Editorial: Trapping, killing contests should have no place in NM

Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, where:• If you find a wild animal caught in a trap, you can neither free it nor put it out of its misery.

• You can kill as many non-game animals – porcupines, prairie dogs, rabbits, ground squirrels, Himalayan tahrs, skunks, feral hogs, bobcats and coyotes – as you like without a permit, sometimes for cash and fabulous prizes.

Just what does this say about our state?

New Mexico’s government-sponsored animal cruelty came to light again this week when a Placitas man released a fox from a foot-hold trap. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish told Gary Miles, the founder and owner of Placitas Animal Rescue, who responded to a runner’s call about the fox, that he could be arrested for being in possession of the fox.

Miles said the fox “escaped” after “it healed up real nice.”

State statute 19.32.2.11 (C) says, in part, “It shall be illegal to destroy, disturb or remove any trap, snare or trapped wildlife belonging to a licensed trapper without permission of the owner of the trap or snare.” It raises the question why, in 2018, New Mexico endorses the use of leg-hold and other traps on public land, devices that were invented in the 1800s and have been banned in more than 80 countries, and banned or severely restricted in at least eight states.

They were banned because they are archaic, cruel and indiscriminate.

The fox story came to light around a week after an Albuquerque gun shop sponsored a coyote-killing contest outside Bernalillo County. And while that contest was on private land, the arguments that the shooters are removing a predatory threat or gathering pelts and meat or a trophy are used to disguise the real intent: killing for killing’s sake. Many times, the carcasses are piled up and left to rot.

Coyotes, like bobcats, are keystone species and compensatory breeders; kill too many, and they not only will make more to fill the gap, but in the interim the rodent population explodes.

But hey, that’s just what wildlife biologists say. Why let science get in the way of blood sport?

The New Mexico Legislature stepped up and banned cockfighting because lawmakers saw it for what it is: barbaric cruelty that has no place in our state’s proud cultures.

They need to do the same for trapping and killing contests.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1117016/trapping-killing-contests-should-have-no-place-in-nm.html

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New Jersey’s latest bear hunt may also be last for a while

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20171126_ap_5de4b22f54384a99b6cdb511068ad0d9.html

Bear Hunt

Protesters gather not far from a bear hunt check-in station at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Fredon, N.J., in December 2014.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Hunters across New Jersey are making final preparations for the state’s next black bear hunt, which also may be the last one the state holds for some time.

While a formal decision won’t be made until next year, the hunt’s future seemed to be sealed on election night, when Democrat Phil Murphy – who has called for a moratorium on the hunts – won the gubernatorial race.

The state’s firearm-only season is scheduled for Dec. 4 to 9. It comes just weeks after 243 bears were killed during a six-day hunt staged mostly in northern New Jersey. The first three days of the last hunt were reserved for bow hunting, with bows and muzzle-loading guns allowed the final three days.

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 made it annual.

___

WHY IS A HUNT HELD?

State wildlife officials have touted the annual hunts as an important part of controlling the bear population and minimizing run-ins with humans.

Black bears serve an important role in healthy ecosystems. They can travel great distances and disperse the seeds of many different plant species while feeding on fruits and berries. They can also clear out small amounts of vegetation while foraging, which opens up space for other plants.

But officials say there are concerns some may be going hungry due to the bear population density being too high.

Animal rights activists and other critics say the hunts are inhumane and unnecessary. They also argue that the number of bear-human incidents is down.

__

FIREARM-ONLY HUNT

The firearm-only bear hunt will be held alongside the six-day firearm deer season. State officials have the option to extend the hunt to the following week if there aren’t enough bears killed.

Hunters must have a permit to hunt in one of the five bear hunting zones. They can obtain permits for two separate zones.

State wildlife officials have estimated that 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80.

___

FUTURE HUNTS?

Officials expect state policy to change once Murphy takes office in January.

Murphy won the seat earlier this month when he defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who had called for the hunts to continue. During the campaign, Murphy said he would impose a moratorium on the hunt and criticized Republican Gov. Chris Christie for holding hunts every year since he took office.

Murphy says that before authorizing another hunt, the state needs a “fuller understanding and proof” that they work better than nonlethal options in the state’s long-term bear management policies.

