Spring 2006

    Issue: Spring 2006

    Table of Contents

    • Educated on the east coast, George W. Bush affects the aura of the west. Under a five-gallon hat, Bush greets world leaders at his 1600-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas. Sometimes in tall leather boots, he listens to briefings from his cabinet members. Last summer, Bush signed a law that celebrates the symbolism, designating an official Day of the American Cowboy. The bill was introduced by Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY), a rancher, who stated:“Cowboys were not only integral in settling the West and laying the foundation for America as we know it, but they continue to play an important role in the fabric of our country. Their contributions enrich our communities, cultivate our businesses and strengthen our families every day. The American Cowboy represents those aspects of American life we hold dear: independence, freedom and responsibility. In Wyoming, the Cowboy is not only a legend of the Old West, but an important piece of everyday life. For these reasons, I introduced a resolution designating July 23, 2005, and July 22, 2006, as National Day of the American Cowboy. It is time for the American Cowboy to be recognized.”Senator Thomas leaves out a few important realities. Today’s ranchers are not independent and responsible; they enjoy a constant flow of government largesse. By commemorating the history of ranching, this recognition trumpets a business that decimates the landscape, while siphoning land, money and resources from the people.So let’s take some time to examine several of the myths perpetuated by the National Cowboy Day legislation. All of the statements examined here come directly from the resolution to designate the two days as “National Day of the American Cowboy.”Myth: Pioneering men and women, recognized as cowboys, helped establish the American West.Europeans pioneers did not establish the West; rather, they tamed the landscape and decimated the ecology that once thrived there. After driving Native Americans from their homes, settlers populated the land with the animals who had the misfortune to be bred and known as livestock. Cattle, sheep and other ruminants grazed on plant species to the point of extinction, trampled stream beds and the native species residing there, and exhausted many natural water sources. In order to ensure the safety of their stock, ranchers took to hunting and trapping predator species. Many of these free-living animals are endangered today.Although ranches can be found in each of the 50 states, they became especially detrimental west of the Mississippi River, particularly in Nevada, California, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, and some parts of California.As for the “men and women” rangers, the reality has not been a model of egalitarianism. Throughout pioneer history, we find men working on the range, while women are often missing from the history books. President Theodore Roosevelt praised the ranching culture because it “allowed men to return to a kind of primitive social unit.” [fn]Donahue, Debra, The Western Range Revisited: Removing Livestock from Public Lands to Conserve Native Biodiversity( 1999). P. 89 quoting Roosevelt, Ranch-Life and the Hunting Trail.[/fn]Myth: The cowboy embodies honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, respect, a strong work ethic, and patriotism.The image of the self-reliant, courageous cowboy pervades the work of many painters, photographers, songwriters, writers, filmmakers and actors. The cowboy usually looks like John Wayne; but historically those who tended the cattle were usually poorly paid African and Mexican laborers in the employ of wealthier ranch owners.[fn]Wuerthner, George, Welfare Ranching, (2002). P.28 quoting R.V Hines, The American West: An Interpretive History.[/fn] And to this day, wealthy families run the ranches. Hotel giant Barron Hilton and Idaho billionaire J.R. Simplot are two of the wealthiest.As owner of the company that provides fries for McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, Simplot has permits to graze on almost 2 million acres of land stretching through Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Hilton has a ranch that reaches about 500,000 acres throughout Nevada and the California line. Both Hilton and Simplot are part of the wealthy minority with leasing privileges over huge swaths of public land.[fn]Paul Rogers and Jennifer LaFleur, “Cash Cow: Tax Dollars Still Support a Wild West Holdover that Enriches Big Ranchers and Degrades the Land,” San Jose Mercury News, (7 Nov. 1999). Article says federal records show that “the top ten percent of grazing-permit holders control 65 percent of all livestock on BLM property.”[/fn]Yet despite their wealth, modern ranchers remain financially dependent on the government. Under a 1934 law, grazing allotments on public lands are leased for a small fee — well below the market price — to ranchers.“We have cowboy socialism,” said Thomas Power, a Montana economist, in a 1999 interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s a romantically based, phony attempt to protect something from the past that no longer exists.”Myth: The cowboy spirit continues to infuse this country with its solid character, sound family values and good common sense.The cowboy spirit infuses this country with massive and unsustainable projects that defy common sense. Ranchers lease approximately 300 million acres of public land from the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The rate they pay for one animal unit month — that needed to sustain one cow and one calf per month — is $1.79.[fn]Bureau of Land Management, New Releases (2005), blm.gov.[/fn] Lease revenues from ranchers do not generate enough cash to meet the administrative costs of these agencies. Thus, in 1998, the Bureau and the Forest Service lost a total of $94 million on grazing, spending $116 million and taking in only $22 million. Taxpayers also subsidize costly endeavors including fencing, irrigation and watershed projects, and flood mitigation to benefit the ranching industry.[fn]Moskowitz, Karen, MBA and Chuck Romaniello, MS Agricultural Economics, “Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program,” (Oct. 2002). The report, which is drawn from federal audits, estimates that grazing on public lands costs the federal government more than $128 million annually.[/fn]The cowboy spirit infuses this country with a disproportionate influence in the Senate. The co-sponsors of Cowboy Day itself come from Western states; some are former ranchers.