Undercover video targets Wisconsin dairy – Feedstuffs

NESTLÉ Foods’ said it had severed all ties with a Wisconsin Dairy depicted in an undercover video of animal abuse released by animal rights group Mercy For Animals (MFA). The video, released Dec. 10, showed workers kicking, beating and dragging cows in a way that noted animal welfare expert Temple Grandin described as “very abusive, cruel behavior.”

MFA, known for its undercover video and fervent promotion of a vegan lifestyle, used the video to target Nestlé’s DiGiorno Pizza brand, calling on consumers to “ditch dairy, ditch DiGiorno.”

The video was filmed in October at Wiese Brothers Farms in Greenleaf, Wisc., near Green Bay. Nestlé purchases cheese for its pizzas from Foremost Farms, a regional cooperative with several cheese processing facilities throughout Wisconsin, including a plant in Appleton, where Weise Brothers delivered milk.

Foremost Farms said they will no longer accept milk from the dairy, which said that it has terminated two employees as part of its own investigation into what happened in the video. Industry sources tell Feedstuffs that the farm has been cooperating with local authorities, including the sheriff’s department and prosecuting attorney, in addition to bringing in outside animal welfare experts to audit and evaluate the farm’s policies, procedures, training and management.

Grandin, the Colorado State University professor, said that the problems depicted in the video indicate an obvious deficiency in those areas.

“My experience has been that when problems like these occur it can usually be traced back to a lack of supervision,” she said. “There are clear problems of employee training and employee supervision seen in this video. It takes strong management to make it be known that there are certain things you just don’t do and won’t be tolerated.”

Jim Reynolds, a professor of large animal medicine and welfare at Western University in Pomona, Calif., agreed, saying that there was “nothing defendable in the video,” and that the cows shown in the footage were under stress, in fear and probably in pain. He said that the types of behaviors shown by workers in the video should lead to criminal charges of animal cruelty.

“The employees seen in the video completely lacked basic understanding of animal welfare and animal behavior,” said Reynolds. “They showed no empathy for the cows.”

For its part, MFA used the video to encourage the organization’s supporters to bombard DiGiorno’s Facebook page with negative comments, and specifically to promote a vegan lifestyle.

“Although unconscionable cruelty and violence are standard practice for DiGiorno cheese suppliers, caring consumers can help end the needless suffering of cows and other farmed animals by choosing vegan alternatives to milk, cheese and ice cream,” MFA said via its website. “Cows have a natural lifespan of about 25 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years, but the stress caused by factory farm conditions leads to disease, lameness, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time they are four or five years old.”

According to published profiles of the farm, Wiese Brothers milked more than 4,300 cows in two facilities as of January 2012. Sources tell Feedstuffs that the operation manages as many as 8,600 animals following an expansion project completed last year.

 

Undercover video targets Wisconsin dairy – Feedstuffs.

PETA Bus Ad Campaign In Madison Targets UW For Use Of Lab Animals | Wisconsin Public Radio News

PETA has taken out over 100 new bus ads in Madison to decry the University of Wisconsin’s use of animals in laboratory research.

Many of the sides and backs of Madison Metro buses now feature a photo of a cat that was used in a science experiment on cochlear implants at the UW-Madison. The cat has a stainless steel bar and screws drilled into its head. The bus reads, “I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!”

Mick Rusch of Madison Metro says he’s been receiving complaints about the ads. However, he says their policy prohibits only libelous, obscene and fraudulent advertising.

“Our buses are designated a public forum,” he says. “People have the right to voice their opinion and there’s just a lot of leeway to doing that.”

PETA’s Jeremy Beckham says the ad campaign is an effort to make the public aware of research that he says goes on in secret at UW.

“I think if people see this image, which is very shocking, they are going to upset,” says Beckham. “And I think that’s a very healthy reaction. I’m upset too. I just think that people who are upset should be contacting UW-Madison to discuss their concerns.”

A UW-Madison spokesperson didn’t want to comment on PETA’s bus ads, but the UW has vigorously defended its research in the past. In an email, UW confirmed the photo PETA used on the buses was taken four years ago from a pilot study at UW. They say two cats are currently used in research at UW that has helped improve cochlear implants for people with hearing loss.

PETA Bus Ad Campaign In Madison Targets UW For Use Of Lab Animals | Wisconsin Public Radio News.

