South Korean Researchers Clone Dog

South Korean researchers in August reported that they have succeeded in cloning a dog — the first time that species has been successfully cloned.

Veteinarian Woo-Suk Hwang led the team that cloned the Afghan hound. Hwang had previously cloned cows, pigs, and a variety of cows that are resistant to mad cow disease.

Unlike those animals, however, cloning dogs is a bigger challenge since dogs don’t respond ot the hormons used to stimulate ovulation. Cloning dogs required monitoring more than 100 female dogs. In all, 1,095 embryos were transferred to 123 surrogate dogs resulting in just 3 pregnancies. Only two of those were carried to term, and one of those dogs died from aspiration pneumonia at 22 days old.

The puppy that did survive, however, appears to be a completely normal Afghan puppy and is now 3 years old.

Hwang is also an expert at stem cell production, and in 2004 successfully derived stem cells from a cloned human embryo. His research on dog cloning will soon shift to developing a line of embryonic dog stem cells which could potentially be used in understanding and treating human diseases.

Animal rights groups weren’t exactly happy about the announcement. Despite the enormous difficulty in cloning dogs, Humane Society of the United States’ Wayne Pacelle told the Associated Press,

This technology could lead to a brave new world of puppy production if it were hijacked by profiteers seeking to use cloning to supply the pet trade.


South Korean scientists clone dog. Peter Gorner, Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2005.

Snappy response to Snuppy’s birth. Joseph Verrengia, Associated Press, August 5, 2005.

Dog cloned in South Korea. Bryn Nelson, Newsdady, August 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.


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.

Activists Target Red Lobster Over Canadian Seal Hunt

Animal rights activists upset over the return of seal hunting in Canada are targeting Red Lobster for protests.

Red Lobster’s crime is that it buys a lot of seafood from Canada, and the activists want Red Lobster to observe their boycott of Canadian seafood until that country agrees to stop the seal hunt.

A letter posted by Harpseals.Org volunteer Sue Hirsch to AR-NEWS in July read,

As you may know, HSUS had a protest at almost all the Red Lobster
restaurants across the US and Canada last month on June 25th, 2005.
This Saturday (and for every month now on) along with will be having the same kind of protests at as many Red
Lobsters as we can until the massacres stop.

Please go to <> for more
information and updates.

(NON-VIOLENT) FROM HSUS,etc., AND TELL PEOPLE (who want to listen) THAT

Please come out to support us.

I haven’t eaten at Red Lobster in a long time, but the activist’s protest — not to mention Red Lobster’s Create Your Own Summer Seafood Feast special — might be just enough to send me there this weekend.


Canadian Baby Harp Seal Protest Oxnard July 30th, 2005. Sue Hirsch, Harpseals.Org.

Mary Max: Stop Making Fun of the Sharks

Every year for the past two decades, the Boston Big Game Fishing Club has run its Monster Shark Tournament. Fifty to sixty boats compete to capture the largest shark.

This year’s contest made national news when one competitor captured an almost-1,200 pound tiger shark, although the shark was brought back into the harbor six minutes too late to qualify for the tournament. Still, such a big catch brought national stories and an appearance for the crew on the Today Show.

That offended animal rights activist Mary Max who posted an e-mail complaining that, “NBC makes fun of shark suffering.” It said, in part (emphasis added),

Please send an e-mail to the Today Show at [email protected] to let them know how
appalled you are by the story they aired on the 8:00am half hour segment,
Thursday, July 21, about the brutal killing of a shark at an annual shark killing
contest off the coast of MarthaÂ’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

In the segment, the four men who caught the almost 1200lb. shark gushed over
their kill. By the men’s own description, the shark suffered horribly,
struggling for hours, being gaffed again and again, until he was finally dragged on
board, thrashing for air. (Especially chilling was the laughter and
congratulations from the people standing around watching this magnificent creature being

Please let the Today show know that it is bad enough that certain individuals
like to bash sharks for behavior that is completely natural, but it is even
more disconcerting to see a highly regarded show join in on “the fun” by
making light of the shark’s suffering.

The Humane Society of the United States chimed in as well, complaining in a press release that,

“Contest killing of sharks or any animal is an affront to a civilized society,” said Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president for HSUS wildlife programs. “In this case it contributes to further declines in shark populations while adding to the stigma that surrounds these magnificent predators.”

