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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

Monday, January 29, 2007

PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom

"The responsibility we have to animals doesn't mean giving them a painless death. It means coping with their challenges like we would a family member or a child."
-- Rich Avanzino, Maddie's Fund.

As everyone knows, life is not fair. In fact, famed attorney Clarence Darrow once declared, "There is no such thing as justice in or out of court."

The lack of justice is especially acute for animals who are, in most instances, abused and slaughtered with impunity. This revolting situation is exacerbated by phony-baloney animal rights groups who not only provide succor to the killers but sometimes join in the carnage themselves. Of all the cancers eating away at the animal rights movement none is more malignant than PETA.

The cognoscenti have long known of the group's crimes. At its Norfolk, Virginia facility, it admits to exterminating eighty-six per cent or more of the cats and dogs that enter its portals. Moreover, it has long been a fierce campaigner for the round up and slaughter of all feral cats.

Due to criticism from cat advocacy groups in the United States, it has been of late doing its domestic killing sub silentio. A perusal of the foreign press will reveal, however, that outside the continental United States it is as bullish on exterminating cats as ever. Par exemple, foreign newspapers often print letters from PETA advocating feline genocide. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2006 entitled "South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering Cats on Robben Island.")

Last summer during the war in Lebanon, PETA recommended that the Lebanese shoot any animals that could not be rescued. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2006 entitled "Death Toll Mounts for Cats and Other Animals Slaughtered and Left Homeless in Lebanon by Israeli War Criminals.")

Up until now PETA has always gotten away scot-free with its murders of innocent animals, but that may be about to change. On June 15, 2005, police officers arrested two of its employees for dumping the bodies of cats and dogs that they had killed in a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly Supermarket in Ahoskie, North Carolina. In their van were the bodies of ten dogs and three cats wrapped in black trash bags. In the three weeks leading up to the arrests the bodies of at least eighty cats and dogs were pulled from the same trash receptacle. (See photo below.)

A digital camera containing images of both dead and live animals was also found in the van and this suggests that the killings were photographed in order that they could be enjoyed again and again at a later date. If this is so, it is reminiscent of the behavior of yobs who film their assaults on the homeless.

Arrested were Adria Hinkle, 28, of Norfolk (See mug shot above) and Andrew Benjamin Cook, 25, of Virginia Beach (See mug shot below). In proceedings that got under way January 22nd in Hertford County Criminal Superior Court, the pair is charged with twenty-one counts of animal cruelty, three counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, and seven counts of littering.

The crimes grew out of an arrangement that PETA had with shelters and veterinarian offices in three counties in northeast North Carolina. According to PETA, these shelters were killing cats and dogs with rifles shots to the head as well as in gas chambers so it volunteered to collect the animals and exterminate them with jabs of sodium pentobarbital at its Norfolk facility.

Shelter officials and veterinarians, however, maintain that they were assured by PETA that the animals' lives would be spared and that homes would be found for them. Regardless of the nature of the original understanding, it is now known that the animals were killed immediately after they were surrendered to Hinkle and Cook.

Testimony presented so far tends to back up the shelters and veterinarians. For instance, veterinarian Patrick Proctor, who gave a black cat and two kittens to the accused, told Court TV on January 19th that he was assured that homes could be easily found for them. "They were saying, 'My, what beautiful animals. We will have absolutely no trouble finding homes for these." (See "Trial Set to Start for PETA Workers Caught Euthanizing, Dumping Cats and Dogs.") Hours later they were found dead in the Dumpster.

Last Thursday, Bertie County Animal Control Officer Barry Anderson testified that Hinkle replied, "Yes. No problem. Absolutely" when he asked her if she would be able to find homes for the cats and dogs that he was handing over to her. (See Center for Consumer Freedom's press release of January 25, 2007, "PETA Trial, Day 3.")

Neither the least bit remorseful nor ashamed of its reprehensible conduct, PETA continues to insist that it has a right to kill defenseless cats and dogs. "As the trial is about to start, we remind all interested parties that there was absolutely no cruelty involved in this case, that PETA has only ever helped animals in dire straits in North Carolina, and that if justice is served these facts will be made clear," spokeswoman Erin Edwards told Court TV in the article cited supra. She quite obviously does not consider murder to be cruel.

Shortly after the arrests, Daphna Nachminovitch, who handles issues involving domestic animals for PETA, defended the organization's actions in an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle. "Critics may condemn PETA for supporting euthanasia, but we are not ashamed of providing a merciful exit from an uncaring world to broken beings."

Even head honcho Ingrid Newkirk is only concerned about the bad publicity the case has generated, not the loss of innocent lives. After labeling the situation in Ahoskie "hideous," she went on to say, "I think this is so shocking it's bound to hurt our work."

To date, PETA has acknowledged that Hinkle and Cook are guilty only of dumping the bodies in Ahoskie rather than transporting them back to Norfolk for cremation. Although Hinkle was suspended from work for ninety days, both she and Cook continue to be employed by the organization and it is footing the bill for a trio of shysters to defend them in court.

Most likely Hinkle and Cook know too much for PETA to fire them. Although the megalomaniacs within the group no doubt honestly believe that they have a god-given right to kill cats and dogs with impunity, they probably would have given the killers the boot a long time ago if they could have done so without fear of them cutting a deal with prosecutors.

Despite the importance of this case, the capitalist media is all but ignoring it. Vivisectors, such as the National Association for Biomedical Research, are delighted of course to see PETA in the dock. Also, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a longtime advocate of factory farming, vivisection, and other barbaric practices, is providing extensive coverage of the trial on its website (www.petakillsanimals.com) as well as staging protests outside the courtroom. (See photo below.)

Nonetheless, CCF is to be commended for alerting the public to PETA's ongoing killing spree at its Norfolk shelter. If more people had cared, PETA would have been put out of business long ago and the cats and dogs that it killed in North Carolina might still be alive today.

Since PETA's crimes have been well known for so long, the animal rights community's failure to hold it accountable is inexcusable. Even as the trial progresses their silence is deafening.

One notable exception is Maddie's Fund. "The responsibility we have to animals doesn't mean giving them a painless death. It means coping with their challenges like we would a family member or a child," the Fund's Rich Avanzino told Court TV.

The dedicated staff at Moggies was equally outraged to learn of PETA's atrocities. In an e-mail sent to the murderers its spokesperson wrote: "I am very shocked that you still have these two people working for PETA, and even more shocked that you actually have a policy of euthanizing perfectly healthy cats-kittens and dogs-puppies. This to me is not what I thought PETA was about. Until you decide to be what you should be, I will never again support PETA in any way.

"In fact I will be working against your killing policies in any way I can. To say that a mother cat and two kittens would be easy to home and then to callously kill them is sick and horrifying. I just cannot imagine the deaths you are responsible for." (See www.moggies.co.uk.)

Throughout its history, PETA has done yeomanly work in going after vivisectors, factory farmers, furriers, circuses, and zoos, but its ruthless killing of cats and dogs is inexcusable. Unless it is willing to change its policies and learn to respect the sanctity of all animal life it should be put out of business and its principals jailed.

Furthermore, both the law enforcement community and animal rights groups should launch an immediate investigation into its treatment of cats and dogs in the United States and abroad. Secondly, authorities in North Carolina should not only take a long hard look at conditions at shelters and veterinarian offices but, above all, outlaw the killing of all animals by whatever means.

The trial resumes today and the jury could get the case before the close of the week.

