Tag Archive | "animal cruelty"

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Humans are Super-Predators and Anti-Evolution

Posted on 22 September 2015 by Jerry

Predators, other than humans, assist the process of evolution by picking the young, sick, lame or aged as the victims of their predation or the ones they kill. They help the evolution of the strong and healthy by taking victims who are less capable of resisting their attacks. They beneficially cull the bloodlines of all animals. They improve a selection process that favors stronger animals.

Human hunters however, act as an opposing force to evolution. They do not seek to kill the young, sick, lame or aged but rather seek the robust specimens they would be proud to mount on their walls. Using deer as our example, do you see the heads of females or babies on the wall or the adult male ‘five pointers’ or heads with huge antlers? The answer is obvious. These are the successful male deer, those who avoided hunters and represent a strong evolutionary line and influence. These are the deer to preserve not destroy.

Hunters relive old animal instincts. They attack the most able, reliving age-old demonstrations that they are the greatest natural predator. Hunters cloke their behavior in modern rationalizations to confuse the recognition of their true motives.

A new study summarized and published in the August 21, 2015 issue of Science magazine compares the human predator, hunters and fishermen, with the rest of the carnivore predators in the animal kingdom. An article about the results of the study in part states, “We are still the unique super-predator that we evolved to be. Analyzing an extensive database of 2125 exploited wild animal populations, the authors find that humans take up to 14 times as much adult prey biomass as do other predators.”

Many articles defend the need for hunters citing excess animals in a variety of cities across the world. Of course these articles do not list the reasons for too many wild pigs in San Jose, California, too many wild turkeys in Maine or too many deer in Ohio. They also do not address the surplus of Badgers in the U.K., Whitetail deer in Long Island, elephants in South Africa, Red Deer in Scotland or grey wolves in the U.S.

It could be the humans or bureaucrats who control these areas made earlier mistakes that created a surplus of these animals. It could be just a bureaucrat who feels he or she has reached an equilibrium that should allow the raising of more money by selling hunting permits.

These locations and bureaucrats all argue that they permit hunters because the alternative of professional exterminators is too expensive. This does not explain why hunters are unencumbered by limitations on their weapons. Why bow hunting is separately permitted in various jurisdictions? Why heavy weapons with large caliber ammunition is used to give the hunter an inordinate advantage over the defenseless animal.

A professional sharpshooter in explaining how a cull actually works was quoted in an Outdoor Life article published on April 9, 2014. He stated, “It is unfortunate that suppressed firearms aren’t more widely accepted across the country. Luckily, we were able to utilize them during culls, even though New York doesn’t permit their use by the general public. We used .243-caliber rifles built off of Remington and Savage bolt actions…Upon penetration, the rounds quickly broke apart and dumped all of their energy into the animals’ soft tissue…I can’t recall a single instance of pass through, and the devastation the bullets caused was truly amazing, often turning the entire skull to jelly.”

Most of these jurisdictions do not point at the issuance of hunting permits to generate revenue. Many of these jurisdictions seek to hide their motivation in a variety of regulations that are an olive branch to those who would protect these animals. Most areas for example, dictate that if a mature female of a species is taken and would leave a young baby to fend for itself (or die alone) the baby should be killed along with the mother.

Hunting permits issued to human beings are an imbedded feature of most human societies around the world. It probably would take a very long campaign to abolish or put enough peer pressure on the hunting culture of human beings. We should try however. The behavior of these people is archaic and represents one of the worst ongoing offenses of our species. Given the age of the species, we should have outgrown this behavior long ago.

We should once and forever admit that hunting should be abolished except in cultures where it provides necessary sustenance. That everywhere else it is a throwback to behavior that is the worst, most animalistic in our history. We should admit that hunting permits are established all over the world as a revenue-generating tool. We should use all other options even if they are more costly to protect our view of human beings, our behavior, and ourselves. We should make being human a greater calling than just being at the top of the food chain as the world’s greatest predator.

Use the following links to access additional information or see the original documents that generated this article.
















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It is Time for Animals to Have Rights

Posted on 03 September 2015 by Jerry

Charles Darwin said, “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties…The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.” (see Beyond Animal, Ego and Time page 63) With those words Darwin foreshadowed the knowledge we would gain from the many experiments with animals we’ve conducted over the years. Calls for further experiments to end are justified by what we now know. In fact, it is time we granted additional rights to proven sentient animals.

“As of 14 September, no U.S. labs will be conducting invasive studies on chimps”, so reads the subtitle of an article appearing in the August 21, 2015 issue of Science magazine. This article announced there have been no permits filed anywhere in the U.S. to conduct invasive research on chimpanzees. This represents a new rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Animals who have passed the mirror and mark tests and consequently have self-recognition, have been gaining rights in various countries over the years.   Great Britain was the first government to ban experimentation on chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. In 1999, New Zealand’s parliament gave apes legal protection from animal experimentation.

