Animal Rights Collective Blog


Ringling Elephants Pose Health Risk by christine
April 12, 2011, 7:01 pm
Filed under: AR News, Local Events | Tags:

TB in elephants called ‘a gray area’

Animal-rights group says elephant with positive TB test is a danger, but circus and government health officials say there is no risk

Elephants participate in the annual pachyderm parade marking the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Baltimore March 28. Karen the elephant recently tested positive for tuberculosis, but a follow-up test was negative. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun / March 28, 2011)

By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

7:59 p.m. EDT, April 6, 2011

An animal-rights group contends that an elephant performing in Baltimore with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus poses a health risk to the public because she has tested positive fortuberculosis, but circus and government health officials say the animal is no threat because she does not have an active form of the infectious disease.

Karen, a 42-year-old Asian elephant, tested positive for TB in a blood test but negative in a follow-up test known as a trunk wash, which involves taking a culture of saline solution run through the animal’s trunk.

The positive blood test was enough to get Karen barred from entering Tennessee with the rest of the circus back in December. But it appears that health officials in that state, where TB was transmitted from another elephant to nine employees at a refuge in 2009, were taking a stricter stance than required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which calls for quarantining elephantsonly if they have an active case of TB.

Elephant-to-human transmission of TB is a very new field of study — that it occurs at all was only officially established in 2009 by aCenters for Disease Control and Prevention study, prompted by the outbreak at the Tennessee refuge — and experts are still trying to determine the best way to deal with the problem, said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the CDC study.

“This is a large gray area,” Schaffner said, borrowing a line from one of his co-authors, Rendi Murphree, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC and a visiting scholar at Vanderbilt. The USDA is holding a meeting in Kansas City this very week to discuss the matter.

“Could an elephant have a positive MAPIA [blood] test and a negative trunk wash and still be infectious? Is that possible?” Schaffner said. “That’s where the current scientific discussion lies. How reliable is a negative trunk wash test? That is a legitimate area of discussion. There are people that say every elephant with a positive MAPIA should be held back under infection control precautions — quarantined, if you will — and treated. Others say it’s not necessary.”

Even given all the unknowns, Schaffner thinks that there is little risk of a spectator at the circus becoming infected from an elephant.

“If you’re at a circus, you’re at a great distance from the elephants,” he said. “You do not have genuinely prolonged contact with them. You’re there for two hours of the show. That sort of exposure should not put people at risk.”

He added: “I would let my grandchildren attend.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals discovered late last week that Karen had a positive TB blood test and had been barred from Tennessee, in documents it obtained through a government Freedom of Information request, said Delcianna Winders, the group’s director of captive animal law enforcement. Winders said she forwarded the information to Baltimore animal control officials Monday and that someone there initially told her the city would bar the circus from using Karen. Later, Winders said, the city reversed course and said the animal could perform.

The animal-rights group sent an email to The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday morning headlined: “PETA Applauds City of Baltimore for Pulling Ailing Ringling Elephant From Performances.” A few hours later came a follow-up from PETA: “TB-Infected Elephant Put Back Into Circus Ring — Humans Put at Risk.”

City officials said that there was no about-face and that they reached their conclusion after consulting with appropriate state and federal experts.

“There are established USDA standards by which the potential disease risk is assessed, and this particular case does not meet these standards,” the city Health Department said in a prepared statement.  “The decision to allow Karen the elephant to perform at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore City was based on careful consideration of many factors, including veterinary evaluation of the elephant’s health records.  Based on all the information obtained, and in consultation with DHMH, MD Department of Agriculture and the US Dept of Agriculture, Baltimore City HD has determined that Karen the elephant can participate in scheduled performances in Baltimore.”

laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

 



Baby Ringling Elephant Has Deadly Virus, Pulled from Lineup by christine

Ringling Bros. Is Endangering Baby Elephants

by Laura Goldman · February 26, 2011, for Change.org

Ringling Bros. training a baby elephant with bullhooks and ropes

Barack, the first Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephant conceived via artificial insemination, was born to Bonnie, also a circus performer, the night before Inauguration Day in 2009. He was named after the new president. Like his namesake, the last couple of years have been rocky for the elephant.

