U.S. Supreme Court may step into factory-farmed chicken poop

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2006:

The U.S. Supreme Court, recently reconstituted with two new
members including a new chief justice, may hear arguments on the
right of states to regulate agricultural pollution.
Arkansas attorney general Mike Beebe in November 2005 asked
the Supreme Court to throw out a U.S. District Court lawsuit filed in
June 2005 by Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson against eight
poultry firms with Arkansas operations that allegedly pollute the
Illinois River, upstream from Oklahoma. The eight, among them many
poultry industry leaders, include Cargill, Cobb-Vantress, Simmons
Foods, Peterson Farms, Tyson Foods, Willow Brook Foods, George’s,
and Cal-Maine Foods.

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Land reform threatens Hato Piñero

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2005:

Owners of private wildlife conservancies
worldwide told themselves after the destruction
of the SAVE Valley Conservancy that the
Zimbabwean land invasions were a phenomenon
unique to Zimbabwean socio-political
That belief was shaken when the
Venezuelan National Land Institute ruled on March
12, 2005 that the 80,000-hectare Hato Piñero
ecotourism refuge and beef ranch is eligible for
seizure under a 2001 law allowing redistribution
of private land which is either under-utilized or
held under dubious title. Hato Piñero may be
expropriated even though the Branger family,
operating Hato Piñero since 1951, claims to hold
deeds to a title established in 1794.
Like Robert Mugabe, Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez rose to power on the promise of land
reform. Like Mugabe, Chavez is bitterly opposed
by large private landowners. But unlike Mugabe,
Chavez is disfavored by the George W. Bush
administration, which backed a failed 2002 coup.

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Evictions to clear a park in Ethiopia

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2005:

While land invasions and their aftermath destroy the remnants
of wildlife protection in Zimbabwe, the African Parks Foundation has
reportedly introduced to Ethiopia the heavy-handed relocation of
longtime land occupants in the name of conservation that helped to
create the pressures leading to the Zimbabwean debacle.
“Ethiopia wants a Kenyan-style network of wildlife parks to
serve a Kenyan-style tourist industry,” columnist Fred Pearce
charged in the April 16, 2005 edition of New Scientist. “Following
the model of Kenya, the country’s leaders have been throwing the
locals out of the park to achieve the ultimate safari experience for
western visitors: wildlife without people.”
The African Parks Foundation, summarized Pearce, “was set
up by a leading Dutch industrialist, Paul van Vlissingen. It offers
to take over moribund parks from African governments, find
international funding to spruce them up, and then get the tourists
rolling in. It is building a portfolio of parks across Africa,”
including in Malawi and Zambia as well as Ethiopia, but will not
invest in parks that are jeopardized by human encroachment.

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Frogs, chemicals, & talk of confused gender identity shake up bureaucrats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:

ST. PAUL–An apparent attempt to muzzle University of
California at Berkeley biologist Tyrone Hayes instead enabled him to
tell the world in October 2004 that frogs, toads, and salamanders
appear to be abruptly disappearing due to the effects of atrazine.
Atrazine, an endocrine-disrupting herbicide, is used on
two-thirds of the cornfields in the U.S. and 90% of the sugar cane
plantations. Popular with farmers for 45 years, it may be the
most-used farm chemical worldwide. Residues can persist in soil for
more than a year and in groundwater for longer, but by comparison to
paraquat, a leading rival herbicide, atrazine breaks down
relatively quickly, and is safer for applicators and field workers
who may have accidental exposure.
Unfortunately, Hayes testified at an October 26 Minnesota
Senate hearing, even low levels of atrazine “chemically castrate and
feminize” male frogs, fish, and some other wildlife.
Atrazine may also trigger prostate cancer in male humans,
Hayes said, citing studies of men who work in proximity to it and
the results of laboratory testing on various mammal species.
“Hayes was invited to speak to the Minnesota Senate
Environment and Natural Resources Committee after Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency commissioner Sheryl Corrigan withdrew an earlier offer
for him to make the keynote speech at an agency-sponsored
conference,” explained Dennis Lien of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

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Judge rules against mining in Florida panther habitat

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2004:

FORT MYERS–Ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and Army Corps of Engineers improperly issued a finding of “no
jeopardy” to the endangered Florida panther, U.S. District Judge
James Robertson on August 20, 2004 invalidated the federal permits
issued to Florida Rock Industries Inc. to develop a 6,000-acre mine
site in Lee County.
“In isolation, most individual projects would impact only
small portions of potential panther habitat,” Robertson wrote.
“Multiplied by many projects over a long time, the cumulative impact
on the panther might be significant.”
The lawsuit against the mine was filed by the National
Wildlife Federation, the Florida Wildlife Federation, and the
Florida Panther Society.
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel staff writer David Fleshler
reported that the case “received support in May 2004 when Andrew
Eller, a biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service, filed a
formal complaint accusing his own agency of knowingly using bad data
on panther habitat, reproduction, and survival to approve eight
construction projects.”

