Huge Illegal Rhino Horn And Ivory Trade Uncovered

(WILDLIFE) AFRICA — A transnational operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL targeting wildlife crime across southern Africa has resulted in the location and closure of an illegal ivory factory, the seizure of nearly 400 kilos of ivory and rhino horn with a market value of more than one million dollars, as well as the arrest of 41 people. — Global Animal


A transnational operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL targeting wildlife crime across southern Africa has resulted in the location and closure of an illegal ivory factory, the seizure of nearly 400 kilos of ivory and rhino horn with a market value of more than one million dollars, as well as the arrest of 41 people.

The two-day operation (13-14 May), codenamed Mogatle, involved nearly 200 officers from police, national wildlife, customs and national intelligence agencies across six countries – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – who carried out inspections and raids on markets and shops.

Checks were also made on suspect vehicles at border crossing points where for the first time in a wildlife crime operation, sniffer dogs provided by South African and Swaziland police were used at check points at the Mozambique/Swaziland border.

“The success of Operation Mogatle is not only in relation to the seizures and arrests which have been made, but is a demonstration of the commitment of national and international law enforcement and other involved agencies to working together to combat wildlife crime,” said Peter Younger, manager of INTERPOL’s OASIS (Operational Assistance, Services and Infrastructure Support) Africa wildlife crime programme.

“Taking these illegal items off the market is just the first step,” added Mr Younger. “Information gathered as part of this operation will also enable law enforcement, both in Africa and abroad, to identify smuggling routes and eventually to further arrests of other individuals involved in these crimes.

“The impact of wildlife crime is wide-ranging. People are threatened with violence, law enforcement officers have been killed while carrying out their duties, and there is the wider economic impact on a country and therefore the livelihoods of ordinary people.”

Supported by INTERPOL’s National Central Bureaus and INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau in Harare, Operation Mogatle was co-ordinated by INTERPOL’s OASIS Africa initiative, which is funded by the German Federal Government. Additional support and funding was also provided for the operation by the Humane Society of Canada and the Born Free Foundation.

INTERPOL’s OASIS programme helps countries in Africa develop a global and integrated approach to fighting 21st century crime by building operational capacities for policing in the region and enhancing the ability of INTERPOL member countries to tackle crime threats nationally, regionally and globally.

Operation Mogatle – named in honour of the late Professor Keitirangi Mogatle, assistant director of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks and principle motivator behind effective wildlife law enforcement in Botswana – was the third multi-agency wildlife operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL.

The first, Operation Baba (November 2008) resulted in the arrests of nearly 60 people and the seizure of one ton of illegal elephant ivory following co-ordinated actions in Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

The second, Operation Costa (November 2009) across Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, led to the arrest of more than100 people and the recovery of 1.5 tons of ivory and hundreds of other illegal wildlife items.

Freeing Dogs With…Fences?

(HAPPY TALES) — When Mikael Hardy saw dogs chained and suffering all around her home in South Carolina, she decided to start freeing dogs by giving them fenced in yards. A nice spacious yard makes a mad dog happy! — Global Animal

Tonic, Diane Herbst

Mikael Hardy was horrified to see how many people near her home in South Carolina kept their dogs chained up, outside, every hour of every day. So she got up off the couch, knocked on their doors and did something about it.

When Mikael Hardy (right) moved from Atlanta to Greenville County, S.C., she discovered a frightening way of life. Some of her new neighbors kept their dogs chained up outside every day and every night — oftentimes emaciated, sad creatures with empty water buckets and no food. “I saw all these chained dogs, and I said, ‘What is this?'” Hardy says. “I knew I needed to save them.”

Last year, Hardy, 40, started knocking on doors, asking these neighbors if she could build them a fence, get their dog spayed or neutered, and provide dog food, toys and veterinary care. For free. “At first they thought there was a catch,” she says. “They probably thought I was on crack.”

Since August of 2008, however, Hardy has persuaded almost 60 different owners to allow her to build a fence and provide romping room for some 70 dogs. The only requirement: each owner must spay or neuter their dogs before construction begins, paid for by Hardy and her nonprofit, PAWSitive Effects. Incredibly, Hardy has a 90-percent success rate. “We’ve approached this as a friendly venture, I keep on talking and eventually they say yes,” she says in her fast Southern drawl. “It is just so emotionally and physically abusive to keep these dogs at the end of a chain.”

For her first few fences, each 600 square feet, Hardy borrowed money from her mother. “

We had no money,” says Hardy, whose husband, Brad, 40, two teenage children and a loyal group of volunteers all pitch in to build the fences, which cost $400 a piece; medical costs for each dog is another $130. “The people she builds the fence for are so grateful or so thankful, and they can’t help but notice the change in their dog,” says regular volunteer Jami McLean, 32, a human resources manager for a Fortune 500 company.

