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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior."

-- Hippolyte Adolphe Taine

Plato, a three-year-old Siamese cat, was recently successfully reunited with his former owner, Erin DeBoard (See photo below), after having been missing for more than a year. The reunion was made possible because a microchip about the size of a grain of rice had been implanted in his shoulder before he was adopted in August of 2003 from the Monterey County SPCA in California.

As it is now known, Plato was picked up off the streets of Monterey by an unidentified couple shortly after he disappeared from DeBoard's household. Since he had been injured, he was taken to a veterinarian who patched him up but did not scan him for a microchip. He continued to live with his new caregivers for more than a year but when they relocated to Portland, Oregon, they cruelly and irresponsibly abandoned him on April 30th to the mercy of the Oregon Humane Society (OHS).

A routine scan of the cat revealed the existence of the chip and DeBoard was contacted. She promptly drove seven-hundred-forty miles to Portland and reclaimed Plato on May 2nd. "I was just in shock because I thought he was dead," the happy owner told KGW-TV in Portland (See "Micro-Chip Reunites Cat in PDX with Calif. Owner.") Like his illustrious namesake, Plato (See photo below) seems to have weathered his many trials and tribulations with philosophical equanimity.

Meanwhile, Susan Mentley of the OHS has been hard pressed to restrain herself from extolling the merits of RFID technology. "It's a great day here when we get to reunite pets and their owners -- it's also a great reason why every pet should have a microchip ID," she is quoted as saying on her organization's web site.

In spite of Mentley's effusive praise, microchips have only a limited utility. As this case demonstrates, they are totally useless if veterinarians, animal control, and shelter personnel do not look for them. Even some of the shelters that do scan incoming cats and dogs for microchips wait until after they have already anesthetized them for extermination. In such cases, there is not any guarantee that they would be willing to cancel their death warrants at the last minute even if microchips are found. (See Cat Defender post of May 11, 2006 entitled "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.") Also, just as vaccinations can sometimes lead to the development of deadly cancers (Vaccine Associated Sarcomas), the implantation of microchips, like all invasive procedures, is not one-hundred per cent safe.

Once a cat is out of sight he or she is exposed to a multitude of dangers that run the gamut from theft to malice aforethought. Since it is impossible for owners to be with their cats all the time, they must balance a cat's need for freedom on the one hand with the dangers associated with the exercise of that freedom on the other hand. Even cats locked inside are not completely safe because accidents do happen even at home and careless visitors (building inspectors, landlords, etc.) can let them escape.

Despite their obvious limitations, microchips sometimes do work miracles as the cases of Plato and Cheyenne (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.") have demonstrated. In the final analysis, there is not any substitute for close personnel supervision when it comes to feline safety.

Photos: KGW-TV, Portland (Plato and DeBoard) and Oregon Humane Society (Plato).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Belgian Ritual of Tossing Stuffed Cats from a Belfry Makes a Jest of the Hideous Crimes of Capitalists and Catholics

In the confectioneries, marzipan was molded into feline images. In other shops, there were souvenirs, posters, brochures, masks, and postcards celebrating cats. Locals and tourists alike had their faces painted so that they might look like cats for a day. Folk music filled the air and in the cafes and bars good Belgian beer flowed freely.

In the street, as many as 2,400 colorfully-attired cat dancers (See photo above) entertained the crowd. There were stilted giants, buglers, banners, marching bands, and elaborate floats. As it is traditional, the beloved Cieper, king of cats (See photo below on the right), was in attendance as was his lovely spouse, Minneke Poes, the queen of cats (See photo below on the left). Costumed characters paid homage to the musical "Cats" and even Jim Davis' Garfield (See photo below) put in an appearance. Local politicians and big-shot capitalists, as indespensable to public ceremonies as VD is to unprotected sex, waved to the crowd from convertibles.

The highlight of the day was, however, Kattenworp, or the throwing of toy cats made of velvet and polyester from the two-hundred-thirty-foot bell tower of historic Cloth Hall by a jester (See photo farther down on the page) to the waiting throngs gathered below on the cobblestones of Grote Markt. The cats used to be stuffed with money but when the competition became too violent this practice had to be discontinued. A little later in the evening witches were burned in effigy (See photo at the bottom of the page) and the crowd was treated to a pyrotechnics display.

The occasion was the forty-first edition of Kattenstoet, or cats' parade, which was held May 14th in Ieper (Ypers), a small town of 36,000 residents in northwest Belgium, two-hundred-forty kilometers (75 miles) from Brussels. The town, which was completely destroyed when the German and English armies clashed there at the battle of Flanders Fields during World War I, has since been rebuilt to resemble the quaint medieval town that it was before the carnage. The In Flanders Fields Museum, dedicated to keeping alive the memory of the "war to end all wars," is located inside Cloth Hall. The tossing of stuffed cats from the belfry of Cloth Hall began in 1938 and a parade was added in 1946. Although the parade used to be an annual event, it lately has been scaled back to a triennial affair which is always held on the second Sunday in May.

While Kattenstoet is ostensibly a celebration of cats, all the pomp and ceremony cannot obliterate the memory of the horrible crimes that the city's merchants and the Catholic Church have committed against them in the past. Tant pis, although it is not known how cats are treated in modern-day Belgium, it is quite possible that some ailurophobes might use Kattenworp as a justification for harming felines.

