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Animal Welfare

October 12, 2012 | By Melissa Rohlin
After spending 18 months in federal prison in a dogfighting case, Michael Vick has decided to get a dog as a family pet. "I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet," Vick said in a statement. "As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family.
October 11, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
An Idaho dairy farm linked to Burger King, In-N-Out and other food companies has been accused by an animal rights group of “some of the most abusive treatment of animals” it had ever seen. Undercover video footage (warning: images may be disturbing) provided by Mercy For Animals shows employees at Bettencourt Dairies, which has more than 60,000 cows, stomping on and beating cattle, twisting their tails and using a tractor to drag one animal by its chained neck. The Murtaugh, Idaho, dairy works with cheese producers and suppliers, which in turn have deals with fast-food chains.
July 13, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
Taking aim at California's pioneering efforts to bolster animal safety, the House Agriculture Committee has moved to block states from imposing their own standards for agriculture products on producers from other states. That could jeopardize California laws to protect chickens as well as one to ban foie gras, which took effect this month.  The panel's amendment to the farm bill was a response to a California law, which will take effect in 2015, that requires that all eggs sold in the state be produced by hens held in cages big enough to allow the chickens to stand and spread their wings.
June 27, 2012
In Spain, there is a farm where acorns and olives spill across the ground, beckoning geese that contentedly gorge themselves until they are slaughtered for their luscious fatty livers. Virtually everywhere else in the world, however, farmers prepare ducks and geese whose livers will become the delicacy known as foie gras by force-feeding them several times a day through tubes thrust down their throats. The cruelty of this process led California to pass a law in 2004 banning the force-feeding of birds and the sale of foie gras produced by that method.
May 15, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Denny's Corp., the chain of diners known for its pancake stacks and discount menus, is joining major companies such as McDonald's and Wendy's to stop its suppliers from cramming pregnant pigs into tiny cages. Animal welfare activists have enjoyed a winning streak recently, securing pledges from major meat companies and retailers such as Smithfield, Hormel and Safeway to wean themselves in the next decade off of pork from pigs housed in so-called gestation crates. Eight states currently ban the practice, while several more have bills pending that would mandate more humane treatment for sows.
March 19, 2012
HBO did the right thing in shutting down production on"Luck" last week after the death of a third horse being used for filming. The series, which has been critically acclaimed for its gritty, up-close look at life at a racetrack, was created by David Milch, a longtime lover of horses and racing, and filmed at Santa Anita Park employing numerous safety protocols, according to HBO officials and Rick Arthur, the equine medical director of the California...
January 13, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
An undercover law enforcement operation has resulted in charges being filed against 12 people in the Southland and Las Vegas who were allegedly trafficking endangered or illegal wildlife or products made from them. Called Operation Cyberwild, the investigation was a joint effort by the enforcement arm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, and volunteers from the Humane Society of the United States. Agents recovered live endangered fish, protected migratory birds, and all kinds of products made from endangered animals, including an elephant foot, skins from a tiger, a polar bear, a leopard and other animals, plus some boots made of the skin of threatened sea turtles.
January 7, 2012 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
Among listings for fraying couches and used television sets, the Craigslist ad stood out — $2,800 for a prized Asian arowana fish, believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. A grammatically challenged buyer from Las Vegas sent the seller an email expressing interest: "Is she a super red asian arowana? I all ready have all the other species and I need the endangered one to finilize my collection. " The seller responded cautiously — "Are you a cop?" she allegedly wrote in one text message — but ultimately agreed to meet the buyer at Laguna Hills Mall for the handoff.
October 13, 2011 | By Emily Bryson York
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.'s success with hormone-free dairy products, naturally raised meat and local produce has the restaurant chain taking its message to a broader audience. The Mexican-inspired fast-casual chain released an animated video to movie theaters last week and hosted the first of many food-and-music festivals. "We think the more people understand where their food comes from and the impact on independent family farmers, animal welfare, the more they're going to ask for better ingredients," said Chipotle founder and co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells.
July 28, 2011 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
Someone else may soon be tending to the misty artificial rain forest at the Los Angeles Zoo where Bruno, a 300-pound orangutan with a wispy orange beard and a hulking frame, makes his home. The city opened the zoo and botanical gardens in 1966, but officials are now considering a proposal to turn over management to a private operator. That means the gardeners, plumbers and other city employees who help run the zoo could be transferred to other departments and replaced with private workers.
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