Born Free USA Blog
“Feel free to ask for extended stays if you would like to be more selective or plan on shooting extra animals.” That sentence, disturbing on several levels — from the breezy “feel free” to the pretentious “more selective” to the bacchanalian “shooting extra animals” — is part of a central European hunting tour service’s home Web page.
News coverage of the Aug. 14 off-road race crash that killed eight spectators and injured a dozen others in California’s Mojave Desert focused on a few questions. Why were people allowed to stand practically within arm’s reach of careening, dust-spewing trucks that attained speeds approaching 80 mph? Will the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which owns the land on which the California 200 was contested, continue to issue permits for such events? What are people who enjoy “off-roading” supposed to do with their expensive vehicles if further restrictions are imposed on where they can drive?
I nearly choked on my morning coffee a few Sundays ago when I turned on the local news to see footage of a zebra running down a street not very far from my house. As I quickly turned up the volume on my TV, I learned that two zebras had escaped from their private owners’ property and ran down the streets of Carmichael, being chased by police and filmed by dozens of onlookers.
With the egg recall continuing to expand — some updated (Aug. 23) reports say 550 million eggs have been recalled in several states due to a salmonella threat — shocking facts about one of the main egg producers are now being brought to light. We’ve learned that Jack DeCoster, owner of Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, has had run-ins with regulators over poor or unsafe working conditions, environmental violations, harassment of workers, and the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Tony, a 10 year-old Siberian tiger, has been under the unscrupulous care of Michael Sandlin, owner of Tiger Truck Stop Inc., in Grosse Tete, Louisiana for the past decade. Visitors who come to meet him unfortunately are exposed to an animal in cramped conditions, in a cage with cement floors, even during the hot summer months.
No, this is not one of those strange stories about cross-species love and friendship. It's analogy of the dangers posed by private ownership of exotic, "wild" animals.
A story broke here in Sacramento on Tuesday about a dairy cow that was shot and killed at the California State Fair Grounds. It created a firestorm of complaints and website comments reaching as far away as Australia! Regardless of what the news media reports, the manner in which authorities handled this unfortunate incident is highly questionable to say the least.
Who isn't weary from all the bad news gushing (pun intended!) from the Gulf of Mexico over the last three months? Someone is bound to write a new book—Deep Water Drilling for Dummies. We've become reluctantly familiar with the oil industry jargon describing one failed well-capping procedure after another. Thankfully, according to the most recent reports, the present "cap" is still holding but the real solution is sealing the well deep within the ocean floor. Let's keep our fingers crossed!
Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate
Sadistic thugs and the USDA are birds of a blood-stained feather
Last weekend more than 100 people convened at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, which had suddenly become devoid of Canada Geese. Those citizens had learned, and were justifiably outraged by, the fact that on July 8 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had rounded up some 400 trusting geese, bound them with plastic ties like so many criminals, and then forced them to breathe in lethal doses of carbon dioxide. All of this was done in secrecy, without consultation and without consideration of other means of reducing the goose population, or even if there was a justifiable need to do so.