During the Middle Ages, Ieper was a thriving textile town with eighty-thousand residents. In 1304, Cloth Hall was built in order to store wool and other linens and cats were accordingly employed to guard the fabrics from rodents. Once the cats began to multiply, the capitalists came up with an ingenious way to get rid of them and to have some fun at the same time. Thus, the odious practice of Kattenworp was introduced, only it was live cats which were tossed to their deaths from Cloth Hall's belfry.

The textile manufacturers' predatory capitalism was aided and abetted by the Catholic Church which along about this time had declared cats to be the familiars of witches. This provided the spiritual justification for Catholics to burn and beat to death millions of defenseless cats. Moreover, the Catholics' mass extermination scheme was so successful that by the time the bubonic plague struck there were too few cats left alive to check the rodent population which spread the deadly virus; consequently, one-quarter of Europe perished as the result of the "black death." To this day, the Catholic Church had never atoned for this despicable episode in its history.

As for Kattenworp, it survived from the fourteenth century up until 1817 and surely must have claimed the lives of at least hundreds of thousands of cats. This odious practice remains to this day not only a monument to the thankless and homicidal nature of capitalism, but also a reminder of the hypocritical and, at times, demonic nature of Catholicism.

Although Kattenstoet and its related events are no doubt intended as harmless amusement for locals and tourists as well as a money-making enterprise for the business community, the killing of cats and the alleged burning of witches is nothing for Ieper or any other community to be proud of or to celebrate. What the citizens of Ieper have done to cats in the past is despicable and if their descendants had any decency they would be too ashamed of themselves to even mention these atrocities, let alone celebrate and make money off of them. It is not known if any alleged witches were ever burned in medieval Ieper, but there is absolutely nothing amusing about this sorry chapter in western history.

According to local legend, cats enjoyed a far different status in Ieper before the arrival of textile manufacturing and Catholicism. Writing in the May 4th European edition of Stars and Stripes, Jane Traendly states that in pagan times a giant statue of a cat stood where Cloth Hall is now located. (See "Belgium's Cat Parade: Once Cruel, Now Just Playful.") As if in acknowledgement of the city's non-Christian past, the parade features a float bearing a costumed likeness of the Norse goddess Freyja in a chariot being pulled by two cats. Egyptian maus are also honored. (For a discussion of the perils faced by maus today, see Cat Defender post of April 13, 2006 entitled "Once Worshiped as Gods, Maus Are Now Being Poisoned to Death by Egyptian Authorities.")

The warlike and fatalistic Norse lived short and violent lives but the picture that emerges from both folklore and what little remains of the historical record that the conquering Catholics did not obliterate is that they at least had a modicum of respect for Mother Earth and the animals. It is hard to say the same for Catholics who still to this very day toss animals to their deaths from church steeples in Spain and use them as sacrifices in the Philippines. Moreover, although they never pass up an opportunity to condemn abortion, most Catholics are not only carnivores but also supporters of pet genocide.

Rather than reveling in the barbarism of the Middle Ages, it would be far preferable if the citizens of Ieper were to establish a permanent memorial in Grote Markt in honor of all the cats that their ancestors so horribly executed. This symbolic beginning should be accompanied by Ieper's dedicating itself to the abolition of all forms of animal abuse, especially pet genocide.

Flanders has been rocked recently by a spate of racially motivated crimes and the xenophobic separatist party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) has been gaining in popularity. (See Washington Post, May 20, 2006, "Belgians Seek Roots of Racist Crimes.") It therefore seems clear that Ieper would be far better served by promoting tolerance amongst its divergent groups rather than by reenacting the burning of witches.

Photos: Niko Deleu. All pictures are from the 2003 parade.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators

Two remarkable events occurred last week in Kansas City. First of all, five prominent area veterinarians not only came forward and rebutted the persistent avalanche of lies spread by bird advocates, wildlife proponents, and ailurophobes, but they also had the courage to break ranks with the cat-hating American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Secondly, although anti-cat screeds from the bird lobby are the norm within the capitalist media, in this instance a major American newspaper actually published an article defending feral cats (See photo above).

Although the national media and most state and federal politicians have chosen to ignore the issue, the debate over feral cats has been raging in thousands of cities across the land for quite a number of years. So far, cat-haters have pretty much had things their way. They have slandered and libeled cats with impunity year after year while cat advocates have been hard pressed to find a media outlet willing to allow them to get in a word edgewise.

The debate in Kansas City was ignited by an April 22nd article in The Kansas City Star which provided a venue for every ailurophobe and his brother to attack cats. (See "Metro Area Struggles with Feral Cats.") First of all, Michael Hutchins of the Wildlife Society was brought in from Washington to declare that all feral cats should be killed. This position was, quite naturally, endorsed by Mike Schumacher of the Kansas City Animal Shelter. Ted Coles, president of the Kansas City Veterinary Medical Association, was also allotted space to promote the AVMA's often repeated mantra that feral cats should either be exterminated or imprisoned in large enclosures.

Normally, that is all the public ever hears from the capitalist media: one side of the story. In a rare victory for cat-lovers, veterinarians Sheila Dodson (See photo below) of Merriam, Cindy Risen of Overland Park, Dan Hecker of Kansas City, and J.C. Burcham and Michelle Chappell of Olathe penned a response to the cat-haters and, more miraculously, The Kansas City Star actually printed it on May 8th (See "The Best Option for Feral Cats.")

