North Dakota voters turned down a measure that would have made cruelty to dogs, cats and horses a felony, leaving it one of just two states without felony penalties for mistreating animals.
The other is its neighbor, South Dakota.
A citizen initiative on Tuesday that would have made animal cruelty punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine was defeated by nearly a 2-1 margin.
That means animal abuse remains a misdemeanor, and the most severe punishment for cruelty in the state will continue to be a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
North Dakota’s two major farm groups opposed the measure, saying it was vague and poorly worded, according to the Associated Press.
The measure would have made it it a class C felony “to maliciously and intentionally harm a living dog, cat or horse.”
North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty says it plans to to continue its efforts to change the law.
(Photo: From the Facebook page of North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, cats, cruelty, cruelty to animals, dogs, election, farmers, felony, horses, increase, measure, misdemeanor, north dakota, north dakotans to stop animal cruelty, opposition, penalties, pets, referendum, vote, voter
The Humane Society of the United States has released a report calling on the American Kennel Club to protect dogs from abuses at puppy mills.
The report accuses the AKC of “pandering to the interests of large-scale, commercial breeding facilities,” even though ”smaller-scale, high-quality breeders” make up the majority of its membership.
Numerous puppy mill operators who have been charged with animal cruelty have been selling AKC registered puppies and some of them even passed AKC inspections, the report notes.
“The American Kennel Club bills itself as ‘The Dog’s Champion,’ but our report shows a pattern of activity that is entirely at odds with that self-description,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
“The AKC has opposed more than 80 bills and proposals in the last five years that would have implemented common-sense, humane standards of care at large-scale breeding facilities. We are shocked that a group that should be standing shoulder to shoulder with us is constantly lined up with the puppy mill industry.”
The report is based on information uncovered during HSUS-assisted raids of puppy mills, AKC “alerts” sent to breeders, materials published on AKC’s website, and AKC’s lobbying activities over the past five years.
In just the past six months, AKC-registered dogs were among those removed from three puppy mills in raids conducted by authorities in North Carolina, HSUS says.
In 2012 alone, AKC asked its supporters to oppose laws in several states that would have required puppy producers to comply with basic care standards; legislation in three states that would have prevented the debarking of dogs without a medical reason; an ordinance in a Tennessee town designed to prevent dogs from being left in hot cars; a Rhode Island state bill to prevent people from chaining or crating a dog for more than 14 hours a day; and a Louisiana state bill that would have prevented breeding facilities from keeping dogs in stacked, wire-floored cages.
The HSUS report discloses that some puppy mills that had been inspected by AKC but were still the subject of law enforcement-led rescues – with their operators later convicted of animal cruelty based on the poor conditions of their dogs.
Most recently, AKC has been lobbying breeders to oppose a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would regulate Internet puppy sellers under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The HSUS report calls on AKC to distance itself from the large-scale, commercial dog-breeding industry and return to its original focus of representing small, responsible breeders who have the welfare of their dogs as their top priority.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akc, american kennel club, animal welfare, animals, breeders, breeding, commercial, conditions, critical, criticizes, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspections, internet, large scale, laws, legislation, opposition, pets, puppy, puppy mills, regulation, report, sales, standards, wayne pacelle
The owners of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier have scrapped plans to bring back the diving horse act it was once famed for.
The act — started in the 1920s, shut down in the 1970s – featured a horse and a rider plunging into a tank of water from a 40-foot-high platform.
Anthony Catanoso, whose family owns the historic pier, said he’s no longer interested in bringing back the attraction, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“We just felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones.”
Catanoso had revived the act once, in 1993, but shut it down after two months amid protests from animal rights activists.
Catanoso proposed reviving the act again earlier this month in connection with a massive redevelopment plan for Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, casino district, and shopping areas.
But within days, animal welfare activists and others were voicing opposition. A petition against the act, on the website change.org, garnered 10,000 signatures in one day.
“That negativity – we didn’t want that to interfere with the positive things we’re trying to do,” Catanoso said.
Catanoso says no horse was ever harmed in the act.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: act, animal rights, animal welfare, anthony catanoso, atlantic city, canceled, diving, diving horses, horses, opposition, petitions, plans, protests, steel pier, stunt, tourism
The Chinese government has banned a 600-year-old tradition in the province of Zhejiang — an annual street carnival in which dogs are butchered, cooked and consumed.
Public outrage led to the decision, Xinhua, the official news agency said.
