March/April 2013


“…living by voices we shall never hear” (see our slideshow).


  • New at our blog: A horse tale; religion & rapping; airport taxidermy
  • It’s circus time: Missoula Shrine Circus April 26 & 27
  • 2012’s rankings for animal protection laws: How does your state rank?
  • U.S. Rep’s office: “Something between a zoo and a pet cemetery”
  • Animals we use & abuse–for food we never eat
  • Keeping wasted lives out of landfills (it’s quite simple)
  • Updates on items in our February newsletter–once is not enough!
  • Quick Links — just FYI 
  • The tail end: Wag it! 

BLOG UPDATES–the post that lit things up: “A tale of two horses.” Other Nations hit a new, stratospheric high in visitor traffic with this one: Two horses–one, a beloved elder grieved for upon his death; the other, a young horse cut down in the prime of his life as a taunt to animal activists. Includes an opportunity for you to support federal legislation against horse slaughter. Find it here.

In “Wielding words for animal rights: Rapping, religion, & blogging” (here), we’ll connect you to a vegan-animal rights rapper after we contemplate the new Pope’s call for “respecting each of God’s creatures.” Check out “Departures, arrivals, & taxidermy: Welcome to our neck of the woods” for a glimpse inside Missoula International Airport, where an eternally-mute welcoming committee greets arriving visitors. Yes, they’ve decked the halls with…dead animals.

No justice for Nosey the elephant – click

4/13 – UPDATED WITH NEW INFO: “The greatest shame on Earth”: Circuses that exploit animals – The Shrine Circus is scheduled to appear at the Adams Center (U. of Montana campus) Friday & Saturday, April 26 & 27, 2013. Click here for full details! (Click here to read our account of last year’s activist outreach experience.) Description from  “There will be elephant and pony rides as well as photograph opportunities with the pink and blue poodles, bears and ponies.”

Did you know: In a long-standing practice, free Shrine Circus tickets are distributed through Missoula County Public Schools. I appeared–along with a colleague credentialed in wildlife biology–before the school board at their regular March 12th meeting to request that they reconsider this practice (read the full request here and–Missoula County folks–send one of your own, if you wish). My colleague used her three-minute public comment opportunity to enlighten trustees and the attending public about the sad lives and suffering circus animals endure in training, in transport, and in performance (visit our circus animal exploitation page for more info; also, a Nosey the elephant–see accompanying photo above–video has been added). 

Where does your state rank for animal protection? In the “Best Five”? (Yay Illinois!) In the “Worst Five”? (Boo Kentucky.) Solidly in the middle tier? Our heroes at Animal Legal Defense Fund have released their 2012 comprehensive survey of all animal protection laws in the U.S. states and territories (it’s been available for a few months already…we were slow on the uptake). New this year:

… a brand‐new category of assessment…to account for the passage of “ag gag” laws. These laws—propagated by the corporate agriculture lobby—aim to conceal animal abuse, food safety risks, and illegal working conditions from consumers by making it illegal to video record or photograph at agricultural facilities. Iowa and Utah both enacted “ag gag” legislation in 2012, contributing to their respective drops in rank this year. They join Kansas, Montana and North Dakota for a total of five states that now have “ag gag” laws on the books. 

When you consider that Montana also repeatedly fails to regulate puppy mills and allows legal attendance at illegal dogfights (the ONLY state to do so!), it’s amazing that we fall in the middle tier. Find the full ALDF report here.

Yikes, Georgians…keep this guy out of the Senate! According to Roll Call (Capitol Hill news), Rep. Paul Broun’s office “feels like something between a zoo and a pet cemetery.” That’s because six mounted heads and two entire animals (one an African lion) are displayed there. Take a two-minute video tour of his office; he’ll reveal that it was the 2nd amendment and hunting that led to his political activism, his reverence for the Constitution, and his recognition of “how much we’ve lost” in the way of freedoms, whatever that means. Clearly, no one has impeded his ability to trot the globe laying waste to wildlife. (His office features just a smattering; at home, “I’ve got a two-story wall that’s just covered with moose, caribou, animals from Africa, sheep from Spain, white-tailed deer.”) Hunting also gives him a religious high: “I really enjoy God’s creation, and hunting is really a religious experience for me. I’m overwhelmed by the majesty of our creator, he says, choking back tears. It’s an episode for me to really get back to thinking about God” (Roll Call).

