Bipedal Bear’s Apparent Death Motivates Bear Hunt Opponents in New Jersey

 

New Jersey’s long-debated black bear hunts have stoked strong passions, blasted by animal rights activists as inhumane and supported by hunters and wildlife officials who say they help control the population and minimize run-ins with humans.

But the death of a bear presumed to be one that walked on two feet and became a social media darling has become a rallying cry for hunt opponents as they prepare to stage protests during the second segment of this year’s hunt, which starts Monday. It’s scheduled to run through Saturday, but officials said it could end early depending on how many bears are culled.

Pedals the bear first surfaced about two years ago in Jefferson Township. The bear walked with an unusual gait on his hind legs and was spotted ambling around neighborhoods. It also was caught on videos that were posted online and shown on national television.

Wildlife officials believe Pedals was killed during the expanded bear hunt staged in October. The Department of Environmental Protection released pictures showing the lifeless body of a black bear with injured paws, just like the ones Pedals had, but couldn’t confirm the identity because Pedals was never tagged.

Animal rights activists say the belief that Pedals is dead has motivated them and others to work even harder to end the hunt. Pedals was last seen on video in June.

“Our numbers have always been high, but the killing of Pedals has caused our support to increase,” said Janine Motta, programs director for the Bear Education And Resource program. The group has staged protests during previous hunts in New Jersey and plans similar events during the upcoming hunt.

“Here was one particular bear that people may have known, seen or just followed on Facebook. They felt a connection with Pedals,” Motta said. “When he was killed, it became personal for those who loved him, and that translated into a greater awareness of the hunt in general and the realization that all bears who are killed are important.”

New Jersey resumed state-regulated bear hunting in 2003 after a ban that lasted more than 30 years. Another hunt was held in 2005, and in 2010 the state instituted an annual hunt.

The expanded six-day hunting season took effect this year. Hunters were allowed to use only bows and arrows to during the first three days, and muzzle-loading guns were added during the second half.

This coming week’s hunt is for firearms only and runs concurrently with the six-day firearm season for deer. But wildlife officials anticipate the bear hunt will end early due to the harvest limit set in the state’s bear management policy.

Hunters harvested 562 bears during the expanded hunt, and 23.4 percent were previously tagged bears. This week’s hunt will be suspended once the cumulative harvest rate of tagged bears reaches 30 percent, officials said.

State wildlife officials have touted the annual hunt as an important part of controlling the bear population and minimizing run-ins with humans, particularly in the northern part of New Jersey known as bear country. They have estimated that 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80, roughly the upper one-eighth of the state.

Critics have called the hunt brutal, cruel and ineffective. But James Doherty, a Toms River resident who has taken part in previous hunts, believes the critics are so focused on their cause that they don’t see why it’s needed.

“The stereotype of hunters is that we’re all gun nuts who like to kill things for the fun of it, but that’s not the case,” Doherty said. “Listen to the biologists, the experts- the hunt helps keep the bear population in control, and that’s very important. If the population gets too high, there’s not enough food for all of them, and it can lead to more bear-human interactions.”

Read more: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Bipedal-Bears-Apparent-Death-Motivated-Bear-Hunt-Opponents-in-New-Jersey-404604286.html#ixzz4Rzv3aTQ6
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Showing Mercy to Suffering Animals Is Not ‘Criminal Mischief’

