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Saturday, February 14, 2004

Singapore to Kill 5,000 Chickens in Drill, Despite No Bird Flu

Since this forum seems to be one of the places that is questioning the large scale slaughter of animals due to bird flu fears, this tidbit from Japan Today caught my eye:
Singapore, jittery over the avian influenza sweeping through Asia, will kill 5,000 chickens next week in a large-scale "red-alert drill" to gear up for any outbreak in the country, the government said Thursday.

Even though the small city state is free of bird flu, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said 5,000 chickens will be destroyed to test Singapore's "operational readiness" to deal with a bird flu outbreak.
(Kyodo News)
Meanwhile, desperate to resume trade, nations like Thailand are getting ready to declare themselves virus-free, despite admitting that the Asian outbreak may take years to subside altogether. In re-opening their markets, government officials are pledging to "reconstruct the breeding industry" that has no doubt played a major role in producing this epidemic. But if it will take them years, under current methods, to make sure avian flu is no longer spreading uncontrollably, how much longer will it take for entire industry breeding protocols to be reconstructed?

I'd say "what a laugh" but when we are talking about the unsafe resumption of trade in unhealthy animal bodies for food and the resulting epidemics that cause a hundred thousand animals to be culled outright, with a million dying otherwise of disease, this is no laughing matter.

Posted by Richard
2/14/2004 06:08:09 PM | PermaLink

Fire Greenwalt -- Make Los Angeles "No Kill"

I tend not to post about city specific stories, for while I believe that politics should emerge strongly and locally on the ground whenever possible, I believe this forum is better suited to charting and organizing national and international groupings, as well as for providing this level of context in support of emerging regional political struggle. In this case, while the Fire Greenwalt is a specific animal activist campaign to run the Mayor Hahn gifted General Manager of LA County Animal Services out of office, the implications of what is going on here should demand the interest of animal activists generally.

Simply put: the story is one of political corruption, bureaucratic incompetence, and bottom-line economic efficiency -- which has allowed the giant animal services sector in one of America's premier cities to become a dirty, inhumane killing field for homeless, lost, displaced and feral animals. Worse, with this exposed by Los Angeles activist organizations like Animal Defense League, Mayor Hahn and his GM Greenwalt declared a 2008 plan to transform LA pounds so as to mirror those of our sister-city San Francisco -- "no kill" institutions. But, sadly, this too is now exposed as empty political rhetoric and so activists have come together to attempt to force the city's hand one more time toward real change.

Today, on the anniversary of the Valentine's Day Massacre, and to proclaim outrage at the massacre that will go on behind shelter walls, a vigil has set out to target Mayor Hahn's place of residence. In alliance, the underground animal liberation activists of the ALF have also recently taken action on this matter, issuing the following communique:
"In the early morning hours of February 3rd, the Animal Liberation Front answered the cries of the imprisoned souls inside the death camp walls of the West Los Angeles animal shelter, California, U.S.

We decorated the walls with Animal Auschwitz, Your pet murdered here and Death Camp. ALF logos were also painted on banners and the front glass door and walls.

We slashed all the tires of five Animal Auschwitz prison vans in the hopes that animals are running free today because the prison vans were temporarily disabled.

We are not terrorists, but today's freedom fighters. We no longer can sit back and watch the above-ground movement be spun around with lies, deceit and illegal tactics. Hahn and Greenwalt's regime has awakened the underground and we intend to continue fighting back for the animals.

Los Angeles Animal Control may have money, power and guns, but the ALF has passion and commitment. When the sun goes down, it's a level playing field."
This issue isn't important simply because of the number of cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals that are killed each day in the name of government planning and service; but because they are killed needlessly -- which amounts to murder. San Francisco's no-kill policy represents a political reality that is now on the horizon for all major American cities. With every city that goes no-kill, the momentum builds and it becomes easier to make the case for further interventions.

Right now, under the mantra of "Fire Greenwalt!" animal activists have Mayor Hahn on the ropes. I cannot stress my support for this campaign in stronger terms. The current bureaucrats need to be ousted and the Mayor needs to now speed up the work to make Los Angeles an animal-friendly city. This can only happen with the continued work of these tireless local advocates and the increased support of national animal organizations, radical spokespeople, and welfare and rights workers everywhere.

Posted by Richard
2/14/2004 04:46:42 PM | PermaLink

Friday, February 13, 2004

Democratic Candidates Have Been Eating Like Good Americans, Poorly, on the Campaign Trail

An article that I think got passed by in early February's USA Today. It doesn't get to Kucinich until the very end, when in quiet contradistinction to Edwards, Dean, Kerry, and Clark it brings up his modest vegan choices.

