AK: Fairbanks man snared dozens of moose to use as wolf bait, troopers say

A Fairbanks trapper faces misdemeanor charges after he admitted snaring more than two dozen moose to use the meat as bait for catching wolves, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported this week.

Joseph Lyndon Johnson, 24, was charged in early January after an Alaska wildlife trooper investigated a trapline the man had set, the newspaper reported, citing an affidavit for a criminal complaint.

The trooper, investigating the man’s trapline on March 21 near Hess Creek north of Fairbanks, found a trapped live wolf next to a moose carcass. He also found two marten traps, still set though the season ended weeks earlier.

The trooper set up a camera to observe the trapline. That was soon stolen.

Days later, a trooper, after flying over the area in a helicopter, found that only part of the moose remained. The moose contained markings suggesting it had been snared around its snout. Other evidence suggested it had been hauled there by sled. The wolf had been removed.

A necropsy showed the moose had been trapped in a snare.

After finding records showing Johnson had taken a wolf, the troopers received a search warrant for his home. They found the missing camera, a gray wolf, and other items showing Johnson operated the trapline.

The man admitted to snaring 25 moose to use for wolf bait, the newspaper reported, citing the affidavit.

Johnson faces four Class A misdemeanor charges, according to online court records. They include using game as animal food or bait, unlawful possession or transportation of game, and two counts for leaving the marten traps out after the season closed.

Officials with the Alaska State Troopers did not immediately provide comment on Friday.

A class A misdemeanor can bring one year in jail and a $10,000 fine, state records show.

Local group Help Asheville Bears petitions Amazon to stop selling ‘cruel’ animal traps

ASHEVILLE – In two weeks, a petition by local advocacy group Help Asheville Bears that urges Amazon to stop selling “cruel” animal traps has garnered over 32,000 signatures on Change.org.

The petition appeals directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, asking him to “immediately cease the sales of steel-jaw leg hold/foot hold traps, snare traps, and attractants on Amazon.com, as these are used in poaching and the maiming of bears and other wildlife,” it says.

Certain foothold traps, also called steel-jaw or leg-hold traps, are legal in North Carolina — but it’s illegal to use them to hunt black bears.

Trapping rules

Trappers after other game, like raccoons or coyotes, can legally use foothold traps as long as they meet certain requirements. The traps can’t have a spread larger than 7.5 inches, and the jaws must be smooth-edged and without teeth or spikes, according to the Wildlife Resource Commission’s guide to legal trap types in North Carolina.

“These traps are legal for foxes, coyotes, and other animals, but they also trap smaller bears — which would be illegal,” Jody Williams, a spokesman for Help Asheville Bears, told the Citizen Times. “How do dogs and other animals like cats or bears know that it’s not for them? Members believe this is why 100+ countries ban them already. Amazon makes it easy for people to get these smaller jaw traps, bear traps, and bear and animal attractants.”

In North Carolina, it is legal to sell much larger, toothed traps, as long as they’re for decorative use, not trapping.

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“You would think with bear trapping being illegal, that the traps couldn’t be sold new online with just a simple disclosure saying they are for decoration only,” Williams said. “Also, note how many trapping supply companies online sell these bear traps but are not in the business of selling decorations.”

Videos posted on Help Asheville Bears’ Facebook page in September show what appears to be a hunting supply store selling large, toothed foothold traps — the kind that are illegal in North Carolina. Help Asheville Bears did not identify the store by name but said it was near Burnsville, about 35 miles from Asheville.

“These larger traps … were sold next to hunting supplies, bear attractant, and many other types of traps, not near home decor/antique/collectible items,” the post said. “(It) can give people the wrong idea and encourage unlawful trapping.”

The Extreme Lengths Costco Goes to Keep Your Rotisserie Chicken at $4.99

 

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By MICHAEL TEDDER

October 14, 2019

Costco’s business model is that customers pay for warehouse club memberships, and then save money on big-ticket items like televisions and giant tubs of cheese balls. But there is one cheap Costco item that perhaps shines brightest of all: its $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

Costco’s signature bird was introduced in 2009, and remains one of their most popular items, with 91 million Kirkland Signature chickens sold last year. And according to CNN Business, the company takes major steps to keep their chicken at the $4.99 price point.

Because Costcos have a tendency to be located in areas that don’t naturally have a lot of foot traffic, the company has to find ways to get people into the store…and then into the back of the store, so they pass through many aisles and hopefully drop more items into their cart. There’s a reason the chicken is always located in the back — the store hopes that by luring people in with this quick meal, they’ll pick up costlier items on the way to grab their dinner.

Costco is going to great lengths to keep people buying its cheap chickens. It has begun investing in high-efficiency ovens and food containers made with less plastic. And in an effort to to bring production in house, it has opened a $450 million poultry complex in Freemont, Nebraska. The 400,000 square-foot plant will employ 950 workers, with the goal to save 35 cents per bird by controlling the process from farm to production, and also insure that it gets the right size of bird, an issue Costco and other retailers have had problems with in the past.