Photos: Court TV (Hinkle and Cook), Cal Bryant of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald (dead cats and dogs), and Lauren King of the Virginian Pilot (Center for Consumer Freedom protest).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cat Activists Succeed in Getting Connecticut Town to Erect a Cat Crossing Sign

"Everyone tends to turn their backs on cats, but the sign makes them more aware of their presence. A lot of people have been more cautious when driving down the street."
-- Milford resident Jessica Leto

Dans le Paris, a pedestrian is defined as viande a pneus and conditions are not much safer in America. The individual behind the wheel with his foot on the accelerator, whether he be a homicidal maniac, a drunk, or a commuter in a hurry, is the undisputed king of the road and woe to anyone, man or animal, who gets in his way.

Not only are travelers on foot placing their lives in jeopardy by attempting to cross the street, but they are not even safe on either footpaths or grassy shoulders. Speed restrictions are seldom observed and most motorists mistakenly believe that a red light means "stop wasting time."

This deplorable situation is exacerbated by the law enforcement community's steadfast refusal to enforce the laws of the road; the cops only show up after a fatality and then it is merely to provide escort service for the body-collectors. In New Jersey, for instance, pedestrian safety is pretty much limited to fatuous public service announcements by feckless politicians who seem to feel that anyone crazy enough to be traveling a pied deserves whatever he gets.

Statistics lend credence to this dire assessment. In the United States, more than five-thousand pedestrians are struck and killed each year and another seventy-thousand are injured. The numbers for Europe are comparable.

If the roads are this lethal for walkers, they are a thousand times more deadly for animals. More to the point, it is estimated that several million animals die underneath the wheels of the motoring public each year in the United States. Their ensanguinated and mangled corpses are a memento mori of man's unstinting cruelty toward them.

Compounding matters further, some drivers make a game out of killing animals and this observation is verified by the fact that fleet-of-foot animals such as cats, squirrels, and birds are not easily run down. Besides, all vehicles on the road today are equipped with power steering and brakes as well as advanced suspension systems; even tour buses can be stopped on a dime on a dry track.

Although pedestrian, school, and railroad crossing signs have long been ubiquitous, those erected to protect animals have been pretty much restricted to deer; worse still, even these warnings are geared more toward the protection of motorists than deer. This callous indifference to the lives of animals could be about to change, however, and Milford, Connecticut is leading the way.

Thanks to the persistent lobbying efforts of cat-lovers Bobette Moore and Gary Caufield (See photo above), a big yellow cat crossing sign has been erected on Erna Avenue. The duo, who regularly feed and shelter feral cats in the neighborhood, were prompted to act after a number of defenseless felines were run down and killed while attempting to cross the street.

Public Works Director Bruce Kolwicz, whose department constructed and erected the sign, told the Connecticut Post on January 18th, "It appears to have made a big difference. It's not really enforceable, but it's working and that's what really matters." (See "Cat Crossing Sign May Save Lives.")

After pointing out that the city, fourteen kilometers south of New Haven, already has duck crossing signs at ponds near City Hall, Kolwicz added, "It's just something to give people a heads-up when traveling through the street."

City resident Jessica Leto concurs. "Everyone tends to turn their backs on cats, but the sign makes them more aware of their presence," she told the Connecticut Post. "A lot of people have been more cautious when driving down the street."

The sign has also drawn praise from Animal Control Officer Pat Liptak. "It's a wonderful law," she exclaimed to the Connecticut Post. "I'm glad they realized there was a need and did what they could to help. There are probably twenty other places in the city where we could use the signs. Cats are getting killed all the time but Erna Avenue was one of the worst spots."

She is right, of course. Milford does need additional cat crossing signs and, moreover, the city should criminalize the failure to yield to cats and all other animals. Their lives are no less precious than those of humans and by learning to watch out for them motorists may one day learn to be more respectful of pedestrians.

Although it is not clear if Milford's cat crossing sign is the first of its kind in the nation, the only other known examples of such signs are on the remote Japanese island of Iriomote. (See photos above.) Officials there are waging a valiant struggle to save the endangered Iriomote Wildcat from both motorists and developers. (See Cat Defender post of November 27, 2006 entitled "After Surviving on Its Own for at Least Two-Million Years, Rare Japanese Wildcat Faces Toughest Battle Yet.")

Whether the address is Iriomote, Milford, or elsewhere, the time has clearly come for both laws and road signs that protect cats and other animals from the homicidal urges of motorists.

Photos: Connecticut Post (cat crossing sign) and Kanpira (Iriomote signs.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Warming Blamed for Unseasonable Increase in Feral Kitten Births on Long Island

"One cat just leads to another."
-- Ernest Hemingway

Already implicated in the melting of ice at the poles and rising sea levels, global warming is now being blamed for a spike in the number of feral kittens being born in the dead of winter on Long Island. (Pictured above are a couple of four-weeks-old kittens residing at the East Meadow Animal Hospital.)

This unexpected development has caught shelters off guard and even prompted the Long Island Humane and Dog Protective Association in Freeport to stop taking in any more kittens. "We have just been inundated with calls (about kittens)," the no-kill facility's Maria Cross told Newsday on January 7th. (See "Warm Weather Translates to More Kittens.") "Usually, by November, December, it ends. It just hasn't this year."

Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation in Huntington is also feeling the pinch. "From an animal rescue organization's perspective, January and February have always been our regrouping months because animals weren't really reproducing," the organization's Linda Stuurman told Newsday in the article cited supra. "But we're having kittens being born all year-round."

Although the warmer temperatures may be problematical for cats, they have proven to be beneficial for dogs. Usually the adoption rate for canines drops during the winter because people do not want to go to the trouble of house-training them in inclement weather.

This winter, however, adoptions have surged. "Saturdays have been hopping for us," Susan Hassett of the North Hempstead Animal Shelter told Newsday. "If we get a couple of extra weeks, it's wonderful for us."

As far as it is known, only shelters on Long Island have reported an increase in the number of feral kittens being born due to changes in the feline fertility cycle caused by global warming. Although the northeast, with the notable exception of Buffalo, and the south have so far experienced an unusually mild winter, the northwest and the Rockies have been getting clobbered for months and, more recently, the midwest also has been hit hard by winter storms.

For the past week or so temperatures have been dropping in the northeast, however, and southern New Jersey received its first snowfall of the season Sunday night. Prior to that, buds had already appeared on many trees and shrubs and ticks, mosquitoes, bees, ants, and other insects had put in cameo appearances.

Since the normal gestation period for cats is on the average sixty-five days, this recent cold snap should not measurably affect the number of kittens that are already on the way. If the cold weather hangs around for a while, feline fertility rates are expected to return to normal.

The bad news is that global warming is only going to get worse. Extended breeding seasons will not only tax the resources of shelters and those who care for feral colonies but, worst still, it will lead to even higher feral kitten mortality rates. Contrary to the lies spread by ailurophobes and others, only about twenty per cent of kittens born in the wild survive.

Not only are food and shelter scarcer during the wintertime, but the newborns do not have any way of coping with rapid changes in the weather. It is not uncommon in the northeast for temperatures to be sixty degrees Fahrenheit one day and fifteen degrees a few days later. Also, snowy and icy conditions often follow on the heels of warm and sunny days. Under such adverse conditions, untold numbers of feral kittens are doomed to die of starvation and exposure.

Bears are also being adversely affected by global warming. Most notably a death vigil has already begun for polar bears due to the rapid melting of ice in the Arctic. (See photo above of two of them cavorting in Churchill, Manitoba.)

In the Alps, brown bears (See photo below) are having difficulty hibernating because of the warmer temperatures and in Russia officials have warned people to be on the lookout for bears who have become aggressive due to a lack of sleep. (See Der Spiegel, January 12, 2007, "Russians Warned to Stay Away from Grumpy Insomniac Bears.") Meanwhile, at a safari park in Sweden, brown bears were more than two months late in going into hibernation this winter. (See Agence France Presse, January 11, 2007, "Weird Winter Leaves Europeans, North Americans Warm but Puzzled.")

