December 2011 – International News Snippets.

December – International News Snippets.




Uk – Marshall Farms Company Update
Marshall Bioscience farms – the US company proposing to build an intensive breeding unit in E. Yorkshire for 2,000 beagles for laboratory experiments – have a similar breeding unit operating in Montichiari Italy called Green Hill. Green Hill has recently been raided by police and an Italian TV station who was given exclusive coverage rights, documented severe breaches of welfare legislation.  This included freezers full of dead dogs in bin bags with no paperwork, appalling conditions including faeces-covered cage floors with piles of huddled dead and dying puppies. Following the raid and TV coverage the Mayor of Montichiari has ordered the temporary closure of Green Hill farm. It’s not known when they will be permitted to re-open. The company have previously been found to be breaching welfare legislation at their New York site, all of which demonstrates the company’s discredited reputation. In the UK the company’s appeal against the local E. Yorkshire Council’s rejection of their planning application to build the huge mega breeding site in Grimston is now being considered by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Govt. This latest development adds to the existing arguments based on planning and ethics, against allowing this company’s proposal in E. Yorkshire.  





US – Chimp Research Propaganda

The National Institutes of Health wants you to believe that chimpanzee experimentation is necessary. It so badly wants you to believe this that the agency began to use your tax dollars to fund a propaganda campaign for “educating the public” regarding the “importance of chimpanzees in biomedical research.”  Why is the NIH seemingly so desperate? Perhaps because the concept of ending this morally and scientifically bankrupt practice has become so mainstream, on so many fronts – scientific, political, ethical, financial – that on Sept. 28, Scientific American, the most prestigious general interest science magazine in the world, called for a ban, explaining, “Why it is time to end invasive biomedical research on chimpanzees.” One of the major reasons for its call for the ban was the groundbreaking McClatchy Newspapers special report “Chimps: Life in the Lab,” published last April. This special report was based on McClatchy’s independent review of thousands of pages of chimpanzee medical records. Scientific American noted that the special report’s review of these records and the details of experiments “painted a grim picture of life in the lab, noting disturbing psychological responses in the chimps.” The NIH’s use of tax dollars to fund the abuse of chimpanzees, as documented in McClatchy’s special report, is especially timely. Congress has created a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to produce a plan by November 23 to reduce our debt by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The NIH spends more than $30m annually on chimpanzee experimentation; ending it would save more than $300m. It would also be completely consistent with the emerging scientific, political and ethical consensus elucidated by Scientific American: “The time has come to end biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees.” But the NIH seems stuck in a different time – circa 1970s, when the current chief of hepatitis research at the NIH, Dr. Robert Purcell, began experimenting on chimpanzees, as did his counterpart at the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Feinstone. On Aug. 11, a public workshop was convened by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine Chimpanzee Committee, which was commissioned by the NIH to determine if chimpanzees are “necessary” for biomedical research. Dr. Purcell, who personifies the anachronistic mind-set of the NIH, the agency pushing the chimpanzee “model,” referred to chimpanzees as “it” – things, furry test tubes – in his presentation to the committee.  In stark contrast, at the same workshop, the director of HCV Biology for GlaxoSmithKline, the programme officer for research and development at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, and the director for drug safety assessment at Genentech testified that chimpanzees are not needed for development of cutting-edge therapies such as monoclonal antibodies and vaccines for diseases such as malaria. GSK stopped using chimpanzees in 2008. Genentech has also stopped, and told the committee that its informal poll of “6 or 8” other biotech firms found that they, too, did not use chimpanzees. Even the FDA – which produced a letter supporting the NIH’s propaganda campaign – does not require chimpanzee data to approve vaccines or therapies. In September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a petition requesting that captive chimpanzees be classified as “endangered” – which would effectively end chimpanzee experimentation – presented “substantial” evidence that such a reclassification may be warranted, and initiated a review of the classification that includes a call for public comments by Jan. 31, 2012. On the political front, the bipartisan Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011 currently has 106 co-sponsors in the House, while the EU banned chimpanzee experiments last year. The US is the only country in the world that currently allows large-scale chimpanzee experimentation.  The Sacramento Bee 22nd Nov

A group that opposes laboratory research on animals filed a complaint with federal regulators alleging mistreatment of monkeys at a drug development company’s facility in Alice. The group, Stop Animal Exploitation Now, cited records from the University of California in San Francisco showing that primates shipped from the facility arrived with injuries including muscle wasting, missing fingers and damaged ears. Covance, the global drug development service company that owns the facility, responded with a prepared statement saying its U.S. facilities have undergone more than 40 unannounced federal inspections in 4 years with few instances of non-compliance. The U.S. Dept of Agriculture is the federal agency that inspects animal facilities. “In the few instances where the USDA report cited areas where they found concerns, Covance has taken all necessary steps to assure that the issues identified by the USDA were thoroughly addressed and resolved,” the statement said. Michael Budkie, director of the watchdog group, said the federal Animal Welfare Act prohibits transporting animals for commerce that are obviously sick or injured. Of 31 animals cited in the university records, 19 had injuries, Budkie said. One of the reports involved a monkey that showed signs of self-injury so severe that it had to be euthanized within 24 hours of arrival at the university laboratory. Budkie filed his complaint with the USDA. Agency spokesman Dave Sacks had not seen the complaint but said the agency usually sends inspectors to facilities in response to such complaints.

