BOOKS: The Story of Rats

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2002:

The Story of Rats: Their impact on us, and our impact on them
by S. Anthony Barnett
Allen & Unwin (c/o Independent Publishers Group, 814 North Franklin
St., Chicago, IL 60610), 2001. 216 pages, paperback. $14.95.

“Early in the Second World War,” explains the back cover of
The Story of Rats, “Tony Barnett was drafted into the sewers,
wharves, food stores, and other rat-infested environments offered
by a London bombed nightly by the Luftwaffe.”
Now emiritus professor of zoology at the Australian National
University, Barnett has studied how to kill rats ever since,
including for many years as more-or-less a Pied Piper hired to rid
India of rat problems. Bennett has also extensively studied the
domestication of rats for laboratory use.

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Wildlife/human conflict–U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Uganda

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2002:

Where did all the coyotes go?

A complaint to the Better Busi-ness Bureau filed in March
2002 by Laura Nirenberg, executive director of the Wildlife
Orphanage rehabilitation center in LaPorte, Indiana, alleges that
Guardian Pest Control, with offices in two Indiana cities plus
Illinois, defrauds customers by promising to relocate nuisance
animals and then kills them instead. According to the report forms
which all nuisance wildlife trappers are required to file with the
Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Guardian Pest Control in
2001 released 124 squirrels and 10 bats, but killed 80 chipmunks,
49 feral cats, 40 groundhogs, 126 moles, 10 muskrats, 43
opossums, 363 raccoons, and six skunks.

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Laws, morals, and rural reality

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2002:

Thirty-eight of the 49 Washington state senators voted on
February 19 to repeal the Washington anti-trapping initiative–passed
in November 2000 by 34 of the 49 Washington counties, and approved
by 55% of a record voter turnout.
If the Washington house of representatives agrees, which it
may not, the anti-trapping initiative would become the first
initiative in state history to be repealed by the
legislature–although the lawmakers weakened a 1996 initiative ban on
hunting pumas with dogs.

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What will Bush do about ferals?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:

WASHINGTON D.C.–Meeting the Invasive Species Challenge, the National Invasive Species Council management plan, was sent to the White House on January 18, 2001. Two years in development, the plan offers strategy through 2003 for a Cabinet-led crusade against
non-native wildlife. But the eight Cabinet members who signed it were already on
their way out of Washington D.C. Just two days from leaving office, former U.S. President
Bill Clinton probably never saw the plan. Whether anyone of rank in the George W. Bush administration will ever pay much attention to it remains unclear.

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Golf: Facing nature with a club

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

SEAL BEACH, AUBURN, SANTA BARBARA, California; LAKEWOOD, Colorado––Already poisoning cottontail rabbits at the Leisure World golf course in Seal Beach, the exterminating firm California Agri-Control in early May asked the Seal Beach Police Department for permission to shoot rabbits as well. Seal Beach police chief Mike Sellers on May 9 refused to waive the city policy against firing guns within city limits––which meant that the poisoning would continue.

In Defense of Animals offered to relocate the rabbits to a privately owned 40-acre site near Lake Elsinore, without much hope that the offer would be accepted.

“In 1992, an offer to relocate rabbits” from Leisure World “was rejected by the California Department of Fish and Game,” IDA representative Bill Dyer said. “Yet for $40,000, the cost of building one green” claimed by Leisure World, “all of the rabbits could be trapped, sterilized, and released.”

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BOOKS: The Voice of the Infinite in the Small

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1999:

The Voice of the Infinite
in the Small:
Revisioning the Insect-Human
by Joanne Elizabeth Lauck
Swan, Raven & Co. (POB 190, Mill Spring, NC
28756), 1999. 361 pages, paperback. $18.95.

Bugs are in vogue. The Disney Studios hit children’s
film A Bug’s Life and the high-tech “Bug Show” entertaining
thousands of visitors a day at the Tree of Life in Walt Disney’s
Wild Animal Kingdom attest to that. Bugs including a tarantula
with remarkably mammal-like fur and trilobite-like Madagascar
cockroach larvae were also among the stars at the sleep-overs
hosted throughout the summer at the Woodland Park Zoo in
Seattle, where staff made a particular point of debunking cockroach
phobia. Many other major zoos added bug exhibits.

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Celestial Seasonings apologizes for poisoning prairie dogs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1999:

BOULDER, Colorado– – Caught
poisoning prairie dogs on its 35-acre plant
site in the Gunbarrel, Colorado, a suburb of
Boulder, the tea maker Celestial Seasonings
endured two weeks of intense e-mail protest
before doing an about-face on May 27.
Wrote Celestial Seasonings president
and CEO Steve Hughes, “The response
we have received from the community,
consumers, our neighbors, and wildlife
advocates has been both overwhelming and
justified. The extent of this response, however,
has paled in comparison to the disappointment
expressed by the passionate and
dedicated employees of Celestial
Seasonings. I am deeply sorry…This is an
act that Celestial Seasonings should not have
done, and will not be involved with from

this point forward.”

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Chocolate bunnies menace Down Under biosecurity

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1999:

April 1 that he had distributed at eight sites 50 rabbits who were
genetically modified to resist rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD),
Auckland entrepreneur Graham Milne made four-day suckers
of New Zealand officials and media.
The intent of the releases, Milne said, was “to
obtain field data on the transfer and spread of RCD immunity in
the feral population.”
In other words, Milne might have insured recovery
of the animal RCD was to eliminate.
Milne had actually just distributed chocolate Easter
bunnies. But no one figured that out until April 5––even as he
shared chocolate bunnies with reporters, bearing labels
explaining that they were RCD-proof.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1999:

According to the January 1999
edition of Veterinary Economics, “ D r .
Richard Fayrer-Hosken, an associate professor
at the University of Georgia College
of Veterinary Medicine, has developed
Spay-Safe, an injectible contraceptive made
from a natural protein found in pig ovaries.
Three shots permanently sterilize a dog without
any known side effects. Spay-Safe is
undergoing FDA evaluation, and the university
has licensed a company to market it pending
approval. Now Dr. Fayrer-Hosken is
developing a dosage for cats.” Fayrer-Hosken
did not answer inquiries from ANIMAL
PEOPLE , however, and other information
reaching us indicates that the University of
Georgia may be involved in litigation with the
Humane Society of the U.S., which apparently
funded some of the research, over ownership
of the marketing rights.

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