Saturday, May 29, 2010


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
[1] Aurora, Colorado
[2] Palm City, Martin County Florida
[3] Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan
[4] Piscataway, Middlesex county, New Jersey
[5] Royal Oak and Southfield, Oakland county Michigan
[6] Howell County, Missouri; Oregon County, Missouri
[7] Marion County, Florida
[8] Henry County, Virginia
[9] Windsor area, California

[1] Aurora, Colorado
Date: 13 May 2010
Source: Aurora Sentinel [edited]

Another case of rabies indicates larger problem, health officials say
County health officials have confirmed that a skunk that was shot and
killed 5 May 2010 on private property in Adams County on was infected
with rabies. The resident of the property shot the skunk after seeing
the animal exhibiting abnormal behavior. There was no known human or
animal exposure to the disease.

This was the 3rd confirmed case of rabies in the last 2 months,
according to the Tri-County Health Department. On 15 Mar 2010, health
officials confirmed that a skunk near Parker was infected with rabies
and on 9 Apr 2010 a horse that died in eastern Arapahoe County was
also confirmed to have the disease. The horse had been exposed to
local skunk populations and 8 people risked exposure during the
incident and had to receive vaccinations (post-exposure prophylaxis).

Health Department Executive Director Richard Vogt said the cases
confirm that rabies is spreading through the skunk population in
rural areas and that it is moving closer to the metro area.

"The nature of rabies is that it actually kind of moves in over a
period of several years. After it starts to move in it sticks around
for many years, unfortunately. It becomes a longer range problem," he

"It is more important than ever that pets stay current on their
vaccinations. That is the easiest way to control the problem in the
Denver Area," said Cheryl Conway, a spokeswoman with the city of
Aurora Animal Care Division.

Vogt also recommended that horse and cattle owners talk to their
veterinarians about livestock vaccinations.

Anyone who thinks they have seen an animal infected with rabies is
asked to contact the Aurora Animal Care Division or their local
animal control agency.

[Byline: Caddie Nath]

Communicated by:

[2] Palm City, Martin County Florida

Date: 24 May 2010
Source: TC [edited]

Palm City bobcat 1st Martin County rabies case this year
A bobcat that scratched a horse last week has tested positive for
rabies. The horse will be placed in quarantine for 6 months.

The attack occurred on 21 May 2010 on Cherokee Street. This is the
1st case of rabies in Martin County this year. Last year [2009], 3
animals tested positive for rabies, including a bobcat, a raccoon and
a fox.

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted from the bite or scratch of a
rabid animal. Any mammal can get rabies. The most common carriers of
rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes. Domestic
mammals can also get rabies. Cats are the most frequently reported
rabid domestic animal in the United States.

Communicated by:

[3] Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan
Date: 18 May 2010
Source: WDIV Detroit [edited]

2nd Skunk Tests Positive For Rabies in Oakland County
Authorities are advising pet owners to vaccinate their pets and
remain on guard after 2 skunks captured in a Detroit suburb tested
positive for rabies. The most recent skunk that tested positive for
rabies was found near 12 Mile and Woodward Avenue.

Larry Obrecht, division manager for Oakland County Animal Control,
said a positive test on an animal like the ones recently trapped in
Royal Oak and later euthanized is not unusual. He told The Daily
Tribune of Royal Oak that skunks, bats and raccoons are carriers of
the untreatable disease that affects the central nervous system and
brain, causing malaise then abnormally hyperactive behavior.

Obrecht said pet owners should call animal control officials if they
see nocturnal animals acting unusually during the day. He said
parents also should talk to children about staying away from wild

Communicated by:

[4] Piscataway, Middlesex county, New Jersey
Date: 25 May 2010
Source: NJ Today [edited]

Rabid Raccoon Found In Piscataway
The Middlesex County Public Health Department is reporting that a
raccoon tested positive for rabies in Piscataway, in the vicinity of
River Road and Maplehurst Lane.

This is the 9th rabid animal reported within Middlesex County for
2010 and the 1st rabid animal reported in the municipality of

On 20 May 2010, the Piscataway Animal Control Officer responded to a
report that a raccoon was observed on a resident's property. The
resident reported that the raccoon fought with and was subsequently
killed by the resident's pet dog. The raccoon was sent to the New
Jersey State Department of Health Laboratory for testing and it was
reported today that the animal tested positive for rabies.

The resident's pet dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination. As a
precaution, the Middlesex County Public Health Department advised the
owners to consult with a veterinarian to receive a booster
vaccination and to place the dog under a 45-day observation period.
The owners of the dog also were advised to speak to a physician
regarding exposure to the animal. Additionally, the department is
distributing rabies advisory flyers and fact sheets in the area.

The Middlesex County Public Health Department continues to monitor
rabies cases within the County. Residents should report wild animals
showing signs of unusual behavior to their local Animal Control
Officer. Additionally, it is recommended that residents should avoid
contact with wild animals and immediately report any bites from wild
or domestic animals to your local health department and consult a
physician as soon as possible. Finally, be sure that all family pets
are up to date on their rabies vaccinations and licenses.

Communicated by:

[5] Royal Oak and Southfield, Oakland county Michigan
Date: 23 May 2010
Source: Home Town Life [edited]

Local rabies cases prompt call for caution
Recent cases of rabies -- 1 each in Royal Oak and Southfield -- are
prompting the Oakland County Animal Control Division to remind pet
owners to have their pets vaccinated against the disease, and for
residents to be cautious around wild or stray animals.

A skunk found in the City of Royal Oak was tested 14 May 2010 for
rabies after it displayed neurological signs common to the disease.
The Oakland County Animal Control Division was notified 17 May 2010
that the skunk tested positive for rabies.

Another recent case involved a dog in the Southfield area that
returned home with an injury, became ill and had to be euthanized.
The dog tested positive for a rabies strain found in skunks.

Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of
humans and other mammals, according to the Oakland County Health
Division. People and unvaccinated animals get rabies from the bite of
an infected animal, or if saliva from the animal gets directly into a
person's eyes, nose, mouth or any break in the skin. The vaccine is
given to at-risk individuals to prevent the disease.

Rabies is nearly always fatal if not treated after exposure.

"This is why it is so important to have your family pets vaccinated
for rabies," said Lawrence Obrecht, division manager of Oakland
County Animal Control. "Cats, dogs and even horses have the potential
of coming into contact with wild life. Skunks and bats are known
carriers of rabies and should be avoided. Keeping your pets' vaccines
up-to-date ensures your pet is protected."

For more information about rabies, visit the Oakland County Health
Division website at .

Communicated by:

[6] Howell County, Missouri; Oregon County, Missouri
Date: 26 May 2010
Source: Area Wide news [edited]

Rabid skunks continue to be found in the Ozarks region
Arkansas and Missouri health officials are on alert as rabies cases
in both states begin to rise. The most recent cases reported in both
states occurred in skunks

Howell County Health Department officials have confirmed a 9th case
of rabies within the county this year, just 4 miles west of West
Plains. The rabid skunk had exposed the virus to 3 vaccinated dogs,
which are now being kept in a 45-day quarantine.

In Oregon County, Oregon County Health Department Administrator
Sheila Russell says only one case, also involving a skunk, has been
reported so far, but residents need to take precautions to prevent
exposure of a loved one or family pet.

"This is a problem with a very simple solution -- vaccinate your
pets," said Russell. "We can't control the wild animals that share
our country living with us, but we can protect our families and our
pets by having them vaccinated. If someone does get bitten, the costs
for treatment can run from USD 600-700, where a rabies shot for your
pet is less than USD 20."

Russell pointed out that if your animal became infected and bit
someone else, you would be left holding the bill for their medical
treatment. "You are responsible for your animal," said Russell. "Take
advantage of our scheduled clinics, or make an appointment today to
get your animals vaccinated. When it comes down to it, like the old
saying says, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'"

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals and is transmitted primarily
through bites. Annually, 7000 to 8000 rabid animals are detected in
the United States, with more than 90 percent of the cases in wild
animals. Rabies is found naturally in Missouri, occurring primarily
in bats and skunks, although other animals are also found rabid each
year, including domestic species such as dogs, cats, horses and

Although rabies is transmitted to humans almost entirely through
bites from rabid animals, contamination of open wounds or mucous
membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could
potentially constitute an exposure. Rabies in humans is almost
invariably fatal. Fortunately, human deaths in the United States have
become relatively rare because: (1) effective vaccinations have been
available for dogs and cats since the 1950s, (2) public health
practices such as animal quarantine and testing are aggressively
pursued, and (3) improved anti-rabies shots have been developed for
persons exposed to rabies.

Tragically, in 2008, a human rabies fatality occurred in Missouri in
an individual who did not seek medical advice or treatment following
a bat bite. Before this, the last human rabies infection in the state
was reported in 1959.

Effective rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets,
sheep, cattle, and horses. Vaccination of cats and dogs is crucial,
since vaccinated pets are a protective barrier between the people who
own and interact with them and rabid wild animals with which the pets
might have contact.

Dogs and cats whose owners consider them to be "indoor animals"
should also be vaccinated because these pets often have exposures to
other animals, either by the dog or cat being unintentionally
released to the outdoors, or by wild animals such as bats getting
into the house. Vaccinations must be administered by a licensed
veterinarian. Primary and booster vaccinations should be obtained in
accordance with recommendations from licensed veterinarians and in
accordance with local animal control ordinances. There is no
post-exposure treatment available for animals as there is for humans.

The incubation period of rabies in people is also variable (depending
upon factors such as the site and severity of the bite), but averages
3 to 8 weeks. Following an exposure to rabies, there is normally a
window of opportunity (usually measured in days) in which the patient
can receive a series of shots to keep him/her from developing
disease. Once symptoms begin, the outcome is almost always death.

Early symptoms of rabies often include sensory changes at the site of
the bite (numbness or tingling), fever, headache, and a general
feeling of discomfort. As the infection progresses, the patient may
exhibit excitability, anxiety, aerophobia (abnormal aversion to air
in motion), and hydrophobia (abnormal fear of water). Other
neurological symptoms may include mental confusion, paralysis,
delirium, and convulsions. Without medical intervention, death
usually occurs within 2 to 6 days.

