jack rabbit was abundant 130 years ago, yet no one has seen one since 1991 in Yellowstone, with only three spotted in the adjacent Grand Teton National Park since 1978.

The disappearance, cause unknown, may mean the ecosystem that is considered the norm in Yellowstone may not, in fact, reflect its historical biological patterns. This species gap could, for instance, explain why coyotes there have been hunting and killing young elk and pronghorn antelope more than is typical, according to Dr. Berger, who reported his findings in the journal Oryx. His paper suggests that wildlife managers consider reintroducing the jack rabbits into the two parks. “Reintroduction may result in the establishment of dynamic ecological processes that were intact before rabbits vanished from the ecosystem,” Dr. Berger said.

My guess is that reintroduction might go a tad easier than others attempted in and around Yellowstone, most notable that of the gray wolf, which I blogged on here recently when neighboring states were given expanded latitude to allow hunters to kill the predators.

It’s a strange reality of these times that parks, which even at the vast scale of Yellowstone are islands, have to be managed. Species are added or culled to suit the limited real estate, satisfy our longing for restoring some pre-modern ecological norm, or sometimes — as in the case of wolves and bison — to accommodate the interests of neighbors, like Montana’s ranchers.

Bison are hemmed in and increasingly wander off park property, particularly in winter. They’ve been harassed by helicopter to drive them back (see the video on YouTube below, posted with permission). But more and more are being sent to slaughter, as well.

On Thursday, under a controversial program to limit contact between bison and cattle, state and park officials were sending another batch of 40 captured bison, including 17 calves, to a slaughterhouse, in a move further inflaming the passions of animal rights campaigners.

As the Billings Gazette reported, the calves had initially been slated to go to a quarantined research facility, but federal officials couldn’t finish negotiations over a necessary land lease.

The roundups of bison — hundreds per year lately — have been done ostensibly to limit chances that a livestock disease, brucellosis, can move from the bison to cattle. (It is somewhat ironic to some opponents of the bison killings that the disease originated in domesticated livestock, and no transmission from wild bison to cattle has been documented. More on these questions is in a pdf here.)

The practice has inflamed passions between ranchers and animal-rights campaigners led by the Buffalo Field Campaign, which today kicked off a week of protests.

Regulators Make Some Moves Toward Non-Animal Chemical Testing Methods: Alternatives to Using Animals in Testing

We’ll see if this comes through, but good signs. If this does occur, a reduction in the number of animals used in chemical testing will be decreased.

Alternatives have been around for years. We have an entire page on alternatives to animal testing at http://www.geari.org/alternatives-to-animal-testing.html

As stated below, “The screening machines will be inspired by those developed for medical research, which can quickly test thousands of different molecules in a few days to see if any have potential as useful drugs.
Instead of using animals such as rats and mice, scientists will screen suspected toxic chemicals in everything from pesticides to household cleaners using cell cultures and computer models.”

Article:

US to replace animals with robots in toxic chemical tests

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/feb/15/animalwelfare

Alok Jha The Guardian, Friday February 15 2008

US regulators have announced plans to reduce the number of animals used to test the safety of everyday chemicals.

Instead of using animals such as rats and mice, scientists will screen suspected toxic chemicals in everything from pesticides to household cleaners using cell cultures and computer models.

According to the Home Office, more than 3.1m experiments in the UK were carried out on animals in 2006. Of these more than 420,000 were done to test the safety of chemicals. According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), more than 100 million animals are used annually in experiments in the US, of which 15 million are used in toxicity tests.

The plans to replace animals in the US, announced yesterday in Boston, will see researchers from the national institute of health and the environmental protection agency develop robotic machines to screen the chemicals. They said if successful the robots could test a greater number of chemicals more quickly.

The results of the research could have implications for the EU's Reach legislation, which requires retesting all synthetic chemicals used in member countries. Critics are worried that the new rules will increase the number of animals used.

The screening machines will be inspired by those developed for medical research, which can quickly test thousands of different molecules in a few days to see if any have potential as useful drugs. "We now are seeing tools newly available to us for chemical genomics research deployed for greater refinement, speed and capacity in chemical toxicity screening," said Francis Collins, director of the national human genome research institute and author of a paper, published today in Science, describing the proposed techniques.

Catherine Willett, science policy adviser at Peta, said: "This is a significant change in the perspective of US agencies, which have historically relied heavily on animal testing out of habit and have been resistant to change."

Group Raises Awareness to Cruelty of Long-Distance Livestock Hauling: Furniture Treated Better than Transported Animals

I think the second part of the title says it all – that furniture is actually treated better than animals transported.

As stated below, “On one route, about 15,000 pigs are stuffed into containers each year, then trucked from Lethbridge, Alta., to California before being shipped to Hawaii. According to the CP report, the group says the animals are exposed to extreme temperature changes, are deprived of food, water and rest for long stretches of time. Many of the animals die before reaching their destination, the coalition says. “

Hopefully changes will come from this, but we’ll see.

