Wednesday, August 31, 2011

IFAW Marks $1 Million in Donations From Partner The Animal Rescue Site

International Fund for Animal Welfare is another animal rights organization with a two-star rating from Charity Navigator, one star lower than HSUS and PETA.

According to the press release issued August 30, IFAW marked a milestone: $1 million in grants received from to help animals in crisis around the world. IFAW has been beneficiary of initiatives on The Animal Rescue Site and's grants since 2008.

"The Animal Rescue Site makes it so easy for people to act upon their natural generosity and compassion. When so many individuals are willing to give just a little bit each, we can make a massive difference for animals," said IFAW President and CEO Fred O'Regan.

The Animal Rescue Site was added to the GreaterGood Network in 2002. The primary beneficiaries of its "Click Here To Give" button and The Animal Rescue Site store are International Fund for Animal Welfare, Foundation, Fund for Animals, Rescue Bank, and Northshore Animal League America.

IFAW campaigns to protect wildlife and against seal hunts and whaling. They also produce a variety of Animal Fact Sheets, including handouts on domestic dogs and cats. The IFAW website advises, Please spay or neuter your pet because 1 female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in just 7 years! Better yet! 1 female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 in just 6 years!

IFAW's press release can be viewed here

Helicopter Hunting For Feral Hogs Begins in TX Thursday

Field & Stream August 29, 2011. by Chad Love

Thursday is the traditional kick-off to many fall hunting seasons, from dove to grouse to...pork choppers? Yes, pork choppers. And according to this story, hunters from across the nation are lining up to be a part of Texas' first helicopter-based hog season.

From this story in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram:
"Pork choppers," Texas' newest weapon in the war on feral hogs, will take to the skies Thursday when it becomes legal for hunters to buy seats on hog-hunting helicopters and gun down as many pigs as they can put in their sights. With more than 2 million feral hogs rooting around the Lone Star State, there will be plenty of targets for aerial gunners willing to pay $475 for an hour of heli-hunting. Vertex Helicopters is already bringing home the bacon as a result of the measure passed by the Texas Legislature this year. The Houston-based firm requires shooters to take a $350 hunting safety course before they can book a hunt, said President Mike Morgan, a former Army helicopter pilot.
story at Field & Stream

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Cruelest Trick Ever Played On A Breed Of Dog

Every once in awhile a new article surfaces about the "Pit Bull" which for a century was viewed as America's dog. Great article, worth reading and sharing.

Let’s pretend…
…that you’re the owner of a large, national company that makes only children’s shoes. No adult shoes. Just kid’s. Unlike most other businesses, your customer profile is extremely narrow. Pretty much only kid’s Moms buy kid’s shoes. You’ve named your company after a cute seven year old boy and you want that little boy to have a dog. There’s nothing more wholesome than a boy and his dog, but which breed should it be? You know dog breeds have different dispositions. German Shepherds, for example are vicious, unreliable, uncontrollable and a movement has been formed to ban them altogether. You know this because the newspaper told you so. What you need is a dog universally known to be good with children. A dog that not even the most easily scared, overprotective mother in the country would fear might harm the boy he’s pictured next to on every box of shoes you produce and a dog she has no fear would harm her child should he encounter one. You need a dog that is loved by everyone and known as being the absolute safest with kids. The reputation of your company depends on it. What breed do you choose?
Read article

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

HSUS: D-D-Dreadful Charity Practices

Three times a year, the venerable American Institute of Philanthropy (which runs analyzes publicly reported information from charities and issues a report card grading how well these organizations spend their money. Unlike other charity analysts, AIP digs past the face-value data to get a more accurate measure of how effective a charity is. And in its latest report, AIP gives the deceptively named Humane Society of the United States a “D” grade—yet again.

Last year, AIP gave HSUS a “D” grade—twice—due to the animal rights group’s lackluster performance (to put it mildly) in using donors’ contributions. Even PETA has a “C-plus” grade. (AIP must not dock points for hypocritically killing thousands of animals a year.)

AIP finds that HSUS spends up to 49 cents to raise every dollar—quite inefficient fundraising. Additionally, AIP finds that HSUS spends as little as 49 percent of its budget on programs. Full story at Consumer Freedom

HSUS Announces New SC State Director

HSUS issued a press release on August 15, 2011 for the hiring of another state director. "Kimberly Kelly takes the reins for animal welfare efforts on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States in South Carolina. She will be responsible for building activist coalitions and working with local supporters, advising law enforcement, assisting with emergency and disaster preparedness, and working with animal shelters."

