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
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.
Chinatown merchants allowed to sell live animals for food. Greg Chang, Associated Press, July 23, 1998.
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.”
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.
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 thats 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
universitys committee on animal research and will have practical
“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.”
“Activists want UC monkeys spared,” Scripps Howard, May 21, 1998.
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 communiquÃ© 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
The communiquÃ© also claimed
the Florida ALF was responsible for an October 1997 arson at Palm Coast Veal
Corp. in Lauderhill, FL.
Florida A.L.F. Florida A.L.F. CommuniquÃ© May 4, 1998.
Americans for Medical Progress ALF suspected in veal plant and USDA
arson; ALF press officer surfaces.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced
much-needed legislation in the House of Representatives to reform so-called
baiting laws that make it illegal for hunters to Hunt in areas baited
to attract animals. Over 4,200 people have been charged with hunting in
a baited area over the last 5 years; all but 300 of those cases end in
guilty pleas or convictions.
Rep. Young’s bill would not overturn
the baiting prohibition, but instead remove the strict liability requirement
of the law and replace it with a lower liability standard.
The strict liability provision
currently means that in most parts of the country a hunter can be prosecuted
for being in a baited area even if he was completely unaware that the
area was baited. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant was charged
in March, for example, for hunting in a baited area in Nebraska on a trip
that had been arranged by that state’s tourism office. Grant claimed he
did not know that there was some corn in a field where the guide took
his party. Under the strict liability requirement such a defense is irrelevant.
Three states — Texas, Louisiana
and Mississippi — already operate under the lower liability standard,
which requires officials to prove that hunters knew they were hunting
in a baited area, after a federal appeals court overturned the strict
liability portion of the anti-baiting law in those states.
The Fish and Wildlife Service,
which is expected to oppose the bill, argues hunters regularly claim they
do not know an area was baited. As Kevin Adams, chief law enforcement
agent for the Fish and Wildlife Service said, “It’s very common for
hunters to say they didn’t know (the bait) was there, when in fact they
either did know or more often than not they took no steps at all to determine
whether it was baited or not.”
This may or may not be true, but
it should be the burden of the state, as in any criminal investigation,
to prove wrongdoing rather than just assume it.
Philip Brasher “Bill Would make it tougher to prosecute ‘baiting’ hunters”
Associated Press April 30, 1998.
In their campaign to stop hunting,
the Fund for Animals took a swipe at hunters following the tragic shooting
at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas which left several people dead.
According to Michael Markarian,
director of campaigns for the Fund for Animals,
These children were
taught by their families to hide in tree stands or behind duck blinds,
to lure animals with calls or scents, and to shoot from ambush. They used
these exact same skills, dressed in camouflage, on the day they lured
their classmates and teachers outside with a fire alarm and shot them
The Fund for Animals never explains
why, if hunting causes children to be violent to other children, so few
children who hunt engage in such horrible acts of violence or why violence
predominates in urban areas where youths have little opportunity to
hunt. We would also be amiss if we didn’t note that since most animal
rights terrorists convicted of violent crimes are vegetarians, it would
logically follow that abstaining from meat leads people to a life of violence
The Fund for Animals has a 30-page
report on the horrors of children learning about hunting in their schools.