3 Opening Day wolf hunt protest

Friends of Wisconsin Wolf is holding a statewide protest and it is your chance to tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and most of all Secretary Stepp and Governor Scott Walker that we will not stand for this wolf hunt. NO SPORT HUNT.

There are two main events planned in Wisconsin, however we encourage anyone who can’t be in either of these locations, to help organize in your community. Here in Madison, we are gathering outside the State Capitol, outdoors where we do not need a permit and also in Superior, Wisconsin from 4-6pm OCT 15th. We hope you can attend but you can take part from your home or office too! Make this Statewide! Click the link below for more information.

3 Opening Day wolf hunt protest.

Inspector: Circus World elephant had ‘thin body’ : Wsj

BARABOO — An animal rights group is calling on Circus World Museum to re-examine its use of performance elephants after a federal inspector found an animal at the facility had “thin body condition.”

But a veterinarian says the animal is not sick. She says Nina, a 50-year-old circus elephant, always has had a slender body composition.

During an unannounced visit to Baraboo in August, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector noticed that Nina’s “hip bones and shoulder blades were visible,” documents show.

The animal’s handler told the inspector that a veterinarian examined Nina in April. The handler said the elephant was receiving appropriate care.

However, Carson and Barnes was unable to produce medical records or put the inspector in touch with the veterinarian. Because handlers are required to have such records readily available, the inspector found Carson and Barnes Circus — which contracts with Circus World — to be noncompliant.

A USDA spokeswoman said Friday the federal agency has not been able to determine what caused Nina’s thinness.

“We were not provided access to the medical records, so we are not able to determine that,” USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said.

The USDA will conduct an unannounced follow-up inspection at a later date and then determine the appropriate course of action, Espinosa said. Read more here:

Inspector: Circus World elephant had ‘thin body’ : Wsj.

Charlie Talbert: Why is taxpayer money being spent to promote hunting and trapping? : Ct

Cathy Stepp recently declared that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which she heads, will take direct control of the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, currently operated by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

What vital interest do Wisconsin taxpayers have in taking jobs from the private sector and adding them to the government payroll? Secretary Stepp explains that the state needs to recruit more hunters, anglers and trappers. Left largely unanswered is why all taxpayers must ante up to promote pastimes practiced by a dwindling few. The secretary has attempted to cost-justify her decision this way: “Hunting, fishing and trapping is our heritage, it is in our DNA, and it makes us Wisconsin.” More on that notion in a moment. First, consider the DNR’s current numbers about one of our legacies: trapping.

The DNR’s most recent fur harvest summary, for 2011-12, shows the commercial nature of trapping. Muskrats and raccoons comprised 87 percent of fur-bearing animals trapped and killed in Wisconsin, and the skins of 90 percent of them were sold. That 90 percent is about the same percent for the total of all 12 of the fur-bearing species tracked by the DNR. Of the 588,000 mammals snared and skinned, trappers made money on 516,000 of them.

These statistics raise the question: Who is buying all these skins? Most of the trappers’ “harvest” in the U.S. is sold overseas, especially to China.

The Chinese and other countries with low labor costs convert the fur into clothing, much of it exported back to the U.S. as trim on parkas and other winter wear.

But these days you seldom see a “made from” clothing tag that lists muskrat or raccoon, or the third most trapped animal in Wisconsin, opossum.

That’s because the clothing manufacturers know that most Americans have become repelled by the idea of wearing fur. Today many humane alternatives exist. So some manufacturers and marketers mislabel the actual fur as “faux fur” or “fake fur.” It’s a good deal for the trapper and dishonest dealer, but not for all involved.

Within the first 30 minutes of capture, a trapped animal can tear her flesh, rip tendons, break bones, and even knock out teeth as she bites the trap to escape.

Some animals will even bite off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. The fact that an animal would sever her own limb shows how horrible the experience of being caught in a trap is. One study found that 28 percent of mink, 24 percent of raccoon, and 26 percent of trapped fox would actually bite their limbs off in hopes of surviving.

In Wisconsin centuries ago, clothing options were few. People often needed to trap to survive. But what in those days was a violent necessity — and they didn’t call it a sport — is today just a cruel money-maker.