___

BEAR AS FOOD

Experts say bear meat should be butchered within hours of the kill. They recommend that people slow-cook it, marinate it or use is as a ground meat.

To help hunters and cooks with their food preparations, the state Department of Environmental Protection has a “bear cookbook” on its website. It includes information on how to butcher the bear and safely cook the meat, along with recipes including spiced bear tenderloin, sweet and sour bear pot roast, spicy bratwurst-style bear sausage and bear gumbo.

Many hunters also donate some or all of the meat from their kills to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters through state and local programs.

___

MOUNTED BEARS/BEAR RUGS

Once a bear is killed and checked in with state officials at designated sites, most hunters will head to a butcher shop to have the meat removed.

If they also want to memorialize the bear, their next stop is often a taxidermy shop, where the bruins are mounted or their hides are turned into rugs.

Some jobs can take a few months to complete and will cost a few thousand dollars, while some work will only cost the hunter a few hundred dollars.

Trump Jr. jokes about taking daughter’s candy to “teach her about socialism”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-jr-jokes-about-taking-daughters-candy-to-teach-her-about-socialism/

“teach her about socialism”

Donald Trump Jr. thrusts his fist after speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio U.S. July 19, 2016.

REUTERS / BRIAN SNYDER

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s older son who is in charge of his father’s business responsibilities, joked on Twitter Tuesday night that he would take half his daughter’s candy from Halloween to “teach her about socialism.”

“I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight and give it so some kid who sat at home,” he tweeted. “It’s never too early to teach her about socialism.”

I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight & give it to some kid who sat at home. It’s never to early to teach her about socialism.

She was given candy for free.
You inherited all your money.
You met with Russian spies.
It’s “too”. https://twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr/status/925495970032443392 

J.K. Rowling, the now-wealthy author of the Harry Potter series who was once so poor she had to write the first novel on napkins in a pub, wrote, “Fill her bucket with old candy left by her great-grandfather, then explain that she has more because she’s smarter than all the other kids.”

Like his father, Trump Jr. — the 39-year-old whom the president defended as a “good boy” in light of the June 2016 meeting he held with a Russia-connected lawyer — has become well-known for his frequent and bombastic use of Twitter. He often uses his account to defend his father and bash liberals.

Trump Jr. and his wife, Vanesa Trump, have five children — Chloe, Kai Madison, Spencer Frederick, Tristan Milos and Donald Trump III. They were married in 2005.

 

What U.S. Poultry Producers Do Not Want You to Know About Bird Flu

http://www.alternet.org/food/what-poultry-producers-dont-want-you-know-about-bird-flu

Once again, bird flu is back in the U.S. From 2014 through mid-2015, 48 million chickens and turkeys were killed in the U.S. to prevent the disease’s spread and protect famer’s profits.

Factory farmers routinely fight to keep images of how poultry are raised out of public view, so consumers do not lose their appetites and will continue eating their products. Industrial farmers also fight hard to keep images of how chickens and turkeys are “euthanized” out of the public view.

It is easy to see why. To prevent the spread of bird flu, healthy, floor-reared turkeys and broiler chickens are herded into an enclosed area where they were administered propylene glycol foam to suffocate them. Michael Blackwell, chief veterinary officer at The Humane Society of the United States, likens death by foam to “cuffing a person’s mouth and nose, during which time you are very much aware that your breathing has been precluded.”

“Ventilation shutdown” is also used to kill healthy birds and prevent the spread of the flu. It raises the barn temperature to at least 104F for a minimum of three hours killing the entire flock—a method so extreme that even factory farmers admit it is cruel. During the 2015 outbreak, “Round the clock incinerators and crews in hazmat suits,” were required for the bird depopulation reported Fortune—a sequence likely to occur again.

Factory farmers like to blame bird flu on “migratory birds,” denying that high-volume production methods allow the spread of the disease. But the fact is, factory farms house 300,000 or more egg layers in one barn versus only tens of thousands of birds in “broiler barns” which is why the flu spreads so quickly among egg-laying hens.

Moreover, we the taxpayers compensate factory farmers for their self-induced losses and appalling farm practices.

