The fur industry is running out of ways to justify continuing the mass raising and killing of animals like foxes, mink and raccoon dogs for fashion. A new undercover investigation reveals what’s really going on at three fur farms in Finland, two of which are touted as having “the highest level of animal welfare,” according to the fur trade’s SAGA Furs certification program.
Investigators from Humane Society International/UK and Finnish animal campaigners Oikeutta Eläimille brought along veterinarian, Dr. Marc Abraham, on their undercover visit to three Finnish fur farms. The investigators found foxes in small, barren cages suffering with deformed feet, diseased eyes and missing ears. Dr. Abraham noted that the foxes showed signs of self-mutilation, a common symptom of psychological trauma.
Two of the farms held “monster foxes,” who are bred with huge pelts and rolls of fat folded over their bodies in order to increase the volume of fur that can be taken from them. The foxes were bred so large, they were struggling to move because of their weight.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International said in her blog:
“It is truly shocking that the brutal practices that treat these animals as nothing more than objects continue. Investigation after investigation of fur farms has shown amply that there is simply no way to make the fur industry humane, and the past year has also demonstrated that this cruelty risks public health. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been documented on 447 mink fur farms in 12 different countries in Europe and North America since April 2020. Finland is the largest producer of fox fur in Europe and the second largest in the world, rearing and killing as many as two million foxes every year. While some countries and regions have banned fur farming within their borders, their fur imports keep afloat what should be a dying industry.”
The Animal Medical Center (AMC), the world's largest non-profit animal hospital, today announced a $25 million gift from Stephen and Christine Schwarzman that will support the 37,000 square foot expansion and renovation of the hospital. With the Schwarzman's unprecedented donation to both AMC and the field of veterinary care, AMC's 'Gift of Love' campaign has reached $85 million of its $100 million goal.
"Animal Medical Center is a world-class institution and a center of excellence in the veterinary field," said Stephen and Christine Schwarzman. "We're pleased to support this transformative project which will expand the exceptional care available to the New York community and allow AMC to continue innovating for the benefit of all in veterinary medicine."
"We are deeply grateful to Stephen and Christine Schwarzman for their vision, and for their extraordinary generosity," said Kathryn Coyne, President and Chief Executive Officer at AMC. "This game-changing gift will position AMC to meet the increased demand for service, secure new opportunities for research partnerships in human medicine, and to expand educational programming for the veterinary community, well into the future."
The 'Gift of Love' Capital Campaign will create 11,000 square feet of new space and renovate 26,000 SF of existing space to create room for new and expanded services and increased patient demand. Other major support for the campaign includes $5 million gifts from Elaine Langone, Katharine Rayner, Emilia Saint-Amand Krimendahl, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Chris and Bruce Crawford, as well as donations from hundreds across New York City and beyond.
Over the last decade, AMC's caseload has increased by over 50 percent. Built in 1960, the renovated hospital will feature:
- new state-of-the-art operating rooms
- an expanded emergency room, intensive care unit, and special care unit
- a new outdoor dog run and park
- a renovated first-floor lobby
- a new education and conference center
The project is currently underway with expected completion in 2024. In recognition of the gift, the hospital will be renamed the Stephen and Christine Schwarzman Animal Medical Center.
The Animal Medical Center, an iconic New York City institution, is the world's largest and most comprehensive non-profit animal hospital. Founded in 1910 as a temporary clinic to help animals whose owners could not afford medical care, today AMC's over 120 veterinarians work collaboratively across more than 20 specialties and services to treat 60,000 patient visits each year. The hospital maintains the only level one trauma center in the NYC area, and has provided advanced medical training to more veterinarians than any other animal hospital. AMC remains committed to its founding mission of providing care to animals in need through over $4 million in charitable care donated annually.
AKC Reunite, the largest non-profit pet microchip identification and recovery service provider in the United States, is pleased to announce $157,500 in donations to K-9 units at twenty police departments in ten different states through its AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop matching grant program. Funds were raised by contributions from AKC dog clubs and community members, with AKC Reunite matching donations at a three-to-one ratio.
The Adopt a K-9 Cop program allows AKC Reunite to match funds from AKC Clubs, AKC affiliated organizations and the public, three-to-one, up to $7,500 per grant through the Canine Support and Relief fund. These donations help police departments throughout the United States purchase K-9 police dogs. Contributing clubs include the United States Police Canine Association, the Cary Kennel Club, the Trap Falls Kennel Club, the Baytown Kennel Club and the Galveston Kennel Club.
