Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Was Mark Twain America's First Animal Welfare Advocate?

I received this interesting email regarding the work of a Stanford professor and leading Mark Twain scholar which “…suggests that Mark Twain was one of the first prominent Americans to raise awareness of animal cruelty.”

Interesting reading, and I suggest you all take the time to visit the site at: http://humanexperience.stanford.edu/twainanimals

Here is the email I received:

Mark Twain - America's first animal welfare advocate?
Stanford professor and leading Mark Twain scholar, Shelley Fisher Fishkin's latest research suggests that Mark Twain was one of the first prominent Americans to raise awareness of animal cruelty. Using a range of Twain's works including private letters and essays Fishkin demonstrates that Mark Twain was an ardent animal welfare advocate who, through his writing, sparked the animals rights movement in the U.S.

Twain, inspired by Darwin, took on topics ranging from cockfighting to animal experiments, and made Americans reflect on the relationship between animals and the human animal.

Fishkin's research is outlined in her new book, Mark Twain's Book of Animals.

A Publisher's Weekly review had this to say about Fishkin's findings, "Fishkin reports that Mark Twain's career-long fascination with instinctual yet intelligent creatures inspired Chuck E. Jones's creation of cartoon icons Wile E. Coyote and Bugs Bunny. Fishkin... showcases the humorist's shrewd observations of both exotic and common animals, including his nemesis, the housefly (“I would go out of my way, and put aside my dearest occupation, to kill a fly”). This collection of letters, stories, travelogues and personal recollections—some appearing in print for the first time—effectively juxtaposes witty morality with bitterness manifested in his later work in which he rails against microbes and an uncaring Creator after losing three children to illness. Animal lovers and fiction readers alike will want to read this illustration of an unfamiliar facet of an American literary giant. The anthology succinctly represents Twain's admiration for the animal kingdom and relentless optimism in the face of human inadequacies."

You can read short story about the research here:

High resolution images are available.

Monday, October 19, 2009

National Primate Liberation Week Pushes On: Schedule of Local Events by City and State

National Primate Liberation Week runs from October 17th - 24th 2009. Here is a webpage that lists local events by city and state. Please visit any of the events to show your support. http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/event-nplw-2009.html

"Race to Save the Bears" Contest by Humane Society Intl. to Raise Awareness About Bear Trophy Hunt in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest

I received this email regarding the horrible bear trophy hunt taking place in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Please read below for more information and for what you can do to help attempt to end this ridiculous and unnecessary annual killing festival.

The contest just began and ends November 12, 2009. You can learn more about it here: http://www.hsicanada.ca/protectbears

For more information about HSI's work to end the BC trophy hunt of bears visit here: http://www.hsicanada.ca/wildlife/grizzly_bears/bears_at_risk.html


I thought you and your Canadian readers might be interested in the "Race to Save the Bears" contest being launched by Humane Society International. We've launched the contest to help raise awareness about the bear trophy hunt in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, in which vulnerable bears are killed for entertainment, and to help raise funds for HSI/Canada's campaign to end this killing.



Canadians are eligible to join the virtual "race" and compete for a chance to win great prizes. The grand prize winner, who raises the most funds, will receive a trip for two to British Columbia's Great Bear Lodge for two all-inclusive nights and a bear-viewing trip to experience the grizzly and black bears of the Great Bear Rainforest.



The bears of the Great Bear Rainforest deserve to live in peace and free of the threat of being hunted purely for entertainment. BC's grizzlies are now classified as "Special Concern" (or vulnerable) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and are categorized as a difficult species to manage. This means we need to act now to help protect such a threatened animal.



The contest just began and ends November 12, 2009. You can learn more about it here: http://www.hsicanada.ca/protectbears



For more information about HSI's work to end the BC trophy hunt of bears visit here: http://www.hsicanada.ca/wildlife/grizzly_bears/bears_at_risk.html

U.S. Department of the Interior Submits Proposal to Ban the International Trade in Polar Bear Parts and Products

Though we cannot say that the Obama Administration is a huge fan of animals, what a change from just a year ago. We can only hope such a ban will occur and that the administration will act on other issues as well.