Wading headlong into the fray, lead author Dodson made short shrift of the charge that cats are a major threat to birds by citing no less of an authority than the National Audubon Society. According to that group's literature, development, destruction of forests and wetlands, climate change, pollution, pesticides, collisions with buildings and communications towers, and wind farms are the major sources of avian mortality. Also, lawn pesticides kill an astonishing seven million birds each year! If bird advocates were anything other than total frauds they would be working to curb development, consumerism, and pollution instead of trying to kill cats.

Despite Hutchins' lies, cats are not among the top ten threats to wildlife. Since however bird advocates have been so successful in demonizing cats, wildlife proponents are now jumping on the anti-cat bandwagon. Attacking cats not only allows both groups to avoid confronting the real issues that are destroying Mother Earth and the animals, but their demagoguery also serves to keep cat-haters in a perpetual lather and thus willing to fork over another donation.

From that stellar beginning, Dodson then proceeded to refute the claim that feral cats are unhealthy disease-carriers. Au contraire, a high percentage of the thousands of wild cats that she and her colleagues have desexed at No More Homeless Pets Kansas City appear to be healthy. More importantly and contrary to the arguments advanced by the disreputable Coles, the quintet has found no greater incidence of either feline leukemia or FIV in feral cats than in domesticated felines. Furthermore, feral cats are no more likely to transmit these diseases to other cats than are cats that are kept as pets. Regarding the hysteria occasioned by Vogelgrippe, Dodson points out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not found a solitary case of cats transmitting H5N1 to humans.

Finally, Dodson and her colleagues endorse trap, neuter, and return (TNR) as the only logical method of dealing with homeless cats. In doing so, she dismisses Coles' recommendation that they be rounded up and imprisoned in an enclosure as not only impractical but too costly as well.

By their willingness to stand up to bird and wildlife advocates, shelter workers who exterminate 25,000 cats and dogs in the Kansas City area each year, and the AVMA, the quintet has rendered an invaluable service to cats and their defenders everywhere. They did err, however, in not stressing the immorality of killing cats and other animals. Cats have just as much of a right to life and liberty as do all animals, man included.

Despite the veterinarians' conscientious stand, the cat-haters are not going to go away. In fact, more and more of them are crawling out from under rocks every day. On May 13th, The Kansas City Star undid the good that it had done by publishing Dodson's piece when it printed an article by Paul Klawinski (See photo above) equating cats to rats which should be exterminated. (See "Some Cats also Can Be Pests.") When he is not bashing cats, Klawinski teaches evolution and ecology at William Jewell, a right-wing Christian college in Liberty, MO. His specialty is reptiles, however, and with his shaved head and sunglasses there is most definitely a discernible resemblance.

In addition to Klawinski, the AVMA, shelters, Animal Control, and the Wildlife Society, there are numerous other individuals and groups intent upon eradicating cats, both feral and domestic, from the face of the earth. Chiefly among these groups are the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, and National Wildlife. Saving the cats is going to be a long hard bloody fight, but Dodson's support proves that not everyone has been bamboozled into believing the ailurophobes' lies.

Photos: Missouri Chapter of Best Friends (gray cat) and The Kansas City Star (Dodson and Klawinski).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida

"... the unfortunate feline species seemed to be fair game for every kind of cruelty and neglect. They shot cats, threw things at them, starved them and set their dogs on them for fun."

-- James Herriot, Cat Stories

During the Middle Ages it was the Catholic Church which hunted them down and massacred them with impunity. Today, it is bird advocates who live by the creed that the only good cat is a dead one. Wildlife proponents and just plain old inveterate cat-haters likewise never pass up an opportunity to do them harm. Despite all of the evil that those groups do, it is animal shelters which kill the most cats. In the United States it is estimated that they exterminate ten million felines and seven million dogs each year.

More alarmingly, very few people care. A good case in point was Gary White's April 2nd story in The Ledger which, although intended to engender sympathy for the mass murderers who operate the SPCA's shelter in Lakeland, Florida, instead revealed the utter immorality, cruelty, and twisted thinking of all shelter employees. (See "Euthanizing Thousands of Animals a Year Takes Toll on Shelter Workers.") Even if the kill rates provided by The Ledger are not gross undercounts, which is likely, the statistics are nonetheless nothing short of horrific. Although the SPCA did place 4,000 pets in new homes last year, it simultaneously exterminated 6,566 cats and dogs. That is an average of eighteen exterminations per day! Polk County Animal Control admits to having killed another 14,000 pets last year, but the Humane Society of Polk County has refused to disclose how many animals that it killed. Veterinarians throughout the central Florida county of 500,000 residents also kill untold numbers of cats and dogs.

The SPCA enumerates disease, wildness, and overcrowding as justifications for operating its modern day version of an Auschwitz for pets. In other words, whenever it is convenient for it to kill a cat or a dog it does so in spite of the fact that it pretends to be a protector of animal life.

Sick and injured animals should receive medical attention and wild ones should either be socialized or sent to a sanctuary. Since overcrowding is a perennial problem at all animal shelters, the SPCA should spend its precious shekels on constructing expanded quarters rather than on deadly drugs and the training of exterminators. For instance, the Lakeland SPCA employs eight technicians that it pays to undergo sixteen hours of training in order to be certified as mass murderers.

