Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photos from Nikon's “Small World Photomicrography Contest” Speak to the Unity of Life, Regardless of Species

This is one incredible project. So why am I posting on it? Seeing photos like this speaks to the unity of life, regardless of species. As you’ll see, this contest “…capture[s] some of the first moments inside the eggs of animals including starfish and butterflies.”

When you see photos like this, you cannot deny the commonality. For example, you’ll see the photo showing the bones of the feet of a developing frog. Just as with a developing human, you’ll see 5 fingers and very similar bones.

The question that immediately came to mind for me was why are certain species literally born to be tortured or live very cruel lives and then die? When developing, they are innocent and that innocence is beautiful. But, then it’s broken as they live out their lives. This to me was a sad realization of the beauty and ugliness of life. Of course, also the reality that this is all human-defined as it’s humans that cause such a lack of empathy to other species – speciesism.

The link to the actual project is http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/vote From here you can actually vote for your favorite.

Wired also did a very good summary of the project at http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/gallery-microphoto-embryos/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+wired/index+(Wired:+Index+3+(Top+Stories+2))&pid=128

Animal Testing Company - Professional Laboratory and Research Services - in Corapeake, North Carolina Shut Down After Video of Cruelty Released

One win in a huge battle.

Of course, this is only one lab in a huge network that carries out the exact same cruelty day to day. It’s horrible to imagine just how many dogs, etc. are tortured daily and no one bears witness.

Article:

Lab shuts down after animal rights video released - September 16, 2010

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/09/animal_testing_lab_shuts_down.html

A private laboratory involved in animal testing has halted research and will hand over its animals, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday (AP).

The shutdown comes after the animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), released an undercover video showing how animals were treated at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, based in Corapeake, North Carolina. According to PETA, the company had contracts from several major pharmaceutical companies to test products on animals.

The video shows laboratory employees discussing the use of sedatives that expired in 2007. “Maybe that’s why it doesn’t work,” says a voice on the video, shortly before the scene cuts to a dog twitching as its teeth are pulled with a pair of pliers. In another clip, one employee counsels another not to bother reporting a dog’s sores to the veterinarian. “If you have ten dogs that have the same problem, it’s not a problem,” she says. “It’s a living condition here.”

The USDA reportedly inspected the lab last week, and has launched a formal investigation. Officials are now trying to find new homes for about 200 animals.

U.S. Senator States that Re-Banning Animal Crush Videos 'A Virtual Certainty' After Horrible Supreme Court Decision Made them Legal

Thank whatever you want – god or not – but this is a huge development. It’s heartening to see that the Senate still has some decency as a key member used the terminology 'A Virtual Certainty' when saying that a bill to ban sick animal crush videos will survive.

Unbelievably, this is due to the fact that “On April 20, the Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision overturned a 1999 federal law that banned the creation of such videos...” I could go on and on as to the sick ramifications of this horrible decision, but you get the point.

As stated below, “Crush videos visually depict the abuse and killing of animals, many showing "a scantily clad, high-heeled woman stomping, squishing" and otherwise torturing animals such as puppies and kittens to feed a sexually deviant audience…”

We can only hope this happens and we’ll keep you informed.

Article:

Senator Says Re-banning Animal Crush Videos 'A Virtual Certainty'

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/09/senator-says-re-banning-animal-crush-videos-a-virtual-certainty-.html

A speedy Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning paid notice to animal rights groups that hope to flatten a resurgence of "animal crush" videos, an industry they say has regained ground after the United States v. Stevens decision reversed a previous ban on their creation and distribution.

Crush videos visually depict the abuse and killing of animals, many showing "a scantily clad, high-heeled woman stomping, squishing" and otherwise torturing animals such as puppies and kittens to feed a sexually deviant audience, said Nancy Perry, vice president for government affairs for The Humane Society, during testimony.

On April 20, the Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision overturned a 1999 federal law that banned the creation of such videos, reversing a criminal conviction of Robert Stevens, who was sentenced to three years of jail time for making videos of dog fights. The Court said the law was too broad and could include productions relating to hunting and fishing.

Ever since, Congress and animal rights organizations have been working on legislation that would put a federal ban back in place. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) presided over the hearing and said it was his hope, after testimony and questioning, to help draft a Senate version of the July 21 House bill that would "narrowly tailor" the issue. The more specific the bill, the better chances it has of standing should it ever face scrutiny again, he explained.

