Animal Testing - Approaching the "End of an Error"

It's only a proposal at the moment, but it's going in the right direction.
Toxicity tests will start being done using human cells in laboratories, robots, and computer modeling - and this means saving countless of animal lifes!
From the scientists point of view the decision is based on the fact that "new technology has made testing chemicals much faster and more accurate",
so even if a "commercial based decision", nevertheless it goes on favour of the animals. The real big news would have been if this conclusion was approached because of a new compassionate consciousness being born amongst the scientific world.... but hey - as long as there's a positive outcome for the animals, that's pretty fine with me!

The End of Animal Testing for Chemical & Drug Safety Could be in Sight

According to an USA Today article released on the 14th of February a new program announced by a coalition of three government agencies - the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Toxicology Program and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - could lead to the end of animal testing to evaluate the safety for humans of new chemicals and drugs.
These agencies have signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" to develop and implement the new methods. Historically, toxicity has been identified by injecting chemicals into animals and seeing whether they were harmed. According to the director of the NIH's National Genome Research Institute, Francis Collins, "It was expensive, time-consuming, used animals in large numbers, and it didn't always work."
The agencies acknowledge that full implementation of the shift in toxicity testing could take years because it will require scientific validation of the new approaches.
The new systems the agencies hope to use rely on human cells grown in test tubes and computer-driven testing machines. They allow the scientists to examine potentially toxic compounds in the lab rather than injecting them into animals.
All the data produced will be put into a public database.

Read more on the following links:

- "USA Today" article
- "Science" journal article
- "" article
- NIH press release
- European Coalition to End Animal Experiments
- The Daily Green - End of Animal Testing is Near
- PETA Files - Three Government Agencies to End Animal Testing?

Related entries @ ANIMAL VOICE

Get informed on Animal Testing HERE

Zoos in China - when entertainment meets cruelty

The smiling children giggled as they patted the young goat on its head and tickled it behind the ears.
Some of the more boisterous ones tried to clamber onto the animal's back but were soon shaken off with a quick wiggle of its bottom.
It could have been a happy scene from a family zoo anywhere in the world but for what happened next.

A man hoisted up the goat and nonchalantly threw it over a wall into a pit full of hungry lions. The poor goat tried to run for its life, but it didn't stand a chance.
The lions quickly surrounded it and started tearing at its flesh.
"Oohs" and "aahs" filled the air as the children watched the goat being ripped limb from limb. Some started to clap silently with a look of wonder in their eyes.
The scenes witnessed at Badaltearing Safari Park in China are rapidly becoming a normal day out for many Chinese families.

Baying crowds now gather in zoos across the country to watch animals being torn to pieces by lions and tigers.
Just an hour's drive from the main Olympic attractions in Beijing, Badaling is in many ways a typical Chinese zoo.
Next to the main slaughter arena is a restaurant where families can dine on braised dog while watching cows and goats being disembowelled by lions.
The zoo also encourages visitors to "fish" for lions using live chickens as bait. For just £2, giggling visitors tie terrified chickens onto bamboo rods and dangle them in front of the lions, just as a cat owner might tease their pet with a toy.
During one visit, a woman managed to taunt the big cats with a petrified chicken for five minutes before a lion managed to grab the bird in its jaws.
The crowd then applauded as the bird flapped its wings pathetically in a futile bid to escape. The lion eventually grew bored and crushed the terrified creature to death.
The tourists were then herded onto buses and driven through the lions' compound to watch an equally cruel spectacle. The buses have specially designed chutes down which you can push live chickens and watch as they are torn to shreds. Once again, children are encouraged to take part in the slaughter.
But the cruelty of Badaling doesn't stop with animals apart. For those who can still stomach it, the zoo has numerous traumatised animals to gawp at.
A pair of endangered moon bears with rusting steel nose rings are chained up in cages so small that they cannot even turn around.
One has clearly gone mad and spends most of its time shaking its head and bashing into the walls of its prison.
There are numerous other creatures, including tigers, which also appear to have been driven insane by captivity. Predictably, they are kept in cramped, filthy conditions.

