Animal

Nepal Becoming Hotbed of Animal Trafficking

Nepal is fast becoming an unlikely epicenter for the trafficking of rare and endangered animals, The New York Times reports. One recent trafficking attempt led a Nepali court to convict five men of smuggling baby chimpanzees from Nigeria, which can be sold on the black market to zoos, exotic-pet owners and even brothels. Nepal has arrested hundreds of traffickers in recent years who appear to be taking advantage of its lax custom rules and permeable borders with China and India. The less-than-year-old chimps are being held at Nepal’s Central Zoo while the court determines whether to return them to their home country, Nigeria.

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Animals Rescued from Michael Vick's Dogfighting Operation Remembered

The dogs confiscated from former NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation 12 years ago are subjects of a recent article by the Washington Post, which details the lives of the animals post-rescue. Forty seven dogs were saved from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in southeastern Virginia, all of which were placed with families or rescue organizations in lieu of being euthanized. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in the operation.

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Social Media and Animal Cruelty

A controversial YouTube video in which an owner ‘pranked’ her Doberman pinscher has sparked accusations of mistreatment and conversation on what constitutes abuse, the Washington Post reports. The owner, Brooke Houts, posted a video of her putting plastic wrap on her door to have her dog attempt to run through it “just see what he does” and was later seen slapping the dog, pinning him down and appearing to spit on him. Professor of property and animal law at Michigan State University David Favre told the Post what “constitutes animal abuse varies by the language in the laws in each state” and that “cases involving bruising an animal or breaking its skin can be grounds for someone to be prosecuted … smacking and pushing might be disrespectful, but it’s not necessarily illegal.” The Los Angeles Police Department investigated the accusations against Houts and “determined it didn’t rise to the level of animal cruelty.”

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Elephant at the Center of Nonhuman Rights Case Dies at 54

An elephant at the center of a fight for nonhuman rights died yesterday at 54, the Boston Globe reports. Beulah, according to advocates, was brought to Connecticut’s Commerford Zoo in 1973 and had been a fixture of circuses and fairs in the area; including the Eastern States Exposition where she collapsed and died. The Nonhuman Right’s Project in 2017 filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Beulah and two other elephants owned by the zoo, seeking immediate release of the animals. The petition was ultimately denied in the Connecticut Superior Court, with its decision upheld by the state’s Appellate Court. 

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Pig Ears Recalled After Salmonella Outbreak

A second company is recalling its pig ear treats after a salmonella outbreak affecting 93 people in 27 states, CBS News reports. The latest recalled products — Premium Natural Pig Ears eight packs — were sent to retail stores and distributers by the Lennox Group company between May 1 and July 3. Another business, Pet Supplies Plus, announced a recall last month regarding salmonella tainted pig ears sold at more than 400 stores in 33 states, including Tennessee. Experts urge consumers who purchased bulk pig ears to throw them away.

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Analyzing the Politics of Animal Rights

Animal rights remains a hot button issue, with advocates making noise both legally and socially. Our furry friends have recently benefitted from state and national legislatures enacting laws to curb abuse, initiatives from fashion designers to end the use of pelts and at least one major car manufacturer now offering “vegan” vehicles. The Washington Post last week published an analysis on animal rights supporters by collecting data on the correlation between political ideology, wealth, religious beliefs, and gender; showing how each of these factors shape the bigger picture regarding support of animal and human rights. You can view that analysis here.

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Animal Rights Groups File Lawsuit Challenging 'Ag-Gag' Law

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Equality, Center for Biological Diversity and Food Chain Workers Alliance have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ ‘ag-gag law,’ which prohibits undercover investigations at factory farms and other businesses in the state. Enacted in 2017, the law could make whistleblowers subject to steep fines for violations. Plaintiffs in the case argue that the law is unconstitutional and a violation of First Amendment rights. Named as defendants in the suit are meat providers Peco Foods, Inc. and Prayer Creek Farm.

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FBI Details Process of Civil Forfeiture for Animals that are Victims in Crimes

A recent piece by the FBI details the civil forfeiture process regarding animals that are victims of crime. The story highlights cross-agency efforts between U.S. Marshals Service, animal rescue organizations, federal agents and Department of Justice prosecutors and federal forfeiture attorneys, particularly in the case of breaking up dog fighting rings. Previously, most dogs found in fighting operations were euthanized; however, application of civil asset forfeiture laws allow the agencies to provide services while the criminal trial is underway. FBI operations involving animal seizures are conducted with animal rescue organization that are notified in advance, so they be prepared to care for the animals.

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U.S. House to Consider Additional Funding for Animal Protection Laws

Three amendments to a U.S. House appropriations bill — H.R. 3055 — would provide additional funding for enforcement of laws protecting animals, The Tennessean reports. Among the initiatives that will benefit from an increased budget is legislation introduced by Tennessee Republican senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn, known as the Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2019. The act provides additional protections for Tennessee walking horses from being subject to soring, a process where chemicals or foreign objects are put on or into a horse's hooves to produce a higher gait. Voting on the appropriations bill is expected to begin today.

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Compiled & Edited Tennessee Laws Pertaining to Animals 2018

The 2018 edition of 'Compiled & Edited Tennessee Laws Pertaining to Animals' is now available for purchase. This helpful reference volume is compiled and edited by the Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee with statute editing by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at UT College of Law. Though the form still references the 2016 edition, you can use it to order the 2018 edition. 

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