Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for March, 2007

Dueling frog jump contests will kill more frogs

This year, it is anticipated that over 2,000 participants will jump their frogs in the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Calaveras County Fair in Angels Camp. And if you don’t have a frog, one will be provided to you by the fair if you want to enter the contest.

That means 2000+ frogs will be removed from the wild so they can be manhandled and terrified so that humans can try to win some money from their discomfort.

And now, even more frogs may die:

Associated Press, March 29:
ANGELS CAMP, AP — A quarrel between organizers of the Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Calaveras County Fair has led to plans for dueling frog-hopping contests this year.

The Angels Camp Boosters Club began the Jumping Frog Jubilee in 1928 but were cut out of the competition this year after fair organizers cut the $2,300 stipend to the club and told the boosters their judging services were no longer needed.

The stipend was cut because the fair lost money due to rain and low turnout last year … Boosters were invited to volunteer this year but they decided to plan a separate event after fair officials formed their own committee.

Thousands attend the five-day fair every year, which culminates in the competition featuring frogs entered from around the country. The boosters club is planning its own frog-jump to be held about the same time as the county fair. -30-

So now there will be TWO jumping frog contests. Does this mean 4,000+ amphibians will now be removed from the environment? That’s a HUGE number of frogs to be taken from a local ecosystem.

These are hard times for frogs and toads. The environment continues to be polluted more and more every day. Pollution, disease, fertilizer runoff in streams, and other unknown causes are contributing to the deaths of frogs and toads in the U.S. and around the world.

What we don’t need is for HUGE numbers of these sensitive amphibians to be removed from the wild just so they can die at a couple of silly jumping frog contests.

Posted on Friday, March 30th, 2007
Under: Amphibians | No Comments »

Get the lead out!

Banning lead bullets will help save condors.
The Center for Biological Diversity protects endangered species and wild places through science, policy, education, and environmental law. This organization has been one of the main leaders in the long fight to ban the use of lead bullets in the current California condor range.

Condors feed primarily on dead animals — many of them deer, wild pigs, etc., that have been shot by hunters. The giant birds are poisoned when they ingest the lead bullets and bullet fragments. According to a story in today’s Times by MediaNews staff writer Paul Rogers, “ … 13 condors have been confirmed killed by lead in Arizona and California since the birds were introduced in the wild 15 years ago. And roughly one-third of the birds in Northern California have been found with high, sometimes dangerously high, lead levels in their blood.”

The California Fish and Game Commission will take public testimony at their April 13 meeting in Bodega Bay on a Dept. of Fish and Game proposal to end the use of lead ammunition in the current condor range, beginning this fall. The lead bullets would be replaced by copper bullets that can be used by hunters.

If you have not already, please visit the “Take Action” page on condors, posted by the Center for Biological Diversity, to send a message to the Commission to get the lead out for California condors:

The debate between hunters and environmentalists on whether or not to ban lead bullets has gone on for long enough. Each delay means more dead condors. Please ask the Fish and Game Commission to ban those lead bullets NOW.

If you need more information, the Center for Biological Diversity has provided the links below to recent media articles on the campaign to switch to non-lead ammunition to protect California condors:

San Jose Mercury News 3-28-07
Lead Bullet Ban Proposed For Condor Range Gaining Traction
Science may tip scales in environmentalists’ favor

Sonora Union Democrat 3-27-07
Lead Bullets Under Fire In California

Monterey Herald 3-7-07
Lead Bullet Ban Awaits Panel
Fish and Game Commission considering four possible courses of action

High Country News 3-5-07
Getting The Lead Out
A proposed ban on lead ammo in California could save condors

See for information about DFG’s proposed regulations.

See for the Commission meeting location and agenda.

Visit for more information about the lead poisoning issue.

Visit the Center for Biological Diversity Web site at

You can also get more information by contacting Jeff Miller, Conservation Advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, 1095 Market Street, Suite 511, San Francisco, CA 94103 — 415- 436-9682 ext. 303; Fax 415-436-9683.

Let’s get the lead out … NOW!

Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2007
Under: California condors | 1 Comment »

ASPCA Advises Caution As Pet Food Recall Crisis Grows

Other Contaminants May Be Involved in the Menu Foods Recall
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that:

“Since Menu Foods announced its massive pet food recall on March 16, the ASPCA has been flooded with calls from concerned pet parents and animal welfare professionals alike. Call volume at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has increased significantly over the past 10 days — approximately 14 percent — and the ASPCA’s veterinary toxicologists have been carefully analyzing data from these calls.

