Some 2010 Victories for Animals
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[Also see More 2010 Victories for Animals.]

  1. WIN! Obama Signs Crush Video Act Into Law
  2. WIN! NASA Nixes Radiation Tests On Monkeys
  3. HOPE. Alaskan Polar Bears Get Critical Habitat
  4. WIN! Missouri Makes Puppy Mill Cruelty A Crime
  5. WIN! Canadian Trauma Training Is All Animal-Free
  6. JUSTICE. Bird Poison Maker Goes Out Of Business
  7. HOPE. Canadian Sealers Fail To Dilute EU Ban
  8. IN! Fashion Giant Escada Sheds Real Fur
  9. WIN! Puerto Rico City Boots Out Primate Sellers
  10. WIN! Animal Abuse At NC Lab Forces Its Closure
  11. WIN! Two Latest Med Schools To Drop Animal Labs
  12. WIN! Shark Finning No Longer Allowed in West Coast Pacific Waters
  13. WIN! "Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010 Becomes a U.S. Law

1) Crush Videos Are Illegal Animal Abuse, Not Free Speech:

Thanks to the perseverance of Kinship Circle members and animal advocacy groups nationwide (most notably, HSUS) H.R. 5566 — the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 — is now law. The victory snubs a 4/20/10 Supreme Court ruling that protected crush fetish videos as free speech. The U.S. vs. Stevens edict focused on “depiction” rather than animal abuse. Crush videos typically portray high-heeled feet stomping rabbits, puppies, kittens, mice and other small animals to death. The new law directly bars production, sale and circulation of torture videos that depict animals crushed, drowned, suffocated, stabbed or burned.

12/9/10: H.R. 5566 becomes law with President Obama's signature! 11/19/10: The U.S. Senate unanimously agrees to House version H.R. 5566, passed 11/15/10. The Crush Videos Act now has full Congressional approval. 7/21/10: The U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 5566, Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010.

2) NASA Nixes Cruel Radiation Experiments On Monkeys:

With little fanfare, NASA cancelled irradiation tests that would have repeatedly blasted restrained monkeys with gamma rays comparable to three years in space! For over a year, NASA Nukes Monkeys. Stop Them. made Kinship Circle's TOP 10 ALERTS list. Thousands of activists emailed, faxed, called and wrote to NASA Headquarters, Public Communications Office, and Office of Inspector General — demanding that the space giant return to animal-free technology rather than subject squirrel monkeys to high-energy gamma-ray radiation. Abusing monkeys to assess human response to long-term space voyage was a giant leap backward. In fact, NASA had not experimented upon animals in decades, since chimpanzees were sent into space.

Thanks to your diligence, along with campaigns from other organizations — most notably PETA, which enlisted Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Barker, Alicia Silverstone, U.S. Congress members, and a former NASA astronaut/engineer — our voices were heard. Dozens of animals are saved from brutal and unnecessary tests that would have induced brain damage, cataracts, malignant tumors, motor control loss and premature death... Animal advocacy is grueling. Years pass as we plead for humane reforms. When VICTORIES do occur, you know why we do it. For animals, forever!

3) Obama Team Designates Critical Polar Bear Habitat In Alaska:

Some UPDATES indicate progress. They say: “We’ve got their attention, but have a way to go on this issue.” This is true about the Obama administration’s stab at salvaging Alaskan polar bears. Despite the “drill, baby, drill” noise of Sarah Palin and other anti-conservationists, Obama's team allotted 187,000 square miles as critical habitat for Alaskan polar bears. One caveat: The final amount of land does not live up to original goals announced in 2009. And the new rule doesn’t give this threatened species immunity, but rather, it directs federal officers to evaluate how any development or activity would impact polar bears before it is approved. Polar bears face myriad struggles, as thawing ice reduces food sources and extensive oil/gas drilling persists in Alaska. Experts believe even one oil spill would spell their demise. The good news is that the current admin moved in the right direction, making a precedent for stronger protections.

4) Missouri Makes Puppy Mill Cruelty A Crime 11/3/10:

Kinship Circle founder Brenda Shoss is from St. Louis, Missouri, a state that has long flaunted an ugly nickname: PUPPY MILL CAPITAL OF THE U.S. In fact some 3,000 puppy factories are hidden in a rural stretch between St. Louis and Kansas City. Home to 30 percent of all mills nationwide, Missouri mass breeders annually earn millions.

It will be harder for them to profit from abused dogs since Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, passed in November. Violations are a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” (there is an opposite “puppy mill kindness?”) Breeders and agriculture want to overturn the law, which dictates that breeders must limit reproductive cycles and offer adequate food, water, shelter, space, vet care, and exercise. It restricts producers to 50 breeding dogs.

Kinship Circle's founder Brenda's three dogs — Mandy, a Lhasa Apso (6), Ethel, another Lhasa (4 months), and Liberty, a beagle (4 months) — were born in Missouri mills. When Mandy came home, her back legs caved in. An x-ray revealed her head of femur bone missing in one leg and rotting in the other. “Cage trauma,” they call it. It’s when rough hands fling fragile pups from cage to overcrowded cage. Libby is so timid, she won’t bark, and she's a beagle! Ethel is a warrior Lhasa, seven pounds of fearless confidence. All three campaigned with Brenda at the polls on election day.

Breeders with over 50 dogs have until Nov. 2011 to decrease their “inventory.” Some 200 MO rescue groups have volunteered to take in surplus breeding dogs. Mandy, Ethel and Liberty were slated to be killed at puppy mills. Their second chance came from FLAWDOGS ADOPTION, a rescue devoted to “puppy mill leftovers” about 45 minutes southwest of St. Louis. There are no stacked cages at Flawdogs. It’s a canine Shangri-La where dogs frolic in pools, hammocks and playhouses. Camp Cute, with an army of wide-eyed fluffballs. A far cry from such cruel beginnings.

5) All Canadian Trauma Training Labs Are Now Animal-Free:

In its campaigns, presentations, and literature Kinship Circle stresses animal-free technology as a replacement for animal experimentation. We continually urge academic institutions and government to utilize, validate, and/or fund human-oriented tools such as in-vitro studies or advanced anatomy simulators — all more relevant to human health. So we welcome outstanding news from Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) that every Canadian medical school has now upgraded to nonanimal applications such as TraumaMan System simulators. The last to leave animals behind, the Memorial University of Newfoundland terminated its controversial live pig labs. PCRM cardiologist John Pippin (also in Kinship Circle) says “Canada has completely ended live animal labs, which should send a clear signal to the handful of U.S. medical schools still clinging to these inhumane and educationally inferior procedures. It's time for the remaining seven to end animal use and embrace the future of medical education.” We couldn't agree more!

6) Sad Justice? Bird Poison Maker Avitrol Goes Out Of Business:

One of the first issues Kinship Circle’s Brenda Shoss tackled in 1999 was the poisoning of pigeons with Avitrol — a “pest control” toxin used to kill millions of birds annually.

“I received a phone call from Paula Goldman after the Chicagoan attended a brunch at Westport Plaza in St. Louis,” Brenda recalls. “From a restaurant window, Paula saw pigeons fall from the sky and convulse on the ground. Before long the upscale plaza was littered with birds. Some bashed headfirst into windows, insane with pain. Two sobbing teenage girls towel-wrapped birds to ferry them to their hotel room in a futile attempt to warm and feed them. A maintenance man told Paula: The birds are dying. Don't touch them. They've been poisoned. We're thinning the population.

“The poison was 4-aminopyridine, brand name Avitrol, a central nervous system attacker that makes victims become disoriented, seize and die. The image that haunts me even today is that of the crying girls trying to administer first aid to the doomed birds. Over a decade later the only U.S. maker of Avitrol announced it terminated sales on 10/27/10. It's doors are shuttered. For now, Avitrol is no more.

“Avitrol was already under Environmental Protection Agency review for its tendency to kill federally protected birds who fed on poisoned remains. At Westport Plaza, seeds laced with Avitrol were scattered everywhere. Any inquisitive child, family pet, squirrels, birds or other wildlife could easily ingest the poison kernels or dead pigeons. After Paula called, we initiated a sweeping public-comment campaign to every Westport tenant, the property manager, and area officials — along with media coverage that included a front-page series in the St. Louis weekly Riverfront Times. Now, all these years later, I find a sad justice in Avitrol's demise. Good riddance.”

7) Canadian Sealers Fail To Dilute EU Ban On Seal Goods:

On 5/5/09, European Parliament voted 550-49 to ban seal items from import/export across the European Union’s 27 nations. It looked as if Canadian sealers would lose their biggest customer: EUROPE. This seal-product ban partially activated on 8/20/10, with an exemption for the native Canadian group Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and 15 more commercial sealers who requested a moratorium until Europe's top court ruled definitively. But in October 2010 European Judge Marc Jaeger rejected the plaintiffs’ plea — in truth, a Canadian government sponsored attempt to save the commercial harp seal hunt — by ruling to implement the ban until its legality is validated by the European Court of Justice. Judge Jaeger threw out the notion that a seal goods embargo would result in massive financial damage and suicide among Inuit youth. However, Canada’s executive branch and Department of Fisheries and Oceans will not go quietly. We can expect many more legal challenges from a government determined to slaughter more seals than any nation in the world.

8) Fashion Giant Escada Sheds Real Fur From Its 2011 Collection:

Kinship Circle, along with animal advocacy organizations worldwide, pressured Escada to sell cruelty-free couture instead of furs rooted in violence and death. Frank Elsner, Escada press rep, says: “Starting with the Spring-Summer 2011 collection (in stores January 2011), Escada stops using fur, including rabbit and Karakul (Persian lamb). This decision is valid for an unlimited period.” Our members persistently asked Escada to clear its shelves of animals killed by genital electrocution, cervical dislocation (neck popping), lethal injection of pesticides or other junk chemicals, asphyxiation from unfiltered carbon monoxide, and steel jaw leghold traps.

9) Memo To Bioculture Primate Sellers: Get Outta Our City!

Kinship Circle advocates, along with more voices worldwide, fought to keep Bioculture — a supplier of primates for research — out of Guayama, Puerto Rico. Our members repeatedly asked officials to halt construction of a Bioculture compound in Guayama city. Letters, emails, faxes and phone calls stressed that old-fashioned animal research does not serve human health. Primate experiments have failed to yield tangible data for AIDS, Alzheimer's, stroke, cancer, and other diseases. Companies like Bioculture persevere for profit, not medical progress.

A lower court initially ruled to terminate the monkey-breeding project. Then an Appeals Court let Bioculture build. Amid allegations of improper applications and permits, Bioculture made plans to seize 4,000 long-tailed macaques from the wild to cage, breed, and sell for invasive research. Guayama Mayor Glorimari Jaime Rodriguez has now thwarted those plans, declaring that Bioculture's business is not welcome or legal in their city. The municipality unanimously approved two ordinances to bar the import, export, breeding and use of monkeys in experiments.

As Bioculture searches to set-up shop elsewhere in Puerto Rico, a Senate Resolution from U.S. Sen. Melinda Romero Donnelly is underway that encourages U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Agriculture to refuse Bioculture permits or licenses for the import or breeding of any animals.

10/10: The city of Guayama, Puerto Rico votes to bar import/export, breeding and use of monkeys in research. Bioculture monkey-breeders are basically told: “Don't let the door hit ya as you leave our city.” 2/9/10: An Appeals Court rules to let Bioculture construction proceed, until the court orders otherwise. 12/30/09: A Superior Court judge rules to terminate construction of Bioculture’s primate compound.

10) North Carolina Lab Forced To Close, Abusers Should Be Charged:

Nearly 200 dogs and 54 cats are safe. Previously tortured by lab staff who kicked, slammed and dragged them — animals from Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. get a second chance. The Corapeake, NC lab was forced to close and surrender its “test subjects” after a PETA investigation uncovered diseased and wounded dogs, cats and rabbits. Over 9 months, PETA’s investigator recorded staff brutalizing terrified animals. One worker used pliers to wrench teeth from a frantic dog. Another tried to pull out a cat's claws.

PLRS closure is a portal to the routine abuse that occurs in ALL labs. Animal experimentation itself causes creatures to convulse, bleed, stagger, die. Imagine being overdosed with poison or cut apart while restrained. There isn’t one animal experiment today that couldn’t be replaced by non-animal research tools. But animals come cheap and old habits die hard. Still, for PLRS animals, there is hope. Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) — plus about 12 regional shelters/rescues — have taken in the lab’s surviving dogs and cats. Kinship Circle does not know the rabbits' fate, but assumes they were killed. PLRS destroyed all rabbits upon conclusion of experiments.