The murder of an unnamed four-year-old injured black male cat by SPCA director Patt Glenn (See photo) is illustrative of the types of senseless killings which the SPCA carries out eighteen times a day at its Lakeland facility. The cat, totally innocent and minding its own business, was trapped at the Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport in the morning and immediately brought to the shelter. Upon arrival, Glenn tested his suitability for adoption by first thrusting an ink pen into his cage and then by holding up a gloved hand to the bars. When, however, she attempted to remove him from his cage he bit her gloved hand. Based upon that solitary act of aggression as well as his truncated tail and a small wound below his left eye, she declared him to be feral and unadoptable.

Although the test used by Glenn is pretty much standard at shelters all across the country, it is a nonsensical test without a shred of validity. Cats are hunters by nature and any fool knows that they will attempt to grab anything thrust at them. Secondly, all imprisoned cats are justifiably frightened to death so it is to be expected that they will bite and scratch under such circumstances. Moreover, his previously incurred injuries should be treated, not used as an excuse to sign his death warrant.

Life on the street is rough and he could have been injured in any one of a number of circumstances. Scratches, wounds, and other injuries do not necessarily mean that a cat is aggressive and unsociable any more than would the discovery of a man bleeding in the street imply the same; victims of violence bleed and bruise even more easily than do their attackers. The SPCA, however, does not have any time or patience for such subtleties.

The point is moot anyway because shelters do not have any right to kill cats or any other animals in the first place. These so-called wildness tests are administered simply to provide the mass murderers with a rationale in order to justify their crimes. It is also important to remember that they earn a good living committing these crimes.

Having failed Glenn's bogus test, the poor cat is next anesthetized with a jab of ketamine to his flank. The cat's cage is then covered with a towel allegedly in order to shield him from seeing any "unfamiliar sights," but the more likely reason is that Glenn does not have the stomach to watch him slip into unconsciousness. While the drug is doing its dirty work, Glenn busies herself filling out the necessary paperwork for the political hacks at the Food and Drug Administration. On the form provided, she lists the date, drugs administered, and then writes "F" for feral as the reason for the extermination. Finally, she proudly initials her handiwork and daydreams about the fat paycheck she is going to receive.

Three minutes later, the cat is out cold and although his tiny eyes remain open, his pupils are dilated. Glenn squeezes his toes in order to make sure that he is unconscious and then prepares a syringe of sodium pentobarbital.

Before polishing off her latest victim, she pauses to belatedly scan the cat for a microchip. In the unlikely event that one be found, she would perhaps revive him. This is, of course, not only cruel and inhumane but stupid as well. The cat should have been scanned upon arrival but Glenn and her staff had most likely already made up their minds to kill him from the outset or they were either too lazy or too chicken to scan a cat not under sedation.

Sadly, in this instance, no microchip was found so Glenn plunged a needle full of sodium pentobarbital directly into his tiny heart and held it there until it stopped beating and he stopped breathing. She could have just as easily looked for a vein but mass murderers want to inflict as much pain as is possible upon their victims. If the truth be known, she probably gets a kick out of killing cats.

The cat is then stuffed into a black trash bag, refrigerated, and later dumped at a landfill, out of sight and out of mind. To Glenn and her co-workers exterminating cats and dogs is really no different than slicing up vegetables and tossing the waste into the trash. They are, in reality, far worse than the Adolf Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world.

The SPCA derives its name from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which was founded in England in 1840. On April 10, 1866, Henry Bergh founded the American SPCA (ASPCA) which, although headquartered in New York City, has chapters around the country. Most organizations which operate under the SPCA moniker do not have any affiliation with either the Royal SPCA or the ASPCA, but are instead either independent organizations or private groups which contract out their services to local municipalities. Similar arrangements exist in many foreign countries.

The Lakeland chapter was founded in 1979 by volunteers and today operates on a combination of private donations and public funding. On its web site it states: "We are focused on reducing pet overpopulation and indiscriminate breeding to eliminate the euthanasia of thousands of unwanted pets annually." It is conspicuously silent, however, on the immorality of murdering animals.

The lives of animals will never be protected until fraudulent animal rights groups such as the Lakeland SPCA are exposed for what they are and forced to answer in a court of law for their crimes. Secondly, the responsibility for the care and protection of all animals must be taken away from the politicians and their bought and paid for stooges (Animal Control, SPCA, etc.) and instead placed under the control of genuine animal defenders. Any person or group who refuses to acknowledge the inalienable right of all animals to life and liberty is a fraud.

There is not anything positive that can ever be said about the corporate media and The Ledger's cavalier treatment of shelter animals is another disgusting example of the harm done by capitalist propaganda. The Ledger, of course, is not alone in trumpeting the cause of shelter workers at the expense of defenseless, innocent animals. For instance, last September the Washington Post published an article defending the mass murderers at the Loudoun County Animal Shelter in Virginia. (See Cat Defender post of September 30, 2005 entitled "Morally Bankrupt Washington Post Pens a Love Letter to Shelter Workers Who Exterminate Cats and Dogs.") Jumping on the bandwagon, The Austin Chronicle last November published an article defending the exterminators at the Town Lake Shelter. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2005 entitled "Texas Newspaper Defends Pet Genocide by Publishing Graphic Photos of Shelter Workers Exterminating a Dog.")

