MAR 31-14
Court orders stay on Japanese Antarctic whaling
Dec. 2, 2008, file photo shows a chicken farm just outside the city limits of Pittsburg, Texas. Citing hundreds of thousands of chickens being accidentally dropped alive into scalding tanks every year, two animal welfare groups and dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to improve humane treatment of poultry at slaughterhouses. WASHINGTON (AP) — Two animal welfare groups and dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to improve humane treatment of poultry at slaughterhouses, citing statistics that show hundreds of thousands of chickens being accidentally dropped alive into scalding tanks every year. The Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary have petitioned the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service to strengthen humane treatment regulations, by, among other things, banning live birds from the scalding tanks. When things go according to plan, birds are already dead by the time they're dropped into the tank, but a small percentage miss the automatic knife that is supposed to slit their necks and wind up dying in the tank.The Food Safety Inspection Service, known as FSIS, and the National Chicken Council, a trade association, stressed that the number of birds who die that way represents a tiny fraction of the billions of chickens that are slaughtered every year.Chicken production is big in much of the South. Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi are the top five states for chicken meat production.Earlier this month, 68 House members urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to scrap a proposed poultry inspection rule that would speed up cleaning and inspecting bird carcasses, known as evisceration. The lawmakers said in their letter to Vilsack that would result in more birds missing backup slaughter devices and entering the scalding tank alive. The House members also objected to the rule's reduction of 500 to 800 inspector positions.FSIS Deputy Administrator Phil Derfler said that the Agriculture Department "is using the full extent of its legal authority to protect chickens from inhumane conditions because poorly treated birds can present a food safety concern, and it is ethically appropriate for us to do so."He said that those efforts led to an all-time low of chickens killed by other than humane methods of .008 percent last year."Our goal is always to drive that number as close to zero as possible, and our proposal to modernize poultry slaughter inspection would help do that," Derfler said, by better positioning inspectors to ensure humane treatment of poultry.Birds that die by means other than slaughter are called "cadavers" and not allowed to enter the food supply. Last year, FSIS records show, there were roughly 680,000 cadavers, down from around 730,000 the year before. FSIS officials say the majority of cadavers are birds that have been dropped into scalding tanks alive."Dying other than by slaughter causes tremendous suffering to how ever many birds are subjected to this treatment," said Dena M. Jones, the Animal Welfare Institute's farm animal program manager.Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, said there's an economic — as well as ethical — incentive to reduce the number of cadavers. He said that when birds miss the automatic knife, an employee is used as backup to keep live birds out of the scalder.Rep. James Moran, a Virginia Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, said he thought the number of chickens "boiled alive" in the U.S. was significant."You either feel for other living species, or you don't," said Moran, who signed the letter to Vilsack. "And a lot of people simply don't."Virginia is 12th in the nation, according to the National Chicken Council.The animal welfare groups' petition also says that birds aren't always properly stunned, which is supposed to make them insensible to pain before slaughter; and that many birds suffer broken or dislocated bones when they are shackled for slaughter.Super said that his group issued new guidelines last month requiring stunning to be more effective, with a goal of at least 99 percent of birds effectively stunned and insensible to pain, and corrective action required when it falls below 98 percent. And he said companies must have a monitoring program for wing and leg injuries, and retraining of employees when standards are exceeded.Derfler, of the FSIS, said the agency works under existing law to ensure humane treatment of chickens, relying on the Poultry Products Inspection Act, which condemns adulterated products, including birds that die by means other than slaughter."Under our regulations, right now, if live birds go into the scald tank, we do think that's a prohibited act, under the Poultry Products Inspection Act," Derfler said. "And we'd take action, because the animals would be dying other than by slaughter — they'd be drowning, and not slaughtered in a humane way."Temple Grandin, a noted professor with autism whose life's work understanding livestock was the subject of an HBO movie, said birds entering the scalder alive used to be a bigger problem than it is today."You shouldn't have live birds going in the scalder," she said. "You've got really good system — you're not going to have live birds going in the scalder."