“Today the ASPCA reports that, based on these data, clinical signs reported in cats affected by the contaminated foods are not fully consistent with the ingestion of rat poison containing aminopterin that, according to Menu Foods, is at the ‘root’ of the contamination issue.

“We’ve seen reports coming in from all around the country that animals that were eating the contaminated foods are definitely suffering from renal failure,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Midwest Office, including the APCC. “But the data that we’ve been collecting do not conclusively prove this connection, which is why we strongly recommend that those involved in the investigation continue to search for additional contaminants.”

Read the rest of this story at:

The ASPCA strongly recommends that you should have your pet examined by your veterinarian if any signs of illness occur following consumption of the recalled foods, including loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in water consumption or changes in urination.

Adverse effects or deaths of pets conclusively linked to eating the contaminated foods should be reported to the FDA at

Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association has a tremendous amount of information on this subject at

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

Pet blogs and Web sites discuss the poisoned pet food recall

Some Web sites dedicated to pets and pet owners are listing many more sick and dead pets related to the pet foods contaminated with rat poison, than the Food and Drug Administration or Menu Foods have listed. This information has not yet been confirmed, but we should all be aware of it since many of these reports have been made by veterinarians who claim to have treated these animals.

I’ve checked out some of these Web sites and here are five that I think you should take a look at if you’re interested in finding out more about this mess:

** is a blog that discusses the pet food recall. It appears to have a lot of up-to-date information:

** Veterinary Information Network is a web site for an organization of 30,000 veterinarians and vet students. It also has this separate Web site for non-members (that’s you and me), where you can read more information on the pet food recall problem:

** is a pet information clearing house that hosts a popular blog. It says that large numbers of owners have reported dead pets. This is also one of the most up-to-date information sources on the pet food recall I’ve been able to find since it started:

** Dogster and Catster say they are Web sites for cat and dog “freaks.” They are blogs that contain lots of information on pets, ads, chat rooms, where cat/dog people can talk about things and lots of other stuff. The pet food recall mainly occupies their thoughts at the moment. You are required to register and get a password to browse these Web sites:

If you know of any other Web sites that you think should be shared about the pet food recall, please pass them along. Thanks!

Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007
Under: Pet food | 3 Comments »

Menus for preparing your own pet food

Do you make your own pet food? Does it provide the proper nutrition for your pet?

Do you have any good dog and cat food recipes you’ve been feeding to your own animals that you can share with other cat and dog owners who want to stop using commercial pet foods? Can you please recommend any good dog and cat recipe and nutrition books?

Please e-mail the above information to me at Be sure and include your name and city.

I’m getting a lot of correspondence from people who are very concerned about the recently recalled pet food. Even more so now that rat poison has been found in the recalled food.

Here are some typical e-mails:

Gary: This is the second dog food scare in the past year. I am ready to prepare my dogs’ meals not using commercial dog food. Are you aware of a dog nutrition book that would provide guidelines? My plan is to make my dogs’ food and supplement it with a daily vitamin. (Louise Massante, cyberspace)

Gary: Would you have a recipe handy for making homemade cat food until this recall scare is over? Would my cat be getting the nutrition she needs? Thanks! (Joy Berg, cyberspace)

Thanks for helping. I’ll make two lists — Dog and Cat Food Recipes and Pet Nutrition Books — and make this information available to anyone who wants it.

Posted on Monday, March 26th, 2007
Under: Pet food | 2 Comments »

Rat poison found in recalled pet food

So rat poison has been found in the recalled pet food blamed for the deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs (and probably more).

That raises all sorts of interesting questions, doesn’t it? At the top of my list is, “Where did the rat poison come from?”

It seems like the production of pet and human foods have become so centralized that it doesn’t take much to create a major disaster like this.

That’s kind of scary.

Posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2007
Under: Pet food | 6 Comments »

Natural and raw pet foods

The pet food recall has caused some pet owners to think about preparing their own pet food. If you’re interested, on Oct. 7, 2004, our own Joan Morris wrote an excellent and informative story about switching to natural and raw pet food. It’s still quite relevant:

Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

Don’t kiss this frog!

The Lily Pond in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has a problem. African clawed frogs. If something isn’t done about this exotic and prohibited species before they escape from the Lily Pond and become established somewhere else (in lakes and streams elsewhere in the state), Northern California will have a BIG problem. These frogs eat everything, and they have no natural predators. They are a major environmental threat.

The clawed frogs were probably initially dumped in the Lily Pond by someone who had obtained them illegally as aquarium pets, or by researchers who have used them in their studies. The population has been rapidly growing and expanding ever since.