Article:

U.S. Interior Department proposes international ban on the trade in polar bears

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/10/us_interior_department_propose.html

By Abby Haight, The Oregonian

October 16, 2009, 3:00PM

Animal rights groups today praised the U.S. Department of the Interior for submitting a proposal to ban the international trade in polar bears.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife
The United States wants to ban international commercial trade in polar bears.
If approved by the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora at its meeting next March in Qatar, the proposal would make commercial trade in polar bears illegal. Currently, international commercial trade is regulated.

The ban would not apply to native subsistence hunting of polar bears.

"International trade in polar bear parts and products is exacerbating the devastating impact that climate change is already having on the polar bear," said Teresa M. Telecky, director of wildlife for Humane Society International.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears live in arctic regions, where they are dependent on sea ice for hunting, reproduction and movement. Some scientists predict the bears won't survive past the end of the century because of the complete loss of summer sea ice from climate change.

Polar bears are hunted for trophies, as well as skin, fur, claws, skulls and even stuffed bears that are commercially traded. More than 500 polar bear skins are traded annually -- mostly from Canada to Japan.

Polar bears were added as a threatened species to the Endangered Species Act in 2008, ending the importation of polar bear trophies killed by U.S. sport hunters.

"While we cannot stop the impacts of global warming on polar bears immediately, one thing we can do is quickly address other threats which are heightening the bear's problems, such as the commercial trade. By increasing protections for polar bears under CITES, we can start to give the polar bear some more protections while we take the necessary steps to address global warming," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

Horrified by the Cruelty of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, German Citizens Force Cancellation of all German Shows

Amazing. Quite a story not only about the reality of the cruelty behind circuses, but of how mass voicing of concern can help stop cruel events.

For more about the cruelty behind the circus including VIDEO PROOF see http://www.circuses.com/

Article:

RINGLING BROS. GERMANY TOUR CANCELED!

http://supervegan.com/blog/entry.php?id=1342

by Tod EmkoOctober 16, 2009 2:51pmFiled under: Activism Circus

Some of the tortured animals of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Horrified by the way the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus beats its animals, thousands of concerned German citizens appealed to the venues that would have hosted the Circus in Germany.

This concern for animal welfare made it clear that Ringling Bros. is not welcome in Germany because of the way Ringling tortures animals. The result is that Ringling Bros. canceled their entire tour of Germany!

If Germany can stop the circus from coming to town, what's stopping us in the US from opposing such blatant useless cruelty?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"At the Edge of the World": Powerful Documentary Concerning Sea Shepherd's Antarctic Campaign Against Illegal Whaling: In Portland, OR Oct 16th to 27

At The Edge of the World

Clinton Street Theater Beginning Fri, Oct 16
2522 Se Clinton Street. Portland, OR. (503) 238-8899

There will be Q&A with two of the key crew members after selected screenings.

Shows at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. No 9pm show on 10/16, 10/22 and 10/23.

No 7pm screenings on 10/24-26 and starts at 9:30 instead of 9pm.

General Admission - $6

Tuesday Admission - $4

You can also view the film’s trailer, notes, and photos at www.AtTheEdgeOfTheWorld.com and at www.WhaleCampaign.com. I've also attached it to the end of this posting.

Winner of the Audience Award for Top Environmental Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

I’d like to thank the director Dan Stone for putting the time into such a worthy project. Many of you are aware of the Sea Shepherd's Antarctic campaign against illegal whaling by the Japanese brought to life via the show Whale Wars. If you are in Portland, Oregon during Oct 16th to Oct 27th, please support the film. If you are not, please spread the word and also visit www.AtTheEdgeOfTheWorld.com to view the tailor and access other information.

Awards and Reviews:

“Over the weekend, At the Edge of the World won the Conservation Award at the Bend Film Festival. (Since our premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, At the Edge has been honored to receive the Elizabeth Taylor Environmental Award, the Haskell Wexler Cinematography Award, a Jury Award for Cinematography, a Jury Award for Best Documentary and an Audience Award for Best Documentary.)”

