Feds Round Up Geese Families and Gas Them

The next time you see a cat hater spewing misinformation about how cats kill zillions of birds, remind them of the verifiable fact that the US government killed 4 million animals, mostly birds, last year.  That number includes tens of thousands of beautiful Canadian geese.

The government’s only criteria for killing appears to be a complaint from someone/anyone describing the birds as a nuisance.  And the killing is done in the cruelest of ways, as detailed in this recent story from Youngstown, Ohio.

Goslings [Image via Wikipedia]

Goslings [Image via Wikipedia]

Two hundred thirty-eight adult geese and their babies were targeted for extermination at Mill Creek Park.  Wildlife officials waited until June to kill the geese since they are most vulnerable at that time – the goslings are too young to fly and the adults have temporarily lost their ability to fly due to molting.  Unable to escape their killers, these adult and baby geese were herded into a chamber and gassed to death – an agonizing way for animals of any age to die.

Let’s be clear:  these are not fabricated numbers based on junk science like the now debunked cat claims, these are government reported numbers of kills.  All done for convenience in the most horrifying manner imaginable.  And paid for by American taxpayers.  The feds seem to have something in common with local government run “shelters” with regard to convenience killing of animals – and that is not a good thing.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Potential Good News for Whales (Giant Asterisk)

Warning: Second link contains an image of a dead whale.

Minke whale, [x]

Minke whale, [x]

In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling but this did not prevent countries from hunting whales.  Indeed, a few countries dropped out of the IWC or simply “opted out” of the ban in order to continue killing whales for profit.  The 1986 ban also offered exceptions for aboriginal people, such as those in Alaska, to continue their traditional whale hunts and for the killing of whales in the name of science.  Japan has infamously made use of the scientific research exception, killing hundreds of whales every year, including endangered species.

Australia filed suit against Japan for its whale killing in the United Nations’ International Court of Justice.  This week, the court agreed with Australia that Japan’s whale killings do not appear to be scientific in nature, citing:

  • Japan could use non-lethal methods to collect the data it purportedly seeks.
  • The sample sizes are not justified.
  • There is no time-frame for the research to be concluded.
  • Japan doesn’t talk whale science with other whale scientists.
  • Very little scientific output has been produced as a result of the mass slaughter.

The UN Court determined Japan’s science was not so sciencey and ordered the country to stop hunting Antarctic whales.  Japan says it will comply with the order but Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who regularly eats science whale meat, vowed to “closely examine the ruling and swiftly figure out ways to continue whaling” which doesn’t exactly scream Compliance so much as it does Sinister Scheming 2.0.  The ag minister seems very enthusiastic about continued killings, apparently because science must not be thwarted whale meat is ALL THE DELICIOUS.

There do not appear to be any meaningful repercussions if Japan decides not to comply with the order or comes up with some new loophole to exploit.  And the order only applies to large whales, meaning that Japan’s slaughter of dolphins and small whales in Taiji Cove will continue.  But the ruling is significant in that it calls out fake science (more, please) and puts additional international pressure on Japan to stop the killing, for what it’s worth.

By the way Australia, next time we run into each other I’ll be giving you a long hug, past the point of awkwardness and bordering on creepy.

Zero Dark Thirty: Baby Deer Edition

Nine agents from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and four sheriff’s deputies descended upon a no kill shelter on the Wisconsin-Illinois border last month in response to a report that a baby deer was being cared for there.  Authorities had obtained aerial photographs of the orphaned fawn at the shelter and had staked out the place in order to confirm the animal’s presence.

Yes aerial photos.  Yes stake out.

When they raided the shelter, which apparently lacks the state permit required to house deer, an employee described the heavily armed group as looking “like a S.W.A.T. team”.  The agents “corralled workers near the picnic area and then set out in search of the fawn.”

Authorities located the baby deer, who had been named Giggles due to the laugh-like noises she made.  Shelter staff next saw her limp body in a trash bag, slung over the shoulder of one of the agents.  She had been slated to go to a wildlife rehab center in Illinois the next day.

A local TV news reporter asked DNR Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer about the overkill:

“Could you have made a phone call before showing up, I mean, that’s a lot of resources,” WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry asked.

“If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” Niemeyer said.

Right.  Because a fawn named Giggles drinking out of a baby bottle is exactly like a drug bust.

The shelter’s president says she plans to sue the DNR.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.)

Mental Health Break: Question

The idea of bringing extinct animals back to life is intriguing.  We could start with a passenger pigeon.  But what extinct animal(s) would you like to see brought back to roam the earth, if it was possible?  Would your animal of choice be able to literally roam the earth or would diminishing habitat make that implausible?  How would your animal fare with present day humans?

