The Worst Thing You’re Doing for Animal Rights and the Environment

Photo © Shutterstock

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Nathan Runkle is the founder and president of Mercy For Animals, a foundation that fights for humane treatment of animals. For two decades, Nathan has overseen the organization’s growth into a leading international force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies. Here, he demonstrates why we should all care about animal rights.

Most of us care about animal welfare. Whether we empathize most with dogs and cats in shelters, endangered wildlife, or orcas in captivity, the vast majority of us agree that animals matter and animal cruelty is wrong. In fact, a 2015 Gallup study found that a third of Americans believe animals should be given the same rights as people.

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Mercy For Animals

by Nathan Runkle with Gene Stone

What most people don’t realize, however, is that most animal cruelty in America is legal – and that most of us pay for it at least three times a day. The truth is that the factory farming industry now raises and slaughters more than nine billion land animals per year in the U.S. alone. That’s more animals killed every year in America than there are humans on the planet.

The Animal Welfare Act, the main federal animal welfare law, doesn’t provide an ounce of protection for animals raised and killed for food. As a result, factory farmers can legally snap birds’ fragile legs into moving shackles, drag their heads through electrified water, and slit their throats while the animals are conscious. They can castrate pigs without anesthesia, and at most farms, slam piglets’ heads against the floor as the standard method for killing “runts” – all with impunity.

Systematic torture, in the form of overcrowded sheds and isolating cages and crates, is also all too common. The worst are battery cages for egg-laying hens, veal crates for baby cows, and gestation and farrowing crates for mother pigs. Trapped in such confinement systems, animals raised for food are deprived of natural conditions and behaviors, and many can’t even turn around or spread their limbs for nearly their entire lives.“…more animals are killed every year in America than there are humans on the planet.”TWEET THIS QUOTE

If all that animal cruelty doesn’t make you lose your lunch, consider this: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution and the single largest source of potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. Translation: Animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change. We can screw in all the squiggly light bulbs we want and ride our bikes to work, but if we’re eating burgers for lunch, we’re doing more to harm the environment than if we switched from a Prius to a Hummer.

Animals release some greenhouse gases themselves, but the entire fossil-fuel-burning industry – complete with semi-trucks, extensive machinery, and factories – deserves the blame. The livestock sector is also among the most wasteful of Earth’s increasingly scarce water. These factors, plus the immense farmed-animal waste that pollutes community waterways and ecosystems surrounding them, endanger future human and nonhuman life alike.

Animal agriculture isn’t just polluting our world; it’s also polluting our bodies. Our country’s largest health crises are all linked to consumption of meat and other animal products. One in three people is obese, one in four will die of heart disease, and nearly forty percent of people will receive a cancer diagnosis. Science irrefutably shows that plant-based diets could prevent and even reverse most cases of these illnesses. In other words, the solution is right under our noses: on our plates.

Numerous studies from top universities and independent researchers have found that eating animal products promotes cancer in many forms. Vegetarians are about forty percent less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Eating animal products, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, also substantially raises the risk of heart disease. Forward-thinking doctors are prescribing a whole-food, plant-based diet to prevent and even cure our country’s biggest killer. A diet high in animal protein also raises risk of diabetes by twenty-two percent, while a plant-based diet significantly lowers the risk. I could go on and on about all the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but suffice it to say the research is clear: Animal products threaten our world’s well-being.

It may seem hyperbolic to suggest that a single practice – eating animals – is responsible for most animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and global public health threats. But we can’t deny the science. We know animals feel pain and suffer, we know the causes of climate change and pollution, and we know what’s ailing our own bodies.

The good news is that a major shift toward plant-based diets may be as close to a silver-bullet solution to many of the world’s biggest problems as there could be. By simply leaving animal products off our plates, we can prevent animal suffering, lighten our environmental footprint, and even lengthen our own lives. If enough of us made this shift, we could change the world.

Now all we need to do is trust that our own capacity for change is greater than we think.

