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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, June 28, 2007

Rural Alabama Man Makes a Killing Forcibly Breeding Domestic Cats to Bobcats in Order to Create Pixie-Bobs

"I found gold in my own backyard with these kittens. I'm not a cat person. I'm more of a dog person, but I might turn into a cat person now."
-- Mitchell Morris

Suffering from congestive heart failure and in dire need of a transplant, forty-four-year-old Mitchell Morris of Lawrence County, Alabama hit upon the idea of getting a quick and easy infusion of beaucoup shekels by exploiting cats.

After observing two bobcats fighting on his farm, he nosed around and located their den. He subsequently was able to trap one of their kittens which he then confined in a pen for about a year with three of his domestic cats.

As the result, the three cats recently gave birth to a total of ten healthy kittens. (See photo above.) Now, fellow breeder Carol Ann Brewer of Bellingham, Washington has agreed to purchase the kittens for between $300 and $1,500 apiece.

In addition to a new ticker, Morris plans to buy a new motor for his boat, and to take his family to Disney World. (See photo below of him and his four-year-old daughter, Keeley.)

"I found gold in my own backyard with these kittens," he crowed like a proud new papa to The Decatur Daily on June 10th. (See "A Cat Tail.") "I'm not a cat person. I'm more of a dog person, but I might turn into a cat person now."

Somehow one suspects that Morris would willingly become almost anything -- devil or angel -- if the price were right. People exclaim about the power of love and the benevolence of the Almighty, but nothing on this planet can hold a candle to the power of money.

Not only is it capable of turning a dog person into a cat lover, but it has been known to magically transform liberals into conservatives, gays into straights (e.g., Yoko Ono's longtime boyfriend Sam Havadtoy), young vixens into the sex slaves of dirty old men, and lifelong friends into perfect strangers.

Although it is not known if Morris was a devout before he received his windfall, he certainly is talking like one now. "God will send you money and miracles in the strangest ways," he said. To be objective about it, the forcible breeding of domestic cats with bobcats is more akin to the work of the Devil than that of the god that he supposedly worships.

Religious piety is a peculiar thing. If an alien dropped in from outer space and did not know any better he or she would be inclined to believe that it is practiced solely by down-and-out beggars in the street, crooks standing in the dock, and individuals who had just narrowly escaped the clutches of the Grim Reaper.

Pixie-Bobs, as crosses between bobcats and domestic felines are known, have always been controversial. Brewer is credited with creating the species when she allegedly bred the offspring of a natural union between a bobcat and a domestic cat. DNA tests conducted on Pixie-Bobs have failed to prove, however, that they are directly related to bobcats.

Dr. Jan Strother of the North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic in Hartselle is inclined to believe that bobtailed cats and Manxes are often passed off as Pixie-Bobs. (See photo below.) Although she does concede that there is not any genetic reason that would prevent bobcats from freely mating with domestics, she nonetheless thinks that such unions are highly unlikely because bobcats are notorious loners.

She also is very much opposed to the type of forced breeding that Morris and Brewer practice. Not only is it unnatural but it is prone to producing animals with personality problems and genetic defects.

Moreover, the breeding process leading to the creation of Pixie-Bobs is fraught with the same abuses as that of Toygers, Savannahs, and other hybrids. (See Cat Defender posts of April 13, 2007 and May 19, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Killing and Torturing Wild and Domestic Cats in Order to Create Toygers Is Not Going to Save Sumatran Tigers" and "Savannahs: More Feline Cruelty Courtesy of the Capitalists and the Bourgeoisie.")

Even the use of domestic cats in order to save various species of endangered wildcats is cruel and inhumane in that many of them are abused and killed in the process. (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.")

Regardless of their genetic makeup, Pixie-Bobs are on the average fifty per cent larger than domestic cats with an average-sized male weighing between sixteen and twenty-two pounds and females between eight and twelve pounds. They have big feet, short tails, and most of them are shorthairs.

Like Toygers and Savannahs, they have personalities more suited to canines than cats in that they will follow their owners around, play fetch, and walk on leashes. They are also said to chirp as opposed to purring.

There is something perverted, not to mention cruel and sadistic, about breeders and owners who want cats that act like dogs. Anybody who wants a dog should simply go to a shelter and adopt one and leave cats, both domestic and wild ones, alone.

The same reasoning is also a propos to the creation of hypoallergenic cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 10, 2006 and October 10, 2006 entitled, respectively, "More Devilry from Scientific Community as California Company Creates World First Hypoallergenic Cat" and "Dodgy Allerca and Dishonest CBS Join Forces to Market an Allergy-Free Cat Named Joshua to a Gullible Public.")

Despite the cruelty and deaths engendered by the breeding process as well as their exorbitant price tags, the waiting list for these superfluous felines is already two-years long. (See New York Daily News, April 22, 2007, "The $4,000 Cat!")

One of the first persons on the East Coast to receive one of them was Nina Greenberg of Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Both she and her two daughters, Nicolette and Lauren, are reportedly ecstatic about the addition of a ginger-striped cat named Dempsey to their household. (See photo below.)

The creation of new breeds also exacerbates the problem of feline overpopulation. The mere fact that exotic breeds cost a pretty penny has not protected them from being dumped at shelters by disgruntled owners. In particular, there is at least one Pixie-Bob rescue group already in existence.

With tens of millions of cats -- domestics, ferals, purebreds, and hybrids -- being slaughtered each year by Animal Control, shelters, and veterinarians it is insane to allow breeders such as Morris, Brewer, and Allerca to continue to create new species. "There are many, many unwanted domestic cats that need homes, and no one is willing to spend thousands to save all the domestic cats that need it," Strother astutely pointed out to The Decatur Daily.

