Horror as hiker killed by grizzly bear after taking photos of animal for eight minutes in Alaska’s Denali National Park

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  • It is the first bear mauling fatality at Alaska’s Denali National Park
  • Officials yet to release identity of lone hiker, whose backpack was discovered by a trio of fellow hikers on Friday
  • Rangers spot lone bear scurrying away during search

A hiker in Alaska’s Denali National Park photographed a grizzly bear for at least eight minutes before the bear mauled and killed him in the first fatal attack in the park’s history, officials said Saturday.

Grim Discovery: Evidence of the attack was found Friday afternoon by a trio of hikers, who came upon a lone backpack lying near a park river

Investigators have recovered the camera and looked at the photographs, which show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively before the attack, Denali Park Superintendent Paul Anderson said.

A state trooper shot and killed the bear on Saturday, and investigators will examine its stomach contents and use other tests to confirm it’s the animal that killed the hiker. 

The hiker was backpacking alone along the Toklat River on Friday afternoon when he came within 50 yards of the bear, far closer than the quarter-mile of separation required by park rules, officials said.

‘They show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time,’ Anderson said.

Investigators have identified the man but won’t release his name until they’ve notified his family. They said he’s a U.S. citizen but declined to release any other information about him.

Rangers were hoping to recover his remains later Saturday after ensuring the scene was safe. Several other bears have been seen in the area.

Officials learned of the attack after hikers stumbled upon an abandoned backpack along the river about three miles from a rest area on Friday afternoon. The hikers also spotted torn clothing and blood. They immediately hiked back and alerted staff park.

A Fateful Search: Park officials launched a rescue helicopter around 8 p.m. Friday, or about two-and-one-half hours after the hikers came upon the lone backpack

Rangers in a helicopter spotted a large male grizzly bear sitting on the hiker’s remains, which they called a “food cache” in the underbrush about 100 to 150 yards from the site of the attack on Friday.

There’s no indication that the man’s death was the result of anything other than a bear attack, investigators said, adding that it’s the first known fatal mauling in the park’s nearly century-long history.

‘ ‘Over the years, and especially since the 1970s, the park has worked very diligently to minimize the conflict between humans and wildlife in the park.’

A wallet was later found near the site of the attack with probable identification. However, officials are yet to name the unfortunate hiker, as they work to identify the next of kin

‘We have some of the most stringent human-wildlife conflict regulations in the National Park system, and I think those are largely responsible for the fact that there hasn’t been a fatal attack.’

Park officials said they don’t believe other registered backpackers are in the immediate area. That portion of the park is closed but other wilderness areas remain open, officials said.

Prior to receiving a permit to hike in the area, all backpackers in the park receive mandatory bear awareness training that teaches them to stay at least a quarter-mile away from bears, and to slowly back away if they find themselves any closer. Investigators confirmed that the hiker had received that training.

Denali is located 240 miles north of Anchorage, and is famously home to Mt. McKinley. It spans more than 6 million acres and is home to numerous wild animals, including bears, wolves, caribou and moose.

Too-Close-For-Comfort: It was later discovered that the hiker had violated the quarter-mile berth that hikers are mandated to give bears roaming the wilderness

 ‘(The photos) show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time.’

The attack was discovered Friday around 5:30 p.m., when a trio of other hikers came upon a lone backpack lying along the Tolkat River about three miles from a rest area.

‘Upon further investigation, they saw evidence of a violent struggle, including torn clothing and blood,’ a Park Service spokesman told The Anchorage Daily News.

The backpackers alerted park officials, who launched a helicopter around 8 p.m., the Alaskan paper reported.

The helicopter-borne rangers discovered the backpack about 30 minutes later, but were forced to return empty-handed because of the coming nightfall.

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2193635/Denali-National-Park-Horror-hiker-killed-grizzly-bear-taking-photos-animal-minutes.html#ixzz25w2AnoFe


In Defense Of Animals Offers $2,500 Reward In Fairbanks Puppy Cruelty Case

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Great Dane puppy saved from heartless and deadly abandonment.