"An intrepid record of modern-day piracy. Directed by Dan Stone to highlight moral as well as legal conflicts, this strikingly humane film may function as a prequel to Animal Planet's 'Whale Wars' but is light years ahead in visual clarity and narrative ambition."
Jeannette Catsoulis
(The New York Times)
NYT Critic's Pick

"A bizarre and breathtaking high-seas adventure set in the remote, spectacular Ross Sea off Antarctica, 'At the Edge of the World' is the summer season's most surprising and thought-provoking documentary."
Andrew O'Hehir
(Salon.com)

"It's a true David-and-Goliath story. For anyone interested in real environmental activism, this passionate film is a must-see. The best scenes run on sheer adrenaline. For a real thrill, be sure to keep an eye out for this one."
Michael Lee
(Film Forward)

"This real-life drama and its vast setting demand to be experienced on the big, instead of the little screen-men go overboard, skiffs go missing, and the long arm of the law threatens in this lean, sharply directed film."
Elena Oumano
(Village Voice)
"Highly recommended" Selection

"At The Edge of the World is a superb advocacy documentary and travelog that presents a compelling cause, fascinating cast of characters, eventful and dramatic story and artful cinematography. It takes you to a place you might not otherwise know and presents it in the genuine fullness of event and experience."
Jennifer Merin
(About.com)

"'At the Edge of the World' is one of those rare documentaries that could easily function as a compelling fiction thriller. Superbly shot from a wealth of angles and perspectives and edited to emphasize the tension in their quest, it's a grand entertainment that only offers time for reflection once the lights go up."
Robert Levin
(Critic's Notebook)

New York Times review (NYT Critic’s Pick): http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/movies/28edge.html?8mu&emc=mua1?em

Salon.com review: http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/btm/feature/2009/08/28/edge_of_world/index.html

Village Voice review: http://www.villagevoice.com/2009-08-25/film/at-the-edge-of-the-world/

Film Forward review: http://www.film-forward.com/attheedge.html

About.com review: http://documentaries.about.com/od/revie2/fr/AtTheEdgeOfTheWorld.htm?p=1

Critic’s Notebook review: http://www.criticsnotebook.com/2009/08/at-the-edge-of-the-world.html


The Aftermath of Michael Vick: Life through the Eyes of a Dog Traumatized at the Hands of the Convicted Animal Abuser Michael Vick

What a great story. Written from the experience of one of the pit bulls that Michael Vick was planning to have mauled in his sick dog fighting ring. As was typical of how Vick treated dogs, this dog Frodo was five months old and, like all puppies, chained outside exposed to the elements. Michael Vick has a large disrespect for life, and this proves it.

Frodo was one of the lucky ones. He was found alive and nursed to health by BAD RAP (Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit bulls). As this article states, BAD RAP is a group that “…takes troubled rescue dogs and places them in loving homes. There, they can learn to become family-friendly.” They hope to offer “…a response to the "difficult issues facing this misunderstood breed."

Here are some excerpts from the story below:

“Whatever happens, Frodo won't care much. He was five months old when cops raided the Vick property. The puppies there were chained to a partially buried car axle, left largely exposed to the elements. Frodo was taken to a shelter where he lived for seven months with little human contact.”

“He now cuddles up to Ramirez and loves to eat treats from her hand. But it's no wonder that Frodo is generally shy around people and jumpy whenever he hears an unfamiliar sound.
‘Anything mechanical, the sound bothers him,’ said Ramirez, an information analyst at Kaiser Permanente. "We have ceiling fans at our house and he would become fixated on them, looking up at them with apprehension. If I opened a cabinet, he would shy away. Or popcorn in the microwave. I don't know, maybe the popcorn equates to gunshots for him. I don't think he witnessed any of the fights. But I'm sure he heard them."

“Ramirez at first calmed Frodo the way she would treat a frightened infant, by wrapping him tightly in blankets and gently petting him in her arms for 45 minutes straight, if necessary. In the back of her head, Ramirez wonders if Vick has ever done any of this stuff — for any dog, ever. The public apologies made by the Philadelphia quarterback haven't impressed her much.”

Article:

Purdy: The aftermath of Michael Vick

http://www.mercurynews.com/raiders-headlines/ci_13556373?nclick_check=1

By Mark Purdy

Mercury News Columnist
Posted: 10/13/2009 09:54:29 PM PDT
Updated: 10/14/2009 03:51:28 AM PDT

Frodo won't be at the Raiders' game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He will be way too busy.

Probably playing with other dogs.

"To him, dogs equal good," said Kim Ramirez, who adopted Frodo several months ago. "Humans equal scary."

Frodo is a pit bull. He really doesn't know much about football. But he knows Philadelphia's backup quarterback, Michael Vick. They once had a very personal relationship.

Unfortunately.

