Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Zealand: Supermarket chain bans shepherds from using dogs to help manage lambs

New Zealand shepherds stop using dogs as stresses lambs
For centuries shepherds have herded their flock with the help of their expert sheep dogs. But one man and his dog has been replaced by one man and his stick, after Tesco claimed shepherds' faithful canine companions "stressed" the sheep.

By Harry Wallop and Matthew Moore
Published: 6:13PM BST 03 Apr 2009

Tesco has told farmers, who supply the supermarket giant with lamb, to stop using the dogs unless they can be retrained to be "more considerate" towards the flock.

The shepherds have reacted with outrage, and claimed up to 60 dogs have now joined the ranks of the unemployed.

However, Tesco was adamant that one of its largest suppliers in New Zealand, Silver Fern Farms in Fairton, should stop using dogs to herd sheep into the abattoir.

Unlike in Britain, most abattoirs are attached to farms in New Zealand, ensuring the farm does not need to truck its flock down the motorway to a slaughterhouse.

The supermarket wants the shepherds to wave their arms, beat sticks or wave flags, to move the sheep into the abattoir.

The surprise order from Tesco, which comes into force next week, came to light thanks to a letter sent to the Daily Telegraph by an upset reader.

Mick Petheram, one of the shepherds, said: "New Zealand sheep are used to dogs, they know dogs. There's more stress in a human herding and manhandling them, waving their arms and beating sticks. Dogs are part of a sheep's life. This is absolute baloney."

He said that he and his fellow workers would have to sell their dogs, or worse, put them down. "We'll be desperately trying to sell them, but most of us will end up putting down three or four each. These are bloody good dogs. Taking away our dogs is like taking a hammer away from a builder; we can't do our job without them," he said.

New Zealand is the biggest source of lamb in Britain at this time of year, and it is understood that the Silver Fern Farms is one of Tesco's biggest suppliers.

It was visited by Tesco buyers earlier this year, who were "upset" at seeing the dogs "running riot", according to a spokesman for the supermarket.

The National Farmers' Union said that it was not aware of any research indicating that farm animals suffered stress because of sheepdogs.

"Sheepdogs are trained specifically to herd sheep and in some cases cattle and we have heard no problems about them being harmful to the animals," a spokesman said.

Tesco stood by its decision. "We don't have a problem with sheep dogs, but we need to make sure they move the sheep in a considerate manner, so they don't stress the sheep out," said a spokesman.

Scientists have found some evidence that if animals that are "stressed" immediately before slaughter the pH level of the meat increases, creating a pale, watery cut.

Leading animal welfare charity the RSPCA said it had concerns about the anxiety suffered by sheep as they are circled and pursued by dogs, but did not believe a ban was necessary.

Meanwhile: At a sheep workshop I attended this year, an unrulely 12 year old girl caused a lamb to break its leg as she chased the sheep around the pen attempting to catch it. Multiple lambs in the group ended up limping as she dove on animals to catch them, only to have them get away causing her to attempt to catch another. Humans cause more stress than well trained herding dogs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Animal Rights group claiming not enough affection

Animal Rights group changing their language to include "care and affection'. Boy oh boy- I really, really hope this makes it into laws protecting humans. Lets advocate that anyone who has foster children has to demonstrate they can provide care and affection for the children they care for- THAT would save taxpayer dollars down the road.
(from Protesters dog Longwood greyhound-racing track)
"Wilson, a regional coordinator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, or ARFF, said trainers don't provided greyhounds with the proper care and affection — which track officials and patrons dispute."

Thousands of dollars are spent to transport 2 dogs

Are all animals that end up in a shelter Puppy Mill puppies? They are according to the Animal Rights organizations that are using the slogan End Puppy Mills to generate donations. From the article- "Volunteer pilots took two puppies on the ride of their lives Saturday, whisking them from a puppy mill in Virginia to a safe, new home at a Massachusetts shelter."- If they were "whisked from a puppy mill" then why didn't the volunteers take more dogs? Was the "puppy mill" giving them away? Most likely they were transported from one shelter to another. But donations are generated by buzz words- not the truth!

If there is really an over population problem, then the shelters in Boston must be full too- so sorry folks, end over population and put them to sleep. BUT- since there IS NO over population problem, Americans can spend thousands to save a few dogs that were ABANDONED in the first place. Remember, the issue is ABANDONMENT- NOT over population!!!

Pilots Fly Puppy Mill Pets To Safety
Volunteer Aviators Bring Dogs To New Home In Mass.

"If animals are amputees, older, pregnant or have medical needs, flying is easier and safer. Boies says ground transportation is an option for rescues traveling short distances, but for new homes that are far away, "the journey is long and the animals need to change vehicles every hour. It's stressful for them," she said.

Flying animal rescue missions is not cheap. Volunteer pilot Steve Edwards said the average animal airlift will cost $2,500. "Between the fuel, maintenance and plane permits, it's expensive," Edwards told "Good Morning America".

Edwards hopes other pilots will follow his example and sign up to save shelter animals from being put to sleep."

MA: State plots dog surcharge

State plots dog surcharge
By Hillary Chabot and Benjamin Bell
Friday, September 18, 2009 - Updated 2m ago

State Republicans are howling mad over yet another tax hike being slipped through the Legislature that would slap an annual $3 state surcharge on municipal licensing fees canine owners pay for their pet pooches.
Annual license fees range from $6 a year in Boston for neutered or spayed canines (and $17 for unfixed dogs) to a flat $20 in Plymouth. Angry GOP senators are pushing to name the bill “Toby’s Law,” after Gov. Deval Patrick’s wriggling Labrador puppy.
“We’re trying to collar or neuter these onerous fees and counter the Democrats’ rabid obsession with increases,” said state Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth).
But state Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) argued the fee is necessary to fund a state spay-and-neutering plan meant to snip the state’s out-of-control problem with strays.
“The number of abandoned animals has gone through the roof over the past few years,” Jehlen said. “Shelters are euthanizing animals because they have too many.”
Jehlen pointed out that the MSPCA and several dog kennels and purebred pooch clubs throughout the state support the bill.
But French bulldog owner Megan Doerrer said she’s tired of the dog pile of state fees and taxes.
“I don’t want to pay more and I don’t think anyone else does either. It’s a weird time to choose to raise prices,” said Doerrer, 25, a math teacher who lives in the South End and was walking her dog Brady in Peters Park.
Clerks from cities and towns also oppose the additional fee, saying the state is snatching even more money away after cutting local aid.
“Given the fact that the state has the money and is giving it to cities and towns, it makes no sense to us at all that they should be taking away money from cities and towns,” said Laurence Pizer, Plymouth town clerk.
Pizer added that the state surcharge would deter many residents from licensing their dogs - a practice that is already a tough sell.
State Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) said while the bill has many good sections - including creating a dangerous dog directory - it ultimately punishes dog owners. Said Knapik: “The citizens already have to pay millions for a sales tax hike. Let’s leave Fido alone

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cass Sunstein- As Radical as they Come

On September 10th, while the Nation focuses on the health care debate, Cass Sunstein was confirmed as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. If you think this Radical (with a capital R) was confirmed narrowly by a Democrat majority- look again- only 6 Republicans voted against him!

What is so Radical about Sunstein?
1. He has written a book advocating Animal Rights in which he suggests that animals should be allowed to sue human beings in courts of law.
2. He believes we should all be vegetarians
3. He believes hunting should be banned

He represents a segment of society who feels that Americans should be regulated more! People like him should NOT be in government.

The American Conservative Union started a website Stop Sunstein - looks like it didn't help.