Funeral for a Friend

Seth Victor

Most days you can read the news and find headlines about a tragic human death, but you will seldom, if ever, read about the daily mass slaughter of farmed animals, or even the daily deaths of shelter dogs and cats. I was thus pleasantly surprised this morning to find a story on the front page of The Express-Times, a major paper in the Lehigh Valley, about two police dogs, Oszi and Boris, who were euthanized this month after long careers working with their human partners. Putting aside the debate on euthanasia for a moment, it’s good to see an article, on the front page no less, touching on how the loss is as tough on the detectives as any human death. It’s also a reminder that while we often talk about how animals are affected by our laws, some of them spend their lives enforcing them. You can read the article here.

Toro!

Seth Victor

Progressive news today, as the Spanish region of Catalonia voted 68 to 55 to ban bullfighting. The ban will take effect in January 2012.  This is the first such ban in mainland Spain, a country where the “sport” has a long tradition. This decision is a huge development, proving that animal abuse should not be tolerated simply because it is cultural or traditional. NYT has the story here. For any Spanish readers, check out the post by Fundación EquAnimal, reporting a little closer to the action, here.

Conference on Alternatives to Animal Research

David Cassuto

Interesting conference on animal research and alternatives August 26-27th in Washington D.C.   Some skinny:

Fifty years after the development of the key model for the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animals in research, often referred to as the “3 Rs,” The George Washington University Medical Center and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, along with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, and the Kennedy Institute for Ethics at Georgetown University, invite you to Animals, Research, and Alternatives: Measuring Progress 50 Years Later.

This multidisciplinary conference will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the scientific and ethical imperatives associated with animal research, changing cultural perspectives about the status of animals in society, and burgeoning alternatives to animal research.

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Groovebar Job Opening

David Cassuto

So, if you were looking for a pretty darn cool job, this one might be it.

Director of International Conservation

Location: Washington, D.C.
Supervisor: Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs

Position Description

This management position requires substantial knowledge of international wildlife conservation policy and practice, including marine wildlife conservation; experience in the negotiation and implementation of international agreements; and the ability to direct, manage, and coordinate diverse staff working in the U.S. and internationally.  The position serves as Defenders’ institutional lead on international conservation policy and programs.  The incumbent works with the Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs, International Conservation program staff and other staff members to identify policy goals and set program priorities relating to the conservation of wildlife outside of the United States, and the conservation of marine wildlife in the U.S. and globally.  The incumbent bears primary responsibility for the strategic development of Defenders’ international conservation work and provides programmatic direction and administrative oversight for Defenders’ International Conservation program.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

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Real American Hero

Seth Victor

Megan Coffee is a superhero. She is a doctor from New Jersey who has been giving free medical care to the people in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and is the only American doctor still working at Haiti’s largest hospital. With no income for her work, she gets by on the kindness and hospitality of the locals. Oh, and all the while she’s maintained a vegan lifestyle. Triple kudos to her for showing that you can be an incredible humanitarian and still make a huge difference for animals. You can read the story here.

Come Fly with Me

Seth Victor

Dogs are property, so it makes sense that they are shipped as cargo by most major airlines. As aggravating as it is for the airline to misplace your luggage, it must be soul-wrenching to find that your companion has died during her trip. Yet since May of 2005, 122 dogs have died in transit on airlines, according to reports by the Department of Transportation, with 144 pet deaths overall , along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets. Purebreds with short muzzles bear the highest risk of death or injury from overheating, since they are unable to cool themselves. Go ahead and add this to the number of health problems these dogs face. Continue reading

Victory for the Horses?

Seth Victor

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a Republican governor in a traditionally blue state, and an unapologetic brash mover and shaker in Trenton, judiciary and legislature be damned.  He has been making headlines this week following his announcement that the State will essentially take over Atlantic City and other entertainment facilities. This move is intriguing for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the property and land use suits that will inevitably arise from it, since there will be a state takeover of the casinos, while potential privatization of the state managed sports arenas. Having been to Atlantic City, I’m happy for action that will make the place a more desirable attraction, but I am concerned about the impact Christie’s decision will have on the horses.

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New Jersey Bear Hunt Approved

Seth Victor

New Jersey has been talking about reinstating a bear hunt for some time, and it received final approval on Wednesday. The effort to curb the bear population is not dissimilar to other attempts to kill large mammals. The difference is that while ranchers have been a major supporter of wolf hunts under the questionable guise of livestock protection, the New Jersey bear hunt is backed both by recreational hunters and suburbanites. Questioning hunting is a whole separate debate. It’s the suburbanites that are really troubling. People saunter in, knock down a forest or field, and put up energy demanding houses. Somewhere between trying to get the sewer system to handle the sudden over-population of toilets and naming the neighborhood after what used to be there, a bear gets into a trash can, and suddenly the whole thing is the bear’s problem.

Now there will be six days of reckoning in December for the local bruins in northwest New Jersey (originally reports stated that the area would be north of I-78 and west of I-287. Now it seems the hunt will be north of I-80.). The hunt has been approved and supported by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, even while state biologists predict that the hunt would not actual curb the bear population. The expected birth rate for New Jersey black bears is around 400 cubs, while the last two hunts in 2003 and 2005 yielded 328 kills and 298 kills, respectively.

