Friday, May 15, 2009

Wolfs Lose Federal Protection Under The Endangered Species Act: Obama Makes Bush-Like Move and Opens Gate for Wolf Hunting / Killing / Slaughter

I really don’t have to say much, and just let this quote speak for the reality of this situation and Obama’s ridiculous Bush-like decision (sadly many more to come): “The Obama administration, in one of its least popular moves with environmentalists, upheld a Bush era decision that gray wolves have returned from the brink of extinction and no longer require federal protection. That decision took effect today, opening the gate for hunting in Idaho and Montana, which share a population of some 1,300 wolves.”

Seems like Obama is not only like Bush in other areas, he’s also showing more and more that he’s no friend of animal rights either.


Wolf delisting takes effect today

Wolf-people, give a howl for your lupine brethren, who lose federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in much of the northern Rocky Mountains and upper Midwest today.

The Obama administration, in one of its least popular moves with environmentalists, upheld a Bush era decision that gray wolves have returned from the brink of extinction and no longer require federal protection. That decision took effect today, opening the gate for hunting in Idaho and Montana, which share a population of some 1,300 wolves.

Wildlife groups have filed notice that they will sue to overturn the decision, saying state management plans don’t provide enough protection for the species that was listed as endangered in 1974.

Last Friday I proposed that “Save the wolves” campaigns typify a strain of old-school environmentalism that is being swallowed by the much broader movement against climate change. The poster-species for the new environmentalism, the polar bear, faces its own day of reckoning this week:

Later in the week, the legal status of polar bears will become clearer when the Obama administration must decide whether to overturn a last-minute Bush move that denied the arctic mammals key protections under the Endangered Species Act. Acknowledging that the polar bear is threatened by a melting habitat, Bush officials still ruled that endangered species protections cannot apply to causes originating outside of their habitat (in other words, the greenhouse gas emissions heating up the polar regions). Obama has until May 9 to overturn the decision; otherwise, it stands.

Greenwire has a piece on the behind-the-scenes tussle over the polar bear decision; look for more on Grist on this later in the week.

Oh, and it’s also a big week for a little mountainous mammal, the American Pika, whose high-elevation habitat faces climate disruption. KQED’s Climate Watch reports on the pika’s prospects for protection, which ride on decisions from the courts and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Australia Continues to Shoot / Kill / Slaughter Kangaroos

Just another writing in the segment “take the easy way out and kill” that we so sadly have to bring to attention monthly.


Australia to shoot 6,000 kangaroos

By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press Writer – Fri May 8, 8:15 am ET

CANBERRA, Australia – Australia's army has started shooting 6,000 kangaroos to thin their population on an army training ground near the capital, an official said Friday, outraging conservationists who have vowed to protest.

The killings are intended to protect endangered plants and insects that share the grassy habitat with the kangaroos. A much smaller slaughter of 400 kangaroos on another Defense Department site in Canberra last year was disrupted by protesters.

Civilian marksmen contracted by the department began shooting the kangaroos on Tuesday night at Defense's Majura Training Area, where an estimated 9,000 of the wild marsupials roam, Army Brig. Brian Dawson told reporters.

"The culling is intended to reduce the kangaroo population to sustainable levels," Dawson said, describing the action as that of a "responsible landowner."
The nighttime shooting is expected to continue intermittently until August. The training ground covers more than 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) and includes grenade and artillery firing ranges.
Bernard Brennan, president of Canberra's Animal Liberation conservation group, said protesters planned to descend on the area starting Friday night and many more would flock from around Australia next week. He could not predict how many.

"We're not going to sit back and let it happen," he said.

The kangaroo slaughter follows a recent government environmental report that the common eastern gray kangaroos are too numerous in Canberra's parkland and grassland, eating scarce native grass which is the habitat of endangered insects such as golden gun moths and perunga grasshoppers.

The kangaroo overpopulation is also threatening endangered reptiles, the grassland earless dragon and the striped legless lizard, the report said.

Kangaroos are slaughtered to control population throughout Australia, but government agencies have been reluctant to kill the beloved national symbol around Canberra in the past 20 years because of public outcry.

“Big Meat” Giant Agribusiness Politician to be put in Charge of Food Safety

No matter who is in charge, it’s still the same ol’ boys up there.  So, don’t expect much in terms of animal treatment changes.  