Vick was convicted two years ago of financing and participating in a dogfighting ring. He served prison time. This is his first regular-season road game since being reinstated by the NFL three weeks ago. But what of the dogs left behind at his grotesque kennel operation in Virginia? After spending several months in shelters, most found foster homes. A dozen of the dogs have ended up in the Bay Area.

Frodo is one of them. He came to Ramirez's home through a local non-profit organization called BAD RAP, which stands for Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit bulls. Basically, the group takes troubled rescue dogs and places them in loving homes. There, they can learn to become family-friendly.

Ramirez understands that people can be skeptical about that. But that's why BAD RAP exists. The group was founded (quoting here from the Web site) as a response to the "difficult issues facing this misunderstood breed."

And for sure, the Michael Vick case definitely qualifies as a difficult issue. Crowds in Philadelphia have been largely supportive of his comeback. But what about this weekend? How will he fare with the public here in the animal-rights-intensive Bay Area?

Donna Reynolds, BAD RAP's executive director, said she will have an announcement today about the group's plans for Vick's visit to Oakland. She has been in touch with the Eagles, so the plan potentially involves the team — and maybe even Vick.

Whatever happens, Frodo won't care much. He was five months old when cops raided the Vick property. The puppies there were chained to a partially buried car axle, left largely exposed to the elements. Frodo was taken to a shelter where he lived for seven months with little human contact.

That's where BAD RAP co-founder Tim Race, met and named him. Race flew to Virginia and assessed which of the Vick dogs might best travel back to the Bay Area for adoption. A certain dark-coated dog reminded him of a Hobbit character from "Lord of the Rings."

Hence, Frodo. He now cuddles up to Ramirez and loves to eat treats from her hand. But it's no wonder that Frodo is generally shy around people and jumpy whenever he hears an unfamiliar sound.

"Anything mechanical, the sound bothers him," said Ramirez, an information analyst at Kaiser Permanente. "We have ceiling fans at our house and he would become fixated on them, looking up at them with apprehension. If I opened a cabinet, he would shy away. Or popcorn in the microwave. I don't know, maybe the popcorn equates to gunshots for him. I don't think he witnessed any of the fights. But I'm sure he heard them."

Ramirez at first calmed Frodo the way she would treat a frightened infant, by wrapping him tightly in blankets and gently petting him in her arms for 45 minutes straight, if necessary. In the back of her head, Ramirez wonders if Vick has ever done any of this stuff — for any dog, ever. The public apologies made by the Philadelphia quarterback haven't impressed her much.

"It's not about what you say, it's about what you actually do," Ramirez said. "Just because he's done the time for what he did, that doesn't mean everything's all right now. The damage done to these dogs will last the rest of their lives."

Martina McClay is just as skeptical. She has adopted another Vick dog, Leo, through her Our Pack rescue operation in Los Gatos. She has trained Leo to be a "therapy dog" who visits elder care facilities and cancer clinics to cheer up patients. McClay watched Vick's interview on "60 Minutes" and rolled her eyes.

"I just didn't see the remorse," McClay said. "Maybe he is remorseful and he's just not good at communicating it. But it looked very rehearsed to me. You know, like a sock puppet? He just says he made bad choices and what happened was bad. I haven't heard him say a word about the dogs. What should he do to show he has changed? Why ask us? I think the NFL should answer these questions, not us."

She has a point. It would be a fine thing in our world if, when athletes commit crimes beyond the pale, fans stopped buying tickets to watch and cheer them. But it's not going to happen, at least not in the country's most popular sports league. Eleven years ago in St. Louis, a defensive tackle named Leonard Little was convicted of manslaughter for killing a woman while driving drunk. He returned to the NFL. He is being cheered every Sunday. So is Vick.

Just not by Frodo.

Ridiculous Religious Festival in Nepal will Slaughter At Least 200,000 Animals - 60,000 Buffaloes, 140,000 Rats, Goats, Ducks, Roosters and Pigeons

Buddha Boy Uses Reason to Attempt to Stop

Here is a link you can visit to sign a petition to this mass slaughter - http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-gadimai/signatures.html

Apparently, this Ancient Nepali Festival takes place once every five years in honor of the goddess Ghadi Mai, also known as Durga. Unbelievably, “[t]he organisers plan to slaughter at least 200,000 animals — including 60,000 buffaloes and 140,000 rats, goats, ducks, roosters and pigeons in the two-day-long Mela.”