From this it is clear that the capitalist media share the SPCA's opinion that homeless pets are nuisances that should be gotten rid of as expeditiously as possible. They are accordingly ready, willing, and able to lend their considerable resources and influence to mass murderers everywhere. It is therefore not surprising that neither The Ledger, the Washington Post, nor The Austin Chronicle have ever expressed an iota of compassion for the millions of animals slaughtered at shelters each year.

Patt Glenn and her cohorts do not deserve sympathy; au contraire, it is the four-year-old black cat that they murdered who is deserving of the public's compassion. He did not commit any crime other than that of daring to be born and even that was not his fault. Nor, did he receive any due process. Instead, he was rounded up and exterminated by the monsters at the SPCA who were cheered on at each step of the way by the The Ledger.

It is too late for him now as he lies decomposing in a landfill with his brothers and sisters of the feline world; all that remains of him are the memories and his photograph. He will not have died in vain, however, if cat and dog lovers unite and demand an immediate end to pet genocide.

Photo: Pierre DuCharme of The Ledger.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals

Man has occupied Mother Earth for thousands of years and yet he has never been interested in learning how to live in harmony with nature, the animals, or his fellow man. On the contrary, his only interest in the earth and its inhabitants has been to exploit and to exterminate them as quickly as possible. Every incremental increase in his strength and cleverness has been matched by a corresponding augmentation in his wickedness and the debasement of his soul. As Lord Acton succinctly put it, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It is therefore primarily man's weakness that makes him even halfway sociable.

The oceans are dying, the air is filthy, and once arable farmland has been made sterile by development. Trees, plants, and other flora are obliterated with impunity. The food system has been contaminated by pollution, pesticides, synthetic additives, antibiotics, growth hormones, and drugs. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pushed by Monsanto and other capitalists, threaten to turn the once fertile earth into a barren wasteland where a few corporate giants determine who eats and who starves.

It is the animals, however, who have so far borne the brunt of man's greed and barbarism. At least a dozen species have been cloned and more than four-hundred-thirty-five hybrids have been created. Xenotransplantation has created a market where their body parts are worth more than they are and vivisectors around the world torture and exterminate millions of them each year. Although the perpetrators of these and other hideous crimes like to hide behind the mantle of the advancement of science, their worthless experiments serve only to enrich themselves and to fuel their insatiable cravings for animal blood.

Factory farmers genetically manipulate, abuse, and slaughter billions of animals each year in order to get rich while animal shelters exterminate tens of millions of cats and dogs because they are too cheap to house and feed them and too lazy to find homes for them. They, too, love the taste of blood on their tongues. Hunters kill billions more for sport, trophies, and money. Bullfighting, cockfighting, dogfighting, horse racing, and dog racing (the Iditarod included) also claim the lives of thousands of innocent animals.

Pariah states such as South Africa, Israel, Greece, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada target and exterminate entire species en masse and are still somehow accepted as legitimate members of the family of nations! To the north, the CBC's As It Happens has lost whatever credibility it once had by its zealous defense of Canada's barbaric yearly seal pup slaughter. (See Cat Defender post of March 27, 2006 entitled "Six Protesters Arrested as Baby Seal Slaughter Gets Under Way in Canada.")

In particular, on March 28th, co-host Barbara Budd excoriated Paul McCartney for his defense of the seals and then played his "Get Back" as a way of telling him to mind his own business. Compounding matters further, on April 14th guest host Christopher Thomas gave airtime to Labrador MP Todd Russell so that he could tell lies in defense of the hunt. The CBC either pretends that the slaughter does not occur or goes to great lengths to defend it; never does it give defenders of the seals access to its microphones.

The worldwide systematic corruption of economics, politics, and the mass media has made possible the emergence of certain powerful groups who now claim the right not only to decide which animals and people are going to be allowed to continue to exist, but under what circumstances. It is even in considerable doubt how much longer they are going to allow Mother Earth to continue to exist.

In addition to the age-old tactics of public vilification, genocide, and starvation, these would-be conquerors of both humanity and nature now have a powerful new weapon at their disposal: high-tech surveillance. It is present almost everywhere and comes in many guises.

At one end of the spectrum there are surveillance techniques that are only minimally invasive. Among these are mutilation, such as physically marking or scarring an animal, collars equipped with GPS, and remote sensing from outer space. There is also a more elaborate form of tagging known as bio-logging which requires that wild animals be hunted down like convicted felons on the lam, tranquilized, and then fitted with various surveillance equipment such as cameras, mobile phones, GPS, etc. The most prevalent surveillance technique, however, is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) which involves the implantation of microchips not only in merchandise, mass transit smart cards, airline baggage tags, and ski resort passes, but also in livestock, pets, and humans.

The murder of Hal the Central Park coyote by wildlife officials in New York (See Cat Defender post of April 18, 2006 entitled "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him.") has focused attention on this new and deadly game that the so-called protectors of animals are now playing. Those individuals and groups dedicated to annihilating and controlling all of nature just about have man, the animals, and Mother Nature where they want them. That which was only a pipe dream for Bacon and Descartes is rapidly becoming a reality.

The most prevalent example of mutilation as a form of tagging involves the cruel and inhumane practice of cutting up the right ears of feral cats who have been sterilized. If the sterilization mobs who roam the country looking for cats to divest of their ovaries and testicles are unable to remember which cats they have desexed they should at least be creative enough to find a less invasive way of tagging. Mutilated ears are subject to infection and other problems, especially for cats living in the wild.

