Saturday, August 31, 2013

Counter-terrorists strike back in Wisconsin

anonymous report:

"Around 7:00am on August 26, a cell of the Animal Liberation Front entered the back yard of Brian L. MacMillan, 1245 Mockingbird Lane in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Brian is the Vice President of Wild Fur Operations at North American Fur Auctions, the largest fur auction house in North America. Brian is a terrorist who deals in the skins of wild animals tortured and killed in steel-jaw leghold traps. The counter-terrorists of the Animal Liberation Front broke his double paned window, and inserted his own garden hose; completely flooding his home.

Most people would be amazed at the sight of a bobcat, a creature so majestic and free. Brian's empty heart sees only profit.

There is no doubt Brian and NAFA will attempt to portray themselves as victims. They have the audacity to call us terrorists, when every penny they have made is at the torture and subjugation of what is wild and free. All who contribute to industries of earth and animal destruction shall take note. There is a higher law.

Animal Liberation Front"


Statement on Relocation of NIH Chimpanzees at New Iberia Research Center September 21, 2012 -- The NIH today announced that it will be relocating the NIH-owned chimpanzees currently located at the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in New Iberia, La., because NIH funding to the facility will end in September 2013. This circumstance, combined with NIH’s anticipation that there will be a substantial reduction in the number of chimpanzees needed for research that meets the Institute of Medicine (IOM) criteria, prompted NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., to designate all of these chimpanzees permanently ineligible for biomedical research. As of that date, there were 110 NIH-owned chimpanzees at NIRC.

Approximately 10 to 20 of the chimpanzees will be relocated to the federally supported chimpanzee sanctuary operated by Chimp Haven, Inc. in Keithsville, La., which would put Chimp Haven at or near full occupancy. NIH is continuing to evaluate options to move additional animals to Chimp Haven. It is expected that the remaining chimpanzees will be relocated to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Tx. Texas Biomedical has the specialized resources, experience, capacity, and funding mechanism to provide continued high-quality care for the chimpanzees. The animals being relocated to Texas Biomedical are considered permanently ineligible for biomedical research and therefore are retirement eligible. Relocation of the chimpanzees will be conducted on a timescale that will allow for optimal transition of each individual chimpanzee with careful consideration of their welfare, including their health and social grouping.

NIH will continue to keep the community informed throughout this transition which is expected to occur over several months.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


You can quote me on that.

A few months ago we learned that agents of the United States Department of Agriculture routinely watch their dogs kill animals caught in traps. They apparently enjoy watching their dogs attack and rip them apart. They like to the them defecate from pain and fear.

If you've ever had the (dubious) opportunity to listen to someone who is involved in some activity or industry that involves hurting and/or killing animals you have undoubtedly heard them say that they care about animals, that the animals are treated humanely, and that they cause the least possible amount of suffering.

This nonsense is ubiquitous. It doesn't matter whether the person doing the telling is a hunter, whaler, vivisector, elephant trainer, dairy operator, carriage horse company, greyhound breeder, or trapper. If someone is involved in an activity or industry that hurts and kills animals, dollars to donuts they'll tell you lies about how humane they and their kind are.

I've heard trappers lie to public officials about the humane traps they use and how animals released from the traps scamper away completely unharmed. It's nonsense. But people who hurt animals certainly aren't adverse to lying about the things they enjoy doing. Sickos are, well, sick.

The most recent issue of The Wisconsin Trapper is an example of the sort of thing sickos say to each other when they think they are talking only to each other.
(The two adults don't appear to be too happy in this picture. The clinched fist of the guy on the right doesn't communicate kindness or compassion to me.)

It's pretty clear from the advertisement on page 32, that the Wisconsin Trapper' Association seems to think that their members will want to learn more from the USDA agent who let his dogs attack and kill trapped animals.
Promoting a book that puts such cruelty on its cover sends a pretty clear message that the Association believes its members would enjoy watching animals gripped by fear, pain, and suffering while being killed.

I too have a dream

From The Monitor, Hidalgo County, Texas
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This week’s 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington is being observed with marches, speeches and speculation on what causes Dr. King would embrace today.