Environmental activists and Nebraska residents worry about the plant, citing concerns about “water contamination from runoff, ammonia from chicken feces and other health risks.”

Costco’s three-pound rotisserie chicken is actually cheaper than the uncooked chicken you can buy in the store. And as Mashed reported, when the 2015 Avian flu upended the U.S. poultry industry, Costco held firm on their price point. Costco’s chief financial officer Richard Galanti once told The Seattle Times, “When others were raising their chicken prices from $4.99 to $5.99, we were willing to eat, if you will, $30 to $40 million a year in gross margin by keeping it at $4.99. That’s what we do for a living.” Clearly, Costco is particular about its poultry.

Chuckwagon driver speaks out amidst Calgary Stampede safety review

WATCH: After a difficult year for the chucks at the Calgary Stampede, one chuckwagon driver is sharing his perspective on a safety review into the deaths of six horses and the future of the sport.

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Jordie Fike and his team of thoroughbreds are back home for some rest after a tough year for the GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede.

“The chuckwagon community is still mourning,” Fike said. “We lost family members. It hurts.”

Six horses died over 10 days in incidents related to the chuckwagon races, compared to no deaths at in at least three other circuit stops this year.

Fike isn’t sure why that’s the case, but he acknowledged that for drivers, the stakes are very high at Stampede.

He hopes to share a competitor’s perspective on the Stampede’s safety review.

“Our sport has evolved a long way. If it needs more in the name of horse safety, the drivers are all for it,” Fike, a fourth-generation driver, said. “During a race, if you feel something is wrong, you just do your best to save your animals.

 

READ MORE: Alberta chuckwagon driver fined, facing lifetime ban from Calgary Stampede after crash

It’s a view shared by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the national body representing Canada’s veterinarians.

“Thoroughbreds are very much bred to race,” CVMA council member Dr. Trevor Lawson said from the group’s annual conference in Toronto. “However, any animal put in a situation that maybe doesn’t provide ideal conditions could provide risk. Many thoroughbreds race uneventfully without harm.”

The CVMA accepts the humane use of animals in competition and sport, according to its official position statement.

“Risk of injury, suffering, illness, and distress must be mitigated during training, sport and competition and every opportunity must be provided for the expression of normal behaviour in the rest periods between training, sporting, and competition events,” part of the statement reads.

READ MORE: Protesters demand end to chuckwagon races, rally outside Alberta premier’s office

It has been consulted by Stampede in other safety investigations in the past and hopes to take part in this new study.

“There are a number of potential things that can lead to greater risk, like track conditions, as well as driver error,” Lawson added. “These are all items that need to be examined.

“Some of these, bear in mind, were not preventable.

“Animals can have medical conditions that can not necessarily be picked up on a pre-race veterinary examination. In at least one of the situations (at Stampede), that was the case.”

READ MORE: University of Calgary studying stressors, injury in Stampede bulls

As protestors gathered in Edmonton Tuesday again calling for an end to the races, Fike is extending an invitation.

“I don’t want those people to like me,” Fike said. “I just want them to come spend a day with me.

“Come see how the horses and rodeo stock are treated, see the life they get.

“People don’t realize how many horses get to live longer because of our sport and because of rodeo.”

Lawson and Fike expect to see the chuckwagon races continue but hope to reduce risks as the pro chuckwagon circuit moves on to Strathmore for August 2.

A woman was arrested in Florida for allegedly stomping on sea turtle nests

(CNN)A woman has been arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, after she was seen stomping on a sea turtle nest, according to police.

Yaqun Lu, 41, was seen by witnesses and Miami Beach police officers on Saturday “jabbing at the sea turtle nest” with a wooden stake and “stomping all over the nest with her bare feet,” an arrest affidavit says.
The area had been closed off to the public with yellow tape and a sign that said, “Do not disturb sea turtle nest,” the affidavit says.

Yaqun Lu

Lu, a Chinese citizen who gave police a home address in Michigan, faces a charge of marine turtle or egg molestation or harassment, per online court records.
Court records indicate Lu is represented by a public defender. CNN was unable to reach the public defender’s office for comment.
A number of sea turtle species are protected under both the 1973 US Endangered Species Act and Florida law, according to Miami Beach’s website, and it’s illegal to touch or harm them or their eggs.
Miami Beach serves as a nesting habitat for three species of sea turtles — Loggerhead, Green and Leatherback — between April and early November, its website says.
“Thankfully,” Miami Beach police said, “it appears the eggs were not damaged.”