“You have a dog that is snarling, defensive, and as soon as you release him into the fenced area, the dog changes immediately,” she continues. “They begin running around, sniffing, throwing their toys in the air. It is by far the most rewarding part of building the fence.”

Most everyone Hardy has encountered who chain their dogs are uneducated and poor. They tell her the dog is chained for protection. Or they need the money from the puppies. Hardy’s gift of gab works wonders. “I tell them it’s a lot easier for me to break in if they are chained,” she says. “I tell them no one wants the puppies, they just end up in a shelter.”

When not building fences, Hardy juggles co-owning a flooring company with Brad, and raising daughter Tatum, 13, and son Tyler, 14, who has bilateral ophthalmia (no eyes), autism, obsessive compulsive disorder and a low I.Q. Both kids work on the weekly fence-building projects, with a waiting list through September.

“Tyler tells people what to do,” says Hardy, laughing. The Hardy family also includes eight dogs — four rescued from living

on a chain. “It’s hard not to gush about Mikael and the whole Hardy family,” says McLean. “You see Tyler, with a lot of obstacles to overcome, and not once do you hear the kid say ‘I don’t want to do that.'”

Hardy tackles each home that she visits knowing the result will be a fence. Occasionally, she skips the fence and rescues the dog. One dog (above, left) was all skin and bones, so thin that her front left arm slipped through her collar, which embedded deep in her skin. Sores enveloped the pup’s body. “I said, ‘Keeping a dog like this is illegal,'” Hardy recalls.

The owners gave their dog to Hardy, who found a loving family — one that includes two dogs and a 30-pound cat — to adopt her. However, an angry Hardy pressed charges against the owners, who were allowed to settle their case and 30 days later obtained another dog — who they chained up. Says Hardy: “It’s deplorable.”

Hardy’s efforts are part of a burgeoning number of volunteers across the US working to let chained dogs free, sometimes with unintended results. Hardy had volunteered for the Pennsylvania-based group Dogs Deserve Better, whose founder was convicted of theft in 2007 for rescuing a chained, dying dog who could not stand, refusing to return him to his abusers. Hardy’s experience with the group eventually led to her founding PAWSitive Effects.

Since Hardy built her first fence last year, she has raised and spent some $45,000 — all from private donations. “At least I’m making a dent,” she says. “At the end of the build, when I put that dog in that fence, you’ve dramatically improved that dog’s life. It makes you feel so good.”

To take a stand and help Mikael better the life of local pups, click here to donate.

Photos courtesy of Mikael Hardy.


83 Elephants Relocated To Safety Away From Angry Villagers

(ELEPHANTS) SOUTH AFRICA — 83 elephants were relocated to safety after locals became angry with the pachyderms for ruining their crops. “This is a victory for both elephants and people – they have been engaged in a battle that has seen elephants cruelly wounded and killed, and many local people killed as well,” said Jason Bell-Leask, Director Southern Africa for IFAW. — Global Animal


International Fund for Animal Welfare

Cape Town, South Africa – A mammoth evacuation of 83 elephants was successfully concluded in Malawi this weekend.

The elephants were moved by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – to save them from persecution by local villagers trying to protect their crops and livelihoods from the animals.

“This is a victory for both elephants and people – they have been engaged in a battle that has seen elephants cruelly wounded and killed, and many local people killed as well,” said Jason Bell-Leask, Director Southern Africa for IFAW.

“Moving the elephants was, without argument, the only solution to a terrible situation for both the elephants and the community.”
The translocation of the free roaming herd of elephants from Mangochi District, just south of Lake Malawi to Majete Wildlife Reserve – both in Malawi – began on June 8 and concluded on July 4. A total of 83 elephants were moved.

Bell-Leask said that, of the 14 groups of elephants captured and relocated 12 of the groups included individuals that had suffered injuries caused by human intervention – seven of the elephants had trunk amputations caused by snares, one had a deformed foot from a gin trap injury, actual snares had to be removed from three of the elephants, one elephant was blind in one eye from a gun shot wound, and a number of others bore scars from bullet wounds and snares.

All the elephants were moved safely and without incident, and released into Majete Wildlife Reserve, which is formally protected and offers the elephants a safe, secure home for the long-term.

“The relocation of these elephants is a real victory for animal welfare, and proof that it’s not necessary to solve issues of human-wildlife conflict down the barrel of a gun,” said Bell-Leask.

“IFAW partnered with the government of Malawi on this epic project to move the elephants from otherwise certain death. We believe the Malawi government has set an example for taking an ethical approach to elephant management practices – one that all governments facing challenges of human-wildlife conflict should consider.”