Edwards is the sickest of the bunch, running 5 miles a day to balance McDonald's burgers by the handful and nearly a 12-pack of diet coke (made with don rumsfeld's nutrasweet? and enough acid to rust a nail) a day.

Dean is also out of control -- caught in the terrible contradiction of following his own doctor's orders toward gaining 12 pounds since the campaign's start by eating lots of doughnuts and M&M's (see the Mars company child slavery article below).

Kerry has taken to skipping meals.

Clark -- now defunct of course -- may have given in not just from a lack of funds and vip hopes, but because he wasn't getting enough nutritional value. His campaign claims that he swims 40 minutes a day on the road, and tries to eat right: he's sick of the campaign coffee and junk food. But his son, to the contrary, said that Gen. Clark eats a lot of "garbage."

The article also portarys Al Sharpton as a fried chicken lover who does a morning treadmill session and ex-candidate Joe Lieberman as a devout orthodox jew eating kosher. I find it hard to believe Liberman could really keep kosher on a tour bus going through middle America...

Posted by Richard
2/13/2004 01:33:08 PM | PermaLink

World Headed for Nuclear Destruction, ElBaradei Says

This message cannot be underpublicized -- global populations, especially those composed of fat complacent consumers in wealthy countries such as America, need to wake up to the reality of unstoppable proliferating nuclear weapons. As the imperium is spread across the planet, controlling all borders, and now into space (postmodern war involves vertical borders, not just horizontal), there is the mythology of total control: Big Brother. While common notions such as Big Brother no doubt erupt from an unfolding truth, failing to recognize the ways in which such control is always being everywhere contested can result in either paranoid conceptions of global conspiracy or depoliticized notions of totalized fascism made benign and normal for the masses.

Just as a century earlier, when gun runners and arms dealers invariably broke ranks and sold weapons across territorial lines, creating an historical escalation in the level of warfare being conducted, so now we face another escalation. However, this escalation will not result in attacks of villages destroyed, or cities seiged, but in megalopoli wiped out and nations obliterated. The resulting toxification of what may even amount to relatively few such attacks -- that is the expectation is that they will not be regular such as car or bus bombs, but more akin to jumbo jet hijackings -- will cause local and global cancers, as well as the destruction of countless animal and plant species who die as nuclear terror's collateral damage.

ElBaradei is here testifying for the world that the powers that be are now admitting that nuclear technology cannot but proliferate in unexpected and harmful ways. Of course, while the emphasis here is on generating fear and control of anti-modern and anti-capitalist countries and groups gaining such weapons, a sort of "Just Say No" campaign for atomic bombs that it is hoped will legitimate entire new levels of technological and bureaucratic controls, from Star Wars anti-missle systems to international coordinated police surveillance to tighter business restrictions on nuclear-related industries.

This is one type of solution -- one we would expect of the nuclear-powered status quo. When one realizes that what ElBaradei is here imploring about the unstoppability of terrorists or enemies gaining at least one nuclear weapon (that will go boom in a city near you eventually), has always been true -- that the history of nuclear development globally has been a dirty mixture of secret trade, spying, black market deals diverted to third-party hands, etc., and that despite international regulation of nuclear technology instituted decades ago, it has continued to proliferate out to other countries -- including nations such as Israel, which persist in denying that they are a de facto nuclear state and so go virtually unmonitored to that effect.

The point here being that the nuclear danger is not new -- the only thing new is that new developments of unplanned nuclear explosions in the heart of capitalism and imperialism are coming close to taking place, and people are learning about this and beginning to think and discuss this in a more populist manner than at any time since the early 80s. That is: the issue is again on the radar screen and despite managerial and political efforts to keep it off, to keep fear down, and control up, it keeps mushrooming back. Again, as ElBaradei correctly notes, it cannot be held back forever.

I would like to suggest that neither can technocratic and technological solutions disarm this danger either. While they have a part to play in the short-term at helping to avoid a nuclear disaster that never should have been allowed to develop, the public needs to be able to ultimately understand the connections between those who make such solutions and the historical proliferation of nuclear technology itself.

We now have tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other all across the planet. Black markets are constantly moving parts and plans here and there. Hundreds of missles proper are outright missing from Russia since the fall of the USSR. The powers that be use these mostly as a sort of high-stakes diplomatic ante in the most horrific poker game that ever has been. How long until someone has too much to drink at the table and does something rash?