“K-9 units are such an invaluable resource for police departments throughout this country,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite CEO. “The more than $150,000 donated through the Adopt a K-9 Cop matching grant program will help these departments acquire new police dogs, contributing to increased safety in their communities.”
Grants of $7,500 each were donated to the following police departments: Fuquay-Varina Police Department, Apex Police Department and Rocky Mount Police Department in North Carolina, the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa, the Drake County Sheriff's Office and Dayton Police Department in Ohio, the Locust Grove Police Department, Okmulgee County Criminal Justice Authority and Westville Police Department in Oklahoma, the Lower Moreland Township Police Department in Pennsylvania, the Magnolia Police Department, Tomball Police Department, Montgomery County Constable Precinct 5, League City Police Department, Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, Clay County Constable's Office in Texas, the Florence Police Department in Mississippi, the Rockport City Police Department in Indiana and the Waite Park Police Department in Minnesota. Additionally, two grants were awarded to the Bordentown Township Police Department in New Jersey, bringing the grand total of these grants to $157,500.
A total of 70 Adopt a K-9 Cop grants have been awarded since the inception of the program. Learn more about how to get involved in AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop program and see pictures and stories of dogs already donated at https://www.akcreunite.org/k9/.
Alley Cat Allies submitted a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, asking the Court to order Berkeley County Animal Control to act on its legal duty to comply with the law by providing veterinary care for the animals in its shelter. The filing comes after an Alley Cat Allies in-depth investigation revealed that Berkeley County Animal Control intentionally, knowingly and recklessly withheld necessary medical treatment for animals in its shelter, causing extreme suffering and in some cases death. Animal cruelty laws of West Virginia make it a crime “for any person to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly . . . [w]ithhold . . . [m]edical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end the suffering of any animal.”
“West Virginia’s animal cruelty laws apply just as much to Berkeley County Animal Control as to any member of the general public, especially since it is the very public office created to uphold these laws,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Justice for the animals abused in Berkeley County Animal Control is our top priority. The next step for this community is to create a humane animal control agency that adheres to laws and best practices, earns the trust of the community and guarantees real protection for animals.”
Robinson said the case of Newt the cat was among the worst she has seen in over 30 years of work with animal control agencies. Newt was extremely thin, with a grossly thickened, enlarged and discolored tongue and pharyngeal swelling that prevented him from closing his mouth. He was unable to eat or drink because of the swelling, experienced vomiting and diarrhea and was at the Berkeley County Animal Control for 10 days without any medical treatment. Alley Cat Allies removed Newt from animal control in July. Within just a few hours, however, veterinarians determined Newt had to be euthanized because of the severity of his medical conditions and sufferings.
The Alley Cat Allies investigation revealed further neglect by Berkeley County Animal Control involving a dog named Kimberly. Kimberly had a bulging and enlarged eye, with glaucoma, ocular inflammation, corneal ulcer, and an open wound underneath and endured extreme suffering at the Berkeley County Animal Control for eight days in summer 2021 without any medical treatment. The stories of abuse and neglect at the shelter go much further. A dog with a broken leg stayed at the Berkeley County Animal Shelter for multiple days without necessary medical treatment.
Another dog with a ruptured hernia was bleeding so profusely that she had to be moved from kennel to kennel numerous times a day in order for the bloody kennels to be cleaned, and stayed at the Berkeley County Animal Control for 15 to 16 days without necessary medical treatment. This dog was euthanized by Berkeley County Animal Control after suffering 15 or 16 days in its care. Cats with their eyes covered shut with pus-like discharges were also at the Berkeley County Animal Shelter for multiple days without medical treatment.
Alley Cat Allies’ work in Berkeley County continues. New updates about the case will be posted online at alleycat.org and on the Alley Cat Allies YouTube channel.
A new report from Veterinarians.org, a veterinarian location service, examines which states have the most puppy scams.
The ranking is called “Puppies for Sale: The States with the Most Online Puppy Scams,” and it’s based on data reported to the Better Business Bureau during the 10-month period beginning on Jan. 1, 2021.
In all, nearly 3,000 puppy-related scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau during that time frame. That represented an increase of 165 percent from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.