Kevin Volkan of the California State University psychology program testified that crush video fans suffer from paraphilias, or sexual disorders similar to fetishes. There's no question what purpose the videos serve, he said.

"They are clearly sexual in nature," Volkan said. He also said his research shows that viewers typically will not acknowledge or treat their behavior unless they've been arrested and forced into treatment by the court.

ACLU lobbyist Michael Macleod-Ball said Volkan's testimony also contributed to the obscenity argument, a rule of measure that excludes speech referring to explicit sexual acts from First Amendment rights. Animal cruelty is illegal but banning the depiction of such acts inherently violates free speech, he said.

Congress could be trying to expand the definition of obscenity, which they cannot and should not do, he said.

An audience of roughly 50 listened as Perry described a video in which a puppy's mouth and legs were tied shut while someone stomped a stiletto heel through its eye socket. Further, a Humane Society investigation has found that new videos are being custom produced — a viewer may place an order specifically requesting the type of animal and torture — and receive it within 48 hours, she said.

A federal ban would help limit the crush video industry, which almost disappeared after the 1999 law, she said.

Kyl said the likelihood of the new bill being signed into law before the end of this session is "a virtual certainty." Both he and Macleod-Ball said the challenge would be that the law is written narrowly enough to survive judicial scrutiny.

"If they don't get it right, it's just going to go back up and down again," Macleod-Ball said, referring to the possibility that someone could challenge a new ban and bring it to the Supreme Court once more.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Video Acts as Undeniable Proof: Baby Elephants Tied Up and Electro-Shocked by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Trainers

In my research today for another posting I came across this video of absolute unspeakable cruelty toward BABY Elephants. This truly shows the truth of how circuses like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus MAKE elephants do unnatural tricks - they torture them. If you don't believe me then look at the video.

To see this unbelievable cruelty which shows via video Baby Elephants Tied Up and Electro-Shocked by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Trainers visit: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/bound-babies.asp

European Union Bans Animal Testing Using Great Apes: Also Puts Restrictions on Using Other Primates and Requires Non-Animal Methods When Possible

The title says it all. Wow. As stated below, “The new legislation also places significant restrictions on testing on other primates and requires that non-animal methods be used whenever possible.”

Any change, be it small or large can lead to more. Celebrate this one and use it to cause more change to occur.

However, the fight is not over. As also stated in the article below, an important question is asked about the fate of chimpanzees in a New Mexico torture facility: “This is an exciting development—but it also raises a question: In light of this humane advance, how can the U.S. government justify its plans to transfer more than 200 “retired” chimpanzees from a facility in New Mexico to a research laboratory in Texas, where they’ll probably be forced to endure cruel experiments?”

Article:

VICTORY: EU BANS TESTING ON GREAT APES!

http://animalrightscollective.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/victory-eu-bans-testing-on-great-apes/

September 9, 2010, 11:23 pm

Filed under: AR News, News, Video | Tags: primate testing, great apes, EU bans great ape testing

From The PETA Files:

There’s great news from across the Atlantic, where the European Union has voted to ban the use of great apes in experiments. The new legislation also places significant restrictions on testing on other primates and requires that non-animal methods be used whenever possible.

This is an exciting development—but it also raises a question: In light of this humane advance, how can the U.S. government justify its plans to transfer more than 200 “retired” chimpanzees from a facility in New Mexico to a research laboratory in Texas, where they’ll probably be forced to endure cruel experiments?

There is no excuse for it, of course, so please help us persuade officials to permanently retire the chimpanzees to a sanctuary.

Posted by Jeff Mackey

New EU Rules on Animal Testing Ban Use of Apes

from AFP

STRASBOURG — Europe banned the use of great apes in animal testing Wednesday as part of drastically tightened rules to scale back the number of animals used in scientific research.

After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the new limits, updating regulations from 1986, were adopted by the European Parliament despite objections from Green MEPs.

Under the new legislations, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and “strict” restrictions set on the use of primates in general.

Members of the 27-nation bloc, who are given two years to comply with the rules, also need “to ensure that whenever an alternative method is available, this is used instead of animal testing.”

And they must work at “reducing levels of pain inflicted on animals.”

Proponents of the abolition of animal testing objected that the new rules failed to go far enough.

“Animals will still be used as guinea pigs,” said the Greens in a statement. “They will still suffer pain.”

