No Hope: Killing and Privacy

John Humbach

People around the world saw the birth of Hope, a baby black bear whose entry into life was broadcast on the Internet. Now, however, Hope is dead. Her short life was cut off by a hunter’s bullet on September 16. According a senior researcher at the North American Bear Center and its affiliated Wildlife Research Institute (reported by AP), Hope was baited and shot by a man who is not to be named. His identity is shrouded under a veil of secrecy.

Why all the mystery and concealment? If there is no shame in baiting and killing this young “worldwide star,” described as “the most famous bear in the world,” why the effort to hide? After all, the hunter reportedly did not express remorse. He says he didn’t know he was killing Hope. Continue reading

The Ban on Foie Gras

Elizabeth Rattner

          According to a California law set to go into effect in July, it looks as though fine-dining establishments across the state of California will no longer be offering foie gras on their menus. In July, California will become the first state to outlaw the production and sale of foie gras. For those of you unfamiliar with the specifics of foie gras (“fatty liver”), it is a delicacy that sells for around $50 per pound. Foie gras is produced when a metal tube is forced down a duck’s throat and into its gullet to feed enormous amounts of corn into the duck three times daily. This process causes the duck’s liver to expand up to ten times its natural size as the duck becomes grossly overweight.  According to many animal-rights activist groups, this is a cruel and inhumane practice (the ducks feel so much pressure that they tear out their own feathers and cannibalize each other, while many others die as a result of their organs exploding or from choking as they are force feed) and groups have been pressuring restaurants to stop serving foie gras for quite some time.

While California may be the first state to implement the law and apply a fine of up to $1,000 a day to restaurants that continue to offer foie gras, California is not the first state to consider the ban. In 2006 Chicago outlawed foie gras, yet the ban was lifted two years later when prominent chefs rebelled. Continue reading

Ear Cropping and Tail Docking

Ashley MacDonald

 

Cirac's ears were incorrectly (and most likely very painfully) cropped, leaving them susceptible to flies and pests, and him less able to communicate with other dogs.

Ear cropping in dogs refers to the practice of cutting off part of a dog’s ear flap, and then bandaging the ear so that it heals in an upright position. Tail docking involves cutting off the majority of the dog’s tail, usually when it is just a few days old. These practices have been carried out on domestic animals such as sheep (yes, they have tails!), pigs, horses, cows, and dogs for hundreds if not thousands of years. In working dogs, cropping and docking were historically carried out for “practical” purposes: to prevent injury and subsequent infection when dogs were protecting humans or hunting game.

Today, these procedures are almost entirely cosmetic. The AMVA openly opposes these operations when done for cosmetic purposes, while the AKC has gone so far as to vehemently oppose a New York bill seeking to ban the practices. The AKC preaches the continued utility of these amputations, stating: “tails are docked on breeds that are active in the field…pain if any, is momentary, but this procedure will prevent painful, serious injury later in life.”  Continue reading

Feral cats: The government fix–or the humane fix?

www life with cats.tv

Kathleen Stachowski   Other Nations

October 16th is National Feral Cat Day. That’s just under a month out, but forewarned is forearmed, and if feral cats aren’t on your radar now, perhaps they will be.

Feral cats (also called community cats) weren’t on my radar until my cousin Beth, a feral cat activist in Indiana, e-mailed to ask that I contact federal officials (via an action alert from Best Friends) about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s role in undermining community trap-neuter-return–or release–(TNR) programs. Continue reading

Elephant Poaching Increasing in Kenya

Usra Hussain

The Samburu National Reserve located in Kenya has experienced a high rate of elephant poaching this year in comparison to the past 11 years.  Although, elephants do not have any natural predators other than lions, elephants are threatened by human beings.  African and Asian elephants are hunted for their ivory tusks and illegally traded for money. The conservationists of the Samburu National Reserve have been actively fighting poachers in order to protect the elephants in their reserve. However, even with their efforts, the elephants in this reserve are continually being killed for their tusks.

One elephant in particular has been attacked twice for her tusks.  Khadija, an elderly elephant from the Samburu National Reserve has been one of many elephants this year that have been killed by poachers.  She suffered bullet wounds which were treated by an elephant organization, but again Khadija was targeted by poachers again. Unfortunately, she did not survive the second attack, leaving behind 8 orphan children.  Continue reading

Jury Awards 300k to Family Whose Dog Was Killed

Gillian Lyons

Approximately a month ago, a jury awarded a Chicago family 300,000 in compensation as a result of a 2009 incident in which an officer, conducting a warranted search, shot and killed the family’s black Labrador “Lady.”  In this case the family filed claims against the police officers in question for excessive force, false arrest and intentional infliction emotional distress.  According to a fellow blogger, this is perhaps the first Illinois case in which a family was awarded damages for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress when the underlying “distress” was an Officer’s killing of the family’s pet.

Such an award is a big step forward for families that lose their pets under similar circumstances, which surprisingly happens more than one would think. Continue reading

The Other Greenhouse “Gas”: Cows & Climate Change

Jillian N. Bittner

You drive to the supermarket in your “green” car, checking your back seat before you leave for your re-usable bags– yet you stand on line about to purchase the packaged beef sitting at the bottom of your cart and do not stop to think twice about the environment? – Perhaps you should.

While the environmental legal community emphasizes the desperate need to harness and reduce CO2 emissions as a way to mitigate the current and impending consequences of greenhouse gases on climate change, the community at large has ignored the impact of a greater culprit – CH4, or rather methane gas.  Animal agriculture accounts not only as a source of CO2, or nitrous oxide (N2O; another potent greenhouse gas), but is the number one source of methane gas worldwide – beating out the effects of vehicles and airplanes combined. But why should the environmental and legal communities be more concerned with CH4? According to the EPA, “methane is about 21 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than CO2 by weight.”

Cows, and the corresponding beef industry, are the largest contributors of methane gas. Cows produce this effect partly through belching and flatulence as a consequence of their digestive systems, which are characteristic of ruminant animals. Yet CAFOs remain unregulated. Continue reading

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