Perhaps barbarity like this is part of our DNA, as Cathy Stepp suggests. But not all human urges deserve celebration or taxpayer support. If we want to use our past as a guide to our decisions and actions today, look to Wisconsin’s progressive heritage of adapting to the times — of challenging traditions that have become unjust, unwarranted and unnecessarily violent. That would be a vision of leadership desperately needed right now at the DNR.

Charlie Talbert  is president of the board of the Madison-based Alliance for Animals and the Environment.

Charlie Talbert: Why is taxpayer money being spent to promote hunting and trapping? : Ct.

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Honoring Giggles the fawn with real reform of the DNR : Ct

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Honoring Giggles the fawn with real reform of the DNR : Ct.

“Knowing her changes everything.” — Michael Smith, former hunter, who saved a fawn like Giggles from the DNR

The DNR continues to expand its national reputation for cruelty to wild creatures and the non-hunters who want to protect them. In July, 13 heavily armed people stormed the St. Francis No Kill Shelter in Kenosha to drag out a 2-week-old fawn in a bag. Even the way the DNR killed her was heavy-handed: “a bolt gun via depression of the cerebral cortex of the brain.” Though the DNR forbids citizens from raising deer due to health concerns, “Giggles” was not tested for chronic wasting disease. She was cremated. …

Rick Bogle: Time to revisit experiments on animals : Ct

RickIn June 2013, in a talk at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., Dr. Elias Zerhouni, NIH Director from 2002 to 2008, ended his presentation with three key lessons. The agency’s online newsletter, NIH Reporter, summarized one of them like this:

“We have moved away from studying human disease in humans,” he lamented. “We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included. With the ability to knock in or knock out any gene in a mouse — which can’t sue us,” Zerhouni quipped, “researchers have over-relied on animal data. The problem is that it hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem. … We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”

More than 45,000 dogs and 68,000 monkeys have been killed in Madison at UW-Madison and Covance over the past 10 years, according to reports submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by each facility. Many of these animals have endured multiple experimental procedures and profound environmental and social deprivation.

Supporters of this use of animals claim that their suffering is justified by the medical advancements that are being made, but verifiable evidence of much medical progress as a result of using these animals does not appear to exist.

Once upon a time it was possible to learn something that might have shed some light on human biology by experimenting on animals, but those days are long gone. We don’t need to open a dog’s chest and watch her heart beat to understand the circulatory system. Questions about human biology that are being researched through animal experimentation today aren’t being accurately answered.

This lack of clear benefit has resulted in scientists calling attention to what is sometimes referred to as the “translation problem.” Translating the results of experiments on animals into improved health care for humans has proved to be devilishly difficult. Senior scientists like Zerhouni are questioning the fundamental and explicit claim that what’s learned from experiments on one species can be productively applied to another species.

It is becoming more commonplace for scientists to look carefully at the real results of animal experimentation and to ask whether or not human patients have benefited from the use of animals as models of human biology. In an article published in May from Independent Science News, “The Experiment Is on Us: Science of Animal Testing Thrown Into Doubt,” the writers report that a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a consortium of researchers suggests that product safety testing on animals (like much of that done at Covance on dogs and monkeys) may be worthless (Seok et al. 2013). The authors address the translation problem:

“The results of these experiments challenge the longstanding scientific presumption holding that animal experiments are of direct relevance to humans. For that reason they potentially invalidate the entire body of safety information that has been built up to distinguish safe chemicals from unsafe ones. The new results arise from basic medical research, which itself rests heavily on the idea that treatments can be developed in animals and transferred to humans.”

In late 2011, the National Academy of Sciences published a report on the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and argued that most research using them or even keeping them in standard laboratory environments is unethical. Earlier this year, the NIH announced it was adopting most of the academy’s recommendations and dramatically reducing its sponsorship and involvement in medical research using chimpanzees. Both groups acknowledged that chimpanzees’ similarity to humans makes the standard experimental use of them ethically problematic.

This change in perspective and policy by such conservative bodies is due to the increasing recognition that many other animals share with us the capacity for both satisfaction and suffering, desire and a sense of loss. In fact, India announced just last month that dolphins are now “non-human persons” in the eyes of the law and has forbid the use of any cetaceans for entertainment purposes.

The change in NIH policy on chimpanzees brings the U.S. closer to the Western world’s norm. Prior to this change, only Gabon and the U.S. continued to allow experiments on chimpanzees. The NIH change is three-quarter’s of the way to endorsement of the modern ethical consensus.