The data are incontrovertible: Mother Earth is dying. The polar icecaps and iceberg are melting at an alarming rate and the oceans are pockmarked with more than one-hundred-fifty dead zones. The Pacific island of Tuvalu is in the process of disappearing form the map due to rising sea levels. Tant pis, scientists are predicting that more than half of the world's animals and plants will be extinct by the end of this century.

Alarmingly, little or nothing is being done about this impending catastrophe. Exxon-Mobil, aided and abetted by the National Science Teachers Association and others, is still proclaiming global warming to be a hoax. George Bush, who once blamed rising temperatures on pigs farting, dispatched his Solicitor General to the United States Supreme Court in November to argue that auto emissions are not pollutants within the meaning of the Clean Air Act. (See Massachusetts v EPA.)

Climate change is treated seriously by both politicians and the media in Europe, but it remains to be seen if the EU has the political will to meet even its own rather modest carbon reduction goals. (See London's Independent, January 11, 2007, "EU: Climate Change Will Transform the Face of the Continent.")

Led by the nose down the path to ecological perdition by moneygrubbing western multinationals, China is choking to death on its own air and water pollution. For example, the BBC reported last week that three-hundred-thousand Chinese drink polluted water and that schoolchildren regularly attend classes in buildings coated with soot and other contaminants.

In addition to discrediting and ignoring global warming, the world's other response has been to cash in on it. Shipping companies are salivating about all the money they are going to save now that an ice-free Northwest Passage is about to become a reality. Winegrowers in southern England are ecstatic about rising temperatures that will give them a climate similar to parts of France.

The news is not all bad, however. Furriers are crying in their champagne because of slow sales, but they should have been put out of business long ago. Warmer winters are decreasing the demand for heating oil, but this boon will be more than negated by hotter summers which will augment the demand for coal in order to power air conditioning units. This effect is most noticeable on the Continent where cool summers once made air conditioning superfluous.

Ski resorts in the Alps and elsewhere around the world face an uncertain future. Many of them will be forced to either close or to move their operations higher into the mountains. Most likely they will choose the latter option and this will imperil the existence of many animals and birds who live at the higher elevations. (See BBC, January 17, 2007, "High Ski Runs Fuel Habitat Fears.")

Despite the potentially dire impact that these elevated pistes will have on such birds as the rock partridge, the red-billed chough, and the wheatear, no one ever hears bird advocates attacking the operators and patrons of ski resorts. Mountaintop mining is likewise destroying Appalachia and the habitat of the Cerulean Warbler and other species of birds but yet bird lovers neither go after coal mining companies nor forgo air conditioning in their homes and offices.

The relief provided by air conditioning is transitory; in reality, it is only making the planet hotter. The same thing applies to development and especially the cutting down of trees, but neither the National Audubon Society nor the diabolical American Bird Conservancy has a negative word to say about development.

Polluters and bird lovers have much in common and not the least of which is a willingness to ignore all evidence to the contrary in order to promote their fascist agendas. Just as the energy companies and their bought and paid for political stooges go to great lengths to deny the reality of global warming, bird lovers likewise proclaim to the world that their charges are only threatened by cats.

Photos: Howard Schnapp of Newsday (kittens), Wikipedia (polar bears), and Deutsche Presseagentur (brown bear).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

San Antonio City Council Rebuffs Cat Killers and Instead Adopts TNR for Felines in Japanese Tea Gardens

"The truth is, over the years, probably even before God, cats have existed in the park."
-- Liz Skipper, Purrfect Haven

The forty-five to sixty feral and stray cats who call the Japanese Tea Gardens inside San Antonio's Brackenridge Park home were granted a temporary stay of execution on January 4th when the City Council voted to scrap the city's trap and exterminate program. In its place the council has agreed to institute a pilot trap, neuter, and return (TNR) program.

Bowing to the homicidal howls of employees of the Gardens (See photo above) who alleged that the cats were digging up flowers, ailurophobes who ludicrously claimed that the felines were a threat to humans, and bird lovers who believe that the only good cat is a dead one, Animal Control and the Parks and Recreation Department began trapping and killing the cats last autumn. Although the death toll is likely much higher, at least three cats were executed before opposition from cat advocates forced the council to reconsider. (See Cat Defender post of October 19, 2006 entitled "Animal Rights Groups Pressure San Antonio Officials to Stop Killing Cats in Japanese Tea Gardens.")

Under the pilot program, the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition and Purrfect Haven will work with Animal Control and park officials to trap and sterilize the cats as well as to manage the colonies. Feral cats will be returned to the Gardens while strays and kittens will be socialized and put up for adoption. All of the felines will be vaccinated and microchipped as well.

The lone dissenting vote came, as expected, from bird-lover Richard Perez who argued that the cats were a threat to both birds and children and therefore should be exterminated. First of all, since the majority of the cats are feral it is highly unlikely that any human would be able to get close enough to them in order to be scratched. Visitors to the Gardens are a thousand times more likely to be stung by either a bee or a mosquito than to be scratched by a cat.

Secondly, cats have just as much of a right to be in the Tea Gardens as do birds. If Perez and his bird-loving fascists fear for the lives of their charges they should trap them and keep them indoors at their residences.

Liz Skipper, a volunteer with Purrfect Haven, put the issue into perspective when she told the San Antonio Express-News on January 4th, "The truth is, over the years, probably even before God, cats have existed in the park." (See "City Council Roundup: TNR for Tea Gardens' Cats.")

Moreover, this dispute should never have occurred in the first place. Volunteers from Purrfect Haven and the San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition have been caring for the cats for more than ten years and it was monstrous for the city to suddenly start killing cats. City officials should accordingly be held liable.

Although the council vote was a definite victory for the cats and their supporters, the battle is far from over. The TNR program is only a pilot project and the stingy-as-hell City Council has allocated a miniscule $5,000 for its implementation. Of course, council members probably have more important things on which to spend the taxpayers' money, i.e., whores, drugs, booze, and junkets.

Furthermore, bird lovers and other ailurophobes are not about to abandon their drive to exterminate all cats. It is therefore incumbent upon the cats' caretakers to remain vigilant at all times against both political and criminal offensives directed against the cats.

This is no time for them to either celebrate or to rest on their laurels. The war to protect cats is an ongoing struggle.

Photo: Brownleg.dreamhost.com.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dying of Kidney Failure, Nine-Year-Old Sammy Is Shown Compassion by an Unexpected Friend

Sammy Is Comforted by a Deer Who Visited His Yard

"The boundaries between humans and animals are becoming less and less clear. Thirty years ago, people thought humans and animals were very different from each other. No one thought animals used tools. No one thought they had any kind of culture. Those boundaries have been getting fuzzier and fuzzier."
-- Michael Krutzen, University of Zurich

As Margie Scott's nine-year-old gray and white longhaired cat Sammy lay dying of kidney failure last May, he nonetheless retained his lifelong longing for the great outdoors. Cruelly mutilated by Scott shortly after she had adopted him at the tender age of six-months, he had spent his entire life imprisoned indoors.

Since his race was all but run, she relented and allowed him to spend parts of his last days outside her Bellingham, Washington apartment. Since the apartment complex is surrounded by woods and wetlands, deer sometimes come around and one day she witnessed something truly extraordinary transpire between Sammy and a deer.

One of them moseyed up to him and they touched noses. Next, the deer started licking him around the head and neck and this continued for several minutes.

"I truly believe the deer was able to sense that there was something wrong with Sammy and that was why he started licking him, like he was trying to nurture him," Scott told Seattle's King5-TV on June 14, 2006. (See "Dying Cat Finds an Unlikely Friend.")