In February 2010, at barely a year old and the youngest elephant in the circus, Barack was pulled from the performing lineup. He had become infected with the deadly elephant herpes virus (endotheliotropic herpesvirus or EEHV) that has killed several young Asian elephants in U.S. zoos over the past 30 years, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The elephants are usually 7 years of age or younger, and unless treated, they can die within a week after they start showing symptoms of the virus, such as swelling of their heads and necks, their tongues turning blue, and lethargy. Some elephants survive after being given famciclovir, an anti–herpes drug, but the mortality rate is still a staggering 85 percent.

Barack was the second of the circus’ elephants to contract the virus. The first was his father, who survived. Circus officials told the Orlando Sentinel that the two cases were unrelated.

Like his father, Barack survived, and returned to performing last July. But a few weeks ago, exactly a year after he first contracted the virus, Ringling Bros. reported that Barack has become infected yet again.

While there is no cure for the disease, one of the principal causes is a weakened immune system due to factors such as stress. In his young life, Barack has been subjected to the rigors of training, performing and constantly being transported from one town to the next – none of which are natural for an elephant.

Back when Barack was born at Ringling Bros.’ Center for Elephant Conservation (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?), the circus released a statement by Kenneth Feld, the center’s founder.

“The reality is that the worldwide elephant population is declining, which means the overall mortality rate is increasing and that is a heart-breaking fact,” Feld said. “That is why, at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, practical solutions that help to care for and to save these magnificent animals are critical.”

If Barack survives, the only practical solution to save this magnificent animal is to retire him to a sanctuary so he doesn’t become sick again and add to that increasing mortality rate.

In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, charging that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is endangering baby elephants. No elephant, particularly a very sick one, should have to endure the stress of performing.

Sign the petition telling the USDA to intervene with the circus and save the lives of Barack and all performing elephant calves.



Victory! North Carolina Lab Surrenders Animal Testing Victims by christine

Professional Laboratory and Research Services Undercover Investigation

Investigation Report from PETA

Investigation Victory: Just one week after PETA released the results of its shocking undercover investigation of North Carolina–based contract animal testing facility Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS) and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), PLRS is surrendering nearly 200 dogs and dozens of cats and shutting its doors for good. This is a monumental victory and the first time that a laboratory has been forced to surrender animals and close under pressure on the heels of a PETA investigation and while facing a formal USDA investigation.

For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside the filthy, deafeningly loud kennels of Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS). Inconspicuously tucked away in rural North Carolina, PLRS takes money from huge pharmaceutical companies to test insecticides and other chemicals used in companion animal products. Bayer, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Merial, the maker of Frontline flea and tick products, are some of the corporations that have paid PLRS to force-feed experimental compounds to dogs and cats and smear chemicals onto the animals’ skin.

PETA’s investigator found that toxicity tests were just part of what the animals endured. Laboratory workers appeared to despise the animals in their care—they yelled and cursed at cowering dogs and cats, calling them “asshole,” “motherfuckers,” and “bitch”; used pressure hoses to spray water—as well as bleach and other harsh chemicals—on them; and dragged dogs through the facility who were too frightened to walk.

Video evidence shows that terrified cats were pulled from cages by the scruff of the neck while workers screamed in their faces and that a cat was viciously slammed into the metal door of a cage. One worker grabbed a cat and pushed him against a chain-link fence. When the cat fearfully clutched at the fencing with his claws, the worker jerked him off the fencing, saying she hoped that the cat’s nails had been ripped out.

Dogs at PLRS may spend years in cages, either to be used repeatedly in tests or to be kept infested with worms for some future study. They are just like the dogs we share our homes with, but they live day in, day out without exercise or enrichment, companionship, a scratch behind the ears, or even a kind word from the only people they ever see.

Many dogs had raw, oozing sores from being forced to live constantly on wet concrete, often in pools of their own urine and waste. Workers didn’t even move the dogs when they pressure-sprayed the runs, frightening the animals; soaking them with water, bleach, and soap; and exposing already painful sores to harsh, irritating chemicals.