Fairbanks, Alaska (August 20, 2012) – In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization based in California, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the abuser who muzzled a Great Dane puppy, then stuffed him into a suitcase and callously tossed him into a dumpster to die.

The suitcase containing the dog was discovered just after midnight on August 12 by local business owner Dennis Preslan. “I unzipped it partially and all I saw was an eyeball and part of a black nose looking back at me that scared the living Jesus out of me,” he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “I wasn’t expecting something to try to poke a head out of there.” The puppy was gagged with a bandana around his muzzle. The traumatized puppy ran off into the woods when the suitcase was opened, but Mr. Preslan and his wife caught him the following morning.

The puppy is now in protective custody at the local animal shelter and reportedly in good health. He weighs 37 pounds and his age is estimated at between three and four months old.

IDA has pledged a $2,500 reward to encourage someone to come forward with information. “Whoever would heartlessly abuse, incapacitate and abandon an animal in this way clearly is a danger to other animals and to people as well,” said Jack Carone, Communications Director of IDA. “We know beyond a doubt that animal cruelty is a precursor to violence against humans. Someone knows something about this disgusting act, and we ask them to come forward, both in the interest of justice for this poor puppy and for the safety of the community.”

IDA urges anyone with information about this horrible case of abandonment to contact Fairbanks Crime Stoppers at 907-456-2583. To contribute to the reward fund, please call IDA at (415) 448-0048, ext.0.

News Link:-http://www.idanews.org/ida-breaking-news/in-defense-of-animals-offers-2500-reward-in-fairbanks-puppy-cruelty-case/

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Venture Stumbles Toward Reality

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Royal Dutch Shell, the global energy giant, has already invested more than $4 billion in its Arctic drilling venture, but that was apparently not enough to purchase proper mooring in Alaska‘s Dutch Harbor and avoid a subsequent public relations mess.

Precisely what happened is still being sorted out. Official accounts had the Noble Discoverer, one of two massive drilling rigs that Shell had parked midway up the Aleutian Island chain, dragging anchor in stiff winds over the weekend before coming to a halt 100 yards offshore.

Locals, including a shutterbug harbor captain, disputed that scenario and lit up Twitter and Facebook with photographs showing the rig all but on the beach.

“There’s no question it hit the beach,” Kristjan Laxfoss, the harbor captain, told The Associated Press on Sunday. “That ship was not coming any closer. It was on the beach.”

Judge for yourself: 

Whatever the reality, and while Shell plans to send divers down later this week to inspect the hull, no damage to the rig has yet been reported, and the incident appears to have had no environmental impact.

But for a company embarking on what is arguably among the most watched and most contentious oil and gas ventures in recent memory, the image of shore-based personnel scurrying toward a drifting and uncontrolled rig is embarrassing at best, and inauspicious at worst.

It is also a chilling reminder that, despite the most careful planning, things can go awry.

“Our goal remains flawless operations,” the company declared in a statement posted to its website. “Even a ‘near miss’ is unacceptable. While an internal investigation will determine why the Discoverer slipped anchor, we are pleased with the speed and effectiveness of the mitigation measures we had in place.”

Opponents of Arctic drilling were unmoved. “For us,” said Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, “it’s a clear warning sign that Shell isn’t prepared to go up there.”

“Up there” is the unforgiving Chuchki and Beaufort seas, still more than 1,000 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, along Alaska’s northern coast. That’s where the Noble Discoverer and its sister rig, the Kulluk — along with dozens of support vessels — aim to soon hunker down, between 20 and 70 miles offshore, where they will begin poking exploratory holes in the seabed in the hope of finding oil.

With visions of oil-soaked beaches and BP’s flaming Deepwater Horizon rig still fresh in the minds of many Americans — as are more than two decades of environmental impacts arising form the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound — opposition to Shell’s Arctic ambitions has been fierce. In response, the company has pulled out all the stops in touting its experience in northern waters, including exploration wells it plumbed in the Chuchki and Beaufort the 1980s and ’90s, before low oil prices prompted it to focus on the Gulf.

