North Carolina man faces a dozen animal cruelty charges after 12 dogs seized from home

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by: Nexstar Media WirePosted: Feb 23, 2021 / 06:31 AM EST / Updated: Feb 23, 2021 / 06:31 AM EST

Courtesy: Robeson County Sheriff’s Office

PEMBROKE, N.C. (WBTW) – A Pembroke man is facing twelve misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges after a dozen dogs were seized from a home in Robeson County.

Deputies with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office say Nehemiah Pate, 25, was arrested Monday. Deputies were tipped off by a community member about the living conditions and malnourishment of several dogs at Pate’s home on Ottmus Road.North Carolina woman accused of stabbing man, breathing in deputy’s face after saying she tested positive for COVID 

The dogs were rescued and transported to local veterinarian hospitals for treatment and care. The sheriff’s office provided photos of the dogs.

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Courtesy: Robeson County Sheriff’s OfficeRead More »

“There is no excuse for animal cruelty,” Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said. “Animals can’t express their feelings but when abuse is recognized, we must become their voice.” Sheriff Wilkins also called the case “horrific”.

Anyone with information about the case or other cases of animal cruelty is asked to contact the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 671-3170 or (910) 671-3100.

Investigators say man killed hamsters to relieve stress; connected to crimes in Lee, Collier counties

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Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein

Published:February 5, 2021 10:09 PM ESTUpdated:February 6, 2021 6:53 AM EST- Advertisement –

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A man accused of mutilating a hamster admits to buying the pet store animal just to kill it. At least eight hamsters are dead.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office originally arrested suspect Christian Hunter in Golden Gate Estates, and he faces new charges in Lee County Friday.

According to brand-new court documents, Hunter told investigators he did it to relieve stress and anger.

Investigators say receipts and surveillance video is what they were able to gather as evidence to connect Hunter to crimes in Lee County that were similar to crimes he was already arrested for in Collier County.

Hunter was first investigated in 2020 when a mutilated hamster was found in the parking lot of a Petco at Gulf Coast Town Center.

Collier County deputies arrested Hunter Tuesday, accusing him of killing and beheading a hamster he bought from a different pet store.

When Hunter was arrested for torturing and killing a hamster in Collier County, deputies relayed the information to the Lee County animal abuse unit and realized the cases were connected.

“It’s become habitual behavior, and as time goes on, a hamster isn’t going to be enough,” said Dr. Laura Streyffeler, a licensed mental health counselor. “And he may move up to a rabbit and then a dog, and who knows what else?”

Streyffeler says this is a major red flag.

Court documents also show Hunter admitted to buying and killing at least eight hamsters in the last year. He said he’d squeeze them to death and used scissors to cut them up.

“You can’t just put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound,” Streyffeler said. “This kind of behavior doesn’t happen from somebody who made a decision overnight. This is very deep-seated, emotionally disturbed behavior.”

Hunter told deputies killing these creatures relieved his own personal stress and anger.

“I got chills immediately when you explained the whole process of that,” FGCU student Sal Dietrick said. “That’s just disgusting.”

Employees at a pet store in Lee County told us it was extremely upsetting finding the hamster brutally killed in the parking lot of their business.

Others worry about the mental health of the people finding what is being left behind by Christian Hunter.

“Especially if he’s doing it in like the parking lot and stuff,” FGCU student Grant Steinke said. “I mean, there are people that are going to see that as well. I mean, could be a child walking by, wanting to get a hamster himself or herself.”

The employee of the Lee County pet store chatted with us but did not want to talk on camera. He told us, after they realized what Hunter did in the parking lot, they called all their other stores in the area and told them not to sell any animals to him.

They told us Hunter tried purchasing hamsters at two other Lee County Petco stores, but was turned down.

Hunter is no longer in law enforcement custody after bonding out of Collier County jail this week.

Lake Lowell female duck found with blow dart through her face


by Ariana PyperSaturday, January 30th

https://komonews.com/news/local/lake-lowell-female-duck-found-with-blow-dart-through-her-face

2021AAhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.437.0_en.html#goog_270600488Volume 90% 8VIEW ALL PHOTOSLake Lowell female duck found with blow dart through her face ( Lake Lowell Animal Rescue)

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NAMPA, Idaho (CBS2) — A female duck from Lake Lowell is in recovery after she was found with a blow dart through her face on Jan. 24.