Sadly, Sammy crossed the Rainbow Bridge two days later.

This amazing event rekindles several old arguments concerning not only the remarkable sensitivity of animals but also their ability to empathize with other animals, man included. Because of their superior sensory organs, they are in tune with a much wider spectrum of the natural world than humans. In particular, sights, sounds, and smells that totally elude humans are an everyday part of their lives.

Empathy is a good deal more complicated, however, in that scientists normally make distinctions between it and its higher forms of sympathy and altruism. It is also distinguishable from misplaced nurturing instincts.

For instance, a three-year-old Dachshund named Emma from Rose Valley, Washington made headlines last summer when she adopted five four-week-old kittens. Meanwhile, in Bedford, Indiana, a Golden Retriever named Rosie at the White River Humane Society also took a kitten under her wing. (See Cat Defender post of July 17, 2006 entitled "Dachshund Named Emma Adopts Quintet of Feral Kittens That Her Mistress Cruelly Stole from Their Mother.")

In another case, Elsa, a Rottweiler from the London suburb of Luton, also adopted a homeless kitten. (See Cat Defender post of October 15, 2005 entitled "Elsa, a Rottweiler Feared in the 'Hood, Shows Her Soft Side by Adopting an Abandoned Kitten.")

Sammy Watches as His New Friend Visits the Deck Outside

There is also the story of Ginny, a Schnauzer-Siberian Husky mix from Long Beach on Long Island, who reportedly rescued more than eight-hundred abandoned and injured cats during her seventeen years on this earth. Since the circumstances surrounding the rescues are not known, it is not clear what label should be attached to Ginny's stellar behavior. (See Cat Defender posts of September 2, 2005 and November 17, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Ginny, a Dog Who Rescued Cats, Is Killed Off by Her Owner on Long Island" and "Westchester Cat Show to Celebrate the Life of a Dog Who Rescued Hundreds of Cats on Long Island.")

Although many animal lovers have long insisted that animals are not only capable of empathy but also of sympathy and even altruism, researchers up until recently have been reluctant to endorse that view. They have instead steadfastly held to the view that empathy is soley an attribute of man.

All of that changed in June of last year when a team of researchers led by Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal released the results of a study that they claim proves that even mice are capable of empathy. More importantly, "If it's in the mouse it's probably in all mammals," Mogil told the Montreal Gazette on June 30th. (See "Mice Can Feel Empathy, McGill Study Reveals.")

Starting from the ludicrous premise that "you can't study pain without inflicting pain," Mogil and his team injected acetic acid into the bellies of lab mice and formalin into their paws. From this they discovered that the mice showed empathy for cagemates that they knew but not for those that they did not know. Mogil terms this rudimentary form of empathy an emotional contagion which is similar to contagious yawning in humans.

Unlike sympathy, which requires consciousness of another's suffering, the empathy displayed by the mice is instead a subconscious and automatic form that entails the communication of pain from one mouse to another.

Over the millenniums man has concocted various self-serving arguments that have asserted not only his superiority to the animals but also his right to kill and exploit them with impunity. The absurd notion that animals lack empathy now joins the earlier discredited argument that they do not feel pain.

Nonetheless, these findings have not stopped Mogel and other vivisectors from torturing, mutilating, and killing animals by the millions in their laboratories. Although it is the mark of an intelligent person to internalize newly acquired knowledge, scientists seldom do this; au contraire, their discoveries have a tendency only to make them even crueler in their relations with both man and animals and therefore contemptuous of all moral standards.

One by one man's claims to superiority over the animals are falling like dominoes. Up until recently the scientific community claimed that only man was capable of expressing grief and that this proved his superiority. It has now been proven, however, that elephants possess this capacity also and researchers in the future will no doubt discover that it exits in all animals. It may not manifest itself in quite the same way that it does in man but it will nonetheless be found to exist.

The argument that only man possesses self-consciousness has also fallen by the wayside now that orangutans at both the National Zoo in Washington and the Atlanta Zoo have been discovered grooming themselves in mirrors.

Animals also possess the ability to make and use tools. Researchers at Oxford have discovered that New Caledonian crows fashion tools out of leaves and twigs for use in searching for food. Chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas have also been recorded using primitive tools. For instance, a young gorilla in the Congo has been seen using rocks in order to crack open palm nuts. In other instances, gorillas have been recorded using sticks to test the depths of ponds and small tree trunks for both support and as bridges. (See Washington Post, October 3, 2005, "Wild Gorillas Seen Using Tools," and The Press of Atlantic City, October 19, 2005, "Congo Scientists Go Nuts Over Gorilla Using Tools.")

Was Allowed Outside During His Last Days

Bottlenosed dolphins off Shark Bay in Australia have been observed using sponges in order to protect their delicate snouts from sharp coral and the stings of stonefish as they forage for food on the bottom of the ocean. Even more impressive was the discovery that female dolphins teach this tactic to their female offspring. (See Washington Post, June 27, 2005, " 'Sponging' Dolphin May Be Sharing Culture.")

Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, has discovered that orcas not only use regurgitated fish in order to lure seagulls down to the water so that they can prey upon them, but that they teach this maneuver to other whales. (See Associated Press, September 2, 2005, "Clever Whale Uses Fish to Catch Seagulls.")

This discovery places dolphins and orcas in the same category as humans and primates as the only animals known to transmit behavior through interacting with each another. Chimps, for example, teach each other how to use sticks in order to get ants out of the ground and orangutans pass down unique eating habits, bedtime rituals, and other behavior.

Since scientists make a distinction between cultural learning and that which is either inherited or learned from mimicry, it is not clear which category geese and songbirds should be placed. Although geese teach their goslings the migration routes and songbirds instruct their fledglings in both how to sing and fly, it is not clear whether this type of learning comes from instruction or mimicry.

Noam Chomsky's celebrated theory that recursive grammar is a uniquely human attribute has also been discredited. For example, Tim Gentner of the University of California at San Diego has been able to teach grammar to starlings. (See San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2006, "Songbirds May Be Able to Learn Grammar.")

Moreover, scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered that the language of putty-nosed monkeys in Nigeria contains syntax. (See The Independent of London, May 18, 2006, " 'Pyow hack!' Monkeys Can Talk to Each Other Using Sentences.")

Animals also demonstrate a remarkable capacity to learn. For instance, an African Grey parrot named Alex can not only talk but also count, distinguish between colors, and identify forty different objects as well as fetch them on command from adjoining rooms. He is reportedly learning to read and may understand the concept of zero. (See World Science, July 6, 2005, "Researchers Explore Whether Parrot Has Concept of Zero.")

Sammy Was Such a Truly Handsome Cat

A gorilla named Koko at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California understands more than two-thousand spoken words and one-thousand hand gestures used in sign language. She also has an IQ of between seventy and ninety-five. Meanwhile, at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, a Border Collie named Rico understands two-hundred words.

On a more mundane level, researchers at Purdue have found that pigs crave affection and easily become depressed if they are not allowed playtime with their mates. It is also a widely observable phenomenon that kittens, puppies, bear cubs, mice, and other young mammals play together in much the same fashion as children.

The old lies that man has invented in order to justify his exploitation and subjugation of the animals are clearly no longer valid. As the University of Zurich's Michael Krutzen, who led the study of dolphins using sponges, told the Washington Post in the article cited supra, "The boundaries between humans and animals are becoming less and less clear. Thirty years ago, people thought humans and animals were very different from each other. No one thought animals used tools. No one thought they had any kind of culture. Those boundaries have been getting fuzzier and fuzzier."

Krutzen is, quite obviously, speaking only for his dishonest colleagues within the scientific community. It is doubtful that very many animal lovers down through the ages have failed to grasp the glaring similarities between animals and man.

