Animal rights activists back California anti-trapping measure

Animal rights groups are supporting
Proposition 4 on California’s November 3 ballot which, if passed,
would make it “unlawful for any person, including employees of the
federal, state, county or municipal government, to use or authorize the
use of any steel-jawed leghold trap, padded or otherwise, to capture any
game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, non-game mammal, protected mammal, or
any dog or cat.” According to the initiative’s supporters,
the use of the steel leg traps is cruel.

“There’s two distinct
kind of cruelty,” said Proposition 4 supporter Aaron Medlock. “There’s
the initial impact that can cause broken bones, abrasions and swelling.
Then the second injury when the animals struggle to get out.”

On the other side of the issue
are wildlife conservationists who argue the bill will make it extremely
difficult to effectively manage wildlife. W. Dean Carrier, president of
the Western Section of the Wildlife Society, recently sent out a letter
to that group’s members urging California voters to vote against Proposition
4 for precisely that reason.

In
a report on the impact of the ban prepared for its members, the Western
Section of the Wildlife Society claimed,

Banning padded leghold traps would eliminate the most humane, selective,
and effective means of capturing non-native red foxes. Padded leghold
traps, also called “soft catch” traps, can be set to the target
species’ size and weight, thereby reducing the likelihood of capturing
pets and non-target wildlife species.

The report goes on to note
that studies of the effectiveness of various trapping methods indicate
it takes anywhere from 3 to 9 times longer to trap a red fox with a cage
trap than with a padded steel leg trap. This is a highly significant difference
that could severely impact endangered species. Again from the Wildlife
Society’s report,

In situations where foxes are preying on endangered species, wildlife
managers cannot afford the time to use less effective capture methods.
Predation must be curtailed as soon as possible. An entire colony’s
or population’s nests could be destroyed if an animal is allowed
to predate endangered birds for one or two extra nights.

Leave it to animal rights activists
to oppose an important technology in the fight to preserve endangered
species.

California animal rights activists start campaign to ban horse meat trade

Animal rights activists in California
are currently pushing a “Save the Horses” ballot initiative
that would make it illegal for Californians to ship their horses to other
states for slaughter and processing into meat.

Horse meat, it turns out, has been
eaten in Europe and Asia for a few centuries. In Japan, for example, dinner
patrons can eat a dish featuring raw horse meat with spices and sauce.
Probably due to Americans fascination with the horse in its role in the
exploration and settlement of our nation, horse meat hasn’t caught
on in the United States.

But there are four processing plants
for horse meat in the United States, the two largest being in Texas. The United
States Department of Agriculture estimates 113,499 horses were slaughtered
in 1997.

The animal rights activists complain
that the method used for killing the horses — a four-inch bolt is shot
through the animal’s skull — is inhumane and doesn’t kill the animals immediately.
Activists have been showing videotape of horses being shot with a bolt
and then writhing on the ground. Animal rights groups also complain the
method of transporting the horses is cruel, with horses dehydrating and
injuries occurring with too many horses loaded into small, cramped quarters.

A recent study by the USDA and
the University of California-Davis contradicts these claims, however.
The study examined 309 horses taken to a slaughterhouse in Texas. It found
that injuries were actually minimized when the horses were loaded closely
together, and found dehydration occurred only after trips of more than
24 hours, and even in those cases the dehydration was described as “mild.”
All the horses were able to support their own weight, contradicting animal
rights activists claims that the animals were unable to stand because
they were so dehydrated.

Carolyn Stull, who conducted the
USDA study, told Scripps Howard that if the “Save the Horses”
initiative passes, it would only send California horse owners to other states to
auction them off, or in some extreme cases to abandon the animals.
“We are going to have a ton of starving horses around” if the
initiative passes, Stull said.

Source:

Activists just say neigh to California horse meat trade. Robert Salladay, Associated Press, June 30, 1998.

Animal rights activists lose to Chinatown merchants

For the past few months animal rights
activists in San Francisco have been harassing Chinatown merchants who
sell live animals for food. The activists were upset that live turtles,
frogs and fish are sold in Chinatown markets and allegedly treated “inhumanely.”
The Chinatown merchants accused the animal rights activists of racism
and claimed they were only preserving the traditional practices of their
cultures.

California Superior Court Judge
Carlos Bea did the sensible thing and ruled that neither the activists’ concerns
nor the merchants claims about their traditional culture were relevant,
but instead that people have a right to kill animals for food even if
doing so inflicts pain.

