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.

PETA, HSUS to Focus on Cockfighting Bans in Lousiana, New Mexico

With the recent Supreme Court decision that ended two years of efforts to overturn Oklahoma’s cock-fighting ban, and the defeat of a pro-cockfighting politician in Louisiana, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals look to focus on enacting bans in Louisiana and New Mexico, the last two states in the United States where cockfighting is allowed.

PETA is focusing on New Mexico. In a press conference with Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and actress Rue McClanahan, PETA’s Dan Mathews said,

Yes. Absolutely. We are targeting New Mexico.

Over the past few years, New Mexico has become a hot spot for filming Hollywood productios and Mathews hopes to convince producers to avoid the state until a ban on cockfighying is passed.

Cockfighting is already banned in 13 of New Mexico’s 33 counties, and in 29 of its cities, including Albuquerque. A proposed ban on cockfighting passed New Mexico’s state house earlier this year, but couldn’t get out of committee in the state Senate.

PETA wants the state to take up a cockfighting ban during its 60-day session that begins in Jaunuary. According to the Albuqurque Journal, a poll it took thsi summer found that two-thirds of registered voters supported a ban on cockfighting.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, however, remains non-committal on a ban, with his spokesman telling the Albuquerque Journal,

Cockfighting is already banned in the majority of counties and municipalities. The governor is willing to discuss and consider any legislative measure after a full and thorough debate on all sides.

Meanwhile, HSUS is looking to push a ban in Louisiana, where its political action committee spent $250,000 in advertising against a pro-cockfighting candidate for U.S. Senate. HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle was quoted in The Guardian (UK) as saying,

We intend to eradicate this cruel, barbaric practice. My advice to anyone moving to Louisiana thinking it’s a cockfighting refuge is not to unpack their bags — it’s going to be a very short stay.


PETA targets NM film industry over cockfighting. Dennis Domrzalski, New Mexico Business Weekly, November 15, 2004.

Cockfight ban gets TV star’s support. Kate Nash, Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2004.

Final battle to rid the US of ‘barbaric’ cockfighting. Richard Luscombe, The Observor, November 21, 2004.

Pacelle on Effect of Cockfighting on Louisiana Senate Race

Earlier I mentioned speculation that an anti-cockfighting ad campaign by Humane Society of the United States’ political action committee may have helped Republican David Vitter become the first Republican senator from that state since Reconstruction. The Associated Press ran a story this week looking at the extent of HSUS’ campaign and what, if any, effect it had.

HSUS targeted Democratic U.S. House Rep. Chris John, who is pro-cockfighting. Louisiana has an odd election system which typically leads to two viable Democrats running against a single Republican. If no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, which frequently happens, there is a run-off between the top two vote getters. The upshot is that the Democrats had never lost using this system until this year (and are now talking about ditching this bizarre process).

According to the Associated Press, HSUS’ PAC spent $250,000 targeting John, including mailing 300,000 pieces of mail to white female voters that quoted John saying, “I strongly support the cockfighting industry in Louisiana.” The PAC also paid for a television ad which told viewers that John considers cockfighting to be a “family-type thing.”

Was that the ultimate determinant? The Associated Press notes that John was such a weak candidate that he actually lost his home parish of Acadia by 10,000 votes to Vitter. Not to mention that Vitter did a good job of portraying the conservative, cock-fighting supporter John as a liberal in a state that George W. Bush won by 15 points.

The Associated Press quotes HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle as saying,

Cockfighting wasn’t the most important issue, but it was a measure of personal character. Polls show that people really want to be proud of Louisiana, and to have someone who advocates cockfighting is someone who’s going to reinforce perceptions that Louisiana is backward.

. . .

There was a political judgment made — Chris John made it — that there’s this group of voters out there that thinks cockfighting is fine, and that the right political stance is, cockfighting is fine. This election demonstrated that that’s the wrong political position.

Personally, I think Vitter’s election shows just how Republican the South is becoming, but seeing a supporter of cockfighting lose out in the process certainly doesn’t hurt.


Animal rights group claims victory in Louisiana’s Senate race. Doug Simpson, Associated Press, November 21, 2004.

HSUS/Fund for Animals Merger Apparently A Done Deal

The rumored merger between the Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals appears to be a done deal.

The Associated Press reports that the new organization will be headquartered in Washington, DC, where HSUS is currently located, but will maintain an office in New York where the FUnd for Animals is located.

Along with the merger, the groups plan to launch a new 501c(4) group to increase the amount that they can spend on political lobbying. Both Fund for Animals and HSUS are organized as 501c(3) which strictly limits the amount of lobbying they can do. Animal rights magazine “Animal People” obtained a memo written by Fund for Animals president Mark Markarian in which Markarian wrote,

“A key component of the merger would be the launch of a new 501(c)(4) organization which could spend unlimited resources on lobbying. It would raise money specifically for lobbying.” The new entity might be named either, “The Humane Fund for Animals” or “The Humane Society Fund for Animals,” the memo indicated.

“As you know,” Markarian and the memo continued, “The Fund and HSUS are both [IRS classification] 501(c)(3) organizations, and both currently face lobbying limits that severely encumber their effectiveness. HSUS must limit its [political] spending to $1 million per year—just 1.3 percent of total spending. The Fund must limit its expenditures to $450,000—about 6% of total spending. These hard caps cannot be consistently exceeded without risking the loss of our charitable status.