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Not In My Backyard: The Day My Quiet Cul-De-Sac Turned Into a Bloodbath

By Hope Bohanec, Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns

I live in a rural area of Sonoma County, California in the small town of
Penngrove. It’s farm country and there isn’t much more in the tiny downtown
block than a burger joint and bars. But it’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The
golden hills glimmer in the distance, and mature, majestic oak trees shade
the
wild turkeys and deer in our neighborhood. My husband and I have been in
this
area for over a decade, and while a miniature horse or a goat in a field is
a
common sight, chickens were not, up until a few years ago. The popularity of
having chickens at home has grown, and now we see flocks of chickens
everywhere.
Across the street, there is a chicken “tractor” (a mobile chicken coop) in a
sprawling field. We often see a colorful collection of chickens here and
there,
wandering and scratching around front yards as we take our evening walk.

So when our new neighbors built a chicken coop in their backyard, I wasn’t
surprised, but I was concerned. Our four duplexes share a laundry, and I
walk
directly in front of this neighbor’s house on a regular basis. He is often
outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the chickens first came, I
braved
inhaling a haze of second-hand smoke to inquire about the birds. He said he
got
them for eggs. I said, “You’re not going to kill them, are you?” He said no,
that he had them just for the eggs. I reminded him that coops need to be
cleaned
daily and that he should adopt chickens if he was going to get any more, but
doubted that he would care one way or the other about something like this
as he
blew smoke away from my direction.

A few months later, I was walking some laundry out to the machines. As I
glanced
in this neighbor’s front yard, he and two other men were standing around a
tall,
green, plastic garbage can. There was a scuffle and I couldn’t quite figure
out
what was happening at first, until I saw his arms spotted in blood and a big
black bird flapping her wings furiously as she was being held upside down by
both men in the garbage can. Her large ebony wings beat desperately against
his
arms. The third man was skinning the sandy colored feathers off another
chicken
and there was a third little body, colorless, headless, featherless, with
her
feet cut off, balanced on the top of the garbage can. I dropped my laundry
basket and screamed, “What are you doing!?!?!” The neighbor was immediately
uncomfortable. He said, “Oh, sorry Hope.” One of the other men looked at me
and
said, “We’re gonna BBQ!”

I ran back to my apartment and grabbed my cell phone and then back to the
scene
of the horror and with trembling hands started taking pictures while I
pleaded
with him to stop. There wasn’t another bird out there, just the three now
still
and silent. The neighbor said these three were the “old ass chickens.” I
assume
he meant they were not laying eggs as frequently as the others in his
backyard.

Through my tears, I reminded him that he had promised he wasn’t going to
kill
the chickens. He didn’t say much, just apologized again. He knows my
feelings as
he sees my vegan bumper stickers every day, and we have talked on a couple
of
occasions about veganism and not killing animals. It seemed to me like he
felt
“caught in the act.” I can only hope that he does feel a degree of guilt
and not
just embarrassment about doing something his neighbor disapproves of.

I was so upset I forgot my laundry basket which sat out in the driveway for
hours and I cried my eyes out. It was sickening to witness. My neighbor
literally had blood on his hands from taking a precious life not fifty feet
from
my front door, and there was nothing I could do about it. The fact that
these
men were executing this repulsive act in a garbage can felt terribly
symbolic of
how they seemed to feel about these birds. They treated them like garbage
and
left their heads, feet, feathers, and other parts of their little bodies to
be
thrown away with the trash.

I called our mutual landlord to complain. He sympathized with me but said
only
that he would tell the murdering neighbor that he should do his killing in a
more private and secluded area of his backyard in the future. I know that
it is
legal to kill animals who are your “property” as long as you do it
“humanely.”
But what can be humane about taking a sentient being’s life? And although
throat
cutting and beheading are considered “humane” methods of killing, they
certainly
are not. Throat slashing is a painful, traumatic way to die, and it can take
agonizing, frightening minutes for someone to bleed out. Killing an animal
who
wants to live can never be humane. This idea that we can “humanely” take the
life of another animal is an outrage. And I am outraged that it is
happening in
my backyard . . . in anyone’s backyard.