Japan Embraces Commercial Whaling, Pulls Out Of Global Alliance That Banned It

Japan once labeled its whaling vessels with prominent “Research” tags. The country will resume commercial whaling hunts in 2019. Here, the whaling ships Yushin Maru (right) and Yushin Maru No. 2 are seen before leaving for the Antarctic Ocean for a whale hunt in 2015. In the future, Japanese whaling ships will not operate in the Antarctic.

Kyodo/Reuters

Japan is withdrawing from an international group that bans commercial whaling, saying it will resume commercial hunts for the first time in 30 years next July. Japan will leave the International Whaling Commission, which put a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s.

“Japan argues that it has a long tradition of whaling, even though Japanese today eat very little whale meat,” NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports from Tokyo.

In a notable shift, Japan also said it will no longer conduct controversial hunts in the Antarctic Ocean — where its fleet of whaling ships have killed 333 whales in each of the past two years, under the justification of performing whale research.

After the withdrawal becomes official on June 30, “Japan will conduct commercial whaling within Japan’s territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone,” said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

News of Japan’s plan to exit the IWC first emerged last week. Suga made the move official on Wednesday, saying the commission is focused only on banning whaling, not on regulating the practice to ensure sustainable whale populations.

Suga said that “although scientific evidence has confirmed that certain whale species/stocks of whales are abundant,” anti-whaling countries remain focused “exclusively on the protection of whales.”

Criticizing Japan’s plan, Humane Society International said that while it welcomes the end of whaling in the Antarctic and other areas in southern waters, the group believes “Japan’s decision to leave the rules-based order of the IWC will place its North Pacific whaling program completely outside the bounds of international law.”

The Humane Society also said it’s concerned that Japan’s withdrawal could lead other IWC members to follow suit — possibly reviving the whaling industry and posing renewed threats to humpback, fin and other protected whales.

In addition to Japan, both Norway and Iceland have maintained some level of whaling since the moratorium took effect in 1986, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Suga said Japan has lost patience with the IWC, citing a lapsed 1990 deadline to modify its whaling moratorium. After Japan’s request to adapt the ban fell on deaf ears at the IWC’s meeting in September, Suga said, “it unveiled the fact that it is not possible in the IWC even to seek the coexistence of States with different views.”

Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Sam Annesley accused Japan’s government of “trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year” to avoid international scrutiny. He added that whales and other ocean animals are struggling to cope with a variety of man-made problems, from plastic pollution to over-fishing.

“As a result of modern fleet technology, over-fishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species,” Annesley said. “Most whale populations have not yet been recovered, including larger whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales.”

Critics say it’s long past time for commercial whaling to end. In recent years, Japan was often accused of using the guise of “scientific research” as an ethical and legal cover for its hunting trips to Antarctica.

Japan was ordered to halt its whaling program in the Antarctic in 2014, when the International Court of Justice ruled the annual practice — which has killed thousands of whales since 2005 — had not produced enough scientific data to justify its existence. The program generated whale meat that was sold in specialty stores, as a legal byproduct of hunting that was labeled scientific in nature.

Swiss army airlifts water to thirsty cows in drought-hit pastures

A cow is seen as Swiss Air Force Super Puma helicopter delivers water for cows in a pasture due to an ongoing drought near Rossiniere, Switzerland, August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Large red plastic containers hung from the bottom of the Super Puma helicopters carried the water to farms in the Jura Mountains and Alpine foothills.

Some 40,000 cows graze in the summertime in high-altitude pastures in Vaud canton (state) in western Switzerland and each needs up to 150 liters (40 gallons) of water a day, authorities said.

A Swiss Air Force Super Puma helicopter loads water for cows in the Lac d’Hongrin due to an ongoing drought near Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Two large basins have been filled with water to allow farmers with land accessible by road to fill up their tank trucks, they said.

Several dozen farmers have called a special hotline to request help from the helicopters since the emergency operation was announced last Friday.

“I’ve been renting this pasture for 13 years now. We had to airlift water sometimes but never that much,” Gregoire Martin, who runs a farm with 68 cows and 90 head of young cattle at Le Culand pasture in Rossiniere, told Reuters Television.

“We already used the army’s helicopter two years ago but in the long term we cannot go on like this,” he said.

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Switzerland will cut import tariffs on livestock feed and offer interest-free loans to help farmers deal with the drought, the federal government said on Monday, amid a heat wave that is killing off fish in the Rhine.

“The situation is very worrying because Switzerland has not known a drought like that … since 1921,” said Philippe Leuba, head of economy and sport for Vaud, who attended Tuesday’s operation.

Additional reporting by Denis Balibouse; Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

OCTOBER 1, 2018 / 7:06 AM / UPDATED 7 HOURS AGO

A Serial Cat Killer Has Mutilated At Least A Dozen Cats In Washington State

The man who discovered the body of the latest cat called the scene “gut-wrenching.”
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Authorities in Thurston County, Washington, are hunting for an apparent serial cat killer they believe is responsible for killing and mutilating at least a dozen cats in the county since February.