[fn]Legislators co-sponsoring the bill come from states including, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, and Colorado. S. Res. 85, Introduced by Sen. Craig Thomas (WY) (2005).[/fn] The Bureau of Land Management is organized by state offices, emphasizing state grazing interests. And, under recently passed amendments to the federal grazing rules, ranchers are poised to win still greater authority on local and state grazing boards, and may gain ownership of pipelines and water sources.[fn]Legislators co-sponsoring the bill come from states including, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Idaho, and Colorado. S. Res. 85, Introduced by Sen. Craig Thomas (WY) (2005).[/fn]Myth: The cowboy loves, lives off of, and depends on the land and its creatures, and is an excellent steward, protecting and enhancing the environment.On the contiguous land mass of the United States, it is ranching that uses the bulk of water and space to maintain the animals it treats only as chattel.Ranchers divert water from rivers to grow crops and feed the animals they breed into existence as future food. These “excellent stewards” are the people who often leave free-living aquatic animals stranded in dehydrated areas.It’s hardly an enhancement to the environment to soak up the river ecology on which some 80 percent of all wild animals in the West depend, or to send cattle out to pollute streams with manure. Methane, which is largely produced by the digestive processes of ruminant domesticated animals, is one of the leading causes of global warming.[fn]U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2003,” Report #: DOE/EIA-0573 (2003) (released Dec. 13, 2004)[/fn]Myth: To recognize the American cowboy is to acknowledge America’s ongoing commitment to an esteemed and enduring code of conduct.The rancher’s code of conduct is probably not held in high esteem by wolves, bears, coyotes and mountain lions — but then, those animals are hardly around anymore to ask. Between 2002 and 2004, Wildlife Services — federal agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture — killed 1,686 mountain lions in the western states at the behest of ranchers.[fn]USDA Wildlife Services “PDR 10, Number of Animals Killed and Methods Used By the WS Program” (Fiscal Years 2000-2004), aphis.usda.gov/ws[/fn] In 2000, ranchers on public lands accounted for about $4 million of the agency’s costs.[fn]Report: “Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program,” quoting Audit of the USDA animal damage control program, Predator Defense Institute, http://pdi.enviroweb.org/audit.htm (2000).[/fn] The decimation of natural predators eventually leads to the rationale for killing, rounding up or using contraception on prey species, which are said to overpopulate the land — usually meaning that they get in the cattle-grazers’ way.Consider the plight of wild horses and burros. Because they cannot legally be hunted, about 25,000 wild horses and burros currently wait in long-term holding, simply to make room for an ever-burgeoning cattle industry.[fn]Statistics drawn from attendance at the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting, Washington, DC, (6 Nov. 2005).[/fn] Others are privatized in adoption schemes. Because of an appropriations amendment introduced in 2004 by wealthy Montana Senator Conrad Burns, some end up in slaughterhouses.Trampling and feeding by cattle also endangers species of the West directly. Species endangered by grazing include the Mexican spotted owl, the Pacific salmon, the Red-legged frog and Desert tortoise.[fn]Moskowitz and Romaniello, “Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program,” (2002).[/fn]Myth: The cowboy continues to play a significant role in America’s culture and economy… Ongoing contributions made by cowboys to their communities should be recognized and encouraged.Ranchers on public lands are not mainstays of their local economies. A single casino in Las Vegas employs more people than the number working in agriculture in the entire state.While ranchers in some states have a higher economic influence, they do not provide substantial employment to western economies. According to a 1994 report issued by the Department of the Interior, “The elimination of all public lands livestock grazing would result in a loss of 18,300 jobs in agriculture and related industries across the entire West, or approximately 0.1 percent of the West’s total employment.”Rodeo is the sixth most-watched sport in America.That might be accurate, but it’s hardly a reason for a national day of ceremony. Although not all ranchers are related to rodeos, these events symbolize the disregard for life inherent in the cattle industry itself. The rodeo’s action depends on roping young animals and agitating horses and bulls to force them to buck frantically for the amusement of the crowd. Injuries to the animals range from bruises and broken bones to paralysis, severed tracheas, and death. Stressful transport and multiple performances in the heat of summer is common. Many of the animals eventually end up at slaughterhouses.But even if those who run rodeos could do so without any obvious cruelty — and many organizers, of course, claim that the rodeo avoids techniques that would harm its animals — the idea would be no more worthy of commemoration. The overall image is that of a humanity that conquers rather than reveres other conscious life.The cowboy is an American icon.The Cowboy should not be chosen to represent a country which, in theory, is based on sound democratic principles. Nor should society accept as its symbol one so willing to exhibit disrespect for life and the environment. In order preserve natural biodiversity and sustain ecological systems, we must stop romanticizing the cowboy, and we must address society’s demand for beef and the products ranchers produce.As George Wuerthner states in Welfare Ranching, “Not only does livestock production require manipulation of the landscape, the larger myth of the cowboy assumes that nature should and must be directed and managed. Wilderness, the organisms that dwell there, and evolutionary processes such as wildfire, weather, and predation are jeopardized directly or indirectly, by such attempts to turn the land to strictly human purposes.”It’s the duty of legislators to advance policies which respect democratic principles. And it’s incumbent upon humanity to foster respect for the evolutionary wisdom of our natural world, and seek to live in harmony rather than at odds with that wisdom. The National Day of the American Cowboy does neither.