As the animal rights movement continues to grow, it is vital that the declawing that Sammy was forced to endure be outlawed and that the American Bird Conservancy's plan to imprison all cats indoors be vociferously opposed and defeated. Cats have a right to their claws as well as to be outside. Their rights are in no respect any less estimable than those of humans, birds, and other mammals.

Photos: Margie Scott.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Deaf Angora Cat Named Stone Survives the War in Lebanon to Find a New Home in Illinois

"Cats do not declare their love much; they enact it, by their myriad invocations of our pleasure."
-- Vicki Hearne

There have not been very many happy stories to come out of last summer's destructive war in Lebanon. Generally speaking, the savage fighting brought only death to both civilians and animals alike as well as massive environmental damage. (See Cat Defender post of August 10, 2006 entitled "Death Toll Mounts for Cats and Other Animals Slaughtered and Left Homeless in Lebanon by Israeli War Criminals.")

Stone's heartwarming story is an exception to that rule.

Left to fend for himself on the streets when the Beirut shelter where he was being kept was bombed by the Israelis, the one-year-old deaf Angora cat experienced many perilous days and nights. Somehow the Fates were on his side and he not only survived but made it out of Lebanon alive.

As one of approximately three-hundred cats and dogs airlifted out of Beirut last September by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, he was first taken to their twelve-hundred-acre sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. (See Cat Defender post of October 12, 2006 entitled "A Few Hundred Cats and Dogs Are Airlifted Out of Lebanon but Cluster Bombs and an Oil Slick Continue to Kill Animals and Marine Life.") Later, on November 26th, he was adopted by Tom Chambers from the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. (See photo of the happy couple.)

So far, the long-distance adoption appears to be working out really well for both parties. "Stone can be both standoffish and friendly," Chambers told The Naperville Sun on January 4th. (See "Nine Lives From Beirut.") "I can tell he spent time wandering the street because cats are usually picky eaters, and Stone will eat just about anything I feed him."

After he contacted Best Friends about adopting a cat, the organization first sent a representative to interview him and then later delivered Stone to Chicago by private jet. That flight also included a blind cat, a litter of kittens, and a group of feral cats, all Lebanese refugees, who were destined for other American communities.

Chambers, who works for HFBC Finance in nearby Prospect Heights, has a long history of taking in animals in distress as well as financially supporting rescue groups. Previously he has rescued a dog that had been hit by a car and he now cares for a pug-beagle mix that suffers from epilepsy and another dog that was left homeless by Katrina. Nonetheless, he has made room in both his home and heart for Stone.

"I'm an animal lover, and it broke my heart when I realized what had happened to those cats and dogs in Beirut," he told The Naperville Sun. Speaking of the solid-white cat with one blue eye and one green one, he then added, "Besides, how can you not love an animal that looks as beautiful as Stone?"

Although because of his impairment he is not frightened by vacuum cleaners and other harmless loud noises that occur in his new home, it is truly amazing that he was able to survive in Beirut with bombs and debris falling all around him.

Rapidly emerging as the world's premier companion animal rescue group, Best Friends has found homes for many of the cats and dogs that it rescued from Lebanon but it still needs for additional people to come forward and adopt those that remain.

The Beirut operation comes on the heels of its successful rescue mission in New Orleans. It spent $5.8 million dollars during the two-hundred-forty-nine days that it spent there rescuing four-thousand animals.

Photo: Kate Szrom of The Naperville Sun.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from Both the USDA and Their Caretakers

"I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food, which they take for granted, but his or her entertainment value."
-- Geoffrey Household

The petty, vindictive, and corrupt-as-hell USDA is threatening to seize Ernest Hemingway's world famous polydactyl cats from his erstwhile Key West home (See photos above and below) as the long-running dispute between the bureaucrats and the cats' owners continues to escalate into an all-out legal and political brawl.

On December 18th, United States District Court Judge K. Michael Moore of Miami dismissed the Hemingway Home and Museum's lawsuit against the USDA by ruling that it must first exhaust its administrative remedies before applying to the federal courts for relief. The museum, which has thirty days to appeal Moore's ruling, has not yet announced its intentions. In the meantime, the USDA will be scheduling a hearing before an administrative law judge.

While it is too early to predict the outcome of this hearing, there is a chance that the museum could lose its famous residents. "There's always a possibility of confiscation," the USDA's Darby Halladay told USA Today on December 26th. (See "The Plot Thickens for Hemingway Cats.") "The likelihood of that occurring, I can't state. But that is a remedy."

Specifically, the legal question under consideration is whether the weak-as-water Animal Welfare Act (AWA) applies to the cats and thus gives the USDA the right to regulate them. The USDA maintains that they are being exhibited to the public and as such they are therefore not any different than zoo and circus animals. The museum, as it would be expected, begs to differ.

"The act only applies to animals in commerce," Cara Higgins, an attorney for the museum, explained to The Citizen of Key West on December 20th. (See "Museum's Lawsuit to Classify Cats Dismissed.") "These cats are not being sold or distributed, they live at the museum and they die at the museum. Some of them are nineteen years old."

There are approximately forty-six cats roaming the grounds of the estate that Hemingway (See photo on the left) called home during the 1930s. About half of them are descendents of a polydactyl cat named Snowball that was given to Hemingway's sons in 1935 by a sea captain. Only the polydactyls are allowed to breed; the remainder are sterilized. (See Cat Defender post of August 3, 2006 entitled "USDA Fines Hemingway Memorial in Key West $200 a Day for 'Exhibiting' Papa's Polydactyl Cats Without a License.")

The current dispute started in 2003 when Michael Morawski and the museum's other owners committed the faux pas of inviting into their bosom a viper by the name of Debbie Schultz. As a former vice president of the Key West SPCA, she was brought on board to assist the museum in trapping and sterilizing the cats.

Unbeknownst to the museum, however, Schultz is a sterilization nut with an agenda all her own. For her, the only good cat is a sterilized one. In fact, she was so overzealous in her sterilization efforts that she has decimated the ranks of the polydactyls to the point that there are almost none of them left to propagate the bloodline.

She also harbors a particularly nasty grudge against a three-year-old tomcat named Ivan. (See photo below of him and Frances as kittens; he is the one on the left.) In fact, Schultz and her cohorts have trapped him six times outside the compound.

"I saw (sic) Ivan many times loose," Schultz told USA Today. "Ivan is a very unneutered, very macho male cat, and in each case, he had one of the street cats pinned down. We have an ordinance that says a nuisance cat can be removed."

Schultz is also so stingy that she even grouses about the fact Ivan occasionally dines at the feeding stations that she has established for her TNR colonies.

Her destructive actions toward the cats left the museum with no alternative but to give her the bum's rush. Deprived of the joy of cutting cut the testicles and ovaries of cats, this vindictive little Philistine in turn ratted out the museum to the feds.

As a consequence, inspectors from the USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service showed up in Key West in October of 2003 and rented a room at a nearby guesthouse so that they could videotape the cats' activities. Unfortunately, their diligence did not go unrewarded. At least one cat was recorded scaling a fence and leaving the property while another report cited the death of a cat named Toby underneath the wheels of a motorist after he, too, had escaped from the grounds.

To their credit, the USDA first attempted to work out a negotiated settlement with the museum by recommending that it, inter alia, enlarge the compound's six-foot-high retaining wall (See photo below) and install an electrified wire across the top of it as well as hire a night watchman.

The museum rejected any notion of tampering with the wall out of fear that doing so might endanger the museum's National Historic Place designation and that the wire might shock tourists. It is not clear what position it took regarding the hiring of a night watchman.

All totaled, the museum has failed three USDA inspections because it has refused to either cage or otherwise confine the cats. The USDA has accordingly refused to license the cats and the museum is facing fines of up to $200 a day for "exhibiting" them without the feds' seal of approval.