One man is attempting to stop this via simple and understandable reason. Palden Dorje, also known as the Buddha Boy due to his “…six year meditation at fifteen to promote world peace in May of 2005. He meditated for at least ten months in front of crowds apparently without sustenance in Bara District’s Ratanpuri before disappearing to continue his meditation in private. He interrupts his meditation once a year to give blessings to pilgrims. He is in the fifth year of his meditation.”

Palden Dorje uses simple logic to show how ridiculous and irrational this festival is:

“The belief that the divine blessings can be achieved through animal sacrifice is a mirage. It goes against the very fact that all living beings are a creation of the god,” he argues, appealing all to refrain from killings or harming the animals.”

“In a recent interview with mediapersons, Bomjan had said that the goddess represented mother of all living beings, including those animals and would never be pleased with the sacrifice of her own children. “Human beings have turned brutal by offering animal sacrifice to the goddesses. This practice must be stopped now,” he said. Geshe Ngima, meanwhile, urged the devotees to offer posy, fruits and vegetables, incense sticks, tika, sweets and coconuts instead of animals and their blood to appease the goddess and help restore peace in the country.”

I’ve posted the story below.

Here is a link you can visit to sign a petition to this mass slaughter - http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-gadimai/signatures.html

Article:

Palden Dorje Plans to Give Blessings to Pilgrims and to Protest Animal Sacrifice at Ancient
Festival

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-331005?ref=feeds%2Flatest

In Nepal, from November 19th to the 24th, 2009 Palden Dorje a.k.a. Ram Bahadur Bomjan (Ram Bomjon) will bless pilgrims at the site of the Gadhi Mai Fair which is likely the largest animal sacrificing festival in the world. He plans this appearance in order to protest the killing of more than 550,000 large animals and countless small ones before they take place on the 24th at the Gadhi Mai Festival near Nijgad in Bara District. This Ancient Nepali Festival takes place once every five years in honor of the goddess Ghadi Mai, also known as Durga. The sacrifices are said to bring good fortune.

Palden Dorje, 19, has been negotiating the ceremony with the leaders of the Ghadi Mai Mela (fair). The priests of the fair are showing an unwillingness to co-operate as the sales of animals at the stalls provide a substantial profit. This year is foreseen to be the largest festival ever with a few million pilgrims, both from Nepal and India.

Palden Dorje became world famous when he began a six year meditation at fifteen to promote world peace in May of 2005. He meditated for at least ten months in front of crowds apparently without sustenance in Bara District’s Ratanpuri before disappearing to continue his meditation in private. He interrupts his meditation once a year to give blessings to pilgrims. He is in the fifth year of his meditation.

Last year, 2008, he gave blessings in November. Approximately 400,000 pilgrims queued in the Halkoriya Jungle to receive his blessings over a 12 day period. He made two speeches in which he urged people to recognize the compassion and loving kindness in their hearts.
This year Palden Dorje is expected to make two speeches at the opening and closing of the blessing ceremony encouraging people to reconsider this cruel practice and to make vegetarian sacrifices instead.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Supports Animal Cruelty by Vetoing a Pair of Bills Related to Convicted Animal Abusers and Puppy Mills

Well, Arnold proves again that he has more respect for animal abusers and less for those attempting to stop animal abuse. Both of these bills were pretty light, and he still vetoed them.

“AB 241 — would have limited the number of potential pets to 50 in the hopes of eliminating large-scale breeding operations colloquially known as “puppy mills…”

“The second bill, AB 243, was also vetoed, but would have required judges to prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning pets for a set period of time.”

Article:

Governor Denies Acts

http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=19443

By Evan Sherwood

Published Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Issue 16 / Volume 90

On Sunday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a pair of bills authored by local assemblyman Pedro Nava aimed at strengthening animal rights.

The defeated legislation, authored by Nava, was part of a three-bill animal rights package Nava shepherded through the California legislature this year. While the governor approved a third law increasing the penalty for attending a dogfight, he vetoed similar bills that would have instituted stricter punishment for animal abuses and put a cap on the number of cats or dogs owned for breeding purposes, respectively.

The later bill — AB 241 — would have limited the number of potential pets to 50 in the hopes of eliminating large-scale breeding operations colloquially known as “puppy mills,” an approach Schwarzenegger did not agree with.