PLRS didn’t bother to keep a veterinarian on staff. Instead, it chose to bring its primary veterinarian in for only one hour most weeks. Animals endured bloody feces, worm infestations, oozing sores, abscessed teeth, hematomas, and pus- and blood-filled infections without receiving adequate veterinary examinations and treatment. Sometimes, the conditions were ineffectively handled by workers who had no credentials or veterinary training.

After a supervisor gave one dog an anesthetic that was past its expiration date (and likely administered too little of it), the supervisor pulled out one of the animal’s teeth with a pair of pliers. The dog trembled and twitched in apparent pain, and the supervisor continued with the procedure despite the dog’s obvious reaction. Workers repeatedly cut into one dog’s tender, blood-filled ear, draining blood and pus but never treating the underlying cause of the dog’s suffering and apparently causing the ear to become infected.

Dogs were intentionally subjected to worm infestations for tests, but conditions were so sloppy that dogs who weren’t supposed to be part of the study also became infested and were then left untreated.

In one test commissioned by a corporation whose products are sold in grocery and drug stores nationwide, a chemical was applied to the necks of 57 cats. The cats immediately suffered seizures, foamed at the mouth, lost vision, and bled from their noses. Despite this, the substance was put on the cats a second time the very same day.

To cut costs, PLRS killed nearly 100 cats, rabbits, and dogs. The company had decided that some of these animals’ six daily cups of food were too expensive.

Federal oversight of horrendous facilities such as PLRS is virtually nonexistent. In preparation for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector’s annual visit, which PLRS staff knew to expect in June or July, PLRS employees painted over the rusty surfaces that the USDA had warned them about the previous year and reported that ailing animals had conditions that might merit veterinary care—which the facility’s attending veterinarian reportedly advised she would not provide—so that PLRS staff would be “covered” from blame should the inspector inquire about the animals’ condition. The inspector’s 2010 visit to PLRS, which housed approximately 400 animals at the time, lasted two hours and 15 minutes.

PETA has filed complaints with federal and state agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and local law-enforcement authorities.

UPDATE: North Carolina Lab Animals Saved! Charge Their Abusers

They are safe. Nearly 200 dogs and 54 cats — tortured by lab staff who kicked, slammed and dragged them — now have a chance to heal.

9/18/10 – KINSHIP CIRCLE

Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc. (PLRS) in Corapeake, North Carolina was forced to close and surrender its “test subjects” after a PETA investigation uncovered diseased and wounded dogs, cats and rabbits. Over 9 months, PETA’s investigator recorded staff brutally mishandling terrified animals. One worker used pliers to wrench teeth from a frantic dog. Another tried to pull out a cat’s claws.

PLRS closure is a portal to the routine abuse that occurs in ALL labs. Animal experimentation itself causes creatures to convulse, bleed, stagger, die. Imagine being overdosed with poison or cut apart while restrained. There isn’t one animal experiment today that couldn’t be replaced by non-animal research tools. But animals come cheap and old habits die hard.

ALL PHOTOS show staff at Beagles to the Rescue (VA) taking in abused dogs from the now shuttered PLRS research lab. SEE NEWS VIDEO.

But for PLRS animals, there is hope. Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) — working with about 12 regional shelters/rescues — have taken in the lab’s surviving dogs and cats. At this time, Kinship Circle does not know the fate of any rabbits. We do know that PLRS killed rabbits upon conclusion of experiments.

Shelters & Rescues with dogs and cats from PLRS:

**  Most animals will be in quarantine and rehab before available for adoption/foster.
**  Contact shelters below to inquire about animals rescued from PLRS.
**  Check shelter websites for updates, as information is limited right now.
**  As of 9/18/10: No mention of where rescued cats went, only the dogs.

