Kansas State Students to Stop Throwing Chickens During Basketball Games (Seriously)

Apparently it is common for students at Kansas State to sneak live chickens into the auditorium when their team plays rival Kansas, whose mascot is the Jayhawk. The student(s) then throw the chicken out onto the floor as a way of mocking the Jayhaw mascot.

Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to me either.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals got wind of the practice, however, and sent a letter to Kansas State objecting to this mistreatment of animals.

The athletic department followed up with a statement asking fans to discontinue the tradition, saying,

These actions severely tarnish the image of our University, its athletics teams and the majority of our outstanding fans and supporters and while viewed by many as harmless pranks, these acts are likely illegal.

PETA’s Debbie Leahy told the Associated Press, “Any student who throws live birds on a basketball court should be thrown out of school.”

A bigger question might be how the chicken throwers managed to get in to Kansas State in the first place.

Sources:

N.C. vs. Duke: blood feud. Reggie Hayes, The News-Sentinel (Indiana), March 6, 2007.

Kansas State Athletic Department Condemns Chicken Toss. Associated Press, February 28, 2007.

Kansas Supreme Court Weighs Attorney General’s Request for Abortion Records

The Kansas Supreme Court is currently weighing a controversial request by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline who wants access to a number of medical records from abortion clinics in Kansas.

Kline wants the records of about 90 women who had abortions in Kansas. He is requesting records of young girls who had abortions and records of abortions later than the 22nd week.

On the young girls count, Kline argues that he needs the records to see if a crime was involved. According to Kline,

When a 10-, 11- or 12-year-old child is pregnant, under Kansas law that child has been raped, and as the state’s chief law enforcement official it is my obligation to investigate child rape in order to protect Kansas children. There are two things that child predators want, access to children and secrecy. As attorney general, I’m bound and determined not to give them either.

According to the New York Times, state records show that 78 girls under the age of 15 received abortions in Kansas in 2003.

Kline is also reportedly seeking records of abortions performed after the 22nd week. Kansas has a law — which Kline helped write while he served in the Kansas legislature — which severely restricts but doesn’t not altogether ban abortion after the 22nd week.

Kansas has become a lightning rod in the debate over post-22nd week abortions, however, due to Dr. George Tiller who runs an abortion clinic in Wichita and reportedly performs hundreds of late term abortions annually. Tiller’s abortion clinic is one of two clinics from which Kline has subpoenaed records.

Those opposed to Kline’s request argue that it is little more than a fishing expedition that would violate the privacy of women who seek abortions and likely create a chilling effect among women afraid to have an abortion for fear that their private medical records might be subpoenaed. As Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told the New York Times,

The vast majority of Americans will rightly be appalled at the notion of a state official issuing a mass subpoena about the most private, personal information there is.

The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in February in the case, is expected to rule on the issue later this year.

Sources:

Kansas prosecutor demands files on late-term abortion patients. Jodi Wilgoren, The New York Times, February 24, 2005.

Kansas demands late abortion data. The BBC, February 25, 2005.

Medical-Record War Heats Up Christianity Today, May 2005.

HSUS and Fund for Animals On Mourning Dove Hunting Bill in Minnesota

The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals issued a press release this week complaining about the close vote that saw the Minnesota legislature approve a bill authorizing the first mourning dove hunt in that state in nearly 60 years.

According to the HSUS press release, a bill that would have stricken the mourning dove provision from the bill originally passed 35-31, but when it was brought up for reconsideration, two senators switched their votes and another abstained, which led to the amendment’s defeat and the mourning dove hunt staying in the bill.

The press release quotes HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle as blaming the entire bill on business who want to sell more ammunition to hunters,

By the narrowest of margins, the Senate has decided to reverse a policy that has endured for nearly 60 years and to allow the target shooting of harmless mourning doves. Legislators who voted to allow the needless target shooting of harmless doves dismissed the views of mainstream Minnesotans and instead sided with gun and hunting manufacturers who simply want to sell more ammunition.

Fund for Animals president Michael Markarian added,

Hunting mourning doves serves no wildlife management purpose. There is no overpopulation problem and the birds pose no threat to any person or agricultural interest. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that dove numbers are rapidly dropping in Minnesota.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did in fact show a dramatic drop in the number of doves observed in Minnesota, but this seems more likely to due with the population dynamics of the mourning dove population. In referring to the rapidly dropping population, I’m assuming Markarian is referring to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s estimates that in 2002 there were 16.4 million breeding pairs in Minnesota compared to only 9.3 million in 2003.

But mourning dove populations take very large jumps, both positive and negative, over the years — likely due to the migratory nature of the birds. For example, in Kansas the number of breeding pairs declined by almost 30 million in 1995, only to increase by almost 30 million in 1996. (Another possibility is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s method of estimating the dove population is prone to gross variations from year to year).

There is, however, a generally accepted decline in the mourning dove population due to development, but the total population in the United States is estimated to be in excess of 500 million. Certainly it is not a species that is in any danger of becoming threatened due to hunting.

Sources:

HSUS Decries Legislation to Allow Target Shooting of Doves in Minn.,; Dove Hunting Has Been Banned for Nearly 60 Years. Press Release, Humane Society of the United States, May 11, 2004.

Mourning Dove Population Status 2003. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2004.

Mourning Dove Population Status 2002. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003.

Cockfighting Set to be Banned in Kansas

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas legislature has approved a bill that will explicitly outlaw cockfighting in Kansas. The new law will make cockfighting a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A spokeswoman for Kansas Gov. Bill Graves said that the governor plans to sign the bill into law.

The bill passed overwhelmingly 112-10 in the Kansas state House and 36-4 in the Senate.

The new law is aimed at shoring up Kansas’ animal cruelty laws. According to the Humane Society of the United States’ Wayne Pacelle, Kansas was one of six states that do not explicitly ban cockfighting in their legal codes.

Instead, cockfighting was prosecuted in Kansas as a violation of animal cruelty laws which, according to the new law’s supporters, made them difficult cases to prosecute.

Source:

Lawmakers pass cockfighting ban. Mike Berry, The Wichita Eagle, May 14, 2002.

Animal Rights Terrorism and Other Law Breaking

    -Animal rights activists apparently
released 3,000 mink from a farm in Kenosha County, Wisconsin recently.
Commenting the on the theft, JP Goodwin of the Coalition to Abolish the
Fur Trade (which you’ll remember from the previous item, only engages
in peaceful demonstrations) lauded the break-in saying “those mink would
have been piled into a gas chamber, but now have a chance at life. We
would much rather see those mink given the opportunity at life, than left
for a certain death.”

    -Two members of the Kansas/Missouri
HorseAid were arrested and charged with several felony counts of theft
as they allegedly purloined four ponies they claimed were being mistreated.
The HorseAid volunteers claimed the adopted owners of the ponies violated
several welfare clauses in a contract they signed and were being “repossessed”
for failure to follow said contract. Hint to HorseAid: you might want
to get a legal judgment before attempting to repossess property based
on an alleged violation of a non-economic clause in a contract.

    -Animal rights terrorists in
the United Kingdom are believed to be behind the destruction of at least
17 vehicles at the Unigate dairy in Oxford. Incendiary devices were placed
under the vehicles and the fire was so intense that 350 campers had to
be evacuated from a nearby campsite (but ALF and others would never dream
of endangering anybody’s life).