“The poultry industry appreciates the fact that the USDA helps protect the health of the nation’s livestock and poultry by responding to major animal disease events such as this,” said a letter from the National Association Egg Farmers to Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics during the previous bird flu outbreak. But please “provide indemnification for the whole flock and not just the surviving,” the letter asks.

The only interaction most people have with poultry production is the prices they pay at the grocery store. When prices are low, people do not think twice. When prices jump—as they likely will with the new bird flu outbreak—few realize the higher prices are a direct result of the conditions that make low prices possible because they invite disease.

If an egg carton said, “30,000 hens were suffocated with propylene glycol foam to keep this low price,” would people buy the eggs? Would anyone buy a Thanksgiving turkey whose label said, “thousands of healthy turkeys were smothered to keep this low price?”

In addition to hiding the round-the-clock suffocation of birds to prevent bird flu’s spread, factory farmers assure the public that bird flu is not a threat to humans so people should keep eating their products. Sadly, their claim is not totally true.

During a bird flu outbreak, the unethical and deceptive practices of poultry producers are in full view. Yet, it is not hard to find healthy, protein-packed alternatives to factory farm-produced poultry products. By doing so, the U.S. public sends a strong message to poultry producers.

Bull Bison Brutally Stabbed by Hunters

(Warning: Contains Graphic Images)

On February 21, 2017 Crow, Cindy and I were on patrol in the afternoon heading up Jardine Road when we came upon two bull bison grazing beside the road. We stopped for a few moments to admire them. We also had severe reservations on their safety.

We continued to drive up Jardine Road to one of the lookout points and were checking on recent remains of bison kills. We heard five gunshots and our hearts sank.

It took about ten minutes to drive down Jardine Road and discover what we had feared. There were no hunting vehicles present, but we saw three teenagers and one younger boy situated about 50 yards up an incline from the road. They were busy gutting one of the bulls.

 

Bison Slaughter 1

 

We then spotted the other bull only 15 yards from the road. Cindy thought it was still breathing and Crow confirmed. Crow and Cindy immediately walked up to the teenagers to tell them this bull was still alive.

 

Bison Slaughter 2

 

The teenagers came down to the suffering bull with knives in their hands and immediately proceeded to stab him in the neck. The bull immediately jumped to his knees and everyone scattered. The bull fell down, but was actively moving its legs and head.

 

Bison Slaughter 3

 

The teenagers once again proceeded to stab him in the neck several more times.

 

Bison Slaughter 4
Bison Slaughter 5

 

He fought for his life as they stabbed him, raising his legs and hindquarters toward the sky in a desperate attempt to get away from his attackers.

 

Bison Slaughter 6
Bison Slaughter 8

 

The teenagers were giving up.

Then the adult hunters arrived. One of the hunters walked up to the struggling bull and shot it.

 

Bison Slaughter 9

 

The three of us are incredibly distraught at having to witness such a horrendous scene. I am certain that we will never forget the experience.

These two magnificent bulls had spent their lives living within Yellowstone. They lived their lives grazing and strolling along the rivers and roads of the park. They had become immune to vehicles and people. They lacked a fear mechanism that would allow them to avoid or defend themselves from such a brutal attack. When these two magnificent bison migrated across the park boundary, they were just strolling along a road and grazing like they always did. Hunters then pulled-up in a truck and shot them from a few yards away. This murder continued with the brutal stabbing and final slaughter of one of them. There is no skill to this type of “hunting,” which is really nothing more than a slaughter.

Witnessing this brutality makes me wonder how many other bison have succumbed to a similar death.

With the Buffalo,

Larry A. Lyons
BFC Volunteer

Super-size problem

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2017/03-04/super-size-problem-broiler-chickens.html?referrer=https://outlook.live.com/

Americans’ demand for cheap meat has forced factory-farm broiler chickens to grow faster and larger than ever before

All Animals magazine, March/April 2017

by Karen Lange

  • Click or tap the image to enlarge.