But the first country to bestow full freedom for these animals was the Spanish parliament that passed a resolution in 2008 that gave great apes the right to life and freedom. This was a result of work by the Great Apes Project that was founded by Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri.

In 2013 India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests forbade the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country. The Ministry is quoted as stating, “Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and its morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.”

In late 2014 an orangutan in an Argentine zoo was transferred to a sanctuary after an Argentine court gave the ape a “non-human person” status. This was in response to a habeas corpus petition that was filed by the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) that took the position the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object. The orangutan that had been in captivity since it was born in a German zoo was sent to live out its days in a wildlife sanctuary in Brazil.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Great Apes Project, Peter Singer, Paola Cavalieri, and the Nonhuman Rights Project founded by Steven Wise, who recently brought a habeas corpus writ for two chimpanzees that was denied in the U.S., have long been battling for the rights of these animals. Films such as the award winning “The Cove” have documented outright animal cruelty perpetrated on these sentient animals.

It is time that U.S. granted “non-human personhood” rights to these animals that have innate self-recognition. This includes all great apes (chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos), all elephants, and all breeds of cetaceans (porpoises and dolphins). I would add a family of birds, the Corvids (crows, ravens, and jays) as self-aware and deserving of rights.

The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest has provided us a good starting point. Their Declaration on cetaceans (porpoises and dolphins) should be applied to all sentient animals worldwide. They offer declarations that in an article in the July 30, 2013 issue of the Daily Kos are referred to as follows. They state, “Unlike…positive rights, such as the ‘right’ to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone. It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer.”

Their Declarations are as follows and should be recognized by local and international laws:

  1. Every individual animal granted rights should have the right to life.
  2. No sentient animal should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
  3. All of these animals have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
  4. None of these animals is the property of any state, corporation, human group or individual.
  5. All of these animals have the right to the protection of a natural environment.
  6. All of these animals have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
  7. The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.

Of course there should be a reasonable amount of time for zoos, entertainment parks, and researchers to find substitutes in their operations for these animals. In many respects these animals have been prized for their very intellect and self-awareness. After all it is their trainability that has made them so highly valued.

We need to once and for all recognize their legal right to exist and be left alone.   Indeed we should protect them from the human beings that are barely their betters. If this happens within the big established countries, all others will follow. Write your congresspersons, senators and tell all others it is time we made these rights official.

Use the following articles to gain additional information or access the source documents used in this writing.











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“Bird Brain” Not an Insult, Chimps Freed

Posted on 23 August 2013 by Jerry

Calling someone “bird brained” used to be an insult but that is changing. Although their observed physical reactions are the same, new brain PET scans of birds demonstrate crows react differently when viewing various threats.  In an experiment birds were injected with a die that left traces of brain usage, they were shown various threats, anesthetized and given PET scans to see which areas of their brain had been activated.  When watching a researcher wearing a mask sitting with a dead crow in his lap they activated their hippocampus and cerebellum, the learning and memory areas of their brains.  This was different from their reaction to seeing a hawk, a traditional threat.

Researchers believe the differences came from the bird’s intent.  John Marzluff, a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington in an article appearing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B when discussing the masked person with a crow in his lap said, “The crow wasn’t just responding to a danger when he was watching you.  He was learning the features of your masked face.  That’s why we think his hippocampus was activated.”  This and other characteristics of sentience have prompted behavioral researchers to call crows, belonging to the Corvid family, “feathered apes”.

As reported in a July 2013 issue of PLOS ONE, a team led by Alice Auersperg at the University of Vienna demonstrated that captive cockatoos were capable of sequential step-wise problem solving.  In an experiment, when confronted with a series of five locks that had to be unlocked to allow a bird to get to a visible treat, all ten birds figured out the solution to this sequential problem and successfully adjusted their behavior when the locks were sequenced in a different order or removed entirely.

Other research showed that New Caledonian crows share the same capabilities as ravens, African gray parrots and keas (a New Zealand parrot), all of which can all solve the problem of getting a treat hanging out of reach from a perch using the same stepwise method.  The article previously mentioned in the Proceeding of the Royal Society B described the experiment and said “They pull up the string with their beak, then step on the segment with their feet, freeing their beak to pull up more of the string, and so on, until they reach the treat.”

This article also references a 2004 report where an international team of neurobiologists and ornithologists stated “the brains of birds have structure, including an advanced forebrain, that are analogous to those of mammals.”  Once again the research is expanding the scope of animals and birds that have sophisticated problem-solving intellect.  We have been slow to learn the lesson that we are not the only animals that can think the way we do or feel the complex emotions we feel.

There is an exceptional article that appeared in the July 2013 issue of Scientific American entitled When Animals Mourn that describes research indicating that we share our mourning the death of one of our kind with dolphins, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, cats and mallard ducks.   This speaks to the widespread nature of love and mourning in the animal kingdom.