The October dog-eating carnival in Qianxi township commemorates a local military victory during the Ming dynasty in which dogs were slaughtered to ensure they did not bark and alert the enemy, the report said.
According to a Reuters report, dogs are killed and skinned in the streets, partly for tradition’s sake, partly an effort by vendors to show their dog meat is fresh and safe, as a way to ease buyers’ worry that the meat may contaminated.
Opposition to the event — thousands of web users swamped social networking websites to protest the carnival — is just the latest example of evolving sensibilities in China and other Asian countries when it comes to dogs, with dogs becoming viewed less as food source, more as companions.
In April, an impromptu road block by animal welfare activisits and other citizens kept a truckload of 500 farm dogs headed to a slaughterhouse from reaching its destination.
Around 200 people helped block the truck — that’s it in the photo at the top of this post –at a toll booth for 15 hours. Eventually, they were able to negotiate the dogs’ release for $17,000, saving the dogs from being slaughtered and served as food.
(Photo: David Gray / Reuters)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, asia, blockade, canceled, carnival, china, consumption, dog, dog eating festival, dog meat, dogs, eating dogs, farms, festival, internet, opposition, qianxi, slaughter, slaughterhouse, social networking, truck, zhejiang
The Korea Dog Farmers’ Association had scheduled the festival for Friday, to be held in the traditional open-air market in the city of Seongnam just south of Seoul — the one I visited while researching my book, and where I took the photos that appear on this page.
Moran Market is a block long outdoor market that sells, produce, vegetable, herbs and animals, including dogs, which can be butchered to order. One can pick a live dog, for $100-$150 and have it butchered. About two-thirds of the dog meat sold in Seoul (not counting that prepared in restaurants) is sold there.
The festival planned to showcase various canine delicacies including barbecued dog, sausages and steamed paws. Also featured would have been cosmetics and spirits made with canine ingredients.
But South Korea’s young and burgeoning animal welfare movement, and concerns over international perceptions, managed to bring those plans to a halt, said Ann Yong-Geun, an adviser to the Dog Farmers Association.
“We couldn’t possibly go on with the plan due to endless phone calls of complaint… now there are few willing to rent us a place for the event,” Ann, a professor of nutrition at Chung Cheong University, told AFP.
Ann said the festival would have displayed video clips and pictures of farms raising dogs under sanitary conditions, contrary to public perceptions.
About 600 farms raise dogs for meat in South Korea, where their meat has long been eaten by a portion of the population. Dog soup, or Boshintang, is considered, by some, a summer delicacy.
Growing numbers of Koreans oppose the practice and consider it an international embarrassment. The planned festival sparked opposition from South Korean animal rights groups and many Internet users.
“This is making our country an international laughing stock, and making the whole world mistakenly believe that all South Koreans eat dogs,” said Park So-Youn, head of Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth.
I got to meet Park during my visit to Seoul, while researching my book, “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.”
It was in Seoul that the first dog clone was produced (Snuppy), an achievement that was in part due to scientist’s easy access to farm dogs for use as egg donors and surrogates. The successful cloning of dog led to the formation of two companies — one in the U.S. and one in Seoul. Only the one in Seoul remains, and continues to clone dogs for profit.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, animals, boshintang, canceled, clone, cloned, cloning, coexistence of animal rights on earth, complaints, culture, dog, dog farmers, dog inc., dog market, dog meat, dog meat festival, dogs, eat, eating, eating dogs, farm dogs, farms, festival, international, issue, korea, moran market, opposition, park so-youn, perception, pets, photos, seoul, snuppy, south korea
Has “Dog Wars” bitten the dust?
But those reports were apparently based solely on the dogfighting game app temporarily disappearing from the Android Marketplace, Google’s online store.
Like a bad case of hemorrhoids, it’s back.
Unconfirmed reports say the app was temporarily removed from Google’s online market over concerns about copyright infringement — as opposed to the formidable and still growing opposition being voiced about it by dog lovers and animal welfare organizations.
Developed by Kage Games, the free app allows players to train and fight pit bulls, accumulating money and “cred.”
It has been roundly criticized by, among others, the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, numerous state and local humane societies, actress Alicia Silverstone and football quarterback Michael Vick, who served 21 months in prison for operating a dogfighting ring.
The creators of Dog Wars, in response to criticism, have added some explanation to the Android Marketplace page on which the app is offered.