The largest primate research facility in the US has been accused of breeding chimpanzees in violation of government rules, and possibly the law. At the heart of the case is whether the New Iberia Research Centre systematically broke National Institutes of Health rules while breeding chimpanzees, or simply made a few mistakes. Some of the chimpanzees are owned privately by companies or universities, and others are government owned. While the National Institutes of Health permits New Iberia to breed privately owned chimpanzees, which is how it satisfies its own need for new research chimps, they’ve banned federally owned chimp breeding since 1995. New Iberia receives approximately $1m annually from the National Center for Research Resources, the branch of the NIH that oversees chimpanzees, to maintain its chimp colony. Respecting the ban is a condition of the grant. Should New Iberia be found to have engaged in large-scale chimp breeding in violation of the ban, the implications could be dramatic. The Humane Society has asked the Dept of Justice to pursue New Iberia for fraudulent use of federal money, and wants the Dept of Health and Human Services to cease funding the laboratory. Either of those outcomes would represent a major blow to ongoing medical experiments on chimpanzees in the US, which is the only country other than Gabon to permit such research. Long a controversial practice, it’s become a mainstream issue in the last year, with many scientists joining activists in saying that suffering inflicted on chimpanzees in research is morally unconscionable. New Iberia is the flagship of U.S. chimp research. If it sinks, the fleet may follow. For the immediate future, the Humane Society has asked that New Iberia retire all chimpanzees born in violation of the federal ban to sanctuaries. If the infants are 5 years old or younger, the Humane Society asks that their mothers be sent with them. Wired Science 14th Nov.




Canada – Another 2 Canadian universities have agreed to stop using live animals in trauma-medicine training courses, marking the end of the practice completely in Canada, according to the doctor-led animal-rights group that has lobbied for the controversial change. Doctors and other trauma trainees at Quebec’s University of Sherbrooke and Sacré Coeur hospital in Montreal have begun practising on human-like, computerized simulators instead of pigs or dogs.





Uk: England – Hunt hounds kill fox in village

Police are investigating reports of a fox hunt in Studdal where a savaged male fox is believed to have been killed by hounds. Shocking pictures of the animal were sent to the Mercury by Christine Richardson, who saw foxhounds racing down Strakers Hill in the village. She believes the fox was killed by the dogs from the hunt. This is yet to be confirmed by police who have taken his body away for forensic tests. Mrs Richardson said: “A gentleman at the bottom of the road saw a fox running across a field at the back of my house being chased by dogs, and there were riders in the cabbage field. Mrs Richardson said residents were alerted by the sound of baying hounds at about 8am. A horn was sounded and riders were also seen wearing red jackets in a cabbage field. The hounds pushed in the fence of one of her neighbours and barged into her garden. The fox was found in a field on the other side of her broken fence after the hunt with his intestines ripped out. Police say West St Tickham Hunt organised the Studdal hunt. Officers have been speaking to its hunt master Rosemary Cleverdon. When the Mercury tried to speak to Mrs Cleverdon, she hung up twice. East Kent Mercury 19th Oct

More in England: The South Down and Eridge Fox Hunt has become increasingly aggressive over the past few years. Attacking hunt saboteurs in  car parks, threatening them with knives, riding them down and employing ‘stewards’ to harass their every step. You would think they are hiding something? On Saturday a whole new level was reached. The day started as usual with verbal abuse, quad bikes being driven at speed near people and threats of ‘home visits’.  The Sabs persisted in following the hunt which was making little attempt to follow it’s own false trail. The day started getting heated when a hunt supporter constantly drove his vehicle in front of the sabs Land Rovers to impede their progress. This was followed by a number of hunt supporters following the vehicles and driving aggressively and dangerously. Near the close of the day more threats were made and clear attempts were made to start fights, which the sabs refused to react to. Finally the hunt had packed up and the hunt sabs were gathered in a residential road when a vehicle which had been following the group’s vehicles drove up. A catapult was fired out of the passenger window and the missile (a wheel nut) hit a female saboteur on the elbow.  The police were called and the perpetrators were identified to them.  Arrests are expected. The injured saboteur who was taken to hospital for x-rays on her injured arm, has nerve damage. Lee Moon, spokesperson for the HSA, said: “This is the reality behind hunting. A violent nasty pursuit practiced by violent nasty people, who do not care as long as they can inflict some form of suffering on animals or humans.  It is time to strengthen the ban and stop these people in their tracks.”