“An arbitrary cap on the number of animals any entity can possess … will not end unlawful, inhumane breeding practices,” Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. Nava said he disagreed with the governor and that the cap was not arbitrarily decided.

“We used the best advice from California animal control officers and law enforcement in coming up with that figure,” Nava said.

The second bill, AB 243, was also vetoed, but would have required judges to prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning pets for a set period of time.

Nava said he will reintroduce both bills next year.

“These problems don’t go away just because the governor failed to understand them,” Nava said.

The Philadelphia Eagles Make Good on Pledge to Support Animal Welfare Groups Due To Making Convicted Animal Abuser Michael Vick A Millionaire Again

We’ll see if this continues. I suppose it’s the least they can do for making a convicted felon and horrendous animal abuser / dog fighting supporter Michael Vick a millionaire again.

Though 50K is a drop in the bucket compared to Vick’s salary, it will help those groups who need money. Maybe they’ll be able to put a curb to any potential “little Vick” wannabes who see that you can get convicted of horrendous animal abuse and still become a millionaire.

Article:

Eagles hand out first animal welfare grants

http://news.lp.findlaw.com/ap/s/2020/10-13-2009/20091013033508_19.html

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Months after facing sharp criticism for signing convicted dogfighter Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles are making good on a pledge to support animal welfare groups.

The team on Monday unveiled a program called TAWK, which stands for Treating Animals With Kindness. The initiative aims to reduce animal abuse, encourage spaying and neutering, and end dogfighting through public education and awareness.

The Eagles awarded grants of $50,000 each to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, the Humane Society of Berks County and the Humane Society of the United States.

Team spokeswoman Pamela Browner-Crawley says Vick is working with children to discourage them from dogfighting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Land Donated to Begin Construction of Location for the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society and Animal Shelter near Norfolk, Nebraska

Very positive to see that people have come forth to help this important facility become a reality.

As stated below, this should help with the pet abandonment issue and help with educational outreach. The facility will be built near Norfolk, Nebraska.

Article:

Land donated for animal shelter

http://www.omaha.com/article/20091010/NEWS02/710109829

By Kathryn Harris

WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

NORFOLK, Neb. — The Northeast Nebraska Humane Society is one step closer to having a home.

Sister Kevin Hermsen, a humane society board member, said four acres of land have been donated to the group. A fundraiser kicked off this week for the roughly 6,000-square-foot shelter the organization wants to build.

“The land was donated in honor of the donor's mother and aunt who were committed to animal rights,” Sister Kevin said.

She said she and other humane society members know raising the projected $250,000 for the building, which will be six miles north of Norfolk on the east side of U.S. Highway 81, will be “a tough go” but worth the effort.

The rough economy has played a role in the number of animals being surrendered. Some people are being forced to choose between feeding their children or feeding their pet, Sister Kevin said.

“As difficult as it is, those pets need to be surrendered,” she said.

Unfortunately, people often don't know what to do with their pets. “They're left on the front step when people move . . . or they're taken out to the country and just dumped off,” she said.

Sick pets are in greater danger of being abandoned because veterinary care can be expensive, she said.

“If you don't have the funds to take care of a sick pet, you don't know what to do,” she said. “We don't want to be judgmental about that.”

It's the goal of the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society to provide a place for people to take their pets when they can no longer take care of them.

Sister Kevin said the organization wants space for 25 to 30 kennels for dogs and roughly the same number for cats. For now, the organization won't be able to handle large animals such as horses.

The money raised also will include a cushion for hiring a full-time shelter manager and a couple of part-time workers.

“We're going to rely heavily on volunteers to help with cleaning the cages, walking the dogs and socializing the animals,” she said.

As with the land, Sister Kevin said, members of the humane society board are hoping citizens will offer to help build the shelter.

“We understand there's a lot of fundraising going on right now. This could be a struggle,” Sister Kevin said. “The need is just so great right now that we feel like we need to move forward on it.”

Green Party of Ireland Successful in Putting Forth Measure to Ban Fur Farming

Another positive step toward ending the unnecessary and overly-cruel issue of fur and fur farming. As stated below, the ban would not take place now, but in three years. Unfortunate that we have to wait, but a strong sign and message to the rest of the world.

Article:

Animal welfare groups welcome ban on fur farming

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1012/1224256435882.html

SEÁN Mac CONNELL

ANIMAL WELFARE and rights groups have welcomed the Green Party Programme for Government as a victory for animals here, particularly the ending of fur farming in three years.