As is the case with most celebrated brouhahas, there is plenty of blame to go around. Although it is not known how many cats have been either killed or maimed by motorists outside the Whitehead Street museum, management is responsible at least for Toby's untimely death. If the area in and around the museum has become too dangerous for the cats to be allowed outside it is incumbent upon the museum to restrain them in some manner for their own protection.

Raising the height of the wall and perhaps stringing some chicken wire across the top of it is an idea worth considering even if it does jeopardize the property's historical status. The use of electricity in order to shock the cats into staying put would not only be cruel, but the petit fait that the USDA would suggest such a thing proves that it has no business regulating animals anywhere.

It goes without saying that the cats should not be caged under any circumstances. First of all, they are not convicts and, secondly, Hemingway House is their home. They are also friendly and do not pose any danger to visitors. (See photo below.)

The museum is also being made to pay dearly for its decision to allow Schultz to do volunteer work. Caring for animals is a lot like parenting in that everyone involved has their own ideas and prejudices. Animal rights is a particularly contentious field to begin with and there is little or no consensus amongst competing groups.

Thirdly, the museum has made another faux pas by soliciting the assistance of disgraced Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (See mug shot below.) Not only did she sponsor a slew of draconian anti-Palestinian legislation that Congress enacted last year, but she recently called for the assassination of Fidel Castro.

She initially denied that she had made the statement, but when the makers of the British documentary "Six-Hundred-Thirty-Eight Ways to Kill Castro" supplied the footage she was forced to come clean. Obviously, no halfway decent human being or organization would want to have anything to do with this poster girl for the vileness of American politics.

Despite the good work that the Hemingway Home and Museum has done over the years in continuing the polydactyls' bloodline, it is nonetheless time that some bona fide animal rights group -- if one can be found? -- undertook an investigation of the cats' health and the conditions under which they are being housed. Interested persons can also occasionally catch glimpses of them via live webcams by visiting the museum's website.

As far as the USDA is concerned, it is hardly in a position to regulate Hemingway's cats considering the complete hash that it has made of everything else under its purview. The AWA, for instance, establishes only minimal standards for food, water, and cage size. As most everyone knows, farm animals, zoo and circus animals, lab animals, and those employed in the sports and entertainment industries are treated abysmally with the USDA's consent.

Furthermore, the USDA is doing a piss-poor job of protecting the nation's food supply from, inter alia, BSE and E. coli. Even more scandalous is the fact that it oversees the annual disbursement of more than $20 billion in welfare money that goes predominantly to rich farmers. If all of that were not bad enough in itself, these programs are rife with both corruption and out-and-out thievery.

USDA warehouses are overflowing with surplus food paid for by the taxpayers while tens of millions of Americans go to bed hungry every night. For the past six-months the Washington Post has had a trio of reporters investigating corruption and malfeasance at the USDA and a series of articles on this topic can be found on its website.

In conclusion, the USDA clearly has no business going after Hemingway's cats. The welfare of the cats should be resolved at the local level through discussions involving the museum, city officials, and legitimate animal rights groups.

The polydactyls are one of the few remaining links to the time that Hemingway spent in Key West. It would be a tragedy of monumental proportions if anything were to happen to them or if they were evicted from their home. Steps should be taken to guarantee their safety and they should be allowed to continue to reproduce.

Photos: Trip Advisor (Hemingway's house, cat with man, and retaining wall), Hemingway Home and Museum (Ivan and Frances), The Atlantic (Hemingway), and Wikipedia (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen).

Friday, January 05, 2007

World's First Cloned Cat, CC, Finally Gives Birth to Three Healthy Kittens at Age Five

"The medical argument for animal testing doesn't stand up. Even if it did, I don't think we should kill other species. We think we're so much better; I'm not sure we are. I tell people, 'we've beaten into submission every animal on the face of the earth, so we are the clear winners of whatever battle is going on between the species. Couldn't we be generous?' I really do think it's time to get nice. No need to keep beating up on them. I think we've got to show that we're kind."
-- Paul McCartney

CC, the world's first cloned cat, gave birth to three healthy kittens in late November. According to her progenitor and guardian, Dr. Duane Kraemer of Texas A&M, both mother and kits are doing well.

The father of the kittens is a naturally-born gray tomcat named Smokey who was brought in to mate with CC. One of the kittens has a gray coat like him while the other two favor CC. (See photo below.)

"They're cute and we thought people ought to know about the birth," Kraemer told CBS-TV, Channel 11 of Dallas on December 14th. (See "World's First Cloned Cat Gives Birth.") "But we're hoping it doesn't cause the same frenzy CC did."

Since her birth in December of 2001, there has been much speculation both inside and outside the scientific community regarding Carbon Copy's (or Copy Cat, as she is also known) inability to conceive and it has been largely believed that she was infertile. (See photo of her at top of page.) Although that is obviously not the case, the latest announcement from Kraemer raises considerably more questions than it answers.

For instance, press reports do not reveal if CC was able to conceive naturally or if she had to be artificially inseminated. Since she has been serving as Kraemer's guinea pig for the past five years, other attempts no doubt have been made to impregnate her. Why did these attempts fail? Also, how many miscarriages has she suffered?

The capitalist media once again in its customary manner performed somersaults in order to protect Kraemer and his colleagues at Texas A&M. At the very least it could have demanded that an outside veterinarian be allowed to examine Carbon Copy and her kittens. The nation's animal rights groups are also derelict in their duties in that they did not make the same demand.

Other than announcing that he plans to keep the kittens, Kraemer is mum about his future plans for both them and CC. Already a pioneer in the cloning field, Texas A&M has also cloned, inter alia, cows, pigs, goats, horses, and deer.

As far as it is known, CC is one of only six domestic cats to be successfully cloned by Texas A&M and Lou Hawthorne's Genetic Savings and Clone of Sausalito. More importantly, she is the only one so far who has been able to reproduce. In July of 2005, two unrelated clones of African Wildcats gave birth to eight naturally-bred kittens at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) in New Orleans.

There is one important distinction between the two cases, however. The father of Madge's five kittens (See photo below) and Caty's three offsprings, Ditteaux, is himself a clone. It therefore remains to be determined if two domestic clones can reproduce. (See Cat Defender post of September 6, 2005 entitled "Clones of Endangered African Wildcats Give Birth to Eight Naturally-Bred Healthy Kittens in New Orleans.")

Hawthorne, who thought that he could make a packet cloning domestic cats, was forced to fold up shop back in October after having sold only two of his cloned cats. (See Cat Defender post of October 16, 2006 entitled "Unable to Turn a Profit, California Cat-Cloning Company Goes Out of Business.")

Although commercial cat-cloning may be temporarily in abeyance, it is full speed ahead for the purveyors of designer cats. For instance, Allerca of San Diego has created several allergy-free cats that it is now marketing to the public. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World's First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")

Feline hybrids, such as Savannahs, are also now available commercially. (See Cat Defender post of May 19, 2005 entitled "Savannahs: More Feline Cruelty Courtesy of the Capitalists and Bourgeoisie.")

Both cat cloning and the creation of designer pets have been condemned by cat advocates around the world. With shelters killing millions of them each year there simply is not any need for either clones or new species. More alarmingly, these experiments mutilate, torture, and kill cats by the tens of thousands. Others die from miscarriages and even those who do survive the atrocities of the experimenters' laboratories face a lifetime of living with birth defects and other abnormalities.

It is therefore imperative that both cloning and designer pets be outlawed.