Bea told the animal rights activists
that if they want new standards for the way animals are treated in the
markets, they would have to appeal to state legislators.

Prior to the lawsuit, the merchants
and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had entered into
a voluntary agreement setting conditions on housing and killing of animals.
Merchants effectively ignored that agreement once the lawsuit was settled,
but may return to it now that the case seems to be resolved.

Source:

Chinatown merchants allowed to sell live animals for food. Greg Chang, Associated Press, July 23, 1998.

PETA pushing fishing ban, hermit crab ban, deer slaughter ban, and "Monkey Shorts" ban

On July 17 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent Gil the Fish
to lead a protest against fishing in Watertown, New York. In a press release
PETA gushed on about the horrors of fishing. “Fish feel pain — they
have neurochemical systems like humans and sensitive nerve endings in
their lips and mouths. They begin to die slowly of suffocation the moment
they are pulled out of the water.”

As Ingrid Newkirk summed up PETAÂ’s
view, “Animal suffering of any kind is not a sport.” PETA wants
a national ban on fishing enacted.

If it is wrong for fish to
suffer is it okay to shoot bears and birds that might eat fish?

In other PETA-related news

  • PETA urged people to send letters to Sundial Beach and Tennis Resort
    on Sanibal Island, Florida, because an “Ecocenter” there sells
    hermit crabs. According to a PETA release, selling the crabs is “disrespectful
    and ecologically unsound.”

  • PETA demanded Sea Pines, South Carolina, abandon plans to kill 200
    deer who are destroying plants in the area (selling crabs is unsound,
    destroying flora is perfectly acceptable.)

  • In a bizarre twist, PETA wants Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS)
    to stop running a series of short spots called “Monkey Shorts.”
    The shorts feature chimpanzees and orangutans dressed up as different
    characters who move their lips and move around the screen as a human
    voice over plays. The shorts are shown between TBS feature movies. According
    to PETA, “even the most considerate of trainers cannot compensate
    for the anxiety and frustration of such an unnatural life in captivity.”

Sources:

Giant “fish” to tackle fishing in Watertown. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, July 16, 1998.

Help stop the sale of hermit crabs in Florida. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, July 1998.

Help protest the slaughter of deer at Hilton Head, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, July 1998.

Urge TBS to cancel ‘Monkey Shorts,’. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, July 1998.

PETA wants animal hearing experiments stopped

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Mary Beth Sweetland was up in arms over animal experiments
that researchers at the University of California-San Francisco plan to
carry out on squirrel monkeys.

According to UCSF vice chancellor
for research Zach Hall, researchers Marshal Fong and Stephen Chenung plan
to anesthetize the animals and then expose them to a range of very high
frequency noise. “The animals, when they wake up, will have a hearing
disability, one that’s similar to one that millions of Americans
have [inability to hear high-frequency sounds],” Hall said.

Sweetland wants the experiments
stopped, but Hall said the experiments have already been approved by the
university’s committee on animal research and will have practical
benefits.

“The research seeks to understand
the changes that occur in the brain as the result of sensory deprivation
– in this case, hearing loss – with the hope that we can use what we learn
to relieve the hearing loss caused by loud noise,” Hall said.

As Fong summed it up, “These
people [PETA] are distorting the truth here.”

Source:

“Activists want UC monkeys spared,” Scripps Howard, May 21, 1998.

Animal rights terrorists strike in Florida

On May 4th a two alarm fire
destroyed a veal processing plant near Tampa, Florida. Police believe
members of the Animal Liberation Front were responsible for the fire,
which did $500,000 in damage.

“A.L.F.” had been
spray-painted on the side of the plant.

A communiqué from a group identifying
itself as the Florida ALF claimed responsibility for the attack saying,

…the action was done on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of calves
every year in the American veal industry who are kept in isolation, denied
freedom of movement and fed a deliberately unhealthy diet for the entirety
of their short lives until they are slaughtered at a hell like Florida
Veal Processors.

The communiqué also claimed
the Florida ALF was responsible for an October 1997 arson at Palm Coast Veal
Corp. in Lauderhill, FL.

Sources:

Florida A.L.F. “Florida A.L.F. Communiqué” May 4, 1998.

Americans for Medical Progress “ALF suspected in veal plant and USDA
arson; ALF press officer surfaces.”