Companion animal welfare notes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
The 950-store PETCO chain on November 17, 2008 announced
that it is “phasing out rabbit sales in favor of adoptions.” Said
PETCO spokesperson Lisa Epstein, “PETCO already has strong
relationships with about 70 rabbit adoption groups, including the
Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society, the Oregon Humane Society, the
Animal Rescue League of Boston, the San Diego House Rabbit Society
and the Escondido Humane Society. PETCO is also communicating with
the national House Rabbit Society to build additional relationships
with local chapters and affiliates.”

The BBC, televising the Crufts dog exhibition since 1966,
“is considering ending its coverage of the Kennel Club’s showpiece
event,” reported Stephen Moss of The Guardian on December 5. In
August 2008, Moss explained, “BBC1 broadcast Jemima Harrison’s
disturbing film Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which argued that highly
selective breeding was damaging the health of many pedigree dogs and
undermining their genetic diversity. The Royal SPCA, the People’s
Dispensary for Sick Animals, and Dogs Trust responded by pulling out
of Crufts.” Sponsor Pedigree also withdrew, citing commercial
concerns. The Kennel Club announced in October 2008 that it is
redrafting the show standards for 209 breeds to eliminate rules that
favor dogs with extreme and unnatural characteristics which might
impair their he

The American SPCA has added former Louisiana SPCA chief
executive Laura Maloney as senior vice president for anti-cruelty
initiatives and has promoted attorney Stacy Wolf, with the ASPCA
since 1998, to vice president and chief legal counsel for humane law

Ivory auctions net much less than African nations expected

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South
Africa between October 31 and November 7, 2008
collected $15.4 million from the sale of 108 tons
of stockpiled elephant tusks to Chinese and
Japanese traders, in the first ivory sales
approved by the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species since 1999.
But the sellers were reportedly disappointed in their take.
The average price paid for ivory was $152
U.S. per kilogram, less than a fifth the price
that some conservationists have claimed is paid
for poached ivory.

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Editorial feature: How hard times affect animal rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:


The October 2008 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial, “The humane community can
handle hard times,” focused on the institutional side of coping with
the global economic crisis. How animals themselves are affected also
warrants discussion.
“Foreclosure pets” and “abandoned horses” have been the
topics of at least one major daily newspaper feature apiece per week,
by actual count, since late 2007.
There is not much of a “foreclosure pets” crisis in affluent
suburbs where the few foreclosures tend to be on townhouses in
developments that did not allow pets to begin with. Across town
though, handling animals surrendered by distraught people who have
abruptly become homeless is an increasingly urgent issue. Typically,
a young family of insecure income reached for the house-yard-dog
dream by taking out a sub-prime mortgage. Then someone lost a job,
often just because the economy skidded.

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Letters [Dec 2008]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
Collaborating to save “garbage dogs” in Turkey

As “the” international print and online
animal news periodical, I think Animal People
should inform its tens of thousands of
international readers about how collaboration can
bring about major changes around the globe
without people even leaving their seat.
I recently received an e-mail about a
Turkish dog with paralyzed legs who according to
a Facebook posting was allegedly crushed in a
garbage truck. Although I am Armenian, I was
born and spent the first 10 years of my life in
Turkey. I contacted a Turkish group to whom our
organization has sent medicine, supplies and
money. They had already been in touch with the
mayor of the Turkish city of Van, where the
incident occurred. The garbage men did not crush
the dog in the garbage truck. They merely used
the truck to transport the dog to the town’s
garbage dump, where they left him, thinking he
could at least find food there.
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“Doggie in the window” singer hopes to sing the swan song for puppy mills

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
WASHINGTON D.C.– “At the time,” in 1952, “‘Doggie in the
Window’ seemed like a sweet and harmless message,” recalls singer
Patti Page. Selling more than a million copies in five months, the
song became Page’s fourth recording to top the charts in five
years–and became the unofficial anthem of the pet industry.
Opening with the question “How much is that doggie in the
window? I do hope that doggie is for sale,” the song helped to
popularize the concept of purchasing commercially bred puppies from
pet stores, at a time when the overwhelming majority of pet dogs in
the U.S. were mongrels and about 30% of the U.S. dog population were
street dogs, as in much of the developing world today.
Page recorded “Doggie in the Window” for a children’s album,
early in the “Baby Boom” that doubled the U.S. human population and
brought a trebling of the pet population within a generation of the
end of World War II. By the time the “Baby Boom” children began
raising families and acquiring pets of their own, the U.S. street
dog population had been eradicated by the combination of improved
sanitation, more vehicular traffic, and more aggressive animal
control. Nearly half the dogs in the U.S. were now purebreds, and
U.S. animal shelters were killing seven times as many dogs as in 1952.

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Pending White House dog adoption upstages Obama cabinet picks

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
WASHINGTON D.C.–Google searches on December 7, 2008 turned
up 703,000 web pages discussing U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s
campaign pledge to adopt a dog for his daughters, compared with
533,000 discussing his cabinet picks.
Obama himself addressed selecting the future White House dog
first, in his initial post-election press conference.
“With respect to the dog,” Obama said, “this is a major
issue. I think it has generated more interest on our Web site than
just about anything. We have two criteria to be reconciled. One is
that Malia,” the elder Obama daughter, age 10, “is allergic, so
it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are
hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a
shelter dog, but obviously a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.
So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things I think
is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”

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California Proposition Two passage rattles agribiz cages

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
LENEXA, Kansas–California Proposition Two, overwhelmingly
approved by voters on November 4, requires only that “calves raised
for veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways
that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their
limbs and turn around freely,” by 2015.
“The new law is simple and hardly earth-shaking,” observed
Grist columnist Tom Philpott in a post-election wrap-up. “Yet
industrial-farming interests are squawking like hens about to lay a
huge egg. That the industry finds such a commonsense requirement
intolerable reveals just how dependent it is on imposing cramped
conditions. The backlash against Proposition Two also betrays a very
encouraging fear that California’s code will go nationwide.”
Chuck Jolley of the Cattle Network acknowledged as much on
November 19, 2008. Animal agriculture trade organizations, said
Jolley, “should conduct unannounced member audits and be ready to
immediately dismiss any company caught violating the strict
standards. And publicize the expulsion.”

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Pickens bids to save BLM wild horses

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:
RENO–Just as the Bureau of Land
Management seemed poised to kill 2,000 healthy
mustangs, due to lack of adoptive homes,
Madeleine Pickens “arrived on a white horse,” as
Washington Post staff writer Lyndsey Layton put
Pickens on November 17, 2008 turned a
public hearing in Reno from a perfunctory
condemnation ritual to a celebration.
“Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone
Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not
just the doomed wild horses but most or all of
the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal
holding pens,” reported Layton. “Lifelong
animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years
ago led the fight to close the last horse
slaughterhouse in the United States.”
Posted Pickens afterward to her personal
web site, “Wild horses on federal land are
living symbols of the history of the American
West and must be protected. My view is for a
wild horse sanctuary that will be a tourist
destination where Americans and tourists from
around the world can observe this great part of
American history.”

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