I believe that he would certainly continue to work for racial equality. But I think he would also advocate for a rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, workers’ rights, gay rights and animal rights.

Yes, animal rights. Although he is best known for advocacy of racial equality, Dr. King opposed all violence, like the Vietnam War. And there is no greater violence than that perpetrated each day against billions of cows, pigs, and other sentient animals in America’s factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The day before his assassination in 1968, Dr. King came to Memphis to champion the most oppressed human beings in America — African-American sanitation workers. I believe if he were alive today, he would champion the most oppressed living beings in America — animals raised for food, experiments and entertainment.

Although he did not live long enough to extend his circle of compassion, justice and nonviolence to non-humans, his wife Coretta Scott King, and his son Dexter Scott King have by embracing a vegan lifestyle. This would be a great way for us all to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

Joel Kriviak, McAllen

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Butter Cow

Generally speaking, I don't think it's very productive for animal activists to spend their time criticizing the work other activists are doing, and I generally don't. Generally.

 By now you may have read that people vandalized a sculpture of a cow made out of butter at the Iowa State Fair. It's even been called eco-terrorism. I personally think it was a good thing, but Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), was so bothered by it that he took the time to write an editorial condemning the vandalism. I suspect that pro-ag groups were very happy about that.

Pacelle invited comment about his criticism when he mused: "Can you think of any action more inane and counterproductive?" Well, yes I can.

The number one most counterproductive thing I've ever heard of any group purporting to be acting on behalf of animals doing is HSUS's association with an event called Meatopia. If you don't see the direct connection, maybe it will help you to know that Miyan Parks, seen in the video, was previously a vice president at HSUS, and is now the executive director an organization called Global Animal Partnership, of which Pacelle is a member of the Board of Directors. Here's HSUS's showcase of Joe Maxwell, their Vice President of Outreach and Engagement who is featured in the video.

HSUS's involvement with the meat industry is by far the most counterproductive action by purported animal activists that I've ever heard of. In my opinion, Pacelle would much more productive if he was helping to vandalize cows sculpted out of butter.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Let's Develop a Super-Duper Planet-Destroying Bomb

or, Why the Tsar Bomba Simply Wasn't Good Enough.

According to Wikipedia, the Tsar Bomba, detonated in 1961, was the most powerful bomb ever tested. It was a hydrogen bomb with a yield about 1,350–1,570 times the combined power of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

As dangerous as the Tsar Bomba sounds, it's destructive force is probably peanuts compared to what could be built today. And who's to say that some bigger and more destructive bomb might not be built in the future? The only way to protect ourselves from this potential threat is to go ahead and build the biggest most dangerous bomb we can and then try to figure out what sort of bomb shelters we might need just in case someone actually detonates something like it someday in the unforeseeable future. The explosion in the photo above from the U.S. hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll is a pipsqueak; we need to be ready, we need to build the biggest bomb imaginable, no, even bigger!

Sound stupid? Mental? Needlessly and obviously too dangerous? Well, you just don't understand science.

The precise number of people killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts isn't known but estimates of about 200,000 are common. Most died almost instantly, vaporized by the intense heat. The actual number, over the ensuing years from radiation-related causes, must be much larger. But whatever the number, it's much smaller than the number of people who have died from other causes.

The greatest number of human deaths over the shortest period of time was due to the 1918 Spanish flu.
John M. Barry, in his bookThe Great Influenza says:
Although the influenza pandemic stretched over two years, perhaps two-thirds of the deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early December 1918. Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death killed in a century; it killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years.
Estimates of the number of deaths range from between 20 and 100 million. This puts the 1918 Spanish flu on a par with World War II. But in the case of WW II, the deaths occurred over a period of about six years. Quite simply, humans have never encountered anything else as deadly as the Spanish flu. But that might change in the very near future.