Turning to the role of chimpanzees, the closest human relatives with which we share 98% of our DNA, it was predicted in an earlier posting on this blog (see NIH Moves Chimps From Chumps to Champs in December of 2011) that is was clear the National Institute of Health (NIH) would progressively end the use of chimpanzees in NIH funded research laboratories in the U.S.  The NIH has now announced the agency will retire the majority of its 360 chimps used for medical research.  In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed making all chimpanzees, wild and domesticated, subject to the terms of the Endangered Species Act.

This means almost a complete end to what has been one of our most abusive behaviors.  Many people have come to decry the pain and suffering we have inflicted on these sensitive animals.  Research methods and alternatives now exist to make use of chimpanzees in medical experiments completely unnecessary and a thing of the past.  This represents meaningful progress for the human species.

Use the following links to obtain more information and/or see source documents:







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PETA: Principles Proved Prophetic

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Jerry

Since 1980, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has been dedicated to protecting and expanding animal rights.  Scientists once felt animals did not have the same intellect or emotions as humans, that pain was not felt as acutely and that animals had no higher emotions.  PETA always disagreed.  Over the last thirty years scientists have moved closer to PETA and now agree with Charles Darwin that “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties…The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.”

We now know some animals have many capabilities beyond what was once imagined such as self awareness, feelings of sadness, a highly developed sense of fairness, recognition of human faces, etc.  And these capabilities extend beyond mammals to selected species of birds such as corvids.  This knowledge only reinforces PETA’s views that we should ban any and all further laboratory testing using animal species.  There is considerable evidence that testing of drugs and other therapies can be accomplished satisfactorily without use of animal subjects.

PETA’s campaigns continue.  While they are sometimes criticized for their methods, there is no argument about their accomplishments.  In an earlier article on this blog dated April 6, 2012 entitled “Persistent PETA Presses to End Primate Experimentation” it was reported that PETA had succeeded in convincing international airline transport carriers, specifically China Southern Airlines and Air Canada, to halt any further international shipments of animals destined for experimentation.

In a further update to this PETA program, the organization announced they had secured the agreement of the world’s two largest air cargo carriers, UPS and FedEx, to no longer transport mammals for laboratory use.  In addition, UPS pledged to further restrict the transport of amphibians, fish, insects and other non-mammals.  While the two carriers were not transporting many of these animals, PETA was pleased by their agreement and stated, “We felt it was crucial to go to them and discuss this as we knew that facilities trying to send non-human primates and other species would be going to them soon, as more and more passenger airlines refused to do business with them.”

On another front, PETA demanded that the University of California San Francisco return a $2.1 million grant it had received from the National Institutes of Health for violating NIH’s lab animal welfare policies.  Citing NIH reports released that document UCSF’s recent failures and $92,500 of fines UCSF paid over the years to settle federal complaints it had violated the Animal Welfare Act, PETA spokesman Justin Goodman said “There are thousands of animals suffering every day, and on top of that, you have UCSF failing to provide many of them adequate veterinary care when they are sick.” UCSF is known to have one of the largest research programs in the U.S. using hundreds of thousands of animals in its lab research.

Use the following links for more information:



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238906/horrific-animal-cruelty-exposed-UCSF-PETA-demands-2-1-million-research-grant-returned-petra-monkey-left-suffer-years- meds.html

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Persistent PETA Presses to End Primate Experimentation

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Jerry

Watching the tactics of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a study in human activism and tenacity.  We have reported here on their ongoing efforts to end the use of primates in medical experimentation: see August 2011 article Too Sentient for Their Own Good and December 2011 article NIH Moves Chimps from Chumps to Champs.  Both of these articles mention PETA’s efforts to marshal public pressure on the National Institute of Health to end its support of invasive experimentation on chimpanzees.  They argue that these experiments can all be done in some other way and represent unusual cruelty to animals with such advanced intelligence.  Now PETA has launched a campaign to pressure international airline transport carriers to refuse to transport non-human primates into the U.S. for all types of medical experimentation.

A recent article in Nature, identifies that “In 2011, some 97% of the 18,044 non-human primates imported into the United States for use in research came from a handful of countries” identified as China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mauritius (by way of Paris).  Using multiple techniques that include use of emails, social media, telephone calls and sit-in type protests such as at the Animal Transportation Association meeting in Vancouver in March of this year, PETA is exerting a full court press on these carriers.

So far these efforts succeeded, leading China Southern Airlines to cancel shipments from Guangzhou, China and Air Canada to petition the Canadian Transport Agency for required permission to end primate transfers in the future.  Air France, the last major European carrier to transport research primates, is under considerable public pressure to end the practice.

Following animal rights activists as they continually change tactics to make further progress on these issues is instructive and inspirational to others who would seek to change how the world sees issues that are important to them.  For those who want to see films that were made undercover in medical research laboratories in the United States to experience firsthand how they conduct these experiments, go to www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/primates-in-laboratories.aspx .

Use the following links for more information about these topics:

http://www.nature.com/news/activists-ground-primate-flights-1.10255  (March 22, 2012 issue of Nature, volume 483)


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