Progress against public bullfighting in Tamil Nadu but not in Uttarakhand

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:


CHENNAI,  Dehrudun–The first weekend of 2011 Pongal harvest festivals in Tamil Nadu,  India,  brought a drop in reported deaths and injuries in jallikattu,  the predominant Indian form of participatory bullfighting–but chiefly because new rules discouraged many communities from hosting jallikattu.  Relative to the unrestrained mayhem at Bunkhal village in Uttarakhand state a month earlier,  that was major progress.

Where jallikattu proceeded,  deaths and injuries continued, despite  enforcement of the new rules by the Animal Welfare Board of India at direction of the Supreme Court of India.  Injuries to bulls are seldom tabulated,  but may be inferred from the counts of human deaths and injuries,  chiefly suffered in attempts to tackle bulls. Read more

BOOKS: The Domestic Cat: Bird Killer, Mouser and Destroyer of Wild Life

The Domestic Cat:  Bird Killer,  Mouser and Destroyer of Wild Life;  Means of Utilizing and Controlling It
by Edward Howe Forbush
Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture,  1916.   [Free 112-page download from <>.]

The November/December 2010 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE noted on page one that the American Bird Conservancy had on December 1,  2010 issued a media release extensively praising what publicist Robert Johns termed “a new peer-reviewed report titled, Feral Cats & Their Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,”  which advocated killing feral cats.

“The report began in an undergraduate wildlife management class,”  revealed Associated Press writer Margery A. Beck,  “with students writing reports on feral cats based on existing research.  The students’ professor and other UNL researchers then compiled the report from the students’ work.” Read more

BOOKS: Saving Cinnamon: The Amazing True Story of a Missing Military Puppy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

Saving Cinnamon:  The Amazing True Story of a Missing Military Puppy And the Desperate Mission to Bring Her Home  by Christine Sullivan
St. Martin’s Press (175 Fifth Ave.,  New York,  NY 10010),  2010. 256 pages,  paperback.  $14.95.

Mark Feffer,  a U.S. soldier then serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan,  in December 2005 befriended a stray puppy he named Cinnamon.  Adopting Cinnamon was against military regulations,  but Cinnamon quickly became a base mascot anyhow. When Feffer and other members of his unit were due to be rotated back to the U.S.,  Feffer and his wife Alice arranged for a civilian dog handler who was employed by the U.S. military to escort Cinnamon to Chicago via Bishkek,  the capital of Kyrgyzstan,  a former Soviet Republic that borders Afghanistan.

Read more

BOOKS: Ask the Animals: A vet’s-eye view of pets and the people they love

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

Ask the Animals:  A vet’s-eye view  of pets and the people they love
by Bruce R. Coston,  DVM
Thomas Dunne Books (175 Fifth Ave.,  New York,
NY 10010),  2010.  274 pages,  paperback.  $14.99.

I like books that start with a bark and don’t stop yapping until I’m done.  Ask the Animals isn’t one of them.  Having spent the past 20 years volunteering in animal shelters,  including shelter clinics,  I have an idea how brisk and lively a vet’s office can be–but I read nearly 50 pages of Ask the Animals before Coston moved past his personal life to introduce an animal who was not his own. This was a dog named Tess who was referred to his teaching hospital for a further evaluation of a complex medical problem. Read more

"Summit for the Horse" promotes slaughtering wild horses

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

LAS VEGAS--Intended to promote horse slaughter in general,  and slaughtering wild horses in specific,  the Summit for the Horse held in Las Vegas during the first week of January 2011 heard messages from Bureau of Land Management director Bob Abbey and slaughterhouse design consultant Temple Grandin that were not what most of the reportedly sparse audience wanted to hear.

Not more than 200 people converged on the Southpoint Casino to attend the Summit for the Horse,  according to a variety of crowd counts. Most counts placed the plenary attendance at 100-150,  including 42 speakers.

Speaking for allied animal use industries were National Cattlemen’s Beef Association vice president J.D. Alexander,  Masters of Fox Hounds Association executive director Dennis Foster, and Mindy Patterson,  who led breeder opposition to Missouri Proposition B,  a ballot initiative to increase regulation of puppy breeders that was approved by voters in November 2010. Read more


From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

Animal Obituaries

Old Man,  32,  a naked mole rat born in Kenya,  died on Thanksgiving morning 2010 at the Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies on the Texas Research Park campus near San Antonio. Old Man was the senior member of the University of Texas Health Science Center’s colony of about 2,000 naked mole rats.  Captured with 75 kin in a sweet potato field in 1980 by physiologist Rochelle Buffenstein,  Old Man traveled with Buffenstein to the University of Cape Town in South Africa,  then to the City College of New York in Harlem,  arriving in San Antonio in 2007.  Naked mole rats,  who live to an average age of 26,  “in many ways confound what scientists think they know about how diseases progress and why living things age,”  Buffenstein told Richard A. Marini of the San Antonio Express News.  For example,  naked mole rats rarely develop cancer,  and although they develop the same type of brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease victims,  they do not suffer similar cognitive decline. Read more


From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

“I come to bury Caesar,  not to praise him.  The evil that men do lives after them.  The good is oft interred with their bones.” –William Shakespeare

Patricia Simonet,  51,  died of cancer on December 2,  2010. Earning a Ph.D. in animal behavior at the University of Nevada, Simonet from 1992 to 2000 researched topics including what children learn from live animal shows,  chimpanzee play,  and elephant self-recognition in mirrors.   Then,  recalled Robert Brost,  her husband of 26 years,  “While researching the meaning of sounds that dogs make,  she discovered dog laughter,”  the happy panting that characterizes dogs at play.  Hired by Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services in 2003 to do temperament testing and training, Simonet in 2005 demonstrated that playing recorded dog laughter in the shelter helped to calm the dogs and increased the adoption rate of adoptions.  Brost and Simonet subsequently marketed dog laughter recordings,  which are typically played at less than the threshold of human hearing.   “While Trisha worked for SCRAPS,  she also volunteered at the Spokane Humane Society,”  Brost said,  “training their volunteers and serving on their board of directors.”  The Spokane County Board of Supervisors in June 2010 designated an off-leash area at Gateway Regional Park the Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park. Read more

What does the Food Safety Modernization Act mean for farmed animal welfare?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

WASHINGTON D.C.-U.S. President Barack Obama on January 4,  2011 signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act,  the most extensive update of U.S. food safety legislation since 1938.  The enforcement regulations are due to be completed by 2014.

Though not specifically an animal welfare bill,  the Food Safety Modernization Act has huge implications for animal welfare,  especially in regard to livestock and poultry disease control. The Food Safety Modernization Act specifically does not amend or supercede the Federal Meat Inspection Act,  the Poultry Products Inspection Act,  the Egg Products Inspection Act,  and the Packers & Stockyards Act.  However,  the act includes 28 specific mentions of animals.  Most of the mentions stipulate that the provisions of the Food Safety & Modernization Act extend to protecting animal health as well as human health. Read more

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