Shell has also argued that, unlike BP’s operation in the Gulf of Mexico, which was groping in waters nearly a mile deep and drilling to depths of 18,000 feet, the Beaufort and Chuchki operations will be working in comparative shallows of 140 feet or so, and drilling to roughly 10,000 feet or less. Well pressures in the Arctic are also expected to be far lower, the company has said, making the sort of wild, unchecked gusher that BP experienced unlikely.

Read the rest of this News Story:-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/shell-arctic-drilling_b_1679697.html?utm_campaign=071712&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-green&utm_content=FullStory


Dog brutally beaten by Fairbanks man joyfully reunited with owner Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – After getting beaten by another man dog reunited with owner

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FAIRBANKS — A dogthat was brutally attacked earlier this month has been reunited with her owner and is doing well.

Dorothy Chomicz/News-Miner River the husky hangs out with her owner, Eugene Witt, Saturday at his home on Turner Street

River, a petite white husky with black markings, belongs to Eugene Witt and lives with him and a Chihuahua named Bear-Bear at a home on Turner Street. Witt was away at his job on the North Slope June 1 when Billy E. Ahkiviana, 47, allegedly entered Witt’s back yard and punched and kicked River while she was chained to her dog house.

According to a neighbor who witnessed the attack and called 911, Ahkiviana also repeatedly slammed River into the muddy ground and hung her by her chain for 10 to 15 seconds. 

Witt explained the circumstances surrounding River’s ordeal.

“Well, I work up north and my ex-wife was watching my house, which is probably bad right there. And it’s her boyfriend that did it. She wasn’t here and he came here and no one would open the door so he took it out on the dog,” Witt said.

Ahkiviana has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1986 which includes multiple domestic violence charges as well as stalking, assault, driving while intoxicated and criminal mischief.

Police responding to the neighbor’s 911 call heard a dog whimpering behind the house when they arrived. Ahkiviana appeared from the back yard and was breathing heavily and “belligerent and highly intoxicated,” according to police.

River was found cowering and shaking in the back of her dog house and was covered in fresh mud. She was taken to the emergency veterinary clinic and treated for her injuries, which included pain and swelling but no broken bones. She was then transported to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter.

Ahkiviana was indicted Thursday on one count of felony cruelty to animals. While normally a misdemeanor, cruelty to animals becomes a class C felony if the person has been previously convicted for the same crime on two or more separate occasions within 10 years of the date of the present offense, or for a law or ordinance of another jurisdiction having elements similar to those offenses.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – After getting beaten by another man dog reunited with owner

Mark Dumas, Animal Trainer, Swims With Polar Bear In Pool (VIDEO)

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In a video that’s both nerve-wracking and beautiful, Mark Dumas swims with an 800-pound polar bear like it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

The experienced animal trainer has been working with Agee the polar bear since she was a cub. According to video released by Barcroft Media, the bear grew up in Dumas’ household, where she was bottle-fed and even played with the family’s pets.

In the clip, Dumas hugs and kisses the bear like an oversized toy as they continually wrestle on land and in the water.

It’s important to point out that exotic animals can be potentially dangerous and shouldn’t be kept as pets.

But while some may gawk at Dumas’ bold actions in disbelief, the trainer saysexperience has taught him how to interact with the animal.

“I have worked with bears for 40 years, so I can read Agee’s body language and know how to behave safely,” Dumas told the Sun in 2011.

Dumas and his wife, Dawn, own “Beyond Just Bears,” a company that trains animals for scenes in movies, television shows and advertisements. The pair have a combined 50 years experience working with animals on set.

Agee, which is touted as the only trained polar bear in North America, has starred in various commercials and even had a role in the movie “Alaska.”

According to the company’s website, “Beyond Just Bears” has worked with a variety of wild animals, including cougars, wolves and deer.

Nevertheless, the use of animals in the entertainment industry has come under scrutiny after multiple reported incidents of alleged animal abuse and deaths on movie and television sets.