With medical intervention, the course of disease may be prolonged to
several weeks before death ensues. The diagnosis of rabies in humans
may be complicated since other diseases that affect the brain produce
similar symptoms. Diagnosis is also difficult in the early stages of
disease when tests for rabies may not yet be positive. Specimens
obtained for testing include saliva, blood, cerebral spinal fluid,
and biopsied nerve tissue.

The following actions should be taken if a person is bitten or
otherwise possibly exposed to a rabid animal:

Domestic animals: Identify and, if possible, confine the biting
animal. Dogs, cats, and ferrets may be quarantined for 10 days (if
healthy and depending on other circumstances), or they may be
euthanized and tested for rabies. Other domestic animals are handled
on a case-by-case basis.

Wild animals: Identify and, if possible, confine the biting animal
for rabies testing. No quarantine period is recognized for wild

After being bitten, wash the wound immediately and thoroughly with
soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes. Consult with a physician to: (1)
check the tetanus immunization status, (2) determine if antibiotic
treatment is needed for bacterial infection, (3) determine if other
medical procedures are necessary, such as sutures in the case of
disfiguring wounds, and (4) have a rabies risk assessment
accomplished, including determining if the anti-rabies series of
shots is warranted.

There is a lot that Missourians can do to prevent a rabies infection.

* Ensure dogs and cats are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.
Vaccinations are also available for ferrets, horses, cattle and
sheep. The effectiveness of animal vaccines is the main reason for
the nationwide decline in rabies cases among people and domestic

* Keep pets under control; do not allow them to run loose.

* Avoid contact with stray pets and wild animals; do not keep wild
animals or wild animal crosses as pets.

* Report wild animals exhibiting unusual behavior or stray pets to
animal control officials.

Children suffer a disproportionate number of bites from animals,
often resulting in serious injury to the face, head and neck. The
following tips can help children avoid being bitten, and the
resulting physical/mental trauma and potential exposure to rabies and
other diseases that accompany bites:

* Never touch unfamiliar or wild animals. Enjoy wild animals from afar.

* Avoid direct contact with stray animals. Stray cats and dogs may
not have been vaccinated against rabies.

* Never adopt wild animals or bring them into the home.

* Do not try to nurse sick animals back to health. It is common to
want to rescue and nurse a hurt wild animal, but that animal may have
rabies. Ask an adult to call an animal control officer or animal
rescue group for help with the sick animal.

* Make sure that trash cans and pet foods are secured so that they do
not attract wild animals.

* Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

* If bitten, report the bite to an adult immediately.

[Byline: Niki de Soto]

Communicated by:

[7] Marion County, Florida
Date: 27 May 2010
Source: [edited]

Rabies alerts issued in Marion County
The Marion County Health Department has issued 2 rabies alerts for
different parts of the county.

One is for a location centered around Northeast 310th Avenue and Lake
George. That alert is in response to a positive laboratory result
from a raccoon. The other involves a rabid horse. That alert location
is centered off Northwest 90th Avenue just south of County Road 318.

Residents in the area are advised to:

- Avoid contact with free roaming domestic or wild animals.

- Not leave pet food outside

- Secure outside garbage in covered containers.

- Contact veterinarian to make sure dogs, cats and ferrets have
current rabies vaccination.

Communicated by:

[8] Henry County, Virginia
Date: 28 May 2010
Source: Martinsville Bulletin [edited]

County woman bitten by rabid fox
Tests have confirmed that a fox that bit a woman in the Preston area
of Henry County on Tuesday [25 May 2010] was rabid, the
Henry/Martinsville Health Department said Thursday [27 May 2010].

The woman, who was not identified, was bitten on the foot, according
to a news release. Her dog was also bitten by the fox during the
incident, the release said.

The fox was killed by the victim's neighbor and sent to the state
laboratory in Richmond for rabies testing, the release said. The
health department received the test results Thursday confirming that
the fox was infected with rabies.

Anyone who knows of or suspects any contact by humans or domestic
animals with this fox is asked to contact Henry County Animal Control.

The victim has begun rabies post-exposure treatment, according to the
release. It did not contain information about her dog.

Prevention is the key to limiting the spread of this disease, the
release said. It offered these tips as the best ways to prevent the
spread of rabies from animals to humans:

- Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets by 4 months of age by a
licensed veterinarian, as required by law.

- Enjoy wildlife at a distance.

- Secure your yard and home.

- Do not allow your animals to roam free.

- Avoid contact with stray animals.

- If you are bitten or exposed to rabies, wash the wound thoroughly
with lots of warm water and soap and seek medical attention

For more information, visit

Communicated by:

[9] Windsor area, California
Date: 27 May 2010
Source: The Press Democrat [edited]

Rabid fox attacks Windsor-area residents
An aggressive wild fox that was killed Sunday [23 May 2010] after it
bit several people and pets near Windsor tested positive for rabies
this week, local public health officials said. The fox was 1st
spotted Sunday morning and had 4 separate encounters that day with
residents and pets in a small area near the intersection of Arata
Lane and Brooks Road, just north of Windsor.

Mark Netherda, the county's deputy public health officer, said the
fox is the 1st animal to test positive for rabies in the county since
October 2008, when a bat was found to have the disease. "It was
shot," said Netherda. "It started that morning and the fox was killed
by early afternoon." A total of 8 people had contact with the fox,
and at least 2 of them were bitten by it, he said, adding that the
fox kept running at people and attacking.

"It wasn't clear after the events were over -- people found marks
that they couldn't say were not bites," he said. "We think that at
least 2 individuals were probably bitten."

Sonoma County Animal Care and Control has quarantined several pets
that encountered the fox.

Netherda said the incident is not an indication that rabies is on the
rise in the county, but it is a reminder that rabies is always
present in local wildlife, particularly among bats, raccoons, skunks
and foxes.

"Never assume an animal is not rabid. Including feral cats," Netherda
said. Netherda said those who were bitten have received medical

"Based on what we know of the contacts and the medical evaluation
that they've had, there's no reason to think there will be any
long-term consequence to any of these individuals," he said.

Netherda said the incident is a reminder for people to have their
pets vaccinated against rabies. "If an unvaccinated pet is bitten by
an animal that is determined to have rabies the recommendation is to
euthanize the pet," he said. Otherwise, he said the pet must be kept
"double-locked quarantine" for 6 months at the owner's expense.

For more information about rabies please go to the Sonoma County
Animal Control website:

[Byline: Martin Espinoza]

Communicated by:

[In each of these cases there are some central truths:

Rabies is a fatal disease.

The best way to prevent the disease is:

- Make sure your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations.

- Do not feed or handle wild animals. If you see an animal acting strangely.

- If you get bitten by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water
for at least 5 minutes and see a doctor.

- Do not touch dead animals with bare hands. Use gloves to remove and
dispose of the animal properly.

- Never handle a wild animal like a bat, raccoon, skunk or fox.

- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or
domestic, even if they appear friendly.

- Prevent bats and raccoons from entering homes or spaces where
people and pets may be present.

- Keep vaccinations current for dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep cats and
ferrets inside and dogs under direct supervision. Consider having
your pets spayed or neutered.

- Keep vaccinations current for horses and other hoofed stock pets.

- If bitten by a wild/stray animal, quarantine the animal if
possible. Call the local animal control to assist with trapping,
testing and/or observation of the animal. Animal control may also
assist with removing stray or wild animals from your yard, home or
neighborhood regardless of a bite.

- Wash animal bites thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical
attention immediately. - Mod.TG]

[see also:
Rabies, animal - USA (03): (TX, NY) feline, raccoon, human exp. 20100514.1569
Rabies, wildlife - USA (08): (VA) fox, raccoon 20100512.1542
Rabies, feline, canine, bat - USA: (NC, IL) 20100509.1519
Rabies, animal - USA (02): wildlife, canine, equine 20100503.1434
Rabies, wildlife - USA (07): fox, raccoon 20100429.1385
Rabies, wildlife - USA (06): (AZ) 20100425.1339
Rabies, feline, bat - USA: (FL) 20100418.1264
Rabies, equine - USA: (CO) 20100417.1242
Rabies, bat, human - USA: (IN), 2009, post-mortem findings 20100410.1167
Rabies, feline - USA: (NYC) 20100325.0950
Rabies, human - USA: vaccination protocol change 20100320.0890
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA (03): (MI), RFI 20100318.0860
Rabies, wildlife - USA (05): (TX) bat, canine exposure 20100318.0858
Rabies, wildlife - USA (04): (TN) skunk, canine 20100307.0745
Rabies, wildlife - USA (03): (OR) fox 20100305.0733
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA (02): (TX), clarification 20100304.0706
Rabies, equine, human exposure - USA: (TX) 20100228.0667
Rabies, human exposure - USA (02): (AR, NJ) 20100226.0634
Rabies, human, presumed abortive, 2009 - USA: (TX) 20100226.0633
Rabies, raccoon, feline - USA: (AL, GA) 20100220.0580
Rabies, raccoon - USA (04): (NYC) vaccination 20100217.0555
Rabies, skunk, canine - USA: (KS) 20100213.0518
Rabies, animal - USA: (OR, FL) alert 20100207.04180
Rabies, coyote - USA: (NY) alert 20100206.0404
Rabies, raccoon - USA (03): (NYC) feral cats, vaccine 20100205.0384
Rabies, raccoon - USA (02): (NYC) 20100203.03672
Rabies, raccoon, canine, human exposure - USA: (DE) 20100129.0321
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NY) 20100122.0246
Rabies, bovine, human exposure - USA: (MD) 20100119.0212
Rabies, wildlife - USA (02): (NJ) fox, human exposure, corr. 20100110.0113
Rabies, wildlife - USA (02): (NJ) fox, human exposure 20100109.0104
Rabies, wildlife - USA: (AZ) 20100101.0013]

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Update on Conklin Dairy Farm Abuse, Ohio