    • Playing Games With the Arctic: Congressional Shenanigans Continue, Arctic Refuge Safe for the MomentWinter Solstice, 2005. Environmental advocates, with their letters and phones, faxes and petitions, and a lot of precious time, successfully pressed key U.S. senators to block an attempt by Big Oil, the White House, and pro-drilling congressmembers to slip drilling permissions into a military spending bill.The land at issue was Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to a uniquely blended arctic and sub-arctic biocommunity on the North Slope of Alaska. The Refuge hosts up to 300,000 snow geese, and, according to the Porcupine Caribou Management Board, provides the key site for Porcupine caribou to bear their young. It’s also a crucial birthplace for polar bears. Disturbances can cause bears to leave their dens, which can, in turn, be fatal to dependent cubs. At the same time, these animals are endangered by changing weather patterns when gas is emitted by the end products of oil prospecting.Most potential oil fields in the Refuge are considerably smaller than that of Prudhoe Bay’s giant field, so exploiting them would mean scattering industrial zones over the area. Acknowledging that the Refuge is critical to animals, Congress barred oil development there in 1980 and withdrew the Refuge’s coastal plain from mineral leasing.But in November 2005, Ted Stevens, a Republican senator from Alaska, was pressing to authorize development of the coastal plain through the Budget Reconciliation bill. Stevens, a member of the Interior Department during the Eisenhower administration when the Arctic Wildlife Range was created, said, “Twenty-four years ago, during the debate on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), I worked closely with Senator Scoop Jackson and Senator Paul Tsongas to ensure part of the Coastal Plain of this area remained open for oil and gas development.”[fn]When congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILEA) in 1980, the Act’s Section 1002 instructed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate the potential impacts of oil development on wildlife on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Biologists found substantial impacts; see note 3 below, and surrounding text.[/fn]Stevens also characterized extracting domestic oil from the Refuge’s coastal plain as serving an “important national security interest.”After failing to keep drilling in the Budget Reconciliation bill, Senator Stevens concocted a new plan, attaching drilling permissions to the Defense Appropriations bill. Stevens doubted that legislators would oppose a bill to fund troops. Led by Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, the Senate voted against this second ploy as well. The lawmakers went home for the holidays, and for the moment, the Refuge was safe.But oil prospecting has been kept off-limits only in the Refuge. Nearly 95% of Alaska's North Slope tundra is legally fair game for drilling. And oil enterprises anywhere on the North Slope industrialize wild lands. Their attending roads, pipelines, energy and processing plants, airports and gravel mines leave lasting footprints on the whole, and on the world’s waters and atmosphere. It’s high time the people of Alaska and elsewhere interrogate the idea that we can continue to drill, even as scientists and Native Alaskans warn us that whales, bears, and caribou are in serious danger of the effects of the burning of fossil fuels on the global ecology.To date, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and oil fields including Prudhoe Bay have directly affected about 22,000 acres of tundra wetlands, with an industry that spans an area the size of Rhode Island. In 2000, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. was charged $15.5 million in criminal fines and $6.5 million in civil penalties for three years of illegal dumping of benzene and other toxic wastes down Endicott oil wells. The Exxon Valdez devastated over 1,000 miles of Alaska coastline, and serious oil spills have happened since. North Slope oil carriers have polluted the entire western coast.Animals have already paid a high price for our oil. Caribou with calves have generally avoided the North Slope roads and pipelines.[fn]R.D. Cameron et al., “Caribou Distribution and Group Composition Associated With Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline” (1979); K.R. Whitten and R. D. Cameron, “Movements of Collared Caribou, Rangifer Tarandus, in Relation to Petroleum Development on the Arctic Slope of Alaska” (1983); W.T. Smith et al., “Distribution and Movements of Caribou in Relation to Roads and Pipelines: Kuparuk Development Area, 1978-1990” in Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Tech. Bulletin No. 12 (1994).[/fn]When the pipeline separated a herd, caribou at the oil fields experienced significantly lower birth rates than distant members.[fn]Biologists’ studies have demonstrated this effect. See “Distribution and Productivity of the Central Arctic Herd in Relation to Petroleum Development: Alaska Department of Fish and Game Research Final Report” (1994); R.D. Cameron, “Distribution and Productivity of the Central Arctic Herd in Relation to Petroleum Development: Case History Studies With a Nutritional Perspective” in Alaska Department of Fish and Game Final Report (1995).[/fn] In Prudhoe Bay, nesting populations of shorebirds decreased along oil field roads.Alaskan residents are divided on the drilling issue. One of the visitors to our Web log, Jimmy Allen, believes tapping the local supply would lead to lower home heating oil prices for Alaskans. It’s unlikely to be so simple, however, as prices depend on global supply and demand rather than the site of an individual field. In fact, when oil from Prudhoe Bay entered the domestic market, and even as it reached full production, automotive fuel and oil prices went up, not down.Some Alaskans refuse to argue the issue at all, simply telling us to “mind your own business.” But drilling for oil has effects for all of us — worldwide, in fact — and national refuge lands are not the exclusive property of Alaska residents.Meanwhile, West of the Refuge….In January, as activists were celebrating a reprieve for the Refuge, the Interior Department announced the opening of 400,000 acres on Alaska's North Slope for exploratory oil drilling.