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Friday, September 08, 2006

Dog Jocks


The National Finals of the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge (PIDC), the world’s premier canine sporting event, will be held on Saturday, October 7 at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO. The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals features the world’s most athletic dogs and their trainers competing in a variety of “Olympic style” events including agility, 60 weave pole, Jack Russell hurdle racing, flying disc and the crowd favorite – dog diving.

All events are free, open to the public and fans in St. Louis are encouraged to bring their dogs on a leash. For the fourth straight year, the national finals will be taped by NBC for airing in January.

The French Have a Word For It....

Cheval. Horsemeat. In France and elsewhere, it's a delicacy. In any language, that's disgusting, far as I'm concerned.

Yesterday, 236 members of the U.S. House of Representatives agreed, and did something about horse slaughter for human consumption. They banned it. The Senate is set to vote on the bill and is expected to pass it. The cause had drawn celebrity support from, among others, horse-lovers Willie Nelson and Bo Derek.

While I'm sorry that workers in three U.S. slaughterhouses will lose their jobs, I'm heartened that a sense of humanity prevailed for these magnificent beasts.

Click here to read a story about it from Fort Worth, in the heart of horse country.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Trouble Continues at Tri-County

Scroll back to the post of Aug. 8 about a huge controversy at Tri-county Humane in Palm Beach County. There's a move afoot to oust director Jeanette Christos over what some volunteers consider substandard conditions.

Now the group who wants her gone has a website: It should be said that the shelter has passed recent inspections.

His Boy Blue

And brown. This is Joey, pride and joy of Cesar Borges. Check out the blue eye/brown eye thing (just like my stepdog Harley). I think it's very cool.

Says Cesar: He is a 3-year old blue merle Australian Shepherd. He likes longs walks in the neighborhood, playing catch with his kong toy, and is a great all-around pal. He has also been a great big brother to my daughter Madison, ever since she arrived 15 months ago. I couldn’t ask for a better set of children.

Remember the Bizarre Story of the Woman Who Used a Dead Puppy as a Weapon?

It happened in Missouri. An irate woman was accused of beating a breeder with the body of the Chihuahua puppy she'd bought that died. Well, she's been convicted of various misdemeanors and could face jail time. Click here to read the story.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Important News From HSUS

Here's the press release:


SAN FRANCISCO (September 6, 2006) —Today, The Humane Society of the United States hailed a decision by United States District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel refusing to dismiss a landmark case challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s policy of excluding chickens, turkeys, and other birds killed for human consumption from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958. The suit alleges that current poultry slaughter methods allow more than nine billion animals to be slaughtered each year without any federal protection from cruelty and increase consumers’ risk of contracting food-borne illness.

“The Court’s decision marks the first step in ensuring that turkeys, chickens, and other birds are protected from inhumane slaughter, as Congress specifically ordered more than 50 years ago,” said Sarah Uhlemann, an attorney with the Animal Protection Litigation section of The HSUS who represents the plaintiffs in the case.

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) explicitly requires that “cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock” be slaughtered in accordance with humane methods. Despite the fact that “other livestock” clearly includes animals such as farmed birds, who comprise more than nine out of ten land farm animals killed annually in this country, the USDA interprets this law in a way that excludes chickens, turkeys, and other birds from legal protection.

As a result of the USDA policy, processors continue to slaughter birds using such inhumane methods as shackling fully conscious birds upside-down, electrically stunning them into paralysis, and sometimes even drowning the conscious birds in tanks of scalding water. According to several recent studies, these methods increase the risk that carcasses will become contaminated with dangerous bacteria that can sicken consumers.

The Court, finding that “plaintiffs credibly allege that they face an imminent exposure to heightened risk that they will become ill from consuming inhumanely slaughtered animals,” dismissed the USDA’s attempt to argue that such risk should be ignored. The Court noted that plaintiffs cited the USDA’s own studies to support their argument that current method of slaughtering poultry increase likelihood of bacterial contamination.

When enacting the HMSA, Congress recognized that certain slaughter practices, including hanging conscious animals by their legs from metal shackles and slaughtering animals while still fully conscious, cause “needless suffering.” To alleviate this widespread suffering, Congress mandated that all livestock be rendered insensible to pain before shackling and slaughter. Yet each year, thanks to the USDA, more than nine billion chickens, turkeys, and other birds suffer from these very practices—practices which also increase risk of food poisoning. Now the USDA’s policy could be overturned.

Recent abuses in poultry slaughter plants across the country have highlighted other far-reaching implications of USDA’s policy of excluding poultry from the HMSA. For example, a 2004 New York Times article graphically reported horrific abuses and “hundreds of acts of cruelty” at a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken slaughter plant in Moorefield, West Virginia, including workers “jumping up and down on live chickens, drop-kicking them like footballs, and slamming them into walls” with the acquiescence of plant supervisors. Likewise, a 2004 investigation of a Perdue poultry slaughter plant in Maryland and a 2005 investigation of a Tyson’s facility in Alabama revealed similar abuses. The workers involved in some of these cruelties were terminated, but neither the workers nor the facilities could be prosecuted under federal law because of USDA’s practice of not applying the HMSA to poultry.

The lawsuit was brought by attorneys with The HSUS and the public interest law firm of Evans & Page on behalf of The HSUS, East Bay Animal Advocates, Equal Justice Center, Western North Carolina Workers Center, and several members of The HSUS who consume poultry products.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization with 9.5 million members and constituents. The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, equine protection and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy and field work. The non-profit organization is based in Washington and has field representatives and offices across the country. On the web at

SoBe's Love Affair With Dogs Is Now a National Story

The Washington Post has a story about how canine-friendly Miami Beach has become, for which the Woof Patrol can take partial credit. That's the group dedicated to keeping the beachwalk open to dogs by making sure it's kept clean (thanks to head patroller Yvonne Conza for altering me; I was on the road all day and unplugged until now). Click here to read it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

This topic has been addressed on the blog before, but here's another take on it from the Herald's Key West columnist, Michael Suib (what a gig, eh)? Click here to check it out, from Sunday's Herald.

Follow-up on the Steve Irwin Story

The death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, from a stingray's barb, has sent shockwaves through the world of wildlife exploration and conservation. Here are a couple of stories in today's Herald about the reaction, and further details about his tragic death.

Click here for the reaction story, and click here for further details.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crocodile Hunter Dies

What a shock. He was a true animal lover (and so young; only 44). Click here to read a story about.

Southpaw Study From Down Under

Apparently it's not just humans who have a predisposition to either the right or left hand; dogs can be southpaws too. Click here for a CNN story about a research study from Australia on the subject.