Associated Humane Societies (NJ) — 973-824-7080
http://www.ahscares.org/

Beagles to the Rescue (VA) — 757-204-4411 (4 beagle girls)
http://www.beaglestotherescue.org/home.cfm

Carteret County Humane Society (NC) — 252-247-7744
http://www.cchsshelter.com/

Elizabeth City SPCA (VA) — 757-344-3033 (15 PLRS animals)
To adopt or foster these animals, contact Sabrenna or John at 252-338-5222
http://www.spcaofnenc.org/

Guilford County Animal Shelter — 336-297-5020
http://www.adoptshelterpets.org/

In Dogs We Trust (FL) — 561-400-7732 (18 PLRS dogs)
http://www.floridadogadoption.com/
Nicole@trustthedog.com

Norfolk SPCA (VA) — 757-622-3319 (38 PLRS dogs)
http://www.norfolkspca.com/

Triangle Beach Rescue (NC) — info@tribeagles.org
http://www.tribeagles.org

Virginia Beach SPCA (VA) — 757-427-0070
http://vbspca.com/modules/vbspcainfo/category.php?categoryid=1

Wake County Animal Control/Adopt. Ctr. (NC) — 919-212-7387
http://www.wakegov.com/pets/shelter/default.htm
animalcontrol@wakegov.com

Wake County SPCA (NC) — 919-772-2326
http://www.spcawake.org/site/PageServer

Washington Animal Rescue League (DC) — 202-726-2556
http://www.warl.org
adopt@warl.org



Another Orca Death at SeaWorld by christine
September 9, 2010, 11:33 pm
Filed under: AR News, News, Use Your Voice! | Tags: , , , ,

Yet another captive orca, Sumar, has died in captivity, once again at a SeaWorld faciity in San Diego. Sumar, the son of Tilikum, the orca who killed trainer Dawn Brancheau earlier this year, died after being lethargic the day before he passed away. SeaWorld uses Tilikum as one of their prime studs, as if they’re running a “whale mill” like one would run a puppy mill. Zoe magazine writes that, “According to SeaWorld, Sumar, an orca dolphin at the entertainment company’s San Diego seaquarium, began acting lethargic on Monday and was given antibiotics. Next day, he was dead.”

SeaWorld calls these sorts of death “mysterious” and “unexpected.” There’s nothing mysterious and unexpected about the death of animals who are exploited for the big business of aquariums. They’re continually stressed and treated as if they’re robots, there to entertain the public by performing stupid and unnatural tricks and to make babies who are transferred here and there at the whim of the facilities that continue to exploit them with no regard for the natural social relationships these animals develop and maintain for long periods of time.

Please write SeaWorld and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and urge them to place killer whales and other cetaceans in sanctuaries where they can live out their lives in dignity. Shame on SeaWorld for irresponsibly continuing to exploit orcas and other sentient beings for filling their own pockets.



Victory: EU Bans Testing on Great Apes! by christine
September 9, 2010, 11:23 pm
Filed under: AR News, News, Video | Tags: , ,

From The PETA Files:

There’s great news from across the Atlantic, where the European Union has voted to ban the use of great apes in experiments. The new legislation also places significant restrictions on testing on other primates and requires that non-animal methods be used whenever possible.

This is an exciting development—but it also raises a question: In light of this humane advance, how can the U.S. government justify its plans to transfer more than 200 “retired” chimpanzees from a facility in New Mexico to a research laboratory in Texas, where they’ll probably be forced to endure cruel experiments?

There is no excuse for it, of course, so please help us persuade officials to permanently retire the chimpanzees to a sanctuary.

Posted by Jeff Mackey

New EU Rules on Animal Testing Ban Use of Apes

from AFP

STRASBOURG — Europe banned the use of great apes in animal testing Wednesday as part of drastically tightened rules to scale back the number of animals used in scientific research.

After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the new limits, updating regulations from 1986, were adopted by the European Parliament despite objections from Green MEPs.

Under the new legislations, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and “strict” restrictions set on the use of primates in general.

Members of the 27-nation bloc, who are given two years to comply with the rules, also need “to ensure that whenever an alternative method is available, this is used instead of animal testing.”

And they must work at “reducing levels of pain inflicted on animals.”

Proponents of the abolition of animal testing objected that the new rules failed to go far enough.

“Animals will still be used as guinea pigs,” said the Greens in a statement. “They will still suffer pain.”