Earlier this week, national news broke of an undercover investigation at Conklin Dairy farm in Union County, Ohio, near Columbus. The undercover footage, obtained over the past several weeks by the animal protection group Mercy For Animals, shows workers beating cows in the face with crowbars, stabbing them with pitchforks, breaking their tails, and punching, throwing and kicking calves—while bragging and gloating about the abuse.
Hundreds of news articles have emerged and thousands of people have called for not only prosecution of those individuals involved in these abusive acts, but also the rescue of the animals on this farm. Many of you have contacted us outraged and concerned about this case, wanting to know what will happen to the perpetrators involved, as well as the animals.
In an effort to address your concerns and our own, Farm Sanctuary is approaching this cruelty case from three angles:
Obtain custody of the animals in need
Push for prosecution to the greatest extent of the law
Advocate for better laws to protect farm animals in Ohio
Farm Sanctuary is in contact with local authorities to offer help, and we want you to know that the Union County Humane Society has welcomed our offer to provide rehabilitation and lifelong refuge to any animals that they take into custody.
As you may already know, Farm Sanctuary operates the largest rescue and refuge network for farm animals in North America. We run two sanctuaries, a 175 acre shelter in New York State and a 300 acre refuge in northern California, as well as a national Farm Animal Adoption Network. Throughout our history, we’ve rescued thousands of farm animals in need. We work with local law enforcement on farm animal cruelty cases to help document conditions of the animals in partnership with local veterinarians, we provide rehabilitative care at our shelters for abused animals, and we secure permanent placement for seized farm animals. Farm Sanctuary is ready and poised to help the animals from the Conklin Dairy farm. We will continue to work with local law enforcement to ensure that any animals that can be rescued WILL be rescued.
According to the Union County Humane Society (UCHS) investigating this case, current state laws limit what can be done. UCHS confirmed that they obtained a search warrant Wednesday and humane agents entered the premises accompanied by the Union County Sheriffs Department, Union County Health Department, and a veterinarian from OSU that specializes in large animal care. At that time they found that all living animals at the facility had no visible signs of abuse. Without any visible signs of abuse and with the main perpetrator arrested, UCHS stated that they lacked the physical evidence to seize the animals on the spot. However, this farm sells animals every week, and according to UCHS, two agents from the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Enforcement Division have been added to assist in the investigation. UCHS confirmed that state inspectors arrived at the farm on Thursday and cited it for not properly disposing of dead animals. A department spokeswoman stated that Conklin didn't bury dead cows deep enough on the property. Additionally, the Union County Humane Society plans to track down animals recently sold from the facility to see if they show signs of abuse.
By all accounts, this investigation will take time and is ongoing, but we may need your help when the time comes to bring these animals to sanctuary.
Susie Coston, our National Shelter Director, will be keeping you up to date on our efforts to bring these animals to safety through our Sanctuary Tails blog.
To date, one alleged perpetrator, Bill Joe Gregg Jr., has been arrested and charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, Ohio has some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the nation. Ohio law does not allow felony charges on farm animal abuse, no matter how malicious. These are second degree misdemeanor counts which can result in up to 90 days in jail for each count. Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson called these acts "vile and disgusting." He stated in a Columbus Dispatch story covering the arrest, "If there was a way this could be a felony charge, I would push for that." Thankfully, Gregg is being held on $100,000 bond, which is indicative of a strong commitment to press for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Other arrests are pending further investigation. Farm Sanctuary will be monitoring this case as it proceeds and we will be encouraging relentless pursuit and prosecution of all perpetrators involved.
The cruel acts we see in this video, sadly, do not represent “just an isolated incident.” I wish I could tell you that it was. But, unfortunately, I have often witnessed this type of violence and callous behavior in the course of investigating farms over the past 25 years. It is pervasive, and the result of a system that is inherently cruel.
The utterly unconscionable behavior captured in this video is a logical extension of an industry attitude which sees animals as mere units of production, rather than as feeling, sentient individuals. Right now, Farm Sanctuary is working with concerned citizens across the state of Ohio to collect signatures to get a sweeping farm animal welfare initiative on the November ballot. If passed, this initiative would end the most egregious farming practices and send a message to agribusiness that whether it’s considered “standard practice” or a sadistic act of abuse, cruelty is cruelty and won’t be tolerated.
Read more about these ongoing advocacy efforts on my Making Hay blog and learn how you can get involved in this campaign in Ohio. If you are not subscribed to our Sanctuary Tails and Making Hay blogs, please join today to stay informed about this and other critical farm animal issues.
We are as outraged as you are by the sadistic abuse depicted in the investigative video, and we hope to see justice and a safe refuge for these animals in need. Please, stay tuned.
Yours for the animals,

Gene Baur
President and Co-Founder
P.S. Below, I’ve included some media highlights of this developing case, and I encourage you to check out our daily postings on Twitter and Facebook for more developments.
Dairy Farm Abuse (Video with Gene Baur)
NPR - ALL SIDES WITH ANN FISHER - May 27, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.
Ohio Dairy Farm Animal Cruelty Video (With Gene Baur)
Ohio dairy farmworker charged with animal cruelty after advocacy group releases undercover video

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Puerto Ricos Dogs

With Jane Velez-Mitchell;


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Mon 24 May 2010
Source: Veterinary Practice News [edited]

Cuba has reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) 2
outbreaks of rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is an extremely contagious and fatal
viral disease of domesticated and wild rabbits belonging to the
_Oryctolagus cuniculus_ species, according to OIE. Outbreaks have
been reported at farms in Baragua and Venezuela. Both municipalities
are located in Cuba's Ciego de Avila province.

In Baragua, Cuba's ministry of agriculture reported 2345 rabbits as
susceptible, 945 cases, 945 deaths, and 1400 rabbits as destroyed. In
Venezuela municipality, the ministry reported 140 rabbits as
susceptible, 41 cases, 41 deaths, and 99 destroyed.

The 1st confirmation of the disease occurred on 18 May 2010. The
outbreaks are still recorded as unresolved, according to OIE. Weekly
follow-up reports will be submitted.

The last outbreak of rabbit hemorrhagic disease reported in Cuba was
in August 2005. According to OIE, the disease has always been
confined to Cuba's western provinces, but the recent occurrence has
taken place in a province in the central-eastern region of the

A disease emergency has been declared in the region and the
neighboring areas. A disease alert has been declared for the entire
country. The use of vaccines for protecting populations at risk is
not to be precluded.

Communicated by:

[Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is an extremely contagious and often
fatal viral disease of domesticated and wild rabbits. This disease
affects only rabbits of the species _Oryctolagus cuniculus_. Severe
losses are common in unvaccinated animals; on some farms, most or all
of the rabbits may die. This disease has also caused dramatic
declines in some wild rabbit populations, particularly when it is
first introduced. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease spreads very readily.
The causative virus is very resistant to inactivation if it is
protected by organic material; it may persist in chilled or frozen
rabbit meat, as well as in decomposing carcasses in the environment,
for months.

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease was first seen in the 1980s, but its
origins are not completely understood. It may have emerged from
avirulent caliciviruses circulating asymptomatically in European
rabbit populations. The 1st known outbreak occurred in China in 1984,
spread by angora rabbits that had been imported from Europe. Within 9
months, this disease had killed 14 million domesticated rabbits in
China. By the late 1990s, outbreaks had been reported from 40
countries, and rabbit hemorrhagic disease had become endemic in wild
rabbit populations in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Other parts
of the world including the Americas have experienced periodic
outbreaks in domesticated rabbits. However, the species of wild
rabbits found in North America are not susceptible to rabbit
hemorrhagic disease, and this disease has been eradicated from
domesticated rabbits each time.

Uninfected countries may place restrictions on the importation of
rabbits, meat, and angora wool from endemic areas. In an outbreak,
strict quarantine is necessary. RHDV is extremely contagious; it can
be transmitted on fomites and by insects, birds, and scavenging
mammals. Eradication can be accomplished by depopulation,
disinfection, surveillance, and quarantines. RHDV can be inactivated
with 10 percent sodium hydroxide or 1-2 percent formalin. Other
suggested disinfectants include 2 percent One-stroke Environ(R)
(Vestal Lab Inc., St. Louis, MO, USA) and 0.5 percent sodium
hypochlorite (10 percent household bleach). This virus resists
degradation by ether or chloroform. Carcasses must be removed
immediately and disposed of safely. Infected farms should not be
restocked immediately, as RHDV can persist for a time in the
environment, particularly when it is protected in tissues. Sentinel
rabbits can be used to monitor premises for persistent viruses.

In regions where RHDV circulates in wild rabbits, eradication is not
feasible. Instead, this disease is controlled in domesticated rabbits
with biosecurity measures including sanitation and disinfection, the
maintenance of closed colonies, and vaccination. Vaccination may be
limited to breeding animals if rabbit hemorrhagic disease has not
been reported on a farm, but all animals should be vaccinated if an
outbreak has occurred. Even with strict sanitation and other control
measures, the likelihood of reinfection is high after an outbreak.
Vaccination can interfere with eradication by masking infections.
Sentinel animals can be used to monitor for the persistent viruses on
vaccinated farms. Immune serum has also been used to provide
short-term protection in an outbreak.

Portions of this have been extracted from

[An administrative map of Cuba is available at
. Baragua and
Venezuela can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map
. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[see also:
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease - Cuba: (CA) OIE 20100524.1728
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease - Cuba 20050129.0318
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease - Cuba 20010201.0216]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
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thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
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An Indictment Charging 8 Seperate Violations and Who Knows How Many Counts Each

Not sure of how many counts each. Need to see the entire vid and all other evidence to deduce that)

Charge 1: Violation of 959.02; Injured Animals (Did injure animals maliciously & willfully without the consent of the owner): 12 counts

(The above charge would not apply if the owner gave consent or was present at the time the torture took place and did nothing to try to stop it, i.e.; implied consent)

Charge 2: Violation of 959.13(A)(1) Torture (Did torture x # of animals by unneccessarily and cruelly jabbing them about the body, neck, face, head and eyes with the forked end of a pitchfork (x# counts, one for each animal so tortured)

Charge 3: Violation of 959.13 (A)(1) Torture (Did torture x# of animals by unneccessarily and cruelly beating them about the body, neck, face, head and feet with an iron rod ( x# of counts, one for each animal so tortured)

Charge 4: Violation of 959.13 (A)(1) Torture (Did torture x# of animals by unnecessarily and cruelly beating the animals about their heads and bodies by punching them with his fists and slapping them with his hands (x# of counts, one for each animal so tortured)

Charge 5: Violation of 959.13 (A)(1) Torture (Did torture x# of animals by unnecessarily and cruelly kicking the cows (in their utters) and stomping the calves on the head and bodies and kicking them with his feet (x# of counts, one for each animal so tortured)

Charge 6: Violation of 959.13(A)(1) Torture (Did torture x# of animals by unnecessarily and cruelly mutilating them by breaking their tail with his hands (x# of counts, one for each animal so tortured)

Charge 7: Violation of 959.13 (3) Did carry an animal in a cruel and inhumane way by lifting a calf up by his ears and flipping it in the air (x# counts, one for each calf so tossed)

Charge 8: Violation of 959.13 (3) Did convey an animal in a cruel and inhumane way by tossing it to the ground (x# of counts, one for each calf so tossed)

Ohio Cruelty to Animals Statutes

I see THREE charges that should be lodged against this offender; but I can only guess as to how many counts each. The eyewitness to the events or the law enforcement officers reviewing the vid will have to determine that.