It now appears that scientists with a history of biosafety violations and questionable judgement working at institutions with faulty biosafety oversight and a history of lying to the public and hiding their violations are going to be given permission (and paid) to continue to create particularly virulent strains of influenza. The reasons they give to justify gambling with our species' very existence are very nearly the same ones I mentioned above to justify the creation of the biggest bomb imaginable.

We should have learned by now from things like the Challenger disaster, Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the multiple biosafety melt downs at the USDA's "secure" Plum Island labs, the 2011 foot and mouth disease virus escape in Pilbright, UK, the many other laboratory accidents and mistakes that have occurred in just the past few years, and the matter-of-fact tendency of universities to lie about what they do and the problems and violations that plague their labs, that no guarantee of safety should be given much credence.

The likelihood of an eventual accident or personnel problem (like the lab tech murdering the Yale scientist in 2009) amounts to a time bomb that could explode at any moment. As more labs invent more and ever more dangerous versions of influenza viruses, the likelihood of an escape through natural disaster, accidental and unrecognized infection of a lab worker, or even an intentional release of the virus becomes ever more likely.

And once out of the lab and spreading in the population, containment is probably impossible. People infected and spreading flu viruses often remain asymptomatic for a while. By the time it is recognized by the victim or someone else that they are sick, they've already had the opportunity to infect other people, who then infect others, with the rate increasing exponentially. Were something as deadly and fast moving as the Spanish flu to escape or be released, the consequences would dwarf the death rate that occurred in 1918/19 due to increased air travel and higher population densities.

Worse, many knowledgeable scientists are frightened at the prospect of labs around the world working to create such dangerous germs. They're not taken seriously enough and those who want to get in line for the hefty NIH grants that will fuel this endeavor tell them to compromise, that the labs can be made safer, that better safeguards can be put in place. They are winning the argument.

Worse, the traditional watchdogs have all ceded the battlefield to the eager influenza creators or else have gotten into step behind them and are helping delude the public about the safety of the labs that will be doing this work. The article linked to here portrays the Kawaoka lab as "half a notch below the top level anywhere" in safety, but that is very misleading and never does the paper alert the public to the lab's biosafety violations or the university's inability to adequately monitor the biosafety and compliance with federal biosafety regulations in the many labs on campus. If and when a disaster occurs, the responsibility will be shared by the labs, the universities hosting them, and local media outlets that have opted to keep the public confused or in the dark.

The creation of ever more virulent influenza strains makes the outlook for humans on the planet somewhat bleak. Maybe that's a silver lining for the rest of Earth's inhabitants.

Friday, August 2, 2013

More images from the Yin Lab.

Sound Localization Images Released to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Below is a series of images released in July 2013 to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) under Wisconsin’s open records law. The images, from a procedure performed in 2009, show a surgical procedure to place a cochlear implant into a cat, the subject of a hearing study. Earlier images were used by PETA, an organization that objects to the use of all animal models in research, to misrepresent the clinical and technological value of the work, as well as the treatment and condition of the animals used in the study. We are posting the images to preempt their misuse and continued mischaracterization of a study that has demonstrated clinical and technological benefit for humans.

I was going to title this "It's official: they believe you're an idiot," but didn't. The Yin Lab in the title might help search engines.

The title of this image on the university's page is "Cat fitted for ear molds." Here's the sad image:
Where are the cat's ears? Odd. Self-censored?

Be sure to watch video that they refer to in the sentence: "We are posting the images to preempt their misuse and continued mischaracterization of a study that has demonstrated clinical and technological benefit for humans."

The only reasonable interpretation of this sentence, linking as it does to the UW-produced video, is that the video is clear unambiguous unequivocal evidence supporting the sentence's claim. The university is saying that the benefits to the boy in the video rest on the experiments on the cats in the Yin Lab.

There are ways one could test this claim. Though not perfect, and no one has offered any rebuttal, I've at least made a stab at trying to determine whether Yin's work led to the use of cochlear implants or was in some other way important to the use or development of these devices. Here's my piece from September 21, 2012: Citations of a Yin Publication.

The university on the other hand, simply makes claims. They offer no real evidence. Unless you accept this as evidence that I helped with lunar exploration: