AETA’s First Legal Challenge

We knew that the government would eventually invoke the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and now it has.  Earlier this year, authorities arrested 4 activists for alleged threats and vandalism against research facilities at UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley and charged them under AETA.  The defendants (known as the AETA 4) argue that the law should be struck down as unconstitutional and the judge is at least listening.  We will be watching this one closely.  AETA is an abomination (as I have argued here) but a good result in this case would be nothing short of astounding.

–David Cassuto

If Everyone Were Vegetarian…

We wouldn’t have the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile crashing into people’s homes.

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–David Cassuto (is not making this up…)

Wild Horse Protection Bill Makes it Through the House

horsesAs usual it wasn’t pretty (the term “sausage-making” seems disturbingly apt), but H.R. 1018, a federal bill to protect wild horses and burros from commercial sale and slaughter and also from wholesale government-sponsored killing, made it through the House. The vote was 239-195.  Among other things, the bill directs BLM to make wider use of fertility controls  and to let horses occupy more of public lands.  The hope is that if this bill makes it into law, it will prevent any more situations like that of last summer when BLM announced plans to kill 30,000 wild horses, only to have Madeleine Pickens (wife of T. Boone) announce that she would underwrite the horses’ continued existence (see post here), only to have that too not come to pass.  If this bill passes, we can cross off at least one ridiculous governmental fire drill (with potentially disastrous consequences) from the list of things we need to worry about.

–David Cassuto

Sunstein Nomination: The Hold is Lifted

Saxby Chambliss has stepped out of the way.  Confirmation is apparently within reach.

–David Cassuto

Sunstein Nomination Inches to a Standstill

It would seem that Senator Chambliss remains worried about his peeps’ potential exposure to lawsuits by animals should Cass Sunstein be confirmed.  He also doesn’t like the fact that Professor Sunstein does not view the 2nd Amendment as a a blanket license to own weapons.

Further updates as events warrant.

–David Cassuto

The United States Doesn’t Torture? Animal Testing in the Military

Charles J. Rosciam is a retired captain with the Navy Medical Services Corps – a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient.  He and 16 other retired armed forces medical personnel are attempting to convince the Department of Defense (DOD) to stop torturing and killing animals as part of its trauma training program.  Each year, in the name of national security and good medicine, 8500 animals get stabbed, shot, burned and amputated.  Over in the chemical casualty program, vervet monkeys get tormented with drugs whose effects have long since been banned on the field of battleanimal-testingCaptain Rosciam and his colleagues would like to see all that come to an end.

In June, the group joined with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to brief both the House and Senate on the issue.  The DOD’s own animal regulations require that non-animal substitutes be used whenever possible.  And, according to PCRM, every one of the military’s medical uses of animals could be replaced with equivalent or superior non-animal methods. Those methods range from human-patient simulators to rotations through civilian trauma centers.

Here’s a little bit of irony: Amidst all the controversy and perseveration over detainee torture and whether such grotesqueries are legal and/or acceptable given the heinous crimes the prisoners are alleged to have committed, no one has stopped to consider why it is okay to do all that and worse to beings whose innocence is beyond dispute.  Of course, in the larger scheme, innocence or guilt is irrelevant; Torture is wrong no matter to whom it happens.  And that’s precisely the point here.

When our former president said the United States does not torture, he lied.  When our current president says it, he‘d like it to be true.

Let’s hope he hears and heeds Captain Rosciam.

You go, sir.  Fight on.

–David Cassuto

On Animals, Death & the Media

chickens-734793A Cal-Maine industrial egg facility in Texas caught fire last Thursday.  The facility was damaged but fortunately, no one was hurt.  Oh yeah, and 800,000 hens died.

Stephanie, over at Animal Rights – Change.Org, lays bare the media’s indifference to animals.

–David Cassuto