Caft Ireland (Coalition to abolish the fur trade) said it was “absolutely thrilled” its greatest goal had been achieved by the Green Party and it would now turn its attention to banning fur imports.

Bernie Wright of the Alliance for Animal Rights said it was the best day in 20 years in the campaign for animals.

She said the banning of fur farming, the ending of stag hunting after March next year, the ending of badger culling when a vaccine against bovine TB was found and promised new animal welfare legislation, was a major victory.

“Thank you Green Party and thank you John Gormley,” she said in a statement.

Compassion in World Farming said the ban on fur farming was a major step forward for animal welfare standards in the Republic of Ireland.

“We congratulate the Green Party on its commitment to improving the protection of animals.

The ban on fur farming will send out a strong message to the world that Ireland takes farm animal welfare very seriously,” said Mary-Anne Bartlett, director of the organisation here.

Will Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm Sign Legislation Requiring that Farm Animals Confined in Small Spaces have Enough Room to Fully Extend Limbs?

If the bill is signed, it will make Michigan “…the seventh state to ban certain cages and crates.”

As always, we aren’t saying that this bill is perfect, but, should it be signed, it’s just another positive step toward future stronger measures and toward educating people as to the realty of confining farm animals such as veal calf crates and gestation stalls affecting pregnant pigs.

As stated below, “[t]he bill applies to egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs and veal calves. Commonly used cages for hens and stalls for pregnant pigs will be banned in about 10 years - veal crates in three years.”

Article:

Law protects farm-animal rights

Granholm set to sign bill banning cramped cages, crates in Michigan

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20091003/NEWS04/910030318/1005/NEWS04/Law-protects-farm-animal-rights

David Eggert • Associated Press • October 3, 2009 • From Lansing State Journal


Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to soon sign legislation requiring that farm animals confined in small spaces have enough room to fully extend their limbs and making Michigan the seventh state to ban certain cages and crates.

The bill is a compromise between the farm industry and animal rights groups, which have tussled in the Capitol over the care of farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States says it no longer will push a 2010 ballot initiative on the issue.

Granholm supports the legislation, her office said Friday, a day after the measure won final approval in the Legislature.

Michigan has about 200 industrial livestock farms that each keep thousands of animals in confined areas.

The bill applies to egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs and veal calves. Commonly used cages for hens and stalls for pregnant pigs will be banned in about 10 years - veal crates in three years.

Animal advocates consider close confinement inhumane.

"Giving animals enough room to turn around and extend their limbs is something we can all support," said Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., the first haven for rescued farm animals in the country.

Farming groups say the legislation is better than the ballot proposal threatened by animal welfare groups, which would have phased out the cages sooner and put more "onerous" penalties on farmers who violate the law.

"No one likes change and no one likes to spend money to make those changes," said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. "The fact of the matter is that agriculture recognizes we must be more responsive to consumer demand and perceptions."

National restaurant chains such as Burger King have been asking suppliers for more cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.

The Humane Society says Michigan is the second state to ban battery cages for chickens, the fifth to ban veal crates and the seventh to ban stalls for pregnant pigs. The stalls still can be used in the week before a pig's due date. Each hen will have to have at least 1 square foot of usable floor space.

The Human Society of the United States Animal Protection Legislation Web Page: Animal Rights-Related Legislation Facing the 111th Congress

I’m not naive enough to believe that any of these will pass, and, I’m certainly not saying that they go far enough or that this is a comprehensive list of needs. However, it’s good to be aware that at least these issues are being heard. We’ll see what becomes of each for the remainder of this year and into the next session.

You can view the various legislative issues at http://www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/

The U.S. Supreme Court Seeks to Decide Whether a Federal Law that Makes it a Crime to Depict Animal Cruelty Violates the First Amendment

It’s obvious what we think about this, but just wanted you all to be aware of this issue. We’ll see how it goes.

Article:

Hypotheticals Dominate Animal Cruelty Argument at High Court

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202434344826&rss=newswire

Tony Mauro

The National Law Journal

October 07, 2009


It was a day of wild hypotheticals Tuesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court reached far and wide for help in deciding whether a federal law that makes it a crime to depict animal cruelty violates the First Amendment.