Individuals who breed and buy designer pets are operating on the false assumption that cats and dogs are inanimate objects in much the same way that kernels of maize and grains of rice are and that man is therefore entitled to genetically engineer them to suit both his whims and the dictates of his pocketbook. Left out of this equation are not only all moral considerations but also anything remotely resembling the compassion and decency that man owes to the animals of this world.

Morris will now get his new heart, outboard motor, and trip to Disney World but it is doubtful that any of them are going to do him much good. That which afflicts him cannot be remedied by one or a thousand new hearts.

Photos: Gary Cosby, Jr. of The Decatur Daily (kittens, Mitchell and Keeley Morris), North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic (Strother), and Frances Roberts of the New York Daily News (Dempsey and the Greenbergs).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Scottish Wildcat Born in Captivity May Hold the Key to Saving Critically Endangered Species from Extinction

"It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities of Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle's lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten."
-- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Cats of Ulthar"

A male kitten was born in captivity last month to two purebred Scottish wildcats known as Flora and Hamish. (See photos above and below of Flora and her kitten.)

The event, which occurred at Wildwood Discovery Park near Canterbury in Kent, is considered to be a milestone in England's belated attempt to save its rarest mammal from extinction. Although there are a number of the wildcats living in captivity, it is not clear if this was the first time that any of them had successfully reproduced.

What is known, however, is that there are only around four-hundred purebreds remaining in the wild and these are confined pretty much to the Scottish Highlands. Another five-thousand of them exist but they are the products of interbreeding with Felis catus.

The wildcats are so critically endangered in fact that some experts are predicting that they will become extinct within ten years. "The kitten's birth will help boost the increasingly important captive population in the United Kingdom, which could save the species from future extinction," Peter Smith of the Wildwood Trust told This Is London on May 25th. (See "The Scottish Wildcat Kitten Saving Its Species from Extinction.")

Both Flora and her newborn are said to be doing well. For the time being the kitten will remain nameless until the results of the Wildwood Trust's naming contest are tabulated.

Felis sylvestris grampia are about fifty per cent larger than domestic cats and they feed upon rodents, small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. They lead solitary existences except for mating once a year in either January or February.

Amazingly enough, Scottish wildcats have lived in the British Isles for more than two-million years. During their salad days, they shared the land with the woolly mammoth, cave bears, and cave lions.

At the close of the last Ice Age, about nine-thousand years ago, rising sea levels led to the formation of the the English Channel which divorced England from continental Europe. Just as similar climatological events separated the Iriomote wildcat from its cousins in mainland China and thus led to its emergence as a distinct species, so too did the Scottish wildcat diverge from other European wildcats. (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.")

Similar events also separated the clouded leopards of Sumatra and Borneo from their relatives in southeast Asia and led to their development into a distinct species. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2007 entitled "Clouded Leopards of Sumatra and Borneo Are Discovered to Be a Distinct Species from Their Cousins in Mainland Southeast Asia.")

The Roman conquest began a process that over the next centuries would see the English systematically exterminate lynxes, aurochs, bears, boars, beavers, wolves, and other mammals. It also marked the beginning of two-thousand years of unremitting vilification, abuse, and slaughter of the wildcats that continues to this very day.

Initially, the cats were hunted for their valuable pelts. Later, they were branded as vermin by farmers, sheepherders, and chicken producers who shot them on sight. Bounties were placed on their heads and they were even accused of attacking and killing people. The influx of more and more people coupled with the expansion of economic activities also led to deforestation and a severe reduction in their habitat.

It was, however, the emergence of hunting as a sport during the Victorian Age that had, arguably, the greatest detrimental impact upon the cats' fortunes. Not only did game farms encroach upon their turf but the sportsmen falsely accused them of preying upon their precious game birds. Consequently, the cats found themselves hunted almost to extinction.

This miscarriage of justice was perpetrated in spite of the fact that the hunters knew that the wildcats preferred rabbits over pheasants and other game birds. Of course, the English have long been the world's most prolific practitioners of the belief that two (or is it two million?) wrongs constitute a right.

Taxidermists also did a thriving business supplying England's burgeoning number of museums with stuffed Scottish wildcats. References even can be found in Dickens concerning the emergence of taxidermy as a thriving business.

Throughout thousands of years of extermination campaigns directed against the wildcats, other mammals, and birds, the killers always received the imprimatur of the Anglican Church. This is not surprising considering that its ecclesiastical big brother, the Roman Catholic Church, also slaughtered domestic cats en masse during the Middle Ages under the pretext that they were the familiars of witches.

Both churches have long relied upon the dominion mandate found in the Book of Genesis in order to defend their atrocious animal rights records. (See Cat Defender post of May 22, 2006 entitled "Belgian Ritual of Tossing Stuffed Cats from Belfry Makes Jest of Hideous Crimes of Capitalists and Catholics.")

By the time World War I rolled around the wildcats had been eliminated from England and Wales and probably would have disappeared from their last redoubt in the Highlands had not the ranks of the sportsmen been thinned out by the carnage that took place in Flanders Fields. For once, at least, some good came out of man's antipathy toward his fellows.

The 1986 meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl is another example of a human tragedy benefiting the animals. The depopulated area in and around the reactor is now teeming with wildlife but since most animals live such short existences it is not yet known what the long-term consequences of their exposure to such high levels of radiation are going to be.

If the plight of the three-thousand or so individuals who elected to remain in the contaminated area is anything to go by, the animals will at the very least experience diminished life expectancies. Only about three-hundred of the humans are still alive today.