The idea that it is somehow better to “kill your own” baffles me. One
argument
my neighbor might use is that his bird had a good life and this was her
“one bad
day.” But what about all the other days of life you are depriving her of?
What
about all the days of sunshine, eating, dustbathing, playing with friends,
and
loving being alive? It’s not just one bad day; it’s denying someone a
lifetime
of experience, robbing them of the full knowledge of life. If we don’t want
our
human life cut short, how can we justify taking the life of another sentient
being who wants to live when it is completely unnecessary and we live
healthier
as vegans?

Another position that people who kill animals themselves take is that the
person
is now aware of the process and “knows where their food comes from.” But
this is
useful only to that person. The animal receives no benefit from this
concept. If
they took care of the animal, fed and cleaned and provided for this animal,
then
a bond of trust was formed between the caregiver and the dependent. To turn
on
someone you care for, and then mercilessly kill them, is a terrible
betrayal of
trust. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal. This phrase is the title of my
book
on the subject of small scale animal agriculture, *The Ultimate Betrayal*.
For a
broader, in depth analysis of this issue, I encourage you to read my book
<https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-There-Happy-Meat/dp/1475990936/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1372963043&sr=8-1>
.

I haven’t seen my neighbor since that horrible day, which is unusual as he
is
typically out in his haze of smoke several times a day. I think he has
moved his
habit to the backyard so he doesn’t have to look me in the eye. I hope that
my
reaction made him think deeply about what he did. There is a different
energy
now when I walk past his place and out to the laundry. It feels somber and
sad
knowing what occurred there. It’s horrible to live with but only
strengthens my
resolve to fight for these beautiful birds and help bring about the day when
they no longer suffer at the hands of our neighbors.

__________

Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and author
of
*The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?*
<http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/alerts/170901_not_in_my_backyard.html

If we can’t defend animal rights, we don’t deserve to call ourselves progressives

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/19/if-we-cannot-defend-animal-rights-we-do-not-deserve-to-call-ourselves-progressives_partner/
“The world’s most pervasive form of exploitation, along with its
resultant environmental harm, can’t be laid at the feet of
Republicans, conservatives or those we define as bigots in our
society. That’s because both sides of the aisle participate in the
needless consumption of animals.

“Consumers are increasingly made aware that countless sentient beings,
just like companion dogs and cats, are abused and slaughtered for
products we don’t really need. Marketers convince the public that
animal exploitation is necessary to sustain human life. But it’s not
true.

“This profiteering is a byproduct of unchecked capitalism, producing
food products that cause cancer, contribute to obesity and exacerbate
the diabetes crisis.

“Public consciousness is sorely lagging on the issue. Standing against
the exploitation of sentient beings outside our own species is often
considered superfluous by progressives who embrace radical thought in
other areas. It’s not uncommon to hear a supposed liberal accuse
vegans of not caring enough about humans.”

Galicia’s wild horse roundup pits tradition versus animal rights

herd of wild horses being rounded up in Sabucedo, Galicia, Spain

Photo: avarand/Shutterstock

The hardy Galician horses of northwestern Spain typically spend their days foraging in the rugged surrounding forests and hills. Left to their own devices, they graze and roam free, only once in a while spotted by villagers and the occasional tourist.

Until roundup time.

Once a year, typically in summer, locals in villages throughout rural Galicia trek into the hills to herd the horses back home. For the Rapa das Bestas, or Capture of the Beast, the semi-wild horses are corralled by their rancher owners as villagers celebrate the longstanding ritual.

Records of the event date back to at least the 18th century, but some believe it started even earlier. As the horses are caught, their manes are cut and deloused and foals are microchipped and sometimes branded. Some animals are kept to be sold. The rest are returned to the hills until the roundup is held again the next summer.

According to the New York Times, the ranchers consider letting the animals roam free an efficient way to deal with the underbrush that is prone to forest fires. Although their numbers were as strong as 20,000 just 15 years ago, it’s thought the horses number only about 11,000 today.

The popular annual ritual is coming under fire from animal rights activists who say the horses are mistreated during the rough-and-tumble event. Some even liken it to bullfighting.

Laura Duarte, an official from Pacma, a political party promoting animal rights, told the Times that elements of the roundup are hard to justify.

“We don’t criticize what’s being done, but how it’s been done, because it causes terrible stress to animals that live in the wild and aren’t used to human contact,” she said.