During the pandemic, “a lot of people were turning to animals as a form of therapy,” Lily Velez, the author of the Puppy Scam Report, told CBS DFW.
“And unfortunately, a lot of the scam artists saw an opportunity to put up these fraudulent puppy sites.”
California had the most scams, with 345. The average loss per victim was $733.69.
The Golden State was followed by Texas, with 242 scams and an average loss of $913.20, and Florida, with 219 scams and an average loss of $738.53.
Veterinarians.org also looked at which states had the most puppy scams per 100,000 people. That list was topped by Montana, Colorado and Nevada.
A man saw something out of a nightmare when a deep sea monster washed up on a San Diego beach.
According to KGTV, Jay Beiler was walking on Black's Beach on Nov. 13 when he spotted a scary-looking fish he thought was a jellyfish.
A closer look revealed it was a Pacific footballfish – a fish that lives in the Pacific Ocean at depths of 2,000 to 3,300 feet where sunlight doesn't penetrate, according to the California Academy of Sciences.
They have needle-sharp teeth that point inward, and some male footballfish attach themselves to females as "sexual parasites," losing all their eyes and internal organs except for testes.
“I have never seen anything quite like this before,” Beiler told NBC San Diego. “You know, I go to the beach fairly often, so I’m familiar with the territory, but I’ve never seen an organism that looked quite as fearsome as this.”
Pacific footballfish are a part of the anglerfish species that can grow over 3 feet long and weigh up to 110 pounds, according to National Geographic.
Ben Frable, collection manager at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told NBC San Diego that the last time a member of its species was found on a San Diego beach was in 2001.
He told the outlet he planned to find the footballfish seen by Beiler, but crabs and seagulls most likely got to the deep sea creature first.
"We don’t know much about the biology of these fishes, and that's one of the reasons we would like people to let us know when they find one on the beach so we can potentially learn a little bit more,” Frable told NBC San Diego.
Police in a Vermont town and nearby sections of New Hampshire are searching for a dog believed to be named “Ruby” that is thought to have killed some chickens.
The Norwich Police Department has requested the names of all dogs licensed under the name of Ruby in the nearby town of Hartford and the New Hampshire communities of Hanover and Lebanon. But so far, Norwich police have been unable to locate the owner of the dog believed to have attacked the hen house owned by Norwich resident Eric Picconi on Nov. 15. Four chickens were killed.
Norwich police say the search is ongoing.
You might be seeing more wildlife in city areas during the winter when animals are searching for food. But when should you report a wildlife sighting of deer, moose, bears, or cougars? The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources contributed to this report on how to stay safe around wildlife this winter. The DWR explained that Utah wildlife commonly migrates to city areas to look for food. Cougars prey mostly on deer, so they follow the deer into the valleys. It may seem like these types of sightings are increasing. Some reasons why according to the DWR:
- Increased construction in the foothill and canyon areas, infringing on animal habitats.
- Increased use of camera doorbells and security cameras, which detect previously unseen animals.
The DWR advised keeping your distance from animals for both your safety and the wellbeing of the animal. “Getting too close to a wild animal can cause the animal to feel threatened, “If it feels threatened, it will sometimes act aggressively to protect itself,” said DWR Law Enforcement Section Chief Wyatt Bubak. He also explained that chasing wildlife can eat away at precious reserves of energy the animals need to survive. “Constantly harassing or chasing species such as moose and deer cause them to use up some of the essential fat reserves and energy they need to survive,” explained Bubak. Feeding animals is highly discouraged for several reasons. This can spread disease among wildlife and harm them by giving them food not naturally found in their winter diets.
Cougars are scattered usually in the foothill and canyon areas but can come down in the valleys particularly in the wintertime. Report a cougar sighting if:
- It has killed something in a neighborhood or yard
- The animal acts aggressively
- It appears nearby on your security cameras more than one time.
- One-time sightings may mean the cougar has already moved through the area, meaning conservation officers won’t be able to find it.
Black Bears are the only species of bear currently found in Utah. Bears are usually hibernating from November through March, so winter sightings are unlikely. They can be found in similar areas to cougars: foothills, canyons, and similar terrain. Report a bear sighting if:
- It acts aggressively
- The bear gets into trash or fruit trees
- It causes property damage
- The animal has wandered into lower-elevation areas within city limits or in densely populated places
Moose are commonly found in foothill areas as well. Report a moose sighting if:
- It has wandered into lower-elevation or city areas
- It has become aggressive
- Moose can get aggressive around dogs in particular
Avoid approaching moose or trying to herd them out of yards or roads. Call DWR to help safely relocate the animal. You never know where moose will show up in the winter.