“It is possible to reduce the number of animals used for science without hindering research,” added Belgian Green Isballe Durant.

But Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli dubbed it “a good compromise on a difficult topic.”

“Today we have the chance to bring the EU to the forefront by caring for animals and protecting science,” he said.

Other MEPs said the demands of scientific research came over and above animal welfare.

“An animal’s an animal and a human being’s a human being,” said Italian conservative Herbert Dorfmann.

“Medical progress is crucial to humanity and unfortunately, to achieve this progress there must be animal testing.”

The legislation notably allows the use of primates in testing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancer or Parkinson’s disease if there is scientific evidence that the research cannot be achieved without using these species.

To avoid repeated suffering by an animal, it lists different categories of pain that may be inflicted during a test (non-recovery, mild, moderate or severe) and proposes that the same animals be reused only if the pain is classed as “moderate,” and provided a vet is consulted.

At the moment some 12 million animals are used each year in scientific experiments in the EU.

The legislation calls for government inspections on a third of national laboratories that use animals, some of which must be unannounced.

Last year the European Union banned the testing of animals for developing cosmetics, except for long-running toxicology tests which will be banned altogether in 2013.

Two National Groups Challenge the EPA in their Proposal to Carry Out Unnecessary Animal Testing on 29 Chemicals

It seems like this comes up every few years. We can only hope that the existing data located can be used to prevent the EPA from believing that they need to carry out these unnecessary tests

Article:

Animal rights group challenges EPA chemical test proposals

http://chemicalwatch.com/4906
09-Sep-2010

NGO People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was due to give evidence today at a public meeting organised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss a proposal to require further test data for 29 high production volume substances for which the agency says it has "preliminarily determined that there are insufficient data and experience to reasonably determine or predict the effects of the manufacture, processing, or use of these chemical substances, or of any combination of such activities, on human health or the environment".

PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine today argued that some of the tests proposed for 15 of the chemicals are unnecessary as the data sought can be found elsewhere. PETA accuses the EPA of failing to apply its own animal welfare guidelines to the testing proposals.

PETA located existing data for seven of the chemicals or groups of chemicals included in the proposed test rule. These include two chemicals, 1-tetracosanol (CAS No. 506-51-4) and 1-hexacosanol (CAS No. 506-52-5) the aluminum salts of which have already been addressed in the HPV program, and a third, 1-Decene, sulfurized (CAS No. 72162-15-3), that has already been included as part of a chemical category. PETA also suggested analogous chemicals for which data exist for three additional chemicals. Chemical manufacturers and importers made in-house toxicity and exposure data available for five additional chemicals.

Artist Amy Grace Draws Attention to the Cruelty of Circuses and of Course of the "Cruelest Show on Earth" Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

I am a firm believer in using graphics to show the reality of the issues we discuss. Photos and videos go a long way toward changing hearts and minds, as it’s hard to forget images.

I’ve pasted in one of Amy’s graphic art pieces below titles “Elephants Never Forget” which I believe delivers a strong visual message about the hell and cruelty animals in circuses endure, especially elephants.

You can view the photo directly at her site at http://amygrace.com/blog/2010/08/elephants-never-forget/

To see unbelievable cruelty which shows via video Baby Elephants Tied Up and Electro-Shocked by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Trainers visit http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/bound-babies.asp

For more on the cruelty of circuses, including videos showing the reality of the abuse animals endure in them, visit http://www.circuses.com/ringling.asp

To see more of the work of Amy Grace, visit her site at http://amygrace.com/blog/

Here is what she writes directly under the graphic athttp://amygrace.com/blog/2010/08/elephants-never-forget/

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and other circuses beat and whip elephants to force them to perform silly tricks. Far away from the big-top spotlight, the cries of these isolated and scared animals go unheard.

Many may or may not know that I am a big advocate for animal rights. It really breaks my heart to pieces to see any animal suffer, and there’s a lot of abuse that goes on today…most of which people probably aren’t even aware of. I do what I can to help bring awareness to these issues…so when PETA recently sent out notices about these poor circus elephants, I was immediately inspired to do my own photo piece that would help to bring notice to the issue. I truly feel for these poor animals. I will never support the abuse of animals for the entertainment of people by taking my child to the circus. I hope that others can say the same.

Chains are for swings, not elephants.

Boycott ringling.











