ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR ANIMAL STUDIES
Add Vioxx, the infamous pain reliever that was withdrawn for doubling the risk of heart attacks and strokes, to the rogues' gallery of medicines and additives that were given the wrong bill of health thanks to animal studies. This is being underscored by a lawsuit by a PCRM member charging that Merck "relied too heavily on animal studies to support the drug's safety" even in the face of a 2000 study where "Vioxx had five times the rate of heart attacks among users as naproxen." Stay tuned.
Friday, July 22
ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR ANIMAL STUDIES
Thursday, July 21
STUDY: CHICKENS THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
A study published in the latest Animal Behavior says that "Chickens do not just live in the present, but can anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control, something previously attributed only to humans and other primates," says this Discovery News article. The researchers tested hens with colored buttons. When the birds pecked on one of the buttons, they received a food reward. If the chicken waited two to three seconds, it received a small amount of food. If the bird held out for 22 seconds, it received a "jackpot" that paid out with much more to eat. Hens chose to wait and hold out for more 9 out of 10 times.
Just another indication that our mantra of "that's what separates us from the animals" (and its corrolary, "that's why it's OK to exploit animals") is woefully out of date and, essentially, fictitious.
Posted by soyjoy at 12:58 PM
MYSTERIOUS MISSING MAD COW TESTS
Here's a story that went under the radar: "A key lawmaker is raising concerns that farmers and ranchers are burying dead cattle rather than sending them to processing plants where they would be tested for mad cow disease." OK, the lawmaker is Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the senior Democrat on the House agricultural appropriations sub-committee - but since she's a Democrat, pundits wrote this off as more partisan bickering.
Yet buried in the story is this tiny nugget: "Critics of the testing program, including the department's own inspector general, have said the testing is missing many high-risk cattle, including those that are disposed of on farms." Um, whazzat? The USDA INSPECTOR GENERAL has said that high-risk cattle are not being tested? No word on wether she concurs with this specific claim: DeLauro said in a letter this week to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns that "evidence is mounting" that the high-risk cattle the USDA claims to be testing "are really being disposed of on ranches and farms across the country."
As usual, this question has been ignored by the mainstream press. It might be good to get some answers on whether this is happening, don'tcha think?
UPDATE 7/22: Just noticed this story that's somewhat related - Like the US, the UK may not have succeeded banning ruminant feed back in the '90s. "A cluster of cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Mad cow disease, has raised fears that contaminated feed is still being used in Britain. Three young dairy cows born long after the 1996 ban on contaminated feed are the second such BSE cluster found in England. Scientists said the occurrence of a second cluster of BSE in young cattle strongly suggests the cases were not a statistical fluke and contaminated feed caused the outbreaks."
UPDATE 7/23: Now that the U.S.-Canada border is reopened, there's still more agita: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is questioning the legality of an order by Gov. Brian Schweitzer that would result in a $3 to $5 fee on Canadian cattle crossing the border destined for Montana. Schweitzer said on Thursday that he would require additional checks by veterinarians now that cattle shipments from Canada have resumed, and he estimated the cost would be $3 to $5 a head. He cited lingering concerns about importing cattle from a country that has reported three cases of mad cow disease during the past two years." Riiiiiight. Because that's so different from a country that has reported two cases of mad cow disease during the past two years! US ranchers, get wise now: The calls are coming from inside the house.
Posted by soyjoy at 12:32 PM
STILL MORE ABOUT THAT ZOO
The Lincoln Park Zoo seems to be trying valiantly to wrest from the National Zoo the title of "Worst-Run Zoo in America." A new report brings to light additional recent animal deaths that were previously un- or under-reported, including: "Meadow, a cow euthanized in June 2004 after she was suspected of having tuberculosis. A postmortem exam found no evidence of TB. A baby marmoset fell face down in flowing water and drowned in April. The audit team called it 'an unfortunate accident' that could occur in the wild. A heart defect killed a 3-day-old lion cub in December 2004." The latest fiasco was the deaths of three langurs who died in May when they were moved into an area where they could grab, or were thrown, some toxic yew plants growing near the exhibit.
Additionally, the bombshell that "Lincoln Park Zoo officials were given an advance copy of the findings" and that "after input from the zoo, the report was changed before public release for what the audit team called 'greater accuracy and clarity'" is noted only because a PETA representative draws attention to it. There's still more crap to flush out of this system, that's for sure.
Posted by soyjoy at 11:26 AM
Wednesday, July 20
SIMMONS: McDONALD'S LIES
Remember that story about top hip-hop designers partnering with Mickey D's to make uniforms that will paper over the mind-numbing dronelike nature of employees' jobs? Oddly, the designers list included Russell Simmons, who now denies having anything to do with the project: "Russell Simmons, the man who made hip hop hot, angrily denies rumours that he is sewing new uniforms for McDonald's. 'Not only is it not true, I am not in talks with them, I'm a vegan! It goes against my principles,' he said at an in-store appearance in Vancouver." Good to see he's not the mercenary sellout the previous article(s) had implictly portrayed. Now, howzabout a correction in all the papers in which that piece ran?
Posted by soyjoy at 11:22 AM
Tuesday, July 19
GEORGE WILL: I KNOW YOU DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT...
It's always amusing to hear meat-eaters claim they have "no problem" facing the fact that they're eating corpses of unfairly, unnecessarily killed sentient beings, because we all know otherwise, and we know that it's imperative for most people to keep up a wall of denial about it. In this piece from Newsweek discussing the latest from Matthew Scully, George Will lays that on the table: "If you value your peace of mind, not to mention your breakfast bacon, you should not read Scully's essay 'Fear Factories: The Case for Compassionate Conservatism-for Animals.'" He goes on: "Yes, of course: You don't want to think about this. Who does?" and: "You were warned not to read this. Have a nice day."
Will even points out the duplicity in humans' excuses for meat addiction: Scully "knows that man is not only a rational creature but a rationalizing creature, putting his intellectual nimbleness in the service of his desires" - and dances perilously close to the ideas of Gary Francione: "It is the sense that even though the law can regard an individual's animal as the individual's property, there nevertheless are certain things the individual cannot do to that property. Which means it is property with a difference. The difference is the capacity for enjoyment and suffering. So why, Scully asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference? There cannot be any intrinsic difference of worth between a puppy and a pig."
This is all old news to us, of course. What's notable is that it's being put forward by one of the nation's most famous Conservative pundits on the pages of one of our country's biggest newsweeklies.
Posted by soyjoy at 11:09 AM
Monday, July 18
Been working on the podcast. More on that later. Let's get to some blog items, though.
Posted by soyjoy at 11:04 AM