Although beeping and tracking collars, some even equipped with GPS, are available, microchips are the most common method of tagging felines and canines and so far more than six million of them have been sold. They, however, have their limitations. First of all, they must be surgically implanted under the skin and all invasive procedures are just as problematic for animals as they are for humans. Secondly, since these chips are not visible to the naked eye, a scanner is required in order to read them and very few members of the general public own these devices. More importantly, a lot of shelters and veterinarians do not scan rescued and injured pets for implanted microchips. Even those who do often wait until after they have anesthetized the animal for extermination. Although shelter workers and veterinarians claim that they can revive a death row animal if one is found, this is not only unlikely to occur but a crazy way of proceeding as well.

Thirdly, researchers at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam have determined that microchips implanted in pets and other items are vulnerable to computer viruses. For instance, one piece of checked airline luggage bearing an infected RFID tag is capable of disrupting baggage service at hundreds of airports around the world. (See Medical News Today, March 16, 2006, "Your Pet - Digital Virus Poses a Real Threat to RFID Tags.")

Finally, microchips in no way protect pets from either thieves or people intent upon doing them harm. Occasionally, they do work miracles, however, as was the case with Cheyenne (See photo at the top of the page of her with San Francisco shelter worker Mara Lamboy) who was reunited with her owner after a seven-year, 3,000-mile separation. (See Cat Defender post of December 9, 2005 entitled "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship.")

Cats, in particular, have long been victimized by even far more sinister plots cooked up by the scientific community working in conjunction with the political establishment. In 1966, the diabolical CIA attempted to create an "Acoustic Kitty" by surgically implanting a recording device and batteries inside a cat and stringing an antenna along its tail. Since the Kremlin had a habit of taking in stray cats as mousers, certain twisted minds in Washington thought that this would be a novel way to spy on the Russians. It is not known how many cats the CIA mutilated and killed until it got the procedure down pat but when it released the cat it was run over by a taxi while crossing the street to the Kremlin. As far as it is known, that was the end of that fiendish plan but the ghouls at Langley no doubt have plenty more mischief up their sleeves.

Although marine mammals, such as bottlenose dolphins and orcas, have been used since the Vietnam War as sentries and mine detectors, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is currently implanting electrodes in the brains of blue sharks (See photo above) so that they can be manipulated to spy on enemy vessels. (See New Scientist, March 1, 2006, "Stealth Sharks to Patrol the High Seas," Salon, March 10, 2006 "Shark and Awe," and London's Independent, March 2, 2006, "Pentagon Develops Brain Implants to Turn Sharks into Military Spies.") This is part of an emerging discipline called biomimetics which attempts to turn animals and insects into cyborgs which can be exploited and manipulated by man. Similar experimentation is currently under way involving dogfish, tuna, monkeys, and a slew of other animals.

Not all tagging is motivated by military concerns, however. Satellite tracking devices have been attached to a great white shark named Nicole as well as to salmon sharks allegedly in order to monitor their movements and health. (See Associated Press, October 7, 2005, "Shark Nicole Clocks More Than 12,000 Miles Crisscrossing Indian Ocean.") Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts have used ocean gliders, a type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that resembles an airplane, to spy on right, sei, and humpback whales off of Cape Cod. (See Woods Hole press release of February 22 2006, "Monitoring Baleen Whales with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.") Other gliders have been employed to study physical and biological changes beneath the waves as well as pollution. (See Associated Press, March 7, 2006, "Gliders Tracking Whale Calls, Ocean Waves.")

In September of last year more than fifteen-hundred endangered sturgeons who, with the exception of one-hundred-fifty, were raised in captivity were fitted with microchips before being released into the Yangtze River. Although the monitoring is designed as a conservation measure, dams, such as the 1.4-mile-wide Three Gorges, overfishing, and the development of islands at the river's mouth pretty much cancel out the positive effects of this undertaking. (See Associated Press, September 20, 2005, "China Releases Endangered Sturgeons Implanted with Microchips in Migration Study.")

Last June, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), assisted by the Costa Rican NGO Tortugas Marinas and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation and Sea Turtle Survival League out of Gainesville, Florida, captured and fitted eleven endangered leatherback turtles with satellite transmitters. (See Reuters, September 13, 2005, "Tagged Atlantic Sea Turtles Trace Journeys Online.") While ostensibly aimed at tracking their yearly migration from South America to Africa, these transmitters are of absolutely no benefit to the more than fifty-thousand leatherbacks who die each year in fishing nets.

Nonetheless, just as microchips occasionally save the lives of pets, they sometimes save wildlife also. A good case in point was a rare Bantagur baska, or Asian river terrapin (See photo above of turtle with Wildlife Conservation Society veterinarian Martin Gilbert), who was rescued from the soup pot last year in Vietnam because of a microchip implanted underneath his skin. (See Associated Press, July 20, 2005, "Microchip Saves Turtle from Soup Pot.") Of course, high-volume taggers like the WWF no doubt inadvertently kill a lot more animals than they save through their rough and inhumane trapping and tranquilizing methods.

Man's tracking, control, and domination of the animals has become so complete that Rory Wilson, a marine ornithologist at the University of Wales in Swansea, bragged to Der Spiegel on May 14, 2005, "No matter what the animal does, we keep track of it." (See "Turning Penguins into Rocket Scientists.")

