NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Smoking Orangutan Draws Outrage, Legislators Seek to Mandate Factory Farm Egg Sales – March 2 - March 9, 2018

  Ozon, a Bornean orangutan, smokes a cigarette while trapped in his zoo enclosure.

Ozon, a Bornean orangutan, smokes a cigarette while trapped in his zoo enclosure.

By Matt Johnson

SMOKING ORANGUTAN VIDEO GOES VIRAL, DRAWS CRITICISM FROM ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

Millions are reacting strongly -- ranging from humor to outrage -- to recent video of an orangutan smoking in an enclosure in an Indonesian zoo. about 1 million people have signed up to a Change.org petition to "Shut down the Bandung Zoo now!" following the incident. No word on petitioners’ thoughts on the concept of zoos themselves, or of animals used for other purposes. Lots of passionate regarding primate substance abuse though. Sigh. (ABC News, March 8, 2018)

ELEPHANT TROPHY DECISION FACES PUSHBACK FROM TRUMP ALLIES

The Trump administration’s decision to reverse course on an Obama-era ban on African elephant trophy imports is facing pushback from some allies of President Trump. Conservative radio host Michael Savage said, “I explained that the root of ‘conservative’ is the same as ‘conservation’ and the two do not need to be diametrically opposed.”
Animal rights has never been particularly politicized -- a blessing or a curse, depending on the context -- and stories like this suggest activists have outreach opportunities beyond the vegan/environmental/progressive pigeonhole. (The Hill, March 8, 2018)

MIAMI MONKEY IMPORTER ATTEMPTS TO FRAME ANIMAL ACTIVISTS BY MAILING WHITE POWDER TO HIMSELF

The animal rights terrorists are at it again! You know, the ones ranked by the FBI as the nation’s leading domestic terror threat, despite a historical tally of zero human deaths.

Matthew Block, founder of a company which imports primates for research, attempted to undermine activists’ efforts by sending himself a threatening letter with white powder. Investigators later discovered his DNA on the seal strip and prosecuted.

Meanwhile, activists insist they’re lawfully exercising their free speech rights, and now, getting a whole lot more attention on the issue. As is often the case, repression works against itself and in the favor of disciplined, thoughtful activism. (Miami Herald, March 9, 2018)

ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS FAIL IN BID TO REMOVE EVENTS FROM HAYWARD RODEO

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board voted 4-1 on March 1 to include “wild cow milking” and “mutton busting” events, as well as the use of electric prods on horses at the rodeo, in its Animal Welfare Policy for rodeos. Judging by the images of a crowd with lots of cowboy hats, and the fact that this wasn’t discussed in our local community, this might have been a missed opportunity where we could have better represented animals’ voices for a better result. (East Bay Times, March 9, 2018)

GLENN GREENWALD AND THE INTERCEPT AGAIN CALLING OUT ANIMAL AG POLITICKING

In the wake of studies and investigations (including DxE’s) revealing that “cage-free” and “free range” might not mean much for animal welfare, the creative PR minds of animal ag have come up with a new, somewhat opposite approach: *mandatory* battery cage eggs for sale! Framed as an effort to to provide affordable “protein” to low-income consumers, the measure glosses over the inherent wastefulness and destruction of an industry propped up by subsidy, feeding 10-15 times the (plant-based) caloric volume to animals to turn into what they fight so fiercely to maintain. (The Intercept, March 2, 2018)