The Dangers to Birds and Small Mammals

If you read recently about the Smithsonian study that stated free roaming cats kill up to 24 billion birds and small mammals annually, you probably had questions.  Some of those questions may have been:

  • WTF?
  • Where can I buy whatever the Smithsonian researchers are smoking?
  • Are there 24 billion bird and mammal skeletons weighed down with wee cement shoes at the bottoms of every river in the United States?

Thankfully, Peter Wolf at Vox Felina has answers to all these questions and more (well, not the second one actually).  His post entitled Garbage In, Garbage Out looks at the research in detail and brings to light various flaws.  Serious flaws.  For example, he notes that the studies referenced in the paper are, in various cases, outdated, imprecise, misrepresented and counted more than once.  Using these studies to extrapolate such things as the number of cats with access to prey and the number of birds and small mammals killed by these cats results in even greater imprecision.  Thus the title of Vox Felina’s post.  And then there is the issue of agenda, specifically to undermine TNR, and the authors’ apparent bias:

[Peter] Marra (a vocal critic of TNR) served as Nico Dauphiné’s advisor at the Smithsonian until October 2011, when she resigned after being found guilty of attempted animal cruelty. And [Tom] Will, also an outspoken critic of TNR, helped Dauphiné land her post-doc fellowship there with a letter of recommendation.* (Her position was funded by USFWS, just as [Scott] Loss’ is today.)

While I am grateful there are smart minds like Peter Wolf willing to put in the work to debunk this study, I think many people will simply apply the common sense test to the outrageous claims made in the paper.  Which is to say, a quick glance at the sky, the trees and the ground reveal that indeed, bird and small mammal populations are thriving.  And cats are not the wildlife mafia.

As one commenter put it on Gawker (Warning:  bad language alert):

right. it’s not fucking encroachment by archer-daniels midland, or death by monsanto poisoned seeds or bayer or ortho pesticides and herbicides, oh no, it couldn’t be those things. it couldn’t fucking be from air, water and soil pollution, fuck no; everyone knows those things are *good* for billions of birds.

it’s frisky the cat. only cats. cats are to blame.

+1 for common sense.

Just let me hobble along please until I reach Normalville.

A Memphis resident trying to help an injured bird reportedly sought assistance from the city but received none. She then reached out to several other local animal agencies and businesses but still found no one willing to help the bird. Ultimately a PETA volunteer in Los Angeles found someone willing to pick up the bird and take him for treatment.

So to clarify, someone from the Memphis pound, who apparently told a police officer the bird would have to be dead before MAS would offer any assistance, was outshone by a volunteer for PETA, one of the killingest animal “shelters” in the country.

Dang, I’d hate to be a bird with a busted wing in Memphis.  I think I’d walk as far as I could get.

SC Animal Control Officer – ah heck, I just don’t know

Image of Charleston ACO hanging a gator by a chokepole from the WCSC website.

When an alligator turned up 1 mile away from the nearest body of water in the parking lot of a store in West Ashley, SC, Charleston AC came to save the day.  And by “save the day”, I mean:  Snare the gator in a chokepole, drag and lift him by said chokepole and place him in an open wire cage directly next to some poor dog the ACO already had on the truck.

It’s all on video (including plenty of ACO asscrack, in case you are watching at work).  It makes me wonder what handling technique this guy used to get the dog into his cage.

(Thanks Liz for sending me this story.)

Sea World Learns Nothing, Again

This video of a killer whale at Sea World nearly drowning a trainer during a show in 2006 is very difficult to watch.  The trainer survives but the first 10 minutes of the clip, when the whale has his foot in her mouth and pulls him underwater, depicts what well could have been the end of this man’s life.  The look on his face shows it.  To his credit, he remains calm, continually patting the orca in an attempt to soothe her.

In a new book called Death at Sea World, author David Kirby explains that the whale in the video had been swimming with her baby prior to the show and that during the performance, the calf started screaming for her mother from a nearby pool.  That’s when the mama whale began attacking the trainer.

The story provides critical context to the attack and would presumably give Sea World pause regarding the continued pursuit of their killer whale shows.  But even though orcas have killed 4 people at Sea World, the corporation is moving toward the re-introduction of trainers in the water with whales – a practice which had been suspended after the most recent death.  It is unknown how soon Sea World might return to putting trainers in the water during performances but I imagine it will happen the very second Sea World thinks it can get away with it.

We Have a Lodger

Freeloader builds own bunk directly outside our front door.

Freeloader hangs out in her bunk at night.

I don’t normally like to ask for presents but…

…in this case, let’s just say that YES, I will happily accept this li’l guy as a gift.  And if you wanted to toss in a substantial piece of the Amazon or the Everglades for when he grows up, that’d be swell.  kthx.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 905 other followers