Eric Mills, coordinator of Action For Animals in Oakland, has been working with others for nearly four years to get the pond drained and have the frogs euthanized before they get loose and wreak havoc on our state ecosystem.

The frogs have already eaten other life forms in the Lily Pond and are now cannibalizing each other. These frogs also carry a type of fungus that is suspected as the cause of the extinction of more than 170 frog species around the world.

The frogs should have been humanely destroyed when they were first discovered, but state and local politics being what they are, it has taken all this time (meetings, committees, etc.) to reach a point where the Lily Pond is finally getting close to being drained.

But now there’s suddenly a new problem.

An animal protection organization called In Defense of Animals, from San Rafael, has issued an Action Alert on its Web site asking people to “Stop Frog Extermination in Golden Gate Park.”


I just received an e-mail from Eric Mills explaining what he thought of this mess.

“State law requires that these exotic frogs be euthanized, sadly. I truly hate the idea, but it’s necessary to protect the environment and our native wildlife. Here’s another example of humans creating a problem, then punishing the victim. But corrective action must be taken.

“It is illegal to move these frogs. The pond WILL be drained, the frogs will be euthanized, it’s only a matter of time. That being the case, it’s incumbent upon us animal protectionists to see that it’s done as humanely as possible. That should be In Defense of Animals’ role, rather than attempting to derail the entire process.

“They’ve even proposed setting up the Lily Pond as a permanent ‘study exhibit.’ Ain’t gonna happen!

“These proposals (by In Defense of Animals) are unrealistic and unworkable.”

Eric is right.

It’s time to get realistic, not hysterical.

In Defense of Animals also needs to get real.

Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
Under: Exotic wildlife | 4 Comments »

The latest on the pet food recall

Tuesday, the FDA listed 14 pet deaths related to the recall of pet food by Menu Foods — 9 dead cats belonged to Menu foods and died while they were sampling some of the food; four dead cats and one dead dog belonged to consumers who purchased the food.

A quote from a story by Abigale Goldman in today’s (March 21) Los Angeles Times: “We are receiving many calls from consumers; we have not had a chance to confirm those yet,” said Stephen F. Sundlof, the director of FDA’s center for veterinary medicine.

In other words, they expect the number of pet deaths to increase.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site seems to have the most complete round-up of latest information on the pet food recall.

From the FDA Web site:
“FDA is conducting an investigation and working with Menu Foods, Inc. to ensure the effectiveness of the recall. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-895-2708. Consumers who wish to report adverse actions or other problems can go to to contact the FDA complaint coordinator in their state.”

This page on the FDA Web site contains copies of all the FDA’s press releases issued on the pet food recall, plus assorted press releases issued from some of the name-brand pet food companies affected by the recall. I think you’ll find them to be interesting reading:

Homemade pet food?
Maybe it’s time to start cooking up our own homemade meals for our pets. At least we’ll know what the ingredients are. (Go to and do a search on “home cooked pet food.”)

Anything to add?
If anyone has anything to add to this, please click on “Comments” below.

There’s more:
There’s more information in my Monday and Tuesday blog entries (below).

Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2007
Under: Food recalls | 2 Comments »

Update on pet food recall

I’m reading everything I can find about the pet food recall. Here’s some new stuff I found out today:

** Before you do anything, read staff writer Denis Cuff’s front page story in today’s Times, “Pet food recall has owners on edge,” for information from local vets at

** Veterinarians quoted in the other most recent stories I’ve read suggest that pet owners should contact their vets for advice if their pets show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite or vomiting, especially if they’ve eaten any products listed on the recall list. (You can find the recall list by clicking on the Menu Foods Web site at

** To date, more cats seem to have been affected than dogs.

** According to a story by Abigail Goldman in today’s Los Angeles Times, The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is investigating the problem. The L.A. Times story reports, “The FDA, which is tracking the number of pets believed to be sickened by the recalled foods, said customers can find phone numbers for local offices and other information on its Web site,

Goldman’s L.A. Times story also reports, ”Owners who believe that their animals were sickened by the recalled foods should hold on to documentation such as food labels and information from their veterinarians, said Menu Foods spokeswoman Sarah Tuite. ‘Somebody will take responsibility for that,’ she said. ‘I don’t know yet in what form or what way.’” (The entire L.A. Times story can be read at,1,1816620.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true)

If anyone has anything to add to this, please click on “Comments” below.

There’s more information in my Tuesday (March 19) blog entry (below).

Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Under: Food recalls | No Comments »