[fn]Justin Blum, “Interior Department to Open Alaskan Land to Oil Drilling” – Washington Post (12 Jan. 2006). The Bureau of Land Management proposed opening the area a year ago. But in January 2006 the Interior Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Chad Calvert approved a modified version of that plan.[/fn] Government officials believe it can produce natural gas and about 2 billion barrels of oil for U.S. consumers, who collectively demand more than 20 million barrels of oil each day, much of it for animal agribusiness.Considering that oil and agribusiness comprise a double whammy for animals, it seems obvious that extending rights to animals would be an excellent idea from an environmental perspective.The Interior Department plans to open land about a quarter-mile from the ecologically sensitive Teshekpuk Lake. Environmentalists have predicted harm to the North Slope’s caribou and tundra swans, and serious effects on geese.Drilling proponents have already vowed to get back to promoting Refuge drilling this spring so the work continues. With the help of our members and supporters, Friends of Animals will also address the root causes that lawmakers can’t or won’t. We’ll talk about the impact of agribusiness and its wasteful use of fossil fuels, and how we can empower ourselves, as individual people, to lighten our pressure on the global ecology as a whole.Below you will find how the senators voted at the close of 2005. Cheers to the YEA votes.48 YEA VOTES SUCCEEDED IN REMOVING the Arctic Refuge drilling provision from projects financed through the Defense Appropriations bill.Akaka, D-HIBaucus, D-MTBayh, D-INBiden, D-DEBingaman, D-NMBoxer, D-CAByrd, D-WVCantwell, D-WACarper, D-DEClinton, D-NYColeman, R-MNCollins, R-MEConrad, D-NDDayton, D-MNDeWine, R-OHDorgan, D-NDDurbin, D-ILFeingold, D-WIFeinstein, D-CAInouye, D-HIJeffords, I-VTJohnson, D-SDKennedy, D-MAKerry, D-MAKohl, D-WILautenberg, D-NJLeahy, D-VTLevin, D-MILieberman, D-CTLincoln, D-AZLugar, R-INMikulski, D-MDMurray, D-WANelson, D-FLNelson, D-NEObama, D-ILPryor, D-AZReed, D-RIReid, D-NVRockefeller, D-WVSalazar, D-COSarbanes, D-MDSchumer, D-NYSmith, R-ORSnowe, R-MESpecter, R-PAStabenow, D-MIWyden, D-OR45 NAY VOTES PROMOTED DRILLING:Alexander, R-TNAllard, R-COAllen, R-VABennett, R-UTBond, R-MOBrownback, R-KABunning, R-KYBurns, R-MOBurr, R-NCChambliss, R-GACoburn, R-OKCochran, R-MICornyn, R-TXCraig, R-IDCrapo, R-IDDole, R-NCDomenici, R-NMEnsign, R-NVEnzi, R-WYFrist, R-TNGraham, R-SCGrassley, R-IAHagel, R-NEHatch, R-UTHutchison, R-TXInhofe, R-OKIsakson, R-GAKyl, R-AZLandrieu, D-LALott, R-MSMartinez, R-FLMcConnell, R-KYMurkowski, R-AKRoberts, R-KASantorum, R-PASessions, R-ALShelby, R-ALStevens, R-AKSununu, R-NHTalent, R-MOThomas, R-WYThune, R-SDVitter, R-LAVoinovich, R-OHWarner, R-VA7 DID NOT VOTE:Chafee, R-RICorzine, D-NJDeMint, R-SCDodd, D-CTGregg, R-NHHarkin, D-IAMcCain, R-AZ 

    • Putting Other Animals on the Pill: Should We, or Shouldn’t We?Friends of Animals has enabled the neutering of over two million cats and dogs — domestic animals that humans brought into society as dependent beings. Does this imply that it’s ethically justifiable to control the births and populations of animals living independently of us?[fn]An editor’s note in the Winter 2005-2006 issue of Act•ionLine states: “It’s entirely rational to oppose the sterilization of deer, wolves, bears, and other free-living animals. We respect their interests in living on their own terms. If there is a conflict, it’s due to our own roads, strip malls, and enormous agribusiness sites — combined with cyclical attempts to manage and control other animals. Birth control efforts should focus on domestic animals — and that includes Homo sapiens, too.” (Response to letter Re: “How to Help Your Community Live With Deer.”)[/fn] Here, Daniel Hammer argues that birth control of naturally existing populations falls short of respecting their basic interests.Over the last quarter-century, advocates have come to view reproductive control as a practical, non-lethal way to manage free-living animals. It’s not often discussed in action alerts, except when offered as an immediate way to avoid killing. For example, in areas where hunting is debated, or where great numbers of animals are being hit by cars, advocates may propose, or even insist, that officials consider reproductive control as a solution.If the individuals involved in pilot reproductive control projects were from particular human populations, questions would be asked about the rights of the community being invasively controlled. Regarding nonhuman animals, though, this discussion hasn’t emerged. Reproductive control is, for the most part, considered a benign intervention. Animal experimenters Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Allen T. Rutberg insist: “Not only is this ethically defensible, but (more to the point) it is also widespread, and we do not see this consensus changing in our lifetime.”[fn]Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Allen T. Rutberg, “Fertility Control in Animals,” The State of the Animals 2001 (Humane Society Press, 2001).See, e.g., Ingrid J. Porton, “Ethics of Wildlife Contraception,” in Cheryl S. Asa and Ingrid J. Porton, eds., Wildlife Contraception: Issues, Methods, and Applications (Smithsonian Institution, 2004)[/fn]When communities perceive conflicts between the animals around them and their own needs and desires, we, the human beings who make decisions, have a responsibility to ensure that our proposed answers reflect our values.