Lake Lowell Animal Rescue was called about a month ago about a report of a duck swimming around with a blow dart in its face.

After trying to catch the duck for weeks, the rescue was able to catch the female duck with the help of a BSU grad student’s net gun.

Matthew Gillikin, a BSU grad student, said he built the net gun for a senior capstone project. The goal of the project was to either do something to help the community or help solve a problem.

“Matthew has helped build us a net gun and we were able to take that out and use it to catch her,” Melissa Blackmer, Lake Lowell Animal Rescue Director said.

The duck was taken in and treated by Dr. Karlee Hondo-Rust, a veterinarian at Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital.

“The dart actually entered just below her eye, so had it been a few millimeters back she would have lost her eye,” Dr. Hondo-Rust said.Lake Lowell female duck found with blow dart through her face (Lake Lowell Animal Rescue)

Dr. Hondo- Rust said the duck is doing well and responding to the pain medicine and antibiotics. She is hopeful that they can release her in a few weeks.

Blackmer said, unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. Over the years, there have been reports around the valley about birds and cats being blow darted like this, but not all of them were as lucky as this duck.

“I do think there is someone or more than one person going around doing this and it’s incredibly unfortunate and very very cruel. It’s a recurring thing, so every few years or so we will get a run of ducks or geese come in because they have been blow darted and haven’t succumbed to their injuries,” Blackmer said.

Blackmer said she wants to raise awareness about animal cruelty in the valley, and the importance of reporting animal cruelty cases.

“We just want to raise awareness about some of the animal cruelty that happens because I think a lot of times people don’t realize what can happen to your pet who is outside or in this case, ducks or roosters, or other animals,” Blackmer said.

Blackmer said you can report an injured animal by calling Lake Lowell Animal RescueRuth Melichar Bird Center (Animals In Distress Association), or the police.

You can also join the Facebook group The Life Outdoors for updates on animal cruelty cases in the area.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.437.0_en.html#goog_270600489Volume 90% Lake Lowell female duck found with blow dart through her face{ }(Lake Lowell Animal Rescue)

Three Men Arrested for Beating Dolphin to Death in Vicious Attack

Samantha Lock  2 hrs ago

Three Men Arrested for Beating Dolphin to Death in Vicious Attack (msn.com)


Rep. Crenshaw slams congressional push to overturn election as…Josh Hawley rebuked by fellow Republicans and home-state newspapers —…Three Men Arrested for Beating Dolphin to Death in Vicious Attack

A dolphin was beaten to death by a group of men who used sticks and rods to beat the helpless animal in a vicious attack in India.animal on the water: File photo: A bottle nosed dolphin swimming in the Bay of Islands in Pahia, New Zealand.© Lisa Wiltse/Getty File photo: A bottle nosed dolphin swimming in the Bay of Islands in Pahia, New Zealand.

The disturbing incident, which took place on December 31, was filmed in Uttar Pradesh in the country’s far north.

In the footage, at least three men can be seen beating the critically endangered freshwater Ganges river dolphin as one man pins the animal down.

The dolphin struggles to free itself but is powerless against the group of men as blood pours from its body.

Horrific , difficult to watch video from UP’s Pratapgarh where these villagers beat a Dolphin ( yes a dolphin ) to death on dec 31 . Three arrested , says @pratapgarhpol . Must take a different level of depravity to do this … pic.twitter.com/KsV7eBZW4F— Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) January 8, 2021

Towards the end of the 30-second clip, the dolphin appears to show few signs of life from the vicious attack.

“You are assaulting it for no reason,” one man can be heard saying, according to NDTV.

A forest department official who responded to a call about the incident, reportedly found the animal lying lifeless by the side of the Sharda Sahayak canal.

The official said the dolphin had received multiple injuries, including axe wounds. Villagers were reportedly unwilling to reveal how it died.

Three men have since been arrested after the video went viral on social media, according to the Pratapgarh Police Department.

In November, the gutted carcass of an endangered freshwater dolphin was found in a river sanctuary in Bangladesh, leading wildlife officials to express fears of a spike in poaching during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Residents in the town of Raojan spotted the body of the Ganges river dolphin on the banks of the Halda River, AFP reported. It contained a deep incision from the neck to the tail.

Poachers appeared to have gutted the 62-inch-long animal, removing layers of body fat—a product that is used in local traditional medicine—Abdullah al Mamun, an official from the Bangladeshi fishery department, told AFP.