Mudslide searchers press on with dogs, bare hands
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — With search and cadaver dogs leading the way, rescuers using small bulldozers and their bare hands pushed through sludge strewn with splintered homes and twisted cars to find 10 more bodies in the debris of a Washington state mudslide, authorities said.
MAR 28-14
Nike: Stop the slaughter of kangaroos to make your soccer shoes!By The Fish Family . Portland, Oregon Sign the Petition Please join my family and I in asking Nike to stop using kangaroo leather to make soccer shoes!Did you know that millions of kangaroos are slaughtered in Australia every year to make soccer shoes (or football shoes for the more enlightened of us)?If that isn’t sad enough many timesbaby joeys are found in the dead mothers’ pouches after they are killed and then meet the end of their life by being stomped on, beaten with sticks or smashed against vehicles because they serve no use.Being from Portland, Oregon, it’s exciting to know that Adidas, which based its US headquarters here, just recently stated that they will cut back on kangaroo leather use by 98% in the next twelve months! Even cooler Puma recently said it’s exploring even more non-animal material because of environmental problems like chemicals and waste created in leather tanneries!The question is what about Nike and Umbro (the soccer specialty company which Nike owns)?The interesting thing is that Nike already makes an alternative to kangaroo leather called ‘Kanga-Lite.’Now some may wonder if it using a synthetic material impacts performance? As a Manchester City fan it is difficult for me to ever give credit to anything associated with Manchester United, but if a synthetic shoe can work with a world class player like Rooney it is clear that performance is not an issue. Add in Ronaldo and US superstar Landon Donovan amongst those who wear amazing Nike cleats where no kangaroos had to die and it is clear that the alternatives are great.Our whole family loves soccer and we also love animals which is why we find it painful and sad to imagine slaughtering even a single kangaroo for use in a shoe! That’s why we want Nike to stop using kangaroo leather and instead use the many wonderful, kangaroo-friendly, highly-functional materials that go into football shoes that don’t involve needless cruelty. Some of Nike’s best models featuring revolutionary synthetics include models called CTR360, Total90 Laser IV, and Mercurial Vapor VIII, and there are plenty of choices for regular families like ours who play on recreational teams!Remember Nike is a business and if their customers ask them to use less cruel and more environmental friendly materials they will listen! Will you join us by signing our petition to Nike to stop the slaughter of kangaroos to make their shoes?Thank you!Robert, Renate, Ras and Chaitan Fish
FEB 20-14
© 2014 National Geographic  tiger caught in trap with paw
Battling India's Illegal Tiger Trade
Feb. 12, 2014—The overwhelming demand for tiger parts on the Asian market means India's tigers face constant peril from poachers. Conservationist Belinda Wright and her team at the Wildlife Protection Society of India are working to save tigers by helping enforcement authorities track down and arrest suspected poachers.


PETALUMA, Calif. 2-11-14 (AP) — A California slaughterhouse at the center of a massive beef recall has voluntarily halted operations, as it tries to track down all of its beef shipments over the past year, a newspaper reported.Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp. was compiling a list of companies affected by the recall, its owner, Robert Singleton, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (http://bit.ly/1jszBqa) on Monday.The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Saturday that the company was recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products that it processed from Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail stores in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.The USDA said the facility processed diseased and unhealthy animals without a full federal inspection. The agency said without a full inspection, the recalled products were unfit for human consumption. They include beef carcasses, oxtail, liver, cheeks, tripe, tongue and veal bones.The company had previously recalled more than 40,000 pounds of meat products produced on Jan. 8 that also didn't undergo a full inspection.Singleton told the Press Democrat the company undertook the recall out of an abundance of caution and regrets any inconvenience to customers. He declined further comment, the newspaper reported.___Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com
MARCH 27-14
Apparently, a maintenance worker at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo is dying from cancer. He requested that he be brought to the zoo to pay a last visit to some kind giraffes.“Heart-breaking pictures have emerged of the moment a giraffe said goodbye to a terminally ill zoo worker, who had spent most of his adult life cleaning the animal’s enclosures,” Independent.ie writes. Apparently, the giraffes came over to nuzzle and kiss Mario rather quickly. Here’s a bit more:
“These animals recognised him, and felt that (things aren’t) going well with him,’ Kees Veldboer, the founder of the AWF told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
“(It was) a very special moment. You saw him beaming.”