Report a deer sighting only if it’s hit and killed by a vehicle in a neighborhood or is found dead in a yard or park. In these cases, contact your nearest DWR office to remove it.
Buck deer may be aggressive during breeding season. Simply sighting a deer in an urban area isn’t cause to call DWR.
You may see hawks, eagles, and the like on the side of the road.
These sitting birds may seem injured, but they’re often resting after eating and can’t fly for a short period. Report a bird of prey sighting if:
- It’s at risk of being hit by a vehicle
- It has an obvious injury
Grey wolves were an endangered species until January 4, 2021. They’re now managed under a statewide management plan. Currently, no known wolf packs exist in Utah, but wolves can be found in various locations throughout the state. Report any potential wolf sightings as soon as possible to the DWR to help them better manage the wolves in Utah.
The first cases of COVID-19 in Canadian wildlife have been discovered in three white-tailed deer, a press release from Environment and Climate Change Canada reports.
The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the detections on Nov. 29 but the deer were sampled between Nov. 6 to 8 in the Estrie region of Quebec. The deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease and were “all apparently healthy.”
“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” the press release states.
“The finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”
The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified about the discovery on Dec. 1.
The department is urging added precaution – like wearing a well-fitted mask – when exposed to “respiratory tissues and fluids from deer.”
The virus has been found in multiple animal species globally including farmed mink, cats, dogs, ferrets, and zoo animals such as tigers, lions, gorillas, cougars, otters and others.
“Recent reports in the United States have revealed evidence of spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to wild white-tailed deer, with subsequent spread of the virus among deer. There has been no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from deer to humans at this time,” the release reads.
The wolf, known as OR93, was found dead on Interstate 5 about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, near the town of Lebec, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.
Foul play isn’t suspected, the department said.
OR93 was born in northern Oregon in 2019. After he was outfitted with a radio collar a year later, he was captured traveling to California's Central Coast — the first wolf to be reported there in hundreds of years, said Amaroq Weiss, an advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization.
"I’m devastated to learn of the death of this remarkable wolf,” Weiss said in a statement. “His epic travels across California inspired the world. In this annual time of reflection, I thank him for the hope he gave us and for a brief glimpse into what it would be like for wolves to roam wild and free again."
By April, OR93 had arrived in California's San Luis Obispo County, nearly 1,000 miles south of his birthplace. Then, his radio collar stopped working, prompting the San Francisco Chronicle to contemplate the whereabouts of this "young roaming gray wolf" who was "probably looking for love" and eluding wildlife officials while doing so.
In his search for a mate, Weiss said, OR93 was captured on a trail camera even farther south, in Kern County, where his body would be found. In September, he was seen in northern Ventura County.
The last time a wolf was documented that far south was in 1922, wildlife officials said, when one was seen in San Bernardino County.
"I always knew the odds of his finding another wolf on the Central Coast were slim to none, but his relentless wanderings seeking a kindred spirit connected him to the hearts of so many," Weiss said. "He won’t be forgotten, and we’ll honor his memory by continuing to fight for the safety of wolves everywhere.”
Gray wolves, which are native to California, were killed off a century ago. About 20 are now believed to live in two northern counties, Weiss said.
Weiss pointed to OR93’s death as a reminder of the impact of development and sprawl on the habitats of native animals and called for the construction of effective wildlife crossings, including underpasses and overpasses.
A detective in Florida investigating the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s second husband said Thursday that the “Tiger King” star had three times refused requests for interviews, and that the probe was ongoing.
Cpl. Moises Garcia of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa held a news conference to provide an update on the investigation into Don Lewis’ disappearance.
The case was reopened following the March 2020 release of “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a Netflix documentary series which became a huge hit during the pandemic.
Lewis was a Tampa millionaire who vanished in 1997, leaving Baskin with dozens of big cats at their animal sanctuary. The series launched rumors about how Lewis disappeared, including conjecture that he was buried in a septic tank on the sanctuary’s property or living in Costa Rica.
The detective said he and his investigators had conducted 50 interviews and followed up on 200 leads.