The relocation of the elephants was suspended for a short period when a Malawi businessman brought an interim injunction to prevent the elephants from being moved. The High Court of Malawi rejected the challenge and the translocation of the elephants continued.

IFAW remains dedicated to focusing on regional conservation efforts such as trans-boundary wildlife linkages to preempt human-wildlife conflict situations similar to that which has existed in Phirilongwe.

Abused Elephants To Be Released Into Wild

(ELEPHANTS) SOUTH AFRICA — Nine elephants are set to be transported from a commercial training facility where they were being trained for safaris. “In fact 10 elephants were originally caught for training. Tragically one – a young male named Dumisani – died of malnutrition and the abuse he was subjected to.” — Global Animal

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Cape Town, South Africa – The rescue of nine cruelly abused elephants from a commercial training facility in Zimbabwe will begin on Monday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – has announced.

The elephants were confiscated in April 2009 after an inspection by the Zimbabwe National Society for the Protection of Cruelty against Animals (ZNSPCA) found cruel and torturous methods were being used to “tame and train” them for the elephant back safari industry – a popular tourist activity in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in southern Africa.

The ZNSPCA requested IFAW to step in and assist in translocating the elephants to a safe haven with a view to rehabilitating the elephants and releasing them back into the wild.

“These elephants have been subjected to the most appalling cruelty, all in the name of servicing an indefensible form of safari industry,” said Neil Greenwood, spokesman IFAW Southern Africa.

“In fact 10 elephants were originally caught for training. Tragically one – a young male named Dumisani – died of malnutrition and the abuse he was subjected to. Given all of this, IFAW has assembled a top team of capture experts to translocate the remaining nine elephants to safety with the least possible stress”.

The elephants will be transported from a privately owned ranch in the West Nicholson area, south of Bulawayo where the elephants were being “trained”, to Hwange National Park, some 700 kilometres (437 miles) further east.

The wild elephants were originally caught on protected land in October 2008. In April 2009 when the ZNSPCA inspected the training facility they discovered some of the following abuses taking place:

• Elephants chained on one leg and being fed from a distance requiring them to stand on three legs and strain at their chains to reach their food. This practice was intended to enforce the dominance of the handlers and caused severe wounds to the chained legs.
• Restricted access to water and shade.
• Varying degrees of wounds caused by training techniques and chaining.
• An adult female elephant separated from her male calf causing unnecessary stress and physical suffering to both calf and mother.
• Chaining for long hours preventing the elephants from socialising with each other.

The translocation of the elephants will begin on Monday afternoon, 2nd November and has been mandated by the Government of Zimbabwe. The elephants will be darted and transported in a single group to Hwange National Park overnight before being released into a large rehabilitation boma for monitoring before eventually being released into the park.

For more information on the translocation and on making a donation to support the move, please visit

Two Wrongs: Canada Geese Gassed And Fed To Oregon’s Homeless

(GEESE) BEND, OREGON-Hard to believe that State officials in Oregon are gassing migrating Canadian Geese to feed to the homeless. Nothing like combining two wrongs to make another wrong! — Global Animal

CTV News

BEND, OREGON – On Canada Day, one of our national symbols is under attack in Oregon State, where one town has put Canada goose on the menu at homeless shelters.

Officials in Bend, Oregon, are so fed up with the mess left by Canada geese that they’ve opted to gas 109 birds.

The local parks and recreation board says the geese were euthanized with carbon dioxide, leaving the meat safe to eat. Now the birds are heading for the dinner plates at local homeless shelters.

Sandy Klein at the NeighborImpact shelter in Bend says that the last time she got a shipment of Canada goose meat, no one knew what to do with it.

“So this year, I think I’m going to provide a recipe to go with goose meat so people know what to do. It’s a different flavour. It makes a good stew,” she said.

In fact, recipes for Canada goose meat abound on the internet, including one for that calls for garlic and rosemary.

But in Stanley Park, Vancouverites were taken aback by the idea that a Canada goose flying south might never come back, calling the euthanasia “barbaric” and even “crazy.”

Even the head of the Vancouver Park Board, Aaron Jasper, was shocked.

“We don’t take the approach of culling them. I think, if there’s deemed to be a bit of a problem with the population, our staff will identify the nests, and we’ll shake the eggs, and that’s how we address the issue of overpopulation,” Jasper said.

In Bend, the parks and recreation department held several public meetings and found that most people supported the idea. Still, it’s not planning any further kills this year.

Cheap Meat Can Be Costly

Author David Kirby brings the harsh realities of cheap meat to light, warning that even vegans are not safe from the guilt of sustaining factory farming. Kirby warns that cheap meat can actually be costly to the planet and eventually, your wallet. — Global Animal

The Huffington Post, David Kirby

Grand Lake St. Marys — Ohio’s largest inland body of water and a treasured recreational area — is dying. And if you barbecued some supermarket pork over the holiday weekend, you helped contribute to this disaster, however indirectly.

The lake’s 13,000 acres of water surrounded by parkland, cabins and campgrounds, is one of the leading summertime attractions in the area, which brings in some $216 million in tourist spending each year, $160 million directly from the lake, (not to mention 2,600 jobs). Now, many visitors are shunning the place like an oil-stained Alabama beach. Swimming and waterskiing are discouraged, and even boating might be a health risk.

The main problem is phosporous and other nutrients, mostly from farms, including the 15 or so animal factory farms in the lake’s watershed, and nutrients from the megatons of fertilizer applied on taxpayer-subsidized corn and soybean fields. Those products then become cheap feed that keeps the factory farms humming, Big Box prices low, and summertime barbequers happy.

Factory farms, in addition to their insatiable demand for subsidized feed, also generate thousands of tons of animal waste each year, far more than the surrounding land can absorb. The manure — in this part of Ohio, most factory farms are either pork, or “layer” (egg) operations — is sometimes liquefied and sprayed from giant sprinklers that spew brownish-yellow water onto cropland which — too often — runs off into streams and ditches that feed into rivers and lakes, including Grand Lake St. Marys.

The Ohio Farm Bureau insists that most of the farms in the area are “family farms,” which is true — the majority of farms in the area not factory farms, and do no generate anywhere near the amount of nutrients that industrialized operations create. And besides, even massive factory farms (officially known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs) are usually owned by families, although they don’t typically own the animals. They contract out to large corporations, sharecropper style, to raise them. The contractor is left with the problem of disposing of so much manure, not the company.

For years, nutrient levels in Grand Lake St. Marys have been rising. But only in the last three years have they gotten dangerously high, fueling algae blooms that strangulate fish, smother the water in a putrid green-and-turquoise foam, clog boat engines, foul the air with rancid odors, and emit toxins that can cause permanent health problems in people.

“We have a crisis situation,” Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) said in a letter Friday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and, tellingly, USDA Secretary Tom Vislack. “The economic viability of this region is ultimately linked to the health of this natural resource. We have reached a tipping point where the degraded nature of the lake is causing significant loss to local businesses and the total livelihood of the region.”

In April 2009, levels of a toxin called microcystin were found to be extremely elevated, and the state issued a warning for people to “minimize contact” and avoid ingestion of the lake water.

And just two weeks ago, “the lake water turned a dark green color and became covered in a thick blue green scum,” Strickland said, adding that state testing has also detected the presence of harmful bacteria and their associated toxins, one that attacks the liver and another that causes nerve damage.

Strickland asked the Feds for immediate environmental and economic assistance and, given the EPA’s aggressive stance against farm runoff since Obama took office, his SOS will likely get some attention.

It is not logical to blame most of this mess on smaller, more sustainably run farms where animals are not packed in by the hundreds or thousands, and where there’s enough land to adequately absorb the waste, thus reducing the chance of nutrient runoff.

Besides, small farms have graced this area for generations on end, and the lake did not become a Petri dish for liver toxins until now. Something has changed, and that something — in my opinion — is factory farming and its excess manure. And local people know it.

Local residents “say stricter regulations are needed on large farms,” the Associated Press reported, “limiting when they can apply manure to their fields and how close they can plant to streams.”

When I was researching my book Animal Factory – The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment – I came across this same situation wherever CAFOs had invaded: the tidewater area of North Carolina, the mega-dairy region of Yakima Valley, WA, or the “poultry belt” of Arkansas (whose big chicken growers like Tyson have been sued by the Oklahoma Attorney General for allowing nutrients from poultry waste to cross the border and pollute lakes and rivers).

In each case, once pristine waters had been spoiled after the CAFOs showed up.

I also spent time in western and northwestern Ohio, where property and small business owners are growing increasingly alarmed by the number of CAFOs that have been moving into the area. And I witnessed the Maumee River, choked with agricultural nutrients, which empties into Lake Erie, site of a massive and growing “dead zone.”

The lake was the color of cappuccino, and there were warning signs about dangerous bacteria in the water. And yet, families with small children were still splashing around in the murky, foamy liquid.

I wondered if they knew that factory farming upriver was contributing to this slow death of a great lake, and if they knew that their barbequed chicken, egg salad sandwiches and pork sausages were likely produced at factory farms that leach nutrients into waterways that belong to the public.

We all contribute to factory farming every time we reach for the cheapest meat, milk and eggs at the supermarket. That bacon you had for breakfast might have come from a CAFO in the Lake St. Marys area — or else fed on discount corn grown within the watershed.