The charges should be three;

Charge 1: Violation of 959.02 Injuring Animals (Maliciously & Willfully)
Charge 2: Violation of 959.13(A)(1) Torture (Un-necessairily cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate) Charge 3: Violation of 959.13 (3) Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhumane way

One other thing I learned by reading to the bottom of the page in the "Humane Society" section below, is that the Ohio Humane Society can bring charges and/or use one of their own attorneys to prosecute this case. I think we would have a better chance at a satisfactory result if an animal advocate were to prosecute this case.

Also I have learned that the judge can run these sentences consecutively, and I believe he can increase the sentencing as well as the fines if he were to find a GROSS indifference to the animals suffering, but that is just upon a cursory reading as I havent delved into the sentencing part yet as concerns the judges discretionary power



No owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal, shall abandon such animal.

CHARGE 1 959.02 Injuring Animals (maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure... an animal that is the property of another)


No person shall maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, or other domestic animal that is the property of another. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian acting in an official capacity.


No person shall maliciously, or willfully and without the consent of the owner, administer poison, except a licensed veterinarian acting in such capacity, to a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, poultry, or any other domestic animal that is the property of another; and no person shall, willfully and without the consent of the owner, place any poisoned food where it may be easily found and eaten by any of such animals, either upon his own lands or the lands of another.


Sections 959.02 and 959.03 of the Revised Code do not extend to a person killing or injuring an animal or attempting to do so while endeavoring to prevent it from trespassing upon his enclosure, or while it is so trespassing, or while driving it away from his premises; provided within fifteen days thereafter, payment is made for damages done to such animal by such killing or injuring, less the actual amount of damage done by such animal while so trespassing, or a sufficient sum of money is deposited with the nearest judge of a county court or judge of a municipal court having jurisdiction within such time to cover such damages. Such deposit shall remain in the custody of such judge until there is a determination of the damages resulting from such killing or injury and from such trespass. Such judge and his bondsmen shall be responsible for the safekeeping of such money and for the payment thereof as for money collected upon a judgment.


No person shall administer to any animal within forty-eight hours prior to the time that the animal competes at a fair or exhibition conducted by a county or independent agricultural society authorized under Chapter 1711. of the Revised Code or by the Ohio expositions commission any drug or medicament not specifically permitted under rules of the state racing commission promulgated pursuant to Chapter 3769. of the Revised Code or under rules of the society, in respect to a county or independent agricultural society, or of the Ohio expositions commission, in respect to the Ohio state fair. This section does not apply to any horse racing meeting conducted under a permit issued pursuant to Chapter 3769. of the Revised Code.


(A) No person shall destroy any domestic animal by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber or by any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the domestic animal initially unconscious and subsequently dead.

(B) This section does not apply to or prohibit the slaughtering of livestock under Chapter 945. of the Revised Code, or the taking of any wild animal, as defined in section 1531.01 of the Revised Code, when taken in accordance with Chapter 1533. of the Revised Code.


CHARGE 2 violation of 959.13 (A)(1) (How many counts? 12?)


A) No person shall:

(1) Torture an animal,
deprive one of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal without supplying it during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food and water;

(2) Impound or confine an animal without affording it, during such confinement, access to shelter from wind, rain, snow, or excessive direct sunlight if it can reasonably be expected that the animal would otherwise become sick or in some other way suffer. Division (A)(2) of this section does not apply to animals impounded or confined prior to slaughter. For the purpose of this section, shelter means a man-made enclosure, windbreak, sunshade, or natural windbreak or sunshade that is developed from the earth's contour, tree development, or vegetation.

CHARGE 3 959.13 (3) How many counts? x? (tossing the calves would fit here)
(3) Carry or convey an animal in a cruel or inhuman manner;

(4) Keep animals other than cattle, poultry or fowl, swine, sheep, or goats in an enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air, nor or [sic] feed cows on food that produces impure or unwholesome milk;

(5) Detain livestock in railroad cars or compartments longer than twenty-eight hours after they are so placed without supplying them with necessary food, water, and attention, nor permit such stock to be so crowded as to overlie, crush, wound, or kill each other.

(B) Upon the written request of the owner or person in custody of any particular shipment of livestock, which written request shall be separate and apart from any printed bill of lading or other railroad form, the length of time in which such livestock may be detained in any cars or compartments without food, water, and attention, may be extended to thirty-six hours without penalty therefor. This section does not prevent the dehorning of cattle.

(C) All fines collected for violations of this section shall be paid to the society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals, if there be such in the county, township, or municipal corporation where such violation occurred.


As used in sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, and in every law relating to animals:

(A) "Animal" includes every living dumb creature;

(B) "Cruelty," "torment," and "torture" include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief;

(C) "Owner" and "person" include corporations. For the purpose of this section the knowledge and acts of the agents and employees of a corporation, in regard to animals transported, owned, or employed by, or in the custody of, such agents and employees, are the knowledge and acts of the corporation.


The objects of the Ohio humane society, and all societies organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code, shall be the inculcation of humane principles and the enforcement of laws for the prevention of cruelty, especially to children and animals. To promote those objects such societies may acquire property, real or personal, by purchase or gift. All property acquired by such a society, by gift, devise, or bequest, for special purposes, shall be vested in its board of trustees, which shall consist of three members elected by the society. The board shall manage such property and apply it in accordance with the terms of the gift, devise, or bequest, and may sell it and reinvest the proceeds.


The state society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall remain a body corporate, under the name of "the Ohio humane society," with the powers, privileges, immunities, and duties possessed before March 21, 1887, by the state society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, specified by sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, as to county humane societies.

Branches of the Ohio humane society consisting of not less than ten members each may be organized in any part of the state to prosecute the work of the societies in their several localities, under rules and regulations prescribed by the Ohio humane society. Humane societies organized in any county under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code may become branches of the Ohio humane society by resolution adopted at a meeting called for that purpose, a copy of which resolution shall be forwarded to the secretary of state.

The Ohio humane society may elect such officers, and make such rules, regulations, and bylaws, as are deemed expedient by its members for their own government and the proper management of its affairs.


The Ohio humane society may appoint agents, in any county where no active county humane society exists under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code, to represent it and to receive and account for all funds coming to it from fines or otherwise, and may also appoint agents at large to prosecute its work throughout the state. Such agents may arrest any person found violating any law for the protection of persons or animals, or the prevention of cruelty thereto. Upon making such arrest the agent forthwith shall convey the person arrested before some court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense, and there make complaint against him.

Such agents shall not make such arrests within a municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the mayor of the municipal corporation, or within a county beyond the limits of a municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the probate judge of the county. Such mayor or probate judge shall keep a record of such appointments.


A society for the prevention of acts of cruelty to animals may be organized in any county by the association of not less than seven persons.

The members of such society, at a meeting called for the purpose, shall elect not less than three of their members as its board of directors, and such directors shall continue in office until their successors are duly chosen.

The secretary or clerk of such meeting shall make a true record of the proceedings thereat and certify and forward such record to the secretary of state, who shall record it. Such record shall contain the name by which the association is to be known, and from and after its filing with the secretary of state the board of directors and the associates, and their successors, shall have the powers, privileges, and immunities incident to incorporated companies. A copy of such record, certified by the secretary of state, shall be taken in all courts and places in this state as evidence that such society is a duly organized and incorporated body.

Such society may elect such officers, and make such rules, regulations, and bylaws, as are deemed expedient by its members for its own government and the proper management of its affairs.


A county humane society organized under section 1717.05 of the Revised Code may appoint agents, who are residents of the county or municipal corporation for which the appointment is made, for the purpose of prosecuting any person guilty of an act of cruelty to persons or animals. Such agents may arrest any person found violating sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, or any other law for protecting persons or animals or preventing acts of cruelty thereto. Upon making such arrest the agent forthwith shall convey the person arrested before some court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense, and there make complaint against him on oath or affirmation of the offense.

All appointments of agents under this section shall be approved by the mayor of the municipal corporation for which they are made. If the society exists outside a municipal corporation, such appointments shall be approved by the probate judge of the county for which they are made. Such mayor or probate judge shall keep a record of such appointments.


Upon the approval by the mayor of a municipal corporation of the appointment of an agent under section 1717.06 of the Revised Code, the legislative authority of such municipal corporation shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the municipal corporation, such salary as the legislative authority deems just and reasonable. Upon the approval by the probate judge of a county of such an appointment, the board of county commissioners of such county shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the county, such salary as the board deems just and reasonable. Such board and such legislative authority may agree upon the amount each is to pay such agent monthly. The salary to be paid monthly to such agent by the legislative authority of a village shall be not less than five dollars; by the legislative authority of a city, not less than twenty dollars; and by the board of county commissioners of a county, not less than twenty-five dollars. Not more than one such agent in each county shall receive remuneration from the board under this section.


An officer, agent, or member of the Ohio humane society or of a county humane society may interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty to animals in his presence, may use such force as is necessary to prevent it, and to that end may summon to his aid any bystanders.


A member of the Ohio humane society or of a county humane society may require the sheriff of any county, the constable of any township, the marshal or a policeman of any municipal corporation, or any agent of such a society, to arrest any person found violating the laws in relation to cruelty to persons or animals, and to take possession of any animal cruelly treated in their respective counties or municipal corporations, and deliver such animal to the proper officers of the society.

1717.10 FEES

For all services rendered in carrying out sections 1717.01 to 1717.14, inclusive, of the Revised Code, a sheriff, constable, marshal, or policeman shall be paid such fees as he is allowed for like services in other cases. Such fees must be charged as costs, and reimbursed to the humane society by the person convicted.