Anita Krajnc gives water to pigs in Toronto on their way to slaughter.
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by Matthew Scully November 7, 2016, Issue
A Canadian woman finds herself in court for giving water to thirsty pigs bound for a slaughterhouse. Depressed about large and momentous events beyond our control, perhaps we had best think of humbler matters in which, at least, the decisions are ours alone to make. If that’s your state of mind in the fall of 2016, I’ve got just the news story for you. A morality tale out of Ontario, Canada, it’s known locally as the “thirsty pigs” case and presents choices that are, in their way, momentous enough. In a court of justice, a 49-year-old woman named Anita Krajnc stands accused of criminal mischief. Her offense, as alleged by complainants and provincial authorities, was to give water to pigs bound for a nearby abattoir. It was a hot day in June of last year. A trailer hauling 180 or so of the animals had stopped at an intersection. Seeing the pigs looking out through the vents, panting and foaming at the mouth, the defendant let them lap water from a plastic bottle, provoking this videotaped confrontation related by the Washington Post: At that moment, the truck driver emerged in protest. “Don’t give them anything!” he shouted, his own camera phone in hand. “Do not put anything in there!” “Jesus said, ‘If they are thirsty, give them water,’” she yelled back. “No, you know what?” he shouted. “These are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad! Hello!” The driver, Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, called police and eventually continued on with his doomed cargo down Harvester Road to the suitably named Fearmans slaughterhouse (what pig shouldn’t fear man’s slaughterhouse?). The next day Eric Van Boekel, owner of Van Boekel Hog Farms, pressed charges for what he regards as an interference with his livelihood and property: a case of tampering with the food supply and nothing more. Anita Krajnc, moreover, didn’t just happen to be at that intersection. She leads a group called Toronto Pig Save. Part of its mission is to offer water to pigs and other farm animals in their final moments. In the way of mass-confinement farming these days, that ride to Fearmans affords their very first glimpse of the world and their very last. Often these journeys are hundreds of miles, the pigs crowded into trucks for as long as 36 hours with no food, water, or rest. Krajnc is there to “bear witness,” that they might go to their deaths having encountered at least one human face that wasn’t glaring indifferently at them, felt one touch of human kindness. Viewing the woman as incorrigible, Van Boeckel decided this was his chance to put an end to it. Meanwhile, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, representing hog farmers, informs members that “our coordinated action plan has been established” in case the controversy gets out of hand. “Developments in the case and associated actions by interested parties are being monitored very closely,” and “we sincerely hope the court continues to focus on the specific issue at hand.” They are understandably wary of any inquiry extending beyond the property-interference question, wishing to steer as far clear as possible of a public moral debate, to say nothing of a religious debate, about the mistreatment of farm animals in general and about Krajnc’s last-hour benefactions in particular. Allow the spirit of the Comforter and Good Shepherd at the end of the creatures’ lives, and attentive men and women will start to wonder where it was all along. Not good for business when people get too unearthly about these things. Save your prayers for grace over the meal. For her part, the dumb frickin’ broad with the water says that she was “just following the Golden Rule,” understood as applying wherever human empathy can reach. She explained in court that she prefers the word “intervening” to “interfering,” since whatever the law says about Van Boekel’s property, she was simply living out her Christian obligation of compassion for animals, thereby serving the public good. It was an act of mercy, and in what kind of enterprise is it forbidden to be merciful? I was thirsty and you gave me drink. Nothing in the ring of those words to encourage help for an afflicted fellow creature? Do humans alone know thirst? The reputations of revered saints instruct us in gentleness toward animals, along with firm admonitions in Scripture and felony-level penalties recognizing, toward some creatures, anyway, an obligation of justice. So to Krajnc’s supporters it seems unfair that she should be the one compelled to explain herself, facing imprisonment for being merciful, while Van Boekel, who shows nothing of that quality, steps into court like some aggrieved pillar of the community. Change.org, petitioning for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attention to the case before a verdict comes next month, frames the matter this way: “What is wrong with our legal system, when attempting to alleviate the suffering of another being is seen as criminal, and those who are inflicting the pain and cruelty are left unchallenged?” A satisfactory answer from the prime minister would top his viral-video performance back in April, when he explained quantum computing to a dazzled audience of reporters and academics. Merely addressing the problem of factory farming at all would show a truly searching mind at work. How often do liberals who lay blame for the world’s ills on the greed of other people, or conservatives on the weak will of other people, ever question their own habits and appetites, or consider how a change in these might help to avoid vast animal suffering? In neither case do we see the moral idealism of serious people at their best, and liberals in particular receive far more credit than is merited for thinking and caring about animal causes. So it would be nice if Canada’s progressive prime minister set a helpful example. Should he answer the question put to him by Change.org, it is a challenge of mental prowess less theoretical than quantum theory, and the test of truth is consistency. For instance, it was pointed out in Krajnc’s trial that if the court had the same basic set of facts, replacing only the word “pig” with “dog,” the weight of law would shift instantly in favor of the defendant, even though dogs also fall rather uneasily into the category of legal property. A conscientious person, seeing a trapped, desperate, overheated dog, would be expected to offer relief, and in some places, parts of Canada included, the law encourages exactly that. What would we do? And why should we care in the least what the owner thinks, when the creature is clearly suffering from deliberate or reckless neglect? Social norms basically say that dogs are awesome and pigs are worthless. Provably, however, pigs are every bit the equals of dogs in their intelligence, emotional depth, and capacities for suffering and happiness alike. Though badly maligned, pigs are really quite impressive and endearing when they are not being tortured, terrified, scalded alive (as often happens), and dismembered amid the bedlam of places like Van Boekel’s factory farm and Fearmans’s abattoir. In countries where dogs are mostly appreciated, admired, and loved, while unseen pigs are killed by the hundreds of thousands every day, people need to pretend there’s some subtle yet all-important moral difference between abusing one and abusing the other, or eating one and eating the other. And it falls to guileless souls like Anita Krajnc to remind them it’s all just made up. Charge her with a lack of sophistication, being too naïve to play along with convenient cultural distinctions that have no basis in reality. Indeed, we can easily imagine a Chinese or Korean version of the story, a “thirsty dogs case” in which some Golden Rule do-gooder dares to offer a merciful bit of water to one of the millions of dogs ensnared in the canine meat trade — complete with a driver shouting “These are not humans! Hello!” and a seller insisting that she take her damn hands off his food animals. Dogs in China, South Korea, and elsewhere are subjected to devilish torments; as with our farm animals, thirst is the least of their miseries. Call up a few pictures on the Internet if you can bear reminding of how utterly depraved some people are toward animals. And then try explaining why that meat trade is needless, selfish, and hard-hearted but ours is not. If anything, the dog butchers and their customers may be credited with greater consistency, being unselective in their inhumanity toward animals. Wait on the day when all such scenes are in our past, finally left behind in what Wayne Pacelle calls the “humane economy” (in a powerful book by that name). For every product of human cruelty, human creativity will offer something better, as it does already with an abundance of far healthier substitutes for meat. We will need no witnesses like Anita Krajnc to gentler, saner ways, because the slaughterhouses will be gone. The little acts of mercy will lead to great ones; the ruthless instead of the kindly will be counted disturbers of the peace. You can take that on the authority, as well, of Charles Krauthammer, a man educated in Canada, who observed recently on Fox News that “in a hundred years people are going to judge us as a civilization that killed wantonly and ate animals. There’s going to be a time when we’re not going to need to do that. And they’re going to end up judging their ancestors, meaning us, harshly for having been that wanton and that cruel.” Or, you can take it from Anita, this gracious person whose real offense is to see what we are not supposed to notice, and to say what the world both dismisses as foolish and knows to be true. “When someone is suffering,” she told the Post, “it’s actually wrong to look away. We all have a duty to be present and try to help. In the history of the world, that’s how social movements progress.” – Mr. Scully, a former literary editor of National Review and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush, is the author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. Read more at: https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2016-11-07-0000/