11) WI And TN Universities Are Latest To Drop Live Animal Labs:

Kinship Circle does ongoing campaigns to medical schools that still use animals instead of human-oriented research models. We are happy to add the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health and the University of Tennessee (UT) College Of Medicine in Memphis to an ever growing list of schools that train future doctors without cutting apart animals. Kinship Circle members asked both schools to replace live animal labs with more applicable human-focused technologies — noting that animal experiments deflect focus and funding from training pertinent to human conditions. Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reports that first-year physiology students at UW will no longer practice on pigs who are bled out and killed. UT students will train with simulators rather than pigs in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses.

ATLS programs benefit from human-patient simulators such as TraumaMan System, along with human cadavers and real-life hospital rotations. Anatomical simulators cut costs and improve proficiency. They allow for more in-depth feedback and assessment of student performance, while reducing dropout rates. Dr. Emad Aboud — co-inventor of a system that pumps specially dyed water into a human cadaver's vessels and arteries — says animal-free models are cheaper and more accurate. “This is the perfect alternative to the use of live animals in surgical training,” claims Aboud, a neurosurgeon fellow at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

As 2010 concludes, over 95 percent of facilities with ATLS programs use TraumaMan and other human-centered teaching tools in place of dogs, goats, or pigs. ATLS courses prep trainees to handle acute trauma injuries. Prior to 2001 — when the American College of Surgeons (ACS) officially endorsed Simulab's TraumaMan — nearly all lab exercises involved live animals. Students used animals for: cricothyroidotomy (neck incision to alleviate blocked airway); pericardiocentesis (fluid removal from sac that encases heart); and chest tube insertion (drainage of blood, fluid or air to facilitate lung expansion). SOURCE: Background On ATLS

In recent years many medical schools have dropped animal labs: University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Allegheny General Hospital, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Tennessee (UT) College Of Medicine in Memphis, University of Tennessee, New York Medical College, St. Louis University, Washington University Medical School, University of Rochester, and University of Illinois...and more.

12) WIN! Shark Finning No Longer Allowed in West Coast Pacific Waters

Last March, the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 81) was quickly approved in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nearly a year later, the Senate has unanimously passed a similar measure to plug loopholes that allow shark finning in Pacific waters off the West Coast. On the same day, lawmakers scored a non-partisan victory for shark conservation by pushing a final version through the House. A universal ban on amputation of shark fins — an ingredient for shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy — now heads to President Obama's desk!

Kinship Circle supporters asked their federal legislators to crack down on shark finning, a brutal practice in which fishermen sever dorsal fins and dump mutilated sharks into the sea to bleed to death. Our persistence paid off...and legislators did the right thing! The new law mandates that all boats land sharks with fins intact and it forbids non-fishing vessels to transfer detached fins. While shark finning was already illegal in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters, loopholes let Pacific fishermen catch “1.2 million pounds of shark” in 2009, according to NOAA. Finning has imperiled populations, with just 3,500 Great Whites free in the wild. It has also triggered the deterioration of ocean ecosystems...Thanks to all who participated in this action campaign!

13)   WIN! "Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010 Becomes a U.S. Law

After years of pushing for labels that identify origin on fur, U.S. lawmakers heard us, and enacted the Truth in Fur Labeling Act. Prior law didn't require retailers to name species or country of origin on fur sold for $150 or less (most fur-trimmed items). The issue got mainstream attention when dog/cat hides were found in fake fur.

Prior law didn’t require retailers to distinguish between faux or real fur, or name the species and country of origin, on products sold for $150 or less (such as most fur-trimmed clothing). In 2007, the issue gained mainstream attention when Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) unveiled hidden dog and cat hides in “fake fur” products from China — the world’s leading supplier of finished fur garments exporting over half of all furs sold in the U.S. Every year millions of dogs and cats face death at the hands of the Asian fur and skin trade. Since the U.S. enacted a dog/cat fur ban in 2000, European markets have seen a rise in items deceptively labeled Gae-wolf, Sobaki, Asian Jackal, Wildcat, Goyangi and Katzenfelle. These goods easily found their way back into the U.S., where unwitting consumers bought them.

ALL fur begins with the violent torture and death of fur-bearing animals. As far back as the 1950s, furs marketed in the U.S. had to display species and country — but with a gaping exclusion for garments under $150. The Truth in Fur Labeling law mandates that fur items at any price level show species and country of origin. Now, no consumer can claim they didn't know who originally owned their “fur.”

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