Mario, who has a mental disability, was also given the chance to say goodbye to his colleagues at the zoo, where he has worked for almost 25 years.

Read more at http://planetsave.com/2014/03/22/giraffe-kisses-maintenance-worker-dying-cancer/#EMjcvYbHzzWhWeE3.99
 YAHOO.NEWS  JAN. 21-14  
One-Quarter of Sharks and Rays at Risk of Extinction
                                            Landowners May Soon Shoot, Trap More Wolves
      Horse slaughter blocked by federal law  JAN.18-14
      By Laura Zuckerman SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A district judge on Friday denied a request from conservationists to block Idaho's efforts to trap and kill two wolf packs targeted for eradication in a federally protected wilderness area for preying on elk prized by hunters.The state Department of Fish and Game last month hired a trapper to eliminate the pair of wolf packs from the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho, where wolves were imported from Canada in the mid-1990s in a bid to reintroduce the species to the Northern Rockies.The trapping program has become the latest flashpoint in a long-running controversy over wolf management in the region. State officials have not specified how many wolves are believed to make up the packs in question but said nine animals have been killed so far.Gray wolves were placed under safeguards of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1974, after being hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction decades earlier throughout the continental United States.But wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming lost their protected status in recent years as their numbers rebounded and states pushed to renew hunting and trapping rights, arguing that the predators had become too big a threat to livestock and to big-game animals such as elk.Environmental groups have claimed, however, that Idaho went too far by going after wolves in a federally designated wilderness, which by definition has been aside by the government to preserve its natural character.Defenders of Wildlife and other groups filed a lawsuit earlier this month in District Court in Boise alleging that an "extermination program" in the wilderness near Salmon violated federal preservation rules and required special environmental and public reviews. They asked a judge to halt the eradication of the two packs until the overall case was adjudicated.District Judge Edward Lodge sided with Idaho and the Forest Service in finding that no reviews were necessary since federal land managers had yet to determine if eliminating wolf packs in the 2.4 million-acre Frank Church conflicts with preservation requirements spelled out in the federal Wilderness Act."No final agency action has been taken in regards to the Wilderness Act," Lodge wrote in Friday's ruling.Idaho Fish and Game and Forest Service officials did not immediately respond on Friday to requests for comment.Conservationists said they would immediately appeal Lodge's decision."We don't believe that killing wolves to artificially increase elk herds for hunters is a legitimate way to manage a wilderness, which is not an elk game farm," said Jonathan Proctor of Defenders of Wildlife.(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Richard Chang)
      Refuses to halt wolf trapping in Idaho wilderness

            News Find Out Why Endangered Tortoises Are Being DefacedABC
              . View galleryFind Out Why Endangered Tortoises Are Being Defaced (ABC 
                Some of the rarest tortoises in the world are a hot commodity on the black market for their unique golden shells which can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.In an effort to obstruct poachers, conservationists have made the bold move to carve into the shells of the tortoises, protecting the animals by making their domes less attractive. The branded shells also make it easier for authorities to trace them if they are stolen."Endangered tortoises and turtles are facing a real threat, and we're hoping that this will be an effective tool to keep them safe," Eric Goode, the founder and president of the Turtle Conservancy told ABC News today.Years of hunting have caused near extinction for many tortoise species, so sanctuaries and zoos are using identification marks, including laser inscribing, tattoos and engraving to hinder poachers and discourage collectors from paying a great deal of money for the animals.Since the conservancy began putting the branded tortoises back into the wild in 2011, the shells have not come up in the black market, which officials believe is a good sign.The Turtle Conservancy's Behler Chelonian Center in Ventura County, Calif., has been working with ploughshare tortoises among others which originate from Madagascar. Their goal is to engrave the shells of both the ploughshares in captivity as well as those living in the wild."Because there are so few of them left, no one really knows how many are in the wild," said Goode. "We estimate that there are between 100 to 300 [tortoises] and that they only occupy about 10 square