The Ganges dolphin is critically endangered. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are thought to be between just 1,200 and 1,800 Ganges river dolphins left living in the wild in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

Concerns over poaching during coronavirus lockdowns have been raised by wildlife officials in countries around the world.

Poaching attempts have increased in Kaziranga National Park in India, which is home to the world’s biggest population of one-horned rhinos, during the country’s lockdown, AFP reported.

There has also been a spike in the killing of other animals in India, with poachers targeting the endangered Indian gazelle, peacocks, and other species, according to The Hindu Times.

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Skamokawa couple face animal cruelty charges

By Diana Zimmerman 

 https://www.waheagle.com/story/2020/08/06/news/skamokawa-couple-face-animal-cruelty-charges/18132.html

August 6, 2020

Wahkiakum County Engineer Paul Lacy and his wife, Daria were scheduled to be in Wahkiakum District Court on Wednesday morning for a preliminary hearing. The pair have been charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty in the second degree and two counts of transporting or confining a domestic animal in an unsafe manner in a case that brought Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office to their Skamokawa property multiple times over the course of several months in 2019.

A brief overview, according to reports from the Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office:

On May 2, 2019, WCSO received a complaint that several horses were loose in Skamokawa. When deputies responded, they found a small pig standing atop a larger decomposing pig carcass in a pig pen that was several inches deep in mud and feces. Nearby in a garage, they found several dogs standing shoulder to shoulder, unable to lay down in a kennel, along with a smaller cage containing more dogs. The dogs were without food and water. Two calves were found without water, and a dozen or more chicks were found without food or water.

On June 8, 2019, the WCSO received a report of possible animal cruelty at a property in Skamokawa.

A deputy found one horse up to its knees in mud and feces. There was an overturned water bucket nearby, and no feed. The horse had swollen knees and had lost patches of hair. Nearby in a horse area, he found four horses with untrimmed hooves and swollen knees. Several of the horses had ribs showing.

Paul Lacy said he had sold about 20 horses and still had about 18 remaining. He said it was not uncommon for horses to not get their hooves trimmed, stating that the Department of Natural Resources does not trim wild horses’ feet.

A witness provided photos of neglect, including a horse with visible ribs standing in a stall in mud up to its knees. A second photo showed a horse with overgrown hooves and visible ribs, and a third photo showed two horses with visible ribs.

On June 15, 2019, deputies and an animal control officer from Cowlitz County visited the Lacy home to inspect the animals. The animal control officer “found them to be in such bad conditions and health, according to her training and experience, that probable cause existed for Animal Cruelty.”

On June 18, 2019, deputies were told about an injured horse. A caller said she had witnessed people loading most of the horses onto a truck, but found a horse with a broken leg in a stall, bleeding out. Deputies responded. They found two horses in a muddy pen, one of which had clearly defined ribs, hips, and shoulder bones. Several pigs were in a large stall, laying in and wandering around in mud, feces, and bones. A horse with a leg injury was found deceased nearby, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.

On June 21, 2019, deputies returned to the farm. They found a horse with open wounds on its muzzle and face. Photographs were taken.

Paul Lacy said that the horse that had been euthanized had been buried in his back field, and that he had gotten rid of several dogs. He said that he did not want to get rid of any more, as he and his wife, Daria, planned to breed them to sell. He was advised that they would need a license.

Lacy was advised at that time that if he did not continue to improve the care of his current animals, he would be subject to criminal charges.

On June 24, 2019, Lacy said in a missive that he had reduced the number of horses from 18 to two, the number of dogs by five, the number of chickens by two, and the number of pigs by one, with a plan to auction three and harvest two.

On July 3, 2019, a neighbor reported that some of Lacy’s animals were on their property. The Lacys were given a warning. Deputies noted that the two remaining horses appeared to be in better condition, and that pigs were in a newly constructed pen with food and water available.

On December 15, 2019, a search warrant was served by the sheriff’s office in conjunction with the Cowlitz County Humane Society, which seized four pigs, one sow, five piglets, 15 sheep/goats, four ducks, four ducklings, one turkey, seven dogs, and 32 bird eggs in an incubator. Two dogs were found in a room, with evidence that they had attempted to gnaw and scratch their way out. The floor was smeared with feces, and there was no food or water. In the same room, they found a cage containing a duck and ducklings, the bottom of the cage full of liquid feces, resulting in a fetid odor. The animal control officer was heard to say that day that “this was one of the worst cases she has worked on.”