Even if you are a strict vegan, your tax dollars still go to sustain this unsustainable system. So unless you are out there actively lobbying to kill taxpayer subsidies in the Farm Bill, don’t think you get completely off the hook, either.

Which brings us back to the devastated economy of Grand Lake St. Marys – already buffeted by post-industrial job losses – and its desperate and rightfully angry people.

I know this question will not make me popular around the lake, but I do wonder how many residents there enjoyed some nice, juicy, barbequed pork ribs on the Fourth of July that were on special down at the discount center.

Like I said, we are all responsible for factory farm pollution, even those who suffer most from its excesses.

David Kirby is author of “Animal Factory – The Looming Threat of Industrial Pork, Dairy and Poultry Operations to Humans and the Environment” (St. Martin’s Press).

Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson Responds To Bethune Verdict (VIDEO)

(VIDEO) Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson upon hearing Pete Bethune was given a suspended prison sentence. — Global Animal

See the full interview with Paul Watson, leader of the Sea Shepherd, after hearing Pete Bethune was given a suspended sentence. Pete Bethune has received a two-year suspended sentence and banned from Japan for five years, for obstructing a whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean. He is expected to be deported back to New Zealand on the next available flight.

Bethune, 45, was also found guilty of assault, for throwing a bottle of rancid butter at whalers on board the whaling ship Shonan Maru II. The ruling was made at the Tokyo District Court this afternoon, after Bethune obstructed the activities of a Japanese whaling fleet in February.

The sentence is suspended for five years, meaning Bethune will not be jailed.

Watch the video

Bethune released

Whaling Activist Pete Bethune Gets Suspended Jail Term

(WHALING) Anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune has been given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for five years, by a Japanese court. — Global Animal

BBC, Roland Buerk

Anti-whaling activist Pete Bethune has been given a suspended two-year prison term in Japan for boarding a Japanese harpoon ship earlier this year in Antarctic waters.

New Zealander Peter Bethune, of the Sea Shepherd conservation group, said he boarded the ship to stop the whale hunt and make a citizen’s arrest of its captain. He pleaded guilty to four out of the five charges brought against him, but has denied assault.

Roland Buerk reports: The New Zealander, an ex-member of direct action group Sea Shepherd, faced charges of illegally boarding a whaling ship in the Antarctic in February.

He said he wanted to detain its captain but he was instead taken to Japan, where he was arrested. He had pleaded guilty to four out of five charges but had denied assault.

Bethune had admitted charges of trespassing, vandalism, possession of a knife and obstructing business. He was also found guilty of assault, by throwing stink bombs made of butyric acid – rancid butter – at whalers. His suspended sentence means that he will not be jailed. He is expected to be deported to New Zealand soon.

Large numbers of police officers were on duty outside the court in Tokyo where the verdict was delivered. A small group of right-wing protesters brandished banners calling for a tough sentence. Bethune was part of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group, which tries each year to block Japan’s annual hunt. He was the captain of the Ady Gil, a speed boat split in two during a clash with the whalers on 6 January.

Bethune said he had boarded the Japanese vessel, the Shonan Maru 2, on 15 February to make a citizen’s arrest of the captain. The whalers instead detained him and took him to Japan to face charges. Sea Shepherd has since cut its ties with Bethune, saying he defied group policy by taking bows and arrows with him to the Antarctic. Japan abandoned commercial whaling in 1986 after agreeing to a global moratorium. But it says that whaling is part of its culture and catches hundreds of whales each year as part of what it calls a scientific research programme.

Conservationists say the whaling is a cover for the sale and consumption of whale meat. Last month nations failed to agree a compromise deal at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Morocco. Under the plan, Japan would phase down its annual Antarctic hunt and in return be assigned a quota for whales in its coastal waters.

Anti-Whaling Activist Pete Bethune Won’t Get Jail Time

(WHALING) Bethune was given a two-year sentence, suspended for five years, by a Tokyo court. It is expected the 45-year-old New Zealander will be released today after already serving five months in detention in Tokyo while his case was being heard. — Global Animal

Associated Press, Mari Yamaguchi

TOKYO — A Tokyo court on Wednesday convicted a New Zealand activist of obstructing the Japanese whaling mission in the Antarctic Ocean, sentencing him to a suspended prison term.

Peter Bethune was also found guilty of assault for throwing bottles of rancid butter at the whalers aboard their ship, including one that broke and gave three Japanese crew members chemical burns.

The court sentenced him to two years in prison, suspended for five years — meaning he won’t be jailed.