Ultimately, sooner rather than later, we need not more regulation but A COMPLETE CALL TO GLOBAL DISARMAMENT and the institution of extreme fines for those who would seek to re-develop nuclear or related weapons. At this time on Earth, it is the only sensible political plan.

Via: Yahoo News

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday the world could be headed for destruction if it does not stop the spread of atomic weapons technology, which has become widely accessible.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Mohamed ElBaradei wrote that nuclear technology, once virtually unobtainable, is now obtainable through "a sophisticated worldwide network able to deliver systems for producing material usable in weapons."

Above all ElBaradei echoed President Bush (news - web sites)'s call in a speech on Wednesday for states to tighten up the control of their companies' nuclear exports to proliferators.

ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general, said the world must act quickly because inaction would a create a proliferation disaster.

"The supply network will grow, making it easier to acquire nuclear weapon expertise and materials. Eventually, inevitably, terrorists will gain access to such materials and technology, if not actual weapons," he wrote.

"If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction," ElBaradei said.

Posted by Richard
2/13/2004 07:27:38 AM | PermaLink

Thursday, February 12, 2004

NYC Medical Examiner: "Atkins was obese"


Weighing in at 258 pounds at the time of his death, the 6-foot tall Dr. Robert Atkins was obese. Not only that, but the Atkins Foundation propaganda machine says he died from a fall. Not true:

According to an AP article appearing at

Before his death, he had suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a report by the city medical examiner.

Naturally, fearing that the gravy train may come to a stop, Atkins’ widow is “outraged” at this report. She vigorously asserts that her husband’s health problems were unrelated to his diet. That is laughable, but it is especially silly when combined with the new recommendations from the Atkins Foundation that say that the amount of red meat and saturated fat should be dramatically reduced from Atkins’ original recommendations. Now they say that the amount of caloric intake from any fats should not exceed 30% of a person’s diet, and virtually none of that should be saturated (animal) fat. This is practically the opposite of what Atkins’ books preached for so long.

The Atkins diet was a gold mine. It tapped into the desire of Americans to have it all. His diet provided justification for them to eat the worst foods for their health and miraculously get healthier. Any responsible dietition, nutritionist, or really any person with a common sense understanding of health and nutrition sees the fantasy of the Atkins diet. But those who follow(ed) it like the fantasy. The fantasy gave them affirmation. And that affirmation filled the Atkins’ bank accounts and those of so many others who pray on the weaknesses of the desperate.

Posted by Richard
2/12/2004 07:02:50 PM | PermaLink

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A Brief History of Tree Sits and a Call to Arms (Branches?)

Good article from a major environmental tabloid, The Ecologist, on the just reality behind tree sitting as a political act. It avoids all the complex legal mumbo jumbo to simply get down to the crux of the issue: major corporations are attempting now to log out the very last remnants of old growth forests, while decimating pristene forests generally under the guise of sustainable management accords. Roads are built, large areas are quadranted off and clear-cut, and the noise alone sends ecologically damaging shock waves through forest habitats -- driving large mammals away, undercutting natural erosion prevention processes, and setting in place the conditions for uncontrollable wildfires.

Faced with this, small bands of radical activists have taken to doing the one thing that is hard for the timber industries to defend against -- they lay their lives and bodies on the line, hundreds of feet up in the air, by living in and with the trees they love and seek to protect.

As the article points out: one needs to think about it -- think about what must be going on for people to take such an unimaginable step...unimaginable in the sense that most readers of even this blog probably could not imagine themselves living atop a 500-year-old tree for a day, a week, a month (much less a year) under authority contested and otherwise perilous conditions. Next, return to think about the exasperating love being demonstrated by the tree sitters in the name of such politics.

Thus the article asks: if not now, when? In other words, we are on the dividing line of an historic rupture the likes of which the planet has never seen before -- on one side is historical wilderness and on the other is the nature-engulfing productions of modern culture. The tree sitters represent, then, not some nuthouse subculture of monkeywrenching tree huggers, but rather an apocalyptic group of saints attempting to illuminate the last remnants of light amidst the descending darkness of irreverant technoculture.

It is truly the culture of "You are either for us or against us" -- George W. Bush himself rung in that revelation post-9/11. So where do we stand...with the trees and those who sit in them, or with the clear cut machines that can grab 5 Ancients at a time and rip them asunder for sale, for profit, and ultimately for landfills?