Photos: Richard Olsenius of Texas A&M (CC), KBTX-TV of Bryan, Texas (CC's kittens), and ACRES (Madge's kittens).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Continuing Mass Extermination of Millions of Cats at Shelters Across the World Heads the List of the Top Ten Cat Stories of 2006

"Life is life whether in a cat, or a dog, or man. There is no difference between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage."
-- Sri Aurobindo.

From mass exterminations at shelters, the horrors associated with the creation of clones and designer pets, the emergence of Vogelgrippe as a serious new health threat, the persistent slanders and crimes committed by bird advocates and wildlife proponents, unspeakable acts of cruelty and abuse, the development of invasive surveillance technology that threatens to take away their freedom, the toll exacted from them by both American and Israeli imperialism, and the Chinese's continued slaughter of them as a source of food and clothing, 2006 was another traumatic year for cats all around the world.

A brief recap of these developments and their impact upon cats is presented below.

1.) Mass Slaughters Continue at Shelters.
Tens of millions of cats are rounded up every year all across America and elsewhere in the world and taken to shelters where they are systematically killed upon arrival. Most of them are never offered for adoption and even those that are it is usually only for about three days. No one ever advocates for these cats, which are killed simply because they are either homeless or aged, and they are never given any due process of law. (See photo above of a kitten on death row last autumn at a shelter in Santa Rosa, California.)

Of all the shortcomings of cat advocacy groups, their failure to demand an immediate end to feline genocide is the most egregious. Any advocate or group that will not vociferously campaign for an immediate end to pet euthanasia in all its horrid forms is a complete fraud. The rounding up and killing of cats, dogs, rabbits, and other defenseless animals has mushroomed into a multibillion dollar business that desperately needs to be outlawed.

As a first step toward terminating these atrocities, every animal control officer should be fired and all shelters padlocked. All resources should instead be poured into adoption services and the construction of sanctuaries. (See Cat Defender posts of September 14, 2006 and May 11, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Cat Killing Season Is in Full Swing All Across America as Shelters Ramp Up Their Mass Extermination 'Pogroms' " and "Mass Murderers at SPCA Are Operating an Auschwitz for Cats and Dogs in Lakeland, Florida.")

Often overlooked is the fact that most shelter animals are housed under abominable conditions and that animal rights groups are sometimes complicit in selling them out to the money men. (See Cat Defender posts of August 31, 2006 and March 31, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Animal Control Officer Goes on Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at Massachusetts Shelter" and "Idaho Humane Society Lends Its Support to the Demolition of a Derelict Seed Store That Claims the Lives of Dozens of Cats.")

2.) Cat-Cloning Company Closes.

One of the year's few bright spots was Lou Hawthorne's decision in October to shutter his cat-cloning operation, Genetic Savings and Clone, in Sausalito. (See above of him and clones Tabouli and Baba Ganoush.) This decision was, unfortunately, based upon financial as opposed to moral considerations. (See Cat Defender post of October 16, 2006 entitled "Unable to Turn a Profit, California Cat-Cloning Company Goes Out of Business.")

Working in conjunction with the mad scientists at Texas A&M, Genetic Savings and Clone had successfully cloned six domestic cats over the past five years; because of their exorbitant price tags, however, the firm was able to sell only two of them.

CC, the world's first cloned cat, recently gave birth to three healthy kittens. (See forthcoming Cat Defender post of January 5, 2007 entitled "World First Cloned Cat, CC, Finally Gives Birth to Three Healthy Kittens at Age Five.")

3.) Hypoallergenic Cats Created.

Whatever measure of satisfaction that cat-lovers derived from the closing of Genetic Savings and Clone was tempered by San Diego-based Allerca's announcement that it has created several hypoallergenic cats including one named Joshua. (See photo on the left.) Allegedly created by selectively breeding a large number of American and English Shorthairs, the cats are expected to be available commercially this year. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World's First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")

Although it remains to be seen if the public will pony up Allerca's asking price of $5,000 per cat, inexpensive alternatives already exist in the form of Cornish Rexes, Devon Rexes, Siberians, and Maine Coons which come from nature almost allergy-free. Moreover, purchasing one of these breeds takes away the incentive for purveyors of designer pets to torture and kill cats for profit.

4.) Vogelgrippe Kills Several Cats.

Vogelgrippe emerged in the early months of 2006 as a new and serious threat to feline health when at least three cats succumbed to the virus on Deutschland's Ruegen Insel. It is believed that the cats contracted the deadly disease either by eating contaminated birds or by coming in contact with chicken manure that had been spread on fields by farmers.

Despite the fact that there is not a scintilla of evidence that the disease can be spread from cats to humans, the outbreak prompted many panicky owners in Deutschland, Austria, France, and elsewhere in Europe to dump their cats at shelters (See photo above of cats at Arche Noah in Graz, Austria) which in turn led to countless totally healthy cats being unjustly killed. (See Cat Defender posts of March 8, 2006 and March 17, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Vogelgrippe Claims the Life of a 'Kater' on Deutschland's Ruegen 'Islet.' Could Humans Be Next?" and "Two More Cats and a 'Steinmarder' Die of Vogelgrippe on 'Insel' Ruegen Prompting Panicky Owners to Abandon Felines at Shelters.")

Due to either the scientific community's ineptitude or lack of candor, it is impossible to gauge just how serious a threat Vogelgrippe is to both felines and humans.

5.) Bird Lovers Continue to Kill Cats.
Cats all over the world continue to be victimized by evil, unscrupulous bird lovers. In November, Galveston bird lover Jim Stevenson (See mug shot below) was finally apprehended after he had bragged for years on his website that he had shot and killed hundreds of cats. (See Cat Defender post of November 22, 2006 entitled "Evil Galveston Bird Lover Is Finally Arrested After Having Gunned Down Hundreds of Cats.")

In Islip on Long Island, Richard DeSantis was arrested in June after he was caught trapping his neighbors' cats and then turning them over to shelters to exterminate. (See Cat Defender post of June 15, 2006 entitled "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate.")

Later in the year, Robert and Debbie McCallum of Edmonds, Washington were also caught doing the same thing to their neighbor's cat. (See Cat Defender post of October 30, 2006 entitled "Collar Saves Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")

As badly as cats are treated by bird advocates in this country, they are treated far worse in certain foreign lands. In South Africa, for instance, Les Underhill (See photo below) has made it his mission in life to malign and exterminate as many cats as he can. (See Cat Defender posts of March 23, 2006 and April 27, 2006 entitled, respectively, "South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering More Cats on Robben Island" and "Cat-Hating Monster Les Underhill and Moneygrubbing Robben Island Museum Resume Slaughtering Cats in South Africa.")

Not content with killing all feral cats (as well as horses, donkeys, goats, et cetera) on the mainland, the imperialists in Australia have expanded their extermination pogrom to Macquarie. This time around, however, they have outsmarted themselves because the demise of the cats has led to a huge increase in both the rodent and rabbit populations which are now wreaking havoc with shorebirds and the island's vegetation. This is another prime example of how moral and intellectual bankruptcy go hand and glove. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquaire.")

What all of these cat-hating bird advocates have in common is a total lack of integrity and a profound propensity to resort to violence. Like mad dogs frothing at the mouth, they are totally incapable of distinguishing either right from wrong or truth from fantasy. As such, they content themselves by goose-stepping to the drumbeat of their own megalomania.

The capacity of these individuals and groups to do evil is not to be underestimated, however; their warped thinking in no way makes them any less formidable. The task for all cat advocates is to first identify these criminals, publicize their crimes, and to work for their incarceration and removal from society.

6.) Wildlife Proponents Also Attacking Cats.