Fresh from the trauma of World War II, mid-century Americans imagined a peaceful, prosperous future. They dreamed of moon rockets and flying cars. They envisioned house-cleaning robots. And, after years of rationing, they hoped for bountiful meals. Most particularly, they hungered for chicken. But not the scrawny, spent laying hens, exhausted from their lives producing eggs, that Americans ate when beef and pork were scarce. Instead, they looked forward to the bird of the future—bigger, better.

The A&P grocery chain invited poultry producers to enter a nationwide contest. Farmers sent eggs from their plumpest birds to a U.S. Department of Agriculture station on Maryland’s eastern shore. Researchers selected and bred birds who were larger and faster- growing to create a new type of chicken, “a broad-breasted bird with bigger drumsticks, plumper thighs and layers of white meat,” according to writer and broadcaster Lowell Thomas, who narrated a documentary sponsored by Texaco. It would be, proclaimed the film’s title, “The Chicken of Tomorrow.”

Over decades, America got all that and more.

As the winning chicks, hatched in 1948, were used to breed the strains now used by large-scale commercial farms, the time needed to raise a “broiler”—a chicken raised for meat—dropped from 12 weeks to six or less, the feed required fell by half and the growth rate multiplied by four. The amount of breast meat on an individual bird rose by nearly 70 percent. By 1978, a pound of chicken, which in 1922 had cost around $5.50 in today’s dollars, cost just $2.46. Per capita, chicken consumption grew four-fold, and a whole new industry emerged, dominated by factory farms controlled by corporations such as Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride.

  • At 56 days old, when chickens are typically sent to slaughter, today’s broilers are much larger than broilers of the past. Photo by Poultry Science Association.

A recent paper shows the consequences: Scientists at a research farm in Alberta that has continued to breed earlier strains of chickens took pictures of a 1956 type broiler, a 1978 broiler and a 2005 broiler, all 8 weeks old, and placed the photos side by side. The result is unsettling: On the left, a comparatively fit bird (1956), in the center a plump chicken (1978) who appears “normal” (if you don’t know how chickens used to look), and on the right, the “chicken of tomorrow,” a morbidly obese bird (2005) who appears monstrous next to the others. By modern standards, she’s a week or two past the date when she would be slaughtered for meat, and she’s at high risk for heart failure. She’s a juvenile, but the size of her body has outgrown the capacity of her bones and joints, muscles and organs to support it, says John Webster, professor emeritus of animal husbandry at the University of Bristol.

“If [broilers] weren’t killed at 42 days, they wouldn’t survive another two weeks,” he says.

During the last days of their lives, about a third of broiler chickens suffer leg problems so severe they struggle to walk. Factory-farm workers move through buildings to collect dead birds and break the necks of lame ones. Survivors huddle on the floor, trapped by their own bodies. Unable to escape the pain, they lie in litter strewn with their own waste. Ammonia burns their breasts and often blisters their skin and feet.

In 2016, The HSUS launched a campaign to end these kind of conditions. In June, Perdue became the first major producer to commit to reform. Major buyers followed.

The initiative comes after years of research have documented the suffering produced by the birds’ genetics. Before joining HSUS-affiliate Humane Society International, Sara Shields studied whether farmers could encourage broilers to dustbathe and improve their welfare through increased exercise. But she found that because of their size, dustbathing was not enough, and by the time the birds approached the market weight they did not engage in much behavior beyond sitting and eating.

What has taken place is the opposite of Darwinian selection, Webster says. “They’ve destroyed the fitness of the bird in order to produce the most meat.”

With approximately 9 billion broilers raised and slaughtered each year in the U.S. alone (60 billion worldwide), Webster calls the broiler industry the single greatest example of human inhumanity toward another animal. It’s why Shields chose chickens as the subject of her doctoral dissertation.

“If an animal only has six weeks to live, it’s really important that they have a positive experience,” she says, “because that’s all they’ve got—six weeks.”

Chickens raised for meat spend their days in dark barns where they often sit on the floor in their own waste. Photo by Mercy for Animals.

But to improve quality of life, breeders must change broiler genetics so birds grow more slowly and can live longer, Webster, Shields and other experts say. Fortunately, breeders still have small supplies of slower- growing chicks that can be used to reform the industry. In the United Kingdom, grocery stores competing for customers are already selling birds that take 10 weeks to reach market weight. In the United States, at the urging of The HSUS and other animal welfare groups, producers and buyers are beginning to shift toward this. There is also hope that researchers can eventually breed a faster-growing bird that is healthy and walks without pain.