"Kelly, based in Charleston, is a graduate of the Charleston School of Law, and the University of California, Berkeley. She led the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund while in law school, and worked with a domestic violence organization to help start their services for pets program which provides food and temporary shelter for the pets of women trying to escape domestic violence. She also has worked with The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation department."

The presss release notes that last year HSUS helped pass more than 100 animal protection laws in various states. South Carolinians can expect to see a steady stream of HSUS legislation both locally and at the state legislature.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wolf delisting headed to court again

(CN) - Environmental groups on Thursday asked the 9th Circuit to reinstate the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf on the Endangered Species List.

Last week, a Montana federal judge upheld the constitutionality of a Department of Defense budget rider, which directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf, a species that roams the northern Rocky Mountains through Montana, Idaho, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and northern Utah.

"Wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains should be managed by science, not political meddling by Congress," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. "This appeal is aimed at restoring needed protections for wolves in these states. Although numbers have risen, the job of wolf recovery is far from complete."

Since the ruling, a number of states have set new hunting quotas for wolves, according to appeal filed by the center, Cascadia Wildlands in Eugene, Ore., and the Western Watersheds Project.

Fish and Wildlife issued a final rule to remove the species from the list in 2009, but a federal judge found that the rule violated the Endangered Species Act by protecting a listed species only across part of its range. The court vacated the rule and the wolves remained protected until the passage of an appropriations bill by Congress this past April. A rider to that bill, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama, directed Fish and Wildlife to reissue the 2009 rule.

"The wolf rider is a clear example of overreaching by Congress that resulted in the wrongful removal of protections for wolves," Cascadia Wildlands campaign director Josh Laughlin said in a statement. "The rider is not only a disaster for wolves but for any endangered species that a politician doesn't like. Congress has set a terrible precedent that we hope to overturn."

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula also decried the rider in his Aug. 3 ruling as a "tearing away, an undermining, and a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law."

Nonetheless, Molloy determined that he was bound by precedent to uphold the congressional delisting, no matter how much he disagreed with it. Full story

Friday, August 5, 2011

PETA Loses Lawsuit Seeking Inclusion in Merck Shareholder Meeting

PETA Loses Lawsuit Seeking Inclusion in Merck Shareholder Meeting
U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson dismissed a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seeking a court order to force Merck & Co. Inc. to include a resolution from the animal rights group in materials for the pharmaceutical company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Following a motions hearing this morning, Jackson granted Merck summary judgment and dismissed the case in an order from the bench. Since the shareholder meeting in question already took place in May, Merck had argued that the court lacked authority to order Merck to hold a special meeting for the purpose of presenting PETA’s resolution, among other things.

The animal rights group holds 101 shares of Merck. The group accused Merck of wrongfully denying its request to include a resolution in proxy materials that called on Merck to disclose use of animal testing in in-house and contracted research. Full story

MO Farm Bureau Opposes HSUS Initiative Petition

Farm organization warns Missouri citizens that HSUS group's 'Your Vote Counts' initiative petition is dangerous.
Compiled by staff Published: Aug 2, 2011

Missouri Farm Bureau's board of directors recently voted to oppose an initiative petition being circulated to require a three-fourths vote of the Missouri legislature to change an initiative statute.

The "Your Vote Counts" initiative petition is bankrolled by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a national organization with no affiliation to local Humane Society chapters in the state.

"Missourians should be alarmed by organizations like HSUS who are hijacking Missouri's initiative petition process," said Blake Hurst, president of Missouri Farm Bureau. "They are using their vast financial resources to buy their way on the ballot with paid signature gatherers and then buy voter support by flooding the air waves with slick, misleading commercials. This is government by fundraising, legislation by thirty-second commercials.

"By requiring a three-fourths vote, the 'Your Vote Counts' proposal creates an unrealistic threshold for legislative action as a check and balance against the influence of multi-million dollar organizations like HSUS," Hurst said. "The Missouri Legislature can override a governor's veto with a two-thirds vote. They can even vote to amend the U.S. Constitution with a two-thirds vote. I sincerely doubt HSUS's ideas are more lofty or important than the Bill of Rights."

HSUS spent more than $2.5 million last year to gain voter approval of Proposition B, a state statute that further regulated dog breeders. During the 2011 legislative session, the governor and Missouri Legislature made changes to improve the initiative statute so it would put unlawful, instead of reputable, dog breeders out of business. Angered by this action, HSUS now proposes to use some of its $150 million annual budget to again buy its way on the ballot and tell Missourians how to conduct their business.

"Look no further than a state like California where budget problems are well documented and are largely a result of the ballot initiative process. California's legislature cannot itself amend ballot initiatives approved by the state's voters, not much different than what HSUS is proposing for Missouri," Hurst said. "Initiative petitions are a valuable part of the democratic process, but the process needs checks and balances. Absolute power is dangerous, and absolute power in the hands of groups with unlimited funding is a recipe for the worst kind of government of all."