By the end of the riveting hour of argument in United States v. Stevens, it seemed likely that a sizable majority of the Court was ready to strike down the law as too broad or too vague.

"Certainly the tone of the argument would suggest that the statute is in trouble," said Andrew Tauber of Mayer Brown, who attended the argument and filed a brief against the law for the National Coalition Against Censorship. The law sweeps so broadly, Tauber added, that "it takes very little imagination to come up with dozens of hypotheticals" of depictions that could be vulnerable to prosecution but should be protected by the First Amendment.

That's just what the Court did, for much of the hour.

What if, Justice Antonin Scalia said, "I am an aficionado of bullfighting" who wants to spread the word about how it ennobles "both beast and man?" Would it be a crime to use a video to get that argument across?

The urbane Justice Stephen Breyer asked another one: would a video depicting "stuffing geese for pate de foie gras" violate the law?

The bow-tied Justice John Paul Stevens posited videos of "hunting with a bow and arrow out of season," when it would be illegal.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. asked if a law aimed at depiction of cruelty to humans -- not animals -- would pass constitutional muster.

Could Congress ban a video depicting modern-day Roman gladiators fighting to the death, asked Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Or what about a pay-per-view "Human Sacrifice Channel?" he asked.

Early in the argument, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal sought to tamp down the "endless stream of fanciful hypotheticals" by asking whether there is a "realistic danger" that the hypos might come true.

In the 10 years the law has been in effect, Katyal said, no bullfighting videos have been prosecuted, nor would they be, given the legislative intent of Congress. The law also exempts depictions that are educational, historic or journalistic, but Breyer said the words were so vague that people won't "know what to do to avoid the risk of being prosecuted."

Katyal's argument drew an angry comment from Justice Anthony Kennedy, in effect stating that the Court has never found a law restricting speech to be constitutionally acceptable just because prosecutors have so far used restraint. Justices also seemed not to like the idea of leaving the determination of whether certain videos fit or do not fit the exceptions in the hands of prosecutors or jurors.

Kennedy's comment seemed to be a death knell for Katyal's argument, but he kept at it. He asserted that the law is constitutional because it, like laws against child pornography, is aimed not at expression but at "trying to dry up an underlying market," in this case for fetish and dogfighting videos that harm animals in their production. He said the law was successful in diminishing production of such videos until the law was struck down by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

After Katyal sat down, it seemed that his adversary, Patricia Millett of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, would have an easy task ahead. Millett represented Robert Stevens, a Pennsylvania man who was the first person prosecuted under the law, targeted for a series of dogfighting videos -- videos that he said were documentaries that did not foster or approve of dogfighting.

Millett did, in fact, face fewer tough questions than Katyal, as she acknowledged that a "properly drawn statute," aimed only at fetish videos that appeal to prurient interest in seeing animals harmed, might pass constitutional muster. But she said the Court should not rewrite the law for Congress. "Congress has a job to write with a scalpel and not a buzzsaw in the First Amendment area," she said.

Alito was the only justice who repeatedly challenged her to recognize that in the "real world," many of the hypotheticals raised by her and other justices would not in fact be prosecuted.

He also pressed Millett on whether, under her reading of the First Amendment, a cable channel devoted to depictions of human sacrifice could be outlawed. Millett hedged and seemed briefly in trouble, but Katyal in his rebuttal said such a channel would be hard to ban under the First Amendment, an answer that seemed to help his adversary.

GEARI Blog - Animal Rights Information and News Resource Blog - is Again Blogging / Posting Regarding Animal Rights Issues and News

GEARI Blog - Animal Rights Information and News Resource Blog - Companion Blog for www.geari.org – is again blogging / posting at http://geari.blogspot.com/ regarding animal rights issues and news.

GEARI would like to thank all who read this blog. We are again posting/blogging on issues related to animal rights. We follow animal rights news stories and present them to you so that you can stay up to date and not worry about tracking the various resources. Due to time, we took a month away from posting. However, after finding dedicated volunteers to help keep up with the unfortunate stream of news, our regular postings will continue.

As you know, GEARI (the Group for the Education of Animal - Related Issues) is a non-profit educational group dedicated to assisting you in your search for information on animal rights-related issues, the environment and human health. Your reference source for animal rights information. In essence, and briefly, the goal of this blog and of the main site - www.geari.org is to assist individuals in conducting research on issues related to animal rights.

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