Bird lovers throughout Europe are still in a state of shock after watching a video of Italian hunters shooting down several thousand song birds in front of protesting bird conservationists. The hunters were completely undisturbed by the filming of this almost unbelievable massacre of migrating song birds. The ugly spectacle took place some 1,400 m above sea level on the San Zeno alpine pass – one of the most important migration corridors in the Southern Alps. On a number of days in October, members of the Bonn-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and the League for the Abolition of Hunting (LAC) from Milan, literally risked life and limb by placing themselves between the hunters and the huge flocks of birds migrating through the pass. The hunters spared no thought for the safety of the conservationists but continued to blast away at the birds without restraint. CABS member Andrea Rutigliano vividly describes the situation: “It was a completely surrealistic situation. More than 1500 shots were fired hourly. Dead or badly injured birds littered the ground. Some of the birds hit fell directly into our group of observers and shotgun pellets rained down on us”. The game rangers present estimated that at least 10,000 Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches, Bramblings and Hawfinches were killed. “One’s head spins when one thinks that in Lombardy alone there are hundreds such passes, more than 86,000 hunters, and that the season lasts for several months” Rutigliano comments resignedly. Graziella Zavalloni, LAC president, goes further: “The real scandal is that no one can be called to account for this disgraceful abuse of nature”. Although the hunting of these 4 species is forbidden by EU legislation, the regional government in Milan has again this year added a special clause to the hunting law permitting the shooting of pipits and the 3 finch species. “This is a blatant contravention of the bird protection guidelines” Zavalloni states. This view is shared by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which in July 2010 condemned Italy for lifting the hunting ban on these species. CABS today announced that it will present a further environmental complaint to the EC based on the evidence filmed at the San Zeno Pass which will be forwarded to the Environment Directorate. In parallel CABS calls upon all bird and nature lovers to protest to the new Italian government in Rome against this annual massacre in the Southern Alps. The contact details for the Minister for the Environment Corrado Clini, together with a prepared protest email, will be published soon on the CABS homepage.





Sweden – A Swedish man who captured 13,000 wild birds and kept hundreds of them locked up in his home has been convicted of animal cruelty and illegal hunting and sentenced to a year and a half in prison. The Hudiksvall district court says Pierre Johansson used illegal nets and traps to capture the birds, including owls, falcons, hawks, sparrows, pheasants and woodpeckers.




Uk – Slaughterhouse CCTV

The RSPCA wants to see CCTV installed in all abattoirs. Dr Marc Cooper, senior scientific manager from the RSPCA’s farm animals science team was asked to address the Food Standard Agency Board meeting about the RSPCA’s views on CCTV in slaughterhouses. The board members resolved to continue encouraging abattoirs to install CCTV systems and approved some guidelines for best practice. But the FSA said it needed more information before it recommended to Government ministers that CCTV should be compulsory in all slaughterhouses. Speaking after the meeting Dr Cooper said: “…….. The public has a right to expect that all farmed animals have as painless and humane an end to their lives as possible. We know this is an issue of huge importance to our supporters and the general public. “The RSPCA firmly believes CCTV in slaughterhouses can be a good additional tool to help improve animal welfare. This is why we made it a requirement within the RSPCA farm animal standards that all abattoirs which are members of the Freedom Food scheme installed CCTV cameras by the start of November. “Many major supermarkets are already demanding CCTV in the slaughterhouses from which they source the meat they sell and abattoirs themselves recognise the benefits of having cameras in place.  “Not only are cameras a good deterrent against acts of animal cruelty and poor practices but they also have very positive uses, as a security measure and as a useful training aid for slaughter men, vets and meat hygiene inspectors to ensure standards are maintained……”   The footage must be kept for at least 3 months and must be available to be viewed by Freedom Food field assessors or RSPCA farm livestock officers during routine and unannounced visits. Under forthcoming EU legislation as of Jan 2013 all abattoirs in the UK will have to employ a specially trained Animal Welfare Officer to oversee the welfare of all animals at the slaughterhouse – an important development originally called for by the RSPCA.





Animals Australia is calling for all abattoirs and markets to be fitted with closed circuit television, so animal welfare can be monitored closely. Last week, the lobby group passed on to regulators private film taken at a Victorian abattoir, showing the alleged abuse of pigs. The footage led to a formal investigation, and the cancellation of the L.E Giles abattoir’s licence to operate. Wherever we look there’s abuse

Animals Australia has launched yet another campaign – this time on the dairy’s industry treatment of bobby calves. Quarter-page advertisements were run through metro newspapers, with the animal welfare group saying “the questionable ethics behind milk production had been a long-held secret”. The campaign told readers 700,000 calves die each year, with the male calf considered a ‘waste product’.

Abattoir closed after pig abuse

An abattoir will lose its licence after an investigation of animal abuse. The L.E. Giles slaughterhouse at Trafalgar, east of Melbourne, Australia, was investigated after an animal rights group gained footage of workers using a stunning prod to poke pigs’ eyes and ears. Brian Casey, from abattoir regulator PrimeSafe, says the operation will be shut down for the long term. “Let me make it, very, very clear to you. On Thursday night I closed the abattoir,” he said. “And that notice is in place and will remain in place until such time as the investigation is completed and the process is completed.” The abattoir, which processed cattle and sheep as well as pigs, has been in the same family for 60 years, and employs about 20 people.

More to Come Soon ! – SAV.