“We’ve heard thoughts from many dog and animal lovers about our app and first we, as dog owners and dog lovers ourselves, would like to thank you for your thoughts and for the work many of you do on behalf of our canine friends. We DO NOT CONDONE violence towards animals or humans, and we are confident in humankind’s ability to distinguish between a rudimentary game and the consequences of real life.
“We are confident this game will be a net benefit to dogs as it has been in our operating agreement from the start of this project that a portion of the proceeds go to animal rescue organizations. Further, this is a satire about the ridiculousness of dogfighting and we believe in the power of a modern media tool to educate and raise awareness of the real horrors.
“There are hundreds of games on the Google Android market as well as any other popular game platform which, if acted out in real life, would be illegal. What makes the Google Android platform special is it gives the freedom and responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making value judgments on our behalf … Please remember that censorship is a very slippery slope.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alicia silverstone, android marketplace, animal welfare, animals, app, application, censorship, complaints, dog fighting, dog wars, dogfighting, dogs, free speech, google, hsus, kage games, michael vick, opposition, peta, pets, video games
Given the endlessly rising popularity of dogs, and our increasing emotional attachment to them, medical researchers who use them for experiments can expect stronger and growing opposition to the practice from the public, a leading expert in canine-human interaction told a conference at Johns Hopkins University this week.
James Serpell, director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, was the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The 30-year-old, non–profit center promotes humane science by supporting the creation, development and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education. It seeks ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, reduce the numbers of animals necessary, or refine methods to make them less painful or stressful to the animals involved
Serpell and other speakers both pointed out that after decades of declining, the use of dogs in medical research has increased in the last couple of years.
U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that the number of dogs used in medical research and testing dropped from 200,000 in 1973 to 66,000 in 2007, said Tanya Burkholder, chief of the Small Animal Section at the National Institutes of Health. Now, she said, the number has risen to about 75,000 a year.
Much of the increase is likely a result of advancements in, and the promise of, gene therapy.
Dogs have always been a valuable research model for scientists, going as far back as Aristotle’s day. Their size, physiology and cooperative behavior have made them convenient models for scientists, who, like Pavlov’s dog, grew conditioned to using them in experiments.
While public opposition to subjecting dogs to medical experiments resulted in the practice dwindling in recent decades, the use of dogs has crept up again in the last two years due to advances in molecular biology, genetics and the sequencing of the canine genome.
Because dogs get about 220 of the same inherited diseases and disorders that humans do — including Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and retinal degeneration – medical researchers are able to study the underlying genetic defects and, through dogs, seek cures.
This means dogs are being bred to be born with the diseases in colonies at U.S. universities and research institutes and, in the case of South Korea, cloned to be born with the diseases.
No one at the conference went so far as to suggest a halt to using dogs in research, but Serpell warned that the practice does come with risks, and a price.
Dogs evoke protective and nurturing instincts in people, and those have grown stronger as the dog-human relationship has evolved — to the point that dogs are viewed more as family members than family pets. Public opposition to the laboratory use of dogs has continually grown in the last few decades.
Researchers need to be cognizant not just of society’s strong feelings about dogs, but also about dog’s strong feelings for humans, Serpell said. “Many dogs undergo severe distress when contact with a human is limited or thwarted. We don’t give that regard sufficient credence,” he said.
The stronger attachment to dogs is in part due to breeders focusing on creating animals for purposes of human companionship, unlike in the past when they were bred for the work they could do. Serpell noted that baby-like features, for one thing, appeal to humans.
Showing photos of dogs, Serpell pointed to one and said, “This animal looks like it was invented by Walt Disney.”
Our attraction to dogs stems too from the fact that they make eye contact with humans more than any other species, and studies have shown that petting, or even looking, at a dog increases our levels of oxytocin.
“These dogs are turning us on by looking at us,” he said.
Our evolving closeness to dogs has implications for the laboratory, he noted, and perhaps all of society.
Serpell pointed to commentator Tucker Carlson’s recent statement that dogs are the social equals of humans, and that therefore Micheal Vick should have been executed for killing them.
“Lots of people feel the same way,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: beagle, caat, canines, center for alternatives to animal testing, cures, disease, dog, dog lovers, dogs, experiments, genes, genetics, humane, james serpell, johns hopkins university, laboratory, love, medcial, medical, opposition, oxytocin, pain, pavlov, products, research, rising, school, stature, status, stress, tests, therapy, treatment, university of pennsylvania, veterinary