“To brand a horse with hot iron can only cause huge suffering.”

Even if a wild horse roundup isn’t on the same level as bullfighting as far as cruelty is concerned, Duarte said “tradition” is still the same defense given for both.

“Any tradition that harms animals must be reviewed,” she said, “and doing something for a very long time doesn’t mean it shouldn’t now be adapted to our times.”

Animal rights – do they exist?

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/06/03/animal-rights-exist/

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated — Mahatma Gandhi.

Rights: MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

MIRIAM TOSE MAJOME

We turn to this age old philosophical question that has dogged human kind for generations and no pun is intended.
Do animals have rights? Human beings have clearly defined rights, but there is no commonality of thought regarding the rights of animals. Non-human animals do not have the capacity to formulate moral judgment in the way humans do.
Apart from some primates that humans share a common ancestor with other animals do not have the same natural capacity for moral judgment meaning they do not know right from wrong. In that one distinct way animals are different from human beings, therefore, the issue of whether they can have rights or not becomes an issue. For further reading the BBC webpage www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights.rights_1.shtml gives a detailed and simplified analysis of this complex issue.

This discussion will appeal to animal lovers and even those who do not necessarily love animals, but keep them anyway for different purposes. Animal keepers of pets and livestock should be cognisant of the basic guiding principles and philosophies that pertain to animals. The recognition of animal rights remains one of the most debated topics in international legal circles. Zimbabwean jurisprudence regarding the rights of animals has not been sufficiently developed, but there is advanced legislation that compels the humane treatment of animals and good animal welfare.

The Law

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Chapter 19:09) is an act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. An animal means any kind of domestic vertebrate animal. Without getting too complicated it means the commonly known animals such as mammals, fish, birds and reptiles. The Act applies to both domesticated animals such as pets and livestock and wild animals that have been taken into captivity. Whenever people take custody of an animal they are automatically subject to this law.

Cruelty to animals

Cruelty against animals is very common in this country as much as anywhere. Abandoned, ill-treated and neglected animals are a cause for concern globally. What is not commonly known is that ill-treating animals is a criminal offence. Section 3 stipulates that any person who beats, kicks, ill-treats, overdrives, overloads, or tortures any animal or causes any animal to be so treated shall be guilty of a criminal offence. People routinely beat and kick their pets to punish or train them or just for fun. Dogs are the most abused animals of all animals. Killing animals indiscriminately and violently is also a rife practice. The drowning of unwanted cats in rivers is a widely accepted practice. Other criminal acts include driving or using animals that are unwell or have a disease or if they have been injured or are simply not fit enough for the purpose they are tasked with. It is illegal and constitutes immense cruelty against animals to for example yoke a sick ox or donkey for ploughing or for other draught power. When it is evident that a horse, ox, mule or donkey is not physically well or physically strong enough for the task it is illegal to use it anyway for its physical strength. Neglecting and abandoning animals or causing them to be so neglected and abandoned are criminal offences. Other offences will be discussed in detail.
For now it is instructive to re-iterate that ill-treating animals in any manner is illegal. It does not matter whether one regards an animal as their exclusive private property or even whether or not animals have rights. The law sufficiently dictates that there be no cruelty of whatever form against animals. Conviction for an act of cruelty against animals attracts a fine and/or imprisonment of up to six months. Witnesses to any form of cruelty against animals may report any such acts to the police.

Animal Rights: The Argument in a nutshell

As mentioned there is serious divergence of opinion regarding the rights of animals. The question is not any easy one to answer because the different philosophies compete vigorously. Animal rights activists present an intriguing radical view while the more conservative traditional view remains dominant. Animal rights activists champion a world where animal rights are fully recognised and properly defined. This radical perspective regards animals as having the same rights as all living creatures because they are capable of feeling pleasure and pain. Animals, therefore, have the right to be treated with respect and dignity in regard to their physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. The more radical activists believe animal rights should be on the same level as human rights which is opposed by the traditional view. If basic human rights are transferable to animals it would mean animals could not be killed because they would have a right to life. This would automatically outlaw breeding animals for any purpose. Inevitably this would upset the natural and social balance and bring a revolutionary change to human diets and human and commercial activities centred on animals and animal rearing. Animals would no longer be used in experiments or for entertainment. Animal rights activists often employ very violent tactics such as bombing test laboratories to disrupt the use of animals for research. Breeding animals would be outlawed because the ultimate and inevitable purposes of breeding animals is to kill them for food and other beneficial functions. Hunting animals would be illegal as would be placing them in captivity in zoos and animal parks because this would be a breach of their right to liberty. Breeding animals would only be allowed if it was to the benefit of the animals themselves. Needless to say using animals for hard labour would be outlawed.