“It is possible to reduce the number of animals used for science without hindering research,” added Belgian Green Isballe Durant.

But Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli dubbed it “a good compromise on a difficult topic.”

“Today we have the chance to bring the EU to the forefront by caring for animals and protecting science,” he said.

Other MEPs said the demands of scientific research came over and above animal welfare.

“An animal’s an animal and a human being’s a human being,” said Italian conservative Herbert Dorfmann.

“Medical progress is crucial to humanity and unfortunately, to achieve this progress there must be animal testing.”

The legislation notably allows the use of primates in testing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancer or Parkinson’s disease if there is scientific evidence that the research cannot be achieved without using these species.

To avoid repeated suffering by an animal, it lists different categories of pain that may be inflicted during a test (non-recovery, mild, moderate or severe) and proposes that the same animals be reused only if the pain is classed as “moderate,” and provided a vet is consulted.

At the moment some 12 million animals are used each year in scientific experiments in the EU.

The legislation calls for government inspections on a third of national laboratories that use animals, some of which must be unannounced.

Last year the European Union banned the testing of animals for developing cosmetics, except for long-running toxicology tests which will be banned altogether in 2013.



Updates on the Recall: Wright County Egg’s Filthy Conditions by christine
September 9, 2010, 10:22 pm
Filed under: AR Alert, AR News, News, Vegan | Tags: , , ,

Chickens in battery cages

After a half billion bad eggs get released, the FDA reveals filthy conditions of Wright County Egg

BY Tom Philpott (from Grist) | 31 AUG 2010 4:07 PM

There’s nothing like a good salmonella outbreak to inspire FDA inspectors to deliver blunt, graphic reports from inside the industrial food system. When future historians marvel at the fetid, festering underbelly of our food culture, they will relish these post-facto dispatches from the biohazardous front.

Back in 2009, a company called Peanut Corporation of America sparked a massive recall involving 4,000 products put out by 360 companies. Nearly 700 people fell ill, half of them children, and nine died. The cause: salmonella-tainted peanut paste. The FDA’s after-the-fact investigation [PDF] of the massive Georgia plant makes riveting reading (for the strong of stomach): moldy water seeping directly into “finished product”; cockroaches running around; processing machinery that routinely went uncleaned, etc. Most shocking of all, the company had several times detected the presence of salmonella in finished product based on its own testing — and sent it out anyway.

Well, the FDA has now competed its post-event investigation of the Iowa egg factories that spawned 550 million salmonella-tainted eggs and have sickened at least 1,500 people. The factories in question are run by Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, two of the 10 largest egg producers in the United States. Again, at least for connoisseurs of the grotesque, the results make a fantastic read.

Turns out, the Wright County and Hillandale egg operations, whose products end up on supermarket shelves across the country, are salmonella-ridden, dilapidated hovels characterized by rodent infestations, flies, and, everywhere, feces —  both from the laying hens themselves and from wild birds scrounging for free feed.

There are some choice images in the report. To wit, “Dark liquid, which appeared to be manure, was observed seeping through the concrete foundation to the outside of the laying houses at the following locations.” It goes on to name 10 different laying houses, each of which contained hundreds of thousands of birds.

My favorite image of all is this one:

Uncaged birds (chickens having escaped) were observed in the egg laying operation in contact with the egg laying birds … The uncaged birds were using the manure, which was approximately 8 feet high, to access the egg laying area.

If I am envisioning the scene correctly, escaped hens had climbed atop vast shit mounds in order to be high enough to get their beaks into the feed within the cages.

Cross-contamination between the laying houses was evidently rife. “Employees working within the houses did not wear or change protective clothing when moving from house to house,” the FDA inspectors report. “An employee at Layer 6 House 3 was observed walking out of House 3 with a metal scraper and into House 2 without changing protective clothing and without sanitizing equipment between the houses.”