East of Badaling lies the equally horrific Qingdao zoo. Here, visitors can take part in China's latest craze ” tortoise baiting".
Simply put, Chinese families now gather in zoos to hurl coins at tortoises.
Legend has it that if you hit a tortoise on the head with a coin and make a wish, then your heart's desire will come true. It's the Chinese equivalent of a village wishing well.
To feed this craze, tortoises are kept in barbaric conditions inside small bare rooms.
When giggling tourists begin hurling coins at them, they desperately try to protect themselves by withdrawing into their shells.
But Chinese zoo keepers have discovered a way round this: they wrap elastic bands around the animals' necks to stop them retracting their heads.
"Tortoises aren't exactly fleet of foot and can't run away," says Carol McKenna.
"It's monstrous that people hurl coins at the tortoises, but strapping their heads down elastic bands so they can't hide is even more disgusting"

Even worse is in store for the animals of Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village near Guilin in south-east China.
Here, live cows are fed to tigers to amuse cheering crowds. During a recent visit, I watched in horror as a young cow was stalked and caught.
Its screams and cries filled the air as it struggled to escape.
A wild tiger would dispatch its prey within moments, but these beasts' natural killing skills have been blunted by years of living in tiny cages.
The tiger tried to kill - tearing and biting at the cow's body in a pathetic looking frenzy - but it simply didn't know how.
Eventually, the keepers broke up the contest and slaughtered the cow themselves, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
Although the live killing exhibition was undoubtedly depressing, an equally disturbing sight lay around the corner: the "animal parade".
Judging by the rest of the operation, the unseen training methods are unlikely to be humane, but what visitors view is bad enough.

Tigers, bears and monkeys perform in a degrading "entertainment". Bears wear dresses, balance on balls and not only ride bicycles but mount horses too.
The showpiece is a bear riding a bike on a high wire above a parade of tigers, monkeys and trumpet-playing bears.
Astonishingly, the zoo also sells tiger meat and wine produced from big cats kept in battery-style cages.
Tiger meat is eaten widely in China and the wine, made from the crushed bones of the animals, is a popular drink.
Although it is illegal, the zoo is quite open about its activities. In fact, it boasts of having 140 dead tigers in freezers ready for the plate.
In the restaurant, visitors can dine on strips of stir-fried tiger with ginger and Chinese vegetables. Also on the menu are tiger soup and a spicy red curry made with tenderised strips of big cat.
And if all that isn't enough, you can dine on lion steaks, bear's paw, crocodile and several different species of snake.
"Discerning" visitors can wash it all down with a glass or two of vintage wine made from the bones of Siberian tigers.
The wine is made from the 1,300 or so tigers reared on the premises. The restaurant is a favourite with Chinese Communist Party officials who often pop down from Beijing for the weekend.

China's zoos claim to be centres for education and conservation. Without them, they say, many species would become extinct.
This is clearly a fig leaf and some would call it a simple lie.
Many are no better than "freak shows" from the middle ages and some are no different to the bloody tournaments of ancient Rome.
"It's farcical to claim that these zoos are educational," says Emma Milne.
"How can you learn anything about wild animals by watching them pace up and down inside a cage? You could learn far more from a David Attenborough documentary."
Welfare groups are urging people not to go to Chinese zoos if they should visit the Olympics, as virtually every single one inflicts terrible suffering on its animals.
"They should tell the Chinese Embassy why they are refusing to visit these zoos,' says Carol McKenna of OneVoice.
"If a nation is great enough to host the Olympic Games then it is great enough to be able to protect its animals."