A person guilty of cruelty to an animal which is the property of another shall be liable to the owner of the animal in damages, in addition to the penalties prescribed by law.

(This law allows for charges to be filed against the employer /owner if their is sufficient evidence to show that he knew or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that cruelty on his farm was going on!)

The conviction of an agent or employee of cruelty to animals does not bar an action for cruelty to animals against his employer for allowing a state of facts to exist which will induce cruelty to animals on the part of such agent or employee.


When, in order to protect any animal from neglect, it is necessary to take possession of it, any person may do so. When an animal is impounded or confined, and continues without necessary food, water, or proper attention for more than fifteen successive hours, any person may, as often as is necessary, enter any place in which the animal is impounded or confined and supply it with necessary food, water, and attention, so long as it remains there, or, if necessary or convenient, he may remove such animal; and he shall not be liable to an action for such entry. In all cases the owner or custodian of such animal, if known to such person, immediately shall be notified by him of such action. If the owner or custodian is unknown to such person, and cannot with reasonable effort be ascertained by him, such animal shall be considered an estray and dealt with as such.
The necessary expenses for food and attention given to an animal under this section may be collected from the owner of such animal, and the animal shall not be exempt from levy and sale upon execution issued upon a judgment for such expenses.


The board of county commissioners may, at the end of each year, make a yearly appropriation to the county humane society from the general fund of the county of such funds as the board deems reasonable. Such funds are to supplement any gifts, funds received from the dog and kennel fund, and any other funds received by the society and are to be used to carry out the activities of the society.


A humane society or its agent may employ an attorney, and may also employ one or more assistant attorneys to prosecute violations of law relating to:

(A) Prevention of cruelty to animals
or children;

(B) Abandonment, nonsupport, or ill-treatment of a child by its parent;

(C) Employment of a child under fourteen years of age in public exhibitions or vocations injurious to health, life, or morals or which cause or permit such child to suffer unnecessary physical or mental pain;

(D) Neglect or refusal of an adult to support destitute parent. Such attorneys shall be paid out of the county treasury in an amount approved as just and reasonable by the board of county commissioners of that county.


When complaint is made, on oath or affirmation to a judge or magistrate, that the complainant believes that the law relating to or affecting animals is being, or is about to be violated in a particular building or place, such judge or magistrate shall forthwith issue and deliver a warrant, directed to any sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal, watchman, police officer, or agent of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, authorizing him to enter and search such building or place and arrest all persons there violating, or attempting to violate, such law, and bring such persons before a judge or magistrate within the county within which such offense has been committed. An attempt to violate such law relating to animals is a violation thereof.

Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


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Animal Abuse as Clue to Additional Cruelties

Published: March 17, 2010

There is growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans, states are increasing the penalties for animal cruelty and developing better methods for tracking convicted offenders.

At a mobile home site in Perry County, Ohio, two years ago, animal control authorities impounded 50 dogs and discovered the dead bodies of 18 others.

Kenneth Lang Jr. pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

State lawmakers are paying especially close attention to animal hoarders — people who keep large numbers of pets without providing for their most basic needs — because these offenders are prone to recidivism and can cost counties huge sums for cleanup costs and the care of rescued animals.

At least 27 states now allow courts to bar convicted animal abusers from owning or coming into contact with pets, nearly double the number from a decade ago, and 3 other states are considering similar measures this year. Tennessee and California are considering bills to create online registries of animal abusers.

“It’s not that animal abuse is more prevalent,” said Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “What has changed over the past few years is the recognition that animal abuse is often a warning sign for other types of violence and neglect.”

“States also just have much less money to handle the clean up, veterinary care and other costs associated with these cases,” Mr. Otto added.

In Franklin County, Ohio, for example, animal rescue officials estimate that one case alone cost them more than $1.2 million just to rescue and care for more than 170 dogs from a hoarder’s home.

In Dearborn, Mich., the county paid more than $37,000 to clean up the home of a convicted hoarder, Kenneth Lang Jr., where the authorities found more than 150 dead Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes and over 100 other dogs, covered in feces and filth, living there. Many of the dead dogs were found in refrigerators and freezers at the residence.

More than 30 states now have laws that shift the financial burden of caring for abused or neglected animals from taxpayers to the defendants. The same number of states now authorize veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse.

And in the last three years, Arkansas, Illinois, Oregon and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that require or authorize child or spousal abuse investigators and animal control officers to inform each other when they find something potentially amiss in a home. Eight states now have such laws.

Law enforcement officials often do not pursue charges against animal abusers because of limited resources, opting instead for noncriminal remediation that results in animals remaining in the custody of their abusers.

“In addition to protecting animals from suffering during a lengthy legal process, we used to have to worry about not bankrupting our county while caring for hundreds of animals for an extended period,” said William Lamberth, a prosecutor in Sumner County, Tenn., where the state legislature passed a law in 2007 giving courts the ability to require that those charged with animal abuse pay for care for their impounded animals or lose ownership.

He added that the new law had already saved his county tens of thousands of dollars.

States are also pushing for improved tracking of offenders.

Advocates for the registries say they will be useful because they will allow animal shelters to screen potential adopters, alert law enforcement to the presence of residents with a history of hoarding and warn communities about violent offenders. But opponents argue that once people have served their time and paid their fines, they should not be punished indefinitely for their crimes.

The proposed registries in Tennessee and California would include only adult and convicted offenders of felony level animal abuse.

The cost of building registries or mandating new reporting requirements has also been a concern.

According to a report issued by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2009, a registry there would cost the state $26,200 per year. Colorado conducted a similar analysis in 2002, which found the costs for developing and maintaining an abuser registry at $18,514 the first year and $10,994 for subsequent years.

But advocates say cost should not deter states from taking up this issue.

“Animal abuse is one of the four indicators that the F.B.I. profilers use to asses future violent behavior, so I don’t see why we should not use it too,” said Diana S. Urban, a Democratic state representative in Connecticut who sponsored a bill mandating that animal control workers and child welfare workers cross-report suspected animal, child or domestic abuse.

Frank R. Ascione, a professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work who has extensively studied the topic, said, “The research is pretty clear that there are connections between animal abuse and domestic violence and child abuse.”

One study found that in 88 percent of homes where children were physically abused, pets were mistreated too. A 2007 study found that women abused by their intimate partner were 10 times more likely to report that their partner had hurt or killed one or more of their pets than women who were not abused.

Professor Ascione, who also advises law enforcement officials in abuse cases, said that cross-reporting requirements helped foster early intervention.

In several recent cases, he said, children hinted at animal abuse to teachers who alerted animal protection agencies. Those workers spotted warning signs of other types of abuse, and child welfare workers intervened only to find that the children themselves were being abused.

“Often children are not willing to talk about what is happening to them, but they will talk about their concerns about what they are seeing done to their pets,” Professor Ascione said.

States have grown increasingly intolerant of animal abuse over the years. Two decades ago, just six states had felony level animal cruelty laws. Now all but four do.

Some states are bucking the trend. In Idaho, which is one of the states without a felony cruelty penalty, farmers and ranchers are pushing a bill that would more clearly distinguish livestock from pets and would exempt livestock from the protections afforded pets.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet Senior Pittie Needs New Home


Hello. My name is Rachel and I work as a vet-tech in the Albany NY area. I rescued Ruthie 2 yrs ago. She was thin with a poor coat, unspayed, walking on nails that were curled right around to her pads and extremely submissive. She was brought in to be euthanized but the vet did not want to euthanize her because she was not dying,and she had a wonderful temperament, so the owner agreed to surrender her. She was spayed and during surgery the vet found a foreign object in her stomach. It was a piece of a rope toy that appeared to have been hanging out in her stomach for a while rotting. This girl was eating anything to survive. Ruthie is now happy, healthy, and a wonderful companion. She would be best with someone who is a homebody and just wants a friend to hang out with. She requires no special care or medications and maintains a nice weight on 1 cup of quality dry food twice a day. She is up to date on her vaccines, frontline, and heartgard. She is between 10-14yrs of age. She is good with other animals. She is gentle and obedient. She does not pull on leash. She is a wonderful companion.

If you can help Ruthie find a new forever loving home, contact Rachel at
or call Chris at (518) 753 - 7791 and she will get the message to me.

Thank you.

Monday, May 24, 2010



Contact the KS Governor: The loss of The Pet Connection’s vet clinic, which serves low-income citizens and rescues, would be a major blow to the metropolitan area. It would destroy 1 of the 4 major organizations serving low-income citizens and rescues, set the community back many years, increase the cost to taxpayers, and significantly increase animal suffering.;



Gov. Mark Parkinson
on Mon., May 24 and Tues., May 25.

PHONE: 877-KSWORKS or 785.296-3232


go to;
click on “Email Gov. Mark Patterson”

sample email here: PLEASE, this is important.;

Saturday, May 22, 2010

West Bank Slaughters 750,000 Chickens

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 21 May 2010
Source: Maan News Agency [edited]

Tulkarem cleared of bird flu
The Tulkarem governorate in the northern West Bank was cleared of
bird flu on Thursday [20 May 2010], after the Palestinian Authority
Agriculture Ministry received results conducted in Israeli medical
laboratories, an official said. Azzam Tbeleh, the ministry's
under-secretary, said the Israeli Veterinary Services officially
handed over the final results, clearing the Bal'a area in Tulkarem.
The official said, despite being given the all clear, the Palestinian
Veterinary Services would endeavour to ensure that Tulkarem was free
of avian flu.

At least 750 000 chickens were slaughtered and destroyed in the
Tulkarem-area town of Bal'a, as a heavy Palestinian police presence
surrounded the area, ensuring areas where birds diagnosed with bird
flu were not transported out. The village, which exports between 4000
to 5000 cartons of eggs per day to areas in the West Bank, and
hundreds of pounds of meat, had its poultry stock wiped out following
the discovery of bird flu by PA officials from the Ministry of Agriculture.

No human cases of the influenza virus have yet been reported, but
officials said they are monitoring the area heavily to ensure proper
containment mechanisms are put in place.

Municipal council leader Bal'a Ahmad Mansur said the situation in the
town was dire. "Tension and anxiety are prevailing among the
farmers," he said, estimating losses in the millions of shekels. "At
least 40 percent of the town's economy is in chickens," he added.
Mansur urged government officials to help compensate farmers before
the town was left destitute.