[fn]“Fertility Control in Animals” (note 1 above).[/fn] Can we claim to value the “intrinsic rights of all wild creatures to live out their lives unmanipulated by humans,” as Kirkpatrick and Rutberg put it, but, “as a practical matter,” give into “public demands that action be taken when public health, safety, or subsistence are threatened by wildlife”?[fn]Hunting was a major factor in reducing the Fortymile caribou herd from an original 500,000 members to 5,000 members by 1975. “Wolf Sterilization Program Helps Caribou Herd,” Associated Press (9 Nov. 2002).[/fn]If we think other animals have intrinsic rights — interests that are due serious moral consideration — then public demands do not settle the matter. Rights can be inconvenient, yes. But that’s when they count. The point of rights is to protect individuals against intrusions that might be convenient to others. Here, then, is an analysis of this oft-overlooked issue, beginning with a review of its factual background and concluding with some thoughts on the need for a more enlightened advocacy when it comes to respecting the basic rights of free-living individuals.Reproductive Control: What’s AvailableA variety of reproductive controls exist as an alternative to lethal control over free-living animals. They include sterilization, contraception, and contragestation.SterilizationSterilization is usually surgical and permanent. In 1997, the Alaska Board of Game authorized the experimental sterilization of the alpha pairs in 15 wolf groups with territory in the Fortymile region of central Alaska. Scientists cut and plugged the wolves’ reproductive tubes. The other group members were relocated or killed off under the wolf-control scheme in the interest of providing human hunters greater opportunities to kill caribou.[fn]Tim Mowry, “Sterilized Wolves Seem to Live Longer in the Wild,” Associated Press (7 Apr. 2004).[/fn] In 2004, state biologist Jeff Gross touted the scheme as “a real viable management option.” Gross exclaimed, “It’s shown it’s got some longevity. It really is a cost-effective means to reduce the numbers in the long run.”[fn]“Wolf Sterilization Program Helps Caribou Herd,” Associated Press (9 Nov. 2002)[/fn]The idea wasn’t a new one. It’s based on similar projects in Minnesota and the Yukon. The Yukon, which pioneered it, is now experimenting with immunocontraception. [fn]Other experimental contraceptive controls include non-hormonal chemicals, steroid hormones, non-steroidal hormones, and barriers.[/fn]ImmunocontraceptionImmunocontraception is one of the newest and most fashionable forms of reproductive control for free-living animals.[fn]Jay F. Kirkpatrick, “The Elusive Promise of Wildlife Contraception: A Personal Perspective,” in Allen T. Rutberg, ed., Humane Wildlife Solutions: The Role of Immunocontraception (2005).[/fn]Immunocontraception is now being tested on deer, elephants, bears and birds, and, most of all, on free-living horses. Federal legislation designed to protect the lives of horses on public lands led the Bureau of Land Management be one of the first agencies to back experiments contraception as a way to continue aggressive management practices.In 1977, the BLM offered $300,000 for experiments, led by Jay Kirkpatrick, to test the effects of large doses of testosterone in stallions. Infertility was established, but the public backlash over the treatment of horses doomed the experiment.In 1985, the BLM allocated $750,000 for more experiments. Kirkpatrick’s team lost out to an experiment on surgically implanting steroids in mares. So the team applied to the National Park Service for clearance to continue testosterone experiments on the stallions of the Assateague Island National Seashore, off the coast of Maryland. Here again, the experiments showed contraceptive promise, but Kirkpatrick noted that “the stresses for the animals were significant.” There were further questions as well. Kirkpatrick added, “At this point, no one had even considered the passage of the drugs through the food chain… Nor did anyone consider the long-term pathologies associated with these hormones.” [fn]Ibid.[/fn]Following the testosterone experiments, Kirkpatrick’s research team joined with researchers at the University of California (UC-Davis) to subject the Assateague horses to a study of the immunocontraceptive porcine zona pellucida, or PZP. After the researchers published their findings in 1990, the immunocontraceptive idea found support in several key sectors, from the National Institutes of Health to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Starting in 1991, with the support of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, “a large sum of money — perhaps a million dollars — was appropriated to the BLM over the next ten years for the development if a one-inoculation vaccine that would have contraceptive effects for two to three years.”[fn]Ibid.[/fn]The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved the drug, but it has granted Kirkpatrick an Investigational New Animal Drug exemption to use PZP on deer, free-living horses and zoo animals — a permission which Kirkpatrick turned over to a sponsorship by the Humane Society of the United States.[fn]Ibid.[/fn] In 1992, the Humane Society and the BLM signed a Memorandum of Agreement to cosponsor the first immunocontraception experiments using PZP in the free-living horses of the west. As Jay Kirkpatrick explained it, “The HSUS provided [the BLM] with the political cover needed to pursue contraception after the humane catastrophe of the 1980s steroid studies.”[fn]Humane Society of the United States press release, “Plan to Increase Wild Horse Contraception Announced” (30 Nov. 2005).[/fn] In November 2005, HSUS announced a new Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on “further development and wider use of contraception in wild horse populations.”[fn]U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances Pesticide Fact Sheet (Nov. 2005). OvoControl is a trademarked product of Innolytics, LLC.[/fn]ContragestativesAlso in November 2005, the federal Environmental Protection Agency approved registration of the pesticide OvoControl-G[fn]Humane Society of the United States, “Controlling the Hatch May Open New Doors,” Goose Tracks (Winter 2004).[/fn], a nicarbazin-based chemical used on Canada geese. A contragestative, it prevents gestation after conception has already taken place. According to the EPA, the registration of OvoControl-G was strongly supported by the Humane Society of the United States, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center, which conducted field experiments with the chemical.In addition to promoting PZP and nicarbazin, the U.S. Humane Society has been a strong proponent of egg addling as a contragestative method for controlling Canadian geese and other wild birds. The new chemical means, in the Humane Society’s view, “In a sense, the egg is addled inside the goose.”[fn]“Fertility Control in Animals” (note 1 above).[/fn]For its part, the National Wildlife Research Center experiments extensively on the reproductive control of free-living animals, applying SpaVac and other hormone-based immunocontraceptives primarily on deer, but also developing such drugs for other animals. Then there is DiazaCon, a cholesterol reducer that blocks hormones and is being developed to control small birds and mammals such as monk parakeets and prairie dogs.Researchers, Control ThyselvesLet’s return to the statement of researchers Kirkpatrick and Rutberg: “The public demands that action be taken when public health, safety, or subsistence are threatened by wildlife. Not only is this ethically defensible, but (more to the point) it is also widespread, and we do not see this consensus changing in our lifetime.”[fn]See R. Bruce Gill and Michael W. Miller, “Thunder in the Distance: The Emerging Policy Debate Over Wildlife Contraception,” Symposium: Contraception in Wildlife Management (26-28 Oct. 1993, Denver, Colorado), stating: “Left unmanaged, the wildlife contraception controversy will devolve into confrontational question of will we or won’t we. The challenge of the wildlife policy decision process will be to focus the debate on circumstantial questions such as how will we or where will we.” (Emphasis in original.) On the issue of pet cloning, Lee Hall has written: “The issue deserves much more morally serious consideration. The public needs to think hard about the boundaries being crossed in this peculiar legal sphere where property meets personality. It’s time to ask not just whether we can clone pets but whether we should.” Lee Hall, “Carbon Copies,” Legal Times (5 Dec. 2005; emphasis in original). The same ethical question must be posed with regard to the deliberate manipulation of free-living animals.[/fn]While the Humane Society supports the manipulation of horses and geese, these animals pose no serious conflicts. Along with Kirkpatrick and Rutberg, the Humane Society takes for granted the need to control animals, so that it’s ethically defensible to override the interests of nonhuman animals wherever humans perceive a conflict. Thus, horses should be rendered infertile where their presence interferes with cattle ranchers — and what threat exists there, other than the “health” of the ranchers’ profit? The gestation of goose eggs can be hindered when the birds’ presence annoys golfers or the landscapers at business parks. Bears are deemed too numerous for New Jersey residents’ risk-averse views; the Humane Society has, therefore, been conducting contraceptive experiments on bears at a Jackson, NJ amusement park. This discounts the interests of free-living animals to experience life on their own terms. And it's aligned with the prevailing wildlife management view, a view imbedded in the structure of state and federal agencies: that wildlife should be managed for the use, benefit and enjoyment of people. This view is undeniably widespread; however, contrary to what Kirkpatrick and Rutberg state, appealing to the status quo fails to make reproductive control ethically defensible.Terms like “overabundant” and “overpopulation” are liberally applied wherever free-living animals are deemed inconvenient. The underlying message is that, if not controlled, free-living animals will take over. This both reflects and supports the systematic acceptance of control, and treats all of nature as a zoo. By focusing on questions such as how will we or where will we use reproductive controls, proponents are able to avoid confronting the ethical question: the question of will we or won’t we accept the systematic manipulation of free-living animals.[fn][/fn] This is the precise question that Kirkpatrick’s team ruled out; deciding that public demands automatically answered it. In reality, the public has never seriously thought about the issue, mainly because many of the animals’ advocates have taken control for granted.The policies of the Humane Society of the United States, like those of the agriculture department’s Wildlife Services and other management agencies, dismiss the intrinsic interests of free-living animals. For the avoidance of death is not the only interest animals have at stake. The quality of life, including the opportunity to enjoy that life on nature’s terms and not our terms, is, from an animal rights perspective, just as significant as the opportunity to experience life itself.What’s more, reproductive controls and other invasive manipulations disregard free-living animals’ vital interests simply to gratify human profit or convenience. And increasingly they reinforce the idea that nature poses problems, warranting pharmaceutical solutions. An enlightened advocacy will have to start asking basic questions about that idea. Let’s begin at the beginning: Will we or won’t we accept the systematic manipulation of free-living animals?