The HSUS has worked with Perdue, one of the country’s largest producers, to develop a reform plan that includes changing the type of broilers farmers raise and offering birds more room. Late in 2016, the five largest food service companies in the country, which together buy more than 115 million chickens a year—Compass Group, Sodexo, Aramark, Delaware North and Centerplate—announced with The HSUS that by 2024 they will adopt a new Global Animal Partnership standard for healthier breeds of chickens, better living conditions and increased space per bird.

Starbucks and Panera Bread have announced a similar policy. Aside from ensuring better lives for the chickens, the companies are also mandating a slaughter method that avoids excessively inhumane practices and instead uses a multistep controlled-atmosphere processing system that renders chickens unconscious so they suffer less.

Josh Balk, HSUS vice president of farm animal protection, says the organization is meeting with other major companies. “It will take years to make these changes happen,” he says. “We have to start now.”

Modern broilers are raised in starkly different ways: Factory farms stock the fastest- growing birds, while some smaller farms let slower-growing birds roam outside. As The HSUS transforms the industry, bigger farms will switch to healthier birds able to lead better lives, even if they are still indoors.

  • Due to their unnatural size, many chickens suffer painful injuries and are unable to walk. Photo by Compassion Over Killing.

Suffering silently

Walk into one of the windowless, dimly lit factory farms where most U.S. broilers are raised, and you’re likely to see tens of thousands of obese birds, barely stirring, sitting on the floor in their own waste. They have been selected for massive appetites, bred to eat and sit. Many of the birds have painful leg and joint problems that make walking difficult. They’re confined so close together that they jostle one another. This, plus the absence of a natural light-dark cycle, prevents sleep, which is critical for young, growing animals. It’s a scene of quiet misery. There’s a stench of ammonia. The birds’ bodies are on the brink of giving out. So extreme is the stress that in order for breeder broilers to survive long enough to lay eggs (about 20 weeks), producers must restrict their feed intake, sometimes feeding them only every other day. Broilers raised to be eaten usually die at 6 weeks, says Shields. “They still peep like baby chicks when they’re slaughtered.”

Ranging freely

The chickens at White Oaks Pastures, owned by HSUS state agriculture advisory council member Will Harris in Bluffton, Georgia, are very different because of their genetics, behavior and environment. Place a factory farm broiler outside to forage for food and move with a flock, and that chicken probably would not survive, Harris says. Using chicks who genetically resemble birds from the 1950s, Harris puts his birds out on pasture to do what chickens evolved to: search out insects and other edible morsels by scratching the soil, all the while fertilizing dirt with their manure. They walk miles each day before they roost in mobile houses that are towed to different spots. At 12 weeks, they reach 3 to 4 pounds and are slaughtered on the farm. The price consumers pay, via the White Oak Pastures website, is around $4 per pound—more than three times what conventional chicken meat costs. It’s a struggle to find people to spend that, says Harris, who has turned a profit with pasture-raised cows and pigs but not so far with chickens: “Consumers will either support humane production, and it will thrive, or they will not, and it will perish.”

On Will Harris’ farm in Georgia, broiler chickens grow at a healthier rate and have room to roam. Photo by Julie Busch Branaman/For The HSUS.

A more humane future

The HSUS is encouraging producers to breed healthier broilers who live free from pain and engage in typical chicken behaviors— in other words, to be like chickens were until the push for maximum efficiency altered their genetic makeup. Given a modest increase in space (at least 1 square foot per six pounds of animal) along with more natural light, better litter quality and hay bales, their lives will be substantially altered. They will walk around, dust bathe, peck and perch. For the birds, a lifetime of misery will be turned into an existence that allows for a little bit of pleasure. Webster, the professor in the U.K., has seen it happen. Chickens there live in conditions that allow them to demonstrate their intelligence and engaging personalities. When a human visitor arrives, they rush forward to great him. “The big movement is to get a better bird,” he says. “Once you’ve got a better bird, you can give it a better life.”

