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Cockfighting scene from Bollywood film "Rockin' Meera" (2009).

Madras High Court rules against temple cockfights

             CHENNAI––Striking at judicial corruption and moving to close the biggest legal loophole that has allowed cockfighting to persist in India, 54 years after it was nominally banned, the Madras High Court on August 21, 2014 ruled that lower courts may not direct police to permit temple cockfights, in contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Article 51-A[g] of the constitution of India recognizes that "It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India…to have compassion for all living creatures.” Accordingly, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, passed to implement Article 51-A[g], has been recognized as taking precedence over … [Read More...]

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Managing Community Cats: A Guide for Municipal Leaders

Humane Society of the U.S. Free download from: http://www.animalsheltering.org/resources/all-topics/cats/managing-community-cats.pdf 33 pages, paperback. $10 if ordered from: http://marketplace.animalsheltering.org/product/managing-community-cats Reviewed by Merritt Clifton Managing Community Cats: A Guide for Municipal Leaders is in most respects the endorsement of neuter/return feral cat control that those of us who introduced the method to the U.S. circa 25 years ago wish the Humane Society of the U.S. had issued then. Instead, when several of us demonstrated the efficacy of neuter/return as part of a rabies control strategy in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut in … [Read More...]

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Are skinned and dismembered rabbits “Whole Foods”?

          RICHMOND, California––Are skinned and dismembered rabbits “whole foods”? Whole Foods Market sells them, along with other meat, much to the disgust and outrage of SaveABunny Inc. founder and executive director Marcy Schaaf and House Rabbit Society president Margo DeMello. Schaaf and DeMello organize dprotests against the … [Read More...]

Field Mortalities in Wildlife Research: It’s Time for a Conversation

Preface by Merritt Clifton Jon Geller, DVM, whose guest column “Field Mortalities in Wildlife Research: It’s Time for a Conversation” appears below, is scarcely the first to call into question the ethics of wildlife captures for research purposes. While Geller’s critique focuses on capture techniques, why animals are captured and what happens to … [Read More...]

China’s largest bear bile producer is chickening out of the market

             HONG KONG––The Animals Asia Foundation on July 31, 2014 cautiously welcomed a report that KaiBao Pharmaceutical, the world’s largest maker of bear bile pharmaceuticals, has embarked upon a five-year-plan to develop synthetic alternatives using byproducts from poultry slaughter. Reality is that there are already synthetic … [Read More...]

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Infighting among animal advocates

Editorial by Merritt Clifton Circa 1996 a relatively young,  very dynamic,  very successful humane society had a really nasty internal split underway.   Some of the warring factions asked me to umpire a meeting that looked to me like setting the scene for a bloodbath. Ain't no way I was going to get caught in the crossfire.  I could have ended up … [Read More...]

A black-and-white issue that the humane community has yet to face

  Editorial by Merritt Clifton Reviewing the original edition of Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians & Staff in August 2004,  I noticed immediately and approvingly that it was "dedicated to Lloyd Tait,  VMD." Tait,  who in 1968 became the ASPCA's first director of shelter medicine,  "was everything one could imagine in a friend and … [Read More...]

Nathan Winograd in perspective

 Editorial by Merritt Clifton On July 11,  2014 the AR-2014 conference hosted in Los Angeles by the Farm Animal Rights Movement was to feature a talk and video presentation by No Kill Advocacy Center founder Nathan Winograd,  who was allocated more than 90 minutes.  When FARM offered me 15 minutes to speak in the same room,  preceding Winograd, … [Read More...]

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Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla ) at Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden wildlife rehabilitation center,  Hong Kong.  (Kadoorie Farm & Botanical Garden photo)

Armor is not enough to protect pangolins

  LONDON––The International Union for the Conservation has elevated all four Asian pangolin species to “endangered” status and all four African pangolin species to “vulnerable” status. “All eight pangolin species are now listed as threatened with extinction,” Zoological Society of London conservation programs director Jonathan Baillie told Adam Vaughan of The Guardian on July 28, … [Read More...]

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The Double-Crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah

by Linda R. Wires,  with original illustrations by Barry Kent MacKay Yale University Press (P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520), 2014. 368 pages, illustrated. $30.00 hardcover.   Reviewed by Merritt Clifton The ANIMALS 24-7 research files include coverage of sixty-odd public controversies involving cormorants during the past decade. Each began in more-or-less the same manner, with … [Read More...]

Egg Innovations

Cage-free egg farm fire kills 65,000 hens, revives attention to lack of sprinklers in barns

            FORT WAYNE, Indiana––A predawn fire on July 28, 2014 killed 65,000 hens at an Egg Innovations barn in Kosciusko County, Indiana, reviving attention to a two-year-old National Fire Protection Association proposal to require sprinkler systems in farm animal housing. “Flames were showing. Probably shooting in the air about 20 feet,” Atwood fire chief Mike Harmon told WANE-TV of Fort … [Read More...]

Rebecca Katz (SF/ACC photo)

Author of San Francisco ordinance requiring pit bull sterilization appears to be victim of militant advocates

             SAN FRANCISCO––San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control director Rebecca Katz was quietly dismissed on July 25, 2014––but her exit did not remain quiet for long. “Rebecca Katz, San Francisco's well-liked director of Animal Care and Control, is no longer with the city,” mourned Marisa Lagos of SFGate. “This is a good day for the shelter animals,” responded … [Read More...]