Read more at: https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2016-11-07-0000/

Big Food Strikes Back

from DawnWatch: This Sunday, October 9, the Magazine section of the New York Times is dubbed “The Food Issue.” It includes some terrific articles, including a piece by Michael Pollan, and a haunting photo-essay on big ag. Best of all it includes a piece, by Ted Genoways, on the undercover work of a
“Compassion Over Killing” investigator.

The article on the COK investigator, titled, “Close to the Bone,” and titled online “The Fight Over Transparency in the Meat Industry,” first tells us how little consumers know about the meat they eat. We read that the Department of Agriculture no longer oversees and verifies claims such as
“grass-fed” or “naturally raised,” and that even when the department certifies labels they are questionable, with no standard definition for “humanely raised,” and no site visits to confirm enforcement for those approved to use the label.

Genoways writes:
“Amid such dwindling transparency and oversight, animal rights activists, once regarded as the radical fringe, have taken on a somewhat unlikely role as consumer watchdogs.” He follows an investigator named Jay who get a job at a pig slaughterhouse near Austin. We read:

“He filmed a hog being hit in the face with plastic rattle paddles and electrically prodded on the head. He filmed another hog being repeatedly beaten then rolled and pushed by its hindquarters. He filmed hogs having their throats slit while still alive and — in one particularly harrowing sequence — appeared to capture a hog struggling to right itself in its shackle as it is carried toward processing. A spokesman for Q.P.P. said all the hogs ‘had been properly rendered insensible,’ but the video itself seems to contradict that claim. At one point, a worker shouts over the din of machinery and squealing pigs: ‘Too many sensibles. If U.S.D.A. is around, they could shut us down.'”

The article explains that because of a new kind of self-regulation, known as HIMP, the USDA was unlikely to be around.”

You’ll find the full piece on line at http://tinyurl.com/hansj7j

Michael Pollan’s article is titled, “Big Food Strikes Back.” The subheading is, “When Barack Obama took office activists hoped his administration would fight for stronger regulation of corporate agriculture. Eight years later they are still waiting.”

Pollan shares part of an early interview given by President Obama to Joel Klein of Time Magazine:

“I was just reading an article in The New York Times by Michael Pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the meantime, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they’re contributing to Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity.”

He reminds us that on the campaign trail Obama vowed “to bring CAFOs under the authority of the federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and Superfund program ‘just as any other polluter.’”

What follows is a fascinating study on the power of Big Ag. You’ll find it on line at http://tinyurl.com/hz3mr5v

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World Animal Day 2016

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World Animal Day is the international day of action for animal rights and welfare celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

We need to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.

Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.

Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.

Feel free to join these great animal welfare groups on Linkedin !

Animal Welfare Europe
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2859887

Animal Activists International
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8140144

DOG International
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4402412

CAT International
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8107761

Petitions & Causes Animal Welfare
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8302325

Animal Rights World Wide
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1064337

Say NO to animal cruelty !
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8362833

World Animal Protection ( vh WSPA )
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2879905

Sea Shepherd International
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/787867

AMCF Animal Medical Care Foundation
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/732977

Jane Goodall Instituut Nederland
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2879885

AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1780893

SAFP Stray Animal Foundation Platform
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3654178

ISAT International Stray Animal Team
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3148494

HAA Helping Abused Animals
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1087837

CAS International – against bullfighting
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1896004

Vrienden van de Olifant – Elephants
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4392497

SPOTS protection big cats ( lion, tiger, cheetah, leopard )
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4506499