Seven of those cats were found dead in August, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, the 12th known mutilated cat was found, its body found with “carving” and “surgical-type mutilations,” Olympia Police Lt. Sam Costello told local news station Q13 Fox. He added that, as with the other cats that have been found, the body was “splayed out” and appears to have been “posed” by someone.

In some cases, cats’ bodies had been sliced all the way open and spines had been removed. In one instance earlier this month, a kitten was found beheaded, according to news station KIRO 7.

“This person is a sick, callous, disgusting psychopath,” Paul DeTray, the man who found the latest dead cat, told KOMO News. “To say the least, a little gut-wrenching to see somebody’s beloved pet torn apart like that.”

While the bodies of at least 12 cats have been found in the county, it’s possible that there are more victims of the cat killer or killers. One grisly scene appeared to have possibly involved body parts from multiple cats, the Times notes.

Officials trying to track down the person responsible have a few clues to go on. One cat, a family pet named Ollie who was strangled to death, appears to have fought back. Investigators are hoping that DNA found on Ollie’s claws could lead to a match.

Evening Standard

@standardnews

US police believe the DNA found on a cat’s claws could hold the key to identifying a serial animal killer https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/dna-found-on-cats-paws-could-help-us-police-catch-serial-pet-killer-a3923526.html?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1535640035 

DNA found on cat’s paws could help police catch serial pet killer

US police believe DNA found on a cat’s claws could help them track down a serial animal killer. A manhunt has been launched after at least 12 cats were mutilated and killed in Washington this year….

standard.co.uk

And near the body of a cat named Tubby, investigators found a surgical glove that had apparently been left behind.

Authorities are warning people in the area to keep their pets inside in the wake of the crimes. Earlier this month, Pasado’s Safe Haven, an anti-cruelty organization and animal sanctuary in Sultan, Washington, put up a $3,000 reward ― half of which was donated by Q13 Fox anchor David Rose ― for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Now, after donations from the public and other animal advocacy groups, the reward is up to $36,000.

So far, there’s no evidence that the cat killer has harmed humans. But law enforcement working on the case worry the person responsible may move on to people. Animal cruelty investigator Erika Johnson told the Times that she’s previously prosecuted people for violent acts against humans that started with perpetrators “just desensitizing themselves” by hurting animals.

In 2016, the FBI began collecting data on animal cruelty crimes, largely because of evidence linking animal abuse to violence against people.

CHICKEN FARMERS WILL HAVE TO USE BIGGER CAGES

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To prevent health hazards in chicken, the Korean government is making farmers increase rrthe size of the birds’ cages.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Monday, the minimum legal size of cages in local poultry farms will be expanded from 0.05 square meters (5 square feet) per bird to 0.075 square meters. Providing at least 0.075 square meters of space per hen is the standard currently in place among the European Union countries.

The new standard will go into effect on Sept. 1 with a grace period of seven years so existing farms can gradually upgrade their facilities.

An official from the Agriculture Ministry explained that the regulations announced Monday are a follow-up to measures introduced in the wake of the pesticide egg scandal that swept the country about a year ago.

“It was pointed out that overpopulation of hens in tight spaces caused the spread of ticks and mites, which were essentially the cause of the contaminated egg scandal,” explained the official.

Chickens stuck in small cages are unable to remove ticks on their own, which forces farmers to spray pesticides to kill them. These pesticides, used to keep chickens “healthy,” end up in the eggs they lay, which are consumed by the public. The pesticide-egg scare last year led to a drastic fluctuation in the price of eggs as the government scrambled to provide safe eggs to consumers, going as far as importing them from abroad.

“It was apparent that we needed to improve the living conditions of the birds to prevent or minimize such incidents in the future,” the official said.

The new standard is also a part of the government’s effort to prevent the spread of a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N6 avian influenza, a deadly virus that can also infect humans.

In addition to the enlargement of the bird cages, the government will also make it obligatory for farmers to install cameras at the entrance of their farms and inside hen houses.

This could help authorities figure out how a virus has spread and anticipate where it might end up next. Farms will also be required to install inspection facilities when they register for a business permit.

Bird flu has been a headache for the Korean government, spreading through the country almost every year.

The latest case detected was in March when a highly pathogenic strain of H5N6 avian influenza was discovered on some farms in Gyeonggi and South Chungcheong.

The government slaughtered more than 200,000 birds that month. More than six million birds were culled since November last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

“Bird flu occurs during the winter starting in November,” explained the Agriculture Ministry’s official. “We designate the months from October to May as needing extensive disinfection.”

Some experts, however, say that expanding the size of cages may not be sufficient, explaining that EU countries are banned from raising hens in battery cages and required to use so-called enriched cages instead, which are cleaner and more comfortable for the birds.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]