Warning: Second link contains an image of a dead whale.
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.
Posted by YesBiscuit on April 2, 2014
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.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on August 1, 2013
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?
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 20, 2013
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:
- 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.
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 3, 2013
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.
Posted by YesBiscuit on December 12, 2012
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.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on August 30, 2012
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.
Posted by YesBiscuit on August 3, 2012
Freeloader builds own bunk directly outside our front door.
Freeloader hangs out in her bunk at night.
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 30, 2012
…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.
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 21, 2012
Strap in – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Last July, Odessa AC in TX visited the home of Some Dumbass who was keeping a mountain lion as a pet. The ACO advised the owner the cage the animal was living in was too small and the gaps between the bars were too wide. The owner did nothing. In October, the mountain lion reached out through the large gaps in the cage and grabbed Some Dumbass’s 4 year old nephew, biting him in the face.
As it turns out, AC was not following the law when they allowed Some Dumbass to keep a mountain lion as a pet. So this month, AC apparently wondered what other animal related issues they might not be keeping tabs on as far as legal liability and such. So they got their thinking caps on and…
Guess what? The city doesn’t have an official policy in place regarding the credentialing of rescue groups that pick up pets from the pound. As such, the city abruptly banned all rescues from the pound while they craft an official rescue credentialing policy, which is going to take a few weeks. They’ll still be killing pets during this time, but all rescuers, even those they have known and worked with for years, will be denied the ability to save pets.
It’s nice that Odessa AC is stopping to examine whether they are doing a decent job. But while they are doing so, can’t they at least allow known rescuers to save pets from the pound? The city is concerned that evil people are going to pose as rescuers and “do God-knows-what” to the pets they take from the pound. Sure, that’s a risk, albeit a very tiny one. But by temporarily banning all rescuers from the place, the city is condemning the pets to something much worse than “God-knows-what”. There is nothing worse than death.
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 27, 2012