Italian luxury fashion house Armani has confirmed it will not use Angora in future collections, starting from the 2022-23 autumn/winter season. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said to be the largest animal rights organization in the world, celebrated the news today.
According to the charity, the public is ready to take a stance against the Angora industry, which is rife with animal welfare concerns.
In 2013, undercover investigators conducted an exposé involving 10 different Angora farms in China. The country produces around 90 percent of the world’s Angora wool.
The footage shows workers holding rabbits by the necks against boards, ripping fistfulls of fur from their bodies. The animals were left “screaming in pain,” PETA said.
According to the Independent, fur is taken from more than 50 million rabbits a year in China. The Angora trade involves hand-plucking hair from rabbits. Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission. “Today’s socially conscious fashion consumers want nothing to do with an industry that rips the hair out of fully conscious rabbits’ bodies,” said PETA Vice President of International Programmes, Mimi Bekhechi.
“PETA is celebrating Armani’s decision to extend their no-fur policy to include Angora, and encourages all designers still using it to get with the times.”
Armani Group, which operates brands like Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, EA7, and Armani Exchange, banned other types of fur in 2016. Since then, the company has flirted with various animal-free designs, using vegan alternatives to leather and fur.
Armani isn’t alone in its decision to ditch Angora. A slew of other fashion companies have banned the animal product, including Gucci, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Diane von Furstenberg, Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Stella McCartney.
Police officers and rescuers from Dog Meat Free Indonesia intercepted a truck being driven by a suspected dog meat trader, and saved the lives of 52 dogs on their way to slaughter. A man suspected of being a dog meat trader on the Indonesian island of Java has been arrested, and a delivery truck packed with 53 dogs was intercepted, as part of the country’s first-ever large-scale police raid on an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse. The sting operation took place in the early hours of the morning on November 24 as the truck loaded with 53 terrified dogs arrived at a slaughterhouse. Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) rescuers found the dogs tied up in hessian sacks, their mouths tightly bound with string and cable ties. Most of the dogs were emaciated and less than one year of age. One dog had sadly died on the grueling journey.
Lola Webber, from DMFI member group Humane Society International, was one of the first on the scene. She described the moment she and her team rescued the dogs. “My heart was pounding in my chest as we approached the truck because I could hear the dogs’ pitiful whimpering and then saw them all tied up in sacks, their soft muzzles squeezed shut with wire. They were extremely traumatized and frightened.” Webber explained that many of the rescued dogs were still wearing collars, indicating they were likely stolen pets grabbed from the streets. This is only the second major dog meat trade bust by police in Indonesia, marking what DMFI hopes signals a turning point in their campaign to see the brutal and dangerous trade banned nationwide. Despite a national government pledge to crack down on the dog meat trade, it has been isolated regional governments and regencies that have so far taken the initiative to end the trade. Some regencies and cities have passed explicit bans in their jurisdictions, and DMFI hopes that another arrest and eventual prosecution will send a strong signal to other dog traders that their activities are illegal and will be punished.
Last month a dog trader caught by Kulon Progo District Police was sentenced to 10 months in jail and a $10,000 fine after authorities intercepted his truck illegally transporting 78 dogs from West Java for slaughter and human consumption throughout Central Java. Mr. Tarjono Sapto Nugroho, Head of Crime Investigation of Sukoharjo police said, “dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and is strictly prohibited by Islamic law. Dog meat consumption is considered culture by some, but cultures evolve and so must we. So we initiated this interception and confiscation to protect our communities and to support the Central Javan government’s efforts to eradicate the dog meat eating culture and trade.”
The 52 dogs rescued alive from the truck received emergency veterinary treatment from the DMFI team before traveling to DMFI’s temporary shelter where they will receive loving care to get them back to health. The chances of reuniting them with their families is slim, but DMFI will make their best efforts. The plan is that some of the dogs will be adopted locally among Indonesia’s passionate dog-loving community, while others will be flown to Humane Society International’s temporary shelter in Canada from where the organization hopes to find them forever homes. Opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Indonesians don’t eat dog meat, with a mere 4.5% of the population doing so, and 93% of Indonesians in support of a ban nationwide. Police anticipate the driver of the truck will be prosecuted later this year for violating the Law of The Republic of Indonesia Number 41 Year 2014, Article 89, regarding Animal Husbandry and Animal Health, with penalties of at least two years and maximum five years imprisonment, and/or a fine ($10,500 USD). ++++++++++++++++++++