“In short, as our organizations grow, our lobbying programs cannot grow commensurately because of the rigid formulas established by the IRS. The HSUS spending cap is frozen at $1 million, no matter how much HSUS grows. The spending limit is the same whether an organization’s annual budget is $20 million, $80 million, or $200 million. As wages, benefits, printing, postage, and other expenditures rise from inflationary pressures, we face shrinking ability to spend in the lobbying domain.”

Markarian and the memo pointed out that the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund “distributes in excess of $5 million per year, and its lobbying arm spends nearly $20 million. Other political opponents, including the American Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers Council, Safari Club International, and Feld Entertainment, spend millions more on political activity. We are at a distinct and often insurmountable disadvantage,” Markarian and the memo contended, “when we attempt to push sweeping and meaningful reforms.

“Our hope,” Markarian and the memo said, “is that a single 501(c)(4), viewed as the political lobbying arm of both organizations, would appeal to donors from both The HSUS and The Fund. Within a few years, it is not unreasonable to think that the 501(c)(4) may be able to spend upward of $10 to $15 million on political activities—representing an increase in spending in this domain by a factor of 10.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance issued a press release on Nov. 19 saying that it had talked to Scripps Howard News Service reporter Lance Gay and that,

Gay stated that sources within the groups confirmed that the new organization would seek to ban bowhunting as a priority.

Pacelle has also been making noise about removing the exemption for poultry under the Humane Slaughter Act.

According to an article by Lance Gay, Pacelle apparently is looking to possibly merging with other groups as well,

Pacelle said he would like to further unify the animal rights movement in the United States through other mergers, or by creating an umbrella organization that could carry more political clout in Washington.


Animal rights groups to merge. Associated Press, November 19, 2004.

Animal rights groups to announce plan to merge, ban bowhunting. Press release, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, November 19, 2004.

HSUS to merge with Fund for Animals. Lance Gay, Scripps Howard, November 22, 2004.

The Fund, HSUS, and merging packs. Animal People Online, September 2004.

Michigan Senate Committee Fails to Vote on Lowering Hunting Age to 12

For awhile in September, it looked like the Michigan Senate’s Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs was finally going to get around to voting one way or another on a bill that passed the House in December 2003 that would lower the minimum hunting age from 14 to 12. Instead the bill was suddenly dropped off the committee’s schedule and it is once again in limbo.

The bill is almost certainly the victim of election year politics. Even in a state such as Michigan where hunting is very popular and even Democrats outside of Wayne County have to run on pro-gun positions if they want to get elected, lowering the hunting age to 12 might be an issue that many simply didn’t want to raise just a couple months before upcoming elections.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, for example, had indicated for most of the year that it supported the bill. When it was passed in the House in December 2003, then-DNR director K.L. Cool said of the bill,

We commend Rep. Tabor for this effort to increase youth participation in deer hunting. This bill provides increased hunting opportunities, helping to ensure the future of Michigan’s hunting heritage without jeopardizing our state’s outstanding hunting safety record or overwhelming our statewide network of volunteer hunting safety instructors.</p

The DNR suddenly changed its mind when the bill looked like it might actually make it to a committee vote in the Senate.

Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle opposes the bill, telling the Associated Press in September,

You have to be 16 to drive and 21 to drink. It just seems inconsistent and inappropriate to have 12-year-olds handling firearms and shooting animals for recreation.

The bill would require children who hunt to pass safety classes and be accompanied by an adult. The full text of the bill can be read here.


Youngsters may get OK to hunt. David Eggert, Associated Press, September 14, 2004.

2 Michigan issues on hunting making news
. Steve Pollick, Toledo Blade, September 19, 2004.

Tabor critical of DNR decision. Press Release, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, September 17, 2004.

Hunting Age Limit Stalls in Legislature. Associated Press, September 2004.

Poll Shows Maine Bear Referendum In Trouble

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups have been campaigning for a ballot proposal that would ban the use of baiting, dogs and traps by bear hunters in Maine. The HSUS apparently thought ballot proposal would be a slam dunk, but a September poll by Zogby International found widespread opposition to the proposal.

In a poll of 400 likely Maine voters, 52 percent said they would vote against the ban compared to 35 percent who said they would vote for the ban. Fourteen percent of those surveyed by Zogby said they remained undecided.

HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle suggested the poll was simply wrong since polls done by HSUS in 2001 and 2003 in Maine found solid majorities in favor of a ban on bear baiting. Pacelle told the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, which paid for the poll,

I’ve helped oversee 20 (state) ballot measures across the country and I wouldn’t see (such a change) in advance of the campaign advertisements.

However, an early October poll by Strategic Marketing Services comissioned by the newspaper produced similar results — 50 percent opposed to the measure, 33 percent in support and 17 percent undecided.

The full text of the proposed ban can be read here.


Opposition to tax cap increases, poll finds . Portland Press Herald, October 6, 2004.

Activists surprised by views on bear hunt. Dierdre Fleming, Portland Press Herald, September 12, 2004.