On December 19, they returned to collect the remaining animals, including 10 turkeys, 11 geese, 61 ducks, 42 chickens, one pack rat, and two pigeons. Every bird had a lice infestation, according to the report.

Why we eat meat without guilt, but hate seeing animal slaughter

In her book ‘For A Moment of Taste’, former PETA CEO Poorva Joshipura writes about how categorising an animal as ‘food’ changes our view of it. Until we see it being killed.

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When I ate meat, if someone were to have asked me if I loved animals, I would have said an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ After all, I adored playing with dogs and cats I would come across, enjoyed feeding squirrels and birds with my grandmother and liked watching wildlife documentaries with my father. 

However, eating animals requires someone ripping them from their families and butchering them—this is something everyone knows, even if they do not know the details of how it is done, and I knew that much too. Yet, I ate meat anyway. What allowed me to do so? What might allow others to do the same?


Also read: Will more people turn to vegetarianism in a post-coronavirus world?


The Brazilian Supermarket Prank 

Scientists have been studying this conflict, between caring for animals and killing them to eat them. This phenomenon has been labelled ‘the meat paradox’ by University of Kent and Université Libre de Bruxelles researchers Steve Loughnan, Boyka Bratanova, and Elisa Puvia. 

And we generally do care for animals. That’s why countries have laws protecting animals, why societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCAs) and other animal protection groups exist, why there was such national outrage when tigress Avni was killed, why the global horror when Cecil the lion and later his son Xanda were killed by trophy hunters in Zimbabwe, and it is likely why you are reading this book. In fact, many of us find what has to happen to animals to produce meat wrong, at least in principle, what little we may know about it, even if we eat meat. 

A prank that was set up at a supermarket in Brazil, in which a man pretending to be a butcher offered samples of free fresh pork sausages to the store’s customers, proves this point. Shoppers would visit the counter, eat and admire the pork. Then, the butcher would offer to make more, but to do so he would bring out a live piglet and put the animal in a machine that appeared to instantly grind her up and turn her into fresh meat. In reality, another prankster was sitting in the machine safely collecting each baby pig. Although customers had just readily eaten pork, they were aghast when they thought a live pig was about to be killed. One woman spat out pork from her mouth, others pleaded with the butcher not to kill the young pig and even tried to physically stop him from doing so. None of them picked up another piece of the free fresh pork that they had eagerly eaten before seeing the live pig. If you were one of the customers, what would you have done?



Ranking Species on Worthiness of Moral Concern 

While many of us are perturbed by the thought of slaughter of any animal, several studies found people who choose to eat animals are inclined to reject the thought that animals are capable of complex emotions and are likely to draw a further line between the emotional capacities of animals usually used for food (such as chickens) versus those who are not typically eaten by humans (like parrots). Both are birds, but the findings of these scientists indicate that people who eat meat are prone to believe parrots can feel more deeply than chickens, even though there’s no scientific support for such a view. Refusing to acknowledge animals, especially animals used for food, have the ability to experience deep emotions, appears to let many of us dismiss what happens to them in the production of food. 

Through studies conducted by Loughnan and his colleague Brock Bastian of the University of Queensland, the pair describes how vegetarians tend to compare with meat eaters in thinking about the mental faculties of animals when told they will be killed. Vegetarians did not alter their view of that animal’s acumen when told an animal, such as a lamb, was set for slaughter. When meat eaters were told the same thing, it was found that they generally reduced their view of the animal’s mental abilities. This, the researchers surmise, may be a ‘defensive way’ to allow us to consume animals without much guilt or remorse.

Another experiment shows merely categorizing an animal as ‘food’ effects how most people perceive the animal’s rights. In this study, researchers introduced a tree kangaroo to participants—an animal the participating individuals were not familiar with. They were given general information about tree kangaroos and then some were told that the animals were for eating while others were not. Those individuals who were told the species was food considerably regarded tree kangaroos as less deserving of concern than the other participants. 

Labelling an animal ‘friend’ has an effect too, but an opposite one—doing so tends to increase our respect for the friend species. This labelling of animals as ‘friend’ versus ‘food’ and the psychological effect it has on how we then view them is surely what helped me, when I consider it in hindsight, to simultaneously love animals like dogs and cats and eat animals like cows, chickens and pigs.