News Link:-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/mark-dumas-man-swims-with-polar-bear_n_1568549.html


Published on 11 Apr 2012 by 

ABBOTSFORD, CANADA: Grizzly man Mark Dumas, 60, is the only man in the world who can touch a polar bear. And as these incredible pictures show the fearless bear handler from Abbotsford, British Columbia, even goes for dip in his swimming pool where he and 16-year-old polar bear Agee enjoy a watery cuddle together. Mark and wife Dawn, 60, train the 60-stone (800lb) friendly beast – the world’s largest land predator – to star in high-budget TV adverts. She has even performed in movies like ‘Alaska’ in 1995 when she was just a few weeks old. With his incredibly intimate bond Mark wrestles on the grass with Agee, kisses her, puts his head in her huge jaws, and even bear hugs her as she rears up on her hind legs to over seven feet. Mark and Dawn have owned Agee since she was six weeks old and the colossal mammal even lived in their home as a cub where she played with the family dogs and was bottle fed.

WILL YOU PLEDGE: to Circulate the Truth about Barbaric Trapping.

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Pledging to Circulate the Truth about Barbaric Trapping.
Click to TAKE THE PLEDGE – 2,361 People took the pledge so far!
Goal is to ban barbaric trapping of animals in the USA, just as it is already banned in most civilized countries. PLEASE READ THE ELOQUENT ARTICLE BELOW, BY ONE OF THE GREATEST MINDS IN THE NATURAL WORLD AND PLEASE SHARE, RE-POST, SEND TO YOUR LEGISLATORS AND LET THIS GO VIRAL!
Wolf trapped and bludgeoned to death. Wild animals who are trapped are terrified, they are in agony, they cannot return – forever – to their offspring or families. They are subjected to the elements and other predators before their nemesis arrives to bludgeon them or strangle them to death.


Years ago I was backpacking in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness with my friend, Rod, and his  Malamute, Jake.  Like most dogs, Jake was happily running ahead of us investigating this and that.  Suddenly Jake let out a sharp cry and began yipping from someplace up ahead in the brush.

We rushed to him to find with his leg snared in a giant leg-hold bear trap set by a deer carcass. This trap was the size of a car tire.

We desperately tried to free him from the trap, but even with the two of us trying to open the contraption, the springs were just too stiff and we couldn’t get Jake’s leg out. So Rod and I took turns carrying 100 pound Jake on our shoulders, along with the heavy trap plus our backpacks, to our car so we could rush him to a vet.

The vet had to get a special trap opener to compress the springs so we could open the jaws enough to remove Jake’s leg. Jake was lucky. Because the trap’s teeth were so large, Jake’s leg was caught wedged between the teeth instead of having it go through his leg.

He fully recovered from the experience. But most pets and nearly all wildlife are not so lucky. There was no sign indicating the presence of the trap, nor any other effort to warn people of the lurking danger. Had either one of us stepped into the track, we might have suffered serious damage. Unfortunately the trapping of wild animals is a legal activity in all of the United States.

In fact, I am not aware of a single state “wildlife” agency that doesn’t promote trapping, instead of questioning its legitimacy. It’s amazing to me that in this day and age we still allow this barbaric activity to be justified in the name of “sport”. Leg-hold traps and snares are particularly treacherous devices. Animals caught in such traps suffer pain, exposure to weather, dehydration and often a long painful death.

Snares are even more gruesome with animals slowly strangling to death as the wire noose tightens. How is it that cock and dog fights are now illegal and yet we permit state wildlife agencies to sanction an equally cruel activity? The statistics are astounding. More than 4 million animals are trapped for “fun” each year, many enduring immense suffering in the process.  Millions more are trapped as “nuisances” or die as “non-target” animals.

For example more than 700 black bear are snagged each year in Oregon as “nuisance” animals by timber companies (because in the spring bears eat the inner cambium layer of trees). Only a few states have banned the use of leg-hold traps for sport trapping and then usually only through citizen initiative process.