Bethune, 45, climbed onto the Shonan Maru 2 in February to confront its captain over the sinking of a protest vessel the previous month. The former Sea Shepherd activist was arrested when the boat returned to Japan in March.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd has been protesting Japan’s research whaling for years, often engaging in scuffles with Japanese whalers. The group claims the whaling mission, an allowed exception to an international ban, is a cover for commercial hunting.

Bethune’s trial began in late May. During earlier trial sessions, he said he just wanted to confront the ship’s captain and hand him a $3 million bill for the destruction of the Ady Gil, the protest ship that sank during a collision in January. In his tearful closing statement June 10, Bethune apologized for the trouble but said he never intended to hurt anyone. He also told the court that he will likely no longer continue his anti-whaling protests.

Sea Shepherd recently said it expelled Bethune because he violated its policies against carrying weapons. The group said he had a bow and arrows with him while he was aboard the Ady Gil, although he never used them.

Japan, Norway and Iceland hunt whales under exceptions to a 1986 moratorium by the International Whaling Commission. Japan’s whaling program also involves large-scale expeditions down to the Antarctic, while other whaling countries mostly stay along their coasts.

Separately, Japan has said the leader of Sea Shepherd is now on an Interpol wanted list for allegedly ordering Bethune as part of the group’s disruption of Japanese whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. Canadian citizen Paul Watson, 59, was placed on the Interpol list in late June at the request of Japan, which accuses his group of risking whalers’ lives during their expedition.

Powdered Rhino Horn Isn’t So Pretty: Model Apologizes For ‘Not Knowing’ Rhino Is Rhino

(RHINO) Elle Macpherson says powdered rhino horn “works for her,” then says she never knew she was using it. — Global Animal

The Huffington Post

Elle Macpherson has told the Times Of London that she eats powdered rhinoceros horn:

Witter: You’re said to be a great fan of Chinese medicine. What does powdered rhino horn taste like?

E MacP: A little bit like crushed bone and fungus in a capsule. Does the job though.

Witter: How do you know that it works? A lot of people say Chinese medicine is quackery.

E MacP: Put it this way, works for me.

Some think rhino horn can reduce fever, detect poison and act as an aphrodisiac. However, according to preservation site, “rhino horn has no curative properties.” In fact, the rhino slowly dies after the horn is removed and four of its five species are endangered.

That, and it’s pricey. Powdered rhino horn goes for $60,000 per kilo.

Update: Commenter Chaling points out that Macpherson has already apologized for her comments, saying she has “never knowingly consumed or encouraged the use or consumption of any products which contain material derived from endangered species” and she regrets “any distress or offense that her banter with an interviewer might have caused.”

Good Doggie Deeds ‘Paw It Forward’

(DOGS) Orange County, CA — A couple turned their love for dogs into a club for dogs and owners featuring ‘puppy pow-wows.’ Now, ‘Paw It Forward’ is a growing campaign to raise money for no kill dog shelters. — Global Animal

The Los Angeles Times, Abby Sewell

To say that husband and wife Brandi and Stephen Terry are dog people would be an understatement.

When they met at a dog park three years ago, each had a dog care business, taking the pets of busy Orange County professionals on outings while their owners were at work. Stephen was out with a client’s English springer spaniel and Brandi had a Pomeranian in tow.

When they married, they merged their businesses into one and called it Desperate Paws of Orange County Dog Club after one of Brandi’s favorite shows, “Desperate Housewives.”

So it’s only natural that the couple is now heading up an effort they’ve dubbed the Paw It Forward campaign to help dogs less fortunate than their own two Labradors by raising money for local no-kill dog shelters.

“With the recession and the economy, we started seeing that things were getting cut everywhere. So dog shelters were closing; rescues didn’t have any room,” Stephen said.

Animal shelters and rescue facilities in the county have varying assessments of whether and how badly the recession has affected them. Orange County Animal Care reported that its 2009 intake numbers were below 2007 levels after a substantial spike in 2008.

But Sue Walshe, president of the Pet Project Foundation, a volunteer organization that supports the San Clemente- Dana Point Animal Shelter, said that just within the last six months, the shelter has seen about a 30% increase in intakes while donations have been declining.

“People are dropping off animals right and left because of the economy,” she said. “We’re fuller than we’ve ever been on a regular basis.”

Paw It Forward grew out of a social meet-up group for Orange County dog owners the Terrys started in January. The idea was simple: to get people and their pets out of the house and give both species a chance to socialize. They’ve held beach trips, meet-ups at dog-friendly restaurants and even a doggy Easter egg hunt. Owners of all ages attended with pooches of all sizes and breeds.

Within a few months, the Desperate Paws of Orange County Dog Club had ballooned to more than 300 members.