Source: Missouri Farm Bureau

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Judge upholds Congress' change to wolf status

HELENA, Mont. The way Congress went about removing endangered species protections from the Northern Rockies gray wolf undermines the rule of law, but it did not violate the Constitution, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy reluctantly upheld a budget rider passed by Congress in April that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The provision was inserted by Republican Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana. The measure marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal.

Molloy, who twice blocked attempts to lift federal protections for the predators before Congress' action, did not hide his distaste for the provision.

"The way in which Congress acted in trying to achieve a debatable policy change by attaching a rider to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 is a tearing away, an undermining and a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law," Molloy wrote in his order.
Full story

Bear attacks

Yesterday Field & Stream reposted photos of a very lucky game warden who survived a grizzly attack. The post reads: With the number of bear attacks on the rise in the U.S., it's time to be reminded of how powerful a grizzly truly is. Take another look at these photos of a Montana DNR officer who was attacked by a male grizzly during a relocation. Photo gallery here

Two boys injured in bear attack at Stokes State Forest

And also in yesterday's news 4 teenagers taking a survival course were injured: Teen recounts Alaska bear attack

Gilbert woman dies after Pinetop bear attack

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updated: Wyoming, Feds, reach deal on delisting wolves

By JEREMY PELZER Star-Tribune capital bureau

CHEYENNE - After years of fighting, the state of Wyoming and the federal government have reached an agreement to remove the state's roughly 340 wolves from the endangered species list and put them under state control.

Under the so-called dual-status plan, wolves in the northwest part of the state would be protected as trophy game, meaning they could only be hunted with a license.

The 60 or so wolves in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks -- which includes five to six breeding pairs -- would be delisted but wouldn't be under state control.

In a media release announcing the deal, Mead said wolves have long preyed on livestock and game animals such as moose and elk in the state.

"This is far from the end of this process, but I think we have come up with something that fits with Wyoming's values and economy," Mead said in the release. "Wolves are recovered in Wyoming; let's get them off the endangered species list."

U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, who last month inserted a no-litigation clause for any Wyoming wolf deal into a still-pending appropriations bill, praised Mead for reaching a deal over an issue that's been simmering since wolves were re-introduced by the federal government to the state in 1995.

"Today marks one more step in the considerable progress Wyoming has recently made in returning management of the fully recovered gray wolf to our own state experts," Lummis said in a media release. "For years, Wyoming has worked in good faith to produce and defend a wolf management plan. These labors have been difficult and, frankly, haven't produced results -- until today."

Republican Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi also lauded the deal, saying it was long overdue.

However, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the top-ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote Salazar today to "express grave concern" about the agreement. The minimum population standards in the deal would mean 40 percent of Wyoming's current estimated wolf population will die, he wrote, and suggested that the agreement was based on politics, not just science. "Science, not politics, should ensure the conservation and management [of] the gray wolves in Wyoming, should they be delisted," Markey wrote in the letter.

Full story at link

Closing of U.S. horse slaughter plants still reverberates

By Malinda Larkin. JAVMA News August 15, 2011
After four years without domestic horse slaughter facilities in operation and a thorough study of the results, one thing is clear: the same number of horses from the United States, if not more, are being killed for their meat every year.

According to a recently released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the plant closures have shifted the slaughter horse market to Canada and Mexico and driven down the sale prices of lower-grade horses. They've also worsened an already bad welfare situation by forcing horses to travel long distances to slaughter, often in unregulated trips.

Since fiscal year 2006, Congress has annually prohibited the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined for food, effectively halting domestic slaughter. With the cessation of domestic slaughter in 2007, Congress directed the GAO to examine horse welfare.

The organization's 68-page report, "Horse Welfare: Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter," came out June 22, more than a year after its scheduled release date (see JAVMA, Nov. 1, 2009, page 1026).

The GAO examined the effects, if any, of the plants' closures on the U.S. horse market; the impact of such market changes on horse welfare and on states, local governments, tribes, and animal welfare organizations; and the challenges, if any, to the Department of Agriculture's oversight of the transport and welfare of U.S. horses exported for slaughter.

From its analysis, the GAO recommended that Congress reconsider restrictions on the use of federal funds to inspect horses for slaughter or institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. Further, the agency recommended that the USDA issue a final rule to protect horses during more of the transportation chain to slaughter, and consider ways to better leverage resources for compliance activities.