Yet 90 countries around the world have banned these traps and the entire European Union has banned these contraptions. Most trapping targets “fur bearer” animals like lynx, musk rat, beaver, marten, fisher, river otter, weasel, mink, bobcat, red fox, coyote, and bears, and in some states like Idaho and Alaska, trappers also take wolves.

Most of these animals are important predators in their own right, and help to promote healthier ecosystems in many, many ways from the way that wolves reduce the negative impact of large herbivores like elk to reduction of rodent populations by coyotes.  Thus indiscriminate trapping disrupts natural ecological processes, often in ways we don’t appreciate.

If you want to see how sport trapping harms wildlife, view the video below;  Hint it does have a happy ending. If you can, support groups that attempting to end this barbaric “sport.”

Read the rest of this topic & the reasons why trappers justify this outdated cruel practice:-http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/10/trapping-the-barbaric-sport/

Bobcat Rescued from Snare – Part 1 of 2

Watch this heartwarming story of a bobcat named Freedom, who was rescued from certain death in a snare that was illegally set on private property. You can help Predator Defense ban dangerous traps and enable people and wildlife to coexist at http://predatordefense.org.
Bobcat Rescue – Part 2 of 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39umvONjDAc

Aerial wolf hunting on Kenai Peninsula put on hold

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Although the Alaska Board of Game earlier this year approved aerial wolf hunts on the Kenai Peninsula to help boost moose populations, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will wait at least a year to learn more about the wildlife populations before starting to shoot.

“We want to have the best information possible so that we’re most effective in what we do to improve the moose population on the Kenai,” Fish and Game biologist Larry Van Daele told the Alaska Public Radio Network.

In January, the seven-member state Board of Game voted to extend predator control to two Kenai Peninsula game management units – 15A, west of Cooper Landing and north of the Sterling Highway and 15C, south of Kasilof and west of Kenai Fjords National Park.

But Doug Vincent Lang, acting director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said more basic science information was needed to begin predator management and later judge its effectiveness.   “I thought it was worthwhile to spend some additional time to collect that foundational science to inform how best to proceed in the future,” Vincent Lang told The Associated Press.

John Toppenberg, a board member of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, argued that the main problem for Kenai moose was a reduction of good habitat following 60 years of wildfire suppression on the Kenai that harmed feeding prospects for moose.

“What they had proposed really had no scientific logic behind it,” Toppenberg told the AP. “It was purely, ‘Let’s kill wolves in order to artificially inflate moose.’ ”

News Link:-http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/aerial-wolf-hunting-kenai-peninsula-put-hold

Alaska trapper shoots horse, uses it as wolf bait and snares important female wolf from Denali National Park

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In an incident somewhat reminiscent of the “bad old days” of the Wild West, a trapper from Healy, Alaska apparently hauled a dead horse out to an area off the Stampede Trail near the boundary of Denali National Park – an area made famous by the 1996 book “Into the Wild” – and set snares all around the area hoping to catch wolves attracted to the carcass.

Wolves from Denali National Park were drawn to the dead horse, resulting in the killing of a primary reproductive female wolf from the Grant Creek (also called Toklat West) pack from the park, along with at least one other wolf.

It is unknown how long the two wolves were alive in the snares before being killed and collected by the trapper. In addition, the only other breeding female from the Grant Creek pack was just found dead yesterday near her den, and thus it seems certain that there will be no pups in this pack this year. The Grant Creek wolf pack has been one of the three packs most often viewed in Denali National Park.

The snares, set by Healy guide Coke Wallace, were on state lands along the north border of the national park, and within the former protected “Denali buffer” where from 2002 – 2010 trapping and hunting of wolves was prohibited to protect the park’s wolves. Ignoring several proposals and hundreds of supporting comments from citizens in 2010 to expand the no-take Denali wolf buffer zone – including a proposal from Denali National Park itself – the Alaska Board of Game instead eliminated the protective buffer altogether. At the same time, the Board also imposed a moratorium on future consideration of any Denali wolf protection buffer proposals until 2016. Some have questioned the legality of the Board restricting public process in such a way.