Oil executive on Trump’s short list for Interior Secretary


By HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH and ANDREW RESTUCCIA 09/19/16
An oil industry executive who has spoken out against animal rights is a leading contender for Interior secretary should Donald Trump win the White House, two sources familiar with the campaign’s deliberations told POLITICO on Monday — a prospect that drew immediate condemnation from environmental activists.
Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, is well-known in his native Indiana, where in 2006 he won the naming rights to Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts football team, for a reported $121.5 million over 20 years. He and his wife have given a combined $50,000 to the gubernatorial campaigns of Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, according to Indiana state records.
Story Continued Below

Lucas’ company, California-based Lucas Oil, is a fast-growing manufacturer of automotive oils, lubricants and other additives used in everything from cars to heavy-duty trucks.
One person briefed by the Trump campaign said Lucas is a “front-runner” for the Interior secretary job. The person, who was granted anonymity to talk about private discussions, added that Trump wants a “more business-friendly and business experience-heavy cabinet.”
But environmentalists quickly excoriated the idea of an oil industry executive leading the department that oversees national parks and wildlife refuges, along with decisions about offshore drilling, fracking regulations and protections for endangered species.

“Putting an oil executive in charge of our public lands and precious coasts in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida is a virtual guarantee that Trump’s promise to throw open season on drilling in our special places will come true if he’s elected,” said Khalid Pitts, the Sierra Club’s national political director.
David Turnbull, the campaigns director at anti-fossil-fuels group Oil Change USA, worried that Trump’s Cabinet could be full of people with ties to the oil industry. They include Harold Hamm, the CEO of Oklahoma oil company Continental Resources, who has emerged as a possible pick for Trump’s energy secretary.
“Catering to an industry dead-set on continued expansion of oil and gas drilling is not only totally out of step with climate science, but it’s also out of step with the majority of Americans who are calling for a swift transition to clean energy and robust action on climate change,” Turnbull said in an email.
It would be nearly unprecedented for major oil executive to get the top job in the Interior Department. Current Secretary Sally Jewell was an engineer for Mobil Oil early in her career and often touts her experience fracking wells, although she is best known as a conservationist and former outdoor retail executive.
Lucas’ nomination would be a coup for the oil and gas industry, which has battled President Barack Obama’s Interior Department for years over everything from Endangered Species Act listings to access to federal lands for drilling. Trump has cultivated close ties to the oil industry, which was once skeptical of his campaign for president.
“In a lot of ways, having an oil and gas friendly person in the Interior Department is more important to the oil and gas industry than having someone friendly at the Energy Department,” one industry official said.

Nominating Lucas would also break with the long-standing tradition of Interior secretaries coming from Western states.
It would also likely draw rebukes from animal rights groups. Lucas, who owns a ranch and serves on Trump’s agriculture advisory committee, is one of the biggest donors to groups that attack the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and defend animal agriculture, hunting, meat consumption, rodeos and circuses.
Another source with knowledge of the transition operation said Lucas was on a short list of about five names that are under consideration for the post, which has started to attract considerable interest from prominent “anti-conservation zealots.” Donald Trump Jr., an avid hunter, has also publicly expressed interest in the job.
Earlier this year, Lucas financed and produced a feature film called “The Dog Lover,” which portrays dog breeders and puppy mills as being unfairly targeted by animal rights groups. The movie was backed by Protect the Harvest, a nonprofit founded and chaired by Lucas, that says it’s “Keeping America Free, Fed & Fun!” In 2014, Lucas gave $250,000 to the Protect the Harvest PAC, records show.
Roger Ebert’s website called the movie “shamelessly manipulative” and “a pretty bald piece of anti-[Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] and/or PETA propaganda,” noting that the movie ends with a call to moviegoers to look into animal welfare groups before donating to them.
Animal rights supporters were quick to point out Monday that Lucas had put up hundreds of thousands of dollars into fighting an “anti-puppy mill” ballot measure in Missouri that was approved by voters in 2010.

“Forrest Lucas is a peevish advocate of trophy hunting, puppy mills and big agribusiness, and has never met a case of animal exploitation he wouldn’t defend,” said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which backed the measure in Missouri.
Lucas’ wife, Charlotte, who co-founded Lucas Oil, came under fire in 2014 for a Facebook post that criticized Muslims and atheists. “I’m sick and tired of minorities running our country!” she wrote, according to news reports at the time.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/forrest-lucas-trump-interior-secretary-228364#ixzz4L6NViTXm
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Animal Rights Would Suffer Under Trump

http://www.newsmax.com/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=f0159776-6f7f-4fe2-ad6b-3932843951c6&SiteName=Newsmax&maxsidesize=600

Image: Animal Rights Would Suffer Under Trump

Eric Trump, center, speaks during a campaign rally for his father and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, with his brother, Donald Trump Jr. (Isaac Brekken/AP)

By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016

The animal kingdom will have lost one of its staunchest defenders when the Oval Office is abandoned by Barack Obama, who through a series of critical, administrative rule-makings has done more to protect animals than any other president in recent memory.

