Brisbane City Council Punts on Animal Research Ordinance Until After November Election

The City of Brisbane, California, considered and then deferred a decision on an ordinance that would modify the city’s existing rules on animal research.

Media accounts of the Brisbane animal research proposal are muddy, but Brisbane apparently does not have any sort of ordinance regarding animal research — a company would simply have to get a building permit and comply with zoning and other ordinances. The city was apparently contacted by a company that is interested in building a campus-like animal research facility within the city’s limits, however, and that company suggested that the city update its general development plan to make that explicit.

After much debate and the resignation of a council member that led to a 2-2 vote on the proposal in July, the Brisbane City Council currently has three options. According to a summary produced by the City Attorney,

Ordinance 501 was considered for adoption at the regular Council meeting on September 19, 2005 and the matter was continued to provide staff an opportunity to draft alternative language pertaining to the use of live animals for research and development. The proposed draft now contains 3 separate options concerning this subject. They are as follows:

Option 1: All animal research is a conditional use:

This is the language contained in the proposal Ordinance. It would require that any research and development involving the use of live animals be classified as a conditional use for which a use permit would be required. The activity would need to comply with the performance standards in Subsections 17.20.050.F and 17.21.050.F.

Option 2: All animal research is a permitted use:

This option would restore the existing regulations from the M-1 district which allow any form of research and development (including use of live animals) as a permitted use. The performance standards in Subsections 17.20.050.F and 17.21.050.F would be deleted.

This option would allow any other type of animal research, such as research involving the use of rats, mice or guinea pigs, to be conducted as a permitted use.

Council member Lee Panza told the Bay City News, “We couldn’t decide whether [animal testing] should be outright banned, completely open or have some type of restriction.”

The council will take up the issue again after the November 8 election when there will be a full council of 5 seated and at least two new members.

Source:

Brisbane City Council tables animal-testing issue. Bay City News, October 5, 2005.

In Defense of Animals Asks Judge to Reconsider Feral Pig Slaughter Ruling

In Defense of Animals in August asked a judge to reconsider a July decision that rejected its efforts to stop the National Park Service’s plan to eradicate wild pigs on Santa Cruz island in California.

Pigs were first introduced to the island in the mid-19th century. Ever since, according to the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, they have been eroding the soil and damaging native plants and animals.

To put an end to the problem once and for all, the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy plan to hire a New Zealand firm, Prohunt, to eradicate the pigs. The firm will only receive its $3.9 million fee once there are no more pigs left on the island. Prohunt began killing pigs on Santa Cruz in April 2005.

In Defense of Animals has so far unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the plan in court. Their objections to the slaughter of the animals provides an interesting look at how animal rights ideology conflicts with environmental protection efforts.

The major claim made by the park service is that the presence of the pigs indirectly threatens the Santa Cruz Island fox. According to the park service, golden eagles are attracted to the island to feed on pigs, and while they’re there they also feed on the foxes to the point where there are believed to be only about 150 foxes left on the island.

Nature Conservancy spokeswoman Julie Benson told the Los Angeles Times that the choice was clear — wild pigs exist in large numbers throughout the world, whereas this particular fox only inhabits this island. Killing the pigs to save the foxes is, to Benson, the obvious choice.

Not so to IDA president Elliott Katz who told the Los Angeles Times that trying to make this sort of decision is attempting to foist human morality on to nature (emphasis added),

Northern California veterinarian Elliot Katz said that allowing the deaths of thousands of pigs for the benefit of a few foxes
doesn’t seem to be a fair balance of nature. Katz, founder and president of In Defense of Animals, a nonprofit animal rights
organization based in the Bay Area city of Mill Valley, supports halting the pig slaughter and says he intends to contact
Feldman about lending his support for the lawsuit.

“Our position is to take a step back and not to be killing animals for man’s belief of what’s right and wrong,” Katz said.
“Allowing an injunction will permit everyone to step back and rethink this thing and also to further evaluate whether it’s
necessary to remove each and every pig from the island.”

Presumably since relying on human standards of morality is not possible, Katz will be channeling supernatural powers to guide human interaction with the environment.

Sources:

Suit Filed to Halt Pig Eradication on Santa Cruz Island. Gregory W. Griggs, Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2005.

PETA Asks Palisades Park to Stop Squirrel Slaughter

In July, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the mayor of Palisades Park, California, asking her to put an end to a city program of poisoning squirrels.

