Archive | Animal Rights & Issues

Wildlife Talks to Headline CITES Meeting

DOHA, Qatar, March 13 (UPI) — Conservation groups say they are hopeful participants in a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in Qatar will help protect wildlife.

The BBC Saturday said while the two-week gathering could result in an agreement on a ban on the trade of bluefin tuna, conservation groups are also seeking additional protections for animals such as lizards, polar bears and sharks.

“This is a key conservation moment — whether the governments here will vote for the conservation of bluefin tuna,” Dr. Sue Lieberman of the Pew Environment Group said of the gathering starting this weekend.

Also on the agenda at the Qatar meeting is the sale of ivory worldwide. The issue has proven divisive in Africa with Kenya and Mali supporting a ban and Zambia and Tanzania supporting ivory sales.

Jason Bell-Leask of the International Fund for Animal Welfare is among those opposing the possible expansion of ivory sales, the BBC reported.

“To permit any step towards further trade in ivory makes no sense whatsoever — it flies in the face of every basic conservation principle and is contrary to the agreement made at the last meeting,” Bell-Leask said.

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Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Conservation0 Comments

Vick Faces Protesters at Awards Ceremony

BALTIMORE, March 10 (UPI) — Philadelphia Eagles player Michael Vick should not have been given the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation prize at a Baltimore event, protesters said.

The Baltimore Sun said Wednesday nearly 100 protesters assembled outside a Baltimore banquet hall Tuesday night to oppose Vick serving as the Eagles’ representative for the annual award.

A single player on each of the 32 NFL teams is presented with the award every year for serving as a role model or for embracing principles such as courage or sportsmanship.

Darlene Sanders Harris, the organizer of Tuesday’s protest, was among those questioning the selection of Vick, who served a prison sentence for illegal dog-fighting, for the honor.

“I don’t think he exudes courage or any of the qualities they are looking for in an Ed Block recipient,” she said.

“I find it appalling to give this to someone that has gotten enjoyment from hurting dogs,” protester Barbara Goldstein offered.

The Sun said Vick, a backup quarterback for the Eagles, had no specific comments regarding the protest.

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Judge Spares 30 Fighting Dogs

DETROIT, March 10 (UPI) — A federal judge in Detroit says about 30 dogs seized from a fighting ring can be adopted or placed in foster homes.

Judge David Lawson overruled a prosecutor’s recommendation in ruling Tuesday that the dogs, mostly pit bulls, did not need to be euthanized.

Anyone interested in adopting the dogs or fostering them, however, must be told of the dogs’ histories and of a state law that imposes criminal liability on owners of dogs who later kill or maim, Lawson said.

Lawson ordered another 10 dogs seized last year from the fight ring to be euthanized, including Pacino and Violet, dogs described by investigators as “champion” fighters, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.

Pacino and Violet have been in the care of the Humane Society of Kent County, which have deemed them fit for adoption or foster care. In his ruling, Lawson said he would give the Human Society time to file a motion arguing in favor of sparing Pacino and Violet’s lives.

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Santa Monica Restaurant Sold Banned Whale Meat

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors Wednesday accused a Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant and one of its chefs of selling Sei whale meat illegally.

The sale of whale meat is banned in the United States under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and Sei whales are on the endangered species list, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a news release.

Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint Wednesday charging Typhoon Restaurant Inc. — the parent company of The Hump restaurant at Santa Monica Airport — and Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, a chef at the restaurant, with the illegal sale of a marine mammal product for an unauthorized purpose.

“Federal law has a variety of provisions, including criminal statutes, intended to protect this planet’s threatened natural resources,” Birotte said. “People should be aware that we will use these criminal statutes where appropriate to protect endangered species, including to ensure that they do not end up part of a meal.”

Prosecutors said The Hump sold whale sushi to customers on three occasions since October — with scientists using DNA testing to determine the meat was Sei whale and receipts given to the restaurant’s customers indicating they had purchased “whale.”

The investigation began after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received information from members of the public about the alleged violations, prosecutors said.

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Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Food Consumption, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety, Mammals0 Comments

PETA Group Urges Castration of Polar Bear

BERLIN, March 4 (UPI) — The German branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said a polar bear housed at the Berlin Zoo should be castrated to avoid breeding.

Frank Albrecht, the head of the PETA branch, said if Knut the polar bear is not castrated, the popular Berlin Zoo attraction could end up mating with a female polar bear on loan from the Munich Zoo, The Times of London said Thursday.

Albrecht said such breeding efforts would essentially represent an act of incest and could result in offspring suffering from genetic abnormalities.

“They have a common grandfather, Olaf, and they are therefore cousins,” he said.

“A long-term cohabitation between Giovanna and Knut is only feasible if Knut is castrated.”

The Times said it is likely Giovanna will return to the Munich Zoo before the two bears become sexually mature enough to procreate.

“We’ll send Giovanna back to Munich, by the autumn at the latest,” Berlin Zoo senior bearkeeper Heiner Klos said.

