In May 2010, New Zealand introduced a new Animal Welfare Code effectively banning the kosher slaughter of animals, or “shechita”. Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation from advisers that Jewish ritual slaughter of livestock be exempted from animal welfare rules under the Bill of Rights - which provides for freedom of religious practice. The new welfare code had a requirement that all commercially slaughtered animals first be stunned, and forbade the importation of raw kosher poultry. Carter argued the Code was required on humane grounds, citing a study that said the animals suffered pain. A study which Dr Temple Grandin has subsequently criticised. Jewish law prevents stunning on the basis that this is, in fact, cruel to animals. Halal meat in New Zealand is stunned prior to slaughter. The Jewish community contested the Code through the courts as a direct attack on the freedom to practise Judaism in New Zealand. Bans on ritual slaughter inevitably raise the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism. In November, immediately before the case was due to be heard, Carter made an abrupt u-turn. The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed. The reversal raised the ire of animal rights groups, and raised questions about Carter's motivations in considering the ban. Previously.
In the 50's and 60's, more than a thousand sled dogs were slaughtered by RCMP officers and provincial police, some of them killed in ad hoc gas chambers. A recent report from retired Quebec judge Jean-Jacques Croteau states that Ottawa and Quebec should apologize and compensate the affected communities for 'turning a blind eye' to the slaughter. You can hear Makivik President, Pita Aatami talking about it on CBC's As It Happens
"The Cove", about the annual dolphins slaughter in Taiji, Japan, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. However, the movie has only been screened once in Japan, during the Tokyo International Film Festival in October. Reaction from the town is a combination of "We're not doing anything wrong" and "It's none of your business what we do" with the added refrain of "We're protecting our cultural traditions" which is already familiar to anti-whaling activists and the like. Due to a media blackout, most Japanese people don't even know the hunt happens, but will the movie's increasingly high profile (It's even becoming a TV show) and the negative publicity force a change? More details on the making and content of the movie. [more inside]
If you've got a live animal that you want to eat, you will need to kill it. Here's some people sharing ways to get the task done. Killing and dressing a chicken. Shooting and butchering a pig. A goat is slaughtered. Time.com on killing and roasting a goat.
The unprecedented slaughter of over 1600 of Yellowstone's bison this winter (resulting in a 50% decrease in the overall size of the herd) will go down as the largest wild bison kill since the 19th century. Despite vehement protests and bold acts of civil disobedience instigated by the Buffalo Field Campaign, the slaughter will continue according to the tax-payer supported Bison Interagency Plan - the goal of the plan being to prevent economic losses from the unlikely spread of brucellosis (a cattle disease) from Yellowstone bison into Montana and Wyoming's livestock. TERRA aired a gripping three-part 'fly-on-the-wall' film series chronicling the story: ONE, TWO, THREE. [more inside]
Undercover video (warning: very graphic) released by the Humane Society reveals abuse of animals on the slaughterhouse floor and other code violations. [more inside]
Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
The Humane Society of the United States rips Dick Cheney on "canned hunting": "This wasn't a hunting ground. It was an open-air abattoir, and the vice president should be ashamed to have patronized this operation and then slaughtered so many animals," states Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "If the Vice President and his friends wanted to sharpen their shooting skills, they could have shot skeet or clay, not resorted to the slaughter of more than 400 creatures planted right in front of them as animated targets." According to another news source, "five-hundred pheasants were released in front of Cheney and his men; and the ten-man hunting party killed 417 of the birds. Vice President Cheney alone shot over 70 pheasants. The birds were then plucked and vacuum-packed in time for Cheney's afternoon flight back to Washington, DC."
From Derby Winner to Horsemeat. Victories in the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic figured to have earned Ferdinand a cushy retirement when his racing days were over. Instead, his life apparently ended in a Japanese slaughterhouse in 2002 (NY Times link). The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation argues for a stop to horse slaughter in this white paper, and there is pending legislation to ban the practice. Sooooo, how many of you have visited a boucherie chevaline?
"We can only watch the slaughter, say UN troops" in the Congo - where machetes are turned into weapons of mass destruction - the hobbled UN presses for action, and the US and Major US Media outlets take no notice.
Three people may have contracted foot-and-mouth, though all the tests aren't in. This is the first time this has occured during the current outbreak. I think the most, er, interesting thing is exactly how one of the guys got it.