In a press release, PETA said,

Today, following a barrage of complaints from outraged Santa Monica residents, PETA fired off a letter to Santa Monica Mayor Pam OÂ’Connor, urging her to order city employees to immediately remove all pesticide currently being used to poison ground squirrels at Palisades Park and to establish strict policies prohibiting the use of poisons in Santa MonicaÂ’s parks. PETA points out that if the city is concerned about the possibility of the spread of disease, it should be targeting fleas and not squirrels or other animals.

Poisons cause immeasurable suffering and prolonged deaths for the animals who ingest them and for “nontarget” animals who consume—even in part—the poisoned bodies. As PETAÂ’s wildlife caseworker, I often receive requests for information on proven humane methods of managing urban wildlife populations. For instance, if city officials are concerned about disease outbreaks, they should be targeting fleas rather than squirrels. To prevent the spread of plague, an online pamphlet produced by the LA County Department of Health called Facts About Plague in Los Angeles County outlines an effective flea-control strategy that employs bait stations to distribute insecticide dust on squirrelsÂ’ fur as they enter the stations. The flea powder, harmless to squirrels, kills the fleas living in squirrelsÂ’ fur, and when the squirrels carry the powder back to their subterranean homes, the powder also kills the fleas living in these burrows.

“Death from the poisons being used by the city is slow and agonizing,” says PETA Wildlife Biologist Stephanie Boyles. “No one knows how many animals have suffered and died, but the mayor has the power to stop this cruel program and the obligation to stop any violations of local, state, or federal laws relating to the poisoning.”

But PETA didn’t quite have all of the facts in the matter.

Palisades Park Mayor Pam O’Connor told the Santa Monica News that all poison bait had actually been removed in June. Moreover, the use of poison bait had been ordered by the Los Angeles County Department of Health, which PETA cites in its letter as favoring alternatives to poisoning!

O’Connor said,

The City of Santa Monica is not performing any ground squirrel suppression measures at this time. We stopped the last week of June, removing all the bait from the stations.

As you know, the City was ordered to suppress the ground squirrel population [by Los Angeles County]. The coastal belt of California is one of the high-risk areas for plague. Keeping the ground squirrel population down is a precaution against humans and pets being infected.

And while PETA’s letter said it had received “a barrage of complaints from outraged Santa Monica residents,” city officials told the Santa Monica News they had only received a complaints from a handful of people.

Judy Rambeau, assistant to the City Manager in charge of community relations, told the Santa Monica News,

I’ve gotten numerous calls and emails from two people. We heard a lot from the same people over and over and over again.

Of course, in PETA World, if two activists each call and e-mail officials 12 times, that translates to dozens of complaints!

Source:

Animal rights group calls for end to squirrel killings. Jorge Casuso, Santa Monica News, July 29, 2005.

PETA Calls On Santa Monica Mayor To End Cruel, Deadly Squirrel-Poisoning Program. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, July 27, 2005.

Who Sheltered Peter Daniel Young?

A number of media reports in July indicated that federal investigators believe animal rights activists in northern California helped Peter Daniel Young evade authorities during his seven years on the run.

Young was indicted in 1998 on charges stemming from several break-ins at fur farms. He disappeared and lived on the lam for 7 years before being arrested earlier this year.

According to the Associated Press, Young used another activist’s credit card and rented an apartment using a false name. The activist whose credit card Young was using also received mail at Young’s apartment according to the FBI.

In a search warrant application recently unsealed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, FBI agent Scott Merriam wrote,

I have probable cause to believe that one or more individuals . . . have in some manner assisted Young in remaining concealed from arrest.

The search warrants also reveal Young’s motives in attempting to shoplift several CDs from a Starbucks which ultimately led to his arrest. Young ran an Internet-based mail-order business and apparently was selling his shop-lifted goods to help support himself.

Source:

Accused mink raider hid with friends in Santa Cruz, feds say. Todd Richmond, Associated Press, July 29, 2005.

Why Activist Alfredo Kubra Gets Butterflies

Knight Ridder recently reported on a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Action for Animals, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States against California Rodeo Salinas.

The story included only one quote from an activist at the event, one Alfredo Kuba who had this to say of participating in an animal rights protest,

I always get butterflies before I do something like this. Any time you express opinions that are different from the status quo, you have a little bit of fear. You can’t help but be concerned how people might react.