Municipal official Sa'eed Hanun said doctors were monitoring local
clinics carefully, and distributing information on symptoms of bird
flu in humans to farming families. He said treatments would be
available immediately if a human case is found. As for the farms, he
said, they will be sterilized, "and the birds will be buried in a
healthy and safe way."

When a farmer noticed symptoms in several chicks, he called in
officials to test the birds. "The chicks were only 8 days old when we
learned that they were in fact positive for the virus," Hanun said.
From that point on, "We were obliged to declare a state of emergency
in Bal'a, imposing a health quarantine on all of the area and taking
preventive procedures so we don't see the spread of the virus to
other areas," he explained.

Communicated by:

[The above newswire is rather ambiguous, including the following
somewhat disparate 3 pieces of information:

1. Final laboratory results "cleared the Bal'a area in Tulkarem."

2. "Despite being given the all clear, the Palestinian Veterinary
Services would endeavour to ensure that Tulkarem was free of avian flu."

3. "At least 750 000 chickens were slaughtered and destroyed in the
Tulkarem-area town of Bal'a."

According to information from the Avian and Fish Diseases Division,
Kimron Veterinary Institute, Beit Dagan (national AI laboratory), an
initial sample from Bal'a, received there earlier this month, was
found H5N1 positive. This was based upon virus isolation and its
identification as HPAI H5N1 by Real Time PCR and HI. The isolate is
to be sent to an international AI reference laboratory after
completion of sequencing. A 2nd sample, received later, was found
negative. No additional samples have been received at Beit Dagan.

Elucidating the event by the Palestinian authorities will help. This
may include clinical observations, morbidity and mortality figures
and rates, necropsy findings, available data on additional
epidemiological investigations and their results, as well as
confirmation (or otherwise) that culling has indeed been applied.

"The location of Bal'a can be seen in the appended map at
- Mod.AS]

[see also:
Avian influenza (31): Palestinian Authority, West Bank, RFI 20100519.1647
Avian influenza (28): Palestinian Authority, West Bank, susp.
RFI 20100513.1562]

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What will become of the White House Voles (VOTUS)

Over expert opinions that the animal is a vole, Press Secretary Gibbs insists the creature is a "rat," ..and now they are worrying about it reproducing (other "vole-rat" "thingies" have been spotted in the area) so I am wondering what will become of them all? What is the white house plan of action for them? it, ...glue-stick traps, poison? Why cant they just let them be?

The prairie vole is a notable animal model for its monogamous sexual fidelity, since the male is usually faithful to the female, and shares in the raising of pups. (The woodland vole is also usually monogamous.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Newfoundlad Seals

Subject: Campaign Eight: Attack Newfoundland Tourism (Round Two)
Campaign Eight: Attack Newfoundland Tourism (Round Two)

Like a fighter jet takes one sweep at a target, then rounds for another, so do we today. The tourism season is starting up in Newfoundland, and we are going to take a chunk out of that industry until these people give it up, and stop the slaughter of "all of our" Atlantic Harp seals.

They killed 70,000 this year in what was the worst natural disaster the harp seals ever faced - no ice for birthing. Another 70,000 are presumed drowned as mother's aborted in the water. The seals require ice for the first three weeks of their lives, as they cannot swim. The Canadian government did not send out ships or coast guard to offer assistance to drwning pups, they sent out Newfoundlanders to kill them. And being a Newfoundlander, a very small and strange part of Canada, these people were only too happy to oblidge.

Regardless, thanks to our efforts, and efforts of the NGO's (PETA, IFAW) the seal market is imploding as the pressure is too great on Canada (Newfoundland). We are going to step up that pressure and keep it on until they relent.

Direct Action:

Step 1)

Everyone CALL Newfoundland Tourism! Tell them how you will never step foot in their blood province!

North America: 1-800-563-6353 (Toll Free)

International: +1-709-729-0862 (NOT Toll Free)

International: +1-709-729-7830 (NOT TOLL free) OPEN: 24/7


Step 2)

Contact Terry French - Minister of Tourism:

Phone: +1-709-729-5907

Fax: +1-709-729-5819


Step 3)

For those of you who want to go that extra step, here are the major hotels in St. John's Newfoundland. Tell them "how eager you are to stay in their blood hotels this summer..."

Newfoundland Hotels:;

That's it! Activism at it's best. You've now sent your voice straight to St. John's Newfoundland. No petitions to be signed and unread, no signs to carry, your voice has now been heard.

Next stop? CNN :-) Stay tuned...

Thank you everyone!

` SS

Farm Owner Charged with Multiple Counts of Cruelty in Erie County, NY

Last Friday, May 14, investigators from the SPCA Serving Erie County (NY) charged Beth Hoskins with 10 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after 73 horses, 53 cats and four dogs were found living in deplorable conditions on her Erie County, NY, farm. She faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine per count. While Hoskins’ attorney maintains his client’s innocence, the accused is scheduled for arraignment on May 26 in Aurora Town Court. To date, the total cost of the investigation, including animal care, has exceeded $110,000.

“These are some very serious charges,” says Jeff Eyre, the ASPCA’s Northeast Director of Field Investigations and Response. “It’s important to remember that each animal involved was abused.”

Eyre was one of several members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team deployed this past March to assist in what has been declared the largest farm animal rescue in the area. For more than two months, the team oversaw the sheltering and care of the horses recovered from the scene. By April 30, all of the remaining horses had been transported to new foster homes. "We achieved our goal to rehabilitate these horses, both physically and behaviorally," reports Eyre. "These are now happy horses, and I could not have asked for a better ending."

To read more about this case and the charges filed against Beth Hoskins, visit our Raids and Investigations page;

Mysterious disease kills camels

A mysterious disease is killing camels in large numbers and some of
these camels were prized ones which were raised and trained for
prestigious racing events, Al Sharq reported yesterday [18 May 2010]
quoting animal breeders.

"We don't know what disease it is, but it is killing our camels in
large numbers. An animal is dead within hours without showing any
signs of a disease," the daily quoted a camel breeder who owns a farm
as saying.

The breeder has urged the authorities to pay urgent attention and put
veterinarians in the field to keep a close track on the camels and
prevent the killer disease from spreading.

"For one of my camels which died, I was offered QR 50 000 [USD 13
741] barely a few days ago, but I refused to part with it," said the breeder.

Communicated by:
Shamsudeen Fagbo, DVM

[In 2007, mass camel mortality in neighbouring Saudi Arabia was
eventually found to have been caused by Salinomycin in fodder.
Salinomycin is an ionophoric coccidiostat which should not have been
included in camel feed.

Results of the current investigations, which -- while testing for
toxic substances, should also exclude potential infectious agents --
are anticipated. - Mod.AS]

[The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Qatar is available at
. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[see also:
Salinomycin intoxication, camel - Saudi Arabia 20080201.0412
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia (10): Salinomycin conf. 20080110.0138
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia (09): RFI 20071226.4142
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia (08): RFI 20071209.3968
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (07) 20071205.3926
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: Salinomycin suspected 20070910.2995
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (06) 20070830.2861
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (05) 20070828.2819
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (04) 20070817.2698
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (03) 20070815.2664
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI (02) 20070814.2659
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI 20070813.2645]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Wang - Dong" (Exotic Animal Penis) Restaurants Coming to the USA!?!!

Fresh Donkey Dick

Wish I could say it isnt so! Read on, and be sure to take action (make the calls) and then sign the petition
Together, WE CAN make a Difference!

A Farmers Call to Mercy

By Harold Brown


My name is Harold Brown and I grew up on a beef farm in Michigan. I was the 5th generation to work on the land and lived near my great uncles farms. Considering the generation of my relatives who owned the farms around me I experienced an older type of agriculture. I also grew up in a typical little one room, white steeple church that sat in a cow pasture. The culture of farming on our farms was closer to the turn of the 20th century than the 21st century. We practiced very little of the “New Agriculture” of post WWII but rather the methods of a generation earlier. During the late 70’s and early 80’s I witnessed friends and neighbors farms being absorbed by corporate interests. It is this first hand experience I have had growing up in a farming community and interacting with farm animals on a family farm, going to stockyards, spending time in slaughterhouses, and witnessing the practices on factory farms that brings me here, to share my evolution and understanding of humankinds relationship to animals we call food.

Now I know that what I am going to talk about may arouse discomfort and dis-ease but I think it is important that, as controversial as this subject may be, we try to understand our relationship to farm animals. I have devoted my life to extending my circle of compassion and to try to help others expand theirs through my experiences. My intention, however, is not to cast judgment, nor to arouse bitterness, but rather to inspire compassion, introspection, and quite simply awe and wonder about the other species with whom we share this beautiful planet.

Growing up on a cattle farm I was indoctrinated to a particular relationship, or mindset with farm animals. The ideas of dominion, stewardship, compassion, mercy and moral responsibility have been, since my childhood, a constant battleground for me, a dilemma that took over 30 years to come to terms with. As a child I performed the usual chores that I think most farm kids did. I drove tractor, operated machinery, plowed, planted, harvested, fed and watered animals, went hunting and looked to my family for validation in the things that I felt were not quite right. I loved driving tractor and my mother said I had an obsession from birth with tractors. I still enjoy tractors and steam shows. But when my concerns turned to the animals, say, in the winter, worrying if they were warm enough, comparing my discomfort to theirs I naturally assumed that they felt the cold every bit as much as I did. I was told that is why they have fur coats and I shouldn’t overly concern myself unless the temperature dropped below freezing. Or when we castrated young bulls I said to my father, “That’s got to hurt.” He said they didn’t feel things like we do--they were less sensitive. I didn’t see the evidence of his observation when the calves were struggling with all their might to escape and bellered as if we were killing them. Nor did I understand as a small boy why I was punished for drowning a cat by mistake when we would kill and butcher so many animals.

At other times life on the farm was bucolic. I especially enjoyed haying season. All of our neighbors would come to our farm and we would spend a couple of days mowing hay. There would be a huge feast at lunchtime followed by a short nap in the cool summer shade. We worked very hard but it was rewarding work and it was the bonding of community. But there was this stark contrast between those things I found pleasant and the horrors. Did all children deal with this dichotomy? At times I felt that I was being split in two. On one hand I was a benevolent care- giver and the next an executioner. I would sit in church and listen attentively to find meaning to this imbalance within myself. In Sunday school I would ask why I had to do things that made my heart feel sick. I was told that that was the natural order of things and I should honor my family and carry on. In other words, stuff my emotions away and don’t ever cry. When I would read Genesis I tried to find my place in this drama.