Posted by Richard
2/11/2004 12:17:58 PM | PermaLink

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

U.S. Ends Investigation of Mad Cow

Under the pressure of media attention, officials initially promised that no threat existed from diseased cattle. But after weeks of debunking by people like mad cow slaughterer Dave Louthan, the story has changed. Much like the war rhetoric of Saddam's threatening weapons of mass destruction has now long after the fact turned into the party line of "We believed and continue to believe in the information delivered to us intimating his ability to begin production of WMD" so now agriculture officals are downplaying that the missing two-thirds of known infected cattle represent a health risk while admitting that they have gone to slaughter and cannot be found. The reason that they feel "It's time to move on?" Economics -- as the article points out:
Since then, beef sales within the United States have remained stable, but dozens of nations have banned imports of U.S. beef, crippling the country's $3.6 billion beef export industry. Yesterday, DeHaven said officials are working to reopen trade with two of the biggest importers, Japan and Mexico.
BTW -- how dumb are Americans that beef sales haven't slowed domestically? Truly stunning that the culture of silence remains so very silent on this issue...

Via: Washington Post
Federal officials ended their investigation into the country's first case of mad cow disease yesterday after failing to locate almost two-thirds of the 80 cattle that had entered the United States from Canada with an infected Holstein.

The 52 missing animals include 11 cows believed to be at higher risk because they were born about the same time as the Holstein and may have eaten the same contaminated feed. "The paper trail has gotten cold; we have not been able to trace those animals," said W. Ron DeHaven, chief veterinary officer at the Department of Agriculture. "Some of them very likely have gone to slaughter," he said.

Although DeHaven said the seven-week investigation had been exceptionally successful -- "We never expected to be able to find all of them; it's remarkable we found as many as we did" -- the deputy USDA administrator had tried to soothe public fears in December by promising that most of the herd would be found alive.

"Most of them are likely still alive," he said Dec. 27, according to a USDA transcript. "Because the records that are kept on dairy cattle are typically very good . . . we feel confident that we are going to be able to determine the whereabouts of most, if not all, of these animals within the next several days."

Yesterday, DeHaven said that many of the animals' ear tags had been lost and that the chances of finding the rest of the herd was "pretty slim at this point."

"It's time to move on," he said.

Posted by Richard
2/10/2004 12:38:35 PM | PermaLink

Monday, February 09, 2004

John Kerry on Animals and Legislation Under His Presidency

Humane USA has put together a detailed questionnaire for the Democratic candidates that attempts to feel out their feelings about animals and what legislation and funding they would provide towards helping animals if they were elected president. So far, John Kerry has answered, as well as Jonathan Edwards and -- of course -- vegan and animal rights-friendly Dennis Kucinich. Humane USA has also put together a report on the track records of the candidates vis a vis animals.

With the mainstream, probably correctly, virtually handing Kerry the nomination (my expectation is that based on what we have at present, it will be Kerry/Clark), his answers to these questions are somewhat important and revealing. While he notes that he presently has a parakeet and did in the past as well -- does he know why the caged bird sings? -- Kerry takes a strong progressive legislative approach in his positions and promises that if he were elected he will actively fund and support a variety of animal protections. While Kerry's approach will hardly warm the heart of an ALFer, it would represent a real political move that is worthy of demanding. I'm not sure that Kerry's answers here are so profound as to deserve an AR endorsement, but I do think if he were to get himself elected, that animal activists and concerned citizens should remind him loudly of what he has said here and take no less for an answer.

For what its worth, Kerry has also been an outspoken critic of America's move away from the Kyoto protocol on ending the industrial greenhouse gases associated with global warming. How would he disenfranchise the legislation that has since been put in place by Bush that is decidedly anti-Kyoto. Would a Kerry presidency immediately sign the Kyoto protocol? -- this is an important question for him and the democrats generally. Kucinich has said he would. How far left will they go?

Posted by Richard
2/09/2004 03:33:36 PM | PermaLink

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Hard to Swallow

Does your male partner's ejaculate stink and taste like the nasty splooge at the bottom of a two week old meatloaf pan? Do you dread the thought of him finishing in your mouth? Has oral sex become a thing of the past for you, creating tension and sexual frustration in the relationship.

Don't get mad, get vegan!

That's right: Sue Johanson of Sunday Night Sex Show recommends that you ask him to become vegan -- his ejaculate will have a sweet, nutty taste that is easy to swallow.

And while not confirmed: I bet it sweetens female ejaculate too!

Posted by Richard
2/08/2004 09:27:03 AM | PermaLink