North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is a group looking to close down the states high fence shooting operations. Lot's of interesting stuff going on in ND. Better lat than never?
There are giant beasts stalking South Florida. Seriously: Burmese Pythons that can grow as long as a Winnebago and have been known to swallow German shepherds who take a wrong turn. There are an estimated 30,000 of them, slithering through Miami and surrounding counties. The reptiles wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. They can also kill people. Just last year, an 8½-foot family pet Burmese escaped its cage and strangled a 2-year-old girl while she slept in her crib.Read the rest at The Daily Beast and at Time magazine.
Concern about the snake menace has been growing for years. Last summer, the state offered 19 hunters licenses to chase down the critters, hoping they could help bring the population under control. It didn’t work. So now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is taking a far more dramatic step: On March 6, they’re declaring open season on the giant pythons, opening up 736,000 prime snake-hunting acres to any Floridian with a hunting license. People from as far away as Australia want in on the action. For six weeks, an expected crowd of hundreds will get to take their best shot at bagging the beasts.
Local authorities talk of the need to bring in outside firepower with an almost comic bureaucratic calm. “In order to increase the numbers of reptiles of concern taken, we believe it is important to give the hunting community the tools for success, and that means the knowledge they need to apply their skill,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto, in announcing the need for to unleash hunters. Translation: The newbies need to follow the vets around, learning how to track, locate, and grab the suckers, then chop their heads off with a knife or machete. Those too squeamish to get close will shoot the snakes, with pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
HSUS Hit by Federal Racketeering LawsuitOther Animal Rights Groups Named in Case
The parent company of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Feld Entertainment, Inc., recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and a group of other animal rights organizations under a law prohibiting racketeering.
The suit, filed on February 16, comes after Feld Entertainment spent close to a decade in litigation with HSUS, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Animal Protection Institute (API) and others over its treatment of elephants used for circus performances. The original litigation came after a former Ringling employee named
TomRider began making public appearances alleging abuses of the animals.
During the case brought by Rider and backed by the animal rights groups,
information was presented that indicated that Rider received numerous payments from the groups through a complex web of financial transactions. This information played a key role in U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to dismiss the case in December 2009. Judge Sullivan indicated that these payments represented Rider’s “sole source of income” throughout the duration of the case and that Rider did not have the legal standing to bring the suit.
In his decision, Judge Sullivan further stated, “The Court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony regarding the matters discussed herein, i.e., the allegations related to his standing to sue.”
These findings by Judge Sullivan prompted Feld Entertainment to file its own lawsuit claiming that HSUS and others were involved in racketeering or illegal business activities by financing Rider’s suit in order to advance an agenda that included ending the use of elephants in circuses.
According to the suit, Feld specifically states that the defendants “conspired to conduct and conducted the Enterprise through a pattern of, among other things, bribery and illegal gratuity payments (in violation of both state and federal law), obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.”;
Click Here to read the suit filed by Feld Entertainment.
February 19, 2010
Not Grass-Fed, but at Least Pain-Free By ADAM SHRIVER
IN the 35 years since Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” was published, jump-starting the animal rights movement in the United States, the number of animals used in cosmetics testing and scientific research has dropped significantly, and the number of dogs and cats killed in shelters has fallen by more than half. Nevertheless, because the amount of red meat that Americans eat per capita has held steady at more than 100 pounds a year as the population has increased, more animals than ever suffer from injuries and stress on factory farms.
Veal calves and gestating sows are so confined as to suffer painful bone and joint problems. The unnatural high-grain diets provided in feedlots cause severe gastric distress in many animals. And faulty or improperly used stun guns cause the painful deaths of thousands of cows and pigs a year.
We are most likely stuck with factory farms, given that they produce most of the beef and pork Americans consume. But it is still possible to reduce the animals’ discomfort — through neuroscience. Recent advances suggest it may soon be possible to genetically engineer livestock so that they suffer much less.
This prospect stems from a new understanding of how mammals sense pain. The brain, it turns out, has two separate pathways for perceiving pain: a sensory pathway that registers its location, quality (sharp, dull or burning, for example) and intensity, and a so-called affective pathway that senses the pain’s unpleasantness. This second pathway appears to be associated with activation of the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, because people who have suffered damage to this part of the brain still feel pain but no longer find it unpleasant. (The same is true of people who are given morphine, because there are more receptors for opiates in the affective pain pathway than in the sensory pain pathway.)
Neuroscientists have found that by damaging a laboratory rat’s anterior cingulate cortex, or by injecting the rat with morphine, they can likewise block its affective perception of pain. The rat reacts to a heated cage floor by withdrawing its paws, but it doesn’t bother avoiding the places in its cage where it has learned the floor is likely to be heated up.
Recently, scientists have learned to genetically engineer animals so that they lack certain proteins that are important to the operation of the anterior cingulate cortex. Prof. Min Zhuo and his colleagues at the University of Toronto, for example, have bred mice lacking enzymes that operate in affective pain pathways. When these mice encounter a painful stimulus, they withdraw their paws normally, but they do not become hypersensitive to a subsequent painful stimulus, as ordinary mice do.