Also read: A Dutch butcher is winning hearts by making plants taste just like meat


If this is the effect one study had on people’s minds, imagine the result of being told repeatedly, like we usually are from a young age, that certain animals are for ‘food’ by authority figures, like our parents, or members of our community or people we want to be accepted by, like our friends. What if these individuals would have instead categorized those same animals as ‘friend’? Would we have thought differently? 

Today there are many vegetarians and vegans in the United States, but in the ’80s and early ’90s, the repeated messaging to me as a youngster from most people was speciesist: Animals like cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and fish merely existed to be eaten and animals like dogs and cats are friends. In other words, particular species are worthier of respect than other animals just by way of being. Indeed, though I happily ate what I considered to be the ‘food’ members of the animal kingdom, I would have eaten my own foot before I ate a dog. If we are raised in a meat-eating family, or if our families engage in rituals or customs that involve killing or eating certain animals, something similar is usually the repeated messaging we hear too. 

This excerpt from A Moment of Taste by Poorva Joshipura has been published with permission from HarperCollins India.

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Animal Welfare Campaigners and UK Politicians Clash Over Live Exports

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ban live animal exports as soon as Britain officially left the EU. But an upcoming court case is spreading doubt about whether or not he will follow through.Reading Time: 4 minutes

transport truck cattle
Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

UK animal welfare campaigners who saw a vote for Brexit as an opportunity to end live farmed animal exports are perplexed by recent government efforts to defend the trade. 

Told for years that European Union laws prevented a British ban on live exports, campaigners reasoned a pro-Brexit vote to leave the EU was the solution. That belief was backed by promises from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. In June, Johnson reiterated his promise to ban live exports as soon as Britain officially leaves the EU on December 31st this year.

But an upcoming court case is spreading doubt about those promises. The case, taken by British welfare group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), seeks to end the export of unweaned calves from Scotland. A win, said CIWF lawyer Peter Stevenson, could have repercussions throughout the EU.

The problem for campaigners is that both the British and Scottish governments have taken recent steps to oppose CIWF’s case—due to be heard again in October—effectively protecting live exports.

On the British side, Stevenson said, opposition to CIWF’s case comes in an official document, submitted to the Scottish court by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). In Scotland, the government has appointed a barrister to fight the case.

Campaigners abhor live export for many reasons but top of the list is the experience of farmed animals in transport. Calves and sheep exported from the British port of Ramsgate spend many hours in ‘roll on, roll off’ trucks taking them from collection points to the port, onto ferries, and then to different parts of Europe.

For calves, the misery is compounded by a lack of liquid milk replacer. Other concerns include the rate at which the trucks fill with feces and urine, poor access to water, extreme heat in summer, cold in winter, cramped conditions, and the risk of injury or trampling. 

Last year, official figures obtained by welfare organization, Eyes on Animals, show almost 3,500 unweaned (or milk-reliant) calves left from Ramsgate, a small port town in southeast Britain, along with 17,000 sheep. 

Asked about the apparent contradiction of promising an end to live export, while fighting CIWF in court, DEFRA refused to comment on an ongoing legal case. In an email, however, a DEFRA spokesperson said the British government “has committed to improving the welfare of animals during transport and ending excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening.”

A Scottish government spokesperson replied in a similar vein, saying it “would not be appropriate to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing.” The email added that “our preferred policy intention is not to support unnecessary long journeys involved in the export of livestock.”

Lorraine Platt, co-founder of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) said she found the Scottish government’s opposition to the CIWF case “deeply disappointing.” 

CAWF patrons include high-profile politicians and peers, among them Lord Zac Goldsmith, recently appointed as Minister of State at DEFRA; Theresa Villiers, Minister of Parliament (MP); Sir Roger Gale MP; Sir David Amess MP and Carrie Symonds, Boris Johnson’s partner. “And they are very vocal,” in support of a live export ban, said Platt.  

Asked if she remained optimistic about ending live exports, despite the opposition to CIWF’s case, Platt said yes. “We never give up hope. There is great political will to end this. Boris Johnson wants to end it. And his partner Carrie Symonds and his father Stanley Johnson.”

She added that CAWF is equally hopeful that Brexit will lead to further animal welfare initiatives, notably bans on imports of fur and foie gras. 