For instance, northern sea elephants have been fitted with pressure sensors in order to study their diving habits. Mini-cameras have been attached to, inter alia, humpback, killer, and blue whales, Waddell seals, sea cows, pointer sharks, and Chinstrap and Adelie penguins (See photo above) in order to study their hunting practices. Albatrosses with miniature thermometers attached to their legs have been employed to measure the water temperature of the Indian Ocean and white whales have been used to collect data on the temperature and salinity of water beneath the Arctic Circle.

As technology continues to advance, the scientific community's manipulation of nature becomes more and more cruel and bizarre. For example, Beatriz da Costa of Cal-Irvine is planning to release twenty pigeons fitted with high-tech backpacks over San Jose on August 5th. Inside of each backpack will be a GPS satellite tracking receiver, air pollution sensors, and a rudimentary mobile phone. Text messages relating to air quality will be beamed back and posted on the web. (See Reuters, February 2, 2006, "Pigeons Get Backpacks for Air Pollution Monitoring.") It is highly unlikely, however, that these pigeons will be able to tell researchers much more than meteorologists and EPA officials already know but da Costa and her cronies will undoubtedly receive a big chunk of welfare money for this superfluous research plus get the pleasure of killing some pigeons.

In the small Deutsche town of Magdeburg in Sachsen-Anhalt, ornithologists Christoph and Michael Kaatz have been tracking the annual migration of a seventeen-year-old black and white stork named Prinzesschen (See photo below) for more than ten years. A transmitter attached to her has allowed the scientists to monitor her annual ten-thousand-kilometer trips to Africa and now, through the use of automobiles and airplanes, they have been able to videotape her journeys and have produced a documentary entitled, "Die Reise der Storche." (See Stern, April 25, 2006, "Prinzesschen der Lufte.") This is all very interesting but so far it has not contributed anything toward stemming the decline in the stork population of Deutschland. For instance, in 2004 there were 4,500 pairs of them as compared to 3,670 last year.

In the forests of Borneo, the WWF is on the prowl for pygmy elephants (See photo below). Trackers stalk the elephants, tranquilize them, and then strap brick-sized gray transmitters around their necks. The transmitters then relay the elephants' whereabouts to a satellite three times a day. Unfortunately, batteries do wear out and once that happens the WWF hunts down the elephants again, darts them, and straps new "bricks" around their necks. This experiment is expected to continue for at least five years which means that the elephants will be subjected to multiple taggings. (See Associated Press, July 3, 2005, "Electronic Tagging of Pygmy Elephants Aims to Solve an Ancient Mystery.") Although the WWF argues that this exercise is designed to protect the pygmies from encroachments on their habitat by palm oil plantation owners, in reality it is just another excuse for the WWF to continue to abuse animals and to extend its conquest of nature.

At the Charles W. Green Memorial Conservation Area near Ashland, Missouri, the University of Missouri and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to tranquilize deer in order to mount battery-run cameras with transmitters on their antlers. (See Associated Press, October 31, 2005, "Missouri Team Mounts Tiny Cameras Atop Deer.") Although it is alleged that the photos will help officials in the "Show Me" state to better manage the state's deer population, the key question is qui bono? In Missouri as elsewhere, man's interest in deer is pretty much limited to trophy hunting and keeping them off of highways and out of backyards. In other words, all of the benefits of this study will accrue to man, not to the deer.

Out West, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has joined forces with the University of Arizona to spend $120,000 trapping and tagging twenty cougars in and around Tucson and Payson. The mountain lions will be fitted with GPS collars and the data will be beamed up to airplanes. (See Associated Press, October 6, 2005, "Arizona Officials to Track Mountain Lions.") Meanwhile, in Florida the WWF's sister agency, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), has been tranquilizing and tagging the much maligned Florida panther (See photo below) since 1981.

At last count, forty of the remaining eighty to ninety panthers have been fitted with radio collars which, as in Arizona, will allow the NWF to track their movements via airplanes. Once the batteries go dead, however, the big cats will be hunted down again and retagged like the pygmies in Borneo. (See www.wwf.org.) All animals subjected to the so-called conservation efforts of the WWF and NWF are repeatedly hunted down, tranquilized, tagged, and monitored. As far as these groups are concerned, the only good animal is one that is under their thumbs.

Also in southern Florida at the Everglades National Park, the United States National Park Service is trapping and fitting Burmese pythons with radio transmitters in order to ferret out other pythons for slaughter. (See Reuters, April 13, 2006, "U.S. Biologist Battles Killer Pythons in Florida Park.") As the use of these Judas snakes makes perfectly clear, high-tech surveillance can be used to exterminate animals even more proficiently than it can be used as a conservation tool.

Burmese pythons are not the only snakes to become ensnared in researchers' control schemes. For instance, investigators at Washington University's Tyson Research Center outside of St. Louis have surgically implanted pinkie-sized transmitters into the body cavities of twenty-eight rattlesnakes. The $300 transmitters are equipped with GPS which allows the professors to monitor the snakes' movements. (See Associated Press, June 14, 2005, "Snakes Have Interesting Habits, Researchers Say.")

As is the case with just about all tagging exercises, this experiment is motivated primarily by curiosity and a desire to secure governmental funding as opposed to any genuine desire to protect the rattlers' habitat. Although thirteen states list timber rattlers as either threatened or endangered, Missouri is not one of them.