Kuba’s “nervous little activist” routine seems a bit thin given the things he’s said over the years. Kuba has been active in the California animal rights scene for more than a decade, and shows up in dozens of articles on Google and Lexis-Nexis.

What sort of things does Kuba believe that are different from the status quo? In a December 31, 2004 letter to the editor of the Mountain View (California) Voice, Kuba offered his views of hunting,

. . . Hunters are animal terrorists. Hunters make absurd claims of why murdering other beings is their “right” as if animals have no right to exist.

Hunting is a human wrong, just like slavery or the concentration camps. In the slavery era, whites felt they had the right to have slaves and slaves had no rights. In Nazi Germany, white supremacists believed they were the superior race under “God” thus rationalizing the extermination of Jews and other races “inferior” to them.

Hunters likewise rationalize to persecute, stalk, terrorize, maim and murder other living beings under the guise of superiority and difference of species. Hunters invade other species’ homes with the sole purpose of ending their existence.

Hunting is cold-blooded murder. Who made hunters God and gave them the power to decide who lives and who dies? The sickening aspect of hunters is that they find pleasure in the destruction of “God’s creation.”

Kuba despises hunting enough that he forces a vegan diet on his feline companion — and Kuba’s own dietary choices might hint at another explanation for those “butterflies.” In a 2004 AlterNet story on vegan pet diets, Kuba was quoted as saying (emphasis added),

You’re saving animals by not feeding your cat meat. It makes you feel good to feed your kitty something this good. Sometimes I even try some myself when I’m cooking.

Kuba’s not so concerned about the possibility of other cats having meat-oriented snacks. In May 2004, a mountain lion was spotted near Palo Alto, California. The lion was sleeping in a tree about 20 feet above a police car. Police initially planned to tranquilize the animal, but it woke up first, and the decision was made to kill the animal. Police said that since the timing of the incident made killing the animal necessary,

Because of the environment that it was in, school is about to be let out, the only safe thing to do to protect the community was to dispatch the animal. One shot was fired, the animal was felled.

Kuba disagreed, telling CBS5,

I think it’s absolutely atrocious the way the police behaved. Obviously the animal was not posing a threat to anyone. It was in a tree.

Kuba is also an expert on circuses. At a 2003 protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Kuba told the San Mateo Daily Journal that,

Daily beatings are a part of everyday life for animals in circuses.

Kuba recently started petition to ask KPFA 94.1FM to add an animal rights-themed show to its lineup. The petition reads,

Please sign petition asking KPFA 94.1FM to include an animal rights program on a regular basis. Animal rights is a topic of interest, often demoniced [sic] by the corporate propagandist media and not given a voice. Animals are voiceless and KPFA can provide that much desperately needed voice.

Surely purely by coincidence Kuba would host this new animal rights show on KPFA.

Those must be some strange butterflies.

Sources:

Rodeo draws animal rights protesters. Dennis Taylor, Knight Ridder, July 26, 2005.

Hunters destroy ‘God’s creation’. Alfredo Kuba, Letter to the Editor, Mountain Valley Voice, December 31, 2004.

Mountain lion killed in Palo Alto. Len Ramirez, CBS 5, May 17, 2004.

Circus defends animal treatment. San Mateo Daily Journal, August 28, 2003.

Animal Rights Radio. Petition, 2005.

The Cat That Ate Tofu. Michael Rosen-Molina, Alternet, May 23, 2004.

Activist on Need to Change Impressions, If Not Ideology

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus visited Orange County, California, in July the Los Angeles Times ran the typical back-and-forth story with competing quotes from circus employees and animal rights activists.

After quotes from animal rights activist Kristal Parks who told the Times that chaining elephants is “almost like putting a human being in a jail cell,” Orange County People for Animals activist Charlotte Gordon concedes to the Times that the animal rights movement might have an image problem,

[Gordon] . . . concedes the public hasn’t been won over. “We need to change [the impression] that we’re trying to take something away from them. That’s what people are thinking, that we’re trying to take away the fun. We’re just trying to take away the animals.”

In other words, people are absolutely correct in thinking that activists want to take away something important in their lives — namely, traditional interactions with animals.

Activists want to take away circuses with animals. They want to take away animal-based foods. They want to take away animal-based medical research. They want to take away aquariums and zoos and hunting, and many of them even want to take away domestic pets.

The problem for Gordon and her ilk is that people understand exactly what animal rights activists want to take away.

Source:

Ringmaster is needed to monitor this debate. Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2005.