Other protesters variously described government opposition to CIWF’s case as frustrating, strange, illogical, or hypocritical. One, who asked to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation by farmers or live export companies, wondered whether politicians had gone soft. “I understood that with the Brexit vote, the ban on live exports might not be immediate. But now they are defending [the CIWF case] in court. We think they are trying to wriggle out of it, or they lied,” the protester said.

The protester is one of many regulars at the Ramsgate demonstrations, which can draw crowds of up to 100 people. The demonstrations are organized by KAALE – Kent Action Against Live Exports. KAALE’s secretary is Yvonne Birchall. She too voted Brexit in the hopes of ending live exports.   

Speaking the morning after a July 9th Ramsgate protest, Birchall said that despite government opposition to the CIWF court case, she believes a ban will happen. “Boris won our votes on the promise of banning live export. If he breaks that he won’t get re-elected by us,” she said.

There are other reasons for optimism, added Birchall. One of those is an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that could ban live exports for slaughter and fattening tabled by Baroness Fookes, Conservative Party member and Life Peer in the House of Lords. “We think there will be cross-party support for that.” 

Birchall said the previous night’s protest had been tough. “[The police commander] was very aggressive. The lorries [carrying animals to the port] came round the roundabout [where the protesters stand] at high speed – too quick for the conditions and the number of people. Our video team started to film, as we always do, and then the police were trying to stop us. That does not normally happen. I was shocked.” 

Birchall added more details in a Facebook post and told Sentient Media she had a “sneaking suspicion” the police were trying to prevent filming “because we have been finding so many things wrong.” 

Responding to Birchall’s criticisms, Kent chief inspector Alan Rogers said while police understand the “depth of feeling” protesters might have, they are “impartial and officers have a duty of care to keep everyone safe.” Rogers added that officers are specially trained “to respond proportionately to peaceful protest, prevent crime and disorder, and allow businesses to go about their lawful trade.”

The lawfulness of trade is, however, exactly the issue protesters want to see examined in court, using the evidence—provided to CIWF for their case—collected over many years by what Birchall calls KAALE’s “machine of people” that bear witness at the port.

HSI undercover investigation shows foxes bludgeoned, skinned alive on Asian fur farms

July 7, 2020 0 Comments

HSI undercover investigation shows foxes bludgeoned, skinned alive on Asian fur farms

The animals are crammed into tiny wire cages where they can barely move. It’s the only space they’ll ever know, and it is a terrible one. Feces pile up under the cages, and their water bowls are either dry or a fetid pool of algae.Share186TweetRedditEmail186SHARES

The cruelty of fur is on terrifying display in these scenes from a fur farm, captured on video by investigators working with Humane Society International. Foxes are pulled out of their cages, one by one, usually by their tails as they try to cling to the wire walls in terror. Each is thrown to the ground and repeatedly bludgeoned in the head and face with a metal rod. The animals struggle and tremble, badly injured but not yet dead. The ground is stained with the blood that pours out of their heads.

Moments later, if you can still bear to watch (warning: the linked video contains images that many will find disturbing), you’ll see men skinning the animals, some still alive, after which their bodies are dumped like trash. The camera moves to a pile of discarded carcasses, including one skinned animal who raises his head, slowly and painfully.

It’s hard to imagine a worse way to die. But the lives of the nearly 100 million animals killed each year for their fur, including foxes, raccoon dogs and mink, are hardly any better: they spend all of their days in captivity at fur factory farms like these. As you see in the undercover footage, the animals are crammed into tiny wire cages where they can barely move. It’s the only space they’ll ever know, and it is a terrible one. Feces pile up under the cages, and their water bowls are either dry or a fetid pool of algae. The animals are never seen by a veterinarian, and many exhibit symptoms of mental distress and decline.

Skinned animals are heaped in a pile at a fur farm. Animals are sometimes skinned while still alive.

Investigators filmed this footage at 11 randomly selected fur farms in one of the top fur-producing countries in Asia. We are choosing not to reveal the country in order to protect the identity of the investigators. Besides, it’s important not to lose sight of the true culprits here: fur factory farms like these would not exist if designers, retailers and consumers did not provide a market for these cruel products.

With growing awareness about the immense suffering of animals in the fur industry, major fashion houses and retailers the world over have shunned it. In the last few years alone, we have worked with major fashion brands and retailers, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, YOOX Net-A-Porter, Farfetch, Donna Karan, Burberry, Coach and others, to announce fur-free policies. California last year became the first U.S. state to ban fur, and we are working to pass similar bans in cities and states across the United States, including Minneapolis, Rhode Island and Hawaii.