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Conservationists seek to bring back banned Compound 1080 poison

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2004:

KATHU, South Africa; SACRAMENTO, Califonia–Thirty-two
years after then-U.S. President Richard Nixon outraged ranchers by
partially banning sodium monofluoroacetate to protect wildlife, a
year before signing the Endangered Species Act, some leading
conservation groups are aligned with ranchers worldwide to expand the
use of the poison, better known as Compound 1080.
The conservationist arguments are that nothing else is as
effective in killing “invasive” species, and no other poison is as
easily used to kill only those predators who actually attack
“The Poison Working Group of the Endangered Wildlife Trust,
the National Wool-growers Association, and Cape Wools have over the
last three years combined to try to legalize and promote the use of
this poison in South Africa, to exterminate or control black-backed
jackals and caracals,” charged Kalahari Raptor Centre co-director
Chris Mercer in a March 2004 position paper. Compound 1080 is to be
applied to baits hung one meter above the ground, Mercer said.
“The theory is that only the larger jackal [and caracal] could reach this bait, and that the smaller Cape fox and bat-eared
fox could not,” Mercer continued. “Working daily with small
mammals,” including experience with jackals, caracals, and both
fox species, “we know that the poisoned baits will be easily reached
by all of them. The foxes will jump for them, and striped polecats,
meerkats, and mongooses will climb to get them. The Endangered
Wildlife Trust war on our wildlife will wipe out our small mammals.

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Editorial: Donor defense in a desperate cause

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2003:

Starting on page 12, ANIMAL PEOPLE for
the 14th year presents “Who gets the money?”
This popular annual feature reveals the financial
affairs of the animal-related charities whose
appeals are most likely to land in your mailbox.
It explains which organizations have money, how
they get it, and what they do with it.
Three pages of prefatory notes help
readers to interpret the numbers. As a further
aid to donors, ANIMAL PEOPLE each spring
publishes a comprensive handbook, The Watchdog
Report on Animal Charities, supplementing the
financial data with succinct descriptions of
programs and any policy or administrative matters
of special note. At $25 per copy, The Watchdog
Report costs less than 25¢ per charity evaluated,
a bargain for any frequent pro-animal donor.

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The apartheid legacy in wildlife conservation

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:

The apartheid legacy in wildlife conservation
by Chris Mercer, co-director, Kalahari Raptor Centre

Twelve years after Nelson Mandela walked to freedom, South
Africa is still struggling to overcome the crippling legacy of
apartheid in environmental affairs.
Affirmative action appointments are intended to transform and
democratize nature conservation, but the awaited transformation is
slow in coming–and one of the most unfortunate aspects of the delay
is that some of our most ruthless people are meanwhile exporting the
canned hunting industry, which is a legacy of apartheid, throughout
Desperately poor nations are too often seduced by the promise
of the money to be made from hunting, demonstrated by some of the
same South African entrepreneurs whose involvement in gun-running and
ivory and rhino horn poaching helped to uphold the apartheid regime
by destabilizing much of the black-ruled portion of the continent.
The apartheid regime instituted three goals for wildlife
management, each directly contributing to the growth and
profitability of the hunting industry, to the detriment of almost
everyone else. These goals were:

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Getting biodiversity backward

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July/August 2003:

CANBERRA,  Australia–At least 1,595 Australian native plants
and animals are at risk of extinction,  2,900 regional ecosystems are
imperiled,  and the leading threats come from land clearing,  sheep
and cattle grazing,  drought,  and fires,  says a recently published
national Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment.  Predation and
competition with native species by introduced species ranked as a
lesser threat in most parts of Australia.
Principally authored by ecologist Paul Sattler,  the
assessment was commissioned by the national government.  It was
presented to Parliament in late April 2003.
What,  three months later,  is Australia doing about the findings?

*  The Cooperative Research Centre for Pet Control has
applied for permission to send a genetically engineered mouse herpes
virus into field trials–in effect,  to begin yet another
introduction of a non-native species.
The Cooperative Research Centre “aims to spread the virus throughout
the exotic mouse population,”  reported the Brisbane Courier-Mail,
noting that mouse plagues annually “cost the nation’s grain farmers
about $150 million.”

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