Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for May, 2007

Animals can express their opinions here

My cat, Tut, handed me this press release as I was leaving for work this morning: finally gives critters a voice
Ever wonder where fish stand on global warming? … whether crocodiles get upset when they are mistaken for alligators? … what the chicken who crossed the road was really thinking?

Animal-Internet presents the answers to these and other questions through “animatorials,” humorous, insightful editorials from the animal’s point of view.

Animal-Internet’s mission is to give all animals, both domestic and wild, a virtual soapbox to express their opinions. Visitors will find members of every species discussing world events, participating in polls, sharing photos, and leaving comments on the animatorial postings. There are only a few rules — no humans are allowed to join the community, members must refrain from eating one another and absolutely no use of the P-E-T word.

Although the membership is animals only, humans are encouraged to browse. New animatorials are posted each week. If readers rate a particular essay highly, it may earn “Featured” status and appear on Animal-Internet’s home page.

For more information, visit

You may also e-mail questions directly to the ferrets in Legal, the cows in Marketing, or the friendly dolphins in Support.

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007
Under: Animals | 1 Comment »

Kill all the wolves!

Alaska wolf “control” program has trouble finding wolves to kill
The state of Alaska is far from meeting its goal in its aerial wolf-killing program that ended April 30. They reported 175 wolves killed, which is a fraction of the 664 animals targeted by the state’s wildlife managers.

The Alaska Board of Game says thin snow in many areas made tracking wolves difficult and high fuel prices kept some pilots and aerial gunners grounded.

Defenders of Wildlife contends the low numbers are due to a lack of wolves. Conservation groups say the state has overestimated wolf numbers and so many have been killed in past years that they’re more difficult to find.

Maybe there just aren’t any wolves left to find.

The game board launched their ridiculous “predator-control” effort five years ago to try and boost moose populations so they could attract more out-of-state hunters to come spend their money in Alaska.

Wolves don’t buy hunting licenses and contribute to the state’s economy. Human hunters do.

In an effort to speed up the number of kills this year, the state Department of Fish and Game decided to offer a $150 bounty for the left front leg of every dead wolf. Advocacy groups sued and a state Superior Court judge ordered the bounty stopped before a payment had been made, saying the department lacked the authority to offer the bounty.

So why didn’t the judge simply order the wolf-killing stopped?


Defenders of Wildlife

Alaska Wildlife Alliance

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Under: Wolves | No Comments »

1 in 3 Americans is allergic to their best friend!

There are 139,949,912 pets (cats and dogs) in the United States, says the American Pet Association, and nearly a third of them belong to a human that has pet allergies.

Thankfully, there is a peaceful way to coexist.

James L. Sublett, MD, clinical professor and section chief of Pediatric Allergy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has a couple of very simple suggestions for new and old pet owners on how to reduce pet related allergens:

— Vacuum, a lot. Vacuuming every two to three days with a HEPA* filter or bagless vacuum will remove the pollens and allergens that your pets track in and then deposit on your floor, furniture and carpets. Pay special attention to those areas where your pets sleep or spend a lot of their time sitting and grooming. Knowing that your carpet and furniture is free from allergens will allow you, and your sinuses, to rest easy.

— Encase mattresses and pillows with “mite-proof” covers. They keep the bugs from nesting in your feather down pillows and mattresses. It’s best to keep your pets off the bed, that’s ideal, but since most of us aren’t home 24 hours a day, a mite-proof cover is a great way to ensure those creatures stay out of your most intimate furniture.

** NOTE: Does anyone have any other simple (or better!) tactics they use to keep from sneezing their head off every time they pet their dog or cat? Please share!

* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“HEPA” is an acronym for “high efficiency particulate air filter.” This type of air filter can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometres in diameter. Particles of this size are the most difficult to filter. Particles that are larger or smaller are filtered with even higher efficiency. HEPA filters are used in most Air-Purifiers. You should be able to pick one up at any vacuum cleaner store.

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Under: Pet Allergies | No Comments »

Your cat or dog can now use YouTube!

Pets911 is harnessing the YouTube craze to help find homes for lost and abandoned pets

Here’s my vote for Press Release of the Week from Pets911:

Local animal shelters across the country are taking advantage of the latest Internet trend by posting video of pets available for adoption on Pets911 has updated its site to allow any shelter or rescue organization that has a pet available for adoption to include video of that pet, using YouTube technology.

Shelters and rescues hoping to find homes for their animals can build a pet profile on the Pets911 Web site that includes the option for video upload for no charge. The profile can be easily found by potential adopters or pet owners searching for their lost animal according to US zip code. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips across the Internet for no cost.

Keep in mind there is no formal agreement between YouTube and Pets911, so we’ll see how far this goes before somebody gets, ahem, upset.