Globally, HSI has kept up the momentum against fur. HSI/United Kingdom spearheads the campaign to make Britain the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur. The U.K. banned fur farming two decades ago but still imports tens of thousands of pounds of fur each year. More than a dozen European countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic and Norway, have also banned fur production.

The Netherlands, once the third largest fur farming country in the world, banned fur production in 2013 with an 11-year phaseout. But in recent months, the coronavirus crisis has added even more urgency to end the fur trade there and around the world. After two fur farm workers in the Netherlands were reported to have contracted the virus from infected mink, the country killed hundreds of thousands of mink, most of them pups, on 20 Dutch fur factory farms to stop any further spread of the virus. The Dutch government is now considering a permanent closure of all mink fur farms in the country. Denmark, which is Europe’s largest mink producer, has also discovered infected mink on three fur farms. Infectious disease experts had already warned fur farms could act as reservoirs for the disease, and with this cull, we have seen even more needless suffering play out for these animals.

The fur trade has nothing to offer except the worst sort of cruelty for a product no one needs. So many warm and stylish alternatives indistinguishable from animal fur are now widely available to consumers, and even a single animal bred and killed for their fur is one too many. This gruesome video is a reminder that we still have a long way to go, but we won’t stop until this cruel commodity is wiped out for good, and no animal is beaten to death and skinned alive on a fur farm anywhere in the world.

Warning: Video below contains images many may find disturbing.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/YtNXaYk12e4?wmode=transparent&iv_load_policy=1&modestbranding=0&rel=0&autohide=1&feature=youtu.be&autoplay=0

Ventilation Shutdown Used to “Depopulate” Farm Animals During Pandemic Causes Severe Suffering

Photo by Direct Action Everywhere

Photo by Direct Action EverywhereJuly 1, 2020

https://awionline.org/press-releases/ventilation-shutdown-used-depopulate-farm-animals-during-pandemic-causes-severe

Washington, DC—COVID-19 has shut down, at least temporarily, dozens of pig, chicken, and turkey slaughter plants in the United States, leaving millions of farm animals with nowhere to go. Some producers have arranged to keep animals on the farm until plants reopen, while others have chosen to kill healthy animals and bury or compost their bodies.

The term euthanasia, which literally means “a good death,” has been inappropriately used to characterize the killing by inhumane methods of healthy farm animals due to slaughter and processing capacity problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) uses the term “depopulation” to describe the rapid destruction of a population of animals in response to urgent circumstances. One method that has been used to kill large numbers of farm animals is “ventilation shutdown,” which involves turning off the airflow in a barn and ratcheting up the heat to as high as 120 degrees, leaving trapped birds and pigs to die from a combination of heat stress and suffocation.

Dena Jones, director of the farm animal program at the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), issued the following statement regarding the use of ventilation shutdown to kill farm animals due to limited slaughter capacity during the pandemic:

The ventilation shutdown process can take hours and likely results in severe animal suffering. Intentionally inflicting death in a manner that causes elevated and prolonged distress is unacceptable and does not qualify as “euthanasia.” It is particularly insupportable for the AVMA — a professional scientific body representing veterinarians sworn to protect animals — to allow its guidelines to be used in such an inappropriate manner.

When the AVMA proposed allowing the use of ventilation shutdown to kill animals “in constrained circumstances,” AWI warned that the AVMA guidelines might not prevent producers from using this extreme method in situations that instead call for euthanasia. In fact, that is exactly what is happening now; healthy animals posing no public health risk are being killed by a grossly inhumane method to aid the meatpacking industry.

Ventilation shutdown was last used in 2015 in response to an outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu, which killed nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys in the United States. During the current pandemic, however, animals are not suffering from disease, nor are they at risk of transmitting disease to other animals or to humans. Instead, they are being destroyed because meat companies have failed to properly protect their slaughterhouse workers.

The modern animal agriculture industry in the United States routinely puts profits over the well-being of both animals and workers. It runs slaughter lines as fast as possible, provides animals the lowest level of care required, and offers minimal health and safety protections to its workers. There is no margin for error in this intensive, high-production system. As a result, the wave of plant closures has left millions of animals in limbo. Nevertheless, the current situation does not justify subjecting any animal to a cruel death.

###Media Contact

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, margie@awionline.org