This will be especially devastating if Donald Trump replaces him — not only because of his sons’ lust for hunting exotic game but also because his recently announced agriculture advisory committee includes several active opponents of animal protection policies.

By now, many will have seen the photographs circulating on social media of Eric Trump and Donald Jr. displaying their trophy kills. One shows the two young men posed with a leopard they killed in Africa. Another shows Junior holding the tail of an elephant, which he appears to have just sliced off with the knife in his other hand, and another of him lounging against the lifeless hulk of a Cape buffalo bull.

A fourth photo shows the brothers’ smiling faces framed between the horns of a magnificent waterbuck.

If these snapshots were intended to capture the rapture of proud manhood, they missed their mark. Trump’s spawn aren’t Maasai warriors, suffice it to say. But even the Maasai have stopped killing lions to prove themselves, thanks to conservationists, and now determine leadership according to who jumps highest — evidence that one can easily jump a rival’s fence when raiding cows.

When asked about his sons’ bloody hobby, Trump demurred except to say that his sons are excellent marksmen. Trump prefers golf, he said, and he obviously limits trophy collecting to women.

Junior, meanwhile, says he’d like to head the Department of the Interior, which, among other things, oversees trophy hunting imports. Under Obama, elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe were halted and African lions were listed as threatened. What would a trophy-hunting Trump do with such protections?

Meanwhile, the Republican nominee’s anti-animal animus may be gleaned from his choice of agriculture advisers, which the Humane Society Legislative Fund has called a “rogues gallery” of anti-animal welfare activists. (Disclaimer: My son works for the Humane Society.)

Foremost is Forrest Lucas, billionaire founder of Protect the Harvest, an organization focused on fighting the Humane Society and opposing any legislation aimed at restricting cruel animal practices in the production of meat, dairy, and eggs.

But such humane propositions are viewed by Lucas’ group as unnecessarily restrictive to business, limiting our freedoms and attacking our all-too-American culture. Among the “traditions” the harvest group has sought to protect are circuses, illustrated on the organization’s website with a photo of elephants absurdly parading in a conga line on their hind legs. Thanks to animal activists and enlightened spectators, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey recently retired its elephants from the ring to the lasting deprivation of no one.

Lucas and Co. have also opposed efforts to establish felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty against dogs, cats and horses, even fighting standards for dogs in commercial puppy mills.

Also on the committee is Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who has the distinction of being the first governor to sign into law an “ag-gag” measure that punishes whistleblowers, giving factory farmers free rein over animal welfare and worker safety. The bill’s sponsor, former Iowa state Rep. Annette Sweeney, is also a Trump adviser.

Another adviser, former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, vetoed a bill to end the sport hunting of mountain lions and has defended factory farming practices that many happy omnivores find reprehensible, including the use of battery cages and gestation crates.

Adviser and Iowa factory farmer Bruce Rastetter is reported to be a leading candidate to become Trump’s agriculture secretary. His brother is CEO of a company that builds large-scale hog facilities as well as gestation crates for breeding sows. Which way Trump leans — animal welfare or business profits — doesn’t seem to be in question.

Let’s just say that his selection of advisers, coupled with a cavalier attitude toward his sons’ big-game hunting, bodes ill for animals and the protections so many Americans find both reasonable and desirable.

I guess it’s all in how you define freedom. Personally, I’d like to see how high these merciless profit-warriors and trophy hunters can jump — not as a prelude to leadership but rather to the ever-popular flying leap.

Breaking News at Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Parker/animal-rights-protection-eric-trump/2016/09/07/id/747115/#ixzz4JgjYWuGO
Urgent: Do You Back Trump or Hillary? Vote Here Now!

 

Lab-grown “Meat” Anyone?

Veganism is all about reducing the harm we cause to sentient beings to the best of our ability. This is why we don’t eat animal products. It’s impossible to take the body part or secretion of a living being without exploitation and pain.

Or is it? If meat and other animal products could be made without harming animals, would there finally be such a thing as vegan meat? [tweet this] When it comes to lab grown meat, there are vegans on both sides of the debate. With the potential for massive reductions in the environmental impact of animal agriculture and an end to the suffering and death of trillions of animals every year, why wouldn’t every vegan be championing the cause for test tube meat?

Well like most topics I set out to cover, cultured meat production is far more complicated than it may first appear. We’re going to cover some of the pros and cons of cellular agriculture and why it’s a hot button within the vegan community.

As always, I’ll be barely scratching the surface, so you can dig into the citations and resources at the base of this post for more information.