Second only to bird lovers in the degree of their ailurophobia, wildlife proponents have emerged as a serious threat to the welfare of felines. Leading the charge is UC-Davis' Pat Conrad (See photo on the left) who back in February called for the roundup and extermination of all feral cats allegedly because a parasite found in their feces, toxoplasma gondii, is being washed into the Pacific and thus killing sea otters. (See Cat Defender post of March 3, 2006 entitled "Cat-Hating Professor at UC-Davis and the BBC Call for the Extermination of 78 Million Feral Felines.")

Considering all the industrial, farm, and residential pollution that is being routinely dumped into the seas as well as the toll that CO2 emissions and naval sonar are taking on marine life, it is remarkable not only that any creature is able to survive in such a contaminated environment but that Conrad would have the audacity to blame cats exclusively for the decline in sea otters. She and other wildlife proponents are also being hypocritical in that wildlife excrement is a major pulluter of inland streams such as the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. (See Washington Post, September 29, 2006, "Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Pulluter, Studies Show.")

Another phony-baloney academic with a grudge against cats is Paul Klawinski (See mug shot below), a herpetologist at William Jewel College, who argues that cats are no better than rats and as such should be exterminated. (See Cat Defender post of May 16, 2006 entitled "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators.")

Every time Klawinski, Conrad, and Underhill open their traps they demonstrate writ large not only their utter stupidity but also their total unsuitability to hold any position of influence. Of course, academic standards and ethics have always been extremely lax in the universities; making money, the buffeting of egos, seducing students, and doing evil have always trumped all loftier considerations.

In Washington State, wildlife officials have refused to lift a finger in order to protect cats and dogs who have been killed in their own backyards by invading raccoons and coyotes. (See Cat Defender posts of August 28, 2006 and October 2, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Marauding Pack of Vicious Raccoons Rip Ten House Cats to Shreds and Terrorize Residents but Wildlife Officials Refuse to Intervene" and "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State.") While development should not be permitted in wildlife habitats, animals who invade existing residential areas in order to prey upon domestic pets should be humanely relocated elsewhere.

7.) Cruelty to Cats Increases.
In addition to those individuals and groups who actively propagate an anti-cat agenda, there are a considerable number of people who simply hate the sight of cats and as such are not the least bit hesitant about doing them harm. A good case in point is Peter Landrith (See photo below) who last year got away with stomping to death a fourteen-year-old declawed and arthritic cat named Luke. (See Cat Defender post of January 17, 2006 entitled "Loony Virginia Judge Lets Career Criminal Go Free After He Stomps to Death a Fourteen-Year-Old Arthritic Cat.")

In the Atlantic City suburb of Pleasantville, a group of teens beat up and burned to death a kitten while in Kingsville, Texas a kitten named Zoe had her ears cut off. (See Cat Defender posts of October 5, 2006 and October 27, 2006 entitled, respectively, "New Jersey Teens' Idea of Fun: Beat Up a Defenseless Kitten and Then Burn It to Death" and "Tiny Kitten Named Zoe Has Her Ears Cut Off by Fiends but Texas Police Do Not Seem to Care.")

Outside Charlottesville, Virginia, a used car dealer shot and killed a cat named Carmen all because he allegedly once spotted her on top of one of his old jalopies and in Boca Raton, Florida a tiny kitten was horribly killed when he was run through a wood chipper. (See Cat Defender posts of June 22, 2006 and July 13, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Used Car Dealer in Virginia Murders Sweet Three-Year-Old Cat Named Carmen with Rifle Shot to the Neck" and "Heroic Little Kitten, Fiendishly Run Through a Wood Chipper by Some Devil, Loses His Nineteen-Day Struggle to Live.")

For a country that prides itself on its culture and civility, an astonishingly high number of gruesome attacks upon cats are reported each year in Old Blighty. In fact, seldom a day passes without one or more stories appearing in the English press about cats either being horribly abused or killed. A good case in point was the recent murder of a twelve-year-old cat named Tigger from the London suburb of New Addington by fireworks during Guy Fawkes Day celebrations. Another cat named Sid from the Edinburgh suburb of Granton was also severely burned when fireworks were tapped to his tiny body. (See Cat Defender post of November 30, 2006 entitled "Yobs Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day Kill Twelve-Year-Old Cat Named Tigger with Fireworks; Cat Named Sid Is Severely Burned.")

8.) Surveillance Society Impacting on Cats.
The old saying that "as the animals go so goes man" is particularly true in the case of the encroachments being made daily by the surveillance society. The past year has seen numerous communities pass laws that, inter alia, require cats to be microchipped, sterilized, and licensed. Other municipalities have enacted anti-roaming and leash laws as well as restricted the number of cats that a person may own.

Although implanted microchips have helped to reunite numerous cats, such as Plato (See photo below), with their owners, RFID technology has its limitations. (See Cat Defender posts of May 25, 2006 and June 12, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Plato's Misadventures Expose the Pitfalls of RFID Technology as Applied to Cats" and "Given Up for Dead, Sneakers Is Reunited with His Owner After Having Gone AWOL Ten-Years Ago.")

More alarmingly is the unholy alliance that has developed between the scientific community and certain animal rights groups, particularly the World Wildlife Fund, to trap and tag all species of animals. Contrary to their often repeated lies, trapping and tagging has absolutely nothing to do with conservation.

In addition to securing a treasure trove of welfare money for their bogus research, these individuals and groups aim to make guinea pigs of all creation. Ultimately, this will allow them to decide which species survive and under what circumstances. Once these fascists polish off the animal kingdom they can be counted on to train their sights on man. (See Cat Defender post of May 4, 2006 entitled "Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals.")

9.) United States Military Declares War on Cats.
The Iraqis and Afghanis are not the only ones bearing the brunt of the jackboot of Yankee imperialism. Au contraire, Sergeant Robbie Crumpton (See photo below of him baiting a trap) heads a team of dedicated cat-killers charged with eradicating all cats from the more than one-thousand foreign bases that America maintains around the world as well as its six-thousand domestic installations. (See Cat Defender post of November 14, 2006 entitled "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")

The Yanks' partner in crime, Israel, slaughtered thousands of domestic animals, livestock, and marine life during its illegal invasion of Lebanon last summer. (See Cat Defender posts of August 10, 2006 and October 12, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Death Toll Mounts for Cats and Other Animals Slaughtered and Left Homeless in Lebanon by Israeli War Criminals" and "A Few Hundred Cats and Dogs Are Airlifted Out of Lebanon but Cluster Bombs and an Oil Slick Continue to Kill Animals and Marine Life.")

10.) Chinese Killing Cats for Food and Fur.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. In Shanghai, cats are still being rounded up on the streets and killed with their flesh being sold as mutton and their fur turned into wearing apparel. In Guangzhou (See photo below), eating cat meat is considered to be a delicacy. (See Cat Defender post of February 8, 2006 entitled "Stray Cats Rounded Up in Shanghai, Butchered, and Sold as Mutton in Restaurants and on the Street.")

Later in the year, dogs were slaughtered up by the thousands in Beijing and other cities in reaction to a rabies' scare. (See Cat Defender post of November 14, 2006 entitled "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")

Certain breeds, such as Saint Bernards, are also routinely raised for human consumption. The fact that hunger and malnutrition have always been endemic to Chinese society does not make the eating of cats and dogs any less barbaric.

Photos: Jeff Kan Lee of the Press Democrat (kitten on death row at Santa Rosa shelter), Center for Genetics and Society (Low Hawthorne and clones), CBS-TV (Joshua), Associated Press (Arche Noah in Graz, Austria), Galveston Police Department (Jim Stevenson), University of Cape Town (Les Underhill), UC-Davis (Pat Conrad), Kansas City Star (Paul Klawinski), www.leesburg2day.com (Peter Landrith), Oregon Humane Society (Plato), Jason Tudor of the United States Air Force (Robbie Crumpton), and Asian Animal Protection Network ( Guangzhou market).