When the Terrys saw how popular the club was becoming, they decided to harness the power for a good cause, Brandi said. They were inspired by a newspaper story about an 8-year-old girl in Irvine who raised $1,300 for animal cancer research by selling bracelets.

The Terrys came up with the idea of raising money through their club and donating it at the end of the year to local no-kill dog shelters.

They began holding raffles and collecting donations at their outings. They put in hours on the Internet to find businesses willing to donate raffle prizes, including passes for Knott’s Berry Farm and tickets to an Angels baseball game. Local restaurants Sharky’s Mexican Woodfired Grill and the Lazy Dog Cafe agreed to donate 10% of the sales from the club’s meet-ups at their businesses.

To date, the club has raised $768. According to cost estimates from various shelters, that amount can fund between 17 and 51 days of care for one dog.

At the end of the year, club members will vote for two shelters that will split the funds.

For some club members, the Paw It Forward message — based on the “pay it forward” concept of getting repaid for a good deed by having it passed on to others — is personal.

Lynne Holley of Laguna Woods and her longhaired Chihuahua Emmie Lou, the newest of her three rescue dogs, were among the 25 dog-and-owner pairs that gathered to chat and eat last week on the outdoor patio of the new, canine-friendly Lazy Dog Cafe in Irvine.

Holley adopted Emmie Lou in January after someone found the Chihuahua rooting around in the trash in a Murrieta commercial district. The dog was in bad shape and appeared to have been nursing recently, but there were neither puppies nor houses anywhere in the vicinity, suggesting that she had been dumped.

Now Emmie Lou lives a pampered life: She arrived at the meet-up in a baby stroller decked out in roses and butterflies that Holley decorated for a parade in the spring.

“She’s the greatest dog in the world, and I’m always telling people it’s trash to treasure,” Holley said.

For more information on the club and the Paw It Forward campaign, see

Oscar-Winner ‘The Cove’ Shows In Japan, Finally!

(ANIMAL MOVIE) — Against enormous odds, “The Cove,” an Oscar-winning film about Taiji, a Japanese dolphin-hunting village, opened on Saturday around Japan amidst protests by furious nationalists. — Global Animal

Associated Press, Jay Alabaster












TOKYO – “The Cove,” an Oscar-winning film about a Japanese dolphin-hunting village, opened Saturday, July 3, around Japan after protests by angry nationalists pressured theaters to cancel earlier showings.

Some of the six small cinemas sold out their initial shows and others were mostly empty. Another 18 are due to begin screening the film at later dates.

At Image Forum, an art theater in Tokyo, about 30 protesters waved Japanese flags and blasted slogans against the film. Police stopped shoving matches between the protesters and a handful of supporters of the showing.

Viewers were undeterred, and the first two showings at the theater were sold out.

“I didn’t know about dolphin hunting. Whether it’s TV or movies, Japanese have a right to know these things,” Tomokazu Toshinai, 32, said as he entered the theater.

Last month, three other theaters canceled planned screenings of the film after noisy protests and a telephone campaign against the movie. Nationalist groups say the U.S.-produced film is anti-Japanese, distorts the truth, and has deep connections with a militant anti-whaling organization.

The issue erupted into a broad debate on freedom of speech. Major newspapers condemned the cancellations in editorials, and prominent film makers, journalists and lawyers urged the theaters not to back down.

Some cinemas are trying to show both sides. A theater in the central city of Nagoya plans to screen “The Cove” along with “Whalers and the Sea,” a 1998 documentary that presents a favorable view of Japanese whaling.

Japanese nationalist groups, known for blasting slogans from truck convoys and handheld loudspeakers, often use noisy protests as an intimidation tactic. The movie’s Japanese distributor, Unplugged Inc., and Yokohama New Theater, a small cinema near Tokyo, obtained court orders to keep protesters away after repeated demonstrations outside their offices.

“The Cove,” which won a 2010 Oscar for best documentary, stars Ric O’Barry, a former trainer for the “Flipper” TV show who is now a dolphin activist. It documents how a group of filmmakers used hidden cameras to capture scenes of a dolphin slaughter in the small fishing village of Taiji.

Taiji’s government and fishing cooperative defend dolphin hunting as a local custom with a long history. Bottlenose dolphins killed in the hunt are not endangered, and hunts are also carried out in other parts of Japan, although very few Japanese have ever eaten dolphin meat.

Fishermen in the village have objected to being shown in the film without their permission. Nationalists say the film has connections to Sea Shepherd, an anti-whaling group that has been labeled a terrorist organization by Japan’s government for its militant actions against Japanese whalers.

The movie includes a sympathetic interview with Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who is now on Interpol’s wanted list at Japan’s request for allegedly masterminding the group’s disruption of Japanese whale hunts in the Antarctic Ocean.