‘Hog Apocalypse’: Texas has a new weapon in its war on feral pigs. It’s not pretty.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/02/23/hog-apocalypse-texas-has-a-new-weapon-in-its-war-on-feral-pigs-its-not-pretty/?utm_term=.01fdacb6c80b
                                                       _____________________
Best lines: Stephanie Bell, an animal-cruelty director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that feral hogs “should not be sentenced to death simply for trying to forage and feed their own families.” She noted correctly that feral boars were brought to the United States to be hunted for sport before they proliferated across Texas and other states.
                                                       _________________________
February 23 at 8:44 AM

Securing a Texan’s right to shoot wild pigs from a helicopter may have been Sid Miller’s best-known accomplishment before this week.

The state’s agricultural commissioner hangs a boar’s head and toy chopperoutside his office to remind people of the law he got passed, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

But Miller has never stopped searching for better ways to kill some 2 million feral hogs in Texas that the commissioner accuses of eating newborn lambs, uprooting crops and “entire city parks,” trampling across highways and causing more than $50 million in damage a year.

The search is over, Miller announced Tuesday: “The ‘Hog Apocalypse’ may finally be on the horizon.”

Miller said he would return his entire research budget to the state. He doesn’t need it anymore, he says, after finding “a new weapon in the long-standing war on the destructive feral hog population.”

It’s called warfarin: the pesticide with war in its name. Pigs eat it. It kills them slowly, often painfully, and turns their innards blue. It’s already wiped out swine herds in Australia, which later banned the product as inhumane.

The Environmental Protection Agency just approved it.

Hunters and wildlife experts, not so much.

More than 3,000 have signed the Texas Hog Hunters Association’s petition against Miller’s chemical war.

“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family?” the group’s vice president, Eydin Hansen, asked the Dallas CBS affiliate. “I can tell you, I don’t.”

Stephanie Bell, an animal-cruelty director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that feral hogs “should not be sentenced to death simply for trying to forage and feed their own families.” She noted correctly that feral boars were brought to the United States to be hunted for sport before they proliferated across Texas and other states.

Tyler Campbell, a former researcher with the U.S. Agriculture Department, led the agency’s feral-hog studies in Kingsville, Tex., for several years, when warfarin was first tested on pigs in the United States.

“It was fast-tracked,” he said.

The test results weren’t pretty, he said. Marketed as Kaput Feral Hog Bait, the product is comparable to rat poison — with similar effects.

“They bleed,” Campbell said. Internally and externally, usually for a week or more before they die.

Just as concerning, he said, were difficulties in preventing other species from eating the poison — which is known to paralyze chickens, make rats vomit and kill all manner of animals.

The EPA regulations — which Texas plans to strengthen by licensing warfarin’s use — requires hogs to be fed the poison out of bins with 10-pound lids.

The lid tactic won’t work, Campbell said. Before retiring from government research a few years ago, he saw a study in which raccoons lifted much heavier lids in search of food.

“The wildlife community at large has reasons to have concerns,” he said.

“We do have very serious concerns about non-target species,” state wildlife veterinarian Jim LaCour told the Times-Picayune.

Even if only hogs can get to the bait, LaCour said, “they’re going to drop crumbs on the outside.” Those crumbs might then be eaten by rodents, which might be eaten by birds, and thus warfarin could spread throughout the ecosystem.

People should be concerned too, LaCour said: Millions take low doses of warfarin, like Coumadin, to prevent blood clots. Ingesting more from poisoned game could be “very problematic,” he said.

Miller isn’t worried.

The commissioner’s office didn’t reply to requests for comment. But in a statement to the CBS station DFW, he said years of testing prove that other wildlife, or pets, “would have to ingest extremely large quantities over the course of several days” to get sick.

As for the hunters’ objections, Miller said a blue dye will make poisoned hogs obvious long before they reach the oven.

“If you want them gone, this will get them gone,” the commissioner told the Statesman.

As precedent, he pointed to Australia, where he said warfarin “was used for many years” on feral hogs.

It was — in experiments that concerned government officials so much they later banned its use on grounds of “extreme suffering.”