By Danny Penman (Daily Mail 5th Jan.2008)
Full article HERE
and more related ones HERE

Animal Abuse at Zoos in China - CLIPS:



- China Prepares For Olympic Games
- China Unbelievable Cruelty
- Another Chinese Dog Extermination Day
- Asia - Hell on Earth for Cats and Dogs (many important links!)
- Bear Farming
- Boycott China for Animal Cruelty

What kind of future is there for China if its children think this kind of cruelty is normal?

Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Please meet Charlie!

This is Charlie
He's not like other cats
He has Cerebellar Hypoplasia
In other words his motor skills aren't so "hot"..
But he loves to play!
Hang out with his friends
And watch the world go by....
He's in no pain
Requires no special care
And has a normal life expectancy.

Since most people don't know
About Cerebellar Hypoplasia,
Cats like Charlie are
Needlessly destroyed.

If you have a kitten that
Shows symptoms like
Charlie's, ask your vet for
More information.

If they're anything like
Charlie, they just might be
One of the best cats
You've ever had.

Check the next link to find out more about Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia: The CH Kitty Club

What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

The cerebellum is the portion of the brain responsible for the control of motion. When a puppy or kitten is born with an underdeveloped cerebellum, the condition is known as congenital cerebellar hypoplasia.
There are infectious causes of this condition in both cats (panleukopenia infection prior to birth) and dogs (herpes virus infection prior to birth). Improper development of the cerebellum may occur due to injury, poisoning or just from an accident in development in the uterus. It is generally possible to see signs of this condition almost as soon as the puppy or kitten is born. Affected animals have tremors and unusual jerky movements or may fall down when they try to move.
The symptoms do not get worse as they age. As the kitten or puppy grows it will learn to compensate for its condition but there are usually lifelong signs of a decreased ability to coordinate movement. Almost all dogs and cats with congenital cerebellar hypoplasia can live happily as pets with a little special care to compensate for their disabilities. This condition can be confused with cerebellar abiotrophy, a different disorder in dogs in which the puppy has a normal cerebellum at birth but it gradually dies. Signs of disease identical to cerebellar hypoplasia occur but the timing is different. Puppies with this condition seem normal at birth but usually start to show signs of problems after they are 2 months or more of age.

How do cats cope with it?

In humans, the problems would be significant disabilities. CH cats don't worry over their inability to do things in the same way or at the same speed as other cats. Spastic cats can do everything other cats do and are equally independent - they climb fences, play and performs daredevil feats, though they can be alarming to watch, especially as they teeter along a fence. Occasionally they slip, catch hold with their claws and haul themselves back up again; make sure there are soft plants to cushion any fall! Like disabled humans most won't want to be overprotected, but in the same way that disabled facilities are made available to humans, some thought needs to be given to toilet facilities, access to favorite spots etc to ensure their well-being.

It is not advisable to give a spastic cat free access to outdoors as their mobility problems, perception problems and possible sight problems makes traffic doubly hazardous to them. If you have an enclosed garden or a cat harness and leash they can have access outdoors. Many people are unaware of the condition and people who see these cats twitching on the path outdoors sometimes try to help the 'injured cat', but the cat's crazy zigzag run confuses most pursuers - they simply don't end up in the place they appeared to be heading for (one more reason roads pose such a threat, a driver who tries to avoid the cat cannot compensate for the cat ending up in the wrong place). Even birds are caught unawares by this zigzag approach and I know of spastic cats who are reasonable hunters, exploiting this element of surprise. CH cats are extremely independent and owners report that affected cats usually have "sunny personalities", but some allowances still have to be made.

A caring owner can think of other ways in which to help a disabled feline companion, but beware of being overprotective. A disabled cat still requires some semblance of independence to allow it to fulfill that inner 'catness' that we love in our feline friends. Most seem unaware of their disabilities and they do not expect life to make allowances, but a helping hand and some adjustments to their lifestyle and perhaps your own lifestyle will ensure a disabled cat has a healthy, happy and safe life.

(full text available at ---> "Cerebellar Hypoplasia")