Prof. Zhou-Feng Chen and his colleagues here at Washington University have engineered mice so that they lack the gene for a peptide associated with the anterior cingulate gyrus. Like the animals given brain lesions, these mice are normally sensitive to heat and mechanical pain, but they do not avoid situations where they experience such pain.
Given the similarity among all mammals’ neural systems, it is likely that scientists could genetically engineer pigs and cows in the same way. Because the sensory dimension of the animals’ pain would be preserved, they would still be able to recognize and avoid, when possible, situations where they might be bruised or otherwise injured.
The people who consumed meat from such genetically engineered livestock would also be safe. Knockout animals have specific proteins removed, rather than new ones inserted, so there’s no reason to think that their meat would pose more health risks for humans than ordinary meat does.
If we cannot avoid factory farms altogether, the least we can do is eliminate the unpleasantness of pain in the animals that must live and die on them. It would be far better than doing nothing at all.
Adam Shriver is a doctoral student in the philosophy-neuroscience-psychology program at Washington University.
"While QDM may be an unqualified success for deer management in Vermont, it could well alter local meanings of hunting because of its emphasis on 'the trophy.' Most hunters, while certainly not opposed to the idea of bagging a 'Rackasaurus' on opening day, are thrilled to bring home any deer at all. If it happens to be unusually large, or has a trophy rack, so much the better. But QDM is a different philosophy. It focuses on the size of the deer and/or its rack as a way of determining the value of a hunting experience. This thought first crossed my mind when I initially learned about QDM in 2002 r 2003, and it was emphasized again in a conversation with a Vermont game warden in 2004, who said, 'The cultural perception of hunting has gone from process to product. . . . They're taking the hunt out of hunting.' A man at a local deer camp shared similar sentiments and pointed out (even though he agreed that it might be good for growing bigger deer) that QDM was a completely different approach from what he referred to as the Vermont 'family' hunting tradition, which is not oriented around a quest for trophy bucks but rather around the love of fresh venison, the enjoyment of family and friends, and the chance to spend some time in the woods rather than at work. Considering how many times I have heard hunters say 'You can't eat the horns,' I think this guy had a point." (p. 29)Well, what do you think? Does QDM, Earn-a-Buck programs, and the like "take the hunt out of hunting"? Do we risk altering the "family hunting tradition" if we change the focus of hunting from process to product? Is this the end of hunting as we know it?
To some, hunting whitetails with dogs is a rich tradition that has been around since colonial days, and for those hunters there is nothing more exciting than hearing the music of the dogs as they get on the trail of a deer. To others, hunting deer with dogs is an annoying and outdated method of hunting that ought to be outlawed. Here is an in-depth look at dog deer hunting in America today.Read the rest of the article here. Enjoy.By John Hay Rabb
According to archeologists and historians, man has used domesticated canines to hunt wild game for as long as 15,000 years. When European settlers reached North America in the 1600s, they brought their hunting dog traditions with them. Experts believe that the first authentic pack of hunting dogs in the colonies was established by Robert Brooke of Maryland in 1650.
But hunting with dogs in early North America represented a tectonic cultural shift away from the European style of hunting. For centuries in Europe, hunting wild game was a diversion available only to the rich and powerful. Game animals traditionally belonged to royalty and the landed gentry. Peasants caught "poaching the King's deer" often met their fate at the end of a hangman's noose.
In the colonies and later in the newly independent United States, wild game belonged to all free white males, regardless of their wealth or social class. Unfortunately, women and people of color had no similar rights, but that injustice was eventually rectified. The influx of Scotch-Irish immigrants to America in the mid-1700s ushered in the use of trained hounds to hunt so-called "Virginia deer" in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
But storm clouds began to gather early for dog-hunting in America. (Note: Hunting deer with dogs is commonly referred to as "dog-hunting.") In 1738, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed a law that required owners of deer dogs to keep their animals confined except when they were actually involved in a deer hunt. In 1876, Wisconsin became the first state to ban dog-hunting altogether. The bitterly debated Adirondack Deer Law of 1888 imposed tight strictures on dog-hunting in New York. By 1920, all of the Northeastern states had outlawed dog-hunting for deer.
DOG-HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH
As many deer hunters know, dog-hunting can be highly effective. By 1900, whitetail numbers were at an all-time low. Thanks to conservation efforts, the ever-resilient whitetails made a dramatic recovery in the last century. Now there are an estimated 30 million "Virginia deer" spread across 45 states.
Today, 11 states still allow deer hunting with dogs. However, two of the states, California and Hawaii, have no whitetail populations, and state game management officials tightly control the use of dogs to hunt axis, blacktail and mule deer. So the last bastion of dog-hunting for whitetails is found in nine states that were once part of the Old Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Another former Confederate state, Texas, allowed dog-hunting until 1990, when it was banned due to a flood of complaints from landowners and non-hunters. Incidentally, Texas now has an estimated 4 million whitetails, which is the largest population in any individual state or Canadian province.
Deer hunters who believe that their sport is under attack may be surprised and pleased to learn that the country as a whole still overwhelmingly supports the preservation of our hunting tradition. An extensive 2008 public opinion survey indicated that 78 percent of Americans approve of continued legal hunting for wild game. Unfortunately, the same poll showed that support for dog-hunting is dangerously low.