The poison was effective, granted. It proved as apocalyptic as Miller promises, taking just a few months to wipe out an estimated 99 percent of wild pigs in Sunny Corner State Forest during an experiment in 1987.

Other studies described poisoned hogs’ last days in explicit detail: Some were lucky; massive internal bleeding killed them quickly after they ate warfarin. Most suffered for a week or more — one pig for a full month before it died.

“Animals moved only if approached closely and spent most time lying in shelter,” researchers wrote in Australian Wildlife Research in 1990.

Some leaked blood from their eyes or anuses. Many bled internally — sometimes into their joints, causing severe pain. An autopsy revealed one pig’s liver had fused to its stomach.

Being shot from a helicopter, the Australian government concluded, was objectively less cruel.

Musher threatens legal action over Sled Dogs documentary

Wolf Photos Copyright Jim Robertson

‘I have euthanized dogs of my own and I would again if I needed to,’ says one operator

By Yvette Brend, CBC News <http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364> Posted: Nov 27, 2016 7:00 AM PT Last Updated: Nov 27, 2016 10:53 AM PT

Hans Gatt’s lead dogs head into a turn just after leaving the official restart of the Iditarod dog sled race in Willow, Alaska, in March 2014. (Reuters)

B.C. and Alberta sled dog handlers say a soon-to-air film, billed as an exposé <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sled-dog-alaska-documenary-canada-whistler-film-festival-mushers-huskies-iditarod-1.3845732> of the northern dogsled industry, is misleading, and they want it pulled from a film festival.

Sled Dogs <http://festival.tsharp.xyz/en/whistlerfilmfestival/film/242/sled-dogs> has been touted as the Blackfish <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sled-dog-alaska-documenary-canada-whistler-film-festival-mushers-huskies-iditarod-1.3845732> — a documentary film that exposed the cruel treatment of an orca at San Diego’s SeaWorld — of the dogsled industry.

The film documents the lives of racing dogs behind the scenes on the 1,600-kilometre Iditarod. Over the years, at least 140 dogs have died in the race.

* A scathing indictment of industry <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sled-dog-alaska-documenary-canada-whistler-film-festival-mushers-huskies-iditarod-1.3845732>

But dog handlers say Sled Dogs paints an unfair picture of the industry. They want it pulled from the Whistler Film Festival lineup before the Dec. 3 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC0PxBfeas8> premiere.

“I threatened legal action because no one from the film had talked with me, seen my kennel or met my dogs,” said Megan Routley of Kingmik Dogled Tours, based near Banff National Park.

Routley was furious about the film’s trailers, which she said linked to an activist site calling for a “boycott of all things sled dog.”

She argues the film depicts the industry as cruel and inhumane, showing misleading scenes of dead dogs piled in an Alaskan kennel run by a hoarder, who mushers say actually sold pets and had no links to the dog racing world.

The film also shows dogs chained and isolated for months in the off-season.

But dog handlers defend some of the practices, arguing that chaining, or even euthanizing, a dog is not as cruel as it appears.

Chains aren’t torture, say mushers

There are very few statistics on the sled dog industry, but at least 100 kennels operate between Alaska, B.C, Alberta and northern U.S. states.

Tim Tedford operates a kennel and recreational dogsled touring business near Kelowna, B.C. He also speaks for the Professional Mushers Association of B.C., which represents about 10 kennels.

He agrees with Routley that the film is one-sided.

Director Fran Levitt’s documentary Sled Dogs premieres at the Whistler Film Festival Dec. 3. (Sled Dogs/Fran Levitt)

The association formed in 2011 after news of a sled dog cull in Whistler B.C <http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/sled-dog-slaughter-prompts-b-c-task-force-1.977101> . sparked widespread anger.

That cull inspired Toronto director Fern Levitt to make her film.

But Tedford said Levitt got it wrong.

He said B.C.’s sled dog care <http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/down/sled_dog_standards_care.pdf> standards are the highest in the world, but the film ignored that.

Yukon musher Michelle Phillips with one of partner Ed Hopkins’ dogs at the 2016 Yukon Quest. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

“It’s in your best interest to have happy, well-socialized sled dogs that love you. They are not little machines,” he said.