Some information in the movie has been challenged by government officials, and the Japanese version includes a disclaimer saying the data were gathered by and are the responsibility of the film’s creators. The faces of most Japanese in the film have been blurred out.

On Saturday at Image Forum in Tokyo, protesters waved nationalistic flags from World War II and placards saying the film is one-sided and unfairly singles out Japanese while ignoring animal hunts in the West.

“I agree with the protesters here who are saying the way the movie portrayed the theme is rather problematic,” said Yasutomo Maki, 51, a company executive who saw it in Tokyo.

“I think we need to approve freedom of expression. But the question is how far we should stretch it.”

Call the Japanese Embassy in D.C. at 202-238-6700. Click for more info.

Bethune’s Fate To Be Determined In Next 24 Hours

(WILDLIFE) — Peter Bethune has been in jail in Japan since February, after he boarded a japanese whaling ship and attempted to arrest the captain. He faces up to 2 years in prison. — Global Animal

New Zealand Press Association

New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune is expected to hear the Tokyo District Court’s ruling this afternoon on prosecutors’ demands for a two-year jail term for obstructing activities of a Japanese whaling fleet.

Bethune, 45, hopes to receive a suspended sentence, according to his wife Sharyn in Auckland, but has said he is “very nervous”.

“I will accept the verdict, but I do hope to go home soon,” Peter Bethune, a former member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told Kyodo News agency in an interview at Tokyo Detention House.

He pleaded guilty last month to charges relating to the illegal boarding of a Japanese whaling ship, but not guilty to assault, after being held in custody since February, when he boarded the Japanese whaling fleet’s security ship the Shonan Maru II during its annual trip south.

Sharyn Bethune has said she hopes her husband will be able to return to New Zealand – and his daughters Danielle and Alycia – as early as Saturday morning.

If he receives a jail sentence, his family will fly to Japan to see him.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman told NZPA a New Zealand government official would attend the sentencing.

Bethune was captain of the US-based environmentalist group’s futuristic powerboat, the Ady Gil – his former record-setting trimaran Earthrace – which sank after an earlier collision with the Shonan Maru II.

He tried to serve a citizen’s arrest warrant to the captain of the Shonan Maru II over the sinking of his vessel and the attempted murder of him and his crew, but was captured.

“I deeply regret” if someone was injured in the Antarctic Ocean, he said ahead of his ruling tomorrow. “I have nothing against Japanese.”

At his trial in Tokyo, Bethune pleaded guilty to charges including trespassing, vandalism and holding a knife, which he used to cut netting as he climbed onto the ship from a jet ski, but he has denied the assault charge.

He was also accused of causing chemical burns to the face of a whaler with a rancid butter stink bomb and four other charges.

“What I was doing was standing up for New Zealand and Australia,” he told Kyodo.

He stressed that it was “deeply offensive” for the two countries to see the Japanese hunting whales specifically in the Antarctic Ocean, and that he “wouldn’t mind if it is Northern Pacific”.

The Sea Shepherd group has said Bethune would no longer join its actions after taking a bow and arrows on the latest high-seas campaign, contrary to Sea Shepherd’s stance of “aggressive but non-violent direct action”.





Poor Little Rich Dog: Chihuahua Inherits $3 million


(DOG) MIAMI, Fl. – Heiress Gail Posner set up her pet dogs to keep living the high life with a $3 million trust fund. – Global Animal

Time, Megan Gibson

A Miami heiress passes away and bequeaths millions—to her dogs.

Gail Posner, the daughter of the late Victor Posner, passed away in March and left her Miami mansion and a $3 million trust fund to her three dogs, including her beloved Chihuahua, Conchita. Luckily, the “most spoiled dog in the world”, accustomed to living with her own full-time staff and diamond jewelry, won’t be slumming it now that her owner has passed on.

So an eccentric heiress passes away and leaves millions of dollars in property and cash to her pet Chihuahua? It’s not the craziest thing an heiress has ever done, right? There couldn’t be any more to the story could there?

Yes, actually there could!

Ben Carr, Hollywood screenwriter and Posner’s only child, has filed a lawsuit against his mother’s former staff members, accusing them of manipulating her will.

Carr, who was only left $1 million of his mother’s wealth, is apparently suspicious that seven members of his mother’s staff were left a total of $26 million and may stay in the mansion to care for the dogs.

Carr claims staff members, which include body guards and housekeepers, manipulated his mother into publicly spoiling her dog and after drugging her with pain medication they coerced her to change her will in 2008.

It must stink to have your inheritance trumped by your mother’s dogs, but really, blaming the butler is the oldest trick in the book. And this is the woman who once considered buying a Land Rover—just for Conchita. I’d say the outlandish inheritance is definitely plausible. (via the New York Post)