Nevertheless, man always has been the animals' number one enemy and more people usually equates with fewer animals. (See Associated Press, June 8, 2007, "Contaminated Zone Near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Becomes Wildlife Haven, Intriguing Biologists.")

Interbreeding with Felis catus is also contributing to the demise of Scottish wildcats by depleting their available gene pool. Although it is not clear what action is being taken against the feral cats, saving the wildcats should not be used as a convenient excuse in order to trap and kill the ferals.

If the ferals and strays must be removed, they should be humanely trapped and relocated elsewhere. They are every bit as much the victims of man's cruelty and neglect as the wildcats. More importantly, they also have an inalienable right to life and freedom.

From the limited amount of information available, it appears that conservation efforts are being focused on captive breeding programs, such as those in place at Wildwood Discovery Park and Howlett's Wildlife Park in Bekesbourne, Kent, and the establishment reserves for the wildcats.

England's record on animal rights is pretty horrific. In fact, it amounts to little more than two-thousand years of naked exploitation and extermination. (See Robert Lovegrove's "Silent Fields: The Long Decline of a Nation's Wildlife" reviewed by Daniel Butler of The Guardian on May 26, 2007 under the title, "The Killing Fields.")

Wildcats all over the world face similar threats to those bedeviling the Scottish wildcats. (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.") While there can be no doubt that captive breeding programs are an integral part of many conservation efforts, the cats above all need to be left alone in legally protected habitats.

England still has a fleeting opportunity to atone for its past crimes against the wildcats but time is running out fast. It would be a tragedy if these cats who have survived for so long are allowed to perish now, especially when the resources and expertise to save them are readily available.

Photos: This Is London.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Caring Restaurant Worker Rescues Ghost Town's Cats from the Wrecking Ball and Finds Them a New Home

The Pollardville Ghost Town, a popular tourist attraction in Stockton, California for fifty years, bit the dust on April 1st. The Chicken Kitchen has remained open for take-out orders but it, too, will be closing on June 24th.

Shortly thereafter the town will be demolished by developers who plan to build a shopping center and a gated community on the sixteen-acre tract of land.

Over the years a large colony of otherwise homeless cats have come to call the ghost town home. Despite being longtime residents, neither the developer nor the town's proprietors, Neil and Tracy Pollard, made any arrangements for their future.

Into the breach has stepped Lisa Bertroch (See photo above) who has not only trapped most of the cats (See photo above) but also found them a new home at a sanctuary run by the Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund, eighty-three kilometers away in El Dorado Hills.

So far, she has managed to trap and relocate sixty-six of the cats but three or four holdouts continue to roam the deserted streets of the condemned wild west town. If they are not rescued before the bulldozers move in they could be killed when the buildings come tumbling down. (See Cat Defender posts of June 9, 2005 and March 31, 2006 entitled, respectively, "War on Terrorism Costs Cats Their Home -- and Maybe Their Lives Also" and "Idaho Humane Society Lends Its Support to the Demolition of a Derelict Seed Store That Claims the Lives of Dozens of Cats.")

Those cats relocated to the El Dorado Hills facility are being sterilized, vaccinated, and treated for any illnesses that they may have contracted while living on the street. Those deemed suitable for adoption will be offered up the public while the remainder will be allowed to live out their lives at the sanctuary.

Agee Rescue was established in October of 1999 by Cindy and Ed Minghelli in order to provide a home for cats and dogs that otherwise would be exterminated by either Animal Control or shelters. The facility is named in honor of Cindy's parents, Richard and Betty Agee, who spent a good portion of their lives rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife. (See photo above of Cindy on the left flanked by Tracy Pollard, Lisa Bertroch, and a man identified only as Benito.)

Asked by The Record of Stockton on June 8th why she came forward to save the cats especially in light of the Pollards' dereliction of duty, Bertroch answered simply, "I just felt bad." (See "Woman Rescues Feral Felines.")

The ghost town is comprised largely of a collection of odds and ends that the Pollards purchased over the years. For instance, there is the entire set used to film the 1957 movie, The Big Country. There is also a small post office acquired from Mountain Ranch, California and an 1897 jail that was transplanted from the gold rush town of Jamestown in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The town additionally boasts a small railroad and a stagecoach line and there used to be make-believe gun fights as well. (See photo above.) The jail and the post office are being returned to their original owners so they will live to see another day. Everything else has been put up for sale.

Main Street is now deserted of both humans and cats and soon the entire town will be only a memory. (See photo below.) It is a shame all the way around. This country needs its ghost towns far more than it needs additional shopping malls and apartment blocks.

The truly important thing, however, is that thanks to the herculean efforts of Bertroch and the liberality of the Minghellis the cats are going to be able to go on living. That is a refreshing development in that most stories concerning feral cats do not have happy endings.

Furthermore, the sanctuary most likely will be a far safer and healthier place for them than living beside a busy highway. Of course, they will have to adjust to doing without their daily ration of fried chicken.

That is not necessarily going to be an altogether bad thing considering not only all the poisons that poultry producers pump into their birds but also the large amounts of sodium and trans fats that restaurateurs ladle on to the already toxic mix.

Photos: Craig Sanders of The Stockton Record (Bertroch, caged cat, and gunfighter), Agee Rescue (Mingheilli, Pollard, Bertroch, and Benito), and Pollardville.com (Main Street.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alaskan Eskimos Bomb and Butcher a One-Hundred-Fifteen-Year-Old Bowhead with the Complicity of the United States, the IWC, and Sea Shepherd

"In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased. Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as one-hundred-fifty years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded aborigines as pests and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics."
-- Peter Singer

The announcement last week that Inupiat Eskimos had shot and killed a bowhead whale off of Barrow, Alaska in May that is estimated to have been between one-hundred-fifteen and one-hundred-thirty years old is not surprising in that whales have been known to live for a very long time. The failure of both the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the United States to have protected this whale, the indifference of the capitalist media, and the complicity of alleged whale protector Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, all combine to paint a rather dismal picture of the whale conservation movement.