Yes, People Hunt Alligators: Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) Plans to Protest

I posted this because I want to make sure people are aware that there is alligator hunting. No surprise, unfortunately, but sometimes we forget that no species is safe.

Article:

Gator-hunt protest

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_lifestyle_animal/2010/09/gator-hunt-protest.html/comment-page-1

alligators — posted by mary anna gentleman on September, 9 2010 4:10 PM

A notice from the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF):

Activists with ARFF plans to call attention to alligator hunting by hanging a large banner reading “Gator Hunting = Heartless Killing” at the Interstate 4 overpass at Conroy Road at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9.

Lake Jesup, Lake Harney and Lake Monroe are among the Orlando-area destinations for alligator hunters. Florida’s 2010 alligator hunt began on Aug. 15 and continues until Nov. 1.

AARF objects to the way in which alligators are snared by hunters.

According to ARFF coordinator Bryan Wilson, “Death is rarely quick, and alligators may be left to suffer long after being pulled from the water.”

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Annual Cruel Dolphin Slaughter Begins in Taiji, Japan: The Documentary “The Cove” Has Attempted to Expose this Unspeakable Horror

I usually don’t make such a statement as really, almost all of the issues I cover are of extreme cruelty. But, this practice really pushes me to state it as one of the cruelest. This is literally a dolphin slaughter of extreme cruelty and proportion.

I’m hoping that in my life time this will end. One group has attempted to expose this practice.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the documentary “The Cove” that has attempted to expose this unspeakable horror. They literally had to go undercover to get the footage necessary to show the world just how horrible the Taiji dolphin slaughter is.

Here is the trailer for the movie:




The website for the movie is at http://www.thecovemovie.com/ and also lets you know what you can do to end this practice - http://www.takepart.com/thecove .

Japan, with its illegal continuation of whaling is still one of the world’s cruelest countries. It cares nothing for life. We can only hope that one day they wake up and end their love of death and cruelty.

Article:

Dolphin hunt kicks off in Japan 'Cove' town

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hiTLwbby8nMONbMgY-

L91WPmDWFA

(AFP) – 7 hours ago

TOKYO — Fishermen from the Japanese town depicted in Oscar-winning eco-documentary "The Cove" kicked off their annual dolphin hunting season Wednesday, undeterred by international criticism.

A flotilla of boats went to sea in the morning but failed to catch any of the sea mammals on the first day, said a local government official from Taiji in southwestern Wakayama prefecture, who asked not to be named.

Every year, fishermen in Taiji herd about 2,000 dolphins into a secluded bay, select several dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks and harpoon the rest for meat, a practice long deplored by animal rights activists.

The Taiji official said several foreigners with cameras were seen walking around town, but that there had been no protests and no confrontations between animal rights activists and pro-dolphin-hunting nationalist groups.

"I have no idea what the foreigners' intentions are, but there is nothing unusual going on in the town. Our stance remains the same. The town will continue hunting dolphins no matter what they say," said the official.

"The Cove", directed by Louie Psihoyos, won the Academy Award for best documentary this year, and has been followed up by a series that has started screening on cable channel Animal Planet called "Blood Dolphins".

The team that shot "The Cove" over several years often worked clandestinely and at night to elude local authorities and angry fishermen, setting up disguised cameras underwater and in forested hills around the rocky cove.

Individual fishermen in Taiji routinely decline to speak to foreign media, but they have the support of many local people in the town of 3,700 who defend hunting dolphins, porpoises and small whales as a centuries-old tradition.

Right-wing nationalist groups in Japan -- known for their ear-splitting street demonstrations using megaphones -- have attacked "The Cove" as anti-Japanese and tried to stop its screenings by harassing movie theatres.

Such harassment forced the film's distributor to scrap screenings in June, but it managed the first commercial showing at a police-guarded Tokyo theatre in July, despite a brief skirmish between right-wingers and supporters.

The official said Taiji had expected protesters against the dolphin hunts to flock to the town Wednesday but he told AFP: "I see no impact from the movie. The town's stance to continue dolphin hunting will not change either."

Activist Ric O?Barry, a central character in "The Cove", wrote in his blog that his campaign, Save Japan Dolphins, had called off a visit to Taiji after receiving news that "extreme nationalist groups are set to confront us".

Instead, he said he and other volunteers would on Thursday visit the US embassy in Tokyo "to symbolically present 1.7 million signatures from 151 countries" in a campaign to end the annual dolphin hunts.

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