“And God made wild animals according their kinds...

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth…and there was morning-the sixth day.

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so.” Genesis 1:24-31 NIV

This was Eden, a place of perfect balance, and a harmonious existence. I longed for Eden and at times created an imaginary Eden on our farm, albeit it was mostly in my head. The animals in Eden didn’t eat one another and Adam and Eve didn’t eat them. How far have we fallen? Can you imagine an existence where you are confined in an enclosure not seeing the light of day or having physical contact with your peers? Can you imagine being castrated without anesthesia? Can you imagine standing on wire mesh your entire life? Can you imagine breathing concentrated amounts of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia? Can you imagine having your child taken from you 24 to 48 hours after birth, to never see them again? Can you imagine having a tail, beak or horn cut off without anesthesia? Can you imagine being shocked routinely? Can you imagine being electrically stunned only to regain consciousness while you are being butchered? The animals don’t do these things to each other, we do. These things sound horrific, but they happen millions of times every day and I suppose they are almost impossible to imagine. I think the writers of Genesis would probably find it impossible to imagine this kind and scale of cruelty could be inflicted on farm animals, these accepted normal agricultural practices. But here we are.

So how was I to understand dominion, of my place in the scheme of things? I have looked to those scholars who have spent considerable time trying to understand this concept. Rev. Andrew Linzey was asked what dominion meant to him, he said,

“At the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the dream of peace. Many people refer to how humans are given “dominion” in Genesis 1, and that’s true. But if you look at the whole saga: in verse 27, humans are made in the image of God; in verse 28, they’re given dominion; and in verse 29, they’re given a vegetarian diet. Herb eating dominion is hardly a license for despotism. The original author was seeking to describe a relationship, not of egotistical exploitation, but of care for the Earth.”

Dominion can mean something very different to other people. A well known agricultural journalist wrote in a column concerning the then pending horse slaughter bill in Illinois, which he supported, and his horse, “These plants [horse slaughter plants] simply offer an outlet for the people who don’t want to see their aging horses do so in agony and, at the same time, provide a protein source for those who desire it. There is no law that mandates horse owners sell their animals to a processor so that someone in France can eat horsemeat. Forget the argument about the economics of disposing of these creatures, remember that everything lives and everything dies. Horses, like man, will die and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life. Why is it more comforting that a horse dies and then is consumed by coyotes or ants or bacteria?” He sold his horse to a slaughter facility for about $200.00. A horse that had helped him manage his cow/calf operation for nearly 22 years. While he had the choice of giving his faithful steed a peaceful death with dignity by letting him live his life out naturally he chose to send him to slaughter. I wonder if he is implying that humans are also a protein source, his logic would seem to dictate that being food gives life meaning. This farmer had a choice, as we all do, but he chose to relegate his companion to an unpleasant transport (usually horses that go to slaughter are loaded on double-decker trailers where they are not able to stand upright) and death at a slaughterhouse. I wouldn’t choose that fate for my dog. Is this dominion?

Matthew Scully, a conservative Republican, devout Christian and speechwriter for President George W. Bush offers us this perspective of dominion, “Animals are so easily overlooked, their interests so easily brushed aside. Whenever we humans enter their world, from our farms to the local animal shelter to the African savanna, we enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike. Dominion, as we call this power in the Western tradition, today requires our concentrated moral consideration…I hope also to convey a sense of fellowship…a sense that all of these creatures in our midst are here with us, not just for us.”

In stark contrast to the idea of “conveying a sense of fellowship” we find many examples from agriculture experts that tell a different relationship. The relationship espoused by these experts is for those who raise the animals, not the consumer. The consumer would, I think, have a difficult time reconciling themselves to this set of mores. Possibly consumers don’t care or don’t want to know. In any case the industry goes to great lengths to hide what it does from the public to provide the public with cheap food. J. Byrnes said in Hog Farm Management, “Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory. Schedule treatments like you would lubrication. Breeding season like the first step in an assembly line. And marketing like the delivery of finished goods.”

This reduction of animals into production machines has always bothered me. Where does mercy come into the picture? When I saw a farm animal in pain or distress I would attend to their needs as best as I could. Not because I had to but that it made my heart ache seeing this pitiful sight. At that moment I was taking mercy on an animal that I eventually needed to force onto a truck or shoot between the eyes. There were limits and conditions to my mercy, my kindness. For many years I struggled trying to understand this internal conflict within myself.

Mr. Scully helps give me insight into this attitude by observing, “In a way, the euphemisms of cruelty do convey a certain blunt candor. They imply an acknowledgement, however obscured, that something has gone wrong. However adamantly we might care to defend certain practices, to press on requires a certain hardness, and it sounds more and more strained to describe the things we do and permit in the language of morality. But theirs is a dominion only of power, with them and not God at the center, all grandeur and no grace.”

For myself as a farmer of animals I definitely was the giver and taker of life which played right to what I had been taught. My role was of master and all of nature could and would be subdued, bent to my will. As spiritual as I believed I was, being an animal agriculturalist put me at the center, as Mr. Scully notes, rather than God. There was no place for mercy toward nature let alone animals. This is the history and very nature of agriculture, a means to subdue nature and make it conform to our needs. Today’s agriculturalist is trained to view the natural world as a form of chaos in need of taming in order to provide humans with food. There is no end to the inventiveness of our intervention. From the plow to irrigation to chemical support of the soil to chemical control of weeds, fungus and insects to pharmaceuticals, to genetic manipulation of animals, we have bent nature to our will.

Here is another euphemism from L.J. Taylor, quoted in National Hog Farmer to remind us of the role of the factory farmed sow, “The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a valuable piece of machinery whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine.” This disconnect of empathy is not limited to pigs. Farmer and Stockbreeder magazine writes, “The Modern layer is, after all, only a very efficient converting machine, changing the raw material-feedstuffs-into the finished product-the egg-less, of course, maintenance requirements.” How did agribusiness come to this place where humans can casually regard animals as something less, something of complete utility? The industry would blame us. Consumers are the culprits in this drama of reducing God’s sentient creatures to “machines”. For example, market research has shown the industry that consumers demand animal products of consistent quality and at the cheapest reasonable price. To meet this demand the animal industry has adopted the model of industrialization producing animals as quickly as possible at the lowest possible price. They are now economic units, commodities to fill a demand in the food market. While the consumer isn’t explicitly aware of this connection it nevertheless exists. The industry says “economies of scale” necessitate factory farming practices. The argument goes that if we didn’t practice intensive confinement agriculture the country and the world would go hungry. Quite the contrary, American agriculture consistently overproduces but the food does not find its way to the hungry. If we are party to this massive suffering then how did we get here? Consider for a moment the millions of dollars that are poured into focus groups and advertising to convince us that animal products are an absolute necessity. What are the vested interests of these corporations that daily assault us with every type of media to program us to buy their products? We rarely look beyond our impulses, our desires. We want to live well! We want others to know we have affluence! We want to treat our guests to the best and a prime rib is how we demonstrate our standing in society. What of the standing of those that are lying on our plates? How does God look upon the slaughter of his creation for the sake of our societal positioning? Mr. Scully makes an astute observation in noting, “Into your hands are they delivered,” says Genesis. Delivered alive.” I would say that dominion doesn’t exist from man down but rather we are in dominion, the Dominion of God. Our egocentric arrogance has placed us above all else when this, by objective observation, is not the case. Just because we do not share a common language we assume to know better than the animals what should or shouldn’t be done to them. This assumption negates any consideration that their lives matter to them and creates a greater distance from them making mercy nigh unto impossible. Farmed animals like many other higher mammals can suffer pain and psychological distress and therefore, in my opinion deserve our mercy. That is to say if animals matter in and of themselves, then we are obliged to consider their pain and psychological distress. If they matter to God, then cruelty to animals is wrong primarily because it is disrespectful of God.

I believe we have an obligation in our dominion over animals that were created by God to care for them as God intended. Superiority of human beings is attributed to human free will. Only human beings are both good and evil. As such humans are regarded as more central to the divine drama than either animals or angels, neither of whom are both good and evil, although both are constrained by their innocence to be actors in the drama. This demands of our free will to act responsibly towards animals for no other reason than their innocence, humans solely determine the fate of animals. In my experience animals act with more consistency and with greater integrity than nearly any person I know. Compassion is our obligation to animals. How can we act otherwise? These gentle creations of God that are good and not evil ask nothing from us and I think the least we can do is be compassionate toward them and show mercy whenever possible. Allow me to share with you a story about Hope the pig. Hope was found lying at the unloading dock at a stockyard. Like many factory farm pigs who have endured factory farming, Hope was lame. She was unable to walk, and had been left to slowly die of starvation and dehydration. She was rescued by Gene and Lori Bauston, the founders of Farm Sanctuary, a rescue and rehabilitation farm in Upstate New York. Hope was placed with Johnny, another pig at the sanctuary. The two immediately bonded, they played together, bathed in the pond together, slept together and followed each other everywhere. Eventually, Hope died of old age. Although Johnny was much younger, and was in perfect health, within a week he died too. Is Johnny’s response to Hope’s death the reflex of a dumb animal? Time and again we witness the inner lives of farm animals at Farm Sanctuary and have come to understand their complex and unique personalities. Unfortunately, too few people have the opportunity to experience these unique individuals, these creations of God.

In Genesis we are told that animals are created by and for God. Perhaps, then, we should consider dominion as it was given to Adam. Adam’s dominion was a sacred stewardship, which we should aspire to. So are animals ours? I think we need a larger frame of reference, animals are God’s creation and in the beginning they were meant to be our companions. Our first responsibility should be to care for these sentient beings as God originally intended. That would be the highest ideal and consistent with the Will of God.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed and been party to the modern practice of dominion. We exploit animals in factory farms in ways that are beyond the comprehension of our forefathers. They are not viewed as creations of God but rather as economic units. Man has genetically altered most of the animals that are used for food production to be mere caricatures of what God had created. Today’s modern pig, milk cow, beef cow, chicken are so far removed from what they were just a mere 100 years ago. How we treat these poor creatures is without conscience, we do whatever is necessary to expedite the growth and slaughter of food animals. We deprive them of normal social interaction, of day light, of fresh air, and breaking the bonds between mother and children. We slaughter them while partially or fully conscious. When those in the animal industry are confronted with the inherent inhumanity of their actions they deny that they act cruelly and what they do is necessary to provide cheap food. No rational person ever says that they deliberately cause suffering to animals but nevertheless the suffering exists and continues. We truly have devolved from Eden.