Industrial agriculture is often criticized for wiping out biodiversity — species, whether corn or hens, are raised in vast monocrops. But at Wright County Egg, biodiversity of a certain kind thrived. Inspectors observed between “two and five mice” scampering around at no fewer than 12 laying houses. “Live and dead flies too numerous to count” appeared at 19 houses; and at one house, “live and dead maggots too numerous to count were observed on the manure pit floor.”

If you’re worried about avian flu, you won’t be impressed with Wright County Egg’s efforts to keep wild birds from mingling with laying hens. “Non-chicken feathers” were observed inside one laying house. In another three, “wild birds were observed flying inside.” In an “air vent where the screening was damaged,” pigeons roosted. Gaps and holes in the structures of the laying houses, large enough to let in rodents and wilds birds, are evidently a fact of life. The report complains of “holes in exterior siding, missing siding, holes and/or gaps in the concrete foundation, and air vent screens either missing or damaged.”

Then there’s the whole topic of the facility’s feed mill, which the FDA has fingered as the likely source of the salmonella. Here, the sins of Wright County Egg’s management seemed to combine sinisterly into a virtual incubation house for pathogens. Atop vast mounds of corn destined for the mill, “birds were observed roosting and flying.” Wild birds were so at home that “nesting material was observed in the feed mill … ingredient storage and truck-filling areas.”

And when the inspectors took swabs in and around the mill, they routinely found salmonella. They also found it in the manure mounds building up under the laying houses.

One thing the report doesn’t comment on is the environmental impact of Wright County Egg’s manure management. If the company did such a rotten job keeping its hens from coming into contact with shit, what kind of job did it do keeping that salmonella-rich stuff from seeping into surrounding streams?

At any rate, the conditions described by FDA are wretched and can be counted on to produce biological menaces, salmonella outbreaks counting as just a minor example. The prevailing conditions there will be largely read as the villainy of a single man, Wright County Eggs’ owner, Jack Decoster. Now, Decoster is no doubt quite a piece of work; but as I will show in a later post, his brand of doing business is really the logical outgrowth of a food system that rewards cost-cutting above all else.

What’s the answer? GO VEGAN!

Egg Recall Action Alert: What’s inside your egg carton (aside from salmonella)?

From COK.net

As the U.S. faces the largest egg recall in our nation’s history—more than half a billion eggs have been recalled due to the risk of Salmonella—the hard-boiled truth of egg production is starting to make headlines. All the eggs in question were produced on large-scale egg factory farms where hens are crammed inside tiny wire cages that are so restrictive, they can barely even move.

Sadly, such intensive confinement, which causes tremendous animal suffering, is not only standard practice in the egg industry, but studies suggest that keeping hens in cages increases the risk of Salmonella infection in hens, their eggs, and consumers who eat eggs from caged birds. Read the “Food Safety and Cage Egg Production”report by the Humane Society of the United States for more details.

Not only is the egg industry cruelly confining more than 250 million laying hens and putting consumers at health risk, it’s also deceiving those consumers through the rampant use of misleading labels and images on cartons.

To many consumers’ surprise, there are no federal regulations governing the use of animal welfare claims on egg cartons, including “naturally-raised” and “free-range,” enabling producers to mislead consumers with false or exaggerated claims, such as images of hens freely roaming around outside—even if those eggs come from hens forced to spend their lives in misery inside wire battery cages.

In 2006, Compassion Over Killing filed a federal rule-making petition with the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency to mandate egg-production labeling on egg cartons, including the clear identification of “eggs from caged hens.” Similar consumer protection practices are already in place throughout the European Union and in Australia. Consumers—and hens—in the U.S. deserve the same.

ACT NOW: Read more about this Truth in Egg Labeling effort and contact the FDA today.



Beagles Rescued from Bankrupt Laboratory by christine

Operation: Agitate to Liberate

On June 1, 2010, Win Animal Rights launched Operation: Agitate to Liberate to free the 125 beagles and 55 monkeys endangered by the closure of Azopharma, owner of Oxford, NJ based Aniclin Preclinical Services.  We are please to announce that 30 days after the commencement of our campaign, and after having overcome all obstacles and objections, we are declaring victory.  On June 30, 2010, a Missouri court issued an order allowing the release of all the Azopharma/AniClin animals to sanctuaries and foster homes.

