Tag Archives: turkeys

Unintimidated deer, season’s first snow, high-stakes draw and more

Unintimidated deer: Gov. Scott Walker’s was no more successful in this year’s deer hunt than he was at running for president. He tweeted Nov. 23 that he was “looking for a buck” in Vilas County and posted a picture of snow-covered woods. He tweeted the next day that he was “back at it,” with another picture of snow-dusted trees. He tweeted that it was snowing, his view was amazing and included another picture of the woods. On Nov. 25, he tweeted that he didn’t see any deer and included a picture of himself in the woods holding his rifle.

Season’s first snow: University of Wisconsin-Madison police said more than 100 fans were ejected from the football game against Northwestern, mostly over a snowball fight. Authorities reported 24 fans were issued tickets and 25 calls for first aid were received in the frosty frenzy.

High Stakes draw: In the same month that an island city in Florida decided a tied mayoral election by cutting a deck of cards, Mississippi settled a tied House race by drawing straws. The Democratic winner, incumbent Bo Eaton, pulled a 3-inch plastic straw. Republican challenger Mark Tullos, got stuck with a 2-inch red straw. At stake was a GOP supermajority in the House.

Just chill, grandma: We all know that a little pot can enhance the holiday spirit — or at least take the edge off those feuds, rivalries and debates that tend to surface when loved ones gather to celebrate. A number of cannabis blogs offer the perfect antidote: mouth-watering recipes for marijuana-infused pumpkin pies. Google it. And don’t forget to decarboxylate the weed before cooking with it for the full psychoactive effect. We didn’t know what that meant, either.

Tamale takedown: Federal authorities confiscated and then destroyed about 450 pork tamales at Los Angeles International Airport. The would-be tamale trafficker was fined $1,000 for commercial activity with the intent to distribute. A spokeswoman for border protection said foreign meat products can carry animal diseases.

Forget the question, the answer is ‘no’: The examples of the GOP’s reflexive opposition to President Barack Obama’s agenda are many, but this may be the best one yet: By a 27-point margin, Republicans say they disapprove of the president’s executive order last year pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys instead of the customary one. Only 11 percent of Republicans supported the order, while 38 percent opposed it. 

Pretty plastic: Our literacy and longevity rates no longer top the world’s other nations, but when it comes to plastic surgery, the United States is unrivaled. In 2014, 4.1 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in the land of the free, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s total, according to data compiled by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Business also is booming in Brazil and Japan, where there were 2.1 and 1.3 million procedures last year respectively.

Remember spellcheck: A British woman who tried to kill her husband by lacing his sparkling wine with antifreeze two years ago at Christmas was undone by a spelling mistake. When her husband was being rushed to the hospital, the woman gave paramedics a note she claimed that he wrote expressing his wish not to be resuscitated and to die with “dignerty.” Asked later to write the word, she repeated her spelling error.

Tracking down poopers: Some Florida condo owners are steaming after their homeowners association asked them to submit their dog’s DNA in order to fine owners who don’t pick up after their pets. A letter sent last week asked residents to register their dogs and cats with the association through a DNA test, citing an increase in the amount of animal feces found throughout the property, including inside the elevators. Condo officials said the measure is only meant to help keep the property clean. Some residents said they feel it’s an invasion of privacy. 

Message received: A six-term Georgia sheriff spent more than $500 of his own money to install a sign telling anyone who doesn’t like the way they do things there to get out. The sign reads: “WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America, and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you … LEAVE!” Sheriff Mike Jolley told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer he installed the sign to “stir people’s belief and patriotism” and to give voice to the “silent majority.”

Animal advocates, farm workers sue FDA over animal growth drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of several ractopamine-based animal drugs is being challenged by animal advocates and farm workers. The groups are suing the FDA for failing to take into account the drugs’ cumulative effects on animal behavior, worker safety, wildlife or the nation’s waterways.

The lawsuit focuses on ractopamine, a drug fed to farm animals to promote rapid weight gain. The drug has been banned in dozens of countries and is said to cause death, lameness, stiffness, trembling and shortness of breath in farm animals.

The groups are suing because FDA has allowed millions of pigs, turkeys and cows to be fed ractopamine-based animal drugs without considering the cumulative impacts of the agency’s actions. The drugs include new combinations of ractopamine with controversial antibiotics and steroids. These drugs remain active in animal waste, and when sprayed on fields, or spilled from manure lagoons, they can wreak havoc on habitat, wildlife and endangered species.

“The FDA’s actions have far-reaching impacts on millions of animals, millions of acres of habitat, and thousands of farm workers throughout the United States,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, who works in the Animal Protection Litigation department at The Humane Society of the United States. “America’s animal factories are pumping out uncounted tons of ractopamine-laced animal waste into the environment each year, and the FDA has no idea what the long-term environmental effects might be.” 

Ractopamine can make animals severely stressed and difficult to handle, increasing the likelihood of injuring or killing farm workers. Workers’ exposure to antibiotics like Tylosin also endangers them and their families because exposure to the antibiotics can leave them more vulnerable to dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

“The wide-spread use of these drugs adds another layer of risk for farm workers, who are already doing some of the most dangerous jobs in America on factory farms, and puts farm worker communities at increased risk of illness and disease” said Erik Nicholson, national vice-president for United Farm Workers of America. 

“Consumers are increasingly demanding humane treatment of farmed animals and the U.S. should be at the forefront of animal protection rather than lagging behind the international curve,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco by The Humane Society of the United States, The United Farm Workers, and The Animal Legal Defense Fund, asks the Court to set-aside FDA’s approvals of the drugs at issue while the agency performs the environmental review required under federal law.

From the plaintiffs in the case:

• Ractopamine is fed to between 60 to 80 percent of all U.S. pigs, cattle and turkeys.

• Tylosin is an antibiotic given to livestock to promote growth and FDA considers it “critically important” to human medicine. Tylosin-resistant bacteria has been found in the soil and air downwind of factory farms.  

• Monensin is a livestock antibiotic administered to promote growth. Even in low doses it has direct toxic effects on soil animals and presents a potential ecological risk.

• Melengestrol is a synthetic steroid hormone used in dairy and beef cattle. The European Union prohibits the use of melengestrol because of the potential risks to human health from hormone residues in bovine meat.

• The FDA has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment of the cumulative and combined effects of its approvals of Ractopamine and Ractopamine-based combination drugs on the vast majority of the pigs, cattle, and turkeys raised for food in the United States, nor even presented its decisions to the public for review or comment by outside experts.