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Thief Steals Eagle's Tail Feathers

CEDAR CITY, Utah, March 2 (UPI) — A golden eagle hit by a car in Utah suffered more serious injuries after the collision, when someone plucked its tail feathers, a wildlife rehabilitator says.

Martin Tyner of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation said the feathers were pulled out, an operation that would have required pliers, shortly after the eagle was struck, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The bird was brought to the foundation Sunday by Lt. Scott Dalebout of the state Division of Wildlife Resources after it was found in Sevier County.

Whether it was done by the person who hit the bird or by someone who found it shortly afterward, the removal would have been painful, Tyner said. The feathers are embedded 1.5 inches under the skin.

“It would be equivalent to a person being held on the ground and having their fingernails ripped out with pliers,” he added.

Eagle tail feathers are important for some American Indian rituals, but possession without a special permit is illegal. Bonnie Bell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said poachers typically kill birds and remove the claws as well as the tail feathers.

Tyner said the eagle cannot be returned to the wild unless the tail feathers regenerate.

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Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Birds, Fish0 Comments

Animal Activist Refuses to Testify

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 22 (UPI) — A Minneapolis animal rights activist could spend 11 months in jail for refusing to testify in a lab break-in case at the University of Iowa, authorities say.

Carrie Feldman, 20, was charged with contempt of court and jailed Nov. 17 for refusing to tell a grand jury what she may know about events that occurred in 2004, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Monday.

Feldman was 15 years old at the time and contends she knows nothing of the Nov. 14, 2004, attack on Spence Laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front. The group allegedly released a video of members breaking into the facility, setting hundreds of mice and rats free, dumping chemicals, and smashing computers, with damages totaling $450,000, the newspaper said.

Police made no arrests until November 2009, when they charged Feldman and her former boyfriend, Scott DeMuth, 22, for refusing to testify before a grand jury — which eventually indicted DeMuth in the break-in.

DeMuth has posted bail and is awaiting trial. Feldman remains in jail but has not been charged with a crime.

“They’re really using her as a pawn in this whole thing,” her attorney, Jordan Kushner, said.

“It’s a principle thing for me,” Feldman said by telephone from jail, adding that her case shows “how easy it is for (the federal government) to abuse the statutes and the secrecy that surrounds it all. I haven’t seen any evidence of why they want my testimony or (have) any reason to hold me.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Chemicals0 Comments

Escaped Circus Zebra Caught in Atlanta

ATLANTA, Feb. 19 (UPI) — An escaped circus zebra was captured uninjured on a busy Atlanta highway, circus bosses and state transportation officials said.

Crystal Drake, a representative of Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey circus, said the zebra escaped from an enclosure at the downtown Philips Arena and made its way to the overlapped connector of Interstates 75 and 85 shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, CBS Atlanta reported Friday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said the zebra was captured and placed on a large truck for transport back to the circus. They said the unusual animal in the road caused traffic backups in both directions on the connector.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Transportation0 Comments

Treaty Signed to Protect Endangered Sharks

NEW YORK, Feb. 16 (UPI) — More than 100 nations signed a U.N.-supported wildlife treaty Tuesday designed to protect shark species threatened with extinction.

The 113 countries signing the treaty are party to the U.N. Environment Program-administered Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. U.N. officials said the countries agreed to prohibit the hunting, fishing and deliberate killing of certain shark species — the great white, basking, whale, porbeagle, spiny dogfish, and the shortfin and longfin mako sharks.

“This first global CMS instrument on commercially exploited species is a decisive step forward in international shark conservation,” said UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema. “Wildlife conventions, U.N. agencies and international fisheries need to work together to prevent these creatures that roam the world’s oceans from becoming extinct.”

The agreement, signed during a meeting of government representatives in the Philippines, is designed to restore the long-term viability of populations of migratory sharks.

According to U.N. estimates, as much as 900,000 tons of sharks have been caught every year for the last two decades, and the actual catch figure is estimated to be at least twice as high.

Environmental studies show shark populations collapsed in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea by 90 percent and by 75 percent in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean during a 15-year span.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Conservation0 Comments

Brown Pelicans at Risk in California

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15 (UPI) — Experts say they are at a loss to explain why at least 1,000 brown pelicans died or were placed in danger in recent weeks along the California coast.

The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News said Monday pelicans have been found dead or in distress on beaches from San Francisco to San Diego during the past month

“It’s a mystery. It’s tragic. It’s very sad to see these poor birds suffer,” California Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Dana Michaels said. “I hope we can get to the bottom of it. There’s something really endearing about pelicans.”

Many brown pelicans found alive on beaches were disoriented and hungry with their feathers coated in a mysterious substance, officials said.

The substance, which could be from a variety of ocean conditions, limits the insulation properties of the pelicans’ feathers, putting the birds at risk for hypothermia in cold waters.

Jay Holcomb, director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, Calif., told the Mercury News the substance can be cleaned off and most of the rescued pelicans can eventually return safely to coastal waters.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Birds, Fish0 Comments

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