The list is endless, but it shows that placing animal rights on the same footing as human rights is an impractical and ridiculous concept. It only upsets the natural and social balance. It should be enough to treat animals humanely and refrain from any form of cruelty against them. The Zimbabwean Constitution does not recognise the rights of animals but only for natural and juristic persons. We will look at specific forms of cruelty against animals and continue the debate.

The demise of Ringling Bros. is a victory for animal rights


 http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/opinion/16082/the-demise-of-ringling-bros-is-a-victory-for-animal-rights
On Sunday, May 21, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will hold its final “greatest show on earth,” at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

For the last time, Ringling’s lions, tigers, camels and other captive animals will enter the ring and be forced to perform demeaning and unnatural tricks. It’s a momentous occasion that took the animal rights movement more than three decades to achieve.

I personally led some of the earliest rallies outside Ringling Bros. shows, back in the late 1980s. As the outcry from activists and advocacy groups grew, Ringling willfully ignored it. Instead of switching exclusively to human performers — who perform by choice rather than force — the 146-year-old institution continued to bully animals. This was its downfall.

The reason is simple: When it comes to animal rights, the tide of public opinion has turned. A 2015 Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans — 62 percent — believe that animals deserve protection, and 32 percent believe animals should have the same rights as people. In recent years, many businesses have been forced to change their practices.

SeaWorld announced it would end its orca breeding program last March, and the state of California outlawed such programs a few months later. Several years ago, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants, and the city of West Hollywood banned the sale of fur products. Many pet stores have stopped selling dogs from puppy mills.

But while the end of Ringling is a victory for every activist who wrote a letter, signed a petition or protested outside the circus doors, the fight to free animals from cruelty, including in the entertainment industry, is far from over. Other circuses continue to exploit animals for profit, as do zoos, aquariums and rodeos.

For instance, in 2002, an investigator for my organization, Last Chance for Animals, captured footage of elephant training at the Carson & Barnes Circus in Oklahoma. The video showed violent training methods in which elephants were abused with bullhooks, electric prods and blowtorches. At one point, a trainer yelled, “Make ‘em scream!” The footage shook the circus industry to its core. Yet the Carson & Barnes Circus still features animal performers.

The simple truth is that animals should not be used for human amusement. The process often is unnatural and cruel from start to finish. Many are taken from the wild as babies and watch as their parents are slaughtered. Others are born in breeding facilities and never know freedom.

Life for these animals is one of isolation, boredom and trauma — this is why they so often exhibit abnormal behaviors, such as pulling out their own fur, incessant swaying and bar biting.

As we have seen with the demise of Ringling, the power of sustained activism is strong, but legislation could help hasten and strengthen this hard-won progress.

In March, federal legislation was introduced into the House to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act. We urge Congress to pass it. In April, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft a ban on the use of animals for circuses and other live shows, including private parties. We urge the council to write a final version of the bill and enact it.

It took more than three decades for the animal rights movement to put an end to the cruelty Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus inflicted on animals. It shouldn’t take another three decades to eliminate similar animal mistreatment elsewhere.

Chris DeRose is president and founder of Last Chance for Animals (@LC4A), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation.

Richard Dawkins: ‘When I see cattle lorries, I think of the railway wagons to Auschwitz’

The evolutionary biologist talks about becoming a vegetarian, Brexit, Donald Trump and, inevitably, God

Richard Dawkins’ application of logic applies right down to his socks, which he refuses to waste time matchingCHRIS MCANDREW FOR THE TIMES

Is this what it was like, Richard Dawkins wonders, for ordinary people in Nazi Germany? “There’s a kind of laziness if you live in a society where things are just accepted. People might have been vaguely uneasy about what was going on in Germany but also thought, ‘Oh well, everyone else is doing it’.”