**Watch the video! It’s uplifting to see these animals set free and know that animal rights can be achieved, and yet, it is utterly heartbreaking to watch these beagles walk on grass for the first time.


120 Beagles Liberated on July 2, 2010
& 55 Monkeys will be Liberated because of you!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen!

______________________

The Great Beagle Escape

July 02, 2010, 1:31PM MT

By Denise LeBeau, Best Friends staff

From lab to lap, 120+ beagles feel freedom for the first time

A cold, lonely research laboratory is no place to call home. Especially if you’re a fun loving beagle like Liberty here, and thanks to Best Friends Animal Society and Pets Alive, she’s gone from lab to lap almost overnight! Just in time for Independence Day – these dogs have something wonderful to truly celebrate

While the 120-something odd beagles living at the facility were not used for invasive testing, their lives were far from idyllic. The beagles had a champion in Camille Hankins of Win Animal Rights, who followed their plight from research subjects to refugees. The economic downturn took its toll on the research laboratory and these lives were left in limbo until the wheels of the beagle freedom train started spinning.

Read more…



Gulf Coast Disaster: BP’s Wildlife Victims by christine

Are BP’s Wildlife Victims Better Off Dead? (!!!)

by Stephanie Feldstein | June 09, 2010

Silvia Gaus, a biologist at Germany’s Wattenmeer National Park, says the oil-covered birds in the Gulf of Mexico should be killed, not cleaned.

It can take up to four people and 300 gallons of water, plus a lot of Dawn dish soap and dedicated volunteers to rehabilitate and release one bird. After the Exxon Valdez spill, it cost nearly $32,000 per bird to send them home. And, according to Gaus, all that effort still leads to a near certain and painful death for the animals.

When oiled wildlife is rescued, it’s the proverbial race against time. Some of the animals will have already ingested too much oil, and no amount of Pepto Bismol (force-fed to oil-covered animals to protect their stomachs) can save them. For others, the stress of the cleanup operation will prove fatal. If they make it through the rehabilitation, many of them will die within a few days of being released into the wild, often from kidney and liver damage. The trauma of oil exposure may also alter their behavior and reproduction, which will impact their chances of survival. According to Gaus, studies show that the middle-term survival rate of oiled birds is less than one percent.

So, why bother?

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network answers that question by taking a look at mortality, long-term value to the species, and cost. They say, depending on the spill, they’re able to release 50-75 percent of live animals rescued from the oil back into natural habitats.

As for what happens next, they admit survival rates are low, but they don’t have quite as much faith in the stats as Gaus. Animals seem to be faring better than previous studies have shown, but overall, post-release survival is “a critical knowledge gap in understanding the overall effects of oil in wildlife.” That’s part of the reason why we need to keep trying — we’ll never improve survival rates if we rush to kill the animals instead of finding out what might save them. And the animal care protocols for organizations like OWCN include ongoing monitoring and intensive medical management of released wildlife to help prevent those painful post-release deaths.

Some argue that we should only expend these kinds of resources on threatened or endangered species impacted by oil, like the Louisiana brown pelican, who was just removed from the endangered species list in November. The BP oil spill has put the birds at risk of making back onto the list in less than a year. In theory, rescuers could focus all of their energy on the brown pelicans, and similarly threatened species. In reality, all of the animals are collected anyway, and every one of them provides the opportunity for training, research and, most importantly, saving a life.

But $32,000 per bird? It’s a lot of money, but in the Exxon Valdez cleanup, wildlife recovery and rehabilitation accounted for less than five percent of the total cost of the oil spill response. So, when you’re looking at the big picture, wildlife rescue costs are not the problem in the wake of an oil disaster.

While it’s impossible to put a price tag on what the life of one animal means for its species or the ecosystem, cleaning wildlife is undoubtedly a better use of money than BP’s $50 million in TV ads to clean up their image.

Photo Credit: AP Photographer Charlie Riedel filed the following images of Brown Pelicans and other seabirds caught in the oil slick on a beach on Louisiana’s East Grand Terre Island, June 3 2010. See more images.