In Good News for All Creation, Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun very clearly and succinctly give reasons why Christians should be vegetarians treat animals better. Their case can be summarized in their statement: "By attempting to show the greatest possible respect for Creation, we believe, we magnify and glorify the Creator, we participate in God’s sanctification of all life, and we assist God’s reconciling all Creation to a peaceful, vegetarian world. Because meat eating contributes to environmental degradation and harms creatures whose spark of life, we believe, comes from God, every meal in which we abstain from flesh becomes a prayerful expression of love and respect for God."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, leader of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was asked, "Are we allowed to make use of animals, and even to eat them?" [God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002]. Even though he does say that we can, he also says: "This is a very serious question… we cannot just do whatever we want with them. ... Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."

Rev. Andrew Linzey observes, “In God’s eyes, all creatures have value whether we find them cuddly, affectionate, beautiful or otherwise. Our own perspective-in a way-is neither here nor there. Theology, at its best, can help to liberate us from our own anthropocentric limitations.” I find this insightful in that it poses the idea that our perspective is what skews the reality of our relationship with animals. Our perspective, our filter is what determines the value of a farm animal and puts us either at the center of the universe or part of creation. If our only experience with farm animals is through advertising and under cellophane we have a very limited understanding of the farm animal as an individual, as part of Gods creation.

But to a slaughterhouse employee (taken from Gail Eisnitz's book Slaughterhouse) - "Animal abuse is so common that workers who've been in the industry for years get into a state of apathy about it. After a while, it doesn't seem unusual anymore. In the wintertime, there are always hogs stuck to the sides and floors of the trucks. They go in there with wires or knives and just cut or pry the hogs loose. The skin pulls right off. These hogs were alive when we did this. Animal abuse … is so commonplace nobody even thinks about it." Becoming numb is a very easy path to take. I was taught as a child not to be overly concerned about the animals. To be able to do what was deemed necessary required a discipline of emotional numbing. I had to develop the capacity to care then not to care. I had to be sensitive to the feeding and weight gain of beef cattle and to recognize when they were in distress from illness only to do whatever was necessary to get them on the truck or slaughter them. I have observed that this sliding scale of caring is not reserved exclusively for farmers, stockyard employees or butchers. It seems to permeate our society.

Another example is what a former ranch hand said, (Interviewed by Marjorie Spiegel The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery) - "Sure we used to throw ‘em on the ground and cut their balls off with a pen-knife. Didn’t give them any painkiller, are you kidding? And that’s not all; at the same time, we’d brand ‘em and cut off their horns. And you know what? It didn’t bother me [. . .] I never felt anything for them."

“I never felt anything for them.”

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them wherever they require it.” If we become bound up to the utilitarian idea of animal use that some people attribute to the Bible we run into some problems. If we are to accept, literally, all that we read then many of us have some major problems in our dietary practices. In Leviticus chapter 11 we find that eating anything that has a cloven hoof but does not chew its cud is an abomination and unclean, or any animal that does not have a cloven hoof but chews its cud, or anything that comes from the sea that does not have fin or scale. These few directives from God forbid the consumption of pigs, rabbits, horses, cat fish and calamari to name a few. St. Francis releases us from this conundrum. If we live our lives in service to animals then we are at a place of living in peace with them.

Matthew Scully puts the argument to us this way: “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

Cardinal John Henry Newman commented, “Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God.” Indeed, the latter prophets, (Jeremiah, Amos, Mica and Hosea) explicitly link violence against animals to violence against humans, social justice to our treatment of God’s creatures. We see this acted out today. For example, research by Gail Eisnitz, author and slaughterhouse investigator, found many slaughterhouse workers end up abusing their wives and children and usually develop substance abuse problems. Also it was no accident that many of the men who executed people in the Nazi death camps were the local butchers. Unfortunately, the Bible tells a story of regression, not progression. We started with Eden and have been in decline ever since. I think it is our moral responsibility to discipline ourselves to aspire to progression, to leave our barbaric past behind. Rev. Andrew Linzey remarked, “Western culture is inextricably bound up with man’s exploitation of millions of animals as food, as research tools, for entertainment, and for clothing, and for enjoyment and company. The sheer scope and complexity of our exploitation is, I contend, an indication of how far we have accepted the dictum that animals exist for man’s use and pleasure. It is sheer folly to suppose that we can completely extricate ourselves from this complexity of exploitation with minimal disturbance to Western society, as we now know it. Nevertheless, having begun the slow and often tedious task of challenging traditional assumptions, new fields of sensitivity have already begun to emerge, and it is this task of hastening the moral evolution of the consciousness of our fellow humans that we must undertake. The Christian tradition with its vast influence on Western culture has a unique role to play in showing its ability to change perspectives and challenge even its most cherished assumptions.”

It is interesting to note that the beginning of Judaism was marked by the rejection of human sacrifice; the beginning of Christianity was marked by the rejection of animals sacrifice. In Matthew Jesus says, “I will have mercy, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.” Perhaps we should continue this journey of expanding our circle of compassion. Even in Islamic texts we find a prescription for kindness and mercy. One hadith quotes Muhammad as saying: “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” There is a common thread of respect, mercy and compassion towards animals that runs through all major religions. In the east the first precepts are “do no harm”. That is why many Hindus and Buddhists follow a plant-based diet.

If we cannot find it within ourselves to treat those who have the same 5 senses, the same needs for community, who make no demands upon us, have the same needs to avoid pain and suffering with equanimity then how will we ever be able to treat other humans better. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our moral framework is lacking its ethical support. Factory farming isn’t just killing: It is negation, a complete denial of the animal as a living being with his or her own needs and nature. It is not the worst evil we can do, but it is the worst evil we can do to them. It confronts us with the animal equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s condemnation of human slavery: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” So when piglets are castrated without anesthesia and handled so roughly that occasionally their intestines are pulled out with the testicles, dairy cows have their tails cut off without anesthesia, chicks have the ends of their beaks seared off with a hot blade, male chicks are discarded into dumpsters or ground alive to make feed for other animals, sows spending their entire lives in cages that all they can do is lay down, calves who stand in crates in the dark tethered for their short lives, where is our compassion and mercy? These are normal agricultural practices in factory farming. These are standard agricultural practices. This is what our agricultural universities teach. Mr. Scully puts this attitude best saying, “Where our own fundamental interest is at stake, in short, and our own suffering in the balance, we are moral absolutists, and with animals and their suffering we are moral relativists.”

“Many people when they examine their beliefs about animals will find, I think, that they hold radically contradictory views, allowing for benevolence one moment and disregard the next. And the reality is that we have a choice of one or the other. As a practical matter we are free, of course, to do more or less as we please absent of further changes in the law. As a matter of conscience, however, we must each ask ourselves which outlook is truer, which is closer to our heart, which attitude leaves us feeling better and worthier when we act upon it, and then follow that conviction where it leads. And when we fail to act consistently with our own moral principles, when we profess one thing and do another, we must be willing to call that error by its name. It is hypocrisy.”

This is not to make the case of denying ourselves what we consider a staple in our diet. I think vegetarianism is implicitly a spiritual act. It is not about saying “No” but about saying “Yes”. About enjoying the lives of other creatures on this Earth so much that even the thought of killing them is abhorrent. I think God rejoices in God’s creatures, takes pleasure in their lives, and wants us to do so too. As Rev. Linzey states, “So much of our exploitation of animals stems from a kind of spiritual blindness: if we sensed and really felt the beauty and magnificence of the world, we would not exploit it as we do today.”

The moral concern for the suffering of animals is not a new idea. We find writings from the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks, Romans and others have dealt with the role of animals. Unfortunately, these voices have, by and large, gone unheard.

Perhaps this should be our prayer. Saint Basil in the 4th century wrote this petition:

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
Thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the
Sense of fellowship with all living
Things, our brothers the animals to
Whom Thou gavest the earth as
Their home in common with us.
We remember with shame that
In the past we have exercised the
High dominion of man with ruthless
Cruelty so that the voice of the earth,
Which should have gone up to Thee in
Song, has been a groan of travail.
May we realize that they live not
For us alone but for themselves and
For Thee and that they love the sweetness
Of life even as we, and serve Thee in their
Place better than we in others.

How we spend our dollars makes us complicit to the suffering of billions of animals each year not to mention the environmental impact factory farms have on the earth and those who work on and live near them. According to the USDA over 10 billion farm animals a year and this doesn’t take into account of the millions thousands of baby male chicks who are destroyed. None of it is necessary. Thanks to technology we have synthetics that replace any fiber or leather, we have plant-based foods that have been shown to be far more healthy for the environment, for us, not to mention the animals. I think we are charged with the moral responsibility to extend our respect, consideration, mercy and, compassion to all animals. I would like to close by quoting Rev. J.R. Hyland:

“The decision to live life with respect and concern for all creatures that inhabit the earth is, first of all, an individual choice. But if the human race is to evolve spiritually and morally, that choice must eventually reflect a societal standard. The Kingdom of God promised by the Bible is a kingdom in which humans and nonhumans must live in peace with their own kind and with all other species. It is the world promised by the prophets, in which “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isa. 11:6)

The Kingdom of God, come to earth, is a kingdom in which justice, compassion, mercy and love for all creatures will be a reality. It is the kind of world Jesus told His followers to expect when He taught them to pray:

Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)”

Reading list:

Christian Vegetarian Association, Good News for All Creation

Rev. Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology (Chicago: University Press, 1994)

J.R. Hyland, The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of Animals (Viatoris Ministries)

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2002)

Keith Akers: The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity (New York: Lantern Books, 2000)

Jim Mason and Peter Singer, Animal Factories (New York: Crown Publishers, 1980)

Vensanto Melina, Brenda Davis, and Victoria Harrison, Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet (Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1995)

Norm Phelps, The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (New York: Lantern Books, 2002)

John Robbins, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World (Berkley, CA: Conari Press 2001)