Puerto Rico gains a new humane law; prosecution of animal control contractor fails

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

 

BAYAMON, Puerto Rico–“With very little fanfare in the rest
of the U.S., Puerto Rico has enacted a landmark animal protection
law, based, in large part, directly on Animal Legal Defense Fund’s
model laws,” announced ALDF director of legislative affairs Stephan
Otto on September 12, 2008.
“Included,” Otto said, “are felonies for neglect,
abandonment, cruelty and animal fighting; and statutory recognition
of the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans
through increased penalties for those with prior animal abuse
convictions,” or convictions for domestic violence, child or elder
abuse, and/or committing cruelty in front of children.
The new Puerto Rican definition of animal abuse “includes
emotional harm,” enables judges to grant protective orders on behalf
of animals, and creates a duty to enforce anti-cruelty laws, Otto
said.

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Obituaries [Sep 2008]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

Thomas Doerflein, 44, renowned for
raising the Berlin Zoo polar bear Knut in
2006-2007 after the cub was abandoned by his
mother, was found dead in his apartment of a
heart attack on September 22, 2008. A 25-year
Berlin Zoo employee, “Doerflein with his burly
build and ponytail was a distinctive figure at
the side of the growing bear,” recalled
Associated Press writer Patrick McGroarty. “He
nursed young Knut in his arms behind closed doors
and wrestled with him after the bear grew old
enough to play. When Knut made his public debut
in March 2007, Doerflein was at his side. They
started a daily performance for the thousands of
visitors who flocked to see the bear at his
outdoor enclosure. But the ‘Knut show’ ended in
July of that year when the zoo’s director ruled
that the bear had grown too large for Doerflein
to frolic with in safety.” The “Cute Knut”
phenomenon reportedly boosted Berlin Zoo
attendance by 27% in 2007, and increased
revenues by $10 million.

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Animal obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

Claudio, a three-month-old gorilla,
died on August 16, 2008 at the Munster Zoo in
Germany. “M√ľnster zookeepers said Claudio’s
death was almost certainly the result of [his
mother] Gana neglecting and mistreating the
infant,” wrote Tony Patterson, Berlin
correspondent for The Independent. “Gana, 11,
last year gave birth to her first baby, a female
named Mary Zwo,” Patterson added. “Gana
rejected Mary Zwo for six weeks. Staff at the
zoo finally intervened and rescued the baby,”
who “has lived at a zoo in Stuttgart with four
other gorillas ever since.” Said Munster Zoo
director Jorg Adler, “There was no point in
intervening again. We cannot keep on taking away
children from a mother.”

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Courts restore federal protection to wolves in all Lower 48

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:
WASHINGTON D.C.–Wolves are again a federally protected
species throughout the U.S., after U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman
ruled in Washington D.C. on September 29, 2008 that the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service improperly removed wolves in Michigan, Minnesota,
and Wisconsin from the endangered species list in 2007.
Anticipating the similar verdict in a pending case in
Missoula, Montana, the Fish & Wildlife Service on September 22,
2008 asked U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy to return the estimated
1,455 wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains to Endangered Species
Act protection.

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BOOKS: Social Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

Social Creatures:
A Human and Animal Studies Reader
Edited by Clifton P. Flynn
Lantern Books (128 Second Place, Garden Suite, Brooklyn,
NY 11231), 2008. Paperback, 458 pages. $50.00.

A cynic might conclude from Social
Creatures: A Human and Animal Studies Reader,
assembled as a sociology text, that animal
advocacy has either died of old age or is
terminally moribund, that no one involved has
had an original insight or useful idea since
approximately 1998, and that the cause of death
was Latinate writing, also implicated in the
decline and fall of the Roman empire.
Editor Clifton P. Flynn and probably most
of the contributors may regard this anthology as
evidence that animal advocacy has arrived as a
respectable topic of academic study, since it
now has an ossified canon authored by
Ph.D.-holding professors, some of whom long
since became emeritus.

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BOOKS: Pet Food Politics

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

Pet Food Politics by Marion Nestle
University of California Press (2120 Berkeley Way, Berkeley,
CA 94704), 2008. 219 pages, hardcover. $18.95.

The China Health Ministry at this writing has just announced
that the number of infants and young children known to have been
poisoned by melamine mixed into powdered milk or baby formula has
increased tenfold in 48 hours, to more than 54,000.
Four children have died, 13,000 are hospitalized, and
40,000 children plus two orangutans and a lion cub at the Hangzhou
Safari Park near Shanghai have required outpatient medical treatment
for kidney stones caused by ingesting melamine, a coal derivative of
no nutritional value.

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BOOKS: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts & Minds

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:

Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts & Minds
About Animals & Food by Gene Baur
Touchstone Books (1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
10020), 2008. Hardcover, 286 pages. $25.00.

“Gene Baur grew up in Hollywood, California, where he
worked as an extra in television, films, and commercials,
including several spots for McDonald’s and other fast food chains,”
opens his brief back-page biography in Farm Sanctuary: Changing
Hearts & Minds . Baur might have pursued a screen career. Instead,
as a teenager Baur heard from his grandmother about veal calf crating
and briefly became a vegatarian. Baur became a committed vegetarian
in 1985 after meeting his future wife Lorri during a summer stint
working for Greenpeace in Chicago.
They began their careers in animal advocacy together in
Washington D.C. about six months later. Working initially for other
organizations, they incorporated Farm Sanctuary in April 1986. By
1996 Farm Sanctuary operated sanctuaries in both upstate New York and
northern California, and had long since become the second largest
farm animal advocacy group in the world, trailing only Compassion In
World Farming, of Britain.

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Monsoons bring floods from Himalayas to the Bengal coast

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:
KOLKATA, VISAKHAPATAM–Increasingly violent monsoons
battered India yet again in August and September 2008, afflicting
millions of humans and animals in regions below the Himalayas from
northern Bihar to central Arunchal Pradesh, and as far south as
Srikakulum, halfway down the Bengal coast.
The Visakha SPCA in Visakhapatnam sent animal relief missions
from northern Andhra Pradesh, as it did after previous monsoon
floods and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
“We are in touch with our people at Srikakulum,” founder
Pradeep Kumar Nath e-mailed. “We are doing rescues wherever possible
and shifting [animals to safety] wherever necessary.”
The Visakha SPCA has itself been hit several times by
cyclones in recent years.

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Tigers scarce, poachers zero in on leopards, warns Indian conservationist

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2008:
NEW DELHI–Poachers who cannot find tigers to kill and
traffickers who have increasing difficulty moving tiger parts from
India to customers in Nepal and China are turning their notice to
leopards, warns Wildlife Protection Society of India program manager
Tito Joseph.
“Tiger parts fetch a price 20 times higher than those of
leopards,” Joseph told The Times of India on September 7, 2008 “but
their bones are considered on par.”
Compounding the situation, leopards are coming into
increasingly frequent and deadly conflict with humans–partly because
more desperately poor people are taking the risk of moving into their
habitat, partly too because more hungry leopards are coming into
villages to hunt livestock.

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