The concept of growing and maintaining muscle outside of the body is not new. Starting in 1912, biologist Alexis Carrel kept cells from an embryonic chicken heart beating in a nutrient bath in his laboratory for more than 20 years.[1] In 1931, Winston Churchill wrote in a predictive essay optimistically entitled Fifty Years Hence that, “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”[2]

Over the decades from NASA-backed fish fillets made of goldfish cells[3][4] to the 2013 taste test of the first lab-grown burger,[5][6] the cultured meat, well, culture, continues to grow. [See a brief but thorough timeline in the ‘In-Vitro Meat” section of this essay][7]

The advantages of this method of meat creation are obvious. Despite the efforts, hopes and dreams of vegans and activists alike, the global demand for meat is on the rise with India and China leading the charge.[8][9]

With animal agriculture contributing as much as 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions,[10] using a third of the earth’s fresh water,[11][12][13][14] up to 45 percent of the Earth’s land,[15][16] causing 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction[17][18] and serving as a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat destruction,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29] the environmental implications alone could be staggering. [tweet this]

A 2011 study concluded that, “cultured meat involves approximately 7–45% lower energy use … 78–96% lower GHG emissions, 99% lower land use, and 82–96% lower water use depending on the product compared.”[30] While these numbers sound promising, the study was largely criticized for basing its numbers on a not-yet-proven method of cultured meat growth.

While still theoretical, a 2014 study accounting for other potential production methods found that energy use for cultured meat actually exceeded current levels for beef production, but had significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and land usage and was only higher than poultry in water usage.[31]

The reality is that the actual environmental impact of cultured meat remains unknown because it’s still in such an experimental phase. The ground meat grown for 2013’s seminal burger was a relatively simple creation of pure protein. It lacked any of the fat and blood that give meat its flavor or the firmness of once-active muscle tissue. In order to create meat products of more substance, the muscle, which is what meat is after all, has to be exercised and provided with artificial blood flow, oxygen, digestion and nutrition. [32][33][34][35] Some scientists speculate that this increased energy demand may negate any reduction in land usage and agricultural input. [36][37]

Basically, when it comes to the environmental benefits, it’s still too early to know.

So what about the other main benefit: an end to the suffering and death of trillions of beings every year? [tweet this]

Here is where cultured meat has the potential to shine.

Maybe. Eventually.

There are several significant hurdles to overcome before lab-grown meat can be called anything near “cruelty and animal-free.” The major issues on the ethics end are establishing self-renewing stem cells and finding plant-based materials for the growth medium and scaffolding.

To understand what that means, I’ll give a very simplified version of in-vitro meat production. Initially, cells are taken via biopsy from a living animal and deposited into a growth medium where they proliferate and grow. Eventually, in order to produce meat products with more structure than the ground patty, they will need a form of scaffolding to hold their shape.

The first ethical issues arise when considering the long-term viability of the initial harvested cells. Professor Mark Post, the man behind the famous taste-tested burger, has said that, “the most efficient way of taking the process forward would still involve slaughter,” with a “limited herd of donor animals” kept for stock.[38] Others in the movement envision the establishment of a self-renewing stem cell line, meaning only an initial biopsy would be required at which point the cell line would replicate indefinitely.[39][40][41]

Yet another concern is that, given humanity’s love of the new, different and exotic, we may start breeding specialty animals for cell harvesting, which would still require the confinement and reproductive control of sentient beings.[42]

As a side-note, Post’s famous burger was made with egg powder to enhance the taste, introducing another level of animal suffering.[43] This is by no means, however, a necessary practice.

The second major ethical issue and one that isn’t widely addressed in most of the news reports on cultured meat, is the growth medium into which the cells are deposited. At the moment, the most widely used medium is bovine fetal serum. Fetal serum from an array of animals is commonly employed in a wide range of experiments, including those for tampons, which I covered in my “Are Tampons Vegan?” video.

The harvesting of bovine fetal serum is far from transparent. One study reached out to 388 harvesting entities with only 4% responding with any kind of methodology data. Five sources explicitly declared their harvesting methods to be confidential.[44]

Of those that did respond, the typical procedure for fetal serum harvesting was “by cardiac puncture” meaning a needle directly into the beating heart of the fetal cow. They specify that, “Fetuses should be at least 3 months old; otherwise the heart is too small for puncture.” The general process is as follows:

“At the time of slaughter, the cow is found to be pregnant during evisceration (removal of the internal organs in the thorax and abdomen during processing of the slaughtered cow) … The calf is removed quickly from the uterus [and] a cardiac puncture is performed by inserting a needle between the ribs directly into the heart of the unanaesthesised fetus and blood is extracted.” This bleeding process can take up to 35 minutes to complete while the calf remains alive. Afterwards, “the fetus is processed for animal feed and extraction of specific substances like fats and proteins, among other things.”[45]

The study continued with a detailed debate as to whether the fetal cows can feel this procedure and their possible slow death from anoxia, meaning lack of oxygen, from placental separation, and estimated that between 1 and 2 million fetuses are harvested annually for serum.[46]

All in all, fetal serum from any animal is not, by any stretch of the imagination, cruelty-free. The good news is that the champions of the cultured meat movement seem to be invested in finding plant-based medium alternatives with both algae and mushrooms providing promising options.[47][48][49][50][51] Fetal serum’s drawbacks don’t stop at the ethical line. There are scientific concerns as batches vary considerably in their composition. It also poses the threat of pathogen introduction, is not environmentally friendly and is cost-prohibitive. Dr. Neil Stephens of Cardiff University states that: “Everyone in the field acknowledges this as a problem … It currently undermines a lot of the arguments that people put forward in support of in vitro meat.”[52]