While the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG) say the incident does not violate state law, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) is looking at potential violations of state water quality regulations, which prohibit discarding carcasses in surface waters of the state

Of concern in this incident is that the Grant Creek female was killed just after the mating season for Denali wolves (which is late February — early March), and thus it is likely that she was pregnant with what would have been a new litter of pups (perhaps this family group’s only litter), when she was killed. Last year, park service biologists observed her nursing pups at the ancient Murie den, thus she would likely have been preparing to do so again this year. As such, her death causes a significant loss of new pups/recruitment to this important pack, and thus a loss of viewing opportunities for the many thousands of visitors to the park wanting to see wolves in the wild.

The Grant Creek wolf family group (“pack”) may be one of the longest-studied vertebrate lineages in the world, dating back at least to the 1930s when Adolf Murie studied them in the park. The pack’s home territory is eastern Denali, and as it is one of the packs most viewed from the Denali park road, it is considered a high value resource for the several hundred thousand visitors that visit the park each summer (see attached photos of the Grant Creek pack from Dr. Gordon Haber)

Read the rest of this post & contact details of people in the Denali National Park area : – http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2012/may/alaska-trapper-shoot.html

Greenpeace – Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.

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The White House and BP have been hiding the truth about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.

The (horrible) picture below is of a “critically endangered” Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. It’s just one of many never-before-seen images we’ve obtained that paints a very different picture than what we were being told at the time. We have to act.
Demand the Truth. Take Action!
Other pictures show garbage bags full of dead sea turtles, a dolphin struggling to hold on for life in the poisoned water and sperm whales swimming through a sheen of oil. What else about the Gulf disaster is the White House and Big Oil hiding from the public before they finish the settlement?

It’s not too late. The government has yet to announce the amount of money BP owes for the damages caused by the disaster.

Take action and demand that the White House immediately make publicly available all the images, files and documentation before they reach a settlement with BP.

It’s important that the public know exactly what BP is being held accountable for and that the White House is holding the oil giant to it in the settlement.

President Obama likes to talk about how much land and coastal area his administration has opened up for drilling. The administration has even given oil giant Shell the green light to drill for oil in the pristine waters off the coast of Alaska this summer. Is this damage the risk that the administration finds acceptable with offshore drilling?

Enough. Tell the White House to publicly release everything they have around the Gulf disaster, make BP pay what they owe and put a stop to ALL new offshore drilling right now.

Judge Orders Artist: Don’t Strangle Puppies To Protest Animal Cruelty

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A German artist in Berlin has been ordered by a judge to avoid strangling two puppies to death during a life show at a Berlin theater in the Spandau district.

 The show titled  ”Death as Metamorphosis,” was to take place next week and while on stage the article wanted to strangle the puppies to protest the plight of sled dogs in Alaska. You heard that right he wants to kill two innocent new born dogs in order to protest the killing of dogs.

The death of the dogs was to be accompanied by funeral march music and a giant gong. The artist would have used cable ties to strange the dogs after a short period of meditation.

Accompanied by funeral music and a gong, the artist was going to strangle two puppies with cable ties after a brief meditation.

Newspaper Express says the artist was trying to follow in the “traditional Thai art forms” with his live performance protest/

The Friday night performance was stopped by Berlin’s administrative court which noted that animal protect law forbids animals from being harmed in any way during a live show. For his part the artist argued that the countries constitution ”unconditionally guarantees artistic freedom.”

Oddly enough this isn’t the first animal murder attempt by Berlin artists in the last week, Students  Iman Rezai and Rouven Materne wanted to use a guillotine to decapitate a sheep on camera based on the results of an online vote. Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper 190,000 “No” votes and 120,000 “Yes” votes were registered in just six days.

In the meantime perhaps German artists looking to kill poor defenseless animals should consider a noose around their own necks on stage. I would happily be willing to mail them the noose
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/227175/judge-orders-artist-dont-strangle-puppies-to-protest-animal-cruelty/#gI85sE78May1EqET.99

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