Whaling aficionados were able to pinpoint the animal's age because of a three and one-half-inch piece of a bomb made into a harpoon that was found embedded between its neck and shoulder blade by the natives as they were dismembering it with a chain saw. (See photo above of the fragment alongside an intact harpoon from 1885.) Because nineteenth century Eskimos carved notches on their harpoons in order to be able to lay claim to the whales that they speared, experts immediately knew that the whale had been previously shot by one of them.

They also knew that the harpoon was manufactured in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1879 and transported to Alaska where it was then traded to the Eskimos. The harpoon, which was fired from a shoulder gun, contains a bomb that goes off a few seconds after it enters the animal's flesh. It is, in effect, what today would be known as a pipe bomb.

Ironically, the harpoon which killed the forty-nine-foot, fifty-ton whale is almost identical to the one that it was shot with all those years ago. In fact, Eskimos of today not only employ the same weapons that their forefathers used but they also still hunt in large boats made from the pelts of seals that they have slaughtered.

"The device exploded and probably injured the whale or annoyed him, but it hit him in a non-lethal place," John Bockstoce of the New Bedford Whaling Museum told The Independent on June 14th. (See "Eskimo Hunters Catch Up with Whale That Eluded Their Ancestors.") "He couldn't have been that bothered if he lived for another one-hundred years."

That is a self-serving lie if ever one were told. The whale most likely suffered all sorts of pain and internal damage and his entire existence may have been turned into a living hell because of what the savages did to him. Bockstoce, an avid whale killer himself, has no business making silly statements that he cannot prove just to excuse his own moral depravity.

It is not unusual, however, for whales to be found with spears and bullets in them and this is one way that their ages have been estimated in the past. Their ages also can be calculated by measuring the amino acids present in their eyes but that is a tricky process. Nonetheless, it is believed that some whales live for as long as two-hundred-years.

Bowhead whales were hunted almost to extinction during the nineteenth century principally because their baleen was in demand by corset and hat manufacturers. Of course, no part was wasted and their blubber, oil, and bones were also coveted.

According to the American Cetacean Society, there are about eight-thousand bowheads remaining in the Chukchi-Beaufort-Bering Sea area and a few hundred more in the Arctic off of Canada's east coast as well as in the Okhostsk Sea near Russia. Before the carnage of the nineteenth century, it is estimated that there were between thirty-thousand and fifty-thousand representatives of Balaena mysticetus alive and well in Arctic waters.

Although bowheads are classified as endangered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Eskimos of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia are allowed to continue to kill these magnificent animals. (See photo above.) With the blessings of both the good-for-nothing IWC and the United States, Eskimos in Alaska are allowed to slaughter fifty-one bowheads per year; figures for Eskimos living elsewhere are unavailable. (See USA Today, June 12, 2007, "Nineteenth-Century Weapon Found in Whale.")

Since they have been killing bowheads for twenty-five-hundred-years, the Eskimos quite naturally feel that they have a God-given right to continue to do so regardless of the consequences. "The Eskimo have been called the 'people of the ice whale' because without the bowhead we would not exist," Eskimo whaler Burton "Atqaan" Rexford proclaimed to The Independent.

That once may have been true but not now. Contrary to common perceptions, the Eskimos are as rich as Croesus. Thanks to legislation pushed through Congress in 1986 by thoroughly corrupt Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, they receive hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid federal contracts each year. For instance, their take for 2004 was $876 million. (See Salon, June 19, 2007, "What Ted Stevens, Bolivian Cocaine and Haliburton Have in Common.")

Needless to say, Stevens and the oligarchs that he represents did not propose this legislation solely for the natives' benefit. Au contraire, they are used as fronts by multinationals such as Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a former subsidiary of Dick Cheney's Haliburton, because of the minority business preferences that they are entitled to under the law.

In particular, Olgoonik Management Services of Wainwright, which is owned in part by whalers and sealers, has partnered with KBR in recent years in order to win no-bid contracts to, inter alia, feed Bolivian troops hired by the Americans to fight cocaine trafficking in the Amazon ($31 million); do construction work at three United States Army bases in Alaska ($125 million); and, provide security upgrades at American embassies ($145 million).

Even conceding the fact that a lion's share of the loot goes to KBR and most of the jobs to non-natives, the tribal elders' take from this scam still must be considerable and more than a few shekels must somehow trickle down to the whale and seal killers.

As far as the argument that killing whales is an indispensable part of their cultural heritage, it is important to remember that cannibalism, human sacrifices, slavery, and a thousand other hideous practices also have long and inglorious histories but not too many people are willing to publicly champion their causes today. Killing whales belongs in the same category.

It is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to vilify the Japanese for killing whales while at the same time it subsidizes the Eskimos to do the same thing. The Navy's new high-powered sonar also is indiscriminately killing all sorts of whales by the thousands and America's steadfast refusal to curb its pollution is turning the oceans into toxic cesspools that are unfit for whales and all other forms of marine life.

As per usual, the tragic killing of the elderly bowhead has been greeted with indifference by the capitalist media. Although it does a credible job of championing the environment and rattling Tony Blair's cage, The Independent's record on animal rights is every bit as atrocious as that of its thoroughly discredited competitors.