What crime is it that he thinks that we, like Germans in the 1930s, are blind to? It is, perhaps, a surprising one from him: the crime of eating meat. Dawkins, 76, is not known for being a woolly, liberal, tofu-eater. He is better known for his espousal of red-in-tooth-and-claw evolutionary logic and, even more so, for his three million-selling atheist book The God Delusion. Speaking from his Victorian Gothic house…

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 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/when-i-see-cattle-lorries-i-think-of-the-railway-wagons-to-auschwitz-m3t0hntmk

Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc gives water to a pig in a truck

Christie Blatchford: Why did the Crown waste resources prosecuting woman who gave water to pigs?

by Christie Blatchford

These days, you can hardly pick up a paper or click on a news site without reading another story about the woes of the Canadian criminal courts.

They’re chronically short of judges! There aren’t enough Crown prosecutors! Legal aid is a mess and no one qualifies to get a lawyer any more! The buildings are old and crumbling!

And delay: Such a hue and cry about delay in the courts.

Since about six months ago, when in a case called R v Jordan the Supreme Court of Canada pronounced upon the unacceptable length of time it takes to get a case to trial in this country, and blamed what it called “a culture of complacency,” knickers have been in a knot across the land.

Defence lawyers are pressing to have charges against their clients dismissed because of egregious delay, years sometimes. Prosecutors say no, wait a minute – we’re doing our best here with limited resources. Judges are all over the map, here throwing out cases, there throwing up their hands. There is wild talk of such drastic measures as doing away with preliminary hearings.

Halton Region, west of Toronto, is no different, and maybe worse.

A simple Google search reveals that for the past five years, there’s been a steady drumbeat of whingeing emanating from the bar and the judiciary in the area, particularly about the “unmitigated disaster” that is the Milton courthouse, as one local lawyer has called it.

Area judges have taken judicial notice of the situation, meaning they’ve worked criticism of government into their decisions.

“Let the ministries that fund and operate the various arms of our court system be forewarned,” Ontario Court Judge Stephen Brown said in a March 8, 2012 decision in which he tossed a case of impaired driving. “Failure to increase judicial and physical resources to match the growing population will quite possibly result in a floor of delay applications being granted.”

Seven months later, Brown was at it again: “Because of the chronic persistent and growing demands on the limited resources in Halton Region, we are slipping further into a crisis situation where the lack of allocation of government resources by way of an increase in judicial resources and a proper physical plant and infrastructure to deal with the explosive growth in this region is leading to a breaking point.”

So the point is made, and undoubtedly legitimate: There’s no time or resources to waste in the justice system.

It’s in this light that the trial of animal rights activist Anita Krajnc might be considered.

On June 22 two years ago, Krajnc and other activists on a traffic island took advantage of a stopped tractor trailer (it was stopped at a red light) to talk to and pet the 190 pigs inside being taken to a nearby slaughterhouse in Burlington.

As a short video that was played at trial shows, the pigs were clearly thirsty and some of them were panting, and breathing open-mouthed.

Krajnc began giving some of them water.

The truck driver got out of the vehicle, approached her and asked what she was doing, told her to stop, and then phoned 911. He later went to the local police station to file a complaint, and Krajnc was charged.

(In the interests of full disclosure, let it be known that I have a white-and-pink English bull terrier, aka “a pig dog”, so named for its magnificent resemblance to a pig – big pig ears, piggy sort of snout and body, sort of dogs in pig skin. Balancing off that bias, I eat bacon, or at least I did until I read the expert report of Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist who testified at trial. Her evidence was that in fact pigs are dog-like, every bit as sentient and capable of feelings as dogs are. They are also ridiculously cute, but that’s just my view.)

In any case, however one sees Krajnc’s cause, the fact is that the overburdened and impoverished justice system nonetheless allowed this prosecution not only to proceed, but also to eat up seven full days of court time, and all the public resources that entails – seven days of salary for the judge and prosecutor Harutyun Apel, court officials and security officers, court reporter and clerk, etc.