“Shark killing contests should go the way of the bison killing contests of old. They perpetuate cruel and unnecessary treatment of some of the most ancient and fascinating of the ocean’s creatures,” Grandy said. “Many shark species, including blue and thresher sharks, have suffered dramatic population declines and can ill-afford to be the target of this sort of dubious enterprise.”

Of course, the Humane Society of the United States forgot to mention that the annual contest is carried out with the approval of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and actually benefits that public agency.

Gregory Skomal, a shark expert with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, told the Associated Press that many of the sharks end up with his agency after the tournament,

You have to kill them to do the samples that produce the best scientific data. We do the same for other fisheries as well. If the shark tournament goes away, we lose an avenue into this type of science.

The meat from the huge tiger shark that was six minutes late was donated to the Long Island Council of Churches.


The HSUS Issues Statement on Shark Killing Contest. Press release, Humane Society of the United States, July 22, 2005.

Animal rights group calls for end of shark hunt. Associated Press, July 29, 2005.

NBC Makes Fun of Shark Suffering. Mary Max, July 25, 2005.

Tiger shark too tardy to get teeth in tourney. Joe Dwinell, MetroWest Daily News, July 20, 2005.

U.S. Sen. James Jeffords Introduces Captive Primate Safety Act

U.S. Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) recently introduced the Captive Primate Safety Act in the U.S. Senate.

The bill, which parallels a similar House of Representatives bill introduced last year, would add primates to a federal list of wildlife species that private individuals are prohibited from owning.

The bill is clearly motivated by recent, highly publicized attacks by captive primates, such as that at Animal Haven Ranch where two chimpanzees were shot and killed in March after they mauled a visitor to the ranch.

In announcing his bill, for example, Jeffords said,

The Captive Primate Safety Act is a common sense solution to a potentially very serious problem. Monkeys, chimpanzees, and other nonhuman primates can be dangerous if not cared for properly and can pose an even greater risk to our public health as carriers of dangerous diseases. Our legislations is need to help federal agencies control and monitor these species within our borders.

But this argument, if you’ll pardon the pun, appears to be specious. In a press release lauding the bill, for example, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that are 15,000 primates currently in private hands. But the best estimate of injuries caused by those animals is 100 over the last 10 years.

Compare that to estimates of the number of injuries from dog bites. A 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that dog bites accounted for more than 300,000 visits to the emergency room annually. That’s more than 900 visits every single day to the emergency room nationwide due to dog bites.

And since Jeffords is so concerned about children, it should be noted that the bulk of victims of dog bites are minors. The median age of dog bite victims in the 1998 study was just 15 years.

Perhaps if the HSUS and Jeffords really want to get rid of a dangerous animal that targets children, they’ll first push a Captive Canine Safety Act first and then turn their attention to the extremely small safety problem posed by captive primates.

The full text of the proposed Captive Primate Safety Act can be read here.

Senate Bill Introduced to Restrict Pet Trade in Monkeys, Chimpanzees. Press Release, Humane Society of the United States, July 27, 2005.

Incidence of Dog Bite Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments. Harold B. Weiss, MS, MPH; Deborah I. Friedman; Jeffrey H. Cohen, MD. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998, V.279, No.1, pp.51-3.

Man Sentenced to 37 Months for Selling Dogfighting Videos

In April, Robert Stevens, 64, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for selling videotapes of dog fights through the mail.

Stevens is the first person prosecuted under a 1999 law that makes it illegal to sell videotapes depicting animal cruelty. That law was passed to stop “crush” videos in which women were videotaped crushing small animals and insects.

The Humane Society of the United States was one of the groups that pushed for the 1999 law, and HSUS’s Ann Chynoweth told the Associated Press,

We’re thrilled with the sentence because Stevens deserved prison time for profiting from dogfighting. Without such a meaningful sentence, his conviction would have just been the cost of doing business.

Stevens’s attorney says he plans to appeal the conviction and argue that the law is unconstitutionally vague and violated Stevens’s rights under the First Amendment.


Va. man sentenced to 37 months for dogfighting video. Joe Mandak, Associated Press, April 21, 2005.