Activists Complain about Mitt Romney’s Canned Hunt

Animal rights activists are up in arms after Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney bagged some quail on a hunting trip while on a trip to Georgia.

According to the Boston Herald,

. . . the political outing backfired when it was revealed the birds had been fenced in.

Humane Society of the United States’ Michael Markarian complained about Romney hunting at the Cabin Bluff animal preserve, telling the Boston Herald,

Many of these private hunting preserves are basically providing drive-through killing animal opportunities. These animals are often tamed and bred on the property, fed by people and accustomed to people. They have no chance of escape. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokeswoman Jennifer McClure told the Boston Herald,

Stalking and shooting animals is a cowardly, violent form of recreation, and if Romney wants to keep his political career alive, then he should stop supporting this dying blood sport.

Right, because hunting really killed the careers of politicians such as George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.

Anyway, opponents of such animal preserves like to call them canned hunts or refer, as the Boston Herald does, to the fact that the animals are fenced in. But this sort of criticism is silly in the case of preserves like Cabin Bluffs which sits on no less than 45,000 acres.

That’s one incredibly large can.


Mitt under fire for hunt: Romney catches flak after quail kill. Dave Wedge, Boston Herald, January 5, 2006.

Don’t Tell Joan Dunayer: Scientists Use Wasps to Detect Chemical Weapons

Researchers at the University of Georgia-Tifton have been exploring an interesting way to check for trace amounts of explosives or chemical toxins — they’re using wasps of all things.

The wasps, Microplitis croceipes in this case, is trained using conditioning methods to detect a chemical odor. According to USA Today,

To do their work, five wasps — each a half-inch long — are placed in a plastic cylinder that is 15 inches tall. This “Wasp Hound,” which costs roughly $100 per unit, has a vent in one end and a camera that connects to a laptop computer.

When the wasps pick up an odor they’ve been trained to detect they gather by the vent — a response that can be measured by the computer or actually seen by observers.

The wasps are able to detect chemicals when exposed to concentrations as low as four parts per billion.

Researchers hope to go to pilot testing soon and could have commercially available applications of their wasp research available within 5 to 10 years.

Just don’t tell activists like Joan Dunayer who think even insects should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rights.


Scientists recruit wasps for war on terror. Mimi Hall, USA Today, December 27, 2005.

Mother Gets Off With No Jail After Shaking Baby Girl to Death

Carisa Ashe, 34, reached a plea agreement with Atlanta prosecutors in February in which she will not serve a single day in jail for shaking her 5-week-old daughter to death in 1998.

The infant, Destiny, had been born premature and had been hospitalized for several weeks. Two days after going home, her mother shook the infant to death. Ashe told police that the baby simply stopped breathing.

Ashe, who has seven other children, had been charged with murder but reached an agreement to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter which carried a sentence of up to 20 years in jail. Instead, Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes ordered Ashe to serve five years probation and to have a tubal ligation within 3 months of her sentencing date to ensure she would have no more children.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told Cox News Service that he agreed to the plea deal because Ashe was suffering from postpartum depression when she killed Destiny.


Mother chooses sterilization over murder trial. Beth Warren, Cox News Service, February 10, 2005.

Georgia holds Lottery for September Alligator Hunt

In July, George held a lottery to award permits to the 300 hunters who will be allowed to hunt alligators in that state’s second alligator season.

Each hunter will pay a $50 permit and anyone accompanying a licensed hunter must also pay a $50 fee to the state of Georgia. The bag limit is 1 alligator per permit.

In the 1960s, Georgia’s alligator population neared extinction, but today there are an estimated 200,000 of the animals in the state. In its 2003 alligator season, 180 hunters killed 73 alligators.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, about 450 nuisance alligators are removed every year with trapping.


Alligator hunting season starts in Ga. Elliott Minor, Associated Press, July 7, 2004.

Alligator Hunting Season for 2004. Press Release, Georgia DNR.

Yerkes Researchers Demonstrate Efficacy of Combination Therapy to Reduce Cocaine Use in Non-Human Primates

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University in June published the results of their research showing that a combination of drug therapies significantly reduced cocaine use in nonhuman primates conditioned to self-administer the drug.

The researchers administer a combination of drugs that inhibit both dopamine and serotonin transport to a group of rhesus macaques who were conditioned to self-administer cocaine. In press release announcing the forthcoming publication of the results in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Yerkes’ Leonard Howell said,

It appears DAT (dopamine transport) inhibition serves to substitute for cocaine while SERT (serotonin) inhibition may limit the abuse potential of the medication. Our results, therefore, showing a combination of DAT and SERT inhibition were more effective than either alone are very promising.

According to Yerkes, this is the first time that a combination therapy has been shown to reduce cocaine use in nonhuman primates. According to the Yerkes press release, Howell will continue research into the combination therapy, turning to finding the optimal dosage level for reducing cocaine use.


Yerkes researchers discover combination of drug therapies reduces cocaine use in primates. Press Release, Emory University Health Sciences Center, May 24, 2004.

Jean Barnes Bizarre Letter about World Week for Animals in Laboratories

It’s been awhile since this site has reported on Jean Barnes, but in April she sent out an e-mail describing a protest that the Primate Freedom Project held outside Emory University. You might remember Barnes as the activist who thinks that research into gender assignment is inherently homophobic. She also turns out to be the activist who thinks her opponents are just sitting at home waiting for her to call. In her e-mail, Barnes wrote (emphasis added),

We had lots of media — including a one hour visit at WNNX where show hosts had invited at least 12 different Emory U. researchers to participate in an exchange with Ingrid [Newkirk]. None of Emory’s ‘trained medical professionals’ had the backbone to take on Ingrid — who to my knowledge — has no medical training. After WNNX was unable to secure an Emory dr. or researcher, they called around the US trying to get a medical type to discuss research with her. Again, no takers.

WNNX finally decided to try Ted Nugent. Ted could conveniently not be reached . . .

Yeah, I’m sure Nugent was home quaking in his boots at the thought of being called about a protest organized by Barnes.

Dang, they should have called me — I’d have debated that twit Newkirk. How convenient that Barnes didn’t bother!


Who’s Afraid of Ingrid Newkirk? Jean Barnes, Primate Freedom Project, April 28, 2004.