Close friend of Big Meat may be put in charge of food safety

POSTED 9:48 AM ON 11 MAY 2009


Politics, Food

USDA chief Tom Vilsack is once again on the verge of stepping in it regarding his pick for food safety czar, i.e. the head of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Some may recall that back in March the Obama administration nearly appointed Dr. Michael Osterholm to the post only to back off when his views on meat irradation (aka “Zap the Crap”) proved too hot to handle. Ironically, Osterholm—who has ties to the meat industry, biotech heavyweight Monsanto and defense contractor 3M—is also a legitimate expert on pandemic preparedness, a skill which might’ve come in handy recently. Ah, well.

Now, swelling rumor has it that Dr. Mike Doyle is the leading candidate for the post. Obamafoodorama first reported the rumor late last week and it has solidified in recent days. Doyle meanwhile is proving at least as controversial as Osterholm and is just as closely allied with the meat industry. Via Ob Fo:

Doyle is currently Director of the Center For Food Safety at the University of Georgia, and a professor in the department of food safety and technology. His work at the land-grant university has been heavily funded by major meat industry concerns, and Doyle has won big acclaim for his industry-friendly policy wonking, in particular from the American Meat Institute, a huge pro-meat/low-government intervention lobbying force on The Hill.  He’s also received big funding and support from the National Chicken Council, another industry lobbying group.  He’s also recived a lot of funding from USDA’s own Agriculture Research Service. How invested is Doyle in the economics of food safety? He actually holds patents on a number of microbiological solutions for disease outbreaks.

That last bit means that he could personally profit from decisions he might make as head of FSIS. But I’m sure he’ll recuse himself from any decisions regarding use of his patented methods for disease management. I’m sorry, did I say something funny?

Doyle is being championed (again according to Ob Fo) by GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. Note to Vilsack: Dude, the GOP LOST THE FRAKKING ELECTION!!! Since when do they get to pick top administration officials? And to hear that Vilsack is listening to Saxby Chambliss of all people, one of the idiots more conservative members of a party already far outside the mainstream, boggles the mind. And apparently, if the administration judges Doyle’s conflicts of interest to be manageable, he will in fact get the nod.

Doyle is also associated with the Animal Agriculture Alliance as well as the American Council on Science and Health (this report [PDF], lists him as on the ACSH science advisory board)—both industry-funded astroturf organizations whose shared mission is to undermine any research that questions the safety of industrial products or practices. To get a sense of where the Animal Ag Alliance is coming from, you simply have to read its full-throated defense of the use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in livestock from this attack on the recent Pew report documenting the dangers of livestock factory farms. In fact, Doyle recently spoke at an AAA “summit” where he discussed his research claiming that sub-therapeutic antibiotic use is crucial to “safe” livestock practices. I wonder what Congress, which is considering legislation to outlaw the practice, will make of this.

The only good news regarding Doyle is that his naming hasn’t been officially announced. We can only hope that Vilsack and Obama come to their senses before it’s too late.

Massachusetts General Hospital to Use and then Kill Sheep in Trauma Training: What you Can do to Stop It

Received this from PCRM, a great group dedicated to ending vivisection.  Please read below for more information.  Pretty easy to act.

By the way, you’ll see the TraumaMan System mentioned below.  This is a surgical simulation tool that provides an alternative to animal testing or vivisection.  You can learn more about this incredible animal testing alternative at

Email received:

On Monday and Tuesday, live sheep are scheduled to be used and then killed in a trauma training course at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. We need your help to end this unnecessary and cruel practice.

Mass General may be one of the nation’s best hospitals, but it is woefully behind the times when it comes to teaching Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS). Across the nation, more than 90 percent of ATLS courses are taught using only human-based simulators, which Mass General currently owns.

Please call, e-mail, or write a letter to Massachusetts General Hospital president Peter L. Slavin, M.D., and politely ask him to end animal use in the institution’s ATLS program. Then forward this message to your friends who care about animals and effective medical education. Being polite is the most effective way to help these animals. 

Peter L. Slavin, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: 617-724-9300
E-mail: pslavin (at)

Mass General owns the American College of Surgeons-approved simulator known as the TraumaMan System. The hospital uses the simulator to teach ATLS surgical skills to medical students while using live sheep to teach the very same procedures to practicing physicians.

On May 14, PCRM filed a formal request with Mass General’s Subcommittee on Research Animal Care asking that it deny the use of animals in the hospital’s ATLS program.

The letter cites an ongoing survey by PCRM, which has so far received responses from 201 ATLS programs in the United States and Canada. The survey has found that 187 of those programs (more than 90 percent) exclusively use nonanimal models for instruction. The vast majority of those 187 programs exclusively use the TraumaMan System.

Learn more about the TraumaMan System ( If you have any questions, please contact me at rmerkley (at) Thanks so much for your help!
Best regards,
Ryan Merkley
Manager of Humane Education Programs

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