This leads into two of the additional pros of cultured meat, both revolving around human health. Though I personally believe that health is the last worry when it comes to producing a possible alternative to mass animal slaughter, it’s worth noting that the composition of cultured meat can be altered to provide superior nutritional benefits. The level of fat and type of fat can be selectively controlled. The threat of food contamination and spread of pathogens would also be greatly reduced, as cultured meat would not involve all the biohazards of traditional slaughter.[53][54][55]

So if scientists are able to create a self-replicating cell line, thus eliminating the enslavement and potential slaughter of animals, and find a suitable plant-based growth-medium and scaffolding, thus eliminating the cruelty of fetal serum and other animal byproducts, what objections remain against going after this concept in full force?

Two of the largest are cost and what’s best described as “the ick factor.” Surveys involving every range of dietary practice seem to indicate that the majority of people are put off by the concept of lab-grown meat.[56][57][58][59][60] Interestingly enough, those people with the highest rates of meat consumption appear to be the most sensitive to disgust.[61]

Of course cultured meat proponents emphasize that “lab-grown” is a bit of a misnomer. While in the testing stages, the meat is grown in laboratories. However, were it to go to commercial production, it would be made in factories just like all of our packaged food items, and some could argue, would be more natural than other chemical concoctions the public readily consumes. [see[62] for an illustration of potential production methods].

Also, given what all we inject into our food animals from hormones to antibiotics, to our outright manipulation of their genes, one could ask just how natural “standard” animal products really are.

While cultured meat doesn’t require the use of GMO’s, it’s possible that genetically modifying cells may allow them to reproduce faster and thus prove more economical.[63]

Speaking of cost, Mark Post’s initial burger in 2013 cost approximately £250,000 (over $350,000) to produce.[64] However, by 2015, Post stated that the cost is now down to £8.00.[65][66]

As with any new technology, the initial cost investments will be steep, but Post and others in the movement see cultured meat eventually attaining a competitive price to traditional products, though most likely not for at least another decade.[67]

The vegan community is most dramatically torn on either side of this issue. [ See [68] for examples]Some feel that any product derived from an animal remains a form of exploitation. Others believe that with the insurmountable fight against the ongoing animal holocaust and more non-vegans being born every day, we need to search for practical and viable solutions to replace humanity’s rising demand for meat.[69] The vegans on the pro-cultured meat side I’ve come across through my research say their motivation is putting the animals’ interests above all else. They believe it’s unrealistic to expect humanity on a global scale to cease or even reduce their consumption of animals. Thus, providing an alternative that not only looks and tastes like but actually is meat could be, with the proper harvesting method and growth medium, the most immediate path to animal liberation currently available. With the concurrent rise of research into milk and egg-producing yeast and leather and other animal byproducts,[70] could it be that the laboratory and not the picket line will be the ultimate genesis of a vegan world? [tweet this]

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot debate in the comments below. Check out resources below for more on cultured meat and other animal-free animal products.

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Should animals have ‘human’ rights?

http://www.dw.com/en/should-animals-have-human-rights/a-19427091

Animals like gorillas and chimpanzees are closely related to humans. But they have no rights. Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics tells DW why great apes should be legally recognized and why animal interests matter.

Gorillas are critically endangered with fewer than 175,000 left in the wild worldwide, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The death of Bantu, the last male western lowland gorilla left in Mexico, brought the debate over animal rights back into the limelight, particularly with regard to those those who spend their lives behind bars.

DW had a chance to speak with Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University.

You are one of the co-founders of the so called Great Ape Project. What exactly is it all about?

It’s an effort to achieve basic rights for great apes, for chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans, in particular. We know that they are like us in many important ways: that they are complex beings with rich emotional lives, that they are capable of reflecting on their situation, of thinking, of problem solving, that they are self-aware, that they can think about the future. We argue, that in these respects they are so like humans, that we should give them some basic rights. Meaning rights to life, liberty and protection from torture. We would like to see them recognized in the law as people, therefore as beings who can bring a case in the courts. Obviously, through a guardian or advocate, as a small child would bring a case in the courts. But not simply (being seen) as items of property.

Philosoph Peter Singer Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at the Princeton University and author of numerous books

Are terms such as “freedom” and “captivity” not merely expressions of our own creation? Isn’t there a difference between humans and animals due to our capacity to think rationally?

That is certainly true. But you can’t explain these concepts to a two year old either, nor to someone with profound intellectual disability. Nonetheless, we do not lock them up and put them on display for others to look at. We don’t perform the kind of medical experiments on them, that have been performed on great apes. Although, fortunately, now medical research on great apes in many countries has been prohibited and that is, I think, partly a result of the work of the Great Ape Project. But given that we think all human beings have some basic rights, irrespective of their capacity to reason or reflect, or think about freedom as an abstraction, then to grant that to all humans beings, but to deny it to chimpanzees and gorillas is simply saying: “Oh well, they are not members of our species, and only our species has rights.” That is simply not defensible. We think it is very similar to racist or sexist ways of limiting the rights of non-european races, or those of women, as it has happened in the past.