    • Cheers…To Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), for obstructing Congressional moves to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and drilling. Senator Cantwell has introduced amendments that have thwarted drilling proponents’ monetary interests in the Refuge, which is home to more than 130,000 caribou, and is, so far, a safe haven for polar bears who grace its shores and the wolves who have so little space left to them in the world. A cheer to all of our members who have steadfastly kept up the public pressure to respect this key habitat….To singer Nellie McKay, for speaking out against the carriage horse industry at a candlelight vigil for “Spotty,” a horse who was killed in early January. After being overcome by terror while pulling a carriage in the middle of New York City, the horse bolted through several streets before skidding on the wet pavement, crashing into a station wagon, and landing head first in the street. Several people remain seriously injured at the time of this writing. We thank McKay for asking that this dubious tradition end forever….To the many people and organizations who campaigned in Austria, for a ban on experimentation on great apes and gibbons, which was passed and went into effect on Jan. 1….To singer Carly Simon, who turned down a hot dog during a Nov. 25 broadcast of the Martha Stewart Show. Simon politely declined, telling Stewart “I’m vegetarian.”…To New York City, for dimming its world famous skyline in an effort to protect migratory birds. During migratory seasons, the lights will go down after midnight in buildings of 40 stories or more. According to ornithologist Donald Heintzelman, “This is absolutely an important and desirable action which helps to prevent small bird kills at tall buildings during spring and autumn migration seasons.”Jeers…To the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, for bringing in a sharpshooter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to kill a beaver for gnawing on trees and shrubs.Contact: Frank Robinson, executive directorLewis Ginter Botanical Gardens1800 Lakeside AvenueRichmond, Va. 23228-4700Telephone: 804.262.9887…To the Town of Braintree, Mass., for instituting a Canada goose hunt throughout the winter after residents complained about droppings at the town’s municipal golf course and sports fields.Contact:Charles Kokoros, ChairBraintree Board of Selectmen1 John F. Kennedy Memorial DriveBraintree, MA 02184E-mail: ckokoros@beld.net shrubs….To Shop-NBC, a home shopping network partially owned by the NBC network, for selling coats and accessories made from rabbit, raccoon and fox fur.Contact:Will Lansing, CEOValue Vision MediaPost Office Box 29066Brooklyn Center, MN 55429Telephone: 1.800.676.5523E-mail: customerservice@shopnbc.com 

    • Blossom: A New Caring Cuisine Blooms in Chelsea“We are actually making history since we are the first to offer gourmet organic vegan cuisine on this side of New York City.”- BlossomCaring about animals is “first and foremost” at Blossom; every menu says so. It’s the philosophy championed by the team behind the most recent addition to the New York City’s upscale vegetarian dining scene. The organic restaurant opened in the heart of Chelsea in November 2005, and is already a top contender for a leading role in Manhattan’s cruelty-free cuisine. Located in an elegant townhouse, Blossom welcomes guests into a spacious, candle-lit atmosphere, with golden-hued wood tables and black cushioned seating — minimalist, yet romantic. A faux fireplace adorns one wall, and drapes hang floor-to-ceiling throughout the room.Blossom’s diverse menu celebrates fresh ingredients from local farms and distributors. Even those who normally ignore the greens on the menu will be impressed with the Field Green Salad, with grilled pears, crispy tofu, candied walnuts and shallot vinaigrette. And if you think you’ve already decided on that one, there’s the Living Asian Salad, with sprouts, scallions, shredded red and nappa cabbage, julienne carrots and peppers, marinated shitake mushrooms, graced with a ginger-citrus cashew dressing. But there’s more. Like the remarkable Baby Spinach Salad, with pickled red onions, tempeh croutons, toasted pumpkin seeds, marinated mushrooms and a creamy horseradish dressing.Daily soups vie with Vegetarian Chili; and starters range from the South Asian Lumpia, curried seitan and potatoes wrapped in a crispy chickpea crepe and served with mango onion sambal, to the Black-Eyed Pea Cakes, which crisply blend Yukon Gold potatoes and black eyes peas, accompanied by chipotle aioli, a dip made of smoky-hot peppers in a lime-cilantro cream dip. The Blossom Purse, with its seasonal vegetables wrapped in phyllo and served with tomato confit, is as photogenic as it is delicious.If you’re like me, you will gasp when you spot this gem: Grilled Pizza with caramelized onions and peppers, tomato, vegan mozzarella and basil. It was hard for me to think of much else while I anticipated fulfilling this much longed for and unsatisfied craving for vegan pizza. I could not believe my eyes when my server brought to the table the exquisite, gooey, thin crust pizza that I’ve been dreaming of for years. I was almost afraid to take a bite and ruin the illusion that was so perfectly created by the sight. Cut into four large pieces, this personal-sized pizza is filling enough to share, if you can. Upon taking a bite, I knew another victory had been scored for veganism. Those who say they could just never, ever give up pizza have just run out of excuses, because Blossom has created a pizza that rivals the “real thing.” The crust is grilled to perfection and smoked on the edges. The sauce, infused with onions and pepper, creates the right foundation for the vegan soy cheese (Follow Your Heart brand), perfectly melted and topped with basil. From first to last bite, the experience was heavenly, and I will surely be back for more.Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly be more impressed, I was regaled with a sample of Potato Gnocchi with shitake mushrooms and melted leeks in a sun-dried tomato broth. Creamy and with a pronounced buttery flavor, the gnocchi have an irresistible melt-in-your mouth quality, with a subtle bite of spice enhanced by freshly ground pepper. Then there’s the pan-seared Savory Seitan and Herb Potatoes, with roasted tomatoes and French beans, in a delectable creamy garlic herb dressing.Those craving rich desserts can indulge in the Chocolate Ganache Torte with truffles. Lighter options include the grilled Pineapple Crepes, served with coconut milk and a scoop of green tea ice cream. Cheesecake with fresh strawberries was the dessert of the day, a vision of velvet on a pool of coconut lemongrass purée.Blossom is the place to take folks you’d like to impress with the freshest, most delicious vegetarian cuisine. And, of course, the pizza lovers.Blossom187 Ninth Avenue (Between 21st & 22nd Streets)212.627.1144Hours for Lunch and DinnerMonday – Saturday 11:30-10:30Sunday 11:30-9:00Private parties and catering; private room upstairsDelivery service availableCaravan of Dreams: Everything a Vegan Could Dream of… and More.Caravan of Dreams deserves its own category in the vegetarian dining world of New York City. Not many other establishments boast a 100% vegan, organic menu that features an abundance of healthful foods both raw and cooked, satisfying customers’ religious and ethical demands and their cosmopolitan tastes as well.More than a restaurant, Caravan is also an integral part of the East Village community, offering yoga and meditation workshops as well as nutritional and healing classes in a back room called DreamSpace. Musicians grace a corner stage to bring the intimate, candlelit interior to life. Brick walls are covered with earthy paintings by local artists, and a mural with a southwestern motif. The open kitchen invites diners to watch their meals being prepared over a mosaic counter.Caravan owner Angel Moreno Segura promises one of the “most progressive menus in the city,” its offerings “thoughtfully constructed to balance alkalinity and acidity, yin and yang, flavor and nutrition.” A glossary is thoughtfully provided on the back explaining everything from seitan, polenta and wakame seaweed, to the difference between live and cooked foods to newcomers to the cuisine. Caravan’s staff is knowledgeable and considerate, and can offer suggestions and answer any questions about the immense menu. And that’s good, because one could dine here every day of the month and still find new temptations to ask about.A must-try is the Live Hummus Appetizer, made of raw almonds and fresh tahini, topped with olive oil, red peppers and zatter (a mixture of salt and spices), served with raw flaxseed chips, cucumbers and carrots. A few bites of this creamy, light hummus will leave you wondering why anyone really needed cooking.If you’re in the mood for a warming starter, try a bowl of Miso Deluxe, the unpasteurized, organic chickpea miso soup served with mixed vegetables, wakame, grilled tofu, scallions, red peppers and celery, and served with sprouted-grain toast.More than a dozen salads will entice you, all big enough to share. Don’t miss the Unchicken Caesar Deluxe. Quite possibly the world’s perfect salad, it consists of fresh greens over a layer of black bean chili, topped with marinated grilled seitan, homemade croutons, tomatoes, red onions, olives and sprouts in a freshly-made Caesar dressing.Note that all main dishes come with a house salad — no skimpy bunch of leaves, but a festival of organic mixed greens topped with shredded beet, carrots and sprouts, covered in the tamari-lemon ginger house dressing. And now for the main events. The Green Garden Platter, seasonal mixed greens sautéed with grilled marinated seitan, garlic and olive oil, topped with grilled carrot polenta in mushroom gravy, combines the freshness of a vegetable medley with the rich undertone of grilled seitan and moist polenta. The divine mix will have you can feeling virtuous and indulged at the same time.Beto’s Mexican Quesadilla brings crisp, sprouted-grain tortilla wedges together with seasoned tofu, all topped with guacamole, salsa and vegan sour cream, and served over sautéed mixed greens.Fancy a good mushroom? Try the Open-Faced Mushroom Sandwich, with sautéed organic cremini mushrooms and greens piled high on pesto-covered sprouted grain toast. Raw-foodies will delight in the Rainbow Platter, vegetables marinated in lemon, ginger and herbs, served over salad greens accompanied by guacamole, tomatoes, cucumbers and almond butter, and raisin-filled celery sticks. This dish is visually stunning, and will have the people at the next table interested in what you’re doing.Caravan also offers an extensive array of fresh, organic juices made to order, fresh smoothies, organic coffee, teas and young coconut water, as well as an impressive organic beer and wine list. For dessert, a charmer is the Banana Royale, wrapped in a spelt-berry crepe and topped with soy ice cream, raspberry sauce, carob sauce and nuts.Available daily until 5pm is Caravan’s Brunch, with offerings of a Spinach-Tofu “Omelette,” a Country Breakfast Platter, featuring two spelt-berry pancakes served with fresh fruit, a side of tempeh, a Cuban Brunch, and more, all with a choice of fresh-squeezed orange juice or sangria (virgin or regular), and tea or coffee.Gather some friends this weekend, head down to Caravan and get in touch with your spiritual side while enjoying a vegan meal that dreams are made of.Caravan of Dreams405 East 6th Street (between Avenue A & First)212.254.1613Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily; open until midnight Saturday night.Delivery and catering available.Private Room Available. 

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