These changes in understanding should cause us to think carefully and very critically about the thousands of dogs, monkeys, and other animals being hurt and killed in Madison in the name of science.

We should have an open discussion about this matter; increasing evidence of the very poor results from using animals, the realities of what they endure, and the accelerating consensus regarding their cognitive and emotional similarity to us — of at least the members of some other species — seems to demand this of us.

The secrecy that shields the laboratories’ use of animals from the public makes this hard to do. The lack of investigative journalism and reporting on the changing consensus and the many problems and accidents at the labs help to keep the matter hidden and out of sight. It’s past time for full disclosure and inclusive public discussion about the things being done to animals in the name of science and product safety here in Madison and throughout the country.

Madisonian Rick Bogle works for Alliance for Animals.

Rick Bogle: Time to revisit experiments on animals : Ct.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Stepp says fawn had to be euthanized : Ct

Thank you Cap Times and especially Jessica Vanegeren for covering this story. To make your voice heard see contacts below.

CONSERVATION WARDEN. Contact: Jennifer C. Niemeyer.
Location: DNR Field Office, 9531 Rayne Road, Suite 4, Sturtevant, WI 53177
262-878-5608 jennifer.niemeyer@wisconsin.gov

Last week, a fawn named Giggles was euthanized by state wardens after it was brought to a shelter by a family who believed the fawn had been abandoned by its mother.

The incident, first reported by Milwaukee’s WISN-TV, angered those caring for Giggles at the Society of St. Francis Animal Shelter near Kenosha. The fawn had been brought to the no-kill shelter by an Illinois family in an effort to save the animal.

In accordance with the state’s “captive deer laws” no animal is supposed to be taken or transported from its home in the wild.

In an ongoing effort to stop the spread of the deadly chronic wasting disease (CWD) among the state’s deer population, deer that are taken into captivity in areas of the state where CWD has been discovered are required to be euthanized.

Chronic wasting disease is a nervous system disease that infects white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk. The disease has been found in these animals in 17 states, including Wisconsin.

There are no licensed rehabilitation facilities which are authorized to rehab deer in a CWD zone, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

“Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity,” said Cathy Stepp, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in a statement. “None of our staff take joy in these situations.”

Staff at the Society of St. Francis shelter told a WISN reporter that the fawn was taken from the shelter after being tranquilized by “nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs … all armed to the teeth.”

The DNR had received calls informing them of the fawn’s presence at the shelter. According to Stepp’s statement, the wardens did request voluntary compliance from the facility.

“When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant,” said Stepp. “We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.”

Stepp added the department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild.

“In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature,” she said. “It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce.”

A similar incident played out around Christmas 2011 when a fawn named Charlotte was rescued and brought to a shelter in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker saved Charlotte from being euthanized after a story appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Stepp says fawn had to be euthanized : Ct.

13 Wisconsin officials raid animal shelter to kill baby deer named Giggles – Washington Times

Two weeks ago, Ray Schulze was working in a barn at the Society of St. Francis no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha, Wis., when officials swarmed the shelter with a search warrant.

“[There were] nine [Department of Natural Resources] agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Mr. Schulze told WISN 12. “It was like a SWAT team.”

The agents were there to retrieve a baby deer named Giggles that was dropped off by a family worried she had been abandoned by her mother, the station reported. Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.

“I said the deer is scheduled to go to the wildlife reserve the next day,” Mr. Schulze told the station. “I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter, and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag,” Schulze said. “I said, ‘Why did you do that?’ He said, ‘That’s our policy,’ and I said, ‘That’s one hell of a policy.’”

Department of Natural Resources Supervisor Jennifer Niemeyer told WISN 12 that the law requires DNR agents to euthanize wild animals because of their potential danger.

The station asked if the raid could have been done in a less costly manner by making a phone call first.

“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,” the supervisor responded.

Shelter president Cindy Schultz said she plans to sue the agency.

“They went way over the top for a little tiny baby deer,” Schultz said.