To see more on how YouTube technology is being used on Pets911, check out:

In addition to Pets911’s lost and found pet network, it also allows pet owners and pet seekers to access community-specific pet-related information (local animals available for adoption, a national lost and found pet database, spay/neuter facilities, licensing information, emergency and non-emergency veterinary offices, and tips on pet behavior, health and grooming). Individuals and organizations around the country feed regular updates into the Pets911 database, keeping listings of pets available for adoption, contact info for vets, and lost and found info current. Lots more info at

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
Under: Pets | No Comments »

How do you sex a mountain lion? (Verrry carefully!)

The difference is not always obvious
In the state of Colorado, hoping to prevent mother mountain lions with litters from dying during hunting season, hunters will have to pass a test showing they know the difference between males and females before they set their sights on one of the big cats.

The state Wildlife Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve mandatory training, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, that starts in July.

Wildlife advocates say maintaining a certain number of female mountain lions is important because they don’t have litters every year, and kittens die without their mother.

Male mountain lions are larger and have bigger paws and longer strides than females, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site. There are also other differences beyond the obvious. Males, for example, have a black spot of hair 4 to 5 inches below their tails.

If the mountain lion is charging the hunter, spotting that black spot could be a little tricky. I guess that’s known as the thrill of the hunt.

You can find out more about the Colorado Division of Wildlife mountain lion training program on the Net at:

I wonder if/when the State of California is going to get around to doing this?

Posted on Friday, May 4th, 2007
Under: Mountain lion | No Comments »

Broiler chickens fed pet food scraps contaminated with melamine

Contaminated chickens then sold for human consumption
A copyrighted story by Rick Weiss of the Washington Post today says as least 2.5 million broiler chickens from an Indiana producer were fed pet food scraps contaminated with the chemical melamine and subsequently sold for human consumption.

Here are some quotes from Weiss’ story. The boldfaced words are mine, to emphasize the words:

“Officials emphasized that they do not believe the tainted chicks — or the smaller number of contaminated pigs that were previously reported to have entered the human food supply — pose any risk for the people who ate them.”

“None of the farm animals is known to have become sick from the food, and very little of the contaminant is suspected of having accumulated in their tissues. Thus, no recall of any products that may still be on store shelves or in people’s freezers is planned, officials said.”

So, the FDA officials do not believe that the 2.5+ million contaminated chickens pose any risk to the people who ate them.

They say none of the animals is known to have become sick.

And they say very little of the melamine is suspected of having accumulated in farm animal tissues.

Do not believe … is known … is suspected … are not what you call scientific statements. They’re just plain old guesses. And based on those plain old guesses, none of the contaminated chickens that might still be out there in stores or in your freezer, have been recalled.

You’d think that anything contaminated with melamine at this point would be recalled, just to be on the safe side, especially human foods. The FDA still doesn’t know why the mildly-toxic melamine is killing cats. Maybe it’s reacting with something else in the food. It’s called synergism, “the simultaneous action of separate ‘agencies’ (chemicals, drugs, etc.) which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of the individual effects.”

If this kind of thing can happen with pet food, couldn’t it also happen with human food?

Those FDA guys don’t get it, do they?

Rick Weiss’ story ends by saying: “Officials said the FDA has received 17,000 reports of pets that owners believe were sickened or killed by contaminated chow. About 8,000 reports, roughly half of them involving animals that died, have been formally entered into the FDA’s tracking system so far for further analysis.”

And so it goes.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

Friday is International Respect for Chickens Day

Every so often a press release comes scratching at the door and just CROWS for your attention.

Why did this press release cross the road? To stick up for chickens!
MACHIPONGO, Va., May 1, PRNewswire — United Poultry Concerns is pleased to announce our Third Annual International Respect for Chickens Day, May 4. We urge everyone to do an ACTION of compassion for chickens that day — from writing a letter to the editor to tabling at a local mall to showing the movie Chicken Run to going vegan — for life.

What are people doing for chickens on International Respect for Chickens Day?

“I’m planning to leaflet at an outdoor concert.” (Laura Mungavin, Atlanta, Ga.)

“I’m doing a display at my work place.” (Michele Walsh, Saxonburg, Pa.)

“I printed fact sheets off your Web site and am assembling them into packets to distribute at my office.” (Chalon Carroll Young, Esq., Kissimmee, Fla.)

“We’re leafleting in front of the White House and in Takoma Park, Md., around Roscoe the Rooster’s Memorial Statue.” (Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, Machipongo, Va.)

International Respect for Chickens Day is a day to celebrate the dignity, beauty, and life of chickens and to protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations.

“For a chicken trapped in the world of modern food manufacture, to break out of the shell is to enter a deeper darkness full of bewildering pain and suffering from birth to death,” says Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns. “We want to restore chickens to their leafy green world.”

Information about International Respect for Chickens Day is on the Web at

Posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
Under: Chickens | 2 Comments »