Article:

Animal rights group fights long-distance livestock hauling

http://www.todaystrucking.com/
news.cfm?intDocID=19106

02/14/2008

TORONTO -- An animal rights group says hauled furniture hauled is treated "with more respect" than animals transported in containers over long distances.

In a global campaign launched this week, the World Society for the Protection of Animals says pigs and other farm animals are being "brutalized" by "cruel and unnecessary" transport methods, reports Canadian Press.

An animal rights group is squealing about the treatment
of animals during transport to slaughterhouses.
"The suffering that these animals must go through is quite appalling," Melissa Tkachyk, programs officer with WSPA Canada told CP.
A year-long investigation by the group, dubbed Handle With Care, aims to expose the harsh conditions animals are subjected to during their long journeys to slaughterhouses.

Canadian carriers, claims the group, are some of the worst culprits.

On one route, about 15,000 pigs are stuffed into containers each year, then trucked from Lethbridge, Alta., to California before being shipped to Hawaii. According to the CP report, the group says the animals are exposed to extreme temperature changes, are deprived of food, water and rest for long stretches of time. Many of the animals die before reaching their destination, the coalition says.

Shipping live animals vast distances makes little sense, the groups argue. Instead, livestock should be raised and slaughtered locally, then shipped as frozen meat.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz told CP that the government is proposing changes that would ban the export of live animals if transportation conditions anywhere along the route fail to meet Canadian standards.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Macaque Monkey Boiled To Death Inside an Everett, WA Research Facility of SNBL: As Usual, Laws Prevent Group From Being Held Legally Accountable

Very disturbing story. What this once again proves, is that any type of laboratory can do whatever it wants to any animal and it’s considered science. However, if an individual outside of a lab did these kind of acts, they’d be held under cruelty charges. See the hypocrisy here?

As stated below,

"According to RCW 16.52.205, a person can be guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree if they cause "undue suffering" or "unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal." However, the law also states when animal death and suffering is connected "with any properly conducted scientific experiments" it’s legal."

Article:

Do Animal Cruelty Laws Apply In Boiled Monkey Case?

http://www.kirotv.com/news/15216083/detail.html

Chris Halsne

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter

EVERETT, Wash. -- Calls for action continue to pour in following a KIRO Team 7 Investigation into the scalding death of a monkey inside an Everett research facility.

We discovered that a cleaning crew at SNBL left a healthy female macaque monkey in her cage, killing it by running it through a steaming hot rack washer.

The US Department of Agriculture tells KIRO that it is looking into possible Animal Welfare Act violation, but other groups are telling Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne they want criminal prosecution as well.

The National Humane Society of the United States and a Washington state-based animal rights group called Pasado's Safe Haven tell Halsne they think jail time is warranted for SNBL workers connected to the death of that monkey.

But KIRO Team 7 Investigators have discovered there are limits to Washington's felony animal cruelty statute that might make that a tough-to-win prosecution.

“There is absolutely no reason to be doing this to animals!” says Susan Michaels, who helped push through Washington's felony animal cruelty law.

She says it’s sad to say, but she’s not sure it will stop anyone from legally boiling another monkey to death at any research lab.

According to RCW 16.52.205, a person can be guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree if they cause "undue suffering" or "unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal." However, the law also states when animal death and suffering is connected "with any properly conducted scientific experiments" it’s legal.

Michaels tells KIRO Team 7 Investigators, “I don't even know how to put into words the kind of reaction I have, except to know that I am so grateful to KIRO that you got behind the scenes for something like this. Because according to our state law, it OK for those who experiment on animals, for them to do whatever they want to do them and there's nothing in our animal cruelty laws to stop it.”

KIRO Team 7 Investigators spoke with several attorneys representing animal rights groups who say they'd like to see prosecution anyway, arguing that the boiled monkey was "at" the lab, but not part of any experiment.

Our hidden camera expose found other problems at SNBL that might alert prosecutors as well. In an exclusive interview with us, former animal care manager Joanie McCully reported to federal inspectors animal handlers spraying acid on monkeys and intentionally dropping them on their heads.

“If the monkeys aren't cooperative, they shut them up, then they drop them on their floor on their head and spin the cage. You can see that's going on by all the dents in the floor.”

Paul Nofsinger is another former SNBL animal caretaker. He watched our investigation, thinking “I was shocked and appalled and at the same time. I thought finally!”

Nofsinger says a 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, citing SNBL for poor recordkeeping, really struck a nerve. He says SNBL managers asked him repeatedly to "fill-in" animal care logbooks and documents.

“How do you get it done? You write it that it was fed or it was clean when it really wasn't. It was very common, common and sickening and nothing we could do about it if we wanted to keep our jobs,” Nofsinger said.

Primate injuries and deaths inside labs are no surprise to Jill Lute and her staff. She oversees the Folsom City, Calif. Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, where they rescue research primates from certain death, while educating the public on the importance of "enrichment" programs for captive monkeys.

Lute told us “Even though they might have to be in a research study and ultimately lose their life because of it, they should still have the decency to respect and care about them and do everything in their power to make sure the quality of life is good. They (SNBL workers) are being paid to be there to take care of those animals. They should take it very seriously.”