Dogs must be released daily, but also chained up close enough to each other so they can interact, he said.

He said dog abuse horrifies him, but said he has found no scientific evidence to prove that chaining a dog causes harm.

A Cornell University study <http://www.naiaonline.org/uploads/WhitePapers/Cornell_study_on_tethering_and_pen.pdf> suggested that keeping dogs penned together is not necessarily better than tying them up solo.

‘You have to do right by them’

For her part, Levitt believes that many dog mushers, like Tedford, are devoted to their animals. But she argued some lose sight of the dogs’ true needs.

“I feel that the mushers are missing the point: is the commercial dog sledding industry humane?” she asked.

While Tedford has always decried the controversial cull of the 48 dogs later exhumed in Whistler in 2011, he said sometimes shooting an animal is the most humane thing to do.

Fort McMurray sled dogs train on a dog run in Alberta in April. (Mush McMurray)

“It’s not acceptable to shoot or kill healthy dogs in any way,” he said.

But if a dog gets sick, old or wounded and there is no veterinarian, he believes it’s an appropriate action.

“What if you don’t have a needle or a pill? What if you have a dog who has been healthy for 12 years and has never set foot inside a veterinary , a sterile, beeping, stainless steel and tile, sort of scary place. Is that really where you want to take him?” said Tedford.

“I have euthanized dogs of my own and I would again if I needed to.

“It’s a very difficult thing to do. You love those dogs. They’re your family. But you have to do right by them. They’ve given you their whole life. They’ve given you their whole being and they do it willingly,” he said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sled-dogs-mushers-reaction-bc-culling-euthanizing-1.3867429

Sled Dogs Film

An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

SledDogsFilm.com
November 2016

Sled Dogs is the first documentary to look at what happens at sled dog operations and the Iditarod once the tourists go home. This film weaves together various characters and narratives to explore a truth about the dog sledding industry while posing the question: “Is the abuse seen against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?

sled dogs film

Watch the trailer and learn more at Sled Dogs Film

World Premiere at the Whistler Film Festival November 30 – December 4

Picture yourself flying along a frozen, winding trail surrounded by wild boreal forests with only the whisper of sled runners beneath you and a howling pack of dogs to break the solitude. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why year after year thousands of tourists flock to experience one of the most quintessentially Northern pastimes: dog sledding. This idyllic portrait has been promoted by both the tourism industry and the dog sledding world for decades in an attempt to maximize profits while concealing a sometimes gruesome reality.

Dogs in many commercial dog sled companies are continually tethered to a chain and euthanized when they’re deemed no longer useful. In 2011, the public finally learned the truth after an incident in Whistler, B.C. made international headlines: One hundred dogs were brutally murdered and thrown into a mass grave by a tourism company after an unprofitable season. Sled dog companies along with the B.C. government decried the practice, claiming it to be an isolated occurrence; but animal rights activists maintain that this practice is pervasive throughout the entire industry. As seen in the film, the trial of Dan MacEachen in Colorado will once again bring the sled dog industry into the public eye. Dan, who was the owner of one of the largest dog sledding companies in North America, was charged with eight counts of animal cruelty.

If he was found guilty, the case would spark a much-needed debate about animal rights laws in North America. This is not the first time concerns were raised against MacEachen. In 1988, he was charged with animal cruelty, but the charge was dropped and Dan continued to run his sledding operations until 2013.

“The Last Great Race”, Alaska’s Iditarod, is one of the largest financial pillars in the northern community and is a tradition well loved by mushers and spectators alike. Thousands of tourists flock each year to watch as teams of sled dogs run over a thousand miles across Mother Nature’s harshest landscape.

Some of the Iditarod supporters claim that sled dogs are “canine athletes” and love the challenge of the sport. They claim that sled dogs are born and bred to race and are “different” from other dogs. Animal rights critics along with some former mushers fervently disagree and claim that these statements are used to justify animal abuse and keep a misinformed public in the dark. Sled Dogs is the first documentary to explore both sides of the dog sledding industry. This film weaves together various characters and narratives to explore a truth about the dog sledding industry while posing the question: “Is the abuse seen against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?