Blessedly, both for Krajnc and the taxpayer, she was represented pro bono by lawyers Gary Grill and James Silver.

Prosecutors had offered to settle the case with a peace bond, Grill said in a phone interview, but that was hardly reasonable given “she believes she’s done absolutely nothing wrong” and also recognized a PR and public education opportunity when she sees one.

A request for comment to prosecutor Apel Thursday resulted in a referral to the spokesperson for the attorney general’s ministry, who at first referred the query to the agriculture ministry, but when pressed – this is an issue which is clearly within the AG’s bailiwick — then declined to comment until the appeal period is over.

The government is considering an appeal? What, insufficient public funds haven’t yet been squandered?

As Gary Grill said, “There’s definitely real money being spent on this. Nobody in Milton can ever say they don’t have the resources.” Amen.

United Airlines accounted for a third of animal deaths on U.S. flights in last 5 years

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/26/united-airlines-animal-deaths-flights/100925100/

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The death of a giant rabbit on a United Airlines flight from London to Chicago focused the spotlight again on the carrier that has struggled with more than one-third of U.S. animal deaths aboard flights during the last five years.

United had 53 animals die on its flights from January 2012 through February 2017, the most recent month available, according to the Transportation Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report. That compared with a total of 136 animals that died on all flights of airlines.

In a statement, United said it was saddened by news of the death of Simon, a 3-foot Continental Giant rabbit, on the flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

“The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” United said in the statement. “We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”

The rabbit’s breeder, Annette Edwards, said the animal had an exam three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle.

Onboard animal deaths don’t necessarily mean an airline was negligent, as revealed in summaries of department investigations.

Among the four deaths on United flights in January, a Jan. 28 incident involving Hope, a 9-year-old cat, was suspected as heart failure, according to the department. Rocco, a dog, died on a flight Jan. 21 from a cardiac abnormality due to congenital heart disease, according to the medical exam. Two geckos were found dead upon arriving at Raleigh-Durham airport on Jan. 12, but no medical exam was performed.

The department requires airlines to report any deaths, injuries or lost animals from flights with at least 60 seats.

Transporting pets has become contentious in recent years as more passengers seek to bring emotional-support animals in the cabin with them. While pleasing the owners, the larger number of animals that include birds, pigs and monkeys has sometimes upset fellow passengers.

The department considered limiting the species or sizes of animals but hasn’t acted yet. Another concern for pet owners is what might happen when animals in portable boxes are transported with checked luggage.

United didn’t have the worst statistics when compared with how many animals it was transporting during the last couple of years.

During 2016, when United transported 109,149 animals, it had incidents of deaths or injuries in 2.11 out of every 10,000 animals, according the department. Hawaiian Airlines, which transported only 7,518 animals, had a higher rate of 3.99 deaths or injuries out of every 10,000 animals.

During 2015, when United transported 97,156 animals, it had 2.37 incidents per 10,000 animals, according to the department. Envoy Air, which transported only 1,673 animals, had 5.98 incidents per 10,000 animals.

United hasn’t always been near the top of these statistics. In 2010 and 2011, Delta Air Lines had the most deaths with 16 and 19, respectively, for nearly half the deaths in those years. But since then, Delta’s totals dropped significantly, to five deaths and five injuries last year, or 1.23 incidents out of every 10,000 animals.

Delta’s latest animal policy updated in March 2016 allows for pets either in the cabin or cargo for flights less than 12 hours. If the animal’s carrying case fits under a seat (other than international business or Delta One seating), it can count as one of two carry-on bags so long as the airline is notified 48 hours in advance. In cargo, a separate booking is required 14 days in advance. Members of the military and foreign service with orders to move can transport a pet as checked baggage.

“We know that pets are important members of the family, that’s why we updated our pet travel options over a year ago to ultimately ensure that we have a high-quality, consistent service for pets when their owners choose to ship them with Delta Cargo,” said Ashton Morrow, a Delta spokeswoman.

Seven airlines didn’t transport animals in cargo at all last year: Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, National, Southwest, Spirit and Virgin America.