Par exemple, Leonard Doyle's piece on the bowhead did not contain a syllable from defenders of whales. More startling, Doyle just accepted the whale's demise as a fait accompli without expressing an iota of outrage or regret. As the world's only halfway decent newspaper, surely The Independent can do better than that.

Steve Curwood, host of National Public Radio's Living on Earth, likewise treated the killing of the whale as a mere curiosity during the show's June 15th broadcast. (See "A Whale of a Sliver.") He, too, interviewed Bockstoce but did not express any concern for the murdered whale or offer any criticism of the Eskimos. Unfortunately, that is only to be expected from a show that views its role in reporting on the environment as being limited to repeating ad nauseam the lies of Republicans, Democrats, big business, and polluters.

When it comes to being antagonistic toward animals, no outlet can match the hostility and contempt exhibited by the CBC's As It Happens. On its June 13th show, host Carol Off exhibited a profound interest in the minutiae of whale killing but none whatsoever in the well-being of the species.

Since she joined the broadcast last fall, Off has turned the show into a human rights forum where she interviews the same obscure political prisoners over and over. That is praiseworthy, albeit boring, up to a certain point but it stands in marked contrast to her cavalier treatment of animals. As any fool should know, both the physical and moral health of Mother Earth, the animals, and man are intricately linked and cannot be separated.

Off's sidekick, Barbara Budd, is even worse in that she treats all animals as objects of jest and derision. (See mug shot above.) For instance, she followed up Off's miserable reporting by playing part of Danny Michel's recording of In the Belly of a Whale.

In March of 2006, she attacked Paul McCartney and Heather Mills for coming to Canada in order to protest the annual clubbing to death of more than three-hundred-thousand baby seals. She even went so far as to play Paul's Get Back as her way of telling him and Heather to mind their own business. (See Cat Defender post of March 27, 2006 entitled "Six Protesters Arrested as Baby Seal Slaughter Gets Under Way in Canada.")

The capitalist media's indifference to the tragic death of this ancient male bowhead is, unfortunately, only par for the course. More alarming, however, is the deafening silence of both Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace.

While Greenpeace has largely been discredited as a band of do-nothing publicity-seekers, Paul Watson's unwillingness to condemn aboriginal whaling can be explained by his recent sellout to the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, in order to get his anti-whaling vessels, the Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter, flagged. (See photo below of tribal leaders presenting him with the Five Nations Confederacy flag.)

During the past year the governments of Canada, England, and Belize have bowed to pressure from Japan and stripped Sea Shepherd's ships of their registration and this coupled with the fact that no other state will flag them is an indictment of the thorough corruptness of the international community. Although most countries do a considerable amount of gassing about protecting whales when it comes right down to actually doing it they cave in to all sorts of political and economic interests and side with the whale killers.

As for Watson's decision to sell out, he told As It Happens on June 19th, "If the governments of the world are not going to stand up and defend and uphold the laws protecting life and habitats in the ocean (sic) then it seems only natural to me that the First Nations would stand up and proclaim that they would support this." (See "Sea Shepherd Mohawks.")

That is pure tosh. By entering into this Faustian agreement with the Mohawks, Watson is giving indigenous tribes a green light to slaughter whales with impunity while he simultaneously lambastes the Japanese for doing the same thing. Although it is not known how much Watson paid the Mohawks in order to get them to flag his ships, it will be interesting to see if Steve Wynn, Richard Gere, and his other high-profile supporters continue to bankroll his duplicity.

Tant pis, Watson may have prostituted himself for nothing because it is highly unlikely that the major powers will ever accept the Mohawks' flag as being legitimate. Other critics have even gone so far as to label the deal a cheap publicity stunt. (See The Gazette of Montreal, June 19, 2007, "Stripped of Papers, Ocean Warriors to Sail Under Mohawk Flag.")

In conclusion, it is mind-boggling that nations, civilized and aboriginal, still are allowed to kill whales at this late date in history. If the rulers of this world had any compassion, decency, and humanity this ancient bowhead would have been valued as a treasure and allowed to live out his life in a habitat that was free of both harpooners and pollution.

Sadly, that is no longer possible. He is dead now and, unlike the mythical phoenix, will not be returning. With his death, this planet became a little poorer and significantly less majestic.

His blood is all over the phonies and frauds who were supposed to have been protecting him as well as those who through their own indifference simply do not care.

Photos: New Bedford Whaling Museum (harpoon), NOAA (bowhead), CBC (Barbara Budd), and Marcos Townsend of the Montreal Gazette (Watson and Mohawks).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gulf Breeze Planning to Trap and Kill Three-Dozen Cats Left Homeless by Hurricane Ivan

"These cats on the bridge do not pose any documented health or safety risks to the public. Free roaming cats are timid."
-- Greg Farrar of Jury-Duty

The cat-haters who run Gulf Breeze, Florida recently announced plans to have Escambia County Animal Control trap and exterminate the approximately three-dozen cats that live in Wayside Park. (See photos above and below.) A good portion of them have lived in the park ever since they were abandoned by their owners during Hurricane Ivan back in 2004.

So far, the only concession that the city has made to advocates for the cats is to give them until July 1st in order to trap and relocate their charges somewhere else. Although there is still some sand left in the hourglass, it is not clear that their supporters have the resources at hand in order to save the cats.

In keeping with the standard modus operandi of cat killers everywhere, Gulf Breeze has embarked upon a malicious defamation campaign against the felines. Without a scintilla of evidence in support of their slanders, officials are claiming that the cats are vicious, a health threat, and that they are stinking up the park.

"Parents are saying they are afraid to bring their kids to the park," Ron Pulley, director of parks and recreation, told the Pensacola News Journal on May 29th. (See "Feral Cats Face Death Penalty.") "They don't know if the cats are aggressive and they are afraid of what will happen if a child tries to pet one."