Gorilla Bantu playing (Photo: picture-alliance/dpa). Bantu, 24, died of cardiorespiratory arrest while he was sedated by veterinarians and prepared to be transferred

Some argue that zoos serve an educational purpose. An irreplaceable meeting place for man and the animal, without which we would not care about them so much…

I am not aware of any evidence that looking at animals in captivity inclines us to care more about them. I suspect that one major lesson that people absorb through caged zoos is that we have the right to confine animals and use them as, basically, forms of entertainment. I think the educational lesson would be better, if they were kept in much larger enclosures where they can live a more normal life for their species. We would learn much more from that and we would also learn greater respect for them.

You are an advocate of the philosophical current called Preference Utilitarianism. What does this mean with regard to animals?

I am a utilitarian. I think that the right action is the one that has the best consequences. In terms of what those consequences are, utilitarians classically have referred to pleasure and pain. Preference utilitarians refer to the satisfaction of preferences. Whichever form of Utilitarianism we take, it’s clear that animals come in, because they do experience pain and pleasure and animals do have preferences, obviously for avoiding pain and experiencing pleasure, as well as perhaps many other preferences as well. And we are not justified in disregarding or discounting those preferences or those pains and pleasures, just because they are not members of our species. That is why from a utilitarian perspective, animals clearly do have a kind of moral status, that means that we have to consider their interests, and we should not regard those interests as less significant than ours, just because they are not members of our species.

In your book “Animal Liberation” (1975), widely considered to be a pioneer piece of work within the realm of the animal advocacy movement, you discuss the rule of man over animals. Does the apparent growth in interest around topics such as vegetarianism and the defense of animal rights reflect a shift in the greater public consciousness?

A baby bonobo is sleeping on the belly of her mother in a zoo cage (Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa).
Great apes like these bonobos should be granted basic rights says Singer

Today there’s a greater interest in animal rights, and in part that certainly has something to do with a shift in our diet. Particularly away from factory farmed animal products. Also, I believe there is an increasing recognition that this is environmentally not sustainable, and that it contributes to climate change. So I think that there are a lot of factors that are leading to a significant increase in interest in vegetarian and vegan diets. And I’ve noticed through traveling in many countries that vegan options have become available. Ten years ago you would not have found them.

You have often talked about your positions on assisted dying and suicide, pleading that one should be able to decide freely when to end his or her life. How does this apply to animals?

I think there are differences between different kinds of beings in their capacities to choose their own death, and this would be true with humans as well. You have to be of a certain age, and mentally competent in order to receive physician assistance in dying, in those jurisdictions in which it is legal, for example the Netherlands or Belgium or more recently Canada, and some states of the United States. Non-human animals don’t meet those conditions, and therefore others do have to make that judgement. Sometimes, and I think anybody who has had a cat or a dog might be aware of this, animals become ill and are clearly suffering, and there is little hope of recovery. Then we have to make a decision for them, and that should happen in zoos as well.

People demonstrating at the World Vegan Day in Berlin (Photo: Bernd Settnik/dpa) More and more people are getting concerned about animal rights as seen at a demonstration in Berlin

You travel a lot. Which general differences in the protection and treatment of animals do you encounter?

I have seen significant improvements in Europe over the past couple of decades, particularly with regard to factory farming. Some of the worst forms of confinement have been prohibited, for example the standard battery cages for egg laying hens. Those are advances which, to the best of my knowledge, do not exist in Latin America. So in general you’d have to say that the region needs to catch up with where Europe is on that kind of progressive legislation. Also on matters like the testing of cosmetics on animals. So there are problems, and not only in Latin America, but also in Asia. Very severe problems in China in terms of animal welfare, where there is really a national animal welfare war.

Why do you think is it so difficult to get through claims for better living conditions for animals in zoos, let alone a ban on keeping apes and other animals in them?

It is always hard to produce change against established interests, and zoos have been doing what they’re doing for a long time. Especially when you have urban zoos with rather limited amounts of land, it is very hard for them to change, because they just do not have the space to provide the proper conditions for animals.

An ice bear in a zoo in Munich in front of people watching (Photo: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Müller). Zoos have less space in urban areas

They would have to greatly reduce the number of animals and the variety of different species that they have. For this they worry that people would not come to visit them anymore, so it is a constant struggle. I think we really need to get zoos out of these urban areas where they don’t have enough space, and move them outside cities where they can be more like a sanctuary or wildlife park, and provide dignified conditions for animals.

Interview: Nicolás Mandeau.
Peter Singer is professor of bioethics at the Princeton University and author of numerous books, including most recently: “The Most Good You Can Do. How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically”.

http://www.dw.com/en/should-animals-have-human-rights/a-19427091