Learn More:

BP Tries to Block Photos of Dead Wildlife

Why Ken Salazar Should Take the Fall for the Oil Spill

Official oil spill estimate doubles to 20,000-40,000 barrels per day



Ohio Dairy Farm Cruelty by christine

Mercy for Animals recently released footage from their undercover investigation of a dairy farm in Ohio. From April to May, they documented the cruel and sadistic abuse of dairy cows by farm workers at Conklin Farms in Plain City.

Documented abuses during the 4-week period:

  • Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
  • Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
  • Kicking “downed” cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm’s owner
  • Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
  • Twisting cows’ tails until the bones snapped
  • Punching cows’ udders
  • Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death

Geoff Ball, DVM

“This has to be the most shocking and malicious video of animal cruelty that I have seen … There is no need to explain how the actions shown are unusually cruel and [show] amazing levels of stress and neglect unto these animals.

“In many cases the attacks seem to be made just for the sake of causing pain. The [workers] shown should be viewed as a threat to all species of animals and should be investigated as far as [their] potential to strike the same sort of suffering on humans as well. This footage should be seen as a red flag for child, spousal and other forms of violence.”

Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary

“This video should be an eye-opener to anyone still unsure of what all the fuss is about concerning the treatment of farm animals in Ohio. The cruel and violent behavior depicted in the video is indicative of an attitude that sees farm animals as mere production units, rather than as living, feeling animals. Undercover investigations at farms in Ohio and elsewhere routinely turn up instances of systemic cruelty.

Bad has become normal on today’s farms … The cruelty and violent behavior that is now common on farms where animals are seen as commodities is outside the boundaries of acceptable conduct in our society.”

Sign the petition to shut down Conklin Dairy Farms and to charge Gary Conklin!

Learn More:

Although many of the abuses documented at Conklin Dairy Farms are sadistic in nature, numerous undercover investigations at dairy farmspig farmsegg farmshatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – runs rampant nationwide. Compassionate consumers can end their direct financial support of farmed animal abuse by rejecting dairy, and other animal products, and adopting a vegan diet.

Mercy for Animals: Ohio Dairy Farm Investigation

How Does Drinking Milk Hurt Cows?



Whale Wars! Tonight at 9pm by christine
June 4, 2010, 3:37 pm
Filed under: AR News, Video | Tags: , ,

Season 3 of “Whale Wars” starts tonight at 9pm on Animal Planet! Watch members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society fearlessly put their lives on the line as they struggle to end Japanese whaling.

This year, the Japanese whaling fleet is targeting 935 piked (Minke) whales and another 50 fin whales, and has threatened to add humpbacks to their quota as well. The hunt is carried out in contravention to the 1986 international moratorium against whaling. Japan claims to be conducting lethal research but they openly sell the whale meat on the commercial market.

Click the logo above to learn more about Sea Shepherd.

Australia to sue Japan over whaling

Published: Friday May 28, 2010

Australia said Friday it would begin legal action next week to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of scientific research, prompting immediate condemnation from Tokyo.

Officials said they would lodge documents with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague “early next week”, abandoning diplomacy after repeated threats to sue.

“We want to see an end to whales being killed in the name of science in the Southern Ocean,” said Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett.

“Today’s announcement of legal action shows the government is taking steps to bring a permanent end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

Japanese Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu called the announcement “very disappointing”, adding that Japan’s “research” was approved under the rules of an international moratorium on commercial whaling.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the government had been unable to find a diplomatic solution to the problem, despite protracted talks and debate within the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

“The Australian government has not taken this decision lightly,” said Smith.

“But recent statements by whaling countries in the commission have provided Australia with little cause for hope that our serious commitment to conservation of the world’s whales will be reflected in any potential IWC compromise agreement,” he added.

Smith denied the action would affect relations with Japan, one of Australia’s top two export markets, describing it as “a disagreement in one element of a relationship that is deep, broad and multi-dimensional”.

New Zealand said it was also considering a case against Japan in the ICJ, with Foreign Minister Murray McCully promising a decision “in the next few weeks”.

Read more…