As anyone with half a brain knows, the notion that cats, feral or domestic, will without provocation attack humans is absurd. Au contraire, they are too frightened of them to even go near them. The only times that they become physical is when they are either abused or cornered.

"I don't see how someone could be complaining about them," Rusty Foley of Georgiana, Alabama, who frequently drives down in order to fish off of the nearby Pensacola Bay Bridge, told the Pensacola News Journal. "You hardly see them. They stay away from you."

Foley's assessment of the cats is backed up by Pensacola attorney Greg Farrar who co-directs the charity Jury-Duty and also is the regional representative of Spay USA and Spay Florida. "These cats on the bridge do not pose any documented health or safety risks to the public," he told the Gulf Breeze News on May 31st. (See "City Says 'No Feral Cats at Wayside Park'.") "Free roaming cats are timid."

Even Pulley's allegation that the cats are stinking up the park is rejected by Sonya Ferguson who has been feeding them for more than three years. "It's people coming down here making things dirty, not the cats," she told the Pensacola News Journal in the article cited supra. "There is more trash down here than cats, and the cats sure aren't putting it there."

The often repeated charge that feral cats are unhealthy and carry diseases has also been refuted by many veterinarians who have studied them. In fact, many feral cats are indeed healthier and have fewer diseases than their domestic cousins. Not being fed contaminated store-bought canned food also works in their favor.

Besides ailurophobia, Ferguson suspects an ulterior motive behind Gulf Breeze's campaign to get rid of the cats: gentrification. "I think now that they are getting the park all fixed up they want it to look a certain way," she said.

Both Ferguson and Farrar are still lobbying for the establishment of a sterilized colony in the park but Pulley is dead set against the idea. "Even if they were spayed or neutered we'd want them relocated," he told the Gulf Breeze News.

Ferguson summed up the dire straits that the cats are in when she told the Pensacola News Journal, "These babies need a miracle and I pray they get one."

Photos: Franklin Hayes of the Gulf Breeze News.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Katzen-Kameras Are Not Only Cruel and Inhumane but Represent an Assault Upon Cats' Liberties and Privacy

"One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work -- supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works -- you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat. That cat wasn't a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis."
-- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

On June 3rd, famed cartoonist Peter Gallagher provided his millions of loyal readers with a sneak peek into the nocturnal perambulations of his famous feline, Heathcliff. The ebullient cat about town is shown enjoying a bottle of milk and a few yuks with his cronies, duking it out with a trio of canines, ripping off a fish and being chased by the peelers, raiding the garbage, and doing a little romancing. When he arrives back home the following morning tired and sleepy, Nutmeg, his caretaker, unwittingly asks him, "Another dull night?"

Throughout the millenniums many people have speculated about the secret lives of cats but since trailing them has never been really feasible, their activities have remained primarily conjecture. That is about to change with the introduction of what is being billed as the world's first Katzen-Kamera.

Curious about both the diurnal and nocturnal rambles of his resident feline, Kater Lee, transplanted German engineer Juergen Perthold of Anderson, South Carolina has built a mini-camera that when fitted around his cat's neck snaps a photograph every minute. (See top photo.)

The camera is approximately 38 x 60 x 22 millimeters in size and weighs thirty-five grams. The battery weighs an additional thirty-five grams and has a life span of forty-eight hours before it needs to be recharged.

Although it is patently cruel and inhumane, not to mention nosey, to force a cat to lug around a camera, Perthold is unconcerned. "Mr. Lee ist eine ziemlich grosse Katze, deswegen bereitet es ihm keine Probleme," he told Der Spiegel on June 5th. (See "Kater Lee fotografiert seine Welt.")

In spite of his ability to carry the excess baggage, Perthold does admit that his cat is not exactly thrilled about it. "Nur beim Anlegen der Kamera macht er etwas Aufstand, danach akzeptierte er sie." That is not exactly true in that Kater Lee tolerates the encumbrance only because he has so far been unable to get shed of it.

Kater Lee's predicament is especially tragic in that his previous caretakers moved away and abandoned him. Perthold, who took possession of him when he rented their house, originally made the mistake of thinking that he was a female and named him Miss Lisa. It is not known for certain how old Kater Lee is, but he is thought to be between two and three years of age.

Although Perthold has stated, "Ich wollte herausfinden, was er tut, wo er den Tag uber ist," his work also has been inspired by the love of money. He is not only peddling his kitty-cams for $30 apiece but he is also begging for handouts on his web site. Like the pursuit of power, the love of money can never be sated.

So, what has Perthold learned about Kater Lee's exploits that he could not have already guessed? Not much so far. In fact, his pursuits pretty much mirror those that Gallagher imagined for his fictional Heathcliff.

Specifically, he hangs out with other cats underneath parked cars and watches the world go by from a secure distance. (See photo above.) He also encounters still more of his cousins in the fields. (See photo above of a gray cat.) Even when none of his fellow felines are around there is always plenty of wildlife for him to observe. (See photo above of a blue snake.)

Not surprisingly, a disproportionate amount of his time and energy is spent in the service of the great god Eros. In particular, there is a good-looking red-colored cat in his neighborhood that has attracted his fancy. (See photo below.) Malheureusement, he has a rival for her affections in the form of a black and white tomcat (See bottom photo) who also may be responsible for some of the cuts that Perthold has seen on his cat's face upon his return from his nightly adventures.

In addition to being poids mort and adding absolutely nothing to the existing body of knowledge about cats, Katzen-Kameras do not in any way enhance feline safety. They are totally worthless against the machinations of thieves, motorists, predators, and ailurophobes.