Just how pious IS this Senate contender and former volunteer lobbyist for the Safari Club International? According to HSUS, “he was one of only three lawmakers to vote against legislation in 2010 to ban the trafficking in obscene animal “crush” videos, in which scantily clad women in high heels crush puppies, kittens, and other small animals to death for the sexual titillation of viewers.” Busted! …unless a ban on crush videos is yet another erosion of the freedoms the Founding Fathers laid out for us, huh Rep. Broun?

Americans waste a lot of food; some of it used to be alive: We’ve previously featured the website Counting Animals (“Nerdism meets animal rights here!”), a great site for data freaks and anyone, really, who cares about animals. Here’s a snippet from the latest post:

Sometimes, this thing that we call food is actually the remains of a sentient and cognitively agile animal who wanted to live but who we killed anyway to serve as our food. Most vegans and vegetarians would agree that no animal should have to suffer or die for our food. But, even most omnivores would agree that there is something deeply wretched about inflicting lifelong pain and misery and finally death on an animal for food we are not going to eat.   ~Counting Animals

What follows is a bar graph showing “the percentage of the edible weight of animal products that enters the retail market as food but which is not eaten and is just thrown away into our landfills.” This is pretty shocking–and sobering–stuff for anyone who eats food derived from animals. Sad fact: “Animals that are more often eaten during the holidays—such as turkeys—are left uneaten on our plates more often.”

How to keep food animals out of the landfill: Eat fewer animals!  At 270.7 pounds per person per year, Americans eat more meat than anyone else–except for citizens of Luxembourg.  Check out this info-graphic from the Humane Research Council…click to enlarge. The national Harris Poll from which these numbers originate is here.

Updates on items in our February newsletter
Dropped Iditarod dog suffocated under snow: In February we offered some counterpoints to the media excitement surrounding the Iditarod sled dog race. This year’s fallout: “Fairbanks musher Paige Drobny left the dog, 4-year-old Dorado, at the checkpoint Monday on her way to a 34th-place finish in Nome about 260 miles down the trail. …After a night of blowing snow late Thursday and early Friday, a volunteer uncovered the dead dog at daybreak” (source).

UW-Madison cat cruelty investigated: Last month we brought you news (and video) of actor James Cromwell protesting the treatment of research cats in Wisconsin. PETA, who filed a complaint, is claiming victory after federal inspectors confirmed allegations of abuse. Here’s UW-Madison’s view. Here’s our view: Cats deserve respect.

More manatee musings: Last month we linked you up to fun Florida manatee stuff (here’s a Jon Stewart segment we missed!), including a Tea Party assault on the protected marine mammal. Sadly, their population has decreased with a record number of deaths due–not to Tea Party shenanigans–but to the red tide algae bloom.

Quick Links: Not a lot of blather, just FYI!
Lab beagles taste freedom (last month) after research:  Video
Death traps: Hollow, uncapped metal and PVC pipes – article
Mobile app to report animal cruelty – from ALDF
Mad breakfast sausage – video advertisement from Mercy for Animals
The Last 1000: From laboratory to safe haven, track these chimps

The tail end: Wag it!
Chica is a happy border collie
who has the run of her property…even though she’s never seen it–both of her eyes were removed when she was just a pup. Here’s a 2-minute news report (looks like that link disappeared–here’s an alternate) that makes you realize–yet again–the incredible abilities of the other animal nations. That’s why the newscaster’s final comment is so off-putting: “We all need those inspirational stories, even if it’s just a dog.” Grrrr…

Bully cats and pacifist dogs: It’s clear who bats last in these Cat vs. Dog skirmishes.

Salmon-hunting wolf: A wolf in Alaska observes coastal brown bears hunting salmon and gives it a go. Gorgeous footage and photography.

Thanks for reading!