Lute gave names to these two research lab rescues - Wallace and Darwin.

That's something employees of SNBL say is forbidden inside here. Monkeys are only to be called by their drug-study ID numbers , so employees don't get too attached.

SNBL refuses to conduct an on-camera interview with KIRO Team 7 Investigators, but in an e-mail says it has been told that federal inspectors aren't going to issue the company a violation for the rack-washer death.

However, a spokesperson for the USDA tells Halsne there is an active and ongoing investigation.

ASPCA Launches Interactive Program To Expose Young Readers to Quality Humane Literature and Increase Awareness of Animal Welfare Among Children

What an incredible idea. This is part of their Human Education program.

The program can be found at http://www.aspca.org/henrysbookclub

Article:

ASPCA® Announces New Chapter In Humane Education

http://presszoom.com/story_143310.html

NEW YORK, February 4, 2008—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®)today announced the launch of a new chapter in its national Humane Education program: “Henry’s Book Club,” at www.aspca.org/henrysbookclub. This is a new, online, interactive program designed to expose young readers to quality humane literature and increase awareness of animal welfare among children.



(PressZoom) - NEW YORK, February 4, 2008—The ASPCA® ( The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® )today announced the launch of a new chapter in its national Humane Education program: “Henry’s Book Club,” at www.aspca.org/henrysbookclub. This is a new, online, interactive program designed to expose young readers to quality humane literature and increase awareness of animal welfare among children.

“At least 30 million children use the Internet as a source of information,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Henry’s Book Club exemplifies the unique benefits of using the Internet to further education. It is our hope that through Henry’s Book Club, we will spread awareness of ASPCA award-winning books through online community outreach, while simultaneously teaching children the benefits of the human/animal bond.”

Named in honor of ASPCA founder Henry Bergh, Henry’s Book Club will feature ASPCA award-winning books selected for their exemplary handling of subject matter pertaining to animals and the environment. The inaugural selections for February— A Dog’s Life by Ann Martin and Buddy Unchained by Daisy Bix—commemorate the millions of animals who enter shelters each year and celebrate those who provide them with safe and loving homes.

On the first Monday of every month, Henry’s Book Club will feature two books—one for ages five to eight and another for ages nine and up—selected by “Henry,” the club’s dog mascot who will don a Henry Bergh-like top hat. For each of these two selected titles, the ASPCA will provide a brief description of the book and a list of suggested discussion questions that invite use by parents, teachers, scout leaders and kids themselves. The discussion questions are intended to educate children about humane and environmental issues as well as promote respect for their communities, neighbors and animals alike. In addition, the Web site will host special guest authors and moderated discussion groups that will be eligible for readers over age 13.

For more information on the ASPCA, or to learn more about Henry’s Book Club, please visit www.aspca.org/henrysbookclub.

International Fund for Animal Welfare Releases Report: Canada Bottom of List of 14 Countries for Animal Cruelty Legislation

Not surprising as this is the country that still carries out the bloody and cruel annual baby seal slaughter - http://geari.blogspot.com/2005/04/comprehensive-list-of-canadian.html

Article:

International Fund for Animal Welfare/Falling Behind: Canada's Shame in International Anti-Cruelty Comparison

http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=817203

Canada has placed at the bottom in a comparison of animal cruelty legislation in 14 countries prepared by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"Canada has a reputation for being compassionate and caring, yet this report demonstrates how woefully inadequate we are when it comes to basic legislation designed to protect animals from cruelty," said Kim Elmslie, IFAW Canada Campaigner.

Facts revealed in the report include:

- Canada is alone in offering virtually no protection for wild and stray animals

- Canada's legislation does not include a clear definition of 'animal' while other countries are explicit

- Canada is the only country that does not provide protection for animals being trained to fight each other

- Canada is the only country that makes is virtually impossible to prosecute cases of neglect.

"Canada's anti-cruelty legislation hasn't been updated since it was written in 1892-when it was enacted by Queen Victoria. While countries around the world are updating their legislation to better protect animals, Canada seems content to stay in the dark ages," said Ms Elmslie.

Canada's poor ranking comes as politicians are about to vote on Bill S-203-a Bill which utterly fails to improve anti-cruelty provisions, simply increases penalties.

"Better penalties do not make better laws. Bill S-203 maintains the loopholes and inadequacies that currently means less than a quarter of one percent of animal cruelty cases lead to successful convictions-the perpetrators simply walk free," said Ms Elmslie.

"As Canadians we should be embarrassed by this result. Canadians are overwhelmingly calling for better anti-cruelty legislation. It is time our politicians listened-they must vote against Bill S-203 and for legislation that will help restore our pride as a nation that condemns animal cruelty."

Legislation from 14 countries-Austria, Canada, Croatia, Great Britain, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and the Ukraine is examined in the report Falling behind: An international comparison of Canada's animal cruelty legislation.

Copies of the report are available online at http://www.ifaw.org/.

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