More alarmingly, this new technology sooner or later will be appropriated by bird and wildlife proponents in order to collect evidence against cats. These latter-day Hitlerites already have demonstrated by their past actions that they will stop at absolutely nothing in their quest to vanquish all cats from the face of the earth.

On the more mundane level, cameras are a needless and unwarranted infringement upon both the liberties and privacy of cats. Photographing, tagging, and other types of surveillance ultimately will lead only to their detriment. (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.")

Cats should neither be exploited by the business community nor subjected to the capriciousness of mad scientists on ego trips. They instead should be valued for the exquisite creatures that they are and their liberties and privacy protected.

If the comments posted on Perthold's web site are anything to go by, the public has gone gaga over his cameras in much the same fashion that patrons of Checkers fell hook, line, and sinker for its cat-in-a-bag promotion. (See Cat Defender post of March 16, 2007 entitled "Hamburger Giant Checkers Faces Threat of Legal Action as the Result of Its Cat-in-a-Bag Promotion.")

Just as cats do not belong in bags, they certainly do not need surveillance cameras dangling from their necks. In addition to the stress and inconvenience that they cause, they also could be injurious to their health.

Subjugated and manipulated, a cat becomes a mere caricature of its former self. Perhaps this is what Douglas Adams had in mind when he wrote in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: "One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work -- supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works -- you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat. That cat wasn't a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis."

Photos: Juergen Perthold.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rascal Hops on a Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Winds Up in Chattanooga

"I'm glad the cat came across our path, so we could get it back to where it's supposed to go."
-- Brian Casey of Primavera

Because they are curious creatures and prone to doing a certain amount of unescorted roaming, cats sometimes get into trouble. Their diminutive stature and proclivity toward secreting themselves away in nooks and crannies whenever frightened are sans doute contributing factors in their misadventures.

It is only because of collars, tattoos, and microchips that a clearer picture is finally starting to emerge of not only the extraordinary scrapes that cats manage to get themselves into, but also of the innumerable precipices that await them both at home and in their own neighborhoods. All of this is, of course, in addition to the deadly machinations of bird lovers, wildlife proponents, and other inveterate ailurophobes.

Take, for example, the case of Rascal. (See photo above.) Since her house in South Bend is located next to the train tracks, it probably was just a matter of time before she hopped on board one of them.

Whether she was in hot pursuit of a mouse or just trying to escape the hustle and bustle that accompanies trains, she climbed aboard a southbound freight train one day back in March and was unable to get off until the choo-choo finally stopped almost five-hundred miles down the tracks in Chattanooga. Fortunately for her, the train came to rest directly in front of cat-friendly Primavera, a floor covering distributor.

"They (the railroad's employees) must have opened up a car or something like that and (she) jumped out and she wandered over here," Primavera's Brian Casey told WRCB-TV in Chattanooga on March 8th. (See "Curious Cat Takes a Choo-Choo into Chattanooga.")

Thanks to the fact that she was wearing a collar, Primavera was able to locate her flabbergasted owner in South Bend. Arrangements were made with the owner's father, a truck driver, to pick up the wayward feline on his way through Chattanooga and to return her to South Bend.

Although the employees at Primavera hated to see Rascal go, they were glad that they were able to reunite her with her rightful family. "I'm glad the cat came across our path, so we could get it back to where it's supposed to go," Casey added philosophically.

During her brief stint at Primavera, Rascal helped employee Pam Hollowell input some data into the computer and generally just soaked up all the attention bestowed upon her. "She's a loving cat, she's sitting there purring all day and just having a great time once we got a cat box for her and some food," Casey told WRCB-TV.

Rascal's extraordinary adventure brings to mind the misadventures of an Appleton, Wisconsin cat named Emily who crawled into a cargo container and wound up in Nancy, France and a Texas cat named Neo (See photo below) who got trapped in a neighbor's moving van and ended up in Colorado. (See Cat Defender posts of December 9, 2005 and November 6, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Adventurous Wisconsin Cat Named Emily Makes Unscheduled Trip to France in Hold of Cargo Ship" and "Trapped in Moving Van for Five Days, Texas Cat Named Neo Is Finally Freed in Colorado.")

As was the case with Rascal, both Emily's and Neo's misadventures ended happily. These fortunate felines are, however, exceptions to the rule.

Untold numbers of cats disappear each year simply because they wander into either vehicles or onto trains and are thus transported many miles from home. Others get trapped in luggage, furniture, and appliances and are never seen again.

These extraordinary cases highlight the need for all cats to be equipped with collars. More importantly, their rambles need to be scrutinized.

Photos: WRCB-TV (Rascal) and Eric McCracken of the Daily Times-Call of Longmont, CO (Neo).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The RSPCA's Unlawful Seizure and Senseless Killing of Mork Leaves His Sister, Mindy, Brokenhearted and His Caretakers Devastated

"This man's broken our hearts. He has left Mork's sister, Mindy, without a companion. They were together for nineteen years and have now been torn apart by a careless, casual act... His sister is pining for him. She keeps wandering around the house looking for him."
-- Katherine Parker-Brice

Although most people are aware that Animal Control, shelters, and veterinarians exterminate tens of millions of cats each year, they either do not care or elect to look the other way. Not nearly as well known is the extent of the duplicity and warped morality that these mass murderers employ in order to both cover up and justify their heinous crimes.