miles."Some of the endangered tortoises can sell on the black market for upwards of $40,000, so they are considered a gold mine for those who find them."Engraving their shells is not dissimilar to cutting off a rhino horn to make them less attractive to poachers," said Goode.The process of engraving on turtle and tortoise shells can sometimes hurt the animal so the researchers at the Turtle Conservancy work hard to engrave as superficially as possible. Goode described the process like pressing on a fingernail."It probably doesn't feel comfortable for [the tortoises], but we don't drill deeper than the keratin layer of the shell," said Goode. "As long as we don't hit the bone of the shell beneath the keratin layer, the tortoise is okay. I believe the period of discomfort is worth it to save the animal's life."Turtles and tortoises predate dinosaurs, having lived on planet Earth for over 250 million years. However, they are slow, passive animals and not the best at evading hunters and poachers."These reptiles are survivors, but they are helpless to some extent. It's our job to work to protect them and we are doing everything we can to keep them safe from poachers," said Goode

                By Jonathan Kaminsky (Reuters) - A temporary ban on horsemeat processing has been added to a 2014 omnibus spending bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, a Democratic senator said, as a New Mexico judge weighs blocking a return of horse slaughter plants in the state.The measure would bar the United States Department of Agriculture from using federal funds to inspect horsemeat, effectively outlawing an industry that has fought to regain a foothold since the last U.S. horse slaughterhouses were shuttered in 2007.The federal spending bill will move to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to pass it this week and send it to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature."Slaughtering horses is inhumane, disgusting and unnecessary, and there is no place for it in the United States," Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a proponent of the measure, said in a written statement.The legislation comes as a New Mexico slaughterhouse seeks to become the first to operate in the United States since 2007, a move the state's attorney general, Gary King, has sued to block.With a midnight Wednesday deadline looming for new spending authority, lawmakers will still need a three-day stop-gap funding extension to ensure enough time for passage of the spending bill this week.In New Mexico, the case against Valley Meat Co was brought by the state's attorney general, Gary King, who asserted that horsemeat is unfit for human consumption and in violation of state food safety laws because of the scores of drugs the animals are administered while alive.Horse meat is not consumed by Americans, but is eaten in parts of Europe and Asia, and is fed to some U.S. zoo animals.A ruling in the New Mexico case is expected on Friday, though it would be rendered moot by a USDA inspection ban, and the lawsuit may be withdrawn if Congress acts before the judge rules, said Phil Sisneros, spokesman for King.CONTENTIOUS ISSUEAn attorney for Valley Meat, which plans to convert its cattle slaughterhouse into one that processes horsemeat, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.If passed by Congress, the measure banning USDA inspections of horsemeat would apply through the end of September - but could be extended in the event of so-called continuing resolutions that keep the government's spending on autopilot until a new spending package is authorized."It could last for nine months, or it could last for two years," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Human Society of the United States, which supports the ban.Congress passed a horsemeat inspection ban in 2006, with the three horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil - two in Texas and one in Illinois - shutting down the following year in the wake of additional state judicial and legislative action. But U.S. lawmakers did not renew the ban in 2011, creating an opening for the contentious industry to reemerge.Proponents of horse slaughter have pointed to a growing population of unwanted horses in the United States as a reason to bring the industry back.Opponents counter that there are more humane ways of dealing with an excess horse population, including expansion of horse sanctuaries and, in some cases, euthanasia.The Humane Society last year filed a lawsuit seeking to block Valley Meat and others from opening horse slaughterhouses in several states. That case, which is pending in a federal appellate court in Colorado, would also be rendered moot by congressional action, Pacelle said.Landrieu is among the lawmakers pushing a more comprehensive measure, known as the SAFE act, that would create a permanent ban both on horsemeat processing in the United States and on the export of American horses to be slaughtered abroad.(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Richard Chang

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