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Vier Pfoten/Lionsrock Sanctuary

U.S. proposal to “protect” African lions hands their heads to hunters

WASHINGTON D.C.––“Wild” African lions may in the future exist only as a species cultivated for trophy hunting, anticipates an October 29, 2014 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to list them as a “threatened” species. Published in the October 29, 2014 edition of the Federal Register, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service notice of proposed rulemaking is open for 90 days of public comment, ending in January 2015, before taking effect. The listing proposal was hailed as a victory for the trophy hunting industry by Safari Club International, and was mourned as an at least partial defeat by the Humane Society of the U.S., Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal … [Read More...]

SHARK exposed several politically well-connected pigeon shooters in March 2013.  (SHARK photo)

Pigeon-shooters, dog-eaters, James Inhofe & the NRA

HARRISBURG, OKLAHOMA CITY––Did senior Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Inhofe know about the $1,000 checks being passed out in the Pennsylvania state legislature when he appealed for funds from pigeon shooters? Whined Inhofe at his fundraising web site, appealing urgently for campaign contributions, “I am being attacked by the SHARK animal rights extremist group on what the National Rifle Association calls a long standing shooting sports tradition. This attack is coming from the same people that have protested rodeos and hunting.” Showing Animals Respect & Kindness, SHARK for short, on September 22, 2014 posted to web sites undercover video of Inhofe hosting ninth annual … [Read More...]

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A fireside message from Merritt Clifton

  I don't always warn people about pit bulls.  Sometimes I talk about Chihuahuas. And,  with the help of a few dedicated assistants,  I investigate and write about every aspect of the human/animal relationship,  from animal rights and animal welfare to zoological conservation and zoonotic disease control –– always focused on what we can do … [Read More...]

Baiting bears & a governor in Maine and New Jersey

AUGUSTA, Maine; TRENTON, New Jersey––Asking Maine voters to abolish baiting bears by ballot initiative on November 4, 2014, the Humane Society of the U.S. appears to be taking the politically most ambitious approach to the issue, but Friends of Animals on October 22, 2014 introduced the most attention-grabbing tactic. Vegan donuts Announced FoA … [Read More...]

When are alleged fighting dogs not pit bulls?

SEVIERVILLE, Tennessee––When are 50 pit bulls seized from an alleged fighting dog breeding kennel in rural Tennessee not pit bulls? When the Humane Society of the U.S. helps with the bust,  writes the press release about it,  and distributes it to media nationwide, while pushing the repeal of an Aurora, Colorado ordinance meant to ensure that … [Read More...]

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War of the Whales

by Joshua Horwitz Simon & Schuster (1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020), 2014. 448 pages, hardcover. $28.00. Kindle $12.74. Reviewed by Merritt Clifton Ken Balcomb, the former U.S. Navy pilot who in 1976 founded the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington, was back in the news on October 21, 2014, along with his … [Read More...]

Killing the white deer & the Marysville massacre

by Merritt Clifton MARYSVILLE, Washington; LIVINGSTON, Michigan––If Jaylen Ray Fryberg, 14, had checked popular news web sites on October 24, 2014, before shooting five fellow students at Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, killing two, putting two more into critical condition, and then killing himself, Fryberg might have seen the … [Read More...]

Is “green building” better for wildlife?

  by Merritt Clifton Is “green building” better for wildlife? Yes and no. Before answering that question, we need to more precisely define the terms. First, what exactly do we mean by “green building”? Second, what exactly do we mean by “better”? There are a variety of different and sometimes conflicting definitions of “green … [Read More...]

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Marysville school shooter Jaylen Ray Fryberg (Facebook)

Marysville school shooter loved hunting & pit bulls

by Merritt Clifton MARYSVILLE, Washington––Jaylen Ray Fryberg, 14, a freshman at Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, was by all accounts a popular young man who did well in school, admired pit bulls, and had become an accomplished hunter, recently bagging an elk and a deer. A football player who on October 17, 2014 had been voted freshman homecoming king, Jaylen Fryberg was … [Read More...]

Buffalo calf rescued by the Visakha SPCA.  (VSPCA photo)

Supreme Court of India ruling covers tracks on Gadhi Mai sacrifice

DELHI––Did a two-justice bench from the Supreme Court of India on October 17,  2014 strike a mighty blow against animal sacrifices at the Gadhi Mai festival, to be held in the village of Bariyarpur, Nepal, on November 28-29, 2014? Or did the Supreme Court justices just hand the government of India and a coalition of animal advocacy groups a face-saving way to declare victory when the much … [Read More...]

Barn swallow babies.  (Beth Clifton)

27 ways to avoid hitting animals that may save your life too!

by Merritt Clifton 1) The most important tip of all: It is easier and safer to anticipate animals in the road than it is to miss them once they are in front of you. Watch for motion in roadside grass and shrubs. Remember that most lines in the woods are vertical. If you see something horizontal, it may be an animal. 2) Usually the safest thing to do, upon suddenly meeting any animal in the … [Read More...]


Aurora, Colorado: reject risk-taking pit bull advocates’ attempt to gamble with your lives and the lives of your animals

News analysis by Beth Clifton Holding signs mingling patriotic imagery with silhouettes of pit bulls, displaying ear-to-ear crocodilian grins for media, pit bull advocates on October 11, 2014 gathered near Bicentennial Park in Aurora, Colorado, to urge Aurora voters to repeal an alleged pit bull ban. The “ban,” in effect since October 2005, actually just requires people who keep pit bulls to … [Read More...]