It is by no means for certain that such a disclosure would be sufficient to jar the general public out of its apathy. Par exemple, the exposure earlier this year of PETA's hypocrisy, lies, and countless murders already has been forgotten and it is business as usual, i.e., killing more cats and dogs, for that phony-baloney animal rights group. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Although Animal Control officers routinely seize and summarily execute cats and dogs all the time, the RSPCA's lawless seizure and senseless killing of Katherine Parker-Brice's nineteen-year-old cat, Mork, last month in Ruislip, Middlesex was especially tragic. (See photo above.)

Little did Katherine and her husband, Paul, suspect that their new next door neighbor was an inveterate cat hater who would immediately call the RSPCA the first time Mork strayed into her precious little garden. Nonetheless, that is precisely what she did and an unidentified inspector soon showed up and seized the cat which he promptly killed two and one-half hours later.

Although RSPCA guidelines require that posters be put up, neighbors leafleted, and seized cats be taken to a veterinarian, none of these safeguards were taken.

Parker-Brice immediately discovered that Mork was missing when she returned to her northwest London home after getting off from work but it took several more hours before she was able to track down the inspector who was then forced to admit that he had murdered Mork. Moreover, when she demanded that Mork's corpse be returned the callous inspector added insult to injury by returning it the next morning in a disposable plastic bag.

The inspector has since defended his conduct on the grounds that Mork was old, sickly, and a stray. He is in fact so morally warped that he believes that he should be thanked, rather than excoriated, for putting Mork out of his alleged misery.

This is, of course, pure rubbish. "I was in tears. He tried to defend himself saying the cat didn't have any teeth and was old but it was ridiculous," Parker-Brice told the Daily Mail on May 12th. (See "Pet Cat Murdered by the RSPCA.") "You only had to look at his nails which had been clipped and his glossy coat to see that he wasn't a stray."

The very thought of what Mork must have gone through during his last hours weighs heavily on Parker-Brice's mind. "He would have been alone in the dark in the back of that van for two hours and it would have terrified him. He has (sic) never been alone before," she added.

For this monstrous act which has caused so much pain and suffering, the inspector has received only a written reprimand from his supervisors and this has further incensed Parker-Brice. "He should have been sacked. There's no way he should be allowed near animals," she told the Daily Mail.

As tragic and unnecessary as Mork's untimely death was, it is even more disturbing that the inspector in question has worked for the RSPCA for ten years! Since it is extremely unlikely that this is an isolated case, he must have killed hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of beloved household cats over the past decade.

Despite its profuse apology and claims of innocence, the RSPCA is most certainly aware of the crimes that its inspectors commit. In fact, Mork's killer probably was doing only what he had been trained to do in such instances.

The blatant hypocrisy, not to mention the criminality, which forms the very kernel of the RSPCA's modus operandi has not been lost on Parker-Brice. "The RSPCA quickly prosecutes anyone who neglects animals yet here it is killing them indiscriminately," she complained.

As painful as Mork's death has been for Parker-Brice and her spouse, it has been perhaps even more traumatic for Mindy. (See photo above of her and Mork in happier days.) "This man's broken our hearts. He has left Mork's sister, Mindy, without a companion. They were together for nineteen-years and have now been torn apart by a careless, casual act," she said. "His sister is pining for him. She keeps wandering around the house looking for him." (See photo below of her gazing at a picture of her dead brother.)

The Parker-Brices justifiably have initiated legal action against the RSPCA. Even if they were to prevail in court it is unlikely that they would receive more than a mere pittance in damages. In any event, no amount of money is going to bring back Mork and even an adverse judgment is unlikely to force the RSPCA to mend its evil ways.

It is a hard truth for some people to face, but a majority of the individuals and groups involved in animal welfare are cold-blooded killers who look upon cats and dogs as nuisances to be permanently removed from society. Moreover, they are too corrupt to ever be reformed.

In addition to all the animals that they kill outright, Animal Control and shelters kills countless more through negligence. (See Cat Defender post of August 31, 2006 entitled "Animal Control Officer Goes on Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at Massachusetts Shelter.")

The only solution is to outlaw the killing of cats, dogs, and other companion animals under all circumstances. This effectively would put an end to Animal Control, shelters, and verterinary practice as it is currently known. Unless this is done, the killing of beloved cats like Mork is bound to continue.

Mork's murder has focused attention once again on the large number of individuals who hate cats. Although bird lovers and wildlife proponents are the most prominent cat killers, it is not known if the Parker-Brices' new neighbor is a member of either of these groups.

For example, Richard DeSantis of West Islip on Long Island relies upon shelters to do his dirty work for him. (See Cat Defender posts of June 15, 2006 and March 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Serial Cat Killer on Long Island Traps Neighbors' Cats and Then Gives Them to Shelter to Exterminate" and "Long Island Serial Cat Killer Guilty of Only Disorderly Conduct, Corrupt Court Rules.")

In Edmonds, Washington, Robert and Debbie McCallum employed the same tactic last autumn in a failed attempt to do in Laura Martin's cat, Turbo. (See Cat Defender post of October 30, 2006 entitled "Collar Saves a Cat Named Turbo from Extermination After He Is Illegally Trapped by Bird-Loving Psychopaths.")

Still others, such as George Seymour of Charlottesville, Virginia, dispense with the subterfuges and intermediaries and take the law into their own hands. (See Cat Defender post of June 22, 2006 entitled "Used Car Dealer in Virginia Murders Sweet Three-Year-Old Cat Named Carmen with Rifle Shot to the Neck.")

The lesson to be learned from all of these cases is that cat haters are everywhere and they are every bit as sneaky and devious as they are deadly. It is therefore imperative that cat owners be wary of their neighbors, especially new ones.

Cat killers are difficult to detect but an effort to do so must nonetheless be attempted. Failure to do so could mean the death of another innocent cat like Mork.

Photos: Katherine Parker-Brice.