Worsening horse welfare
According to the GAO, from 2006 through 2010, the number of horses exported from the U.S. to Canada for slaughter increased by 148 percent and the number exported to Mexico increased by 660 percent. As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010—almost 138,000—as were slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased in 2007. For reference, 104,899 horses were slaughtered in 2006, the last full year of domestic slaughtering operations, according to the report. Full story

Washington state court upholds kosher slaughter law

August 2, 2011 posted on JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A Washington state appellate court ruled against an animal protection group's bid to strike down as unconstitutional a law protecting religious slaughter.

The three-judge panel of the Washington Court of Appeals on July 25 was unanimous in rejecting the suit brought by Pasado's Safe Haven.

The state law defines as humane stunning an animal before slaughter, which is the conventional means of slaughter, and severing the carotid artery, which it says is "in accordance with the ritual requirements of (a) religious faith." The latter method is used in Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter.

Pasado's said the law was unconstitutional in part because it favored religious ritual over other methods. The court rejected the claim, saying that invalidating part of an act while upholding another would usurp the state Legislature.

The Orthodox Union, an umbrella body for synagogues and a kosher certifier, praised the ruling.

"Kosher slaughter has been targeted by various fringe activists, but it is a necessary component of our community’s religious life," it said in a statement. "We appreciate that elected officials, such as those in the Washington legislature, recognize the humane nature of shechita, and ensure its protection and thereby the flourishing of Orthodox Jewish life. "

Related article
Where's the beef?
For Adam Karp, it’s usually about the animals. This time, religion has gotten involved. “The question is whether the state has created an unconstitutional exemption in favor of religion,” said Karp, who founded the Washington State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section.

HSUS, UEP: Strange bedfellows

July 8, 2011 By Steve Kopperud

When I first got wind of the July 7 United Egg Producers (UEP)-Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) agreement on “enriched cages,” egg carton labeling, euthanasia, molting, ammonia levels and so on, I was surprised, but not completely. UEP has been fighting a long, expensive and sometimes (often?) lonely battle to stop HSUS state-by-state, and it was expecting to do battle again in 2012 in Oregon.

I understand the industry’s frustrated desire to end the seemingly unending attack on how it does business, the crazy quilt of state laws that have evolved over the last few years governing how it raises birds, and I know the retailer pressure UEP has been under as company by company – albeit only a few of the truly unenlightened within the retailer community — announce plans to “go cage-free” at some undefined time in the future, honestly believing they’re doing the consumer some kind of favor.

What truly struck me dumb – and this is not generally an easy thing to do – was that part of the announcement where UEP and HSUS announced they would jointly seek federal legislation to enshrine their agreement. At this point my only reaction was: UEP has gone a step too far.

There are currently no federal laws governing how a U.S. farmer husbands animals for food. There are unending laws and regulations on how to make feed, how to practice animal health, how food safety is maintained, how animals are killed, but no federal regulation on husbandry practices per se. Why? Because there’s no reason to regulate how farmers farm or how ranchers ranch. There is no problem that must be solved by federal intervention. Animal ag has battled for 30 years to keep it this way. For 30 years, HSUS has tried to put Uncle Sam in the middle of every farm and ranch in America. For 30 years, Congress has sided with farmers and ranchers.

It’s clear had UEP been able to craft this “partnership” its way, it would have been an industry voluntary program of transition from conventional cages to enriched environment cages. But my guess is UEP couldn’t keep HSUS at the table if it only agreed to a voluntary transition. Full story

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Animal rights activist charged with trespassing at UF

By Nathan Crabbe, Staff writer, The Gainsville Sun

Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 3:44 p.m.

An animal rights activist has been charged with trespassing in a University of Florida building where she allegedly posted fliers offering a reward for information about students who experiment on animals.

Lisa Ann Grossman, 50, of Jacksonville, had been issued a trespass warning for a protest in December inside a fundraiser at UF’s Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The warning barred Grossman, a member of the animal rights group Negotiation is Over, from the UF campus for three years.

She is accused of violating that warning July 9 by entering the UF Cancer/Genetics Research Complex to post about 100 fliers. The fliers offer $100 in cash for personal information such as the name, picture, address or phone number of any student learning to experiment with animals.

The State Attorney’s Office last week filed a trespassing charge against Grossman. The second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by as many as 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Grossman couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

UF police allege that someone let Grossman into the locked cancer and genetics building to post the fliers. A Health Science Center official subsequently warned employees against admitting strangers to locked facilities and encouraged them to contact police to report suspicious persons.

Negotiation is Over previously has put the addresses and phone numbers of UF faculty researchers on its website over claims they conducted animal research. The website describes a campaign involving students as a way to show them that animal research can result in “car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear.”

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or