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U of Maryland Clinic Wins Important Procedural Victory in Lawsuit Against Perdue

David Cassuto

A while back, I blogged on the attempt by members of the Maryland legislature to strip funding for the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic because of the clinic’s lawsuit (representing numerous plaintiffs) against Perdue and some local chicken producers.  The suit arose from the chicken operation’s  runoff  (allegedly) befouling the Chesapeake Bay.  Perdue spun the suit as an assault against family farming.  Members of the legislature flew into a tizzy and excoriated the clinic for helping its clients pursue their rights under the Clean Water Act.   Thankfully, rational minds prevailed and the threat to kill the clinic’s funding was itself killedContinue reading

More On the “Us or Them” Canard

David Cassuto

From the Interesting Summer Reading Desk comes this piece on the persistent and ongoing failure of predator eradication as a management tool and on the continued use and advocacy of said failed method throughout the country.  Here, with a hat tip to HumaneSpot.org, is the abstract for “Us or Them” from Conservation Magazine:

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“Sex, Gender and Species” Conference at Wesleyan University

David Cassuto

This interdisciplinary conference looks like it will be mighty good.

  • Wesleyan University will be hosting a conference called “Sex, Gender and Species” on February 25 and 26, 2011. The purpose of this conference is to foreground the relations between feminist and animal studies and to examine the real and theoretical problems that are central to both fields of inquiry. Conference organizers Lori Gruen and Kari Weil are seeking 1-2 page abstracts by October 1, 2010. Abstracts can be sent to lgruen@wesleyan.edu or kweil@wesleyan.edu.

Gassed Geese and Airport Safety

David Cassuto

A few days ago, agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture descended on Prospect Park in Brooklyn where they rounded up 400 Canada geese and gassed them to death.  The geese were molting and so could not fly.  The reason for this mass killing was ostensibly airport safety.  You see, Prospect Park lies 6.5 miles from La Guardia and Kennedy airports and the rules say that all geese within 7 miles of an airport must be killed.    Continue reading

Proposed Ban on Pet Sales in San Francisco

David Cassuto

I used to live in San Francisco and, in addition to the burritos, one of the things I miss most (did I mention the burritos?) is the degree of civic involvement and the public’s willingness to take on cutting edge issues.  To whit: the city is considering banning the sale of all companion animals except for fish.  That’s right, hamsters, rabbits, lizards, guinea pigs — everything.  Those wanting  pets would have to either adopt or go out of the city to buy.

The scope of the proposed ban addresses the fact that the problem is far broader than the by now familiar gruesome reality of puppy and kitten mills.  Small companion animals like guinea pigs and hamsters crowd the city’s shelters after their purchasers tire of caring for them.  Once at the shelter, the road to euthanization is straight and swift.    Continue reading

Another Veganism Hit Piece

David Cassuto

I tend to agree with most of the commentary I’ve seen so far on this hit piece on veganism in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Harold Fromm’s poor reasoning and almost brazen ignorance of the subject matter render the essay undeserving of a thorough critique. What does merit critiquing is the Chronicle’s decision to publish it.  Continue reading

AETA 4 Case Dismissed

David Cassuto

The first and so far only case yet brought under AETA (the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act) has been dismissed.  It seems that the government did little more in its indictment than recite the statute and state that the defendants had violated it.  The Constitution requires more.  Without a clearly defined set of allegations, the defendant cannot possibly defend herself.  The indictment must allege with specificity how they broke the law, when, and precisely by who.  Continue reading

Pennsylvania Bar Institute Animal Law Conference

David Cassuto

A conference and CLE opportunity of interest, particularly but not only for those in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE

7th Annual

Animal Law Conference

> Register now or learn more


Now in its seventh year, PBI is pleased to present this popular seminar which continues to attract new and curious attendees each year and which has a loyal following of annual customers! If you’ve attended the seminar in the past, then you know how educational and entertaining the day is!  If you’ve not attended before, now is the time to sign up and get in on the fun and earn six CLE credits.

Program topics will include:

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Dog Racing is No More in New Hampshire

David Cassuto

Greyhound racing is all done in New Hampshire.  Governor Lynch has signed House Bill 630, which prohibits dog racing in the Granite State.  Huzzahs all around.  Read all about it here, here and here.

Carnism vs. Ovo-Lacto Vegetarianism

David Cassuto

Interesting colloquy over at Dorf on Law between Melanie Joy (author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows:  An Introduction to Carnism) and Professor Sherry Colb.  The discussion deals with the respective locations on the ethical continuum of  “carnism” and lacto-ovo vegetarianism.  The colloquy is entitled “Part I,” so there is surely more to follow.

Some Further Thoughts on Ohio

David Cassuto

I’m back in the northern hemisphere, missing the tropical juices and proximity to the beach but enjoying my family (human and non), my friends, and my deck with its accompanying martinis.  I’ve also been pondering the Ohio deal I blogged about before getting on the plane last week.  As you may recall, the ballot initiative in Ohio containing important agricultural reforms has been indefinitely postponed in exchange for a number of concessions.    Continue reading

A Deal in Ohio — But at What Price?

David Cassuto
In Ohio, HSUS, the ag industry and the state government have made a deal.  In exchange for HSUS not supporting a fall ballot initiative on animal welfare issues, the Ohio government and animal industry will take action on exotic animal importation, veal calf housing (they will “transition to group housing”), other livestock issues, and the puppy mill industry.       Continue reading
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