Man's attempt not only to exploit but also to control all of nature is not limited to his manipulation of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian mammals but it also extends to insects, rodents, and even plants. DARPA has already fitted honeybees and wasps with radio transmitters in a so far unsuccessful attempt to use them to search for toxic substances. It is currently experimenting with using, inter alia, dragonflies and moths as military spies. It has also implanted remote-controlled electrodes in the brains of rats in order to use them to sift through piles of rubble. Even the ability of plants to bend and wave in the breeze is being studied for possible adaptation to aircraft. (See Toronto Star, April 3, 2006, "Uncle Sam's Scientists Busy Building Insect Army.")

America's long-suffering farm animals are also now being tagged. By 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to have in place either a governmentally or privately operated National Animal Identification System which will track the movement of all livestock from birth to abattoir. (See photo at the bottom of the page of a herd of black Angus cows.) Under this system, all ranches, sale barns, feed lots, packing plants, veterinarians' offices, and any other threshold through which livestock passes will also be required to have an identification number. All of these IDs will, of course, be entered into a national database. (See The Daily Oklahoman, July 8, 2005, "Agriculture Leaders Finalize Animal Tracking Plan," Tulsa World, September 2, 2005, "Private System for Animal ID Raises Concern," and Associated Press, April 7, 2006, "Animal ID System to be in Place by 2009.")

While the stated goal of agricultural officials is to protect the nation's food supply from BSE and other deadly zoonotic diseases, the tagging and tracking of livestock ultimately reveals the total moral depravity of both meat producers and consumers alike. Farm animals are already genetically manipulated, pumped full of growth hormones and other poisons, tortured, and then slaughtered for consumption and tagging is just one more step in a downward spiral that treats them as cash-producing objects instead of sentient beings. The tagging of livestock may perhaps help to secure the food supply but the fact remains that factory farming is morally indefensible.

The tagging and monitoring of animals must sooner or later inevitably lead to man being subjected to the same constraints. For example, at least seventy people have already been tagged in the United States as well as an unknown number of people in foreign countries. Verisign, for example, manufactures a microchip with a copper antenna encased in a glass capsule that is about the size of a grain of rice and which is implanted underneath the skin on the back of the arm. The chip, which lasts indefinitely, transmits a sixteen-digit code that is read by a handheld scanner. The code is then used to access information stored in an online database.

In the United States, the implants have been pretty much limited so far to medical data but CityWatcher.com in Cincinnati uses them to identify employees. In Mexico, the government uses them like key cards in high-security offices. In Spain and Holland, bars are offering the implants to patrons who want quick entree and to run up electronic tabs. (See Washington Post, March 15, 2006, "Use of Implanted Patient-Data Chips Stirs Debate on Medicine vs. Privacy," and Financial Times, February 13, 2006, "US Group Implants Electronic Tags in Workers.")

Tant pis, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Some convenience stores in America now allow patrons to pay for their merchandise by having a finger scanned. In England, tracking devices are mandatory on all motor vehicles and the police routinely seize the travel records of public transit riders who pay their fares using microchipped passes known as Oyster cards. (See International Herald Tribune, March 15, 2006, "Police Using Electronics to Trace Suspects' Travel.") The recently enacted Police and Justice Bill allows the police to electronically tag suspects without court orders. (See Independent, May 4, 2006, "Government Move Is the Latest in a Series of Assaults on Civil Liberties.") Parliament has also mandated biometric national identity cards and passports. In the United States, Congress last year passed a law requiring Americans to have biometric national identity cards within three years; biometric passports are already being issued. Man, who for so long has treated Mother Nature and the animals as inanimate objects, is rapidly becoming one himself.

The negatives associated with high-tech surveillance far outweigh the positives. Scientists kill untold numbers of animals each year by hounding them down and tagging them. The monitoring devices are often cumbersome and interfere with their daily activities. They are also subject to corrosion and other defects over time. Their batteries wear out and this necessitates that the animals must be captured and tagged repeatedly. As far as man is concerned, high-tech surveillance of his activities is certain to produce more evil than good.

In the final analysis, tagging is not only degrading to all animals and to man but it opens up new opportunities for abuse on the part of those individuals and groups who already consider themselves to be the lords of the universe and everyone and everything else as mere steppingstones on their march to world domination.

Researchers such as Rory Wilson are certainly aware of the deleterious effect their bio-logging is having on animals but they attempt to justify their barbarism by relying upon that old discredited bromide of all scientists: the end justifies the means. "Only if we know exactly how the animals live and what they need for survival, we can protect them effectively," he told Der Spiegel in the article cited supra.

That is simply ego and lies. Everyone know what the animals need. They need for man to leave them alone in legally protected habitats. What Wilson and his cronies are striving for is domination over the animals and man, not their survival. He gives the game away when he admits that his goal is to create a so-called map of the biosphere. "One day, all over the globe, masses of animals will be equipped with miniature transmitters and the data will be aggregated on the internet," he told Der Spiegel.

If the scientific community wanted to save the animals it would stop trying to subjugate them and instead join the fight against both capitalism and consumerism. Unfortunately, it has never had any respect for Mother Earth, the animals, or even man.

Photos: Michael Macor of the San Francisco Chronicle (Cheyenne and Mara Lamboy), Scubasworld.com (blue shark), Andy Eames of the Associated Press (turtle), Associated Press (penguin), Michael Kaatz/Deutsche Presseagentur (Prinzesschen), Vincent Thian of the Associated Press (pygmy elephants), Geocities (Florida panther), and Moo Amp (cows).