13 Wisconsin officials raid animal shelter to kill baby deer named Giggles – Washington Times.

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Members of DNR’s board should step down over wolf slaughter : Ct

“These people think Little Red Riding Hood was a documentary.” — Alice Miller

The Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board have a new target on wolves of 275, up from 201 last year. DNR’s objective: To “begin” to reduce the population. Licenses to be sold: 10 times the quota or 2,750. With 117 wolves killed in the trophy hunt, 76 killed for depredation, 24 reported killed on the roads, 22 detected illegal kills, and five other miscellaneous mortalities, the DNR reports 244 wolves were killed last year. With a 70 percent pup mortality rate, miraculously DNR reports that the wolf population is almost the same as it was before the first “successful season.” Of course, these new wolf hunter volunteer trackers serve their own agenda.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Green Bay gives a conservative estimate of the “shoot, shovel and shut up” illegal kill of wolves as 100 annually. There likely were 350 wolves killed last year.

Science does not support this crime but only you can save the imperiled wolf. A Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Humane Society established that 81 percent of Wisconsinites do not want wolves hunted, and 87 percent opposed using traps, bait, and packs of dogs to kill wolves.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, told me that if 10 people contact a legislator on an issue, that is a red flag. The DNR disclosed that 1,439 Wisconsin citizens wrote in to protest against the slaughter of our wolves. Zero wrote in to support the wolf hunt.

William Bruins, a Walker-appointee dairy farmer, announced at the recent Natural Resources Board meeting in Wausau, “God created homo sapiens to be in charge.”

Alice Miller, who drove several hundred miles to attend the meeting, said, “This is supposed to be about science, not some board member’s religion.” A board member told Miller that she had to vote for the quota “or Scott Walker would shut down the board.”

Cory Gierhart, Eau Claire, a self-described avid hunter, contributed: “I hear from lots of individuals who are pro-wolf hunting that hunting and killing wolves is necessary to keep the deer population up. According to the DNR website wolves consume about 16,000 deer annually, while cars alone hit 27,000, and humans shoot 340,000 deer annually. By decreasing the number of wolves, the number of sick and diseased deer increase, weakening the herd.” (CWD is on the rise alarmingly fast.) Working from federal carrying capacity models, he reckoned the realistic carrying capacity for the wolf in Wisconsin as 1,236. “Rather than allow the killing of such an important and beautiful animal, I believe it would be more beneficial to allow the wolf population to grow on its own, and let it level off naturally. … Give farmers better aid for fencing rather than aid for dead livestock.”

Sue McKean, Madison: “I am willing to pay the DNR up to $3,000 a year to stop the hunt and wonder how many others would as well?”

At least four organizations opposed the hunt and high quota, including Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic and the Wisconsin Wolf Front. The latter has conducted a poll canvassing six counties and 6,000 citizens, with 94 percent against using dogs on wolves.

The Sierra Club deplored the complete bias of the Wolf Advisory Committee, stacked with hunters, trappers and bear hounders. The Sierra Club was denied participation in the committee despite its stakeholder status since inception.

James T. Wronka, Shawano, a conservative Republican, wrote: “I have great difficulty in pulling the levers in support of my party, who certainly do not represent conservation.” He added: “Unfortunately we still have a very small percentage of people who still get entertainment out of killing our children’s wildlife. Our whole lake community’s peaceful tranquility gets ruined every autumn by 2-4 hunters (it’s hard to call these people hunters with their modern equipment) …from sunrise to sunset their entertainment ruins a beautiful morning … with their replication of being in the war zones of the Middle East. All for a pound of feathers. … Yet this small minority get the backing of a small minority of people most of us would think would be on the side of wildlife, our DNR. We’ve tried talking with DNR and state government elected officials to see if the majority could overrule the rights of this minority population, but to no avail.”

The first hunt has not been fully evaluated and many unanswered questions remain. We don’t know the ages of the wolves killed or how the hunting/trapping season affected pack dynamics. Did depredations increase because of pack disruption? There were 1,439 citizens against, zero for a hunt, yet the DNR is pushing forward with a more aggressive second hunt.

There is a clamor for Natural Resources Board members to have the integrity to resign.

Luann O’Dell: “These meetings for the public to come and speak are just a cover-up. They don’t mean anything. … I can’t believe that we have to stand up there and try to protect our wildlife from the DNR.”

Kurt Schlapper, Brooklyn: “Please let the wolves raise their pups and families in peace as we should have the right to do also. No life is above another, we are all equal in the eyes of God.”

But we are not all equal in the eyes of the Natural Resources Board, Legislature and DNR playing God.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Members of DNR’s board should step down over wolf slaughter : Ct.